The Cayman Islands

October 7th, 2016

Learn About The Cayman Islands

The Caribbean is among the most loved regions across the world. Residents of North America flock here in the summer for the long days of tropical sun and fun, and even come during the winter to escape long nights and chilly weather back home. Dozens of island nations call this sea home, stretching from the Bahamas off of Florida in the north, west to the shores of Central America, and down to the upper edges of South America. The Cayman Islands are one of the territories that inhabit this group of countries, and they are a common stop for tourists and cruise ships alike.

The Cayman Islands are not technically an independent sovereign nation, but instead a British overseas territory. They are actually three distinct islands, being Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. On a regional or global map, you can find them south of Cuba and north of Panama, or northeast of Costa Rica and northwest from Jamaica. Around sixty thousand people call the Cayman Islands home, with many in the capital of George Town.

Wealthy individuals around the world, but in particular North America, use the Cayman Islands as an offshore haven for their money. Much of the history of the Caymans has been that of being tax-exempt. A legend often shared there purports that Cayman citizens once rescued nearly a dozen merchant ships in 1794, and that King George III generously gave Cayman with an oath to never let taxes be brought there. While an entertaining story, the “Wreck of the Ten Sail” legend is untrue. Despite this, the governments overseeing the Caymans have never used direct taxes to fund themselves, relying on indirect means instead. The popularity of this place as a tax haven relies on the fact that the islands have never once levied income taxes, capital gains taxes, or any kind of wealth tax.

A curious fact is that the Cayman Islands have more registered businesses than they do citizens! Having said that, the residents that do live here have an average income of almost fifty grand per year, in American dollars, giving them the highest per capita standard of living in the entire Caribbean. Much like the Bahamas and other regional nations, the Cayman Islands print their own currency but also peg it to the American dollar; however, the peg or exchange rate varies from nation to nation.

Tourism is a main driver of the local economy, notably surrounding features like the public property Seven Mile Beach, as well as a number of stingray exhibits and snorkeling and scuba diving.

Should you want to visit the Cayman Islands, most major cruise lines sailing the Caribbean have ships and itineraries that visit ports of call here. Visiting without a cruise line is also certainly possible, given the many hotels and resorts on the three islands. Despite seeming far away as a tropical haven, the Cayman Islands are in fact only a flight of a few hours from most continental United States locations.

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