Getting close to Cayman Islands nature at Camana Bay

16 December 2019

By Hannah Reid

A series of new walking trails at Camana Bay takes visitors into the heart of the nearby woods. The nature loop footpath starts at the Festival Green and features three loops of varying lengths, the longest being 0.92 miles.

Dart’s Design Manager – Landscape Architecture Nicholas Forari Denney said the trail is intended for use by everyone from dog walkers to birdwatchers.

“The concept was to provide a new type of experience, allowing people to engage the horticultural richness of Cayman’s flora from a trail in Camana Bay’s backyard,” he said. “The trail can be used by birdwatchers, exercisers seeking a new experience or families out for a casual stroll.”

Earlier this year, native plants consultant Ann Stafford of CaymANNature joined Dart employees to explore the newly opened trail. Not knowing what terrain to expect, Stafford came prepared with a walking stick made from a tree locally known as “strawberry.” As it turned out, she had little need for it except to point out interesting plants and trees.

“That’s Lantana involucrata — quite a useful little plant,” she said, pointing to a small shrub known locally as “roundleaf sage” or “bitter sage.” “Butterflies love it.”

In fact, there are a great number of butterflies along the nature loop trail. Over the course of the half-hour walk, Stafford pointed out dozens of white peacocks, crescent spots, mangrove buckeyes and false barred sulphurs, all butterflies attracted to the area by the wide variety of shrubs and trees.

Many different types of butterflies can be seen on the nature trail, including the white peacock butterfly, shown here. Photos: Hannah Reid

Some interesting plant species spotted along the trail included black candlewood (Erithralis fruticosa), black sage (Cordia globose var. humilis), coin vine (Dalbergia ecastaphyllum) and ink vine (Passiflora suberosa), which is a larval host plant for gulf fritillary, Julia and zebra butterflies.

“Some people would walk along here and see nothing but green leaves, but it’s actually quite remarkable once you realise what all these different plants are and what they do,” Stafford said.

Although there are no plans for additional amenities at this time, Denney said the plans for the future of the trail are fluid.

This article originally appeared in the December 2019 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “Getting close to nature at Camana Bay.”