First things first, get yourself down to Antigua!
HOW TO GET THERE
Once you’re in Antigua, head on down to Stingray city. It’s fairly popular, in fact, I think it’s the first thing I saw at immigration. You’ll need a taxi to get here unless you happen to be based in Seaton Village. Or if you drive, if you drive, their official website has proper directions on how to get there – www.stingraycityantigua.com
You will actually take a boat from the arrival point to Stingray City. The boat ride is like 5 minutes from the mainland and so you’ll be there almost as soon as you leave the mainland.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
It cost me USD$50 as an entry fee. (Totally worth it might I add). My debit card wasn’t working while I was there (turns out lots of people have this problem when they arrive in Antigua so do remember to call your bank before you leave home) so I used my credit card which was fine. The point is, you can either pay by cash or card when you get here. They take USD$ but you can pay in ECD (East Caribbean Dollars).
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO TAKE WITH YOU?
1.) Sunscreen – there’s no shade here (nor should there be) so slather on the sunscreen before you arrive.
2.) Swimwear – there are changing rooms here so just chuck it into a bag and head on down
3.) Dry clothes – unless you plan on waiting for your clothes to dry or you plan on jumping into your car in wet clothes, it’s definitely advisable to bring extra clothes with you.
Don’t worry about snorkelling gear here or shoes. You’ll be given the snorkelling gear and you’ll have any footwear taken off you before you board the boat.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO SWIM WITH STINGRAYS?
I’m gonna need the photos to explain this one. 🙂
As soon as you arrive, you get the chance to interact with them. The stingrays here are wild but I reckon they’ve gotten so used to people coming here that they aren’t shy at all. (Especially if you have food).
You actually get driven out to the middle of the Caribbean Sea (though not to far out) where it’s calm and sandy to see the stingrays.
See what I mean about how used to human contact they are?
This one actually came up for a selfie with me! 🙂 (Not really, I had no idea it was there till it swam past me).
Just look at that smile!
The stinger on the stingray is what everyone is concerned about and I’ll be honest here, they do have stinger and they can sting you but they tend to do this when they’re stepped on so the first thing you’ll learn about as soon as you arrive is how to do the stingray shuffle!
The stingray shuffle essentially involves walking backways without lifting your feet. If you come close to any stingrays, they will swim away from you long before you get there. After a couple of seconds of doing this, the stingrays know you’re here and you’re free to walk around like you usually would.
You can also feed the stingrays once you get here. We got to feed them squid and they’ve got flat teeth so you’re advised to tuck away your thumb, hold on to your calamari and let them suck it off you.
FYI, they suck stronger than the latest hoover and so you’ve gotta let it go as soon as they get to you.
I managed to achieve this with so much class, panache and grace as you can tell from the photo above. 🙂
After feeding them above water, I decided to try to sit-down while feeding them and
feed watch them properly… (I apologise in advance for how blurry these photos are).
Stingrays (unsurprisingly) love to be fed so you’re more than likely to find that several of them will come towards you as soon as they realise you’ve got food…
…which can sometimes feel overwhelming when you get surrounded but unbelievably exhilarating!
I was so thrilled by feeding them that I totally forgot to get my selfie game on (the first incident had been unplanned after all and to be honest, I had no idea it has happened till I got back home and looked at the photos).
I of course decided to try to rectify this except this time, they stingrays recognised me as having fed just fed them…
…and they came in really close for some more….
…which I was I was oblivious to until it touched me!
I would like to pretend I was calm but my reaction probably shows otherwise…
As in turns out, I’d been so caught up in my fascination with the stingrays that I forgot about all the other wildlife swimming around. Is it just me or does that fish above (on the right) look annoyed?
I spend the rest of my time here chasing after the stingrays…
Stingrays are such fascinating creatures aren’t they?
That’s the stinger right in the middle of the tail. Well, it’s more like 2/3rd of the way into their but it’s definitely not at the end of the tail like most people think.
This experience interacting with stingrays was definitely one of the highlights of my time in Antigua! I honestly can not recommend it enough! 🙂