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If you are looking for a shallow, well-sheltered snorkeling spot in Little Cayman, Preston Bay is probably one of the best options available on the island. Its free shore access, as well as the short distance between the beach and the reef areas, makes it a great snorkeling location. In the shallows, you will spot a diversity of tropical fish, spiny lobsters, as well as occasional nurse sharks and eagle rays.

Sleeping Nurse shark in the seagrass.
Sleeping nurse shark in the seagrass.

How to get to Preston Bay snorkeling spot?

This spot is located on the southwestern shore of Little Cayman, known as Preston Bay. The shore can be freely accessed off the airport road (Guy Banks Road), via the footpath to the Preston Bay Iguana Nesting Sanctuary. Walk through the sanctuary area to reach a small opening at the back of the beach.

This spot is also the Pirates Point Resort‘s house reef.

Preston Bay snorkeling map, Little Cayman

Water entrance for snorkeling Preston Bay

You can enter the water anywhere from the beach. Access to the water is easy, off a shallow sloping sandy beach.

Preston Bay snorkeling exploration tips

The area supports many coral heads, interspersed amongst healthy seagrass beds. These coral heads form a coherent but very shallow reef at about 150m from shore.

Elkhorn coral between the coral outcrops and seagrass beds in Preston Bay.
Elkhorn coral between the coral outcrops and seagrass beds in Preston Bay.

The main reef area is composed of Porites and finger coral but new growths of staghorn coral were noted along with healthy elkhorn coral.

Patches of the stinging ridged fire coral were also present over the very shallow reef areas.

Spiny Lobsters are particularly common here, under the coral outcrop overhangs
Spiny lobsters are particularly common here, under the coral outcrop overhangs.

The isolated coral heads with overhangs are ideal areas to find sleeping nurse sharks, as well as large populations of spiny lobster. Spotted eagle rays are occasionally spotted in the area, sometimes in less than 6ft/2m of water.

Ridged Fire Coral in the shallow reef areas of Preston Bay
Ridged fire coral in the shallow reef areas of Preston Bay.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

There are no places to get food or drink at the snorkeling location but about a kilometer down the road towards the airport there is a lovely cool café, called the Seahorse Boutique and Coffee Shop.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth10ft/3m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

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.