Cayman Islands Travel Tips

Cayman Islands Photo info
Jay Easterbrook/Courtesy of Jay Easterbrook

Keep in Mind...

  • Hands off the reef For preservation purposes, touching the coral reef comes with a hefty fine of up to $6,000, so keep your hands to yourself when snorkeling and diving.
  • Keep your currencies in check Usually, hotels quote prices in U.S. dollars, while restaurants, nightclubs and shops quote in Cayman Islands dollars. Carry a little of both currencies, and be sure to double check which one is being quoted.
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T Caymanians are, in general, very respectful of each other. Formal titles like Mr. and Miss are used before first names and greetings, and pleasantries are expected at every interaction.

The charming Cayman Islands continue to be a coveted Caribbean getaway for both adventurous and more immobile travelers. Gorgeous barrier reefs call to divers as the rum punch calls to the beach bums. Honeymooners hike through the 200-year-old Mastic Trail as parents take their children for interactive swims at Stingray City. Whichever way you choose to mellow out, the Cayman Islands can oblige.

The Cayman Islands are an archipelago of three islands, lying 90 miles south of Cuba. The largest, Grand Cayman, is full of gargantuan resorts with all-inclusive options, perfect for those who prefer pre-planned itineraries and don't mind sharing the sights with cruise crowds. For freewheeling vacationers, the less-traveled Cayman Brac and Little Cayman offer some of the best diving in the Caribbean.

How To Save Money in Cayman Islands

  • To dive or not to dive Equipment rentals for diving and snorkeling are expensive, but half- to full-day sails with ferry companies can be more affordable alternatives.
  • Summer in Cayman To get the best prices, plan a trip for early spring or summer, when hotel rates are up to 50 percent cheaper.
  • Beachcomb for souvenirs Seashells are popular mementos, but save yourself some dough by searching the beach on your own.

Cayman Islands Culture & Customs

Take note of the Cayman Islands' dress code; swimsuits are OK on the beach or cruise ship, but you should dress more formally off the beach and in town.

The official currency of the Cayman Islands is the Cayman Islands dollar, which is roughly equivalent to the U.S. dollar. Since the Cayman Islands dollar to U.S. dollar exchange rate can fluctuate, be sure to check what the current exchange rate is before you go. However, U.S. dollars are pretty readily accepted in the Cayman Islands, as are major credit cards.

As for tipping, restaurants usually expect a 15 percent tip, though check the bill carefully because gratuity might already be added. Taxicab drivers anticipate anywhere from a 10 to 15 percent tip. Note that the service charge at hotels is usually included and ranges from 6 to 12 percent.

Cayman Islands Dining

Similar to most Caribbean destinations, your trip to the Cayman Islands is not complete without a healthy dose of seafood. The traveler-recommended Hemingways restaurant on Grand Cayman is renowned for having the finest seafood on the island and the popular Captain's Table on Cayman Brac is happy to deliver your conch fritters poolside.

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