With crystal clear waters, an abundance of fish and marine life, and over 365 (one for each day of the year!) marked dive sites - its no suprise the Cayman Islands are internationally renowned for having some of the best diving in the world. Divers can enjoy a variety of dive types, from wall dives to shore and wreck diving. It is easy to rent or purchase dive equipment and there are a few options for obtaining your diving certification! Read on for more reasons as to why diving in the Cayman Island's is a must for every resident and visitor!
The Cayman Islands continues to receive global recognition and top the charts for diving. In the 2019 Scuba Diving Magazine Readers Choice Awards, the Islands were named one of the Best Overall Dive Destination in the Caribbean/Atlantic and scored first place for Best Advanced Diving and Underwater Photography. They also appeared in the top five for Best Wreck Diving, Beginner Diving, Shore Diving, Macro Life, Big Animals, Dive Operators, Liveaboards, Cavern, Cave & Grotto, Dive Sites and Wall Dives.
The flattened tops of underwater mountains, the landmass of each island barely breaks the surface, but below water the steep sides of these “mountains” become the underwater walls for which the islands are famed. These walls descend almost vertically into the abyss of the Cayman Trench, reaching depths in excess of 25,000 feet. Due to the Cayman Islands tropical climate and year round warm water temperatures (between 78 and 84 degrees year round), these walls are richly covered with an abundance of corals and sponges. The coral in turn provides food and shelter to a huge diversity of marine life. Ocean currents flow past the islands, bringing clear, clean water, rich in nutrients. The flat terrain and absence of rivers or streams on land mean that there is no run off to cloud the water or deposit silt on coral reefs, so the visibility averages 100 feet or more. Conditions for diving are good year round and, whatever the weather conditions, being small islands, even if the seas are rough on one shore, it is always possible to get to another, more sheltered area.
With over 40 dive operators doing business on Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac and dive staff from around the world, you will find the quality of service and teaching to be excellent. There is ample opportunity for experienced divers explore the reefs and walls and for beginners to try it out for the first time or enroll on a certification course.
Certified divers are free to join boat dives or navigate shore dives with a buddy. Two tank boat dives are a great way to get out on the water and explore new dive sites. Good dive operators will set up your gear, provide water and snacks and give a safety briefing before you enter the water. A dive instructor will lead both dives, they’ll know where they’re going and be able to show you the best that a dive site has to offer. Your first dive will be the deepest, and then after a suitable interval break you will jump back in to explore a second site. You’ll emerge feeling exhilarated and exhausted, but ready to chat about the dives over a well deserved drink before heading home for an early night!
The Cayman dive industry has not just been receiving awards; it’s also continuing to do its best to protect its most precious resource. Cayman is hyper-aware of the importance of the coral reefs to not only the island but also its waters and dive industry. In 2016 Cayman introduced its first coral nurseries with the aim of growing coral to be used to help repair damaged reefs as well as develop new reef systems. In addition, Cayman is also actively pursuing its lionfish culling programme by encouraging divers and dive operators to remove as many lionfish from Cayman waters as possible. Read our article on the Lionfish Problem in Cayman for more information.