The Cayman Islands: What Makes Them Unique?

The Cayman Islands offer plenty of British-style culture as a British Overseas Territory. This trio of Caribbean islands is a paradise with a capital ‘P’! Stingray City is a picturesque spot where snorkeling boats stop to let visitors swim with stingrays. Other Cayman Islands attractions include a pristine reef that offers amazing marine life and a booming diving scene.

A Family-Friendly Environment

The Cayman Islands are a true melting pot, with citizens from all over the world. The islands have a stronger relationship with Jamaica and Britain than with the United States. The country has a low crime rate, and the government is very transparent, allowing you to visit confidently. The Cayman Islands also have many family-friendly activities, including snorkeling, shopping, and enjoying local cuisine.

For example, if your kids love seafood, the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean will impress them with amazing food from all over the globe. In addition to straight-from-the-water fish, they’ll find delicious dishes like conch soup, ackee and saltfish, and cassava cake.

Other family-friendly activities include visiting a skate park designed by famous skater Tony Hawk, where visitors can learn to ride scooters, BMX bikes, and skateboards on over 50,000 square feet of concrete vert ramps and bowls. Or, they can explore the island’s wilder side at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and learn about Cayman’s ties to flora and fauna, which include preserving near-extinct species such as the endangered Blue Iguana.

Stunning Beaches

It’s hard to imagine a more stunning sight when sailing in the Grand Cayman Islands. The sand shimmers in bands of the palest aqua to the richest cobalt, and the sea glistens with all shades in between. The islands have quickly entered the 21st century, yet they are committed to maintaining a balance between holding onto the spirit and simplicity of the past while still forging ahead.

A good example is the non-profit Cayman National Cultural Foundation, which oversees a variety of aspects related to the arts. Family outings to the beach on Sunday are a big part of Cayman culture. Often, these involve eating turtle stew, as the islands’ abundant supply of these creatures prompted Columbus to name them Las Tortugas, the turtles.

You can try this local delicacy by visiting a restaurant that offers turtle stew and other local dishes, such as fried lionfish with breadfruit salad. Other local traditions include storytelling and music. Several kitchen bands perform, and the annual Gimme Story festival occurs towards the year’s end.

World-Class Snorkeling

The Cayman Islands is one of the world’s top snorkeling destinations. The area is a haven for underwater exploration thanks to the crystal-clear water, abundant coral reefs, and marine life. It’s also home to several shipwrecks and marine parks. Snorkeling is free in Grand Cayman except at the USS Kittiwake shipwreck, where you must pay a CI$4 entrance fee (approval from a dive company required).

It’s best to snorkel responsibly: touching coral can cause damage that could take years to repair. Those who prefer to stay closer to land will find amazing reefs off Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac beaches. You can even visit Stingray City, where many snorkeling boats stop at a large sandbar to let you swim among a swarm of stingrays.

The Cayman Islands have a rich culture that is rooted in the sea. That’s evident from the fish-eating, coconut-snapping locals to the thatch-weaving practitioners who keep Caribbean traditions alive. This area is home to several endangered animal and plant species, including the tiniest orchid in the world. It’s also a hub for international finance, and dozens of the country’s largest banks are registered here.

A Low-Key Culture

The Cayman Islands are the ideal location for anyone looking to unwind. There is a place for everyone to find their calm here, whether that looks like putting your feet in the sand and getting a massage while listening to the waves outside as the perfect background music or it looks like holding a conference call from an opulent resort room. The islands’ culture blends local traditions with American and British behavior patterns.

Handshaking is the standard greeting, and hugs are reserved for close friends and family. People are often introduced by their surname (such as Ebanks or Bodden), but you’ll also hear first names. Business is conducted with high professionalism, and the Cayman Islands are a tax haven — you don’t pay individual income taxes in this Caribbean paradise.

A diverse population contributes to a rich culture with a vibrant art scene. Local artists are recognized for their talent and creativity, and the Cayman National Cultural Foundation is a strong champion of artistic expression. A yearly event, Pirate’s Week, celebrates the islands’ rich history with sea pirates and features a mock pirate invasion along Seven Mile Beach.

A Rich History

On his fourth and final voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus discovered the Cayman Islands when a change in wind blew his ship off course. He described two small and low islands full of sea turtles, thus earning the name “Las Tortugas.” The maritime tradition has left a lasting mark on the culture, with Caymanians cherishing independence, the spirit of enterprise, and an aptitude for hard work. It is evident today in the high quality of life enjoyed by residents.

The ease of living, backed by world-class service providers and a highly regulated financial services industry, helps make the Cayman Islands one of the world’s top places to do business. The simple pleasures of island living are also highly valued, with various activities available to satisfy all interests.

In addition, the Cayman Islands’ strong international ties with the United States and Jamaica and its proximity to the United Kingdom make it an ideal place for businesses to operate. It’s no wonder the Cayman Islands is a preferred tax haven for the wealthy worldwide.

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