Cruise to the Cayman Islands and See Stingray City
By Mary Hanna
Everyone has their favorite Caribbean Island but if you don’t know, cruising the Cayman Islands is a highlight of a Caribbean Cruise. The three islands hold many attractions some that are unique to these islands. The world’s only commercial Green Sea Turtle farm is located here and is an interesting tour. Other attractions include the National Museum, Queen Elizabeth II Botanical Park and Garden, Bird Sanctuaries, Nature trails and Wetlands Preserves. And, of course, for those who can’t live without it, shopping is abundant without the hassle of street vendors (prohibited by law).
One of the most famous natural attractions in Grand Cayman Island is Stingray City. This is an area in the ocean not far from the northern tip of Grand Cayman where tourists can get up close to hundreds of friendly stingrays. Stingray City will be one of the organized tours from the cruise ships visiting Grand Cayman as a port of call. There will also be tours available from local operators in Georgetown where the cruise ships dock. The cruise organized tours will almost always be the more expensive option but you will save a lot of shore time.
Scuba divers can book specialized dives at Stingray City through one of the many diver operators in Grand Cayman. The scuba diving at Stingray City is at a deeper section away from the tourist crowds who are usually brought to a very shallow area. Certified scuba divers and even snorkelers are recommended to take the dive trip option with the dive shops to experience Stingray City with fewer crowds. For non-divers, the sandbars here are shallow enough to stand and feed the stingrays.
It is believed that many years ago, sailors visiting the area while cleaning their catch threw fish remains overboard and soon noticed the stingrays coming into the cove for the free food. These particular stingrays became conditioned over the years to humans and the food handouts unlike stingrays elsewhere in the Caribbean.
The stingrays here are friendly enough that people could touch them and local guides have been known to even hold them. The guides will warn everyone that even though these stingrays appear to be quite friendly, they should still be regarded as wild animals so it is never recommended to touch them by their razor sharp tails or abuse them in any manner. It is possible to feed them with the squid parts provided on site. The mouths of the stingrays are located underneath their bodies and people are instructed to hold the food in their palms flat facing up. With their keen sense of smell, the stingrays will hover towards and over the food to collect their snacks.
The guides, a devilish lot, usually target in on the squeamish of all the passengers. As soon as those passengers are in the water they throw food around the hapless folks to attract the stingrays to that area. So seem brave and you won’t get picked on.
Although Stingray City can be crowded at times due to its popularity, it does offer a very unique experience to see these wonderful sea creatures up close. Stingrays are usually very shy animals and will swim away from scuba divers and snorkelers but not at Stingray City in Grand Cayman.
This is a tour that all members of your family can enjoy, you, your children even the grandparents. It is easy to get on and off the boat and the water is only about chest deep, depending on your height. Life jackets are available for all. I highly recommend this outing but book early as word has gotten around and this is a very popular excursion.
Mary Hanna has cruised the world on almost all of the top cruise lines. After over 60 cruises she has decided to compile her expertise into an e-Book for either first time or seasoned cruisers. Mary has written other eBooks, Software Reviews and Practical Articles on Internet Marketing, Cruising, Gardening and Cooking. Visit her websites at: FirstCruiseBestCruise.com, CruiseTravelDirectory.com and WebMarketingReviews.com.
Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna. All Rights Reserved.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.