Stingray City is a collection of shallow sandbars which can be found in the North Sound, near the island of Grand Cayman. It is a rare location where an abundance of South Stingrays can be found and visitors can dive underwater to pet and interact with the animals.
These shallow waters are located within a natural channel which passes through a barrier reed between Morgan Harbour and Rum Point.
What Are Stingrays, Anyway?
A stingray is a type of cartilaginous fish which is in the same family as a shark. They live in warm tropical waters and they have large flat bodies and a long, thin tail. They usually dwell on the bottom of the ocean and feed on molluscs and crustaceans and sometimes small fish. Their ideal environment is shallow water with a sandy bottom. They look kind of like fish that have been flattened by a steamroller!
Why Are There So Many Stingrays Here?
Why is it that there are so many stingrays gathered here at this particular point? One theory is that this is an area where fishermen used to clean their fish in the shallow calm water and that the stingrays began to come to the area to eat the fish guts which were thrown overboard. These wild creatures learned to associate the fishing boats and this particular area with an abundance of food.
This is not a fake aquarium set up for tourism purposes, but a real ocean with wild animals that are free to come and go as they choose. For every curious diver who gets in the water for the first time, these strange and prehistoric sea creatures create an amazing spectacle that they will not soon forget.
What to Expect on a Stingray Tour
These days, some of the stingrays are so tame that they can be fed by hand and many tour boats allow their passengers to enter the water and interact with the creatures.
If you take a tour to visit Stingray City, you will probably have a chance to get up close and personal with the stingrays. Most tour guides will have a pail of squid meat which they feed the stingrays with, which attracts dozens of them to the area.
Once you get into the water, your guides will likely give you some pieces of squid so that you can feed the rays yourself. Make sure that you watch your fingers! Make sure that you don’t wear diving gloves while feeding the stingrays, as the fabric of these gloves can strip away the protective mucus which exists on the ray’s skin and cause it to be susceptible to infection. Your hands are not in danger, so there is no need to wear gloves at the Stingray City. Also, do not pull the tails or try to ride the Stingrays as this could seriously hurt them.
A Stingray City trip might also include snorkelling at the nearby coral reefs and viewing the many species of colourful tropical fish.
Glass Bottom Boat Trips
Another great way to see the Stingrays if you are too nervous to get up close and personal with them, or if the weather is not suitable for snorkelling, is to take a glass bottom boat trip. These boats are completely clear on the bottom, allowing you to see down into the crystal waters and watch the stingrays gliding underneath.
Swimming with stingrays in the Cayman Islands is a once in a lifetime travel experience you will never forget!
Whether you live on Cayman Island real estate or you are visiting on a holiday, swimming with the stingrays is an essential island experience!