A visit to Stingray City is one of the most popular things to do on Grand Cayman Island in the western Caribbean. Cruise ships always include several shore excursions to Stingray City, including those where you can swim, snorkel, dive, or just watch them from a glass bottom boat.
The sandbar where the stingrays come to feed is about a 15-minute boat ride from the transfer point at the northern end of Grand Cayman, so you will need transportation to visit them.
These Stingray City pictures were taken on three trips to Stingray City--two where the group swam and snorkeled with the rays; and the third where the group viewed the stingrays through a glass bottom boat. All were excellent and a great way to interact with this fascinating marine animal.
One guide even held a live Caribbean ray out of the water briefly to show its barb and explained how Australian Steve Irwin was accidentally killed by a giant ray in the Pacific Ocean near Australia. Fortunately for those swimming at Stingray City, the Caribbean rays are much smaller than the giant rays.
Swimming with the Stingrays on Grand Cayman
Many boats and swimmers visit the sandbar that is nicknamed Stingray City on Grand Cayman Island in the western Caribbean.
Stingray City Swimmers
The stingrays have no fear of humans and swim all around you why you are on their sandbar at Stingray City.
Swimming with the Stingrays on Grand Cayman
Stingray City on Grand Cayman is a sandbar where stingrays come to feed and tourists come to see the rays.
Naturalist Teaching Tourists about Sting Rays
Most boats carry a naturalist along to teach the tourists all about stingrays, like how to tell a male from a female sting ray and why they are not dangerous.
How Steve Irwin of Australia Was Killed by Giant Ray
Although stingrays are not aggressive, if you step on this barb, it can hurt. According to our guide at Stingray City, one of these barbs from a giant stingray killed crocodile hunter Steve Irwin.
Many people are fearful of stingrays (stingrays) because Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter" from Australia, was killed by one. However, he was accidentally killed by a giant ray off the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
Many different stories have been reported as to how Steve Irwin was killed. According to our naturalist guide on Grand Cayman Island, he was diving and decided to try and ride on the back of the giant ray, much like you would a bucking bronco horse. When rays are threatened or scared, they whip their long tails back and forth, and the very sharp barb protrudes. As Irwin tried to ride the stingray, the barb in the tail caught him in the chest and punctured his heart, killing him.
Since I left Grand Cayman and wrote this article, I've heard other stories that contradicted this one, including one told by the cameraman who was filming when Steve Irwin was killed, so his story should have more credence. The cameraman said that Irwin quietly swam up behind the stingray so that the cameraman could get a photo of them together. The stingray suddenly started violently waving his barbed tail, and the cameraman didn't even realize at first that Steve Irwin had been struck until it was too late. He now surmises that the stingray mistook Mr. Irwin for a predator. However Steve Irwin was killed, it is a very sad story, but both stories have one thing in common--neither the sting ray nor Mr. Irwin was an aggressor. It was an unfortunate accident, which can sometimes happen with most any type of wildlife.
The stingrays of the Caribbean are much smaller than those at the Great Barrier Reef. Although you can be hurt if you step on the barb, a smaller ray thrashing its barbed-tail would not have the power to puncture your chest. In addition, the rays at Stingray City are not afraid or threatened by humans.
The Allura Catamaran Takes Tourists to Stingray City
Sailboats and motorboats take travelers from Grand Cayman Island to the sandbar where the stingrays come to feed.
Grand Cayman Boat to Stingray City
A 15-minute boat ride transfers Stingray City visitors from the dock on the north end of Grand Cayman island to the large sandbar where the rays feed.
Glassbottom Boat for Viewing Stingrays at Stingray City on Grand Cayman Island
This glass bottom boat is anchored at Stingray City. You can view the stingrays without getting wet by taking a boat out to this viewing platform.