North of Georgetown at the northwest point of Grand Cayman, the snorkelling at the Cayman Turtle Centre offers dozens of turtle in a protected lagoon. Also known as the Cayman Turtle Farm, snorkelers enter the man-made Boatswain's Lagoon from a sandy beach where they can swim out to visit with the captive green sea turtles. You'll most likely encounter about a dozen o...
North of Georgetown at the northwest point of Grand Cayman, the snorkelling at the Cayman Turtle Centre offers dozens of turtle in a protected lagoon. Also known as the Cayman Turtle Farm, snorkelers enter the man-made Boatswain's Lagoon from a sandy beach where they can swim out to visit with the captive green sea turtles. You'll most likely encounter about a dozen or so green sea turtles ranging from 6 inches to 3 feet in diameter. While most a timid to slightly curious, there are one or two that may approach or even softly bite you so be ready. There are numerous man-made underwater features to emulate the reef habitat along with several types of reef fish schooling about. At the far deep end of the lagoon, there is a glass wall that is typically pretty dirty but looks into the Predator's Reef lagoon where there are some barracuda and nurse sharks. Keep an eye out for swimming iguana's coming from the shore out to the islands in the lagoon.
To avoid crowds and enjoy some solitude with the turtles, it is best to visit early in the day when the centre opens on weekends or weekdays without cruise ships in port. When entering the lagoon, snorkelers are required to wear an inflatible vest. There is a pretty hefty entrance fee to snorkel in the lagoon, but there are some other exhibits in the Centre that are worth seeing including a turtle touch tank.
If you had visited Grand Cayman prior to 2000, you may recall the old Cayman turtle farm that had a couple small open pools next to the road. It was a common tourist site where you could stop and touch the turtles in their tanks. In November 2001, the old turtle farm was destroyed by Hurricane Michelle, and the locals came out to rescue huge adult turtles along with the small hatchlings. After the hurricane recovery, a new Cayman Turtle Centre opened across the highway from the ocean on the current 23 acre park. Presently, the breeding ponds, tanks and swimming lagoons provide home to roughly 5,000 turtles of varying types within the Centre, which is enjoyed by over 200,000 annual visitors.
After a long day of snorkeling at the Cayman Turtle Centre, you might want to grab a cool drink at the Macabuca Tiki Bar which is across the street and just 1,000 feet to the north.
To reach the snorkeling on Grand Cayman Island by air, you will fly into the Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM). There are regular flights from Houston, Dallas and Miami. Once on Grand Cayman Island, the snorkeling dive sites are easily accessed by renting either a scooter or jeep, both of which are common means of transportation on the island. There is also a public bus that covers most regions of the island. When departing the Cayman Islands, there is a departure tax of $37.50USD. This tax may be included in the airline ticket, but you will want to verify in advance.
The Turtle Farm snorkeling is located north of the Cemetary Reef snorkeling dive site and also north of DiveTech.
Overall, Cayman Turtle Centre is the 22nd most popular snorkel dive spot of all 25 snorkeling dives in Grand Cayman. Several of the better snorkeling spots are nearby Cayman Turtle Centre including Lighthouse Reef, Schoolhouse Reef and Spanish Bay Reef.
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