Best Cruise Destinations Western Caribbean
Get set to sail on a Western Caribbean cruise. Cruise to the city of Belize and uncover the ancient trading post of the historical evolution of Altun Ha or enjoy cave tubing trips that will amaze you as you hurdle through the dark caves and stalagmites.
Travel to Honduras, visit the dive sites to explore the underwater life and the many attractions of coral reef in Roatán. Encounter the distinct stingrays of Stingray Town, or explore the Ruins of Tulum Mayan in Mexico. Whether you are tasting the rum, scuba-diving through shipwrecks that are home to vibrant marine life in Grand Cayman or sunbathing while relaxing on immaculate beaches you will be thrilled by the beautiful beaches on the western Caribbean shores.
Top Ports on a Western Caribbean Cruise Itinerary
1. Key West
A lively nightlife, beautiful beaches, fascinating history, and the world’s most stunning sunset await you at Key West. Stroll along Duval Street before having dinner or cocktails at Sloppy Joe’s, one of Hemingway’s favorite bars. Lovers of literature can browse the Ernest Hemingway House & Museum, looking out for his famous six-toed cats or take to a glass-bottomed boat and marvel at the island’s colorful fish.
2. Labadee, Haïti
On Labadee, you can swim in azure waters or laze on golden sand or, for the more adventurous, zip over the ocean at speeds of up to 50 mph on the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line. If that is a little too adrenaline-fuelled, then simply enjoy the Adventure Ocean Oasis, an area of splash pads and fountains.
3. Havana, Cuba
Havana is a patchwork of different impressions. Despite the neglect of its buildings, it remains grand and elegant while its food and music culture is definitely seductive. There is so much to see and do in Havana, you’ll need to plan your visit carefully but take a tour of Old Havana where centuries of colonial history rub up against 20th-century American and Soviet connections.
4. Cartagena, Colombia
The pretty 16th-century port of Cartagena is considered the jewel in Colombia’s crown. Its colonial architecture has UNESCO protection while the tropical beaches are truly delightful. A leisurely walking tour through the city takes you past the Zenu Gold Museum and the home of Colombia’s most famous writer, Gabriel García Márquez.
5. Roatan, Honduras
With its white sandy beaches, tropical flora and colorful coral reefs, Roatan is the perfect place to spend a day or two. This laid-back island also offers diving experiences, kayaking, and swimming with dolphins. A day trip to the villages of Punta Gorda or Pollytilly gives you a taste of true island life while at Oak Ridge you can discover the story of the famous pirate, Henry Morgan.
6. Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Enjoy the marine life of Stingray City or the Cayman Turtle Farm before dipping into the bustling city center of Georgetown. After a lunch of fresh seafood, stretch out on the town’s golden beaches or take a short cab ride to more secluded choices like Rum Point or Cayman Kai. Both offer excellent snorkeling above colorful coral formations.
7. Ocho Rios, Jamaica (Dunn’s River Falls)
Once away from the bustling cruise ship terminal, Ocho Rios exhibits a truly laidback vibe. Stroll through the quaint town center or try something a little more adventurous such as zip-lining or scuba diving. You’ll find plenty of short tours on offer that take in some of Jamaica’s beautiful waterfalls.
8. San Blas Islands, Panama
If you’ve ever read Robinson Crusoe and imagined what his island might have looked like, then you’re thinking of the San Blas Islands of Panama. Fine white sand, warm water, and coconut palms turn the islands into a taste of paradise while the local Kuna cuisine is definitely worth sampling.
9. Costa Maya, Mexico
Just a few hour’s cruising from Cancun is Costa Maya, a Mexican gem that showcases the country’s ancient civilization as well as contemporary architecture. Browse the upmarket shops and artisan markets before plunging into the saltwater pools of the beach club or take tours to explore the Mexican jungle and some of the world’s largest coral reefs.
10. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Sitting on the River Cozumel, Playa del Carmen is known for its trendy character with hip bars and restaurants sitting alongside family-friendly beaches. The coral reefs are excellent for snorkeling and scuba diving while rays and turtles watch you curiously when you take to the water.
11. Providencia Island, Colombia
The remote island of Providencia welcomes you with spectacular scenery, golden beaches, deep blue waters, and some of the Caribbean’s best diving. The island is largely untouched by modern life with English Creole still widely spoken and ancient traditions still followed.
12. Bocas del Toro, Panama
The seductive landscape of the Bocas del Toro archipelago is full of diverse vegetation, and wildlife, and customs that stretch back into the mists of time. You’ll discover fascinating rainforest walking trails while the beautiful coastline offers unbeatable opportunities for diving and snorkeling.
13. Cienfuegos, Cuba
Often called the ‘Pearl of the South’, Cienfuegos has long attracted travelers with its atmosphere of French elegance and Caribbean spirit. The town clusters around Cuba’s most beautiful natural bay while its architecture earned it UNESCO World Heritage status in 2005. The coastal area of Punta Gorda is home to an eccentric collection of palaces built in the 1920s.
14. Isla Catalina, Dominican Republic
Isla Catalina is a protected Natural Park where you can truly get away from it all. You won’t find tourist attractions, just serene beaches and calm seas backed by rocky outcrops. Should you wish to be more active you’ll find a range of watersports and superb diving. Isla Catalina is home to some species rarely seen in these regions such as raccoons and wild hares.
15. Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
Puerto Limon is one of Costa Rica’s most important ports with a colonial history that stretches right back to 1502 when Columbus made landfall here. In more recent centuries ships have left the port laden down with bananas, grain, and cashews. Be sure to take a trip to the Veragua Rainforest Research & Adventure Park with its famous frog exhibit, hummingbird garden, and reptile vivarium.
16. Belize City, Belize
Although the city is quite large, most tourist attractions such as the Museum of Belize can be found near your cruise terminal. Another attraction to look out for is the Belize City Swing Bridge, the only manually operated swing bridge in the world that’s still operational. Other attractions include the famous Altun Ha Mayan ruins and Belize Zoo.
17. Colon Panama, Panama Canal
Colón has the appearance of being caught in a time warp with its faded colonial glamour. It is not without charm for the visitor though, with its bustling shops, local cuisine, and secluded beaches such as Miramar where you can swim and snorkel in crystal clear waters.
18. Cozumel, Mexico
Take time to really explore Cozumel and you’ll discover a truly authentic Mexican experience. Dive off some of the world’s prettiest coral reefs or simply take a coffee in the town square and indulge in a spot of people watching. Before you leave, visit the local Mayan ruins and Cozumel’s marine park.