Cozumel Excursions - Xcaret Park vs. Chankanaab Park
We will be cruising with EOS this coming December and I wanted to get some feedback on which excursion was best in Cozumel - Xcaret Eco-Archeological Park Excursion or the Chankanaab National Marine Park.
Also, I read on RCCL's website that Chankanaab has the Dolphin Encounter and somebody that visited Mexico said that Xcaret also has the Dolphins, but it was not in Xcaret excursion description. Does anyone know?
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It was expensive to do the Xcaret from Cozumel and their dolphin deal was only at 1pm and there was no way we could get there by the time they had it. We would have been going from Cancun - from Cozumel it is even longer. I'd wait till you are on a cruise that stopped closer to Xcaret. Chankanaab has the Dolphin Encounter. You can book ahead at their website or if you do it through the ship sign up the first day and put the request in the box before they even open the desk - it sells that fast. Or book it on line with RCL. We thought it was ok. Kind of expensive but a defffinate 1 time thing to do.. Debbie
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I do not know if your son would be too scared to do this or not, but you can be assured that he would not get stung. Those stingrays are so accustomed to people that they never sit on the bottom and the only way to get stung is to step on a ray, startle it and them it could sting. A sure way in water to never have a problem is to either swim or shuffle your feet as you walk, this would make them aware and they would just swim away. They are never aggresive.
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Hate to say bad things but honesty is going to win out. There was a lady stung on an excursion we know about becuase we were listening to the radio traffic about it. They are wild animals and you have to respect that. If you are snorkeling and put your foot down and happen to step on one it can sting you. This is generally not fatal and I have repeatedly dove and snorkeled with them. On my scuba dive at Sting Ray City (a deeper part) a very large (3 foot wing span or more) female (the males are the small ones) came up and without warning latched onto my arm. They suck about 8 galloons of sea water a second and it hurt worse than anything I have ever experienced. My hubby didn't even know it happened as we were under water and they were all over us. I stayed down and told him when we got to the boat - I was afraid that there wouldn't be a mark and he would say I was weak but my whole upper arm was puple and green and yellow - quite colorful and extremely painful. On board the ship personel would look at me and say - "went to Sting Ray City huh?" so it is pretty common. Granted we were the first boat in in two weeks and they were hungry. Sorry to warn you but I still recommend it - it is a lot of fun and a lot of people don't ever get bit or stung. It looks like a black mass coming toward you on the snorkel trip though and some adults have gotten scared and stayed in the boat. It is such an awesome experience though - deffinately something to do. Go through Captain Marvins on your own - it is cheaper and much more personallized so they can be with you and maybe help your son not to panic.
Chankanaab - $8 cab ride - not too long - 15 minutes or so. The Dolphin Encounter sells out so fast on board so I'd book on line. You can book directly through the Dolphin Encounter place at their website - do so in advance. We had no problem going there and booking when we got there 3 years ago but now it is so busy they sell out in advance. I do not know of the one in Jamaica. The one in Cozumel is well done and contained with a trainer so it is safe. The one in Honduras has more dolphins but it is in the open water and I do not consider it safe. Again - they are wild and can grab an arm or leg and take you under water and you can't breath - this has happened too - so I'd go with the safer one in Cozumel. They also offer these at SeaWorld. Debbie
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Wow! I never thought about the dolphin innocently grabing your arm and leg and pulling you under. Thanks! I have never heard of that. The sting rays would be totally cool, but my son told me he would be too scared. These excursions can be confusing. I remember last year on the Disney Magic, I did not know what to choose. We ended up doing St. John snorkeling which we both enjoyed and hit a beach in St. Maarteen.
Once your son sees all the rest of the people in the water w/the rays he might not feel so afraid. There are MANY people in the area as a general rule on cruiseship days. I know it is possible that someone might be stung, but I've been there twice with probably hundreds of people in the shallow vicinity from various excursion boats. I am sure no one from either of our boats got stung. If you pay attention to what your guides tell you, it's very unlikely. Even if you stay on the boat, you will get great views of them. It's worth the trip, believe me! That's why it's so popular! I would ONLY recommend the original "Sting Ray City". NOT the one on Blue Lagoon Island off of Paradise Island near Nassau. Hope this helps!
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Our daughter was 10 when we swam with the stingrays. She entered the water with my husband, and as soon as she saw the stingrays and one flipped up in the water besides them, she totally freaked out. She was literally on top of her dad's head. He put her back on the boat, and she spent the rest of the time watching others snorkel with them. Even after we had been there for a while, she wouldn't get back into the water. She is a fairly adventuresome, too.
I know this sounds tough, but PLEASE b4 you book any dolphin swim I beg you to see "The Cove". It will certainly give you another perspective on what the dolphins go thru in captivity, not to mention what the endure prior to being captured. It's absolutely horrible. I love dolphins, and do believe that they belong free to swim in the oceans. They've been know to save lives and are extremely intelligent.