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Close Encounters

One of Grand Cayman’s most popular city visits isn’t to a city at all — at least not in the usual sense of the word. Meet the inhabitants of Stingray City and its neighbor, Stingray Sandbar.

woman snorkeling with two stingrays

People are merely drop-in visitors who dive down to discover what makes this stretch of real estate so attractive to the rays.

Fortunately, the area’s southern stingrays seem to relish all the attention. They certainly like being fed the handfuls of squid offered by cruise guests and other visitors. And they know the ropes. As soon as a tour-boat motor stops, a flotilla of rays gracefully glides onto the scene. From the deck of the boat, the saucer-shaped rays, which may reach Up to 6 feet across, can be seen approaching.

two stingrays next to a boat

Visitors have the choice of watching them from above the surface or jumping in the waist-high water and swimming beside the fierce-looking but gentle creatures.

Before it became a popular tourist attraction, Stingray Sandbar served as a protected area where fishermen cleaned their catch en route to shore. The chance for a free lunch attracted the rays then, just as it does now.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.