Grand Cayman

30 Best Snorkeling Spots In Grand Cayman

The best daytime snorkel spot in Grand Cayman is undoubtedly The Barrier Reef, located on the north side of North Sound. However, for an enchanting nocturnal adventure, the Bioluminescence at Bio Bay is the ultimate nighttime snorkel experience in Grand Cayman.

While the island boasts various snorkeling locations like Eden Rock, Spotts Beach, Governor’s Beach, and Turtle Reef, none compare to the mesmerizing underwater beauty found at The Barrier Reef.

Whether you are spending nights in West Bay, East End, Seven Mile Beach, or George Town, I have gathered thirty of the best underwater spots for snorkeling around Grand Cayaman and their unique offerings.

In case you’re in a hurry, here are my top recommendations:

  Underwater spots Why do I recommend
1. Stingray City     Interact with friendly stingrays in shallow water.
2. Coral Gardens  Vibrant coral formations and marine life
3. Eden Rock  Beautiful coral reefs and underwater caves
4. Devil’s Grotto  Intriguing underwater limestone formations
5. Smith Cove    Calm waters and a picturesque shoreline
6. Cemetery Beach  Peaceful location with good visibility
7. Spotts Beach Chance to see wild sea turtles
8. Governor’s Beach  Quiet and relaxing environment
9. Rum Point   Calm waters and a sandy bottom
10. Starfish Point  A unique spot to see red cushion sea stars in their habitat
11. Cemetery Reef   Vibrant coral reef with diverse marine life
12. Cheeseburger Reef features several underwater sculptures for divers and snorkelers to enjoy.
13. Wreck of the Cali Sunken shipwreck to explore
14. Wreck of the Gamma Another shipwreck site with an exciting history
15. Turtle Reef  Great chance to encounter sea turtles
16. East End Lagoon     Calm waters and various fish species
17. Colliers Public Beach Quiet and peaceful snorkeling spot
18. Old Man Bay Secluded spot with clear waters and marine life
19. Macabuca         Offers a wall dive and abundant marine biodiversity.
20. Lighthouse Point  Nothing extra, just unique underwater topography and marine species.
21. Sunset House  Convenient access to an artificial reef for snorkeling.
22. Water Cay  The pristine beach and shallow snorkeling area
23. Frank Sound  Quiet area with seagrass beds that attract marine life.
24. Morritt’s Tortuga Club Features a reef and the wreck of a DC-3 airplane for exploration.
25. Barefoot Beach  Clear waters and a peaceful ambiance
26. Cemetary Wall   Vertical wall dive
27. Babylon  Rich and unique coral structures along the reef.
28. Aquarium           Gentle water conditions are ideal for families and beginners.
29. Christmas Tree Point                       Underwater pinnacles 
30. Bioluminescent Bay Thousands of bright sparkles in front of your mask at night.

Now let’s look at each of these spots to help you determine where you should go snorkeling next:

1. Stingray City    

Location: 25 miles off the shore of Grand Cayman

Contact: Website, Instagram

Stingray City is the most popular snorkeling option in Grand Cayman. To access this underwater spot, you must sign up for a Stingray City snorkel tour with a boat charter. It comprises the shallow sandbars off the coast of North Sound.

2. Coral Gardens

Location: North Sound, Grand Cayman

Visuals: Instagram 

Coral Gardens is an area of coral heads in North Sound, near Stingray City. And it’s only accessible by boat. So, you need to sign up for a snorkeling tour package. Meanwhile, the waters here have a very high density of coral heads. This means you can see lots of fish. Some tourists even say they encounter wild turtles and lobsters.

2. Eden Rock

Location: 124 S. Church St., George Town

Visuals: Instagram 

Eden Rock is a few steps from the cruise ship terminal in Goerge Town. It’s one of the best off-beach snorkeling spots with a perfect central location. You can see butterflyfish, sergeant majors, parrotfish, and barracudas. You can even see nurse sharks between the rocks.

3. Devil’s Grotto

Devil’s Grotto is known as a dive site. But it’s famous for having schooling fish and huge tarpon around!

You’ll have to go from Eden Rock and swim left to about 165 feet (50 meters) from the shore, where you see the caverns, to get to this underwater spot. It’s a deeper reef with incredible visibility and astonishing coral formations, canyons, and swim-throughs.

4. Smith Cove

Location: S. Church St., George Town, Cayman Islands

Visuals:  Instagram 

You will find a lot of locals around Smith Cove Beach. Besides being an underwater spot, people come here to watch the beautiful sunset. I particularly love the small sandy beach between the rock formations.

5. Cemetery Beach

Cemetery Beach in Grand Cayman is an excellent spot for snorkeling due to its calm and clear waters, abundant marine life, and vibrant coral reefs. The lack of strong currents and easy access from the shore make it ideal for beginners and experienced snorkelers to enjoy the underwater beauty.

6. Spotts Beach

Location: on the south side of Grand Cayman (about a 20-minute drive east from George Town)

Visuals: Instagram 

Spotts Beach offers clear, calm waters perfect for observing marine life like colorful fish and sea turtles. What makes Spotts Beach unique is its frequent sea turtle sightings. Take a taxi or drive south from George Town along Shamrock Road to get there.

7. Governor’s Beach

Location: A few miles from the harbor before reaching Seven Mile Beach (next to the Governor’s residence).

Visuals: Instagram 

What makes Governor’s Beach unique is its proximity to the Governor’s Residence, adding a touch of historical charm to your snorkeling experience. To snorkel here, bring your gear and enter the water from the beach.

8. Rum Point

Location: North side of Grand Cayman (a one-hour drive from Seven Mile Beach)

Visuals: Instagram

Rum Point is on the less-developed side of the island. Apart from the snorkeling experience, there are many options for a relaxing place with an authentic Caribbean-style restaurant.

I recommend you snorkel to the right wing of the pier to see the most excellent corals, especially around the barrier reef, and interesting marine life, including various fish and sea stars.

9. Starfish Point

Location: Water Cay Road, North Side.

Visuals: Instagram,

The tricky part of the starfish point is locating it. While it’s a popular area on Grand Cayman, you must turn left at the Rum Point sign and drive on Water Cay Road to locate Parking here is free. It’s close to an hour’s drive from Seven Mile Beach.

The water here is clear, and you can take pictures of the marine creatures from the water. But I recommend you only observe.

11. Cheeseburger Reef

Location: 7JV8+GFG, Seafarers Way, George Town, Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

If you need a snorkeling experience for kids, the Cheeseburger Reef at George Town is the best stop. It’s also a popular location with about 2–15 ft (0.5–4.5 m) of deep water and small fish around where you can see nice coral heads.

12. Wreck of the Cali

Location: 65 N. Church St., George Town, Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

The Wreck of the Cali was the center of attraction for snorkelers in George Town, Grand Cayman. However, it fell within a specific unsafe zone for divers and snorkelers, so the port authority had to restrict it.

Fortunately, alternatives like Wreck of the Gamma also present an opportunity to snorkel at a shipwreck.

13. Wreck of the Gamma

Location: The very southern end of Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman (a 20-minute walk from the cruise ship port in George Town)

Visuals: Instagram

The Wreck of the Gamma is a historic shipwreck near Seven Mile Beach. It offers a unique snorkeling experience due to the wreck’s intriguing marine life and the opportunity to explore the remnants of the sunken vessel.

The best part is that it’s easily accessible, So expect to see many beginners and experienced snorkelers here.

14. Turtle Reef

Location: 9HMM+576, Vixville Dr., West Bay, Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

Turtle Reef is located off the northwest coast known for its abundance of sea turtles. You can come across these gentle creatures up close in their natural habitat. The reef’s vibrant corals and diverse marine life enhance the snorkeling experience.

15. East End Lagoon

Location: On the east side of Grand Cayman Island

This secluded lagoon on the eastern side of Grand Cayman provides a calm and peaceful snorkeling environment.

Its sheltered waters are ideal if you’re a beginner or looking for a tranquil snorkeling session. The lagoon boasts various colorful corals, small fish, and occasional sightings of rays and reef sharks.

16. Colliers Public Beach

Location: Austin Conolly Dr., Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

While not as famous as some other spots, Colliers Public Beach offers fantastic snorkeling opportunities. Its proximity to the northern wall makes it an excellent location to view larger marine species, including groupers, eagle rays, and even the occasional passing dolphin or whale.

17. Old Man Bay

Location: North Side, Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

Located on the northern coast, Old Man Bay is known for its crystal-clear waters and fascinating underwater topography.

You can explore intricate coral formations and swim among various fish species. I also love the condos and caves in this location. Truly fascinating.

18. Macabuca

Location: 857 N. W. Point Rd., West Bay, Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

Macabuca is a shore-entry snorkel site near West Bay. It’s unique due to its combination of stunning coral reefs and underwater caves.

Here, you can glide over colorful corals and venture into the caves, where you may spot lobsters and other fascinating creatures hiding in the crevices.

19. Lighthouse Point

Location: 571 North West Point Road, Grand Cayman, KY1, 1301, Cayman Islands

Lighthouse Point is situated on the island’s northeastern tip and offers dramatic underwater drop-offs that attract many marine life.

The strong currents here may require some snorkeling experience, but the reward is breathtaking encounters with large schools of fish and chances to spot pelagic species.

20. Sunset House

Location: 390 S. Church St., George Town, KY1-1106, Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

This popular hotel and dive resort features a pristine house reef easily accessible from the shore.

The reef’s proximity makes it a convenient spot to witness an array of colorful corals, fish, and possibly even a friendly encounter with a resident sea turtle.

21. Water Cay

Location: nearby Browse Land and Driftwood Village

Accessible only by boat, Water Cay offers a secluded and unspoiled snorkeling experience. Its isolated location has preserved the vibrant coral reefs and marine life, making it an ideal spot if you are particular about a serene and untouched underwater adventure.

22. Frank Sound

Location: Nearby is the village of Old Isaacs and the locality of Mastic Trail.

Frank Sound is a unique snorkeling destination due to its extensive seagrass beds and mangroves.

Although not as visually striking as coral reefs, these habitats serve as vital nurseries for many marine species. So you can still observe juvenile fish, rays, and other marine creatures.

24. Morritt’s Tortuga Club

Location: 1 Queens Highway, Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

This resort has a beautiful shoreline with an easily accessible snorkeling site. The calm waters and gentle marine life make it perfect for beginners and families.

You can explore a healthy coral reef, home to colorful fish and fascinating invertebrates.

25. Barefoot Beach

Location: Queen’s Highway, Cayman Islands

As the name suggests, this secluded beach offers a laid-back atmosphere and excellent snorkeling opportunities.

The shallow waters boast an array of corals and fish, including parrotfish and sergeant majors, making it an excellent spot for leisurely snorkeling and relaxation.

26. Cemetery Wall

Location: on the northern end of a seven-mile beach at the cemetery.

Not far from the Seven Mile Beach area, Cemetery Wall offers a fascinating snorkeling experience with its steep underwater drop-off.

The fun thing here is that you can explore the deeper waters and encounter more significant marine life, such as rays and reef sharks, while enjoying excellent visibility.

27. Babylon

Location: 657 Old Robin Road, Grand Cayman, KY1, 1202, Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

In the southern part of Grand Cayman, Babylon is famous for its vibrant coral formations, teeming with marine life.

If you come here, expect to encounter schools of colorful fish and possibly spot larger species like nurse sharks.

28. Auarium

Location: About a half-mile off the northern end of Rum Point

Visuals: Instagram 

Situated near the southern shore, the Aquarium is a shallow reef with abundant marine life, resembling an underwater aquarium.

The easy accessibility and calm waters make it an ideal location, no matter how experienced you are. It offers an up-close experience.

29. Christmas Tree Point

Location: 195 Old Crewe Rd., George Town, Cayman Islands

Located off the northeastern shore, the site’s healthy corals and resident marine species create a mesmerizing snorkeling experience.

30. Bioluminescent Bay

Location: Sand Point Rd., Cayman Islands

Visuals: Instagram

Mentioning Bioluminescent Bay finally on this list is a save-the-best-for-last situation because this is arguably the best snorkeling experience in Grand Cayman, especially if you are comfortable snorkeling at night.

This artificial bay has physical features that trap dinoflagellate plankton. Millions of these single-celled plankton give off light when disturbed in the water at night, causing bioluminescence.

With this reaction, you get to see thousands of bright sparkles underwater.

Do You Have To Be Experienced To Snorkel In Grand Cayman?

You don’t necessarily have to be skilled or experienced before snorkeling at any underwater spots in Grand Cayman. However, the essential ability to swim is required. You also need to rent snorkel gear.

If you’re in Seven Mile Beach, rent this gear from Divers Supply. Eden Rock Diving Center also offers snorkeling gear rental services in George Town.

If it’s your first time, don’t snorkel alone and stay close to the shore. Remember not to touch the coral. It can damage the reef and sting you.

The Best Snorkeling Tours in Grand Cayman

Now that you know the best snorkeling spots in Grand Cayman, it can also help if you book a tour in advance with some of the best tour teams on the island.

These companies offer private boat charter trips, and their packages include snorkeling at the fascinating marine life area in Grand Cayman.

Here are my top recommendations:

Snorkelling Tour Description  Price
Frank’s Watersports Snorkel tour to Stingray City (The Sandbar) $672 to $840
Ocean Frontiers Explore the protected coral lagoon without another boat. Great for families. Check-in: East End. $45
Sea Elements Guided Mangrove Kayak and Snorkel Tours Adults: $32, Children 2–10 years: $24.
Ambassador divers Three-Stop Stingray City Snorkel Tour $42

 

Final thoughts

I’ve lived in Grand Cayman for two years and’m familiar with snorkeling. If you haven’t made a trip to Sting Ray City, I recommend doing that with a small boat charter tour with at least two snorkeling stops.

You can use any of the tour packages I listed above. The crowd is always minimal for these options. If you genuinely want to enjoy the experience, avoid the cruise ship charters; they look very crowded.

If you don’t want to snorkel with a charter boat, take a taxi to Cemetary Reef and go right off the beach.

It’s gorgeous and full of marine life.

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