This is your island of quiet enchantment
You slip into a laid-back lifestyle
Once you set foot on the Brac, you’ll find yourself adjusting to some things.
First of all, hearing “Good morning” and “Good afternoon” from strangers who become acquaintances. And when driving (or riding a bicycle, or strolling), waving back at everyone who passes by.
It won’t require much effort, since you’ll only see a few cars.
You’ll also become used to wearing just shorts and a tee shirt (or a sarong), leaving your keys in the car, and sleeping with your windows open.
You may need to re-accustom your ear to hearing nature’s sounds, rather than man-made noise. The sea nudging against the reef. An afternoon breeze rustling palm fronds. Birds singing.
And you might develop a fascination with astronomy once you witness millions of stars sparkling in the night sky.
Even though we’re a brief hour-and-a-quarter from Miami, Cayman Brac is a world apart. And that’s exactly why you’ll love it.
Location: 19°25ʹ north 79°30ʹ west and just below heaven
Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman make up the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory. Approximately 150 miles south of Cuba and 165 miles northwest of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands are blessed by a gentle climate, friendly people and economic prosperity.
Cayman Brac, the middle-sized island, is 12 miles long and 1½ miles wide, and home to 1,800 or so residents. Just a 30-minute flight from Grand Cayman, it’s far removed from bustling tourism.
The Brac is named for its 140-feet high bluff (“Brac” is “craggy bluff” in Gaelic). The bluff bisects the length of the island, gently rising from the west end as a verdant plateau to a dramatic cliff at the east end, where it plunges into the sea.
History: Explorers, pirates and seafarers
Christopher Columbus stumbled upon these islands in 1503 after he was blown off course from the Dominican Republic. He saw so many tortoises on land and in the sea that he named the islands Las Tortugas. In 1586, Sir Francis Drake renamed the islands Caymanas after the Carib Indian word for crocodiles (no crocs remain).
Other visitors included pirates, who retreated to the remote islands after looting ships heavy with gold and silver. During the 18th century, permanent settlers of British and Scottish origin began arriving from Jamaica. They brought seafaring skills that produced many generations of boat builders, fishermen, sailors and captains who traveled the world.
While the men were at sea, the Brac women, alone for several years at a time, built houses, raised children, planted and maintained gardens, and coped with storms, shortages and illnesses. Today’s residents continue this tradition of self reliance and resiliency.
Cayman Brac boasts a remarkable infrastructure for its small population. Residents and visitors benefit from a commercial jet airport, worldwide telecommunications, reliable electrical power, desalinized water, a hospital, and schools, including a campus of the University College of the Cayman Islands.
Civic participation is high in service clubs, and the entire community follows local sports competitions.
Shops, restaurants, grocery stores and churches are scattered primarily on the north shore of the island, in West End, Stake Bay and Spot Bay settlements.