Cruising around the Cayman Islands


The Cayman Islands were colonized from Jamaica by the British during the 18th and 19th centuries, and were administered by Jamaica after 1863. In 1959, the islands became a territory within the Federation of the West Indies, but when the Federation dissolved in 1962, the Cayman Islands chose to remain a British dependency.


Location: Caribbean, three island (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman) group in Caribbean Sea, 240 km south of Cuba and 268 km northwest of Jamaica
Geographic coordinates: 19 30 N, 80 30 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 262 sq km
Land: 262 sq km
Water: 0 sq km 
Land boundaries: 0 km


160 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


Tropical marine; warm, rainy summers (May to October) and cool, relatively dry winters (November to April)


Low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Highest point: The Bluff (Cayman Brac) 43 m


With no direct taxation, the islands are a thriving offshore financial center. More than 40,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 1998, including almost 600 banks and trust companies; banking assets exceed $500 billion. A stock exchange was opened in 1997.

Tourism is also a mainstay, accounting for about 70% of GDP and 75% of foreign currency earnings. The tourist industry is aimed at the luxury market and caters mainly to visitors from North America. Total tourist arrivals exceeded 1.2 million in 1997, with 600,000 from the US. About 90% of the islands' food and consumer goods must be imported. The Caymanians enjoy one of the highest outputs per capita and one of the highest standards of living in the world.


Airports: 3 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2005)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2005)
Roadways: total: 785 km
paved: 785 km (2002)

Merchant marine

Total: 132 ships (1000 GRT or over) 2,667,086 GRT/4,255,739 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 33, cargo 14, chemical tanker 38, liquefied gas 1, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 15, refrigerated cargo 26, roll on/roll off 3, specialized tanker 1
Foreign-owned: 130 (Bermuda 2, Denmark 13, Germany 14, Greece 22, Italy 11, Malaysia 1, Norway 2, Philippines 1, Poland 1, Sweden 12, UK 9, US 42) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Cayman Brac, George Town 

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Anguilla - Antigua and Barbuda - Aruba - Bahamas - Barbados - British Virgin Islands - Cayman Islands - Cuba - Dominica - Dominican Republic - Grenada - Guadeloupe - Haiti - Jamaica - St. Kitts and Nevis - St. Lucia - Martinique - Montserrat - Netherlands Antilles - Puerto Rico - Trinidad and Tobago - Turks and Caicos - St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Virgin Islands (USA)

Further Reading

Back to "vacations"