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

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Ancaster, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Ancaster

    Ancaster Mouseketeer

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    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?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. bwallace

    bwallace Keeps Pulling Me In

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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.
     
  4. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  5. LizJ

    LizJ Earning My Ears

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    Are the beaches close enough to the port to walk?
     
  6. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  7. Drew Sailbum

    Drew Sailbum Mouseketeer

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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.
     
  8. Kencad MOM

    Kencad MOM Mouseketeer

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    Do you have to pay cash at Paradise beach in Cozumel? Or do they accept credit cards?

    Also the food minimum is $10 p/p, does that include children? My kids are really picky about food!! I am sure they won't eat much if anything at the beach. If my husband and I order food will that be ok for the minimum food purchase that is required?

    Thanks!
     
  9. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    I beleive they take credit cards..
     
  10. stacieps

    stacieps DIS Veteran

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    Printed on their menu is a notation "A 20% service will be added to credit card purcahses" - we always bring cash to avoid the fee as it is not clear to me whether that is to be considered your tip to your server, or just a "convenience" fee for using a credit card. Servers have a section of the beach and come to you - you don't have to go to the bar for your food or drink, so we usually tip a higher % than a restaurant as it seems like a lot more work walking in the sand in the sun :)
     
  11. loveysbydesign

    loveysbydesign I can pinch a penny so hard you can hear it scream

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    When we went there in 2009 our kids were 2, 7 and 10 and this is what we did.
    We took a cab to Chankanaab Park, about 10 minutes from the port. At Chankannab they have a playground, pool, fountians, a small lagoon and you can snorkel and see the dolphins and such. It was very clean, safe and everyone there was super friendly. We took our own snorkel masks and such but you can rent it.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti..._National_Park-Cozumel_Yucatan_Peninsula.html

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    In Grand Cayman we took a bus to the Grand Palms beach, the 1st beach they stopped at. Had clean restrooms and a small beachside restaurant.

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    We loved both places and they were cheap and beautiful!
     
  12. Ancaster

    Ancaster Mouseketeer

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    What's the best way to plan these DIY?
    Are there reps when you dock? Don't know who to trust...

    Also, do prepaid CDN credit cards work in the Caribbean?
     
  13. loveysbydesign

    loveysbydesign I can pinch a penny so hard you can hear it scream

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    At the port in Cozumel you will walk through a very clean, updated outdoor type of mall to get to the area where the cabs/taxi vans are. There were offical port workers there to direct us. It was very nice and safe feeling.
    In Grand Cayman you have to take a small boat from the ship to the port, There were dock workers there as well but it wasn't nearly as clean and was bit more confusing and congested. We asked at the little portable type office thingie and they directed us to a small bus to take us to the beach. Once onboard the taxi/bus they announce what places they will be stopping at, we elected to stop at the 1st one as it is closer to the port, that is were we had planned to go anyway and the bus was crowded. On the way back we were in a smaller van that was parked at the beach waiting for guests and it was just us 5 :)
     
  14. crafty91

    crafty91 DIS Veteran

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    Just for a quick and fun option in Grand Cayman, walk across the street from the ship terminal and go to Margaritaville. You can have lunch and the kids can swim in the pool they have inside, with a nice water slide. You can see pics on the website for Margaritaville, just click on Grand Cayman. Its a nice little stop if you plan some other things as well, just take a towel from the ship and wear your bathing suit. Enjoy!
     
  15. Ancaster

    Ancaster Mouseketeer

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    How do you book the turtle farm when you arrive?
    After you get off the small boat, through a vendor or reps from the turtle farm?

    Will it be tight trying to fit that, lunch and also the beach?

    (Grand Cayman day is 730am-330pm)
     
  16. Ancaster

    Ancaster Mouseketeer

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    Do you recommend Royal, 7, Grape, or Tiki (one with facilities to change, shower; casual restaurant lunch; other small kids under 8)

    Take a taxi? Or public transportation?
     
  17. SeidlFamily3

    SeidlFamily3 Earning My Ears

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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!
     
  18. Ancaster

    Ancaster Mouseketeer

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    Cozumel is 945am-545pm

    Paradise Beach looks great, any other adventures we should try?
    Or should that fill the day?
    (both my kids are under 8)
     
  19. disneymagicgirlsdd

    disneymagicgirlsdd Earning My Ears

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    Definitely the Turtle Farm in Grand Cayman! My mom and I went, just the two of us, but my two brothers (2 and 4 at the time) would've loved it. While we did that, the 2yo stayed in the nursery while step-dad and 4yo did the pirate thing and said it was really fun. Good luck!
     
  20. Ancaster

    Ancaster Mouseketeer

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    Bump to hopefully save me reading multiple threads, great info on this forum.

    Comments to my questions anyone? :)
     
  21. Drew Sailbum

    Drew Sailbum Mouseketeer

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    If you want to wait until you arrive there will be multiple vendors holding signs offering an excursion to the Turtle Farm, often coupling that with a stop at Hell.

    Any tour to the Turtle Farm will be happy to drop you off at a beach location on the way back to the port. It would then be up to you to take a taxi or catch a bus to get back to the tender pier.

    Several popular beach locations in Cayman have good and easy access for food. Royal Palms, SeaGrape, Seven Mile Beach Public Beach and Tiki Beach are some of the more popular locations due to available services. For just a few hours with small kids I'd go to Seven Mile Beach Public Beach and eat from the food trucks or next door at Calico Jacks. The kids will enjoy the beach and the playground equipment.
     

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