Thinking of Moving to the Cayman Islands? Read this first…
Moving to a new country is a big step in life. Leaving your homeland behind for a new one across the sea can be an amazing experience.
Learning about a new culture and way of life is an enriching experience that one will remember forever. Nowhere is this truer than in the Cayman Islands.
If you are planning on moving here these little tid-bits should make the transition that much easier. Welcome to di rock boi!
- Be ready for the weather. Cayman is sunny and HOT! If you’re from colder more northerly climates this is a paradigm shift from what you would consider normal. You will be sweaty and you will get sun. It’s inevitable. Also be mindful of hurricane season and have a plan in place in the (rare) event that we do get a major storm. Know where you will shelter from the storm and be ready for the aftermath.
- Allocate plenty of time for trips to immigration and to the DMV. You could be through in 20 minutes or you could be there all day. Make sure you have all your paperwork perfect and that you’ve studied for your drivers test. You can streamline your experience if you’re prepared and ready when they call your number.
- Immerse yourself in the local community. Caymanians are some of the nicest people in the world and they love to share their heritage and culture. Get off the beaten path and try local cuisine. Volunteer for social programs. If you don’t know something just ask! The locals will help you out.
- Build in a little time in your tenure here to be off island. “Island Fever” can set in after a certain length of time and you want to take a few little trips to take little breaks. Head to Florida for a long weekend or take a trip over to Cuba. Get a little refresh and a change of scenery. Cayman is very small and you should get a reset from time to time. We live in paradise and sometimes we need a little perspective to remind us how great we have it here.
- Budget yourself! Cayman was recently voted to have the highest cost-of-living index on planet earth. Don’t burn through all your savings in the first few months and have to head back home with your tail between your legs. I’ve seen it a million times. Have a plan and stick to it. Shop when there are deals and avoid splurging or spending too many nights out on the town if that’s not in your plan. If you arrived with a trust fund then more power to you but most of us have to hunker down, save some CI$ and work. Remember from utilities to food to cars to entertainment – everything here is more expensive. This is partly because a great many things have to be brought in from overseas. Remember to factor in that duty!
- Learn to swim. We live on an island! We are surrounded by some of the most beautiful waters in the world. As such, a lot of the coolest things to do here are water-based activities. Boating, fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, wind surfing, parasailing, wakeboarding. The list goes on and on. Don’t limit yourself to being a land-lubber. Don’t miss out because you can’t swim or are timid in the water. Take some lessons, work on getting over your fear of the ocean and get out the swimwear. CANNONBALL!
- Be mindful that you are a guest here and it is a privilege. This one is so important to understand. While you certainly have inalienable human rights and deserve respect, you are a guest here and should be respectful in a new country. Arrive with a positive attitude and check any sense of entitlement at the door. Learn local social mores, research the culture and always, always be respectful of people from other walks of life. Cayman is a melting pot of people from all over the world and you can learn a lot from living here. With any luck you will develop a broader and more complete worldview from your time here and it will enrich your life.
- Eat patties, mangoes, ginups, scotch bonnet peppers, star fruit and sticky toffee pudding. Have a few Caybrews. Definitely get you some Chicken – Chicken. Hang out at Calico’s while you can. Nothing too deep here, I just like all this stuff. J
John has been working as an agent with ERA Cayman Islands for 8+ years specialising in high-end real estate, hospitality and property management. Formerly of Vail, Colorado; John has set down his roots in Grand Cayman. John holds a degree in business law from the University of Saint Thomas.