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Old 10-18-2012, 08:17 AM   #1
DizMagic
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Western Carribbean Excursion Questions

I tried searching but couldnt find exactly what i needed. we are going on the 2.2.13 western carribbean on the fantasy. It is just 2 adults. we love history, culture, and animals. does anyone have experience with the following.

Grand Cayman - we want to go to Botswains but if we do the DCL tour, do we have to stay the entire time with the tour, or if we are done can we leave? we also wanted to spend some free time in Georgetown and are only in port about 4.5 hours.

Costa Maya- was thinking about the ruins - Chaccoban (sp?) exactly how hot does it get in February?

Cozumel - DCL excursions dont take us where we really want to go. is it safe to go outside DCL here with another company or on our own? we want to see San Miguel city, and Eco Park and Chakanaub park. is that too much for one day - we will be in port 8 hours.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:15 AM   #2
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We booked the Turtle Farm on our own and were transported to/from on the DCL excursion bus. We could have returned on our own by taxi or the GC bus system. It would have been $8 back to the port area. Another cruiser reported that he and his wife returned on their own - hitched a ride with a Turtle Farm employee who was going into town.

Not sure how hot Costa Maya is in February but it was quite hot the first week of October. We went with Native Choice and they supplied us with a number of bottles of water. Our guide, Joel, made sure we were in shady areas whenever possible. The trees do provide a nice canopy; we watched a spider monkey family scamper about!

Enjoy planning your cruise!!
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
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Not sure how hot Costa Maya is in February but it was quite hot the first week of October. We went with Native Choice and they supplied us with a number of bottles of water. Our guide, Joel, made sure we were in shady areas whenever possible. The trees do provide a nice canopy; we watched a spider monkey family scamper about!
We are booked w Native Choice in November. How long was the ride to the ruins? Is the path there difficult to negotiate (will be bringing my mom with us)? Was the walk to their office from the dock really long? (Thought I read that the pier at Costa Maya is particularly long). Were there a lot of vendors at the ruins?

And it's exciting that you saw monkeys -- kids will be thrilled if we see them!
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:20 PM   #4
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We are booked w Native Choice in November. How long was the ride to the ruins? Is the path there difficult to negotiate (will be bringing my mom with us)? Was the walk to their office from the dock really long? (Thought I read that the pier at Costa Maya is particularly long). Were there a lot of vendors at the ruins?

And it's exciting that you saw monkeys -- kids will be thrilled if we see them!
Native Choice asks you to disembark as soon as possible and your tour will begin as soon as you get to their office - the ride was about 40 minutes and we were the first people to arrive at the ruins. The paths are very level but to get to the second set of temples you do need to go up some stone steps. The walk was probably a quarter of a mile from the ship to their office. There are many people in the port area who kindly kept directing us to the blue Clock Tower - you can't miss it! Native Choice gave us cold bottles of Costco water as soon as we arrived.
There is a snack/shopping area at the ruins site but we chose not to shop. You won't be bothered by the vendors. Overall, it was a great excursion and I highly recommend them.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:26 PM   #5
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We did the Native Choice Ruins tour in September. It was fantastic. It is a good walk to get to their pick up spot. You have to go completely through town and out to the street. Look for the blue tower. It probably took 15 minutes to walk there from the boat. There is a small shop right there while you are waiting to board the vans and maybe a dozen or so vendors at the ruins. There was no extra time to shop at the port stores.

It took about 45 minutes to drive to the ruins. The walk around the ruins is pretty level except one spot where you climb the ruin stairs to the next set of ruins. You could skip that part if you had to.

We saw one monkey but never could get a good picture of it.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:41 PM   #6
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Was there any sort of tram available to take you from the end of the dock? I thought I read something about that somewhere....
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:46 PM   #7
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Was there any sort of tram available to take you from the end of the dock? I thought I read something about that somewhere....
Yes, there was a tram but we chose to walk. It may be best for your Mom to take the tram; you will still have to walk through the commercial area of the port and then through the exits to get to the Native Choice office.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:38 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info...she's not completely immobile, just very slow, and I'm a little paranoid about getting to Native Choice as quickly as possible b/c of the short port time. I don't want to rush her, but then again I don't want to miss the boat, either! But the Native Choice people have assured me that they are very aware of the port times of the ships, and have also told me that they will bring a wheelchair for her just in case. She will be glad just to see *some*thing of the ruins even if she can't go to all of it.

Did they drop you off at the port when you were done? Did the tour take almost the whole time?

Thanks!!
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:41 PM   #9
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DH & I just got back from our honeymoon... a 7 night Western on the Fantasy. It was just the 2 of us, and like you we both love history, culture, and animals.

We didn't do any excursions in Grand Cayman. We got off to do a little bit of shopping (we bought rum cakes for friends and family back home!) but mostly stayed on the ship.

We did the Chacchoben ruins in Costa Maya through DCL. We did the adult's only version, which I'd recommend for you if you're just 2 adults! The weather was very comfortable in October, not too hot at all! So I imagine it'd be cooler in February. Plus, there's a lot of trees to block out the sun, so most of the time we were in the shade. We loved the excursion! Our tour guide was Manuel, and he was fantastic! Very interesting, engaging and informative. We learned a lot about the Mayans, and even saw some wild spider monkeys!

In Cozumel we did the Tacos & Tequila excursion through DCL. We loved it! Since there was tequila, it was an adult's only excursion. There were only 2 other couples doing this excursion. Our tour guide was Martin. He picked us up at the dock and we rode in a van to the Discover Mexico museum. We watched a short video about Mexico. Then our tour guide showed us map of Mexico and talked about all the different parts of the country and it's culture and history. Then we went through the inside of the museum which had many different art exhibits from Mexican artists and artisans. Then we went outdoors to the outside portion of the museum. There we went through and saw several miniature models of different Mexican landmarks. After that, it was time for the tequila seminar! Martin taught us all about the history of tequila and the tequila making process. Then we did a tequila tasting! After the seminar, they had a buffet of authentic Mexican food. It was very delicious! Then we went to the museum gift shop where we bought some Mexican chocolate and some Mexican art! (They also sold tequila in the gift shop.) Then they took us back to the port. It was a great excursion! Very educational and lots of fun! And it wasn't very long at all (I think it was only an hour and half), so there was still plenty of time to do something else in Cozumel!
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:02 PM   #10
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Did they drop you off at the port when you were done? Did the tour take almost the whole time?

Thanks!!
Our Native Choice tour turned out to be a private tour: DD, me, Joel - guide, and Jefe - driver. They dropped us off at their office when we returned but I'm sure they would have driven us closer to the Port if we had asked.
We were back in plenty of time because we chose not to shop at the ruins. We had time to shop near their office and at the Port. (DD and I are very fast walkers so it didn't take long to walk to their office. Jefe drove up as soon as we arrived.)
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:56 AM   #11
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We did the Chacchoben ruins in Costa Maya through DCL. We did the adult's only version, which I'd recommend for you if you're just 2 adults! The weather was very comfortable in October, not too hot at all! So I imagine it'd be cooler in February. Plus, there's a lot of trees to block out the sun, so most of the time we were in the shade. We loved the excursion! Our tour guide was Manuel, and he was fantastic! Very interesting, engaging and informative. We learned a lot about the Mayans, and even saw some wild spider monkeys!
We (2 adults) currently have this same excursion booked for January 9. I'm curious - how many people were on your excursion? Did you go on a big bus or in a smaller vehicle? I'm not too crazy about buses and big groups, and am also considering booking this with Native Choice (and saving some bucks!)
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:16 PM   #12
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Boatswain's--totally easy to do on your own and will save some money over DCL prices. Book on line in advance at their web site.

Chankaunaab--easy to take a cab and do on your own. This I wouldn't hesitate to do. Cab prices are posted at the pier and are per cab (not per person). It used to be $10 each way--don't know if prices have increased. I would not choose to go off the beaten tourist path in Mexico, but that could be just me.
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