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Why Cayman?

Cayman Islands vs Barbados: Offshore Business Showdown

Cayman Islands vs. Barbados: Offshore Business Showdown

With their stunning landscapes and favorable business climates, the Caribbean islands of the Cayman Islands and Barbados are vying for the attention of entrepreneurs globally. We delve into the specifics to assess which destination might be the ideal fit for establishing an offshore business.

Clock towers in Cayman Islands vs. Barbados

Chart: Comparing Business Essentials

Table comparing the features and benefits of registering a company in either the Cayman Islands or Barbados

* Barbados Corporate Affairs

** Invest Barbados

*** FlightsFrom.com

**** CIA World Factbook - Barbados

***** Numbeo - Cost of Living Comparison

View of the coastlines of the Cayman Islands and Barbados


The Cayman Islands offers a tax-neutral haven with no corporate, capital gains, or sales taxes, making it an appealing destination for fiscal efficiency. Conversely, Barbados attracts businesses with its low corporate tax rates ranging from 1% to 5.5% and absence of capital gains tax, bolstered by a network of double taxation agreements.

Special Considerations

  • Double Tax Treaties: Barbados has a comprehensive network, beneficial for entities in countries like Canada. The Cayman Islands, with a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with Canada, offers a 0% tax rate on repatriating funds, providing a potentially more favorable fiscal position.

Tax Type

Cayman Islands (CEC)


Corporate Tax


1% - 5.5%

Personal Income Tax


Up to 33.5%

Capital Gains Tax



Sales Tax/VAT



Withholding Tax


0% on dividends

Double Taxation Treaties


Extensive Network

Special Tax Incentives

Yes (SEZs)

Yes (IBC regime)

Scuba divers explore the ocean in both the Cayman Islands and Barbados

Setting Up a Business

Barbados boasts a swift online incorporation process, capable of setting up a business in about 5 days. The Cayman Islands provide a detailed, guided setup process taking 4-6 weeks.

Intellectual Property and Legal Framework

Both jurisdictions uphold British Common Law, ensuring robust protection for your business's intellectual property. They both permit 100% foreign ownership, with Cayman Islands' law adding familiarity for those used to British legal systems.

Ease of Doing Business and Travel

The Cayman Islands are noted for their streamlined business setup and connectivity to major American cities. Barbados facilitates efficient business operations and offers extensive global connectivity through its well-equipped infrastructure.

Island Demographics and Business Community Dynamics

Barbados is a bustling hub with over 303,431 residents, supported by an investment-friendly government. The Cayman Islands, though smaller with 65,483 inhabitants, feature a global mix of over 130 nationalities. This diversity enriches a vibrant business community, making it particularly attractive for international networking and enterprises.

Special Economic Zones and Investment Incentives

The Cayman Islands stand out with Special Economic Zones (SEZs), offering significant tax relief and operational benefits. Barbados lacks SEZs, but does offer robust incentives for global businesses, underpinned by supportive government policies. Both locales are primed for global entrepreneurs seeking advantageous business environments.


In the Cayman Islands, residents enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, complete with top-tier amenities, healthcare, education, restaurants, and leisure activities like beach outings and water sports. Barbados offers a blend of sophistication and local culture, rich in cultural activities, diverse cuisine, and excellent education and health facilities.


The Cayman Islands are celebrated for their safety and low crime rates, bolstered by proactive anti-corruption measures. Barbados maintains a generally safe environment, with crime mostly limited to minor incidents. Its governance, while stable, is perceived as somewhat lax in addressing corruption, though it doesn't overshadow the island's overall security.

Cost of Living

Both destinations face high living costs. The Cayman Islands offset these costs with no direct taxes, such as income or sales taxes. Barbados, featuring a lower cost of living index, offers an attractive tax regime with numerous incentives. These financial strategies make each island appealing, depending on individual and business financial goals.

Boating in the Caribbean in the Cayman Islands vs. Barbados with differing lifestyles

The choice between the Cayman Islands and Barbados for setting up an offshore business hinges on specific priorities. Barbados appeals to those looking for a rapid setup and lower initial costs, while the Cayman Islands attract those desiring an efficient and luxurious business environment, complemented by a diverse international community. Each offers unique tax advantages, with the Cayman Islands further distinguishing itself with Special Economic Zones, which enhance both business prospects and quality of life.

Ready to Set Sail?
Discover the unique benefits of Cayman Enterprise City. With world-class facilities and a dynamic business community, the Cayman Islands not only promise significant business growth but also an unparalleled quality of life. Join us and elevate your business within our Special Economic Zones.

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Topics: Why Cayman?
Isobel Forde
Izzy Forde is the Global Mobility Manager at Cayman Enterprise City (CEC), specialising in facilitating international moves for businesses and individuals. Responsible for fostering member relationships and seeking opportunities, Izzy ensures a smooth transition into the CEC ecosystem. Drawing on her expertise, she navigates complex global mobility challenges, aiding entrepreneurs and businesses in establishing themselves in Cayman.
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