Cayman New Resident
RE/MAX James Bovell
Cayman Luxury Group
The definitive guide to living and working in the Cayman Islands
Nov 24, 2014 

Cayman's Real Estate & Residential Areas

Last updated: 12th August 2013

Current Overview of the Cayman Property Market

According to the Cayman Property Review 2012, an independent property survey conducted by Charterland, a Chartered Survey company based in the Cayman Islands, the Cayman property market has maintained a slow but positive uplift this year following a 'boom' in 2011, which was largely due to a number of transfers made by companies belonging to the Dart Group.

Based on Charterland's analysis of all open market sales, including those done without the services of a realtor, the total number, and average value, of property transfers all decreased in 2012 from a peak in 2011, though these figures are still significantly higher than those in 2010. If you look at the figures it gives a better idea: 2012 property transfers decreased by 11% to a total of 1,141, while the total value of sales dropped by 26% to a total of CI$367.75 million. The average value of these property transfers decreased by 17% from CI$388,000 in 2011 to CI$322,000 in 2012. This however, is significantly more than 2010s figures where the average property transfer value was only CI$255,000 - a low point in Cayman's property market. 

These statistics however are not the whole story; they have to be adjusted when special circumstances exist. In 2011, companies belonging to the Dart Group made several property purchases, representing 82 of the 1,286 transfers for 2011, and more significantly, 28% of the total value of all transfers registered in the same year. Therefore in order to avoid distorted values, Charterland has examined the figures for 2012 against the data for 2011, adjusted to exclude the Dart related transfers. These calculations show a much more true and positive view for the Cayman property market. Although the total number of transfers is still slightly down on 2011 (1,141 in 2012 against 1,204 for 2011), the total value and, more significantly the average value for 2012 shows an actual increase over the preceding year. Ignoring the Dart acquisitions, the total value of transfers in 2012 actually increased from 2011 by 3% whilst the average value of transfers indicates an 8% increase over the adjusted average value for 2011. This appears to show a continuing, albeit slow, uplift in total and average values per year, since the low point in 2010. The total number of transfers however indicates that the market is still considered to be stagnant compared with the 'boom' years of 2005 and 2006, and that any perceived recovery in the property market can still be considered to be a fragile one.

Although the overall statistics seem slow, specific areas and sectors have shown continuous and impressive improvements this year. On Seven Mile Beach there were 62 sales of beachfront condominiums in 2012, a 26% increase over sales in 2011. Moreover, the total value of those sold in 2012 stands at CI$58.5 million, an increase of 28% over the total value in 2011. This represents an impressive 40% increase in the total number and total value of sales since the low point in 2010.

Improvements were also made in land purchases. As with other sectors of the market, in undertaking their analysis of land sales in 2012, Charterland selected specific residential sub-divisions with sufficient annual property transfers in order to provide sufficient data to allow meaningful analysis of trends for this type of property. They also tried to provide analysis of a cross-section of the market for land, from the high-end Crystal Harbour, which had 10 sales of house lots registered in 2012 to the lower-end sub-divisions in Frank Sound, which had 11 sales during 2012, compared with 8 in 2011. Although the total numbers of sales in Crystal Harbour decreased by one purchase, the average sale price per square foot increased by 5% to CI$20.44 in 2012. In Frank Sound, the increased number of sales of house lots was accompanied by a noticeable increase in the average sale price per square foot to CI$3.54 in 2012 from CI$2.73 in 2011.

The property market of the Sister Islands remained stable at 142 transfers for 2012, compared with 140 sales in 2011. However, when analysed in more detail the data shows the 81 sales on Cayman Brac being 22% down from 105 sales in 2011, whilst sales in Little Cayman increased by 74% from 2011 with 61 sales compared with 35 for the previous year.

Legal Overview
The real estate market in Cayman is simple and straightforward. Apart from a one-time stamp duty, there are no annual property taxes or restrictions on foreign ownership by individuals and title is granted and guaranteed by the Cayman Islands Government. Title to land is recorded in a modern, reliable and centralised land registry, where every plot of land is mapped and given a descriptive title number based on location. Any encumbrances such as mortgages, rights-of-way and cautions pending contract are recorded on the title register of that parcel of land. Vacant land can be owned and held for future investment potential. To date, Cayman real estate has proved to be an attractive and profitable investment. Owning land in the name of a corporation is possible, but strict rules apply and a lawyer's advice is essential.

Buildings are subject to a series of planning permissions and building permit approvals. These are monitored by the Cayman Islands Central Planning Authority and Building Control Unit, which carries out plan reviews and onsite inspections that relate to site, building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical works. There are also requirements for structural engineers to take into consideration seismic designs depending on the building heights and purpose of the building. Construction materials have to be imported and are subject to duties that range from 15%-22% on the landed value (which includes duty on the shipping costs). Consequently the cost of building is considerably higher than in places where materials are more readily available. NB: Duty on construction materials is currently reduced to 15% but is scheduled to go back up to 22% in December 2013.

The Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) 
Buying and selling properties in the Cayman Islands in the 1970s and 1980s was quite different from today, as real estate companies were not organised as effectively and efficiently. It is for this reason that in 1987, a group of realtors agreed to form the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA). CIREBA is a not-for-profit association based on the North American style of relationship between realtors and clients but adapted to work within the UK based legal system of the Cayman Islands. One of the Association's founding objectives was to "improve and elevate the general knowledge of persons engaged in the real estate business".

Today, CIREBA is proud to boast that it has 31 member companies with 169 sales agents in the group; this makes up 80% of all realtors in the Cayman Islands. To be a member of CIREBA, agents and brokers must complete a professional training programme which, amongst many subjects, encompasses business ethics, due diligence requirements and some contract law. A high degree of competence is expected from all CIREBA members and they must adhere to a strict code of ethics established by the Association. CIREBA members input listing data into the Multiple Listing System (MLS), providing a central data source of information for its members to provide to prospective purchasers. The basic premise of the MLS is that all CIREBA member firms have agreed to share their property listings and work together on any real estate transaction. This means you can view and buy any property through any CIREBA agent, not just the listing broker or agent.

CIREBA'S Statistics - June 2013
The CIREBA Multiple Listing System, as of June 2013, holds 1,888 active listings totalling more than US$1.817 billion in value. This is slightly down from a year ago, when the total value of properties was US$1.83 billion. These listings include 180 three-bedroom condos at an average price of US$1,529,887, 308 two-bedroom condominiums at an average price of US$361,666 and 485 parcels of land at US$332,033. From January through June of 2013, 218 listings have been sold, valued at US$160,418,133 and another 147 are under contract. For the same six month period in 2012, 230 properties were sold with a total value of US$150,944,244.

Overview of Residential Areas in Grand Cayman

Seven Mile Beach (SMB)

Seven Mile Beach Map

This area is really divided into two areas: the beach and the other side of the road from the beach. Both are ideal locations within walking distance to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops and the cinema. There are many apartment complexes on Seven Mile Beach itself, but most are rented out for short-term, daily rentals. Some, however, offer long-term rentals like George Town Villas, The Grandview, Sunset Cove, Laguna del Mar, Seagull Condominiums, Lacovia, The Sovereign and The Pinnacle. Monthly rental prices in this area range from high to super expensive (CI$1,500-CI$9,000+).

Areas such as Jennifer Drive, Andrew Drive, Palm Heights Drive, Canal Point Drive, Parkway Drive and Whitehall Estates are all nice places to live and really popular with families, as are Governors Harbour and the Cayman Islands Yacht Club (which are a little further north and on the border of the SMB area and West Bay). There are many three-bedroom houses in this area as well as upscale two or three-bedroom apartments. They are well maintained and professionals tend to rent them. Again, always look around as quality can vary widely. These are quiet areas, near to restaurants and the beach. There is a very good school in Camana Bay called the Cayman International School, which has recently switched to the International Baccalaureate education system and accepts children from two through 18 years of age.

The commute to town in the mornings is now quite short as you have the option of the bypass or West Bay Road, and many people say the new road has halved the old commute time.

Apartments at Britannia are popular but expensive. You can usually find good deals and the benefits of being on the property include access to the Britannia Golf Course, multiple swimming pools, a tennis court, a gym, private beach access at Grand Cayman Beach Suites' beach and a quiet, relatively car-free environment great for walking. Apartments have either canal, pool or golf course views and the property is walking distance to Camana Bay and all its great facilities. This is a good option if you have teenage kids.

Snug Harbour lies to the East of the West Bay Road and is reached from the Esterly Tibbetts Highway. This is a sought after residential area, popular with families in particular. As well as being family and dog friendly, Snug Harbour has the advantage of being close to SMB and Camana Bay with easy access to George Town and West Bay.

The area has two roads, Jennifer Drive and Andrew Drive, which run parallel West-East and finish at the North Sound. There are a number of intersecting roads in between. Much of the residential housing consists of detached family homes with gardens, ranging from modest two-bedroomed homes to more upscale, five/six bedroom residences. However, there are several apartment buildings and townhouses here too, particularly towards the North Sound.

Residents of Snug Harbour enjoy the added benefits of use of the Snug Harbour Park. This consists of a tennis court, a basketball court, a children's playground and a large grassy park. This is a popular meeting spot for families. Residents can book to use the tennis and basketball courts online.

Palm Heights Drive lies to the South of Snug Harbour and is accessed through the main Snug Harbour entrance. This is another popular residential location. One side of this road lies on the picturesque Britannia Canal where you can find a number of attractive residential canal front houses and apartments. The other side of Palm Heights consists mostly of detached family homes with gardens. Palm Heights Drive is often mistakenly considered to be part of Snug Harbour, but this is not the case. Whilst residents here use the Snug Harbour park and playground, they do not have access to the website for bookings of the tennis and basketball courts.

Camana Bay

Camana Bay Map

Camana Bay and its Town Centre are situated on 500 acres that stretch from the sea on SMB to the North Sound on the other side. The design of Camana Bay is based on New Urbanism; a planning model that promotes "walkability" through a mix of housing, shops, restaurants, public spaces, schools and parks. Streets and walkways are interconnecting, offering a safe and scenic stroll or bike ride, while shady courtyards nurture social gatherings and a sense of community. Traffic is also minimal. Designed by a team of award-winning architects and planners, Camana Bay has a contemporary style inspired by traditional Caribbean architecture and is landscaped with mature, native plants and trees to give it a distinctly Caymanian character.

With a cinema, notable restaurants, a 24-hour gym, school (Cayman International School), doctor's office, residential housing and prestigious office space for businesses, Camana Bay has become a very popular place to live simply because it welcomes the return to a traditional style of community - a friendly neighbourhood. Residential rental options include The Terraces, which are a collection of 63 one and two-bedroom apartments (some of the 2-beds have a den which could be used as a third bedroom) with over 20 different floor plans. Beautifully decorated with spacious private balconies, fully-equipped contemporary kitchens, state-of-the-art electronics and flat screen televisions, The Terraces also boasts around the clock security and property management, underground parking and video entry lock systems. They are available for long-term rental and are located in the heart of Camana Bay's Town Centre. Monthly rental prices start at approximately US$2,500 for a one bedroom unit and the rental agreement comes with a host of value-added benefits. These benefits include access to Camana Bay's private beach park on Seven Mile Beach which has hammocks, beach chairs, kayaks, Yolo boards, fresh water showers and wonderful old Seagrape trees for shade which children will love to explore and climb! There is a shaded, tree-lined walk-way from the Town Centre to the beach, Camana Way, which is beautiful and encourages the car-free lifestyle which is so much a part of Camana Bay. Each of the two Terraces towers has its own pool and leisure area with a long lap pool, fresh water showers, bathrooms and seating areas which include a large dining table which can seat eight, and an outside kitchen with a high-end gas barbeque. The area can be reserved for parties. Also included in the rental agreement is membership to Anytime Fitness, a fully equipped, state-of the-art 24-hour gym.

The Terraces are equally popular with families and young professionals. Renting at Camana Bay is all about the lifestyle it offers, more than anything else: being able to walk everywhere and having everything taken care of for you, as well as access to world-class dining and shopping and children's activities right on your doorstep, is incredibly appealing. When you are on the balconies you hear the buzz of life below, though it is completely quiet in the apartments. This might be worth considering if you would rather have a more serene environment. There are plans to have courtyard homes, cottages and town homes, canal-front homes and condos for sale in the future which will suit a variety of different buyers and price points. Visit the Discovery Centre at Camana Bay to view streetscapes, house plans and interior renderings for this unique community. For more information on residential offerings please contact the sales team on (345) 640 4000.

South Sound

South Sound Map

This is a lovely, upscale area, close to schools and George Town. The traffic is less of a problem and the sea is never more than a stone's throw away. Properties available include executive homes and two and three-bedroom apartments. Two-bedroom apartments across the road from the sea can be rented from about CI$1,500 per month. Apartments on the sea can be found for CI$2,000 and up to CI$4,600 (The Seaview). Apart from Seven Mile Beach, South Sound is one of the most convenient and, therefore, expensive areas in which to rent or buy on the Island.

South Sound is where you will find the Rugby Club, Tennis Club and Squash Club. There is a dock for launching a boat and the bay is fringed by a reef, so it is great for swimming and snorkelling. Residents also love to jog and walk each evening along the breezy road which follows the seashore. The beach is fun to explore.

Roads off South Sound Road on which you will find large family homes, most with pools, are Vienna Circle, Mary Reid Crescent, The Avenue and Anne Bonny Crescent. In the middle of South Sound, on a lovely stretch of white sandy beach, is Caribbean Paradise which has a pool, tennis court, numerous three-bedroom apartments and about ten very sought after four-bedroom houses on the beach. At the far end of South Sound Road (away from George Town) is Old Crewe Road, where you will find Sunrise Apartments, Pine Crest Apartments and Elizabeth Villas. Rents in these complexes should be CI$1,400 and up per month for a two-bedroom apartment. Some of the newer, more exclusive condominiums can be as high as CI$2,000-$2,500 per month.

There are also a few upscale new developments like the San Sebastian townhomes and The Boulevard, The Lakes and The Venetia, where you buy the land and the developer will build for you. One thing worth taking into consideration is that there is no bus service to or from South Sound, so you will need some form of transportation if you choose to live in this area. Also, if you hire a helper to clean or look after your children, be aware that they will often have to walk most of the way to your house in South Sound unless someone gives them a ride.

Canal-front Living

Canal-Front Living Map

There are a number of waterways which cut inland from the North Sound creating canal subdivisions that are a very nice and more affordable alternative to buying or renting a property directly on the oceanfront. If you are planning to buy a boat, you cannot beat the convenience of having a dock right in front of your home or apartment. There are 20 canal subdivisions in Grand Cayman, half of which can be found along the Seven Mile Beach corridor and include West Bay, and the other half run east from Prospect to North Sound Estates and include the Cays in Rum Point. Canal subdivisions take time to mature and to be build-out and this will have a significant effect on the values that land and homes in these areas can command. Over time this will change as various subdivisions develop and it is something to think about when buying. The following is a pretty straightforward and honest overview of the various canal subdivisions which can be classed into 5 levels, 1 being the most expensive and 5 being the most affordable. Some subdivisions straddle two levels and this invariably depends on specific roads within the area and the quality of the homes and landscaping on those roads.

Level 1 - Top of the line estate homes. Meticulously maintained with strong covenants and manned security gate. Vista Del Mar is the class of the field in this level because of its formal security and attention to maintenance. The most expensive non-beachfront homes are found here. Salt Creek is much smaller and is not as well developed as yet and so straddles the line. Camana Bay will probably fall within this level or straddle 1 and 2 when they begin to sell their canal homes. Land value ranges: US$450,000 - US$900,000.

Level 2 - Excellent maintenance and services. Luxury homes with unmanned security gate and strong covenants. Crystal Harbour is the class of this field and has been one of the most actively developed canal subdivisions on Grand Cayman in recent years. New to Crystal Harbour is the community of Cypress Pointe North - one of the most energy efficient communities in the Caribbean. This entire neighbourhood will generate it's power through the use of solar panels and cool their homes with geothermal technology. Britannia is fading a bit due to the loss of the Hyatt flag, but is still a very well regarded and convenient living location. The Cayman Islands Yacht Club will benefit most from access via the new bypass. One important consideration if you are planning on buying land to build is that the Yacht Club and Crystal Harbour both need concrete piles in their house foundations and this raises the cost of construction considerably. Land value ranges: US$350,000 - US$800,000.

Level 3 - Good services with upper middle class luxury homes. Well maintained with good covenants. Canal Point is the class of this field followed by the Shores and Mangrove Point, all with unmanned security. Governor's Harbour has faded due to there being no landscaping buffer from the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, and haphazard road maintenance, but could come back. Grand Harbour is the most conveniently located of the Eastern subdivisions and many of the homes here are high level properties. There are three distinct areas to Grand Harbour: the older and more developed side called South Reach which is now a gated community, and there are The Isles and The Estates, both of which have a lot of building going on right now. Its commercial area has been up and down and potential land use on remaining developer owned property is unknown. Patrick's Island has some older and beautiful homes with mature landscaping and wide open basins. It also backs onto a huge sway of undeveloped land with numerous dyke roads cut into it which are lovely for walking dogs and getting away from it all. Sunrise Landing rounds out this level. Both of these last subdivisions are popular with successful local entrepreneurs. No houses are built in the Cays yet. Land value ranges: US$300,000 - US$500,000.

Level 4 - Decent services with mixed mid-level homes. Older subdivisions like Red Bay, Omega and Prospect all have their "good" and "not as good" sections with the nod going to Omega. As one of the newest projects, Newlands Sound has the potential to move higher but has no homes yet. Palm Heights in Snug Harbour has the benefit of looking across at Britannia, but this area contains mainly duplex properties. Land value ranges: US$150,000 - US$250,000. Canal subdivisions in this level: Palm Heights, Omega and Newlands Sound. Sunrise Landing and the Cays at Rum Point all straddle level 3 and 4. Prospect, Red Bay and North Sound Estates all straddle level 4 and 5.

Level 5 - Minimal maintenance. Mid- level to lower value homes but most still to a very reasonable standard. Either no covenants or not enforced. All these subdivisions are similar. All are mixed quality developments. All the developers are now deceased, so there is no consistent ongoing maintenance responsibility. North Sound Estates is farther out but has been quite active due to pricing. Some homes are very nice but there is too much debris around keeping prices down. Best value in lower priced canal subdivisions. Land value ranges: US$125,000 - US$200,000. Canal subdivisions in this level: Red Bay, Prospect and North Sound Estates, all of which straddle level 4 and 5 often depending on which street you are looking at.

Prospect & Red Bay

Prospect & Red Bay Map

This is the fastest growing area of the Cayman Islands as it has an extremely central location, is close to George Town, the schools, hospitals and the Grand Harbour shopping complex. It will also be fairly close to the new Cayman Economic Zone and closer to the Shetty Hospital than Seven Mile Beach, making it a good choice for anyone working in these ventures.

Benefits to the area include having easy access to the Grand Harbour complex which has a large supermarket (Hurley's Marketplace), various shops and restaurants and the Caribbean's largest skate park, The Black Pearl. There is also a fun children's play area with swings, a climbing frame and slides. Also in the Red Bay area are the Cayman Islands Sailing Club, King's Sports Centre and Powerhouse Gym. The commute to town (outside of rush hour) from this area is relatively quick (10 minutes), but traffic does get backed up during rush hour. Expect the regular commute at the height of rush hour to take 30-45 minutes but you can shave 15 minutes off that time if you live at Grand Harbour. There are lots of residential homes in this area with a mix of inland, canal-front and ocean-front properties. Rents for inland 2-bed properties range from CI$1,200 to CI$1,600 per month with canal and ocean front properties averaging CI$2,000 to $2,300 per month.

There are a couple of really nice areas to look out for in Red Bay and Prospect: the first is Old Prospect Point Road, a quiet community found on a winding road by the water where long-time Cayman residents have built very exclusive million-dollar homes. The second area, called Patrick's Island, is an upscale residential area with canal frontage where land is still available and many desirable four and five-bedroom homes have been built. The third is Grand Harbour which is located immediately behind Hurley's Shopping Centre which is a newer development that has all canal front homes and the south side of it, called South Reach, is now a gated community. Also in Grand Harbour there are the Isles and the Estates, all of which have deep plots of 1/3 acre and the area is about 1/3 developed with US$1.5M homes. It is a very active area in terms of new homes. The last area with interesting developments is the road to the Sailing Club. Along this road and within walking distance of the Sailing Club is The Spinnakers at Red Bay which is a new development of energy efficient three and four-bedroom family homes, with ocean views, dens, garages, pools, customised finishes and they are elevated to safeguard against possible flooding during storms. With increasing demand in the area, developers in Cayman's fastest growing district have come to realise that use of space, quality of finishings and value for money is paramount to people. You will be impressed at the choice in the area.

West Bay

West Bay Map

This is a residential area at the top, western end of the Island. It is less expensive than George Town or Seven Mile Beach and there are some lovely homes and condominiums on or near the sea. The upscale, canal-front residential area called 'The Shores' commands premium prices on rental and sales, as do properties on Boggy Sand Road; the last residential neighbourhood remaining on Seven Mile Beach. Popular West Bay condos which offer long-term rentals include Coconut Bay, Ocean Side Plantation and Villas Pappagallo. All of these properties are on the water.

West Bay also has some wonderful restaurants including Calypso Grill, the Cracked Conch, Macabuca, Morgan's Harbour, Osetra Bay and Ristorante Pappagallo. Tourist attractions like the Motor Museum, the Cayman Turtle Farm and both dolphin parks are also in West Bay. Diving from the Cracked Conch restaurant and from Lighthouse Point nearby is also very popular. Divetech, the on-site dive shop at Lighthouse Point are very friendly and will explain where nearby dive sites are and they can also take you to the Kittiwake.

You can also go horseback riding along a rugged and little travelled beach called Barkers National Park, which spans part of the northern tip of West Bay. Barkers Beach is a nice area to get away from it all and is popular with dog walkers and kite surfers. Please note the area is always closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic from sunset to sunrise.

The extension to the bypass is currently being constructed right into the heart of West Bay and will make a significant difference to the commute time to downtown George Town at rush hour. It currently takes about 30 minutes to drive from West Bay to George Town.

George Town (GT)

George Town Map

George Town is the capital of the Cayman Islands. It is located on the southwest corner of Grand Cayman and is a busy port, with an influx of several cruise ships almost daily and cargo ships unloading most evenings. The main roads in George Town are North and South Church Street, which run through town parallel to the sea. Walkers Road has most of the schools on it and also lots of residential properties. Smith Road, Shedden Road and Eastern Avenue cut through town and run down to the waterfront roads off North and South Church Street.

Most of the properties in George Town are mid-range in price. It is a good area to live if you have kids as the main school area is on Smith Road and Walkers Road, which is literally five minutes from the town centre. Also, with the increasing traffic levels, it means you will avoid the main rush-hour traffic jams (the routes in from West Bay/Seven Mile Beach and the Eastern Districts are slow-moving at peak times). Private prep and high schools in this area include St. Ignatius Catholic School, Cayman Prep and High School, Triple C and Truth for Youth.

One very nice area off Walkers Road where houses occasionally come up for sale (and are quickly snapped up) is the upscale Webster's Estates. All the homes sit on larger than usual plots, have mature shade trees and are architect designed. No apartment complexes have been allowed to be built in Webster's Estates so there is a nice community and family-feel to the area.

On the apartment front, there are many lower to mid-priced condominiums for rent (or sale) off Walkers Road starting at CI$650 for a studio, CI$950 for a one-bedroom apartment and CI$1,400-CI$2,000 for a two-bedroom unit. Some of these apartments look and feel tired, so it is worth looking around and not getting discouraged as there are some gems as well. This area has a variety of offerings, some are really nice and some are older and cheaper.

A few of the nicer options in this area include the townhomes at The Retreats - Sunset, Garden, Coco and Mystic Retreats and also the L'Ambience complex off Fairbanks Road. The latter has a multitude of mature shade trees, lush landscaping and huge communal grassy areas which are very unusual for the usual apartment complex offerings in Cayman. These are family orientated complexes and pets are allowed.

Savannah, Lower Valley, Newlands, & Pedro St. James

Savannah, Lower Valley, Newlands & Pedro St. James Map

This is another area with both inland and canal front properties. Sunrise Landings and North Sound Estates (both canal front areas) fall within Savannah and Lower Valley. Both areas are very popular with young families as land is still affordable. The commute times have improved since the East-West Arterial Road opened, but it still slows down significantly near Prospect and then crawls all the way to George Town and the schools.

There are many mature trees and open areas in Savannah. From late May to early August the red flame trees (of which the area has an overwhelming abundance) flower and the sight as you drive through Savannah is breathtaking. Also located in Savannah is the historical site called Pedro's Castle. It is known as the "Birthplace of Democracy in the Cayman Islands." Today it is lovely to walk around the Great House's grounds while slipping back in time to Cayman's early days.

Countryside Shopping Village, located immediately on the left at the roundabout where the road intersects between Savannah, Pedro and the entrance to Newlands, has improved shopping in the area significantly. This village of shops has several restaurants, a Foster's Food Fair supermarket, Cayman National Bank, a large pharmacy as well as a liquor store, veterinary clinic, a hardware store, a gym and a few other useful stores, which mean residents in the area no longer have to drive to Grand Harbour or to town for everyday essentials.

The usual properties for rent in this area are family homes on larger plots with good sized gardens. Prices are usually in the low to mid-range.

Beach Bay

Beach Bay Map

Beach Bay is on the right just before you get to Bodden Town. It has one of the highest elevations on the Island and was not flooded during hurricane Ivan. If you drive all the way down Beach Bay Road you get to Sea Spray Drive. Along this coastal road are some fabulous houses and apartments. One end has a very private, although a bit rocky, beach and the sunsets are amazing over the bluff the other end of the coast road. The rents here range from high to exclusive.

Frank Sound & Cottage

Frank Sound & Cottage Map

Frank Sound is an area which crosses the Island as you drive towards Rum Point. This area has affordable homes with large properties. The land is very fertile and there are many mature shade trees. The Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, the Mastic Trail and the government's new Clifton Hunter High School are also located off Frank Sound Road.

Bodden Town

Bodden Town Map

Those who venture out to Bodden Town love it. It is on the beach, away from the centre of it all and the rents are reasonable. The community still has the feel of a small Caymanian town, with a mixture of locals and expats living alongside one another. The beaches in Bodden Town are rustic, usually littered with driftwood and dried turtle grass and are lovely places for walking dogs.

Although the impression of a long commute may keep the faint of heart away from Bodden Town, it takes just 20-25 minutes to reach George Town if you leave early or late enough (leave before 7am or after 8.30am and come home before 4.30pm or after 7pm). Prices in this area are in the low to mid-range.

North Side & East End

North Side & East End Map

This is a beautiful and historical part of the Island. On the way to these eastern districts you will pass Pedro St. James' Castle in Pedro, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park in Frank Sound and the Wreck of the Ten Sails is located in Gun Bay. The residents in North Side and East End are said to be the friendliest in Cayman. The coast is dotted with sandy beaches littered with bleached coral and dried turtle grass washed ashore by previous storms. After a strong norther it is really nice to walk along the beach to see what treasures have been washed ashore. The commute time from either East End or North Side will take at least 40 minutes to George Town (without traffic).

Nice restaurants in the area include Over the Edge in the village of Old Man Bay which serves great local seafood cooked with a French influence. Catch of the day is always good and their salt fish and ackee comes highly recommended, as does the fried lobster. Try homemade scotch bonnet and onions in vinegar to spice things up. Their wine list is very limited, particularly considering its owner is French, so it is worthwhile taking your own wine for a $13 corkage charge if you want something decent to drink with your meal. Other restaurants include Kurt's Corner, run by PPM politician Kurt Tibbetts; this restaurant shines at the weekends with excellent local specials such as stew beef and oxtail. There is also an Italian restaurant located by Foster's supermarket in East End called the Italian Kitchen which provides good basic Italian cooking but they are not open for lunch and don't take reservations in the evening. In the heart of East End there is Tukka which is an Australian/Caymanian fusion seafood restaurant and Vivine's Kitchen which serves very good local food. Fun things to do in the area include: diving with Ocean Frontiers, walking the Mastic Trail (bring bug spray and walking shoes), snorkelling off the north coast (remember it is a marine park so don't take anything home with you), beach combing deserted beaches, kiteboarding in East End and sailing. A new attraction, soon to open, is the Caves which can be found inland just by the 30mph speed limit sign going into Old Man Bay (opposite North Coast Bar and Waterbyz retail liquor store). Within North Side you will find Rum Point and Cayman Kai. Refer to the following sections for information about these areas.

North Side Living
Life on the North Coast involves a long list of trade-offs. The distance from town, which has helped keep the old time Cayman lifestyle, is also a pain for trips to Seven Mile Beach, the airport etc. The prevalent onshore trade winds, which cool most of the year, also bring salt to coat windows and attack electronics. On the flipside, the lack of nightlife means that the night sky provides brilliant star viewing due to the lack of ambient light.

However, living in North Side mainly feels like being perpetually on vacation. Almost every house, drive or walk involves a sea view and holiday atmosphere. This feeling is accentuated due to the fact that many houses are owned by long-term visitors, who have been visiting Cayman on vacation regularly for twenty or thirty years. Others are short term vacationers staying at the Retreat, Island Houses or Kaibo Yacht Club Villas.  Residents of other districts, particularly boat owners, often stay-cation in Rum Point/Kaibo houses, especially over long weekends.

Many full-time residents are also retired so very few North-siders actually commute into town to work. The commute is about fifty minutes, but obviously depends on rush hour traffic. Other residents work locally, primarily in the tourist/hospitality industry. All those snowbirds need somebody to manage their rentals and look after their cars and boats while they are off-island.

Being relatively far from town means that some forward planning is needed for routine activities. Without a list one is doomed to "pop back" at least as far as Countryside Mall to pick up forgotten items. Organise your errands to make sure to get all your banking, shopping and other business done on one day.

Socially, there is a large cross-section of society making up the district of North Side. With relatively few bars to frequent, the rich (if not famous) rub shoulders with the rest of the world. Nobody cares who you are, only if you have something interesting to say! A great advantage of living in a small community like North Side is the village atmosphere; go to any bar or restaurant in the neighbourhood and you will know the staff, they will know you and you will also know many of the other clientele. The other side of village life is that your business is public property and virtually nothing that happens is a secret. If you don't mind a cameo appearance in a slow moving Caribbean reality TV soap opera, then living in North Side is definitely for you!

Rum Point

Rum Point Map
Rum Point is just northwest of North Side and just before Cayman Kai. It has a beautiful stretch of beach and faces the North Sound. It has shade, clear waters exclusive million dollar homes and some more affordable condos. The Rum Point Club can be reached by car or private boat and is a great place to hang out in hammocks, eat lunch at a picnic table and swim or snorkel in the safe and shallow water right in front of the bar and sun lounger area. On Sundays the place is jammed and sometimes up to 50 boats are moored off the beach competing for the loudest music system! The Rum Point Restaurant is open for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday and it is possible to catch Red Sail Sports' 65' catamaran to dinner. Other nice things to do in the area include paddle boarding, waterskiing, kayaking, sailing and taking a boat to the sand bar to see the stingrays. You can also fly fish the mini sandbar on the Eastern side of the lagoon entrance and take a bioluminescence kayak tour with Cayman Kayaks on a moonless night. 

The commute to George Town will take just over an hour, although a couple of residents commute by boat across the North Sound but this means you have to leave a car at either end. The nearest supermarket is Fosters Food Fair opposite The Reef Resort in East End but Fosters in the Countryside Shopping Village in Savannah has everything you should need. 

Cayman Kai

Cayman Kai Map

Cayman Kai is just beyond Rum Point. There is a holiday home feel about the area and life is centred around the beach and barbecuing. There are many luxurious houses and a few upscale apartments on the water. The commute into George Town at rush hour will take at least an hour. Prices in this area are high for large private homes but there are two-bed condos at the Kaibo Yacht Club which rent for CI$2,000 per month. Some residents treat themselves by renting a house or condo here for the weekend to relax and get away from it all. Call Cayman Villas (Tel: (345) 945 4144) to see what vacation rentals they have available. Great restaurants include the chilled out Kaibo Bar & Grill and the smarter Upstairs Restaurant which has a superb rum collection and a tasting menu with wine pairing which is fun. Kaibo also sells ice and fuel for cars and boats.

Overview of Residential Areas in Cayman Brac  
Cayman Brac is about 12 miles in length and just over a mile in width, just a bit larger than Little Cayman. The Island has more to offer in terms of natural scenery than the other two Islands and the bird watching is world class. There is a plethora of hidden caves and winding trails to explore, the atmosphere is tranquil and the people are friendly and welcoming. While most of the hotels and resorts are found on the south side of the Island, the majority of long-term residents live on the north shore. The Brac (a Gaelic word meaning 'bluff') has the highest elevations in the Cayman Islands.

West End

West End Map

Cayman Brac's West End is probably the most densely populated area on the Island. You will find the airport, two grocery stores, a gas station and couple of condo complexes in this area. The famous Russian wreck dive, M.V. Capt. Keith Tibbetts, lies just offshore. The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism Information Centre is located here, as well as the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport.

Stake Bay

Stake Bay Map

On the north side, Stake Bay roughly refers to the middle section of the island. Stake Bay is the capital of the island, where the main Government building, the hospital and the museum are located, and as such constitutes the official town. There is also a grocery store here and several private homes.

The Bluff

The Bluff Map

The Island's gentle ascent eventually leads to the limestone cliffs which are its namesake. A lighthouse crowns the 150ft-tall seaside edge of the bluff, providing beautiful ocean views. The birds circling overhead may eventually lead you back inland to the ancient woodlands of the Brac Parrot Reserve. It is home to many endemic flora and fauna species of the Cayman Islands. There has been a significant increase in housing developments on the Bluff and there are now a number of homes and apartments located throughout the area.

Eastern Districts
Continue east to Watering Place, Creek and Spot Bay and you'll find a true Cayman Brac welcome. "Mom and Pop" stores and small local restaurants showcase authentic souvenirs and traditional Caymanian fare. The Cayman Brac Heritage House is located between Creek and Spot Bay and compliments the Cayman Brac Museum, offering re-enactments of our country's past.

Overview of Residential Areas in Little Cayman  
Little Cayman truly is little. Ten miles in length and one in width, it harbours a permanent population of fewer than 200. Even though it is a mere blip on the radar, the Island is a formidable destination for diving and offers some relaxing pursuits such as beach combing, bird watching, bone fishing and chilling in a hammock with a good book! The Island does not have a town as such, but the Island's only grocery store, gas station, bank and clinic are all located in the west of the Island near the Edward Bodden Airfield.

South Hole

South Hole Map

The Island's most famous diving destinations, the Bloody Bay Wall and Jackson Wall, are both on the north side of this end and are easily accessible to divers staying at any of the resorts or villas in the area. Paradise Villas is the closest, but there are other good options including the Southern Cross Club, Pirates Point Resort, Little Cayman Beach Resort and The Conch Club. Most of the accommodations are within walking distance of Edward Bodden Airfield. The South Hole is also home to the only Ramsar site in the Cayman Islands (an internationally recognised important wetland). The indigenous Sister Islands Rock Iguana roams freely on the island.

East Point

East End Map

Heading up the road away from South Hole, the Island becomes more and more of a deserted paradise. South Hole Sound is at the border of the two areas, and the beautiful South Shore provides stunning views on the way to Point of Sand at the eastern end of the Island, where you can gaze across the water towards Cayman Brac. Heading back on the northern side you will pass by Crawl Bay and Jackson Point. Point of Sands is located at the very tip of Little Cayman and is probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. The sea is crystal clear and incredibly inviting. Just don't swim there after dusk - sharks also love this spot!

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