Need some good input. Which is better to do? My husband and I are both good swimmers, and I can't wait to see the sting rays. Do you get to feed and touch them at both places? Also, if anyone would recommend the best snorkel trip excursions on the western cruise, I would appreciate it. Thanks, Patty
I went to sting ray city on an excursion and loved it!!! It is really a sand bar about 30 minutes out fron shore. Yes, you get in the water with the creatures and you can feed them, touch them,hold them etc. I wasn't sure if I would like the tour but it was one of the most interestingthings I've ever done. It was worth the money! Have a great time.
I have done the tour 3 times with my family and it is our favorite. As stated Sting Ray City and "the Sand Bar" are one in the SAME. All the boats go to the same spot and anchor. The water depth varies form waist deep to over your head. While on the boat you can see the water change from a beautiful aqua to black, suddenly, as if someone drew a line. The sand bar is quite large and you won't wander off it, I don't mean to worry you, I just find it amazing that such shallow water exists so far out. We were told on one tours that the sting rays are present courtesy of Jacques Cousteau you was doing some sort of ocean study in the area years ago, and after a long day at sea ,on their way in to dock would drop of unused bait that would attract the sting rays up to the sand bar from the deep trench area. They are so well fed now from the tours that they have become conditioned and you will be amazed by the number of them and how they vary in size from tiny to huge. They are gentle, beautiful creatures who will just flutter about you like butterflies. A crew member will usually catch one and hold it for photos and for those who want a closer look. On one tour a young boy rubbed the bait on his body to attract the rays, he aquired quite an obvious "Sting Ray Hickie". The Rays mouth is on their under side and their tiny eyes on top. They use their sense of smell to find food and thought this boy was bait. You will love this tour!!! A bit of advice would be to see which tour spends more time in the water with the rays. Some of the tours include other stops and some don't get in the water at all.
When we did Sting Ray City we were staying in Grand Cayman and booked with Red Sail tours, went with about half divers and the other half snorkelers, it was great, but you pretty much need to be a good swimmer and you mentioned that you were. It almost sounds like all the tours go to the sandbar, we were actually a good distance from them and I was able to get some great pictures, although it was rough that day, I still used a life vest. I would say as long as you get to get in the water with the Sting Rays, either one would be good, its something not to miss. Its also a lot cheaper to pick up an underwater camera at home at your local K-mart or W-mart, will cost twice as much once you are onboard or on any of the islands.
Have a great time, it is well worth the time and money.
I'm not trying to be disagreeable, folks, but the Sandbar and Stingray City are NOT one and the same thing. The Sandbar is very shallow, and most people wade. Stingray City is about 12 feet deep, and is not really even close to the Sandbar. There is a third site, called Stingray Alley, between the Sandbar and the cut through the reef to the northeast. It, too, is about 12 feet deep. At all of the sites, the Southern Stingrays are barbed, although I've never heard of anyone being injured there. Wouldn't want to step on one at the Sandbar, though, so shuffling your feet is not a bad idea. Unfortunately, though, that messes up the visibility. Bottom line? Just be careful, and you'll be fine.Jeff wrote:
> Went on this excursion in Feb of 2000. Loved it. Be sure and
> take an underwater camera with you. I have some great shots
> and great memories. Well worth the money.
Divetex is right. Also, if you go w/Capt. Marvin or Capt. Crosby or any one of several other independent excursions (some of the locals will be hawking their tours at the docks, but I am not familiar w/the quality of the tours), you will most likely stop at 3 places. One place is called the Gardens. I can't remember the other one. One of the places is quite close to where the Cayman wall drops off! These places are actually more beautiful under the water than Stingray City or sandbar, which only have the rays. We have been several different times & have never gotten stung or hurt, nor did anyone in our group. The rays seem pretty tame. Be sure to follow your tour guide's recommendation of how to feed them &/or pet or handle them. Doing it the wrong way is what can get you in trouble. But by trouble, I only mean a sort of nip/bit on the fingers. They say the rays can give you a painful hickey, but I have never had it happen to anyone in my group.
This is by far a must do thing in Grand Cayman! Have fun!
Stingray City and Stingray Sandbar are different, as Divetex has explained. If you are a diver, I would certainly recommend the 12 ft. dive to be up close and personal with the rays. If you're not, either one would be enjoyable, but I would think you would have a more personal experience at the Sandbar. And do shuffle your feet at the Sandbar. This is a DON'T MISS experience of a lifetime! Just do it!