Written by Scuba Instructors ~ DIVE.in's Complete Guide to:

The Best Diving in Cayman Islands

Weather in Caymans

AVERAGE TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F RAINFALL DAYS — 112mm / 4.4 inches

Water in Caymans

AVERAGE WATER TEMP. — 29°C / 84°F

Currency

Cayman Islands Dollar (‎KYD)
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Language

British English
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The authors:

torben lonne

Katt Andryskova

Scuba Instructor and Writer at Divein
When Katt is not traveling, she's sharing her thought on Oceanpancake or My Vegan Experiment 

Jacques Costeau loved diving in the Caymans and it’s easy to see why. This world-class scuba destination is colorful, bright, and teeming with life.

The three islands that make up the nation, Cayman Brac, Grand Cayman, and Little Cayman, are diverse and have distinct diving. While Grand Cayman, the most popular island, has a mix of accessible shore and boat diving,

Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay is home to some of the most dramatic and spectacular drop-offs and swim-throughs in the Carribean.

Located south-east of the Gulf of Mexico and close to Jamaica, Cuba, and Haiti, diving in the Caymans offers classic Carribean underwater scenes and the chance to spot both large and small marine life.

The 20 Best Dive sites in Caymans?

Sort this list to fit your scuba level and wishes

Recommended Level:


  1. Beginner
  2. Intermediate
  3. Advanced

Dive Type:


  1. Boat
  2. reef
  3. Wall
  4. Macro
  5. Wreck
  6. Canyon
  7. Shore
  8. Night
  9. Shallow
  10. Shark
  11. Cave
  12. Stingray
  13. Swim-through
  14. Drift
  15. Liveaboard
  16. Deep

Show only the very best:


  1. Yes
  2. No

Great Wall East and West

Great Wall is the kind of dive that makes you feel like a tiny speck in the ocean as you hang near a wall that drops dramatically to more than 1,800 meters (6,000ft). 

Black coral and colorful sponges decorate the near-vertical face and the shallows are dotted with large coral heads teeming with marine life. The top of the wall is around 9 meters (30ft) so the site can be enjoyed as a shallow or deep dive.

Things to see

Watch your buoyancy and head out into the blue, look back to really appreciate the Great Wall’s sheer size and impressive drop-off. Resident Nassau groupers often keep divers company and if you look closely, you may be rewarded with seahorses and lettuce-leaf slugs.


Advanced Boat reef Wall Macro Our Favorite

Kittiwake

The Kittiwake is a 76.5 meter (250ft) former submarine support ship. Purposely sunk in 2011, she now sits upright in the sand at 18 meters (60ft) and is a teeming artificial reef encrusted with coral. 

The wreck was specifically set up for safe penetration, giving divers many interior rooms to explore. For beginners or those who get nervous in enclosed spaces, there are plenty of decks around the exterior to check out.

Things to see

Divers in the Caymans visit Kittiwake for the wreck itself. Penetration is encouraged but to get the most out of the experience, take a torch. There is a lot of marine life among the coral and resident angelfish and groupers are found at the stern of the ship.


Beginner Boat Wreck Our Favorite

Wilderness Wall

This pristine wall on the south side of Cayman Brac features an abundance of hard corals, gorgonians, and massive red, orange, green, and purple sponges. 

Wilderness Wall starts at 15 meters (50ft) before plunging down into the depths. Along the drop-off, crevices and canyons cut through the reef’s face. A huge pinnacle branches out, creating a corridor-like passageway that is used by large pelagics cruising up from the abyss.

Things to see

As well as healthy coral and large pelagic species, you can expect to catch sight of Nassau groupers, stingrays, angelfish, snappers, horse-eye jacks, and turtles.


Intermediate Boat Wall Canyon

Sunset Reef

Sunset Reef is a popular shore dive just 60 meters (200ft) off the Sunset House Resort’s pier. The reef slopes gradually from 5 to 17 meters (17-55ft), and is covered in hard corals, sea whips, small sponges and gorgonians. Away from the reef, divers can look around the LCM David Nicholson wreck. The highlight of the dive is the photo opportunity with this Cayman reef’s most famous resident.

Things to see

It’s not often divers can see a mermaid on a dive, but at Sunset Reef they can. A 2.75 meter (9ft) bronze statue of Amphitrite (the wife of the mythological god Poseidon) rises up from the base of the reef. Black groupers, sergeant majors, yellowtail snapper, and moray eels are just a few of the species you can expect to see.


Beginner reef Wreck Shore Night

Bert Brothers Boulders

Bert Brothers Boulders is one of the most beautiful dive sites on Cayman Brac. Closely packed ridges form huge coral heads between the shore and the reef wall. Elkhorn corals adorn the tops of the ridges while large gorgonians, tube sponges, and hard corals occupy the gullies. 

Swim throughs, ledges, overhangs, and an average depth of 12 meters (40ft) make this a Cayman dive site for all experience levels to explore.

Things to see

In the shallows, flamingo tongues cling onto sea fans while lobsters, eels, and jewfish can be found hiding in the ridges and gullies. Bert Brothers Boulders is also a great spot to see flying gurnards at around 5.5 meters (18ft).


Beginner reef Shore Shallow

Three Fathom Wall

Also known as the Mixing Bowl, Three Fathom Wall is the point where Jackson’s Bight and the Bloody Bay diving areas meet. This gives the unique Caymans dive site a blend of steep vertical walls, sloping reefs, and coral-crusted fingers. 

Pelagics are attracted to the wall while schools of reef fish populate the shallows, swimming around the many purple, red, and yellow sponges. With the wall beginning at just 6 meters (20ft), the site is popular with both divers and snorkelers.

Things to see

Sharks and turtles are frequent visitors as are snappers, groupers, and grunts. Around the coral fingers, stingrays, eagle rays and yellowhead jawfish rest on the sandy patches. Three Fathom Wall is a popular night dive when eels, lobsters, and reef squid make an appearance.


Beginner Boat reef Wall Macro Night Our Favorite

Tarpon Alley

Tarpon Alley is part of the North Wall with depths between 15 to 25 meters (50-80ft). Canyons and drop-offs provide a varied topography making the site a firm favorite with photographers. Cactus coral, sea fans, great star coral, and tube sponges blanket the reef and provide refuge for a variety of sea creatures.

Things to see

Unfortunately, the tarpons that gave this site its name have moved on, but you may be lucky and catch a glimpse of these ‘silver kings’. But the main reason for diving here are the sharks, especially hammerheads. Other highlights include barracudas, yellowtail snappers, hawksbill turtles, and stingrays that sleep in the sand.


Intermediate Boat reef Wall Canyon Shark

Trinity Caves

If you like diving in caves and grottos, Trinity Caves on Grand Cayman’s west side is the site for you. Three long, wide tunnels, accessible to the majority of divers, extend from the sand flats to open out onto the reef wall. 

Cracks in the ceilings let in plenty of natural light making it easy to search the nooks and crannies for the many crustaceans and other marine creatures that occupy the tunnels. Trinity Caves is one Cayman dive site that never disappoints.

Things to see

Crabs and lobsters are among the critters hiding in the crevices. Sharp-eyed divers can find leopard flatworms and the tunnels are also popular hangouts for rays and green moray eels. Out in the open, expect schools of Nassau groupers, turtles, and snappers.


Intermediate Boat reef Wall Macro Cave Our Favorite

Greenhouse

Greenhouse is a nice medium-depth reef dive with plenty of grooves and gullies to explore. The ridges are carpeted in a variety of hard and soft coral, barrel and tube sponges, and purple sea fans that house a vast array of miniature sea creatures. Photographers will love Greenhouse for its varied macro life.

Things to see

Flamingo tongues can be found on the sea fans, while arrow crabs, bristle worms, and long-spined sea urchins hide in the cracks and grooves. Moray eels and angelfish move among the coral, and turtles are often seen cruising over the reef.


Beginner Boat reef Macro

Stingray City

No diving trip in Grand Cayman would be complete without a dive at the infamous Stingray City. Settle on the sand at just 3.7 meters (12ft) and have hordes of southern stingrays glide gracefully around you. 

Stingray City offers divers the opportunity to fully interact with these amazing creatures. Away from the stingray action, there are a number of coral heads with a variety of life to check out.

Things to see

Stingrays, stingrays, and more stingrays is what draws divers to this Cayman site. They’re not timid and as they surround you, these rays seem happy to receive a gentle stroke or two.


Beginner Boat Shallow Stingray Our Favorite

Wreck of the Oro Verde

Before the USS Kittiwake was sunk, the Oro Verde was the wreck dive of choice in the Caymans. She met her end on the reef in the late 70s, allegedly due to mutiny aboard. While at first the Oro Verde was a complete ship, rough seas and tumultuous weather have dispersed the wreckage.

Divers of all levels can explore the engines, pistons, and pieces of the wreck that are scattered at 18m/60ft. While accessible from shore, it is a long surface swim so diving the Oro Verde by boat is recommended. 

Things to see

At night, this popular Caymans dive site is great for spotting octopus, lobster, and shrimp. During the day rays, turtles, the occasional barracuda and plenty of reef fish mean there’s a lot to keep divers engaged.

Take your camera and get a snap with one of the abandoned bicycles that have also found a home here.


Beginner Boat Wreck Shore Our Favorite

Marilyn’s Cut

Located in the Bloody Bay marine park on Little Cayman’s north side, Marilyn’s Cut is largely unspoiled and offers up pristine soft and hard corals. 

Although this is a wall dive, the cut in the site’s name comes from the swim-through many divers use upon descent. 

Things to see

Look out for the big groupers who sometimes get inside the huge barrel sponges, turtle, the occasional shark, plenty of reef fish, and the macro life at the cleaning stations. When diving through the cut itself, look under and in crevices, plenty of little critters make homes for themselves here.


Beginner Boat reef Wall Macro Our Favorite

Eagle Ray Roundup

As the name suggests, this Cayman dive site is known for eagle rays. Although the rays who made this site their home permanently have moved on, there is still a good chance of spotting them here. 

Part of the Bloody Bay wall, descending from the mooring here reveals a brightly colored vertical reef packed with sponges, corals, and vertebrate and invertebrate marine life. Head to around 30m/98ft for some of the best wall views.

Things to see

Eagle rays glide past in the blue water, triggerfish, Nassau groupers, electric yellow sponges and much make this site popular with divers in the Caymans.


Intermediate Boat reef Wall

MV Captain Keith Tibbets

The wreck of the Captain Keith is unusual — it is the only Soviet-made warship that divers can visit in the western hemisphere. For this reason, wreck junkies and aficionados often have the ‘Keith’ on their to-dive lists. Of course, the Soviets didn’t call her Keith Tibbets, she was renamed for a local dive operator after the Cayman government purchased the wreck for dive tourism.

Hurricane Ivan in 2004 cleaved the 100m/328ft ship in half but divers can still explore both sections of the wreckage. The wreck can be penetrated in some parts but speak for your guide or instructor beforehand.

Things to see

Head to the turret guns for a superb photo opportunity and keep your eyes peeled for barracuda, bright sponges, and schooling reef fish. The resident goliath grouper is a popular dive buddy at this Cayman dive site.


Intermediate Boat Wreck Our Favorite

Cheeseburger Reef

If you’re thinking Cheeseburger is an odd name for a dive site, you probably won’t be surprised that this shore dive probably took its name after the Burger King that was located across the road!

This site is well-known and popular with divers, snorkelers, and glass-bottom boaters alike. Perhaps because of this, the coral isn’t looking a healthy as it could.

Things to see

Butterflyfish, triggerfish, shrimp, snapper, and more hand out in and around the large coral heads that sit nor far from the water’s surface. Occasionally, a nurse shark rest on the sand. A shallow dive site, the colors here really pop making it a good choice for photographers.


Beginner reef Macro Shore

Randy’s Gazebo

While the gazebo itself is actually an arch, this small dive site never fails to please. And as you might imagine, the coral-encrusted archway makes for a fantastic photo opportunity.

The wall dive also has several other topographical features including swim-throughs and tunnels. Intermediate divers can begin their dive at ‘the chimney,’ a narrow tunnel starting at 12m/40ft and ending at 24m/80ft. Beginners can enjoy another smaller chimney instead.

Things to see

This site is a firm favorite among local dive masters, most likely because of the intriguing geological features but there is plenty of marine life here too. Look along the ledge by the mooring for crabs and check out the four massive barrel sponges.


Beginner Intermediate Boat reef Wall Swim-through Our Favorite

Orange Canyon

Named for the bright orange elephant ear sponges that characterize this site, Orange Canyon doesn’t contain a closed canyon per se, but an open channel with lively reef on either side. The best diving depth at this Cayman site, between 30 and 40 meters (98-130ft) means it’s best for deep certified advanced divers.

Because the site is prone to strong currents, it isn’t frequently dived which makes a trip to this very healthy reef even more special. Drift dives are possible here depending on your operator. 

Things to see

Apart from the elephant ear sponges, keep your eyes peeled for blacktip Carribean reef sharks in the blue. Closer to the reef, turtles, groupers, horse-eyed jacks, and an over-abundance of lionfish make this colorful site even more interesting.


Intermediate Boat reef Canyon Drift Liveaboard Deep Our Favorite

Ghost Mountain

Situated not far from the north point on Grand Cayman, Ghost Mountain is probably named for the behemoth mushroom-like pinnacle that suddenly emerges from the blue as divers near it.

While the visibility here is often a little clouded, that’s thanks to the nutrient-rich flow of water which enriches the corals on the pinnacle. The top is at 15m/50ft but the bottom is around 90m/200ft so diver ought to watch their depth gauges carefully as they circle the ‘mountain.

Things to see

Plenty of schooling reef fish call Ghost Mountain home and the pinnacle is also carpeted in deep, bloody-red finger sponges. Macro photographers should seek the banded coral shrimp and divers licensed to 30m/98ft will enjoy the gorgonian fans in the cavern at this depth.


Beginner Intermediate Boat reef Wall Drift Our Favorite

Donna’s Delight

The visibility at Donna’s Delight on Little Cayman is typically good and the relaxed and easy diving here is suitable for all levels. 

From the mooring, divers often descend through a cut in the reef and out onto the wall. The depths start at around 12m/40ft and end at 30m/98ft.

Things to see

Located in popular Bloody Bay, Donna’s Delight is home to some classic Cayman wall diving: Giant barrel sponges, arching sea fans, and bright corals. Macro photographers should keep an eye out for the neck and decorator crabs who make their homes here.


Beginner Boat reef Wall

Anchor Point

Not to be confused with the Anchor Point dive sites in Scotland’s Loch Fyne, the Solomon Islands, or Sri Lanka, the Cayman dive site is located on Grand Cayman and is characterized by swathes of black coral.

Named for a historical anchorage, Anchor Point features a tight chimney-like descent at the beginning of the dive.

Things to see

Besides the thick black corals, keep an eye out for tarpon, large yellow tube sponges, and ginormous barrel sponges. Look in the blue off the wall for passing sharks, rays, and turtles.


Beginner Boat reef Wall Our Favorite
Diving in the Caymans offers something for everyone, whether divers are taking their very first fin stokes or have years of experience under their weight belts.

Do you love diving in the Caymans? Drop us a comment below and tell us your favorite site!

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THE AUTHORS:

torben lonne

Katt Andryskova

Scuba Instructor and Writer at Divein
When Katt is not traveling, she's sharing her thought on Oceanpancake or My Vegan Experiment 

Torben Lonne

Scuba Instructor and editor

Torben has a huge passion for Scuba diving and traveling. He's also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of divein. 

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