The Ultimate Guide to Scuba Diving in the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands are ranked as one of the top dive sites in the world
The Islands, renowned for their crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, offer an unparalleled diving experience in the heart of the Caribbean. All three islands of this tropical paradise are a haven for divers seeking diverse underwater landscapes and a rich tapestry of aquatic species.
A Globally Recognised Diving Destination
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.
For those new to diving, the Cayman Islands provide an ideal environment to learn and earn certifications. Numerous dive schools, equipped with experienced instructors, offer comprehensive courses catering to various skill levels. From introductory lessons in confined waters to advanced open-water training, diving novices can embark on their underwater journey with confidence. Many seasoned dive masters began their training at Sunset Divers.
Grand Cayman boasts several well-equipped dive shops, providing a range of services for both beginners and seasoned divers. These establishments offer rental gear, organise dive excursions, and provide valuable local insights. Divers can readily access top-notch equipment and professional guidance to ensure a safe and enjoyable exploration of Cayman's underwater world.
Diver's World has friendly and knowledgeable staff selling most major brands of dive equipment and offer service and repair.
There are a multitude of good dive operators in the Cayman Islands and 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. They'll 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.
Sun Divers have their dive shop swimming distance to Turtle Reef, recognised as one of Grand Cayman's premier shore sites for scuba diving and snorkelling. Don't forget to head to Cracked Conch & Macabuca post-dive for delicious food and drink.
Grand Cayman has multiple renowned dive sites to explore. Click to take a look in greater detail at each of these regions and what they have to offer for both beginners and seasoned pros.
Dive365 is an exciting programme that has developed over 360+ separate dive sites around the Cayman Islands, giving divers a unique dive site for every day of the year and more! Click here for the interactive map detailing each dive site.
Younger children can enjoy various options to try diving or stay engaged while their parents explore the ocean depths.
Diving in the Sister Islands
Perhaps best known for the wreck of the Capt. Keith Tibbetts, a 300ft Russian warship, Cayman Brac also has some superb reef and wall dives and visibility typically exceeds 100ft. Diving here is uncrowded with just one dive operator on the island.
Part of the Cayman Brac Beach Resort, Reef Divers provides personalised valet dive excursions and services.
Offering possibly the best diving in the Caribbean, with pristine corals, abundant marine life and outstanding visibility. The jewel in Little Cayman’s crown is without doubt the legendary Bloody Bay Wall, rated by the likes of Jacques Cousteau and David Doubilet as one of the most dramatic wall dives in the world. It has a perfect vertical drop–off starting at less than 20ft and descends to around 3,000ft with pristine corals and superb visibility.
Protecting the Underwater World
The Cayman dive industry actively safeguards its vital resource, coral reefs. Since 2016, it has established coral nurseries to grow and repair damaged reefs. The island is also committed to a lionfish culling program, urging divers to remove these invasive species from its waters. Use neutral buoyancy and good fin technique to minimize your impact on the underwater environment.
Little Cayman's top dive operation offering snorkelling and guided dives as well as PADI courses. They can accommodate up to 20 people per dive excursion.