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21 things you need to know before arriving in the Cayman Islands

Date: 19 Apr, 2019

We know that coming to the Cayman Islands can be an exciting adventure for visitors and residents alike, but it can be hard to hone in on the important details before you travel. Below, we’ve collated together 21 things you need to know before you arrive in the Cayman Islands.

 

palm trees on a beach

1.What to wear in the Cayman Islands

Smart casual clothing is accepted at nearly all restaurants. Swimwear should be worn only on the beach, at the hotel pool, or at beach bars. Public nudity, including topless sunbathing, is forbidden.

2. Where to get money and find banks in the Cayman Islands

Many banks are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, with some branches also open Saturday mornings. ATMs are available throughout the island.

3. The business hours of Cayman shops

Most shops open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Businesses typically open at 8:30 a.m. Monday to Friday.

4. The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species and the Cayman Islands

The Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora regulates the international trade in endangered species. The Cayman Islands became party to CITES in 1978. Local species under threat from international trade includes conch, coral, marine turtles, parrots, iguanas, and orchids. While CITES does not prohibit trade in all listed species and products, certain items will need CITES documentation to allow them to be taken out, or into, the Cayman Islands. For more details, visit www.doe.ky

5. Conservation in the Cayman Islands

To protect Cayman’s environment for future generations to enjoy, Cayman has a raft of wildlife laws and regulations designed to protect a host of wildlife and significant ecosystems. These include, but are not limited to, dedicated marine parks, environmental zones, replenishment zones, and wildlife interaction zones as well as a number of terrestrial protected areas. There are also a host of open and closed seasons, alongside catch limits for several marine species. For more details, visit www.doe.ky.

turtle swimming in the ocean

6. What currencies are accepted in the Cayman Islands?

The official currency of the Cayman Islands is the Cayman Islands Dollar. The exchange rate is fixed to the United States Dollar at CI$1 = US$1.20, or US$1 = CI$0.83. U.S. currency, as well as all major credit cards, are accepted at most locations, with change often being given in Cayman Islands dollars.

7. Do I need to declare customs in the Cayman Islands?

Tourists and other visitors should declare all gifts, foods, spirits, liquor, tobacco products, or any other items in their possession, other than their ordinary wearing apparel, personal effect, toiletries and articles of personal adornment that are reasonable for the time of their intended visit to the Cayman Islands. Visit www.customs.gov.ky for more information.

8. Cayman Islands Drugs Policy

The Cayman Islands has a zero tolerance towards illegal drug use. Anyone in possession of illegal drugs will be arrested and taken to court.

9. Which numbers can I call in case of an emergency?

In case of an emergency, dial 911 for fire, police, or ambulance services. Most mobile phones allow the number to be dialed even when locked, not authorised on the mobile network, or out of credit. You can also contact emergency services through the universal 112 emergency number.

10. Who runs the Cayman Islands Government?

The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory with a Queen-appointed governor. Cayman also has a legislative assembly headed by a democratically-elected premier.

Cayman Islands Government Building

11. What are the tipping and gratuities rules?

Tipping is customary in the Cayman Islands. Most bars and restaurants will automatically add a 15 to 18 percent service charge to the bill.

12. What’s health care like?

Health care in Cayman is world-class and all hospitals are well equipped to deal with most medical emergencies. Grand Cayman boasts three hospitals; the government operated Cayman Islands Hospital and two private hospitals, Doctors Hospital (formerly Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital) and Cayman Health City. Cayman Brac is served by Faith Hospital. 

13. What languages do they speak in the Cayman Islands?

English is the official language of the Cayman Islands.

14. Marine safety and regulations

Numerous regulations have been established to protect Cayman’s marine life. For up-to-date information, visit The Cayman Islands Department of Environment website, www.doe.ky, or download either the DOE Marine App (Android) or the SIREN Cayman app (iOS). While on the water always exercise caution. Be aware of strong currents and do not snorkel or dive alone. Check out the CITA website for a listing of CITA watersport operator members who abide by the industry’s highest safety standards for dive and boating excursions.

15. What’s the population of the Cayman Islands?

The population of the Cayman Islands is 60,414. A little over 58,000 live on Grand Cayman, while just over 2,000 live on the sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

16. Where can I receive post? Is there a post office?

There are 15 post offices located throughout the Cayman Islands – nine on Grand Cayman, five on Cayman Brac, and one on Little Cayman. There is no house-to-house postal service in Cayman with all residents and business utilising post office boxes instead. For more information and opening hours, visit www.caymanpost.gov.ky.

17. What is the religion?

Cayman is a Christian country with Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, and Protestant faiths amongst the most dominant. There are numerous churches and places of worship across all three islands.

18. What are the telephone services?

Cayman Islands phone numbers are seven digits. There is no need to dial the 345-area code first. Here are some other useful telephone features:

International operator: 0

Directory enquiries: 411

North America, Canada, or Caribbean: 1 + area code + 7-digit number   

All other countries: 011 + country code + telephone number

19. What is the time in the Cayman Islands?

The Cayman Islands are on Eastern Standard Time and remain at -5 UTC. Cayman doesn’t adjust for daylight savings time, and from March to November it is one hour behind east coast cities such as Miami, New York, and Toronto.

20. What are the power supplies and adaptors like? Is there fresh water?

Cayman uses the standard voltage of 120 V. The power sockets are of the type AB found in the U.S. and Canada. Adapters and converters are widely available. The tap water is of a world-class standard and is safe to drink.

21. What’s the weather like in the Cayman Islands?

The Cayman Islands enjoy a tropical marine climate of warm, rainy summers with average temperatures of 80-90 F, and cool, mild winters with average temperatures of 72-86 F. Humidity tends to stay constant throughout the year, with the highest levels experienced during the summer rainy season. Weather sources include www.weather.gov.ky, the Windguru app, or radio station 107.9 MHZ. For additional assistance, contact the Cayman Islands Weather Service meteorologists at (345) 945-5773.

 

Where can I go for more information when I’m in the Cayman Islands?

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Visitor Centre offers a wealth of information. You’ll find leaflets, maps, and a vast arrange of publications designed to help you discover everything Cayman. Located at 1320 West Bay Road. Call (345) 949-8522.

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