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World Travel Guide > Guides > Caribbean > Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands travel guide

About Cayman Islands

Ask people to define their idea of paradise and they may well describe the Cayman Islands, a Caribbean archipelago renowned for its beautiful beaches, world-class diving and incredible food.

Mere specs in the Caribbean Sea, the Caymans are made up of three islands in all: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. These British Overseas Territories are home to around 50,000 people, a significant number of whom are British expatriates working in everything from finance and property to scuba diving and services.

A trip to the Caymans is all about switching off. The extraordinary beaches on all three islands are perfect for whiling away lazy days, whilst the surrounding waters are a treasure trove of marine life, making them a hit with divers.

The financial industry looms large over the islands and there’s no income tax, leading many to believe that paradise really does exist here. Still, the high duty on consumer goods, food and fuel makes the cost of living sharply felt.

If you've got the cash, there’s an exceptional selection of high-end restaurants scattered across the archipelago – more than 200 on Grand Cayman alone. Island cuisine is also celebrated at Cayman Cookout, an annual culinary jamboree that attracts chefs from around the world. If that’s a bit highfalutin for you, then drop in at Taste of Cayman, which is a far more accessible food festival.

The jamborees come thick and fast throughout the winter months. Pirates Week celebrates local culture and the archipelago’s swashbuckling history, while Heritage Days allow visitors to sample local food, entertainment and history of the island in even more detail.

Another noteworthy jamboree is Batabano – the Cayman Islands’ own version of Carnival, complete with floats, extravagant costumes, steel bands and all the dancing you can muster. So pour out a glass of the local brew, Swanky, grab a spot on Seven Mile Beach, sit back and enjoy the show.

Key facts

Area:

260 sq km (100 sq miles).

Population:

60,764 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

215.7 per sq km.

Capital:

George Town.

Government:

British overseas territory and parliamentary democracy.

Head of state:

HM Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, is represented by Governor Martyn Roper since 2018.

Head of government:

Premier Alden McLaughlin since 2013.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for the Cayman Islands on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in the Cayman Islands.

Returning to the UK

Travelling from and returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you will need to remain in quarantine in the place you are staying, until you test negative (unless you require hospital treatment). You will be contacted by the Cayman Islands’ public health authority.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in the Cayman Islands

Inter-island flights between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are operating:

  • vaccinated travellers are not required to provide a negative result from a PCR or antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (lateral flow test
  • unvaccinated travellers age 5 and over must provide a negative result from a PCR or antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (lateral flow test) taken no earlier than the day before departure when travelling to or in-between the Cayman Islands
  • travellers under the age of 5 are not required to undergo testing

Public spaces and services

The following restrictions are in place:

  • Group gatherings are limited to 1000 outdoors and 500 indoors, with some exemptions
  • Masks are compulsory on public transport, including taxis
  • Masks must be worn in indoor public places, where 6 feet distance cannot be maintained
  • Social distancing of at least 6 feet must be maintained in all public places, unless people are from the same household
  • Gyms, fitness centres and other indoor fitness areas now operate without restriction but must observe social distancing regulations ie each person in the property shall maintain a distance of six feet from every other person
  • Those renting any shared scuba or snorkelling equipment must register with the Department of Environmental Health
  • The use of a hookah, shisha or water pipe is not permitted in places of business
  • There are also restrictions for visiting health care facilities, residential home care facilities, and detention centres

For further information, check the Cayman Islands Government website. You can find full details about the restrictions, including exemptions, from the Cayman Islands Government.

Any breach of the regulations will be subject to a CI$10,000 fine or two years imprisonment or both.

Workplaces are generally open and employees are undertaking regular lateral flow testing. Educational facilities are open but may be impacted where there are cases of coronavirus detected. Leisure facilities and businesses such as restaurants, bars, gyms, spas, swimming pools are open, but subject to the aforementioned restrictions. Public transport is also operating.

Healthcare in the Cayman Islands

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in the Cayman Islands.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Cayman Islands

The UK Government has been supplying vaccines to the people of the UK’s Overseas Territories. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. MHRA has temporarily authorised under Regulation 174 of Human Medicines Regulations 2012, the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for supply in the UK, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories for use in the Cayman Islands. Further information on the vaccine programme in the Cayman Islands can be found at https://www.hsa.ky/public-health/coronavirus/.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent assistance, see Emergency assistance. More information is available on the Cayman Islands website.

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Crime

Crime rates are low, but you should take sensible precautions to protect your personal safety and belongings:

  • don’t leave valuables lying about.
  • use a hotel safe or a safety deposit box where possible.
  • take particular care of your passport as this can’t be renewed or replaced in the Cayman Islands.
  • report the theft or loss of your passport immediately to the police (from whom a written report must be obtained).

In a genuine emergency, the Cayman Islands Passport Office may be able to issue an Emergency Passport.

Road travel

Minibuses are the only form of local public transport. They run only on the main routes. For other journeys, taxis are available or you can hire a car. Driving is on the left, as in the UK. Observe the speed limits, wear your seat belt at all times and don’t drink and drive. It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving, offenders face a mandatory fine of CI$150.

Air travel

Airlines require earlier check-in times for passengers and luggage. Both hold-loaded and carry-on luggage is subject to being hand-searched. Allow extra time at the airport and check the recommended check-in time for your flight with your airline. Travellers must ensure they comply with local immigration requirements, eg, retention of immigration card issued on arrival for departure.

Emergency assistance

The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory so doesn’t have formal British consular representation. All emergency assistance needed by British nationals is delivered by the Cayman Islands government.

In an emergency dial 911.

If you’re a victim of crime, contact the Royal Cayman Islands Police on 911.

Birth and Death registration enquiries:

Telephone: + (1) 345 946 7922

email: cigenreg@gov.ky

You can get information about marriage requirements in the Cayman Islands from the Passport and Corporate Services Office:

Telephone: + (1 345) 943 7678

email: passport&corporate@gov.ky

Visa information:

Telephone: + (1 345) 949 8344

email: visa.queries@gov.ky

Passport Information: telephone: + (1 345) 943 7678

email: passport&corporate@gov.ky

Immigration information is available from the Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman Department:

telephone: + (1 345) 949 8344

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the Cayman Islands, attacks can’t be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

The Cayman Islands is a separate legal jurisdiction to the United Kingdom and has its own laws.

There are harsh penalties for those caught with drugs of any kind. The possession or importation of weapons (including air pistols and catapults) or ammunition (including empty magazines) is illegal. Those caught will be subject to severe penalties.

Observe customs regulations on the import and export of agricultural products and the protection of marine and animal life. There are a number of marine and animal specimens that may not be taken from the islands. If in doubt, check with the customs office before buying, or attempting to import or export such items.

In 2019 a judicial ruling legalised marriage between same sex couples but the Cayman Islands Government appealed the decision. The Court of Appeal overturned the ruling and an appeal was heard by the Privy Council in February 2021. The judgment is awaited. Same sex marriage is no longer legal in the Cayman Islands, however legislation was passed in September 2020 legalising civil partnerships. Hotels and resorts are generally welcoming, regardless of sexual orientation. Local attitudes can be conservative and some people may not approve of public displays of affection between same-sex couples. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

This page has information on travelling to Cayman Islands. Check what you must do to return to the UK.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in the Cayman Islands set and enforce entry rules.

All travellers

You will need to apply on the Travel Cayman Portal and be issued with a travel certificate to enter or travel through the Cayman Islands as a visitor. For more specific information on who can travel to the Cayman Islands consult the Cayman Islands Government website for further information before travelling.

The airports in the Cayman Islands are now open with regular scheduled services operating to various locations including the UK via the Bahamas the USA, Jamaica and Honduras.

On 18 February 2022 the Cayman Islands moved to Phase 5 of its border re-opening plan. All incoming travellers aged 5 years and over must provide a negative result from a PCR or certified antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (LFT), taken no earlier than the day before departure. However they are no longer required to undertake lateral flow tests on day 2, 5 and 10. All travel-related testing is at the cost of the traveller.

From 21 March 2022, the Cayman Islands will move to Phase 1 of the resumption of cruise tourism. Regulations are yet to be finalised. Updates will be posted on Cayman Islands Government website.

Cargo flights, couriers and air ambulance services continue to operate as usual.

Travel helplines are available to offer advice and assistance to those with an urgent or compassionate need to travel:

  • in the Cayman Islands, call +1 345 743 8463 or email travelcayman@gov.ky or you can submit your details via the website.

  • in the UK, please contact the Cayman Islands Office in the UK on 020 7491 7772 or info@cigouk.ky.

If you’re fully vaccinated

All incoming travellers aged 5 years and over must provide a negative result from a PCR or certified antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (LFT) taken no earlier than the day before departure.

If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter the Cayman Islands without needing to quarantine if:

  • your vaccine status is securely verifiable (e.g. using the UK COVID Pass)
  • if your vaccine status is not securely verifiable, but you are travelling from a country with vaccination rates that are 60% or higher for the first dose of the vaccine and where those travellers spent at least 14 days prior to the date of travel
  • you are a Caymanian/Permanent Resident who has been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine (locally or overseas)

Unvaccinated children aged 11 and younger who are travelling with fully vaccinated adults are also not required to quarantine on arrival in the Cayman Islands.

The travel eligibility date must be at least 14 days after you have obtained a complete course of an approved vaccine.

Find out if you qualify as fully vaccinated in the Cayman Islands on the Cayman Islands Government website.

Proof of vaccination status

You must present proof that you have been fully vaccinated to enter the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Islands will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 vaccination record and proof of COVID-19 vaccination issued in the Crown Dependencies. Your final vaccine dose must have been administered at least 14 days prior to travel. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

Entry to and between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman if you’re fully vaccinated

Inter-island flights between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are operating. Vaccinated travellers are not required to provide a negative result from a PCR or antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (lateral flow test) for travel between the islands.

If you’re not fully vaccinated

All incoming travellers aged 5 years and over must provide a negative result from a PCR or certified antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (LFT) taken no earlier than the day before departure.

Seven (7) days of quarantine on arrival are required for:

  • Unvaccinated travellers (age 12 years and over) along with all unvaccinated members of their household
  • Unaccompanied unvaccinated children who travel from a country with a vaccination rate below 60% for the first dose of the vaccine
  • Travellers with non-securely verifiable vaccination records who travel from a country with a vaccination rate below 60% for the first dose of the vaccine

Vaccinated household members of unvaccinated travellers are not required to quarantine but will be required to undergo daily LFT for 7 days if they wish to leave the premises.

GPS tracking is required for all travellers and their companions age 10 years and over who are approved to quarantine at a private residence.

Find out if you qualify as fully vaccinated in the Cayman Islands on the Cayman Islands Government website.

If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year

If you’re not fully vaccinated but have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last year you can enter the Cayman Islands, but you will be required to quarantine for 7 days in line with the requirements for unvaccinated travellers. Proof of COVID-19 recovery is not accepted in place of full vaccination in the Cayman Islands.

Entry to and between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman if you’re not fully vaccinated

Inter-island flights between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are operating. Unvaccinated travellers age 5 and over must provide a negative result from a PCR or antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (lateral flow test) taken no earlier than the day before departure when travelling to or in-between the Cayman Islands.

Children and young people

All incoming travellers aged 5 years and over must provide a negative result from a PCR or certified antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (LFT), taken no earlier than the day before departure:

  • children age 12 years and over are required to be vaccinated to be exempt from quarantine
  • unvaccinated children under the age of 12 years old will assume the vaccination status of their adult travel companions.
  • unaccompanied unvaccinated children who travel from a country with a vaccination rate below 60% for the first dose of the vaccine will be required to quarantine on arrival in the Cayman Islands

Entry for children to and between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Inter-island flights between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are operating. Travellers under the age of 5 are not required to undergo testing. Unvaccinated travellers age 5 and over must provide a negative result from a PCR or antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (lateral flow test) taken no earlier than the day before departure when travelling to or in-between the Cayman Islands.

If you’re transiting through the Cayman Islands

Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.

You will need to apply on the Travel Cayman Portal and be issued with a travel certificate to transit through the Cayman Islands. For more specific information on who can travel to the Cayman Islands consult the Cayman Islands Government website for further information before travelling.

All transit passengers aged 5 years and over must provide a negative result from a PCR or certified antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (LFT) taken no earlier than the day before departure.

All transit passengers staying overnight in the Cayman Islands are subject to quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.

Transit passengers are not allowed to quarantine at a private residence. All in-transit travellers will be required to pay for accommodations at the government-approved facility (Sunshine Suites).

Transit passengers must use authorised transport when travelling in-between the airport and the government-approved facility.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Passport validity

If you are visiting the Cayman Islands your passport should be valid for at least the duration of your intended stay in the Cayman Islands. Check the Cayman Islands Government website for further details.

Visas

For information on visa requirements, please consult the Cayman Islands Government website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from the Cayman Islands.

Returning to the UK

Check what you must do to return to the UK.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for the Cayman Islands on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in the Cayman Islands.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each overseas territory page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in overseas territories. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the local territory government.

If you need to get further supplies of your prescribed medicine whilst you are in the Cayman Islands, you will need to visit a registered physician, who will either countersign your UK prescription or issue a new one. It is likely that you will have to pay for your medicine up front then submit a claim for reimbursement through your travel insurance.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Health risks

Cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in the Cayman Islands. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Medical care

There are three well-equipped hospitals on Grand Cayman, two in the capital George Town and one in the Eastern part of the island. A smaller facility, Faith Hospital, on Cayman Brac, can cope with most routine medical and dental problems. Treatment is expensive and more serious cases will normally be stabilised in the Territory before being transferred to Miami.

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad. Your insurance should include air ambulance, third country (USA) medical treatment and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Hurricanes

The hurricane season in the Cayman Islands normally runs from June to November. Monitor local and international weather updates from the Cayman Islands National Weather Service and the US National Hurricane Centre, and follow the advice of the local authorities including any evacuation orders.

See our tropical cyclones page for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if you’re likely to be affected by a hurricane or tropical cyclone.

Earthquakes

A number of earthquakes have struck the Cayman Islands in recent years. The largest, of magnitude 7.7, struck approximately 75 miles ESE of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman on 28th January 2020. A number of sinkholes appeared and large number of aftershocks but no serious damage or injuries.

All major credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants and local shops. The local currency is the Cayman Islands Dollar (CI$) but transactions using non domestic credit cards will be charged in US$. The US dollar is widely accepted throughout the islands. The CI$ is fixed to the US dollar at $1.25 US Dollars to $1.00 Cayman Islands Dollar.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the FCDO in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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