Stingray City is an incredibly popular tourist destination. Who wouldn’t want to watch these friendly families glide through the heavenly Caribbean waters and experience their velvety skin rippling across your ankles?
Choosing the right time to visit Stingray City is important if you want to avoid the stingrays’ giant fan club!
At Red Sail Sports, our long years of experience and local knowledge ensure that if you travel with us, we will get the timing of your trip just right.
Check out our range of excursions to Stingray City, and get in touch with us for more advice or to talk through your vacation plans with an expert.
What is the best day of the week to visit Stingray City?
The largest crowds at Stingray City come from the cruise ships, which peak mid-week and tail off towards the weekend. You can check the Cayman cruise ship schedules here but generally Friday-Monday are the quietest days on the sandbank.
Attractions and restaurants on the Cayman Islands tend to operate seven days a week, so there is no need to worry about places being closed after your trip at the weekend.
What is the best time of day to visit Stingray City?
Early morning and late afternoon are the quietest times on the reef. Cruise passengers generally arrive around mid-morning and leave by 2pm. Whether morning or evening is best is really up to you and your vacation rhythms!
If you like a lie-in, we recommend our Sunset Stingray City Trip, where you will glide on our luxury catamaran into the amber, gold and rose of the setting sun, and enjoy an evening with the rays.
However, if you like to get up and out in the mornings, join us for our breakfast trip to Stingray City, where you will be one of the first visitors of the day to these peaceful sea creatures.
While we will take the rays some breakfast, at Red Sail Sports we limit the food to one pound of squid to keep the rays healthy.
This is more than enough to attract the rays, and because they have long associated humans with food, they will come up to say hello at any time of day.
We alter the timings of our trips each day in line with the seasons to make sure we arrive at the perfect moment.
What is the best time of year to visit Stingray City?
The Cayman Islands are a year-long holiday destination, with tropical temperatures and excellent water visibility all year round.
The high season is December to April, before the rainy season starts.
November is also the month of the Pirates Week Festival, which is a fun celebration for all the family.
During the rainy season, you will still enjoy your visit to Stingray City, as the rays are there year-round. The rains are also warm and can be a pleasant relief from the heat.
Be aware that the region is prone to tropical storms particularly in August-October, although the Cayman Islands are outside the main hurricane belt.
When do stingrays come to Stingray City?
Stingrays started to visit Stingray City after local fishermen disposed of fish guts and squid overboard after their fishing trips. Now, these peaceful, friendly animals have become accustomed to human visitors, and as soon as they hear us coming, they glide over!
Stingray City is composed of the Valley of Rays and the Stingray Sandbar. The Valley of Rays (or Stingray deep) is a deeper section of water — up to 12 ft in depth — and allows for swimming and snorkeling. The Stingray sandbar is shallower and offers a paddling experience.
Unfortunately, since Covid, there are no longer any stingrays at Stingray City, they are only found at the Sandbar.
Stingray Sandbar was formed due to the extensive reefs and shallow waters that characterize the Cayman Islands.
The interaction of ocean currents and waves led to the depositing of sediment around the area of the Sandbar, and waves refract off the surrounding reefs leaving the sandbar intact.
The stingrays, too, have a role in shaping the sandbar, as they have congregated in this area for many years in search of food.
Stingrays are attracted to shallow waters as they feed by detecting the electrical pulses in small sea creatures living in the sand.
They suck the food in and spit the sand back out, making them fantastic “habitat engineers”, creating micro-habitats for tiny invertebrates, as well as helping other species to feed.
Did you know that stingrays actually provide a crucial role for humans too?
They distribute crucial nutrients for phytoplankton, which provides half of Earth’s oxygen supply!
You can read about the ecological importance of Stingray City’s stingrays here. At Red Sail Sports we are members of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), which encourages environmental conservation among members.
To appreciate the incredible biodiversity of the area, join us on our North Sound Eco-Safari Tour, which combines Stingray City with a visit to the reef and Starfish Point.
Take care to use only reef-friendly sunscreen, and follow the guidance of your tour guide to protect this wonderful ecosystem.
Whatever day you visit, you are guaranteed a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with these fabulous animals.
Get in touch with any questions about how to plan the best timing for your trip. We also offer private boat charters in Grand Cayman, so you can make the timing work around you.