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The North Sound, a large bay on Grand Cayman, is the snorkeling hotspot in the Cayman Islands. Its protected clear blue waters, popular with boat tours, feature some of the island’s best snorkeling. Among the most popular locations in the North Sound is the Coral Garden, a shallow area with a high density of corals and a spectacular variety of tropical fish.
The Coral Garden, also known as The Aquarium, is a popular snorkeling location in Grand Cayman’s North Sound. You will find on the island a large choice of boat tours combining visits to 2 or 3 of the area’s most visited locations, which are Stingray City (a sandbank 0.6 miles West of Coral Garden, where you can swim with dozens of stingrays), Barrier Reef, Coral Garden and Starfish Point (near Water Cay).
Be sure when you book about which locations are included in the tour. Tours prices start from $45 for a duration of 3 hours and depart from the cruise ship terminal or the island’s main resorts
Water entrance will be from the boat ladders.
The Coral Garden is located in Grand Cayman’s North Sound, in a shallow and sheltered area of the inner reef. The average depth at the location is around 10 feet/3 meters, allowing snorkelers to easily observe the sea life from the surface.
The Coral Garden features sandy beds with scattered coral areas. In some places, this mixed environment gives way to dense fields of gorgonian including Venus sea fan, bent sea rod, and different types of sea plumes. Most of the corals are pretty healthy and on sunny days, the ocean scape is wonderful.
As the Coral Garden is very popular and visited by dozens of snorkeling boats every day, the fishes are used to humans and easy to approach. Among the most common fish at this location are the blue-headed wrasse, the sergeant major, the very inquisitive Queen triggerfish, as well as several species of grunt and snapper.
Lucky snorkelers may also encounter in the shallow a sleeping nurse shark or a visiting stingray.
Day tours may include lunch. Check when you inquire.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Shallow sandbank with stingrays
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Free shore access
Small island in a shallow lagoon with rays and reef fish
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Reef slope with coral, sea fan and colorful fish
Free shore access