The Scoop on the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are relatively small. All three islands combined have a land mass of only 100 square miles. Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands, is about twenty-two miles long by eight miles wide, while Cayman Brac is only twelve miles long by just over one mile wide. The smallest of the islands, Little Cayman, is ten miles long by one mile wide.
All three islands are surrounded by large coral reefs, which offer incredible snorkeling and scuba-diving opportunities. Between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, however, you'll find some of the deepest waters in the Caribbean Sea (in some places, up to four miles deep).
The Cayman Islands are located about 480 miles south of Miami, Florida, allowing visitors to reach Grand Cayman Island by air in about seventy minutes from Miami.
The official language throughout the Cayman Islands is English, although many of the Caymanian people speak with a strong accent, with Welsh, Scottish, Jamaican, and Central American influences. The local population is estimated at just over 40,000, with Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island, being the most heavily populated district. In addition to the locals, the workforce on these islands come from Jamaica, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In Georgetown, for example, you'll find an abundance of international banks, investment firms, and financial institutions interspersed between the shops and tourist areas.
Several areas of the Cayman Islands, particularly Georgetown and the rest of Grand Cayman, are particularly tourist friendly. You will find an abundance of fine-dining restaurants, nightclubs, and modern resorts and hotels, but there are no casinos on these islands. The legal drinking age is eighteen.
Whether you're shopping, dining, or enjoying the local attractions, the U.S. dollar is widely accepted everywhere throughout the three islands. Since 1972, the Cayman Islands have had their own currency, the CI, which is also based on the dollar. Cayman Island currency has a fixed exchange rate to the U.S. dollar, with $1 CI being equal to $1.25 U.S. (or $1 U.S. equaling $.80 CI). While the exchange rate remains constant, if you're using a currency exchange service, you will need to pay fees to exchange currency.
You'll find over 150 restaurants and cafés on Grand Cayman Island, so whatever your taste or budget, there are plenty of dining options. Many restaurants here offer kid's menus. You'll also find a number of popular fast-food chain restaurants, which your kids will definitely appreciate.
In terms of electricity, throughout all three islands, you'll find standard 110-volt outlets, identical to those in the United States.
The Cayman Islands are definitely a tourist destination that's more suited to adults. If you're traveling with kids or teens, however, there are enough activities and attractions here to keep families entertained for several days, providing you select the right resort accommodations (one that offers numerous activities). For scuba divers, people who enjoy snorkeling, and shoppers, however, the Cayman Islands is a perfect vacation spot.