Traveling with my in-laws on our 1st cruise to the Caribbean and would like to take them on a trip to some ruins. I see that Carnival offers several trips but just wondering if anyone has some advice on an 'easy' excursion for them and if any one can recommend any independent companies for the trip.
2nd.... Any feedback on the submarine tour they do in Cozumel. Can that be booked off the ship as well? Anyone with seasickness have trouble with this excursion?
What about advice for Costa Maya? I see we are not there long.
Is it a good port to save our shopping for or is there a good beach to go hang out at??
Thanks for all the help.
Carnival Splendor (3 days of towing back to port)
Costa Maya seemed to be a wholly owned subsidiary of the cruise lines. I can't speak to the shore excursions as we did a little shopping in port and then gave the rest a miss. Some of our cruise companions did go into the actual town (which is a bit of a ways away) and hit one of the local restaurants for a lazy lunch and some beers.
In Belize we gave the shore excursions a miss and instead we booked a snorkel trip right in the port for $49 per person. They take you on a boat (with no shade, pack sunscreen) to a lovely little white sand island. You can hang out on the beach and drink rum drinks at no extra cost before and after you snorkel around the island. Everyone there was a cruiser and they were very mindful of when the ships were leaving, so there were no worries.
Cozumel has grown a lot in the nearly 20 years since I started going there. I recommend going to Chakunaab park, which is where you can snorkel, see the dolphin, get in the water with the dolphins, etc. You can either book through the ship or take a taxi there and pay your own way in (not cheap, basic entry is a bit over $20 per person). The park is clean, the employees are polite and even if you decide not to pet the dolphins, there is a free tour of the dolphins given by the staff that is actually really nice.
Costa Maya is mostly owned by Carnival, but the little town that was originally a fishing village has a gorgeous beach. Few people bother going there, although enough go for it to be safe. But, our last time there, we each got a beach side massage. Local gals, but very good. Better than on the ship. And the water was crystal clear and just cool enough to be refreshing but not chilly. Did some shopping. I always find one really great something there. One year, a woman was dusting the shelves in her shop and it was a real feather duster, with different feathers from a huge variety of birds. She said it was not for sale, but I talked into it....for $10. Carnival keeps making it harder for them to make a living, so they are easy to bargain with and generally very friendly too. It is a short cab ride into and out of the town. They are expanding the area just off the ship into a bigger shopping complex. Prices in the ones open now are about 2 to 3 times what they are anywhere else.
Mahogany Bay is the same thing. Cruise line owned shops with high prices. I saw a fabric purse there that I had previously purchased in Cozumel for $15. It was $35 in Mahogany Bay. Not even made in Mexico. I would definitely do a tour here. Getting to the beach is awful and it is notorious for the jelly fish. Lots of people get stung. Not the fatal kind, but enough to ruin your day.
For ruins, you can go out of Costa Maya or possibly Cozumel. Just be aware that the ruins in Cozumel were completely destroyed in a hurricane a few years ago, so they will say they have ruins, but it is a mock up of what they looked like. Although it looks more like a mock up of Chichen Itza to me. Cozumel's ruins were never that impressive.
The submarine tour is not rough at all. The boat stays at the surface. I would take a meclizine (aka bonine) just in case. But, it is very tight quarters. Cozy, you could say. I would be reluctant to book this off the ship, as Cozumel is a very popular port with all of the cruise lines and this tour, plus others, can sell out.
Okay, I am finally out of ideas for you. Keep asking questions, if you need to! We love cruise talking.
Cozumel Ocean VIP Beach All Inclusive: A great beach with excellent food, first class lounge chairs (not those hard plastic chairs), cabanas with shade, kayaks, hobie cats, snorkel equipment, swimming pool, all you can eat and drink. We've been to Cozumel several times and in the past we wet to Nachi and Paradise Beach so this time we wanted to experience a different kind of beach and the Ocean Beach was perfect. It is much less crowded and quality of food, drinks and service is way better than other crowded beaches.
Roatan: Zip Line and Beach Break! (yes we love beaches ). The zip lining was great and after some workout we were ready for a refreshing swim in the ocean. It was a very professionally organized excursion and the zip line equipment was almost new and great. We felt safe at all times.
Costa Maya: We did the Mayan Ruins and beach. The ruins were a close drive from port so we did not spend all day on the road. Our guide was very knowledgeable and made the entire sightseeing trip fun and interesting. Then we went to the beach and of course the beach strip in Costa Maya is unique....very nice. We love to have the reefs close to shore so there are only little waves and snorkeling is close.