There’s no question that people recognize Grand Cayman as a diving mecca, but Little Cayman, just 90 miles from its big-sister counterpart, seems to be solely dedicated to the sport. This 10-mile-long isle hasn’t changed much since it was first discovered in the 1500s. Casual island living is the draw — from the single grocery store to the handful of local hangouts like the Hungry Iguana and just four resorts (all dive-related) found along the single sandy street that circles the island. Cars are scarce as the transportation of choice is the bicycle, and instead of stoplights causing traffic backups, iguanas are usually the culprits.
Little Cayman Highlight
Pretty much every site along Bloody Bay Wall is camera-friendly. The clear, warm water and shallow depths at sites like the Meadows ensure longer bottom times to create those coveted sun-dappled shots.
But visitors here usually don’t spend much time on land. More than 80 percent of the year’s visitors come here to explore the dramatic drop-offs found at sites all along the famous protected marine park known as Bloody Bay Wall. Starting at 18 feet and descending down to the abyss more than 1,000 feet below, this mind-boggling natural wonder rates as one of the world’s top wall dives.
When it’s time to dry off, Little Cayman Beach Resort is where divers dine family-style on Cayman favorites such as conch fritters and fresh snapper at the Bird of Paradise Restaurant. And solo travelers need never feel out of place — if you haven’t already gotten to know your fellow divers on the boat, you will at dinner as underwater cameras are passed from table to table, and stories grow larger as the party gets going at nearby Beach Nuts Bar & Pool, just steps from the sand. — Tara Bradley
Travel Tip: Grab a bike and head for the Booby Pond Nature Reserve. From the viewing stands, you can see one of the largest breeding colonies of red-footed booby birds in the Caribbean.
When to Go: Year-round, but the rainy season runs from May to October. Hurricane season runs from June to November, and peaks in August and September.
Getting There: Cayman Airways offers the most nonstop flights to Grand Cayman (GCM), where you’ll connect on Cayman Airways Express to Little Cayman (LYB).
Dive Conditions: Water temperatures range from 78°F to 86°F, with 100-plus-foot visibility.
Operators/Accommodations: Cayman Beach Resort (www.littlecayman.com); Southern Cross Club (www.southerncrossclub.com); Aggressor (www.aggressor.com); Paradise Villas (www.paradisevillas.com).