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Climate and Weather

Cayman Islands - Climate and Weather


Since 1962, the Cayman Islands have been a British overseas territory. Although they have their own set of legal and tax laws managed by locally elected politicians, the Governor is appointed by the UK Monarch.

However, the climate in the Cayman Islands bears no relation to the unpredictable and often chilly British weather! Located in the Caribbean Sea, with Cuba to the north, Mexico to the East and Jamaica to the West, the three Cayman Islands enjoy a tropical climate.

Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are most popular with tourists between late November and mid-April. The northeast trade winds at that time of year bring some relief from the high temperatures, but it’s still warm enough for sunbathing and swimming. Sea temperatures even at this time of year hold at a very pleasant 27°C (81 °F).

The air becomes muggy and rainfall increases from late April, with September and October being the rainiest months of the year at 15 or 16 days of rain per month. Overlapping this is the hurricane season, which lasts from the start of June until the end of November.

During this period the heat continues, rarely falling below 24°C (75 °F) from June to October, and reaching an average of 32°C (90 °F). Moisture makes the air hot and muggy, resulting in an uncomfortable heat for walking about the streets. Not surprisingly, thunderstorms frequently arrive in the evenings, accompanied by rain showers.

November and December are the least sunny months of the year - but still bring an average of seven hours of sun per day. April is the sunniest month, with an average of 10 hours of sunshine every day.

What To Wear

From late November to mid-April, your Cayman Islands wardrobe should contain summer clothes which can be complemented by a cardigan or light jacket should the sea breeze cool the evening.

Shoes should be lightweight and breathable. If you are walking through undeveloped areas, a pair of light boots which cover your ankle may add protection against disturbed snakes and scorpions. None of these animals in the Cayman Islands are venomous, but you will want to prevent the pain of a bite or sting. In developed areas, pest control means these encounters are rare.

Even in winter, sun protection will be needed every day. A broad brimmed hat, protective sunglasses and high factor sunscreen will help protect your skin. Ensure you always have access to clean, bottled water as you need to keep hydrated; sunstroke can be fatal if it is not treated quickly enough.

In summer, the heat can start to feel overwhelming, so it becomes even more essential to drink plenty of water. Conversely, an umbrella becomes an essential item for rain showers and thunderstorms, especially in the evening.

In this environment, heavy business suits are rare even though offices are air conditioned. Linen suits and particularly light cotton short-sleeved shirts worn with linen trousers are typical workwear. Women also combine smart dresses with elegant sandals, or wear lightweight skirts or trousers with a smart cotton short-sleeved shirt.

The general population of the Cayman Islands is religious and conservative by nature, meaning there is unfortunately a resistance to equal rights for the LGBT community. There are no nudist beaches, and even wearing a thong or sunbathing topless will cause offense. Beach wear such as a swimming costume, bikini or trunks for men is fine on the beach or at the pool, but not for walking about a town or for sitting in a cafe.

Hurricane Season

Properties across the Cayman Islands are at annual risk of hurricanes. Forceful winds, heavy rains and the high sea level as well as strong waves can hit the low-lying islands hard. Sometimes damaged buildings and falling trees kill unfortunate residents, whilst floods bring further risks of disease and drowning. Serious events don’t happen often, but everyone on the islands will try to prepare so that the impact of hurricanes is limited.

Officially, the hurricane season lasts from 1st June right through to 30th November. Much work is put into forecasting hurricanes, but they can develop from a mild storm within 12 hours or so. Flights are then cancelled, and businesses may need to send workers home. As a result, you need to keep an eye on the most up to date weather forecasts throughout the season.

The tourist numbers drop throughout these months, with September being a very quiet month when many resorts and tourist businesses close to undertake maintenance. That said, it can be a pleasant time of year to enjoy quiet beaches.

Cayman government staff from a variety of agencies gather every year for the National Hurricane Exercise. They plan out responses to a range of scenarios that could occur if a particularly strong hurricane hit the Cayman Islands, and look at lessons learned from previous weather-related episodes.

How You Can Prepare For A Hurricane

Residents in the Cayman Islands can also do a lot of to prepare for the worst. Check your gutters and cut back any dead wood on nearby trees, and practise putting on your storm shutters so you know how to do it quickly when they are needed. Reinforce your garage door and get hurricane straps installed on your roof.

Stock up on supplies including food, bottled water, torches with spare batteries and all medicines you need. Keep your car fuel tank topped up. Take a lot of photographs of your house and its contents, then back them up online for safety, so that if you need to make an insurance claim, you have supporting evidence to hand.

Obviously, you must consider the hurricane risk when purchasing insurance for your car, home and boat. Check the exclusion clauses and other conditions carefully before you buy.

Take Care In The Water

Every year, at least six people die in the beautiful Caribbean Sea around the Cayman Islands. Some years the death toll can reach almost 20. Accidents and coronary episodes happen on boats, during scuba dives, and whilst swimming.

The overwhelming majority of deaths occur in people who are over 50. These deaths are usually caused by the exertions of the water activity triggering an existing health issue. This is often related to heart problems, of which the sufferer may not be aware. If you are older and do not take the recommended level of exercise, you should gradually get in shape over a few months before donning a wetsuit and scuba tanks for an hour-long underwater swim.

Diving instructors are all required to be qualified and to work for licensed businesses. As a result, diving is generally a safe pursuit for almost every fit person who takes part.

When you go swimming, take care about where you swim and how far you go out. Learn the signs of a rip tide and ask local people about the safety of the waters in case there are well known currents of which to be aware. You are solely responsible for your own well-being when you head out into the waters alone.

Boat trips offered by local businesses are run by experienced sailors on well-maintained vessels. If you are taking a boat out by yourself, stop to consider your level of competence. Do not underestimate the level of skill needed, especially if something unexpected happens. Prepare your route and talk to experienced local sailors to identify any risks and areas to avoid. Examine weather reports and do not head out if there is any chance that bad weather is on the way.


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