Swimming and Standing in the Sands of Stingray City off Grand Cayman

The location is often called a “city” yet no building exists, and in fact the only “bar” (another city staple in my eyes) consists of sand. Found in the waters of the North Sound off Grand Cayman, Stingray City is essentially a beach with crystal clear turquoise waters, soft white sand, and crowded with swimmers. The tourist attraction allows its visitors to interact, feed, and touch the local southern stingrays.

arriving to stingray city on a catamaran in Grand Cayman

Arriving to Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Whether you arrive by “ferry” boat, private yacht, or a cruise excursion catamaran trip as I did (sailing Carnival Vista), guides take the boat-loads of swimmers into the shallow three feet water to allow and oversee the interaction with these friendly southern stingrays.

getting in the water with southern Stingrays in Stingray City in the North Sound of Grand Cayman, Western Caribbean

The stingrays do have a stinger, but it is only used as a defense against predators. It is something to take notice of, but there is no need to fear these delightful creatures.  During my time in the water, I touched a few different stingrays including a pregnant female, attempted to feed them (they will “suck” fish scraps your guide brings directly from your hand) and even received a back massage. The guides were with us the entire time and controlled the interaction to protect the species and the visitors.

Stingray Massage in Stingray City, Grand Cayman

Order up a back massage….

stingray city back massage, grand cayman

Smiling from my massage


 Travel Tips

  1. Stop for beer prior to boarding the boat.

The sandbar essentially was the only bar – no alcohol on our boat.  The catamaran did have beverages, especially water, but on the return voyage which included a relaxing sail (depending on the wind) the captain and crew did not have a liquor license and could not serve drinks. I wouldn’t recommend anything prior to interacting with the stingrays, but a beer on the way back would put the exclamation point an a great excursion. The captain did not mind (and it is allowed, even recommended) for passengers to bring on drinks. So ask the driver to make a stop on the way to the boat from the cruise pier or your hotel.

  1. Pack your waterproof smartphone case or camera.

Although our excursion offered videos and photos for a price, (I assume many do) taking your own would be a great way to capture these moments. So pack your waterproof phone case or waterproof camera. You will be glad you did.

  1. With no place to take cover, pack your sun screen.

On the boats or in the water, there are no palm trees or canopy for shade on this adventure. You’ll need to wear long sleeves, use sun tan lotion, hats, and sunglasses.

the catamaran in stingray city booked through the Carnival Excursions of the Carnival Vista

Our catamaran from the “beach” or “sand bar”

Stay adventurous, Craig

d Vance Gulliksen (Carnival Cruise PR) and Doug Parker (Cruise Radio)

Vance Gulliksen (Carnival Cruise PR) and Doug Parker (Cruise Radio)

I was an invited guest of Doug Parker at Cruise Radio on this sail through the Western Caribbean on Carnival Vista. To catch the entire episode of the sail which included an interview with Jay Leno, tune into the Cruise Radio podcast and episode  > here.

And also Happy Beach Thursday!  The winter series returns in 2018 with an 8-part or beach) series of posts. See all the details for the 2018 season and all the prior beaches visited through the years on the  Beach Thursday Page.

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