The best snorkeling spots on Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is, by far, the largest and the most visited of the three Cayman Islands, and a port-of-call included in a large majority of Caribbean cruise itineraries.

Aerial view of Stingray City
Aerial view of Stingray City, Grand Cayman’s prime snorkeling spot.

The west coast of Grand Cayman features Seven Mile Beach, the most famous beach of the archipelago, with some of the best snorkeling spots on the island. The Wreck of the Cali, Cemetery Reef (at the north end of Seven Mile Beach), and Coconut Harbor (just north of George Town) are among the best options.

Southern stingrays at Stingray City
Southern stingrays at Stingray City.

But for the best snorkeling on the island, book a snorkeling tour to the North Sound, a large bay on Northern Grand Cayman. The main attraction in this area is Stingray City, a shallow sandbar where Southern stingrays are found in abundance. Tours to Stingray City usually include snorkeling in some other locations in the North Sound, including Coral Garden, Barrier Reef and Starfish Point.

Starfish Point, Cayman Islands
Feeling like swimming with starfish only a few meters from the shore? Think Starfish Point, a picture-perfect beach packed with cushion sea stars.

The best snorkeling spots on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac

The other two islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, often called the Sister Islands, are accessible via inter-island flights. For the best snorkeling on Cayman Brac, head to Buccaneer’s Beach and the Wreck of Captain Keith Tibbetts.

A jack at Owen Island/Southern Cross Club
Owen Island is a good location in Little Cayman to spot big fish, such as this yellow jack.

Little Cayman has several locations worthy of a visit, with the option for deep water snorkeling off the north coast or shallow water floating off the south coast. Owen Island/Southern Cross Club in South Hole Sound is a great and uncrowded spot to observe feeding stingrays, as well as see an unusual coralline algal reef structure.

Point of Sand on the eastern end of the island is an idyllic castaway beach, with numerous coral heads just offshore. Be on the look out, in particular, for the groups of inquisitive barracuda.

Reef life in Bloody Bay
Reef life in Bloody Bay, Little Cayman.

What will I see while snorkeling the Cayman Islands?

The Cayman Islands support a variety of coral reefs, seagrass beds and sandbanks. Snorkeling over pleasant coral reef systems, you will spot healthy populations of Caribbean reef fish including wrasse, butterflyfish, angelfish, sergeant majors, and dozens of other species.

Both the green sea turtle and the hawksbill sea turtles are frequently seen in the archipelago’s shallow waters, and encounters with eagle rays and stingrays are common.

Green sea turtle at Seven Miles Beach, Grand Cayman
Encounter with a green sea turtle at Seven Mile Beach.

If you are planning a snorkeling trip to the Cayman Islands or anywhere else in the Caribbean, we recommend the excellent Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas (also available in ebook). This essential reference guide will allow you to ID the fish you will encounter snorkeling the islands.

When to go snorkeling the Cayman Islands?

There are two main seasons in the Cayman Islands. The dry season, from December to April, is the warmest and sunniest season (with an average of 81°F/27°C, July and August being the warmest months).

Queen triggerfish at the Coral Garden
A Queen triggerfish at the Coral Garden, Grand Cayman.

During the rainy season, from late May to late November, the weather is wetter and more changeable (intermittent tropical rains and sunny spells), and the air is cooler (an average of 72°F/22°C).

Snorkelers should avoid visiting the islands in August and September when tropical storms can churn the waters. Nevertheless, the location of the island in the western part of the Caribbean shields them from being hit too hard by hurricanes.

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