The Cayman islands have a very diverse tourist population. The tourists in the Cayman islands range from businessmen, to families on vacation on a nice Caribbean island. Tourists enjoy many attractions, such as some of the best scuba-diving in the world, and live music being played on the street corner on a warm summer evening. Although some places are very high-tech, with sattelite TV and fancy hotels, there are some places where tourists are free to relax in the peace and quiet on a beach.
The Cayman Islands changed names many times in it's history. The islands were first know as Las Tortugas, meaning the turtles, because many sea turtles were found around the islands. The name was later changes to Lagartos, possibly due to the large lizards on the islands. Later, the name became Caymanas, a Carib Indian name for a marine crocodile. Nobody knows who first inhabited the island, since there was never any trace of people being there. The first known person to spot the island was Columbus. Francis Drake reached the island in 1586, the islands were commonly known as the Caymanas, which was Carib for crocodile. The first permanent settlers came in the 1660's when a couple of deserters from the British army came over from Jamaica. For the century before that, lurking pirates and fishermen surrounded the Caymans. In 1670, the island fell under the rule of Jamaica, and the British crown. The major occupations of the time consisted of cotton farming, turtle hunting, and wrecking. Wrecking is picking up the remains of shipwrecks including those that were beached on the islands many coral reefs. The most famous occurrence of these shipwrecks is The Wreck of the Ten Sails. The Wreck of the Ten Sails occurred in 1794, when a ship hit a coral reef. The ship sent a frantic signal to other ships to warn them of the danger of the reef. The warning was mis-understood by nine other ships and all of them crashed into the reef. Another part of this legend states that the Caymans went to such lengths to help the shipwrecked, that King George the Third granted the island a tax-free status right then and there. By 1800 the population was still very low at less than 1000, and half of that was slaves. In 1835, slavery was abolished on the Cayman Islands, although most of the former slaves remained in the island area. By 1900, Cayman's population had quintupled. Cotton, mahogany, sarsaparilla and thatch rope (mostly exported to Jamaica) all became popular occupations until tourism and backing took the lead in the mid-twentieth century. Although scuba-divers found the Cayman islands a great spot, Islanders had been used to being isolated and did not readily give up the isolation but within a decade, the islanders were intrigued by the idea of the amount of money they could make off of tourists. They then began making the tax structure, which has made Grand Cayman the center of offshore banking and the capital of Caribbean tourism. In the 1960's the Cayman's rid themselves of Jamaican rule and were directly under the rule of Britain. Since then, there have been few major political disputes, and since political parties are prohibited, political contests have been fought by "teams".
When arriving in the Cayman Islands, visitors from the US and Canada are expected to show a proof of citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate. Visitors must also have a return airline ticket to show on arrival. Visitors can only stay on the island for six months, but after that, they must obtain permission from the department of immigration. When leaving the islands, have $12.50 in cash ready as a departure fee. Cayman is not one of the cheaper islands. The Cayman dollar is stronger than the US dollar. All year round, the weather in Cayman is wonderful. So start planning your Cayman vacation now.