Cayman Turtle Farm

The Caribbean's only turtle farm

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Cayman Turtle Farm

The Cayman Turtle Farm near West Bay Bay in Grand Cayman raises green turtles both for release in the wild and for local restaurants, where turtle steak is still highly prized.

This is Grand Cayman's oldest operating tourist attraction, a true landmark, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year with all the cruise ships visiting here.

The attraction has grown to be much more than just a turtle farm, with many more interactive possibilites and many more animals than just turtles.

As the oldest attraction, the Cayman Turtle Farm deserves to have its history told before describing all its attractions. Hosting tourists was not the Turtle Farm's main goal.

At one time, numerous circular cement tanks placed out in the open near the sea combined held as many as 16,000 green sea turtles weighing from 6 ounces to 600 pounds.

The farm was intended to meet the popular demand for green turtle soup and turtle meat. And green turtles were successively raised in huge cement tanks in order to supply the commercial market for turtle at a time when natural stocks were deteriorating badly.

If this seems cruel, harvesting turtles commercially, or turtling, has a long history in the Caymans. After all, there is a reason the national symbol of the Cayman Islands is a peg-legged turtle.

Because sea turtles were becoming so scare due elsewhere in the Caribbean due to over-harvesting and beach development, the United States banned the import of all sea turtle products in 1979, regardless of their source.

The purpose of the ban was to protect remaining sea turtle stocks in the wild, but it also meant all the turtle products from the Cayman Turtle farm--huge tortoise shells, tiny tortoise shell ear rings, anything green turtle--no longer had a market.

From a thriving commercial enterprise, the Cayman Turtle Farm was limited to selling turtle meat in the Caymans and turning into a tourist oddity.

Today, the Cayman Turtle Farm continues to supply turtle meat for the Cayman Islands, which you can sample it in the local restaurants. No reason not to try it if you eat chickens, raised in more harsh conditions.

Turtle has
a different taste--not like chicken--and although it is sometimes a little chewy, always good in the right chef's hands. It's nothing like you've probably ever tasted before.

The reason so many visitors still come to the Cayman Turtle Farm is it continues to develop as an attraction. If you haven't been there in a while, it may surprise you--jumping gators, exotic birds and more.

The main reason for all the changes: Cayman Turtle Farm is now a government-owned and operated facility and a division of the Ministry of Tourism. You need to keep all the cruise ships tourists happy! The name has been changed to the Turtle Farm: An Island Wildlife Encounter.

Preview a visit with the Cayman Turtle Farm Webcam.

Directions: The Cayman Turtle Farm is located at 825 North West Point Road, West Bay; 345/949- 3894.

From George Town, take West Bay Road until the left turnoff onto North West Point Road. Follow this street until you reach the Cayman Turtle Farm, located on the left, 8 miles from the center of George Town. Parking is easily available.

Hours:Daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with last admission at 4:30p.m. Some attractions such as Turtle Lagoon and Breakers Lagoon & Turtle Twister water slide close earlier.

Admission :
Adults US$18; children US$9.

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