Little Cayman

From Openwaterpedia
Little Cayman Beach with Cayman Brac Island in background
Little Cayman Beach
Lexie Kelly and Steven Munatones on world record swim from Cayman Brac to Little Cayman Island - photo courtesy of Norma Connelly

Little Cayman is an island that is part of the Cayman Islands. It is located in the Caribbean Sea, about 75 miles (120 km) northeast of Grand Cayman Island and five miles (8 km) west of Cayman Brac. Little Cayman Island has a permanent population of less than 170 and is about 10 miles (16 km) long with an average width of 1 mile (2 km).

Being so close to Cayman Brac, the stretch of water between Little Cayman Island and Cayman Brac is becoming increasingly popular as an enjoyable open water swimming channel.

Most of the island is at sea level. The highest elevation is about 40 feet (12 meters).


The first recorded sighting of Little Cayman Island, along with Cayman Brac, was by Christopher Columbus in 1503 on his fourth and final voyage, when heavy winds forced his ship off course. At that time, he named the islands "Las Tortugas" for the many sea turtles found living there. The islands were later renamed "Las Caymanas" for the iguanas that were thought to be caimans living there.

The first settlement on the island was in the 17th century, when turtle fishermen set up camps. After a raid by a Spanish privateer, the settlements were abandoned in 1671 and the island was not resettled until 1833, when Blossom Village was established by a few families. By the early 20th century, a few hundred people lived on Little Cayman and exported phosphate ore, coconuts, and marine rope.

Little Cayman is famous for its scuba diving. The most famous dive site areas, Bloody Bay and Jackson's Bight, are both located on the north side of the island, just west of its midpoint. Bloody Bay is consistently ranked as one of the world's top wall dives with the ocean floor.

Owen Island is a small islet just off the south coast of Little Cayman Island can be visited via sailboat or kayak. The islet does not have any human habitation, homes or buildings.

Accessibility and Services

Little Cayman is accessible by air (via Cayman Airways) and water from both Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman. Little Cayman Island has two grocery stores, a few restaurants- mostly located at the resorts, Edward Bodden Airfield (the airport), a post office, a fire station, and one church.

External links