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Are Belize and Roatan (or any) planned Excursions worth it-?

Are Belize and Roatan (or any) planned Excursions worth it-?

Dec 16th, 2013, 10:58 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4
Are Belize and Roatan (or any) planned Excursions worth it-?

Hi, Should we do it ourselves or pay (and pay a higher price) for an planned excursion? We have one day in Belize and another in Roatan... wondering if we can get off the ship and find our own snorkeling adventure in Belize....as we have our own gear. Would love advice. thanks
kman08 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 03:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 9
There are two ports in Roatan and I assume you are going to be at Mahogany Bay for this reply. There is a chairlift to a Carnival owned beach area right at the port. As a resident here who knows the ropes I would suggest walking off the ship and taking the available transportation to Beachers on West Bay Beach where lounge chairs are free if you are participating in their drink specials. Zip Lining at South Shore or Gumbalimba Park is fun and half the price to go there yourself. Also popular is the Dolphin Encounter at Anthony's Key. Again it's usually about half price if you go there rather than book it on the ship. If these aren't the type of things you want, then maybe a kayaking or mangrove boat tour at The Upachaya Retreat would be of interest. Google it and then book it with Barb through her site again for half of what it books for on the boat. You should be able to get to West Bay, zip lining or Anthony's Key and back for $20.00. These activities are priced at $55.00 to $65.00 per person from the source. Have a fun day on Roatan. We love it.
drummerDave is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 06:33 AM
  #3  
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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Thanks so much, this is great advice and confirmed my thought of DIY excursions being better, easier and less expensive. Kayak or mangrove tour looks the best... Funny We have a West Bay Beach in Cayman too...sounds like the place to be.
Thanks again Dave.
kman08 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 06:22 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,420
We really enjoyed cave tubing in Belize. We arranged our tour with private company separate from the cruise lines, but it was a shared excursion with others. It was one of the most memorable vacation activities that we've done in a while.
travelenthusiast is offline  
Dec 26th, 2013, 10:20 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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In Belize we went to ruins (translate to something like sunken crocodile) and boat ride up the New River.

It wasn't a ships offering (apparently once was but pushes available time), we went with a local tour operator who picked us up at the dock in a van.

As usual, we got off the ship quickly and waited for others to catch up. We tendered in, which makes it worse.

It was a really great excursion and we got back in plenty of time for a tender back to the ship - though not for much more than that.
Publius is offline  
Jan 5th, 2014, 02:23 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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We JUST got back from a 7-night cruise that included a stop at Roatan, and that day was one of our favorites!

We - family of four that includes teens 15 and 19 - had a really fun and busy day at Gumbalimba Park. We arranged it through Murphy's Tours -- they sent a driver and truck to pick us up, and he handled everything. Very highly rated on tripadvisor, which is how I found the company. Murphysroatantours.com. My husband I are divers but the children are not, and I knew I wanted us to do snuba-diving, and Gumbalimba Park is the only place on Roatan that has it (despite what the Snuba website says). If you two like to snorkel you should think about snuba.

You need to know that you have to get past the Mahogany Bay port area with shops, excursion departures, etc. and walk about a quarter-mile up a hill and then down, to make contact with anyone not associated with cruise line vendors. The cruise line doesn't make it easy to find, but if you go through the shop area and keep walking, then go left in the parking lot and walk up the hill to the left, as you crest the hill on the street you will see the local non-affiliated cruise line tour guides, buses, etc. Our guide from Murphy's met us there (Jaime -- he was great), we got in his truck and he drove us the half-hour or so to Gumbalimba Park. He told us about the island along the way, and it was informative and interesting. We had prepaid via the Murphy's website for the activities we chose; Murphy's booked us with Gumbalimba and passed along the payments we made. First we did the ziplining, which was 11 stages that took us down the mountain to the beach. We all had a blast. Then we did the tour with a park guide, which included time with monkeys and macaws sitting on our shoulders. Then we did Snuba. The dive master was responsible, the equipment fine and we all had a great time.

Had there been enough time, we wanted to eat at a local restaurant for lunch and possibly visit another beach - Tabyana Beach is said to be one of the best and it's not far from Gumbalimba -- but our activities took up most of the time. On the way back to the ship Jaime stopped at a roadside stand where we bought some coconut milk -- the old man owner cut open the coconuts and stuck straws in them and we drank, then he cut the meat out and we all ate some. We also bought a couple of the local beers, Salva Vidas ("Life Savers").

You can probably just book all of those activities directly with Gumbalimba Park and take a bus there, and not hire Murphy's, but it was so convenient to have our own guide and driver and do it on our schedule, leave our bags with him while we ziplined, toured, etc., and had we had time to go anywhere else he would have taken us there. On the return to the ship he was able to drive right to the port area so we didn't have to make that walk up and down the hill. I guess it's just the initial contact with the local vendors who don't pay fees to the cruise line they want to make difficult.

We had a fabulous time in Roatan! We enjoyed snorkeling on Grand Cayman a couple of days before (my husband and I spent our honeymoon diving on Grand Cayman many years ago) and were glad to be able to give the kids the Snuba experience. Have a great trip.
bakerstreet is offline  
Jan 24th, 2014, 08:44 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 11
Having visited both Roatan and Belize twice I would recommend snorkeling in Roatan and a ruins tour in Belize if that is something that interests you.

In Roatan you can easily catch a taxi to the beach and snorkel from there.

In Belize the first time we used Coral Breeze tours for a visit to Altun Ha. It was wonderful. The tour guide was fun and very knowledgeable. On our second visit we wanted to do the Lamanai ruins and as they are much further away we opted to book through the cruise line incase of any delays we did not want to be left. It is about a 1 hour bus ride from port then a 1 hour boat ride up the river which is very enjoyable. The ruins are truly in the Rain Forest, there were monkeys playing in the trees and we saw a Jaguar footprint in the mud, truly beautiful and amazing piece of history but the guide and large group tour through the cruise line was not as interesting and enjoyable as our previous experience with Coral Breeze.

Either way both places are beautiful and whether you explore on your own or with a tour, I am sure you will enjoy it!
sunbum2003 is offline  

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