If you have any hesitation about swimming with these elegant animals, we encourage you to take the plunge, as this is one snorkeling adventure you don’t want to miss. Stingray city is consistently voted the #1 thing to see in Grand Caymans. 10-minute boat ride from the North-Western point of Grand Cayman
The water at stingray city is crystal clear with white sandy bottom. There are many areas which are shallow enough to touch the bottom. If you are not yet comfortable wearing fins, this is a great introductory site to get your feet wet and practice using a mask and snorkel.
In the early 1980’s fishermen returning from the open seas would stop at this clam protected sandbar to clean their fish. They started noticing huge black shadows circling under their boats.
Caymanian fishermen were great on the water, but were not the best swimmers, so they assumed these shadows must have been “man-eating sharks.” Soon scuba Divemaster’s caught wind of the mysterious shadows and went out to the sandbar to investigate.
When divers hopped in the water they found dozens of Southern stingrays hanging around the boat waiting for an easy meal. From here Stingray city was born and is now one of the Cayman Island’s more famous and favorite attraction.
The southern stingray (Dasyatis Americana) has a diamond shape and is brown, gray or olive color with a white belly. It is found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean.
Southern stingrays are far from man eating sharks, in fact they have no teeth and instead uses suction to extract prey. Instead of teeth they have coarse grinder plates which they use to pulverize and consume food.
These stingrays however do have a barb on the tail covered in a venomous sheath which they use for self-defense. However, Southern stingrays only get one use of their barb, and are unlikely to sting unless seriously provoked.
The only way to access this snorkeling site is via a boat ride. Stingray city is a 12 feet (3.5m) shallow sandbar, and is located a short ten-minute boat ride from the North Western point of Grand Cayman. Most if not all the of the water sports center in Grand Cayman offer a trip to stingray city. This can either be a simple snorkeling adventure or longer catamaran sailing tour with a trip to snorkeling with the rays.