Snorkeling in the Cayman Islands
We have the fortune of living on an island, world renowned for the beauty of its colorful coral reefs and the abundance and diversity of marine life. We’ll take you to our hidden snorkel spots where you can dive into the warm crystal waters and explore the flurry of activity up close. Our crew have an abundance of knowledge about all things living underwater and love sharing it with guests, so be sure to ask plenty of questions! We provide all the gear you need; snorkels, masks, fins and snorkel vests.
Where can you snorkel on a boat charter with us?
Our Coral Reef stretches all along the North, East and South side of the island. It separates the open Caribbean Sea from the shallow waters of the North Sound. This shallow body of water is sheltered by this magnificent reef that protects our snorkel areas from large rolling waves, making the waters much calmer for us in the bay.
Coral Gardens is a located in various locations about 200 yards south of the coral reef. If seeing tropical fish is your thing, this is the place for you! Coral Gardens is home to huge variety of tropical fish and sometimes you’ll find a resident green moray eel hanging out below. This is a great option for young kids as we can back the boat right up to the coral heads which are only in 8-10ft of water. This means you can start enjoying the company of hundreds of fish the second you hit the water!
Rum Point Reef
The clarity of Rum Point Reef is usually excellent since it is at the point of water exchange from the open sea. Here you will find what appears to be large boulders, but are in fact large coral colonies teeming with life.
Stingray City Deep
Stingray City Deep is a great alternative to Stingray City Sandbar and sits in about 12-14ft waters. Here you’ll usually see 3-4 stingrays hanging out for a free meal along with a huge variety of reef fish and coral heads. This is a popular spot for scuba divers and snorkelers alike.
What species might we see when snorkeling Cayman Islands?
Green Sea Turtle and Hawksbill Turtles
Sea Turtles are cold-blooded creatures and have an unbelievably long life span. When the temperatures and the length of day begins to increase in the summer, the mating season begins. This is due to the likelihood of incubation temperatures rising hence leading to the determination of hatching. Cooler temperatures produce males while warmer temperatures produce a female. Hence, adults ought to lay eggs at the right time for them to produce either male or female. Interestingly, turtles thrive in water, yet they lay the eggs on the land. Amazingly, after vagabonding for thousands of miles, these turtles go back to the very same beaches they took their very first steps!
The spiny lobster is the most common lobster observed in our marine parks. When they are maturing, they move from the inshore nursery habitats towards the offshore reefs. They have two large antennae laden with sharp points that they use for defence and fighting. They also have two minor antennules which are the sensory organs that detect chemicals and help with movements in the water. One thing that makes the spiny Lobsters unique is that they have teeth in the stomach!
The French angelfish changes in colour as it ages. A very young French angelfish is dark brown or black in colour with five yellow bar strips that bend across the head and body. Upon aging, the adult French Angelfish is black with a yellow pectoral fin and around the eyes. The face is light blue and a white chin around the mouth and chin. It has a spine on the gill cover. The males defend their territory, which has a posse of 2-5 females and he offers courtship displays and cuddles the female at times. What a lovely little fish!
The Barracuda is a saltwater fish that is known for its large size and fierce looking appearance! There are various species of barracuda found in subtropical and tropical oceans worldwide that range from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. Barracudas thrive near the top of the water near coral reefs where food is plentiful!
Green Moray and Spotted Moray Eels
Moray eels are predators. Their jaw structure is different from other predators in that they have razor sharp teeth that go in both directions. The teeth are double set and they have a hidden internal jaw known as the pharyngeal jaw. When feeding, they use the outer jaws to grip and the smaller jaw shoots forward and bites its prey to pull it in. That’s right… just like the ‘Alien’ movies!
Spotted Eagle Rays
Eagle rays are spotted just like the human fingerprints, where every spotted eagle ray has a completely unique pattern of spots from one another. The female eagle rays are bigger than the males and usually have a wingspan of about 4-5ft. The female retains their eggs and they hatch internally, surviving off the yolk ac until live birth. They have triangular corners at the wing-like pectoral fins, and a distinctive looking snout which they use to dig in to the sand in search of food. Unlike other rays, Eagle Ray can have as many as 4 – 6 venomous barbs on its tail!
Parrotfish are unique because of the arrangement of their teeth. They have up to 1000 teeth that align themselves in front of the mouth, which gives them the beak-like look, similar to that of a parrot. They use these teeth to graze on the polyps that are found on corals. The skeletal structure of these corals is calcium carbonate, a.k.a limestone. So essentially, they poop out sand! It is thought that a large parrotfish can poop up to 800 lbs a year! This is the reason we have such beautiful white sand beaches. Thanks guys!
The Stonefish looks the same as its name suggests. The scorpion fish’s mossy appearance helps it blend in to its surroundings perfectly. These bottom-dwelling fish rest, unmoving, waiting patiently for the perfect time to strike at a passing fish. Their dorsal fin spines are extremely venomous and given how difficult it is to see them, it doesn’t hurt to be careful when walking around on rocks in the water!
The scrawled filefish is also known as the scribbled filefish. A filefish sometimes floats vertically to blend into the coral whips and sea grass. Majority of species of the filefish can change colour in order to match the environment and have very secretive nature. One interesting fact is that their skin is so rough, fishermen back in the day used to use their skin to light matchsticks!
Peacock flounders are also known as the flowery flounder because of the superficially bluish spots that appear flowery. Their eyes are located on the top side as they are always found resting on the sea bed. They are masters of disguise on a sandy sea bed and can move in any direction, unlike other fish that can only swim forward. This feature provides flounders with wide ranges of view since one eye can look forward and the other looks behind.
Lionfish are a beautiful and majestic looking fish with a destructive nature. Lionfish are an invasive species to the Caribbean and can cause havoc to coral reef ecosystems if not kept in check. This can be difficult as they can lay up to 30,000 eggs as frequently as every 4 days! With no natural predators, lionfish can easily overpopulate coral reefs, which desecrates local coral fish populations. So if you see Lionfish on the menu, be sure to try it! One recommendation we have to try this fish is at Vivo Restaurant
Southern Atlantic Stingray
These are the friendly rays you’ll encounter at Stingray City. You’ll learn more about these amazing animals on our Stingray City Page
Nassau Grouper and Goliath Grouper
Some species of grouper have been known to grow to unbelievable sizes. Such as the Goliath Grouper that can reach a length of 8ft or weigh 800 lbs! Groupers are a predatory fish which are fast when they strike and create a suction suction powerful enough to inhale their prey. You’ll often see them hovering at a ‘cleaning station’ amongst the coral, waiting patiently with their mouths open to allow small crustaceans to move throughout their gills and give them a good clean!