If you're planning a dive oriented vacation to Grand Cayman, then we strongly suggest you make reservations with one of the hotels that caters to divers, like Sunset House. Sunset House is located right on the water just south of George Town. In fact, you can walk to the center of George Town in about five minutes so a rental car is truly an option. There are numerous others dive-oriented hotels in the same area as Sunset House and they are all, essentially, the same, so you shouldn't have problems making reservations at one of them.

What we enjoyed about Sunset House: To sum it up in one word ... convenience! For divers Sunset House offers all of the necessities and makes it extremely easy to enjoy your sport. From you room you are only a few steps from the dive shop. There you can rent any equipment you need, make reservations for the dive boats, and secure tanks. They will assign you a locker (a $10 key deposit is required and returned when you return the key) to store you equipment. Suiting up at your locker you are only a few hundred feet from the water's edge. Arriving at the water's edge it's an easy giant stride and you're in the water. A few steps more and you arrive at the boarding area for the dive boats. No long, endless traipsing around with all that heavy equipment on.

After your dive, within just a few steps, you will find a shower to wash off with and wash bins for your suits and a separate one for cameras and face masks. Depending on where you locker is, they also have showers and wash bins within the locker area. All things considered an easy dive experience.

Sunset House also has a restaurant and bar area that overlooks the ocean. After a dive you appreciate the close proximity of a restaurant and bar. We found the food to be very good for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Because of this, if you're on a dive only vacation, you don't even have to leave the grounds of Sunset House to fulfill your requirements. Sunset House has it all!

Anne by the diver's sign post
Scuba Network sign
Sunset House and the airport's flight path
Left: Anne on the grounds at Sunset House standing next to the "dive sign tree."
Above: The sign posted by the dive shop we were traveling with (Scuba Network). Did you notice that the dive sign is drawn backwards? I didn't do it!
Right: Sunset House is directly under the flight path for planes landing at the airport. It's not to bad though as there aren't many flights and takeoffs are in the other direction.

Another major advantage that Sunset House offers (particularly for me) is that it is the home of Cathy Church Underwater Photography. Through Cathy's facilities you can arrange for a qualified underwater photographer to take pictures of you and your group, or you can rent underwater still and video cameras. While I have always had an interest in photography long before my interest in diving developed, it was here that my interest in underwater photography began. Cathy is a genuinely friendly person and always willing to accommodate. Beyond rentals the shop offers magnificent photos for sale with or without frames. Cathy also operates an underwater photography school which is worth considering for anyone who is serious about the hobby.

What we enjoyed least about Sunset House: Before I write this, for those of you who don't know me, let me explain something. For twenty-seven years now I have been in jobs that require extensive travel. On average I spend between 150 and 200 nights each year in hotels. I've stayed in all types of hotels, from the luxurious like the Bellagio (Las Vegas) and Mauna Kea (Hawaii), to the mediocre like the local Holiday Inn, Sheraton or Hilton, to the bottom of the pit, rent-by-the-hour type of hotels/motels. I've seen, experienced it all. As a result I've developed definite tastes and requirements for any hotel I stay in. Those requirements are basically a clean and safe hotel with a king bed, full service, room service, and telephone access. For years now I've been staying mostly at Marriott Hotels and their affiliated chains (Courtyard and Residence Inn) whenever possible. You definitely pay a price for this level of service, but, remember, price is generally not a concern to me as I am not paying for it out of my pocket.

Unfortunately, Sunset House does not meet all of my criteria (at least it didn't nine years ago when I stayed there). The rooms were clean, but small with (as I remember it) a double bed. There was no room service as I recall (which is not a requirement), and I'm not sure about the telephone service. I believe there was a telephone in the room. There was only a radio for entertainment and no TV (they now offer cable TV, good!). I know you might think it frivolous to want a TV, but the older you get the more important it seems to keep in touch with the news of the world. And, on islands, like Cayman, you probably won't find much news unless you specifically go somewhere to buy a paper or something.

Another disadvantage of Sunset House (and all the other dive oriented hotels located in his area) is that there is no sand beach. The area along the water is rocky with no sand at all. If you are traveling with a non-diving partner this my present problems as it's not conducive to spending hours laying on the beach while they wait for you to finish enjoying your dives.

Sunset House is typical of what I've found at dive-oriented hotels around the world, and I would definitely recommend that you stay there to fully enjoy your dive vacation.

Enjoy a few more pictures of the grounds at Sunset House. (Sorry there aren't many. When on dive trips my concentration is on underwater, not above-water, photography.)

Anne standing by the entry point
Anne by the exit ladder at Sunset House
Sunset House dive boats
Dive boats anchored at Sunset House
For Anne and I there are three main reasons we enjoy diving. First, you get to experience a world that is unlike anything you've ever experienced before. The closest feeling to being in outer space that you will ever get here on Earth. Second, you get to travel to some of the most exotic places on Earth. Truly a wonderful experience. And, third, you meet and make lots of new friends. Pictured at right: Anne talking with John (our divemaster from Scuba Network) and others from the group we traveled with. It seems that nightly BS sessions are an integral part of diving. Everyone gets to sit around and talk about the ones that "got away," things that went wrong, or things that went great. For photographers, like myself, we get to show our pictures and see pictures others took during the day. (Yes, I get the film developed immediately!) Anne and John recapping the day's events