Things to do: Walk through history

Pedro St James, known locally as Pedro's Castle, is a landmark whose story bears all the elements of a Hollywood epic: the wrath of nature (fires, hurricanes and deadly lightning) loom large in the house's history. alongside human dramas which lie behind the old belief that the house was haunted. Built as a family home in 1780 by Englishman William Eden and used as a central meeting place, Pedro St James is where the island's first tentative steps towards democracy were taken at a time when the total population was about 2,000 people, including slaves whose emancipation was on the horizon. 

The pride with which Caymanians view their history is reflected in the meticulous restoration of Pedro St James by the government when it acquired the property in 1991. In Savannah, about 15 minutes' drive along the coast, east from George Town, Pedro St James is built on seven acres of cliff-land and offers visitors an opportunity to experience something of the political and cultural history of these islands, in an intimate, authentic and picturesque setting. Well worth a visit. 

An early morning visit will reward you with colors and views unlike those on offer as the sun sets; in spring, the park is dressed in shades very different from nature's winter palette. As you progress through the various displays, you will also note how the habitats change, depending on the elevation of the land, its soil type and other whims of nature. The woodland trail, a leisurely 35-minute walk, takes in a variety of habitats and showcases about half of Grand Cayman's native plants. (For those unable to walk, the park offers the use of a golf cart.) Be sure, too, to visit the traditional Cayman home with its sand yard featuring conch shells, its medicinal garden and vegetable patch. The park is open daily.