The three islands that make up this British overseas territory — Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman — have long been known as the Caribbean’s mecca of wall diving. These islands shoot almost straight up from the seafloor, creating spectacular drop-offs, but the islands are far more than a place for divers to get vertical.
While jaw-dropping, Grand Canyon-esque underwater terrain defines the diving off Grand Cayman — whether the North Wall, West Bay or East End. The island also boasts the 251-foot Kittiwake, the opportunity to make technical dives and play with toys galore — from scooters to underwater cameras. Whether you seek enough specialties to build a house of dive cards or simply want to soothe stress on an unhurried shore dive, this is your place. Some of the incredible drop-offs in Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay Marine Park start in only 20 feet of water and plummet thousands of feet. Cayman Brac boasts a 330-foot-long Russian frigate, and a south side made up of canyons and reefs pockmarked with tunnels where sharks frequently hide. Whether your trip extends a week or a month, you won’t tire of this island trio.
Sophisticated, international and moneyed, Grand Cayman is where you won’t go without, whether it’s a well-made espresso, low-key beach bar, five-star fusion dining or packed nightclub. Its stretches of white sand, most notably Seven Mile Beach, are nearly as famous as its dives. For a quieter escape where most highlights belong to nature, try Cayman Brac or Little Cayman.
How about a dive site for each day of the year? The Cayman Dive 365 initiative added new moorings off all three islands for a total of 365 named sites. The project is more than a fun challenge for visiting divers though — this eco-conscious effort is designed to help protect the islands’ reefs from overuse, by allowing operators to periodically rest ones that have been heavily dived.