The Cayman Islands is a Scuba Diving destination, it is made up of three equally beautiful islands surrounded by crystal clear, aquamarine waters teeming with a multitude of marine life endemic to the Caribbean.
If you are not content with admiring the bounty of the sea from the relative dryness of your boat, you can choose from over hundreds of explored dive sites in any of the islands. www.travelrows.com
Grand Cayman, the biggest of the three islands, has several popular dive spots that feature beautiful wall dives and deep plunges. Swim with the fishes, literally. View the diverse marine life which includes parrotfish, eels, lobsters, and even octopus. North Sound is one of the island’s main dive areas because of its many reefs that protect its bay. This is also where the famed Stingray City can be found. Stingray City has a sandbar with waist-high waters that offers you a chance to touch, play with, even feed the schools of stingrays swimming merrily by.
Grand Cayman Diving Spots:
Swim and interact with gentle stingrays and even get to feed them. Named the World’s Best 12-foot dive, a visit here is something you should definitely not miss if you’re in Grand Cayman.
This reef is brightly colored with large elephant ear sponges. Many turtles and lots of fish can be seen here.
This site is a well-known snorkel and dive site. Walk in or get here by boat to see its great tarpon cave.
This site has a beautiful natural arch. It has many corals, young fish around, and lobsters wandering around.
This is another Grand Cayman dive site with a vivid showcase of corals, sponges, fans, and big fish.
Doc Polson Wreck
Explore this shallow ship and have fun viewing and swimming with its new inhabitants.
This is a great undersea dive site located at the North Sound teeming with marine life.
Little Cayman, the smallest of the Cayman Islands, is home to the world-famous dive site with 3,000-foot vertical walls — the Bloody Bay. Different kinds of soft and hard corals are attached to the wall’s face. Sea fans and colored sponges also coexist with the corals. Thousands of other sea creatures abound the area like tiny shrimps, lobsters, moray eels, brittlestars, sea cucumbers, and of course, lots of fishes in every color of the rainbow. Stingrays, turtles, eagle rays, and small sharks can also be seen swimming near the wall.
Bloody Bay gets its name from a gruesome pirate battle that happened in the area long ago when government sponsored piracy still existed. The numerous canyons, deep walls, chimneys, and tunnels can be hard to maneuver for beginners, so Little Cayman caters more to the seasoned diver who demands more thrills from each dive. Most people who inhabit this tiny island are divers, so you can even share tips and stories with the friendly islanders.
Little Cayman Diving Spots:
This place isn’t bloody at all. It got its name from a gruesome pirate battle that happened around the area a long time ago. This famous drop-off wall is rich in coral and sponge life.
This dive spot near Bloody Bay, has many tunnels and crevices. It’s as amazing as the its neighbor. Eagle rays and stingrays can be seen around here making it an exciting experience.
This is the junction between Bloody Bay and Jackson’s Point. The large crevice at its center is the demarcation line between the two other popular dive sites. Lots of sea creatures transit here so it’s worth a visit.
The interesting formations and diverse fish life that abound in this area makes it another must-dive in Little Cayman.
Cayman Brac completes the Cayman Island trio. Like the other two islands, it boasts of superb scenery underwater with numerous varieties of corals and fish. But unlike the first two, Cayman Brac offers other sights. It is home to some ship wrecks, like the wreckage of M/V Captain Keith Tibbetts, a Russian-built Cuban naval ship considered one of the world’s best wreck sites, which are now a haven for many marine creatures. The sunken frigate is on shallow water so even diving beginners can get to explore the stern to bow while viewing the new inhabitants of the ship.
Cayman Brac Diving Spots:
MV Captain Keith Tibbetts
This former Russian frigate that sunk near the island in 1996 was renamed after the late dive operator Keith Tibbetts. The ship’s guns and most of its parts is still pretty much intact making it a must-dive.
Undoubtedly, the best wall dive just off Cayman Brac’s southern coast. Colorful and different sizes adorn the wall. Sharks, rays, snappers, and eels are just some of the sea creatures that can be seen in this area.
This reef is home to groups of tarpons living in the tunnels and crevices surrounding the area.
Dive Operators in Cayman Islands
Novice and expert divers alike will find Cayman Islands to be an ideal place for exploring the underwater with these highly-skilled and experienced dive operators.
An aerial view of Cobalt CoastDivetech & Cobalt Coast Dive Resort – Located along the Northwest Shore of Boatswain’s Bay, a few miles from Seven Mile Beach, Cobalt Coast Dive Resort offers 18 rooms, including bedroom suites and detached villas. Their Dive and Room Packages consist of oceanfront accommodations as well as services including a daily 2-tank boat trip, unlimited shore diving at their shops and complimentary tank and weights for a check-in dive upon guest arrival.
Boat diving is offered daily with their 2 custom dive boats, which can also be arranged for private charters. Shore diving is likewise possible with Sea Fan Reef and and Cobalt Ridge just a few minutes off shore.
Divetech is staffed with 16 experienced instructors who lead various starter and advanced dive courses. Specialty courses such as wreck navigation and underwater photography are also offered. Kids as young as 5 years old, can also kick off their diving experience with the snorkel and other junior programs.
Divetech is known for its West Bay Express, a scooter dive excursion from Cobalt Coast to Lighthouse Point. Another unique experience for skills divers is Breath-Hold diving which allows for a more intimate interaction with marine life as no bubbles or sound is made underwater.
An aerial view of Compass PointCompass Point and Ocean Frontiers Dive Resort – Ocean Frontiers is located on the East End of Grand Cayman, about 35 minutes from the airport. Apart from the diving, guests can enjoy beach barbecues while lounging on their patios or engage in outdoor adventures such as cycling and kayaking.
Ocean Frontiers is a 5-star PADI IDC School offering discover scuba diving courses and full open water diver certification courses. Experienced divers have the choice of taking rescue certification courses, Nitrox and Technical diving, as well as unguided computer diving.
Ocean Frontiers boasts of worry-free diving experiences with their secure and well-ventilated customer storage facilities. Individual tagged cubbies with hangers and kit boxes are provided for the divers. The staff also sets up the gear for the clients and rinse these after prior to storage.
Romantic getaways are also available with underwater wedding or vow renewal packages and with honeymoon / anniversary dive vacations.
Don Foster’s DiveDon Foster’s Dive – Don’s Fosters is located at Casuarina Point, south of George Town Harbour. Casuarina Point is perfect for snorkeling and shore diving with its 25-50 feet deep reef, an extension of the famous Devil’s Grotto.
Don’s Fosters offers basic scuba / resort courses as well as open water referral dives as they have a pool of PADI instructors and even Universal Referral Program instructors.
Known for their value-for-money programs, they have free shuttle service for selected Seven Mile Beach hotels, unlimited shore diving for their packages, and discounts for advance and group bookings. There’s even a 20% discount for equipment rented for 4 days or more!
Their fleet of 6 spacious, well-equipped boats, are available for specialized excursions and charters.
Sunset HouseSunset House – Less than a mile south of George Town is Sunset House. Guests can look forward to unlimited shore diving with opportunities to see various marine life like turtles and eels, and landmarks such as shipwrecks. Sunset House also generally arranges 2-tank dives every morning, and visits to Stingray City on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. A group of at least 6 can also rent a boat for a night dive. Diving from shore is also possible at night, as long as guests rent the equipment prior to the dive store’s closing.
Diving packages come with air-conditioned accommodations with breakfast, tanks, weights, belt and lockers, and taxi transfers to and from the airport. 5-night packages come with a free resort course for non-diving partners or a free review and guided dive for inactive divers.
Sunset House also has a special Hurricane Protection Guarantee which allows guests an additional 18 months to complete their stay should the government declare a Hurricane Watch at the time of their trip.
Red Sail SportsRed Sail Sports – With its 20-year heritage, Red Sail Sports is famous for their island-wide diving and watersports services, as they operate in 7 locations in Cayman Islands, including Grand Cayman Beach Suites, Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa, Marriott Beach Resort, Courtyard by Marriott, Morritt’s Tortuga Resort/Tortuga Divers, Sea Grape and Rum Point.
Custom dive packages allow guests to choose accommodations among Grand Cayman Beach Suites, Westin Casuarina Resort, Marriott Beach Resort, and Courtyard by Marriott. These though have to be pre-booked and prepaid, as no reservations are made on-island.
With their 4 catamarans and 9 dive boats, dives can be scheduled at the north, west and south sides of the Grand Cayman. Aside from their resort course, Red Sail Sports also offers PADI, NAUI, NASDS, HSA and SSI courses. Kids can also try out the Bubblemaker program and SASY youth snorkeling.
One can likewise take a break from diving with other watersports such as kayaking, waterskiing, parasailing and hobie cat sailing. Then, there’s always a chance to go snorkeling with a trip to Stingray City via a glass-bottom boat.
Shore Diving Information
The Cayman Islands is a popular tourist spot especially for divers and water sport advocates. The islands have been touted as one of the best shore diving destinations in the world. It boasts of natural crystal-clear waters and pristine walls. There are also several snorkeling sites where tourists are treated to the unique experience of swimming amongst stingrays in their natural habitat: the sea.
Tourists or divers usually do not have to go far in order to find a site for shore diving. Grand Cayman is filled with magnificent shore diving destinations. In fact, tourists only have to visit the beaches that are adjacent to or near their hotels or resorts if they want to try shore diving. Beaches on the island have a wide variety of colorful fish species as well as interesting reef and rock formations. It is worthy to note that if tourists are after the sights of spectacular coral reefs, they should take note of the dark areas in the water because these are indications of extensive reef formations.
Shore Diving for beginners
Shore diving in Grand Cayman actually provides beginner divers especially tourists with easy and affordable access to spectacular underwater sights such as the unique and intricate coral reefs and elaborate and amazing rock formations. There are also enthralling views of shipwrecks and other notable sights. Intermediate and advanced divers and experienced swimmers who are in the pink of their health may enjoy additional treats and features like seeing the fabulous walls of the whole of Cayman Islands.
Notable Shore Diving Destinations
One of the most popular shore diving destinations in Cayman Islands is the Turtle Reef which is located at the Cracked Conch. This is fully equipped with large entry and exit ladders that make shore dives a fun and easy experience. It also allows the divers to descend further into a shallow cove that is perfect for pre-shore dive checks.
Turtle Reef is more popularly known as the Cayman’s Northwest Point. It has been constantly rated by Scuba Dive Magazine as the number one dive site in the world. For as low as USD10 for those with Activity Guide coupons, tourist can already enjoy the privilege of shore diving in this unsurpassed shore diving site.
Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto are two of the most popular shore diving sites in Cayman Islands. Their popularity is mainly credited to the wide array of tunnels and caverns that can be found and explored in the area. Some of these go as deep as forty to sixty feet in depth. They are oftentimes occupied by tarpon and silverside.
The Cali wreck site is a highly-recommended shore diving site for beginner divers since it is located near shore and has a depth of only fifteen to thirty feet with crystal-clear water. Smith Cove is another site frequented by tourists because it has easy beach access for shore diving as well as a remarkable forty to sixty-foot reef that directly lead to the pristine walls of Cayman Islands.
Shore Diving at Grand Cayman. Nothing can be as extremely rewarding as the experience of shore diving in Grand Cayman. It provides divers with unique experiences of the near shore reefs, caverns, caves, and chutes that serve as natural habitat to countless species or water animals and organisms. There are also hundreds of species of corals and fish to complement the shore diving experience.
As you’d want to make the most of your stay in one of the world’s top diving destinations, here are some reminders for your dive at Cayman Islands.
Always best to ask – Doing your homework can go a long way in making your trip more enjoyable. As there are many dive operators doing business in Cayman Islands, it would be good to check their specialties and track record. The recommended groups would be affiliated with the Cayman Islands Watersports Operators Association. Check on your preferred operators programs and trip schedules so that you can plan your itinerary accordingly. Also, ask about their policies and guidelines. For instance some operators do not allow unguided or solo dives.
Remember the details – More than just formalities, the paper work and forms are important in ensuring a safe and hassle-free vacation. Always remember to have your C-Card with you. If you’re a student completing your certification, you should have your referral forms completed and signed by your initial instructor.
Keep safe – A quick medical check-up before you leave for your vacation wouldn’t hurt. It’s always important to ensure that you’re fit before you dive. If you haven’t been in the water for more than 2 years, operators normally recommend a refresher course taken on-island or through your local dive shop prior to your visit to Cayman Islands.
Suit up – Caribbean water has fairly consistent temperatures at 25.6°C to 28.9°C so a 1.5mm to 3mm wetsuit will be enough to keep you comfortable. More acclimated divers usually use 5mm to 7mm suits.
Bring the gear – Of course, it’s always best to come prepared. But, there’s no need to fret should you forget anything, as there are several fully-equipped dive shops which sell or rent out equipment and parts. Most of the established hotels and B&Bs are also affiliated with a dive shop. A lot of the operators are 100% computer-based, which is why computers are also rented out in the shops for around $10 – $15. Here are some vendors you’ll find in the islands:
- Wall to Wall Diving rents out equipment separately, but also offers a discounted bundle for the regulator, BCD, mask, fins, snorkel and wetsuit. They also rent out an underwater digital camera and throw in a CD of your pictures.
- Dive Tiara rents out equipment per day, but if you rent for 5 days, they give the 6th day’s rental for free.
Southern Cross Club lets their hotel guests use dive computers, snorkeling equipment, and even their bikes and kayaks for free.
- Brac Aquatics offers Sherwood equipment on both daily and weekly rates.
- Ambassador Divers offers video equipment on top of camera rentals.
If you are looking forward to a remarkable and exceptional diving experience, the Cayman Islands will surely deliver– enough to leave you breathless and wanting more.