Swimming with horses, stingrays and lots of other tourists on Grand Cayman

Stingray City in Grand Cayman.

Stingray City in Grand Cayman.


GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands — This island would be a perfect place to take a picture for your Instagram account, if there weren’t so many other tourists attempting to get the same shot.

Still, the vacation I recently took to Grand Cayman was packed full of different activities for my family. If you ever decide to take a vacation to the island, I would suggest planning a long one because of all the things to do.

One of the most popular destinations is Stingray City, where 2,000 to 5,000 tourists flock each day. This is a sandbar out in the ocean where stingrays like to hang out, because for generations, fishermen would dump their leftover bait here. The people of the island took the opportunity to turn the stingray hangout into a tourist attraction.

At Stingray City, you can feed stingrays, hug and even kiss one. According to legend, kissing a stingray brings you seven years of good luck. I would recommend visiting Stingray City, but try to go early before the place becomes packed.

Another activity is taking a guided-horseback ride along the beach—and in the water. The company my family used was Pampered Ponies, and the guides provided top-notch service. Each person was assigned a horse based on their skill level, so even a beginner can have a great time riding.

Following a stroll on the beach, the saddles were taken off the horses, and everyone rode into the water. This is where the horses start to swim. If you are scared of deep water, or falling off, definitely skip the swimming portion. The water was around 15 to 20 feet deep. Also, children below the age of nine or ten should not ride. It would be easy for them to slide off.

Feeling the horses swim was amazing, like flying through the water.

Feeling the horses swim was amazing, like flying through the water. Taking a horse ride/swim is a great idea when on a vacation on Grand Cayman.

Always be prepared for changing weather. Due to the island’s location, one minute it can be sunny and beautiful, then a black cloud will pass and lightning with flashing all over the place.

Of the many resorts at Grand Cayman, the Ritz-Carlton is the one I can recommend. It has two pools for non-ocean people, but also has a huge beach and swimming area. The water is pretty shallow, and only small fish swim there. The water is beautifully clear and not very cold. Overall, it is a great place to swim.

If you are not that into swimming, there are also places to rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards, sailboats and jet skis.

Blue by Eric Ripert, a stunning restaurant located right in the resort, is one of the only Michelin star restaurants on the island. It is wonderfully decorated, and the food is even better than the decor. Blue is definitely the place for a celebration.