Caribbean Destination Series Part 9-Cayman Islands


 

You’ll enjoy the Cayman Islands if you’ve ever had the urge to see beneath the sea. The underwater scenery is among the best in the Caribbean, full of exotic fish, coral reefs and even the occasional stingray. The water is warm, clear and often calm—and there are plenty of places to dive or snorkel.

Be aware, however, that the Cayman Islands do not offer much in the way of geographic diversity, and just about everything costs more than it does at home. Of the three islands that make up the Caymans, Grand Cayman is the largest and the center of both the tourism and offshore banking industries. Most visitors spend at least some time there, if not their entire vacation. The heavy influx of visitors to Grand Cayman has had a homogenizing effect on that island. With its traffic, chain restaurants and T-shirt shops, you could, on occasion, mistake crowded stretches of Seven Mile Beach for parts of Florida. The other islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, get fewer visitors.

Geography

A trio of low-lying islands surrounded by vibrant coral reefs, the Cayman Islands are limestone outcroppings—the tops of a submarine mountain range called the Cayman Ridge, which extends southwest from the Sierra Maestra range off the southeastern edge of Cuba. The islands lack rivers or streams because of the porous nature of the limestone rock. This lack of runoff gives the surrounding Caribbean Sea exceptional clarity with visibility depths of more than 120 ft/37 m. The islands are located 480 mi/770 km south of Miami, Florida, and 180 mi/290 km northwest of Jamaica.

George Town, the capital, serves as the center of business and commerce and lies on Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands (76 sq mi/197 sq km). Cayman Brac is smaller (14 sq mi/36 sq km), but with a bluff that rises 140 ft/43 m above sea level, it has the most dramatic topography of all three islands. Little Cayman is the smallest of the islands (10 sq mi/26 sq km), and with its 203-acre/82-hectare Booby Pond Nature Reserve, it’s home to the Caribbean’s largest population of red-footed boobies. Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, known as the “sister islands,” lie 89 mi/143 km northeast of Grand Cayman and are separated by a channel about 7 mi/11 km wide.

History

Columbus came upon the islands in 1503, naming them Las Tortugas because their only inhabitants were vast numbers of turtles. By the mid-1500s, they were known as the Caymanas, the Carib word for crocodile. Ships—including pirate ships—frequently visited in the 1500s and 1600s, but the first settlers didn’t arrive until 1655, when deserters from the English army that was then capturing Jamaica made their way to Grand Cayman. Later arrivals also came from the British Isles—England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Slaves of African descent played a role in the islands’ development, too, although the Caymans never became lucrative plantation isles like others in the Caribbean. The slaves were emancipated in 1834, and thereafter some escaped slaves from other parts of the New World settled on the island.

Today, tourism is a large part of the economy. More than half a million people visit each year—80% are from the U.S. and Canada, but more Europeans are discovering the islands. The other big business is finance: The Caymans rank among the favorite offshore banking locales in the world. There are 446 banks based there, holding more than US$450 billion in assets. On paper, there are more than 68,000 registered companies that take advantage of the favorable tax status offered by the islands. The government opened a stock exchange in 1997.

The Cayman Islands are an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, with a governor appointed by The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, though the islands retain a largely autonomous legislature.

Snapshot

The main attractions of the Cayman Islands include scuba diving, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, beaches, shopping, good food, relaxation and investing.

If you are interested primarily in watersports, beautiful beaches and exploring duty-free stores, you’ll enjoy the Caymans. Fine dining is big in the Caymans, with a diverse nightlife that can go until 3 am. The people are friendly, the communities are safe and clean, and you won’t be harassed by roadside vendors.

Port Information
Location

Of the three islands, Grand Cayman is the only one with the capacity to host cruise ships. A US$17.5 million port facility—just 1,312 ft/400 m north of the old Port Authority dock—opened in 2007. The facility, with a 200-ft/60-m pier, can dock one or two cruise ships, and all passengers filter through a self-contained facility with immigration, tourist information, shops, restaurants, restrooms and a taxi dispatch center. Discussions about building another pier are under way, since on any given day there can be up to six cruise ships in the harbor and some passengers still need to be tendered to the terminal. In rough weather, ships may anchor off the island’s southern coast and tender passengers to Spotts, which lies about 4 mi/6 km from George Town. (Cruise ships are banned from anchoring in Spotts Bay.) Taxis or buses then transport passengers to George Town for shopping and to the various attractions.

The main tourist information office is at the Regatta Office Park, Leeward 2, West Bay Road (opposite the Westin Hotel). It’s open Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5 pm. Phone 345-949-0623. There is also a small information booth at the cruise ship terminal.

Shore Excursions

Consider signing up for the excursions offered by your ship. They may not be the least expensive way to see the islands, but you won’t have to waste time making arrangements yourself—and you won’t have to worry about missing the ship. With the exception of a visit to Boatswain Beach—home of the Cayman Turtle Farm—or a round of golf, most trips take you offshore to explore the spectacular coral and fish (in a submersible vessel or glass-bottomed boat or, for certified divers, with scuba gear). There’s also the option of a party cruise. Shoppers will be delighted with the countless duty-free shops especially around George Town. Check with your ship’s shore-excursion staff or your travel agent for additional information.

Potpourri

During the Hurricane of 1932, residents of Cayman Brac sought shelter in the many caves on the island. The caves saved many lives then, as they did during Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. Ivan ranks second in the islands’ most devastating hurricanes.

The national flower is the wild banana orchid. These small, scented flowers with purple tips bloom after May and June rains. More than two dozen varieties of orchids grow in the Cayman Islands, including five found nowhere else in the world. Some are reportedly so small they can’t be seen without a magnifying glass.

Most visitors pronounce the name Cayman with the accent on the first syllable. Though they won’t tell you it’s wrong, most islanders pronounce it Cay-MAN. Also, Caymanians usually refer to their homeland simply as Cayman, rather than “the Cayman Islands” or “the Caymans.”

Residents from the sister islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, find it offensive when visitors or the international media refer to the islands as “The Grand Cayman Islands.”

More than 140 different nationalities are represented in Cayman. The majority of the population is Caymanian, Jamaican, British, American, Canadian, Philippine and various South American nationalities.

See & Do
Sightseeing

Cayman Brac is the best island for hikes and a little climbing on your sightseeing journey. With a bluff that rises to 140 ft/43 m at East End, you can climb the natural steps up to Peter’s Cave and then continue on to the lighthouse—the highest point in the Cayman Islands.

Sightseeing on Little Cayman is best done on a bicycle or in a Jeep. Make sure to stop at the Booby Pond Nature Reserve, and take the unmarked side roads, which usually lead to great deserted beaches.

On Grand Cayman, it’s probably best to invest in a full- or half-day tour of the island that takes you to all the main attractions—Hell, the Turtle Farm, Seven Mile Beach, downtown shopping, the National Museum, Pedro Castle, East End’s blowholes and Wreck of the Ten Sails Historical Park, and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park in North Side. Of course, you can always do it yourself with a good map and a rental car. Do visit the world-famous Stingray City for a half- or full day and plan to see the sights below water on one or two dives. Try a sunset cruise, too, preferably on the Jolly Roger, where you can enjoy a fabulous sunset on a pirate ship, complete with pirates and complimentary drinks. For a bird’s-eye view of Grand Cayman, try a helicopter tour.

Note: Gambling is illegal in the Cayman Islands, so there are no casinos. In keeping with this law, cruise ships must also close their casinos while in Cayman waters.

Recreation

Recreation opportunities include scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, fishing, caving, bird-watching and nature-trail hikes. There are also some watersports activities such as kayaking through the mangroves in the North Sound and Jet Skiing off Seven Mile Beach. There are no golf courses on Cayman Brac or Little Cayman, but golfing is a huge must on Grand Cayman.

Although Seven Mile Beach is probably the main attraction on Grand Cayman, smaller beaches, such as Smith Cove in South Sound, Spotts Beach in Spotts and Cemetery Beach in West Bay, offer a little more peace and quiet. Snorkeling at Smith Cove is particularly good. You should also take your snorkel and fins out to Hamburger Reef off the waterfront—its name is an indication of the various colors and formations you’ll see.

Horseback riding on secluded beaches has become a popular activity on Grand Cayman, as well as parasailing for some spectacular panoramic views of Seven Mile Beach. Tennis courts can be used on many properties with a nominal fee for nonguests. Though there is no official marina in the Cayman Islands, a yacht club is located on West Bay Road.

Shopping

You’ll find a small variety of Caribbean crafts and products, including crochet work, paintings and sketches of Caribbean scenes, thatch work, pepper sauces, Caymanite (the islands’ own semiprecious stone), jewelry, sculpture and wood carvings. Most of the items are not made in Cayman, except for the Caymanite jewelry and sculptures. Antiques and treasure-coin jewelry attract an enthusiastic clientele, though these items can be expensive.

You may see items made from black coral and sea-turtle products, but we urge you not to buy them: Both the coral and the turtles are endangered, and each sale encourages more of these rare species to be harvested. (The gathering of black coral is done in the waters of other countries—it’s prohibited in the Caymans.) The importation of turtle products is illegal in most countries.

Shopping Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5 pm, Saturday 8:30 am-12:30 pm. Most George Town businesses lock up tight after noon on Saturday, unless there is a cruise ship in port. Some shops stay open until 9 pm on weeknights. All businesses are closed on Sunday (with the exception of cruise ships days), except gas stations, restaurants and dive shops.

Itinerary
Day By Day

To get a look at more than one island, we recommend the eight-day itinerary below. Veteran divers—or those wishing to avoid the busy atmosphere of Grand Cayman—may want to go straight to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac.

Day 1—Arrive on Grand Cayman.

Day 2—Do whatever appeals to you on Seven Mile Beach—parasailing, waterskiing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, windsurfing or simply sunbathing.

Day 3—Rent a car and spend the day driving around the island to see some of the sights. First, head west to Hell and the Turtle Farm. Then, drive up to North Side and around the exclusive Cayman Kai neighborhood, where luxury beach houses sit side-by-side. Have lunch at the Kaibo and relax on the beach or rent a Jet Ski or kayak. Stop by the Pirate Caves in Bodden Town and see the natural blowholes. Watch the sunset from your hotel balcony. Have dinner at a restaurant of your choice. Many are within walking distance.

Day 4—Rise early, shop in George Town and visit the museum. Walk through the Hero’s Park in the town center, which is surrounded by the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly and Courthouse buildings. Take an exciting Atlantis Submarine tour of Grand Cayman’s underwater scenery or the more intimate Bubble Sub run by Cayman Submariners. Have lunch on the Breezes’ balcony overlooking the harbor or on Paradise’s patio with its view of visiting cruise ships.

Days 5-7—Fly to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. Spend a day and a night on each island.

Day 8—Depart the Cayman Islands.

If time permits, add a few more days on the sister islands.

Dining
Dining Overview

Caymanian dishes have many of the same ingredients you’ll find throughout the Caribbean, except one dish—turtle stew. Supplied to local restaurants by the Turtle Farm, turtle stew is a local delicacy.

Delicious, fresh seafood is always available. Try a serving of lobster or fish complemented by breadfruit, yams, cassava, rice and peas, and other West Indian side dishes. Conch, also a local favorite, is served marinated, stewed or frittered. Finish your meal with a slice of rum cake or of one of the island’s local heavy cakes, made from yam, pumpkin or cassava. Most restaurants serve imported wine and champagne, as well as beer. Stingray Beer is the only beer brewed locally. Do try a cocktail made with one of the many Cayman Islands Tortuga Rum flavors.

Your dining options depend on where you are in the Cayman Islands. Be prepared for a limited selection of restaurants on the two smaller islands. On Cayman Brac, Captain’s Table is the best on the island, featuring a diverse menu ranging from pastas and salads to steaks and hamburgers. There’s also a fun bar outside to hang out at before or after dinner. Just down the road are the two main hotels on the island, Divi Tiara Beach and Brac Reef. These also have outdoor bars and are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Five minutes away is Aunt Sha’s restaurant, where the menu of local dishes changes daily. On the north side, check out La Esperanza restaurant in the Watering Place district for local dishes and jerk chicken in the evening. On Little Cayman, the hotel eateries and The Hungry Iguana by the airport are the only choices in town, serving informal buffet-style meals featuring North American and theme-night food.

But Grand Cayman—the tourism center—is one of the best places to eat in the Caribbean. The restaurants and snack bars offer everything from elegant fine dining to fast food, so there’s something for every budget. You can also reduce your food expenditures by cooking for yourself if you’re staying in a condominium. Grocery stores are all well-stocked, and you can always buy fresh fish from local anglers at the waterfront in George Town or in the groceries’ fresh seafood sections.

Security
Personal Safety

Although some petty crime exists on Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands as a whole rate among the safest destinations in the Caribbean. Following general precautions should help keep you out of trouble: Lock your car and hotel room, and keep an eye on valuables such as cameras and jewelry. Pickpockets are practically nonexistent, and you will never see beggars.

For the latest information, contact your country’s travel-advisory agency.

Health

Food and water are safe to consume, even from street vendors, because of regular health inspections. Ask your doctor about a vaccination for hepatitis, but it’s not required to enter the Cayman Islands. A bottle of household vinegar is helpful for easing the stings of jellyfish, sea urchins and other marine animals. There are mosquitoes, so take along an insect repellent containing deet. Be sure to pack sunscreen and sunglasses with UV protection, as well as aloe vera. Remember to drink plenty of water since the humidity gets quite high in the summer months.

Divers should take precautions not to get the bends while diving. Although the Cayman Islands Hospital in Grand Cayman has a dive recompression chamber, prevention is always better than cure. The bends—nitrogen narcosis—are easy to avoid if you watch your diving time and depths carefully, stay within the safe diving tables, avoid dehydration and try to get a good night’s sleep before you dive.

For more information, contact your country’s health-advisory agency.

Dos & Don’ts

Do enjoy the Cayman Islands’ high-quality drinking water, but don’t waste it. All the water comes from a desalinization plant—the islands have no natural sources of freshwater.

Don’t plan to sunbathe nude—it’s against the law in the Cayman Islands.

Don’t expect to party until dawn on a Saturday night—all bars and clubs shut down at 11:45 pm because it is illegal to sell alcohol from midnight till about noon on Sunday.

Do not light up inside a public place, including bars, restaurants, stores and bus terminals. It is illegal—smoking is allowed only in open outdoor spaces that are at least 10 ft/3 m from smoke-free areas.

Do drive on the left.

Do visit the sister islands for a day or two.

Do brake for iguanas on Little Cayman: They have the right-of-way.

Do take a kayak out to the deserted Owen’s Island in the middle of the reef on Little Cayman.

Do go to the top of the bluff on Cayman Brac for a panoramic view of the island and the ocean.

Do contribute to the informal decor of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman by painting your name and hometown on a piece of driftwood. These homemade signs add to the charm of the small hotels.

Hotels
Hotel Overview

Accommodations on Grand Cayman range from first-class hotels to apartments, condominiums and small local hotels. Most of the properties are on the leeward (sheltered from the wind) side of the island, along Seven Mile Beach. Some, such as Sunset House, cater specifically to divers. An umbrella organization, Cayman Villas, also rents private villas on Grand Cayman.

Accommodations on the two smaller islands are very limited, so don’t go without a reservation. Cayman Brac has a handful of hotels. There are also a few nice condos and a couple of villas and guesthouses. Little Cayman has a few hotels—all of which have dive packages—plus a couple of guesthouses and villas.

Facts
Geostats

Passport/Visa Requirements: All U.S. citizens must have a passport when traveling by air to or from Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Mexico. Citizens of Canada, Mexico and the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda also must have a passport or other designated secure document to enter the U.S.Passports are required for land crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the U.S. and for cruise passengers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada or Bermuda. Proof of sufficient funds and onward passage required. Reconfirm travel-document requirements with your carrier prior to departure.

In addition to a US$25 departure fee for anyone age 12 and older, there is a US$16 passenger facilities charge for international visitors departing the Cayman Islands. Both fees are added to the cost of the airline ticket.

Population: 46,600.

Languages: English, Spanish (taught in schools).

Predominant Religions: Christian.

Time Zone: 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed.

Voltage Requirements: 110 volts.

Telephone Codes: 345, country code;

Money
Currency Exchange

The official currency is the Cayman Islands dollar (CI$), but the U.S. dollar, with a fixed rate of exchange, is widely used and accepted everywhere. You will, however, invariably receive your change in Caymanian currency. The CI$ rate is freely convertible and tied to the US$ at the midrate of CI$1 = US$1.20. Plenty of banks exchange currency, and all have ATMs.

Banks are usually open Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm. Your hotel may also exchange currency, but check to see that its rate is equivalent to the bank rate. Be sure to exchange any leftover Cayman dollars before you leave, because it’s almost impossible to convert them at the same rate outside the islands.

The American Express office is in the Elizabethan Square complex opposite Barclays Bank on Shedden Road. Phone 345-949-8755.

Taxes

There is no local sales tax, but visitors pay a 10% Tourism Accommodation Tax where applicable.

Tipping

Tip 15% in hotels and restaurants if a service charge has not been added to the bill. Most hotels and many restaurants automatically add a service charge of 10%-15%, but some do not—if you’re not sure, ask. Do tip your dive master or dive instructor—about 10% is standard.

Weather

East winds and moderate temperatures make the climate pleasant year-round. Average daytime temperatures range from the mid-70s to mid-80s F/23-30 C but do climb into the low 90s F/32-35 C on occasion during the summer months. Rain falls primarily during hurricane season (July-November); the wettest months are September-November. The best diving conditions are in the summer (warmest water, best visibility and calmest seas). No matter when you go, take a light sweater for the evenings and a waterproof Windbreaker for boat trips.

What to Wear

Modest dress is expected in the business district of Grand Cayman—which means no swimwear in town. Aside from this restriction, casual summer clothing is recommended year-round, day and night. Most restaurants require shoes and a T-shirt if you are going straight from the beach. During the winter months (especially January-March) take a light sweater. Some restaurants are quite smart, and you will want to dress up a little for them. If you’re spending time on a boat, a waterproof Windbreaker will come in handy if the sea turns choppy.

Communication
Telephone

The phone system is excellent. No city code is needed when dialing locally, even between islands. To avoid the high cost of placing an international call from your hotel, consider purchasing a phone card. These cards are widely available from stores and supermarkets and work in any public phone.

Internet Access

Wireless Internet access is available in most coffee shops and major hotels. Other Internet hot spots include the public library and post office. They all charge about the same amount—US$5 per hour. In the West Shore Centre on West Bay Road, the Internet cafe PC Powerhouse has about 40 flat-screen computers hooked up with ADSL. It is open Monday-Saturday 9 am-10 pm, Sunday 10 am-10 pm (phone 345-946-1818). You can also get online at your hotel, but check the cost of doing so first. It may be quite expensive.

Mail & Package Services

The main post office on Grand Cayman is at the intersection of Edward Street, Cardinal Avenue and Shedden Road. Post offices can also be found in most other districts, including a convenient location in the West Shore Centre on West Bay Road. Opening hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5 pm.

Newspapers & Magazines

The Caymanian Compass and the Cayman Net News (a broadsheet newspaper) are both published Monday-Friday, and the Cayman Observer, a weekly newspaper, focuses more on the business community.

Those searching out places to go and things to do can check any of the following tourist-oriented magazines: Destination Cayman, Key to Cayman, Activity Guide and Horizons Magazine. Specifically aimed at the culinary scene on Grand Cayman, Good Taste magazine offers the most complete guide to eating out.

Other options include Grand Cayman Magazine, which profiles community figureheads, and New Resident magazine, a meticulously researched and complete, unbiased guide to the Cayman Islands and what it takes to live, work and become a Cayman resident. You’ll likely have to ask for this magazine because it is targeted at people who want to relocate to Cayman.

Transportation
Air

Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM) is 1 mi/1.6 km east of George Town on Grand Cayman. Most major international and regional airlines fly into the Cayman Islands, including Delta, American Airlines, US Airways, Northwest, Air Canada, Air Jamaica and British Airways. Expansion work is under way at the airport and expected to be completed by 2009. The development will double the size of the current facility as well as add three aircraft parking positions and four air bridges. Travel between islands is by Cayman Airways.

Cayman Airways has a few flights from Miami directly to Cayman Brac, but reaching Little Cayman, which has only a grass runway, requires a stop on one of the other islands. We do not recommend trying to travel all the way to Little Cayman in one day. Stopping in Grand Cayman, or even the Brac, for one night will make the trip a lot more enjoyable. Phone 345-949-7811. http://www.caymanairports.com.

Bus

Small public buses (called Omni-Buses—usually small Japanese minivans) operate on Grand Cayman. There are few designated bus stops, but you can hail or wave a bus down from the side of the road. Most buses can only carry 14 passengers, so if it is full, it cannot stop and will drive past. Most single bus journeys cost no more than US$3. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have no regular bus service.

Car

Rental cars are available on all three islands. Local companies don’t offer any appreciable savings over rates posted by the big-name firms.

Island roads are in good repair. Local driving habits reflect the Caymanians’ friendly attitude—most offer the right-of-way to tourists. Remember, driving is on the left. Roundabouts can be a little confusing—and there are a lot of them. Remember to drive around these in a clockwise direction and give way to traffic on the right. Once on the roundabout, do not stop to let other cars from the left enter the roundabout in front of you. Getting around all three islands is pretty simple, because there is just one main road on each that travels from one end to the other.

Grand Cayman has undergone an enormous road-building and resurfacing drive, which has created many new roundabouts and roads. The government earmarked CI$100 million for this effort.

Taxi

Taxis are excellent for short jaunts or full-island excursions. On the small islands, don’t expect quick service: The driver may well be working another job in addition to driving a cab. Rates are fixed, but the total price will vary by the size of your group and your sightseeing plans. Agree on a price (and whether you’ll be paying in U.S. or Cayman dollars) before getting in. Generally, however, taxis are quite expensive, and if you plan on doing some exploring, it is worth renting a car.

Other

Bicycles and scooters can be rented at several shops on Grand Cayman. Bicycles are available on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Little Cayman is the best place for easy, quiet and safe bike rides around the island.

For More Information

Tourist Offices

Cayman Islands: Cayman Islands Tourism Office, Regatta Office Park, Leeward 2, West Bay Road, Grand Cayman (mail address: P.O. Box 67, GT, Grand Cayman, B.W.I.). Phone 345-949-0623. Fax 345-949-4053. http://www.caymanislands.ky.

Canada: Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, 2 Bloor St. W., Suite 700, Toronto, ON M4W 3R1. Phone 416-485-1550 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              416-485-1550      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Toll-free 800-263-5805 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800-263-5805      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Fax 416-972-5071.

U.S.: Cayman Islands Tourism Office, Doral Center, 8300 N.W. 53rd St., Suite 103, Miami, FL 33166. Phone 305-599-9033 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              305-599-9033      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Fax 305-599-3766.

Embassies of the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are represented by the U.K.

Canada: British High Commission, 80 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5K7. Phone 613-237-1530 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              613-237-1530      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Fax 613-237-7980. http://www.britain-in-canada.org.

U.S.: Embassy of the United Kingdom, 3100 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20008. Phone 202-588-7800 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              202-588-7800      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Fax 202-588-7850. http://www.britainusa.com/consular/embassy/embassy.asp.

Foreign Embassies Serving the Cayman Islands

Canada: Canada is represented by its embassy in Jamaica: Canadian High Commission, 3 W. Kings House Road, Kingston 10, Phone 876-926-1500. Fax 876-511-3493. http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/jamaica/menu-e.asp.

U.S.: The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica has consular responsibility for the Cayman Islands: U.S. Embassy, Jamaica Mutual Life Center, Third Floor, 2 Oxford Road, Kingston 5. Phone 876-929-4850. Fax 876-935-6018. There is a consular agent in Grand Cayman who can provide limited assistance. The agency is located in the offices of Adventure Travel, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman. Phone 345-946-1611. Fax 345-945-1811.

Recommended Guidebooks

Adventure Guide to the Cayman Islands by Paris Permenter and John Bigley (Hunter Publishing). The ultimate island discovery guide to Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, this book offers the nuts-and-bolts information you need, combined with all the new experiences you can enjoy in the islands.

Additional Reading

Far Tortuga by Peter Matthiessen (Random House). Written in the local patois, this eloquent novel recounts a voyage of Caymanian turtle fishermen through the Caribbean Sea.

Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas by Paul Humann and Ned Deloach (New World Publications). If you’re at all curious about what you see underwater, this guide is a must-have. It is worth it for the pictures alone.

NORTHSTAR Travel Media, LLC. ©2010 All rights reserved. 

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