Cayman Islands Things to Do Tips by diver-x Top 5 Page for this destination
Cayman Islands Things to Do: 115 reviews and 117 photos
Don't mind the crowds - the dive is worth it.
Well, OK, it's probably one of the most over-dived sites in the world, but it's still a lot of fun! Eden Rock/Devil's Grotto is right at the George Town harbor with the cruise ships parked just a stone's throw away. Due to heavy use, the coral isn't in great shape, but there is still a lot of life. And so many fish!!! It is just like swimming in an aquarium, except in some spots there are more fish than water. But what really makes Eden Rock so much fun is the caves and chutes you can swim through and explore. Inside the caves, holes in the ceiling allow just enough light in to give each room an other-wordly atmosphere. Fish and shrimp swim upside-down along the ceilings. Schools of huge tarpon congregate in alcoves. Don't mind the crowds and the surly dive-shop staff, and don't miss Eden Rock!
Address: 124 South Church Street, George Town, Grand Cayman
Directions: Eden Rock is on George Town Harbor, just south of the Port Authority and the shuttles back to the cruise ships.
Other Contact: Fax: 345-949-0842
Signs and dock at Cobalt Coast
Another very pretty shore dive is the second Dive Tech location at Cobalt Coast Resort - diving open to the public. You get the same great amenities as the Lighthouse Point location (high benches for set-up, outdoor shower, fresh water dip tank for cameras, regs, etc), plus a pool and a restaurant & bar. The entry/exit is from a long, skinny wooden dock that could have used some maintenance when we were there. If the surf is up at all, it's a little difficult to exit on their ladder as you have to take your fins off and time the surge so that you get onto the ladder without getting smashed into it. But when the water is calm, this site is a pleasure! The deep wall isn't far once you drop below the surface by the marker buoys. However, the surface swim to get to the buoys is a little long. Bring a snorkel! I suggest swimming to the right if the current allows, and follow the reef fingers to the North Wall. Navigating back is easy: Follow the reef fingers back to the mini-wall and then follow the mini-wall to the marker buoys.
You can sign one waiver and run one tab for both the Lighthouse Point and Cobalt Coast Dive Tech locations. They just call the other location to confirm information.
Also, when we were there, they had a special going, $20 for shore diving and lunch, which is a great deal! Especially considering that rental for tanks & weights is $15 and you can't even buy groceries to make your own lunch for $5 on Grand Cayman!
Address: Cobalt Coast Resort, 18 Sea Fan Drive, West Bay
Directions: Your best bet is to stop in at the kiosk at Lighthouse Point and ask for directions and a map to Cobalt Coast. It is north of Lighthouse Point and Turtle Reef, and small signs point the way.
Other Contact: (345) 946-5659 fax
Phone: (345) 946-5658
Parrot fish at Sunset House reef
I've made three dive trips to Grand Cayman, and in my opinion, there is little reason to get on a boat to dive there. The shore diving is that fabulous! There are many dive shops on the water with their own cement docks for easy giant-stride entry, and ladders for easy exit. That's enough to spoil this New England diver! Rental for tanks & weights was around $15 Cayman.
These are the shore sites that we have done:
Lighthouse Point (Dive Tech):
Cobalt Coast (Dive Tech):
Eden Rock/Devil's Grotto:
Sun Divers at the Turtle Reef
Spanish Bay Reef
See more info about these spots at:
Just about all of the dive shops around George Town and West Bay have 2 reefs: one shallow and one deep wall. The shallows are from 30-60 feet deep. Then 50-100 yards further from shore, across sandy flats, you'll hit the deep wall at around 70 feet and you will never see the bottom.
Directions: All of the shore dive locations were in George Town and West Bay. Just stick to the road along the shore and you'll run into all the great spots.
The kiosk at Lighthouse Point
The first time we dove here, on our latest trip to Grand Cayman, I remember dropping down onto the mini-wall and thinking, "This is why we come to Grand Cayman!!!" It had been 5 years and several other dive trips since our last visit to GC, and I'd forgotten exactly how beautiful and lush the reef is. I was not disappointed at Lighthouse Point! This site was a nice surprise for us since there was no dive operation here on our last visit. Dive Tech has a kiosk here to rent tanks & weights for the moment, with some benches, picnic tables and outdoor shower & fresh water dip tanks. They have plans to develop the site with a multi-story building of condos, a restaurant, and of course, a bona-fide dive shop.
They say someday they'll have a dock, but for now, there's a ladder down into a thin cut in the rock that's a bit on the surgey side. The best way to get in is to carry your fins and get underwater fast. There's a rope underwater that you can use to pull yourself out of the cut and into less surgey water where it's safe to put your fins on. Sounds tough but actually it's not bad. And you can use the same technique on the way out: Take your fins off underwater then pull yourself on the rope back to the ladder.
This is a pretty easy site to navigate since there are coral fingers that lead you easily from the mini-wall to the deep wall. The deep wall is worth the effort to see. There are huge barrel sponges an beautiful pinnacles near the top. The drop off is pretty dramatic. A very pretty dive!
Address: NW Point Road in West Bay
Directions: About a 1/2 mile south of the Cracked Conch restaurant
Our boat dives were with Tortuga Divers at Morritt's, Divers Down and Eden Rock Divers. Don't take a boat dive with the Eden Rock guys - they were clueless - but take advantage of their wonderful house reef for shore diving instead. Divers down took us to the best location.
Everyone says you have to do stingray city and that's true, if only to satisfy your curiosity. You'll see & touch a lot of stingrays, but I wouldn't say it was the highlight of the trip.
The entry at Spanish Bay couldn't be easier.
Update: Please note that the resort at Spanish Bay is no longer in business. Looks like they didn't recover from the damage from Ivan. When we were on Grand Cayman in Feb 2008, there was talk that the resort was going to be rebuilt as a super-exclusive hotel-resort. Nobody knew if they would still allow shore diving to the public. We scoped out the location in its wrecked state, and it didn't look like anyone would stop you from diving there, but we gave it a pass since there were no facilities such as showers, rinse tank, etc. It's too bad because this is one of the best shore dives on Grand Cayman.
Keeping my original tip in hopes the site is refurbished and open to the public soon:
You don't have to be a guest at Spanish Bay Reef Resort to dive there. The diving there couldn't be easier and the North Wall is a short swim straight out. Steps with a railing lead you into their entry cove protected by a mini-jetty. Surface-swim over the shallows toward one of the 3 marker buoys and drop down when the reef starts to look interesting. Follow any one of the reef fingers straight down to the wall. You can easily get into trouble by going too deep, so watch your guages. Steadily go shallower and shallower back to the top of the mini-wall and your safety stop is built-in with your shallow swim back to the resort. We explored nearly every inch of reef between the 3 marker bouys on our return trips from the deep wall. There's a lot to see.
Address: Conch Point Rd., West Bay
Directions: Spanish Bay is just east of Cobalt Coast on the northern tip of West Bay.
Other Contact: Fax: 345.945.1842
The entry at Turtle Reef
It's hard to beat this shore-diving location. If you're a diver, don't miss it. Like most shore-dive sites, Sun Divers offers equipment rentals, a rinse tank, drip-dry area, an outdoor shower and easy entry & exit ladders. And the reef there is one of the prettiest around. Looking out to sea, there is shallow diving (30-60 feet) just to the left of the marker buoys outside the protected entry cove. A deeper and prettier mini-wall dive (50-80 feet) is to the right. Straight out (and a rather long swim) is the deep wall.
Note that this location used to be run by Dive Tech but they have moved down the street to a new location they are calling Lighthouse Point - and Dive Tech still has their second location at Cobalt Coast Resort. I had no complaint with Sun Divers, except that they didn't have a map of the dive site like most other dive shops. But they were quite accommodating for us since we were staying in the condos next door, they let us take their tanks off site so that we could do a night dive at our condo at Coconut Bay. Most dives shops don't let you take tanks away. We decided to enter the water at the condo and we swam south, exiting at Sun Divers. Very convenient, and we saw a good sized octopus! Great dive!
There's also a nice little bar outside right by the ladder into the water where you can watch the divers go in and out of the water day and night. Also convenient for warming your bones if you're getting out of the water yourself!
Address: Sun Divers at Turtle Reef, 857 NW Point Road
Directions: Sun Divers at Turtle Reef is next to the Tortuga Rum shop in West Bay, and just downstairs from the Cracked Conch by the Sea restaurant. Unfortunately it appears they don't have a web site yet!
The next best thing to scuba diving in Grand Cayman is a submarine tour. Atlantis Submarine offers 2 different tours: one at a maximum 100 foot depth and up to 48 passengers, and one at a 1000 foot maximum depth and up to 2 passengers. Both are not cheap - see the web site for details.
Directions: Atlantis Submarine is right next-door to the Port Authority on the harbor in George Town.
Sunset House is another Cayman dive resort that opens its facilities to the public. Located less than a mile south of Eden Rock on Georgetown Harbor, it also is just a stone's throw from the cruise ships. You can giant-stride off of their cement dock, or use one of their 2 ladders to enter the water. You can stay shallow or follow the coral fingers out to deep water. Keep an eye out for the Atlantis Submarine that tours the area. You will probably be the subject of many a tourist photograph. One intrepid diver was spotted hanging onto the exterior railing on the sub and taking the tour along with the dry folks. Other highlights include the 9 foot tall bronze mermaid statue sunken at about 50 feet deep, and the wreck of a small barge in the sand flats. You can rent an underwater camera here at the Cathy Church photo studio located onsite.
Address: South Church Street, George Town, Grand Cayman
Sunset at the blow holes
Along the shore on the east end, you see a sign and a pull-off for the blow holes. We were able to see them at sunset. The blow holes are holes in the coral shelf that lead from below water to the surface above water. When the waves beat upon the coral shelf, water is forced through the holes and shoots into the air like small geysers.
Address: East End, north of Half Moon Bay
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