More and more people are moving to the Cayman Islands, and you can’t blame them. With gorgeous weather, mile upon mile of stunning beaches, and ample business opportunities, there’s never been such a great time to visit this Caribbean island.
But island living can be tough sometimes.
Here are ten important and strange things about living in the Cayman Islands that I wish I knew before moving….
1. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – They don’t use addresses!
When I first moved to the Cayman Islands, I thought addresses were the norm, so would ask drivers and vendors to take me to/ deliver to my address. But these aren’t used in the Cayman Islands; instead, people use their condo names, or color of plaza (if talking about a shopping plaza). It certainly takes some time to get your head around!
2. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – The island is tiny
Grand Cayman is about 22 miles long and between 4 to 8 miles wide; it’s difficult adjusting to living somewhere so small, and I don’t think I quite realized exactly how small it was until I moved to the islands. The Cayman Islands is actually made up of three islands, but many people live on the others; meaning that nearly the entire population, plus expats and tourists, are located on Grand Cayman.
3. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – There are more registered businesses than people on the island!
Grand Cayman is one of the most popular expat destinations in the world. There are over 100,000 registered businesses in the country – which means that there’s nearly double the amount of businesses than people! Businessmen and women are attracted to the Cayman Islands because they don’t pay tax – but the government makes their money through indirect taxation – for example, a packet of fish fingers in the supermarket can cost up to £8.50!
4. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – The internet is useless and nothing gets done over phones or email
It’s normal for local businesses to not have websites, or for them to be outdated with no phone number or contact information. It’s incredibly difficult to make appointments over the internet because of this.
And it’s no easier to organize things on the phone. If you want to do things like cancel bills, dispute payments or even dinner reservations you must show up in person at the store or business to do the errand. It can make things very difficult when the business is the other side of the island!
5. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – Shopping is frustrating
It’s not just fish fingers that are expensive! To get the same standard of furniture that you’d get in North America, it’ll cost you three times the price, or expect to pay at least double the price for an outdated item. And it doesn’t stop there. Food is heavily taxed, alcohol is expensive and anything that’s imported will come with a heavy price tag.
It’s actually more viable to fly to Miami and buy anything you need to be transported from there – it even works out cheaper when you include the price of airfare and hotels!
Additionally, nobody is willing to ship to the Cayman Islands for a sensible fee. This generally means that you can’t buy anything online to be delivered straight to your home address – a popular alternative is to get a Miami shipping address and a freight forwarder, to send the items on.
6. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – Island Time is very real
Island time is both liberating and a test of patience! It can take a long time to get things done – which is relaxing and enjoyable at some times, but incredibly frustrating at others – especially when you want to get things done and don’t know what the hold up is – it’ll just be island living!
7. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – Once you move to a Caribbean island, your traveling priorities will change
Although the beach is amazing, once you’ve lived on the Cayman Islands, you’ll find yourself seeking out other destinations for your travel priorities. You’ll find yourself traveling to fewer beaches over the world and actively seeking out busy cities, compelling history, or cooler mountains!
8. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – But the beach will never get old
If there’s one thing that the Cayman Islands excels at, it’s the beautiful tropical beaches. With lots of water-based activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving and stand-up paddleboarding, there’s enough to keep any sun and sand fanatic occupied for a while. There’s also the chance to enjoy beautiful hikes along the many famous beaches of the islands.
9. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – You’ll appreciate the diversity of your home country in ways you never thought you would
It’s easy to forget about the range of services, culture, and nature in your home country when you’re living there, but after being on a tiny Caribbean island for some time, you’ll appreciate diverse foreign countries like never before. Many expats in the Cayman Islands are either from, or have easy access to, countries with beautiful national parks and a vibrant range of cultures; and this is often reported to be something that they miss the most upon moving away.
10. MOVING TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – People in the Cayman Islands are friendliest in the world
Despite the colossal level of expats relocating to the Cayman Islands, the locals remain some of the world’s friendliest. The Cayman Islands have been consistently rated as one of the world’s friendliest countries and it is very easy for expats to integrate into local life here; making both foreign and Caymanian friends and taking part in local celebrations and traditions. Even for short-term visitors, locals are friendly and helpful and incredibly welcoming to their beautiful slice of paradise.
This post about moving to the Cayman Islands was contributed by Antoine over at Traveling Life. Definitely head on over there to find out more about life on the Cayman Islands and check out his other adventures.
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