Away from crowds, No tourist stuff, Relaxing, Peaceful.

Spacious and comfortable cottage duplexes on the sand at Southern Cross Club- our own resort.

Great Diving. Great people. Sunset cruise with sundowners, Biking to visit tithe iguanas and bird sanctuary.

Great Diving. Great people, Great food. Fishes of the Day videos during Happy Hour, Dinner under the stars beside the pool Every Night, Great Diving, Great Friends.

Turkey Day dinner will all the trimmings!

Great Diving, Great people, Perfect vacation, Great Memories.

— Martha Lance, Founding Member since 2005.

Little Cayman

Destination Review: Little Cayman Island Diving

First Thoughts on Little Cayman Island

The Cayman Islands in the central Caribbean have been known as a SCUBA diving mecca for decades. We too, enjoy diving there but prefer the quiet of Little Cayman to the bustle of Grand Cayman’s cruise ships and Taco Bells. Bloody Bay Wall on the windward side of the island provides the best diving in all of the islands and some of the best in the entire Caribbean – with a spectacular drop off to over 3000 ft. This is TRUE wall diving and not a long boat ride from your beachfront lodging.

Why We Think Little Cayman Rocks or Doesn’t

Because its old school Caribbean there are no 3000 passenger cruise ships or time share developments, everybody on the island still knows each other, you don’t have to lock anything, the vibe is super laid back, the reefs are in great shape and the fish populations are healthy.

Things that Rock

  • great old school Caribbean feel
  • leave the doors unlocked
  • no traffic, ride bikes
  • huge walls and healthy reefs
  • it’s a government protected marine reserve
  • Cayman Islands are easy to get to
  • Usually excellent visibility
  • great place to put your toes in the sand

Things that Don’t

  • very limited shopping, restaurants, night life (if those things are important to you)
  • island hopping flights limited on luggage, not uncommon for bags to get left behind
  • not much to do other than chilling out bring a good book
  • no pelagics, like most of Caribbean

The Diving

Most of the diving is done along Bloody Bay Wall which has numerous excellent sites. The water is warm, the visibility excellent and the diving generally easy ‘unless a storm is blowing through. It hasn’t been fished out like much of the Caribbean although there is a notable absence of pelagic life on such a dramatic and deep wall. Staying on Little Cayman also puts you within striking distance of Cayman Brac and the great wreck dive there. Take one day of diving and do it. This works out better than staying on Cayman Brac and coming to Little Cayman for one day of diving Bloody Bay Wall as the diving on Little Cayman is generally better than the diving on Cayman Brac.

Some of our favorite Little Cayman Island SCUBA diving sites include:

Bloody Bay Wall- All of the dive sites along this incredible wall are outstanding. Just start at one end and hit them all. Resorts are on the leeward side of the island so it’s usually just twenty minutes or so to the moorings which are on the windward side.
The Keith Tibbetts- This Russian frigate was sunk in 1996 as a deliberate dive site on the north side of Cayman Brac and can be accessed from Little Cayman. It sits in 50-100 feet of water with plenty of aquatic life to keep you occupied! It’s a bit of a run from Little Cayman but a fun change of pace.

Our Favorite Things to Do Out of the Water

We believe in Surf and Turf checking out the best of underwater AND on land. It just so happens that most of the worlds best SCUBA diving destinations have other amazing things going for them in addition to kick ass diving. Don’t miss it.

  • Visit the Red Footed Booby Reserve. A 206 acre UNESCO World heritage site, this is the largest breeding ground in the western hemisphere. Other birds such as the magnificent Frigate Bird, Egrets, Herons, West Indian Whistling Ducks, and Black-necked Stilts also reside here. There is an observation deck and three scopes for viewing.
  • Kayak or Swim to Owen Island. It’s quiet and peaceful way to get away from the quiet and peacefulness of the island, ha!
  • Rent a Bike– Little Cayman is just 10 miles by 1 mile so you can’t bike too far but it’s the best speed at which to see the island and cruise around.
  • Catch Up on all Those Books You’ve Been Wanting to Readnuff said.
  • Meet the Locals. Population 150….this shouldn’t take long but can result in great stories!

Little Cayman Seasonality

Little Cayman enjoys the same seasonality as most of the Caribbean and is definitely located inside the hurricane belt. We had to postpone a November trip one year due to the damage from Hurricane Ivan. The resort emailed, ‘We seem to be missing four bungalows and one of our dive boats. Could you kindly re-schedule? December-February can bring windy and choppy conditions. Summer is usually calm but hot and rainy season in early fall. June 1 to Nov. 1 is officially hurricane season and generally they arrive later within this window.

Overall

Scuba diving the Cayman Islands is one of our favorite Caribbean destinations reefs are healthy, the walls are dramatic, visibility is good and the diving is generally easy. There are more than enough sites to keep you busy for a week or more of diving. Little Cayman has a great, laid back vibe. If relaxation is in your game plan, it’s hard to go wrong here as it’s pretty much the thing to do. Don’t expect a lot of entertainment, nightlife or shopping it’s not here. It is a great place to come with some great friends or meet some new ones.

Sharkman and Mantagirl give Little Cayman

Two Fins UP

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Interested in traveling to Little Cayman?  We are here to help by sharing our global expertise.  Create your own personalized diving adventure by requesting a risk free quote.  It’s easy and there’s no obligation.  Or, if you already know what you want, you can make a reservation.Request a Free Quote or Make a Reservation

Or, join us on a Guided Diving Adventure.

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Adventure

The adventure life comes in just a few styles on quiet Little Cayman! Some of our favorite things to do in the Cayman Islands include:

  1. Visit the Red Footed Booby Reserve. A 206 acre UNESCO World heritage site, this is the largest breeding ground in the western hemisphere. Other birds such as the magnificent Frigate Bird, Egrets, Herons, West Indian Whistling Ducks, and Black-necked Stilts also reside here. There is an observation deck and three scopes for viewing.
  2. Kayak or Swim to Owen Island. It’s quiet and peaceful way to get away from the quiet and peacefulness of the island, ha!
  3. Rent a Bike-The island is just 10 miles by 1 mile so you can’t bike too far but it’s the best speed at which to see the island.
  4. Check out the stores!Right. This is a small island so options are limited!
  5. Hermit Crab Races- Are we stretching it here????? Yes, diving and relaxing are the main attractions on Little Cayman.
  6. Meet the Locals.Population 150….this shouldn’t take long but can result in great stories!
  7. Dive Dive Dive

Getting There

Getting to Little Cayman is quite easy as is most of the Caribbean. You just get yourself to a hub city like Miami, Atlanta, Newark or Charlotte and hop on down. Let’s take a look.

Your destination airport will be Grand Cayman (GCM) then Cayman Airways to Little Cayman (LYB)

  1. Fly to hub city (see below)
  2. Fly to Grand Cayman
  3. Fly to Little Cayman

And you guessed it….to get your non-stop flight to Grand Cayman with continuing service on Cayman Airways to Little Cayman, get to:

  • Delta- Atlanta
  • United/US Air – Charlotte, NC
  • American Airlines – Miami
  • Continental – Newark

Don’t forget that ARDUOUS 4 minute ride from the airport in Little Cayman to your hotel. Don’t worry, no stoplights….just watch out for the iguanas in the road!

When you think of scuba diving in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands is inevitably one of the first places that comes to mind. But somehow I don’t equate good diving with an island that has a Taco Bell, it’s rather strange…..so while the diving on Grand Cayman is certainly nice, I tend to go a little further afield and make the extra hop to Little Cayman Island for both great Caribbean diving as well as solitude from KFC. My resort of choice on Little Cayman is Southern Cross Club.

From http://www.southerncrossclub.com

The casually sophisticated Southern Cross Club, Fish & Dive Resort is Little Cayman’s oldest original resort, offering a top-rated, professional in-house diving and fishing operation. The Southern Cross Club property has an untraditional layout featuring 12 spacious ocean-view beachfront bungalows.

Little Cayman continues to be one of the least developed, safest, and easily accessible tropical islands in the western hemisphere. The lure of the island, besides its seclusion, is in its wide variety of marine life, the proximity of its dramatic, warm water, and pristine natural barrier reefs. Diving Little
Cayman’s Bloody Bay Wall is a journey into one of the healthiest, accessible reef
environments in the world, and a Mecca for divers everywhere.

Along with diving, Southern Cross Club’s beach-based location provides flats
fisherman with access to Bonefish and Permit just minutes from the resort. Many of
our guests are repeat customers who have become friends, and who often describe
Southern Cross Club’s environment as “barefoot luxury.”

Overall Feel of Southern Cross Club

The Caribbean as it was….that’s my best descriptor for the island which still boasts a population of just 100. It’s a place where the iguanas mosey on down the street and you’re more likely to have to look out for bicycles than cars. The atmosphere of the resort equally reflects that of the island. It’s a resort that still maintains an honor bar and where the management still comes out to join us for happy hour. It’s truly a toes in the sand kind of place.

Resort Spec Highlights

  1. 900 feet of white sand
  2. Only 12 bungalows
  3. Great food!
  4. Free use of bikes/kayaks and snorkel gear
  5. Awesome hammocks
  6. Swimming pool
  7. Sand volleyball court
  8. Relaxing atmosphere

Beach

Southern Cross Club (SCC) has a beautiful beach, no doubt about it. The Cayman Islands in general have beautiful beaches and this one is no exception. The bungalows are right in the sand and just a few steps to the water so if you are looking for that Caribbean beach thing here it is.

Snorkeling

Inside the reef near the shore there really isn’t much to snorkel on but if you hop on a dive boat most of the dives start in shallow water on the Bloody Bay Wall side of the island and the snorkeling is beautiful there. It takes about 20 minutes or so to get to the dive sites on the windward side of the island. On the leeward side where the resort is, the dive sites are only so so and therefore so is the snorkeling.

Bars and Restaurants

There is only one restaurant and one bar at the resort which is fine. It’s such a small resort that it would be silly to have more. The food is very very good here at Southern Cross Club. We had a group there over Thanksgiving one year and they cooked up an AMAZING American Thanksgiving meal with ALL the trimmings. It totally rocked! This is NOT a place where you will swim off your calories for sure. And while there is only one restaurant there are actually a couple of different places to eat including outside or inside the main building or on the screened side porch.

If you want a little variety, there is another restaurant down the street, but I’ve never made it there! However, your meals are included in your package price so there’s no deciding what you want to eat based on cost or worrying about your food bill at the end of the week.

On Friday nights the Club puts on a huge BBQ spread at the end of the dock. This is a weekly ritual that is not only looked forward to by the guests but by many of the local islanders who come out to join in the fun!

The bar, as I mentioned, is an honor bar until late in the afternoon when the bartender comes in for the evening. Again, you have a choice of inside or outside for the bar. Inside there is a TV over the bar for watching videos or checking out the photos you shot that day.

The main clubhouse is light and airy with typical bright colored Caribbean style rattan furniture and is a very comfortable place to meet and hang out. Just outside the main clubhouse and bar is a dining deck complete with tiki torches overlooking the freshwater swimming pool.

Spa

There is currently no spa at the resort but it is so laid back and relaxing here that you probably don’t even need one!

Accommodations

As I said there are 12 bungalows and a few of them are new as of 2007 just after Hurricane Ivan ripped through taking a few bungalows and a dive boat with it.

The older bungalows are one story duplex style units. They are very comfortable and within a very short walk to the main club building. All the units have air conditioning and are fairly large.

The newer bungalows are two story, brightly colored and have a very open and airy feel to them as well as nice balconies. They are quite beautiful and some even have outdoor showers. These are definitely my accommodation of choice. There is a small surcharge for these rooms and it is worth the price for sure.

At the east end of the property there is a new stand alone private honeymoon bungalow, the only non-duplex unit. I have not seen this unit yet.

Overall

If you want that Caribbean blue, white sand feeling with the smell of salt and mangroves in the air, come on down to Southern Cross Club. It’s definitely a stress free vacation. You will need to take that extra hop on Cayman Airlines and the possibility of your luggage arriving home a few days later than you (It took us two weeks to get our luggage home last trip – there simply wasn’t room on the little plane and it just sat in the airport office). But I think it’s worth it! If you want nightlife stay on Grand Cayman.

Southern Cross Club Dive Operation

Bloody Bay Wall on the windward side of Little Cayman is one of the great dive destinations of the Caribbean. And fortunately it is still great diving. While so much of the coral across the Caribbean has taken a beating, the reefs on Little Cayman are still healthy.

Facility

The dive facility is small at SCC which is fine and makes the whole process of diving easy. It’s a two minute walk out to the end of the dock where there is a gear room. And if you forget anything, it’s ….well…a two minute walk back to get it! As with most dive operations these days, they will set up, break down and rinse your gear each day and have it waiting on the boat. Diving just doesn’t get any easier than this!

The Boats

The resort has two dive boats that each hold up to twelve divers. It’s an easy giant stride off the stern to get in and a large sturdy ladder to re-board after your dive. Since the dive sites are no more than about 20 minutes away, you are there in no time. They provide fruit snacks in between the two tank dives.

The Dive Operation

A dive operation is only as good as the people who run it. And one of the biggest complaints I read about in our industry is the attitude of divemasters. I had this experience on my last trip to Southern Cross Club where one divemaster’s poor attitude had an effect on the experience. Fortunately the wonderful couple who were running the resort at the time realized this and the divemaster was let go immediately. When you run any operation, but especially a small one, you have to have the people with the right attitude, as well as the skills of course, to run it. I was very happy to see the issue quickly resolved and I wouldn’t hesitate to return.

Being a 22 year veteran of dive instruction and divemastering, I know that DM turn around is high. Divemasters want to travel and dive the world as much as anyone so you can never count on a DM to be there when you return. However, some operations are better than others are creating a good atmosphere for their people and therefore produce happy staff who stick around.

Beyond the divemaster issue, everything in the dive program runs smoothly. The boats are in good working order, left on time and they chose the best dive sites for the condition of the water.

Safety and Environment

Diving is such big business in the Cayman islands that all dive boats stay current on regulations and safety and have the prerequisite gear on board. The people of the islands also understand that their economy is based on keeping the dive environment healthy so dive operators use care as well as moorings to keep their reefs healthy and happy.

Overall

Overall, there is not anything truly exceptional about the Southern Cross Club dive operation. It works well and safely and easily which is enough to recommend it and I would say that you get exactly what you expect. The overall feel of the resort makes me want to keep coming back and for Caribbean diving, it’s still sits in a class with the best.