The Cayman Islands are most well known for its main industry: off-shore banking; but tourists don't travel to the islands to visit the banks. Instead, the slow pace of life, crystal-clear waters, and hospitable inhabitants is what draws vacationers to the islands.
|Currency||The official currency of the Caymans is the Cayman Islands Dollar, which is fixed to the U.S. Dollar at a rate of $1(CI) to $1.22(USD).|
|Electricity||The Cayman Islands use a 110-volt electrical system, so U.S. and Canadian visitors will not need adapters.|
|GDP Per Capita||The annual per capita income is $43,800(USD), making the Cayman Islands one of the wealthier Caribbean nations.|
|Island Size||Together, the islands cover 100 square miles, making it one of the smaller countries in the Caribbean.|
|Language||English is the official language of the Cayman.|
|Population||The population of the Cayman Islands is about 54,248 people; the islands also see 334,100 visitors annually, 81 percent of whom are from U.S.|
|Entry Requirements||Visitors are advised to carry a passport - the norm with international travel - but citizens of Canada need only a birth certificate with a raised seal and a photo ID. All other visitors, including those from the United States and the Caribbean, must have a passport. All visitors, regardless of country of origin, will need a return or ongoing ticket.|
Located halfway between Cuba and Honduras, the Cayman Islands are a group of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are located only five miles apart from one another, while Grand Cayman stands 90 miles away from its smaller sisters. Together, the islands have a total area of 262 square miles. The terrain is comprised of low-lying limestone deposits and coral reef.
The capitol of the Cayman Islands is home to bankers, retirees, and tourists. The general attitude of the Cayman Islands is relaxed and friendly; don't come here for a fast-paced, thrill-seeking vacation. Cayman life focuses on the seas, with boating and diving being two of the most popular activities. Remnants of British colonial days are evident in the meticulous manners of most islanders.
The Cayman Islands have a tropical climate that consists of warm, rainy summers and cool, dry winters. The average temperatures range from 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to 88 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and the islands see about 60 inches of rainfall a year.
...experience the colorful underwater world...
Grand Cayman is the largest and busiest of the island chain, though still more relaxed than most visitors are used to experiencing. Because this is the larger of the islands, shopping opportunities are more prevalent here, and shoppers can spend time and money at Elizabethan Square and Queen's Court during the day and early evening for discounted designer goods, handmade wares, and locally distilled rum. There are also more chances to sample cuisine at fine restaurants or visit a local night club. Seven Mile Beach, for example, is more than one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean; as the sun goes down, the lights come on at restaurants, bars, and clubs that line the strip.
The ocean and marine life is an important part of Grand Cayman's tourism industry. Attractions such as Sting Ray City, where snorkelers and divers can pet tame sting rays; the Cayman Turtle Farm, the world's only green sea turtle farm; and submarine tours of shipwrecks and the surrounding reef only grow more popular by the year. Scuba diving and snorkeling are also great ways to experience the colorful underwater world of any of the Cayman Islands.
On dry land, Grand Cayman's visitors can take the exploration inland, and hike the two mile Mastic Trail to view the indigenous plants and wild life of Cayman Island's subtropical forest in the Mastic Reserve. Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park is another great nature reserve to visit. The park features two thousand species of plants as well as the Blue Iguana, the world's more endangered lizard.
The middle island, Cayman Brac, is a tad less busy than Grand Cayman. This island has several great places for snorkeling, but swimming is not as popular due to the rocky coastline. Scuba divers will find several sunken ships off the coast that make for great underwater expeditions. Of the three islands, Cayman Brac is most popular for its natural beauty and lush greenery. Spelunking, hiking, and rock climbing are of particular interest to many tourists who choose to visit this island.
As the name suggests, Little Cayman is geographically the smallest of the three islands. There are only 170 permanent residents, and this island sees fewer tourists than the rest. Those who visit Little Cayman are typically there for one of three reasons: scuba diving, exploring the natural habitat of native wildlife, or to truly get away from it all.
Food in the Cayman Islands are often called clean and simple. A full meal tends to encompass a lightly seasoned meat (fish is especially common), a starch (yams and breadfruit are popular), and perhaps a vegetable. This is a great island for the less adventurous eater to step out and sample the fare of a foreign country because the dishes are unlikely to shock the palate. Where the Islands really shine, however, is in their slow cooked foods, such as their fish and turtle stews. Read more about the culinary styles by clicking here.
The Cayman Islands is one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean; with a very strong tourism-driven economy, there is a not much of a gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots." Theft is not widespread, but observing caution never hurts; make sure to lock vehicles and hotel rooms, and take care of your valuables.
The Cayman Islands vacationers are typically looking for a calm place to enjoy a tropical vacation on the beach, and perhaps get in a little scuba diving and site-seeing. If this sounds like your ideal vacation, choose the Cayman Islands when planning your next Caribbean trip.
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