• Casie Le

What Makes Grand Cayman Island So Special?


Grand Cayman Island is the largest of the three Cayman Islands. On the west side of the island, you will find the famous Seven Mile Beach (click for the video), often rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and the least populated. Here, you will find the sand stretching as far as the eye can see where you will instantly feel relaxed and worry-free.

What makes Grand Cayman Island so special??

A trip to the Stingray City is one of Grand Cayman's popular tours. Visiting Stingray City and the Sandbar, you and your family will get the opportunity to play with the friendly Southern Stingrays in their natural habitat. I do agree that this tour is not for everyone, but it is definitely a once in a lifetime experience for many and definitely a bucket-list for me.

As a child, I was always up for some adventures. I was never afraid to try something new. Climbing trees, jumping off 10+ ft fences, riding bikes going many miles away from home, exploring nature and just having that curious and fearless spirit is what makes childhood memories so amazing.

As we get older, we become more aware of our surroundings and become more careful about our life choices. Due to these circumstances, it can also prevent us from trying new things especially risky ones. Sometimes, I wish I still have that free spirited soul I used to have when I was a child. I doubted taking the tour of seeing and swimming with the stingrays. Was I afraid? Absolutely. I will be lying if I say I wasn't. But what kept going through my mind was the chance to encounter these beautiful creatures, those rare moments and those unforgettable memories that make a life worth living for. After contemplating, my husband and I decided to finally do it.

The tour begins with a 25 minute boat ride from shore out to a large, unenclosed sandbar located within a barrier reef. Over the years, the Southern Stingrays that occupy the sandbar have become somewhat acclimated to humans. Please be aware that no matter how friendly they may appear, it is also important to be cautious and to follow certain rules and procedure to stay safe. The stingrays are still wild in their natural habitat, free to come and go as they please so be mindful of your surroundings and respectful of their home.

To have a fun and memorable experience, I suggest to read and learn more about stingrays first. Read some of the safety tips on how to swim with the stingrays, the Do's and the Don'ts. Safety is always first! Click here!!!!

During the tour, we were given a brief orientation on what to do and what not to do while in the water. (Please listen!) We were handed a supply of dead squid and were told to hold the squid underwater like we're gripping an ice cream cone, and let the stingray glide over our hand to suck the squid into its beak-like mouth. I didn't feel quite comfortable about a stingray coming into me and sucking into my hands so I decided to not hold a squid at all.

Our boat was divided into three groups: those who cannot wait to jump for excitement; those who slowly eased their way into the sea; and those who chose to stay on the boat. I was probably the second one. I eased my way into the sea and slowly got myself out of the boat. Right when I was out of the boat and in the water, a HUGE stingray bumped me on my back!! Did I get scared?! YES! But it is very important to remain calm!! I guess I just got my first welcome sign??

We've heard many stories about stingray attacks and I don't blame you if you are having mixed feelings about it. This experience made me realize how wonderful of a creature they truly are. They deserve to live, be respected and plays a big role into this world. They are as important as every human being in this planet. By taking this tour, I learned so much about these beautiful sea animals and made me understand them more. They do what they can to survive just like how we try to survive in our daily lives.

After a long day of once in a lifetime experience, we decided to enjoy the beach and had some delicious meals to enjoy the calm relaxing island.

Grand Cayman offers a non-stop flight from Houston that takes less than 3 hours. They also offer some non-stop flight from different parts of the world. There is more of Grand Cayman than Stingray City. The quiet and peaceful long beautiful beach is enough to make you want to visit. It is not only great for couples and families, it is also great for a solo traveller due to its friendly locals and a very safe island to explore! :)

-CL

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