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.
If you only do one thing on this island, it has to be to go to Stingray City! Many tour operators run boats out to the North Sound Sandbar where you will be able to stand waist-high in the cleareast aquamarine waters to feed and swim with stingrays! While difficult to comprehend, these rays (some as large as 4ft. or larger in wing span) are exceptionally tame and used to humans due to being fed and not abused. It is a little scary at first and no one is allowed to wear aqua shoes which makes you even a little more nervous; this rule is enforced for the safety of the rays. The tour operators will sell you food to feed the rays and loan you snorkel gear and off you go.
When we were there, we were the first boat in the area and saw no stingrays. But in a matter of moments, there were scores of stingrays waiting for their daily meal!! (They are very NON-AGGRESSIVE, so don't mistreat them and they will stay that way!) Later after this experience, I wondered why sharks didn't make their own appearance considering the abundance of food being offered by the tourists!
We purchased this trip as a shore excursion from our ship which, at the time, was less than $50 each. Check on shore near the tender pier for companies selling these excursions, or book ahead online which maybe less expensive.
NOTE: It is a good idea to bring some cash to purchase food to feed the stingrays, and also if you wish to purchase a photo that the captain will take. (I believe the photo will be on a disk.) Although the picture was a little expensive, I feel that ours was one of the best pictures ever taken of our family on vacation and certain in a unique setting. If you feel that the crew has done a good job and given you a great experience with the stingrays, you may wish to tip them.
Stingray City, Stingray City, Stingray City
Where else can you have a live stingray eat out of your hand?
Go to the grocery store and get some frozen green peas. The stingrays love them and they are actually good for them.. You hold them in the palm of your hand and the stingrays suck them out.
They have no teeth so there is no danger of getting bitten.....by them that is. When we got there my buddy was bitten hard by a Moray Eel that darted out from a rock outcropping. It bit him in the hand and then took off. The locals told us that this eel is nicknamed "Psycho". Apparently this eel has bitten a lot of people and all they do is catch him and move him. He keeps coming back to this spot because of all the food.
We made a stop from a Crusie Ship and got to take Tanner for his first foray with the Stingrays. These are the most docile creatures in the sea and it is a shame that people only think of Steve Irwin being killed by one when they think about them. Tanner did great and it was a wonderful day out. This is not to be missed.
If you are only going to do one activity in Cayman this is the one. Everyone needs to take a boat out to Stingray City. You can either go to the sandbar for those weak swimmers or out to the reef for the stronger swimmers. Jump off the boat and feed the stingrays, take your picture holding one, and swim freely with them. It may seem a bit scary at first but it is well worth it.
In about 10~12 feet of water with a sandy bottom, Stingray City might be the largest gathering of rays in the world. You can snorkel or scuba here if you wish, but particularly if you are diving, it is recommended that you dont wear your fins. The bulky fins can injure your attractions and agitate them to retaliate.
This was such a neat experience for me and for my kids. We all LOVED it!!!!! We were the first ones out that morning and the rays where hungry and ready for food! They were everywhere and swarming around us like bees. At first it was so scary but after a few minutes in the water with them we started getting comfortable. They are all so very gentle and very used to being around people. I highly recommend swimming with the stingrays!!!
TIP: When you go out with a tour, make sure you sign up to go out 1st boat in the morning. We did and had all of the rays to ourselves (about 6 people on our boat and no other boats)after that there are too many boats & people and the rays are not as hungry anymore.
For a close up experience of stingrays in thr wild, there probably is nowhere else in the world as good as this sand bar about an hours boat journey from where we stayed. A truly exhilerating experience.
They take you about a mile out to a sandbar called Stingray City because all the tour boats take snorkelers out to feed giant manta rays. These huge rays will come and gently take fish from your hand. There are tons of rays here and its only about 4-5 ft deep.
Stingray City is in about 12 feet deep water. The site was first noticed about ten years ago, when North Sound fishermen came to the calmer, shallower waters just over the reef to clean their fish. Stingrays started hanging around the boats looking for handouts. Eventually, divemasters got in the water to hand-feed them, and before long the stingrays had become "tame". THis is a popular spot for divers.
If you aren't a diver, you can still participate in the fun. A short distance from Stingray City is Stingray Sandbar. The water here is shallow enough to stand up in. Their favourite food is squid, which you can feed them by hand. Although, if you're not careful, they will chomp down on your hand! They don't have teeth, but they still have a strong chomp!
Although it did seem a bit frightening at times to be amongst these huge animals, it was also a pretty awesome feeling.
After a 30 minute boatride to a sandbar ,(about 1 mile offshore), I was given snorkeling gear and told to jump in! Even this far from shore, you can still stand. The water is crystal clear, and you realize that you're sharing the sandbar with hundreds of stingrays! They swim by you, brush against you and will eat from your hand if you want. The guide will hold the stingrays so you can better see and touch them, incredible.
Diving with the Stingrays was a once in a lifetime experience. I would definitely go back and do it again. Stingrays are such unique and gentle creatures and to be surrounded by them was just unbelivably moving.