Little Cayman:
Scuba Diving Trip Report 2018

This excellent Little Cayman Dive Trip report was written by one of our readers. All credit and thanks for the detailed info and pictures goes out to Tim Hooker. He did an excellent job catching all aspects of this trip from flights to hotel to, of course, the diving. Thanks Tim and enjoy the review everyone!

Little Cayman Island

Little Cayman is one of three islands comprising the Cayman Islands.

It is located approximately 150 miles south of Central Cuba in the Caribbean Sea.

Its sister island, Cayman Brac is approximately 5 miles Southeast and Grand Cayman is situated 69 miles Southwest.  

Little Cayman’s topography is relatively flat with the highest elevation being about +40 MSL.  Land mass is about 10 miles long with an average width of 1 mile.  

Little Cayman map

Most of the island is undeveloped with a current resident population of 200, and about 1,500 Lesser Cayman iguanas. The resort has its share roaming around for a photo op if the mood strikes.

Average temperatures range from mid 80 to 90 degrees F, with water temps ranging from 78 in winter to 86 in summer.

Water clarity varies from 75 to 150 feet depending on weather conditions. 

Little Cayman Iguana

The Island is situated on the Cayman trench which is the 3rd deepest place on earth, lending to the stunning vertical wall dives starting as shallow as 18 feet and reportedly plunging to 6,000 feet.

There is a Booby reserve that supports the largest red-footed booby population in the Caribbean, and who doesn’t like boobies?  

It is not a not heavily visited tourist destination. No cruise ships here!

You will get a few anglers, and a few lazy folks looking for lounging, maybe a snorkeler or two, but more typically all you will find is nitrogen absorbers like me seeking a few atmospheres of pressure over their heads to soak in the offerings of spectacular diving opportunities the Cayman’s have to offer.  

Getting To Little Cayman

Little Cayman Flight

Flights to the Caymans can be expensive, especially if booking through a major carrier. 

They tend to charge more because major airlines don’t service Little Cayman or Brac.

This requires you to either book a Cayman Airlines direct flight out of Miami, Tampa, or Houston, or take a major carrier to Grand Cayman and then hop over to the sister islands on Cayman Airlines.

I did some homework and decided to book direct to Miami, stay overnight at an airport hotel, and fly out the next morning on Cayman Airlines. This got us to Little Cayman early in the afternoon, and even with a Miami hotel stay we saved a bundle on overall flight cost. 

Flights typically have a quick stop on Brac or Grand Cayman before getting to LYB. Make sure you allow plenty of time for transfers to Little Cayman. Getting through customs can currently be a rather longish nightmare at Grand Cayman airport.

As they were last year, they are still undergoing new construction and very disorganized so be prepared for very long lines most of which are outside.

Leaving on a Saturday is just as bad as it was coming in on a Saturday as there was standing room only in the terminal waiting for flights out.

They seem to schedule everything at the same time and they just can’t handle the volume in the airport’s current state. Your best bet to avoid this is to stay away from weekend travel if at all possible.

Accommodations: Little Cayman Beach Resort

Little Cayman Beach Resort was our choice for the week and we were very happy with the entire experience. It is a small and compact resort bosting only 40 rooms.

The room was spacious enough for all of our essentials as well as plenty of plugs for all your charging needs. 

Little Cayman Beach Resort

Beds were a bit on the hard side, but when diving I can sleep almost anywhere.  The showers were always hot, and you can actually make the room too cold. I was impressed by that.  

There is Wifi available in each room but, at times can be spotty. Local cable TV had a mind blowing 9 channels, same as Brac, so this must be a Cayman wide service.

There is quaint outdoor bar near a small pool and hot tub where some form of entertainment is provided each night.

I had heard rumors about the restaurant before I got there and I have to agree they were mostly accurate as to the food being pretty darn good. A few items were questionable, but I would never complain with eggs benedict for breakfast, and lamb or fresh carved roast beef for dinner!

The staff, all the way around, were nothing short of excellent.  Everyone you met always had a smile, and was more than willing to go out of their way for you.

Little Cayman Beach Resort - rooms

Dive Operations

Reef Divers was the on-site dive operator with a full service dive shop.

There are several other options on the island, but Reef Divers has operations on all the Cayman Islands and we dove with them in Brac last year so we had an idea of what to expect; and we were not disappointed.

They boast valet diving which essentially means they do the brunt of the work for you and you hardly ever have to touch your gear.  

Little Cayman scuba diving boat

They currently have four Newton 42’ custom dive boats with another one on the way.  Their staff is well educated about each site and they produce very extensive and detailed dive briefings before each dive.

There are 58 moored sites on the island. 22 on the South side, and 36 on the North side in the Bloody Bay marine park area.

Because of the shear walls in the park, and the fact it is on the leeward side of the island, the majority of diving takes place on the North side.

Typical boat rides are 15 minutes through a natural barrier reef cut, and then around the tip of the island to the best sites.

Little Cayman scuba diving - reef

Boats leave around 8am for a two- tank dive and return around 12:30 for lunch, and then back out at 2pm for the third dive.

The only personal issue with me overall was their insistence of ending dives at 1,000 psi. 

Now they did do a great job at consistently filling tanks to 3100 psi, but taking a quick tour and ending up back under the boat for up to 15 minutes and expected to surface at 1000 psi was not what I am accustomed to as when I pay for a tank I like to burn it.

If they truly are “Valet” they should have no problem waiting for my safety stop at 500 psi like normal folks. I’m typically conservative with air but, coming up with an average of 1200 psi because I got bored under the boat is not cool; not to mention the fact that my wife’s tank was virtually full because her breathing is not human.  

Little Cayman scuba diving - shark

Regardless of that I came out of the water feeling satisfied on each dive but, in my opinion Reef Divers needs to reconsider that protocol. 

Our trip was the week of June 16th, 2018. Average ambient temperature was 85 degrees with 78% humidity with sea temperatures at 84 degrees.

Visibility averaged 80 feet with some areas well past 100 feet. We had rain one day that lasted about 30 minutes. Winds averaged 8-10 knots.

Seas on the south side were varied up to seven feet to relatively calm on the north side.

The reef is extremely healthy. Huge fans, hard and soft corals abound not to mention megalithic sized tubes and barrel sponges were quite impressive.

Marine life however, was somewhat disappointing with respect to schooling fish which were few and far between.

There were however, plenty of macro opportunities along with numerous spottings of groupers, angel fish, southern stingrays, turtles, and a few nurse sharks.

That being said we in no way were disappointed with the overall diving experience, and I would definitely mark this as a place for return. 

Little Cayman Scuba Diving Video

Tim also put together a great video of his dive trip. All I can say is I am jealous :) . Enjoy the video!


If you want more information on the Cayman Islands, you can find our write up on Grand Cayman here and our write up on Cayman Brac here.



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