we had such fun at sting ray city. it takes about 2 hours to get there and I was surprised at just how friendly the WILD stingrays really were. I would certainly recommend this trip to anyone. Just remember to take sunscreen and a towel
I would definitely take a 2 year-old. As the other poster replied, there are many options for getting there. If you are arriving by ship, the dock area will be full of folks looking to sign you up for a tour. We went through Island Marketing (booked online) and were very pleased with the excursion. This was a catamaran with sheltered seating area as well as the trampoline out front. The crew were very professional and seemed to be very careful to take care of everyone. Besides Stingray City, we went to 2 other sites for snorkeling. This may make the trip a little long for your toddler - about 3.5 hours. But I would look to see if maybe the tour company has a shorter version of the trip. As for taking the little one in the water at the sandbar - put her/him in one of those little zip front life vests - and have a ball!! The 2 other snorkeling sites were the barrier reef and Coral gardens. The marketing companies trip was $20 cheaper than the one offered by the ship and it was almost an hour longer. If you are a 'one-horned butt fish' (snorkeler) like I am, you'll want this deal on the Buccaneer.
One of the best times we had (except when I got seasick) was feeding the stingrays. Our guide gave us some squids and the stingrays came to us. I guess the stingrays were already used to the tourists. They were very friendly. There were so many of them.
When the stingrays started swimming closer to us, our tourist guide told us that we can feed them, touch and kiss them. They were tamed at the same time wild. In the beginning, I was scared because of the fact that I know Steve, the crododile man, died from a stingray. However, after few minutes on the sandbar, I got used to seeing the stingrays swimming beside me.
My children loved the fact that we were able to swim with them and touch them. Feeding the stingray was also a great experience.
I held tight a squid and I extended my arm to the bottom of the stingray. The stingray just sunctioned it fast! I felt how it sunctioned the squid on my hand and the sensation of being sunctioned experience was very memorable. Also, we were allowed to kiss the stingrays. We extended both of our hands and lifted the stingray to give a gentle kiss!
The National Museum is the first building you probably notice here since Grand Cayman is so small. The street is bubbling with cars and tourists and you will see this white house fronting the shipyard at the Grand Cayman.
The National Museum in Grand Cayman houses some of the national treasures of the islands including birds, and some flora and fauna. It shows the cultural history also of the Caymanian people.
I can tell you that this is where my daughter enjoyed diving! She jumped from the second deck of the boat that we rented. She was not even scared at all...She climbed that boat several times just to dive. Some other fellow travellers also dove from the second floor.
They were diving for conch while I was so miserable on the boat because I got so seasick. This was the reason why I don't have a lot of pictures about the Cayman Islands.
Plan to take a day driving around the island. Somewhere just past the shortcut through the island on Queens Road, is a mango plantation on the island side of the road, not the ocean side.
Of course, take a day to shop in Georgetown, but try to find a local restaurant (NOT HARD ROCK) and eat there. The traditional food of the Caymans is really good!
Try to find the local things to do. Go to the harbor in Georgetown in the morning and get a fresh fish from one of the locals. They will filet and scale it right there for you. Then, cook that for lunch with some local mashed bread fruit. If you are not sure how to cook it, ask someone. They will love to tell you how.
There is place called Hell. Most of us plan to avoid it, but when in the Caymans, you must see this crazy spot. With unimaginable terrain, a boardwalk is provided to amble from the post office into the depths of post volcanic Hell. Make sure you go back to the post office to write a letter to someone you know and it will arrive postmarked from Hell. Classy.
Well, OK, it's probably one of the most over-dived sites in the world, but it's still a lot of fun! Eden Rock/Devil's Grotto is right at the George Town harbor with the cruise ships parked just a stone's throw away. Due to heavy use, the coral isn't in great shape, but there is still a lot of life. And so many fish!!! It is just like swimming in an aquarium, except in some spots there are more fish than water. But what really makes Eden Rock so much fun is the caves and chutes you can swim through and explore. Inside the caves, holes in the ceiling allow just enough light in to give each room an other-wordly atmosphere. Fish and shrimp swim upside-down along the ceilings. Schools of huge tarpon congregate in alcoves. Don't mind the crowds and the surly dive-shop staff, and don't miss Eden Rock!
Another very pretty shore dive is the second Dive Tech location at Cobalt Coast Resort - diving open to the public. You get the same great amenities as the Lighthouse Point location (high benches for set-up, outdoor shower, fresh water dip tank for cameras, regs, etc), plus a pool and a restaurant & bar. The entry/exit is from a long, skinny wooden dock that could have used some maintenance when we were there. If the surf is up at all, it's a little difficult to exit on their ladder as you have to take your fins off and time the surge so that you get onto the ladder without getting smashed into it. But when the water is calm, this site is a pleasure! The deep wall isn't far once you drop below the surface by the marker buoys. However, the surface swim to get to the buoys is a little long. Bring a snorkel! I suggest swimming to the right if the current allows, and follow the reef fingers to the North Wall. Navigating back is easy: Follow the reef fingers back to the mini-wall and then follow the mini-wall to the marker buoys.
You can sign one waiver and run one tab for both the Lighthouse Point and Cobalt Coast Dive Tech locations. They just call the other location to confirm information.
Also, when we were there, they had a special going, $20 for shore diving and lunch, which is a great deal! Especially considering that rental for tanks & weights is $15 and you can't even buy groceries to make your own lunch for $5 on Grand Cayman!
I've made three dive trips to Grand Cayman, and in my opinion, there is little reason to get on a boat to dive there. The shore diving is that fabulous! There are many dive shops on the water with their own cement docks for easy giant-stride entry, and ladders for easy exit. That's enough to spoil this New England diver! Rental for tanks & weights was around $15 Cayman.
These are the shore sites that we have done:
Lighthouse Point (Dive Tech):
Cobalt Coast (Dive Tech):
Eden Rock/Devil's Grotto:
Sun Divers at the Turtle Reef
Spanish Bay Reef
See more info about these spots at:
Just about all of the dive shops around George Town and West Bay have 2 reefs: one shallow and one deep wall. The shallows are from 30-60 feet deep. Then 50-100 yards further from shore, across sandy flats, you'll hit the deep wall at around 70 feet and you will never see the bottom.
The first time we dove here, on our latest trip to Grand Cayman, I remember dropping down onto the mini-wall and thinking, "This is why we come to Grand Cayman!!!" It had been 5 years and several other dive trips since our last visit to GC, and I'd forgotten exactly how beautiful and lush the reef is. I was not disappointed at Lighthouse Point! This site was a nice surprise for us since there was no dive operation here on our last visit. Dive Tech has a kiosk here to rent tanks & weights for the moment, with some benches, picnic tables and outdoor shower & fresh water dip tanks. They have plans to develop the site with a multi-story building of condos, a restaurant, and of course, a bona-fide dive shop.
They say someday they'll have a dock, but for now, there's a ladder down into a thin cut in the rock that's a bit on the surgey side. The best way to get in is to carry your fins and get underwater fast. There's a rope underwater that you can use to pull yourself out of the cut and into less surgey water where it's safe to put your fins on. Sounds tough but actually it's not bad. And you can use the same technique on the way out: Take your fins off underwater then pull yourself on the rope back to the ladder.
This is a pretty easy site to navigate since there are coral fingers that lead you easily from the mini-wall to the deep wall. The deep wall is worth the effort to see. There are huge barrel sponges an beautiful pinnacles near the top. The drop off is pretty dramatic. A very pretty dive!
Our boat dives were with Tortuga Divers at Morritt's, Divers Down and Eden Rock Divers. Don't take a boat dive with the Eden Rock guys - they were clueless - but take advantage of their wonderful house reef for shore diving instead. Divers down took us to the best location.
Everyone says you have to do stingray city and that's true, if only to satisfy your curiosity. You'll see & touch a lot of stingrays, but I wouldn't say it was the highlight of the trip.
Update: Please note that the resort at Spanish Bay is no longer in business. Looks like they didn't recover from the damage from Ivan. When we were on Grand Cayman in Feb 2008, there was talk that the resort was going to be rebuilt as a super-exclusive hotel-resort. Nobody knew if they would still allow shore diving to the public. We scoped out the location in its wrecked state, and it didn't look like anyone would stop you from diving there, but we gave it a pass since there were no facilities such as showers, rinse tank, etc. It's too bad because this is one of the best shore dives on Grand Cayman.
Keeping my original tip in hopes the site is refurbished and open to the public soon:
You don't have to be a guest at Spanish Bay Reef Resort to dive there. The diving there couldn't be easier and the North Wall is a short swim straight out. Steps with a railing lead you into their entry cove protected by a mini-jetty. Surface-swim over the shallows toward one of the 3 marker buoys and drop down when the reef starts to look interesting. Follow any one of the reef fingers straight down to the wall. You can easily get into trouble by going too deep, so watch your guages. Steadily go shallower and shallower back to the top of the mini-wall and your safety stop is built-in with your shallow swim back to the resort. We explored nearly every inch of reef between the 3 marker bouys on our return trips from the deep wall. There's a lot to see.
It's hard to beat this shore-diving location. If you're a diver, don't miss it. Like most shore-dive sites, Sun Divers offers equipment rentals, a rinse tank, drip-dry area, an outdoor shower and easy entry & exit ladders. And the reef there is one of the prettiest around. Looking out to sea, there is shallow diving (30-60 feet) just to the left of the marker buoys outside the protected entry cove. A deeper and prettier mini-wall dive (50-80 feet) is to the right. Straight out (and a rather long swim) is the deep wall.
Note that this location used to be run by Dive Tech but they have moved down the street to a new location they are calling Lighthouse Point - and Dive Tech still has their second location at Cobalt Coast Resort. I had no complaint with Sun Divers, except that they didn't have a map of the dive site like most other dive shops. But they were quite accommodating for us since we were staying in the condos next door, they let us take their tanks off site so that we could do a night dive at our condo at Coconut Bay. Most dives shops don't let you take tanks away. We decided to enter the water at the condo and we swam south, exiting at Sun Divers. Very convenient, and we saw a good sized octopus! Great dive!
There's also a nice little bar outside right by the ladder into the water where you can watch the divers go in and out of the water day and night. Also convenient for warming your bones if you're getting out of the water yourself!
Leaving our cruise ship behind we rented a motor scooter and took a ride along seven mile beach where we stopped for a swim. After drying off a bit we headed for HELL>>>>man was it scary...hahahaha!....then a ride along the ocean road led us to a great snorkeling spot with a nice resturant for lunch....someone told us about a rumcake factory so off to buy a rumcake....you must remember to stay on the left side of the road. I allmost got creemed after I forgot (ran me off into the sand, but we were O K ....after grabbing a rumcake it was off back to turn in our scooter and back to the cruise ship.....
On the beach at Bodden Town, 1 bedroom, living room, kitchen with rental car costs about 60% of a...more
553 Old Robin Road Queens Hwy, North Side, , Grand Cayman, Caribbean
Good for: Couples
403 Gerrard Ave, KY2-2001, Caribbean
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