snorkeling with the stingray in Cayman Islands
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Cayman Islands Snorkeling: Discover The Best Spots in this Complete Guide

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Ready to learn about some of the best Cayman Islands Snorkeling sites and tours? Look no further!

The Cayman Islands have known the world over for their exquisite diving and snorkeling experiences.

I have been to these beautiful islands of the Caribbean several times for work (I know, lucky me!) and I never missed an opportunity for snorkeling on diving in its amazing pristine waters.

So in this post, I will tell you all about the best snorkeling spots in the Cayman Islands.

If you don’t know about this group of islands, then let me tell you a few things before we get down to the list of snorkeling spots.

The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory consists of three islands.

The largest island among the three, called the Grand Cayman, is the main island which features upscale beach resorts and water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving.

Cayman Brac is the second-largest island of the group and is popular for its many deep-sea fishing excursion launch points.

Lastly, the third and smallest island of the three, Little Cayman is a place known for its abundant wildlife which also has some exotic and endangered species of iguanas and seabirds.

Coastline of Grand Cayman
Coastline of Grand Cayman – photo from Canva

In this post, I will be telling you about the best snorkeling spots on all these islands, so sit tight.

First, I will cover the main island and the best snorkeling spots on it, then Cayman Brac, and lastly the small yet charming Little Cayman island.

So let’s get started!

MY PICK
Stingray City Experience Plus Two Snorkeling Stops on Grand Cayman
5.0
  • 3 hours tour
  • pick up and drop-off are offered from some hotels and designated meeting points
  • snorkel at the Barrier Reef and Coral Gardens beside sting ray city.
  • snorkel equipment provided
  • 723 5⭐️ Reviews

Cayman Islands Snorkeling Spots: Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman is the main and biggest island, and as such, it has the most number of snorkeling sites.

In this section, I will highlight the best snorkeling sites in the Cayman Islands. These are mostly located in the four main areas of Grand Cayman – George Town, North Sound, Seven Mile Beach, and West Bay.

Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands - cayman island snorkeling
Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands – photo from Canva

1. Cemetery Beach

Don’t let the name of Cemetery Beach make you think it’s a barren site with no visitors.

The beach is definitely thriving with tourists, and located only a few minutes from one of the most popular beaches on Grand Cayman is the Cemetery Beach snorkeling site.

This is where you will find dozens of species of fish – including snappers, sergeant majors, and sometimes even turtles and stingrays – that are very active and friendly.

Apart from getting to snorkel with these incredible marine creatures, Cemetery Beach is also a great choice for snorkelers of all levels of expertise because of its calm waters, easy access, and minimal currents.

2. Governors Beach

Governors Beach (also known as Seven Mile Beach) is an excellent snorkeling spot where calm waters and low currents make the ideal conditions for a memorable snorkeling experience.

The beach also has a white buoy marking the coral reef so that you can explore and meet the thriving sea life within.

Expect to meet lots of colorful fish species, and sometimes stingrays and lobsters as well.

3. Kittiwake

Named after the USS Kittiwake (ASR13) navy submarine wreck, this is a very popular diving site where people from around the world show up to take a look at the huge military submarine sunk on the ocean floor here.

In fact, I was lucky enough to dive here with my colleagues during a workshop. It was incredibly fascinating and we ate the infamous lionfish after the dive. I have to say it was delicious. I went with Dive Tech, it was long ago but I still remember them, very professional team. They

With a total size of 251 ft, this decommissioned US Navy submarine definitely makes for a spectacle, and the thriving sea life within it is an added bonus to see.

Just keep in mind that you can only visit it with a licensed operator, and a $4 fee in Cayman Islands currency (roughly US$1.20) is charged on top of the operator fee.

Though Kittiwake is a very popular diving site on Grand Island, the shallow and crystal-clear waters of the site make it an equally amazing snorkeling spot as well.

So, either way, the experience is well worth the money.

Kittiwake Shipwreck
Kittiwake Shipwreck and diver in Grand Cayman – photo from Canva

4. Cayman Turtle Centre

The Cayman Turtle Centre lagoon is a famous spot for snorkelers looking to see some turtles and fish while in the water.

You can visit the Cayman Turtle Centre (entrance fee required) to get access to this lagoon, where the shallow depth, clear water, and no currents or waves provide a safe and beginner-friendly snorkeling experience.

What’s more, you get to learn more about green turtles and even meet them while you’re there!

5. Cheeseburger Reef

Located in George Town, opposite a Burger King joint (and probably even named after it) is the Cheeseburger Reef.

The snorkel site offers easy access, with the swim to it being only 100 feet in length.

This site is known for its curious reef formations that go as tall as within 10 feet from the ocean surface, as well as numerous marine species living in them including snappers, tarpons, and even sea turtles.

6. Eden Rock

Another popular snorkel spot in George Town is Eden Rock. The site is located just a short swim off of the Eden Rock dive center and marked by mooring balls.

The site consists of tunnels, overhangs, and caves that you can explore along with the thriving marine life of the area.

You will see exciting tropical fish species like yellowtail snappers, parrotfish, and even nurse sharks.

Also, if you’re visiting during the summer months, you might even see thousands upon thousands of silversides gathering here – definitely a mesmerizing sight to see.

silversides herrings from the Caribbean reefs
Silverside herrings from the Caribbean reefs – photo from Canva

7. Sunset House (Sunset Divers at Sunset House Hotel)

Sunset House is another great place to swim out from and enjoy snorkeling with a wealth of coral reefs and marine life.

Overall, it’s a very popular diving site, but snorkeling is just as great here. You will encounter all the species of fish commonly found off the Cayman Island shores along with turtles and stingrays.

One thing that makes this site truly unique is The Mermaid – a 9 ft tall bronze statue placed on the ocean floor of this site.

The 600 lb statue was made to represent the Siren of Sunset House and is called Amphitrite.

However, if you don’t want to visit here to see the statue and only wish to snorkel in some shallow waters, Sunset House is still a great choice.

There are sea pools off the shore that you can snorkel in, and you can also rent snorkel gear from the onsite rental shop.

8. Smith Barcadere (Smith Cove)

Smith Barcadere, Cayman Islands
Smith Barcadere, Cayman Islands – photo from Canva

Speaking of safe and not-too-deep snorkeling sites off of the iron shore, Smith Baracadere (also known as Smith Cove) is another great spot here that you can hit up to find your sea legs or simply enjoy a beginner-friendly snorkeling excursion.

The beach site is located off a small beach at South Sound and it’s quite popular among locals.

There are plenty of corals and tropical fish to see in Smith Cove, and the rock formations here are also worth taking a look at.

Just make sure the currents are not too strong when you go snorkeling here. Apart from the amazing snorkeling and friendly locals, you will also find helpful facilities like restrooms, showers, and picnic tables to enjoy a fun beach day here as well.

9. Spotts Beach

When it comes to the best snorkeling spots in the Cayman Islands, Spotts Beach is definitely one such site.

But you won’t find that many people visiting here because it’s located on the southern coast of the island and only experienced snorkelers come here.

However, there’s a reason why; the currents can be strong here, so it’s always a good idea to check the waters and see if the currents are suitable for your experience level before going for a snorkel at Spotts Beach.

On the days that the currents are good enough for a snorkel, you are guaranteed to find some turtles here, because this is a popular grazing place for them.

Also, the beach itself is really stunning and worth a visit even if you don’t want to go snorkeling there.

10. Rum Point

Rum Point Beach has a wonderful snorkeling spot where calm waters combine with a shallow depth to make for the perfect beginner site.

The site also has a dock under which so many tropical fish gather, and just a little to the right of this dock is where you will find coral reefs to snorkel to as well.

The beach also has a bar and restaurant along with basic beach facilities like hammocks and picnic tables.

Rum Point beach, Grand Cayman
Rum Point Beach, Grand Cayman – photo from Canva

11. Cayman Kai Public Beach

On your way to Rum Point, you might notice a beach that comes right before it. That beach is Cayman Kai and it’s also a very popular snorkeling site in the area.

The beach itself is small, but it has facilities like a parking area as well as restrooms.

This is where you can go for snorkeling excursions and find places as deep as 10 ft and as shallow as 3 ft.

The east-to-west current of Cayman Kai is also great for a drift snorkel from here to Rum Point.

12. Barrier Reef

Located in the North Sound of Grand Cayman Island, Barrier Reef is an exclusive snorkeling site that you can access only via a private boat or tour.

As you would expect from its name, the site is teeming with coral reefs and thriving marine life.

In fact, the coral reef here is considered the densest in all of Cayman.

Since the coral reef here is so dense, the variety of marine life here makes it feel like you’re swimming inside an aquarium.

Expect to see lots of tropical fish, nurse sharks, lobsters, eels, and many other species of marine creatures.

When there, just be extra careful not to harm the coral reef, as they can be very close to the surface and might get damaged by your flippers.

13. Coral Gardens

Coral Gardens are located close to Barrier Reef and feature similar characteristics of a snorkeling site.

There is a healthy amount of marine life in these gardens as well, including parrotfish snappers, barracuda, needlefish, and even eagle rays.

Moray eels and sea turtles also make their appearance here, along with the rare stingrays showing up in Coral Gardens from the nearby Stingray City (more about that later).

Both the sites are close enough that you can snorkel in Coral Gardens and Barrier Reef in a single trip, but it’s better to visit them through a boat tour, especially if you’re not familiar with their locations as it can be difficult to find them on your own. 👉 BOOK YOUR TOUR HERE

14. Turtle Reef (Macabuca)

Hawksbill turtle in Grand Cayman
Hawksbill turtle in Grand Cayman – photo from Canva

Located at West Bay, just outside of the Macabuca Bar and Grill and opposite Turtle Center, the Turtle Reef is a very beginner-friendly and easily reachable snorkeling site where you can meet reef fish and soft corals, and occasionally even spot sea turtles and stingrays as well.

The site features a mini wall that you can follow the edge of to get to the reefs and come back to the shore, so that’s a plus when it comes to finding your way.

And the bar and grill it’s sometimes named after is also a really nice place to grab some lunch or refreshing drinks.

15. Lighthouse Point

Speaking of snorkeling sites with walls, Lighthouse Point is another great spot located off the West Bay of Grand Cayman.

This site is known for its vibrant coral reefs, crystal clear waters, and abundance of sea life.

You can expect to be amazed by a variety of tropical fish including parrotfish, jacks, and snappers.

Even more impressive is the massive 13 ft statue called Guardian of the Reef. The statue is a half-human half-seahorse guardian with a staff and a shield in his hands.

It symbolizes the resolve to protect the marine environment. Snorkelers can also explore corals that reach up to four meters in length and swim along the mini wall.

Snorkel gear is easily available from the on-site diving rental shop. The best time to visit Lighthouse Point is during the summer months when visibility is at its best, allowing you to witness Grand Cayman’s incredible marine life up close.

16. Cobalt Coast

Grand Cayman Island is the perfect place for snorkeling. The pristine waters of the Caribbean Sea make it an ideal spot for exploring its colorful coral reefs, fish, and other sea life.

One of the best spots on the island to do this is Cobalt Coast resort.

Cobalt Coast is located at the northwest tip of West Bay and offers an array of shoreline activities, from kayaking to paddle boarding, but snorkeling is undoubtedly one of its biggest draws.

Here, you can explore a variety of marine life in crystal clear waters that remain consistently warm year-round.

With a long concrete dock and mini walls, it’s a great destination for beginners as well as experienced divers alike.

woman snorkeling in Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands snorkeling – photo from Canva

17. Wreck of Cali (Cayman Cabana)

Located less than 150 ft offshore from George Town, the Wreck of Cali (sometimes also referred to by its starting point restaurant’s name, Cayman Cabana) is a beginner-friendly diving site known for its marine life as well as the huge shipwreck.

This pristine underwater paradise allows visitors to explore both natural and manmade wonders alike.

The wreck is a 150-foot-long ship sunk in 1948 while carrying rice from Ecuador to Cuba.

When the ship developed a leak, the crew ran it ashore to salvage the goods and set the ship on fire after clearing it.

Shortly afterward, it was blown up by the British Navy because of being a hazard in the sea.

It now serves as home to a variety of tropical fish and other marine life, making it a great spot for snorkelers of all levels.

Exploring this wreck and its surroundings is a fun thing to do. However, after the 2021 regulations revisions, the marine park designation was removed from the harbor area, making the Wreck of the Cali a part of the port anchorage area.

Simply put, you will need to get permission from the port security office to go diving or snorkeling in the Wreck of Cali.

Usually, acquiring permission is a very simple and straightforward task. You can just call them at (345) 914 3700 and find out.

Also, while you’re at it, it might not be a bad idea to include the Balboa wreck site on your itinerary as well.

It’s only a little distance from the Wreck of the Cali and features a huge 375 ft freighter’s wreckage along with reefs and marine life.

18. The Reefs in East End

East End is a goldmine for amazing snorkeling sites. There are so many reefs that you can take a snorkeling trip to, including South Channel Gardens, Sunset Reef, Ridgefield Reef, Sunrise Reef, Cannon Reef, and Pooh Corner.

As you can imagine, there are so many incredible species of fish that you can swim with here along with exploring the reefs.

Caribbean coral reefs
Caribbean coral reefs – photo from Canva

Morritt’s Dock is also a part of the East End, and swimming under it is a really unique experience, especially for families with children.

There are so many friendly fish that you can swim with here. Just make sure to avoid Morrit’s Tortuga, where strong currents can be a problem.

Also, keep in mind that all the East End snorkeling sites are only reachable by boat.

Luckily, there are plenty of tour operators readily available in the East End to take you to them.

19. Stingray City & Sandbar (North Sound)

When it comes to snorkeling, Sandbar and Stingray City are the most popular tourist attractions on Grand Cayman Island.

The site is only accessible by boat, but it gets extremely busy, especially when cruise ships are porting here.

This is where you will find stingrays to snorkel within shallow waters.

However, it’s worth mentioning here that I don’t recommend snorkeling in stingray city.

The experience is no doubt mesmerizing, but it’s not ethical to go swimming with the stingrays.

Due to the popularity and the big number of people visiting here, it can be damaging to the environment and the stingrays that live here.

MY PICK
Stingray City Experience Plus Two Snorkeling Stops on Grand Cayman
5.0
  • 3 hours tour
  • pick up and drop-off are offered from some hotels and designated meeting points
  • snorkel at the Barrier Reef and Coral Gardens beside sting ray city.
  • snorkel equipment provided
  • 723 5⭐️ Reviews

Cayman Brac Sites

Cayman Brac
Cayman Brac – photo from Canva

Cayman Brac is a hidden gem in the Caribbean Sea known for its scuba diving experience.

But it’s also a great place that offers a plethora of snorkeling sites for travelers to explore.

Located less than 95 miles east of Grand Cayman, the second largest island in the Caymans, Cayman Brac is an ideal destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

With its crystal-clear waters and stunning coral reefs, Cayman Brac’s snorkeling sites are some of the most beautiful in the region.

Whether you’re looking for shallow reefs or deep walls, there’s something for everyone on this remote island paradise.

The dive sites near West End feature a variety of marine life including stingrays, large sea turtles, colorful parrotfish, and many more!

colorful parrotfish swimming near corals, Cayman Islands
Colorful parrotfish swimming near corals, Cayman Islands – photo from Canva

The Buccaneer Beach is a good starting point in the West End of Cayman Brac that will take you to the Buccaneer Reef.

You can snorkel to this beginner-friendly snorkeling site and see aquatic creatures like stingrays, reef sharks, sea turtles, eagle rays, and reef fish.

Radar Reef at Stake Bay is another wonderful snorkeling site that you can hit up from Cayman Brac.

Also, if you’re looking for a wreck exploration experience similar to the ones offered on Grand Cayman, the wreck of Captain Keith Tibbetts is a famous diving site that is perfect for it.

The South Coast of Cayman Brac is another great part of the island where you will find some of its best snorkeling sites.

Then there are the deeper sites like Fry Cave, Heady’s Reef, and Pillar Coral Reef ranging from 20 ft to 50 ft and featuring abundant marine life.

Little Cayman Sites

Little Cayman island
Little Cayman island – photo from Canva

Little Cayman is a small Caribbean island located just off the coast of Grand Cayman.

It’s known for its crystal clear waters and pristine coral reefs, making it an ideal destination for snorkelers of all ages and experience levels.

With numerous protected spots to explore, Little Cayman is home to some of the most spectacular snorkeling sites in the region.

The Bloody Bay is a protected marine park of Little Cayman known as one of the best diving sites in the region.

But its healthy corals and thriving sea life also offer some excellent opportunities for snorkeling.

Here you’ll find shallow patch reefs with an abundance of different fish species such as parrotfish, sea sponges, and even queen conches.

Point of Sand is also a good option for some daytime snorkeling on the east side of the island.

But it’s not recommended to go snorkeling there after dusk, as you might encounter sharks during the evenings and nights.

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