West Bay and Stingray City
Duration: Half Day
The Cayman Islands are blessed with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Caribbean – both above and below the water. This tour will take you to Stingray City on Grand Cayman, where you can snorkel in the warm turquoise waters with the stingrays before moving onwards to see the turtles at Boatswain's Beach. This exciting day of learning and discovery is a wonderful way to keep the whole family entertained during a holiday in the Cayman Islands.
If you can drag yourself away from the stunning Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, there is so much to see and do on the island. Discovering the country’s rich marine life is just one of the options available. Travelling along West Bay Road will take you past the beach to the town of West Bay, where you can take a boat ride to Stingray City, one of the most popular attractions on the island. Here visitors can enjoy touching and feeding the stingrays before snorkeling amongst the magnificent coral reefs, which are inhabited by hundreds of colourful tropical fish and an abundance of other marine creatures.
Prepare for an unforgettable experience as more than two dozen friendly Atlantic Southern Stingrays approach you in the shallow Stingray City Sandbar area. Standing in only three feet of crystal clear water, you can watch these fascinating sea creatures up close as they surround you, playing and swimming freely with their new human friends. This excursion is suitable for both swimmers and non-swimmers, so everyone can join in the fun.
Our next stop is Boatswain's Beach, a unique, 23-acre adventure marine park on the western side of the peninsula. Here visitors can learn about the native marine life surrounding the Cayman Islands through colourful displays and interactive educational experiences – the main attraction being the Cayman Turtle Farm.
The Cayman Islands were initially named “Las Tortugas,” meaning “the turtles,” by Christopher Columbus when he first discovered the Cayman Islands, because of the vast number of turtles on the beaches. However, the population was dwindling by the early 1900s when the majority were killed for their meat. Recognising that something had to be done, Cayman Turtle Farm was set up in 1968 and has since bred and released around 30,000 turtles into the waters surrounding Grand Cayman. Although many turtles are still bred to supply the needs of the local market as a source of fresh meat, around 40% are released into the wild to help preserve this endangered species.
In addition to the turtles, Boatswain’s Beach is home to many other endemic creatures. Walk through the Aviary and spot beautiful tropical bird species such as the Turquoise Tanager, Green Rumped Parrotlet and Red-Legged Honeycreeper before visiting the Predator Reef to watch the sharks at feeding time. Other highlights include the woodland nature trail, rock pools, waterfalls and snorkeling in the beautiful Boatswain’s Lagoon.
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The Cayman Islands are already recording successful tourism numbers this year. According to preliminary numbers from the Department of Tourism, the island nation received 39,185 stayover visitors in January, which was a 23.87 percent increase compared to the same month in 2017. It was the country's most successful January ever, and the eighth consecutive month of record-breaking growth.
The Cayman Islands are once again preparing for the annual Pirates Week Festival. From 9th to 13th November, the beautiful islands will be transformed into a swarm of fun and excitement for participants of all ages. The amazing entertainment and cultural activities are looking to commemorate the event’s upcoming 40th Anniversary.
Kimpton's first Caribbean property, Seafire, is now open in Grand Cayman. Located on the beautiful Seven Mile Beach, the resort takes its name from the beach's well-known sunsets. The resort features 266 guest rooms and suites, with most overlooking the Caribbean. There are also 62 residential units with full access to Seafire's numerous amenities.