Grand Cayman is one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands we’ve visited. It also has a lot to offer: unique landscapes, a wide variety of activities, top-notch restaurants, and so much more. After spending multiple days exploring the island, we wanted to share the top things to know about Grand Cayman:
What to Know Before You Go:
Curious how many cruise ships will be in port? You can check in advance.
Visiting the island by cruise ship? You may be interested in knowing how many other cruise ship passengers will be sharing excursions with you on your day at port. Flying to the island? You may want to plan your vacation around the cruise ship crowds. You can check the Cayman port authority website to see the cruise ship schedule and approximately how many passengers will be on board!
Credit cards are widely accepted.
We found that pretty much every store, tour company, restaurant, and bar on the island accepted credit card.
The only major exception we heard to this was with the ferry between Camana Bay, Kaibo Yacht Club, and Rum Point (we’re told it’s $25 roundtrip and cash only). Some taxis may also require cash. Otherwise, pay with credit earn rewards points toward your next vacation!
Payment is accepted in either Cayman Island or U.S. dollars.
Grand Cayman readily accepts U.S. money for payment and some stores (especially near the port) actually list their prices in U.S. You do not have to worry about exchanging your money if you have U.S. cash.
But… if you pay with U.S. dollars, you will get change in Cayman Island dollars.
This didn’t impact us as we paid with credit card throughout our stay and never used cash. However, we did hear some other travelers discussing this so thought it might be important to note.
Food and drinks are pricey.
There are two reasons that prices seem high in Grand Cayman. First, prices are slightly higher for food and drinks than in the U.S. This assumes average pricing. If you live in Miami or New York, you will probably find the prices to be comparable.
Secondly, the U.S. dollar is not as strong as the Cayman Island dollar, so expect to pay about 20% more when the currency is converted.
Gratuity is almost always added.
Practically every bar and restaurant we visited added an automatic 15% gratuity but there were just a couple exceptions. Make sure you check your bill and you’ll usually see a note if gratuity is not added.
Driving is on the left side of the road.
If you’re planning to rent a car, you’ll be driving on the left side of the road. A visitor’s permit is required to drive in Grand Cayman, and it can be obtained through your car rental agency.
You may want to ask your car rental agency to ensure a vehicle with the steering wheel on the right side of the car. Some agencies offer cars with the steering wheel on the left and it may confuse you into driving on the wrong side.
One other note: there are a lot of roundabouts in Grand Cayman and they can be several lanes wide. Familiarize yourself with the rules of roundabouts so you don’t cut off a driver that is already inside the circle. (Another driver may have the right away to exit from the middle lane of the roundabout if they are already inside.)
Speaking of driving: the windshield wipers & turn signal will be on opposite sides in your rental car.
This was a hilarious joke throughout our trip with us making a bet each morning on how many times WC would hit the windshield wipers on accident. We joked about it with several other visitors, too. You’ll probably get a hang of it just in time to head home!
Electrical outlets are the same as the U.S./Canada.
If you’re traveling to Grand Cayman from the U.S. or Canada, you don’t need to worry about bringing an adapter for electric outlets. The voltage is
110-120 volts AC at a frequency of 60 Hz. These outlets are also referred to as Type A & Type B.
Tap water is safe to drink.
You don’t need to worry about whether the tap water could make you sick. The water in Grand Cayman is desalinated and safe to drink. You’d actually be doing a disservice by drinking bottled water because it contributes to more plastic waste.
Bonus: Locals pronounce Cayman as “Kay-man” not “Kay-men.”
We had always pronounced the island as Grand Cay-“men” and still find ourselves saying it that way. However, in listening to the radio and in talking with locals, they all pronounce it as Cay-“man.”