First things first, what are stingrays? Stingrays are bottom dwellers who feed primarily on mollusks and crustaceans, for which they dig in the sand, and on the occasional small fish. Stingrays naturally like shallow, sandy bottoms such as that found at the channel where Stingray City is found because that’s where they find their food. Stingrays are elegant and when they are inclined to move, most swim by undulating their bodies like a wave; others flap their sides like wings. The tail may also be used to maneuver in the water, but its primary purpose is protection.
The story behind Stingray City is that fisherman used to duck in, behind the the reef, to find calm water before returning to the dock. Rather than spill their beer and have sharp knives and fish guts flung about the boat while on open water, they naturally waited to return to the sound to clean and fillet their catch. Disposing of the offal was easy – they just tossed it overboard in the shallow water as fish food. And the stingrays quickly caught on to that as a consistent food source.
Years went by, and some local divers realized that, not only were there were a lot of rays out there but you could get in the water with them and feed them by hand. Then in 1987, Skin Diver Magazine found out about it and sent famous diver Geri Murphy down to do a story. The rest was, as they say, history! Now, over twenty years later, Stingray City and a second site near Rum Point Channel, called the Sandbar, have hit the big time. Known throughout the world and featured on several prestigious television documentaries, Stingray City and the Sandbar are no longer quite undiscovered.
But for every diver or snorkeler who dares to get in the water for the first time, with these prehistoric looking creatures lurking just below their toes, the adrenaline still flows and the heart still pumps. It is a world-class experience and fun for travelers of all ages.
What’s special about Stingray City? Well, the Caymanian government has made an real effort to keep the attraction completely natural. This is the real thing: the real ocean with real animals who are free to come and go as they choose, and they choose to be there because they hope that you might just come down there and feed them. It’s highly recommended and no visit to Grand Cayman would be complete without it.
ShoreFox partners with local tour operators to offer intimate small group tours to Stingray City featuring true Caymanian hospitality. Whether you want to arrive on a small boat, a chartered sailboat or a jet ski – all are possible! Check them out today and book your once in a lifetime stingray adventure!