Should I take the kids (3&6) off the ship in Calica/Key
Hi - A few families are taking their kids on the Carnival Imagination and are wondering if there is enough family stuff to do off the ship in Calica and Key West or will they have more fun ion board in Camp? Thanks!
There is NOTHING to do in Calica, its just a tiny port at a quarry site with 5 or 6 flea market type vendors set up there, you have to take a taxi into Playa del Carmen or rent a jeep or car. There are also shore excursions you can book that go to a private beach, etc... Our teens enjoyed Playa del Carmen; we went to Carlos & Charlies for lunch & done a lot of shopping. They swam in the ocean for a little while but basically wanted to shop while we were there. I am not sure about Key West, we haven't been there yet but my sister-in-law said that Key West is great for adults (a relaxing old town) but not a lot for kids to do.
Key West is my grandson's favorite place to visit in Florida (he even likes it more than Disney World!!). We live in Florida and visit Key West often. There are lots of things for children to do in Key West...Conch Tour Train, the Key West Aquarium that has a touch tank (very inexpensive admission and they discount for AAA members), Pirate Museum, Mel Fisher's Treasure Exhibit where you can hold a gold bar, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (you can tour the fort and swim and snorkel from the beach), climb all the way up the Key West lighthouse, glass bottom boat ride, catamaran ride, tour Ernest Hemingway's house and President Truman's summer White House, etc. There is an open air restaurant called Monty's on the dock that has a huge pool in the middle of it that children love (not to mention some dynamite fish tacos and cold beer for the adults). There are wonderful family friendly restaurants too numerous to mention, ice cream parlors, souvenir stores and the Blond Giraffe where you'll find the best key lime pie in the world. The bars in Key West usually ramp up at night but during the day, it is a very kid friendly place to visit. I've been taking my grandson to Key West since he was in a stroller and he is now 15 years old and loves every minute we spend there.
Calica definitely but not sure about KW. It's more a walking around, shopping, drinking kind of place. As for Calica - gorgeous beach in Playa Del Carmen. You might want to book the dolphin excursion at puerto aventuras or the amusement park/water ecological thing for them. Don't take them on the ruins tour unless they like that kind of thing.... A coworker of mine came back from the Destiny and her grandchildren didn't want to get off the ship - they WANTED to stay and do the Camp Carnival things all day/night as much as they could.
Our kids loved Key West. There's a train, a butterfly conservatory, pirate museum, and basically all sorts of stuff to do with kiddos there.
In Calica, if your kids enjoy the beach and pool, I would recommend taking a cab to the Omni Resort at Puerto Aventuras which is nearby. It is a beautiful resort. There is a dive shop on site where you can rent snorkel equipment, and even a dolphin encounter in the courtyard the kids will enjoy seeing. Their beach is perfect for relaxing. They have a nice beachside bar/restaurant and we were spoiled rotten by their excellent service. There is a lovely pool area too.
There's no charge for day passes, they simply ask you eat and drink there and they will take good care of you. The whole resort is very safe, secure and georgeous.
Just a thought though, most kids get tired pretty quickly when out in the sun and surf, With kids 3 and 6, you may want to return to the ship to take a rest or let them go back to the Camp Carnival for a while to cool down and get out of the sun. Our kids pooped out after about 3-4 hours in Key West and were ready to go back to the ship. So plan accordingly.
Definately take the kids off the ship in Calica. The boat docks at a gravel pit and it is not anything to look at but once you get off there are plenty of taxis and buses waiting to take you into Playa Del Carmen or wherever you choose to go. We took our 5 year old to X-Caret and it was wonderful. She did the dolphin interaction and loved it. Also there is a beautiful lagoon beach, hammocks, animals, restaurants etc...It is only about a five minute taxi ride and the taxi was not expensive. You can check Xcaret out at this site http://www.xcaret.com/ I think you will enjoy it very much.
I concur about the Omni Puerto Aventuras. Although we did buy a day pass ($25ppm and it included lunch and a drink and beach towels), it was perfect and a quiet relaxing day. Although we went to the resort for the pool and beach, I wish we had spent the entire day at the resort area instead of going back into Playa Del Carmen for Senor Frogs and Carlos and Charlies and of course some shopping. The PA kids pool is perfect too and flows into the adult pool - pretty cool.