WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISES
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Western Caribbean Ports of Call
Belize City: Your cruise ship will be anchored in Belize City Harbor and you will be escorted for the 20 minute ride to the docks at Belize's Tourism Village. Here you'll find a variety of shops and eateries, and the downtown area is a short walk. Taxis are readily available.
Cozumel: Due to its popularity, there are 3 cruise ports in Cozumel. Punta Langosta is a short walk from San Miguel; International Pier is two miles from San Miguel, and Puerta Maya Pier is three miles from San Miguel. These farther piers are a decent walk to San Miguel, but taxis are also available.
Grand Cayman Island: Cruises are anchored and tendered to George Town, where shops, restaurants, and museums are reachable by foot. Taxis are available for travel outside George Town.
Montego Bay: Your cruise ship will dock in Freeport, which is a short walk from nearby shops, eateries, and bars and is a few miles from Montego Bay. Taxis and rental cars are available.
Ocho Rios: When on a Caribbean cruise, you will be dropped off in downtown Ocho Rios, which is a short walk from nearby shops, eateries, and bars. Rental cars and taxis are available.
Progreso: Become a part of history when you dock at Progreso Pier, the longest pier in the world. A free shuttle will take you into town, where most activity is within walking distance.
Costa Maya: Can only handle three ships at a time; ships dock at the recently constructed port in the heart of Costa Maya. If you want to explore outside Costa Maya, you can travel by taxi, Jeep, bus, or golf cart.
Playa Del Carmen: Calica, five miles south of Playa Del Carmen, is where your ship will dock. There isn’t much activity here, so you’ll need transportation to the touristy Playa Del Carmen.
Roatan: Cruise ships dock at Roatan's capital, Coxen Hole. There aren't too many tourist attractions in Coxen Hole, so it is suggested to get a taxi, rental cars, motor bike, or bus to the more touristy Roatan destinations. Be careful driving, as not all of the roads are paved.
Western Caribbean Highlights
Belize City, Belize: Comprised mostly of dense forests, Belize is the second smallest country in Central America. Home to the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, Belize is an ideal location for scuba diving, whether you are an expert or novice. Belize City is also known for its heavy concentration of Mayan ruins.
Cozumel, Mexico: This island off the Mexican coast is a shoppers paradise and is full of history and Mayan culture. As one of the most popular Caribbean cruise destinations (over a million tourists per year), Cozumel is still largely undeveloped, with over two-thirds of the island still in its natural state.
Grand Cayman Island: By far the largest of the Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman is home to the bustling George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman is also home to the famed Seven Mile Beach.
Montego Bay, Jamaica: Known as "MoBay" to the locals, Montego Bay has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Duty-free shopping is also popular here, as shopping centers are plentiful.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Home to Jamaican shops, restaurants, bars, a craft market and, of course, picturesque beaches.
Progreso, Mexico: A short ride from Mayan ruins, this up-and-coming Mexican port features a beach, watersports, restaurants, and a crafts market.
Costa Maya, Mexico: A man-made Mexican tourist village on the east side of the Yucatan peninsula. Many pools here are free to use, and some feature swim-up bars, restaurants, and shops. There is also a performance theater that caters to tourists.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico: On the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, this tourist destination is in close proximity to Mayan ruins and other cultural sites. Most vacationers travel here from Cozumel via ferry, but some cruise ships stop here as a separate destination.
Roatan, Bay Islands: The largest of the Bay Islands, Roatan is 30 miles north of Honduras and is a paradise for scuba divers, snorkelers, fishermen, and other watersports enthusiasts. Its capital and largest city is Coxen Hole.
Western Caribbean Activities and Attractions
Belize Snorkeling and Diving: Some of the best sites in the world, especially near Ambergris Caye, Shark Ray Alley, Goff’s Caye and Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
Belize Mayan Ruins: Altun Ha, Temple of the Masonry Altars, Xunantunich, Il Castilo. Mayan ruins are an exciting day adventure, not too far from the port of Belize City.
Belize Wildlife: Belize City Zoo and Tropical Center, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Community Baboon Sanctuary, Bird Caye Bird Sanctuary.
Caye Caulker: Scenic Belize beach.
Croc World: Zoo filled with varieties of alligators, crocodiles, and birds; located in Costa Maya.
Chacchoben: Ancient Mayan village near Costa Maya, Mexico.
Majahual: Fishing village near Costa Maya; filled with local vendors eager to sell and beaches that rent jet skis and kayaks.
Xcalak: Diving and snorkeling among hundreds of shipwrecks; a short drive from Costa Maya.
Uvero Beach: Scenic Costa Maya beach.
San Miguel: The only large town in Cozumel, San Miguel has duty-free shops, restaurants, and bars on the waterfront.
Cozumel Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Popular sites include Palancar Reef, Chankanaab Caves, La Ceiba Reef.
Glass Bottom Boat Tours: Available in Cozumel.
Museum of the Island of Cozumel: Displays artifacts and explores the history of the Mayans and colonial Mexicans.
San Gervasio: Mayan site in Cozumel; home of El Cedral.
Playa del Carmen: A ferry’s ride from Cozumel, this mainland resort town has endless shopping opportunities, from cheap trinkets to upscale boutiques, and is fairly close to Mayan ruins.
Chichen Itza and Tulum: Mayan ruins sites near Playa del Carmen.
Xel-Ha: A short distance from Playa Del Carmen; features an underwater park, swimming, snorkeling, sunning, and dining.
Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve: A variety of flora and fauna near Playa Del Carmen.
Chankanaab National Park: Botanical gardens and marine life on the island of Cozumel.
Punta Sur: Eco-tourist park in Cozumel.
Cozumel Beaches: Playa Escondida, Playa Chen Rio, Playa San Francisco (for watersports), Playa Bonita, Playa Mezcalito, Playa Morena, Playa San Martin, Playa Mirador, Playa Paradise (for snorkeling), Playa Palancar, Playa Azul (for watersports).
Punta Celarain: Scenic lighthouse in southern Cozumel.
Ocoee and Snorkel Tour: Jeep convoy around Cozumel followed by a tour of Punta Sur and snorkeling in the Caribbean.
Grand Cayman Beaches: Seven Mile Beach, Rum Point, Cayman Kai, Smith Cove, Totruga Beach.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park: Nature trails, wetlands, gardens, and more in Grand Cayman.
Pedro St. James Castle: Historic landmark in Grand Cayman; used to be a government structure and is currently the island's oldest stone building.
Tortuga Rum Company: Some of the best rum cakes in the Caribbean; located in Grand Cayman.
Cayman Turtle Farm: Home to 16,000 turtles.
Stingray City: Feed the stingrays; offered in Grand Cayman Island.
Atlantis Submarine: Underwater adventure to the Cayman Wall, and you don't even get wet!
Montego Bay Beaches: Cornwall Beach, Walter Fletcher Beach, Doctor's Cave, Rose Hall Beach, Freeport Beach.
Montego Bay Golf: White Witch Golf Course, Three Palms Ocean Course, Half Moon Golf Course, SuperClubs Golf Club Montego Bay, Tryall Golf Course.
Montego Bay Great Houses: Former plantations, these great houses are centuries old yet beautifully restored: Rose Hall Great House, Greenwood Great House, Belfield Great House, Good Hope Great House Hampden Great House.
Rocklands Feeding Station: Bird sanctuary in Anchovy, near Montego Bay.
Mountain Valley Rafting Rafting: on the Great River; located near Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Ocho Rios Beaches: Mallards Beach, Mahogany Beach, James Bond Beach, Jamaica Grande Beach.
Dunns River Falls: A series of waterfalls; one of the most popular attractions in Ocho Rios.
Prospect Plantation: Located in Ocho Rios; offers White River views, horseback riding, miniature golf, a bar, and more.
Ocho Rios Golf Breeze's Golf: Club and Sandals Golf and Country Club are open to non-members.
Dolphin Cove: Swim with the dolphins off the coast of Ocho Rios and enjoy the scenic views of the cove and rainforest.
Ocho Rios Gardens: Shaw Park Gardens, Cranbrook Flower Forest, Coyaba River Garden and Museum.
Harmony Hall: Art gallery in Ocho Rios.
Brimmer Hall Estate: Estate from 1817; located in Ocho Rios and offers local specialties.
Xaman Ha Aviary: Located in Playa Del Carmen.
Crococun: Regional zoo and crocodile farm in Playa Del Carmen.
Coco Beach: Playa Del Carmen beach; snorkeling and diving are available.
ATV Explorer Jungle Tours: Two hour excursion through Playa Del Carmen; includes a ride through the jungle, snorkeling, swimming, exploring caves, and climbing Mayan ruins.
Merida: 30 minutes from Progreso, this 16th century village features a cathedral, Governor's Palace, and shopping.
Progreso Beaches: Malecon Beach, Chicxulub, Uaymitun, San Benito, San Bruno.
Mayan Ruins near Progreso: Chichen Itza (120 minutes away), Uxmal (90 minutes away), X'cambo (60 minutes away), Dzibilchltun (15 minutes away).
Uaymitun: Wildlife and bird sanctuary in Progreso.
La Ceiba Golf Course: Located near Merida, Mexico.
Roatan Snorkeling and Kayaking: Available at Half Moon Beach, West Bay Beach, Valley of the Kings, Parrot Tree, Mary's Place, and Brick Bay Resort.
Butterfly Farm: Located in Roatan.
Roatan Horseback Riding: Available at Keifetos Resort and Roatan Ridge Ranch.
Roatan Fishing: Available at Bay Islands Beach Resort and Bonefish Lodge.
Roatan Beaches: West End, Half Moon Bay, Camp Bay Beach.
Iguana Farm: Located in French Harbour, Roatan.
Carambola Botanical Gardens: Located in Sandy Bay, Roatan.
Roatan Museum and Institute for Marine Sciences: Dolphin shows and more.
Tabyana Beach and Canopy Tour: Roatan excursion includes a beach tour, snorkeling, and zip lining.
When to Visit the Western Caribbean
Average temperatures reach the 80's as a high and the 70's as a low. There is little variation of temperature throughout the year, and humidity hovers around 70 percent all year. Like all Caribbean destinations, the peak of the tourist season in the western Caribbean occurs during the winter months. You'll find the best vacation deals from June through November (hurricane season). The first few weeks in January are also good times to find a cheap Western Caribbean cruise.
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