Nestled in the calm, turquoise waters of the western Caribbean, lies the peaceful British Overseas Territory known as the Cayman Islands. Consisting of three islands just 480 miles south of Miami, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman remain our little piece of paradise.
The Cayman Islands highest official is the Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Duncan Taylor, CBE, who is the appointed representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He presides over Cabinet, the ruling body of the country. Mr. Taylor succeeded Mr. Stuart Jack, CVO. The Governor’s term is four years. The existing constitution of the Cayman Islands, introduced on August 22, 1972, provides for the government of the Cayman Islands as a British Overseas Territory. It established a governing body called the Cabinet, which consists of three officials and five elected members, the latter being selected from the 15 elected representatives of the Legislative Assembly. To see the 15 elected representatives or to get more information visit the Cayman Islands Government website.
The Cayman Islands has its own currency, first issued in 1972, whose basic unit is the dollar, issued in notes with denominations of CI$100, 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 and coins valued at 25 cents, 10, 5 and 1 cent. The CI dollar has a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar of CI$1.00 equals US$1.25. Or, the US dollar equals CI $.80. There is no need for visitors to exchange their US dollars into local currency. The US dollar is accepted throughout the islands at a rate of CI 80 cents. However, this can be confusing to visitors: for example, a US$20 note becomes CI$16. Banks do NOT give a better rate of exchange! Major credit cards (with the exception of the Discover Card) and traveller’s checks are widely accepted. Canadian dollars, Euro dollars and pounds sterling can be exchanged for CI dollars at local banks. In addition, Automatic Teller Machines accepting VISA and MasterCard with Cirrus affiliation are located at Cayman National Bank and other banks and at Owen Roberts International Airport as well as a few other locations such as the grocery stores.
The total land mass of the three islands is 100 square miles. Grand Cayman occupies 76 square miles; Cayman Brac, 14 square miles and Little Cayman, 10 square miles. Grand Cayman is approximately 22 miles long and 8 miles at its widest point, reaching a maximum elevation of 79.77 feet in North Side.
Cayman Brac is 14 miles long and 2 miles wide and has the most dramatic topography of the trio. Its majestic Bluff rises west to east along the length of the island to 151.75 above Spot Bay. Many mysterious caves are carved throughout this awe-inspiring natural attraction.
Little Cayman, only 10 miles long and a mile wide, is flat, reaching a maximum elevation of 55.75 ft. Its famous Bloody Bay wall Marine Park has been called one of the world’s best dive sites. Inland, the 203 – acre Booby Pond Nature Reserve is a RAMSAR site and nesting ground for the Caribbean’s largest population of Red Footed Boobies.
Cayman Islands Department of Tourism http://www.caymanislands.ky
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