Booking a tour to Stingray City when a cruise ship is not in port is the best way to see the stingrays without a huge crowd.
We booked our Stingray City Dexters Fantasea Tours through Sunshine Suites Hotel . The best way to see the stingrays is to go when there are no cruise ships in port. It will not be as crowded.
In checking the cruise schedule, we elected to do the tour on Sunday. Dexter picked us up promptly at 10:15 from our hotel. We were the last couple to be picked up. By the time he picked us up, the van was full except for the front seats. I got the front middle seat as my husband would not fit. It was a good thing I am petite, as there was not much room and it was not the most comfortable seat, but since it was a short ride to the Yacht Club from our hotel, I managed. I have seen others comment about this on trip advisor. Keep this in mind if this would be an issue for you. Ask if you will be the last to be picked up to avoid this seat.
When we arrived at the Yacht Club, we got on board the boat, only to find out that we were waiting for three additional people to arrive. This turned into a 40 minute wait in the hot sun. They provided water and soda, which we enjoyed while we waited. Once they arrived, we were on our way.
On our way
We ended up with 19 people on board. I would have preferred a smaller group, but as soon as we got to Stingray City, boats were leaving with much larger crowds onboard, which made me appreciate our group size. We timed our arrival at Stingray City perfectly as there were not many people there.
After a briefing, we were off to experience the Stingrays for ourselves. It did not take long for the rays to surround us, as Dexter brought food to feed them. He offered the food to others, so they too could feed the rays. I tried it, but the Stingray ended up taking my hand, which left a mark on it. Needless to say, I was not feeding them anymore.
Dexter and Aster, his crew mate, worked with the group to make sure each person got to hold the Stingrays, and have their pictures taken with them. They are very slippery and it is awkward to hold them. They did a great job making sure everyone had their time, never rushing us even though we had a late start. Dexter made sure everyone had time to play with the Stingrays, before we moved on.
After departing from Stingray City we stopped to snorkel the reef that was close by. We spent over an hour at this spot, before going back to the marina.
Dexters Fantasea Tours provided the snorkeling gear and life vests. The tour included pickup and drop off, water and soda for $35 per person. We really enjoyed our trip to Stingray City and would highly recommend Dexters Fantasea Tours for a small group tour.