There few more exhilarating ways to explore the island than whizzing along the clear, calm surface of the water on a jet ski. Rather than simply zooming the length of Seven Mile, why not take a safari and see a few different sides of Grand Cayman? It makes for a high-octane alternative to your typical boat excursion.
Several local companies offer guided itineraries from a central pick-up point, with tours typically running for a couple of hours. You’ll have the option of sharing a two-seater (the most economical option) or going solo; some will also let you add a third rider. If you do team up on one jet ski, ensure that your adrenalin junkie level matches that of your partner!
After you’ve received your life jackets and snorkel equipment, you’ll get a safety briefing and instructions for navigating your jet ski; then it’s off into the deep blue for a safari with a difference.
Meandering through the mangroves at a slower pace, you can soak up the serene spirit of this essential island habitat. Acting as Cayman’s natural wetlands, the mangroves provide us with protection from the effects of storms and surges, as well as acting as a nursery ground for small fish. Keep your eyes peeled for birds and iguanas among the foliage, while marveling at the miraculous adaptations that allow mangroves to thrive in levels of salt that would normally kill other plants.
Once you’re out to the open waters of North Sound, you’re free to go as fast as you dare. Typical stops on the jet skis include the Stingray City Sandbar and Starfish Point, along with a reef or wreck for snorkeling. You may spot ‘big game’ such as an electric green moray eel, turtles, rays or even a nurse shark among the coral, plus conch, lobster and a rainbow array of fish.
Here are a few of the most popular operators and tours to pick from on the island:
Cruise on your Sea-Doo Jet Ski for approximately 25 minutes to reach the renowned snorkeling spot of Barrier Reef. With water depths of around 6-10 feet deep, and 120-foot visibility, the conditions are ideal for underwater safari spotting. Ebanks also runs similar trips to Stingray City and Starfish Point. US$150 (single riders) / US $200.00 (two sharing).
Custom private tours
You call the shots on this one, selecting any two stops from the following options: Stingray City, Starfish Point, snorkeling at the Barrier Reef or Coral Gardens, or Rum Point, where beach volleyball, sunbathing and legendary mudslides at the bar are order of the day. Depending on your itinerary, the excursion takes 2½-3 hours. From US$550 for two jet skis.
Fat Fish Adventures
During this 2½-hour tour, you’ll interact with the southern stingrays at the Sandbar, do a spot of snorkeling at a lesser-known reef and take a tour through the mangroves on the way back to the dock. The price includes a free shuttle service from the Hard Rock Café (a short walk from the cruise ship terminal) or from any hotel in the George Town or Seven Mile Beach. US$150 (single) / US$200 (two sharing).
White Sand and Watersports
Jet Ski Snorkel Safari
The company’s most popular trip offers the best of both worlds: two stunning snorkel sites in unspoiled East End and a stop on a sand bar to stretch your legs. US$125 (single) / US $190 (two sharing).
Jet Ski Adventure and Wreck Tour
On this 45-minute excursion, a White Sand guide leads you along the East End coast to explore the wreck of the Ridgefield and a unique sand bar, taking in beachfront mansions and local marine life as you go. The final part of the tour heads to an open stretch of water where you can speed around safely on the jet skis to your heart’s content. US$80 (single) / US$105.00 (two sharing).
Cayman Islands Boat Rentals00
Fun in The Sun Waverunner Safari
This new tour promises guests a “guided nature experience” through the mangroves, along with calls at Stingray City, Starfish Point and Rum Point. Departing from North Sound Barcadere, you’ll head to a calm bay and travel through the mangroves to learn more about this important part of Cayman’s ecosystem. From US$150 (single) / US$235 (two sharing). Unlike many companies, this one rents out personal water crafts for multiple days, or you can build your own safari itinerary with one of their private guides.