Cayman Islands, Caribbean - Stein Travel
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Cayman Islands

Renowned for beautiful beaches, excellent diving and offshore banking, the Cayman Islands are a group of three islands situated between Cuba and Jamaica, only a 90-minute flight from Miami. Grand Cayman is the largest and most developed of the islands and the location of the capital, George Town. It is hard to believe that among the buildings that line George Town's harbour are more than 500 banks making up the world's fifth largest offshore financial centre.

Discovered by Columbus in 1503 and explored by Sir Francis Drake in 1586, it was not until 1670 that the islands came under British rule. They remain a British territory, and the Queen's picture is still displayed proudly, but the US exerts the dominant influence over what it considers its backyard. For years the islands were a base for pirates who delighted in the remoteness of Grand Cayman. A bonus was the island's absolutely flat topography, which ensures that its profile is practically invisible against the horizon, making it the perfect hide-away for nefarious characters.

While some people are still looking for a place to hide their treasure, these days most visitors to the Cayman Islands are looking for a relaxing getaway. The Islands are a beach paradise with great swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing and water sports.

Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are 70 miles (113km) northeast of Grand Cayman and are much smaller and even more relaxed than the main island. Visitors don't come here in suits; the little business that goes on revolves around diving and catering for the world's best bone-fishing.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Things to do in the Cayman Islands revolve around the three islands' attractions of sun, sand and blue water. A sunken ship makes for a great diving attraction in Cayman Brac, its other attractions include fishing spots and unique vegetation both brimming with colourful life.

Colourful and rare wildlife are also found in abundance in Little Cayman, the least visited of the islands by tourist but thriving with visiting red-footed boobies. Things to do on Grand Cayman more than satisfy most visitors. Boatswain's Beach is home to the famous Cayman Turtle Farm. This and Seven Mile Beach are perfect for swimming and snorkelling although many choose to take the excursion to Stingray City and Sandbar to snorkel with surprisingly friendly stingrays.

Landlubbers will do well inland visiting the historic sites of George Town and Pedro St James Castle or walking through Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. The rainy season May to November staves off tourist crowds and is a good time to soak in the Cayman attractions if also a bit of rain.


The Cayman Islands are one of the principal financial centres in the world. The hub of business occurs in George Town on Grand Cayman. Business dress within the financial industry is formal, but other businesses may have a more relaxed protocol. After hours meetings are usually fairly casual. Handshakes on introduction are followed by the exchange of business cards. General business hours are 8am to 5pm, while banks open at 9am and close at 4pm Monday to Friday.


In general the weather is good all year and the trade winds ensure it doesn't get too hot. Peak season runs between December and April. The rainy season runs from May to November and visitors are advised to keep an eye on the weather reports in the days before arrival, as this is also hurricane season. Many regard the wet season as the best time to visit; room rates are cheaper, the beaches less crowded and the rain comes in short, sharp bursts that does not usually impact on holiday fun.


The international access code for the Cayman Islands is +1, in common with the US, Canada and most of the Caribbean, followed by 345. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom). International direct dialling is available. Mobile phone coverage is good and operates on a GSM 900/1800 network; phones can be rented. Internet cafes are widely available.


The culture is a blend of American, British and West Indian traditions. The churchgoing Caymanians appreciate politeness and modesty - topless bathing and nudity is illegal and beachwear in not acceptable off the beach.

Duty Free

Travellers entering the Cayman Islands may take 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 225g of tobacco, as well as one litre of alcohol, without paying duty on these.


Electrical current is 110 volts, 60Hz. American style two-pin plugs are standard.

Getting Around

The only form of local public transport is minibuses which are safe to use but run only on the main routes. For other journeys taxis are readily available or one can hire a car, motor scooter or bicycle. If hiring a vehicle, remember to drive on the left, as in the UK. Observe the speed limits, wear your seat belt at all times and do not drink and drive.


Generally there are no specific health risks and food and water are considered safe, however note that some types of tropical reef fish may be poisonous when eaten, even well cooked. Dengue fever has been reported from the Caribbean region and insect protection measures should be taken. Medical facilities are relatively good; there is both a public and private hospital, one with a decompression chamber. Serious cases will normally be transferred to Miami. Visitors should take out adequate travel and medical insurance to cover the possible need for air ambulance.


English is the official language.


The Cayman Islands Dollar (KYD) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. It is fixed to the US dollar at US$1.20. Currency can be exchanged at the banks, bureaux de change and many hotels. Banks are open Monday to Saturday. US Dollars are accepted as payment in most establishments and are the preferred currency for exchange as both cash and as travellers cheques. ATMs are widely available and major credit and debit cards are accepted.

Passport Visa

All visitors are required to hold sufficient funds for intended period of stay in the Cayman Islands, as well as a return or onward ticket and documents required for further travel. Entry may be refused if not complying with general appearance, behaviour and clothing requirements. Visas are usually for up to six months, provided coming for tourist purposes only. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities.


The Cayman Islands has a relatively low crime rate. Nevertheless, visitors are advised to take the usual sensible precautions as they would anywhere else in respect of their personal safety and belongings. Do not leave valuables lying about, keep them in a hotel or other safety deposit box. Visitors should be aware of the risk of flooding during hurricane season (June to November) and follow local advice with regards to leaving the island in the event of an approaching hurricane.


Local time is GMT -5.


Most restaurants and hotels automatically add a 10 to 15% service charge to the bill, otherwise a gratuity of the same amount is expected. At hotels, a 10% government tax is also usually added to the cost of your room. Taxi drivers expect a 10 to 15% tip.

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