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Carnival Cruise Ports in the Western and Central Caribbean

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In the first Carnival Cruise Ports blog I covered the Eastern Caribbean so now I will continue on with the western Caribbean and central ports.

Let us begin with Jamaica.

Jamaica is a place I have been a bunch of times and have probably climbed the falls so many times. It is an easy place to get to. If you get off the ship and pass the main gate you can find a cab driver that will drop you off at the falls for a total of $15 per cab. They will also pick you up at a certain time to take you back. When you get to the falls you can walk in and pay $15 each and walk down to the base of the falls. I would recommend either bringing water shoes or renting them for $8. As you are walking down to the base you can find places to rent a lock to put your things in... if you bring your own combination lock or lock with key you can just use the bin absolutely free. The price for the lock which will fit up to 5 peoples things is about $8 but when you return the lock you get $3 back. Try to get there around 10 and head back to the ship an hour before back on board. The other things to do in Jamaica is zip line, bob sled and the ski lift to the top. In all honesty, for the prices of the zip line, bob sled, and that mandatory ski lift to the top it is not worth the price. Not enough lines in the zip line, and the bob sled is about 2 mins long.

Grand Cayman:

Grand Cayman has a couple great places to see. One of my favorites for the golfers or wanna be golfers, the golf course is beautiful with many ocean views, and huge iguanas roaming around. If you do the sting ray tour you will love it, but i would recommend going to the beach after that part of the tour and not go to the turtle farm or "hell" which are big tourist traps.


I love the food and beaches in Cozumel. I think most people go to Cozumel to party at Senior Frogs, Fat Tuesday's or Three Amigos. If you head 15 mins by cab you can see Paradise beach, which has a lot of great spots to relax and have fun on the beach side. If you find it online, you might be able to pre negotiate a good deal to spend the day there. The Twister tour to Paradise that the ship offers is a great deal. You would enjoy that. If you're looking for a great restaurant in the main town, have a cab driver take you to El Abullo Geraldo, it has great food for low prices.

Key West:

On of my favorite things to do in Key West, is to rent a moped scooter and travel all around and see it all. Scooter rental is around $35 for 4 hours, and $50 for the whole day.

Isla Roatan, Honduras:

This is a great beach port, and some great snorkeling areas. If you want to get away and see the island, you can hire a cab to take you around with a car of 4 you would pay roughly $100 for a tour.


Many ships are pulling away from this place because of the inconvenience and the port fees. I am not a big fan of the Belize port, so if you're looking for relaxation, stay on the ship. If you are a scuba diver there are some great scuba areas where you can swim with sharks. If you see cave tubing in the excursion itinerary, it sounds a lot more exciting than it is. You lay in on a tube and drift down a river and under some dark caves chained up with several others. It is uncomfortable and not worth the 2 hours of travel time.

Costa Maya:

If you travel to Costa Maya and are interested in great Mayan ruin tour this is a fabulous port for that. If you're looking for fun in the sun, right off of the boat there is a great pool area with a bar built into it.

Costa Rica:

Two great things to do in Costa Rica; If you get off of the ship you can walk through the cheap souvenir area and find a good tour place at the back of the main port building and get a group of 8 people or more and be able to go zip lining, beach, and canal tour that is pretty fun, for about $45 each person. The zip lining is my favorite here. Another exciting excursion here is the river rafting, you will love this tour. It is fun, memorable and safe. This will be roughly $60 per person but you need at least 6 people on your raft.


If you come to Panama, you must take a tour to Panama City which is an amazing New York like city that will blow your mind. The city is about an hour and a half away so you would need to get off the ship, find a tour guide and negotiate a good price. They will also stop at the Pacific side of the Panama Canal locks, which is the best part of the canal. You could get a full cab and pay about $50 per person to see it all. Have the driver take you to the high end peninsula where there are some great restaurants and beautiful views of the city.

An honorable mention for Mexico which is on the western side, Ensenada, not the greatest port off the ship, but if you like to golf you must check out the golf course that is 45 mins off the port. It is the most beautiful course I have played at with the back 9 holes on the side of the ocean with giant cliffs and ocean breezes.

That does it for the Caribbean Ports that I have been to. I hope you enjoyed my take on what to do at these ports. Stay tuned for my next blog more in depth with ship life.

Thanks for reading. -*DB-

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scalise12 :cool2:

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Thanks for the information. We like snorkeling in Grand Caymans.

Chan Kanab park is well worth the money and time in Cozumel as is rented a jeep and touring the island, stopping wherever, whenever.

I like Belize. But I agree that the tendering and waiting is a pain.

We took a tour down the Amazon in Costa Rica and ended up at a banana plantation (ship excursion) that was well worth the time and money.

Panama and cruising the canal was well worth the time and money.

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Hi Danny, I agree with most of your comments except. Each port has it's own flavor.

Jamaica - I have been to Jamaica so many times I can't remember but we also enjoy going to the craft market. You have to be able to haggle but it is a lot of fun. The shopping at the two centers is also enjoyable. The rum factory tour was ok. A bit over priced but something different. I have met some of the most honest shop keepers I have ever run into here.

Belize - We did not enjoy Belize the first time we went but then we found the right excursions to go on. Visit the ruins one time for a education on what the Belize think about the Mayans. I don't like the tender ride but don't get rid of the port.

Costa Rica - We really looked forward to this port only to be greatly disappointed. We took the Sky tram through the "Rain Forest" we were told we would see lots of strange and exotic animals. We were told we saw the beak of a brown toucan. Just the beak. From the distance I could not tell if it was a beak or a piece of wood. That's it. VERY expensive about 200 each if I remember the price correctly. Long bus ride. Not worth it at all. This is one port you can take off the list.

Panama - We got suckered into the Panama Canal tour. 250 dollars each. The boat was way over capacity. No sitting room. Broken PA system. No guides. We only go about halfway down the canal. What a terrible experience. The ship has a video on the making of the Panama Canal but it or watch the Discovery Channel for the Panama Canal series. You will learn more about the canal from those two things than you will on the tour. NOT RECOMMENDED at any cost. The city was different but forget the boat tour.

Chichen Itza - This is IMO the best Mayan site I have ever visited. There is so much to do and see here. HIGHLY recommend taking the time to do this one. We did it on our own from Cozumel. Had to take private plane and then bus. about 160.00 each but well worth the money and the time. We still talk about this excursion after 7 years.

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