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live2ski

Shore Excursions

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In doing some research for shore excursions in the Western Caribbean, I came across www.shoretrips.com I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with them?

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Thanks for the webbsite. We will be doing the Southern Caribbean in August and I'm looking for new ideas.

I took a quick look at the website and one thing that jumped out was that there are extra costs. Transfers from ship to pickup point, entrance fees to parks etc. They can and do add up.

We did the Med earlier this year and did almost exclusively, private tours. They start off sounding less expensive, but when everything is added in, the price break is insignificant. If you find a tour that you really want to do, do it. But if you are comparing to ships tours, check out the content before comparing.

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You may not need to bother with "shore excursions," in the western caribbean, since there are a number of things you can do on your own. here are some tips....

One of my favorite stops, on Cozumel, is Chankanaab Park, just a short, ten-dollar (U.S.) taxi cab ride from the dock.

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The park was completely rebuilt in 1996, and has something for everyone. Admission is $10.00 (U.S.), for adults, and children are admitted free.

The beach is less than spectacular, but more than adequate. There are palapas, on the beach, if you want shade. It’s appeal lies in the fact that the reef is just a few hundred feet offshore, and you can rent snorkeling equipment ($6.00 - U.S.) and scuba gear ($20.00 - U.S.) right on the beach. The snorkeling and diving is truly spectacular, with visibility 250 feet, on a “bad day,†and “Unlimited†on a “Good†one!

Within Chankanaab Park is an Archeological Park, which used to be on another part of the island, and was moved to its present site during the 1996 renovation. A winding, jungle-like, trail winds through the Archeological Park, past replicas of Maya, Inca, Olmec, etc; structures and carvings, and leads to a recreated Mayan village.

The park, also, contains a beautiful Botanical Garden, with hundreds of species of plants, and a large population of Iguanas.

But, the centerpiece of the park is Chankanaab Lagoon, a gigantic sinkhole which connect to the sea through a number of underground tunnels. A large assortment of tropical reef fish also make their way into the lagoon, through the tunnels, and can be viewed from the path, and lookout points, which circle the lagoon.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive, but really nice souvenir, or gift, check out Roberto’s Black Coral jewelry, in Sam Miguel, on 5th Street South. Go to the top of the main square, the Plaza del Sol, and turn right. Roberto’s is about three blocks south of the square, on the northeast corner.

His work is, truly, extraordinary and his prices are ridiculously low. By the way, it IS legal to bring black coral into the U.S., if it’s considered “artwork,†and Roberto’s work fits the description.

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The Mayan ruin at San Gervasio has not undergone the major restoration that the Mexican government had done at many of the other sites, such as Chichen Itza, Tulum, Uxmal, etc; and is of interest only to those who are truly interested in Mayan history. It was an important site, historically, since it held the temple of the fertility goddess, Ixchel, but a relatively small one.

GRAND CAYMAN

The usual "tourist" things to do, such as a trip to Hell, swimming with the rays, the Atlantis Submarine, and such,cost the same through the ship's Shore Excursion programs as they do elsewhere, and you have someone to complain to if something goes wrong.

As for me, I just take the tender into town, walk to the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory, order a slice of Rum cake and a cup of coffee, and "people watch."

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When I'm done, I hop the tender back to the ship, and have it all to myself...

OCHO RIOS

There are several shore excursions which are a little “offbeat,†but among my favorites.

One is the river rafting on the Martha Brae, or Rio Grande, River.

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Your “raft Captian†guides your two-person bamboo raft down the slow, winding, waterway, through lush tropical foliage. A stop along the way, fo a red Stripe or a Ting, and you’re in heaven…

Another is the trip to Nine Mile, Bob Marley’s birth, and final resting, place. If you’re a Merley fan, this is a must! Only one bus, with 24 passengers, is allowed to visit daily. The bus is a 1960’s vintage, completely restored and outfitted with a state of the art sound system. It is topped with artificial produce, for effect.

The bus makes a stop, along the way, so you can admire the gorgeous mountains. They serve complimentary rum punch, and soft drinks, during the stop. On the return trip, they stop at a different overlook, and sevre drinks, again, and then go on to a local Jamaican Pattie shop, where each passenger can have a beef, chicken of veggie pattie. The fuinal stop is an outdoor restaurant, where they serve jerk chicken and pork, peas and rice and plantains.

Of course, if this is your first trip to Jamaca, you MUST walk up Dunn’s River Falls. It’s a law! LOL

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Jeff, enjoyed reading your "advice" on tours. We have cruised a bit and the tours generally are sorely lacking and overpriced or so we have found. We tend to stay on the ship and "partake". But this trip, we are seriously thinking of swimming with the sting rays, just "because". Something different. Have you done that?

And what is a trip to Hell? R U joking or is that a tour that I am unfamiliar with?

Do you know anything about the tubing in Belize? Two options are offered, but info is sketchy at best.

Thnx for any info and advice. Judith

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judith-

I have never done the stingray thing, but everyone that I have spoken to comes back to the ship raving about how terrific it was. Even people who had been hesitant the previous night come back delirious! I am an avid snorkeler, and ex-diver, and live very close to key Largo, so I just never thought it would interest me. But, based on what I have heard, I would recommend it.

“Hell†is a town on Grand Cayman Island. They boast some very strange jagged, black, rock formations; not particularly spectacular.

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Their big claim to fame is the Post Office, where you can send postcards post-marked in “Hell,†and the t-shirts that announce, in multiple designs & colors that you have been to “Hell.â€Â

They, usually, combine a stop at “Hell†with a tour of The Turtle Farm and a fast look-see stop at Seven-Mile Beach, on the tours.

As far as the river rafting in Belize, never nbeen there/done that. Sounds like fun!

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I asked about Shoretrips.com on the cruise forum and got no replies. I guess it's because you have one going here. I just booked with them last night for cave tubing and swimming with dolphins. This morning I received vouchers to print for the cave tubing. I still don't know if we got the dolphin one. We will be going in 18 days on the Elation. I can let you know when I get back how things went. If you read the reviews on their site, you can find out a little more about the tour.

Sewut

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Judith, These are photos taken at Stingray City on our Mercury cruise in the fall of '99. It is a "must see!" You will be amazed! :wink: :wink:

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