Cayman Islands are a well-known vacation destination for those who are looking for a fun and exciting beach experience. This little slice of paradise has warm clear blue waters and a constant cool breeze to make it the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Thousands of people come to the Island to enjoy great food, welcoming culture, and adventurous activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, and so much more. The number of things to do is unlimited here.
This beautiful island is part of the British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea and is made up of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. It is located just south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. As part of the Western Caribbean Zone and the Greater Antilles, it is one of the major offshore financial centres in the world and an ideal location for many to retire to. As a local native here on the Island, I am going to take you on a tour of Cayman Islands history and give you all the information about this incredible island so you can see why the world has fallen in love with this part of the Caribbean.
In 1503, explorer Christopher Columbus stumbled upon the uninhabited Cayman Islands. He noted there were an abundance of large sea turtles habiting the place, which is where the original Spanish name, Las Tortugas, came from. The soft white sand landscape was in a near-flawless state, except for when occasional sailors and pirates would stop by to gather turtles for food and fresh water.
As a result of the Treaty of Madrid of 1670, permanent settlers did not habit the land until the late 1600’s by the British Crown, which they still hold authority over these territories today. In the early 18th century, settlers began to make their way to the new region from Jamaica. With the Islands surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, the Caymanians quickly established a strong reputation as world-class seafarers. In the late 1700’s, the shipbuilding industry flourished in the production of schooners and other sea craft, which was primarily used for interisland trade and turtling.
In the 1800’s, Cayman Islands total population was wavering around 1,000 people, which half of them were slaves who were brought to the island from Africa. This is the reason many Caymanians are of African and English descent. The Slavery Abolition Act was enacted in 1835, which freed the slaves. Many remained on the island and helped grow the population to over 4,000 by 1900. In 1962, Cayman Islands became a separate Crown Colony and Jamaica became an independent Commonwealth Realm.
Since its origination, the island has been known for its tax exempt status, which has turned it into an economic powerhouse that is attractive for entrepreneurs. This paradise also gained a lot of recognition as the main spot for Caribbean Tourism. With mostly sunny days, incredible beaches such as the 7 Mile Beach, gorgeous clear waters, and amazing views all around have lured visitors from all over to visit.
However, on September 11, 2004, the island was hit hard by Hurricane Ivan that flooded many areas. It is estimated about 83% of the dwellings on Cayman Island was damaged from flooding or wind, including around 4% requiring complete reconstruction. This was the worst hurricane the island had experienced in 86 years. It took two years to restore the power, water, communication, buildings, and get the island back to the way it was before Hurricane Ivan hit. With incredible diligence and speed, the island is back to normal and flourishing more than ever in tourism and offshore banking.
Located in north western Caribbean, there are a total of three islands that make up Cayman Island: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. The three islands formed by large coral heads covering submerged ice age peaks of western extensions of the Cuban Sierra Maestra range. The majority of the terrain is low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs. Neighboring locations nearby is Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Yucatan Mexico, west of Jamaica, and south of Cuba.>
Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International is the main airport, which major airlines fly to daily to make it easier for people to fly in and out of the island.
The islands have a tropical marine climate year sound, with humid, rainy summers from May to October, and a dry season with cool winters between November to April. With such beautiful weather, tourists come all year round to visit Cayman Islands. Also, this weather is another reason why people buy properties in Cayman to either have as a vacation home or become a permanent residence for when they retire. Many successful entrepreneurs dream to live out their lives in this mini-paradise. Tropical cyclones are one of the major natural disasters that form during the Atlantic hurricane season, which is from June to November.
Cayman Islands unique tax-free jurisdiction has made it an ideal and attractive place for organizations to register their business. There is more registered business than there are people. The estimated population is about 56,000, which represents a mix of about 100 nationalities. Approximately half have Caymanian descent and the rest is mixed with African-Caucasian. The capital is George Town, which is on the southwest coast of Grand Cayman. The primary religion on the island is Christian; however, there are a vast number of residences who are Presbyterians and Catholics.
They print their own currency, the Cayman Islands Dollar (KYD). Average income among the population is KYD $47,000 and is known for having one of the highest standard of living in the Caribbean. On the island, there is no income tax, corporate tax, or capital gains tax, so all the income people make is theirs. The government makes it money on indirect taxes such as import taxes.
The majority of the businesses there flourish off the tourists that travel there.
Tourism and Attractions
• Seven Mile Beach
The island’s main attraction is the Seven Mile Beach, which is a pristine sandy beach that has been named one of the Ultimate Beaches by Caribbean Travel and Life.
• Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
The waters are warm year round, which makes it an awesome place to go snorkeling and scuba diving. Many come to either swim with stingrays or explore the two shipwrecks that occurred off the shores of Cayman Brac, including the infamous MB Captain Keith Tibbetts.
• Stingray City
This began in the 1980’s when divers were feeding squid to the stingrays and these adorable sea creatures began to associate this place with food. Now they populate the area year round to get fed.
• Ironshore Landscape of Hell
This place is home to a 23-acre marine theme park Boatswain’s Beach, Cayman Turtle Farm, Mastic Trail, and production of gourmet sea salt.
• Observation Tower
Located in Camana Bay, the tower is 75 feet tall and offers a breathtaking 360-degree view across George Town, the North Sound, Seven mile Beach, and so much more.
Financial Services Industry
As the fifth largest banking centre in the world, the biggest sector is banking, hedge fund formation and investment, captive insurance, structured finance and securitization, and general corporate activities. With over 300 licensed banks and with affordable accounts that are tax exempt, is the main reason why offshore banking flourishes on the island. There is also less government control on foreign exchanges, allowing for an easy transfer between funds from other currencies over the Cayman Island Dollars.
With prestigious private banking and brokerage services, Cayman Islands holds a high value for investment opportunities and will have experienced financial advisors who will help you manage your money more wisely. The financial institutions offer safe banking, easy access to deposits, checking and savings accounts, credit cards, foreign exchanges, low financing options for loans and mortgages, and other banking services to fit any individuals banking needs.
As part of the British overseas Territory, they are listed by the UN Special Committee of 24 as one of the last non-self-governing territories. Their current constitution was ordained as a statutory instrument of the UK in 2009. A governor is appointed by the Queen of the United Kingdom. The governor has complete legislative and executive authority by blanket powers granted to them by the constitution.
It takes almost 80 departments that consist of generals, the Cabinet, Legislative Assembly, ministers, etc. make up the government and helps to keep this territory flourishing and strong. The two major political parties are the United Democratic Party and the People’s Progression Movement.
Cayman Island does not get enough recognition for their education programs for residences. Employing excellent academic teachers who aim to give a good experience to every student on the island. Whether it is the free primary and secondary education or the private schools that private foundations and churches that provide, their education is one of the best in the Caribbean. Camana bay is the home of Cayman International School, which is an excellent private school for the children.
There is also a few great universities such as the University College of the Cayman Islands, which is the only government run University located on Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman. There is the private college International College of the Cayman Islands, which offers a noteworthy Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs. There is also St. Matthews’s University for medical and veterinary medicine and the islands Law School, which is a brand of the University of Liverpool.
Health and Public Safety
Since Cayman Island is pretty remote, there are three hospitals: private Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, public Cayman Islands Hospital, and Faith Hospital on Cayman Brac. The hospitals are fully equipped to handle all the healthcare needs of everyone on the island and accommodate the tourists as well. Especially for the divers who need hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Emergency Services is available. In 2003, Cayman Island was the first country to mandate health insurance for every residence.
There is the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service that is there to protect and serve for all three islands. Cayman Island also has a port of call for the United States Coast Guard and Britain’s Royal Navy.
There is one sports complex, which is the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town. The stadium can hold up to 3,000 people. This complex is fully equipped with a six lane swimming pool, track and field, and basketball courts. The association football holds matches in the field surrounding the track. Cayman Island is also part of the Rugby Union, FIFA, International Olympic Committee, International Cricket Council, Pan American Sports Organization, and actively compete in the biennial Island Games.
So for anyone who decides to move here, there is always a sport going on for you to root for!!!
Oh the amount of reasons why this beautiful island is so amazing can go on and on. I am happy I got the chance to share with you a bit of its history, details about what makes it the great island it is, and why you should always keep Cayman Islands in mind for your next vacation. Do not forget about the incredible financial benefits of handling your finances on the island at one of our prestigious banks.
Hope to see you soon give us a call if you need any tips of what to do in the infamous Cayman Islands!!!
If you are looking to build a business on the island, check out CayVisions. One of our experience professionals knows has been helping businesses on the island flourish and become successful!