A few months ago, we explored Naples on a cruise stop, and the Amalfi Coast beckoned. With just 10-11 hours in port, we had to make the most of our time to explore both Amalfi and Naples before heading back to the ship. Here’s a breakdown of our experience and some crucial advice for your own adventure. If you’re planning to visit this stunning destination, especially on a cruise ship stopover, be sure to watch this video and read on for essential tips.

amalfi coast15
amalfi coast14
amalfi coast13
amalfi coast6

Planning Your Amalfi Coast Excursion

Tip #1: Choose the Right Tour Guide, Book in Advance

If you want to explore the Amalfi Coast independently, book tours or guides well before your cruise arrives. Cruise ship excursions tend to fill up quickly. A good tour guide makes all the difference and we lucked out with our local guide Luca. He played a crucial role in making our tour of the Amalfi Coast a memorable experience. He was punctual, informative, and helped us navigate the region efficiently.

Tip #2: Capture the Beauty of the Amalfi Coast – Bring Your Cameras

The winding roads on our drive to the Amalfi Coast showcased breathtaking scenery. This goes without saying, but make sure you have your camera or phone handy to capture the beauty of this Italian gem. Even in the early morning, the sights are worth documenting, providing lasting memories of the coastal drive.

Tip #3: Cash and Spending – Credit Cards vs. ATMs

I personally prefer to use a credit card when spending on a cruise stopover. If you need cash, however, the cruise ship ATMs or physical banks are your best options. Beware of sketchy ATMs out in the open or connected to small convenience stores. Parking in coastal areas like Positano on the Amalfi Coast can be expensive, so plan accordingly based on your budget.

amalfi coast12
amalfi coast4
amalfi coast7
amalfi coast2
amalfi coast5
amalfi coast1
amalfi coast3
amalfi coast16

Exploring the Amalfi Coast

Tip #1: Beat the Cruise Ship Rush

Our guide Luca recommended visiting Amalfi early in the day to beat the rush of cruise ship passengers (who typically show up later in the day). Thanks to Luca’s advice we had the freedom to explore for about an hour and a half before it got really crowded. Don’t miss the cathedral, Duomo di Amalfi, which offers a captivating experience. Luca’s local insights allowed us to make the most of our time.

Tip #2: Be Sure to Check Out Positano

Positano, 45 minutes away, was our next stop. Luca’s recommendations for parking and dining were invaluable. Despite its reputation for being a bit pricey, Positano’s charm and breathtaking views make it worth every penny. We discovered a delightful restaurant, Restaurant Lilant, with a fantastic vantage point of the sea.

amalfi coast11
amalfi coast10
amalfi coast8
amalfi coast9

Tip #3: Navigating Traffic and Parking

Traffic and parking along the Amalfi Coast can be challenging at the best of times – having a private tour guide like Luca was essential for navigating the coast in our tight schedule. Luca’s expertise ensured a seamless experience moving from site to site, allowing us to focus on enjoying the moment rather than worrying about logistics.

Final Thoughts


Exploring Naples in a Short Time Frame – If you have limited time in Naples, consider a driving tour instead of extensive walking, especially if you’re feeling tired from your Amalfi Coast excursion or have limited time before the cruise ship departure deadline.

Local Guide, Unsung Hero – A massive thanks to Luca for being the unsung hero of our Amalfi Coast adventure. His knowledge, suggestions, and warm hospitality made our day truly special. We don’t do sponsored posts or ads on this blog or our YouTube page, I only recommended services I have personally used and paid for myself in past trips. If you’re planning a cruise to Naples, consider reaching out to Luca for a personalized and memorable excursion.

Luca’s Phone Number +39 333 325 7567 Send him a message on WhatsApp and tell him that you saw Alex & Erika’s video for our stop in Naples.

If your Caribbean cruise ship itinerary includes a stop at the Costa Maya Cruise Port, you’re in for a treat! From duty-free shopping and beach-front dining to sun-kissed beach-resorts, Puerto Costa Maya (as it is locally known) is a delightful slice of paradise that offers relaxation, exploration, and a touch of adventure.

Here are some insider tips for an unforgettable day exploring Costa Maya from someone who experienced the delights of this Mexican resort town with his wife and three young children in October 2023.

Alex’s Costa Maya Cruise Port Guide #1: When You Arrive

costa maya1

As you disembark from your cruise ship at Costa Maya make sure you bring the following items with you: a towel to dry off after a dip in one of the many resort pools and photo ID for reboarding the ship. The walk to the terminal from the cruise ship is stunning – you are surrounded by the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea and can see fish swimming around the jetty. That being said, if you have mobility issues or just don’t feel like walking, there is a free tram next to the ship waiting to pick you up and transport you to the terminal.

Costa Maya Travel Tips: Photo-op in Front of the Ship
There is a wonderful photo op in front of the cruise ship as you walk the jetty to the terminal. You won’t find many cruise ship docks as picturesque as this anywhere in the world, so be sure to take advantage of it!

Alex’s Costa Maya Guide #2: Exploring the Terminal

costa maya2
costa maya4
costa maya3
costa maya8

You can could spend the entire stop without leaving the cruise terminal and have a great time! The terminal boasts numerous bars, restaurants, spas, duty-free shops, multiple pools free for all cruise ship passengers and a swimming-with-dolphins experience. You can get all your eating, drinking and souvenir shopping needs met without ever leaving the confines of the terminal. There are also changing areas by the pools and rentable lockers for passenger convenience.

The only downside is that when several cruise ships dock at once the terminal can get crowded with passengers shopping, swimming, dining and drinking – which is not necessarily a bad thing if you prefer a livelier party atmosphere in your cruise ship stops!

Costa Maya Travel Tips: Pick the Right Swimming Pool in the Terminal
There is more than one pool available for free to cruise ship passengers in the Costa Maya Cruise Terminal. During our stop-over the main swimming pool area was quite busy – there is a second newer pool near the taxi stand that had fewer people and would be a better option. The second pool also had an in-pool bar and shallow areas for younger kids – a better option, in my opinion.

Alex’s Costa Maya Guide #3: Exploring the Town

costa maya5
costa maya10
costa maya6
costa maya13
costa maya9
costa maya12
costa maya11
costa maya7

The more adventurous among you will want to venture beyond the port to discover the charms of Costa Maya proper. Outside the terminal you will find even more shops and restaurants, beach clubs, and various local attractions. Some of my favorite things to do in Cost Maya include:

  • Golf Cart Tours: When you leave the port and enter the large parking area you can find golf carts waiting to pick up tourists. We rented a golf cart in advance for our tour of Costa Maya. Mayahaul Red Shirts Golf Carts provide a great service and is our preferred golf cart tour company.
  • Miniature Mayan Temple: As you drive out of the port, keep an eye out for the miniature Mayan temple replica. It’s a unique sight that adds to the magic of Costa Maya.
  • Mahahual: This small town with a laid-back vibe has plenty to offer visitors. There are many local shops and sea-front restaurants to explore. The famous Costa Maya lighthouse is also worth a visit. The area is traffic free, even in peak tourist season.
  • Visit a Beach Club: There are many beach clubs that cater to cruise ship tourists in the area. Think of them as mini beach-front resorts. Our favorites are the Krazy Lobster Beach Club off Mahahual’s main boulevard and the Chunky Monkey Beach Club.

Costa Maya Travel Tips: Watch Out for High Prices Outside the Terminal Area
A lot of the stores and restaurants in and around Costa Maya cater exclusively to cruise ship passengers and the prices in some can be considerably higher than what you might find inside the terminal. Compare prices before spending money in shops, restaurants or beach-clubs and check online reviews.

Alex’s Costa Maya Guide #4: Departure Tips

When it’s time to leave Costa Maya, remember to show your cruise ship cards to the guards at the terminal entrance to re-enter the port area. You will also need to show your photo ID to get back on the ship. The embarkation points on the ship can get crowded when all the cruise ship passengers return at once. The elevators to your cabin may have a queue, so for a better experience walk to the next set of elevators a little further away – those tend to be less crowded with returning passengers.

Final Thoughts on the Costa Maya Cruise Port

costa maya14

Costa Maya is a hidden gem that offers more than just port-side amenities of the cruise-ship terminal. Embrace the adventure, explore the town, and create memories that go beyond the souvenir shops and resort pools. This guide covers only the places and things we personally had time to experience ourselves on our brief stay in Costa Maya – there’s much more out there that we didn’t have time to explore.

I hope these tips piqued your curiosity about Costa Maya and gives you the urge to discover the hidden charms of this vibrant Mexican cruise ship port.

Hello everyone! Today we’re going to talk about Amber Cove, a wonderful little cruise ship port in the Dominican Republic. Amber Cove is owned by Carnival Corporation and is one of many cruise ports in the Dominican Republic. It was developed by Carnival Corporation (which invested around $85 million) to create a warm and welcoming spot in the Caribbean in which to offload their cruise passengers for the day. In my opinion, Amber Cove is one of the most enjoyable cruise-ship stops because of the amenities available on site. Personally, I find that these ports, whether owned by Carnival, Virgin, or Royal Caribbean, offer some of the most memorable experiences during a cruise. The abundance of activities in one spot makes these places truly exceptional – and Amber Cove is no exception.

Exploring Amber Cove on A Budget

When planning a seven-night cruise with multiple destinations, budget is an important factor. If you can afford excursions at every port, that’s great. But if you’re limited in budget and can only do paid excursions at one or two ports, Amber Cove is great since it many offers enjoyable activities within walking distance of the cruise ship – no need for expensive trips outside the port! Check out the excursion packages offered by the cruise line, especially with Carnival, as there are various options available in a bunch of price ranges.

On your first visit to Amber Cove, disembark the ship, bring your cruise ship towel, and explore the village area with its shops. Don’t forget to take a photo near the Amber Cove sign, which is a popular spot for pictures. You can also spend some time mingling and enjoying the surroundings in the safe confines of the cove.

Our Favorite Sightseeing Spot in Amber Cove

After exploring the village and taking photos near the Amber Cove sign, we always head towards the lookout point. I can’t recall the exact name, but it’s a bar with a breathtaking view of Amber Cove and its surroundings. If you search on Google Maps, you’ll find a white-roofed octagon labeled as Puerto Plata (although that may not be the correct name). The bar features a 360-degree platform where you can walk around, capturing stunning photos. It’s definitely worth visiting and offers an opportunity to take some fabulous shots.

Going on Excursions VS Staying at the Pool

If going on an excursion is a priority for you, consider shorter options of around three or four hours. Check the excursion choices offered by your cruise line and select something that allows you to experience a glimpse of what the Dominican Republic has to offer while still leaving time to enjoy Amber Cove itself. For first-time visitors, there’s nothing wrong with staying within the Amber Cove property. There are plenty of activities available. We found it particularly enjoyable with the kids due to the water slides, zip-lining (which requires an additional fee), a small kids’ water park area, and a swim-up bar. Find a central spot where you can relax, keep an eye on everything, and unwind by the pool. Our family has cherished our time there.

Considering your budget, it may be worth saving money on excursions at Amber Cove and using it for another destination. For instance, if you’re visiting St. Thomas or St. Martin, it might be more worthwhile to hire a driver, rent a van, or take an excursion that allows you to explore the entire island. However, keep in mind that there is plenty to do within walking distance at Amber Cove, so if it’s your first time, take advantage of the amenities and experiences available within that area.

Ultimately, the choice between excursions and staying within Amber Cove depends on your preferences and the other ports you’ll be visiting. Carefully consider your options and make the decision that will provide the most fulfilling and enjoyable experience for your given budget and time.

Security in Amber Cove and the Dominican Republic

If you are worried about safety, the Dominican Republic is like any other Caribbean destination. As long as you stay within the tourist areas, you’ll be perfectly safe. Amber Cove, being owned by Carnival Corporation, prioritizes security, and you won’t encounter any issues within the confines of the port/resort area. It is a secure and safe environment where you’ll primarily find cruise ship passengers and staff within the facilities.

Amber Cove Cabana Rentals

Another cool thing I like about Amber Cove are the Cabanas rentals that provide a special experience for those willing to spend a little extra. They have Hillside Cabanas, accommodating up to eight people, for around $500. Additionally, there are ocean Cabanas, also priced at $500, situated right above the ocean with direct access via a ladder. These Cabanas give off a Tahiti-like vibe, although the water isn’t as crystal clear. For larger groups, the grand Cabana in the center can accommodate up to 20 people but comes with a higher price tag of $2,000. While it may be a bit expensive, if you’re in a larger group looking for privacy and exclusivity, along with access to water sports, snacks, and drinks, it could be a cool option to consider.

Ride a Catamaran

Since we’ve visited Amber Cove a number of times, we’ve decided to try something different for our latest excursion. We went on a catamaran excursion, exploring the beautiful tropical waters around the port. You can conveniently book the catamaran tours through the cruise line and I highly recommend it – the feeling of gliding across the Caribbean is particularly amazing. Schedule it for the early part of the day, this way you still have enough time to return to Amber Cove afterward and spend a couple of hours relaxing by the pool in the afternoon.

These are just a few options to consider if you’re looking for things to do in Amber Cove. I hope this information proves helpful. One my main motivations for creating this blog and our YouTube channel is to help everyone make the most of their vacations since cruising involves a significant investment. Take some time for planning and preparation in advance to maximize your time in the cruise port. It’s better to have a plan before disembarking rather than figuring things out on the spot amidst the commotion and overwhelming number of vendors. From my personal experience, planning in advance will make everything smoother, less stressful, and more enjoyable. I hope this advice proves valuable, and I wish you a fantastic cruise. We’ll be back with another blog post soon!

Hello, everyone! This is (hopefully!) the first in a series of blog posts highlighting the cruise-stop ports in the Caribbean. In my opinion, this region is incredibly stunning and offers some of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean and wonderful people. In this blog post, we’re going to focus on the enchanting island of Barbados. Cruising is my favorite way to travel – my wife, Erika, and I are avid cruise ship travelers and I always emphasize the importance of selecting cruises based on itineraries that truly interest you. Many people tend to visit the same old ports due to their loyalty to a specific cruise line, and that’s perfectly fine. However, with loyalty programs these days, the perks and benefits might not outweigh the experience of exploring new and exciting places outside the confines of a cruise line package. So, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and embark on an itinerary that your favorite cruise line may not offer. Cruising, regardless of the cruise line, shares many similarities – if you enjoy being on cruise ships and relish the cruise experience, you’re bound to have a fantastic time. The world is full of amazing destinations waiting to be discovered, so why not embark on a new adventure?

Babysitting Facilities on Cruise Ships (aka Going Cruising with Your Kids)

As a family with young kids, finding the right cruise line can be challenging. One of the reasons why we keep coming back to Carnival for all our cruises are their child-care facilities. I’ve been on about 40 cruises with 10 different cruise lines and none of them hold a candle to Carnival’s Night Owls program – it is a game-changer for families with young kids on a cruise ship. If your child is at least six months old, they can stay at the kids’ club from 10 pm until 1 or 1:30 in the morning. That gives us, the parents, three or more hours every evening to go out and have some fun. The babysitting fee is around $7.50 per hour, which is reasonable considering the peace of mind it provides. Most other cruise lines only offer late-night babysitting options for older kids, typically two or three years old and potty-trained. That’s why we’ll continue to cruise with Carnival for the next few years, at least until the kids are a bit older. But we’re always open to trying new cruise lines and experiences in the future.

Disclaimer About This Blog and Our YouTube Channel

Lately I’ve been seeing this regrettable trend of prominent travel vloggers on YouTube review ports, excursions and activities they haven’t participated in themselves. I want to emphasize that when we discuss our favorite things to do in Barbados, it’s always based on our personal experiences. We believe in sharing only what we have genuinely enjoyed and found worthwhile. When you’re planning a cruise and looking for activities to do in each port, it’s crucial to invest time, do some research, and perhaps allocate a little extra money to make the most of your limited time ashore. That’s why it’s essential to maximize your experience and ensure you get the most bang for your buck. As avid cruisers, we understand the importance of making every moment count. So, when we recommend something, it’s because we’ve personally been there, experienced it, and found it to be truly remarkable.

Currency & Safety in Barbados

When it comes to currency in Barbados, American dollars are widely accepted everywhere. If you need to obtain cash, using the ATM on the cruise ship is usually the recommended option. However, if you must use a local ATM, make sure it’s a reputable brick and mortar location. Freestanding ATMs can sometimes be questionable when it comes to your personal information and card security. In terms of safety, Barbados is generally a safe destination. The local people, known as Bayans, are friendly and laid-back. Just remember to be respectful and use common sense as you would back home. Don’t take part in any activities you wouldn’t do in your own country and you’ll have a great time on the island.

Exploring Bridgetown on a Budget

Barbados, being an embarkation port, will see a regular flow of cruise ship passengers may be starting or ending their cruise there. Upon your arrival at Barbados and exiting the ship, you’ll notice that the cruise terminal and port are relatively new. If you’re not interested in exploring Barbados extensively, you can simply stroll around the terminal, which houses various stores, a few restaurants, and souvenir shops. However, I highly recommend going ashore and immersing yourself in the fun and adventure the island has to offer.

For those on a budget, the most a cost-effective option is to walk into Bridgetown. Alternatively, the terminal offers a shuttle service for around two dollars per person, taking you directly to downtown. Some cruise lines may provide a free shuttle, although this is not common. Exploring Bridgetown allows you to discover local Asian cuisine, shop for souvenirs, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of Barbados. Even though a lot of people frown on bringing their phones on vacation, having internet access while traveling can be hugely beneficial. You can utilize your phone to check reviews and recommendations for restaurants and establishments. It’s helpful to rely on reviews from multiple reliable sources, ensuring that the accounts providing feedback appear genuine. By leveraging this resource, you can identify excellent restaurants, local bars, and other hidden gems in the Bridgetown area.

Please note that I don’t have specific recommendations for eateries at the moment, as it has been a while since our last visit, and some places may have undergone changes due to the impact of COVID-19. However, rest assured that there are fantastic dining options available. Use your phone, hit up the review sites, and you’ll quickly discover the most recommended restaurants in Bridgetown.

Hitting the Beach in Barbados

Once you’ve explored Bridgetown and want to relax by a Caribbean beach, grab your cruise ship towel and head south towards Pebbles Beach. It’s one of the most popular beach areas in Barbados and can be reached directly from the cruise ship by a 15-to-20-minute walk. Alternatively, you can take a taxi, which costs around five dollars per person, and they’ll drop you off right at Pebbles Beach. Remember that all beaches in Barbados are public, so you can enjoy the stunning shoreline without any restrictions.

At Pebbles Beach, you’ll find restaurants and bars that may offer chairs, umbrellas, and access to their facilities if you make a purchase. It’s up to you to decide whether you’d like to take advantage of these amenities based on your budget and preferences. Unlike St. Lucia, where I strongly recommended taking a guided tour to explore the island, Barbados is much more flexible and budget-friendly destination that allows you to enjoy the beauty of the island at your own pace by simply walking or taking a taxi.

Paid Guided Tour Options in Barbados

If you’re willing to spend a bit more, I highly recommend exploring Barbados through a taxi tour after disembarking. You’ll find taxis readily available at the port, and you can negotiate a one, two, or three-hour tour of the island. This will allow you to visit some of the most popular attractions, such as St. James Church, which is believed to be the oldest church on the island. Barbados is also the birthplace of Rihanna, so you can even see her childhood home and where she grew up—a popular activity among visitors. During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the beautiful landscapes, including rainforests and mountains, which showcase the island’s natural beauty. The taxis in Barbados are usually minivans, offering comfortable seating for four to six people, and potentially even more, depending on the vehicle’s configuration. In our case, we comfortably fit six people in the van, with room for a couple more.

After the tour, you can ask the taxi driver to drop you off at Pebbles Beach, where you can spend the afternoon enjoying everything this beach has to offer. It’s a perfect way to unwind and make the most of your time in Barbados. This option allows you to combine the excitement of exploring the island with a relaxing beach experience, providing a well-rounded and memorable day in Barbados.

The Boatyard – Our Favorite Spot in Barbados

A personal favorite spot of ours when in Barbados is the Boatyard, a beach bar located near Pebbles Beach. What makes the Boatyard special is that it has access to various facilities, including a restaurant, a bar, changing facilities, and bathrooms—everything you need for a comfortable beach day. The amenities at the Boatyard are, in my opinion, fantastic. There is a dock with a rope swing and a platform for jumping into the water, which is always fun for me and the kids. There’s also a large floating trampoline in the ocean and a big slide you can climb up for an exhilarating splash. Along the beach, you could find umbrellas and lounge chairs available for use, creating a perfect setting for relaxation.

The Boatyard has an entry fee of $35 per adult (slightly less for kids). However, considering the access and use of facilities, we found it to be a worthwhile expense. We treated ourselves to appetizers, snacks, and a couple of local beers while spending the afternoon at the Boatyard. They also offer a free shuttle service starting at 1 pm, running every 15 minutes throughout the afternoon, ensuring a hassle-free return to the ship. Alternatively, you can opt for a taxi if you prefer to explore other places before heading back to the ship.

Another cool thing about the Boatyard is that they offer a snorkeling tour. They have a boat that takes you to Carlisle Bay, specifically Pebbles Beach, where there’s a sunken ship and other interesting areas for snorkeling. It’s a stunning location, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot sea turtles, especially during certain times of the year. Don’t forget to bring your camera or GoPro to capture the underwater beauty. Keep in mind that you may need to swim down a bit to get a closer look at the shipwreck, which is a few meters below the surface.

Private Resort Options in Barbados

I wanted to highlight a website called resortpass.com, which I think you might find quite useful. It provides options for accessing resort facilities without staying overnight. Although we haven’t tried it ourselves, our friends attended a wedding at the Barbados Hilton Resort through this website and had an amazing time. When I checked the website, the Hilton was the only available hotel listed at the moment. If you read our blog post about Puerto Vallarta, you’ll know that we’ve used resort passes there. The price typically ranges around $60 per adult. Another option to consider is a day bed, which costs around $200 and accommodates up to four people. This includes a $60 food credit, which is a nice perk. If you’re looking for a resort experience with a pool and swim-up bar, resort passes could be a good choice. However, if you’re content with the beach and facilities, including the snorkeling tour, I personally recommend leaning towards the Boatyard. It’s an option we’ve personally enjoyed and found to be exceptional.

Our Favorite Caribbean Cruise Stop

During our cruise a couple of years ago, Barbados, Antigua, and St. Thomas stood out as our favorite ports. Barbados was particularly enjoyable, and I highly recommend making the most of your time there by planning ahead and researching activities. If you’ve been to Barbados or have any feedback, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to leave your comments, and I’ll be sure to interact with you. Have a fantastic cruise, and stay tuned for another blog post on a new cruise stop. Take care!

Cozumel is one of the most popular destinations in the Western Caribbean, and for good reason. This beautiful island has plenty to offer people looking for a fun day out on their cruise ship stop. Whether you’re visiting as part of a cruise or staying at a hotel on the island, there are plenty of exciting excursions and activities to choose from.

Keep in mind is that it’s often better to book your excursions independently, rather than through the cruise line. While the cruise lines do offer excursions, they often charge a premium for these services. By doing a little research and booking on your own, you can often save money and have a more personalized experience. Cozumel has been a popular destination for many years. I have been to Cozumel as a child in the 80s and 90s with my parents, and more recently as an adult with my own family. The island has changed over time, with the rise of all-inclusive resorts and the increasing popularity of cruises.

Disclaimer About Vendors

As always, the Alex & Erika YouTube channel or blog do not accept sponsorships or freebies from vendors in these cruise stops to highlight them on the channel. Each beach resort, tour company or vendor featured in this blog or in the videos is something we have paid for and experienced ourselves.

Cozumel Terminal Amenities & Shopping Opportunities

Cozumel is a popular port for cruise ships, with several piers to accommodate the ships. The two terminal areas are the older, northern terminal and the newer, southern terminal with two long piers that branch off into two more piers, allowing for up to six cruise ships to dock daily. If you don’t have Wi-Fi on the ship, there are many stores and restaurants at the terminals where you can take advantage of the Wi-Fi by purchasing something.

There’s even a chain convenience store, sort of like a Mexican 7-Eleven, called Oxxo right outside the terminal, where you can buy basic items or liquor at a slightly better price than inside the terminal. However, if you’re looking for a specific bottle of fancy tequila, it may be better to head to a store in downtown Cozumel for a bigger selection. Pharmacies are also plentiful in Cozumel, both inside the terminals and outside on the street. Keep in mind that what you can buy over the counter in Mexico may not be allowed back in the United States, so be sure to make informed decisions.

Mexican Pesos and Using ATMs

When traveling to Mexico, it’s important to consider the currency exchange. Currently, the exchange rate is around 17 Mexican pesos to 1 US Dollar, but most places will give you a rate of 20 to 1 if you’re paying with Dollars, meaning you may lose some money in the exchange. I personally recommend using a credit card while traveling to get the most accurate exchange rate. If you prefer to use cash, I recommend use a legitimate ATM connected to a brick-and-mortar bank if you need to withdraw pesos while in Mexico. Avoid using freestanding ATMs found in the open, as they may not be secure and can steal your credit card information. Alternatively, you can exchange your dollars for pesos at a bank or currency exchange.

Cozumel on a Budget

A Western Caribbean cruise that includes a stop in Cozumel has many options for activities, regardless of your budget. For those on a budget in Cozumel, Sunset Beach is a great option that’s easily accessible from the cruise terminal. While it may not be the best beach, it’s a nice spot to relax, have a beer, and do some shopping. However, if you’re willing to spend a bit more money, taking a taxi to one of the better beaches on the island is highly recommended. These beaches are less crowded and offer clearer water, making for a more enjoyable afternoon. So don’t stress about spending too much money when in Cozumel – there’s always a way to have a great time without breaking the bank.

Here are some of our favorite things to do when in Cozumel:

Dune Buggy Tour – During my honeymoon with Erika some years ago, we had a great experience with a dune buggy ATV tour. Although it may not be the same as going off-roading in the desert, it’s a fun and mellow option for exploring the island. The tour company we used has since upgraded their equipment and offers a variety of tours, which I’ll link down below. Keep in mind that these tours are not offered through the cruise line, so be sure to book in advance. This company has a solid reputation, and I believe you’ll have a great time exploring Cozumel with them.

Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club – In our recent trips to Cozumel, we’ve found ourselves going to Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club multiple times because of the many benefits it offers. The food served at this beach club is surprisingly good, which is essential to us as we always want to try the local cuisine wherever we go. Unlike other all-inclusive resorts that serves mostly fried foods and burgers, Mr. Sancho’s offers a variety of fresh seafood dishes or mariscos, which is a popular Mexican seafood cuisine.

While Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club is a popular choice in Cozumel, there are some reasons why you might consider doing something else. For one, the place can get crowded, and sometimes it’s challenging to find a spot to relax. Additionally, they charge a cover fee per person, and prices can add up quickly, especially if you’re traveling with a group. There are several other beach clubs and restaurants in Cozumel that offer excellent local cuisine and activities. If you’re looking for something different, we suggest exploring other options to see what suits your preferences best. Remember, it’s always good to research your options before deciding to ensure you get the best value for your money.

Other Cozumel Beach Clubs

If you’re looking for a quieter experience with fewer crowds, there are three other beach club options I’d recommend. While all three offer a fantastic experience, they are much more serene and peaceful. One option is Buccano’s Beach Club, which has a private beach area and pool, and is reasonably priced. Another option is Paradise Beach in Cozumel, which has great reviews for its service, food, and drink, as well as water activities. The third option is Cabana Beach Club, which has a very tranquil atmosphere and private cabanas for up to six people.

Please note that I don’t want to give the impression that Mr. Sancho’s is a wild party beach club; it’s actually quite enjoyable and we’ve had a fantastic time there. But if you’re looking for something different or quieter, these other options may be worth considering. See the links below more information on each of these beach clubs. Ultimately, the reason we keep going back to Mr. Sancho’s is because we get a lot for our money and they provide a good product at a fair price.

Don’t Get Scammed at the Taxi Stand!

Lastly, I want to share a funny little story that happened a couple of years ago during our visit to Mr. Sancho’s. This wasn’t Mr. Sancho’s fault, but it’s a lesson that applies no matter where you travel in the world. When taking a taxi, always negotiate the price upfront and don’t pay until you reach your destination. We were leaving Mr. Sancho’s, and it was busy with many other cruise ship passengers rushing to get back to their ships. They had vans that charged around five dollars per person, and there were four adults and four kids in our group, so the lady at the taxi stand charged us 20 dollars for a cab ride back to the cruise terminal. We agreed and hopped in the van. When we reached the pier and I pulled out the money to pay, my friend Narciso, who’s from Mexico, said he already paid the lady on the street before we got in the cab. We were confused and asked why he paid her in advance, and the cab driver confirmed that the lady wasn’t affiliated with them and we would have to pay him at the end of the ride. We ended up paying 45 dollars for that cab ride back, and it was a learning experience for us. It was funny because someone from Mexico shouldn’t have been taken advantage of by another person from Mexico, but it taught us to always negotiate and confirm the total price upfront with the driver, regardless of where we are in the world.

I hope that you found this blog post and the YouTube video informative. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. If you found any of this helpful, please share it with others. I will include a link below with all the details and options that I discussed. Additionally, if there are any updates, I will include them in this post. Lastly, have a wonderful cruise! If you are taking a Western Caribbean cruise, please check out our some of my other post about the destinations in the region.

Cozumel Dune Buggy Tours – (site link)
Cozumel Beach Clubs – (site link)

Check out my other Caribbean Cruise blog posts:

Hey everyone! It’s Alex from Alex and Erica’s Channel, and I’m excited to share with you some tips and insights about our recent cruise to Roatan in Honduras.

As regular cruiser, I’m a firm believer in planning ahead when it comes to cruise destinations. I’ve seen too many people get overwhelmed and frustrated when they arrive at a port and don’t have a plan of action so they just hang out at the terminal for a while and go back to the ship – resulting in missed opportunities to experience all that the island has to offer. I’d like to help you avoid that by sharing some of my experience and offering up some options when visiting Roatan, Honduras. Roatan is one of our favorite places in the Caribbean, and I want to talk about some of the different things you can do there on a relatively inexpensive budget.

When we talk about visiting Roatan in Honduras, keep in mind that it’s likely one of the many ports you’ll visit in the Western Caribbean. Other ports may include Cozumel, Belize, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. Not everyone has the budget to spend money on an excursion at every port, so plan accordingly. If you’re budget-conscious, try to identify which ports you’re willing to spend money on.

Disclaimer About Vendor Recommendations

I’ve mentioned this before in previous blogs but it bears repeating here: we don’t make any money from the vendors we talk about in our videos. We only showcase things that we have personally experienced and would recommend to others. We’ve had vendors reach out to us asking to be featured, but unless we’ve used and paid for it ourselves, we don’t make recommendations. These vacation cruises aren’t cheap and I want to leave honest feedback to ensure that you folks get the most value for your money.

Some Of Our Favorite Spots in Roatan & Safety Considerations

If you’re arriving at Roatan on a Carnival Cruise ship, you will dock at Mahogany Bay. Other cruise lines dock at the Cruise Terminal Port at Roatan. While there are plenty of options for activities and excursions at either port, we prefer Mahogany Bay since it has restaurants, bars, and shops right next to the dock. You can walk around, explore the area, use the free Wi-Fi and grab a bite to eat. You can also visit the beach, which is free and open to the public. However, keep in mind that while the beach is beautiful, it can get crowded and loud due to the music playing. A budget-friendly option is to go snorkeling or take a glass-bottom boat tour. You’ll see many colorful fish and coral reefs, and it won’t break the bank. Adventurous types can go on the zipline, but this activity may cost more.

When visiting mainland Honduras, keep in mind that safety is essential. Be cautious and aware of your surroundings, and never leave your belongings unattended. A cruise stopover at Roatan, on the other hand, is comparatively quite safe. It’s a friendly place, the local economy depends on tourism and they have a vested interest in keeping visitors safe and happy. Use common sense, be smart and travel in groups and you should have a great time, like we did.

Maya Key and Little French Key

If you’re on one of the other non-Carnival Cruise ships that doesn’t stop at Mahogany Bay, there are a couple of different options that are fairly inexpensive depending on what you want to do. One of those options is Maya Key, which is just across the way from where you dock. For about $35, you can take a little ferry boat over to the island and have access to a nice private beach area and a pool. However, your beverage package won’t work over there, so you’ll have to pay for whatever you plan on consuming.

Maya Key reminds me of going to Little French key 20 years ago, and it’s a good option for someone that wants to maybe spend a little bit of money and just have a nice relaxing day. You can do that whether you’re on a Carnival ship or a Royal Caribbean ship, depending on what the pier is. When you book, they’ll also give you instructions on where you can go to get your water taxi over to Maya Key. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive option, you might want to consider Little French Key, which is a private resort in Roatan. It’s a very popular option, but keep in mind that it’s significantly more expensive than it was years ago. With the all-inclusive package, you’re talking a couple of hundred dollars per person for the day, so it can get pretty expensive. But if budget is not an issue, it might be something you find to be very enjoyable.

Guided Tours of Roatan

If you’re looking get out of the confines of a private resort and do some sightseeing around Roatan, then I can highly recommend taking a Bodden tour. It’s very affordable, and you can experience a lot of what Roatan has to offer for just $25 to $30 per person, depending on the size of your group. Bodden Tours are a great way to explore the island, visit animal sanctuaries and hold some adorable tropical critters and sample some of the delicious local food. It’s similar to the Red Truck Tours in Mazatlán with our friend Julian, which we also highly recommend.

In conclusion, Roatan in Honduras is a beautiful cruise destination that you’ll enjoy. With a little planning and preparation, you can have a fabulous time without breaking the bank. Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on social media, and share our videos if you find them helpful. Safe travels, and have fun exploring the world!

For more travel videos, check out https://www.youtube.com/@AlexErika

If you have an upcoming cruise that will stop at Cabo, Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta, this is one is a series of must-read articles about these ports. I will go into detail about what we typically do and what we recommended you do when visiting these three wonderful ports. In this post I will focus on the cruise stop-over at Puerto Vallarta.

Excursions & Information About the Cruise Line Stop to Puerto Vallarta

First some background info: We are frequent cruisers based in San Diego who have found Mexico to be a very safe place to visit, especially the tourist areas around Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta. We have spent a lot of time in Mexico and Erika, my wife, is originally from Mexico. This isn’t an advertisement for the cruise lines, I will mention the ups and downs of each stop in the Mexican Riviera Cruise – while we normally don’t do excursions through the cruise line, I believe these are worth doing for various reasons which I will explain in more detail below.

Puerto Vallarta

This is our third stop in the Cabo – Mazatlán – Puerto Vallarta loop. We love PV and our most recent visit did not disappoint! We left the kids on the cruise ship and had a great day on our own in PV. The boys were in the Kids Camp and Emma was with the babysitter. If you follow us you know that PV holds a special place in our heart. We spend a lot of time there and that is where Erika and I originally met.


If you have an upcoming cruise that will stop at Cabo, Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta, this is one is a series of must-read articles about these ports. I will go into detail about what we typically do and what we recommended you do when visiting these three wonderful ports. In this blog post I will focus on the Cabo leg of the cruise.

Excursions & Information About the Cruise Line Stop to Cabo

First some background info: We are frequent cruisers based in San Diego who have found Mexico to be a very safe place to visit, especially the tourist areas around Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta. We have spent a lot of time in Mexico and Erika, my wife, is originally from Mexico. This isn’t an advertisement for the cruise lines, I will mention the ups and downs of each stop in the Mexican Riviera Cruise – while we normally don’t do excursions through the cruise line, I believe these are worth doing for various reasons which I will explain in more detail below.


In a typical 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise Cabo will be your first or last stop. My personal preference is when you visit Cabo first because you have more time in Cabo. If you visit Cabo last you typically have to leave by 3 pm in order to return to Long Beach in time.

After you read this post please read my post titled, Important & Useful Information For Your Mexican Riviera Cruise. You will find a lot of useful information there. Be sure to read that for more details.

I will give you a summary of the port and a breakdown of tours and options based on your budget.


If you have an upcoming cruise that will stop at Cabo, Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta, this is one is a series of must-read articles about these ports. I will go into detail about what we typically do and what we recommended you do when visiting these three wonderful ports. In this post I will focus on the Mazatlán leg of the cruise.

Excursions & Information About the Cruise Line Stop to Mazatlán

First some background info: We are frequent cruisers based in San Diego who have found Mexico to be a very safe place to visit, especially the tourist areas around Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta. We have spent a lot of time in Mexico and Erika, my wife, is originally from Mexico. This isn’t an advertisement for the cruise lines, I will mention the ups and downs of each stop in the Mexican Riviera Cruise – while we normally don’t do excursions through the cruise line, I believe these are worth doing for various reasons which I will explain in more detail below.


Our second stop on the Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta loop. This section will consist of two sections. What we did on our most recent visit and what we typically do. I will explain what we did last time but it is not our preferred thing to do in Mazatlán. We had no choice because we took our 6 month old daughter off the ship in Mazatlán and had to do a bubble / ship organized excursion. For Cabo and Puerto Vallarta we left her on the ship with our baby sitter who was traveling with us at the time.