What makes Cayman Islands a unique country to travel to?
The Cayman Islands are a British overseas territory consisting of three main islands with a total area of approximately 100 square miles and located about 500 miles west of Jamaica. There is an international airport located in Grand Cayman, and facilities for tourists are widely available. The U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica, has consular responsibility for the Cayman Islands.
The crime threat in the Cayman Islands is generally considered low, although travelers should always take normal precautions when in unfamiliar surroundings. Petty theft, pick-pocketing, and purse snatchings occur. A few cases involving sexual assault have been reported to the Embassy. Police in the Cayman Islands rigorously enforce laws against illegal drugs. U.S. citizens should avoid buying, selling, holding, or taking illegal drugs under any circumstances.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, but if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
While you are traveling in the Cayman Islands, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail for the night. In most cases, the passport is confiscated until you appear before a Magistrate Judge and a fine is imposed. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in the Cayman Islands, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not wherever you go.
Persons violating Caymanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in the Cayman Islands are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
The quality of medical care in the Cayman Islands is generally comparable to that available in the United States; however, some procedures and cases requiring critical care may require medical evacuation to the United States. Several American citizens each year drown or suffer cardiac arrest while snorkeling or SCUBA diving in the Cayman Islands. These deaths may be attributed in part to tourists attempting to do more than they are trained to do or to poor physical conditioning or preexisting medical conditions that are exacerbated when snorkeling or diving. A hyperbaric chamber is available for the treatment of decompression illness. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate payment for health services.
Emergency response services in the Cayman Islands are on par with those generally available in the United States.
Safety and Security
Since a surge of gang-related criminal activity in 2011, the Royal Cayman Island Police have aggressively addressed gang activity and murders are down dramatically. Guns remain a problem, however, and sentencing for people found with guns or ammunition is strict.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in the Cayman Islands, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning the Cayman Islands is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
As in Great Britain and its other territories, vehicles in the Cayman Islands travel on the left-hand side of the road (the opposite side compared with driving in the United States). Due to their size, the Caymans have little highway infrastructure to maintain. Local driving standards, the risk of accidents, the availability of emergency roadside service, quality and frequency of signage, and enforcement of traffic laws, generally meet the standards of the United States. Visitors must obtain a temporary driver's license, easily granted upon presentation of a valid state driver's license and payment of a small fee, at a car rental agency or a police station. Laws against driving while intoxicated are strictly enforced, with a legal maximum blood alcohol level set at 100 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood (equivalent to a .10 blood/alcohol level in the United States). Seatbelt laws are also enforced and require the driver and all passengers to wear seatbelts while in motion.