The Caymans consist of three islands: Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. The three islands have a small population of around 60,000, but every year more than 1.5 million tourists visit the Cayman’s out of which more than three-quarters arrive by Cruise Ship. The Western Coastline of Grand Cayman, around Georgetown, is where the main docks and tourist activities are. When moving away from this area, the island(s) are much more relaxed and far less crowded.
The Cayman Islands are an English group of islands in the western Caribbean, about halfway between Cuba and Jamaica. Although officially being a British Overseas Territory, it seems more like an exponent of the US, having an “American” feel to it. This is partly because of the cruiseships that visit the islands, but also due to the fact that the Caymans are a renowned offshore Financial (Tax) Center. The status of being a tax haven is visible everywhere with high standards of living, expensive cars and real estate and the upscale shopping malls. The Caymans have the highest standard of living in the Caribbean and are the 14th highest in the world (GDP per capita).
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Caymans. Around 85% of the population lives in Grand Cayman and this is the most cosmopolitan island of the three and most events and tourist attractions take part here. The two smaller islands are close to each other, but at quite a distance from Grand Cayman. One of Grand Cayman’s main attractions is Seven Mile Beach, site of a number of the island’s hotels and resorts. Little Cayman, the smallest island, is approximately 100 km (60 miles) away from Grand Cayman. It has less than 200 inhabitants and is the least developed. Cayman Brac is about 150 km (90 mi) away from Grand Cayman and around 8 km (5 miles) east of Little Cayman. Its terrain is the most prominent of the three Islands due to “The Bluff”, a limestone boulder that rises steadily along the length of the island up to 43m (141ft) above sea level.
Until the 17th century, The Cayman Islands were mostly uninhabited. The first settlers were pirates, refugees from the Spanish Inquisition and deserters from Jamaica. England took formal control of the islands, along with Jamaica, in 1670. After several decades, slaves were brought to the island, making up over half of the population in the early 1800’s. The majority of native Caymanians are therefore of African and English descent. The islands were governed as part of the Colony of Jamaica until 1962, when they became a separate Crown colony while Jamaica became an independent Commonwealth realm.