Will we be driving on the same side of the road as in the USA?
No, in the Cayman Islands you’ll be driving on the left side of the road — like in Britain, Japan, India, Jamaica, etc. It won’t take long to get used to, especially if you rent a non-US car, equipped with right-hand steering. Overtaking is safer, and it’s more difficult to forget which side of the road to drive on. Entering and exiting parking lots is really all that’ll take a little concentration — just remember to stay to the left!
Is there a speed limit in the Cayman Islands, are seat belts required?
Yes, there are varying speed limits posted, and we’d caution you not to exceed them by more than 10 mph — if you’re caught, it can be quite costly. This applies as well to seat belts (up to a CI$500 fine), which were made compulsory in 1998. Although the speedometer in many rental cars may be in kilometres-per-hour, posted speed limits are all in miles-per-hour, and you’d multiply by “.6” (e.g., 50 kmh is about 30 mph).
Is insurance coverage mandatory when renting a car? How much does Avis charge?
No, it can be waived, but we suggest doing so only if you have alternate protection. Many credit cards (e.g. Visa Gold Card), when used for payment of the rental car, do provide automatic insurance coverage, and your insurance policy back home may also be valid. But, if you do opt for insurance with Avis — decided upon when you pick up the car, and paid directly to Avis — Public Liability (LDC) is available seperately, as is Collision (CDW). You can opt for one-way, two-way, or none. Current insurance coverage rates are available at the Avis Grand Cayman website, listed according to car class.
Are there areas in Cayman to be avoided by a single, female traveler?
Along with Cuba, the Cayman Islands is probably the safest tourist destination in the Caribbean, with crimes against visitors extremely rare. You can feel secure walking alone anywhere, anytime of day or night. Which isn’t to say that we’d leave a camera or a cell phone exposed in our car. There’s no sense tempting anyone needlessly, so we do encourage guests to leave their car and apartment locked when not in them.
Are stores and supermarkets in Cayman open late and on weekends?
Stores are generally open from about 9:00am to 5:00 or 6:00pm, six days a week, although some close about 1:00pm on Saturday. The supermarkets keep longer hours, and are open from 7:00am to 11:00pm, Monday to Saturday. Except for restaurants, gas stations (which often include a convenience store), and a number of shops catering to cruiseship passengers, most businesses and all supermarkets are closed on Sunday.
Can we buy wine and beer at the supermarket?
No. Beer, wine and spirits are sold at licensed liquor stores, privately owned and located throughout Grand Cayman. They’re closed on Sunday, but open generally from 10:00am to 7:00pm, Monday to Saturday. However, alcoholic beverages are sold at restaurants and hotels, seven days a week.
We've heard that Cayman restaurants are quite pricey -- is this true?
Like restaurants throughout the Caribbean, they tend to be more expensive than in North America. But Grand Cayman boasts a very broad selection of dining spots, including many reasonably-priced ones, so it is possible to dine out on a budget. One could manage two to three meals a day quite comfortably on as low as CI$35-40 (about US$45), including gratuity, but excluding booze. See “Island Dining” (far left)
What is the standard tipping practice in Cayman restaurants?
Many restaurants will automatically add 15% to your bill as gratuity, which is the going rate. Of course, you’re encouraged to leave more if the service is particularly efficient and pleasant. Before leaving a tip, make sure that it’s not already included. Tipping policy is usually posted on the menu, and on the bill itself. If you don’t see it, just ask! And, if paying in CI$, make sure that you don’t pay the often posted (and higher) US$ total!
What and when is Pirates Week?
Pirates Week is a multi-day, annual festival with fireworks, street dancing, heritage days, a pirate ship landing, golf tournaments, childrens activities, and many other events. It’s now scheduled towards the beginning of November, and lasts about ten days. For more details about the next festival, please visit their website at www.piratesweekfestival.com.
Are there nude beaches on Grand Cayman?
Topless and nude bathing is illegal in the Cayman Islands, as in other British colonies like Bermuda, Turks and Caicos, Virgin Islands, etc. Nevertheless, there are a number of secluded beaches in less developed parts of the island where people have gotten away with it.
Are there casinos in Cayman?
No, there are no casinos in the Cayman Islands, and no legalised form of gambling. If you’re into casinos while on holiday in the Caribbean, you might want to consider the Bahamas, St. Maarten (the Dutch-ruled half of St. Martin), Turks and Caicos, etc.
What about beauty spas?
Yes, there are several of them. For a list of names, location, services offered and phone numbers, just click on Beauty Spas.