We have wanted to do this for a while, and can only say if you get a chance to do this it is an absolute must see. Interacting with such a creature in the way you do can truly be a once in a lifetime thing. It really is and opportunity that should not be missed while on the island.
I can however say though, is choose your tour company wisely as this will make all the difference in the world. Some tour companies can carry 70 or 80 people at a time, which means your individual time with the Stingray’s will be limited. Try to choose a carrier that has less people on board so you will get more time. You may also have to pay extra for pictures etc. once you are on board that are not included in the quoted prices. We lucked out to have gone with one other couple, so there were only 4 people on board our boat which could have taken as many as 20 probably. This is THE BEST Company to go with as their small boat sizes give you lots of time with the Sting Ray.
Also, if you can it is generally recommended that you go in the late afternoon whenever possible. Nothing against the cruise lines, but if you go in the morning there are hundreds of people going out at the same time, so if you go in the afternoon there is less people to compete with.
Mario, our tour guide was extremely witty and since we were running a little bit late gave us the option of having a little extra time and coming back while the sun was setting where normally you would already be home. He gave us the option especially because it was a small group of doing the snorkel first are going to the Stingrays. We all opted for the Stingray’s first, and were very glad we did. The minute the boat get’s there you can start to see them swimming around the boat. That in it’s own right was an amazing thing to see, especially if you have never seen one.
After the boat has been moored, you all jump into the water which is extremely shallow, no more than waist height. Mario is smart, and waits till after you have interacted with them for awhile because when you start feeding them, it can be a little intimidating to jump in the water with them swarming all over the place. The Stingrays will swim in and around you, and not really touch you at all as they sense you there and will lift their wings with the gills to avoid touching you. Your tour guide should show you how to hold them and even get to kiss them which everyone in our group managed to get a chance to do. You also get to touch and pet them, and while all of this is going on Mario is taking pictures with his underwater camera so you can leave yours on the boat.
Next begins the feeding with Mario starting with one or two of them. After he has fed a couple, we are each given a couple as well. He jokingly talks about not sticking them places we shouldn’t because the suction they have in order to eat them is extremely strong and you’ll know when they have eaten it because they almost make a slurping sound. We finish up here with a brief opportunity to snorkel which gives us the opportunity to see them even closer under water.
After we left Stingray City, which at this point in time has been about 45 minutes to an hour (hence the advice to go with a smaller group) we head over to the snorkelling area. He also provides a bite to eat in the form of a pizza as we travel from one area to the next which was an added little bonus. As I have never snorkelled before this was almost as amazing as the Stingrays. When we first pulled up, there just happened to be a Stingray separate from the city and I guess you could say in it’s more natural habitat. What I wasn’t expecting though was when you go underwater and start snorkeling was how many different varieties and species of fish you would see amongst the coral. I must have seen at least 30 or 40 kinds. He also gives you more stuff here to feed the fish underwater, and then takes pictures of all of this. The whole thing takes about 3 to 3 ½ hours in total from start to finish.
We definitely had a wonderful time, and give a big shout out to our tour guide Mario and company Aquarius for the great job they did. I wouldn't go with any other company.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.