Swimming with Stingrays in the Cayman Islands is one of those out-of-world experiences that just sounds crazy when you come home from your vacation and tell everyone what you got up to…even better when you have photos and videos to prove it! This is perhaps the Cayman Islands’ most famous attraction. Stingray City and the nearby shallows known as ‘The Sandbar’ in the North Sound, provide the only natural opportunity in the world to swim with more than two dozen Atlantic Southern Stingrays that enjoy the company of humans!
At first I was absolutely terrified at the thought of it and it honestly took me a while to stand still and not scream or try to swim to safety every time a Stingray brushed past. Once you do relax, you allow yourself to become part of the world of these gentle friendly giants who happily soar like eagles through the ocean. When you arrive at Stingray City, in either a boat or a wave runner, your helpful guide will run through how to handle them and feed them so you will feel a little more comfortable! They may also tell you the names of their favorite stingrays…I became friends with a stingray named Speckles! The Stingrays are such graceful creatures that calmly glide past you as you stand in only three feet of water in their natural habitat. As soon as they smell the squid you brought be prepared to be surrounded by more than two dozen friendly stingrays. It is a completely surreal and magical experience where you will be mesmerized by the antics and charm of these incredible creatures.
This is a definite must-do activity in Grand Cayman…once you’re there you realise that they do not want to sting you but they see you as a new friend who is there to feed them and possibly give them a hug and kiss (supposedly you get 7 years good luck if you kiss a stingray so I made sure I did!)
It’s very interesting how this attraction was originally made…Two Stingray City locations were accidentally created in the early 1900’s when fishermen returning to port anchored in the calm waters of Grand Cayman’s North Sound to clean their catch, casting unused bait overboard. Southern Stingrays, who hunt by sense of smell, quickly discovered these new “restaurants” where they now dine primarily on squid provided by visitors! Stingray City is frequented by dozens of friendly stingrays every day who are eager to make your acquaintance and find out what you brought for them to eat.
Stingray City is consistently ranked as “the best shallow dive in the world” by most diving websites and magazines; it is the “must do” of Cayman Islands diving! It is an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience that gives you a chance to see one of nature’s most majestic creatures up close!
For more inspiration on what to do on your Cayman Vacation see our guide to the Cayman Islands.