Since I transferred to Gatwick, I’ve realised that I haven’t done any travel posts on the trips that I have been on. So why not start with a trip to Antigua. I have had many many trips to Antigua since I have started and don’t usually end up doing much (usually because there isn’t enough time) but this particular trip we decided to visit Stingray city and go and swim with Stingrays. Yes I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that dangerous? But not anymore dangerous than skydiving or going on a safari. Sting-rays do not actively go out and attack you so I felty perfectly safe at all times.
We booked the tour the day we got to Antigua to make sure that we got a spot. It cost us USD$25 – which I believe is a discounted rate – full rate is USD$50. You can also pay in the local currency – which is Eastern Caribbean Dollars. This price is for the ticket which included the boat out to the stingrays, spending an hour or so with them, a chance to feed them and then a boat back to shore where you got a welcome drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). You don’t have to worry about bringing any snorkelling equipment as this is all provided for you as well. If you are not a confident swimmer then they also have life jackets for everyone. However, the water is very shallow where they take you out to (even though it is in the middle of the sea). I am 5″3 and the water only came up to just above my waist. You can pay using either cash or card but make sure you are able to use your card abroad without any issues. We organised a taxi to take us there and back which I believed cost us USD$17pp.
Before you get the boat out to the sea, you have a small briefing with one of the instructors explaining how to handle and hold a stingray as they are wild. If you listen to the instructions and follow their lead then you have nothing to worry about. They also continue on to explain how to feed the stingrays if you wish to do this. They are not shy so you will see stingrays from all over swimming around you. It was a strange yet amazing experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect when touching/holding a stingray but I found them extremely smooth and friendly, which may be the fact that they are used to human contact with these tours happening all day, everyday.
What I would recommend bringing with you:
- Sunscreen / After Sun
You will be out in the sun for a while so you want to protect yourself
Something to dry yourself off with when you come out of the sea
- Change of clothes
If you haven’t managed to dry off when you reach back to mainland then you might want to change into something dry before your journey back.
I would recommend a Gopro (or something similar) so that you can get some great underwater shots. I did bring mine with me but it died before I got to fully utilise it so make sure it’s charged.
- Waterproof Pouch
As a backup I used my waterproof pouch for my phone but as my phone is fairly water resistant I did end up taking it out to take some photos (above water)
As you will be getting into the sea with the stingrays then this is a must. I would recommend putting this on before you arrive so that you are ready, however there are facilities for you to change if needed.
- Aqua Shoes
If you’re worried about touching the sea floor then you may want to bring a pair to wear. The water is very clear and shallow so you are able to see the floor and where you are walking.
There was a professional photographer taking pictures as well which you could go back and see and purchase if you liked any of them but I was pretty impressed with my own pictures that I didn’t bother purchasing any.
Overall, it was such an amazing experience and I am so glad that I plucked up the courage to go ahead and do it and that I had an amazing crew to go and do it with. If you are ever in Antigua I would definitely recommend doing it. There are also other stingray cities in other caribbean destinations so make sure you check out if there are any where you are going.
Thanks for reading!
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