For any experienced diver, there can be no doubt that Cayman Islands diving is among the best places to coral reef to explore Caribbean coral reefs to be found.
The Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman) are located in the western Caribbean Sea about about 150 miles south of Cuba and 180 miles northwest of Jamaica.
The islands represent a series of three separate pinnacles extending upwards from the Cayman Trench, an extensive ocean abyss that reaches depths exceeding 18,000 ft. and stretches from the vicinity of Cuba all the way to Honduras.
Georgetown is the Cayman Island’s capital, point of arrival for international flights, and the main business, population, and the center of Cayman Islands diving.
The Caymans are low, narrow islands with the highest elevation of the entire group (found on Cayman Brac) reaching only about 140 ft. above sea level. Cayman Brac is about 90 miles from Grand Cayman, and Little Cayman only about 5 miles further west.
The entire population of the three islands is under 60,000 residents. The Caymans are not an independent nation; rather they remain an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom.
As with the rest of the Caribbean Sea, the weather is predictably coolest and calmest November through May when daytime highs average about 82 degrees F. The more warm and humid hurricane season lasts from June through October.
The Cayman Islands have been selected as one of our “Best Caribbean Dive Destinations” for several sound reasons.
Not the least of these is the superb Marine Park system that manages and protects most of the surrounding waters, coral reefs, and associated marine life through a set of sophisticated regulations and laws which are strictly enforced.
Another real plus for Cayman Islands diving is the location of the island group near the center of the Tropical Western Atlantic biogeographic region.
This means that a very high diversity of corals and coral reef life will be found in coral reef ecosystems of the Cayman Islands.
Water temperatures average a comfortable 79 to 83 F.degrees, and the underwater visibility often exceeds 100 feet.
Also, the extensive and well developed fringing reefs surrounding each of these islands provides a good variety of easily accessible shallow and deep dive sites, allowing for ready exploration of the great marine biodiversity to be found here.
Grand Cayman’s West Wall (which borders Seven Mile Beach where many of the best hotels are located) and the North Wall and East End offer dramatic drop offs and frequent encounters with pelagic fishes not commonly seen on most Caribbean dives.
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are a good choice for those preferring a quieter, slower pace of life than that found in Georgetown on Grand Cayman. These smaller islands are but a 30 minute flight from Grand Cayman, and offer the islands’ most pristine coral reef diving.
It is unfortunate, considering the superb and extensive Marine Parks system of the Cayman Islands, that the singular exception (“Stingray City”) to the strict regulations as to what you may and may not do with marine life in the Park system has become the most highly publicised icon of Cayman Island tourism.
Stingray City is a shallow sand area where multitudes of tourists gather to feed and manhandle these peaceful marine creatures. Although it is far removed from the actual reefs and its impact on Cayman Island diving is virtually non-existent, the very nature and touting such a place and the activities that take place there encourages less informed visitors to believe that there is nothing wrong with conducting these same activities with any marine life anywhere else in the ocean (big mistake, bad impression).
The Cayman Islands are the most easily accessible of our list of Best Caribbean Dive Destinations, just over a mere hour’s direct flight from Miami. Direct flight service to Grand Cayman is also available from other major U.S. and Canadian gateways, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Memphis, Newark, Philadelphia, Tampa, and Toronto, Canada. Get great airfares to the Cayman Islands
Grand Cayman has an abundance of lodging choices ranging from the many 3 or 4 star hotels on Seven Mile Beach to smaller hotels and rental cottages nearby.
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are sparesly populated and have fewer choices, but each has its own small array of dive resorts, lodging, dining, and other amenities that make for a great dive vacation.
We highly recommend you book your accommodations online as you can find the best deals on Cayman Island resorts and hotels this way.
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