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West Bay Beach

West Bay Beach (north end of Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman) – this beach (like the rest of “Seven Mile Beach”) faces the western side of Grand Cayman, which is popular for its tranquil, placid waters.  Its lack of strong tides makes this beach ideal for families with small children.  Hotels and condos can be found alongside this beach.  The beach hotels have bars and restaurants open to non-guests, and most of these hotels also have watersports kiosks where you can book parasailing and windsurfing excursions or rent snorkeling equipment.  Independent watersports outfits, including places to rent snorkeling gear, boats, windsurfers, WaveRunners, paddle cats (inflatable kayaks), and aqua trikes (floating tricycles), are also found here.

Stingray City

Stingray City (North Sound area, Grand Cayman) – a very popular offshore attraction in this part of the Caymans, the so-called “City” is really a shallow sandbar where visitors can interact with (and even feed) the Atlantic Stingrays that reside within these waters.  Along with this visit, tourists can always come across Stingray City during snorkeling outing, a scuba trip, or by (glass bottom) boat.  Such visitors have the option to sign up with a boat tour company to do so.

Where did “Stingray City” get its start?  The stingrays that live in this body of water began gathering there decades ago, when fisherman used to clean fish on the shallow sand bars.  The stingrays would forget their normally shy dispositions and feast on the guts of the cleaned fish.  Soon the stingrays began to associate the sound of a boat motor with food.  In the late 1980s, divers started feeding squid to the stingrays, one of their favorites.

Smith’s Cove

Smith’s Cove (South Sound, Grand Cayman) — Nestled in the suburban district of South Sound, this small coved beach is a world away from Seven Mile Beach.  Grape trees surround the sandy area, giving a nice bit of shade, while leaving enough sand for sun lovers.  The iron shore breaks to allow the sand to slope down to the inviting blue waters. Swimmers can head straight out and you will hit the larger reef (20-35 ft.) where you have more chance of seeing turtles, angelfish, barracuda, stingrays and barrel sponge.

Smith’s Cove is also a great spot to snorkel from and explore the outer reef 50-60 meters from shore.  During the week, Smith’s Cove can be close to empty, but things quickly change on the weekend as a favorite local spot.  For those snorkeling in shallow waters (4-8 ft), one can see elk horn coral, sea fans, parrot fish, blue tangs and many other fish (keep an eye out for the 3-4 ft long tarpon that come to Grand Old House for a feed each evening).

Sea Feather Bay

Sea Feather Bay (South Side Road, Cayman Brac) – this beach stands out because it’s the ideal location for escaping over-crowded hangouts in the town proper.  Many of the other beaches in the Cayman Islands may have the same warm sand and calming breezes as Sea Feather Bay Beach, but are usually more cramped since they’re found in the most popular parts of town.

Rum Point Beach

Rum Point Beach (Rum Point Drive, North Side, Grand Cayman) – a beach with clear and shallow waters, this is a favorite for young children.  There are also watersports operators within that area, as well as some beach bars.