Carival Valor 13 May 07
GRAND CAYMAN: ( tender) The island is basically a flat exposed coal reef creation with little historic, natural, or genuine cultural attractions. However the waters are gorgeous, so I recommend a water based activity . There are also plenty of shops and restaurant bars. I would say Grand Cayman is extremely touristy and presents an artificial ambience.
I took the â€śOff The Beaten Pathâ€? Jeep tour of the island in which I drove. There traffic is on the left side of the road but the jeeps have left sided steering wheels, which makes for some tricky driving. We visited Barkers national park which is basically a mangrove swamp, the village of Hell, and had lunch of a burger and punch. The Jeep tour was a lot of fun, but was very hot.
On Grand Cayman, suitable shade can be a problem so sun screen lotion is a must and a hat might be a good idea.
ROATAN: (dock) This was a pleasant surprise. For one thing the island is mountainous and lush. Second this is a real world port as opposed to being an artificially created tourist trap. It felt like Central America. They seem to be breaking ground on what will become a cruise terminal, which should make this port even better in the future.
I took the â€śDiscover Roatanâ€? tour where we visited a native village called Yubu, the Garifuna experience and were presented with a dance . At Dixie Cove Harbor we a boat ride out to see a couple of shipwrecks. We also visited Mable Farm which is famous for its jellies and hummingbird sightings.
BELIZE: ( tender) Here I took the â€śJungle Buggy and Mayan Caveâ€? tour which was very interesting. The ride out to the tour side presented the opportunity to see the real Central Americaâ€™s landscape of homes and ecosystems. The â€śJungle Buggyâ€? is actually a converted army 2 Â˝ ton truck with a viewing platform. The jungle part was unremarkable, but the Mayan cave portion of the trip was most interesting. The ancient Maya believed caves to be portal to the under-world. Some ancient Mayan pottery remains where the left it a millennium ago.
COSTA MAYA : ( dock) This is an attractive tourist village created out of thin air for cruise passengers.
There I took a tour out to Kohunlich Mayan Ruins and was very much impressed with the site. This is the fifth Mayan city that I have toured and felt it to be under-rated. The temple of the mask is most impressive in that the facade dates from around 500 AD and has retained much of the original red color. The acropolis offers some great views as well. We were offered a boxed lunch which I found tasty.