Once in a lifetime

Stingray City At Grand Cayman

 by Clint Leung 

 One of the most famous natural attractions in Grand Cayman Island is Stingray City.  This is an area in the ocean not far from the northern tip of Grand Cayman where tourists can get up close to hundreds of friendly stingrays.  Stingray City will be one of the organized tours from cruise ships visiting Grand Cayman as a port of call.  There will also be tours available from local operators in the town of Georgetown where the cruise ships dock and bring passengers into town via tender boats.  The cruise organized tours will almost always be the more expensive option.

Scuba divers can book specialized dives at Stingray City through one of the many diver operators in Grand Cayman.  The scuba diving at Stingray City is at a deeper section away from the tourist crowds who are usually brought to a very shallow area where one could even stand in waist deep water.  Certified scuba divers and even snorkellers are recommended to take the dive trip option with the dive shops to experience Stingray City with fewer crowds.  For non-divers, the sandbars here are high enough to offer such shallow waters and stingrays will come to these areas.  It is believed that many years ago, sailors visiting the area threw fish remains overboard and soon noticed the stingrays coming for the free food.  These particular stingrays became conditioned over the years to the humans and the food handouts unlike stingrays elsewhere in the Caribbean.

The stingrays here are friendly enough that people could touch them and local guides have been known to even hold them.  The guides will warn everyone that even though these stingrays appear to be quite friendly, they should still be regarded as wild animals so it is never recommended to touch them by their razor sharp tails or abuse them in any manner.  It is possible to feed them with the squid parts provided on site.  The mouths of the stingrays are located underneath their bodies and people are instructed to hold the food in their palms flat facing up.  With their keen sense of smell, the stingrays will hover towards and over the food to collect their snacks.  

Although Stingray City can be crowded at times due to its popularity, it does offer a very unique experience to see these wonderful sea creatures up close.  Stingrays are usually very shy animals and will swim away from scuba divers and snorkellers but not here at Stingray City in Grand Cayman. 

Clint Leung is owner of Free Spirit Gallery (http://www.FreeSpiritGallery.ca) , an online gallery specializing in Inuit Eskimo and Northwest Native American art including carvings, sculpture and prints.  Free Spirit Gallery has numerous information resource articles with photos of authentic Inuit and Native Indian art as well as free eCards.