Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
Endangered blue iguanas are becoming more common throughout.
Opened in 1994 by Queen Elizabeth II herself, Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park includes numerous natural attractions. Many of them border the 4/5-mile Woodlands Trail that encircles most of the park. Park map.
The Woodlands Trail is estimated to contain more than 50 percent of the Cayman Island’s native flora, allowing excellent close up views of such rare trees as the Cockspur (Erythrina velutina) and a stand of Bull Thatch palms (Thrinax radiata).
At the limestone rock depression called the Crocodile Hole, fossil bones of the Cuban Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus Rhombifer) were found.
Quietly approach the area known as Ground Dove Walk (walk softly and don’t talk!). And you may see native and Caribbean doves.
Native Cayman plants in an authentic setting are located in the adjacent Heritage Garden that includes a sand yard surrounding a restored, traditional cottage moved from East End.
These areas join the existing eight-tenths of a mile-long circular Nature Trail passing through rocky areas, swamps and highlands, each with their distinctive vegetation such as bromeliads, palms, cactus, ferns and hardwoods.The Endangered Blue Iguana
Probably the most popular stop is the blue iguana habitat where the endangered blue iguana (Cyclura lewisi), almost extinct before QE II Botanic Garden became involved in protecting the Cayman Islands’ endemic reptile. Originally thought to be a subspecies of the Cuban iguana, scientists later uncovered distinct genetic differences.
The blue iguana is one of the longest lived iguanas. The record is 67 years.
The official blue iguana habitat is actually a cage with low walls—think about waist high—which makes it easy to observe and photograph the animals as long as they are sunning themselves.