Cayman properties offer spring, summer dive specials

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman -- Diving is never far from the surface in the Cayman Islands.

Several smaller properties that cater to the dive crowd are offering spring and summer specials.

Cayman Brac, 90 miles northeast of Grand Cayman and an hour by air, has wall diving off both the north and south shores.

The sloping northern wall features a variety of sponge and marine life.

The southern wall is topped by corals, with sheer drop-offs and plenty of tunnels and grottoes.

Smaller properties with dive programs include:

  • Beacon Harbor, within walking distance of Stake Bay, has diving and snorkeling from shore.
  • A 20% discount is available through Aug. 30, which reduces the six-night rate to $1,035, double.

    Call (956) 544-4396 or visit www.beaconharbor.com for details.

  • Discounted rates, valid through April 30 at Walton's Mango Manor, include daily breakfast and snorkeling gear.
  • To book, call (345) 948-0518 or visit www.waltonsmangomanor.com.

    Grand Cayman's 150 dive sites line the four shores of the island.

    The most popular dive region is found off Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman's West End, where the drop-off starts in 50 feet of water.

    Most sites are within 15 minutes of the major resorts and range from shallow coral grottoes to sheer walls and coral archways.

    Although Grand Cayman's East End is exposed to more wind, surf and current than the West End, divers will view dramatic coral formations, dolphins and rays.

    Dive shops in Grand Cayman offer occasional trips to the North Wall, which starts in 70 feet of water and is lined with pinnacles topped by black corals.

    The exposed South Wall is visited only when weather makes it unsafe to dive elsewhere.

    The best diving is found in the deep coral formations.

    Properties with dive specials include the following:

  • In June and July, the 59-room Sunset House offers free certification courses for children between ages 10 and 14 when their parents get certified.
  • Four-night rates from Aug. 15 through October start at $499 per person, double, and include two-tank boat dives, unlimited shore diving, daily breakfasts and transfers.

    To book, call (877) 854-3230. The Web site is www.sunsethouse.com.

  • The 115-room Sleep Inn Hotel is located on Seven Mile Beach, a 15-minute walk from George Town.
  • Rates start at $99 per person, per night, double, from April 1 to Dec. 21 and include a two-tank dive and breakfast.

    To book, call (800) SLEEP-INN or visit www.caymaninnandresort.com.

    Little Cayman, nine miles west of Cayman Brac, has 100 full-time residents, few telephones and one main industry -- diving.

    Bloody Bay and Jackson Walls on the north shore start in waters as shallow as 20 feet. The slope changes dramatically where the two walls meet.

  • Paradise Divers/Paradise Villas offers six-night plans with daily diving from from $1,039 per person, double.
  • To book, call (877) 3-CAYMAN.

    The Web site is www.paradisevillas.com.

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