Encounters with marine life are common in the Caribbean. From snorkeling or diving the region’s vibrant coral reefs to swimming with dolphins and sharks (if that’s your thing), part of the wonder of visiting this part of the world is interacting with its native sea life. But there’s nothing quite like hanging out with a fever of stingrays (that’s the proper name for a group of stingrays) in their environment. That’s exactly what you can do at Stingray City, one of Grand Cayman’s most popular attractions, and the experience of a lifetime for any visitor.
Home to a series of shallow sandbars. Once your boat captain drops anchor, simply jump into the water with your snorkeling gear and you’ll be in for an incredible experience. Dozens of gentle southern stingrays glide past, brushing their silky wings against you as they make their rounds. Your guides jump in with the tour group and snag passing rays for you to touch or even, if you’re willing, give them a kiss! If the experience sounds a bit too extreme for you, you’ll be happy to know that Stingray City is safe for the whole family. Now, you should know that they can get a little excited when your guides hand you a few frozen squids… that just happens to be their favorite food. But it just means that they’ll be all the more eager to snuggle up to you for a kiss and a treat.
Stingray City might be the most beloved attraction in the Cayman Islands, but it’s not the oldest. The attraction was a happy accident; in the 1950s, local fishermen would come here to clean fish and throw their scraps overboard. Stingrays, ordinarily shy creatures that avoid contact with foreign species, soon learned to linger near the boats so they could gorge on the scraps. It didn’t take long for the stingrays to associate the sound of a boat’s motor with a feast. And after divers started to feed the rays, they soon came to learn that human visitors meant good things… and so, Stingray City was “founded.”
Guests of the Westin Grand Cayman can book one of three tours to Stingray City with Red Sail Sports, which is located on the premises. The Breakfast with the Rays tour leaves at 7:30, with breakfast served on board a 65-foot catamaran that will get you to Stingray City before most of the crowds. After your visit, the tour stops by a coral reef for some spectacular snorkeling. For those who prefer to sleep in, the Stingray Sandbar & Reef Sail is an afternoon tour that offers the same experience without breakfast. Finally, the Stingray Sandbar & Rum Point tour departs in the morning but replaces the snorkeling stop with a visit to Rum Point, where you can enjoy a cocktail, local food and the beach at one of Grand Cayman’s most popular hangouts.
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Seven Mile Beach P.O. Box 30620, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, (1)(345) 945 3800
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