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Diving in The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands have attracted scuba divers since the sport was invented. Known for amazing wall dives, beautiful coral and seemingly infinite visibility, these islands are the perfect cocktail of reef, wrecks and rum.

Diving in The Cayman Islands

Quick facts

Devilishly deep drop-offs, wicked wreck dives and some of the coolest coral in the Caribbean have made the Cayman Islands a world-class dive destination. Of the three islands, Grand Cayman is the most visited by scuba divers. Grand Cayman’s North Wall plunges deeper than 1800 metres/6000 feet and offers beautiful wall diving with opportunities to see spotted eagle rays and sea turtles. Grand Cayman also offers accessible shore diving on great coral reefs with little to no current. Little Cayman has the Bloody Bay Wall Marine Park, famed for its vibrant colors and dramatic drop offs and swim throughs. Cayman Brac offers a good mix of wall, wreck and reef diving for all experience levels. From 5-star hotels on Grand Cayman to quaint dive lodges on Little Cayman, the islands provide holiday options for everyone and hundreds of dive sites to explore. While the Cayman Islands are famous for its encounters with stingrays in Stingray City where the rays are said to be almost tame, there are many more sites that the islands offer. For example, there is the pinnacle of Babylon. If that’s not enough to keep you occupied, there’s also the wreck of the Captain Keith Tibbetts as well as the wreck of the Kittiwake, where all manner of tropical marine species abound. Visibility in the Cayman Islands is wonderful, averaging between 60 and 100 feet (18-30 meters). Plus, the water temperature ranges between 78-82°F (26-28°C). In addition, the island of Grand Cayman plays host to a turtle farm, so it is rare to dive without seeing at least one of the resident species.

Recommended training

Take the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy and PADI Deep Diver courses to help you hover effortlessly along the many Cayman walls. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographercourse is a must to capture the beauty of the place. Cayman is also a technical diving destination, so look into PADI TecRec courses, including the PADI Rebreather Diver course, if interested.

When to go

Diving is good all year. Cayman has mild air temperatures of 21-27°C/70-80°F year-round and a little more rain during the summer months. The average water temperature is 26-28°C/78-82°F during all months. However, the Cayman Islands are in the hurricane belt and whilst the water temperature remains welcoming all year round for divers, the seas are not as hospitable from June to November.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

  • Cayman Brac

    Dive the stunning MV Captain Keith Tibbetts shipwreck, climb the amazing limestone bluff or explore some wonderful caves on the small but mighty island of Cayman Brac.

  • Grand Cayman

    Dig your toes into the white sand beaches of Grand Cayman as you gear up for some of the best diving of your life. From coral reefs to ship wrecks, you’ll never want to leave the deep.

  • Little Cayman

    Little Cayman is small but it packs a punch with spectacular wall dives and unique wildlife encounters.

USD 2,096Per trip
* Kittiwake, Grand Cayman – The Kittiwake is celebrating its fifth anniversary as an artificial reef in 2016. She sits on a sandy bottom in 17 metres/55 feet of water. This amazing artificial reef is a popular, much photographed dive site. Experienced divers can explore its interior rooms, while new divers and snorkelers can explore the exterior. * Stingray City, Grand Cayman – On this shallow dive on a sandy bottom, hordes of southern stingrays surround you as they glide past hoping for a feed from a friendly divemaster. You’ve probably seen many photos and television documentaries featuring this famous site. * Babylon, Grand Cayman – A large pinnacle with a canyon dissecting the North Wall, this site starts at 12 metres/40 feet and cascades down to plate coral stands deeper than 30 metres/100 feet. Abundant rope sponges line the wall with a few black coral bushes. * Devil’s Grotto and Eden Rock, Grand Cayman – An easy shore dive, this site features some fantastic coral formations, overhangs and swim-throughs. Vast schools of tiny silversides are common here and attract massive tarpon in addition to divers. The dramatic underwater topography and abundant life make this site very popular with underwater photographers. * Bloody Bay Wall East and West, Little Cayman – This part of the wall starts at about 8 metres/25 feet and drops into the deep blue. Look for large orange elephant ear sponges, black corals and wire corals along the sheer drop-off. You might see the occasional seahorse. * Three Fathom Wall or Mixing Bowl, Little Cayman – Starting at 6 metres/20 feet, then plunging vertically far deeper than you can go, this wall dive is a thrilling adventure as you glide over blue water. This is where Jackson’s Bight, with rugged coral fingers, meets the Bloody Bay Wall. Admire the purple, red, yellow and orange sponges and schools of fish in the shallows. * Captain Keith Tibbetts, Cayman Brac – Purposely sunk in 1996, this 100-metre/330-foot Russian frigate houses a variety of marine life and colorful sponges. Follow the radar tower down, swim along the rails and past the bow guns of this once proud warship. * Wilderness Wall, Cayman Brac – On the south side of Cayman Brac, this dramatic, plunging drop-off has an abundance of healthy corals, sponges and lots of marine life. Canyons and crevices cut through the wall and a large pinnacle rises away from it. You may see large pelagics cruise the corridor between the wall and pinnacle.

What to see

The Cayman dive sites are accurately named for the dominant species of marine life found there. Snapper Hole, Hammerhead Hill and Stingray City speak for themselves. In other places, the water is a virtual mirror with silversides, awash with sea turtles and scattered in between is a moray eel or two. The rare blue parrotfish can be seen on the sites of Cayman Brac, if you can see past the enormous grouper. In addition, shallow reefs house macro life in the form of invertebrates, nudibranchs and anemones, whose colorful fronds scoop, sway and retract in effortless precision. You’re also likely to see eagle rays, barracuda and lots of tropical fish, such as sergeant majors, damselfish, grunts, butterfly fish, angelfish and yellowtail snappers.

Calendar

For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Country

The Cayman Islands are in fact 3 islands in the Western Caribbean, located northwest of Jamaica. In fact, they are the visible peaks of an enormous underwater ridge. The largest of the islands, Grand Cayman is approximately 76 square miles (122 square meters) and is home to the capital city, George Town. However, the first capital was Bodden Town, which was named after the first recorded inhabitant of the island - Isaac Bodden. Consequently, the Cayman Islands were acquired from the French for the British Empire in the 1730’s and have remained a British protectorate ever since, with a government appointed by the British monarchy. In addition, the relaxed financial and taxation regulations make the country a welcome environment for investors. The country relies on indirect taxation for its income but has never levied income, capital gains or wealth tax on its residents.

Other attractions

Much like the underwater environment, the terrestrial life of all 3 of the Cayman Islands is thriving and an important part of topside tourism. The iguanas of Little Cayman are a must-see, the parrots of Cayman Brac should be added to that list too and the Seven Mile Beach is the epitome of unspoiled beauty. Rum is highly celebrated in the Caymans, and many activities revolve around the history, the culture and the culinary spin-offs of the spirit. So make sure you visit a distillery to taste what the pirates made famous. In addition, the Turtle Farm on the northwest tip of Grand Cayman is a great place to see hundreds of green sea turtles. “Hell” is a group of short, black, limestone formations northwest of West Bay on Grand Cayman. Hiking, bird watching and climbing the bluff are popular activities on Cayman Brac. Finally, the Booby Pond Nature Reserve on Little Cayman provides a habitat for red-footed boobies, other shore birds and a high diversity of native plants.

Getting there

Much like the underwater environment, the terrestrial life of all 3 of the Cayman Islands is thriving and an important part of topside tourism. The iguanas of Little Cayman are a must-see, the parrots of Cayman Brac should be added to that list too and the Seven Mile Beach is the epitome of unspoiled beauty. Rum is highly celebrated in the Caymans, and many activities revolve around the history, the culture and the culinary spin-offs of the spirit. So make sure you visit a distillery to taste what the pirates made famous. In addition, the Turtle Farm on the northwest tip of Grand Cayman is a great place to see hundreds of green sea turtles. “Hell” is a group of short, black, limestone formations northwest of West Bay on Grand Cayman. Hiking, bird watching and climbing the bluff are popular activities on Cayman Brac. Finally, the Booby Pond Nature Reserve on Little Cayman provides a habitat for red-footed boobies, other shore birds and a high diversity of native plants.

UTC-05:00

Time zone

KYD

Currency

+1345

Calling code

120 V

Electric volt

A, 

B

Plug type

GCM

Main airport
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