Unmissable Dive Sites in the Cayman Islands
As the locals will tell you the Cayman Islands offer some of the best scuba diving spots in the Caribbean. Already a go-to destination for stingray spotting and dramatic drop-offs, vibrant reefs are also something of a success story. With the Caribbean thought to have lost a staggering 80% of its coral in recent years, largely due to the effects of global warming, a 2013 study found Cayman’s coral health had bounced back to levels not seen since 1999.
While every diver has their favourites, Eightpoint has picked out a few of the top spots to strap on a tank and dive in.
Babylon, Grand Cayman
The famous Grand Cayman wall runs around the entire island, with dive sites on all four sides. But the most sensational is found along the North Wall. Perhaps the most famous is Babylon. While there is plenty for novice divers to see on the sandy flats on top of the wall, those who descend deeper will be privy to some truly breathtaking scenery. Among the melange of black coral, giant purple sea fans and barrel sponges, you’re bound to spot parrotfish, barracuda, eagle rays, green and hawksbill turtles and even the odd hammerhead. One of the most remote sites on the North Wall, Babylon is usually visited as a full-day diving safari.
Ghost Mountain, Grand Cayman
Just off Grand Cayman’s north point, a giant, mushroom-shaped pinnacle seems to ‘appear’ through the cobalt blue water as you approach underwater. Encircled by schooling fish, this looming feature is covered in a carpet of creatures from blood-red finger sponges to spires of starlet corals and banded coral shrimp. Advanced divers will be rewarded with great views of the spectacular gorgonian-crowded cavern at their maximum depth of 30m.
Stingray City, Grand Cayman
Originally attracted to the sand bars off Grand Cayman’s North Sound by the fisherman who used to clean their catch here, the local southern stingrays are now so tame it’s possible to feed them by hand. While most visitors opt for a tour of Stingray City that allows them to walk around in the shallows and ‘hug’ the rays, divers have the opportunity to enjoy more of a 3D experience at a depth of around 4m as the truly enormous rays approach looking for snacks (instructors provide squid to feed them). One of the world’s best shallow dives, it’s also perfect for novices.
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