What are the ingredients that make a diving holiday a success?  Well, it simply has to be something worth getting wet for!  Grand Cayman diving can certainly offer this.  Incredible reef structures, dramatic walls, an array of marine life and a good wreck – there’s more than one reason to take a splash around the crystal clear waters of the Cayman islands.  Whether you are a seasoned diver or someone hoping to take their first steps towards mastering the technical skills, Grand Cayman is perfectly poised to offer an exemplary launching pad into the turquoise splendour of the Caribbean and laced in luxury Cayman Villas.

Indulge in some incredible Grand Cayman diving in the Caribbean Sea

Introduction – Grand Cayman Diving

The Cayman Islands are located in the heart of the Caribbean.  These British Overseas Territories are an English speaking group of islands that sit south of Cuba, East of Mexico and Northwest of Jamaica.  Consisting of a group of three islands, Grand Cayman is the main territory where most international flights will touch down.  At a mere 76 square miles, this pretty island has many gorgeous beaches, the most famous of which is West Bay Beach better known as Seven Mile Beach – one of best Cayman Island beaches.

This sweeping crescent shaped beach, stretches along the western side of Grand Cayman and is home to many lovely resorts, villas and hotels.

The capital city of George Town, is a popular stopping off point for cruise ships and there is excellent Duty Free.  Grand Cayman has a reputation as one of the better places to buy cameras and associated equipment as well as jewellery.  Resort wear is readily available too in many of the retail centres around the port.

There’s a bit of colonial heritage to be explored too around the islands, most especially on Grand Cayman.  There are endless activities and fun things to do in Grand Cayman. But if history and shopping aren’t really your bag and you feel more at home as an active holiday-maker, then the coastal splendour of Grand Cayman will become your preferred playground.

Experience some of the best grand Cayman scuba diving in these turquoise waters

Where to start ….?

Let’s start with the presumption that you are a novice to the realm of Grand Cayman diving.  The first natural step to take when contemplating this exhilarating sport is to get some qualified tuition that will allow you to embark on some of the world class scuba diving Grand Cayman islands have to offer.  Within around three hours, you and your group can learn all about the equipment you will use, the hand-signals that will allow you to communicate in the silent world beneath the waves and embark on your very first Grand Cayman scuba diving adventure.

The extraordinary thing about this sport is that it opens a window, for its eager participants, into an utterly new world.  It’s truly hard to explain to anyone who has yet to peer beneath the great mantle of the Caribbean what a vast and exotic world awaits.

The water keeps us buoyant so we can manoeuvre like rather inelegant fish many feet above a living reef system.  The colours and variety of coral coupled with the movement of fish and marine life, dazzle us with so many textures. There is no such thing as “I tried diving once”.  It is the beginning of a lifetime love affair especially when you embark on some of the best diving in Grand Cayman.

When diving grand Cayman style, notice the vibrant blues, greens and pinks that swirl around you

Shore Diving

The eager novice or experienced diver will not need to hire boats to get off-shore to enjoy some quality diving.  The very nature of the geography of the islands allows some of the best Grand Cayman diving in and around Eden Rock Dive Centre.  You can hire the equipment you need from the Dive Centre and swim out from shore to the easily accessible reef.  As well, the famous Devil’s Grotto, a really interesting cavernous dive destination is one of the most popular shore diving Grand Cayman destinations.

Tunnels and other interesting formations in and around Eden Rock combine to create naturally-forming underwater architecture, flooded with light that creates the perfect conditions for a memorable dive.

The relatively near distance to shore, can make this destination for an introduction to the art of scuba diving a safe and manageable experience.

Grand Cayman diving reviews say it all.  The word “awesome” turns up time and time again as the unexpected topography of tunnels and caverns that intersect the large reef that surround Grand Cayman offer so many perspectives to new and experienced snorkelers and divers.  The lack of high winds around Grand Cayman make it less suitable for surfing enthusiasts but ideally suited for diving.  High waves and blustery conditions do not make for safe navigation of reefs or wrecks.  Luckily, the glorious weather that make the islands so appealing for holiday makers create the ideal conditions for jumping in a boat to dive in open water.

These waters hold a plethora of creatures to see while scuba diving grand Cayman

Turtles, eagle rays, sharks, parrot fish …. There is so much to dazzle us.  We can move through these fishy waters without fear of these cold-blooded creatures.  If you do a little bit of research before you venture out, you should be able to identify quite a number of species during your dive.


What do divers look for?

The number one key requirement is visibility.  Ask anyone who has been diving in murky and cloudy conditions and they will say that the virtually ‘unlimited’ visibility of the waters in and around Grand Cayman are incredible.

Big Tunnel off Grand Cayman offers a coral archway above a sheer wall dotted with coral and sponges.

Sunset Reef is one of the places to find some of the best scuba diving Grand Cayman.  With a bona fide WWII wreck and a 9ft bronze mermaid, this is a popular spot to practice your dive skills.

If you are interested in some of the more exotic variety of sponges like elephant ear, rope or barrel then scuba diving Grand Cayman will really interest you.  With the now-famous sponge belt sitting at depths of 200-300 feet down, these vast sponge gardens can be explored with care by experienced divers.

Enjoy the islands many water sport facilities as you part take in shore diving grand Cayman

There are incredible walls that drop dramatically off the shores of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.  The Jack McKenny Caynon is a wall off Grand Cayman that has dramatic canyons that are home to eagle rays and small shark varieties.

Trinity Caves accessed off the superlative Seven Mile Beach is a series of tunnels that allow light to penetrate and create spotlights within the crystal clear blue.


Key Information for Divers

The initial awkwardness that accompanies new divers, where we constantly check our gear soon gives way to an easy confidence.  Experienced diving tutors rarely take out more than 4 students at any one time and there is constant supervision and communication that allows the novice divers to feel more at home in their new domain.

Even experienced divers who are new to a dive area are advised to get as much local knowledge as possible.  To understand underwater current systems, the layout of coral reef formations, potential for complex weather fronts, any and all of this information is best explained by the experts who live in these waters all year round.

Diving is a safe sport when all of the sensible rules are observed.  With conservation such a hot topic, it is also worth investing in sun creams that are not injurious to the coral or marine life.  Never touch the coral or try to take souvenirs.  The only thing you should take from a dive is the happy memory of your adventure.

There is one exception though…  If you are keen to do something a bit challenging that offers a real ecological boost to the marine life around Grand Cayman you could join a tour or expedition that specialises in capturing the very aggressive Lionfish that have invaded the Caribbean waters.

These very flamboyant fish have wreaked havoc on reef fish and are the equivalent of a school yard bully.  Conservationists welcome the capture of these tricky chaps who then end up on Cayman restaurants menus on the island.   To help the wonderful native sea life of the Caribbean, it is recommended guests to Grand Cayman order as much Lionfish as they can while on vacation – ensuring it has been sourced from the local waters.

Try to avoid ordering too much grouper or parrot fish as these species need to stay in the water and reproduce.  Until the menace of Lionfish, who have no natural predators except man, is diminished they will continue to reproduce at astonishing speed while continuing to feast on the native reef occupants!


Where to stay on Grand Cayman

There are some stunning Grand Cayman scuba diving resorts dotted along Seven Mile Beach.  At Exceptional Villas, we represent some of the finest and most luxurious properties that offer a heavenly on-shore haven after a day of diving exploration.

Gorgeous properties like the Caribbean Club Villas right on Seven Mile Beach or Casa Luna in George Town could be the ideal base from which to plan an incredible holiday diving Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac or Little Cayman waters.  The seven bedroomed exclusive Tatenda Villa on South Sound commands its own private stretch of beach, making it the perfect place to do some offshore snorkelling or diving. Seven Mile Beach is also considered one of our very best Caribbean beaches.

After a day full of grand Cayman diving relax along the shoreline as the sun sets behind the horizon

At Exceptional Villas, we have decades of experience matching our guests to the right accommodations.  You might be a honeymoon couple who want romantic dinners under star-filled skies but days packed with adventures in and under the waters around Grand Cayman.  You might be a family group – with different generations or guests of varying ages.  We can curate a bespoke holiday for you that matches properties and activities to everyone.

Ultimately, regardless of what fun adventures you embark on each day, it’s imperative you have an air-conditioned, spacious and serene property to return to each evening.  Leisurely afternoons swaying in a hammock under a palm tree or firing up your own private BBQ to cook the perfect bare-foot feast for your group, a terrace that captures a setting sun or dazzling dawn.  Whatever your tastes or dream, we can create it for you.

We have built long-standing relationships with some of the more prestigious diving tour operators on Grand Cayman.  Our wonderful Concierges can have your diving tuition and tours pre-booked so there is no time wasted trying to get this in place when you arrive.

I guess, it’s what we really do best … preparing each element of your holiday in advance to ensure you have a seamless and enjoyable experience.  All you’re required to do is to turn up with your mind and body ready for a vacation of a lifetime.


Conclusion

Sometimes the thought of clunky equipment and being an amateur can be deterrents that stop someone embarking on the adventure that is diving.  In my opinion, it’s a little like new cuisine, you cannot say ‘it’s not for me’ until you’ve had a taste.  The wonderfully charismatic and well-regulated diving experts who offer tuition and instruction around Grand Cayman work with small groups and make a morning diving not just a professional experience but a truly fun adventure.

The 007 or Jacques Cousteau within us leaps forward and delights in being back in the underwater realm that we are told we swam out of all of those eons ago.  Grand Cayman is built for diving.  Mother Nature has formed a natural playground around the glamorous shores of these island paradises that are ideally suited to marine exploration.  You don’t need a PhD in marine biology to be captivated by the diverse and jewel-like array of coral formations.

The swathes of silver-scaled fish, moving as one pulsating group distract us so much that we almost forget to take a minute to capture the image for the folks back home.

Indulge in some Grand Cayman scuba diving, bursting with colorful reefs and captivating reef structures

But do try to remember to take those photos or movie clips.  Because back home, as you sit on some grey and gloomy evening, flicking through your vacation snaps, you will be transported back to that idyllic day when you pulled on your flippers and embraced your inner merman or mermaid scuba diving in Grand Cayman.

As I said before, no one ever tries diving once … it’s always the beginning of a journey through the oceans of the world.  The old Chinese proverb says that a journey of a thousand steps starts with the first one.  Well, the first step of this incredible diving journey should always be Grand Cayman …  it’s simply the only place to start!

About Mairead Moriarty

Born and raised in Co Kerry, lived in London, New York, San Francisco, Dublin. Owner of one very battered suitcase, a well-worn passport and a million memories. It seems very fitting for a travel writer that my surname translates as ‘Skilled Navigator’. Apart from an occasion when, aged 3, I got lost in a Supermarket in Tralee, I have managed to live up to my name! Curiosity is probably the driver that has sent me on magical mystery tours around the world. I want to ‘feel’ a place. I want all my senses to be engaged: from the history and geography that has influenced a country or city, the arts and achievements of its natives, anything and everything really. Regardless of whether I am on a local train travelling through Morocco, or poking around in Marconi’s study in Bologna or on a canal boat weaving through the heart of the English countryside, the same rules apply - ask questions, talk to locals, eat what they eat, sit quietly with nature and simply be. Assimilate as much as is possible so as to understand the soul of a place. That is my passion. That is the compass by which I navigate.

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