The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, is a popular tourist destination in the Caribbean. The group of islands receives about 1.8 million visitors per year (when there are no unforeseen circumstances such as COVID-19 affecting international travel).
The best things to do in the Cayman Islands are to swim, tan, and enjoy the beaches. There are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from, such as pristine sandy Seven Mile Beach or Rum Point.
Explore the local marine life at Stingray City or Bloody Bay Marine Reserve. Even if you’re not a billionaire yourself, you can pretend you live in the lap of luxury by taking a jaunt to George Town, where you’ll spot plenty of massive yachts.
The Cayman Islands sounds like the perfect destination for a beach vacation, but even perfect locations have their flaws. Before going anywhere, it’s a good idea to research practical concerns such as safety.
But don’t worry — our travel experts put together this detailed travel guide to help you evaluate if a trip to the Cayman Islands is safe, and what precautions to take once you are there. Read on to learn all you need to know.
Is the Cayman Islands Safe to Visit in 2023?
Lovers of beach vacations, rejoice, because the Cayman Islands are a very safe place to visit! This group of Caribbean islands has a very low crime rate and most crime incidents don’t affect tourists.
One place to start researching the safety of the Cayman Islands is by looking at travel advisories for this British Overseas Territory. Most foreign governments agree with their assessment that a trip to the Cayman Islands will be a safe vacation.
New Zealand doesn’t even issue a specific travel advisory for the Cayman Islands, trusting that its citizens won’t need to take many precautions while there.
The United States government has a similar assessment. The U.S. State Department advises citizens visiting the Cayman Islands to exercise normal precautions while there.
This is the lowest possible advisory level for a country or territory according to the State Department’s advisory system. Another way to check the safety of a potential destination is to look at who travels there.
The Cayman Islands are a popular destination among the global jet set. Wealth management magazines even recommend it as a travel destination or potential home!
Rest assured that the world’s wealthiest would not choose to spend their time somewhere where they could be parted with their valuables. But like anywhere else in the world, crime is still present in the Cayman Islands.
Crimes you might encounter while in town include:
- Petty theft
- Bag snatching
- Theft from hotel rooms
- Sexual assault
Like most Caribbean destinations, the Cayman Islands are regularly impacted by hurricanes. However, storms are usually milder once they land on the Cayman Islands and severe damage is rare.
Hurricane season lasts from June to November. If you are traveling to the Cayman Islands during this time, be sure to monitor the Cayman Islands National Weather Service for any alerts or predicted storms.
Crime in the Cayman Islands
Crime is one of the primary concerns for people traveling to new places. This is often true for destinations in the Caribbean, as the region has earned a reputation as a place where tourists are often the victims of crime.
You don’t have to worry about being the victim of a crime in the Cayman Islands. The crime rate is extremely low in the island territory. Tourists are very well protected and most people that are victims of a crime were careless or just unlucky.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service publishes a detailed annual report of crime that can help put your mind at ease when it comes to traveling in the Cayman Islands.
According to the 2022 report, only 11% of the incidents that the local police force had to deal with were eventually classified as crimes. Most crimes committed in the Cayman Islands are property crimes.
In 2022, there were 1,227 total property crimes reported in the island territory. The police noted in their report that most property crime offenses in the Cayman Islands are carried out by serial offenders that are known to the police.
The most common forms of property crime in the Cayman Islands are thefts and other forms of crime, followed by offenses against public order.
Thefts from vehicles and motor vehicle thefts also make up a decent amount of reported property crimes. In 2022, there were 760 violent crimes recorded in the Cayman Islands. 92% of violent crimes are crimes of lesser magnitude such as assault ABH or common assault.
Unfortunately, the rate of serious violence, such as assault with a deadly weapon, increased in 2022 compared to previous years.
Newspapers in the Cayman Islands throughout 2022 ran worrying articles about the increase in crime compared to 2021. In 2022, crime in the Cayman Islands increased by 3.5% compared to the previous year.
The biggest spike in crime came from robberies and burglaries. However, the police department put this increase into perspective. 2020 and 2021 were statistical deviations in terms of crime on the Cayman Islands.
These were the years of the COVID-19-induced lockdowns and declines in tourism. As people are able to move freely again and tourists return, creating more opportunity for crime, of course crime will increase.
A better idea is to compare 2022 to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. That comparison shows that crime in 2022 was still lower than it was in 2019.
The reports of the Cayman Islands now becoming a dangerous destination are far overblown. The most high-profile crimes in the Cayman Islands are fraud and money laundering related to drug trafficking.
While this attracts some shady characters to the island country and has earned the Cayman Islands a sleazy international reputation, this type of crime doesn’t affect the safety of average visitors.
If anything, organized crime leaders are less likely to cause problems in the Cayman Islands as they don’t want to jeopardize their financial haven.
If you do encounter a crime in the Cayman Islands, which is very unlikely, you are most likely to encounter a form of petty theft. Street crime such as pickpocketing, and more rarely, bag snatching, does happen in the Cayman Islands.
This form of crime is fairly impossible for police to eliminate and happens in most tourist destinations, especially places where there is a large income gap between locals and visitors.
According to the Canadian government travel advisory, there is some street crime that occurs in the Cayman Islands. Since most crimes are crimes of opportunity, the best precaution is to ensure that thieves don’t get the opportunity to steal from you.
Most thefts on the Cayman Islands happen on the beach. People get taken in by the low crime rate and relaxing atmosphere and think that they can just leave their possessions unattended.
Thieves often take advantage of people’s attitudes and steal people’s items while they are swimming. Leave valuables in your hotel safe or go with a group and take turns watching each other’s bags.
Theft on the street sometimes happens, especially in George Town. Take reasonable precautions while you are walking around, especially if you decide to go exploring after dark.
You’ll see a lot of wealthy visitors in the Cayman Islands, so you don’t have to worry so much about not flaunting your valuables, but it’s still a good idea not to visit the ATM at night.
Passport theft is also somewhat common on the islands. Try to carry a copy of your ID when you’re out and about instead of the real deal because replacing it while you are in town can get very difficult.
Theft From Hotel Rooms
Another crime you might encounter in the Cayman Islands is theft from a hotel room. The UK government touches on this possibility in its travel advisory for the islands.
Thefts from hotel rooms sometimes happen in the form of break-ins, where someone outside of the hotel enters a room without permission. This is rarer in high-end hotels or resorts with strong security, but still a possibility.
Always make sure that doors are locked, and windows and balcony entryways are closed when you leave the room or go to sleep. Sometimes, thefts from hotel rooms are committed by cleaners or other staff.
Most hotels put thought into hiring trustworthy individuals, but anyone could slip up. That is why the safest place to put your valuables is in a room safe, never laying out in the open. Hotel room safes that are bolted down to the floor are the safest.
Avoiding Bad Areas
While there are a few “bad areas” in the Cayman Islands since the whole territory is so safe, there are definitely areas where you should be more careful about your movements.
Parts of downtown George Town occasionally experience petty street crime. Take sensible precautions while you are in town, such as not flashing valuables or walking down deserted streets after dark.
Things to Consider
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you travel to the Cayman Islands:
- Be careful what you bring with you in the island territory. Due to the proximity to the United States, the Cayman Islands gets many American visitors. However, never bring ammunition or firearms to the territory as it is illegal, and violators are heavily prosecuted. This is apparently common enough that the tourism board had to include it in its safety advisory.
- Women should take additional precautions in the Cayman Islands. Although sexual assault is rare, it does happen. Never leave your drinks unattended as drink spiking incidents targeting foreigners have occurred in the past. Be careful when walking home alone at night.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Like everywhere in the Caribbean, the sun in the Cayman Islands is strong. Wear plenty of sunscreen (reef-safe if you can get it). Children should wear SPF-protective clothing. Drink plenty of fluids and stay in the shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent heatstroke and sunburns.
- Drunk driving laws have become stricter over the past few years in response to more drunk driving incidents. Don’t drink if you are driving or get in the car with someone who is inebriated. Traffic accidents happen, so be careful when crossing the street (and look right first).
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few common questions to keep in mind when planning your trip to the Cayman Islands:
Are the Cayman Islands safe for tourists?
Yes, the Cayman Islands are very safe for tourists! The crime rate is extremely low, and the rate of crimes affecting tourists is even lower. Most tourists have relaxing vacations in the Cayman Islands and never experience anything negative.
What safety level is the Cayman Islands?
According to most countries’ travel advisories, the Cayman Islands is at a Level One safety level. That is the safest possible level in most travel alert systems. It means that travelers just need to exercise basic common sense precautions, the same that they would at home.
Is the Cayman Islands too expensive?
For most people, a trip to the Cayman Islands will put a sizable dent in their budget. The Cayman Islands is a very expensive destination due to the high cost of living and because the primary travelers the local industry caters to are luxury travelers.
Is Grand Cayman safe to visit alone?
Grand Cayman is the biggest island in the Cayman Islands. Like the rest of the territory, it is very safe, even for solo travelers.
Is it safe to swim in Grand Cayman?
Most of the beaches in the Cayman Islands, including Grand Cayman, are safe to swim in. However, never go out beyond your skill level, and be careful of dangerous water animals such as lionfish, jellyfish, and sea itch.
So, Should You Visit the Cayman Islands?
The Cayman Islands are some of the safest places in the Caribbean to visit. The crime rate is very low and as long as you don’t leave your valuables unattended and take other basic precautions, you should have a wonderful vacation. Happy travels!