A Caribbean cruise is truly the perfect family vacation. You’ll have access to all the best onboard dining venues, sparkling pools and an array of kid-friendly activities, all while in transit to the sun-soaked islands of the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Mexico or all of the above! Depending on your cruise, you’ll have limited time in each port of call, so plan ahead to make the most of your visit. Check out these family-friendly excursions in four of our favorite Caribbean cruise ports.
Cozumel is home to countless locations for aquatic fun, such as the inflatable obstacle course at Paradise Beach waterpark or the numerous snorkel sites around the island, including one of the most famous dive sites in the world: Palancar Reef. Its foremost attractions, however, are the ruins at San Gervasio and San Miguel de Cozumel. Constructed sometime between 1000-1200 AD, these pre-Columbian structures are a unique glimpse of ancient history. Pair your visit with a tour of the Mayan Cacao Company for an interactive experience learning about one of the Mayans’ most popular contributions. Discover the origins of chocolate, how it’s made and its significance to the Mayan people. Ancient ruins, hands-on history lessons AND chocolate? Sounds pretty sweet!
In the Bahamas, wildlife is all around. See wandering peacocks, pink flamingos, and various other animals at Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservation Center. Eager to get in the water? Swim alongside dolphins and sea lions at Blue Lagoon Island or take a dip with the famous pigs of Big Major Cay in Exuma. (Yes, swimming pigs!) Or, have it all with a visit to the giant amusement park of Atlantis, Paradise Island, where you can marvel at colorful tropical fish in the aquarium, play in multiple pools, and take in the impressive aerial view of the island before zooming down its towering water slides.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
If Puerto Rico conjures images of the damage caused by Hurricane Maria, think again. A year later, the island’s hotels, cruise ports, and tourist attractions are fully operational again. From the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan to the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System, Puerto Rico is rich with history, nature, and everything in between. Learn the fascinating history of the towering Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a majestic citadel atop a high promontory overlooking the ocean. Stroll down the restored 19th-century esplanade of Paseo de la Princesa, where you can taste food from local street vendors, browse arts and crafts, and snap pictures of some of the best views in all of San Juan.
Jamaica is all about the water. You’ve probably already heard about climbing Dunn’s River Falls, but did you know you can also go river tubing as well? That’s right—if climbing the falls seems too advanced for your crew, opt for tubing on the White River instead. You’ll carve through the verdant Jamaican rainforest on a relaxing outing fit for any skill level. For the daredevils, stop at the famous Blue Hole. Here, a series of picturesque waterfalls lead to a magical, cerulean swimming hole where brave divers plunge from the cliffs into the water below. Whether you choose to be a participant or merely a spectator, you’re sure to make a splash in this natural waterpark.