There is really no problem in Belize per se. The only problem is pretty much after dark in the poor sections of Belize City which are considered somehat unsafe much like the lower income areas of US cities. There really isn;t anything to do or see in Belize City outside the dock area so no need to venture far on your own anyway. There are a number of wonderful tours in Belize such as Cave Tubing, Altun Ha/River Wallace, The nature sanctuary, Shark Alley, scuba diving, etc. You can pull up the tours at the Carnival.com website.
Belize is a fresh, unspoiled country ... very beautiful, but not touristy. But, I encourage you to book a ship excursion and see the land. Here's a portion of our cruise review that talks about Belize on our Carnival Paradise cruise in 2/03:
Tuesday was our first port day of Belize. We were in Belize from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and we had to tender ashore in Belize.
Here’s a word about tendering. We had to tender ashore in both Belize and Grand Cayman. Anyone booked on a ship excursion were assigned an area of the ship to meet at certain time and their excursion ticket was their tender pass. Everyone else had to go to the Normandie lounge at a certain time to get their tender ticket. A large crowd is in that lounge to get tender tickets first, many because they had independent tours booked ashore at a certain time. So, if you need to get off the ship early or at a certain time, get to that lounge early and sit right up front. Our cruise was Carnival Paradise’s first stop at Belize, which I think caused the tendering to move more slowly there. I think it will speed up with subsequent cruises.
In Belize we decided to take the ship’s excursion of Goff Caye Snorkeling. We tendered from the ship directly to a small island. Anyone who did not want to snorkel off the boat got off on the island at that time. The island was very small – you could see all the way across it. It had maybe six palm trees on it, and a small open-air hut where they were selling drinks, snacks and crafts – you need cash to buy any of this – I heard the brownies there were fabulous. Lots of sand, water and sun – but not much else. There were two port-a-potties on the pier for restroom facilities, but no toilet paper!
The tender then took us out by the Barrier Reef in the middle of the ocean, and we offloaded from the side of the boat. I’m not a strong swimmer or confident snorkeler, so I was afraid to jump off the side of the boat, and another passenger finally agreed to give me a shove which got me safely in the water. For those like me who lacked confidence, they had us wrap a regular orange boat vest around our waists. This worked fine, but if you want to take this wonderful snorkeling tour, I would strongly recommend you bring your own snorkeling vest, because those are so much more comfortable.
We snorkeled out there for a long time. Our tour guide joined us in the water. He would swim down and point at things, then come to the surface to explain what it was – he was great! After a while, he said he was going to take us to even deeper water, so anyone who was tired or just ready could swim back to the boat, which I did. About half of us waited in the boat for the others, including Roger, to complete the deeper water snorkeling. They saw some really neat things. Then after everyone had loaded back on the boat, we returned to the island, where we all soaked up the sun and drinks, while the tour guide took those who had unloaded on the island on an hour-long snorkeling tour right off the island. Throughout this excursion, the tender boat operators were giving us cold water bottles, which helped keep us all well-hydrated – a nice service!
When we returned to the port, we cleaned up to take a tender into Belize City. Belize is not really a shopping port. They have a small shopping mall right off the tender port with mostly crafts, t-shirts, etc. Nothing exceptional. It was nice visiting their little shopping area and buying postcards for friends and family.
The Belize excursions most talked about back on the ship were the Shark Ray Alley snorkeling and the Cave Tubing. Mixed reports on cave tubing, younger folks seemed to have enjoyed it more than some of the older folks.
Check the website cbelize.com. I have been in contact with Narciso and he seems more than happy to accomodate you and your group. I am traveling on the Paradise next week and will take his ALTUN HA/BELIZE CITY TOUR.
Jaguar Paw Resort offers a walk through the lush tropical jungle and an incredible cave tubing experience. We highly reccomend this tour, (and we're not fans of ship tours). I believe it was $ 85.00 p/p, but well worth the adventure. Its an easy trek through the jungle, carrying your tube. 45 min. walk...light walking.Then you start your tube experience in crystal blue freshwater springs, out in the open sun...as you commence down the river, you turn on your headlight, and its smooth sailing through 2 caves...look for the pretty waterfall in the second cave. A wonderful feast of grilled marinated chicken, yellow rice, black beans and bottles of Coke's or Sprites are provided as well, after the trek. There are huts where your belongings are stored. Check out the resort grounds also, its a pretty neat place...the tour takes you through the heart of Belize City...pretty depressing, but interesting to see how another culture lives, away from the resorts.
We went cave tubing with Reggie in Belize and had a blast. He is $65/person which is much better then Carnival's $85/person for cave tubing. He meets you right at the dock where the tender comes in with a large sign. We were transported in airport type vans with very good a/c.
I also heard great reviews of the shark ray alley snorkeling tour on the ship.
We also used Reggie for the cave tubbing in Febuary! He was great and enjoyed the tour. There is alot of walking, about 45 min trail to get to the cave opening. You need to be in good health/shape to do this one. A very short walk when it is over though~
Did the Pride less than one month ago and did the Goffs Caye excursion...We had a blast...We now refer to it as our own little Gilligans Island...The snorkeling was great, we had just enough time on the island to sun ourselves, do some drinking, snorkeling, and then off we went back to the ship....Then got refreshed, and went in to Belize city...only went as far as the shops at the pier.....did some shopping, one interesting thing we found there was that in the cluster of shops at the pier there was an internet cafe set up in one of the buildings....$3.00 for 15 minutes....we did not buy a internet package on the ship, so we made use of this....Had a great time in Belize and hope to go back someday and stay longer.....
Please post something on this board when you return as I am taking the same tour in a few months and would love to know how yours goes. I have been unable to find anyone else that has used Narciso so I am very anxious for any feedback. When researching excursions, he seems to beat everyone else's prices and has been extremely responsive to all my questions. Thank you in advance.
We did the sting ray /shark alley in Belize. It was worth every penny. There is a reef - 2nd largest in the world. We saw many sharks, rays and various fish. We boarded a speed boat directly from the ship, that was an excursion in itself. After snorkeling we were dropped at San Pedro for a few hours on our own-not much to see or do. I would highly recommend this tour. We have been considering going back to Belize just to do this trip again.
readytogo, we did not do that tour but talked with a number of folks that did and they thought it wonderful. We will be doing this tour next time we go to Belize. I'm sorry but I do not remember the cost.
Just returned from the Paradise May 18 sailing. In Belize, I did the Altun Ha/Belize City tour and my husband did the biking trip. It was extremely hot, be prepared for that. Our tour guides did a good job - both of us got basically the same information on the two different tours. You MUST remember bug spray or wipes - my husband was nearly eaten alive by mosquitos!!!
Altun Ha was interesting, although there's not a lot there to see. You can climb up to the top of the structures, which they are in the process of excavating/restoring.
The "tourist village" where the tenders land and tour buses return to is quite nice - live music, plenty of places to sit and have a drink or snack, I was comfortable alone there waiting for my husband's group to get back.
Just returned from cave tubing with Reggie and it was great. No problems. His wife and son were along and are very kind and helpful. We had one kid in his teens, one guy in his 40s, and two grandparents in their 60s...all had fun.
You cannot post websites of commercial enterprises on the boards. This is a violation of the TOS and the reason being is that if we allowed it 'sometimes' when we know it is innocent help, soon agents and merchents will swamp the boards with 'recommendations' and 'helpful info' about themselves. If you want to tell someone about a website or pricing etc then please do it in private. I hate to delete this information all the time.