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The excursion to Stingray City is the most popular in Antigua. Here you can swim and interact with southern stingrays. They are used to human presence, and will let you stroke them and will come into your arms in their quest for food. Stingray City is a commercial spot and purists will no doubt steer clear of it, but this is still a great chance to encounter southern stingrays.
Stingray City is a privately owned site. The only way to visit it is to join a tour organised by the company of the same name, which manages the site (website here). If you go on your own, it will cost about $50 per person for a round trip by boat and one hour on site with the stingrays. In this case, you will have to get there under your own steam from the small Mercers Creek Bay quay, where the boats set off to reach the snorkeling spot.
This excursion is also sold to the hundreds of cruise passengers arriving each day in Antigua. The price can double (about $100 per person) but includes a round-trip transfer to the quay.
You enter the water from wooden platforms set up next to the water. Follow your guide’s instructions.
Stingray City is made up of a sandy lagoon where the water level is constant (↕5ft/1-1.5m), and is sheltered by a coral reef.
The trip is well organized: as soon as you are in the water, the stingrays will come to greet you. They are used to being fed, and are particularly tactile and insistent. Most of them are a large specimens (spanning over 3 feet). You can choose either to explore the area (marked out by buoys) alone or, with the help of a guide, to go and feed the stingrays and pose for the traditional souvenir photo. While you are sure to see stingrays, if you move away from the crowds, you may also come across shoals of jacks, boxfish or small barracudas.
Of course, the stingrays are completely free here, but their natural wild character has been changed by feeding, so that Stingray City sometimes seems more like an open-air aquarium than a natural environment. You may also find the hyper-efficient organisation somewhat frustrating, even though the atmosphere is very pleasant atmosphere. If you like wide-open spaces, wildlife and snorkeling in complete freedom, then you should go elsewhere.
Don’t forget that the rays have a fearsome sting that can cause sometimes fatal injuries. Incidents (ray stings) are sometimes reported at this spot. Be alert, handle the stingrays with care and make sure you never step on a ray.
Stingray City is located on a reef, so there are no restaurants or accommodation on site. The excursions generally include drinks.
Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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