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Old 01-08-2013, 06:03 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 117

DIY things to do in Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel for a young family?

Hi Everyone,
I hope I'm posting in the right area...
We are total newbies, it's our first Disney Cruise in late January and everyone is excited!

We're a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 small kids).
We love the beach and the girls are probably too small for excursions.
Is it realistic to arrange a beach day ourselves for both stops instead of using the cruise line's "Add Activity"?
(The reason I ask is the only beach day in Cozumel we can all join based on age works out to $290, and our one daughter is not tall enough to enjoy what's included)

Any other fun activities you suggest for little ones?


Last edited by Ancaster; 01-09-2015 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:25 PM   #2
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dont go through Disney.

Book your own trip to turtle farm in Grand Cayman. Spend a third of the price and go at your own pace. The Turtle Farm provides you with free buses back and forth.

Take a $20/ 15 minute taxi to paradise beach in Cozumel. $2 per chair and spend $10 per person on food and drink for a nice beach and pretty nice pool.

We just did it with a 4 and a 2. Lots cheaper than going through Disney, and without age restrictions.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:37 PM   #3
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If you do the turtle farm on your own, the transportation will often drop you at one of the main beaches (7 Mile or Sea Grape) after your turtle farm visit if you wish. We did an island tour thru Captain Marvin which included the turtle farm and another time did Stingray city and snorkel 1/2 day--both times had our choice of beach drop off or return to tender terminal.

If you just want to do the beach, you can ride the public bus or take a cab. The beach itself is free, there are vendors with chairs, etc.

In Cozumel, taxi was $15 each way PER CAB, not per person to Paradise Beach. Again, beach is free, $2 gets you a chair, $12 gets a wrist band for all "non-motorized water toys". Food, etc. available to purchase. DOn't buy a package from your taxi driver unless you really want all parts of the package (like youngest may not want the toys wristband...may not need a chair for each person...._ Cabs readily available at port and beach.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:54 PM   #4
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Walking distance

Are the beaches close enough to the port to walk?
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:56 PM   #5
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In Grand Cayman, there is beach close enough to walk. Little brown signs indicate public walkways to the beach. However, these are not the nicest beaches with the vendors, etc. Use of the beach is free (no one can own the beach in GC), but you can't trespass on private property to get to the beach.

In Cozumel, no beach that I'm aware of within walking distance.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:07 AM   #6
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What is acceptable walking distance is a matter of opinion.

In Grand Cayman:

Smith Cove (aka Smith Barcadere) is 1.5 miles south of the downtown port area. There are no sidewalks for much of that way. There are restrooms, and lots of natural shade up under the trees. There are no on-site restaurants, chair rentals, or other services.

There are many names for various portions of Seven Mile Beach, which is actually only 5.5 miles long. The end of the beach closest to town, known locally as Pageant Beach, is one mile north of the downtown port area. There are no restrooms, little shade, and no chair rentals on site. There are nearby dining options from budget (KFC) to fine dining (The Wharf) across the road or next door to Pageant Beach. Very few tourists stop at Pageant beach due to lack of services on site and a rocky entry to the water.

Most tourists visiting Seven Mile beach choose to go to sections of the beach further from the downtown area. Royal Palms (2 miles from the port), Seven Mile Beach Public Beach (4 miles from the port), Sea Grape (4.25 miles from the port), or Tiki Beach (4.5 miles from the port) attract more visitors as they have more facilities for tourists.

The public bus system (actually large passenger vans) is an affordable option to walking in the tropical heat. Catch the bus from the depot next to the library on Edward St in George Town. Fare is CI$2=US$2.50 per person each way. Only taxis and tour buses directly serve the port. Their fares are higher.

The beach is indeed public, but technically that is only from the edge of the water to the mean high water mark. That is the point at which high tide reaches on an average day. Since tides do not vary much in the tropics that makes a very narrow strip of sand public... probably less than ten feet wide on average.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:13 AM   #7
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My family and I (two adults and a 4year old) just took the first Magic cruise out of Galveston cruise this past September. We brought along a collapsible red wagon we bought at SAMs Club for $65 . It was a dream!!! We even had SEVERAL cruise passengers ask if we would sell it to them. In the Grand Cayman there is a bunch of walking to get to where you are going. And the streets are busy busy busy with traffic....crazy driver traffic, might I add. I hope you all have fun we really really did! We heard a lot of others bragging about the turtle farm, we hope to do it next time!
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:20 PM   #8
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Hi! We're on your cruise, but you probably know that by now!

For Grand Cayman, we booked tickets to the full access pass for turtle farm (pool/snorkel/aviary/etc) on the website for a discount.. just print out the confirmation. They offer transportation, so we plan on getting in line early for the tender that day to make sure we get off the ship in time.

For Cozumel, we are going to Mr Sanchos and doing the All Inclusive. Our DD is young enough to be free, so we're going that route. I also considered Chankanaab and Paradise beach. Taxis are easy to get to/from any destination.

See you soon!
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:06 AM   #9
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So we plan on doing the San Gervasio ruins and Discover Mexico tour in Cozumel - kids are tween/teen. We booked this thru DCL already.

For GC, kids want to stop by Hell and maybe a little beach time. But not sure about the Turtle farm. DCL beach pass is sold out, so we are looking to do this on our own. Any suggestions for this?

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Old 01-27-2013, 01:17 AM   #10
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Nevermind. If it was a couple of bad reviews out of the last 10, I'd take it with a grain of salt, but reviews seem mixed to the extreme.

My kids love the beach and GC day is short(er) than Coz. Think we'll just go to 7-mile.

Oh, yes, hi RxP! See you soon!
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:33 AM   #11
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Just read some reviews.

Sea Grape vs 7-mile.

Which one would you go to with small kids (under 8)?
(preferably with facilities and a restaurant nearby)
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:17 AM   #12
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We were on the Fantasy earlier this month and did not purchase any excursions through Disney.

In Grand Cayman we took a taxi van to Royal Palms. We just loved it there. Kids were free to get in and I think we paid $10 for the two of us. Royal Palms consists of a nice beach area with a restaurant, bathrooms, outdoor showers and umbrellas and.chairs to rent. The water was heavenly! I would certainly go back. Taxi drivers were always out front and ready to take you back to port if necessary.

In Cozumel we rented a jeep ahead of time through Avis. We had a tough time finding the physical location of the car rental. It felt like we were on an episode of the Amazing Race!!! Once we had the jeep we had a wonderful time driving around the island. If you go to the opposite side from downtown you will find the most incredible beaches that are geared for swimming rather than diving. We stopped at a restaurant called Rio ??? (can't remember the name). They had fresh fish and an amazing beach. The coral kept the waves calm and we saw a lot of tropical fish. No one bothered was incredibly tranquil and low key.
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Old 02-23-2013, 04:49 PM   #13
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Anyone do the turtle farming your own on a late arrival day? I'm on the 3/2 fantasy and it says we don't arrive in GC until 10:30 and the turtle farm doesn't have transportation that late - at least, that's what they say online. Waiting on email response but would love input from any DISers.
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First Disney Cruise 2/5/11! Sailed away to the Western Carribean on the Magic

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Old 04-19-2013, 04:59 PM   #14
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Nachi Cocum
Going my 2nd time next month.. It's all inclusive.. The lunch is to die for good.. all you can drink..bottled water.. snacks.. bathrooms a pool.. beautiful beach.. it's picturesque..
Highly recommend

Cab fare is $16 each way

They limit the amount of poople so it's not crowded

Lisa, Wife of 18-1/2 years to Mike and Mom to Christopher age 11 and twin girls Ashley and Jessica age 8
Disney Fantasy Apert Cruise May 11-18, 2013
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mtopher4 View Post
Nachi Cocum
Going my 2nd time next month.. It's all inclusive.. The lunch is to die for good.. all you can drink..bottled water.. snacks.. bathrooms a pool.. beautiful beach.. it's picturesque..
Highly recommend

Cab fare is $16 each way

They limit the amount of poople so it's not crowded
Ditto this. Just got back and loved Nachi Cocum. Quiet, good food, beautiful water. Just lovely. My 5 and 8 year old loved it too!
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