Stingray City, Grand Cayman is one of the most popular off-shore excursions in the Caribbean, as well as one of the world's truly unique tourist attractions. The name Stingray City is a misnomer because there are no buildings, streets, or automobiles; however, there are an abundance of stingrays to be found and tourists can feed, swim, and interact with the animals. The southern stingrays can grow to large sizes (100cm or more in span) and are accustomed to being handled and fed.
Local legend has it that the stingrays began gathering in the area decades ago when fisherman would return from an excursion and navigate behind a reef into the sound and clean the fish in the calm water of the shallows and sand bar area. The fish guts were simply thrown overboard and the stingrays eventually congregated to feast on the discarded guts. Soon the stingrays began to associate the sound of a boat engine with a free meal. As this practice turned into a tradition, local divers realized that the stingrays could be fed by hand. In 1987, Skin Diver Magazine sent a reporter to do an article on this anomaly which fascinated the world.
There are three ways to experience the rays, and each involves a short boat ride to the sandbar area at the North Sound.
* The most popular is a snorkeling trip, which has been called the best snorkeling experience in the world. This trip normally occurs in the heart of the sandbar where the water is only 3 to 5 feet deep.
* The second way to experience Stingray City is as a SCUBA diver. Dive groups consist of ten to twenty divers, wearing no fins as they may hurt the congregating stingrays. The divers are over-weighted, which keeps them on the bottom and the dive master swims from diver to diver dispersing diced squid and fish pieces. Stingrays quickly surround the divers.
* The third way to experience Stingray City is via glass bottom boat, which is an alternative if the weather is too windy for snorkeling.
Caitilin August 25th, 2013 - 2:30:Been going on this snorkel trip since 1995. It is very touristy but a must see if it is your first time on the island. The string rays are very docile and gentle. The crew will sometimes feed them which is also great to watch. It is certainly better to be in the water with these magnificent creatures than on a glass bottom boat!