Jamaica and Grand Cayman are two Caribbean islands whose history is intertwined.
Britain took control of the Cayman Islands and Jamaica in 1670 under the Treaty of Madrid.
Thereafter, in 1863 the Cayman Islands became a dependency of Jamaica.
When Jamaica became an independent state, the Cayman Islands opted to become a direct dependent of Britian.
In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of Jamaica and Grand Cayman to help you determine which is ideal for a Caribbean vacation.
As a general rule, Jamaica is ideal for visitors seeking a vibrant nightlife atmosphere, unique cuisine and pristine white sand beaches. Alternatively, Grand Cayman is perfect for solo female travelers who enjoy exotic cuisine, white sand beaches and tranquility.
Read on for further information on how these magnificent Caribbean islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean national.
Jamaica Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Is Bigger
Known globally for reggae music, Jamaica is significantly larger than Grand Cayman with the island having a landmass of 4,244 square miles. On the other hand, Grand Cayman is only 75.68 square miles.
Furthermore, there is a wide disparity in the population of both islands with the population of Grand Cayman being 67,237 while the population of Jamaica being 2,986,160 at the time of publication.
Jamaica Vs Grand Cayman- What Are The Official Currencies
An interesting fact about the Grand Cayman is that the Jamaican dollar was the previous official currency of the island.
In 1972, the Cayman Dollar (CI) was introduced and the Jamaican dollar was later discontinued in the same year.
Currently, One Cayman dollar is equivalent to USD$1.20 and Canadian $1.60.
The Cayman dollar is managed by its central bank called Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.
Alternatively, the formal currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar. The Bank of Jamaica which is the Central bank is responsible for the island’s monetary policy.
Nevertheless, the US dollar is widely accepted in both islands. Change is usually issued in the local currencies.
Jamaica Vs Grand Cayman- How Does The Landscape Differ?
The topography of both islands is dissimilar. Jamaica is hilly, mountainous, green and lush in appearance.
If you love the terrain of Grenada, then you will also enjoy Jamaica as it is alike.
The highest point of elevation in Jamaica is the blue mountain peak which stands at 7,402 feet.
Correspondingly, Grand Cayman is extremely flat and in fact the highest point on the island is 70 feet above sea level.
Due to the low lying topography of the island, heavy rainfall may lead to flooding.
Jamaica Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Has The Better Nightlife
Jamaica is the clear winner in this category and the island is well known for having a vibrant entertainment atmosphere. The main areas for entertainment are Kingston and Montego Bay.
There are numerous restaurants, bars, theatres, local events, festivals and golf courses that visitors to the island can enjoy.
Some of the top spots to consider are The Jungle, Kingston Dub Club and Cristal Night Club.
Grand Cayman is much quieter and laid back when compared to Jamaica.
Nevertheless, there is a variety of entertainment options available. For individuals who love the arts, there are theatres, musicals and local plays.
Alternatively, for those who love to socialize there are bars and nightclubs primarily on the West Coast of the island.
Some of these include West Indies Wine Company, Cayman Wine Boutique and George Town Yacht Club.
Jamaica Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Is Safer
Grand Cayman is much safer than Jamaica and is a perfect destination for solo female travelers.
According to Cayman.loopnews.com, there was a small increase in crime of 3.9% in 2021 when compared to 2020. This article also reported that there was a reduction in burglaries over the last five years.
The Commissioner of Police also indicated that there was success in reducing serious crimes.
Alternatively, Jamaica has a high crime rate. According to the US Department State, Overseas Advisory, there was an increase in shootings and murders from 2018 to 2019 by 7.8 % and 3.4%.
Additionally, murders and robberies increased in the same period by 9.3 % and 3.1% respectively.
Nonetheless, when traveling to both islands general precautions should be exercised regardless of the safety level.
Avoid leaving valuables visible in areas such as motor vehicles and do not in walk dark and secluded areas especially at nights.
Jamaica Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Has Better Beaches
When it comes to beaches, Jamaica is the better destination. There are several great beaches located in the areas of Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril and Port Antonio.
There is also a Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica which is located in Negril near the Norman Manley Boulevard.
This beach features seven miles of white sand and is perfect for children due to its shallow and calm waters. This beach is public so access is free.
Grand Cayman also has fantastic beaches with Seven Mile Beach being one of the most loved by visitors and locals alike.
Currently, this beach is experiencing challenges due to climate change and as a result certain areas of the beach have been reduced.
Nevertheless, Seven Mile Beach is still a gorgeous six miles of white sand beaches located in the capital city of Georgetown perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Jamaica Vs Grand Cayman- Which Island Has Better Cuisine
Both islands offer a unique cuisine experience. Jamaica is known world-wide for jerk food.
Jerk food is prepared in other Caribbean islands but the Jamaica cuisine in this area is extraordinary.
Festivals are served as a staple with many meals. This is a dumpling made with flour that is fried.
If you want to make this at home, there is packet festival mix which you can buy at local Jamaican supermarkets.
If you love jerk food, The Portland Jerk Festival is an event that you should consider which is held annually, the first weekend in July.
On the other hand, if you love exotic meat, Grand Cayman is the destination to visit with the national dish being green turtle stew.
This is often served with sides such as rice, beans, plantains and salad. Kindly note that it is not illegal to eat turtle in the Grand Cayman.
Jamaica Vs Grand Cayman- Activities To Try On The Islands
Blue Hole, Jamaica– located near Ocho Rios, this attraction is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.
Visitors can enjoy swimming, mud baths, diving and exploring caves at the Blue Hole which gets its name from the color of the water.
This adventure is suitable for both adults and children.
Cayman Turtle Centre, Grand Cayman– animal lovers will enjoy this popular land based attraction which began on the island in 1968.
Visitors can swim and interact with turtles at the farm. This activity is ideal for individuals of all ages.
On a whole, Jamaica is an ideal choice for a traveler who wants to enjoy authentic jerk food, reggae music and bustling nightlife atmosphere. On the other hand, Grand Cayman is an excellent destination for solo female travelers who are interested in relaxation, exotic cuisine and white sand beaches.
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