My SIL and I are taking my 5 & 7 year old in December. We're going to Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan, and Cozumel. Does anyone else w/ young kids have experiences their kids enjoyed. We're def snokling in GC, but have nothing else planned yet.
Right choice for Swim with the Sting Rays at GC. If you have time, a stop at 7 mile beach will give you some relaxation time in the sun. Kids will love the surf. Belize- book a tour before you leave home or with the ship. The Zoo is primitive. It actually was started as a refuge to save endangered species and is run by locals as a non-profit. You could take the ship tour to Caye Caulker for beach time as well. Roatan - Mayan ruins but the kids may be a little young. Cozumel- take a taxi ($14 each way) to Mr. Sancho's beach club ($0 entry) fee. It is a great beach spot with restaurant, rest rooms, bar service and the beautiful ocean water plus there are craft and souvenir vendors where bargaining is recommended. Lot's cheaper that at the pier stores.
We are going to the same spots in December on NCL with 3 children ages 6,7,9. In Cayman we are going to stingray city with Nativeway Watersports and then to 7 mile beach for an hour or so. In Roatan we plan to go to Foster's West Bay for a day at the beach. A 5 minute walk from where the cruise boats take you and much quieter. They provide transportation. Looks like a lovely spot. Belize I think we are going to take the kids to Goff's Caye on an excursion through Belizecruiseexcursions. It includes a snorkel stop on the Barrier Reef and then beach time on Goff's Caye a tiny desert like island. In Cozumel we are going to the beach. Thinking of either Mr. Sancho's or Chen Rio. That's my plan so far. Good luck.
Brooks, what day are you guys in GC? I booked us with Nativeway too. We'll be there on the 18th. We decided on Altun Ha for Belize, my son really wants to see the Pyramids there. I think were just going to relax at the beach at the other 2 stops.
Would you mind posting some details about your land excursions with your kids after you return from your cruise? In the new year, I plan to write a piece on what to do with kids in Western Caribbean ports and while I've been on Cozumel, G. Cayman, and Jamaica many times, I haven't been to Belize or Roatan yet. I am interested in hearing where you did actually go and if the kids liked it.
Thanks for your help and smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
I just visited Grand Cayman and Cozumel with my 3 & 5 yr-olds (the other ports weren't on our itinerary). In Grand Cayman we opted for the Nautilus semi-submersible boat ride and snorkeling, and this was fantastic! My younger son got to see the reef and fish from inside the boat, and my older one had no qualms about strapping on all the snorkel gear and hopping in the water to give it a try. My husband really wanted to do the sting rays, and he booked through Soto tours - he said it was great, but the water was pretty rough at Sting Ray City and one of the other stops, so it was difficult for some people to snorkel, and not entirely enjoyable in the water. I guess you take your chances with the seas.
In Cozumel we visited Chakannab Nature Park ($10/adult, our kids were free, $10 taxi ride from International Pier) - there is a lot to do there...lots of snorkeling along rough coast line (bring water shoes), small wading beach, food, archeological walk, iguanas, mini-golf, dolphins and sea lions - we didn't actually get to see it all. We then met up with the grandparents at Mr. Sanchos Beach Club (free entry, $10 taxi from Chakanaab, $14 back to International Pier) which was better for just spending a day at the beach, and they also had lots of other things you could do for a charge, i.e. ATV's, horse back riding, waverunners, kayaks, water trampoline. They also had food and craft shops. We enjoyed both stops, but the beach at Mr. Sanchos was easier for our younger boys.
Thanks for all the details. It's really helpful for our readers to get the low down on what to do in various ports right after you return from a trip and it's still fresh in your mind.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
We are going to Cozumel on the 25th with our 3 and 5 year olds. I just wanted to ask, if you were going again would you go to Mr. Sancho's and skip Chakanaab? Also how far is it to Mr. Sanchos from the pier? We wanted to cram in a little shopping and are limited on how long we will be in port. Did you see any fish at Mr. Sanchos?
I loved Chankanaab Park in Cozumel. It was just beautiful. The water was rough when we were there and the yellow caution flags were up, but we rented life vests for the younger kids ($3 each) and they did fine. The dolphin show was over by the time we got there, but we were able to watch some training.
We also went to the little rodeo in Cozumel. I guess it is a new thing there. It was definately cheap entertainment ($10 for adults, kids free). The kids had never been to a rodeo before and they really enjoyed it. It isn't a big fancy rodeo like we would see in the US, but for a relaxing hour, walking distance to the International pier, I would recommend it. Sodas were $1 -- but beware -- they are kept cold in local ice water, so wipe the cans carefully.
Very disappointed that our snorkeling with the sting rays was cancelled in GC -- there was a storm in the night that drove all the animals out to sea and it was just too rough in the AM. Maybe next time.
To answer your question, my boys only really wanted to do the beach, so yes, I would have skipped Chankanaab with them, BUT I wouldn't have wanted to miss it as an adult.
It is a toss-up between the two places, Chankanaab and Mr. Sanchos. If you want to snorkel, I think that Chankanaab is the better choice - I didn't see many people snorkeling at Mr. Sanchos. But I'm not sure your kids will snorkel, and it will be tougher for them to access the water there due to the jagged coastline. We should have had water shoes there for our two boys. We did, though, bring small inflatable swim rings for them which we used in many places, including the ship's pool. Chankanaab has a very small sandy beach area that was packed by the time we arrived in late morning, but if you get there early your kids could swim there, and the adults could take turns snorkeling. There are also other things to see and do at the Park, but my guys didn't have much patience for anything more than the beach.
If you want to just hang at the beach, then Mr. Sanchos is great. And they have other things you can do there too, so it isn't boring. I didn't acutally snorkel there, but didn't really see any fish under the water either.
The cab ride only took about 10-15 minutes from the International Pier down to Chankanaab, and Mr. Sanchos was only a little farther away. We never waited for a cab - they were always there already. There are some shops right at that pier, but if you arrive at that pier, it is about three miles from the actual town of Cozumel where the other shopping is, and the places like Carlos and Charlies - you'll need another cab. It looked like some ships, like Disney, were closer to the main town.
Hope it helps,
Ok, we just got back, and unfortunately we had bad weather, and I was sick the last half of the trip. We skipped Grand Caymen due to the port being closed for bad weather, and it rained in Roatan, so we only did some shopping at the market. The kids did enjoy this, and there are lots of interesting things to look at. The market is right by the Pier. Lots of people offer you rides, trips, hair braids etc, but no one is pushy or rude.
Belize, we did Altun Ha and the city tour. The ruins were beautiful, and it was interesting to see the countryside and the city, but it was too long. We wished there was more time on our own at the ruins, and the guides were great, but they talked the entire time. Plus we left the boat at 10:30am, and didn't get back until after 3pm, and there was never an opportunity to eat. We were starving!
We went to Chankanaab in Cozumel, and the kids loved it. The sandy beach was perfect, and the little lagoon was all just the right depth for them. My SIL did some snorkeling, but the water was too rough for the kids, and me (as I was sick). The food there was good, it wasn't too crowded, and it was really beautiful.