The Cayman Islands are where the idea of the dive vacation and destination dive resort was born, where wall and wreck diving became fashionable and continue to this day.
Spring forward 65 years and the islands that founded all things dive adventures are even more famous, offering an ever-widening range of underwater explorations for everyone from first timers to seasoned professionals.
Halfway between Cuba and Cozumel, on the edge of an undersea ridge above a 25,000-foot undersea abyss, Grand Cayman and the smaller Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have been attracting divers from all over the world since the 1950s, and currently boasts 365 moored, named sites encompassing everything from coral reefs and wall dives like the North Wall to world-famous wrecks like schooner Cali and the 251-foot World War 2 Navy ship USS Kittiwake.
The history of the development of diving on the Caymans over the years features many locally famous names and businesses. Bob Soto, an emigrant from Cuba opened the Caribbean’s first legitimate dive shop in 1957 after becoming a U.S. Navy frogman. In 1958 the Sunset Diver at Sunset House, the longest-running PADI dive operation in the Cayman Islands helped pioneer the on-site, full-service dive operations you find today.
By the ’70s, Soto was taking out 150 divers a day to local spots like the North & West Walls and Trinity Caves. About this time, on Grand Cayman, the Villas of the Galleons established itself as a favorite destination for diving enthusiasts.
A decade later, In the 1980s, a like-minded group of dive operators founded the Cayman Islands Watersports Association, providing a passionate and successful push to promote the islands’ dive potential.
More recently, in 2000, the Cayman Islands were inaugurated into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame based on its hist