Home Port List Blog Create a Review Contact Search

Grand Cayman Basics

Cayman Islands Flag

Basics   History   Maps   Excursions   On Your Own   Videos
Green Bar

Grand Cayman

Fast Facts: Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman, located in the western Caribbean north west of Jamaica, is blessed with clean turquoise beaches, abundant sun, duty free shopping and some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean.

With a population of around 50,000 people, the Cayman Islands is one of the most prosperous territories in the Caribbean. George Town, the capital of the islands, is located on Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands.

The economy of the Cayman Islands is based on tourism and offshore banking and finance. Over the last 40 years, the islands have grown to become the world's fifth largest financial center.

The Caymans enjoy a vibrant tourist trade, having played host to a total of around 2 million visitors in 2014. It is also the second most popular cruise ship destination in the Western Caribbean, with just under 2 million cruise ship passengers expected to arrive in 2015.

Being in the tropics, the weather is always warm and inviting. The average winter high season temperature is around 79° F, while the summer season temperatures average about 8° warmer. The water is always warm. Cool trade winds blow in from the west, providing some respite from the intense sun. But the Caymans are located smack in the middle of the Hurricane Belt, making them a target from June through November.

Grand Cayman map

First Impressions

Seven Mile Beach

Three words can pretty much sum up the Cayman Islands: sun, sea and wealth. A British Crown Colony, you'll find you'll find a little bit of Britain here: they drive on the left, they drink good English beer, and there is a societal conservatism that is redolent of a colonial past. As your ship approaches George Town, the capital, you'll pass by Seven Mile beach, one of the most beautiful of the Caribbean beaches and the main tourist resort area.

Your ship will drop anchor off of George Town, which is on the west side of Grand Cayman, and you will transit to shore via the Port of George Town's speedy tenders. It'll take about 10 to 15 minutes to get ashore. All shore excursions commence from the George Town Cruise Ship docks, which are adjacent to downtown George Town. There are actually three docks in George Town (but they're all located close together): the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal, the North Terminal and the South Terminal. If you arrive at a particular dock or Terminal, you'll depart back to your ship from that same Terminal.

The main things to do here have to do with the sea and the reef that surround the islands. Some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean can be found off of Grand Cayman. Dive sites can be found on the western, southern and eastern parts of Grand Cayman. If you've never had an up close and personal interaction with stingrays, this is the place to do it. On Grand Cayman, you can even go to Hell, and write home about it! And since the Caymans have no direct taxation, shopping here can be an adventure in itself.

The Cayman Islands is a prosperous place. The Territory has a per capita GNP of $43.8K, providing Caymanians a standard of living comparable to that of Switzerland, and just below that of the United States. The Territory's thriving financial sector has attracted a large expatriate population; out of the total population of 55,500, fully 44% are expats. It's also an expensive place to live and visit, because it's an island, and over 90% of consumer goods are imported.

Tourism is a mainstay of the Caymans, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings. The overnight tourist industry is aimed at the luxury market and caters mainly to visitors from North America. Total tourist arrivals were just below 2 million in 2014, with over 80% of visitors coming via cruise ships, and 75% coming from the US and Canada.

The tendering of cruise ship passengers ashore wasn't a big problem in years past, what with smaller ships (and their smaller passenger loads) visiting the island. However, the advent of mega cruise ships with passenger capacities exceeding 5,000 guests has led the cruise lines to press for the installation of docking facilities. This would mean dredging the coral reefs off of George Town, and the ecological damage could be significant. Nonetheless, construction of the new $190 million terminal was authorized by the island's Cabinet in October, 2015.

Visitors should be aware that the Cayman Islands remains a "proper" British Crown Colony, and the locals are conservative by nature. The Cayman Islands Government strictly prohibits all forms of public nudity, so please don't wear bathing suits or scanty beach wear beyond the beach or your cruise ship, and make sure to cover up when in public areas. Neat, casual and comfortable tropical attire is appropriate throughout the Cayman Islands.

Interview with "Grand Cayman Insider" Richard McKee

In this section, we interview a Grand Cayman local for his thoughts on visiting the island, what to do and what to see when you make your way to this tropical paradise.

Richard McKee, the owner of the bicycle rental and tour company West Bay Loop, grew up in Ireland and started traveling in his late 20s. He always hired a bike when on the road, so starting up West Bay Loop was a natural when he moved to Grand Cayman. His two rules of biking are "always bike in flip flops and always be in a bar by two in the afternoon. It works for me..." West Bay Loop is modeled on the best bike tour operations he used when biking in Europe, as "they really know how to do things properly." Sporting a 100% safety record, West Bay Loop is a customer-focused enterprise. "I love to see our customers' faces when they see all the Kite Surfers when we're riding up in Barkers Park. Our customers also get a kick out of meeting the locals, and I have to say they are wonderful. If our customers aren't having fun, we're not having fun." Richard lives in West Bay with his Irish wife Carey and their red haired three year old Izabella.

CruisePortInsider: What brought you to Grand Cayman?

Richard: I am an old traveler from the 90s and I used to call into Cayman to see my Irish friends before hitting the road in South and Central America. I have been living in West Bay off and on since 1993.

"I can't say that I've been to Grand Cayman unless I ..."

... unless you have taken a swim with the Stingrays, dived the wreck of the Kittiwake, taken a bike ride through the West Bay and sampled the rum cocktails at Calico Jacks musicians' jam night on Seven Mile Beach.

Can I still enjoy Grand Cayman if it's raining?

If it's raining I recommend the Cayman National Museum and Art Gallery and drinking a few pints of Guinness in Fidel Murphy's bar on Seven Mile Beach.

Any suggestions on shopping in town?

For value shopping try the local stores on the edge of George Town; also Camana Bay has some really good quality shops.

For something really unique, what do you suggest I do?

If you're looking for a truly unique experience, charter a yacht with Neil Galway and Sail Cayman charters; it's unbeatable.

What do you suggest for a "Great Taste" of Grand Cayman?

For a great taste of Cayman the Wahoo Ceviche at the Cracked Conch in West Bay is the best, served with fennel, garlic bread and a cold beer ... aaaaaah!

West Bay Loop

What to Do in Grand Cayman


Grand Cayman On Your Own

If you're looking for what you can do On Your Own in Grand Cayman--like Food, Shopping, Bars, Activities and Attractions, click here for our Grand Cayman On Your Own page.

The Top 10 Things to Do in Grand Cayman

So it's your first time in Grand Cayman? Or your fifth? Want to make the most of your visit? Well, click here for our list of the Top 10 Things to Do in Grand Cayman.

Cruise Line Shore Excursions on Grand Cayman

Most of the cruise lines' activities in Grand Cayman revolve around fun in the sun, going to Hell, Scuba diving, and swimming with the stingrays and turtles. You'll also find some great shopping opportunities in George Town. Have fun!

Click on any of the tiles below to see the Shore Excursions offered by the Big 6 cruise lines.

Beach & Sailing Tours Bicycling Tour City tour
Garden Tour Diving Tour Dolphin Tours
Helicopter Tours Food and Drink tour Golf Tour
Scenic Tours Stingray City Tours Turtle Farm Tours

Time Zone

The Cayman Islands are on Eastern Time, five hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time. The Caymans do not recognize Daylight Savings Time.

Cayman Islands flag George Town Local Time


English is universally spoken in the Caymans; you'll also find a small number of residents speaking Spanish as well.

Dealing with Money in the Cayman Islands


Cayman dollar

The Cayman Islands Dollar is the Cayman Islands' official currency, and uses the "$" sign to denote the Cayman Dollar amount. Banknotes come in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $25, $50 and $100 Cayman dollars. Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 25 cents.

The current Cayman Dollar/US Dollar exchange rate is as follows:

Banks and ATMs

Cayman National Bank has ATM machines found throughout the downtown area of George Town. They dispense both US dollars and Cayman Islands dollars. ATM machines in the city can be found at the following locations:

  • Cayman National Bank: CNB has 18 ATM locations throughout the island; those located nearest tourist sites include on Edwards Street, in downtown George Town; at the Countryside Savannah Shopping Center, near Pedro St. James Historic Site; and at the Texaco Star Mart at 142 Eastern Avenue, George Town.

  • Royal Bank of Canada: 24 Shedden Road, George Town, and on West Bay Road in the Queen's Court Plaza, Seven Mile Beach.

  • CIBC Bank & Trust: on Edwards Street, in George Town.

  • Barclay's Bank: on Shedden Road, in George Town.

Grand Cayman ATM Map

Map icon

To see the locations of Grand Cayman's ATMs, see our Grand Cayman ATM map.

Using US Dollars in Cayman Islands

There is no need to exchange US dollars into local currency. The US dollar is accepted throughout the islands at a rate of one US dollar equaling CI$ 0.80.


Smith Cove

The Cayman Islands lie in the far Western Caribbean in the equatorial tropics. The islands are cooled by prevailing trade winds, but like Hawaii, the sun is intense and you can burn easily. Make sure you always wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.

The Caymans have two seasons, Winter and Summer. Winter lasts from November through the end of April, with an average daytime temperature of 79° F. The winter water temperature averages around 80° F. The summer months extend from May through October, and enjoy an average daytime temperature of 87° F. During the summer months, the water averages a balmy 84° F.

The rainy season starts in May and lasts through October, with the two wettest months being May and October. Showers are generally short. March and April are usually the driest months. The average annual rainfall is about 56 inches.

The Caymans lie in the Caribbean hurricane belt, and hurricane season extends from June through November.

Average Temperatures

Average Precipitation

Keeping In Touch

Internet Access on Grand Cayman

George Town is a well-wired place, so finding free Wi-Fi or Internet Cafes is not a problem.

Wi-Fi Hotspots in Downtown Georgetown

Here are a few suggestions for finding free Wi-Fi in downtown George Town:

  • Cafe del Sol, located at the Bayshore Mall near the cruise ship pier. Coffee house with an ocean view. Open from Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm; Sunday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Phone: (345) 946-2233.

  • Daily Grind, located on Edward Street, above Corita's Copper Kettle. Features an assortment of coffees and snacks. Open Monday through Friday, 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. Phone: (345) 945-1175.

  • Full of Beans Cafe, located on the corner of Pasadora Place and 10 Smith Road. Noted for its unique Cayman Coffee. Open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm, and Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Phone: (345) 814-0157.

  • Grand Old House, located at 648 South Church Street, south of the cruise ship pier. It's a 100 year old plantation house with great Caribbean dining; reservations suggested. Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:45 am to 2:00 pm, and dinner daily from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Closed during September. Phone: (345) 814-0163.

  • Guy Harvey's Restaurant and Bar, located at 55 South Church Street. Fine West Indies and French dining with an ocean view. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 9:00 am to 1:00 am daily. Phone: (345) 946-9000

  • Hard Rock Cafe, located at 43 South Church Street. The iconic international cafe. Open for lunch and dinner from 10:30 am daily. Phone: (345) 623-7625

  • Lobster Pot Restaurant & Wine Bar, located on 245 North Church Street. The Lobster Pot is the longest established restaurant on the Island, featuring great seafood and ocean views. Open for lunch Sunday through Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and nightly dinners from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Phone: (345) 949-2736

  • Margaritaville, located on the 2nd Floor of the Anchorage Center, 32 Harbour Drive. Jimmy Buffet's Caribbean classic. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. Phone: (345) 949-6274

  • Paperman's Coffeehouse Midtown, located at the Mid Point Plaza, Elgin Avenue, by the CNB Roundabout. Offers both breakfast and lunch, and serves Chicago's Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters coffees. Phone: (345) 916-7185

Wi-Fi Hotspots on Seven Mile Beach

Here are a few suggestions for finding free Wi-Fi on Seven Mile Beach:

  • Decker's Grille and Lounge, located across from Grand Cayman Beach Suites on West Bay Road. Their dinners, served from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm, feature Caribbean fusion cuisine. Phone: (345) 945-6600

  • Hemingways Restaurant, located at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites, West Bay Road. Enjoy their great ocean front views; open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. Phone: (345) 945-5700

  • Luca Restaurant, located at 871 West Bay Road. Oceanfront fine dining at the Caribbean Club. Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and dinner nightly from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm. Phone: (345) 623-4550

  • Paperman's Coffeehouse The Strand, located on West Bay Road. Coffee house with breakfast and lunch available. Phone: (345) 946-7185

  • Periwinkle, located at the Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman Resort. Open for lunch and dinner, from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm. Phone: (345) 943-9000

  • Solana, located at the Marriott Beach Resort, 389 West Bay Road. Serves contemporary international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open from 7:00 am to 10:30 pm. Phone: (345) 949-0088

  • Treats Restaurant, located at the West Shore Center, 1 West Bay Road. Notable for their freshly baked goods and pastries. Open for breakfast and lunch from Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on Sundays from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. Phone: (345) 945-4262

  • Triple Crown Pub, located on West Bay Road across from the Marriott Hotel. Traditional Irish pub open Monday through Friday from 10:30 am 1:00 am; Saturdays from 9:00 am to midnight; and Sunday from 11:00 am to midnight. Phone: (345) 943-7821

  • The Wharf Restaurant & Bar, located on 43 West Bay Road. Oceanfront restaurant serving Caribbean cuisine. Their Ports of Call Seaside Bar is open Monday through Sunday, 4:00 pm to midnight; the Wharf is open for dinner only, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Phone: (345) 949-2231

Cyber Cafes on Grand Cayman

Here are a few suggestions for finding Internet Cafes on Grand Cayman:

  • Cable & Wireless is the main communications provider in the Cayman Islands. They have a Communications Station in George Town, located next to Columbian Emeralds near the Cruise Ship docks, that features 5 internet terminals. Open Monday to Saturday, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

  • George Town Public Library is located at 68 Edward Street in downtown George Town. Open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Phone: (345) 949-5159

  • Dickens Internet Cafe, located at the Galleria Plaza, on West Bay Road in Seven Mile Beach. Phone: (345) 945-9195.

  • Pirate's Den Sports Bar & Restaurant (aka the PD's Pub), located in the Galleria Plaza, on West Bay Road, Seven Mile Beach. Phone: (345) 949-7144.

  • Thirsty Surfer, Colliers Bay, located at the Reef Resort in Grand Cayman's East End. Offers Wi-Fi as well as internet terminals. Phone: (345) 947-2337.

Grand Cayman Internet Access Map

Map icon

To see the locations of Grand Cayman's Internet Cafe locations, see our Grand Cayman Internet Access map.

Internet Cafe

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Customers of U.S. wireless carriers can expect the following levels of service in the Cayman Islands:


Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service on Grand Cayman is provided by local partner Digicel.
Data services: Through partner Digicel, Verizon offers 3G coverage on the island.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service on Grand Cayman is provided by Digicel and Cable & Wireless.
Data services: AT&T offers 2G service on the island through its partners Digicel and Cable & Wireless.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage maps.


Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service on Grand Cayman is provided by partner Digicel; Digicel also offers service when using a quad-band GSM phone.
Data services: Through Digicel, Sprint offers 2G coverage on the island. Sprint also offers 3G coverage when using a UMTS-capable device with an active SIM card and global plan
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage maps.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is available on Grand Cayman through its partner Digicel and Cable & Wireless.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 2G service on the island through its partners Digicel and Cable & Wireless.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services pricing.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Grand Cayman Telephone Information

Travelers with American and Canadian cell phones should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming charges when their phones are used in the Cayman Islands. Check with your carrier for the precise details.

Using your US or Canadian cell phone while you're lounging on the beach in Grand Cayman is easy--it's just like using your phone back home.

Country Code: 1 (the same as the US and Canada)

Cayman Islands Area Code: 345

The Cayman Islands belong to the North American Numbering System (NANS); calling another phone is just like a call you’d make from one area code to another in the US or Canada.

Local Phone Numbers have seven digits: XXX-XXXX

Using your US or Canadian cell phone in Grand Cayman

To make a call from:

Grand Cayman to the US or Canada: Dial 1 (area code) XXX-XXXX

Grand Cayman to a US or Canadian cell phone in Grand Cayman: Dial 1 (area code) XXX-XXXX

Grand Cayman to another Grand Cayman number: Dial (345) XXX-XXXX

Cell phone user

Local Holidays & Festivals

Local festivals and events taking place on Grand Cayman in 2018:

  • New Year's Day, Monday, January 1. Public holiday.

  • Taste of Cayman
  • 30th Annual Taste of Cayman, Saturday, January 27. Taking place in Camana Bay, this event is the Islands' premier restaurant showcase, and includes live music, fireworks, a children's fun area, art exhibition, VIP lounge and local food and produce area.

  • National Heroes' Day, Monday, January 22. Public holiday that's the largest national celebration of Cayman heritage and culture.

  • 19th Annual Mardi Gras, Tuesday, February 13. Exhuberently celebrated at the Kaibo Bar and Restaurant.

  • Ash Wednesday, February 14. A public holiday that also coincides with Valentine's Day. It's a whole day to get over your hangover and be with your sweetie!

  • Good Friday, March 30. A public holiday.

  • Easter Monday, April 2. A public holiday; hey, there's nothing like a 4-day weekend!

  • Batabano Carnival
  • Cayman Carnival Batabano 2018, Wednesday, May 2 to Sunday, May 6. Now in its 35th year, the event has developed into a celebration of Caymanian and Caribbean culture through cuisine, music, dance and other arts. There's an Adult Street Parade on Saturday, May 6th, featuring participants wearing elaborate and colorful carnival costumes, along with rhythmic soca music and energetic bands. You'll also find a Food Festival and Street Fete that follows the parade in the center of George Town. A Junior Parade and Family Fun Day takes place on Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28th.

  • Discovery Day, Monday, May 21. Commemorates the discovery of the Cayman Islands by Christopher Columbus in 1503.

  • Sea swim
  • 25th Annual Flowers Mile Swim, Saturday, June 16. The world's flattest, fastest ocean mile race, taking place along Grand Cayman's pristine Seven Mile Beach.

  • Queens Birthday Observance, Monday, June 18. As in England, the citizens of Cayman Islands observe the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.

  • Constitution Day, Monday, July 2. Public holiday commemorating the adoption of the Constitution in 1962. In 2016, both Caymanians and Americans can spend the day celebrating.

  • Restaurant Month, Monday, October 1 to Wednesday, October 31. The Cayman Islands Tourism Authority invites diners to enjoy lunch or dinner at participating restaurants offering price-fixe menus. A fun time and great meals can be had by all!

  • Remembrance Day, Monday, November 12. Public holiday held to remember those who fell in the two World Wars.

  • Pirate Days
    Juan Jose Marroquin for Red Bull Cayman Islands

  • Pirates Week: Cayman's National Festival 2018, Thursday, November 8 to Sunday, November 18. Street celebrations, family-friendly heritage days, a "pirate invasion," fireworks and parties make the annual National Festival a fun time to be in George Town.

  • Jazz Fest, Month of November. Enjoy the music and magic of some of the world's most renowned jazz and R&B performers.

  • Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25. Public holiday.

  • Boxing Day, Wednesday, December 26. Public holiday.

  • New Year's Eve, Monday, December 31. It's party time in George Town!

George Town Cruise Port Schedules

Cruise ship
©2011 Pete Markham under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

George Town, located on Grand Cayman and the capital of the Cayman Islands, is the second most popular port destination on western Caribbean cruises.

In 2018, cruise passengers will enjoy an average of around 8 hours of time ashore on Grand Cayman.

In 2018, Grand Cayman is slated to host approximately 1,836,200 passengers sailing on 662 ships. See our Grand Cayman Cruise Ship Schedule - 2018 for further information.

Cruise Lines Making Port

The following cruise lines will make port in George Town, Grand Cayman in 2018:

Carnival icon Carnival Royal Caribbean icon Royal Caribbean
Celebrity icon
Celebrity Cruises
princess icon
Princess Cruises
Holland America icon
Holland America
NCL icon
Disney icon
Disney Cruises
MSC icon
MSC Cruises
Costa icon
Costa Cruises
Oceania icon
Oceania Cruises
Crystal icon
Crystal Cruises
Silversea icon
AIDA Cruises
Azamara Cruises
F. Olsen
Cruise Ship

  About Us Newsletter  
  eBooks Contact Us  
  Advertising Press Room  
  © 2008-2018 CruisePortInsider.com Terms of service Privacy Policy
Facebook  instagram  pinterest