Grand Cayman, the largest island in the Cayman Islands, is a very popular tourist destination. This island in the British Overseas Territory is a popular location for luxury travelers as well as families on vacation.
Grand Cayman is home to George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands and a picturesque town where you can explore local history by visiting the Cayman National Museum and the colorful waterfront.
The nature in Grand Cayman is beautiful, whether you head inland to hike the Mastic Trail or swim with turtles at Spotts Beach.
Grand Cayman is also a great spot for hedonism, whether you sip cocktails at Rum Point or check out the entertainment complex of Camana Bay. There is so much to do in Grand Cayman, it’s no wonder that this island is a popular vacation destination.
It sounds so beautiful, that you might be wondering if it isn’t too good to be true, if there isn’t a darker secret hiding beneath the beautiful photos. But don’t worry — our travel experts have done the hard work for you.
We’ve put together this travel guide to help you learn if Grand Cayman is safe to visit or not. Keep reading to learn about any precautions you have to take while you are in the area. Let us be your guide!
Is Grand Cayman Safe to Visit in 2023?
Yes. Grand Cayman is a very safe place to visit, so go ahead and plan your vacation with complete peace of mind!
There is some crime, especially around George Town, but for the most part, Grand Cayman is a very safe place. Like anywhere else in the Caribbean, you will have to be mindful of hurricane season.
To get an idea of the safety of Grand Cayman, it’s a good idea to look at the travel advisories for the Cayman Islands as a whole. If the whole territory is deemed safe to visit by foreign governments, then it’s safe to assume that Grand Cayman is safe as well.
Plus, some countries issue specific regional warnings in their travel advisories for countries and territories. All foreign governments are united in their assessment that the Cayman Islands is a safe destination.
This includes Grand Cayman.
The United States puts the Cayman Islands under a Level One travel advisory, the lowest possible travel advisory. Visitors only have to exercise normal precautions while in Grand Cayman, the same as they would at home.
Actually, many visitors will feel safer in Grand Cayman than they would in their hometowns as the crime rate is much higher in most United States cities and towns.
Looking at the traveler profile of visitors to Grand Cayman is also a good way to check on the safety of the destination. Grand Cayman is a popular destination for luxury travel thanks to its beaches and all-inclusive high-end resorts.
It’s also a popular destination for business travel. People that fit under these categories of travelers rarely go to destinations where they fear they might be robbed.
That being said, Grand Cayman is slightly more dangerous than other islands in the Cayman Islands. It has a higher rate of street crime.
That is because Grand Cayman is home to George Town, the largest town on the Cayman Islands and a popular cruise ship port. There is more opportunity for crime in Grand Cayman, attracting opportunistic thieves.
Some problems you might encounter in Grand Cayman include:
- Petty theft
- Purse snatching
- Tourist scams
- Verbal harassment
Most of these problems are petty in nature and will just cause an inconvenient headache to travelers instead of threatening your life or physical safety.
However, it’s still a good idea to take basic precautions to avoid a headache during your travels. When visiting Grand Cayman, as with any Caribbean destination, you should keep an eye out for hurricane warnings.
Hurricane season in the Caribbean lasts from early June to November, intensifying in September and October. These storms are sometimes deadly and devastating to crucial infrastructure.
Grand Cayman is not often directly affected by hurricanes. The Cayman Islands National Weather Service has a list of past direct storm hits, and most storms that directly approach Grand Cayman are no longer hurricanes but tropical storms when they make landfall.
Usually, Grand Cayman receives only one hurricane every few years, but they have become more frequent due to climate change.
If you decide to visit Grand Cayman during hurricane season, which is when the island is more affordable, monitor the Cayman Islands National Weather Service for alerts about upcoming storms and predictions for the intensity of the upcoming hurricane season.
Crime in Grand Cayman
There is some crime in Grand Cayman. The crowds that dock at port when cruise ships arrive create the perfect cover for criminals, and the largest town in the territory, George Town, contains some sketchy areas.
However, Grand Cayman still has very low crime rates, especially compared to the rest of the Caribbean. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service offers a detailed breakdown of crime in all of the Cayman Islands, including Grand Cayman.
At first the statistics seem alarming — Grand Cayman experiences the most crime out of any other part of the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman has 96.8% of total violent crimes that occur in the Cayman Islands.
The most common violent crime is assault. Grand Cayman also experiences 94.8% of total property crimes that occur in the Cayman Islands.
The most common property crimes are various forms of theft such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft from vehicles, followed by burglaries. However, these statistics are not that frightening when you put them in context.
According to the police report, there were only 760 total violent crimes committed in all of the Cayman Islands in the entire year of 2022. There were slightly more property crimes, at 1227 incidents.
Only 11% of incidents that police respond to are criminal incidents.
The crime rate may be higher in Grand Cayman compared to other islands in the Cayman Islands, but it is much lower than in most places in the world and especially when compared to the rest of the Caribbean.
A big reason why Grand Cayman contains most crime incidents on the Cayman Islands is that it also contains most of the population.
According to UN statistics, Grand Cayman contains about 97% of the total population of the Cayman Islands. It makes sense that most crime incidents would occur there.
Certain districts of Grand Cayman contain more crime than others. Most crime occurs in George Town, followed by West Bay and Bodden Town. North Side and East End, which are more sparsely populated, have very little crime.
The crime you are most likely to encounter in Grand Cayman is petty theft. Wherever in the world there are large populations of tourists, there are also people waiting to take advantage of distracted tourists at the beach.
The UK government mentions the risk of theft in its government travel advisory for the Cayman Islands, including Grand Cayman.
You should be particularly cautious about carrying your passport, as replacing it in the Cayman Islands is very difficult. Carry a photocopy with you while leaving the real deal in your hotel safe.
British citizens can get an emergency passport at the Cayman Islands Passport Office, located in Grand Cayman. Most thefts in Grand Cayman happen due to inattention.
Basic precautions such as not leaving your valuables unattended go a long way towards preventing crime. Be especially careful at the beach as thieves often rummage through people’s bags while they are swimming.
Leave valuables in your hotel safe while you go swimming or snorkeling. In Grand Cayman, more violent thefts such as muggings sometimes happen. Avoid walking down deserted areas of George Town or West Bay at night.
Don’t use the ATM after dark or do other things that might attract unwanted attention. If you go exploring at night, stick to well-lit streets with lots of other people out enjoying their evenings.
Sexual Harassment and Assault
Like in most other places in the world, women face additional challenges when traveling to Grand Cayman. There is a risk of sexual harassment which sometimes escalates into assault.
A local newspaper published an investigation into sexual harassment on the island and found that it was a serious problem. Most sexual harassment incidents are verbal harassment, such as catcalling on the street.
While most women have a wonderful time traveling to Grand Cayman, some female travelers have experienced unwanted attention before. Women should also be careful when checking out the nightlife in Grand Cayman.
Be careful when visiting nightlife districts, such as the bars along West Bay Road. The Canadian government warns its citizens that women have been victims of drink spiking before.
Criminals will spike women’s drinks with date rape drugs or excess alcohol, then rob or assault them when they are incapacitated. When you decide to go out to bars or clubs, always keep an eye on your drinks.
Use the same precautions you would use at home, such as not accepting drinks, cigarettes, gum, or food from overly friendly strangers.
Only go out at night with a group and take a taxi home instead of walking through deserted areas as some streets in George Town or West Bay are sketchy after dark.
Avoiding Bad Areas
Grand Cayman doesn’t have any bad areas per se, neighborhoods that are complete no-go zones. However, there are some streets in Grand Cayman that are not the best for wandering, especially after dark.
Downtown George Town has a higher rate of pickpocketing, especially around the port area, near popular tourist attractions, and at bus stations. Keep a closer eye on your valuables.
West Bay is also experiencing a higher crime rate. Be careful on certain roads that are known for gang activity, such as Birch Tree Hill Road and Sand Hole Road. Gangs sometimes target tourists for armed robberies, so don’t travel in unfamiliar areas after dark.
Things to Consider
Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling to Grand Cayman:
- Follow local advice. In 2022, Grand Cayman experienced a crime wave that changed how many locals feel on the island. Many areas that used to be safe experienced violent incidents, but most tourist guides haven’t had a chance to update that information yet.
- Don’t use drugs. Some tourists get caught up in the hedonism of Grand Cayman and use substances, especially at parties. Drug laws are very strict in the Cayman Islands, and you could pay a hefty fine or even end up in prison.
- Book a hotel with a room safe. Putting your valuables in your room safe is the safest way to keep them away from thieves. Since thefts from hotel rooms are increasing, you don’t want to tempt thieves if possible. A hotel room safe that is bolted to the floor is the best option.
- Be careful of local wildlife. When hiking in Grand Cayman, be careful of scorpion and spider bites. Crocodiles gave the island its name but are now rare. When swimming, be careful of lionfish and jellyfish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions you might want answers to before visiting Grand Cayman:
How safe is Grand Cayman for tourists?
Grand Cayman is very safe for tourists. Despite a recent increase in crime, the island is still very safe and has a low crime rate compared to other Caribbean islands.
Is it safe to walk in Grand Cayman?
It is mostly safe to walk in Grand Cayman. However, some areas of George Town and West Bay are sketchy so trust your gut and ask locals such as your hotel receptionist for advice.
Are the Cayman Islands safer than The Bahamas?
The Cayman Islands, including Grand Cayman, are far safer than The Bahamas. The crime rate is much lower, and the violent crime rate in Grand Cayman is practically nonexistent when compared to The Bahamas.
Is Grand Cayman safe to travel alone?
Yes, Grand Cayman is safe to visit even if you are alone. Just take some precautions if you are a solo female traveler, especially at night.
Is Grand Cayman safe in 2023?
Grand Cayman is safe even in 2023. Although the island experienced a crime wave in 2022, it is still a very safe destination.
So, Should You Visit Grand Cayman?
Grand Cayman is the perfect destination for a safe vacation! As long as you take basic precautions to protect your valuables, you should have a wonderful time. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!