Cayman Islands

4.29166666667
(6 REVIEWS)


Cayman Islands in a nutshell


Sophisticated, diverse, with incredible wall diving & great visibility - the Caymans have been attracting divers for decades. 

 

Intro to the Caymans and Overview of areas


Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is a sophisticated Caribbean island with great nightlife, great resort options, and the wonderful attraction of stingray city, and very good wall diving. Grand Cayman is the most commercial island, with cruise ships visiting, but it has some wrecks wall dives are close boat rides. Stingray city, where stingrays can be hand-fed squid, is in only 12ft of water, and is a huge draw for divers and underwater photographers.


Cayman Brac

Great wall diving at a tiny, secluded island. It is less traveled with marvelous wall diving. It also has a famous must-dive Russian destroyer wreck. The wreck was formerly called destroyer 356, but has been renamed the MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts. There are some very friendly groupers in Cayman Brac. Cayman Brac is just 5 miles from Little Cayman.

 

Little Cayman

The least developed of the 3 islands, Little Cayman is 80 miles east of Grand Cayman, and boasts over 50 dives sites. Dive sites can plunge down to over 6,000ft deep, with Bloody Bay being the most famous wall dive on the island. Its lack of topside development attracts people looking to get away. Little Cayman also has some friendly groupers, and Cayman Brac is about 40 minute boat ride away. Eating out here can get expensive, so try to get a meal package if possible.

 

Cayman Islands Marine Life

 

Cayman Islands has a lot of large sponges, some good macro, and some tiny fish. For big animals - you can find a good number or turtles and groupers, tarpon, nurse sharks, great barracuda, and stingrays. Stingray city has very large, friendly stingrays that are used to getting fed.

 

For macro subjects - jawfish, angelfish, morays, gobies, pufferfish, lettuce slug nudibranchs and lionfish can all be readily found.

 

 

This short well-shot video shows the highlights of Grand Cayman diving - reefs, Stingray city, the Kittawake wreck, and some turtles.

 

 

Getting there

 

A direct flight from Miami to Grand Cayman takes only 70 minutes. From Grand Cayman, you can transfer to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. There are also usually direct flights from Boston, Chicago and New York.

 

When to visit the Caymans

"High Season" at the hotels is mid-December to mid-April, so rates will be higher then. September can bring rougher waters if there is a tropical storm, and that is also the month with a higher chance of a hurricane, although hurricanes are not common. June to October brings higher topside temperatures (up to 33C, 91F).

 

Caymen Essential Facts

  • Money - USD
  • Electricity - 110V, same as US
  • Vaccines recommended - Hep A; Typhoid if you will travel to rural areas
  • Visa - none needed for US citizens or European Union
  • Language - English
  • Safety - Generally safe but petty theft can occur

 

The rest is COMING SOON...

Region:

Reviews (6)

  • Top Reviewer
, FL
United States
5
4
5
5

Grand Cayman offers both outstanding Caribbean diving with high-class resorts, beaches and restaurants. During my last visit in March 2013, we rented a 2-bedroom condo near West Bay. There was a nice beach and pool area. The snorkeling was average off the beach and shore diving is not an option. We went diving out of West Bay. I have been to Grand Cayman multiple times having stayed mostly at the East End. This is the less populated and windward side of the island. Diving the east end is more adventurous and not for anyone prone to seasickness. The benefits are great given the untouched dive sites and spectacular coral formations. The maze and tarpon alley are wonderful dive sites. There are many excellent restaurants in Grand Cayman. Most rival excellent cuisine in the United States or Europe. Although driving on the left can take several days to get adjusted, renting a car is a must to explore the island. Recommend only experienced travel drivers to rent cars.

Grand Cayman is unique that the leeward west end offers diving with mostly calm waters. The Caribbean coral structure and fish life are a photographers dream. There are many excellent shore diving opportunities along the west end (just south of Georgetown) and at operations within West Bay. With the closed proximity to the USA, I’d highly recommend Grand Cayman for both divers and non-divers.

Visited on 03/2013 - Submitted on 08/31/2014
5
5
3
4

Grand Cayman is a beautiful dive destination with many options for accommodations and for diving. We dived 3 days in February 2014, and they were all excellent and memorable dives. The dive schedule would include a deep wall dive followed by a shallower reef or wreck. They were all guided dives. Dive conditions could not have been more perfect, flat seas (the north side is supposed to be more choppy but the day we dived Eagle Ray pass, it was just 2 feet seas, the rest of the dives were on the west side, where the sea was flat both days), warm water (80 degrees for our stay), clear water with awesome 90-100+ feet visibility (great for wide angle photography). I would like to mention 2 points though, one that it is a bit expensive, both the accommodations and the diving, and secondly, it looks like they allow open water divers to do the deeper wall dives, where you can be as deep as 100 feet, just an FYI, in case you’re not comfortable at that depth. The most striking and common marine life for me were the brightly yellow colored tube sponges. We did see some nurse sharks, sea turtles and a few rays. Having done a lot of dives in Florida, one thing we did notice was that there were not as many fishes on the reefs in Grand Cayman as in south Florida, but after looking at my pictures after this trip I did notice many small fishes and critters. I guess that’s one drawback of guided dives, everyone is constantly on the move, not ideal for photography, especially macro photography. I know there are shore dives that can be done, and we plan to do some of those next time. We did not make it to Stingray city, but did get to the other must do dive in Grand Cayman - the USS Kittiwake, a submarine rescue vessel. There is a separate fee to dive this wreck that goes towards conservation, and you also get a nice yellow diver medallion to keep. It was quite crowded with dive and snorkel boats when we got there, but it was no big deal once we got in the water. It’s a very easy and fun dive, we saw some angelfish and eagle rays. There are lots of options for great photography and for posing for memorable photos, such as by the Kittiwake sign, swimming by the prop, or pretending to steer the helm on the bridge. The ship has been opened up with large access holes so that you can swim through the interior of the ship. There is also an air pocket in a decompression chamber that you can pop into and chat with your buddy!! The most interesting topside activities for us were exploring the island in a rental car and driving on the left side of the road. Would also recommend spending an afternoon at Rum Point, where you can relax and also do some snorkeling if you like. The people of the island are friendly and culturally diverse.

Visited on 02/2014 - Submitted on 04/19/2014
4
4
4
4

I have been diving in Grand Cayman several times. Each time has been a wonderful underwater adventure. The water clarity is typically amazingly clear. Water temperatures are usually low 80's F. Marine life is plentiful and varied. Eels, rays, sharks, and turtles are frequently seen. Corals and sponges are plentiful. Lionfish have become an invasive species and some of the dive operators offer culling excursions. Topside, the community is expanding with ongoing construction. Dining can be pricey but the meals I have had have been wonderful. Overall it is a place worth seeing.

Visited on 02/2014 - Submitted on 03/01/2014
  • Top Reviewer
Huntington Beach, CA
United States
5
5
5
5

The Cayman Islands certainly offer diversity without a long trip from the states.

GRAND CAYMAN

Grand Cayman has beautiful beaches and probably the most topside activities or restaurants anyone would want. There is shopping, bars to hang out in, and live music. Cathy Church has a shop at Sunset House where you can often meet her and see her beautiful underwater photos from the area. The seven mile beach area is beautiful for walking and photo opportunities. You can even make a side trip to "Hell", a small area with black volcanic rocks, a few curio shops, and an actual post office you can send mail from with a postmark from Hell. For diving, the reefs are easy to reach from many dive operators and offer a diversity of schooling fish, sponges, turtles, rays, and even sharks. The Kittiwake wreck as well as other wrecks in the close vicinity add variety and interesting structure which I really enjoyed. We were lucky enough to see the tail end of silversides on the wreck of the Balboa right in the Harbor too. StingRay City on scuba with a small group was so much fun feeding the rays. You need to protect your fingers from the eager snappers though. Grand Cayman makes a good dive vacation, but for us it was a great stop with plenty of good diving over 3 days on the way home from Cayman Brac.

CAYMAN BRAC

Cayman Brac offered multiple relaxed dive spots on reefs all along the edge of the island. As a photographer, I never lacked for subjects both wide angle and macro and anything in between. Schools of bright snappers brightened the reefs among colorful sponges. Turtles munched on big sponges with no worries about divers hanging about. My favorite were the groupers who followed us like pets. It seems the dive guides hunt the lionfish and then feed the groupers, so they joined us right away each dive. My poker stick resembled the dive guides spears, so they followed me closely and would even "show" me where the lion fish were, confused when I didn't feed them. I quickly learned that if I poked at an area with my stick, the groupers would go right there, a great tool to get them to pose right where i wanted them in my reef scenes. The boat dives were offered mostly in the mornings, and we were on our own in the afternoons. A highlight dive is the Tibbets wreck with great structure and lots of life. The shore diving was really easy to access with actual ladders or stairs and even showers at some sites. We could easily get to reefs and wrecks by ourselves from shore and take as much time as our tanks allowed. The dive boat did make the excursion across to Little Cayman's Bloody Bay wall one day which is very achievable from Cayman Brac. The amazing strawberry sponges were in abundance there. They look dark brown without light but the first time my strobes lit one up I was amazed at the super bright rich red color. They became my favorite focus on the reef. I like the idea of being able to dive off both islands while staying on one.

It is easily possible to visit all 3 of the Cayman Islands in a single dive trip and be able to enjoy the diversity they provide.

Visited on 08/2013 - Submitted on 02/21/2014
  • Reviewer
Culver City, CA
United States
4
4
5
5

Grand Cayman offers everything from amazing underwater visibility to diverse marine life. There are so many dive sites on the island and the reef is fairly close to shore. One of the added attractions is the Kittiwake wreck, which is a large ship, easy to access, plenty of marine life and thanks to the awesome visibility offers wonderful picture opportunities. Add, Stingray City with hundreds of stingrays looking for food and "flying" by gracefully in 20 ft of water with sandy bottom, making it another excellent photo opportunity. Topside, there are many restaurants, bars and great shops. The island is safe and people are friendly. Diver operators are professional and most of them have top end dive boats.

Visited on 11/2012 - Submitted on 02/07/2014