Customs & Traditions

Once known as the “islands that time forgot,” the Cayman Islands have been catapulted into the 21st century at, some say, an alarming rate. Yet over the last decade there has been a determined effort to uphold a balance between preserving the essence and simplicity of the past, while still moving resolutely into the future.

Many Caymanian customs and traditions are linked inextricably to religious holidays. Whether camping by the sea at Easter or hunting for land crabs during the rainy season, these events are social in nature and family-oriented.

Visit East End on any given Sunday and you will see families and friends, recently returned from church, ‘shooting the breeze’ on their front porches or enjoying a noisy game of dominoes under the shade of a breadfruit tree. Being up to date on the latest ‘Marl Road’ (gossip) is as important as drawing breath in the Cayman Islands!

The Traditional Cayman Home

The oldest known style of Caymanian home is the ‘wattle and daub’ cottage, which dates back to the mid-18th century. Houses were usually rectangular, with foundation posts made from termite-resistant ironwood.

Backing Sand

Family outings to the beach on the weekend are a major part of Caymanian culture, but sand plays another very important role in Cayman at Christmas time.

Catboat Regattas

Cayman’s proud maritime history has served to provide many lasting traditions. The Catboat, a simple but highly maneuverable sailing boat once used for fishing and turtling in and around Cayman waters, is enjoying a revival thanks to the efforts of the Cayman Islands Catboat Club.

Camping

Camping by the sea at Easter is a long-held Caymanian tradition. Popular spots to camp are beaches along the Queen’s Highway, around Rum Point and Cayman Kai, as well as Seven Mile Beach.

Folk Singing

In 2009, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation formed the Cayman Islands Folk Singers, a company dedicated primarily to preserving, celebrating and propagating the musical traditions of the Cayman Islands.

Traditional Industry

Centuries before the Cayman Islands became a global financial centre, the hunting of sea turtles, rope making, logging and exporting coconuts were the principal economic mainstays of the country. Read on to learn about Cayman’s fascinating early industries and the ingenuity of the early settlers.

Business & Banking Hours

Typical business opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am-5pm. Most banks in the Cayman Islands are open Monday-Thursday from 9am-4pm and Friday from 9am-4.30pm but some bank branches are also open on Saturdays between 9am-1pm.

By law, most businesses in Cayman close on Sunday. Places that do remain open include some pharmacies, gas stations, major restaurants, hotels (including their bars), Camana Bay’s cinema and even the Mountain Dew Black Pearl Skate Park.

Emergency services in the Cayman Islands such as police stations, fire departments and the public hospital remain open seven days per week, 24-hours per day.