First time cruisers and will be visiting Cozumel and Costa Maya Feb 7th and 8th on Carnival Fantasy and have would like some help in deciding our cruise excursions.
My wife and I in our late 30's are traveling with our 3 year old son. He likes to be stroller bound. We could leave him on the ship at camp carnival but told that we have to pick him up by 2:00 pm. Kid Camp is only open till 2:00pm when ship is at port. So either we do a full day excursion with him or be back by 2:00.
Ship is docked full day in Cozumel and half day in Costa Maya. If possible we would like to book our excursions locally once we get there rather than through Carnival.
Would like some guidance from experienced cruisers like you in deciding what excursion to book and also what to expect.
We are not beach people or into swimming / snorkeling therefore spending all day lying on the beach does not sound intriguing or fruitful. Also not into anything extreme. Not too much into crazy shopping either. Couple of things that interested us was;
Helmet diving, it would be wonderful to walk on the ocean floor or ride the Submarine, after all this is the one of the best coral reef sites, however not sure after the hurricane situation, read that much off the coral is washed away and not much left to see.
Visiting paradise beach could be an option with my son, heard they have kid activities our son might enjoy. Also what's a trip to the Caribbean island and not visit their famous turquoise beach.
Maybe visiting a Mayan site in Costa Maya and experience local history/culture, also heard that massages are very reasonable. If at the beach would like to rent a Jet Ski.
Any input /insight / suggestions / recommendations will be highly appreciated in helping us decide our next excursion.
San Gervasia (not sure on spelling) on Cozumel is located in the middle of the island. It is a Mayan city in ruin. Very interesting. Might be boring for the 3 year old. Rent a car and drive arount the island. You can stop where you want. Too many cruise ships dock at once and the town is crowded. Get out of town if possible.
You are not going to be able to take your son on the Helmet dive. You might be able to book and early helmet dive excursion and be back to the ship by 2PM. Then you could go in Cozumel and have lunch or sight see. The Mayan ruins are nice buy like tntmyers said, not the best for a 3 year old. I'm afraid that with a 3 yr old, and not being beach people, your options are limited. (More so in Costa Maya)
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Have the best of both worlds. Put your son in Camp Carnival on both days. Rent a jeep or car in Cozumel and scout the place out, then pick him up at 2:00 and go back out for a while. Maybe save the shopping for last. In Costa Maya, do the same thing. You and your wife can have a great time on the jet ski and then go pick him up. being back at the ship in either port before 2:00 is very do-able, and you would probably end up back on the ship by that time anyway with him along from the beginning. Enjoy the trip!
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I was in Cozumel last week, and can tell you you're right about the coral being washed away. But there are still some interesting and colorful fish to see. We did the clear kayak and snorkel excursion, except that I didn't snorkel.
The clear kayak was fun, but again, not much to see. We followed the tour leader out to a pier, which was a lovely ride with easy paddling. Once there, the leader spent 10 or 15 minutes throwing fish food into the water to attract the fish. Then we paddled back. Most of the group went snorkling but we chose not to do that. The rest of the day is a beach day, which we're not crazy about either, but we found chairs under an umbrella and read for a couple of hours.
On other trips, we did the BOND adventure, which is an underwater scooter of sorts with a bubble helmet. However, I didn't see that listed last week, probably because there's not much left to see 10' under the water. We've also done the Tulum ruins, which was worthwhile but a full day excursion, probably not approriate for a 3-year old.
Years ago I went to Xcaret.Now with my 2 1/2 year old I am confident she will love all Xcaret has to offer, jaguar island, butterfly pavillion, turtle viewing area, tropical birds,aquarium. I would compare it to a day in a North American Zoo, but much better in an eco-friendly park with a rich Mayan theme. Pricey a little far(you would go from Cozumel) but everything is in one location.
book morning excursions for yourselves, return for lunch and to pick up jr. for afternoon in cozumel take the ferry over to mainland Mexico at Playa del Carmen..it only costs $20 and takes 30-45 mins.
Playa del Carmen has a pedestrian tourist zone surrounding Fifth Ave. it extends a few blocks deep and runs a long ways to the right from the pier. To the left is Playacar and a wonderful resort we stayed at..(another story)...anyway it will take a while to look over 5th ave with tons of shopping, resturants, bars, gallery filled artsy alleys, cheap hotels, some of the best silver shops anywhere. More than enough to see before dinner.
The next day you could take the excursion to xcaret with jr there is plenty to do there. or go to the ruins at Tulum by yourselves, there is a beach where you can swim and see the ruins..don't know if they rent jet ski's but its possible.
someone correct me if i'm wrong but isn't that port on mainland Mexico near xcaret park? or was that calica?...anyway it's got to be closer to tulum or xcaret than taking the ferry and then the long ride from Cozumel....for the little undeveloped ports there are allways tons of cabs to take you to the major sites....just be sure to set the price BEFORE you get in the cab.
those are my suggestions i'm sure you will have a great time no matter what you do there.
Have you thought about a Dolphin encounter? There are all levels of interaction available (he would be too young for a swim with these large animals) at Chakanaab--we booked through Shoretrips.com and surely something appropriate for a 3 year old. He would enjoy it at the time and you would have amazing pictures for later--the park costs $12 to enter and there is a beach there, although I have heard it still needs work since Wilma, and there are walking paths with botanical gardens, concessions, a good place to hang out and a fairly short (10 minutes?) cab ride from where you dock/tender. Laurie
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