We decided NOT to use Carnival's excursions and saved lots of money! For an $11 taxi ride about 10 miles from the boat to Chankanaab National Park and about $21 entry fee each to the park, we spent the entire morning snorkeling almost completely alone! We had most of the park to ourselves. I guess we beat all the cruise excursions there.
We rented our snorkeling equipment right there on the beach for very little cost. I did have trouble with my mask leaking and had to return it three times until I got one that sealed, but they gave me no problems exchanging it.
Water was a little rough, but clear with lots of fish to see. This was the first snorkeling experience for my boys, ages 8 and 11, and they absolutely LOVED it. Biggest thrill was the HUGE barracuda hiding under the dive platform...freaked me out a little, especially when he turned his head to look directly at me - I think my wedding ring caught his attention!
Once others started getting to the park, we were able to swim near all the scuba divers and see exactly what they had paid to see. Their guides even shared their finds with us!
The park had someone swimming around taking underwater pictures (about 20-30 pics) that they put on a CD, which we purchased for only $25! We did not get to check out all the other goodies the park offered because we wanted to do some shopping in Cozumel, but I know they offer scuba, snuba, swimming with dolphins, and other tours as well.
On the way out of the park, we came up on one of the wild iguana sunning in the front. My youngest inched his way close to it for a pic. Overall, a great experience for much less than Carnival charged!
The Dzibilchaltun Mayan ruins were very impressive! We booked through Autoprogresso instead of the Carnival Cruise lines and were not disappointed. The cost to go through Carnival would have been almost 3 times more than it was through Autoprogresso and it looked like the exact same tour!
Our guide acquainted us with the local area as well as his native Mayan culture during the 30 minute air-conditioned bus ride to the ruins, but my youngest son was most impressed with all the iguana sunning on the stone fences.
We picked these ruins over others because you are still allowed climb them and that seemed important to my two boys...and their dad. The exploration of the ruins thrilled my boys...I heard lots of Indiana Jones references. :) I would have liked a more thorough tour, but due to the time constraints of having to catch our boat and wanting to have some time to shop around Progreso, we did not see as much of the site as we wanted to. We never made it down to the astrologically situated Temple of the Seven Dolls, but could see it in the distance, nor did we make it into the onsite museum. Both of these are places I want to see on a return visit.
The highlight of the visit was the swim in the freshwater cenote, so don't forget your swim suit! The cool water felt wonderful after the heat of the tour and is filled with tiny little fish that tickle you as they nibble on your feet, legs, arms, and any exposed skin. My youngest just sat in the water and giggled uncontrollably as they swam all over him while my oldest preferred to jump off the 145 foot deep end! The water wasn't as clear as in photos I've seen, but the tour guide explained that runoff from all the rains cloud the water this time of year...makes sense. I highly recommend this tour through Autoprogresso!