Grand Cayman is the largest of the Cayman Islands, occupying an area of 196 square km (76 square miles). One of the island’s main assets is its pleasant tropical climate that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The world-famous Seven Mile Beach is the jewel of the Cayman Islands, but what lies beneath the water is equally as fascinating.
Grand Cayman is a haven for scuba divers from all around the globe. The underwater world of the island rose to fame in the ’80s and has only grown in popularity since then. Grand Cayman is without a doubt one of the best scuba diving destinations in the Caribbean, with over 200 dive sites to choose from. Each side of the island offers something unique, with each coast holding a different scenery with all sorts of wildlife.
The Kittiwake shipwreck. Photo by Curtis & Renee
Diving in Grand Cayman is possible year-round, but for the very best conditions, it is recommended to visit from December to mid-April. Because the Cayman Islands are in the hurricane belt, the seas are not as welcoming from June to November.
The water temperature at Grand Cayman ranges from 26° C/78° F in February to 30° C/86° F in September.
Currents are not so common in the Cayman Islands, but there is an occasional surge at the shallower dive sites.
The visibility at Grand Cayman island is exceptional, averaging 30 meters (100 feet), which makes it one of the destinations with the best underwater visibility in the world.
Stingray City is one of the most visited dive sites in the Caribbean for divers and snorkelers. The natural channel that passes through the barrier reef has a string of sandbars that have attracted stingrays here for years. The animals come here to feed on the unwanted fish parts thrown overboard by the local fishermen. Scuba diving at Stingray City takes place in the deeper part of the sandbar at depths of up to 6 meters (20 feet).
Rays at Stingray City. Photo by Barry Peters
The Grand Cayman Wall is one of the island’s most famous attractions. It is easily accessible by boat and the shallow parts can be enjoyed by beginner divers as well. However, what lies way deeper from the surface is what truly entice divers to take the plunge here. The wall runs around the entire island and falls thousands of feet underwater either a slopping or vertical cliff. The scenery is breathtaking: giant barrel sponges, purple fans, black coral, and all sorts of sea creatures, including hammerheads, hawksbill turtles, and eagle rays.
The Kittiwake shipwreck is one of the most popular in the Caribbean thanks to its shallow depth that is ideal for both divers and snorkelers. The 77-meter (251-foot) long vessel has been thoroughly cleaned for divers and it is suitable for penetration. The wreck is now home to a diverse range of marine animals such as eels, peppermint shrimps, head crabs, horse-eyed jacks, sea turtles, groupers, and much more.