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  Adventure Talks: Silver Thatch Excursions

We spoke with Geddes Hislop, co-owner of Silver Thatch Excursions about his many ecotours:

How do your tours differ from a traditional guided tour?

Unlike most other tours, Silver Thatch offers a more intimate and participative look at Cayman's natural and historic heritage. These are not just sight-seeing trips, participants can expect some walking and "close encounters" with native plants, wildlife, etc. and come away with not only pictures, but an experience.

What would you say to encourage travelers to get off the beach for a while and see more of the island's interior? What surprises await them?

Let's face it: Cayman has beautiful beaches, but there is more to a vacation (and life) than sitting on a beach. Besides, you can't honestly say you've seen an island if you've only been "sitting on the edge"! You've got to get out beyond the beach and see what we're really about! Picturesque villages and gardens, beautiful roadside scenery and historic treasures are hidden in side roads waiting to be discovered.

Can you tell us more about your Mastic Trail tour?

This is one of my personal favourites. This is one of Cayman's the oldest and best preserved traditional footpaths. It runs through the Mastic Reserve-- the second largest nature reserve encompassing reputedly the oldest stand of native woodland left on the island.

There is nowhere else in the Cayman Islands like it: Historic sites, medicinal plants, Cayman parrots, woodpeckers, doves and other colourful bird life abound; magnificent trees-- rare, large and some twisted into unusual shapes; at the right time of year, the Trail is lush with wildflowers including common and rare native orchids.

Participants can expect an interesting 2 1/2-hour leisurely walk through this magnificent woodland where not even that many locals have tread!

Can you tell us more about your birdwatching tours?

Again one of my favourites! I personally like birdwatching because my style is to chase the birds instead of picking "one good spot" and staying there for an hour to see what shows up. With my background in wildlife management and research, my approach is to think of the birds as a function of their habitat.

So depending on the time of year, weather, if the participants are looking for anything in particular (Parrots are almost always on the list!), we get in the vehicle early in the morning and we're gone for about five hours! Imagine sipping coffee while sitting on the edge of a meadow waiting for the parrots to rouse and fly across just as the sun rises! Because I don't restrict myself, this can turn out to be a default island tour as well.

What ecological and historical offerings of Grand Cayman would you especially like travellers to explore?

Without hesitation I would recommend the Mastic Trail as our unique and ultimate eco-experience. For the historic-minded, I offer walking tours of the West Bay and capital George Town historic districts. This brings you face to face with the historic architectural treasures hidden within Cayman's modern façade.

Return Land Sports or Grand Cayman Travel Guide


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