Dive Paradise for a Pittance

by Al Hornsby

Winter Rates So Low Even a Pauper Can Afford to Vacation on Grand Cayman

Diving is what has made Grand Cayman an all-star among dive travelers. Blessed with all the elements that make a dive destination popular great walls, clear water, short boat rides, wrecks and protected diving areas regardless of wind conditions Cayman also has a real surprise in store for even the most experienced divers an abundance of marine life, such as turtles, Eagle Rays and schools of Tarpon.

Although they should come as no surprise, Grand Cayman’s topside amenities are equally excellent balmy breezes, beautiful beaches and the comfort of modern accommodations and services. To the list of diving and topside attractions add one more easy accessibility; Grand Cayman is just a little more than an hour by air from the U.S.

As you read the above, you may already have been thinking of packing your bags for a Grand Cayman vacation. Well, here’s another incentive super low prices. To celebrate Bob Soto’s Diving’s 40th year in the dive business, company president Ron Kipp has put together a winter package that is priced well below Cayman’s low summer rates. With Cayman Airways providing an unmatched fare from Miami; Treasure Island Resort, one of Cayman’s most popular beachside properties, providing super room rates; and Bob Soto’s providing the diving, the package is simply unbeatable.

From January 1 through April 14, 1997, a four night/three day/ two day diving vacation, including airfare from Miami, is only $499. The six day program is only $699 and the favorite, an eight day vacation, only $899. This represents a savings of nearly $400 over most winter packages! But price savings do not mean scrimping on accommodations or services. The host hotel, Treasure Island, has a well-established reputation. With 290 air-conditioned rooms, two swimming pools, swim-up pool bar and both indoor and outdoor dining, the recently renovated property is a tropical delight. Not just equipped to satisfy divers, the resort features windsurfing, tennis courts, parasailing and other watersports.

And, of course, Bob Soto’s, Cayman’s best known dive operation, provides the diving, with the friendly, customer-service orientation it’s famous for. Ron told me, “We hire staff members based largely on personality and friendliness. The young men and women who work for us are from all over the world and our customers find them a pleasure to deal with. In fact, in a recent customer service questionnaire of more than 1,000 divers who dived with us this past fall, 97 percent judged the staff as excellent. We are mighty proud of that.”

With four locations, nine boats and a full range of rental equipment and dive services, Bob Soto’s operation can meet most any diver’s needs. The boats are equipped with freshwater showers, drinking water, communications and modern emergency equipment. Dives can be led by a divemaster or buddy teams can dive on their own. Soto’s boats reach all of Cayman’s dive areas, including the exciting North Wall and the remote East End.

Grand Cayman’s most popular sites include:


  • Stingray City: One of the world’s most unique dives, this is a playful romp in 10 to 12 feet of calm water with a herd of friendly stingrays. If you’ve never been nuzzled by one of these gregarious critters, you have a real treat in store. It’s absolutely unique and no one comes up from a Stingray City dive not grinning from ear to ear!

  • The Oro Verde: Cayman’s favorite wreck dive is the home of some of the friendliest fish you’ve ever seen. The jumbled freighter sits in only 50 feet of clear, calm water and is home to hordes of Yellowtail Snappers, chub and Horse-eye Jacks. Divers are also usually met by several curious French Angelfish that follow them around the wreck like long lost buddies a special treat that adds to the magic of an exciting wreck dive.

  • Trinity Caves: Just north of the Oro Verde is Trinity Caves, three tunnels that open onto the face of the West Wall. The middle tunnel begins in only 55 feet of water at the reef top and descends to 75 feet, where it dramatically opens onto the wall face thick with gorgonians and sponges.

  • Babylon: On Cayman’s East End, reachable by Soto’s new boat Safari Diver, Babylon is a dramatic spot where a huge pinnacle rises near a sheer wall. Huge stands of Black Coral cover the wall and pinnacle and large gorgonian bushes tremble in the current. Big animals abound; Eagle Rays, Caribbean Reef Sharks and Barracuda will be seen.

    If you’ve always wanted to visit Grand Cayman, now is the time you’ve never seen a bargain package like Bob Soto’s 1997 Winter Package. It’s a value and a dive trip that’s simply unbeatable!

    For more information, call (800) BOB SOTO or fax (345) 949-8731
    You can send e-mail to bobsotos@candw.ky