A Journey Through The Grand Cayman Islands
By Sarah White
The Cayman Islands, made famous for their incredible diving, white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and year round Caribbean sunshine, are made up of 3 different islands. Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman; a fuse of Caribbean allure and American efficiency made complete with an inescapable charm from the friendly locals who will welcome you anytime. Although very small, the total landmass of the 3 islands is just 100 square miles, the grand Cayman Islands offers you the best of all worlds.
Cayman Islands weather is almost perfect year round. The winter months, Nov-Apr, the temperature ranges from 72-86 degrees during the day and 64-72 degrees at night. In the summer months, May-Oct, the temperature during the day ranges from 85-90 degrees and 73-85 degrees by night. Also, most people don't realize just how close to the equator that these islands lay and that means that the sun is HOT. The islands are cooled by the prevailing trade winds but don't let this fool you, take the sun in small doses and always wear lots of sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. Given the beautiful Cayman Islands weather, do be aware that it does occasionally rain there! You might want an umbrella just in case. The rainy season starts in May and ends in October with the 2 rainiest months being May and October. March and April are usually the driest.
One of the things that you will experience on the Cayman islands, is world class dining. With over 150 places to eat that range from elegant fine dining to budget fast food and take out, there is something for everyone. Traditional Cayman cuisine has a strong Jamaican influence. Traditional dishes feature seafood cooked in a variety of ways, lobster and conch. Local dishes are often served with coconut, plantain, yams, rice and peas, along with other West Indian side dishes. You can also find many other alternative choices that include; Italian, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, German and so many others! When it comes to tipping, keep in mind that most hotels add a 5-10% service charge and many restaurants add a 10-15% service charge but some don't. It's best to check your bill to see if the service has been added and feel free to reward those who give what you feel is exceptional service.
Shopping and nightlife; there is certainly no shortage on the Grand Cayman islands! You will find a wide variety of nightlife and entertainment from lively nightclubs, to watching live international and local bands perform, to pool halls, lounges and the theatre. Bars, clubs and dancehalls close at 3am during the weekdays, midnight on Saturdays and there are no nightclubs open on Sundays. When you arrive, you will be able to find local informational magazines, free of charge that will list all the special events and current happenings on the islands. The Cayman Islands enjoy tax free status which also means they have duty free status. You will be able to find items such as fine jewellery, watches, crystal, perfumes and china that can be as much as 30% cheaper there. One of the best places to go shopping is in the capitol of George Town in Grand Cayman, it is home to one of the nicest shopping centers in the Caribbean! The local currency is the Cayman Islands dollar and it is equivalent to $1.25 USD. It is a fixed exchange rate and never changes. American currency is generally accepted, as well as all major credit cards, and the CI dollar.
There are many options for getting around on the Grand Cayman Islands; taxis, public transportation, car rentals to mopeds and scooters. Upon arrival, you will find many taxis that are available from the airport and are readily available from all resorts. You will find fixed rates per vehicle or per person to all points on the island. This information is available from the taxi driver and there is also a sign with current rates posted at the cruise ship dock in George Town. One of the Caribbean's most extensive fleet of modern rental cars are found here in the Cayman's. Driving is on the left hand side of the road but you can find many rentals that feature right hand driving. Visitor's need to obtain temporary driver's licenses from the rental agency but this is easily done by presenting a valid driver's license from your country and being over 21, although not all agencies will insure you if you are under 25. Rentals are readily available from Grand Cayman while there are more limited numbers of them on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. Car rentals can be booked before arriving on Grand Cayman and it is advisable to do so during the winter months. A public bus terminal is located in downtown George Town and serves as a dispatch point to all the districts, service starts at 6am. There are also several mini buses that are operated by licensed operators that serve 8 routes.
The Cayman Islands have so much to offer and possesses unsurpassed beauty under the sea due to their protected Marine Parks. You can easily see why so many people realize their dreams here and love visiting this tropical paradise.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.