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Grand Cayman: Starfish and Mangrove Tour

June 29, 2024 Sarah Coggins
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Our first visit to Grand Cayman was during a cruise while on our honeymoon. We had fun seeing a few island sights (turtle farm, Hell, 7 Mile Beach). Visiting again with kids, we were looking for something family friendly and enjoying a local experience. Originally I was leaning toward swimming with the dolphins. We were going to be visiting on our daughter’s 8th birthday and I thought she would enjoy it. Two things worked against me – she wasn’t interested and the Disney Cruise tour option filled up before I could book it. I opted instead for the Starfish and Mangrove Tour which turned out to be the best decision.

Choosing an Excursion

I had a few things in mind when trying to select an excursion we would all enjoy in Grand Cayman:

  • Kid Friendly – some excursions have age limits. We needed one that would accommodate ages 8+.
  • Not Too Long – our daughter wanted to enjoy the Oceanneer kids’ club for her birthday so I wanted to leave plenty of time to return and let her have that fun. I had also booked a couple’s massage for my husband and myself in the afternoon. Having a 3 hour morning excursion was the perfect length.
  • Nature – we all enjoy getting out and exploring new places. With so many outdoor options in Grand Cayman, I was looking for something where we could experience the environment. I also really liked that the starfish we would see here were in the wild – not in an aquarium.
View looking into the clear waters at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman. A few sea stars can been seen scatter about, fish swimming, and underwater plant life.

Starfish and Mangrove Tour

We left the ship with multiple groups and took tenders into the port. There we separated by excursion group. I quickly realized a great advantage we had – only 10 people were in our tour group! Everyone fit easily into a single shuttle for the short ride to our boat. This also meant a less crowded and more personable tour.

Disney Dream cruise ship anchored in the water just off Grand Cayman island.

Starfish Point

Once at Starfish Point, we all exited the boat via the rear ladder. The water was low enough we could all stand and clear enough to see the bottom. Our guide showed us a few nearby sea stars and discussed their history in the area as well as how to handle them. These are living creatures so it was very important that we were gentle and kept any we touched under the water at all times.

Group in swimwear gathered in a circle in the clear water at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman. A boy on the right is holding a sea star under the water in his hand.
Left hand holding a live Seastar just under water at Starfish Point in Grand Cayman.

Our guides were incredible. They were a wealth of knowledge, super patient, and had fun showing our kids some additional wildlife. There were several small fish swimming around that they identified. They also found a jellyfish and showed our son how he could hold it without getting stung.

Jellyfish in a boy's hand under water.

We learned that iguanas could swim. I truly had no idea and the thought had never crossed my mine. Our kids were full of giggles as they witnessed this and even took turns carefully holding the iguana.

Iguana swimming in the clear ocean water at Starfish Point between two children.

After a few minutes of fun, our daughter gently carried it back to the shore and placed the iguana at the base of a tree. It quickly scurried off for its next adventure.

Young girl squatting from the right to place an iguana at the base of a tree with green leafy foliage around it.

Grand Cayman Mangroves

As our time at Starfish Point wrapped up, we reboarded the boat for snacks and a scenic ride through the mangroves. Our guides told us about the mangroves and their importance to the ecosystem. We caught glimpse of a few rays swimming beneath the water, but I wasn’t quick enough to get any photos. They were beautiful to see though!

Blue skies, green of the mangroves, and blue of the water as seen from a small boat in Grand Cayman.

As we made our way back to the boat dock to take a shuttle to the port, the tour guides let our daughter steer the boat! Such a small thing, but it truly made her birthday and might have been her favorite part of the entire day. We arrived back onto the Disney Dream in time for lunch. We all agreed this was a great excursion and would highly recommend the Starfish and Mangrove tour for families or anyone looking for a fun, relaxing adventure in Grand Cayman.

Useful Items for your Excursion

The Starfish and Mangrove tour was about 3 hours long and primarily outdoors. If you chose this excursion we highly recommend you bring with you:

  • Sunscreen (apply some before leaving the ship and bring more for later)
  • Hat – a baseball cap or wide brimmed shade hat will help keep the sun off your face.
  • SPF shirts and/or a coverup.
  • Flip flops or water shoes (these are super comfy – we own and use them for travel)
  • Towels – if you are visiting as part of a Disney Cruise, you can grab one of theirs to use before disembarking the ship.
  • Camera or Phone to take photos.

Find more of our favorite items for cruises here in our list.

About Me

Sarah

Hi! I'm a DIY and craft obsessed mom to 2. I have my hands covered in sawdust or paint any given day. My husband and kids join me in many of our projects. When we aren't creating at home, we're creating memories in our many adventures. Join along! Read More

Sarah

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