Are you taking the NCL Getaway Western Caribbean cruise but don’t want to pay for an expensive shore excursion? The good news is you can do it yourself for a fraction of the price. We recently sailed on the Norwegian Getaway and enjoyed our DIY shore excursions. Read on to learn how to do an easy DIY shore excursion from these ports:
- Roatan Bay, Honduras
- Belize City, Belize
- Costa Maya, Mexico
- Cozumel, Mexico
ROATAN BAY, HONDURAS – DIY SHORE EXCURSION
Roatan Bay, Honduras is a great port for DIY shore excursions. Here, you can take local transportation to one of the most gorgeous beaches in the world with some of the best snorkeling, West Bay Beach.
Roatan Bay Port to West Bay Beach
Honduras is serviced by regular minibuses & water taxis (with more limited service on Sundays). The minibuses run to West End where you will need to catch a water taxi to West Bay Beach. To catch one of these minibuses, walk into Coxen Hole city centre & take a left at Calle Mercado. It is necessary to hail them down near the Mercado Municipal at the end of Calle Mercado (see google maps image below). They will say ‘West End’ on the front of the minibuses. The cost of the bus is 25 Lempiras per person (1 USD). It is not possible to pay in USD. If you buy something from one of the local supermarkets in town, they will give you change in Lempiras if you request it.
From West End, you need to catch a water taxi to West Bay Beach. You may need to negotiate the price but don’t pay anymore than 60 Lempira per person ($2.6 USD). Ask to be taken to the furtherest dock at West Bay Beach near Grand Roatan Carrebean Resort for the nicest snorkelling area of the beach. A lot of bars will charge you $10 for the use of their facilities for the day (e.g. wifi, showers etc) however, it is free at Grand Roatan Carrebean Resort for a table overlooking the beach and wifi. They also have great prices with local beers only $2.35 each. Remember to bring your snorkel as you can snorkel right of the beach (and it was teeming with fish).
At the port in Honduras, some last minute internet before you get back on the ship is a little hard to come by. The best we found was internet at Diamonds International. If you go into the store and have a look around, they are more than happy to give you the internet code.
Roatan Bay, Honduras Shore Excursion: Cruise Price v DIY
Cruise Excursion price – $89 USD pp
DIY – $10 USD pp
BELIZE CITY, BELIZE – DIY SHORE EXCURSION
Belize City does not have a lot to offer in terms of DIY excursions & if you are inclined to purchase a shore excursion this would be the port to do it. If you don’t want to purchase a shore excursion here, you have two options: go into the downtown Belize area or visit the lighthouse & Belize signs for some nice water views & photo opportunities.
Take a walk into the downtown Belize city area
Take a left from outside the Belize Port terminal to access the downtown Belize area. The downtown Belize City is not the nicest or cleanest city I have ever seen but it is still interesting nonetheless. We found a great little bar & café called Spoonaz in downtown Belize which had a really nice view of the water & free wifi. You will see this bar on your walk into town. The price of the bar was also quite reasonable with beers costing $3 USD for the local Belican Beer. If you are keen to see a Belizian Iguana, the café is also home to beautiful green Belizean Iguana.
Walk to the lighthouse for some water views & take a picture with the Belize City sign
Take a right from outside the Belize Port terminal to access the lighthouse & Belize City sign. A couple hundred metres down the road from the port terminal provides a memorable good photo opportunity with the colourful city sign.
Alternatively? Book your own cave tubing excursion
If you don’t feel like having a bit a of lazy day in Belize, book your own cave tubing excursion with for $45 USD. You can book it online or in person at the cruise terminal with cavetubing.bz. Be aware though, the Belize city port terminal is accessed by tender boats. To do this excursion you need to be on one of the first tender boats to the port as it is an all day venture.
Belize City, Belize Shore Excursion: Cruise Price v DIY
Cruise Excursion price – $109 USD pp (cave tubing)
DIY – $3 USD pp (price of beer) or $45 USD pp (cave tubing)
COSTA MAYA, MEXICO – DIY SHORE EXCURSION
This was probably my favourite port because the beautiful Mahahual Beach, where you can swim or snorkel in crystal clear blue water, is right at your fingertips. Mahahual Beach is a 10 minute drive or 30 minute walk away. The cost of a taxi to the beach is $2 USD pp or you can take the shuttle bus for $3 USD pp. You can get these directly outside the port terminal. If you want to walk, take the backstreets or check that the waterfront path is not blocked due to construction. We went to the Krazy Lobster bar which had a deal – 5 mini coronas for $5 USD. The bar also had free wifi. Remember to bring your snorkel as you can snorkel straight off the beach!
Costa Maya, Mexico Shore Excursion: Cruise Price v DIY
Cruise Excursion price – Not offered to this location as beach is too close by.
DIY – $5 USD (walking) $7 USD (taxi)
COZUMEL, MEXICO – DIY SHORE EXCURSION
When in Cozumel, I would suggest two options: going to the The Money Bar (taxi ride away) or Fratelli, a bar near little local swimming hole (possible to walk or short taxi ride from cruise terminal).
Cozumel Port to Money Bar
The Money Bar in Cozumel is a great option to spend a day in Cozumel. It has a really nice bar area overlooking the water and is a great place to use your snorkel. So, once again, remember to bring your snorkel if you plan on visiting the Money Bar! It is free entry but they do expect you to buy a drink or some food. If you are ever staying in Cozumel & visit the Money Bar make sure to make the most of their happy hour 5-7pm 2 for 1 drinks! There are two options to get to this bar: get a taxi or rent a scooter. If you rent a scooter in town, it is possible to rent them for $20 USD for the day but you have to be willing to barter with the scooter operator – just don’t ask anyone right next to the cruise terminal! If you are getting a taxi, for the best price have some pesos handy – shouldn’t be anymore than 100 pesos one way.
Fratelli Bar: A place to swim and snorkel near Cozumel Port
About a 30 minute walk right of the cruise terminal, there are a few little local bars with a nice little area to swim or snorkel nearby. If you choose to walk to Fratelli, you will pass Dolphinaris on the way. Be sure to peer through the gates and take a look at the dolphins on your way there. You used to be able to buy a fountain of beer for 100 pesos at Fratelli but they didn’t appear to offer that deal this time. They sold a large range of beer for 40 pesos or $2 USD. You don’t need to purchase anything to access the beach nearby but it is nice to have a secure place to put your stuff while you snorkel!
In Cozumel there is a big Mercardo (Supermarket) in town with good prices if you want to pick up anything. Cozumel is also the best port for internet on the trip as there is a starbucks with good wifi located in the cruise port terminal.
Cozumel, Mexico Shore Excursion: Cruise Price v DIY
Cruise Excursion price – At least $50 USD (depending which beach you go to)
DIY – $5 – $15 USD