Cruise ship in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Western Caribbean Cruises

There are several ports in the Gulf of Mexico which cruise to the Western Caribbean. In the article below I will outline a number of options for three- to seven-day cruises which is the reason it became so popular. Some examples of locations which are included in the “exotic” portion of the Western Caribbean is actually the eastern coast of Central America. This includes Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Itinerary

View from the Cruise Deck

View from the Cruise Deck

Central America is a narrow piece of land that makes it possible to reach from either the Caribbean or Pacific coast. There are quite a few “gateways” that you might not think of when considering travelling to the Western Caribbean, sailing the Pacific coast being one of them. If you like to snorkel, you will want to check out Belize, which is very popular. A diver would want to try Belize, Roatan, and Honduras’ other Bay Islands. For those interested in ruins, you should look into Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala, specifically the Tikal (Guatemala) and Copan (Honduras) ruins. In Costa Rica and Nicaragua tourists will find wildlife, white-water rivers, rain forests and volcanoes.

Highlights

In the following section, things are broken down by location. Most of the locales below are home to many different activities which should be able to please most tourists, be it a new couple (or a seasoned one) looking for a romantic getaway, or a family looking to show their children the world. Either way, you should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for

Seven Mile Beach on Cayman Islands

Seven Mile Beach on Cayman Islands

Belize City (Belize): Go cave tubing, snorkeling or scuba diving at the world’s second largest barrier-reef, enjoy a canopy tour on zip-line, or you could enjoy the numerous ruins (including Mayan ruins)

Roatan (Honduras): explore the forest, zip-line, visit Gumbablimba Park, kayak, relax on the beach, snorkel, dive, and swim with dolphins. Watch out for bugs (bring spray with you)!

Santo Tomas de Castilla (Guatemala): here you will find opportunities to go hiking, kayaking or motoring around amidst the local flora and fauna. Smaller-scale locations on a more budget-savvy price to Mayan ruins are located at Quirigua a 4.5 hour trip through this National Park.

Perto Limon: located in Costa Rica is a great aerial tour by tram near San Jose of the rainforest canopy, canoe and kayaking river trips of Reventazon, canopy tours by zip-line, rain forest hikes, as well as tours of active volcanoes!

Beach with cruise ship

Beach with cruise ship

Tips

Passenger cruise ship

Passenger cruise ship

If you’re looking for something more affordable, consider a trip to Guatemala (see Santo Thomas) where a 4.5 hour trip to see Mayan ruins will only cost $70 per person.

The beaches of Roatan can be quite buggy, so bring an insect repellant that contains deet with you. Make sure that you only pack something you will be able to take with you on the plane!

If you’d like to avoid hurricane season in the above listed locations, don’t travel in summer or early fall

If you travel in winter, the heat won’t be as unbearable, and outdoor activities will be less intense (and the heat more tolerable)