my bf and i will be sailing on the Inspiration jan '01 and are interested in the horseback tour for the cozumel stop. i noticed Carnival lists this excursion at 71pp but i found an online site listing reservations directly with a tour company in cozumel for 39pp.
any comments on how reliable these type bookings are?
We went horseback riding in Cozumel when we were on Paradise in March '98. It was lots of fun. Took a bus for approx 1/2 hour across Island to the ranch. It was only my 2nd time on a horse and we were given the choice of "wimpy" or "advanced" horses, I took wimpy! I will suggest that you wear long pants, we were wearing shorts and it was somewhat uncomfortable.
Regarding booking directly with a tour compan, we always book through the cruise line, it's a lot safer. If you are on a tour on your own, the ship will not wait for you if anything happens. It's worth the extra money for peace of mind.
We are going on a Western Carib cruise and are going horse riding at Chukka Cove in Jamacia. I called them directly to try book it without Carnival, but they told me I needed to go through Carnival.
I hope the person that wrote it doesnt mind me posting it, but it is very well written.
I am only copying the following--I copied and am pasting it for you to read. I do not have the original post that she is referring to but I think you get the gist!
It opened some eyes as to the horrible & inhumane conditions under which the Cozumel ranch horses live. Thanks for your comments. I hope conditions change for those horses.
During the same Destiny cruise in '97 we went to Ochos Rios, Jamaica. I was already signed up for the Chukka Cove beach & trail ride and after seeing the horrors of Cozumel I was ready to cancel if the same poor conditions existed at Chukka Cove.
It was a world of difference.
Chukka Cove is a private boarding & trail riding facility 30 minutes away from Ochos Rios. Some of the privately owned horses are dressage & polo mounts owned by affluent islanders. The grounds were immaculate & included a dressage arena & polo field. The barns for both rental & private horses were clean & organized. No trash or junk scattered about.
The condition of the rental horses was in stark contrast to the living equine skeletons of Cozumel. They not only looked normal & healthy but their eyes said it all; well treated & maintained. Their feet were ALL well trimmed and shod. I gave some of horses a thorough visual exam, picking up hooves, flexing legs, rubbing along the ribs, etc. to see if they were OK and they truly were in good condition. Breeds were Arabs, Quarters, a few Pasos and
crosses of TBs & Quarters. Mostly geldings & some mares. I rode a white mare named Hannah.
The barn staff was knowledgeable & polite towards the riders. The riders were matched with horses according to their ability to ride. One guide accompanied every 4 riders and looked after everyone from start to finish. In our group were 28 riders so there were 7 riding guides. My daughter & I had a young Jamaican man who was very proud of his riding ability and pointed out the flora & fauna along the way to the beach & told us about the history of
the area, including former plantations, local customs, just everything. I recall his manners which were impeccable.
He was entertaining and answered our questions about horses & how they (horses) live in Jamaica. He was studying to become a farrier.
The English tack was OK, not show quality but in good repair. Each guide tacked & untacked his riders' horses and showed us how to swim with them in the ocean.
Yes, you really do swim while riding bareback with only a neck strap for your hand.
The horses go out over their heads but not so far that you would be endangered. They are strong swimmers & until you ride a horse who is swimming with a 4 legs pounding away you have no idea of their strength. The horses make a funny breathing noise while swimming but it's normal. While you're swimming back towards shore the guides take photographs of you which are "magically" developed and mounted by the time you return to the barn. Imagine
Hey, it's worth buying those photos from your time in the ocean. My daughter & I still talk about it almost 3 years later. And we have the mandatory souvenir Tshirts too.
When the beach ride is over & you're return to the barn the horses pick up their pace, knowing they're going home. None of them ever acted naughty or galloped home.
Our guide looked after us like a devoted friend. They sincerely cared for the horses, it was easy to see.
I am hoping this excursion continues to be a well-operated one, just as we experienced nearly 3 years ago. Be sure to TIP your guide generously. I gave our young man $30 for the 2 of us.
My friend and I did the horseback riding tour through the ship in April 2000. We had a great time but it probably wasn't worth the $71. The ruins are really dirt hills with some rock formations and a lot of it was being made as we were going through it. The huts were being built and the cemetary was fake. The road was also being re-done which made it a little hard to maneuver. Our tour guides were absolutely wonderful though. They were very funny and very talkative to us younger girls (my friend and I were both 20 at the time). At the end of the long ride (I think it's like 3 hours) you go back to the little outside store/bar thing and you get free drinks. Their main beer was Cuervo, which I did not like at all, but they also served pop for the younger crowd. On the bus ride home they sold the tequilla beer (can't think of the name, but it has 3 X's on the label) for I think $3. They also make it a point to tell you that they don't make much so tipping would be helpful. I think we tipped the one guide $5 for the both of us or maybe it $5 from each of us. If you really like your guide, go for the $5 from each of you. Hope this helps. Have fun on your trip!!