Area: 100 sq miles
Capital city: George Town on Grand Cayman
Time: U.S. eastern standard time is in effect year-round; daylight saving time is not observed.
Religious Denominations: United Church, Anglican, Baptist, Roman Catholic
Government: British dependency
Major industries: Tourism, banking, insurance and finance
Major trading partners: USA, UK, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan
Very warm, tropical climate throughout the year. High temperatures are moderated by trade winds. The rainy season is from May to October but showers are generally of short duration.
Required clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens and a light raincoat or umbrella for the rainy season. Slightly warmer clothes may be needed on cooler evenings or in air conditioned areas.
Sunburn or sunstroke is a major health risk. A long-sleeve shirt, a hat, and long pants or a beach wrap are essential on a boat, for midday at the beach, and whenever you go out sightseeing. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, especially if you're fair-skinned, and apply it liberally and frequently on nose, ears, and other sensitive and exposed areas. Make sure the sunscreen is waterproof if you're engaging in water sports, limit your sun time for the first few days, and drink plenty of liquids, monitoring intake of caffeine and alcohol, which hasten the dehydration process.
When to Go:
mid-December to mid-April winter is the peak tourist season, when rates are substantially higher and beaches and lodgings more crowded, it's best to go in the summer. There is more rain in summer, but it tends to come in downpours that clear as quickly as they arrive.
Business Hours: Normally, banks are open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 2:30pm, Friday from 9am to 1pm and 2: 30 to 4: 30pm. Shops are usually open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.
ATMs are readily available on Grand Cayman.
Although the American dollar is accepted everywhere, you'll save money if you go to the bank and exchange U.S. dollars for Cayman Island
At large hotels, a service charge is generally included and can be anywhere from
6% to 10%; smaller establishments and some villas and condos leave tipping up to
you. There is a 10% government tax added at all accommodations and a departure
tax that must be paid when leaving the country. Otherwise, there is no tax on goods or services.
Although tipping is customary at restaurants, some automatically include 15% on the bill, so check it carefully. Taxi drivers expect a 10%-15% tip.
Electricity: 110 volts AC 60 cycles, so American and Canadian appliances will not need adapters or transformers.
For medical or police emergencies, dial tel. 911 or 555.
Hospital: There's a hospital on Grand Cayman, and another small one on Cayman Brac.
English is the official language, and it is spoken with a distinctive brogue that reflects Caymanians' Welsh, Scottish, and English heritage. For example, three is pronounced "tree," pepper is "pep-ah," and Cayman is "K-man." The number of Jamaican residents in the workforce means that
the Jamaican patois and heavier accents are also common.
Arriving & Departing
Flights land at Owen Roberts Airport GMC Grand Cayman, 345/949-5252, Gerrard-Smith Airport CYB Cayman Brac, or Edward Bodden Airfield Little Cayman. Call Owen Roberts Airport for flight information.
Flights from New York to Kingston or Montego Bay, Jamaica, take about 4 hours; those from Miami, about an hour. Nonstop flights from London and Paris to the Caribbean are about 7 hours. Once you've arrived in the Caribbean, hops between the islands range from 20 minutes to 2 hours.
Transfers Between the Airport and Town:
Upon arrival, some hotels offer free pickup at the airport. Taxi service and car rentals are also available.
By Bicycle, Motorcycle, or Scooter:
When renting a motor scooter or bicycle, remember to drive on the left : and wear sunblock. Bicycles
can be rented by the day as can scooters.
The Cayman Islands are relatively flat and fairly easy to negotiate if you're careful in traffic. Just remember : driving is on the left, so when pulling out into traffic, look to your right.
A good road network connects the coastal towns of all three main islands.
Island roads are often potholed, bumpy, and narrow. Drive with extreme caution,
especially if you venture out at night. You won't see guardrails on every hill
and curve, although the drops can be frighteningly steep, and pedestrians and livestock often share the roadway with vehicles.
By Air: The main island of Grand Cayman is connected to Cayman Brac by internal flights run by Cayman Airways and Island Air and to Little Cayman by Island Air only. Island Air also operates a service between Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
Bus: Public minibuses operate from George Town to West Bay every 15 minutes, to Bodden Town every 30 minutes and to East End and North Side every hour The bus terminal is located opposite the public library on Edward Street in central George Town. Service is normally from 0600-2300 until midnight on weekends for most routes. There are 38 minibuses operated by 24 licensed operators. Routes are color coded with colors marked on the front and rear of the buses. Public buses have blue license plates and standard fares are displayed inside.
Taxi: There are large fleets of taxis.
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