The Cayman Islands is the definition of anyone's Caribbean dream vacation: spectacular beaches, world-class diving sites, diverse flora and fauna, a variety of cuisine and an overall peaceful tropical paradise.
The luxurious Caribbean destination is a self-governing British Overseas Territory. It’ is part of the Greater Antilles along with Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
The Cayman Islands is composed of three islands (aka its Sister Islands): Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac.
The Grand Cayman boasts three-star to five-star beach resorts, shopping places, water sports and dive sites. Cayman Brac, which is named after its 140ft bluff, has diverse wildlife and deep sea fishing spots. The tranquil Little Cayman offers glistening beaches for solitude and perfect island getaway.
Naturally, the destination lures sea lovers, adventurous tourists, and travellers looking for a place to unwind. This Read this Cayman Islands travel guide will to help you plan your Caribbean trip!
- Where is the Cayman Islands?
- When to travel to the Cayman Islands
- Things to know before you visit Cayman Islands
- Things to do in Cayman Islands
- Where to stay in Cayman Islands
- Places to visit in Cayman Islands
- Getting around Cayman Islands
- Highlights of travelling to Cayman Islands
Where is the Cayman Islands?
The Cayman Islands is an archipelago of three islands that sit in the western Caribbean, 290 km northwest of Jamaica.
The Grand Cayman is located in the south area. Approximately 19 km from northeast of the Grand Cayman is Cayman Brac, the second-largest island of the three islands. Lastly, the Little Cayman is about 8 km west of Cayman Brac.
When to Travel to Cayman Islands
Most travellers visit the Caribbean during the peak winter season starting from mid-December to mid-April.
It's best to visit the Cayman Islands from March to April. The average weather and calm waters make it a great time to snorkel, dive, or sail. Beaches become less crowded, but take note that some restaurants and hotels close during this time to renovate.
Weather in Cayman Islands
Temperatures vary a little seasonally, but it is often warm all year-round at 70-95°F. During winter, the temperature ranges from 75-85°F and 80-95°F in summer. The rainy/hurricane season starts around June to November which means hotel rates are often discounted.
Things to Know Before You Visit Cayman Islands
Getting ready to visit the Cayman Islands? Don’t forget to check out these travel requirements first!
Traveling to Cayman Islands
There are two options to get to the Cayman Islands: air travel and cruise ships.
For air travel, the Owen Roberts International Airport at George Town and Charles Kirkconnell International Airport at Cayman Brac are available. Meanwhile, George Town is a popular port for cruise ships.
As of 2021, travellers aged 10 and older will need to show evidence of a negative PCR test from an accredited laboratory. Here are the other traveling requirements you need to know.
Cayman Islands’ Visa & Passport Requirements
A valid passport is required when traveling to the Cayman Islands. Canadian citizens can also use proof of citizenship with a driver's license and a return or onward ticket.
Visas are not required for both US and Canadian permanent residents for limited stays.
Flights to Cayman Islands
Owen Roberts International at Grand Cayman has flights from different airlines from the U.S. and Canada.
Some airlines that offer direct flights in Toronto, Canada are Air Canada and WestJet. In the U.S., airlines flying to Grand Cayman are:
- American Airlines (Boston, Miami, Charlotte, Chicago, O'Hare, Dallas, Ft.Worth, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia)
- JetBlue Airways (New York, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale)
- United Airlines (Houston, Newark, Washington, Chicago) to name a few.
Check out the full route plans here.
Charles Kirkconnell International Airport is located at Cayman Brac and has limited flights. Airlines flying from the U.S. to Cayman Brac include American Airlines, Delta, and British Airways.
Is the Cayman Islands Safe to Travel To?
The Cayman Islands has a very low violent crime rate which makes it safe for residents and tourists. But any tourist always has to take safety measures and keep an eye on their belongings.
What Language is Spoken in the Cayman Islands?
English is the official language but Jamaican patois and Spanish are also widely spoken.
Money in Cayman Islands
Before traveling to the Cayman Islands, inform your bank if you’ll be using major credit cards. ATMs are common in Grand Cayman, but there’s only one ATM each on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
Cayman Islands’ Currency
Their currency is Cayman Islands dollar (KYD) but the U.S. dollar is also widely accepted.
Is the Cayman Islands Expensive?
The Cayman Islands is relatively expensive and is considered a luxurious Caribbean island.
But there are food and restaurants that range from fairly inexpensive to very expensive. Prices of accommodation may vary depending on the time of the year, especially during high season.
Tipping Etiquette in Cayman Islands
The service charge is often added to the bill. If it isn’t included, the tip is usually 10 to 15%. Tips for taxi drivers are around 10 to 15%.
How to Pay for Things in Cayman Islands
Cash and major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and cards with Cirrus affiliation are widely accepted.
Dress & What to Pack for Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is a conservative and family-oriented place so save the tank tops and swimwear for the beach, beach bars, cruise ships, or hotel pools only.
Wearing T-shirts or shorts most of your time at the beach works too with the relaxing atmosphere in the island. Don't forget essentials like reef-safe sunscreen, beach towels, and sunglasses to enjoy the warm sunny weather.
When strolling around the town to shop or dine, use a sarong or cover-ups with a kaftan. The safest option for tourists are casual clothes like sundresses or a nice top like polo shirts with natural fabrics─ideal for the warm and sunny weather.
Nights are a bit cooler so wear a light sweater or smart casual clothes. Add a fancy outfit if you have any formal occasion in your itinerary.
Cayman Islands Laws to Know
- The legal drinking age is 18.
- The police will fine you if you open or drink alcohol in your car or any public area that isn't zoned for alcohol consumption.
- While camping isn't illegal, there are no campsites around the island and strict rules must be followed. Tourists should also secure permission whether camping on a public or private land.
Things to Do in Cayman Islands
Consider the Cayman Islands if you're a fan of beautiful beaches, nature, and water sports. You’ll never run out of water activities!
Free-diving, snorkelling, parasailing, boat trips, deep-sea fishing, and a submarine trip to see the abundant coral reefs and amazing seascape are just some of the activities to do while on the island.
With over 200 bird species around the Cayman Islands, the place is a haven for birdwatching. Adventurous tourists will love to visit the caves around the island, too.
Couples looking for a place for anniversaries or honeymoon will enjoy the beaches while watching the romantic pink and orange sunset.
Where to Stay in Cayman Islands
There are a variety of places to stay in the three islands like grand and full-service resorts, guesthouses with kitchens, hotels, and condos.
If you want to stay close to the airport, you can book a room at Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.
The Locale Hotel Grand Cayman is a nice place for people who want to be near the Seven Mile Beach. For a more affordable option, you can stay at Paradise Villas or the Turtle Nest Inn.
Places to Visit in the Cayman Islands
Beach bums can have a picnic and enjoy the wonderful view at the Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. Stingray City is a hit for families with kids where they can pet and swim with underwater animals and get up-close with the stingrays.
Wander around the colourful George Town or taste the Caribbean rum at Cayman Spirits Co. Distillery. Inland activities like following the Mastic Trail at Mastic Reserve is great for observing the wildlife of the island.
For history buffs, a tour at the Cayman National Museum or Pedro St. James National Historic Site will quench your thirst for knowledge.
See a variety of rare flora and fauna, limestone caves, and sinkholes at Cayman Brac.
The island is a nature lover's dream with its lush green forest. Visit the Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve for different bird species like the Red-legged Thrush, White-crowned Pigeon, and Yucatan vireos!
Bask in the sea breeze for hours at Little Cayman or kayak your way to Owen Island and enjoy the amazing seascape.
Getting Around the Cayman Islands
Travel around the island via bus or taxi. You can rent a car to explore the island on your own. Reserve a car in advance to ensure availability especially during peak seasons.
Mopeds and scooter rentals are available on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Helmets are required when using these.
Cayman Airways Express provides flights from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman or opt for a boat ride to reach both islands.
Highlights of Traveling to the Cayman Islands
Got your things packed up for the Cayman Islands? Before booking the flight, check out these things to complete your Caribbean experience!
Underrated Attraction: Immerse yourself in the local art and culture by visiting one of Mind's Eye - The Visionary World of Miss Lassie run by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation.
Best Cup of Coffee: Try out the Cafe Del Sol, Paperman’s Coffeehouse, and Icoa.
Best Hidden Gem: Go to The Farmers and Artisans Market at Camana Bay for local produce, arts, and crafts or go snorkelling at the Cemetery Beach! Even if it’s a popular destination, most folks don't know that there's a snorkelling reef at the beach.
Local Favourite Restaurant: Locals eat almost everywhere but their recommended places are Top Taste Restaurant, Chicken! Chicken!, and Cayman Cabana.
Little-Known Fact: There are more iguanas than residents on Little Cayman! Approximately 2000 iguanas are on the island while the human population is fewer than 200.
Don’t Forget to Pack: Snorkelling and diving gears are a must-bring on your trip to any of the Sister Islands!