The Cayman Islands are comprised of 3 islands, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, which are British overseas territories. Located in the western Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba, east of Mexico and north of Panama, these incredible islands are home to everything that a diver looks for when planning a diving holiday.
Out of these three islands, Grand Cayman has a large number of residents that are focused on creating a better future for the next generation with regards to the ocean and has been named as one of the best places for having a healthy marine environment. Grand Cayman also stands in second place for the best ‘overall diving’ within the Atlantic/Caribbean. It’s certainly not a place to be missed off your bucket list.
As well as having thriving and healthy dive sites, Grand Cayman’s marine parks are amongst the Caribbean’s first and were established in 1986. A little bit of history, Dive 365 was created in 2008, which was an incredibly ambitious initiative. Its goal was to name and add mooring buoys to 68 brand new dive sites in order to bring up the total dive sites in the area to 365, one for every day of the year. Dive 365 was also created to allow dive operations on the Islands to shut down certain dive sites, (temporarily) in order to allow them to recover and rejuvenate from the sheer volume of divers and boats visiting these areas.
Top 7 Dive Sites In The Cayman Islands
Located in Frank Sound on Grand Cayman’s east side, Ironshore Gardens is one of the best shallow dive sites in the area, with an average depth of 16m, you’ll find stunning topography with dozens of swim-throughs that help to protect the site form surge. These swim-throughs are perfect for all those explorers out there. You’ll also find a beautiful mini-wall that’s decorated with huge brain corals and stunning sea fans. Keep an eye out for friendly Tarpon cruising by, which make for some amazing photo opportunities.
Bloody Bay Wall
This site has been rated as one of the top dive sites throughout the Cayman Islands and is found off the coast of Little Cayman, within the Bloody Bay Marine Park. With its excellent visibility and huge numbers of marine life clinging to its wall that drops down into the abyss, this dive site is not for the faint-hearted. The wall is covered with brightly colored coral, including yellow tube sponges, bioluminescent corals and waving Sea Fans. In between the incredible coral formations you’ll also find Eagle Rays, Nassau Groupers, Triggerfish, Lobsters, and Turtles.
Located offshore in George Town, Grand Cayman, Devils Grotto is a very popular dive site for beginners as well as intermediates. Devil’s Grotto is known for its giant, hulking coral heads with massive open chimneys and stunning swim-throughs that are home to loads of Tarpon, Barracuda and schools of Silversides, especially throughout the months of June through to October. The average depth of this dive site is around 4m-12m, this dive site should not to be missed.
This dive site is a shore dive and is located at the north end of Seven Mile Beach. A narrow path adjacent to an old cemetery will take you to a beautiful, white sandy beach. This dive site is one of the very few shore dives off of Grand Cayman. The reef at this dive site is called ‘Cemetery Reef’ and is a fringing reef that consists of grove and spur coral formations. The depth of this site ranges from 15m to 18m and is heaving with marine life, which makes it the perfect place for macro photography.
Located at the northern side of Seven Mile Beach, this famous ship was stripped of all its hazardous material and sunk in 2011. Even though there hasn’t been enough time for a lot of growth to form on the ship, it still has a coral-encrusted look. With its 5 levels and over 76.5m to explore, this is not a wreck dive to be missed. With a maximum depth of 21m, this is a dive for every level and even snorkelers can enjoy a birds-eye view of this giant vessel. This vessel has been set up for safe penetration and if you get the chance, do not miss this opportunity. If you feel like you’re getting claustrophobic at any point, not to worry, there is still deck after deck of exploration to be had. Around the stern is where you’ll find a number of Angelfish as well as Grouper.
Stingrays were originally attracted to this dive site, as fisherman would use this area to clean their catch. These local southern stingrays are now so tame, that it’s possible to feed them by hand. Some visitors to this area prefer to stay in the shallows, which allows them to walk around stroking and hugging the stingrays. However if you’re a diver and want to be one with the stingrays, there is an option available where you can suit up and dive with them for a more one on one experience. At a shallow depth of 4m, these giants will approach for food (provided by the instructors). This is the perfect dive for beginners.
The majority of divers travel to Little Cayman to experience ‘Bloody Bay Wall’, however the numerous cracks, crevices, tunnels, and chutes, which are in abundance at Jackson’s Bight should be more than enough for any diver to make a trip there. Jackson’s Bight is also located in Bloody Bay Marine Park and truly is a fantastic dive site. The marine life at this location is plentiful, with giant Eagle Rays, Caribbean Reef Sharks and tiny Sail Fin Blennys. Even the areas that seem like uninhabited sandy patches are teeming with life, including Peacock Flounders, Garden Eels and Tilefish.
There are so many incredible dive sites surrounding the Cayman Islands, if you know one that has not been mentioned in this list, let us know in the comments below.