Swim with Stingrays in Grand Cayman's Stingray City

Added by Erin Armstrong

Get up close to dozens of wild southern stingrays.

The story is that decades ago fisherman would anchor off the shallow sandbar and clean their catch to avoid the bugs closer to shore. They would dump the fish guts into the water and soon the southern stingrays began to associate the sound of boats with food. 

Today you'll notice when a tour boat pulls up to the sandbar the rays will float over to check it out, eager for the food the tour guides have.

The best way to see the stingrays is by taking a tour boat down to the sandbar. I used Don Foster Dive but there are lot of tour operators with different perks and tours of various sizes, lengths and prices. 

The stingrays range in size, with small sand-colored dinner plates to the huge females that don't waste time coming right up to check if you have food in your hand. 

Most tours don't allow you to feed the stingrays as there is local concern about what is being fed and how much it is affecting their diet. Instead tours will often simply place a bucket of chum with holes in it floating in the water, the smell alone attracts the stingrays. 

The water on the bar various between waist and chest height so even those who aren't strong swimmers will be comfortable. There are often crowds, though if you go early enough you won't have to deal with too much noise. You don't have to worry about crowds anyway because there are plenty of curious stingrays and you'll certainly be able to see, pet and hold at least one if you'd like. 

Experiences like these let us encounter wildlife on their own terms and the curious and gentle animals make this place a safe space for the whole family.

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