Snorkeling Cayman Islands
Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands
Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands is considered some of the best in the world due to it's warm calm waters, fantastic visibility, marine life and easy access to sites. The Cayman Islands are located in the Western Caribbean Sea. It is comprised of three islands Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, these island are peaks of an underwater ridge, known as Cayman Ridge. Each has its own distinctive character and underwater world to explore.
Cayman Islands snorkeling is unique and there are many fantastic snorkel spots located in close proximity to one another, a huge variety of marine life and interesting underwater topography including wrecks, drop-offs, shallow reefs and caves.
The beauty of the Cayman Islands snorkeling is that all generations and abilities can put on a snorkel and mask and will be able to enjoy the stunning and varied marine ecosystem which is thriving close to the pristine soft white sand beaches.
Marine Life in the Cayman Islands
A diverse and healthy ecosystem, hosting an exciting array of marine life, often known as an underwater rainforest, coral reefs provide a habitat for a huge variety of exciting marine creatures. One of the main attractions of snorkeling in the Cayman Islands is an area known as Stingray City where large numbers of these stunning southern stingrays congregate.
Other marine life which inhabit the reefs include the beautiful Tarpon and Nassau Groupers, numerous reef fish species, Moray eels, Barrel sponges, Green Sea Turtles, Carribean Reef sharks and Nurse sharks. Keep an eye out for the huge barrel sponges which sometimes reach over two meters high.
Best Snorkel Sites in the Cayman Islands
Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands is diverse with plenty of beautiful sites to choose from. Some of the best Snorkel sites in the Cayman Islands are Stingray city, USS Kittiwake, Eden rock and Devils Grotto and other sites on the islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
The snorkel site at Stingray City is not to be missed. A once in a lifetime experience, in which you will have close encounters with a large group of Southern Stingrays, who congregate in shallow water making it perfect for snorkelers to see them up close.
Another one of the most popular snorkel sites is the USS Kittiwake, which is an ex-military submarine rescue ship that was sunk intentionally bty the Cayman Island government in order to form an artificial reef, sunk 5th of January 2011. It has been overtaken by an array of marine life, which is thriving due to its location in the marine protected area.
Little Cayman has beautiful snorkelling at South Hole Sound Lagoon and Point of Sand. The reefs of this island are extremely important for the Nassau Grouper as it is an important spawning and mating area for them. At certain times of the year thousands can gather in one area around the time of the full moon. If you are feeling adventurous take a boat trip to Bloody Bay, where the wall begins at only 18 ft, an unforgettable sight as lush coral gardens meet sheer vertical coral wall.
Cayman Brac is a diverse island. The entire North coast offers beautiful snorkelling with easy beach access of Buccaneers beach. The wreck of the M/V Capt. Keith Tibbetts, a 330-ft. Which is a Russian built frigate sunk in 50-100ft off Cayman Brac's northwest coast. A truly adventurous and mind-blowing experience the wreck is home to an abundance of wildlife, beautiful spotted Eagle rays grace this wreck. You will need to plan in advance as to access the site you will need to join a boat from one of the local dive centers.
Eden Rock and Devils Grotto are not to be missed, these two snorkel sites are honey combed with caves, tunnels and Grottos which are inhabited by many tropical fish, coral and sponges including Silversides and Tarpon, the only air breathing fish, which swim in large groups around you. Easy to access as these sites are a short snorkel from the shore, simply follow the gently sloping bottom and you will see the coral reefs rise to a few feet of the surface then drop off 40 feet vertically to a sandy bottom.†
Best Time to Snorkel in the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands has a tropical climate, winter is November to March, temperatures averaging 24 degrees and visibility can reach 40-50 meters. Summer is from May to October when temperatures rise to 28 degrees and water temperatures reach around 30 degrees. These temperatures make snorkeling extremely comfortable, but rash vests are highly recommended for UV protection.
How Do I Get to the Cayman Islands?
Some international airlines fly directly to the Cayman Islands into Owen Roberts international airport which is located in George Town. Most flights arrive from various cities in the U.S or Canada, where connecting flights from all over the world can be accessed. A Cayman Islands liveaboard is a great way to get access to these pristine snorkeling spots.