In Costa Rica we had more of a time. We hired a taxi at the pier. For $35 per person this guy had us all day, we sae cocoa bean pods, and pulled off the road and went into a banana plantation where he gave a history to us, we stopped another time beside the road where there was a man with 2 sloths for us to hold and take pictures with. We went to Tortuga Canal and enjoyed a nice boat ride, it lasted about an hour and our boat guide was really informative (Harland). We had a city tour and did some shopping, it was a great day. All tis was so affordable, compared with the ship excursion prices. Don't be afraid to do your own thing ... and be sure and bargain for a lower tour price, then tip really big! Even with tips for our driver, boat guide, and the sloth man ... we came out spending about $50.00 per person .. I felt really good with that after talking to some people on the ship that had spent more for less.
In Belize we did the cave tubing. I booked with Yhony, after reading positive reviews on this site. It was really nice because we didn't pay anything until AFTER the tour was completed. I booked for 4 of us, but 3 others came with us from the ship (he said that would be all right). go to "www.cave-tubing.com" to check it out for yourselves. Our guides were Yhony (the owner) and Timmy we had the absolute BEST time with them, they really worked hard to make sure we had a good time. We were sore from laughing by the time it was all over. My kids wanted a t-shirt with their logo on it, so he took us by the house to get them ($10 ea). We got to meet Yhony's beautiful family. We met Timmy's wife later, at the pier. I feel very secure with telling you to book with confidence. Yhony and Timmy took such good care of us, the even helped carry the inner tubes for myself and another lady during the walk to the cave entrance. When we got in the water they linked us up so we were a 5 person "snake" with our own guide Timmy doing all the work of taking us through the water I didn't even have to get my hands in the water (But I did). Timmy got out of his tube several times to guide us through tricky areas. We were really well cared for. Last year we were in Belize, a large group of us (17) had pre-booked with a different group, I had to pay in advance for all of us, then we were worried we wouldn't get off the ship in time, and I could see all that money going away with the tide. We did get the trip, but it cost more than with Yhony, and even though our group was 17, they made us wait 45 minutes for 5 other people coming off the ship (after they told me it would be a private trip). I was really not happy with that aspect. then going into the caves it was bedlam, and we were everywhere, with one of our girls hitting a rock, falling out of her tube,, in the dark, and losing her headlight .. it was just a little hectic (all this last year) Call Yhony at cave-tubing.com, unless you don't want to have a good time. BEWARE: at Belize you have to tender from the ship. Carnival will tender everyone with a SHIP EXCURSION first. You will not get off the ship at 7am, or even 8am .. it will be closer to 8:45 when you get on the first tender, don't mess around with getting off the ship. You will still have a good tour, just account for that when you email with Yhony.the trip was great, Billy's piano bar was a blast, the Piano guy is DAVE ... see if he'll let you get on the piano, it's a great photo opp. Be nice to Saji, he has the graveyard shift at the 24 hr pizzeria on Lido. Our wait staff was Gabriela and Levente' they are from Romania .. I hope you should have such warm crew around. Our room Steward, Eka was beyond wonderful! Don't forget: a travel clock, there are no clocks in the room. some form of power strip or extension cord, there is only ONE outlet, you may need more. Don't be afraid to have a good time! Thank you for taking time for this lengthy review. I didn't talk about the food because it was wonderful, but you already knew that. There is new bedding, you will love it, down comforters and pillows.