Camana Bay is an astonishing place. Grand Cayman’s newest community which stretches over 500 acres from Seven Mile Beach to the North Sound has been designed by world-class, award-winning architects and is worth a visit for many reasons: for the beautifully landscaped Camana Way that showcases five different ecosystems found on these islands; for great entertainment, dining and shopping options; for design features such as the amazing lighting which came from the same consultants whose work lights Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa; for the birds which gather in Cassia Court to enjoy figs grown on the Ficus Aurea, the Town Centre’s biggest tree which is native to Cayman and produces supermarket-quality figs almost year-round; and for the spectacular interactive fountains, one on the Crescent with sprays reaching 30 feet high and another in Jasmine Court, which offer fun for kids and a cooling backdrop for all who visit the Town Centre.
When Camana Bay was announced as a concept just over a decade ago, the scale of the project, the scope of its ambition and the idealism of its vision were unprecedented. Now, however, with each new courtyard that is landscaped and new restaurant or shop opened, the Town Centre beats with an increasingly vibrant and youthful heart.
The design philosophy behind Camana Bay is New Urbanism. This promotes the concept of communities being able to walk, or cycle, between their residences, shops, civic space, schools and parks. Streets and walkways interconnect while parks and courtyards nurture social interaction. Well before the Town Centre was sketched or residential plans drawn, Camana Bay established a nursery to propagate native shrubs and trees. Uniquely, the Town Centre, school and civic spaces were developed before residential units were built. The aim, always, was to create a sense of community, both for residents and for the island at large.
A measure of its success lies in the central place that Camana Bay now occupies in the lives of many Caymanians and local residents. Students of 30 different nationalities attend the Cayman International School. Once a week at harvest time, local farmers bring their produce to market in the Town Centre. Pan on the Paseo, every week, features many of Cayman’s youthful steel bands. Catboat regattas, visiting authors, poetry evenings and story time for young children at the independent bookseller Books & Books, movies in the moonlight and an interesting range of other events all play a part in contributing to the dynamic, family-friendly place that Camana Bay has become. The dining options are another drawcard. Simple, delicious cuisine by Jeames Beard and award-winning Michael Schwartz at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is hugely popular; so, too, is Ortanique, opened recently by internationally-renowned chef Cindy Hutson. Abacus, with its contemporary cuisine, continues to be a firm favourite. Plus, a six-screen cinema, some great shops and a number of offices add to the lively pulse of the place.
Be sure to visit the Observation Tower where you’ll see an undersea mosaic that is one of the largest installations of its kind in the world, running from the bottom to the top of the tower, 75 feet above sea level. From the top of the tower, you can enjoy a 360 degree view from Seven Mile Beach and the North Sound to George Town and beyond. The tower is open from sunrise to 10pm every day and admission is free.
For visitors to Camana Bay, the Town Centre’s Discovery Centre is an eye-opener. Five interactive touch screens will take you on a virtual journey, encouraging you to explore the innovative features and the vision behind this vibrant community. You could plan to visit for a day and find you’re seduced by the lifestyle options to offer, only to decide you’ll stay for a lifetime! Discover you’re home-away-from-home in Cayman and become a part of a community that nurtures connections.