Scuba diving at Stingray City
Scuba diving at Stingray City
Scuba diving in Stingray City is a chance to get up close and personal with sometimes dozens of stingrays in fantastic calm conditions. The dive site is on the sheltered North end of the island of Grand Cayman, on a long shallow sandbar. Local fishermen used to throw spare catch overboard on the sandbar which attracted stingrays to the area in huge numbers. The number of stingrays you could find here made Stingray City scuba diving one of the top activities on the island. Diving Stingray City is an experience that is hard to match, a long shallow dive in crystal clear waters surrounded by huge friendly stingrays.
Stingray city is of course a hugely popular dive spot not only for scuba divers but for snorkelers and even swimmers who come to meet the rays. Photographs of people diving with dozens of rays are what most people associate with scuba diving Cayman Islands. Dive trips here avoid the crowds and get down to play with the stingrays in very slightly deeper waters. Most dive boats bring a small amount of squid with them to Stingray City to continue the old tradition of feeding the rays. The sheer number of rays and the easy sheltered waters have made Stingray City one of the most famous sites in Cayman Islands scuba diving.
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Marine Life in Stingray City
Although there are some small fish and the odd invertebrate to be seen at Stingray City the main attraction is the stingrays. The rays here are southern stingrays, a type of ray only found in tropical waters such as the Caribbean. These rays are known for easily becoming tame and associating humans with food in several places in the Caribbean.
It is thought that these particular rays started coming here to feed on fish guts and squid thrown overboard by fishermen. Nowadays, with diving and snorkelling boats taking the place of fishermen and often organising several dives per day in Stingray city, the rays are more accustomed to humans than ever. The southern stingray can become fairly large in size with the males growing to just under a meter.
Best Dive Sites in Stingray City
Despite most people believing there is only one spot on Grand Cayman there are in fact two Stingray City dive sites. The Valley of the Rays is close to the barrier reef around the sandbar and is deeper than the bar where most swimmers are dropped off. The dive spot is around three to four meters deep and the visibility is 25 to 30 meters and of course full of friendly stingrays. This is one of the best dive sites in Stingray City especially for divers who have been to the sandbar before.
The Stingray City sandbar is one of the most famous and most photographed dive sites Stingray City has to offer. Here the water varies from knee deep to three meters and the water is beautifully clear, although there are a lot more people on this site than the deeper one. With such good conditions and so many cheeky stingrays it is no surprise that this is one of the most popular dive spots Stingray City has to offer, it really is Cayman Islands scuba diving at its best!
Best Time to Dive in Stingray City
Scuba diving in Stingray city is open all year round particularly these dive spots as they are sheltered by the barrier reef. It is worth noting however that hurricane season is from June to October and visitors planning to go diving in Cayman Islands during this period, should remember general weather conditions can be variable.
Experience Level for Diving in Stingray City
Scuba diving in Stingray City is perfect for any level of diver especially beginners. The site is shallow and the conditions are very sheltered by the barrier reef. More experienced divers will also enjoy diving Stingray City although they might find Stingray Valley more enjoyable than the sandbar dive sites.
How Do I Get to Stingray City
Getting to Stingray City is fairly easy as it is located on the main Cayman Island, Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman has an international airport which takes daily flights from the USA and London. Once you are on Grand Cayman there are many dive trips and dive boats including a Cayman Island liveaboard that can take you to Stingray City.