WHY CAYMAN BRAC?
With an average income of around $47,000, KYD ($58,000 USD), Caymanians have the highest standard of living in the Caribbean. Grand Cayman is a major international financial center and the fifth-largest banking centre in the world. According to the CIA World Factbook, the Cayman Islands GDP per capita is the 14th highest in the world, less poverty means less crime. Cayman Brac is unique with it’s lack of crime; ten churches for a population of just over 1,000 people makes for an incredibly happy and friendly people. Doors and windows remain open and unlocked day and night and keys can be left in the ignition of your car.
Buying property in the Cayman Islands is a simple and straightforward process and is for many, not just a lifestyle purchase but a safe and sound real estate investment, unlike some other Caribbean Islands. With No restrictions on foreign ownership of a single property, buying property in the Cayman Islands is an inviting prospect and strongly encouraged by the Cayman Islands Government, who guarantee title for all real estate transactions. When you purchase real estate in the Cayman Islands there are no property, capital gains, sales or inheritance taxes. A stamp duty is assessed on each transaction, but after that there are no more government payments.
Diving (and snorkeling) in the Cayman Islands is spectacular and The Brac is considered one of the Best Dive Destinations in the World!
Beyond the waters edge at Pirate’s Dream are two of the best dive sites on The Brac, Rock Monster Chimney and Son of Rock Monster. On a visit to Cayman Brac, a professional dive tour leader called the site, “one of the few best reef/wall dives in the world”. For the advanced diver you can walk your tank and gear to the backyard and drop in. Though it’s a good swim, the mooring buoy out from our shore drops to about 60′ to an incredible wall dive. The Brac offers dozens of easy shore dives (over 50 total sites), recently marked with signs and painted rocks, or if you prefer, two professional dive operations can escort you to the Brac’s spectacular dive sites; don’t forget the Russian destroyer, M.V. Tibbetts.
Cayman Brac has a diversity of topography compared to the other Cayman Islands. This results in nature attractions being high on the list of fun activities here. The historic features of the country are also more evident here than in Grand Cayman. There’s plenty to do and see to fill out your vacation.
Fishing: Big game fish are five minutes from launching your boat. Unless you are hunting exotic or want to just explore the waters, you can catch Wahoo (KingFish), Mahi (Dolphin) and Tuna all within site of the islands and fly fishing in the sand flats boosts the elusive bonefish.
Walking/Hiking: Walking and hiking trails have been opened by the Nature Tourism Program which allow exploration of the island’s dense Karst forestation. Unique flora and fauna thrive here and can be observed in the wild.
Rock Climbing: The Brac is listed among the worlds Top 10 exotic climbing sites. Rock climbing was developed in 1992 and the island now contains about 100 sport climbs, as well as a professional to help you learn
Caves – Caves are found around the island, offering spelunkers a glimpse of delicate underground formations. Steps and, in some cases, ladders have been constructed to allow visitor access to more remote caves.
From elegant to take out, Cayman Brac has a range of food options for you. Celebrate a wedding or treat yourself to a special night out at one of the fine dining establishments. Or grab a quick bite after a day of diving from one of the fast food shops. In between you will find local specialties and bar and grill favorites. Whether it’s seafood, Caymanian, Chinese or pizza, you’re sure to find filling and tasty food to suit your palate.
There are three grocery stores, several shops and a Saturday Farmers Market to supply you with what you are used to (for the most part) at home. Meats are generally frozen with fresh fruits and vegetables coming in on the weekly barge, fresh dairy also comes in once a week, and the Farmer’s Market always has a good in-season selection.
Shops abound throughout the Island, mostly with a local flair; you will have choices for “tourist” t-shirts and hats and several unique local items. Don’t miss NIMS (Native Island Made Things) featuring local Caymanite Jewelry and the proprietor who has become a Cayman Island Icon.
The temperature, summer or winter, seldom goes lower than 70°F or higher than 90°F. The average temperature is 78°F in the winter and about 86°F in the summer. Rainfall varies over the Islands and seasonally; typically the wettest month is June and the driest month is March. Between May and October the prevailing winds are from east to south; from December to April, the coolest season of the year, prevailing winds are from the northeast to northwest.
The USA enjoys saving daylight, but the Cayman Islands, being nearer to the equator, has fairly equal periods of day and night year round. There’s really only about an hour’s difference in daylight between June 20th and December 20th.
So all year, Cayman has the same time, -5 hours Coordinated Universal time (UTC).
Eight major airlines fly into Grand Cayman daily, with many direct flights from large US cities plus London. With twice daily flights from Miami International Airport, connections from non-direct gateways make it easy to get to our lovely island from anywhere. Quick daily hops to Cayman Brac are via the national airline, Cayman Airways.
All visitors should land in the Cayman Islands with a return ticket and enough money to finance their stay. All Americans traveling to/from the Cayman Islands must have a passport. Foreigners that own a home are allowed to stay six months at a time.
The Cayman Islands has a total population just over 33,000. About 32,000 people reside (full-time) on the largest island, followed by 1,200 residents on Cayman Brac and a scant 120 on Little Cayman.
It’s a varied population, with cultures from around the globe. About a third of all residents are non-Caymanians. Most are from the US, Canada, the UK and nearby Jamaica, although a total of 113 nationalities are represented.
English is the primary language in the Cayman Islands, but you’ll notice it is spoken with a unique lilt, one a little different from accents in other areas of the Caribbean. It’s a reminder of the islands’ earliest Welsh, Scottish, and English settlers. You’ll often hear the Jamaican patois as well.
There is a strong emphasis on politeness and modesty, partly due to the history of Cayman as a matriarchal society and partly due to the strong British influence. Handshaking is the usual greeting. A person may be introduced by his or her first name (such as “Mr. Tom” or “Miss Lucy”), because of the large number of people with similar surnames. Unlike many tourist destinations, there is no “beach-hawking” culture; topless bathing is illegal, and wearing swimsuits off the beach is frowned on, although casual dress is acceptable.
Three Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, are located in the western Caribbean about 150 miles south of Cuba, 460 miles south of Miami, Florida, and 167 miles northwest of Jamaica. George Town, the capital, is on the western shore of Grand Cayman.
Cayman Brac lies about 89 miles northeast of Grand Cayman. It is about 12 miles long with an average width of 1.25 miles and has an area of about 15 square miles. Its terrain is the most spectacular and dramatic of the three islands. The Bluff, a massive central limestone outcrop, rises steadily along the length of the island up to 140 ft. above the sea at the eastern end.
Little Cayman lies five miles west of Cayman Brac and is approximately ten miles long with an average width of just over a mile. It has an area of about 10 square miles and is low-lying with a few areas on the north shore rising to 40 ft. above sea level.
Christopher Columbus first sighted Cayman Brac and Little Cayman on 10 May 1503. On his fourth trip to the New World, Columbus was en route to Hispaniola when his ship was thrust westward toward “two very small and low islands, full of tortoises, as was all the sea all about, insomuch that they looked like little rocks, for which reason these islands were called Las Tortugas.”
The first recorded settlements were located on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac during 1661-71. Because of the depredations of Spanish privateers, the governor of Jamaica called the settlers back to Jamaica, though by this time Spain had recognized British possession of the Islands in the 1670 Treaty of Madrid. Often in breach of the treaty, British privateers roamed the area taking their prizes, probably using the Cayman Islands to replenish stocks of food and water and careen their vessels.
Though the Cayman Islands were regarded as a dependency of Jamaica, the reins of government by that colony were loosely held in the early years, and a tradition grew of self-government, with matters of public concern decided at meetings of all free males. In 1831 a legislative assembly was established.
The constitutional relationship between the Cayman Islands and Jamaica remained ambiguous until 1863 when an act of the British parliament formally made the Cayman Islands a dependency of Jamaica. When Jamaica achieved independence in 1962, the Islands opted to remain under the British Crown, and an administrator appointed from London assumed the responsibilities previously held by the governor of Jamaica.
The constitution currently provides for a Crown-appointed Governor, a Legislative Assembly and a Cabinet. Unless there are exceptional reasons, the Governor accepts the advice of the Cabinet, which comprises three appointed official members and five ministers elected from the 15 elected members of the Assembly. The Governor has responsibility for the police, civil service, defense and external affairs but handed over the presidency of the Legislative Assembly to the Speaker in 1991.