What is working in the Cayman Islands like?
May 16, 2008 12:30 PM   Subscribe

An amazing job opportunity has presented itself in the Cayman Islands. Any advice on living and working in their?

My company (a very large multinational firm) has an excellent job opportunity, which I am very suited for, going in the Cayman Islands. Given a variety of other factors I think I'd have a very good chance of getting the job if I apply.

The pay would by approx $85-$90k USD (less than my current position, but only by $5k or so once less you factor in no income taxes in the Caymans). Additionally my country of origin does not require me to pay tax on any income I earn while living overseas - so that particular issue does not affect me.

My partner (we are married), who I am supporting as they complete their postgrad studies, would be coming with me, and we'd expect to be on just my salary for at least a year. My partner is a Commonwealth country trained and admitted lawyer, and they would try and pick up work once their studies are complete.

Neither of us are particularly fussed about material possessions or living the high life (we'd live in a tent if we could) - it's the possibility of living somewhere near nice white sandy beaches with warm swimable water, and without long drivetime commutes that really appeals (sorry SF/Bay Area - we love you, but you've been an epic fail on those points so far :-)

So what's the skinny? Is $85 to $90k USD comfortable living in the Caymans for a young couple? What's the quality of life really like when living and working there? What are the downsides? Any other thoughts?

(posting anonymously as I'm pretty sure at least one co-worker reads MEFI on a semi-regular basis and I'd like to keep the cat in the bag for now)
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around Cayman Islands (1 answer total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Turks and Caicos here, Caymans is much more advanced, development wise.

The income tax issue, generally is a bit over sold for ex-pats. It's true that you're not getting taxed on your paycheck, but every single item you buy has been shipped over and customs has taken a hefty percentage on that. So overall, I think it pretty much cancels it out. Caymen's customs might be a lot nicer, check it out. It's generally 33% on everything here.

In addition, cars, accomodation, gasoline, electricity, generally everything is slighty to vastly more expensive. (duty on cars here is 40% best case, and increasing with size of engine, electricity is dizzingly expensive).
Find out how much you're realistically going to have to pay in rent, groceries and general living.

Over here we get a 6 month window to bring our own stuff over, duty free, find out what Caymens offers.

Medical insurance is going to be generally more, since (Caymens is far better equipted then here, so this might be moot) anything more urgent then a broken arm is going to require you being air-lifted to somewhere more capable, in our case, the states.

Caymens did get hit hard, real hard, by a hurricane a while back, essentially destroyed the island, so that's always a slight concern around that time of year, but I wouldn't let that hold one back. Real pain about hurricane season is the heat, humidity and lack of wind-- at least until you have too much wind!

80-90k for a couple, yeah, that's likely doable- I wouldn't expect much savings from that though. I'd guess $2k a month rent if you get lucky, bills for the house: $700-$1000, Food for two, $800-$1200bucks. Medical, $600 a month. Expect $5-6 a gallon gas. Factor in holidays to populated areas for sanity, buying a car (and maintaining it in the salt air), eating and going out.
Numbers are estimates, you might get lucky, hopefully someone from Caymans will kick in with something a bit more concrete, drop me a note if they don't and I'll ask around here. I know a few people that have worked/lived over there.

BUT! a drive to work is five minutes, people are far more open and friendly (in my experience) and the beach and getting out on the sea is a beautiful way to live. Everyone's in the same boat, so you'll make friends very easily, you'll love the beach and hopefully a few of those friends will have boats, so you can get out on the open sea.

A bad day in the Caribbean is a good day anywhere else. People have a better work/life balance. I wouldn't swap it without a very good reason.
posted by Static Vagabond at 1:36 PM on May 16, 2008

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