Snorkeling in Stingray City
Snorkeling in Stingray City
Snorkeling in Stingray city is one of the highlights of a trip to the Cayman Islands. This snorkel site is formed of a series of shallow sandbars running from Morgan Harbour to Rum point and located in the North Sound of the Grand Cayman Islands. It is home to approximately 90 stingrays which roam free in the North Sound a 35 square mile area of ocean protected by reef.
Snorkeling in Stingray City is unique and has an interesting history. Decades ago fishermen started to use to use the calm waters of the sound to clean out the fish throwing the guts and bycatch into the water. The Atlantic Southern rays and other marine life, took advantage of this easy food supply and therefore now these stingrays associate the sound of the boats engine with food which explains why large numbers congregate in one area, sometimes a few dozen at a time.
The beauty of Stingray city as a snorkel site is that it is suitable for the whole family as Snorkeling is easy for all generations and abilities. The water depth is chest high about 3ft extremely warm with fantastic visibility.
Marine Life in Stingray City
As the name suggests one of the main attractions of snorkeling in Stingray City is the unusual number of Atlantic Southern Stingrays which congregate in one area, with a wingspan of over two meters their wings feel soft and silky as they brush past you. These Stingrays are extremely docile almost like puppy dogs and are a treat to be in the water with. Fantastic for underwater photography as they are relaxed and not camera shy unlike the majority of marine creatures.
Please always remember to respect the marine life, as we are the ones entering their environment, let them approach you if they would like. A little tip the calmer and more relaxed you are the increased likelihood that they will approach you. These rays are extremely friendly so without a doubt will have some very special close encounters with them. Alongside the rays, other beautiful marine life is attracted to the area including a variety of rays, turtles and fish species.
Best Snorkel Sites in Stingray City
The snorkel site Stingray City is the main lagoon in which dive and snorkel tours go to view the rays. There are two main sites. The main snorkeling site is on the sand bar known as ìStingray Sandbarî, very shallow only three foot in depth perfect for non-swimmers and swimmers alike. The second area is ìStingray cityî which is also shallow, depths maximum 12ft so more tailored to experienced snorkelers and free-divers. These days fewer and fewer fishing boats use the area, yet the rays are still attracted due to the squid which a few of the tour boats bring along.
Best Time to Snorkel in Stingray City
A snorkel trip to Stingray city is unique in that you will be able to find Southern Rays there yearly. Low season is from November to March, excluding the Christmas period. Therefore, if you are looking to avoid the crowds these would be the months to aim for as it is also slightly cheaper. However, in the summer season, May to October the waters are likely to warmer around 28-30 degrees and weather slightly warmer.
How Do I Get to Stingray City
The best way to experience snorkeling at Stingray City is from a liveaboard. There are numerous airlines that fly to the Cayman Islands from US, United Kingdom & Europe to Owen Roberts international airport which is located in George Town International airport on Grand Cayman.