Cayman Facts – Good to Know

Name

Cayman Islands. The country is also referred to simply as Cayman and should not be called “The Caymans.”

Capital

George Town, Grand Cayman.

Language

English.

Time

Cayman is on Eastern Standard Time and does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

Government

The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory with a British Governor appointed by the UK government. The Legislative Assembly is headed by a democratically-elected Premier.

Area and population

Cayman is made up of the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. The total area is 100 square miles and the population is estimated at approximately 55,000. The largest island is Grand Cayman, which is approximately 22 miles long and 8 miles at maximum width. The highest point on the island (apart from the rubbish dump, which is known locally as Mount Trashmore) is only 60 feet above sea level. Cayman Brac occupies 14 square miles and Little Cayman just 10 square miles.

Climate

Temperatures are lowest in February, ranging from 60 F to 86 F, rising to a maximum of around 88F in July. Relative humidity generally lies in the range of 68 percent to 92 percent. The rainy season is usually from the beginning of June until the end of November. An updated weather forecast is available in the local daily newspaper, Caymanian Compass, or online at caycompass.com. Hurricane season runs from June 1 until November 30. All warnings of hurricanes must be taken extremely seriously. Advisories are issued by the government in the event of a hurricane threatening or approaching
the islands.

Money and banking

Banking hours are generally 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays. Some banks also open on Saturday mornings. The exchange rate is US$1.20 = CI$1. US dollars are generally accepted island-wide, although expect change in CI dollars. Automatic Teller Machines are available throughout the islands.

Business hours

Most shops are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Many stores at Camana Bay open late on weekdays and Saturdays. Business and professional offices are generally open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Gratuities

Customarily, gratuities or tips are paid to hospitality industry personnel who render good service. The norm is 15 percent of the total service cost. Some establishments include gratuities in the final bill.

Tobacco law

Smoking is not permitted in bars, restaurants or a number of public places. Smoking is allowed outdoors, as long as it is 10 feet from a building entrance or is in a designated outdoor non-smoking area.

Local media

For local and international news, pick up a copy of the Caymanian Compass, the islands’ newspaper, published Monday to Friday, or access online at caycompass.com. For each month’s entertainment listings and features, pick up your free copy of the local magazine What’s Hot, available at supermarkets and malls across the islands, or visit whatshot.ky. For information on eating out, be sure to read the local culinary magazine Flava.

Radio and television

Cayman has 17 FM radio stations catering for all tastes, from religion to rock, politics and pop. Television entertainment, news and sports can be found on Cayman 27, and weather forecasts are broadcast on Cayman Weather 24/7. Discover Cayman is an entertainment and activity guide for both visitors and residents. Several communications companies offer multi-channel packages.

Internet

Most cafe and restaurants offer free WiFi access. Camana Bay has WiFi throughout and internet service is also available at the libraries and airports on all three islands.

Postal services

There is no house-to-house delivery in the Cayman Islands. The central Post Office is in downtown George Town and there are several other post offices throughout the islands. You can buy stamps and use post boxes at any of these locations as well as some grocery stores. A number of courier services are also available on Grand Cayman.

Health services

There are two hospitals in Grand Cayman - George Town Hospital and Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital. Cayman Brac is serviced by Faith Hospital. All hospitals are well equipped to deal with most medical emergencies. The emergency number is 911.

Drugs

Cayman authorities have a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal drugs. Anyone found in possession will be arrested and taken to court.

Churches

The islands are predominantly Christian with many different church denominations. Visitors are welcome.