Average humidity for 2003 was 77% with the highest monthly average of 79% in
February, July and October, and the lowest of 75% in April, May and December.
The highest recorded humidity was 95%, and the lowest 58%.
One of the consequences of this high humidity is that wet clothes can take
longer to dry than you were expecting; pack an extra set of swimming gear!
Average 30-year (inches)
Average 30-year (mm)
Average 2002 (inches)
Average 2002 (mm)
Average 2003 (inches)
Average 2003 (mm)
Most rain in 24 hours
Peak tourist season is mid-December to May.
The rainy season runs from mid-May to November. It is not uncommon for it to
be raining at one end of the island, but have brilliant sunshine elsewhere, so
it can be worth going for a drive to see another part of the island and find
the sun. Usually when it rains, it rains heavily for a couple of hours and
then stays clear for the rest of the day. However, if a tropical depression
settles over the island, it can rain for days on end, with flooding causing
The hurricane season runs from June to November -
it tends to be the hurricanes that start in the Caribbean waters
(at the end of the season) as opposed to those that develop of
Africa (earlier in the hurricane season) that cause most damage to
the islands. The most recent brushes with hurricanes, were Hurricane Ivan
which hit in September 2004 and
casued damage estimated at CI$2.8 billion - see my news reports for
September 2004 onwards.
The islands were also hit by Hurricane Gilbert in September 1988, which
passed 30 miles south of Grand Cayman, and Hurricane Mitch in
October/November 1998 passing about 200 miles to the south. Hurricane Michelle
in November 2001 caused considerable damage on the south and west sides from
South Sound all the way round to Northwest Point. (See my
News from Cayman - November 2001 for more details.
However, a couple of tropical storms have also caused damage in Cayman in recent years.
During the 2002 storm season,
Tropical Storm Isidore passed 9 miles north of Cayman Brac, 12:00am on 19th
September. Peak wind speed was recorded at 61 knots or 67 mph in the Brac.
Rainfall accumulation of 21.74 inches was recorded between 7:00pm on 18th
September and 6:00pm on 19 September in Cayman Brac and 13.10 inches were
recorded in Grand Cayman 17-21 September. The storm knocked down a few light
poles and caused minor damage to buildings with total damages estimated at
$30,000-$35,000. Isidore became a hurricane north of the Cayman Islands,
eventually becoming a category III hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Storm Lili passed 4 miles north of Cayman Brac 9:00am 30th September.
In the Brac a peak wind speed of 51 knots or 57 mph and rainfall of 3.91 inches
were recorded between 7:00pm 29th September and 7:00pm the following day.
Locals also reported a few twisters. Damage costs for this system were
estimated between $312,500 and $500,000, mostly in the Sister Islands.
Lili became a hurricane northwest of Cayman Brac and eventually became a
category IV hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
During the 2003 storm season,
only one storm, Tropical Storm Claudette, moved through the northwest Caribbean.
Claudette passed 160 miles southwest of Grand Cayman on 10th July. The storm
produced cloudy skies, fresh winds and rough seas on 10-11 July and 2.89 inches
of rainfall was recorded.
Even though the hurricane season was fairly uneventful, the Cayman Islands did
experience some severe weather events in 2003. Heavy rain caused major
flooding on 19 January and 27 June in Grand Cayman. The very high rainfall
total in January was particularly unusual and included the highest 24-hour
total since records commenced in 1957. This single 24-hour total on January
18th also exceeded any previous January total on record. Flooding in both
cases was localized to southwestern Grand Cayman.
US, British and Canadian citizens, and citizens of British
Dependent Territories do not require passports, but must present
proof of citizenship (passport or birth certificate and current
photo ID). Originals of documents must be presented; photocopies
are not acceptable. A driver's license or voter's registration card
alone is not sufficient. You must also have a return or ongoing
airline ticket. Visitors from all other countries require a
passport and return or ongoing ticket. Entry is granted for up to
six months. Resident aliens of the US who show a valid US Alien
Registration Card (green card) may be permitted to enter and remain
in the Cayman Islands for up to 30 days. You must keep the pink
Immigration slip given to you upon arrival! This is their
equivalent of a tourist identification card. Visitors should keep
it with their travel documents and present it when departing. Anyone
who wishes to extend their stay after arrival must visit the
Department of Immigration and obtain an extension and may be asked
to show proof of financial resources to permit an extension.
Visitors may have to prove they have sufficient funds to support
themselves and their dependents and have tickets to their next
destination. Visitors may be refused entry if their appearance or
behaviour do not meet the normal social standards of
Visitors may not engage in any form of employment without
additional authority (ie a work permit). Prohibited immigrants
include the destitute, health hazards to the community,
prostitutes, those living on prostitution, the previously deported,
anyone sentenced to over a year's imprisonment and others
proscribed as undesirable for moral or economic reasons.
In addition to personal effects for use while on vacation,
Visitors over 18 are allowed a duty-free allowance of one litre of
alcohol or four litres of wine or one case of beer (not exceeding
eight litres) and 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars or 250 grams of
tobacco. This limit should not be confused with the Customs forms
which state that returning residents are allowed CI$300 worth of
goods duty free. This privilege does not apply to visitors.
there are a number of liquor stores on the islands, but the licensing laws are
very strict; they have to shut by 7pm on Mondays to Saturdays and are closed on
The Cayman Islands government has just launched an Immigration web site at
It is intended primarily for local businesses to help them through the new
immigration laws, but all of the Immigration Forms for Work Permit Applications
are available online. The main part of Government web site at
http://www.gov.ky/ also has information on
Note that for any work permit applications for over 6 months, the prospective
employee should be off the islands whilst the permit is being processed.
The best bit of advice that I can give is to get a subscription to the daily
local newspaper - the Caymanian Compass. The rules mean that all jobs have to be
advertised to make sure that there are no Caymanians to fill them
before a company is allowed to appoint an ex-pat. The paper is
published by the Cayman Free Press - they can be contacted on
or by writing to them
at P. O. Box 1365, George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands BWI,
Tel: (345) 949-5111, Fax: (345) 949-7033.
There are also a couple of
commercial sites that may help you. Firstly, I can sell you the GoToCayman Guide
(previously sold as the Hot-Life Guide)
to help you find a job and relocate to the islands. It's 90+ pages feature:
Employers and contact information for businesses and industries that hire
most from overseas,
Detailed and clear explanation of immigration rules and the work permit system,
Lists of required documents for employers and immigration,
Methods for finding a job in the Cayman Islands,
Starting salary and experience expectations for the most common jobs,
Housing information - including the cost of rent,
Transportation options and costs,
How to get there and what to bring,
Tips for saving money, and much more.
I have recently revised it and am now selling it at the bargain price of US$5. If you are
interested in purchasing the Guide, please e-mail me at
you can purchase a CD-ROM for US$29.95 with useful information for job seekers, including
contact information for some of the major firms.
There are a few Cayman jobs advertised at
with links to jobs available in other parts of the Caribbean.
you can find jobs throughout the Caribbean. Subscription costs from US$35 for 30 days.
Executive Services An all-inclusive personnel recruitment and management agency offering services
including recruiting, work permit processing and payroll processing.
Specialises in professional, administrative and temporary staff.
Provide a specialist service for newly or recently qualified Chartered
Accountants and CPAs seeking a career move to the world's leading offshore
financial centres, including Cayman JobInTheSun.com
Premier subscription website for obtaining employment in the Cayman Islands.
Offering hundreds of job listings which job seekers can apply to online with one mouse
click, career advice, relocation guides, forums, chat rooms expert staff and 24/7 support
who specialise in vacancies in the IT and financial sectors,
Kare Secretarial Services
Provide Business Support Services to leading Cayman Islands firms including
Temporary Office Staff, Immigration and Corporate relocation assistance.
you can find jobs throughout the Caribbean. Subscription costs from US$35 for 30 days.
Below are some approximate guide figures as to how much it would
cost to live on Cayman: (in CI$ per month). Allow about 3 months
costs for deposits
1 bed apartment: $700 - $1,500
2 bed/2 bath apartment: $1,000 - $5,000
3 bed: $2,000 - $5,000
TV: $50 - (depends on package of channels)
Water: $20 - $50
Electricity: $80 - $200 (for a 1-bed apartment, more if you run the AC)
Telephone: $40 - (mainly local calls, internet extra, $400 deposit)
Medical Insurance: $90 - (bare minimum - very limited benefits)
PO Box rental: from $75/year depending on size
Food: $450 (for a family of three)
Car: $2,000 + insurance ($300) + car tax ($180) (for a very basic runaround!)
Schooling (Government Run): $250 - $500/term plus $50-$150 book rental
Schooling (Private): $4,000 - $5,500 per year
Some discussions group encourage people to take their own
pre-packed (sealed) food to Cayman in freezer bags or ice chests.
The Tourist Board advise that visitors are allowed to bring meat
into the islands, but you may be charged duty if the value is over
US$35 per person, or the quantity exceeds what customs consider to a
reasonable amount for personal consumption. Meat should be
preferably be packed and sealed as sold in supermarkets, and may
have to be inspected by an official from the Department of
The ban on the importation of US bone-in meats imposed in December 2003 following
a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or 'mad-cow disease') has been lifted.
Personal imports of meat up to 5kg for personal consumption will now be allowed
providing the original packaging is intact and the
packaging bears the USDA inspection legend.
When I checked with the Department of Agriculture (
) on the general rules for importing foods,
they sent me three Word 97 documents. The first was an application form for the
importation of plants and the other two were the rules and
regulations on the importation of plants and plant products and
meat and meat products. Here are the links to these documents:
There are now three golf courses on the island to choose from, but they all
suffered serious dmage in Hurricane Ivan.
The Links at SafeHaven is a 6605 yard par 71, 18 hole
championship course, designed by Roy Case. It was awarded "1997
best golf course in the Caribbean" by Caribbean World Magazine.
Practice and learning facilities available. The Links restaurant
and patio bar are open daily. Approximate costs: US$110. Services: On-Site: Equipment Rental, Golf Carts, Golf Club
Rentals, Golf Lessons Available, Golf Pro, Golf Pro Shop, Driving
Range Contact details
P.O. Box 1311 George Town, Grand Cayman
Phone: (345) 949-5988, Fax: (345) 949-5457
For more information, visit their web site at
http://www.safehaven.ky/links.htmNote: The Links isn't expected to reopen until 2006
Jack Nicklaus has
created a masterful golf course for Britannia and the Hyatt
Regency Grand Cayman. Reminiscent of legendary courses such as
Royal Troon, Turnberry and Royal Birkdale on the other side of the
Atlantic. The Britannia course features grassy mounds, rolling
dunes, lakes and oversized bunkers. On the fifth shot hole, the tee
shot must carry over the Caribbean Sea while on the breathtaking
562-yard Hole 9, three different shots are over water.
There are two courses at the Britannia/Hyatt; a 9-hole and an
executive 18-hole. The course being played changes each day, so
best to check with the club-house. Approximate cost: US$50-100. Services: On-Site: Golf Carts, Golf Club Rentals, Golf
Lessons Available, Golf Pro, Golf Pro Shop Contact details:
P.O. Box 1588 George Town, Grand Cayman
Phone: (345) 949-8020, Fax (345) 949-8528
For more information, see the web page at
http://grandcayman.hyatt.com/property/sportsrelax/golf/index.jhtmlThe Hyatt course is open, but is strugling as their irrigation system hasn't
yet geen repaired.
The newest course is the
Sunrise Family Golf Centre off Hirst Road in Newlands. This
new, moderately priced and family oriented golf centre has green
fees at US$21 (junior, US$10). It's a nine hole Par 3 course, with
all grass tees maintained to championship course standards. The
centre includes a full-length driving range, practice chipping and
putting green, golf shop, clubhouse, and open-air patio. Rental
clubs, pull carts and instruction by certified PGA Professional are
also available. Contact details: Phone: (345) 947-GOLF, Fax: (345) 946-0508,
Sunrise was so badly damaged by the hurricane that it is ulikely to be rebuilt
The legal age to drink on the islands is 18 - you may be asked
for identification. The legal age to drive is 17, but be aware that
nearly all of the car rental agencies will only hire out vehicles
to drivers over the age of 25.
There are a number of Internet Café's on the Island;
(on the third floor of the AquaWorld Duty Free Mall overlooking the harbour),
Shooters Billiards Lounge and Internet Cafe,
Café del Sol
by the Cinema in West Bay Road, PD's Pub in Galleria Plaza,
Dickens Coffee shop in Galleria Plaza, Chelsea's Sports Bar in Queens Court,
Big Daddy's on West Bay Road, the West Bay Polo Club, PC Powerhouse in the
West Shore Centre on Walkers Road,
Ye Olde English Bakery in the Dockside Building in Mary Street,
and Sunset House. If you
staying in the East End area, then
The Thirsty Surfer
located in the Reef Resort has an internet Café.
Cable & Wireless also
have an office in George Town across from the harbour where you can access the
However, the cheapest internet access I have found is two terminals in the
"Coffee and Bite" store
just behind the Post Office in George Town; CI$6/hour.
For those looking for a wireless network,
then The Hyatt were the first hotel to offer a Wi-Fi network that covers all of
the resort; guest rooms, poolside, on the beach and on the golf course, as
well as meeting rooms. Charges are US$6 per hour or US$17.99 per day. Their
network will be expanded to cover Rum Point later in the year. Guests need to
register with the Hyatt's front desk to obtain a username and password.
I have also received a report that the Marriott have an unsecured wireless
network access point in their lobby that is therefore open to all!
Check my Businesses Page for links to
Cyber Cafés that have their own web site.
Remember that they drive on the left in Cayman! Seat belts must be worn by the driver
and all passengers. Visitors must buy a temporary Cayman driving licence (for
each driver) from the Police Station or Rental Agency Desk at CI$5.00. You
have to be over 21 to rent a car in Cayman, but some agencies won't insure
renters under 25.
Traffic to/from George Town can be very heavy in the morning and evening rush hours.
Whether you need a car for your whole trip will very much depend on where you
are staying; if based in the Seven Mile Beach area you may want a car for a day or two to
explore other parts of the island, but if you are staying somewhere remote
(North Side), then you'll need a car to do your shopping etc.
There are a wide range of cars available, and they can be in a range of
combinations of left/right hand drive and automatic/manual (shift stick). If
you have a preference check with the rental agency in advance and make it
clear what combination you require. There have been occasions reported when
there are no rental cars available at any agency (this is especially true in
peak season), so at these times it is probably best to book in advance.
Having said that, there have been a number of reports on the various
message board where visitors have got a walk-in rate better than anything
advertised. If you are prepared to be flexible and don't need a vehicle for your
whole trip, this may be the best option.
Some visitors believe that if they book the car hire on their credit card it
gives them the legal and insurance protection they need; please check the
conditions of use of your credit card carefully as often these perks only apply
when hiring a vehicle in your home country and not when you are abroad on holiday.
Taxis are available at the airport and the fares from there are regulated -
check with the dispatcher at the kerbside (should cost about CI$20 to most
hotels/condos). Note that hotel vans are not allowed to collect visitors from
the airport. There are taxi ranks outside the main hotels and at the cruise
There are eight minibus routes in operation each with a distinctive
colour (coloured circles on the front and back with the route number) and
blue license plates. The routes are: 1 (yellow) & 2 (lime green) go to West Bay with
service about every 15 minutes and operates from 6am to 11pm. Route 3 (blue) goes to
Bodden Town, (service every 30 minutes from 6am to 11pm). Route 4 (purple) goes to East End,
5 (red) goes to East End and North Side, 6 (dark green) goes from North Side to West Bay
(service every hour from 6am to 9pm. Route 7 (dark green with white numbers)
operates in the George Town area and 8 (orange) runs to Hutland in North Side.
Maximum fare is about CI$2.
All routes run to/from/via the depot in George Town situated beside the library.
There are a few designated bus stops, but just stand my the side of the road
and wave one of the buses down as they approach.
Cayman runs the same electricity system as the US/Canada - 110/115v with 2-pin
Most of the water supply comes from the de-salination plant and is perfectly
safe to drink. In some more remote areas of the island, well water is
sometimes used for the toilets and washing - it apparently tastes quite
brackish but makes a lovely cup of tea when boiled!
Cayman isn't renowned for it's night life; there are a limited number of night
clubs (Sharkey's, Legendz, The Matrix and BoBo Iguanas in the Islander Nightclub).
The Chameleon Nightclub, located above the Outback Steakhouse in The Strand, opened
in May 2003. This two-storey club features three bars and has a capacity of 350.
There are links to some of the nightlubs on my
Businesses/Organisations page under the
Restaurants/Bars and Food-related links.
Also worth checking out: Royal Palms on the Friday or Saturday night (island music/reggae/soca),
Sunset House for Friday Happy Hour (popular singles bar), Bed, Lonestar Bar
and Grill, Hard Rock Café.
For something more laid back, check out Barefoot Man at Royal Reef Resorts
in the East End.
Buy the Friday issue of the Caymanian Compass; at CI$0.75 it may be your cheapest
expense on the island. The Friday edition has lots of adverts for Happy Hours and
Other notable events include Treasure Island Open Air Bar (at check-in) around
5:30 or 6:00 every Monday night. For years, they have thrown an appreciation
party with free appetizers as well as free rum punch starting around 6:30.
Also included is a 20+ piece steel drum band.
One general bit of advice when eating out is to go where the Caymanians go. The
easy way to identify this is to look at the car registration plates in the car
parks - the meaning of the various colour combinations are in the table below.
Black numbers on Yellow Background
Black numbers on Orange Background
Black numbers on White Background
Red numbers on White Background
White numbers on Blue Background
White numbers on Red Background
Dark blue 'DV' numbers on a White Background
Even though the Quincentennial celebrations are over, and vehicles are meant
to be re-registered, there may still be some vehicles sporting the
Quincentennial celebrations number plate;
these are white numbers with a Q prefix on light blue/dark blue background, or
the newer dark blue numbers on a light blue background.
There are a number of personalised number plates (I've seed "RS" and "GORDON"),
but these also follow the above colour scheme.
The Cayman Islands have their own currency - the Cayman Islands Dollar (CI$). However,
the US$ is accepted everywhere at the standard exchange rate of US$1 = CI$0.80.
The official bank rate (if you want to bother queuing up to change your money) is
US$1 = CI$0.82 - you will only be able to do this when on the island as most
banks in the rest of the world won't hold Cayman currency. Some shops also
offer this rate (notably Kirkconnell's supermarket). You will usually be given
your change in CI$.
I once tried to change GB Sterling into CI$ on the island;
the bank first of all converted my Pounds into US$ at the current market rate,
and then from US$ to CI$ and then charged me two lots of commission! Moral of
the story is to bring US$ only!
The main ATM networks have machines on the island - as most of the banks are in
the George Town/Seven Mile Beach area, this is where the majority of machines
are located. You may also find machines outside some of the bigger supermarkets and
at some petrol/gas stations.
The Cayman Island's used to be famous for their mosquitoes. 36 different species
have been recorded on the islands, and back in 1971 a record of 600 bites per
minute on one arm were recorded (I pity the researcher who volunteered for that!).
Mosquitoes tend to be a problem around sunrise and sunset. At these times it
is probably best to stay indoors, or make sure that as little skin as possible
is exposed if you are out and about, or use Deep Woods OFF! spray or similar.
An alternative is to take a daily dose of 500mg of vitamin B1, starting two
weeks before you go on holiday and continuing throughout your stay; this will
stop the mosquitoes from biting you.
Where you stay on the islands and the time of year you are visiting also has a
bearing on how bad the problem is. The Seven Mile Beach area isn't as bad as
some parts of the interior or around Rum Point, West Bay or East End. The
problem is worse during the rainy season (May to November)
Many of the open-air bars/restaurants burn Citronella candles to keep the
The Cayman Islands Government's Mosquito Research & Control Unit
is responsible for carrying out preventive sprayings using their crop-dusting
planes and a number of vehicles. Their web site also contains details of the
mosquito breeds, where they breed, insecticides used in spraying, etc.
Unfortunately their home page which is meant to show their spraying schedule
hasn't been updated since February 2004 :-(
Sometimes called no-seeums (You don't hear em and you don't see em), but
you'll know when you're being attacked as you'll feel lots of itchy bity
things on your scalp, arms, legs, etc. They are tiny, easily go through
window screens, and love to bite. Again tend to be bad at sunset - take the
same precautions as with dealing with mosquitoes.
NOTE: The number of bugs/mosquitos increased dramatically after Hurricane Ivan
and it is taking time for the situation to get back under control.
You may be used to these at home, but out in the tropics they are BIG! As one
of the oldest species on the planet, they can make their home just about
anywhere. Their presence doesn't necessarily indicate dirt as I've seen them on
a building site for a new home.
Thimble Jelly Fish/Sea Lice (Sea Itch)
Sea Itch is caused by the larvae (nematocysts) of the Thimble Jelly Fish (Sea Lice) and
is an intensely itchy red rash which affects exposed areas of skin. Found
in Caribbean waters from March to September, it is especially bad in
Cayman waters around April/May. At these times it is best to wear a full skin
wet suit when in the water and cover exposed skin with suntan oil or one of the
specialist oils/preparations including Lands End Oil, WipeAway Jelly Fish
Sting Medicated First Aid Gel and Sawyer Products Itch Balm Plus (all of these
should be available from good dive shops). SeaSafe brand suntan oils are
based on natural secretions of the clown fish. In scientific studies
this has shown to greatly reduce, and in many cases completely prevent jellyfish stings.
Because the larvae are so small, they often manage to work their way under
swimming costumes/wet suits. When the swimmer leaves the water, their
garments press against their skin, causing the stingers to fire. Remove
said garments as quickly as possible when leaving the water and rinse it
thoroughly - preferably in warm water and detergent.
Aquatic Wetsuits make a special Sea Lice wetsuit that has dry suit seals at
the wrists and neck and special hood with a "neck dam" which further prevents
water from flowing in with sea lice. If using a normal wet suit another
suggestion is to apply vaseline around the wrists and neck and the hairline at
the back of the neck where they get trapped into your hair.
After leaving the water wash all swimwear thoroughly;
let the water run for a couple of minutes to make sure that the
nematocysts have been washed off. Avoid rubbing as this may 'fire' and
If you get stung, wash/rinse thoroughlt in hot soapy water, applying as little
frictions as possible and dry with heat in a dryer (or drip-dry!).
Putting on an unwashed swimsuit may mean that your are just
reapplying more larvae to your skin.
The standard treatment consists of application of steroid
creams to the skin and taking antihistamine tablets. However, these tablets
can cause drowsiness, so there is an increased risk of nitrogen narcosis if
diving. Hydrocortisone cream can limit the itching.
Alternative remedies include calamine lotion, gently blotting with amonia
spray (such as Windex - the window cleaning spray), white vinegar, rubbing alcohol
or urinating on the affected areas!
Take a little Benadryl.
If the symptoms get bad, go to the doctor and he will give you an effective
"jab" to relieve the irritation.
Cruise ship passengers
Definite nuisance if you are trying to get around George Town. On some days
there can be up to six ships disgorging up to 15,000 passengers. You can check
cruise-ship movements at the Cayman Islands Port Authority web site at
Invariable look the wrong way when crossing the roads, or drive on the wrong
side of the road. Ask residents daft questions like "Do you live here, or do
you fly in every day?".
Clog the roads to/from George Town in the morning (7am to 9am) and afternoon
(4pm to 6:30pm) rush hours. A journey that would normally take 10 minutes can
take an hour at these times.
There are two sites that often get confused - Stingray City (the best 12 foot
dive in the world), and Stingray City Sandbar (where the water is only waist deep).
Both sites are just inside breaks in the barrier reef in the North Sound. These
shallow waters provided shelter to fisherman, who would anchor here to clean
and gut their catches. The waste would be chucked overboard, thus attracting
the rays. With all this feeding, the rays have now become very tame, and can be
petted and fed - for more information check out this resource:
How to get there? Don't ask a taxi driver to get you there! The cruise lines
will try to sell you a package to go to Stingray City Sandbar, but be aware that
you are likely to be on a boat with several hundred other visitors. Much better to make your
own arrangements to get there. Both Captain Dexter's
and Captain Marvin's
have good reputations (check some of the trip reports). Please tell them you
were recommended through the GoToCayman.com web site! There are links to other watersports
operators on my Businesses pages under Watersports operators.
Cayman Turtle Farm
The only commercial turtle farm in the world. Set towards the north end of Seven
Mile Beach. Thousands of turtles from hatchlings to 600lbs. It is also occasionally
possible to take part in their turtle release program.
Check out their web site (including web-cams) at
If you want to try turtle meat, then visit the Cracked Conch by the Sea Restaurant next door.
Some of the turtles that were released in 2003 were tagged - you can check
their progress at
Seven Mile Beach
Six and a half miles of beautiful sand!
Firstly, everything below the high water line is "public" under
Cayman law. However, that doesn't count for much of the beach
area, so cruise ships will sell you packages to make use of the
beach facilities at a number of hotels/resorts. Some of the
hotels seem to patrol their areas asking if you are a resident,
or other proof of your right to be there - this is especially
true if the beach area looks crowded!
I think you have in effect three options:
1) go with the cruise package
2) gate crash one of the big hotels (the Hyatt or the Westin
have good beach facilities. Take your own towels, as they will ask to see your
room key or get you to sign against a room number for any hotel
3) go to Public Beach. This is an area about half way along
Seven Mile Beach. It has rest rooms and there are usually a few
stalls selling food, but obviously there will be no beach beds,
so bring your own towels.
Best way to get to any of these is to use the Public Minibus
service - see the FAQ under Public Transport.
A village in the West Bay area famed for it 'forest' of ironshore. A bit of a
disappointment really, except for the ability to say you have been to Hell and
returned! The Post Office franks cards and letters with a "Hell" postmark. If
you want to see what ironshore looks like (and save yourself a few dollars),
then check out the area around the blowholes, or the north coast of West Bay.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Garden
65 acres of flora and fauna including examples of the Cayman Blue Iguana and
Cayman Parrot. For more information, check out their web site at
Pedro St. James
Considered to be the birthplace of democracy in Cayman. Includes a number of
buildings in a 19th century style and multimedia theatre presenting a twenty-minute
film on the history of Pedro St. James and the history of the Cayman Islands.
For more information, check out their web site at
Traditionally, CITES Permits are more often requested by the Customs agencies
of the destination country than in the country of export.
Conch (CITES Appendix II)
Conch shells taken from Cayman waters and sold (or given) to tourists as
souvenirs are obtained as a by-product of fishermen collecting the conchs
for their edible (and very tasty) meat. Because the shell is incidental to
this activity, and because there are currently laws in place to limit the
amount of conchs taken from the wild, the use of shells as souvenirs is not
considered to be a very great threat to the local conch populations.
Some countries, such as the United States, understood this and normally did
not request CITES Permits for a tourist returning home with one or two
shells from their holiday in Cayman. Some other nations, however, are not as
nuanced in their application of CITES Permitting requirements and require a
Cayman Islands CITES Export Permit for any amount of conch product being
brought into their countries. Because of this the DoE still recommend that,
except for three or fewer shells, people apply for a Permit for the
transport of any conch products to or from the Cayman Islands.
There are a couple of instances where the need for a permit does not fully
apply. The first is instances of transport that do not involve "trade". If a
Cayman resident were to transport conch products from Cayman to another
country for non-commercial purposes and as a part of their personal
belongings. This exclusion clause is sometimes applied on a case by case
basis, depending on the circumstances. However, the DoE normally recommend
people to apply for an Export Permit anyway, so that there will be no
confusion upon their arrival in the other country.
The second class of exclusion is for the transport of three or fewer conch
shells, regardless of owner, again for non-commercial, personal, purposes.
This is applied most frequently in the case of tourist souvenirs but would
apply to Cayman residents as well. This is a fairly commonly applied
exclusion, as you can imagine. If you have three or fewer shells per customs
declaration as tourist souvenirs, you do not need CITES Permits for them.
I guess that if you know you want to collect (more than 3) Conch shells to
take home, then e-mail the Department in advance with your details as per
the form and the number of conch shells that you expect to take home for the
whole party travelling. The DoE can then have your permit ready for
Coral (CITES Appendix II)
It is illegal to take coral from Caymanís waters and, for this reason, no
local coral is used in the jewelry business. The coral jewellery sold in
stores all use coral from other countries. Sometimes this jewellery is
imported already made, but more often the raw coral is imported and turned
into beautiful jewellery by skilled local artisans. However, a CITES permit is
still required for any jewelry/sculpture/art work made from coral
For raw coral, such as might be picked up by beachcombing, a
permit will not be issued as the DoE wish to discourage the collection of local
coral in any manner.
Turtle (CITES Appendix I)
CITES also applies to turtle products, and currently no CITES permits will be issued
for any Turtle products. The Management Authority of United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland tried in 2002 to get the Turtle Farm to
become a CITES registered Captive Breeding Facility, which would allow some of
their products to be exported, but their campaigning was unsuccessful.
Because of this, no turtle products are sold at the Turtle Farm. However, you
can try turtle steaks and fritters at a number of local restaurants on the island,
including the Cracked Conch by The Sea next door to the Turtle Farm.
Should you want clarification on any query relating to CITES and souvenir/
purchases from the Cayman Islands, please contact: