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Cayman Islands - Overview

Capital: George Town

Population: 44,270 (July 2005 est.)

Languages: English

Religions: United Church (Presbyterian and Congregational), Anglican, Baptist, Church of God, other Protestant, Roman Catholic

Currency: Caymanian dollar (KYD)

Timezone: GMT-5

The Cayman Islands are a British Colony in the Caribbean, 180 miles northwest of Jamaica and 150 miles south of Cuba. The Caymans occupy about 100 square miles on three islands. The population of 40,000 is about 50 per cent Caymanian. The official language is English. The largest and most populated island is Grand Cayman, where the capital of George Town is situated. As one of the most important and popular ports in the region, George Town has two major docking terminals where thousands of cruise ship passengers board or disembark each day. About 90 miles from Grand Cayman are Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, two tiny sister islands (about 10 square miles each) separated by a wide channel.

Cayman Island beaches, most notably Seven Miles Beach on Grand Cayman, are world renowned luxurious tourist destinations and are considered by many to be the most attractive in the entire Caribbean. Clear waters and an abundance of diving sites contribute to the popularity of the Caymans, which is a marshy and tropical land and home to rare and endangered flora and wildlife. But the main attraction and the biggest industry here is corporate finance, thanks in large part to the fact that there is no taxation of any kind in the Cayman Islands and no direct mandatory reporting of income to the government. This unique phenomenon means that in this small, laid-back island setting there are some 600 banking institutions with assets exceeding $500 billion, an active stock exchange, and the local registration of some 50,000 'offshore' companies.

The Cayman Islands attract about 1.3 million tourists per year. Although the Caymans enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world, 90 per cent of all consumer goods and foods have to be imported. A tropical climate and luxurious amenities make this an exceptional vacation destination for individuals and families, and relative economic stability contributes to relatively lower rates of crime and a safe and easy-going atmosphere.

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