Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands

Reefs, Wrecks and Stingrays

Grand Cayman is one of the world's premier diving destinations. But you don't need a tank to discover the island's underwater treasures. At short swim from shore will bring you to colorful reefs and shallow shipwrecks, and dedicated snorkel boats visit many more sites, including world-famous Stingray City. Here, southern stingrays gather in clear, shallow water over a white sand bottom. The rays are neither shy nor aggressive; they glide among swimmers and waders, brushing silky-smooth wings against legs and gently slurping tasty fish bits from outstretched hands. Snorkelers can also follow the rays to a nearby coral reef that swarms with colorful tropical fish.

Highlights

  • Best for: Everyone, solos, couples and families looking for watersports and adventures from soft to rugged and stingray encounters
  • Best season to visit: Year round
  • Weather: Mid 70s in winter to high 80s in summer. The rainy season runs from May to October, but precipitation does not affect diving conditions

Things to Do

The Cayman Islands Information

Snorkeling in The Cayman Islands Overview

The island's west end offers the best conditions to snorkel from shore. Boats provide access to additional sites that are a bit farther from shore. The Seven Mile Beach area is the starting point for boat trips to reefs and stingray encounters, which take place in shallow water at the mouth of North Sound.

Snorkeling in The Cayman Islands Tips

Popular sites on the island's west end can be crowded with cruise ships are in port. Schedule trips earlier or later to avoid the rush. If possible, schedule stingray trips during slack or incoming tides, which pull extremely clear waters in from the reef. Stick close to guides who are feeding if you want maximum contact with the rays. Move to the edge of the group if you are looking for the best photo ops in clear water.

Best Places to Snorkel in The Cayman Islands

The scattered remains of the Cali wreck sit in clear shallow waters near George Town Harbor. Eden Rock and Devil's Grotto provide swim throughs and lots of fish; a bronze mermaid resides at Sunset Reef. At Sandbar, stingrays swirl around waders toes, while nearby Stingray City and Stingray Alley are where snorkelers swim with the rays.

What to Pack for Snorkeling in The Cayman Islands

Since most stingray tours include both wading and swimming stops, bring both water shoes for the sandbar and snorkel gear for the coral reef. A waterproof shirt is advisable for sun protection. A selfie stick will allow you to get good underwater video of the rays while you are wading.

Specials

Snorkeling

Comfort Suites and Resort

BATABANO APRIL 29-MAY 6, 2017 includes 3 night studio accommodations at Comfort Suites & Resort, breakfast daily, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Valid 4/16/17-6/30/17. Options to add on Cultural Tours, Snorkeling or Stingray City excursions. Click here for more information on Batabano Cayman Carnival.
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From $487 per person double occupancy

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Wyndham Reef Resort

EAST END, CAYMAN ISLANDS - NON-REFUNDABLE RATES includes 7 night beachfront studio accommodations, free WiFi, use of bicycles, roundtrip airport transfers hotel tax and service charges. Valid 4/7/17-6/1/17. Add $59 per person for travel 8/19/17-11/17/17. Book by 7/2/17. Options to add on Snorkeling or Stingray City excursions.
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From $796 per person double occupancy

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Comfort Suites and Resort

GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS - PIRATES WEEK 2017 includes 3 night stays studio accommodations at Comfort Suites & Resort, breakfast daily, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Options to add on Snorkeling or Stingray City excursions. Valid 7/1/17-12/20/17. Click here for more information on Pirates Week Festival 2017.
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From $413 per person double occupancy

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Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort

SEVEN MILE BEACH, CAYMAN ISLANDS - 7 night deluxe accommodations, welcome non-alcoholic drink, daily snack by the pool, free WiFi, weekly bonfire and smores, WiFi, use of non-motorized watersports, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax, and service charges. Options to add on Cultural Tours, Snorkel or Stingray City excursions. Valid 8/17/17-10/31/17
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From $1,465 per person/double occupancy

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Packages

Snorkeling

Comfort Suites and Resort

SEVEN MILE BEACH - 7 night package includes breakfast daily, free WiFi, roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Options to add on Cultural Tours, Snorkel or Stingray City excursions.
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Snorkeling

Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort

SEVEN MILE BEACH - 7 night package includes roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Options to add on Cultural Tours, Snorkeling or Stingray City excursions.
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Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and Spa

SEVEN MILE BEACH - 7 night package includes roundtrip airport transfers, hotel tax and service charges. Options to add on Cultural Tours, Snorkeling or Stingray City encounters.
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Resorts

Snorkeling

Comfort Suites and Resort

SEVEN MILE BEACH - This all-suite resort is affordably priced and located just 50 yards from Grand Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach. All suites have either kitchenettes or full kitchens. Complimentary daily breakfast buffet and free WiFi are also included. Ambassador Divers, a PADI dive operation, is located on site to provide a wide array of dive services as well as snorkel tours to Stingray City and the wreck of the Kittiwake.
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Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort

SEVEN MILE BEACH - Centrally located on world-famous Seven Mile Beach, Marriott's Grand Cayman Resort offers superior service and understated luxury in a relaxed atmosphere. All rooms are well-appointed and offer private balconies. Amenities include 4 restaurants, La Mer Spa, a beachfront pool, fitness center and a wide array of both land and watersports activities. Dive services are provided by Red Sail Sports offering a full array of watersports including dive excursions, dive instruction, snorkeling and sailing excursions, parasailing and more.
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Wyndham Reef Resort

EAST END - The white sands of Grand Cayman are your welcome mat and the crystal clear waters are your playground. Since all the rooms are right on the beach, you’ll enjoy sweeping, unobstructed views of the Caribbean Sea; the hallmark of Wyndham Reef Resort – Grand Cayman. Comfortably furnished with colorful island decor, our Studios, One-Bedroom or Two-Bedroom Villas are perfect for couple and families alike. Each of the 152 spacious and comfortable villas deliver the beachfront bliss you’ve been looking for and deserve. At Wyndham Reef Resort you can take advantage of the rare opportunity to upgrade your stay to All-Inclusive so you never have to cook on vacation and you can feel totally pampered all day long!
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Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort and Spa

SEVEN MILE BEACH - The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa offers 343 luxuriously appointed guest rooms amid lush tropical gardens with waterfalls and fountains, freshwater pools, whirlpools, restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating, lounges, 24-hour room service, swim-up pool bar, fitness center and luxury spa. Red Sail Sports is located onsite offering diving services.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements

A valid passport is required for entry with one available page for entry stamps. No Visas are required for U.S. and Canadian citizens. Check the entry and exit requirements here.

Immunizations

Vaccinations are not required for entering the Cayman Islands if you're coming from the U.S., Britain, or Canada. Please check with your doctor or visit the Center for Disease Control's website here for more information.

 

Culture and Customs

For almost as long as it has been a mecca for divers, Grand Cayman island has also served as an international hub of finance and banking. This has provided the island with one of the highest standards of living in the region. Upscale shops, galleries and modern office buildings line the streets of downtown George Town, while West Bay Road is lined by high-end beachfront resorts and the gateway facades of new residential developments. But these islands aren't just for the international elite. Not far from five-star dining, one can purchase a meal of jerk chicken and peas'n rice from a beachside shanty, or savor a cold draft and a game of dominoes with a crew of fishermen and dive masters. At trip to the island's eastern shore, or the palm-fringed shores of Rum Point is like stepping back in time, while a flight to the Sister Islands is a different world entirely. Social climbing on Cayman Brac means inviting someone to join you for a walk up the Bluff Road for panoramic island views from Deadman's Point. On even quieter Little Cayman, nightlife might involve a tumbler full of rum and a beachside hammock under the stars.

Electricity, Phone and Internet Access

Electrical current is 110 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style two-pin plugs are standard and adapters aren't needed for U.S. and Canadian appliances.

Phone service is provided by Cable & Wireless. Check with your provider to see what rates apply or you will be subject to roaming charges.

There are many public WiFi hot spots on Grand Cayman and most hotels offer WiFi.

Water Quality

Cayman water supplies piped water to the Seven Mile Beach and West Bay areas of Grand Cayman and is safe to drink by World Health Organization (WHO) standards. Cayman Brac supplies desalinated salt water and Little Cayman has its own water system. If you are unsure of the water quality, bottled water is also available for purchase.

Language & Currency

English is the official language. The local currency, is the Caymanian dollar, but the U.S. Dollar is used interchangeably. Credit cards are widely accepted. The Cayman Dollar is represented as CI and offers denominations o f $100, $50, $25, $10, $5, $1 and coins of 25 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents and 1 cent. Check the current exchange rate here.

Time

The Cayman Islands are on Eastern Standard Time (EST) and do not observe Daylight Savings Time. The Caymans are 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT).

Location, Size and Population

The Cayman Islands are comprised of 3 islands and are a British Overseas Territory located in the Western Caribbean. They are located South of Cuba and Northwest of Jamaica. Grand Cayman, the largest of the three Cayman Islands, lies in the far Western Caribbean, 480 miles south of Miami and occupies 76 square miles. The sister islands of Cayman Brac (14 square miles) and Little Cayman (10 square miles) are 89 miles to the northeast of Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman is approximately 22 miles long and 8 miles at its widest point. Cayman Brac is 12 miles long and just over a mile wide and has the most dramatic topography of the trio. Little Cayman, only 10 miles long and a mile wide, is flat, reaching a maximum elevation of 40 ft. The three islands are limestone outcroppings, the tops of a submarine mountain range called the Cayman Ridge, which extends west southwest for the Sierra Maestra range off the southeast part of Cuba to the Misteriosa Bank near Belize. The population of the Cayman Islands is 60,764 (2016).