Stingray City is a shallow sandbar located in the northwest corner of Grand Cayman’s North Sound, and visited daily by dozens of southern stingrays. It is the top Cayman Islands attraction, and one of the most famous snorkeling spots of the Caribbean. Here, in 2 to 4ft of water, visitors are allowed to feed, touch and pet these huge and fascinating fish. Despite the site is crowded (it is common to share the spot with 100 or 200 other visitors) and not so natural because of rays feeding, it remains a unique experience.
Stingray City can only be visited by participating an organized excursion, easy to book everywhere on the island. Boats generally departs from cruise ship terminal or island’s main resorts. Most snorkeling tours to Stingray City also include a stop to Coral Garden (200 meters north to Stingray City) and/or Starfish Point (2 miles southeast, near Water Cay). Duration of tours is between 2.5 and 3.5 hours, and prices starts around $45 per person, including lunch and drinks.
The boats anchor on the sandbar. Before entering the water, your guides will inform and instruct you how to touch and handle the stingrays.
As soon as you’ll be in the water, stingrays will come to greet you. They are used to being fed, and are particularly tactile and insistent. Most of them are large specimens (spanning over 6 feet). Tours operators generally allow you to stay 30 to 45 on the sandbar, so you have plenty of time to watch, touch, feed, and even pet the stingrays.
It is said that the fishermen, once they reached the calm waters of the Sound after a day at sea, used to clean their catch on the shallow sandbar, attracting the stingrays. Nowadays, stingrays are fed by visitors, with many criticisms focusing on the potential for ecological and behavioral impacts.
Don’t forget that the rays have a fearsome sting that can cause sometimes fatal injuries, but incidents are rarely reported. Be alert, handle the stingrays with care and make sure you never step on it.
Most snorkeling tours also includes a stop at the Coral Garden, 200 meters north to the sandbar. This spot is located along the barrier reef, and sheltered from the waves and currents. Here, you can still spot stingrays, as well as many fish and coral species of the Caribbean Sea, as sergeant major, boxfish and several species of butterflyfish (↕8-12ft).
Most of tours includes a lunch on the boat or a beach nearby. Be sure about what is included or not in the price when you make your reservation.
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.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
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.