Fascinating shore excursions help make the Caribbean the most popular cruise destination in the world. Other factors contribute to making the Caribbean vacationers' number one cruising choice--the sunny climate, sparkling waters, and beautiful islands--but a memorable shore excursion can imprint each island in your mind forever. If you are ready to do something other than shop, explore the islands on your own, or just sit on a beach, try these shore excursions on your next Caribbean cruise.
A day on Grand Cayman Island is not complete without a visit to Stingray City. This shore excursion is one of the most popular in the Caribbean and its reputation is well deserved. Visitors can dive, snorkel, swim, or just be marveled by these interesting creatures through the viewing windows of a glass bottom boat.
Racing on a sleek, 12-metre America's Cup yacht is an exciting way to spend a half-day on St. Maarten. Nine participants serve as the crew of each of the two former America's Cup racing yachts, and the speedy boats zip through the water as they race around the harbor at Philipsburg. No previous sailing experience is necessary, but you will come away with a new appreciation of the thrill (and work involved) of sailing a racing yacht.
Pictures of the America's Cup Regatta shore excursion
Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands has a remarkable geological rock formation on the western end of the island. Huge boulders are strewn all along the beach. Climbing, snorkeling, and exploring this geological phenomenon is fun for all ages.
Tubing on the Layou River, the longest and largest of the 365 rivers of Dominica, is an exciting and memorable shore excursion. Each person rides in their own tube, and you feel much like a pinball as you drift down the river, hitting rocks and spinning away. It is great fun, and the beautiful Layou River valley, with its tall cliffs and lush vegetation, make the excursion one of the best in the Caribbean.
Buck Island is a snorkeler's dream. The park covers about 850 acres of land and water surface and lies about 1.5 miles off the northern shore of St. Croix. Buck Island has been a part of the park service since 1948, and the pristine waters offer wonderful snorkeling. There are a couple of snorkeling trails, and several outfitters offer day trips to the island. We sailed on Captain Heinz's Teroro II, and thought the captain and his excursion were great.
San Juan is one of the busiest ports and most exciting cities in the Caribbean. If you enjoy hiking and are looking for a shore excursion that is a little more peaceful, consider a day trip to the only tropical rain forest in the United States at El Junque National Forest.
A ride beneath the Caribbean on a mini-submarine is a memorable one-time shore excursion for anyone who loves snorkeling, diving, or exploring. At least a dozen Caribbean islands offer a submarine ride as a shore excursion option. I rode a submarine in Aruba, and although it was small and cramped and definitely not for the claustrophobic, there were plenty of windows to see the undersea world.
Profile of Atlantis Submarine Excursions
I swam with dolphins at Dolphinaris on Cozumel. The animals seemed to be happy, healthy, and well treated.