"Old Belize River Tour and Altun Ha" ... Starts at 8 a.m. with a wait in the Stardust Theater for your excursion to be called, then a fast tender ride to shore, then another fast boat to the mouth of the river, then a ride up the river while the guides point out the relatively scarce (because this is a somewhat developed area) local flora and fauna - manatee, crocodile, iguana, howler monkey, bats, birds, a boa constrictor. The boat ride ends at a rickety wooden dock and then all aboard an old school bus for a short trip to what seems to be the back entrance to a local "resort". After quite a long walk through the grounds, we arrive at the resort's open-air pavilion where lunch (included) and cold sodas/beer are served. Then the guide rounds us up for a short walk to the entry pavilion to wait for an a/c coach bus to take us to Altun Ha. The ruins at Altun Ha are MAGNIFICENT and 100% worth the trouble to get there, no matter which excursion you take! Handcrafts/drinks/snacks are available from the locals. After an all too brief amount of time spent walking around the ruins we are back on the a/c coach bus for a 1.5 hour ride back to the port and tender to the ship.
We thoroughly enjoyed our MAYA CHAN beach break at the Costa Maya port. They limit the number of guests each day, which is nice. I think there were 30 so on our trip, including several small children. The MAYA CHAN folks arrange for your transportation from the port to their little slice of paradise - about a 15-20 minute taxi ride. They greet you at the gate, show you the changing rooms/lockers/bathrooms, walk you through the open-air, thatch-roofed bar/dining pavilion, escort you to your "palapa", and leave you to settle in with fruit punch and fresh guacamole, salsa, and chips! Before you know it they're back to take your drink order - anything you want (alcoholic or not) is included in the price - as is the delicious lunch, kayaking (alone or with one of the owner-guides), sand toys, floating chairs, and WI-FI. Massages available for a fee. Seriously, just bring your towel, bathing suit, and sunscreen and you're all set for a lovely, relaxing day on their beautiful beach!
This was fun! Once you meet up with your group on the pier it's a quick boat ride out to where the 12-meter boats are anchored. En route, the group is divided in two, with half boarding the Stars and Stripes and the other half the Canadian boat. Everyone is given a job (though you can be a cheerleader/timer if you want) and the captain sails around a bit for practice. Then the race begins! After the race is a bit of free sail time whilst enjoying free sodas/beer/water, then transfer to the motor boat for a ride to gift shop. Slake your thirst with complimentary fruit or rum punch. Excellent quality t-shirts and gear are available for purchase, as are pictures of your group "racing". Then motor back to the pier plenty early enough to do a little shopping before boarding the ship.
We paid a cab driver to drive us around the island. He picked up a "local" at the port gate to narrate the trip (be sure to tip this young man as this is the only payment he receives for his time). They drove us through town and to many scenic spots on the west end of the island. It was a nice way to see a slice of Roatan life. We had plenty of opportunity to buy local crafts, play with monkeys, and ride in a glass-bottom boat if we'd wanted to. If it's a hot day pick a newer looking cab as the a/c is more likely to work!