What to Bring/What Not to Bring
Given the cost of shipping your personal effects to Cayman, it is important to carefully consider what to bring and what not to bring with you, particularly if you do not know in what type of house or apartment you will be living in.
The perception is that there are not a lot of shopping options on Grand Cayman. The reality is there is a reasonable selection of stores but certainly not as many as in any large city and the prices will likely be more expensive than you are used to. Your best bet is to bring a lot of clothes, underwear and shoes with you. You may need a light sweater if you will be working in an air conditioned building and a rain mac (raincoat) for the rainy season. Generally, the dress-code is smart casual but there are a few black-tie functions, at which men will often wear dinner jackets and women wear a long cocktail or evening dress. See the Clothing Stores page for more information.
Laptops, Smart Phones and tablets/iPads are dutiable if they are purchased overseas and not bought locally. If you are travelling to and from Grand Cayman with electronic devices it is now possible to voluntarily register them so you are able to prove to customs that devices such as iPads, iPhones and laptops have not just been purchased abroad. Visit www.customs.gov.ky to download the form, which must be submitted more than 24 hours prior to travel. See the Electronics & Cameras page for details on where to purchase electronic goods.
Cayman runs on the same electricity system as the US (110/115v), but uses a 3-pin plug. However, the US 2-pin plug will work (see example in the Settling In chapter). If your appliances run on 220v and they do not have dual capability, they will not work in Cayman and you should buy what you need once you get here. Some small electronic items (mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras) can be run and charged using a travel adapter
Entertainment Systems – You will probably pay duty if you import one, especially if it looks new, so have your receipts on hand. The prices may be higher than some countries (the US for example), but not more than you would pay by buying the equipment there and then paying duty on it here.
Small quantities of meat and seafood can be imported as long as it is for personal consumption only. Seafood from all countries may be imported but anything in excess of 20lbs must be accompanied by a Certificate of Wholesomeness, which can only be obtained by a prior application for an Import Permit from the Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture. Small quantities of meats (up to 25lbs) can be brought in by passengers in their luggage as long as the meat is from an approved country (see below), is pre-wrapped under a brand name and has the Official Seal of Inspection of the country’s Meat Inspection Authority. Meats that are allowed:
1) Only swine products are allowed from the UK and Ireland.
2) All types of approved meats are allowed from the US, Canada, CARICOM countries, Australia and New Zealand.
You are allowed to bring in coffee and herbs for personal use, as long as they are in their original packaging and sealed. No fruit or vegetables can be imported into the Cayman Islands. No plants, fresh cut flowers or plant cuttings can be brought in unless a proper Import Permit has been obtained prior to shipping.
Most rented condos and homes come with all the furnishings, lights and appliances you will need, although they can be quite basic. If you’re buying a house or apartment, then they will also usually come fully furnished, unless they have been newly built. Our advice is to bring accessories and small items like photographs etc. to help your new home feel like your own. Larger pieces of furniture can be shipped from home later. There are some good furniture and homeware stores in Cayman if you want to buy furniture once you arrive. The furniture available varies in both cost and style. (See the Furniture Stores page for a list of retailers.) We do advise people to think very carefully before selling good quality pieces of furniture you own or items that have sentimental value, as you are unlikely to be able to replace them locally and if you buy new furniture from overseas you will have to pay for the shipping plus 22% duty.
The Cayman Islands has very strict laws on the possession of firearms and it is illegal to possess a firearm, as defined by the Firearms Law, without a Firearms Licence specifically authorised by the Commissioner of Police. Punishment for the offence is severe with a minimum of 10 years imprisonment. It is possible however, to import a firearm (or your firearms collection) in some cases. To do so, the prospective applicant should complete a Firearms Licence and import/export form, which can be obtained from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS). In addition to providing the various supporting documents, the applicant will be required to declare the manner in which the firearm will be stored. Every firearm must be stored in a locked box or safe and the RCIPS will check to ensure that this is enforced. There is an active gun club on the Island, visit www.cissa.ky for more information.
Most rental apartments come with major appliances such as a washer/dryer, dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator and stove. Do not bring these with you! A fully furnished apartment should also come with a toaster, kettle and coffee maker but if they don’t, then the local home centres and kitchen supply stores stock these items. Almost all the major brands of appliances are readily available in Grand Cayman.
Cayman uses the American NTSC system. The British PAL system will not work here. However, you can buy multi-region DVD players on the Island which will play European DVDs. The majority of apartments or homes will come with a television and either cable or satellite feed. Many residents watch subscription based TV services such as Netflix or Amazon TV through their television. View the Television page more more details on TV services available in the Cayman Islands.
The Cayman Islands Customs Law states that an individual can bring a maximum of four litres of wine in their luggage. If you want to import your wine collection from home you must bring it in through a company that has a liquor licence. Regardless of the value of your wine on the open market, the Cayman Islands Government charges the following duty per litre of wine: CI$10.80 for Champagne, CI$7.80 for sparkling wine, CI$3.60 for table wine and CI$5.25 for dessert wine. It is commonly acknowledged that some of the most outstanding wine collections in the world can be found in Cayman.