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Where to Take the Plunge

October 28, 1990|J.H.

Diving essentials: About 15 local dive shops make regular trips to Stingray City and Sandbar. Two reputable shops are Bob Soto's Diving Ltd. (800-262-7686 or, in Cayman, 809-949-2022), which arranges the Desert Divers' stingray dive, and Don Foster's Dive Grand Cayman (800-833-4837 or 809-949-5679). Make reservations for stingray dives; they are crowded and do not leave every day. Many dive shops also offer snorkeling excursions for $25. Diving is year-round, and a wet suit is unnecessary since the water temperature is about 80 degrees.

Individuals can arrange their own stingray dives. All rental equipment is available, with regulators and buoyancy compensators costing about $10 each and masks, fins and snorkels about $7.50.

Getting around: Living in Cayman is expensive but there are ways to economize. For starters, rent a car. Compact cars cost about $150 a week and while mopeds are available, they are risky. Most streets have no shoulders and mopeds take a back seat to anything with four wheels. With cars, the only thing to master is driving on the left side of the road.

Where to stay: Hotels range from standard ($75 minimum) to deluxe ($150 to $200 high season, Dec. 15 to April 15; $125-$150 off-season).

Standard accommodations can be found at the Cayman Islander, West Bay Road, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, (800) 262-7686, and the Sunset House, Box 479, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, (800) 854-4767 or (809) 949-7111.

Some top-of-the-line hotels include the Hyatt Brittania, Holiday Inn, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman and British West Indies.

If you're traveling with friends, condominiums are a way to save. Two-bedroom condos that sleep four go for $150-$200 a night. One-bedrooms cost about $100. For reservations, call Grand Cayman Reservations at (800) 327-8777 or Hospitality World of Grand Cayman at (800) 232-1034.

For more information: Contact the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, 3440 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1202, Los Angeles 90010, (213) 738-1969.

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