Our second port of call was Belize City, Belize. Here we did a River Wallace and Altun Ha Mayan site tour through Royal Caribbean. There is a barrier reef surrounding Belize so the ship must dock far away. You have to be tendered in, which takes a significant amount of time. If you do a tour through the ship, they will tell you when you need to meet in order to board the tender, which is very helpful. The number one thing I wish I knew in Belize is how HOT it was going to be. I think it was 95 degrees (which isn't the bad part, i'm from Texas) with 95% humidity (which was AWFUL). Bring tons of water bottles and expect to be hot. As soon as we disembarked the tender, Chukka tours was waiting for us. They are the tour group that royal Caribbean runs this tour through and they did a fantastic job. We had to wait for 3 more tenders until our entire tour group arrived, so they let us wait inside the only air conditioned building in the whole area because it was so hot. We then boarded a small boat and set off for our river tour. We saw so many neat things; dolphins, manatees, monkeys, iguanas, and alligators- all right next to our boat. The rain forest that the river runs through looks like something out of a movie and our tour guides were so knowledgeable about everything we saw. After the river tour, we arrived at a hotel to eat lunch. By this time, everyone was red faced and soaking from the humidity, but like I said earlier, there is no air conditioning. Not that that is a bad thing, I just think it is important to know for those who have low heat tolerance. The lunch was good (either Belize food or hamburgers) and then we set off on tour buses (AIR CONDITIONED! YAY) for the hour drive to Altun Ha. The Mayan site was really neat to just admire all of it. You take a guided tour of all the ruins and then even get to climb the tallest one, the temple of the sun god. They build steps around the back so that was accessible and not too dangerous to climb. After the tour, you get about 20 minutes to explore yourself. I would recommend at least spending a little time shopping at the little shops set up. These people have worked so hard and sit out there all day just to sell a few items. But those items are handmade and amazingly done and cheap! One thing I discovered is that no matter how little material things these people have, they are so kind to us. I had many memorable conversations with local Belizians at Altun Ha, and even met a little boy who wanted to talk American sports with me.(: Take the time to talk to those people because that was one of the most memorable moments of the trip. After this, you board the bus for a 2 hour ride into Belize City. The bus ride was a great way to see all of Belize and I loved looking out my window and seeing everything. If we did this again, I do not know if I would do the river part. Because of the river part, we did not have too much time at the ruins. I enjoyed the river part, but I will probably not do a combo tour in the future for the interest of time. We were wiped by the time we got back to Belize City, so we pretty much walked through a few stores and bought t-shirts and some gifts and then waited for a tender. Do NOT wait to board the last tender or you may end up with a problem. If there is one place to be on the ship early, it is here because of the tender length and amount of people trying to board the last tender.
Our final port of call was Cozumel, Mexico. Here we did a dolphin tour through Royal Caribbean. We had planned ahead knowing that we would be tired after the entire day of tours in Belize so we planned the excursion for 9am instead of 7am. Keep in mind that it is hard to go non-stop for three countries in a row so plan accordingly especially if you have teens in the family who love to sleep in (ME). The dolphin thing was at Chankanaab Park. The tour group put us in taxis that they paid for and we got over there fine. We swam with the dolphins and got pushed and pulled by them. It was a super neat experience and the dolphins are so loving and cute. After the dolphins, you have the opportunity to return to the dock or stay the the park. The park has several places to eat, a stunning beach, pools, and snorkeling sites. We chose to walk down to the beach area and eat at the beach-side hut restaurant. Our waiter barely spoke English so I got to use some of that Spanish I had been practicing for many years. While our parents waited at the table for the food, the teens walked right out from our table and swam in the ocean like 20 feet away. It was amazing and the food was good too. We caught a taxi back to the dock and shopped in the many many shops. I really enjoyed Chankanaab a lot more than I thought I would and thought it was beautiful.
Our first port of call was Roatan, Honduras. We chose to go without the cruise line on this excursion, going to Little French Key instead. We had researched this before hand intensely, because we were nervous about going on our own in Honduras. It has a 5 star rating on trip advisor and I also wrote a review over there rating it 5 stars. I can honestly say it is the most fabulous place I have ever been and I plan to return many times in the future. Make sure to be aware that people do not drive the same in Honduras as they do in America. They are more daring drivers, they are not always dangerous, but be aware that it will be an experience. Little French Key is a private island with the most clear, turquoise water I have ever seen. All you have to do is email them from their website and they will quickly respond with all the package options. It is WELL WORTH IT. They provide lunch and two free drinks from the bar. You can use water loungers and lounge chairs and spend all day by the fabulous water. I cannot say it enough, just read all of the reviews on trip advisor and they will convince you for sure. And it was absolutely perfect for teens, I cant think of a teen who wouldn't want to spend the day here (and my parents loved it too!). After Little French Key, we made it back to port about an hour early so we shopped around and then boarded the boat. There is a shopping area right where we docked (Coxen Hole) with some shops to buy t-shirts and other trinkets. Be aware that you will see a lot of poverty in these countries. I have never seen anything like it, and it has caused my family to find a Roatan charity that we are going to start donating supplies to. Don't expect air conditioning in any of these countries and don't drink the water (which you should know anyways).