Ok this is my first time on a cruise and going to the caribbean. So, what things MUST my family do. We are going to the following
I know I want to go to stingray city in the Caymans but other than that it's all open. I want to scuba dive at one of the other sites with my oldest son. Any ideas or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
There were a couple of wrecks in Grand Cayman that we did a dive/snorkel on that were near to the dock where you tender that were good. In Cozumel, we did a wonderful snorkel in Xel-ha and an awesome swim with the dolphins in Chankanaab (sp?) Park pre-hurricane. The park is re-opened, but I don't know if the dolphins are back. There were some good snorkeling spots there as well, but Xel-ha was awesome. Haven't been to Belize, but most of the posts I've seen have said to do the cave tubing there. Don't remember any good snorkeling/diving in Costa Maya, maybe someone else can help. Have a great cruise!
When you are in Cozumel, make sure to purchase something made out of silver, and if you are into baking, make sure to purchase some vanilla extract. Also, the liquor prices seemed cheap in Cozumel. Some people get their prescription meds in Cozumel. In just about every store, they sold prescription meds, no prescription needed/ no questions asked (except maybe for the strong stuff: Valium,Tylenol w/Codein, Oxycontin, etc.). They also had a pharmacy somewhere dowtown. I found two medicines I take at home for my high blood pressure. I was tempted to buy them, but I decided not too. But I heard many people buy there meds in Cozumel.
So, when in Cozumel, don't forget to buy:
- Something made of silver ( with .9?? purity standard).
- Vanilla Extract
- Prescription meds?
Grand Cayman -- take an Island highlight tour and go to HELL ( little town in Grand Cayman) mail your postcard from HELL. ( post marked HELL). We enjoyed snorkling w/the stingrays, bring plenty of suntan lotion.
penny is right there is a good free excursion in grand cayman with the shipwreck "cali" to dive or snorkel...snorkel boats charge $40 for 45 mins there..i just grabbed my gear and went off shore..there is a small dive shop that will let you use thier ladders at the end of a small pier...its 40-50 yards out and has a nice chunk of reef to the left of it, biggest problem is keeping an eye out for tourist boats..it was awesome to see 2 dozen large tarpon hang out in the shade underneath the snorkel boats while they were getting briefed. there is also a bar/grill next door to the dive shop called "hammerheads" they had a ladder from the water to thier deck too.
If you want to do a ship excursion , i think there is one that includes the islands 3 biggest tourist draws besides the 600 banks there. It includes stingray city, hell and the nearby turtle farm where you get to handle sea turtles.
Grand Cayman also had the cheapest liquor at the tortuga rum place near the tender pier..they were cheaper than the stuff onboard and carnival will match any price as long as you get written proof... stop there early they will only deliver to the ship for you. no carry out.
In cozumel get on a boat and go to a couple of offshore sites...on shore sites were demolished by hurricane wilma...the big parks of xcaret and xel-ha may be back to speed but until i hear a current report i doubt it....
costa maya is nearer to tulum and will save you hours riding the ferry from cozumel then a cab from playa del carmen. The above mentioned parks are closer too. I think the ports along that stretch run from cozumel south to calica, costa maya, and another they are building or built south of that (not sure of name but it starts with a M), then belize is just south of that stretch of mexico..sorry never been to belize ( but check on swimming with whale sharks there)
If it's your first cruise and your uncomfortable with do it yourself excursions book your stuff the first day with the ship, pay the money and let them do the rest
Oh, and don't make the mistake i saw a few people make...all ship excursions are on ship time..some people show up and hour late because of the time on the island compared to ships time.