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Dive Review of Little Cayman Beach Resort in
Cayman Islands/Little Cayman Island

Little Cayman Beach Resort: "Comfort Diving: A Destination for the Not Too Adventurous", Apr, 2014,

by Terry Rudden, ON, CA ( 1 report with 2 Helpful votes). Report 8020 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Contributing a trip report on a mainstream dive destination like Little Cayman Island to Undercurrents feels a bit like submitting a recipe for tuna casserole to Gourmet Magazine. But let’s face it – while most of us love reading about that two berth live-aboard in Tierra Del Fuego staffed by New Orleans-trained chefs and operated by one of the lesser Cousteau offspring, we probably won’t be getting there in this lifetime. For those of us whose taste for the exotic is tempered by age, budget or inclination, Little Cayman provides a superb recreational dive holiday just a bit off the beaten track.

Getting There

We were a group of four friends, representing a collective total of seventy years of dive experience in Canada, the Caribbean, the Pacific Florida and the Eastern seaboard of the USA; 4,210 dives; two instructors and two experienced cave divers; and a total of 228 birthday candles.

Our travel was simple: a charter from Toronto, Canada to Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island; a two hour stopover that expanded, Caribbean style, to a four hour wait; and a final, 20-minute hop by Twin Otter to LCI, baggage and composure intact.

The island is completely flat, and tiny: it took as much time to load our luggage in the comfortable, air-conditioned van as it did to drive to the resort. We were checked in, unpacked, and sipping our first punches by the pool within fifteen minutes.
The Diving

We did eighteen dives over our week-long (two morning dives, one afternoon dive, and a night dive). The sites and dives tend to be similar - drop off in 15-30 feet over sand, hardpan or shallow coral; swim to seaward toward a wall, either across the reef or through one of the many easy and dramatic swim-throughs or channels; emerge onto the wall at depths between 40 and 120 feet; spend half the dive slowly ascending the wall in your choice of direction (there was virtually no current at any site); return to the mooring line across the reef head through rich coral or across sand; and deco over a coral head, often in the company of an amiable and photogenic group of squid.

Though the pattern of the dives is similar, each site has its own distinct features and attractions - there was no sense of repetition.
The coral, fish and critter life were in much better shape than any other Caribbean destination we've seen in the last twenty years - our usual annual destination is Bonaire, but Little Cayman is much healthier. All the the sites were swarming with juveniles, a good sign.

What did we see? Pretty much everything. Big stuff included spotted eagle and southern stingrays, black tip and nurse sharks, Goliath groupers, octopus and squid, barracuda, and the usual Caribbean range of grunts, tangs, wrasse - the whole manual. We're critter fans, and the sand and coral heads were bristling with tiny beasts, including seahorses, pipehorses, pipefish, crinoids, nudibranchs, and flapping dingbats (a first for me!). The photographers in the group were in heaven, and spent most their dives crouched in the sand, playing with their diopters.

The Dive Operation

Management and oversight of the dives was impeccable. On Day One we set up our gear, and remained with the same boat and crew for the week. It was my first exposure to what the resort called “Valet Diving”; at each site, the DMs seated us at the stern and carried our gear to us. If you did the math on the age distribution hint at the beginning of this report, you’ll understand why this was appreciated by some of us. It felt a little self-indulgent on the first day (aren't we supposed to be working a bit?), but we quickly learned to love it. From the crew’s perspective, it got everyone off the boat quickly, and provided the DMs with a quick and unobtrusive gear check opportunity.

There was always a DM in the water with the group; we had the option of following them for a guided dive or heading off on our own. We did both; on dives where we followed the DM, they were attentive but not intrusive, and pointed out a lot of small stuff we wouldn't have seen ourselves.

Our DMs for the week were Dottie and Warren: both excellent divers and good guides. Dottie's quirky and slightly acerbic sense of humour was delightful, and she is an amazing critter spotter: HIGHLY recommended for all photographers who want to get shots no-one else can find. Warren was helpful, funny and Irish - always a plus. They both shared one key DM attribute - they knew who and when to help and guide, and who preferred to go their own way. That's a rare gift, and greatly to their credit: the level of expertise in our group ranged from newbies to experienced instructors, but Dottie and Warren managed to keep everyone happy and provide a great experience for divers everywhere on the experience spectrum.

The one complaint shared by some of the older, more seasoned divers was the relatively strict enforcement of dive durations: the DMs insisted (nicely) that everyone be back on the boat with a few minutes of the scheduled time, regardless of air consumption. It was a bit annoying, but completely reasonable: with four large boats in the water and a 120 minute window for lunch, a little scheduling rigor seemed justified.

The night dive was excellent. Crew selected a site we had done during the day - hard pan sloping down to coral heads, then reef edge, then wall. Great viz, bright twin strobes on the boat, and everything you want to see on a night dive - octopus, huge lobster, shrimp and crabs galore, squid, and swarms of those mysterious little worms you can feed to the brain coral (which, though disconcerting at first, is WAY more fun than it sounds.) Again, the DM guided divers who wanted a guide: the rest of us were free to wander.

Air fills were good - never less than 2900. We chose to dive nitrox for the week because of the number of dives we were doing, and I was initially a bit put off by the $10/tank charge. The dive shop operator pointed out that the resort hadn't increased that charge for several years.

Dive shop staff were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable: they helped members of our foursome deal with a couple of small computer and regulator issues. Rinse tanks were always ready; lots of rack space to hang up equipment to dry. No lockers, but they weren't needed - the crew rinses your gear overnight.

Food and Drink

We're used to dive resorts and liveaboards that provide pretty basic fodder (food as fuel), unless the dive operation is run out of a bigger hotel (as in Cozumel or Curacao). For a small resort focused exclusively on diving, the LCBR provides a surprisingly varied and high quality buffet. There were never fewer than three main courses to choose from - usually one seafood, one chicken (Thai, jerk, and BBQ during our week) , and either beef (including an outstanding Boeuf Bourguignon) or pork. Salads were delicious, fresh and imaginative. As regards the desserts - you are advised to load your dessert plate when you get your main course, because they disappear very quickly (especially the consistently excellent chocolate confections). There was even a nightly cheese platter (in the Caribbean) that went beyond the usual cheddars and Swiss cheeses to Brie, Stilton and Goudas.

The bar is basic dive resort style - thatched, with bar stools and bar tables. We're old folks, and crashed most nights around 8 pm, so I can't speak to the social side of the bar scene; but the wait staff and bartenders were extremely friendly, efficient, and helpful. The beer and drinks menu are beach-bar standard; the wine selection - well, umm, it IS a dive resort, after all. Oenophiles may wish to bring their preferred tipple, or cultivate a taste for cheap chardonnay.

The Facility

We opted for an Ocean view room (well, actually, that was the last room available when we booked). It was clean, comfortable, and well equipped: coffee maker, hair dryer, minifridge, all the usual stuff. Cleaning was daily and thorough. The back step overlooked the ocean (hey, THAT'S what "ocean view" must mean) looking south, so we enjoyed tropical dawns, and sunsets, and of course, in the absence of big city lights, wonderful stars every night. We'd do Ocean View again.

Wifi in the room, at the bar and around the pool was free and reliable.

The Experience

This may become our fall-back dive trip of choice for those years when we don’t want to travel too far, spend too much, or plan too hard. It was an easy trip to a laid back, casual resort that restored the element of “vacation” to the phrase “dive vacation”. Great dives, great food, good accommodation, excellent service, easy to get to, and all at a reasonable cost.

Two minor cautionary notes.
- There really isn't much for non-divers to do. The pool is small, the beach is not particularly attractive, and television reception is poor. So if you're not diving, bring LOTS of books and your own entertainment.
- One member of our party had quite a number of no-see-um bites below the knee - no-one else had a problem. To be safe, bring repellent and after-bite.

But overall, this is one of the best mainstream dive operations and sites we've experienced, and we’ve already booked our first return next year.
Websites Little Cayman Beach Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Cuba, the St. Lawrence River, Palau, the Great Lakes, Bonaire, the Eastern US Seaboard, Truk Lagoon, Belize, St. Vincent, Yap, Mexico, Roatan, Tobermory, Hawaii, Grand Cayman, and multiple liveaboards.
Closest Airport Little Cayman Island Getting There Twin Otter from Grand Cayman

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp -°F / -°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60-120 Ft/ 18-37 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Depth limits (130 feet), and duration based on mealtimes.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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