9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Cayman Islands
GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, – The Cayman Islands are a popular group of islands, but what else do you know about it?
Grand Cayman offers some of the world’s premier snorkelling and SCUBA locations. The draw? The graceful stingrays, sunken ships from its pirate days, and beautiful coral. The beaches are pristine – a pretty light blue, warm, very gentle, and as clear as a glass of water.
Grand Cayman is a fantastic place to do absolutely nothing. Hotels line the soft white sand of Seven Mile Beach. Five minutes on this beach and you enter lazy mode. Your greatest exertion on some days may be holding your hand out to take your next iced beverage.
Grand Cayman is about 22 miles long and 4 to 8 miles wide and pretty much at sea level. Like Barbados, it is a coral island, not volcanic. It’s like a giant sandbar. Locals like to joke that the highest point on the island is the landfill mountain.
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three islands comprising the Cayman Islands. The other two are Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, where few people live. There are several daily flights between the islands.
Cayman is located in the Western Caribbean Sea, about 400 miles south of Miami. Many visitors and expats call it “Miami South”.
Cayman was first sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1503. He named the three islands Las Tortugas after the sea turtles he found there. The name Cayman, a Carib Indian word, came later, after a local species of crocodile (also called caimans elsewhere). There are also hundreds of curly-tailed iguana lizards which scurry into the bush everywhere.
The islands never had slaves or cane fields, unlike other Caribbean islands, which imported thousands of African slaves to work the sugar cane fields.
Cayman and Jamaica were governed as a single British colony until 1962, when the Cayman islands became designated a British overseas territory, one of 14 territories under the sovereignty of the UK but not part of the UK, while Jamaica became independent.
The Cayman Islands have more registered businesses than people (population is around 56,000). The government’s primary source of income is indirect taxation: there is no income tax, capital gains tax or corporation tax. Based on income, the Caymanians enjoy the highest standard of living in the Caribbean. Locals complain there’s not much to do on the island.