So, you've taken the plunge and accepted a job offer in paradise.
Congratulations! You're going to love it here.
But before you start packing, you'll want to understand the costs of moving to, and living in, the Cayman Islands.
Before accepting a position, ask whether your potential new employer covers the costs associated with moving to the island.
Many companies in Cayman will provide relocation packages, while others cover shipping costs or flights. This can form part of your discussions when negotiating an employment contract.
Once you're on the island, many employers will arrange housing for two to four weeks in a hotel or condo to allow you time to secure accommodation.
Securing a rental property in Cayman
Rental prices in Cayman vary depending on location, size, and amenities.
At the time of writing this, on the CIREBA website, the least inexpensive rental listing is a 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment in East End for CI $1,100 per month. On the other end, a 3,200-square-foot three-bedroom condo at the Water's Edge is priced at CI $32,800 per month. So the first thing you'll want to do is figure out what you can afford.
In addition to the monthly rent, there will be some other up-front costs — landlords in Cayman often ask for the first month's rent along with a security deposit of equal value before handing over the keys. Some landlords may ask for the last month's rent as well.
There's a lot to say about transportation in Cayman, but one thing is almost certain — you'll want to have access to your own vehicle. Public transportation on island can be unreliable. And taxis and ride shares get too expensive to use every day.
There are several options to buy a car on island: new from a dealer, used from a dealer or rental car company, imported from overseas or purchased locally from a private individual.
If you've got the budget, buying new from a dealer is your best bet in terms of quality and reliability. You can find many popular makes and models locally.
If that's not an option, some dealerships and rental car companies sell used vehicles. The common understanding locally is that these vehicles are generally in good shape since they've been serviced by professionals who have a reputation to uphold.
Some popular options include:
You may be familiar with eBay or Craigslist, but in Cayman we have eCayTrade. If you're buying locally through eCay, be thorough. Many garages offer a used car inspection for about CI$ 75. You don't want to buy a car on the cheap and then pour thousands into it later on.
Don't want to buy? You can import your car from home. That process involves first getting the vehicle to the Port of Miami or Tampa, clearing US customs and booking the car on a ship to Cayman. In addition to the shipping fee, you'll need to pay customs duty (0-42% depending on the vehicle type and value) plus a one-time disposal fee and handling fees. This can be a complicated process, and you may want to consider hiring a broker to help you through the process.
Here are a few to look into:
Utility Bills in The Cayman Islands
CUC is Cayman's energy provider and will likely be your most expensive utility. The average monthly bill for 800 KWH of usage is US$251.33.
If you're renting, ask your landlord if they plan to keep the CUC account in their name or their company's name or if you need to start your own account and pay CUC directly. If it's the latter, you'll need to fill out some forms and coordinate with your landlord for an online submission to change the name on the billing account. There's also a deposit required, the amount of which depends on 45 days of estimated usage. CUC offers various options on the return of this deposit on the closing of your account.
Water will be your second-biggest utility with your Water Authority or Cayman Water (Seven Mile Beach and West Bay area only) bill likely somewhere around CI$ 30 per person.
You'll want to get in touch with Logic, Flow, C3 or Digicel about setting up internet access if not already arranged through your landlord. Much of the Seven Mile Beach corridor is equipped with fibre cable, although that becomes more difficult to find the further you get from town. Many broadband plans start at around CI$ 80 per month.
Logic, C3 and Flow can also offer cable or streaming television options.
Flow and Digicel are Cayman's telecoms providers. Cell phone plans include pre-paid, where you literally go to a gas station or convenience store to "top up" or post-paid plans, which start around CI$ 70 at the time of writing this blog.
For families, your budget needs to also include additional costs like school tuition and fees. School fees in the Cayman Islands will vary based on the level of education of your child or children, with prices tiering from Elementary, Middle and High School levels.
Those seeking an American curriculum can look to options such as Cayman International School, Hope Academy or Triple C School. Those who prefer to adopt a British education system can look to schools such as Cayman Prep and High School or St. Ignatius Catholic School.
Pension & health insurance in Cayman
A majority of expatriate workers in Cayman will have both pension contributions and health insurance premiums deducted from their paychecks. Pension contributions are required by law, and employees must contribute at least 5% of their salary, while employers must match at least that amount.
Health insurance is also required by law, and the premium costs will depend on your plan and employer.
Life in Cayman
It's no secret Cayman is an expensive place to live. The costs can add up, but the value is more than worth it.
The benefit of moving to Cayman is the quality of life. The people are friendly, the food is good, and the infrastructure is the best in the Caribbean. You can work hard and play hard, whether that's weekend scuba diving, trips to Seven Mile Beach, or any other of the many fantastic recreational options.
Cayman is a wonderful place, and moving here is the best decision you'll ever make. It was definitely mine.
Considering moving and questions? Let’s chat.
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