>>>Cayman Islands, not only for millionaires

Cayman Islands, not only for millionaires

Why go to the Cayman Islands if you don’t have millions to open a bank account? Answer: In the fifth financial centre of the world, there’s more to do than save money.
7
:00 AM. A man arrives at the dock in George Town, capital of Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands, where every day transatlantics put in to dock. It isn’t a suitcase he carries, but a fishing rod and an icebox. His destination? Not one of the banks of the world’s fifth financial centre. He is on his way to a 25-foot boat in which he will go fishing for wahoo, snapper fish or tuna for his restaurant, one of the 200 eateries there are in what is said to be “the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean”. In this tax haven, there are more businesses than people, but it isn’t only the bank accounts that are well fed.
The fish that was caught this morning now lies on a plate in a restaurant, prepared Cayman style, in breadcrumbs and cooked in tomato sauce with onion and peppers. And served “Caymankind”, as it is known, that is brought to you with a broad smile. Also, to accompany, a small brisa caribeña (Caribbean breeze), a bourbon cocktail, with natural orange juice, sorrel and lemon.
George Town, the capital of Grand Cayman, is the point of entry to the Cayman Islands.
Photo: Don McDougall. Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Generosity brings its own reward

Grand Cayman island has one of the strongest economies in the Caribbean. In 1778, King George III exempted this British overseas territory from paying taxes. The privilege was granted in gratitude for having given shelter to the survivors of a shipwreck.

The fine range of Caribbean and international cuisine on offer in the archipelago is celebrated with two outstanding annual events. Cayman Cookout brings together world famous chefs familiar with Caribbean foods who offer tastings and samplings of their own creations. Fish is the star of the Taste of Cayman Festival celebrated with music and firework displays. Local cuisine is based on fresh fish simply prepared: cooked in coconut milk and accompanied with vegetables (known as coconut dinner), grilled, marinated, or fried. The more unusual dishes are sea snails and tortoise, in soups or fillets.
A visit to Cayman Turtle Farm, a marine theme park in the outskirts of George Town, is one of Grand Cayman’s top attractions. Turtles are raised in captivity in a salt-water lagoon with coral reefs, and the farm has an aviary of exotic birds, a tank with marine predators, and the largest swimming pool with slides on the island. A swim in the company of stingrays is also popular with visitors. There are frequent boat trips available out to the crystal clear waters of Stingray City to feed the rays that come up to the swimmers and even interact with them.
The most envied form of accommodation is renting a private villa.
Photo:Don McDougall. Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Tips included in the bill

Typically restaurants include a 15% or 18% service charge in the bill. And it is standard practice to add this amount if the group is large or if the service has been especially good. In contrast, there are no taxes charged on restaurant bills.

Those who want to spend the interest on their current accounts tend to concentrate in the resorts along the length of Seven Mile Beach, a nine-kilometre half-moon curve of white sand and turquoise waters. Besides sunbathing under the coconut trees, they invade the duty free shops on the sea front. By contrast, those who are looking for privacy prefer the tranquility of the two smaller islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. They have clear water beaches for snorkling – Spot Bay for example -, lagoons, swamps and caves with tales of pirate treasures from the days when pirate captains made the Cayman Islands their centre of operations.
Seven Mile Beach is considered to be one of the best in the Caribbean.
Photo: Don McDougall. Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

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