Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are the smaller sister islands to Grand Cayman, which make up the country called the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Sea. Cayman Brac is the larger of the two, at around 12 miles long; Little Cayman is only 10 miles long. Cayman Brac lies 90 miles to the northeast of Grand Cayman and 5 miles east of Little Cayman.
Little Cayman is the quietest island of the two, with a population of around 150 people. It is an idyllic island where visitors enjoy the undeveloped natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere. Little Cayman is home to a nature tourism project - pristine wetlands and heritage sites are marked out and there are good bird watching facilities. There is a designated RAMSAR wetland of international importance area for the red-footed booby.
Cayman Brac is home to 1800 residents and has a selection of land and water activities suitable for everyone to take part in - an interesting museum, stunning caves, and nature trails are sure to keep you busy. The most prominent feature of Cayman Brac is the bluff - a 140 foot high limestone outcropping that runs along the east of the island - and there is a good hiking trail to follow.
Both islands have around 50 dive sites each, which is plenty for a stand-alone vacation or if you are splitting your time between the islands. Shallow shore diving is available, but do not miss out on the boat dives that visit the world-class walls that these islands are famed for. Collectively, the three islands have 365 dive sites - one for every day of the year!
The islands enjoy a tropical year-round climate, with the months of May-August being the warmest, when water temperature reaches 29 Celsius. December-February is the coolest time of year, although the water temperature is still at a comfortable 27 Celsius. Average air temperatures range from 27-32 Celsius in the warm season and 23-28 Celsius in the colder months. A short or long 3mm wetsuit is adequate thermal protection when scuba diving. June-November is classed as hurricane season in this region.
Cayman Brac has spectacular shallow, wall, and wreck diving. By far the most well known site on this island is the wreck of Russian frigate 356 - MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts. Snorkelers, novice divers and the more experienced will enjoy this vibrant wreck as she sits in just 60-85 feet of water, rising up to within 30 feet of the surface. Boasting over 100 species of recorded marine life, it is a good dive for macro photographers too. Sunk in 1996, it is one of the few Russian wrecks that can be dived in the western hemisphere, and Jacques Cousteau famously "rode" her as she was sunk. Sections can be penetrated along the immense 330-foot vessel, but only by trained divers. Goliath grouper, permits, and ocean triggerfish are some of the more unusual large fish that can be seen.
East Shute/Cayman Mariner is another popular wreck dive on Brac. Sunk in 1986, the sponge-covered wreck now attracts turtles, eels, and schools of barracuda. In addition, there is a breath-taking wall further out along the sand chute, where assortments of sponges are prolific in their growth. Starting at 45 feet, the chute disappears down into the abyss.
Cayman Brac has around 20 stunning wall dives. Wilderness Wall, in the south, is a pristine site with seriously huge sponges and healthy corals. Canyons, crevices, and pinnacles add even more interest to this plunging wall that begins at 50 feet and drops to unknown depths. Schools of horse-eye jacks, turtles, stingrays, and Nassau grouper are frequent visitors. The chance of seeing pelagic fish is reasonable at this site. As well as the deeper walls, there are 18 shallower sites that are as beautiful and interesting for novice divers. Don't miss Treasure Trove, Gillembo, and Tombstone.
Little Cayman is rated as one of the top places to dive in the world by many well-known magazines, marine biologists, and scuba diving experts. The visibility is exceptionally clear - making it perfect for photography and marine life identification. The famous Bloody Bay Marine Park is home to an amazing wall that dramatically drops to 6000 feet. The most mind-blowing dives (such as Great Wall West, Great Wall East, and Ringer's Wall) are located along Bloody Bay Wall. Teeming with life, these sites will never fail to please!
A highly recommended dive site is Mixing Bowl (3 Fathom Wall); it combines the best of the Bloody Bay Wall with the Jackson Bay Bight. The stunning vertical wall proceeds into broken up sandy sections that attract turtles, stingrays, and a multitude of colourful Caribbean reef fish. Fun swim-throughs can be found along this section.
Cumbers Caves is another exciting site full of swim-throughs that start in the sandy area and pop out onto the sheer wall at 80-100 feet. Eagle rays, stingrays, garden eels and angelfish are a common sight.
The dive operators on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are of high quality with a great attitude towards customer service and providing a great experience. There are two PADI resorts/centers on Cayman Brac and four on Little Cayman. Shore diving, guided boat diving, and snorkeling tours are available. The dive resorts cater to all levels of diver certification, and PADI courses are offered up to Divemaster level across the islands. Nitrox is available at most resorts. Night diving is great on both islands - it is best to book before traveling so you don't miss out. Technical and rebreather diving is supported - once again, check that they can accommodate all of your needs before traveling.
Award-winning Reef Divers at Cayman Brac comes highly recommended, with an unbeatable valet service and international team. Their five Newton dive boats are spacious; limited numbers are allowed for customer comfort. Nitrox is available, as well as retail and rental equipment. They are affiliated with SSI, PADI, and TDI - offering technical diving as well as recreational. Based at the beautiful Brac Reef Beach Resort in the west end, this dive resort has great reviews.
Brac Scuba Shack is a PADI Dive Center run by an experienced diving family. They focus on smaller groups for a personal and top-notch valet service. Brac Scuba Shack has two boats - a spacious Newton for comfortable dive trips, and a faster outboard-powered boat for fishing charters and Little Cayman excursions. They offer the full range of PADI courses from beginner to Divemaster, with the option of taking a wide array of specialty courses. They pay great attention to detail and safety, and support shore diving too. Flexible and friendly, you will have a brilliant time diving with them.
Reef Divers on Little Cayman is a PADI 5 Star Dive Resort offering PADI certification courses from Discover Scuba to Divemaster. Their fun international team provides an exceptionally good valet service for divers and guests. Based at Little Cayman Beach Resort, they have four well-kept custom Newton dive boats for diving, snorkel trips, and fishing charters. Nitrox facilities, kayaking and paddle boarding is also available.
Southern Cross Club on Little Cayman is a luxury beach resort with a dedicated PADI operation on site. Catering to small groups, they offer upscale services for guided diving trips and PADI certification courses. Two tank morning dives, afternoon, dusk, and night dives are offered - nitrox is available. The two custom dive boats take a maximum of 12 guests each, ensuring high quality instruction and super service. A full service fishing facility is available too.
Cayman Express and Cayman Airways offer inter-island flights between Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. Between the two companies there are a total of five flights per day to the smaller sister islands. Once on the islands, taxis and buses are available.
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I came in on a cruise ship and was limited on time. I had read a number of positive reviews online about the shore diving just outside this shop. I was not disappointed. I did a guided tour with Amy. She was very friendly and was very accommodating. The dive was top notch.
Cayman Brac has spectacular shallow, wall, and wreck diving. By far the most well known site on this island is the wreck of Russian frigate 356 - MV Capt. Keith Tibbetts. Snorkelers, novice divers and...
The dive operators on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are of high quality with a great attitude towards customer service and providing a great experience. There are two PADI resorts/centers on Cayman Br...
The perfect way for a kid to learn to scuba dive is to first master swimming then snorkeling. Grand Cayman Island's George Town shore offers some of the best snorkeling I have ever experienced to learn to snorkel out into calm, clear waters. The memory of the Cayman Islands from my childhood is still fresh.
Diving in the Cayman Islands is among the best in the world! Living here, you sometimes take the excellent conditions for granted: excellent wall diving, superb shore exploration, visibility that can reach 30 meters/100 feet, colorful reefs, and a dive infrastructure that will take all stress away.