grand cayman things to do

The USS Kittiwake is a must-hit for scuba divers visiting Grand Cayman. (Photo: Getty Images)

Grand Cayman

Hey, Salt Lifers! Find Good Times on the Water in Grand Cayman

Home to one of the Caribbean’s most powdery white sand beaches (that would be Seven Mile Beach) and surrounded by waters that oscillate somewhere between sapphire and turquoise, Grand Cayman is paradise for people who love the salt life.

Whether you’re up for snorkeling with sting rays, descending into a marine park aboard a real submarine or prefer to sip a cocktail on a post card perfect beach between dips in the sea, the island has you covered for good times on the water.

Snorkel Over the Wreck of the Kittiwake with Cayman Turtle Divers

Purpose-sunk in an upright position in the waters off the north side of Seven Mile Beach to create an artificial reef, the USS Kittiwake is a must-hit for scuba divers visiting Grand Cayman. The top portion of the former US Navy salvage and rescue ship lies just 15 feet beneath the water’s surface, which means snorkelers can enjoy the views, too, with no oxygen tank necessary.

The waters are usually so clear around the ship (visibility often extends beyond 100 feet) that you’ll most likely be able to see down the smoke stacks and peer at the ship’s hull and engine rooms. Cayman Turtle Divers makes regular dive trips to the wreck and snorkelers are also welcome to join the adventure.

Stingray City Sandbar Excursions with Red Sail Sports

Head out on a full-day excursion with Red Sail Sports to Rum Point Beach, a beautiful spit of sand on the north coast of Grand Cayman with crystalline waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The Mudslide (vodka, Kahlua and Baileys) may not have been invented onsite but it was perfected by Rum Point bartenders and is the go-to cocktail for swinging in a hammock here.

grand cayman things to do
Snorkel in chest-deep water among huge southern stingrays. (Photo: Getty Images)

Before you indulge, however, it’s off to Stingray City, a sandbar a few miles out to sea where you can snorkel in chest-deep water among huge southern stingrays drawn to the area by frozen squid snacks. Guides can help hold the rays in position so you can pose for that perfect Instagram shot.

The full-day trips include a Caribbean buffet lunch and the use of paddleboards and kayaks to explore the shallows around Rum Point.

Go Deep-Sea Sightseeing with Atlantis Submarines

You can dive even deeper into the waters off Grand Cayman when you board the 48-passenger Atlantis XI Submarine to descend 100 feet below the water’s surface into Grand Cayman’s underwater marine park.

The submarine was created with underwater sightseeing in mind, so you don’t have to worry about pressure affecting your ears (the cabin is pressurized as well as air-conditioned) as you go down.

Big windows let in coral reef views as you cruise close to huge barrel sponges and perhaps even spot sea turtles, stingrays and snappers patrolling the gin-clear waters. Keep in mind that children must be at least four years old and three feet tall to be welcomed onboard.

grand cayman things to do
Enjoy the salt life in Grand Cayman. (Photo: Getty Images)

Explore the Mangroves and Starfish Point on a Guided Waverunner Tour

Cayman Islands Boat Rentals offers 90-minute waverunner safari tours (with 60-minutes actually out on the water, after you’ve been briefed and practiced running the machines) through Grand Cayman’s lush mangrove environments that offer the perfect balance of exhilaration and relaxation.

The guided trips leave from North Sound Barcadere and cross North Sound to a calm bay where you’ll cruise through the mangrove environment and learn why the trees are so critical to the ecosystem.

A highlight comes when you stop at Starfish Point, where enormous Caribbean starfish dot the sand in clear, shallow waters and you can wade in to refresh or for a starfish selfie.

Go for a Sunset Sail Along Seven Mile Beach

There’s no shortage of island-style watering holes and restaurants on Grand Cayman where you can sidle up for sunset views.

grand cayman things to do
Celebrate the pastel shades of the setting sun while you sail. (Photo: Getty Images)

But there’s something extra special about heading out onto the water to celebrate the pastel shades of the setting sun during a sunset sail aboard a catamaran with Red Sail Sports.

Two-hour cruises are offered most evenings, with the option for “Happy Hour Sails” every Friday during which the tours depart after the sun sets but make the most of the afterglow with happy hour specials at the onboard bar.

Your chariot for soaking in the syrupy views is a 65-foot-long luxury catamaran. When the breezes are blowing just right, the crew might even hoist the sails to make the most of the wind.