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Last updated on June 30, 2023
Stingray City is a shallow sandbar located in the North Sound, a large bay on Grand Cayman. Visited by dozens of tame and inquisitive stingrays, it is the top Cayman Islands attraction, and one of the most famous snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. On the sandbank, in 2 to 4ft of water, visitors are allowed to feed, touch and pet these huge and fascinating fish. Despite the site being crowded and controversial because of rays feeding, it offers a unique experience to those who wish to visit Stingray City.
Stingray City sandbank is the most popular snorkeling location in Grand Cayman. On Grand Cayman Island there are many choices for boat tours that combine visits to Stingray City. They usually also visit one or two nearby snorkeling spots such as Barrier Reef and/or Coral Garden and/or Starfish Point. Make sure you know which locations you will be visiting before you book your tour. Tours prices start from $45 for a duration of 3 hours and depart from the cruise ship terminal or the island’s main resorts.
The water entrance will be from a boat anchored near the sandbar. Before entering the water, your guide will quickly brief you about how to safely interact with the stingrays.
As soon as you’re in the water, stingrays will come to greet you. They are used to being fed and tend to be inquisitive. Most of them are large specimens, spanning over 6 feet. Tours generally allow visitors to spend 30 to 45 minutes on the sandbar, so you have plenty of time to watch, touch, and feed the stingrays.
The origin of Stingray City was not as a tourist attraction, but rather as an area that fishermen, once they reached the calm waters of the North Sound after a day at sea, would clean their catch on the shallow sandbar, attracting the stingrays. Nowadays, stingrays are frequently fed by visitors, mainly with squid. This practice has received criticism that focuses on the ecological and behavioral impacts of these practices.
Two species of stingrays that the sandbank: the Southern stingray as well as the less common roughtail stingray. Don’t forget that the rays have a sting that can cause sometimes severe pain and injuries, but incidents are rarely reported. Even so, be cautious, handle the stingrays with care and make to sure to never step on them.
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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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.
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