The Cayman Islands are an ideal destination for scuba divers of all experience and skill levels. We've listed our favorite dive sites below, but as the Caymans are surrounded by coral reefs, the options are nearly boundless. Throughout our guide, you'll find listings of recommended dive operators who will be able to advise on which sites are right for you.
- Eden Rock Dive Center: One of Grand Cayman's most popular dive sites, this area has two alluring reefs, Eden Rock and Devil's Grotto, that are close to shore at a depth of 14m (46 ft.). You'll find caves, grottos, and a miniwall, plus tunnels that rise up 12m (39 ft.) from the sand. Divers and snorkelers are treated to an array of colorful fish, sea fans, and sponges, along with an "in-residence" family of tarpon.
- The Maze: Located in Grand Cayman's South Channel, close to the famous Wreck of the Ten Sails, this honeycomb of deep, narrow coral ravines evokes an underwater labyrinth. Sponges and soft corals greet you at every turn, along with such creatures as Caribbean reef sharks, green turtles, and spotted eagle rays. Depths range from 17 to 30m (56-98 ft.).
- Snapper Hole: One of the top dive sites in the islands and a favorite with beginners, this network of chutes, tunnels, and caverns at a depth of 20m (66 ft.) is located off Grand Cayman, southeast of Morritt's Tortuga Club. Tarpon occupy many of the caverns and tunnels, and schools of snapper swim by, sharing the water with nurse or black-tip sharks, eagle rays, and other denizens of the deep. Visibility is in excess of 24m (79 ft.).
- Tarpon Alley: Near Stingray City, this Grand Cayman wall is at a depth of 15 to 24m (49-79 ft.). It's named for the many (at least 100) tarpon who find food and refuge in the reef. Many of these "silver kings" are 1m (3 1/4 ft.) long, and some can reach a length of 1.2m (4 ft.). Hawksbill turtles also inhabit the site, as do barracuda, stingrays, yellowtail snapper, and other creatures. Because of its drop-offs and canyons, Tarpon Alley is a favorite with underwater photographers.
- Julie's Wall: Opposite the town of Old Man Bay on Grand Cayman, this exposed and rather windy, intermediate-level dive site has excellent underwater visibility at depths ranging from 20 to 30m (66-98 ft.). The wall here is home to stunning black coral formations, as well as stingrays and other marine life.
- Grand Canyon (also called White Stroke Canyon and 3-Bs Wall): Along the North Wall, off Grand Cayman, lies this undersea canyon. At a depth of 15 to 30m (49-98 ft.), two mammoth coral buttresses form a wide recess, which is filled with a variety of sponges and soft corals. Visibility is usually around 30m (98 ft.). Bermuda chub, purple Creole Wrasse, spotted eagle rays, and green sea turtles inhabit the site.
- Japanese Gardens: This site, with depths of 9 to 15m (30-49 ft.), is located inside Grand Cayman's South Wall drop-off. It has a maze of passageways and is known for its schools of Bermuda chub and the tiny, bright blue "juvenile fish" that hide in its dramatic strands of elkhorn coral.
- The Wreck of the Captain Keith Tibbetts: A 5- to 20-minute boat ride from most resorts on Cayman Brac, the Captain Keith Tibbetts is one of the most famous wreck dives in the Caribbean. A Russian frigate sent over from Cuba, it was deliberately sunk in 1996 on the north side of Cayman Brac at a depth ranging from 17 to 34m (56-112 ft.). The wreck is home to barracudas, green moray eels, big groupers, scorpionfish, and an array of other tropical species. The coral formations, including beautiful yellow tube sponges, are stunning.
- Bloody Bay Marine Park: This dive site, located off Little Cayman, is one of the best in the Caribbean. It roughly covers the area between Jackson Point in the east and Spot Bay to the west, and encompasses 22 of this little island's dive sites. Many of the dives here are deep, as the reef plummets to 1,800m (5,906 ft.). However, the reef starts at 6m (20 ft.), so shallower dives are possible. Grouper, horse-eye jacks, triggerfish, and many small tropical fish call this area home.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.