I know everyone says this is THE thing to do in Belize but we are traveling with a 6 and 8 year old. They are both strong swimmers but I think they may be too young for this. Does anyone know if there is an age limit for the private companies? Also, if there is could the adults do this then go back to the ship and get the kids for a tour of the rest of Belize or is it too difficult? We would certainly hire a private tour.
I don't know the minimum age, but if they are good swimmers, maybe? I would not chance it with a private tour company. Go with the cruise line you are on. They should be able to tell you. The trip to the caves is over an hour, then a walk thru the jungle. You should maybe do something with the children if they are not allowed to cave tube. Belize has a nice zoo.
I wouldn't do it with a 6 & 8 year old. We did it in April 2004 with our 10 & 12 (they were almost 11 &13) year old. They had a difficult time carring the tubes for the 45 min walk through the jungle and paddling themselves down the river (the river gets low and slow at some points during the year). The tubes were almost as big as the kids. I would look into doing the Shark Ray Alley snorkel trip. That's what we're going to do next year. It looks like a lot of fun. The cave tubing trip doesn't give you enough time to do something else.
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I would highly recommend the Shark Ray Alley Tour in Belize. We took our 5 & 8 year old in March of 2004 and they loved it. The 5 year old had a little difficulty as the water was choppy but she managed to jump off the boat and snorkel for about 10 minutes and when she opened her eyes for the firs ttime there was a huge school of fish right below her toes. They use the life jackets around your waist to help you float!
My son who was 8 at the time kept up with the group as we swam towards the reef and had the opportunity to touch the stingrays as they swam under his toes. A definite life time experience. Our tour off the Carnival Legend took us for lunch at San Pedro and it was good, barbequed chicken, rice, fruit drinks and fruit. We then wandered around San Pedro and the kids played by the shore while we enjoyed a cool beverage under the straw hut by the beach.
We even purchased a carved wooden stingray ($20 - $25 US) for our display cabinet at home. The price of goods at the vendor stands on the beach starts to drop as you are ready to leave but you can get a decent price at the gift shops along the main road in San Pedro.
San Pedro is pretty quaint but it is definitely not the "tourist trap" like Cozumel! It was a real eye opener for our kids to see the simple play structures by the beach that the local kids seem to be having a great time on.
Our ship photographer happened to be on our tour and captured some nurse sharks and stingrays on film and also got the kids snorkelling so we had to buy the video!!
P.S. Don't sit at the back of the tour boat as you will think you signed up for the white water rafting tour. The waves can come right over the boat. The kids thought this was a great amusement ride! To top it all off we even saw some dolphns and the tour guide stopped right beside them as they jump out of the water. Pretty exciting for the 5 & 8 year old.