GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman -- Celebrations that mark the 500th
anniversary of the founding of the Cayman Islands coincide this
year with Batabano 2003, the islands' annual carnival event.
When Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands in 1503,
he named them Las Tortugas after the large number of giant sea
turtles in the surrounding waters.
Over the next 200 years, the islands supplied turtle meat to
naval fleets based in Jamaica, and Caribbean traders frequently
anchored off Grand Cayman to take turtles on board for transport to
Batabano is the word given to the tracks left by turtles after
they emerge from the water onto the beach to nest in the sand.
Batabano events, set for May 1 to 4 this year, are highlighted
by the Mas' (Masquerade) bands that parade through George Town on
May 3 in elaborate costumes. The parade is followed by street
dances and song competitions.
Carriers serving the Cayman Islands are offering special fares for
Batabano and throughout the summer.
From May 1 through Oct. 31, Cayman Airways' $99 Buddy Fare from
Houston and the Florida gateways of Fort Lauderdale, Miami and
Tampa is available for $99 roundtrip when another ticket is
purchased at a regular price.
Delta Airlines has a Companion Flies Free offer, good for travel
from May 1 through Oct. 31 on Delta Vacations' four-night,
air-inclusive packages at 12 participating properties in Grand
Continental Airlines is expected to participate in
quincentennial packages in conjunction with its new
four-times-a-week service between Houston and Grand Cayman,
effective May 2.
The flights will depart Wednesdays and Fridays through
Meanwhile, Cayman's 500th anniversary, three-night land package,
available May 9 through 12, features accommodations at a choice of
Grand Cayman properties, two two-tank dives per person and a
voucher for admission to various heritage sites in Grand
Other programs are:
• Taste of Cayman, July 4 to 7, offers visitors the opportunity
to sample the cuisine at more than 40 restaurants in Grand Cayman.
Rates cover lodging and two dives per person.
• Pirates Week package, Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, includes street
dances, a mock pirate invasion in the harbor of George Town, local
Caymanian cooking, arts and crafts and sports competitions.
Prices cover hotels, two dives per person and discounts on
Rates and information on the quincentennial programs and
packages are available at www.caymanislands.ky.
Tourism exchange set for May
GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman -- The second annual Cayman Islands
Tourism Exchange will be held from May 7 to 9 in George Town.
International wholesalers will meet with more than 35 local tour
operators, ground suppliers and hoteliers for updates on new
offerings, products and services to the Cayman Islands.
For details, contact the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism at