Stingray City

31026 SMB Seven Mile Beach Royal Watler Cruise Ship Terminal Grand Cayman KY1, George Town, Cayman Islands

Swimming with stingrays may, admittedly, smack of an overly manufactured tourist experience. But the sandbars of Stingray City on Grand Cayman make for such a transcendent outing, you’ll be glad you went for it. As soon as you enter the shallow, transparent aqua, you’ll be surrounded by a most docile and friendly stingray brigade—a fixture ever since anglers began cleaning their daily catch here decades ago. Under the tutelage of a local guide, you’ll get to commune with these gentle giants (best advice: “Hold her like a pizza box”)—or simply spectate from the sidelines if you’d prefer. Either way, consider going early or late in the day to beat the crowds. Red Sail Sports, for one, offers both breakfast and sunset outings.

More Recommendations

Getting close to nature at Stingray City

Local legend has it that this sandbar was once used by local fisherman who stopped off to clean their recent catches. Before long they attracted the attention of sea monsters, dark shapes floating through the water. These monsters were of course beautiful stingrays and today the fishing boats have been replaced by tourists, each arriving for their chance to swim with and even pet the massive stingrays.

Swim With Stingrays at Grand Cayman Island

One of our favorite experiences in the Cayman Islands was swimming with the stingrays. Take a catamaran out to “stingray city”. You get to touch and hold these gentle giants. It was truly an unbelievable experience that I would recommend to everyone.

Visit to Stingray City

The weather this morning was pleasantly balmy, and the boat ride out to the sandbar was short but beautiful. Almost as soon as we cut the engine, the stingrays started to appear in the clear turquoise water and gather in groups of a dozen or so. The captain took a moment to explain that the rays were docile and that we would have the opportunity to feed them if we wanted (we did!), and then we jumped in. At first it was a bit scary to be approached by the stingrays, but it quickly became clear that the animals were curious but gentle, and soon we were feeding them chum by hand and giving “hugs” at every opportunity. The highlight of the day came when the guide approached us cradling a massive stingray and encouraged us to give it a kiss. I was hesitant to say the least, but after he promised us that according to island lore, kissing a Stingray meant 7 years good luck, we puckered up and gave it a big smooch. Our “brief stay” in Stingray City was nothing short of perfect, and we were all sad when the time came to leave, but I can only hope that part of the “stingray-kiss” luck means that I’ll be returning very soon!

Kiss a Stingray

Legend has it that if you kiss a stingray, it will bring seven years of good luck. Glide across the translucent blue waters a few miles from shore and arrive at Stingray City. You will be pleasantly surprised to step into waist-high water while thoughtful guides introduce you to these magnificent and gentle sea creatures. Whether you choose to hand-feed them up close or admire them from afar, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Kiss a Stingray

Legend has it that if you kiss a stingray, it will bring seven years of good luck. Glide across the translucent blue waters a few miles from shore and arrive at Stingray City. You will be pleasantly surprised to step into waist-high water while thoughtful guides introduce you to these magnificent and gentle sea creatures. Whether you choose to hand-feed them up close or admire them from afar, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Stingray City

Have you been here? Tell us about it below!

See anything inaccurate? Let our Editors know

AFAR Journeys
More From AFAR