Nestled in the calm, turquoise waters of the western Caribbean, lies the peaceful British Overseas Territory known as the Cayman Islands. Consisting of three islands just 480-miles south of Miami, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman remain our little piece of paradise.
The Cayman Islands highest official is the Governor, Her Excellency, Ms. Helen Kilpatrick, CB, who is the appointed representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She presides over Cabinet, the ruling body of the country. Ms. Kilpatrick succeeded Mr. Duncan Taylor, CBE in September 2013. The Governor's term is four years. The new constitution of the Cayman Islands, introduced in November 2009, provides for the government of the Cayman Islands as a British Overseas Territory.
The Cayman Islands has its own currency, first issued in 1972, whose basic unit is the dollar, issued in notes with denominations of CI$100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 and coins valued at 25 cents, 10, 5 and 1 cent. The CI dollar has a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar of CI$1.00 equals US$1.25. Or, the US dollar equals CI$.80. There is no need for visitors to exchange their US dollars into local currency. The US dollar is accepted throughout the islands at a rate of CI$.80. However, this can be confusing to visitors: for example, a US$20 note becomes CI$16. Banks do NOT give a better rate of exchange. Major credit cards (with the exception of the Discover Card) and traveller’s cheques are widely accepted. Canadian dollars, Euro dollars and pounds sterling can be exchanged for CI dollars at local banks. In addition, Automatic Teller Machines accepting VISA and MasterCard with Cirrus affiliation are located at Cayman National Bank and other banks and at Owen Roberts International Airport as well as a few other locations such as the grocery stores. Cayman National Bank has a branch opposite the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac and ATM facilities are available 24 hours.
The total land mass of the three islands is 100 square miles. Grand Cayman occupies 76 square miles; Cayman Brac, 14 square miles and Little Cayman, 10 square miles. Grand Cayman occupies 76 square miles; Cayman Brac, 14 square miles and Little Cayman, 10 square miles. Grand Cayman is approximately 22 miles long and 8 miles at its widest point, reaching a maximum elevation of 80 feet in North Side.
Cayman Brac is 14 miles long and 2 miles wide and has the most dramatic topography of the trio. Its majestic Bluff rises west to east along the length of the island to 152 feet above Spot Bay. Many mysterious caves are carved throughout this awe-inspiring natural attraction.
Little Cayman is only 10 miles long and one mile wide. It is very flat, reaching a maximum elevation of 56 feet. Its famous Bloody Bay wall Marine Park has been called one of the world's best dive sites. Inland, the 203 acre Booby Pond Nature Reserve is a RAMSAR site and nesting ground for the Caribbean's largest population of Red Footed Boobies.
The Cayman Islands Airports Authority wishes to ensure that all travellers are aware of the new passport requirements.
For United States citizens travelling to the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, and Bermuda, will be required to present a valid passport.
For comprehensive information on the Cayman Islands please visit the website of the Cayman Islands Department Of Tourism.