When friends opened the Southern Cross Club in 1958, Little Cayman, the smallest of the three islands that make up the British colony, had a population of just three people. Fourteen stilted cottages, painted turquoise, pink, or yellow, some with private porches and outdoor showers, sit on a white-sand, palm-studded beach. Today, the 10-square-mile island still feels deserted, with fewer than 200 permanent residents. Rooms lack WiFi, telephones and TVs (and even locks) but they look out over South Hole Sound, whose seclusion will appeal to nature-loving guests.
The main clientele are fishing enthusiasts (bonefish, tarpon) and divers, who come from around the world to experience the thrill of Bloody Bay Wall and dozens of other pristine sites.
Dive destinations range from sheer drop-offs, thousands of feet deep (the government limits dives to 110 feet), to shallow coral bowls suitable for novices and snorkelers. The resort dive boat is anchored at a beach pier, and dive operations give snorkelers access to the nearby fringing reef as well.