Looking for a great beach to spend a day trip in Cozumel. Has anyone gone to Xpu-Ha beach? I believe it takes quite some time to get to this beach (ferry plus cab ride),but if anyone has managed to do it and not miss the ship, I would love to hear from you.
Hi spatelbc, welcome to Cruise-Chat. I've been to Xel-ha, which was fantastic for snorkeling. A good beach without the ferry ride is Chankanaab Park. Paradise Beach was nice, too, but I preferred Chankanaab. We went to the Cozumel Beach Club last time we were there and it was very nice. Best wishes for a fantastic cruise and once again, welcome aboard!
Thanks for your quick reply and for the warm welcome. I now have some options for this day trip. Did you feel the trip to Xel-Ha (or Xpu-hu beach) too much for the day trip? What is the cost for the Cozumel Beach Club? I am travelling with children ages (8-15). Incidentally, what were your favorite excursions on the Western (Ocio Rios,Grand CAyman), and Eastern (St.Thomas,St.Maarten) Caribbean cruise trips. Because we are travelling in a group of 10, we have decided to do the excursions on our own. We are going on a back-to-back Western/Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Freedom of the Seas, August 30/09. As always, appreicate any advice.
First and foremost, you need to take me with you as your tour guide However, if you won't, here's my take. Xel-ha is a trek, but so worth it. We did a Tulum/Xel-ha package through the ship. It was half day in Tulum/half day in Xel-ha. While the ruins were fascinating, I would have loved more time in Xel-ha. The water, coral and sea life was simply amazing. One of the best snorkels I've done. The ferry and bus ride will be an adventure for the children, but once they're there they will be in hog heaven. They've added a lot of attractions since the last time we were there, more water toys. If y'all leave early and come back around 2 (ship's time), you should be fine.
In Ocho Rios, we did a catamaran snorkel and Dunn's River Falls with Fern Valley. Dunn's River Falls can be done on your own, and the children will love that. A guide will take you up the falls, take pictures, and it is a blast. The water is REALLY refreshing (by that I mean cold), but by the time you get to the top, you're happy about that. You can walk beside the falls if you're not able to climb them, but I'm sure y'all can.
For Grand Cayman, Stingray City would be a lot of fun for all ages. My favorite thing is 7 mile beach, it's beautiful.
If you haven't been to St. Thomas before, Magen's Bay, Coki Beach or Sapphire Beach are very nice. It is a great place for shopping, too. If you have, grab a ferry from Red Hook to St. Johns and a cab to Trunk Bay. It is one of the top 10 beaches in the world, with a self-guided snorkeling trail about 50 yards off shore. St. Johns is what a true Caribbean island should be.
St. Maarten is an easy place to do on your own. There's a beach near where you dock. Word of warning Orient beach is a clothing optional beach. They're supposed to stay on their end of the beach, but don't. Maho Beach is where the jets land nearly on top of you. There's good shopping there, too. The last time we were there, we did the America's Cup Racing Yachts. What a hoot! A bunch of tourists manning a racing yacht. The children would have a ball, as well as the adults.
Penny and I part company of the ferry service to the mainland. We did the Tulum ruins trip. It was 50 minutes of ferry, 45 minutes of bus, a couple hours at the ruins and amazing beach, and reversing the nearly 2 hours transportation back to the ship. Too much ferry/bus for our one day ashore. Cozumel is great, clean, safe. Why leave it? Save this stuff for a mainland stop. Also the ferry: That garbage can full of mops you pass to find you seat is not for looks. There are NO stabilizers on this thing. People were throwing up right in their seats and we didn't have a rough day. The shops you pass exiting the ferry on the mainland have Dramamine for sale for $8 for 8 pills: they know you will pay anything by that point. We waited to do this until our kids were 12 and 19 and they thought it was okay, but would rather have maximized their day elsewhere, like Chankanaab, that only required a quick and cheap cab ride. Tulum and Xel-ha are great--make no mistake. Just not worth it to me--maybe not to you. Do you really want to get off a really big boat, and board another boat to go somewhere else other than where you landed?
My favorite shoretrips have been horseback riding in Ocho Rios through SHoretrips.com, tubing on the white river at Ocho (did this when our little gal weighed only 50 lbs. and she handled it well, but there was enough white water to exite our 15 year old. Dunn's River falls is most people's must do--it was good but liked the other two adventures better. Your kids can handle the falls if you decide to do it. Our little gal did it at age 8.
Cozumel: Atlantis sub and swimming with the Dolphins (Royal Swim--we booked through Shoretrips.com and have a very small group.
St. Thomas: Trunk Bay, St. Johns USVI. The kids thought they were in heaven. Easy access to snorkel trail, from shore (equipment rental on site) amazing beach, concession and clean restrooms there.
Grand Cayman: Must do: Sting Ray City (the shallow water site) This sandbar is about 3 feet deep, your kids can stand, and these amazing animals who have been around people a lot, will eat from you and interact with you. Your kids will remember it forever. Moby Dick's or Captain Marvins are reliable and comparibly inexpensive. Ship tour will have 2-5x more people than either of these vendors, and cost more. We chartered a boat last year for our family from Ebankswatersports.com and if you get a group going this could be pretty economical for you. They were courteous, clean, everything was well maintained and/or new. It was nice to have the boat "to ourselves".
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