Cruise ship passengers only have about five hours on Grand Cayman from the time the ship docks to the time when it leaves so this is an apt question.
We have a lot of favorite things to do in Grand Cayman but if you only have 5 hours, this would be time well spent.
The first recommended thing to do in Grand Cayman is Stingray City — for some reason someone called it a “City” but beware, this isn’t a city for people — there are no restaurants, bars or shopping centers instead Stingray City is a Sandbar. It is located via a 30-minute boat ride from Grand Cayman. You can book tours directly from your cruise ship but please be aware that there are many Stingray City Tour Operators that are not listed on your Cruise Ship directory but offer equal value and are less crowded on their boats.
How much time is it going to take: About 2 to 3 hours depending on the number of stops your tour takes. Some tours offer additional stops for snorkelers.
Why its worth it?
Stingray City is the defining adventure in Grand Cayman and perhaps the Caribbean as you won’t experience this anywhere else in the world. Swimming with wild Stingrays is a once in a lifetime experience, except ,of course, if you lived in Cayman where it has become something of a regular trip. The Stingrays are wild, they are not in captivity, they are free to leave anytime they choose to but they have been domesticated and are gentle enough to be handled.
What is Stingray City like?
Initially its daunting because there are so many of them and in your mind Stingrays are wild animals. But good advice would be to listen to your boat captain, the instructions that they give and you should be fine. Remember the Stingrays are accustomed to being with people and taking food out from their hands. In Cayman they are likened to puppies because they are “trained” to come to you when you have a treat, in this case a squid.
In my own personal experience its better to come to the Stingray City Sandbar when the water is calm vs. when its too windy. When the day is windy its a little more difficult to keep your feet on the sand and thats something that you need to do so that you don’t accidentally step on one. When the water is calm your mind can focus on the experience vs. trying to keep both feet on the ground.
What to do with the remaining hours on Grand Cayman?
After Stingray City, you may have a couple more hours on your hands. We suggest going to Seven Mile Beach and more specifically Governor’s Beach for some sunbathing. Governor’s beach is right next to the Governor’s house and is not usually filled with other tourists. Its a wonderful place to relax. If you want to try local cuisine, we suggest looking for a restaurant that serves Conch Fritters. Done right, these fritters are delicious.
Remember because you need to ride a boat tender back to the ship you need to give yourself time to line up. The lines are usually long so the earlier you get back to the ship, the less time you have to line up.
We hope this blog was helpful in helping you decide what to do with your time in Grand Cayman. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.