There are certain iconic activities around the world that you have to try at least once in your life and on Grand Cayman that experience is a trip to Stingray City. My visit to the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort as part of the Passport To Paradise project wasn’t my first trip to the island and it wasn’t even my first visit to Stingray City, but it was my best experience there.
Local legend has it that decades ago, fishermen returning from a day on the water returned to the shallow waters of the northwest corner of Grand Cayman’s North Sound to clean their catches, throwing squid and fish guts into the water. Soon stingrays began to gather, attracted by the new food source and eventually they associated the sound of the boats with dinnertime. It didn’t take long for the fishermen to realize that the stingrays could be fed by hand and a new tradition immediately developed.
Today a visit to Stingray City is a rite of passage for any visitor to Grand Cayman, be it via cruise ship or as the guest of one of the resorts on island. I love wildlife experiences but I’m always cautious about which ones I do. The safety of both the animals and surrounding natural habitat is very important to me and all tour operators are definitely not made the same. So at the recommendation of the Grand Cayman Marriott, I went out with the largest and most experienced tour operator on Grand Cayman, Red Sail Sports. I was confident about their abilities before the trip, but after talking with them while on the catamaran I became convinced that I was with the right people.
I love being on the water when I travel, there’s something inherently calming about a boat ride that immediately quells any concerns or stress in my life. The excursion on Grand Cayman was no different and within minutes of leaving the dock, I was lost in my own little world as the boat sailed through the perfectly calm and magnificently blue waters of the sound.
Before long we arrived at the sandbar and jumped into the water for our stingray experience. It was fun, standing there surrounded by these massive and beautiful creatures, gingerly petting them as they floated by. This activity scares some people, but I’m not quite sure why. Stingrays are bottom feeders and frankly the worst thing that can happen is an unwanted kiss by these graceful creatures.
The best part of the day for me though wasn’t being in the water with the stingrays, it was just being out amongst the elements, enjoying what really makes Grand Cayman a fantastic place to visit. All of the accouterments are nice, but nothing beats spending time in the incredibly blue waters, lazing back and watching the clouds float by, thanking the heavens for that peaceful moment in time.
Have you been to Stingray City? What did you think?
I was in Grand Cayman as part of the Passport To Paradise project and was sponsored by Marriott Resorts. However all the smiles, laughs and honest opinions are entirely my own. To learn more about Marriott Resorts of the Caribbean and Mexico and to see their current specials, please check out their web page.