One of the most popular things to do in the Caribbean is to check out the vast variety of sea life found in the ocean. In Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands, this means sharing the crystal-clear, waist-deep waters with Giant Southern Atlantic stingrays at Stingray City.
The horseshoe-shape of Grand Cayman opens to the north creating a calm, reef-protected lagoon known as North Sound. Located along the northern edge of North Sound is Stingray City, a chain of shallow sandbars that’s visited by hundreds of stingrays each day along with hundreds of giddy tourists.
Stingray City first got its start when local fishermen would clean and fillet their catch in the shallow waters on the northern edge of the lagoon, routinely throwing their discarded scraps back into the ocean. The discarded scraps attracted the stingrays and they began to show up in large numbers to feed. Today visitors to the Cayman Islands can swim, snorkel and scuba dive with stingrays that have since made their home in the waters at Stingray City in Grand Cayman.
Getting into the water with stingrays for the first time is sure to get your adrenaline pumping – after all, this isn’t an aquatic park or enclosure, this is the real deal. But don’t let that stop you; swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman is quite safe. The Southern Atlantic Stingrays are friendly and docile, and the warm, shallow waters at Stingray City make it possible to see all of the underwater action without even getting your head wet – unless of course you’re strapping on a snorkel and mask.
Part of the fun of swimming with stingrays is feeding them, and these giant creatures suck up their food like a vacuum. Tour guides can provide you with pieces of squid to feed to the stingrays and you’ll want to place each one in the palm of your hand, keep your hand open flat and watch your fingers.
And that’s not all: kissing a stingray is believed to bring good luck, so pucker up!