Whats the scoop on Belize and Roatan? I read the reviews and some people say they are wonderful, others say panhandlers and drug dealers on every corner. My parents are elderly, and these are two stops on their upcoming cruise. Should either port be skipped completely for safety reasons?
Also....because they are elderly...suggestions for port tours ?
I might suggest they skip Roatan. It is very chaotic when you get off the ship. If they do decide to get off, definitely have them book an excursion through the cruise line. My fiancé and I rented scooters and drove around the island. I wouldn't suggest this for them though. : )
Belize has a very nice port and as long as they stay in the dock area, they shouldn't have any problems. We went on a canopy/cave tubing tour, which took the whole day, so we weren't able to spend time looking around the shops at the pier, but it was definitely one of the nicest ports we went into.
If you go to the cruise line’s website, you can see all the tours that they offer at each port and decide which, if any, they would enjoy.
We went to both last year and I wouldn't recommend skipping either one. Yes, they are poor, undeveloped ports, but I saw no evidence of anything like you mentioned. We pre-booked a private tour of Belize City and the Altun Ha ruins - was a full day and the tour guide was excellent. I think it was something like cbelize.com - I dont' think it was exactly this, but something like that. Anyway, the tour was a full day and cost $55 - the tour van was small - held maybe 10 people. Most of the guides were right there on the pier trying to sell you their tours. Even our tour guide had to get a few more people to make it worth his while (there were only 2 of us at the time). We had to wait a few minutes and then 3 more people joined in (probably paid less right at pier but I wasn't worried - it was a good tour and worth the money). Just a note though - if you're prone to car sickness - you might want to take something ahead of time - I forgot and the winding roads (and relatively fast driving) got to me after a while. I would suggest to your parents to get off and look at the various tours offered at the pier - yes, they're trying to sell you - that's how they make a living. The pier itself didn't have much to offer int he way of shopping or anything. In Roatan, it's even less developed. We took a ship sponsored tour of the botanical garden and butterfly farm. It was very dry and boring. Our friends selected an English speaking cab driver (from the many, many that will be there wanting to take you somewhere) and arrnaged a price. For $20 each, he took them all over the island and waited while they had lunch and spent a bit of time at the beach. They absolutely loved Roatan! Again, my advice is not to miss the ports. At the very least, have them book a ship sponsored trip. Hope this helps.