We will be travelling to the western caribbean in June with our 3 boys (aged 2 - 13). My oldest two are very interested in the ship excursion to Tulum / Xel-Ha. Does anyone have any recommendations for us? The toddler will need a stroller, and I'm afraid this might cause a problem. We'll have our hands full during the bus ride with him, I'm sure. It's about 1 hour and 15 minutes one way. The 45 minute ferry ride will probably be OK because he can walk around, etc... I'm also worried about the cost of this excursion too.... So any ideas would be a help!
Other ports of call include the Grand Cayman, Casa Maya, and NCL's private island. Any tips on excursions there would also be appreciated!
I think I posted a reply to you on the other board.
We did the Tulum/Xel Ha trip
It was a beautiful day in March but the 45 minute ferry ride was really UP and DOWN (be prepared). Your toddler can walk around.
You have to walk 5 minutes from the dock to the coach (up a road and across a bumby car park). We got the coach at about 9:30 and were at Tulum at 11:00 (one souvenir shop stop on the way). The terrain is very rough at Tulum, but there is lots of open space away from the main ruins and the beach is easy to get to. There is a little trolley that takes you from the coach park to the ruins.
We left Tulum at 12:45 and were at Xel Ha sometime before 1:30. Lots of flat walkways there - much better for strollers. I don't think there is a beach, just entry down steps into the lagoon (but the place is so huge that we didn't have time to find our way around, just enough time to line up and get a snorkel and get in the water!)
Back on the bus at 3:00 and at the ferry at 4:15
It was a great day --- your older boys will love it, and of course with a toddler it's never relaxing for the parents! (been there)
I would forego the long trek to Tulum and instead opt for the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio (which is right on the island of Cozumel). The ruins at San Gervasio are not as extensive as the ruins at Tulum, but they are much more significant because the island of Cozumel is sacred in the Mayan religion.
If you wish, you can take an excursion that combines the Mayan ruins at San Gervasio with a Mexican cutural show right in San Miguel de Cozumel. Three years ago, this cultural show was the best Mexican cultural show that I have seen anywhere -- either before or after. It's also lively enough to entertain even the youngsters.
I enjoyed Tulum very much, but my most vivid memory was of the very rocky terrain. I was glad my wife didn't go with me that day because she probably would have taken a good fall along the way. That's her nature.
The two older ones would probably love floating down the underground river. There's a nice beach area., too.
You can hop on the fast boat at Coz and cross to Playa. I think it's $8 pp. There are a gazillion "travel agencies" on the main drag in Playa and you can purchase tickets there. They will pop you on a bus and off you go.
I think the entry fee for the park is $36 per adult. Can't remember about kids. But I do remember that it's a couple of dollars more on weekends. Thus, I'd expect to pay about $40 pp for the trip from one of the "travel agents."
When I was on an inspection trip pre-cruise for a large group last year, I didn't think to inquire if you could just get on one of the busses and ride to the park. Might be worth an ask.
The park is VERY clean and very hospitable. I did note that it would be ideal for people with strollers or wheelchairs. There is a museum area with scale models of lots of ruins and actual ruins are scattered about the campus.
You can also do a dophin swim. Last November, it was $80 pp CASH.
There's a fast-food type of restaurant in the main building and about three others that are a little more upscale scattered around.
So, that's an option for you that might suit your family better.