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Shore Excursions Snorkeling, SCUBA, sightseeing - discuss ports and activities

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Old September 23rd, 2006, 05:19 PM
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Default costa, belize, cozumel & nassau (6 in group need advice)

Okay, we are traveling with family, but we'll be paying for myself, husband, daughter, infant daughter (22 months when traveling) and 2 teenage sons...so this might get expensive if we're not careful. This is what we're thinking to keep cost done and need some advice:

Costa Maya - we've been told by many the free pool at the port is as good or better than most beaches and there are shops around it.

Cozumel - we are planning to either take a taxi van to Chankanaab park for the day OR just shop...are there places to shop within walking distance of the ship. Is it safe to just walk around the area?

Nassau - last time we shopped, i'd like to take a taxi van to see the Atlantis hotel as it's not being offered by the cruise line, they only have ONE nassau excursion and it's snorkeling which we don't enjoy. Anything else in Nassau or just stick with what we've planned?

Belize - this is the tricky one. Only affordable excursions are altun ha and city tour @ 49.00 pp or beach break @45-50 pp that would be (not counting infant) approx. 250.00-300.00 to go to the beach or see the city and altun ha, so I need honesty here..is it worth it? I'm thinking maybe we should just stay on the ship in Belize and enjoy having the pool pretty much to ourselves.

thanks
LYnn
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Old September 24th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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If you stay aound the port area of Cozumel it is quite safe, and there are some shops or you can hail a cab and tell them you want to go to do some shopping and they will take you to a marketplace, but the vendors can pester you and be a bit annoying.

Nassau - You can take a cheap cab or water taxi ride over to Atlantis and walk around and then hang out at Paradise Beach right next door, it free and open to the public.

Belize - this is a tough question to answer simply because you have a 22 month old. When we did the shark ray alley tour in Belize we left our 3 and 5 year old on the ship to play at the Kid's Club. I know they will care for your 22 month old for a few hours in the morning on port days if you want to tender over and check out the shopping. The other thing that comes to mind that you may want to consider is to take a water taxi from Belize City to Caye Caulker where they have a small beach and a very reasonably priced good place to eat. The water is clear and beautiful and the teenagers will get to see some wonderful sights if they snorkel.
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Old September 24th, 2006, 06:38 PM
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We were in Costa Maya in late July and the pool at the end of the pier was drained and closed, don't know if it has reopened yet. Vendors in the shops were very pushy and unfriendly.

In Belize, we booked the excursion to Altun Ha and it was a long day. The bus ride is 1-1/2 hours each way over a very bumpy road thru the country. The restrooms at Altun Ha were flooded and made it very challenging for women to use. The ruins were just o.k., bring bug spray because the bugs will be attacking you as soon as you get off the bus. We did not enjoy this excursion at all (don't get mad all you Belize lovers, this was our own personal experience). The previous times we were in Belize, we booked snorkel tours and were also disappointed, we've seen more fish and nicer reefs off the coast of Florida. As you can tell from my comments, Belize is not my favorite stop.

Also, be aware that all the parks in Cozumel have not fully recovered from the hurricanes of 2005. Chankanaab has a nice children's area with shallow water but in order to access the water area in the rest of the park, you must climb down slippery stones to get in and out of the water. Once you're in, the water is very nice and we saw lots of fish.

Atlantis in Nassau is really something to see. A taxi ride is only $3 or $4 per person and takes 5 minutes to get there. If you don't book the tour thru their aquarium, you will be limited to the common areas of the hotel. There are some new stores that have opened outside adjacent to the marina and a deli and ice cream shop accessible from the outside marina area.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 01:50 PM
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Default Belizean shore excursions

I am a Belizean and the mistake most cruise ship travellers to Belize City does are book tours before arriving on board ship or while on board ship.

Those same tours can be bought directly from local licensed and certified tour guides and tour operators for as much as 30% off listed ship price. So if you want to go on a tour with less passengers to deal, have more fun and do what you want to do simply go outside the cruise ship terminal #1 or go online at www.travelbelize.org and go to tour guides page and get a full listing of the tour guides available in Belize.

I thank you.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 11:41 PM
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there are actualy 2 pools at the pier in costa maya. both are free. when we were there in may, one was drained and closed, but the other one (the one with the swim-up bar) was open.

yes, there are shops in the area and a few little cafes to get some food. there's sand with some hammocks tied between the palm trees, too. there was also a live band when we were there. it's not a bad way to spend a few hours.
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Old September 29th, 2006, 03:26 PM
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thanks for all the replies. I think taking a taxi to Atlantis is a good idea. I'm actually going to call them and just see what they allow if you don't book with cruise line. I'd really love to see the hotel as we have thought of traveling back and just staying there a few days at some point in the next few months. Didn't know about Paradise Beach so that will take care of Nassau for us. Thanks!

Costa we'll shoot for the pool at the port and just relax or do a ruins tour there.

Cozumel, I just wanna shop.

Belize, I am thinking at this point we'll either just do the beach excursion or stay on the ship.

Lynn and Rob
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Old October 13th, 2006, 06:56 PM
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When we were in Costa Maya, Mahahual we went to Maya Palms Resort and we can't say enough good thinks about it. You won't be disappointed. It offers all you can drink,large private beautiful beach, freshwater swimming pool, clean restrooms and showers, kayaks, restaurant, bar, no crowds, and wonderful staff. The cost was 32.00 dollars. For a extra 10.00 dollars we ordered mexican platters that was very authenic mexican food. They also offered diving and snorkeling trips on large boats. They have contest that they pass out cards with pictures of different seeds to be found on the beach and who ever finds all the different seeds wins a Maya Palms t-shirt. The water and food are safe to drink and eat as Ken the dive instructor told us Maya palms is gringo friendly. We loved this place and it offered everything we wanted and more. They have two lovely healthy house dogs one a black lab and a caribbean mix breed that were very enjoyable, we had many laughs watching them play with the land crabs and a few times the crabs would stick on there noses. The resort looks like a village of mayan ruins. They also have a pyramid to climb for a beautiful view. You can contact them at www.mayapalms.com
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