Grand Cayman offers as much entertainment below water as it does above water. Don a mask and snorkel and immerse yourself in an exotic landscape of coral and tropical fish. Don’t be surprised if you completely loose track of time – it’s a captivating world down there!
No skill or previous experience is required, other than the ability to swim, and apart from the cost of purchasing or renting snorkel gear, it is completely free! You can rent snorkelling equipment at Divers Supply in Seven Mile Beach or at Eden Rock Diving Center in George Town.
It's important to remember that snorkelling can be dangerous and the following safety measures should be observed: never snorkel alone, stay close to shore and be aware of boat traffic, never touch any marine life and use a flotation vest if needed. Another essential rule of snorkelling is to never touch the coral as it damages the reef and can cut or sting you.
If you are not a confident in the water then it might be worth investing in a few private swimming lessons with local swim school Sky Blue Aquatics. They are a reputable and mobile swim school who offer lessons for both adults and children. They can come to you at your home, condo or hotel and offer both pool and sea swim lessons. Whether you are a novice or experienced swimmer, these lessons are a great way to improve your confidence and technique in the water.
Here are a couple of insider snorkelling tips to help you enjoy your snorkelling excursions: practise above water or in shallow water first to make sure you are comfortable and use a defog solution to prevent your mask from fogging up.
Only accessible by boat, this is an absolute must! There are two sites – the shallower Sandbar, which is 3ft-4ft deep, and Stingray City, which lies at 12ft and is often declared the best 12ft dive in the world. You will be surrounded by dozens of tame southern stingrays, who will brush past you with their silky wings looking for food.
Primarily a shore dive with a mini–wall, snorkeller's can follow the edge of the wall, looking at the colourful reef fish and soft corals. Access to the water is easy from Macabuca (opposite the Turtle Centre in West Bay). If you are lucky you will catch a glimpse of sea turtles and stingrays.
Just a short swim from shore, snorkellers can enjoy the mini wall and thriving reef at Lighthouse Point. You’ll also see the Guardian of the Reef statue. Gear rentals are available at the on-site dive shop Divetech.
Smith Cove - Swim straight out from the beach and meander through coral heads scattered over a shallow sandy bottom. Explore the shoreline either side of the beach where the ironshore creates interesting rock formations with lots of little gulleys and inlets.
Spotts Beach- A great site to spot turtles as they feed on the sea grass. Beware of the strong currents.
Note: Ocean Frontiers offer a number of snorkel tours around the East End, their crew will take you to the best spots.
Snorkelling in Cayman Brac is best off the north shore, weather conditions permitting.
Buccaneer’s Inn, at the end of Robert Foster Lane, has a ladder in place to access the water.
The unfinished Barcadere has created a salt water swimming pool which is also pleasant for gentle , sheltered snorkelling. Do not venture out into the open sea from here unless you are a strong swimmer and the sea is very calm.
Radar Reef in Stake Bay is also a good shore dive and snorkel.
Because the drop off is so close to shore in Little Cayman, snorkellers can swim out from shore and peer over the underwater precipice that plunges down many thousands of feet. Bloody Bay Wall is the most famous section of wall in Little Cayman.
Jackson Bay and Preston Bay also have excellent snorkelling but as these sites are exposed, only attempt this in very calm seas.
Eco Note: Please note taking shells or any form of marine life from the sea is prohibited. The exception is conch shells that are the by-product of conch fishing. Visitors may take home up to three conch shells per person.
Although it is tempting to attract schools of fish while snorkelling by feeding them bread or other leftovers, please refrain from doing so: the fish will not derive the nutrients they need and consuming human food may be bad for their health.