Cayman Islands Basics

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The Basics

Time: Local time is GMT -5.

Electricity: Electrical current is 110 volts, 60Hz. American style two-pin plugs are standard.

Money: The Cayman Islands Dollar (KYD) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. It is fixed to the US dollar at US$1.20. Currency can be exchanged at the banks, bureaux de change and many hotels. Banks are open Monday to Saturday. US Dollars are accepted as payment in most establishments and are the preferred currency for exchange as both cash and as travellers cheques. ATMs are widely available and major credit and debit cards are accepted.

Currency Exchange Rates

KYD1.00 = USD 1.20GBP 0.99CAD 1.60AUD 1.78ZAR 18.17EUR 1.09NZD 1.90
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: English is the official language. Spanish is also widely spoken.

Entry requirements for Americans: United States passport holders must have a valid passport or a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, as well as proof of citizenship, such as an original or certified birth certificate. No visa is required for stays of a maximum of 6 months for tourists, or 10 days for business travellers. However, the length of visa-free allowance varies depending on the endorsement on the passport.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK nationals require a valid passport or proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalisation certificate, accompanied by an official photo ID (e.g. driver's licence), for travel to the Cayman Islands. No visa is required for stays up to a maximum of 6 months for tourists, or 10 days for business travellers. However, the length of visa-free allowance varies depending on the endorsement on the passport.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian nationals do not require a passport for travel to the Cayman Islands providing they hold a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, as well as proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. Canadian citizens can stay in the Cayman Islands visa-free for a maximum of 6 months as tourists and 10 days as business travellers. However, the length of visa-free allowance varies depending on the endorsement on the passport.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian nationals must have a valid passport beyond the period of intended stay. No visa is required for a maximum stay of 6 months for tourists or 10 days for business travellers. The length of visa-free allowance varies depending on the endorsement on the passport.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African nationals require a passport valid beyond the period of intended stay in the Cayman Islands. No visa is required for a maximum stay of 6 months for tourists or 10 days for business travellers. However, the length of visa-free allowance varies depending on the endorsement on the passport.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals must have a passport valid beyond the period of intended stay. No visa is required for a maximum 6 month stay for tourists or 10 days for business travellers. The length of visa-free allowance varies depending on the endorsement on the passport.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals require a passport valid at least beyond the intended period of stay. No visa is required for a maximum 6 month stay for tourists or 10 days for business travellers. The length of visa-free allowance varies depending on the endorsement on the passport.

Passport/Visa Note: All visitors are required to hold sufficient funds for intended period of stay in the Cayman Islands, as well as a return or onward ticket and documents required for further travel. Tourist visas can generally be extended for stays of up to six months. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities. We recommend that passports be valid for six months after intended period of travel.

Travel Health: There are no specific health risks associated with travel to the Cayman Islands and food and water are generally considered safe. No vaccinations are required, but vaccination for hepatitis A is recommended and travellers should always be up to date on vaccinations for MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) and tetanus-diphtheria. Dengue fever has been reported in the Caribbean region and insect protection measures should be taken. Medical facilities are relatively good in the Cayman Islands, with two good hospitals, but serious illness or injury may still require evacuation. Visitors should take out adequate travel and travel insurance to cover the possible need for an air ambulance. There is a decompression chamber available in the Cayman Islands.

Tipping: Most restaurants and hotels automatically add a 10 to 15 percent service charge to the bill, otherwise a gratuity of the same amount is expected. At hotels, a 10 percent government tax is also usually added to the cost of your room. Taxi drivers expect a 10 to 15 percent tip as well.

Safety Information: The Cayman Islands has a relatively low crime rate. Nevertheless, visitors are advised to take the usual sensible precautions they would anywhere else in the world to prevent being the victims of petty crime. Do not leave valuables lying about: keep them in a hotel or other safety deposit box. Visitors should be aware of the risk of flooding during hurricane season (June to November) and follow local advice with regards to leaving the island in the event of an approaching hurricane.

Local Customs: The culture of the Cayman Islands is a blend of American, British, and West Indian traditions. The churchgoing Caymanians appreciate politeness and modesty - topless bathing and nudity is illegal and beachwear in not acceptable off the beach.

Business: The Cayman Islands are one of the principal financial centres in the world. The hub of business and banking is in George Town on Grand Cayman. Business dress within the financial industry is formal, but other businesses may have a more relaxed protocol. After hours meetings are usually fairly casual. Handshakes on introduction are followed by the exchange of business cards. General business hours are 8am to 5pm, while banks open at 9am and close at 4pm Monday to Friday.

Communications: The international access code for the Cayman Islands is +1, in common with the US, Canada, and most of the Caribbean, followed by 345. International direct dialling is available. Internet cafes and hotels and restaurants with free wifi are widely available.

Duty Free: Travellers entering the Cayman Islands may take 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco, as well as one litre of alcohol, without paying duty on these.