The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, is comprised of three beautiful islands located off of the western Caribbean Sea. These Caribbean islands include Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. All three islands were formed by submerged ice peaks covered by oversized coral heads. The largest, Grand Cayman, has an area of 76 sq mi while its “Sister Islands”, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, have areas of 11 and 14.7 sq mi respectively. To reach the Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, you can travel by direct flight from most major US cities. You will need to travel by daily inter-island flights to reach Little Cayman.
On May 10, 1503, Christopher Columbus set sailed along his final voyage to the New World. With intents to sail to Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic), the wind blew his ship off course towards small yet distinct islands that were inhabited by thousands of turtles. As a result, he coined the name “Las Tortugas”, presently known as Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. In 1523, a map was drawn illustrating all three islands with the name “Lagartos”, meaning alligators or large lizards. Within 7 years, the islands were renamed “Caimanas”- based on the Carib Indian term for crocodile; the name later evolved into Cayman Islands.
With its beautiful coral reefs, abundance of marine life, remarkable visibility, and an average water temperature around 26°C/78°F, the Cayman Islands is a paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers. Additionally, the Cayman Islands have 365 different named dive sites, so you’ll have a site to dive every day of the year. A majority of the dive sites are only accessible by boat that use an extensive system of mooring buoys to prevent damaging the reefs.
Photos taken by Chase Darnell in the Cayman Islands at the Kittiwake Wreck with a SeaLife DC2000
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three islands. Whether you’re looking to walk along the famous Seven Mile Beach, or you’re searching for exquisite fine dining, the Grand Cayman has something for everyone. Some popular activities attractions include Pirates Week, Batabano, and the National’s Trusts Mastic Trail.
Cayman Brac, also known as the “Brac”, is a charming island with lush green forests, amazing limestone caves, and preserved historic sites surrounded by exotic plants and birds. Cayman Brac’s clear, warm waters is a great environment for wall diving, shallow diving, and wreck diving for all levels.
Only ten miles long and one mile wide, Little Cayman is an unspoiled island getaway, perfect for those seeking seclusion and tranquility. Surrounded by warm beaches and untouched wilderness, you’ll find total relaxation and privacy here. Off of the island, there are over fifty dive sites ranging from shallow waters to deeper depths of the ocean where you’ll find a myriad of tropical fish, eagle rays, reef sharks, and more.