TESTUDO'S SNORKEL GUIDE Cayman Off the Beaten Path
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Here is the basis for a snorkeling guide to Little Cayman which I hope to one day have the time to publish.  I have included pictures and commentary as meta data in most of the POI icons.  Hopefully it will be enough to help you find your way exploring the incredible snorkeling off Little Cayman.

GC in Dec/Jan

Hi Testudo, We are planning to visit GC in December/January (3 kids - 9/8/15) for the first time. How is the water temperature/condition for snorkeling/swimming at that time? Which area of the island would you recommend for us to stay (I want to stay with Hotels)? Thanks.

Hi ff_lover,

If you want to stay at a proper hotel the most lodging choices will along the Seven Mile Beach area.  This is also the hub of the tourist centered activities.  The down side is the snorkeling is not the best the island has to offer, but it is probably fine for kids of your ages.  The water conditions are usually best here that time of year as well.  Places near snorkeling are the Marriott with their artificial reef, the Westin or Sunshine Suites which are near Governors reef.  Comfort Suite and Grand Cayman Beach Suites are close to these locations as well.  Better snorkeling can be found in George Town at Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto, Wreck of the Cali and Cheeseburger Reef; also on the northern end of the beach at Cemetery Beach.  These spots are a short drive or mini-bus ride away.  Cemetery beach is a long walk, but certainly reachable from any where along SMB.



Can you tell me about more recent conditions at Barefoot Beach. I saw some stuff about trash that washed ashore. Is this common or is it a "once in a while" kind of thing. Thanks... Bob Dennard AKA Kokomo Man

Haven’t been to Barefoot in awhile, so can’t say what the deposited trash on the beach situation is like.  The amount or lack of trash depends on what has washed up from Hispaniola and if a cleaning crew has recently visited (not a common occurrence in the less visited areas like barefoot).  While the beach can be hit or miss from a trash accumulation perspective, the good news is that it rarely affects the snorkeling.



Are the starfish located in the waters of Grand Cayman poisonous to humans?

The common species of starfish found around Cayman is the Oreaster reticulatus, commonly known as the red cushion sea star or the West Indian sea star.  It is not regarded as being poisonous to humans; though I wish it were, so folks would not handle them and take them out of the water.  It is more likely the case of humans being poisonous to the Sea Stars.


I've just discovered your site, Testudo. Thanks very much for sharing your insights! My family will be visiting the island on a cruise ship for one day only, and would love to find a snorkel place accessible from the cruise terminal in Georgetown. Somewhere we can just get in from the shore, without having to pay those high excursion rates! Some of us will need equipment rental as well. A bonus would be a beach location or area where we could relax afterward as well. Any suggestions?

Eden Rock, right in the port area is the best snorkeling from shore in the Seven Mile Beach area.  No beach, but easy to get to, free unless you need to rent gear, near downtown so lots of eating and drinking options within walking distance.

Governor’s Beach is a short taxi or minibus ride from port.  Great beach and near the Westin for refreshments.  A small patch reef is just offshore that while coral is pretty beat up, still has a great amount of marine life.

Cemetery Beach is a bit further up West Bay Road and provides another fantastic beach with a bit better snorkeling than Governors, but further from shore to see any live coral.  Not much in the way of amenities, but there are a few beach bars a 10-15 minute walk down the beach, back towards port.

Heading to Ritz on GC on Sat. 071914 for a week. Have a 6yr old. any place close to the resort for a beach entrance reef to take him for his first snorkel tour?

A walk down to the Marriott might be your best best.  There are artificial reef balls placed just off shore that should be great for an intro to snorkeling for a youngster.  Plenty of fish, calm and shallow water close to shore.

Hi Testudo, First off thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us all. Choosing both Grand Cayman and Sea Lodges as our vacation spot was mostly due to the information gathered here. My question is: Where is a good ( and safe) place to snorkel with a receding or at low tide? Thanks again!!

My sincere pleasure.  Tides, including the season tides (Spring and Neap), usually do not present much difference in the way of ability to snorkel a location or not.  The only spot I recommend absolutely visiting at a high-tide is North Side Wonderland, else you risk hitting corals.  Barefoot Beach and Queen’s Monument are also better at High Tide for similar, but less pronounced reasons.    

Tides can play a factor when swimming to and from the North Side Barrier Reef in terms of swimming with or against on the way out and/or in.  So if not a strong swimmer, keep that in mind.

Viva Snorkel!