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Grand Cayman Snorkel Tour Guide and Snorkeling Trips, Cayman Islands

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Best Stingray City snorkeling tours and excursions in the Cayman Islands.
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Georges Watersports

devils grotto cayman snorkel site photo
Prevailing weather conditions, together with your experience and comfort in the water will determine where all of the best snorkel sites for you are on any given day when you snorkel in the Cayman Islands.

With the exception of a few very special snorkel sites reserved for our forum members, we will show you all of the very best Cayman snorkel sites, including many that very few visitors are aware of.

Many dramatic Cayman snorkel sites lie remarkably close to shore in relatively shallow water. The photo to the left was taken at Devil's Grotto in George Town less than 30 yards from shore in about 30 feet of water. Besides an interesting topography and abundance of fish, giant tarpon and masses of silverside can often be seen while snorkeling at Devil's Grotto, which is part of the Eden Rock/Devil's Grotto marine park.

cayman snorkel sites eden rock photo

You can access this magnificent protected assortment of Cayman snorkel sites absolutely free from Eden Rock Diving Center, who will also rent any snorkel or flotation equipment you require. If you are coming on a cruise, be sure to pass the first somewhat misleading "Eden Rock" sign, which is actually a different operation; proceede a few steps further and you will see the real Eden Rock, which is a new modern facility with showers and an easy entry/exit ladder. Just look for the Eden Rock red apple logo.
More Eden Rock Snorkel Information

Cayman Islands Snorkel Guide

Cali Shipwreck Snorkeling

Coral Gardens Snorkeling Information

Geneva - Kathleen Shipwreck Snorkel Information

Half Moon Bay Snorkeling

Morritts Tortuga Snorkel Information

Seven Mile Beach Snorkeling

Smith Cove Snorkeling

Stingray City Snorkeling

Sunset Reef Snorkel Information

Turtle Reef Snorkel Information

More Cayman Islands Snorkel Information

Cayman Islands Snorkel Book all your Cayman Islands Snorkel Tours Now and SAVE!

cemetery beach cayman snorkel site photo

Good snorkeling can be found in the waters off virtually any resort or condo along Seven Mile Beach. In general, the closer to George Town you are on Seven Mile Beach, the better the snorkeling conditions will be; this is due primarily to the slightly more rocky composition of the shoreline, which provides a habitat for many interesting sea creatures. There are of course exceptions, such as Cemetery Beach, which is a very popular snorkel site with fair to good snorkeling. Cemetery Reef lies roughly 30-50 yards from shore in 20-40 feet of water. Its close proximity to Seven Mile Beach and relatively easy access from a typically calm sandy beach make this one of Cayman's more popular snorkel sites. On a scale from 1 to 10 by Cayman's exceptionally high snorkel site standards, Cemetery Reef snorkel site a 3. Please bear in mind that the Cayman Islands are one of the top ten diving destinations in the world so snorkeling conditions in the Cayman Islands are among the highest in the world; hence, what would rate as a 3 in the Cayman Islands would easily be a ten or higher somewhere else, like Florida or the Bahamas. You will find a comprehensive Grand Cayman snorkel site rating topic at our forums, with every Cayman snorkel site assigned a rating based on average weather and sea conditions.
More Cemetery Reef Snorkel Information

cali shipwreck cayman snorkel site photo

Wreck of the Cali is a perfect snorkel site for beginners. Many of the cruise ships sell a Cali snorkel trip—some call it a "wreck and reef" tour. Here's a picture of Cayman's Cali Shipwreck snorkel site, less than 50 yards from shore. You can easily swim to it in about 30 seconds—a minute tops, if you are not a strong swimmer. The Cali Wreck lies in about 20-30 feet of water with a very easy entry/exit cove. Besides the wreck itself, there are an abundance of fish and interesting marine life in and around the wreckage. The surrounding cove area is an interesting snorkel site in itself, with lots of interesting critters in and around the rock formations that comprise the shoreline. This is one of the best beginner reef/wreck snorkel sites on Grand Cayman and it is absolutely free and accessible to the public, as are all of the beaches in the Cayman Islands, commencing from the vegetation line.
More Cali Wreck Snorkeling Information

smith cove photo grand cayman snorkel site

Smith Cove, located less than 2 miles east of George Town is one of Grand Cayman's most popular snorkel sites. The primary reef structure is loacted between 50 and 100 yards from shore at 40-60 feet, making that area more suitable for diving. However, the area in and around the rocky cove is only 10-20 feet deep, which makes it ideal for snorkeling. The rocky cove structure creates many interesting formations and even shallow swim throughs, in addition to a large variety of fish, corals and many forms of marine life. Smith Cove offers a picnic table, fresh water and portable bathroom facilities all free to the public.
More Smith Cove Snorkel Information

Cayman Islands Snorkel Guide

More Cayman Islands Snorkel Information


Basic beginner snorkel instructions:

One of the most important things for a beginning snorkeler is to become comfortable with breathing through the mouth through a snorkel while wearing a mask.

It is common for first time snorkelers to feel varying levels of apprehension and experience some difficulty coordinating breathing through a snorkel while wearing a mask. Always become comfortable with your equipment in shallow water—no deeper than 3 feet before venturing out to explore the reefs.

Stand in shallow water and start by putting your face just below the surface and looking through the mask. Most beginners are amazed at what can be seen even in shallow water in the Cayman Islands so your first experiences should be both comfortable and rewarding.

Clearing the snorkel is an essential skill, as waves often splash water into the open end of a snorkel. Even the best masks can often leak to some extent, especially for people with facial hair. Most professional divers shave their moustache about half way between the nose and upper lip, to provide an airtight seal for the mask to minimize leakage.

Clearing your snorkel is very easy to do by simply exhaling with a strong blast of air through your mouth to force out any water.  Some snorkel designs include one way and drainage valves, minimizing the intake of water and facilitating clearing.

Clearing your mask is a matter of displacing water with air. There are several methods taught by various certifying agencies but the easiest and most effective way of clearing your mask is to tilt your head back about 30 degrees and while pushing gently with two fingers just below your eyes, exhale gently through your nose. A little practice in shallow water will make mask clearing experts out of almost everyone, with many people using some variation of the technique described.

Once you become comfortable practicing in shallow water it’s time to don you fins and start exploring the reefs and really enjoying the beauty of Cayman’s underwater world. Enter the water with your buddy with mask and snorkel on, carrying your fins in one hand and holding your buddy’s hand or wrist with the other. Snorkeling—like diving, is very much a buddy sport and not something to do on your own, under any circumstances.

When you reach about three feet of water, stop and using your buddy for support, don one fin at a time by bending your leg at the knee across your other leg. Once you have both fins on, assist your buddy in the same manner.

Once fully outfitted, lie face down in the water and completely relax. You will quickly discover that it is impossible to sink in saltwater. Once you come to this realization it will serve to alleviate any apprehension that may besiege you during any part of your Cayman snorkeling experience; you must always remember that you can simply rest on the surface any time you become fatigued, stressed or simply want to take a few minutes to relax. Over 90% of snorkeling accidents occur when panicked divers flail about and actually force themselves below the surface. Note that this is not the case in fresh water, where most people will have a tendency to sink, as the density of fresh water is less than that of saltwater. The physics notwithstanding, you can easily test this for yourself by comparing the differences of your buoyancy characteristics between a freshwater pool and the ocean.

Once you are completely comfortable in shallow water it’s time to journey out to Cayman’s spectacular reefs. Start with a basic scissor or flutter kick and experiment with different kick strokes until you find the one that best suits your individual physiology. It is good practice to change kicks throughout your snorkel or dive to avoid the overuse of any specific leg muscles in particular. As you kick, use a slow, comfortable pace and remember to keep your fins submerged in the water. Roughly twenty kicks per minute should provide an adequate speed without triggering fatigue. Breaking the surface with your fins requires more energy thus decreasing the efficiency of your kicks; also try to keep your arms at your sides swimming to reduce drag.
Another common kick is the dolphin kick, where both legs sweep up and down simultaneously.  It may take somewhat longer to become comfortable with this kick but is a very efficient means of underwater propulsion when properly executed.
As you become more confident practice diving below the surface. There are two basic methods of beginning your descent: feet first and head first, with the former being somewhat easier for most people.

The feet first maneuver involves lying flat on the surface and raising your upper torso above the surface by kicking. As your body weight starts to pull you down into the water, raise your arms above your head while sweeping them upward as you push yourself down. Because you are positively buoyant (tend to float) in saltwater, exhaling a bit of air from your lungs will decrease your buoyancy and facilitate your descent. Now pull your knees into your chest as you lower your head; this will shift your position to comfortably swim underwater in much the same position as you do on the surface.

The head-first dive is more common among experienced divers and probably a maneuver that you should strive to achieve. Forward inertia will significantly increase the effectiveness of this approach; put another way, you want to begin with a ‘running’ (swimming) start. Then simply bend at the hips in one graceful maneuver and raise your legs towards the sky, establishing as straight and vertical a position as possible. Once your fins clear the surface, you can easily kick to your desired depth and arch your back to straighten your body and maintain depth. Start at very shallow depths and gradually increase commensurate to your confidence and ability.

The amount of time you can remain underwater depends entirely on how long you can hold your breath. Never fight the resistance to surface because of some exciting sea creature; you can always go back down after a breath and see it again. You can increase your time underwater by expanding your lungs by taking three (and no more) deep breaths prior to descending. As you descend and throughout your dive slowly release the air from your lungs by slowly blowing tiny bubbles or by emitting a soft humming sound. Whatever works best for you, the objective is to very slowly release air throughout the course of your dive; this will also prove to be a handy practice to have grown accustomed to should you decide to pursue SCUBA diving.

If you or any part(s) of you become fatigued, sore or cramped while snorkeling, simply lay motionless on your face or back and relax. If you experience cramps in your legs, try back floating on the surface and just kick enough to maintain whatever comfort level you desire above the surface. You can also ‘sit’ on the water while gently treading your feet.

There has never been any convincing evidence published to add credence to the old adage about not eating before swimming. In fact, most studies show that as your body requires nourishment to produce energy, it would actually be beneficial to eat a light healthy meal prior to embarking upon your snorkeling adventures.

Upon reaching the surface, keep your face down—this should position your snorkel vertically if you have it mounted correctly—and quickly exhale a final blast of air to clear your snorkel. At first, most beginners will want to lift their head completely out of the water and breathe directly through their mouths; there is nothing wrong with doing this at first if it makes you feel comfortable but try work towards the goal of not having to lift your head out of the water every time you surface. As you gain experience, you will notice even the slightest amount of water in your snorkel and instinctively exhale to blow it out. Like anything else, the amount of satisfaction you derive from this sport will be directly commensurate to the amount of effort you put into perfecting it.

Equipment maintenance is an important practice, whether your gear is rented or owned. Always rinse your gear in fresh water and keep it out of the sun when you are not using it. Inspect your mask, fins and snorkel for salt crystals, which will dry and harden, eventually causing scratches and eventually holes and leaks.

Sometimes the inside surface of your mask may start to fog. This occurs when the 02 in your breath condenses on the colder clear surface of the mask. Minimize mask fogging by always thoroughly scrubbing a new mask with toothpaste and a fine brush—a toothbrush works just fine. After 2-3 dives your new mask will be worn in enough that no further scrubbing should be required. Before each dive it’s a good practice to rinse your mask in fresh water if it is available and either spit in it or use a few drops of mask defogger, available at any dive shop. To let you in on a little secret, most commercial mask defoggers are nothing more than a mild soap—such as baby shampoo or mild dishwashing liquid detergent—and water. You can easily make your own, adjusting the ratios and soap products until you achieve whatever works best for you.

More Snorkel Information:
Cayman Snorkel Sites | Snorkel Site Map | Book Your Cayman Snorkel Tours Now and SAVE!

As you venture out to deeper water, be mindful of currents and keep a watchful eye on your point of entry. Darker areas below the surface usually denote the presence of a reef, sometimes only several feet below the surface. Here you will find myriad species of colorful fish including: snapper, angelfish, tang, barracuda, damselfish, trumpet fish and parrot fish. Take three deep breaths (and no more), holding the third breath and dive down for a closer look at the fascinating creatures below. DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING! There are many fish and corals which deliver a painful (and sometimes toxic) sting; also, the reef is an extremely delicate entity which can be easily destroyed by contact.

Excellent snorkeling can be enjoyed in the waters off virtually any resort or condo’ on Seven Mile Beach. Other popular spots include: Cemetery Beach, Public Beach, Wreck of the Cali , Smith Cove, Eden Rock, and Devil’s Grotto. Refer to our dive site map to easily locate these and other popular snorkeling locations.

Visit our message board at where you will find pictures, photos, reviews, directions, tips, maps, reports and all the inside information on the very best snorkel sites in the Cayman Islands. It takes only a few seconds to register and it's absolutely free.

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Cayman Islands Popular Shore Diving Dive Site Locations :

Eden Rock - Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Clouds of sergeant majors and yellowtails surrounding snorkellers feeding them; this has become the trademark of Eden Rock, a popular snorkel site found just south of George Town, Grand Cayman's main port and centre of commerce. Stairs cut in the ironshore allow easy access to the water. Meander out over the shallows until you find yourself hovering over a mass of huge coral heads connected by tunnels and caves. A dive shop on the shore provides rental gear and instruction as needed. If you continue to the south, you will find other great sites such as Devil's Grotto, a unique extension of Eden Rock. Devil's Grotto features the same massive, hulking coral heads with even more open chimneys and swim-throughs. Sprawling out along the shoreline (to the west) off these sites is a spur and groove formation of coral peaks and gullies leading out to the edge of the wall. This is segmented into reefs named after the resorts sitting on the shoreline. You will find Parrot's Reef, Seaview Reef and Sunset Reef. Each resort gives you gear rental, instruction and guidance.

Wreck of the Calie
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Shore Access
The Cali was a four-masted schooner sunk just outside the harbour north of George Town in 1944. 220 feet long, she had been converted to diesel engines, the remnants of which are now spread across the bottom along with her hull. Declared a hazard to navigation, she was blown up shortly after her sinking. Her depth is a maximum of 24 feet at the sand, rising 10 feet off the bottom at places. You will recognize winches, boilers, hull plates and ribs nicely encrusted with sponges and corals. Shore access is excellent and the swim is just 75 yards. Watch for the resident population of Tarpon. Wreck of the Gamma The Gamma is an old freighter that has been sitting just off the shore north of the Cali for decades. Her hull is half exposed and half submerged and presents a striking view. Shore access is easy from a protected rough sand/crushed coral cove. She sits immediately offshore. Depths barely reach 10 feet. Many varieties of fish shelter under the stern while schools of silversides inhabit the interior. One snorkeller has even sighted a 300-pound jewfish. The ship's location is easy to find: walk to the shoreline just north of town and you can sight her. The entry cove is slightly north of the wreck.

Turtle Reef
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Shore and Boat Access
Cayman Islands famous Turtle Reef was rated the number 1 shore dive in the Caribbean by diving magazine in 2010. Just north of the Turtle farm lies Turtle Reef. Snorkellers can access it through the shore facilities. Weather and sea conditions being equal, Turtle Reef is easily one of the best shore diving and snorkeling sites in Grand Cayman.

Cemetery Beach Reef
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Shore Access
This patch reef is located near the north end of Seven Mile Beach off a waterfront cemetery. The entrance is from a lovely sand beach leading to that strikingly transparent turquoise water for which the Cayman Islands are so justly famed. The reef itself is a long, narrow patch reef in less than 10 feet of water. You will find some elkhorn corals on the crown of this reef. The big attraction is the fish. Bring some food; make some friends. It's a bit of a swim, about 100 yards, and there is an occasional current, so be aware and cautious. All in all, an unforgettable snorkel site.

Coral Gardens
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Shore and Boat Access
This shallow reef line is located on the i nside of the barrier reef off the North Sound. Less than 10 feet to the bottom, she is known not so much for her reef structure as she is for her fish and invertebrate population. The coral itself is host to a multitude of small creatures clinging to her. Above this are masses of fish such as grunts, yellowtails and sergeant majors along with many other visitors. This site is further offshore and can only be explored by booking with one of the many boats who visit there. Watch for the semi-resident green-sea turtle; it often pays snorkellers a visit.

Stingray City Sandbar and Stingray City
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Boat Access
These two sites have become justly world-famous for the unusual interaction between Southern Stingrays and humans. For years, Stingrays have dined on the castoff portions of fish as local fishermen cleaned their catch and tossed the remnants overboard. Local divers discovered this community, developed it, and today, this gathering of rays (ranging from small to some four-feet across) accepts food and strokes alike from snorkellers, all in complete safety. Sandbar is a pure-white sand ridge in just 3 feet of water off the North Sound, boat access only. You can literally stand and feed the rays from your hand. Stingray City reflects interaction in 12 feet of water. This is an extraordinary, not-to-be-missed adventure!

Wreck of the Geneva - Kathleen
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Shore and Boat Access
The Geneva Kathleen - a two-masted, wooden-hulled, 200-foot plus schooner - met her demise on Grand Cayman's east end during a raging hurricane in 1929. It pushed her hard onto and then over the shallow barrier reef protecting the Cayman shore. Her remains sit there now in just seven feet of water, her iron winches and bollards encrusted by soft and hard corals. Enter via a protected beach (ask local dive shops for directions to the beach and the wreck) and snorkel right along the shoreline. A trail of artifacts will gradually lead to her grave just inside the reef. Currents here can sometimes be quite strong, but more often than not, it is very calm.

Smith's Cove
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Shore and Boat Access
Located on the south side of Grand Cayman, Smith's Cove is a beautiful, protected limestone cove. The site features a white, sandy bottom with lovely coral head formations and small tropical fish. It is accessible from shore where there is a lovely picnic area for your pre- or post-snorkelling lunch.

Morritt's Tortuga
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Shore and Boat Access
You can snorkel right off the dock at Tortuga located on the eastern end of Grand Cayman. It is a shallow area with coral formations, sea fans and schooling fish. Rum Point Club Offers another convenient snorkelling site where you explore right off the shoreline or the dock. You'll find coral formations and coral heads, schooling fish and a sandy bottom.

Sunset Reef
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Shore and Boat Access
East Sunset Reef is a nice shallow reef area offshore but accessible by boat. Frequently used as a scuba training area, it features massive coral heads reaching from a twenty-foot bottom to the very surface (and beyond on a low tide). Shallower areas display a garden of sea rods, sea whips and such. Generally good visibility.

Half Moon Bay
Grand Cayman Dive Site and Snorkel Site
Shore and Boat Access
This small, semi-circular bay features an exposed, limestone bottom pock-marked with holes, small ledges and other topographical features perfect for hiding little critters. This is its attraction, not magnificent coral heads, but fascinating smaller fish and invertebrates. Watch for crabs, shrimp, eels, sparkling tropical fish and more. Very shallow with an easy entrance.

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