Cayman Tourist Tips

The Cayman Islands may be just a few dots on the map, but there is a lot to learn about the place. It certainly doesn’t hurt to know some important facts ahead of time so that once you land on our little bit of paradise you have some idea of the lay of the land, so to speak. Of course there will be plenty of opportunity to get some help and direction once you are settled in, but to get you started, here are the top ten tips for first-time visitors to the Cayman Islands:

Drive on the left-hand side of the road

Many of our visitors come from the US, so it is a bit of an adjustment, to say the least, for them to drive on the left. Car-rental agencies offer both right- and left-hand-drive vehicles, but it might make the transition easier to choose one with the steering wheel on the right.

Cayman uses dual currency

Wherever you go, the stores and restaurants will gladly accept both Cayman and US dollars, though the change will always be given in the local currency. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted as are traveler's cheques. Banks can exchange British Pounds, Euros and Canadian dollars. All other currencies should be converted to one of these four.

Gratuities

Restaurants often add an automatic 15 percent gratuity, though like anywhere else, you are welcome to sweeten the tip if you so desire. Tipping generally follows American practices so you may want to offer a little something extra to the employees at salons, dive operations and fishing charters.

Closed on Sundays

Shops, grocery stores, and services shut down on the traditional day of rest. Restaurants and gas stations remain open. Most retail stores in downtown George Town are closed. However a few gift and souvenir shops are open along Seven Mile Beach.

Use sunscreen

Locals will be the first ones to recommend the use of sunscreen even when it might seem overcast. You don’t want to spoil your holiday with a bad burn. Many brands are available at groceries, pharmacies and dive shops if you forget to bring your own.

Check on special events

Throughout the year, the Cayman Islands puts on many exceptional events that attract both overseas and local participation. Especially popular are Pirates Week, Batabano and the Taste of Cayman. Check the dates of these special entertainments so you can book your holiday accordingly.

Take a bus or rent a car to visit all the districts

Grand Cayman is served by public minibuses that traverse the island. They will have different coloured numbers on the front and back of the bus, along with abbreviations of the districts they serve (e.g., EE for East End, BT for Bodden Town and WB for West Bay). Just wait by a designated bus stop or flag one down and the driver will stop. Fares range from about CI$2 to CI$5. If you prefer to drive yourself, there are numerous car rental agencies offering a wide range of vehicles.

Watch Discover Cayman or grab a tourist magazine

Discover Cayman can be viewed on most hotel room televisions. The tourist information channel offers tidbits on all things Cayman. Alternatively, you can take your time to browse through one of many tourist magazines published here. Check the airport arrivals hall or your hotel for one of these publications which are filled with useful and fun information for the visitor.

Visit Stingray City

No trip to the Cayman Islands is complete without enjoying an up-close-and-personal visit with our stingrays. Take a relaxing boat ride out to the sand bar in the North Sound and slip into the crystal clear water. which is only about chest high, while the stingrays glide all around you. It is a uniquely Cayman experience.

Stop by the Cayman Turtle Farm

Cayman is home to the world’s only green sea turtle breeding facility and you can visit the farm, in which live more than 11,000 of these fascinating creatures, ranging in size from six ounces to six hundred pounds each. Visitors learn about the ecology of the sea turtles and the ongoing research into how best to conserve the species. You can also hold the smaller ones, a favorite activity for visitors of all ages.