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Safety Travel Safety: Americas: Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Cayman Islands
Capital: George Town
Population: 36,273
Currency: Caymanian dollar (KYD)
Languages: English
Religions: United Church (Presbyterian and Congregational), Anglican, Baptist, Church of God, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
Borders: 0 km

The Cayman Islands are a British dependent territory consisting of three main islands with a total area of approximately 100 square miles and located about 100 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 Cayman Islands are considered politically stable and enjoy a high standard of living. There have been no reported incidences of terrorism or threats made against Americans or American interests in the Cayman Islands.

The crime threat in 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. It is difficult to gauge the number of sexual assaults, especially situations involving acquaintance rape or use of "date rape" drugs as incidents may go unreported. Police in the Cayman Islands have alluded to increased availability of drugs and several persons have been arrested for possession with intent to distribute Ecstasy, among other drugs. American citizens should avoid buying, selling, holding or taking illegal drugs under any circumstances.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens are subject to that country's laws and regulations. Foreign counties' laws sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the same protections as U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Cayman laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Cayman are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

The quality of medical care is generally comparable to that available in the U.S. However, some procedures and cases requiring critical care require medical evacuation to the United States . On average one American citizen per month drowns or suffers 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 may be due to poor physical conditioning or preexisting medical conditions that are exacerbated when snorkeling or diving. A hyperbaric chamber is available for treatment of decompression illness. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate payment for health services.

The Cayman Islands are hurricane-prone, especially during hurricane season which runs from June 1 through November 30. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at Long-term residents of the Cayman Islands are encouraged to prepare a sufficient supply of food, water and other necessary supplies in the event of a natural disaster.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States . For example, in the Cayman Islands vehicles drive on the left side of the road and steering wheels in cars are often located on the right side. 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.

Safety of Public Transportation: good 
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: good 
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: good 
Availability of Roadside Assistance: good

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, 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 the 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. This translates to about four beers or three shots of whiskey, depending of course on the weight of the individual and the time span involved. Seatbelt laws are also enforced and require the driver and all passengers to be fastened in while in motion.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at For specific information concerning Cayman Islands driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Cayman islands national tourist organization offices via the Internet at

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Cayman Island's Civil Aviation Authorities as Category 1 �- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Cayman's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.

Please also refer to the separate Travel Warning for Colombia and to the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.

January 16, 2004

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