Are you planning an escape to Grand Cayman in the near future? Whether you’re coming for a relaxing break, an adventure filled with Grand Cayman diving trips, or a combination of both, taking the time to research and prepare will help you get the most out of your time here in paradise.
And that’s exactly what this Grand Cayman Travel Guide is for!
We’ve used our local insights and knowledge to provide the helpful information you need when planning your holiday.
Scroll down to get started — and if any questions come to mind as you read, please feel free to get in touch!
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory located in the Western Caribbean. We are situated 480 miles south of Miami, Florida, 150 miles south of Cuba, and 180 miles northwest of Jamaica. By plane, your Caribbean getaway to the Cayman Islands is only a 70-minute direct flight from Miami.
To ensure a hassle-free experience when passing through our borders, please have the following forms completed on your arrival:
Every person arriving in the Cayman Islands is required to produce for inspection by an immigration officer a passport or some other valid document establishing their identity and nationality or place of permanent residence. This should be valid beyond the date of their return ticket. Persons from certain countries will also be required to possess a valid visa for the Cayman Islands.
A visitor must have a passport or other appropriate documentation that is valid beyond the date of their return ticket. However, this documentation does not necessarily have to be valid for over six months if this is more than the length of stay.
A visitor must have a paid-up return ticket or ticket entitling them and their dependents, if any, to travel to their next destination outside the Islands. A visitor may also be required to satisfy the immigration officer that they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves and their dependents during the period of their stay in the Cayman Islands.
For specific questions regarding entry into the Cayman Islands, including visa requirements, contact the Cayman Islands Department of Immigration:
Phone: (345) 949-8344
Upon arrival, you must keep the immigration card given to you! Visitors are advised to keep it with their travel documents as they will be required to present it to an Immigration Officer upon their departure or have it collected by the airline agent upon checking in.
Will this be your first trip to the Cayman Islands? Read our blog A First Timer’s Guide to Grand Cayman Island when you have finished here for even more unmissable information!
Round-trip airport transfers are included in all our Dive+Stay Grand Cayman dive packages. When you arrive at the airport, after you have cleared Immigration and Customs, go to the Taxi Dispatcher and let them know you need to come to Sunset House.
When you arrive at the resort, we will pay the taxi fare. We do not tip the drivers, so if you feel that you have received good service and help with loading and unloading your luggage, please feel free to do so. As with any other business, if you aren’t given good service, do not feel like you have to tip.
Sunset House has partnered with Islandluxe Concierge Services to offer a free shuttle service to Bayshore Mall in George Town. The shuttle service is daily.
Monday – Friday & Sunday: Leave the hotel at 2:00 p.m.
Our 2:00 p.m. shuttle will also now stop at Smith’s Cove beach before carrying on to George Town. The return will be at 4:15 p.m. only.
If you would like more information, please ask at the front desk.
The front desk is available from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to arrange taxi pick up from the hotel lobby.
A public mini-bus transport system connects all districts of Grand Cayman. The buses can be identified by numbers in a colored circle. There are some bus stops along major routes, but you can flag down a passing bus at any point. When you want to get off, just let your driver know.
Fares range from CI$2 for short trips to CI$5 for longer trips to East End or Cayman Kai. If you are going to the end of the line, check with the bus driver that there will be a bus coming to pick you up, especially if you’ll be traveling back late in the afternoon.
For a small additional fee of CI$1–$3, it is possible to ask the driver to deviate a little from the bus route. Sunset House is not on a regular bus route, so just ask your driver if he will deviate from his route for a few extra dollars. We do have a local bus driver that we can call to collect from the resort on occasion.
The public bus terminal is located adjacent to the Public Library on Edward St in downtown George Town and serves as the dispatch point for buses to all districts.
Cayman public bus times (approximate):
Rates are higher in winter (from mid-December) but lower in the summer (from mid-April) and are comparable to those in the US. Vehicle options include everything from compacts to SUVs and convertibles.
Renting a car for your stay can work out better value than paying for taxis. To rent a car, drivers must have a credit card, be over the age of 25 years, and have a valid driver’s licence.
You should pay attention to dress code etiquette in the Cayman Islands, as it remains a ‘proper’ British crown colony and its residents are often conservative in dress and manners. Avoid wearing bathing suits or scanty beachwear outside of beach areas. Cover up in public areas, especially on the streets of George Town. There are no nude beaches, and public nudity, including topless bathing, is strictly prohibited by law. Visitors will want to wear smart casual tropical resort wear at most restaurants. When attending church, ‘Sunday dress’ is appropriate — that is, no shorts or t-shirts. Men don’t have to wear ties, however. Avoid profanity in public — it is very much frowned upon. Punctuality is appreciated, even if the temptation exists to observe a more relaxed ‘island time’.
Although Grand Cayman now has more than 200 licensed banks, only a handful are full-service retail banks providing customer banking services as visitors know it. These include Scotiabank, Butterfield, Royal Bank of Canada, Cayman National Bank, First Caribbean International. Regular banking hours are 9: 00 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
The Cayman Islands has its own currency, first issued in 1972, whose basic unit is the dollar, issued in notes with denominations of CI$100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 and coins valued at 25 cents, 10, 5 and 1 cent. The CI dollar has a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar of CI$1.00 equals US$1.25 or the US dollar equals CI$0.80.
There is no need for visitors to exchange their US dollars into local currency. The US dollar is accepted throughout the islands at a rate of CI$0.80 cents. Banks do not give a better rate of exchange. Please CLICK HERE for an exchange rate chart.
In addition, Automatic Teller Machines accepting VISA and MasterCard are located at numerous banks in George Town and at Owen Roberts International Airport as well as a few other locations such as grocery stores.
Many stores and operations within the Cayman Islands will quote products in Cayman Island Dollars (CI$) and American Dollars (US$). Both currencies are accepted anywhere, however change will generally be given in Cayman currency.
The water in the Cayman Islands is safe to drink. Two desalination plants on Grand Cayman supply good-quality purified tap water. Sunset House also relies on rainwater collected in cisterns, to water the lawns, plants and fill the pool. The toilets are supplied by the well here at Sunset House. Please help us in trying to conserve water.
Electricity in the Cayman Islands is 110-volt AC, so adapters or transformers are not required for U.S. and Canadian appliances. You will need to bring adapters and transformers if you’re traveling with appliances from other parts of the world. Please turn off your television, lights and air conditioning when not in use to help us conserve power.
A government tourist tax of 13% is included to your hotel bill. There is no tax on goods and services.
The Cayman Islands lie in the far Western Caribbean, closer to the equator than a lot of people realise, between latitudes 19° and 20° North. The islands are cooled by prevailing trade winds, but the sun is hot and we advise always to wear coral-friendly sunscreen, a shady hat and sunglasses. Please take the sun in small doses to avoid sunburn. Nothing ruins a great dive vacation quicker than a bad sunburn.
George Town weather is stable. Cool winter nights and hot summer days are the year-round norm; influenced only occasionally by winter storms known as Nor’westers. Summer humidity in George Town can be uncomfortable, but the cool sea breezes at night usually bring relief.
Rainfall is seasonal, from May to November, with May/June and September/October typically being the wettest months. The driest months are usually February and March.
January and February are the coolest months with daytime highs in the upper 70s to low 80s. Summer temperatures peak in July and August with daytime highs in the upper 80s to low 90s.
Sea temperatures remain steady all year round with a comfortable temperature of around 76°F – 84°F, depending on the season.
George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands, experiences a tropical marine climate. It has a wet season of warm, rainy summers and a dry season of comparatively cool winters.
Our Grand Cayman Travel Guide is almost finished now, but that’s not the end of the vacation inspiration! Check out our blogs 10 Aquatic Animals You Will Encounter in Grand Cayman and Is Stingray City in Grand Cayman Worth the Visit? for even more local insights and recommendations.
We hope you’ve found our Grand Cayman Travel Guide informative and inspirational!
If you’re ready to start making bookings for your getaway, Sunset House is here to help.