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View Full Version : Snorkeling on a cruise



chris
10-04-2007, 14:19
We will be on a cruise to Roatan, Santo Tomas, Belize City and Cozumel in December. We would like to snorkel on our own after watching the people who took the excursions on our last cruise kick each other in the face and stand around in waist deep water looking bored. Any suggestions on these ports and where to go for the best beginer experience?

csky
10-04-2007, 20:07
For Cozumel, are you planning to snorkel from the shore? I haven't been to Dzul Ha post-Wilma but it used to be a great place to snorkel and hang out for a few hours -- just hop in a taxi and order some nachos! The area around Hotel Barracuda also had a lot of fish (I think the kids feed the fish with the bread from their lunch), and the bar makes a good base if you don't want to drift. Or for a quieter place, walk down to the lighthouse and find an entry in the rocks and head back towards town. On my last visit, I puttered around for a while and saw lots of schools of smaller fish and even some lobsters way down deep. Just know that a lot of the locals hang out on the rocks around there -- even with my minimal Spanish we were able to talk a little and a couple of Mayan guys tried snorkeling for the first time. I've always wanted to try drift-snorkeling from there towards San Miguel as the coastline looks so tempting from shore. Punta Sur National Park is also supposed to have great snorkeling but quite a long ways from shore (and currents in that area can get rough).

There's a really nice page with some Cozumel snorkel sites and suggestions here (http://www.cozumelmycozumel.com/Pages/SnorkelingfromShore.htm). And if you want to avoid the crowds, go as early as possible, or not until noon (though sometimes you start to get rain in the afternoon).

Not sure about the other ports, but I don't think Santo Tomas has too much in the way of snorkeling. I've only been diving in Belize, but be careful in Belize City wherever you go. I suspect Cozumel and Roatan are your best bets for snorkeling though personally I'd just go diving!

Safe travels!

CaribbeanDiver
10-04-2007, 20:45
We will be on a cruise to Roatan, Santo Tomas, Belize City and Cozumel in December. We would like to snorkel on our own after watching the people who took the excursions on our last cruise kick each other in the face and stand around in waist deep water looking bored. Any suggestions on these ports and where to go for the best beginer experience?
Roatan is beautiful and great for snorkling; same for Belize and Cozumel. Santa Tomas de Castilla is rather greenish water with poor visibility, you might not find snorkling there to be very good.
Cant go wrong snorkling, diving or just swimming in Roatan and Cozumel though.
Have fun and be safe, we all expect you to post your pictures when you get back.

chris
10-05-2007, 10:03
Thanks csky. We are planning rent a car and snorkel from shore in Cozumel if we can. My dad doesn't swim and probably won't even enter the water to wade around, let alone put his face under it. If he can sit at the bar and hang out while we are in the water, that would be great. If there's Texas hold 'em or pool tables he'd feel right at home and probably wouldn't even know we were gone.

CaribbeanDiver - Yeah, I've been having trouble finding anything to do in Santo Tomas. I do not want to sit on the ship, but I'm not sure why we are going there either. Can you suggest any places to snorkel from the shore in Roatan or Belize? We are hiring a local guide to drive us around in Roatan, but need to have an idea where we want him to take us because we don't get there until 1pm so will not have that much time to waste deciding what to do.

I guess I'll have to find an underwater camera, huh? Never even thought about that, but it would be nice to have some pictures and I don't think my $200 camcorder is going to take very good pictures or video in the ocean.

csky
10-05-2007, 10:49
If you do rent a car in Cozumel, you might consider getting your father to drop you off by the lighthouse or somewhere further down. Then you can drift down to Hotel Barracuda or one of the other hotels that has a bar and a shore entry. He can move the car and wait for you at the No Name Bar at Barracuda -- no poker or pool tables -- but there is a pool, sandy area, and lots of people to chat with. You don't have to stay at the hotel to be a bar customer, and there are lots of people coming in and out of the shore entry.

FYI taxis in Cozumel are not that expensive, and it may be easier and cheaper to take a taxi than rent a car. If you're really interested in driving around, I would check out the east side which has some good little restaurants and bars, though not as much in the way of snorkeling.

For snorkeling, you can take a few $10 disposable "underwater" cameras from Target/Walmart/Kmart if you want to try photography. I tried that and the pictures turned out OK -- not like the works of art you see on the photo thread here, but good enough that I remembered how fun the snorkeling was.

Guatemala is an interesting place -- a little hard to visit as a day tourist because the economic disparities are so striking. But the Guatemalan culture and history are fascinating. If you have $ to burn, the Mayan ruins at Tikal and Copan are amazing, but quite far from Santo Tomas. I think you have to take a plane so not an inexpensive expedition. There is another Mayan site which is much closer but not nearly so famous (Quiriga I think). If you are determined to do more outdoorsy stuff, I think there are a few ecotourism outfits doing hiking or kayaking trips as well.

chris
10-06-2007, 07:08
No money to burn this time. We went to Uxmal & Chichen Itza last year, so we're set on the Mayan ruins for awhile. This will be our 3rd cruise and we've decided that the ships excursions are too crowded and expensive. We are going to try doing things on our own, to save money and have a better time, that's where the whole idea of buying equipment for snorkeling came up in the first place. We'll be in Cozumel for 9 hours so I figured that it was a better place to try to rent a car than any other this trip (we've been there twice before, it's a small island, and it's "just" Mexico - compared to Guatemala, Honduras or Belize we'll feel more at home).

We spent yesterday afternoon visiting the 4 local sporting goods stores. It got kinda fun to see their expressions when we asked about snorkeling gear. I guess we are NOT going to buy anything around here. Not a fin, mask or snorkel to be found!

Kokomo
10-06-2007, 08:35
If you have a Gander Mountain store anywhere near you, they have started to carry diving gear.

chris
10-06-2007, 10:24
Thanks Kokomo, but I think the closest Gander Mountain would probably be in Dallas. I'm guessing that if I'm going to drive that far I should probably go to Scuba Toys. Unless you guys think I'd get a better deal and service at Gander Mtn? :smilie39:

Tableleg
10-07-2007, 22:05
If you have a Gander Mountain store anywhere near you, they have started to carry diving gear.

Really?!? One just opened up here in Lubbock. I'll have to go check that out!