2006 marks the 500th year of the Cayman Islands' discovery by Christopher Columbus. A history rife with seafarers and piracy creates images of swashbuckling, sword thrashing, and a talking parrot or two, now doesn't it? So what would a visit to the Cayman Islands be without Pirate's Week? Street dances, food, parades, fireworks, Caribean music, costumes, and a pirate "invasion," complete with ships and audience participation make the annual, weeklong event something not to be missed. This is a great event especially for families.

The Cayman Jazz Fest is three days long and has, in the past, featured such guests as Roberta Flack, Bebe Winans, Robert James, and others. Admission to this event is required and though some may consider it a little pricey, it depends on the size of your pocketbook.

Begun in 1984 by the Rotary Club, Cayman Carnival Batabano is held annually after Ash Wednesday (an Easter week holy day in the Catholic tradition). Mas (masquerade ) bands are the highlight of this event and the colorful costumes reflect the extravagant colors of the local marine environment. Don't be surprised if social issues sometimes become an emphasis in some of the celebrating. It's a traditional part of the whole event.