In this article, we review Coral Gardens in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. This is a popular snorkel spot that many companies include with their Stingray City tours.
Where is Coral Gardens located?
Coral Gardens is a popular snorkel spot located in North Sound in Grand Cayman.
Grand Cayman is the main island in the Cayman Islands. North Sound is a small area of sea that is protected by a barrier reef in Grand Cayman. North Sound is only about 5 miles in diameter.
Stingray City is also located in North Sound, and Coral Gardens is about half-a-mile west of Stingray City. Many tour companies that offer Stingray City tours go to Coral Gardens as a snorkel stop during their tours.
Is the snorkeling good at Coral Gardens?
Yes, the snorkeling at Coral Gardens is good.
There is a very high density of coral heads, meaning that you can see lots of fish. Sometimes you can also see wild turtles and lobsters.
However, the snorkeling at the Barrier Reef is better (compared to Coral Gardens). George’s Watersports is a tour company in Grand Cayman that offers snorkel tours to the Barrier Reef. Their “4-stop stingray eco tour” includes snorkeling at the Barrier Reef as one of the stops.
Can you snorkel from shore?
No, you cannot snorkel at Coral Gardens from shore.
Coral Gardens is located about 1 or 2 miles offshore, meaning that it is not possible to swim there.
Even if you were able to somehow swim there, there is a lot of boat traffic in the area, so it wouldn’t be safe to swim from shore.
The only way to snorkel at Coral Gardens is to take a boat there. The most common way to do this is to do a Stingray City tour, because most Stingray City tours also include a snorkel stop, usually at Coral Gardens.
Can beginners snorkel here?
Yes, beginners can snorkel at Coral Gardens.
Even though it can sometimes be relatively rough, if you use a life jacket, then it is still safe.
The Barrier Reef is usually an easier spot to snorkel at compared to Coral Gardens. The Barrier Reef has less waves and is calmer. Below is a video that shows snorkeling at the Barrier Reef:
Most tour boats have a floating ring attached to a 100 yard rope that they tie to their boat, so that when you are snorkeling, you can hold onto the rope so that you don’t drift away. This is great for beginners who aren’t strong swimmers.
How deep is the water?
The water is about 15 feet deep at Coral Gardens.
It is too deep to stand. However, if you use a life jacket, then it is safe. You don’t need to use a life jacket, but if you aren’t an experienced snorkeler, then it is recommended that you use a life jacket.
Is there an entrance fee?
There is no entry fee at Coral Gardens because it is in the middle of the sea.
However, you need to pay a tour company to go on their boat to then snorkel at Coral Gardens. It is too far from shore to swim to without being on a tour.
Can you drive to Coral Gardens?
No, you cannot drive to Coral Gardens because it is located in the middle of the sea.
If you are doing a tour, then you can drive to the tour departure location, and park your car there for free, and then take a boat to Coral Gardens.
George’s Watersports is a tour company in Grand Cayman that has tours departing from the Cayman Islands Yacht Club. There is lots of free parking here, as well as restrooms and a small shop.
Coral Gardens is a good snorkel spot. However, it isn’t the best spot. The Barrier Reef has better snorkeling than Coral Gardens.
George’s Watersports is a tour company in Grand Cayman that offers snorkel tours to the Barrier Reef. Their “4-stop stingray eco tour” includes snorkeling at the Barrier Reef as one of the stops.
If you are looking for other snorkel spots, then check out our article where we review the top 25 snorkel spots in the Cayman Islands.