Everything you need to know about the Cayman Islands

By Lindsey Turnbull on 20th June, 2023

George Town Grand Cayman

Planing your first trip to the Cayman Islands? Here is a handy guide to all things Cayman…

  1. The Cayman Islands (made up of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman) is a British Overseas Territory. The UK appoints a Governor to represent His Majesty the King and who is in charge of the police and defence, but the islands are largely self-administered by a Caymanian government. You can find the seat of governance, the House of Parliament, in George Town.
  2. They drive on the left! And if you have never encountered a roundabout before (of which there are many here!) make sure you give way to the right.
  3. The currency is the Cayman Islands dollar, which is worth 1.2 US dollars. Don’t worry, however, because US dollars are widely accepted, though you will get any change in Cayman Islands currency. ATMs are plentiful and give out both US and CI dollars.
  4. Cayman has three national symbols – the Silver Thatch Palm national tree, the Wild Banana Orchid national flower and the Grand Cayman Parrot national bird. You will no doubt hear the lively Grand Cayman Parrot squawking, especially in the early morning and late afternoon, while the Silver Thatch Palm is prevalent more in the eastern districts. The Wild Banana Orchid is more elusive, and you are very fortunate if you come across this rare beauty.
  5. Healthcare is first rate in the Cayman Islands. In the unfortunate event that you may need medical care, the George Town Hospital and Doctors Hospital are in George Town and Health City is located at Camana Bay and East End, all offering excellent healthcare.
  6. Cayman is home to more than 125 nationalities, not bad for a country with a population of around just 70,000 people. The community comes from all walks of life and live happily in harmony, so enjoy getting to know the locals and where they are from!
  7. Duty free shopping is second-to-none. Items such as jewellery, watches, perfumes and cosmetics are all duty free, so are a particular draw for visitors. All the big brand names you know and love are there for the choosing, including Rolex, Raymond Weil, Mikimoto, Tag Heuer, Chanel, MAC, Clinique, Clarins and much more.
  8. There are three main supermarkets – Foster’s, Kirk Market and Hurley’s – they stock a fantastic range of products, so you will find favourites from the US, UK, South Africa, the Philippines, Jamaica and more on the shelves, making Cayman a real home-from-home.
  9. If you don’t want to rely on WIFI to keep you connected with home, it is easy to buy a local SIM card and top up as you go. Buy one from any FLOW or Digicel store.
  10. The country’s longitude and latitude is 19.3133° N, 81.2546° W. This means the islands are very near the equator with a tropical climate, so take your sun protection seriously. Wear a hat, cover up during the heat of the day and wear lots of sunscreen.