Getting Around Grand Cayman
Car Rental | Taxis | Airport Transfer | Buses | Bike Rental | Scooter Rental | Tipping
Your complete guide to getting around Grand Cayman and the Cayman Islands, including car rental, taxis, buses, airport transfers, tipping and more.
dRIVING iN gRAND cAYMAN
The speed limit is 30 mph in built-up areas such as George Town and along Seven Mile Beach, and 40 mph on most other roads. Gas prices are published at www.planning.gov.ky. Stations charge more or less the same prices, ranging from CI$3 to CI$4 per gallon.
Watch out for the roundabouts! Grand Cayman has probably 10 times more roundabouts than stop lights. Roundabouts aren’t as scary as you may think. Drivers travel around a roundabout in a clockwise direction and all approaching traffic must yield to the traffic that is already in the roundabout. But more importantly, make sure you are in the correct lane before entering a roundabout. The correct lane determines if you are making an immediate left, driving straight through or going more than halfway around. Arrows on the roadway before each roundabout help in guiding this process. Once you enter the roundabout, make sure to use your signal and check your mirrors.
You must be at least 18 years old and have a full driving license valid in your country of residence in order to drive in Grand Cayman and the use of a mobile phone while driving, unless its hands-free, is against the law.
If you’re comfortable driving on the left and want to explore the island under your own steam then renting a car is an excellent choice.
There are a number of reputable car rental agencies including Avis, Hertz, Dollar, Marshalls, Budget, Economy, and the island’s favourite, Andy’s. All of the major car rental offices are located a quick 3-5 minute walk just outside the airport.
A driving permit is mandatory if you rent a car. All car rental companies are required by law to issue this permit. The fee is US$7.50.
Make sure to book your reservation in advance especially at busier times of the year such as Christmas and Spring Break.
Car Rental Prices
Car rental prices depend on the season, with the highest rates between mid-December and mid-April. In low season, prices are often reduced by around 35%. For example, in low season, an economy car can be rented for as low as US$100 a week, but in high season, that same car could be US$350 or more. The key is to book your rental car early.
With so many rental car company options, the choice of car types is varied and can fit every group, family or couple from economy cars to fun a fun Jeep Wrangler to a multi-person mini-van or van to luxury vehicles and convertibles.
Taxis are informative and friendly, and plentiful at the airport and in front of the cruise ship terminals in George Town. You'll also find them parked in front of the major resorts along Seven Mile Beach. For the most part, drivers are among the most honest you are likely to find in the Caribbean. If you’re shirtless, wet or damp most taxis won’t take you, so make sure to keep a towel with you to stay dry and fresh.
The government regulates the taxis, so every driver should have the official government rate sheet. It’s best to agree upon a price upfront before getting into the cab. You may want to ask to see the official rate sheet. If paying in U.S. dollars, don't expect the driver to accept denominations larger than US$20. Tipping cabbies between 15% and 20% is the local custom. For a fast, reliable service, we love Ace taxis on +1 345 777 7777.
Grand Cayman Bus Routes
Buses are a great way to get around, although be patient and allow plenty of time. Buses can be identified by numbers in a colour circle on the front of each bus. The main island terminal is in George Town next to the Public Library on Edward Street. The main line runs from George Town along Seven Mile Beach every 20 minutes during the day. Bus service runs daily from 6am to midnight, with most fares costing CI$1.50 to CI$3.
Buses serve all the main points on the island, including Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Bodden Town, East End, and North Side. There is no central number to call, since most of the buses are independently operated. Licensed buses have blue number plates and accept both US and Cayman Islands dollars. There are a few bus stops around the island, but buses can be flagged down from the side of the road. And when you want to get off, just let your driver know. For a small fee of CI$1 to CI$3, it is possible to ask the driver to deviate a little from the bus route.
Grand Cayman is one of the best Caribbean islands for biking, as its main arteries are relatively flat, decently paved, wide, and properly signposted. If you stick to the coastal route, you'll experience few difficulties except for the occasional unexpected downpours. Side roads, however, can be difficult, especially if you're attempting to venture off the beaten track. You should avoid the morning and evening rush hours at George Town and along Seven Mile Beach if possible. Indicate your direction by sticking out a hand and bear in mind that traffic from the right has the right of way. Helmets aren’t compulsory but lights at night are. Bikes are usually available from the local hotels and condos.
Renting a scooter can be a fun and leisurely way to explore Grand Cayman. You can take a relaxing ride along Church Street to explore Sound South with a stop at Smith’s Cove or explore the more rural areas such as West Bay where you can stop for an incredible vegan lunch with an amazing view at Vivo Restaurant, which is located right on the ocean not far from the Cayman Turtle Centre.
Several companies offer scooter rentals in Grand Cayman. Cayman Auto Rentals, which is located right in the heart of George Town, rents 50cc scooters for US$35.00 a day that can hold 2 people. Rentals come with a helmet and insurance is only US5.00. Much like renting a car in Cayman, a local driver’s permit much be purchased.
If a scooter is too slow for your speed and you are looking for something with a bit more muscle, check out Cayman Custom Cycles. They offer Grand Cayman’s only motorcycle excursion tours from the seat of a fully customized Harley Davidson. Four-hour tours start at US$275 per rider and include lunch.
There are a variety of transportation options when you arrive at Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman. Fees vary per destination and the type of transportation you choose, but the most common options are taxi, pre-booked bus shuttles, pre-booked limousines and rental cars.
By Pre-Booked Bus Shuttle
If you are traveling with a large group, you may want to consider a bus shuttle, which must be pre-booked and arranged before you arrive in Grand Cayman. There are specific companies which offer this service from Owen Roberts International Airport including Majestic Tours, NCT Tours, Rudy’s Travelers Transport, Webster’s Tours and Reliable Tours.
By Pre-Booked Limousine
Although not as common as taxis or bus shuttles, pre-booked limousine services are available in Grand Cayman for visitors who want to start their vacation in style. Prior arrangement must be made and the companies that service Owen Roberts International Airport include Chauffeur Unlimited, Elite Transportation, Grand Limousine Service and Majestic Tours.
Available at the arrival area once you exit the airport, taxis are on offered on a first-come first-serve basis. Guests must visit the Airport Ground Transport Attendant before going to the taxi line. There the dispatcher will determine your location, provide you with a dispatch ticket and advise you of the fare based on the approved fare table set by the Cayman Island government. This dispatch ticket will advise you of your taxi driver, fare, destination and time of dispatch.
Getting To The Beach
Depending on where you are staying in Grand Cayman, getting to the beach can be as easy as walking out your door and stepping onto the sand and as Grand Cayman is only 22 miles long and 5 miles wide, the nearest beach is not that far away. Every beach in Grand Cayman is open to the public and beaches abound on the island, but here are some of our favorite spots.
Seven Mile Beach is world-renowned as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is the most popular on the island. Most of the major hotels are located right on this stretch of white sand and crystal blue water including The Ritz-Carlton, The Kimpton, The Marriott and The Westin along with dozens of condos that are available for vacation rentals.
A popular beach with locals and tourists alike, Smith Cove, located just outside of George Town, is a quiet alternative to Seven Mile Beach. Featuring great snorkeling, Smith Cove can be reached by rental car, bike or scooter depending on your mood.
Other beaches that are a bit further out include Rum Point and Cayman Kai, two quiet ocean paradises on Grand Cayman’s north coast. Offering many of the same amenities and activities as Seven Mile Beach including sunbathing, snorkeling, beach volleyball, sailing, paddle boarding, restaurants, beach bars, and jet ski rentals, Cayman Kai and Rum Point are much quieter, but still offers the same white coral sand and crystal clear waters that makes Seven Mile Beach so popular.
Whether you’re saying thanks for your Mudslide, trying to get into that new club or just had the best scuba dive of your life, don’t be shy with your cash – it’s customary to tip and it’s what keeps the service at the top of its game. Unlike many US and Canadian restaurants, several restaurants already include a tip in the bill, which can be 10-15%. Make sure you double check and of course, tip extra if your experience is one you’ll never forget.