10 Tips to maximize your scuba diving experience: Grand Cayman
If you are looking for great scuba diving, Grand Cayman is an easy choice. Here are 10 tips to make the best of your Grand Cayman vacation and experience all of the diving it has to offer.
Tip #1: Don’t be afraid to dive shop hop
There are lots of dive shops on Grand Cayman, and they don’t all serve the same site. Feel free to hop between different shops. It’s okay to have your favorite dive shop, but limiting yourself can lead you to miss out on what others have to offer. Another bonus tip is that the most reputable dive operators offer pickup service from all major resorts, making it easier to see what’s out there.
Tip #2: Make sure to visit these “don’t miss” dive sites
There are two iconic, world-class dive sites in Grand Cayman:
- The wreck of the USS Kittiwake
- The North Wall
These sites are so worth seeing, you might regret not visiting them for the rest of your days!
Tip #3: Consider your accommodation options
Of course, this has everything from 5-star hotels to bed and breakfasts, to guest houses. However, the most important factor in selection is what part of the island you want to base yourself in, as well as one that:
- Has a high concentration of dive shops
- Has plenty of nearby dive operators to choose from
You can always branch out from the area you stay in, but it’s always nice to have a solid foundation of dive shops, sites, and operators close by.
Tip #4: Don’t miss out on the shore diving
There isn’t a large amount of shore diving in Grand Cayman, but the shore diving that there is fantastic. Each shore diving site is accompanied by a dive operator where you can pick up your tanks and weights. What’s great about this is that you can reach some of the same reefs shore diving that you would otherwise have to take a boat out to. This allows you to stretch your dive budget and avoid paying more than you need to. In the meantime, check out our video on 7 tips for shore diving.
Tip #5: Dive gear buyer beware
While on the subject of dive budget, be aware that if you are buying equipment on Grand Cayman, prices are going to be higher than they are back home due to higher import taxes. Thankfully, rental gear is available most places that you will go.
Tip #6: Prepare for the depths
It’s important to be conscious of the fact that most boat dive trips in Grand Cayman are going to start with a deeper wall dive, usually around 70 to 90, or even 120 foot range. Before booking a boat dive, check with the operator. If you have junior open water divers or people who are scuba certified but not full open water certified, make sure the dive is appropriate for them.
Tip #7: Consider the seasons
- Thanksgiving through Easter is high season in Grand Cayman, meaning the island is busier. The wind is also typically stronger, meaning less dive sites are accessible
- From Easter through Thanksgiving, the weather is going to be hotter, there’s going to be less wind, and it’s going to be more humid on the island. However, the island is also going to be quieter, and more dive sites will be open.
Tip #8: Check regulations
The Cayman Islands Tourism Association strongly regulates scuba diving around the island, meaning that you’re most likely going to be safe with any choice you make. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your dive operator if any of the regulations in Grand Cayman apply to you
Example: There’s no solo diving anywhere in Grand Cayman, even if you have a solo diver certification.
Tip #9: Get your Nitrox certification
The best diving around the island is between 60 and 90 feet, which is the prime zone for nitrox to extend your no decompression time.
Tip #10: Make sure you are organized
The boat rides to the deep dive sites are usually pretty short, about 5 to 10 minutes. This is great if you don’t like boat rides or suffer from seasickness. It also means you need to be organized and have all of your gear ready to go. Otherwise, you’re going to arrive to the dive site unprepared and waste precious underwater time setting your gear up.
Got the travel bug? Check out our video about scuba diving in Bimini, the Bahamas.