Here’s our round-up of the best places to get up close to rays; be it graceful, gliding, gigantic manta rays or (somewhat) cuddly stingrays.
Travel bucket list idea:
Cuddle stingrays at Stingray City
George Town, Grand Cayman, United Kingdom (UK)|
This shallow sandbar, nicknamed ‘Stingray City’, was for years a dumping ground for the unwanted catch of local fishermen. Stingrays now congregate here in their hundreds, associating boats and people with an easy meal. Today, they are so habituated to people that you can hold them (some, believe or not, appear to enjoy being tickled under their wings). It’s perfectly safe – the stingrays are bordering on tame and the water is just three feet deep.
Getting there & doing it
Stingray City is a short boat ride away from Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman.
Tours last about three hours, and usually combine a one-hour session with the stingrays with snorkelling on the nearby barrier reef.
Experienced guides on the boat tell you how to feed and touch the stingrays and how to move about the sandbar. Snorkelling equipment is provided. Children of all ages can take part.
When to do it
Tours run all year round, but are weather dependent; the weather can be temperamental in hurricane season, between June and November.
Start times vary (often to accommodate cruise ship passengers), but there is usually a morning and afternoon tour.
Round-ups that include this experience