Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Destination Location

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  • 19.3333, -81.2167:primary
  • 19.2928009033, -81.3576965332:secondary

Overview

In the calm, turquoise waters of the Western Caribbean, you’ll find the Cayman Islands – an outstanding getaway for those seeking serenity. This trio of islands is famous for gorgeous, sun-kissed beaches and world-class scuba diving and snorkelling. The largest of the three islands, Grand Cayman is the most developed, affluent and cosmopolitan, known for its breathtakingly beautiful beaches, fine dining, decadent duty-free shopping and an abundance of unique attractions.

Grand Cayman’s beaches are world famous for their soft, sugary white sand, and Seven Mile Beach is best known for offering the ultimate in relaxation. Spacious and peaceful (thanks to a “no selling anything on the beach” policy), Seven Mile was named the Caribbean’s best beach by Caribbean Travel and Life magazine and continues to win awards every year. The Seven Mile Beach strip, along with adjoining West Bay, is the island’s thriving residential and tourist hub, with many upscale homes, five-star hotels and a great dining and nightlife scene after sunset. As the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean”, the Cayman Islands has more than 200 restaurants to choose from that will delight every palate.

When you want to get away from it all, there are smaller hotels, villas and condos in the tranquil eastern districts, and popular Rum Point and Cayman Kai on the island's northern tip. For a fun day trip or multi-island holiday, hop aboard a Twin Otter for a 40-minute flight northeast to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. These tiny islands – referred to as the Sister Islands – offer a charming and quaint escape from the every day. Romantic strolls on secluded beaches, world-renowned scuba diving, farm- and sea-to-table dining and the opportunity to be at one with nature, are just some of the reasons you will not want to overlook these tranquil gems.

If you like your vacation to feature something you can’t do at home, or anywhere else for that matter, divers and non-divers alike can get up close and very personal with Atlantic southern stingrays at Stingray City, Grand Cayman's most famous wildlife attraction. It’s the only place in the world where you can hand-feed dozens of wild (but harmless) stingrays in their natural habitat. The “city” is a 3.6-metre-deep dive site in calm, protected North Sound. Divers settle on the sandy seafloor to observe the gentle fish naturally, as they effortlessly glide through the water. Non-divers and snorkellers can get a similar experience at the Stingray City Sandbar where the rays frolic around you in waist-deep waters.

The Cayman Islands offer a wealth of unique, exotic and charming experiences in a multitude of gorgeous settings. A vacation here is a great choice for those seeking the ideal Caribbean getaway that feels a little off the beaten path.

Grand Cayman is a fantastic destination for:

  • beaches
  • snorkelling and diving
  • shopping and dining

Airport served by: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (GCM)

Destination basics

Sunbathers and water sport enthusiasts can bask all year round in the Cayman Islands' pleasing tropical climate. With its welcome seasonal trade winds, Grand Cayman's average temperature hovers between 24 C and 30 C.

The dry season is from November to April, with March and April as the driest months. As this season happily coincides with cold Canadian winters, you'll often find that prices will reflect the higher tourist demand during these months.

The rainy season runs mid-May through October, with September and October being the wettest months. Don't worry though, it does not rain constantly in Grand Cayman. Rainfall tends to be higher on the west side. If you're looking for savings, hotel rates tend to drop, sometimes significantly, from April to December.

During the rainy season, you may encounter storms, particularly around September. However, the islands' unique hurricane guarantee covers cancellations made prior to arrival and compensates you if inclement weather shortens your vacation.

Pack a light sweater, shawl or jacket for the evening – many nights you probably won't need it. Also, bring an umbrella if you're visiting May through October.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

As a British overseas territory, the Cayman Islands retain strong links with Britain and enjoy a parliamentary democracy. Not surprisingly, British English is the official language here. However, when Caymanians speak to each other, you may hear a hard-to-understand broken English vernacular, which varies slightly in each district and on each island.

Nowadays, the Cayman Islands population is close to 55,000. About half are native Caymanians, representing a rainbow of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Approximately one in four Caymanians is European, mainly the descendents of British settlers. Another quarter is of African descent, and the rest are interracially mixed.

Historians believe the islands' first settlers, who arrived in Little Cayman around 1658, were deserters from Oliver Cromwell's army in Jamaica. Over the years, a variety of people settled on the islands including refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, shipwrecked sailors and pirates.

Back in the day, these waters were the territory of the real pirates of the Caribbean. Today, the lore of pirates and buccaneers is resurrected every November for Grand Cayman's 10-day Pirates Week Festival.

When you visit, you'll discover that Caymanians are friendly and devout, church-going people. The Cayman Islands is one of the few places where bars close earlier on Saturday night than other nights. Sundays are a day of worship and family time, which often means plenty of gatherings around the table. Sunday brunch is very popular and there are great spreads at Seven Mile Beach's resort hotels and local restaurants.

There is a large number of expats in Grand Cayman, primarily because of the financial industry. Canadians are the third-largest group of the 100 nationalities or so that comprise the expat community in Grand Cayman. This international mix is reflected in the island's diverse restaurants and annual celebration of food at the Cayman Culinary Month in January. You can find any kind of food here, including traditional Caymanian.

Fish and seafood feature prominently on restaurant menus in Cayman. Fish is cooked up numerous ways, but Caymanians typically bake or stew it with tomatoes, onions and peppers. Try the fish 'n fritters (fish seasoned and fried with dough balls in coconut oil) which is an all-time favourite with locals.

Due to the once-plentiful stock of green sea turtles that thrived in the Cayman Islands, the national dish is turtle. Make sure you also try traditional Caymanian favourites like rundown, a coconut milk stew with fish or salt beef, vegetables, pumpkin, christophine (chayote squash), onion and peppers. Other foods to try in the Cayman Islands include stewed conch, dumplings, tubers, starchy vegetables and cassava stretchers.

If you want to learn how to cook Caymanian delicacies, the Cayman Islands National Museum in George Town hosts a monthly traditional cooking class. The museum is also the perfect place to explore the Cayman Islands' longstanding nautical tradition. If you're a history buff, you'll enjoy the exhibits and videos about the islands' past, and the traditional handmade catboat from the islands' early seafaring days.

The currency used on the Cayman Islands is the Cayman Islands dollar (KYD), often abbreviated as "CI". American money, traveller's cheques and credit cards are also accepted. In addition, most major international banks have branches on the Cayman Islands and there are many ATMs in malls, gas stations and other public spaces where you can easily withdraw cash.

The Grand Cayman dining scene is on par with that of any major city, what with a solid range of cuisines represented, and many establishments focused on balancing tradition and simplicity with innovation and freshness.

George Town
This district is the beating heart of Grand Cayman's culinary scene. It is here that you will find everything you need to keep your belly full and your spirits up. For perhaps one of the most adventurous dining experiences on the island, sign up for one of The Brasserie's "Blindsided" dinners, regular prix fixe events at which each gourmet course is a surprise to the diners. This will definitely allow you to stretch your gastronomical limits. At the Grand Old House, located in an old plantation home just south of George Town proper, one dish in particular cannot be missed: the turtle steak. Chow down if you dare!

Seven Mile Beach
Tired of the hustle and bustle of "metropolitan" George Town? Time to hit the beach! Thankfully, you will find no shortage of killer dining options here. Just minutes away from George Town, Seven Mile Beach is five-and-a-half sandy miles of scintillating culinary possibilities. Hemingways, inside the Hyatt Regency, is an upscale affair, serving Caribbean-inflected Spanish-style tapas. At Aqua Beach Restaurant & Bar, the dining room is surrounded by exotic aquariums. Quite a view to accompany their expertly mixed cocktails and beautifully presented seafood specialties. If you'd care for music with your view, pop into The Wharf Restaurant for ocean views and live harp, along with yet another fine seafood-centric menu. Cafe Mediterraneo serves up quite a bit of seafood as well, but they also have a wide array of other options ranging from kebabs to pizzas. If pizza sounds good, you might be working on a bit of an Italian craving. If so, Edoardo's is just right. Choose from pastas, pizzas and a whole list of old-world entrees. Pizza is definitely the star of the show at Cimboco, which features a wood-burning oven that churns out crispy and delicious pizzas. For a snack as portable as a slice of pizza, but perhaps a bit more exotic, head for Al La Kebab, curer of many a late-night falafel craving. Note that they offer a number of sauce options not often seen elsewhere.

Need a meal more upscale than a slice or a kebab? Decker's has an extensive wine list and a cigar-loving clientele, as well as a menu whose influences range all over the globe but always remains rooted firmly in island tradition. Sure, beach life is great, but if you find yourself longing for a bit more George Town-style boundary pushing, sit down to a dinner of conch at Reef Grill, an award-winning SMB tradition. If you'd prefer to eschew adventure in favor of grilled simplicity, visit Copper Falls Steakhouse for a good ol' American-style dry-aged slab of beef. If slabs of beef are not your cup of tea, step inside Bamboo, a high-energy lounge full of young people and a terrific sushi bar. DJ's Cantina is full of energy as well. They serve up Mexican cuisine with fresh ingredients and a touch of modern whimsy. Clearly, Seven Mile Beach is home to solid representations of cuisines from the far reaches of the Earth, but you mustn't leave without a trip to Chicken! Chicken! Caribbean Wood Roasted for a taste of authentic local soul food (complete with homemade cornbread).

West Bay
Located due north of Seven Mile Beach, West Bay is still somewhat centrally located - and still chock full of great grub from all around the world. Dine on deck at Calypso Grill for a lovely meal featuring exotic seafood preparations – all overlooking the water. Love island flair, but long for a little bit of Italian heartiness? Ristorante Pappagallo serves up Caribbean-influenced Italian food – old-world specialties with a helping of new-world freshness and attitude.

Northside & East End
The further you stray from George Town, the more your food options dwindle. However, lack of quantity does not indicate a lack of quality. Castro's Hideaway, located within the East End's Reef Resort, is an energetic bar and grill full of good times and party people. Choose from more fresh seafood, or opt for a range of other American-friendly pub-style favorites. A short trip up the coast, you'll find the Kaibo Yacht Club, a restaurant specializing in combining the flavors of New Orleans with the flavors of the Caribbean. After traveling the length of Grand Cayman's coastline, you might want to end your day with a session at The Wreck Bar, in the Northside's Rum Point district. While away the stresses and worries of a hectic road trip over a cold cocktail in this unadorned local watering hole.

Grand Cayman
Among the three Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman is overwhelmingly the largest, the most visited, and offers the most variety of activities. Where the two smaller islands mainly cater to diving connoisseurs and nature enthusiasts, Grand Cayman welcomes a diverse crowd of people. The local absence of taxes and many of the controls other nations place on their banking systems makes Grand Cayman one of the world's largest offshore financial centers, attracting an international set easily identified by their cell-phones and suits. But by far the larger group is the tourists: Club-goers, beach bums and diving devotees all call the island their paradise. You'll find it easy to enter whichever atmosphere pleases you, whether it's hectic tourist hotspots or remote island hideaways. Choose to spend all your time on the beach and in the nightlife, or use every day to explore one of over 250 diving sites in the island's crystal-clear water.

George Town
Nearly everyone arriving, whether by plane at Owen Roberts International Airport or by cruise ship, will end up in the same locale: George Town. That name encompasses both a district, which includes the airport, and the actual capital city of the island. After checking into your accommodation, head to the city's waterfront shopping area. All the shopping here is duty-free, so take a little time to check out stores like Caymania Duty Free and De Sunglass Man & De Watch Man. More importantly, though, you can nosh on one of the island's famous rum cakes here.

Seven Mile Beach
Once you've taken the edge off your hunger, head northwards while staying on the waterfront. Soon you'll hit the coral sands of Seven Mile Beach, often called the “Best Beach in the Caribbean.” This is where the majority of the island's tourists end up, and you won't be able to dispute their taste once you see the white sand and turquoise waters. Dining and nightlife can both be found along the beach, mostly attached to large resorts like the Westin Casuarina and the Hyatt Regency. Some of the better restaurants that aren't part of a resort are the Copper Falls Steakhouse, the Reef Grill, and the whimsically named Chicken! Chicken! Caribbean Wood Roasted. Various nightclubs beckon during the evening hours, but one of the best places to kick back with a pint is the Lone Star Bar.

West End
There's no need to walk all five and a half miles of the inaccurately-named beach right now, so once you're tired of it, catch a taxi northward to Boatswain's Beach and visit the Turtle Farm where, aside from some turtles ranging up to 600 pounds, you can also see crocodiles and native Cayman parrots. By crossing the isthmus, on the way avoiding the tourist-trap town of Hell (unless you really can't resist sending a postcard “from Hell”), you can reach the world-famous Stingray City. This “city” is one of the island's main draws and famous world-wide for the masses of tame stingrays who nuzzle up to divers and snorkelers in hopes of getting a bit of squid to eat. West Bay is also home to some of the best diving charters on the island, including the popular Quabo Dives.

Bodden Town
You've seen much of what the western side of the island has to offer, now. But, you may ask, what about the much larger eastern section? With nearly deserted beaches, parks and bays, Grand Cayman's North Side and East End districts offer the island seclusion that many crave. Start heading that way, but don't let yourself skip over the former capital, Bodden Town. Historic buildings and graves in this sleepy town hearken back to the days of pirates and slaves on the island. ”Pedro Castle,” a large, lovingly restored historic home used as an early meeting place for democrats, commemorates the birth of the Cayman's modern government, and the subsequent change of the bad old times to the romantic past.

North End
Head straight north away from Bodden Town to reach Rum Point, which has all the beauty of Seven Mile Beach with only a fraction of the human traffic. If you prefer beaches that have relatively few people on them, but still have places like The Wreck Bar nearby to eat at, this is one spot at which you may find yourself spending a lot of time. If you should decide to move on, the next spot in your line of attack is the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, where you can see what Grand Cayman is like away from the beaches. Floral gardens, woodland walking trails and wildlife are all present in this beautiful park.

East End
You've made your way across most of the island now, with only the eastern-most beaches left. If all you wanted in the first place was peace and quiet, maybe the place to stay would be one like Morritt's Grand Resort, where you can be pampered or just wander off for some intimate time with the sun and sea. Many people stay on the East End to dive, basing themselves at The Reef Resort or Compass Point Dive Resort. Be warned, there's none of Grand Cayman's vaunted duty-free stores here and even fairly few places to eat.

Around the Island
Speaking of diving, there's an entire sea away from the shores to explore, with some of the world's clearest water and best reefs, walls and wrecks waiting for you to discover them. Listing all of the excellent spots for diving or snorkeling around Grand Cayman would be a truly monumental task, but fortunately much of the island's best diving can be identified by the side it's on. The South Wall offers shallow diving in coral playgrounds – just be careful not to touch anything. The North Wall features spine-tingling drops that may induce panic, until you recall that you're floating, not falling. Finally, the East End contains many of the island's least-explored sites, a fact stemming more from its distance than relative interest to divers.

Whatever you're looking for in a Caribbean island, Grand Cayman has it on offer. So grab your beach towel, or dive tank, or club outfit, or even your cell phone and suit, and get ready to relax in a special sort of paradise.

With the warm Caribbean sunshine pouring onto the sandy shore of Grand Cayman, you might find it quite difficult to come up with a reason for getting out of your hammock. For those beachcombers who don't find themselves magnetically glued to a beach towel by their Serotonin-soaked bliss, here are some of the other activities (besides sunbathing) that make the Grand Cayman such an exciting island paradise.

Grand Cayman is a formation of a high lying limestone reef, which has no fresh water source whatsoever on the island. The lack of rivers and lakes may seem like a disadvantage, but the non-existence of fresh water is responsible for the crystal clear ocean that surrounds the island. This, of course, is what makes Grand Cayman a favorite destination for divers. The island is literally covered with world class dive walls and reefs, and more than enough dive schools to choose from. The oldest established dive school on the island is Peter Milburn's Dive Cayman, which offers years of diving experience to ensure that your dive, whether it's your first of fiftieth, is unsurpassed. If you're looking for the full on diving experience, you can stay at one of the islands' specialized accommodations such as the Compass Point Dive Resort, which offers secluded beaches with emphasis on adventure.

Dry yourself off and take a break from the beach as you discover Grand Caymans' historical side. The island is home to the St. James Historic Site, a 19th century plantation that has been restored and well kept to preserve a part of the island that existed many years ago. A look into the history of the island continues at the Cayman Islands National Museum. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of the wonderful heritage of Grand Cayman, so that present and future inhabitants and visitors can appreciate its rich history. The museum's collection spans over 4000 artifacts which includes the tiny pieces of the past such as gold coins, all the way to a 14-foot catboat.

As one would imagine, there is a great presence of wildlife throughout the island, and the local Caymans place a good deal of importance on the preservation of these creatures. Grand Cayman is home to the world's only Green Sea turtle farm, Boatswain's Beach Turtle Farm. Every year thousands of tourists make this aquatic nursery one of their vacation destinations when visiting Grand Cayman. The Green Sea turtle is so important to the people and culture of Grand Cayman that its image appears on the island's currency, flag and crest.

Although Grand Cayman is only 196 square kilometers, it can still be a challenge to navigate through all the activities that the island has to offer and get the most out of your visit. Luckily, the island is in no short supply of tour options to ensure that you get to experience Grand Cayman to it's fullest. For a birds eye view of the island and it's surrounding waters, look into the Cayman Island Helicopter Tours, which will take you high above for a "Grand" Cayman time. If you feel the only time to experience the island from above is when you're either landing or taking off on a plane, then stick to a tour that brings you a little more down to earth. Mainstay Sailing offers one of the best ways to see the island; from the ocean. Hop aboard and set sail for the tropic waters that surround Grand Cayman, taking in the island experience by sailing around it.

The warm Caribbean sun may be one of the biggest draws to the island, but when that sun sets and the stars begin to twinkle above the island, Grand Cayman goes into island party mode. Raise the bar of clubbing as you enter The Next Level, Grand Cayman's chicest nightclub and lounge. State-of-the-art sound and lighting make this a high tier club experience, offering a variety of entertainment throughout the week. Separate lounge areas allow the atmosphere to shift gears (if that's what you want) into a more low key spot for relaxing and socializing.

When it's all said and done, no one entertains better than mother nature. So grab a towel and a sandy piece of beach and get yourself into the island state of mind.

Grand Cayman

Country: Cayman Islands

Grand Cayman by the Numbers
Population: 60,764
Elevation: Ranges from 0 meters at sea level to 18 meters (60 feet) at its highest point.
Annual Average Precipitation: 10.8 centimeters / 4.25 inches
Average January Temperature: 25°C / 77°F
Average July Temperature: 29°C / 84°F

Quick Facts
Electricity: 110 volts, 50Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT-5

Country Dialing Code: +1

Area Code: 345

Did You Know?
The sea around the island owes its extraordinary clarity to the fact that there are no rivers or naturally occurring fresh water anywhere on the island.

The island’s Cayman Turtle Centre is home to over 16,000 green sea turtles.

Orientation
Grand Cayman is 290 kilometers (180 miles) northwest of Jamaica and 241 kilometers (150 miles) south of Cuba. The other two islands, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, lie together about 129 kilometers (80 miles) northeast of Grand Cayman.

The Cayman Islands are part of the Cayman Ridge, an underwater mountain range that extends westward from Cuba. The islands nestle on the edge of the Cayman Trench, the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea that plunges to depths of more than six kilometers.

Healthy coral reefs surround all three islands. Along with steep walls close to shore, these coral reefs are ideal sites for diving and sport fishing. There's exceptional visibility in the surrounding Caribbean for diving – often well beyond 36 metres.

Though Grand Cayman may be grand in name, when it comes to size, the term is relative. The area of Grand Cayman is 197 sq. km. With the sister islands added in, this British overseas territory has a land mass of just 259 sq. km., not much larger than that of Saskatoon. Lying 145 km northeast of Grand Cayman, the sister islands are separated by a channel about 11 km wide. There is no ferry service between them.

While Little Cayman is flat – its highest point is only 17 metres tall – Grand Cayman rises only slightly higher at 24 metres. By comparison, Cayman Brac is mountainous, sweeping on its eastern end to a 44-metre limestone bluff riddled with mysterious caves. If you like exploring, the cliffside path is ideal for birdwatching and hiking.

On Little Cayman, you can stroll across more than a dozen secluded beaches, or explore the lagoons, mangrove forests, salt ponds and wetlands.

Grand Cayman's most striking feature is North Sound. This shallow, reef-protected lagoon is home to famous Stingray City.

Legend has it that Christopher Columbus found the Cayman Islands on May 10th, 1503 after his ship was blown off-course by strong winds. While this is known to have happened to Columbus on many previous occasions, this serendipitous discovery put the Caymans, first known as Las Tortugas, on the map. In the years to come, these islands would know the rule of many foreign countries, host notable noblemen, change names, and evolve into the bustling vacation destination that they are today.

Early Life on the Caymans
By the late 1500s the islands' name had been changed to Caymanas. Both Sir Francis Drake and William Dampier visited the islands and recounted stories of the many marine and land crocodiles that inhabited it. Just as 'Las Tortugas' was derived from the oversized turtles that were spotted on the islands, 'Caymanas' is derived from the Caribbean word for 'crocodile'. These animals were not only important for providing the islands' name, but their presence also did much to shape the early evolution of the islands. The rich sea life attracted pirates, sailors, and soldiers looking to stock up on fresh meat before continuing their long journeys.

In 1655, the Caymans became British entities, and for the first time settlers attempted to live on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Many soldiers, veterans of Oliver Cromwell's army stayed on the islands after having defeated the Spanish in battle, and it is thought that Isaac Bodden, the first person born on Grand Cayman, was the son of a soldier in Cromwell's army. Today, Bodden is a popular district on Grand Cayman.

Even though the islands were under British rule, both Spanish and British privateers freely attacked many of the first settlers. Because privateering was legal, pirates would raid the towns and enemy ships to take goods back to their countries, and there was little help from the governing bodies who saw it as a way of seizing back captured wealth. This all ended with the Treaty of Utrecht (1713-1714), and conflict between France, Spain, and Britain ceased shortly thereafter, leaving many out-of-work pirates seeking refuge on the islands.

There is a legend that in 1788, shortly before government was established, these pirates came together with ship-wrecked sailors, Spanish refugees, British settlers, and slaves in an effort to save ten stranded merchant ships that were traveling from Jamaica to Britain. After the ships were caught on the reef around the east end of the island near Gun Bay, locals went to great measures to be sure that no lives were lost (including the life of a member of royalty who happened to be on one of the ships). Because of this, the island was allegedly given freedom from conscription and taxation.

A Government is Formed
With 1832 came a representative government system, and in 1863 the island was annexed to Jamaica, thereby allowing the development of an appointed commissioner office and a functional mail system. This began the construction of a hospital, schools, banks, and paved roads. For the first time, the islands were functioning within an ordered society and becoming commercially reliable. During this period, many of the natives took jobs as sea fisherman, sailors, and even captains. Finally, enough structure was in place to actively be a means of rebuilding after the occurrence of natural disasters. In 1932 a hurricane took the lives of 69 people and created 32-foot waves on Cayman Brac, while also causing extensive damage on the neighboring islands. It was a few years before everything was completely rebuilt and functioning as it had before.

As the islands' popularity and prosperity grew, a constitution was inaugurated bringing in elected officials to govern and coordinate the islands' growth. This was a major stepping-stone for the islands in their path to becoming independent and self-sustaining.

A Thriving Tourist Destination
When Jamaica became independent in 1962, the Cayman Islands chose to remain under British rule. A governor was installed on the island, along with an elected body under a constitution. Soon thereafter, an airfield was also constructed. While the government continues to evolve, the islands remain politically independent of Jamaica, but they are heavily influenced by their neighbor's culture. Almost half of the population comes from Jamaica, and Jamaican banks and churches operate on the islands, closely connecting the neighboring lands. In 2004 Hurricane Ivan struck, again demolishing many properties and top hotels. However, with a thriving tourist industry that has visitors from all of the world arriving on cruise ships daily, the industry quickly recovered, and has taken the opportunity to construct new and improved lodgings and entertainment.

There are several efficient and effective ways to get around the Cayman Islands. The old, traditional method of horse and carriage is still alive here and one of the most romantic ways to travel. If you're looking to get around a little faster, car rentals, scooters, taxis and public transportation are also always available.

People drive on the left hand side of the road here and all drivers require a Cayman permit. Around Grand Cayman, it's usually smooth sailing throughout the day and evening. But expect congestion during high traffic, rush-hour commute times. To help, there's a ring road that wraps around most of the island, which gets you around with less hassle (and less stress!) than attempting to navigate the back roads.

Taxis in Cayman Islands

Most travellers to Grand Cayman will find the 24-hour-a-day local taxi service a convenient way to get from point A to B. Taxis here aren't metered but fares are regulated by the government (though still on the pricier side).

In Grand Cayman, taxis charge more for each additional passenger after three people, as well as for baggage. Additionally, if you know you'll need a cab later at night, it's often a good idea to book a ride in advance because it can prove challenging to hail one on the road in the wee hours. As a general rule, it's always best to confirm price and currency (either Cayman Islands or U.S. dollars) before heading out in a taxi to your destination.

Outside of Grand Cayman, taxis are less common. Should you need one, ask your hotel concierge for a driver referral. You can also try some of the islands' other methods of transportation, such as scooters, jeeps and bicycles (the preferred method among most locals).

The Cayman Islands by Bus

Public buses around Grand Cayman are an inexpensive and safe travel option, running about every 15 minutes. You'll also likely see mini buses travelling the roads, many marked with an "Omni Bus" logo. These van buses run from around 6 a.m. until midnight, from West Bay to Rum Point and the East End. You can catch any route from the George Town terminal for a cost of under CI$3.

Car Rentals

You can easily get by without a car in Grand Cayman, especially if you're staying in the Seven Mile Beach area. But, if you're looking to do a lot of exploring away from the main hotel zone or if you're staying further away on a different island, you might want to consider renting one.

To rent a car on the Cayman Islands, you must be between 21 and 70 years old, though some rental insurance policies may only cover drivers over 25. All Canadian visitors will need to obtain a Cayman driving permit, available at the rental dealerships for US$7.50. Just be sure to bring your passport and driver's licence. Typical rental costs run between US$40 and US$90 a day.

Note: Be careful when driving after 6 p.m.. The sun goes down early here and the roads are not well lit.

Located on the west side of the island about 3 km away from George Town is Grand Cayman's Owen Roberts Airport. When you land at this modern airport, you'll proceed through customs and baggage claim before getting transportation to your resort or hotel.

If you've booked a tour through WestJet Vacations, look for a representative from Cayman Destination Management Transfers holding a WestJet Vacations sign. Identify yourself as a WestJet guest and you will be transported to your hotel.

From the airport, it takes approximately 15 minutes to get to hotels along Seven Mile Beach and only 10 minutes to get to George Town. If you're headed to the East End or West Bay areas, expect a half-hour to 45-minute trip.

Vaccinations

No specific vaccinations or health precautions are recommended when travelling to the Cayman Islands. However, it is always advisable to stop by your local clinic to ensure you are up to date on routine vaccinations.

Throughout the Cayman Islands, you'll see the North American standard plug, however some properties have only two-pronged receptacles in the room rather than three-pronged receptacles. Most hotels have adapters available for European travellers as well.

The three Cayman Islands – Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac – are quite different from one another.

If you want action after the sunset, Grand Cayman is the place to go, with around 150 excellent international restaurants, most located in the popular west side. You'll be hard-pressed to find another destination that offers more than seven Wine Spectator-rated restaurants within a few kilometres. Although the nightlife offerings aren't as expansive as larger Caribbean islands, Grand Cayman has plenty of clubs and resorts where you can go dancing and catch live entertainment.

When you learn that a limestone bluff dominates the mid-sized Cayman Brac, and that "Brac" is Gaelic for bluff, the island's name makes perfect sense. Cayman Brac is the island for adventure sports, popular with climbers, cavers, divers, walkers and birders.

Little Cayman is the smallest of the trio of islands. On this easygoing, one-road island, nature is king. You'll get an idea of how treasured the wildlife is from a roadside sign cautioning: "Iguanas have the right of way." It's no joke. Here, iguanas and birds outnumber people. Inland, the Booby Pond Nature Reserve houses the Caribbean's largest red-footed booby population. Offshore, Little Cayman's famous Bloody Bay Wall Marine Park is one of the world's best dive sites.

The Cayman Islands are a Mecca for scuba divers and consistently win various dive awards. For divers on a budget, Grand Cayman has plenty of areas for shore dives. All three islands also offer fabulous deep-sea and bone fishing opportunities. Seven Mile Beach recently was named seventh on TripAdvisor’s list of the world's best beaches.

The romantic Cayman Islands are also a top choice for honeymooners, and were recently ranked 15th in the world by Brides magazine. The islands here are also one of the few destinations where Canadians can marry on the same day they arrive.

Located on the west side of the island about 3 km away from George Town is Grand Cayman's Owen Roberts Airport.

No specific vaccinations or health precautions are recommended when travelling to the Cayman Islands.

There are several efficient and effective ways to get around the Cayman Islands.

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Logo: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands