Stingray City excursions tend to be on most, if not all, Cayman Island itineraries.
Day 1: Check into hotel. Enjoy the view. Settle in.
Day 2: Stingray City.
Anyone who has paid a visit to Grand Cayman has that classic picture standing in refreshing, clear, blue waters, one hand waving and the other hovering over the soft, majestic creatures underneath the surface. But, why do so many flock to this specific snorkeling tour? What’s the draw? Among many, let’s break down the top three reasons why Stingray City sees over half a million visitors per year.
1) The Wildlife
- While this may seem like an absolute given, there’s nothing more magical than being surrounded by sweet-tempered sea animals only seen in movies. As your Stingray City excursion boat brings you right to the center of the sandbar, no doubt you’ll be taking an unforgettable mental picture of all the gliding stingrays against the crisp, clear waters. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or slightly faint of heart, this experience is made for all ages and powered by the wonders of mother nature.
2) The Ease
- Especially when traveling with a big group, we know excursions can seem a bit complicated. How long is the boat ride? Is there someone in the group that gets seasick? Can everyone swim? Are we on a time constraint because Grand Cayman is just a port stop on a cruise? Stingray City excursions take all the stress away (as any vacation activity should). Only 20 minutes away from shore, this short boat ride makes the tour a conducive experience to any levels of sea men and women, boys and girls. And with only two-to-four foot leveled waters, swimming isn’t a must, but blissfully wading absolutely is! Planted securely on the ocean floor, you can gaze at these docile stingrays as they weave in and out of fellow observers. On a cruise stop? Not a problem! Excursions are available for 60 minutes at the sandbar, just enough time for a brisk boat ride, feeding the rays and back for boarding.
3) The Photography
- I mean, if you don’t take pictures during Stingray City excursions, did it even happen? If you’re bringing along the little ones, they’ll definitely want some proof to take back to school upon return. And last we checked, the warmer months are here which means all sunshine-filled, ocean-aesthetic Instagram feeds. If you’re a photography-lover, two excursions come to mind. The Dawn Stingrays Tour departing at 6:45 am captures the fresh morning light beaming against crystallized waters. Best part? No crowds. No photoshopping bodies out or endless cropping. And with the same perk comes the Champagne Stingrays Tour, designed to relax, snapshot the perfect golden hour lighting, pet some rays and glide back on cloud nine with bubbly in hand.
It’s quite unusual that such powerful ocean creatures can be so human-friendly, but the history of this sandbar pretty much says it all. Throughout the years of living with fishermen, the stingrays in the area have developed a kinship with humans and openness for interaction. Why? Well, fishermen would dispose of unused conch and squid meat in nearby areas, which fed these docile stingrays. Since then, the sound of boats has become a call for feeding time, and as to be expected from all animals and their intelligence, they gather to munch. Divers and tourists continue this healthy relationship by feeding similar meals to the stingrays today and foster social gatherings for tropical happiness. Humans do remember, though, that we’re guests in their historic home and must treat our visit as such.
Stingray City excursions continue to be a hotspot for families, couples, solo-travelers and tourists of all ages for myriads of reasons beyond those listed above. Interacting with ocean wildlife on an island paradise is not too good to be true, so if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the excursions offered by Cayman Visitor, contact us here. Happy booking!