Diving in the Cayman Islands - Bluewater Dive Travel

Cayman Islands

A diver looks at colorful coral in the Cayman Islands
A stingray rests on a sandy bottom in the Cayman Islands
A reef squid swims near a pier in the Caymans

SCUBA DIVING Cayman Islands

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Cayman Islands Diving highlights

Though scuba diving in the Cayman Islands is mostly known for close encounters with stingrays, it has much more to offer. Boasting strong diving infrastructure, diverse types of diving, incredible walls and wrecks, and great visibility. The Cayman Islands-- Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac--have been attracting scuba divers for decades, including beginners! The amazing diversity and dive sites for all levels are just one of the reasons why the Cayman Islands is also one of the top dive destinations in the Carribean.

Interested in diving the Cayman Islands?  View the live availability of some of the best liveaboards in the Cayman Islands and book online at the best price or check out our sidebar for land-based options! 



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 and the wall dives are close boat rides. One of the best wrecks in the Caribbean can be found on Grand Cayman's shores, the USS Kittiwake. Grand Cayman scuba diving is also more popular than on the other islands due to the stingray population there. Stingray City is in only 12ft (4m) of water and is a huge draw for divers and underwater photographers. 
  • Click here to read about our trip to Grand Cayman last 2019.
  • CAYMAN BRAC - Great shore and boat 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 the 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 (1800m) 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 a 40-minute boat ride away. Eating out here can get expensive, so try to get a meal package if possible. Diving Little Cayman is definitely one of the highlights of the Caribbean!

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Diving Information 

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Marine Life & Photography Subjects

When diving the Cayman Islands you can see a lot of large sponges, some good macro, and some tiny fish. For big animals - you can find a good number of turtles and groupers, tarpon, nurse sharks, great barracuda, and stingrays. Stingray City has very large, friendly stingrays. For macro subjects, you can see angelfish, morays, lettuce slug nudibranchs and many more.

Here is a list of some of the marine animals you can likely spot when diving the Cayman Islands:

  • Nurse Shark
  • Catshark
  • Jawfish
  • Angelfish
  • Morays
  • Gobies
  • Pufferfish
  • Lettuce Slug Nudibranchs
  • Lionfish 
  • Spanish Hogfish
  • Squirrelfish
  • Coral Shrimps
  • Southern Stingray
  • Yellow Stingray
  • Electric Ray 


Diving Conditions

  • Water Temperatures: Between 78-82°F (26-28°C)
  • Visibility: Between 60 and 100 feet (18-30 meters)
  • Depth Range: 20 - 699 ft (6 - 213 m)



There are over 300 dive sites in the Cayman Islands. Most of them are located around the Grand Cayman but a little over sixty sites stay around Cayman Brac and the Little Cayman. Thus, you can keep going back and still discover new sites. After exploring the area, here are some of the best dive sites in the Cayman Islands: 

1. MV Capt. Keith Tibbets- This Soviet-built Frigate that was owned by the Cuban navy was given to the Cayman Islands to purposefully sink it. Now it has become a beautiful artificial reef and home for colorful sponges, groupers, barracudas and other marine life. Divers can observe the bow guns and go along the rails to make some great photos. 

2. Bloody Bay Wall- Most scuba divers will say this is their favorite dive site in the Cayman Islands. The protected Bloody Bay Marine Park lies in Little Cayman and offers magnificent marine life, great visibility, and spectacular bioluminescent corals. The wall drop is not for the light-hearted as it can reach over 6500ft (2000 m), but along the drop, you can see yellow tube sponges, black and wire corals and waving sea fans. Plus, along the wall, you can meet triggerfish, eagle rays, turtles, lobsters and many more!

3. Stingray City- You can thank the local fishermen for this dive site as they used to clean their catch here that attracted the rays to the site. Now large groups of southern stingrays are lurking around daily. The dives are shallow and you can closely observe them swimming around or above you. 

4. Babylon- Grand Cayman Island is surrounded by a wall, but what makes the Babylon site special is the pinnacle with a canyon cutting the north wall. All levels of divers can enjoy the site as there is plenty to see at shallow depths or at deeper parts. Along the wall you'll spot black coral bushes, barrel sponges and sea fans where barracudas, turtles, eagle rays and parrotfish like to show up. 

5. Devil's Grotto- Suitable for both beginners and advanced, it's a great shallow shore dive that features massive swim-throughs, chimneys and coral formations. Often you can see massive tarpons, barracudas, and schools of silversides.  

The Cayman Islands are one of the Best Liveaboard Destinations for Beginners.

6. Kittiwake- Though this wreck has been sunken rather recently and has not developed much coral yet, it is still a fantastic dive site for all levels. It lays at 60 ft (20 m) and scuba divers are able to explore all five levels of this 250 ft (75 m) vessel.  In 2017, Tropical Storm Nate shifted the Kittiwake from her original position.

7. Jackson's Bight- Located also in the Bloody Bay Marine Park, it does not fail to provide scuba divers with an amazing dive. It is rich with tunnels, chutes, cervices, and beautiful reefs. And when it comes to marine life, there is lots to see! You can spot eagle rays, reef sharks, sailfin blennies, tilefish, peacock flounders, garden eels, or yellow-headed jawfish.  

If wall diving is your thing, check out diving in Turks & Caicos.

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Travel Information 

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How to Get to the Cayman Islands

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.  


How to Dive Cayman Islands

There are plenty of great dive resorts available, but liveaboard is the best option if you want to dive around all three islands.  

The Cayman Islands are one of the Best Liveaboard Destinations in the World. Click here to learn more.


cayman island dive resorts

Some of the nicest dive resorts in the Caribbean are in the Cayman Islands, and many of them have great shore diving and boat diving. The dive resorts are more expensive than places like Roatan or Belize, but given the reputation of the islands and the quality and ease of the diving, we find the prices reasonable. A few great choices are the Sunset House Hotel in Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac Beach Resort and the Little Cayman Beach Resort


Best Time to Dive Cayman Islands

Diving is available year-round. "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). There is slightly more rain during the summer months. 


Topside & Non-Diving Activities

Besides scuba diving, there are plenty of other things to do on the Cayman Islands. For water sports lovers, there are great spots for snorkeling including night snorkeling with bioluminescence, options to go sailing or on a catamaran cruise. There are lots of beautiful beaches to visit and to relax. If you love nature, you can go hiking or explore some caverns and caves. It also does not lack of options to go visit some museums, art galleries, go on walking eco-tours or historical tours, do some shopping and even have a blast at some amazing festivals. 

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Other Useful Information 

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Practical Information

  • Currency: USD
  • Electricity: 110V, same as the 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

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Reviews (7)

  • Top Reviewer
Los Angeles, CA
United States

Garnd Cayman is a beautiful island with friendly people, close and easy dives with lots of structure and world-famous beaches.
The diving in Grand Cayman was beautiful and full of life and underwater structures. Swim-throughs and caves were prevalent and fun to dive. The dive sites that are further out from the shore are generally in better shape due to less diving and human contact. The USS Kittiwake was a great wreck dive but be forewarned it's swarming with tourists (divers and snorkelers) when the cruise ships are in port (everyday except Sunday). Sting Ray City is also super popular with adults and children alike. You get up close and personal with sting rays and snorkel with them. Seven Mile beach is a beautiful white-sand beach. Plan a day or two of relaxing on the sand and playing in the waters. You won't regret it!

The island completely shuts down on Sundays and most days after 6pm. Only a few restaurants are open and some bars. Anything in the main city of Georgetown is closed. Transportation via bike is easy and cheap. There are free buses on the island and they'll honk as they approach you. Wave your hand if you want to be picked up. Hitch-hiking was also very easy... we hitched 10x and everyone was friendly and talkative.
Food: I was not impressed with the food of the island. We ate at small restaurants, unheard of, non-chain establishments and tried the local dishes (though there really is no such thing as a local dish). Most things were bland in flavor or ordinary food I could get at home (hamburgers, chicken pasta, etc). I did however discover I'm not a fan of goat (curry, baked, fried or grilled).
Things I loved: fast boats, white sand, easy diving, warm water.
Things I didn't love: 100' maximum instituted by the Grand Cayman Diving Authority, one hour maximum instituted by most dive resorts.
Grand Cayman is a good island for families, people looking for easy and fun diving, couples, those who like to shop, and anyone looking for an English-speaking Caribbean island with SCUBA diving that is easy to get to.

Visited on - Submitted on 01/13/2014
  • Reviewer
Culver City, CA
United States

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
  • Top Reviewer
Huntington Beach, CA
United States

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


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 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

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

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


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