A beach in the Cayman Islands with words "scuba diving Cayman Islands" written over it.

The Ultimate Guide To Scuba Diving In The Cayman Islands

If you’re looking for a complete guide to scuba diving in the Cayman Islands, look no further! Today we’ll be covering all the best Cayman Island dive spots from Grand Cayman, to Cayman Brac, to Little Cayman. Let’s hop on the plane and take another holiday!!

Diving The Cayman Islands

Honestly, some of the best diving in the Caribbean Sea – and the world – can be found in Cayman’s three islands and there is no shortage of dive resorts, dive sites, and dive trips to be had there. People come from all over to see such dive spots as Stingray City, the Bloody Bay Wall, the USS kittiwake and various other underwater attractions and extensive vibrant marine life.

Fish underwater in the Cayman Islands.
Many beautiful things to see in the Cayman Islands.

Also, both novice and experienced divers can find plenty to do in the Cayman Islands – from shipwreck to wall diving. Underwater photographers will have plenty of subjects to choose from, such as colorful sponges, hawksbill turtles, coral heads, eagle rays, reef sharks, and plenty of sea fans.

Scuba Diving In Grand Cayman Island

Flying into Owen Roberts International Airport, you can already see from the sky why many divers list the Cayman Islands as one of their favorite dive sites. Grand Cayman diving has many attractions from the famous Stingray City to the USS kittiwake.

The largest of the three islands, Grand Cayman offers a multitude of non-diving activities and attractions as well as some great shore diving.

Stingray City

Perhaps the most visited dive site in the Cayman Islands is Stingray City. Located 25 miles Northwest off of Grand Cayman and on sand bars in only three feet of water, divers can swim with numerous Southern stingrays that congregate in the area.

Many dive boats make runs to the site and some of the tours can last up to 5 hours. Since this site is so shallow, non-divers can join in the fun too.

Scuba diver underwater in the Cayman Islands  bonding with the stingrays.
Diver enjoying Stingray City.

USS kittiwake

Located a half a mile offshore from seven mile beach is an iconic Cayman Islands diving site. Purposefully sunk on January 5, 2011 to create an artificial reef, the USS Kittiwake offers something for all level of divers and, because of its shallow depth, snorkelers and free divers as well.

The Kittiwake on patrol in the Cayman Island waters.
The Kittiwake on patrol.

This old Chanticleer-class submarine rescue vessel was in commission from 1946 to 1994. Of note in its service history is that it was part of the Naval fleet searching for the missing attack submarine the USS Scorpion. It also was the ship that recovered the black box from the Space Shuttle Challenger after the disaster.

This ship was cleaned and prepared with divers in mind and sits in 60ft of water, with its highest point sitting at about 15ft. Holes were cut in the ship and objects, like doors and hatch covers, removed to make swim-throughs easily accessible for most divers.

Those with proper training can venture further into the wreck and see some cool attractions, such as an old recompression chamber. A dive not to be missed!

Devil’s grotto

There are many shore diving opportunities in Grand Cayman. These dive sites include Eden Rock, Smith Cove, Cheeseburger Reef and the popular Devil’s Grotto. Located off of the Cayman Islands’ capital of George Town, on the west side of Grand Cayman, this shore diving site is good for both beginner and intermediate divers alike.

In 13ft to 39ft of water, divers can enjoy the coral reefs and heads with their open chimneys and swim-throughs. Aquatic life that one can see includes parrotfish, schools of silversides and the always impressive tarpon.

Scuba Diving In Cayman Brac

Sitting Northeast of Grand Cayman is Cayman Brac. The “Brac” in the name comes from the Island’s most prominent feature, the Bluff, which is a raised limestone outcrop at the East end of the Island. This formation sits at 141ft above sea level and is an impressive site to see.

with almost 70 named dive sites, and various dive centers, Cayman Brac offers much to do for a dive trip. Travelers will need to take a small plane over to Cayman Brac from Grand Cayman so make sure to review luggage weight restrictions.

Keith Tibbetts

If wreck diving is your thing, you need to check out the impressive 330ft long M.V. Captain Keith Tibbetts. This old Russian destroyer is located on the Northwest side of Cayman Brac in 80ft of water.

A diver exploring the deck of the Keith Tibbetts underwater in the Cayman Islands.
A diver exploring the deck of the Keith Tibbetts.

Like the Kittiwake, the Tibbetts was sunk for recreational divers to create an artificial reef. The ship was built in Russian in 1984 and subsequently given to Cuba. She was cleaned and sunk in 1996 after being purchased by the Cayman Islands.

A favorite dive site for all of the Cayman Islands that offers some spectacular underwater attractions and photo opportunities. Marine life such as groupers, angelfish and barracuda can be found on the wreck. While several storms have battered her, the old gal is still a must see.

Buccaneer Reef

Also located on the Northwestern end of Cayman Brac is Buccaneer Reef, a nice shore dive for all levels of experienced divers.

With depths between 15ft to 60ft snorkelers too can enjoy this site. Named after the long gone Buccaneer’s Inn, this is a popular location with its coral heads and mini-wall that attracts various marine life including nurse and reef sharks and occasionally eagle rays.

And, don’t miss the anchor from the wreck of the Topsy, a cargo ship that foundered on the reef in 1890, that has its own stamp. FYI…The USS kittiwake is just a short swim from this location.

Wilderness Wall

Home to some of the world’s largest tube and vase sponges, wilderness wall is located off of the south coast of Cayman Brac just south of Beach Point.

One of the best wall dives of Cayman Brac, this site has several chimneys and tunnels, that you can enter at about 50ft and exit down around 80ft. Filled with spectacular colors from the sponges and fish, this is a must do dive if visiting the Brac.

Scuba Diving In Little Cayman Island

If you are looking for something a little more secluded and off the beaten path then look no further than Little Cayman.

Like going to Cayman Brac, you need to take a small plane over to the island (check luggage weight restrictions) and the entire Island is 11 miles long and 1 mile wide. Flying into the island, one notices that they have shut down the main road of the island to allow the plan to land.

Scuba Jay boarding a plane.
Scuba Jay boarding his plane to Little Cayman “Nice try Lao Che!”

And since the island is so small, you can rent a moped and circle the island in about 2 hours. A fun little outing!

Scuba Jay with his wife on a moped.
Renting a moped is a nice way to see Little Cayman.

Several nice dive resorts cater to divers where the main focus on the island is diving and relaxing. Little Cayman Beach Resort Reef Divers is a favorite with valet diving.

View of the beach in the Cayman Islands.
View from upper deck at the Little Cayman Beach resort.
Scuba Jay posing and holding up scuba gear.
Scuba Jay getting ready for a day of diving in Little Cayman.

Little Cayman is home to the Bloody Bay Marine park and with its multiple dive sites, may be the best diving in the Cayman Islands. All of the below dive sites are available through short boat rides.

Bloody bay Marine park

Home to many dive sites with such names as Donna’s Delight, Randy’s Gazebo and the Great Wall East and West, the Bloody Bay Marine Park and wall is definitely one of the best dive sites in all of the Cayman Islands.

Scuba divers cascading down the bloody wall underwater in the Cayman Islands.
Drop off on Bloody Bay Wall.

Located on the Northwest side of the Island, scuba divers will experience diving on what basically is an underwater mountain. At about 20ft to 50ft divers can enjoy the beautiful reef with its abundance of coral formations, sea turtles, reef fish and occasional Caribbean reef sharks.

Those a little more adventurous will glide out over the precipice and experience amazing wall dives. The bottom is over a 1,000ft below, so one feels like they are mountain climbing, but completely untethered and weightless. This is the closest you may ever get to flying!

As you make your way along the wall, you’ll notice the large barrel sponges, some of which are over a hundred years old.

Bloody bay wall with a barrel sponge on it, underwater in the Cayman Islands.
Barrel sponge on Bloody Bay Wall.

Bloody Bay Wall and its attractions is an all time personal favorite dive site of mine. Each dive was unique and filled with exciting things to see.

Jackson’s Bight

Another great place to scuba dive in Little Cayman is Jackson’s Bight, which is also on the Northwest end of Little Cayman.

This location has some fun chutes, tunnels and swim-throughs. The swim-throughs, while not cave diving, are narrow and perhaps not for the claustrophobic.

Scuba divers swimming through rocks, underwater in the Cayman Islands.
Divers exiting a swim-through on the side of a drop off.

Those that venture into the swim-throughs are treated to some adventurous diving. Usually, you can see the open water through the coral formation above you as you make your way along the tunnel. Just as you think you’re at a dead-end, the tunnel will take a sharp turn and, in some occasions, you’ll exit out of the side of a drop off.

It’s a rather exhilarating experience to enter a swim-through at about 40ft only to exit the side of an underwater mountain at about 80ft!

Soto Trader

On the Southwest side of Little Cayman island can be found the wreck of the Soto Trader. This transport cargo ship built in 1943 sank in 1976 from an explosion.

She sits upright in about 60ft of water. There are many wide openings for easy access to the cargo holds and the ship’s crane can been seen at midship.

Scuba Jay waving at the camera, underwater in the Cayman Islands.
Scuba Jay ascending from the wreck.

A popular dive site that the locals love to tell about. This is one of the easy fun boat dives offered on Little Cayman. The wreck, 120ft long by 30ft wide, now serves as an artificial reef and host to various fish including barracuda, puffer fish and other marine life.

The remaining cabin of the Soto Trader underwater in the Cayman Islands.
Remaining cabin of the Soto Trader.

Something to keep in mind if heading over to Little Cayman, there’s not much to do but dive, relax, eat…and drink!

Other Activities to Do In The Cayman Islands

There are a ton of other really fun things to do in the Cayman Islands, scuba diving is just one of them.

Here are a few of my top things to do:

  • Explore Skull Cave
  • Checkout the Cayman Turtle Centre
  • Shop at Camana Bay
  • Kayak Bioluminescent Bay at night
The Middle of the street with shops going down it.

Wrapping Things Up

From Shallow depths to amazing drop-offs and from the coral reefs to vibrant marine life, recreational diving in the Cayman Islands is some of the best a diver can experience with loads of various dive sites.

Many Scuba Divers underwater in the Cayman Islands exploring.
Divers exploring the waters of Little Cayman.

There are many beautiful islands to explore in the Caribbean, but the Cayman Islands are a great place to start.

So grab your scuba gear and get ready for a cool change…

“How boring would the world be if everywhere and everyone were the same. Safe travels and good adventures.” Scuba Jay

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