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.
Here are some basic guidelines to assist you in deciding what to bring to Cayman:
In Grand Cayman there is a reasonable selection of clothing stores, but certainly not as many as in a large city and the prices will likely be more expensive than you are used to. Bring a reasonable amount of warm weather appropriate clothes and shoes with you. You may need a light sweater if you will be working in an air conditioned building or when we are hit with a cold front. Bring a raincoat for the rainy season.
Computers, Smart Phones & Tablets
Laptops, smart phones and tablets/iPads are dutiable if they were recently purchased overseas. If you are travelling to and from Grand Cayman with electronic devices you can register them with Cayman Islands Custom & Boarder Control so you are able to prove that these devices have not just been purchased abroad.
You will find a good selection electronics, computers or cameras to purchase in the Cayman Islands.
Appliances & Entertainment Systems
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. 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 use only. A ‘Certificate of Wholesomeness’ is required for seafood in excess of 20lbs and can be obtained by applying 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, is pre-wrapped under a brand name and has the Official Seal of Inspection of the country’s Meat Inspection Authority.
You can bring in coffee and herbs for personal use, as long as they are sealed in their original packaging. No fruit or vegetables can be brought into Cayman in luggage.
Furniture & Home Goods
Generally rented condos or homes come with all the basic furnishing, lights and appliances needed. If you’re buying a house or apartment, they will also usually come fully furnished, unless they have been newly built.
Bring personal accessories and smaller items, like framed photographs etc. to help your new house feel like your own and any larger pieces of furniture can be shipped from home later. There are some good furniture and homeware stores in Cayman but the selection isn’t as wide as you would find in the US, so think carefully before selling off any favourite pieces of furniture. If you intend on buying new furniture overseas, remember you’ll have to pay for the shipping plus 22% duty.
It is possible to import a firearm or your firearms collection to the Island, however, the Cayman Islands has very strict laws on the possession of unregistered firearms. It is illegal to possess a firearm without a Firearms Licence authorised by the Commissioner of Police. Punishment for this offence is severe with a minimum of 10 years imprisonment. To import, the applicant must complete a Firearms Licence and Import 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 that their firearm will be stored in a locked box or safe bolted to the wall and floor and the RCIPS reserve the right to inspect the safe, firearm and ammunition at any time. There is an active gun club on the Island called the Cayman Islands Sport Shooting Association (CISSA).
You can also import a bow and arrow or your bow and arrow collection but all the same procedures for importing and storing a gun must be followed. The use of spear guns are also regulated. It is illegal to possess, use and import a spear gun without a licence from the Marine Conservation Board.
Most rental apartments come with appliances such as a washer/dryer, dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator and oven. A fully furnished apartment should also come with a toaster, kettle and coffee maker but if they don’t, then the local home centres stock these items. Check with your landlord beforehand so you know what will be included.
Be sure to pack at least a month’s supply of medication that needs to be taken daily while you sort out your on-Island healthcare. The pharmacies in the Cayman Islands stock most medicines although they may be sold under a different brand name. Ask your General Practitioner for the generic names of prescription drugs.
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.
Individuals 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.