The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory located within the British West Indies, comprising the islands Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. They are situated in the western Caribbean Sea, approximately 750km south of Miami and 250km northwest of Jamaica. The islands are made up of 55,000 people, spread across the islands 260km2 land mass but primarily located on Grand Cayman. The islands are recognised as one of the worlds top offshore finance centres, ranked as high as 5th largest financial centre in the world.
Owing to crystal clear blue water lapping the white sand beaches, Cayman offers an idyllic lifestyle. With daily temps hovering around 28°c, you will find flip-flops as the item of footwear you find yourself wearing as a rule of thumb socially. From the numerous water based pursuits from boating and fishing to scuba diving, the warm waters of Cayman provide the perfect playground for those with an affinity for the ocean. Complimenting these are numerous sporting clubs frequented by the community at large, and numerous relaxing restaurants and bars across the islands to keep ones weekend calendar active. All of the above makes Cayman suitable for families, couples and singles. Families generally find their social calendar revolves around their sporting clubs, beach and barbeques. Singles find the same, but with a variety of themed nights out during the week and a monthly full moon party where you find yourself dancing to house music with sand between your toes.
The crystal clear warm waters allow Cayman to claim some of the best diving in the world, regularly falling in behind only the Great Barrier Reef on a list of places to dive. There are numerous companies providing the opportunity to become certified, and a plethora of people to go diving with on the weekends. Throw in a yacht club, sailing club, jet skis and fishing and you can find any number of activities to stay near the water.
Cayman sporting club community
With a long history of expats settling in the islands, comes with it a long line of sporting organisations enjoyed by all within the community. All provide a varying level of competition, with a strong focus usually on an inclusive social atmosphere after the game. From rugby to triathalons, cricket to an annual marathon, beach volleyball to tennis, there is a sporting club to satisfy everyones taste(including children programs for the little ones). The majority of clubs organise social sports days, from flag rugby to gaelic football, creating a great social atmosphere and platform to easily make friendships.
Owen Roberts Airport (GCM) on Grand Cayman is the major International airport, serving North America, Caribbean, Central America and Europe. The national carrier is Cayman Airways, and multiple North American airlines have multiple flights weekly primarily originating from the East coast hubs. British Airways also has direct flights weekly from London.
On bank/public holiday weekends, numerous charters are put on to experience countries the airlines don’t have on their regular schedule….such as Costa Rica or Colombia.
Living in Cayman
The majority of the expat community initially rent, with a proportion buying there own property once settled. Generally the island accommodation style are apartment blocks, with shared facilities including a pool, outdoor entertainment area including barbeques and in some instances a tennis court/s.
Rental prices vary according to location, with the majority of expats locating along Seven Mile Beach or South Sound either side of the capital and business centre of Georgetown. As a guide, a 2 bed fully furnished apartment close to seven mile beach would start around US$1,500 p/mth, with obvious increases dependent on the complex amenities and beach proximities. Luxury apartments are available, costing significantly more.
The Cayman Islands have their own currency, known as the Cayman Islands Dollar (KYD) which is pegged to the US Dollar at a rate of $CI1 = $US1.20 since 1974. USD is also accepted island wide.
Salaries are generally quoted and paid in USD.
The Caymans are classified as having a tropical marine climate, with temp highs averaging in the high 20’s(°c) year round, and temps very rarely falling below 20°c at night. The two distinct seasons are known as the Dry season (Dec-Jun) and the Wet season (Jul-Nov), which coincides with some of the typical tropical weather patterns. Whilst the weather is pleasant year-round, the two distinct seasons can be described as:
Dry season (winter), can simply be defined as perfect. Lower humidity takes some of the bite out of the heat, and the absence of rain for long stretches means never having to look at a weather report. This period coincides with the cold weather across the northern hemisphere, making it the peak season for the influx of tourists.
Wet season (summer), is notable for the visit of tropical storms, and hurricane activity within the Caribbean region. Most storms are short lived, and the frequency of rain rarely lasting longer than an hour outside of such storms. The increased humidity is noticeable during this time, resulting in a decrease in tourist activity.
Hurricanes, greatest activity occurs during the mid summer months of Aug-Oct, but are generally weaker and of less frequency than elsewhere in the Caribbean due to its geographical location on the western side of Cuba.
Cayman is a centre known for it’s variety in Financial services, ranging from Banking, Captive Insurance to Structured Finance and Securitisations. In the last decade, Cayman has become the specialist in Hedge Funds, both establishment and administration thereon.
All foreigners (including British Citizens) wishing to live and work in the Cayman Islands require a work permit. Whilst there are varying categories across sectors, generally an Internationally recognised industry qualification is required to obtain one of these in financial services. Not limited to, these include CA / ACA / ACCA / CPA / CFA etc.
Spouses are able to be dependent on their partners permit to reside on the islands, however it is important to note unmarried partners are not permitted to reside on the islands without their own job and work permit.