Our Journey Continues – Leaving Venice for Monterosso on the Italian Riviera

We’re on Day 4 of our trip through Europe. By now Erika, myself, our two young boys and baby girl are seasoned travelers, ready to take anything that comes our way! This time we leave Venice and head to Monterosso, on the rugged coastal region of Italy called Cinque Terre, or Five Lands (also known in many places as the Italian Riviera). Check out the previous entries on our Europe trip, including Day 1 and Day 2 in Venice. You can find the entire series of travel vlogs here.


Leaving a Rainy Venice by High-Speed Train

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Walking back to the hotel on our final night in Venice we were hit by rain and thunderstorms – but that didn’t dampen our spirits. Our two boys, drenched but enthusiastic, marveled at the lightning in the sky. We had just enjoyed a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant, where we were treated like family and were in high spirits. We went to bed early since we had to wake at the crack of dawn to catch the high-speed train to our next destination: Moterosso in Cinque Terre.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre Travel Tip – Buy Your Train Tickets in Advance!

Buying train tickets in advance when traveling in Italy offers several advantages. Firstly, you can usually pick your seat location with advance tickets. We always select seats near the exit so we can keep an eye on our luggage. Also consider the direction the train is travelling when you pick your seats, to ensure a better view of the countryside on your train trip.

We woke at 5:30am and made it to the train station with time to spare. After taking our seats, the first thing I did was visit the dining car to buy some snacks for the kids. After the kids fell asleep on the long train journey, Erika and I took the time to discuss our plans for each of the five towns in we would visit in Cinque Terre. I was in favor of following my Rick Steves’ Travel Guide, while Erika thought we should just head out and wing it.

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Half way through our trip we had to switch trains in Florence. The train switch in Florence was seamless, and we were eager to continue our adventure. I could tell our boys were getting more and more excited for the trip as the train sped towards Monterosso and they could see the Ligurian Sea from the windows.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre Travel Tip – Use Travel Guides

Travel Guides, such the Rick Steves’ Italy or other similar books, are a great way to do your research prior to visiting a place. They provide useful information from seasoned travelers that can help make your journey a lot smoother.

Arriving in Monterosso, – A Quaint Seaside Paradise

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Upon reaching Monterosso, we were captivated by its charm. We still had half a day left and were eager to explore the charms of this sleepy coastal town – but first had to check in to our hotel room. Our hotel room was nicer than we expected and offered lovely views of the town. The kids were thrilled about their bunk beds, Erika and I were thrilled by the electronic shutters on the windows. We had two days to explore Cinque Terre, and we wasted no time in hitting the streets of Monterosso.

Our exploration started with a visit to the beautiful church in the old town area. We then took the winding streets down to the beach, where the kids had a blast running around – although the water was rough and the tide high, so I had to pull them away from the edge of the pier. We did a bit of shopping (no matter where we end up in Europe Erika and the kids always find a place to shop), and took some pictures on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Monterosso is the first of the five towns along the coast that make up Cinque Terre – each town offers spectacular views of the sea and Monterosso is no exception.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre Travel Tip – Google Maps

When travelling by train in Italy, check Google Maps for up-to-date schedules. Or the train company websites also work for news on schedules, route closures and ticket prices – although I prefer Google Maps for ease of use.

Dinner at the San Martino Gastronomia

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We had a truly excellent dining experience the night before in Venice, and I wanted to keep the streak going in Monterosso. I had heard about an excellent local restaurant that offered authentic Italian cuisine in an intimate setting. Problem was, the venue was tiny and they always had more guests than available seats, so we had to queue to get in. Luckily, we were the first in line and were the first to be seated.

The meal was great! Afterwards Erika and I were comparing dining experiences between Monterosso and Venice. We concluded that each night brought its own unique charm (although Erika preferred the relaxed atmosphere and superlative service at the Venice restaurant). From the small, intimate restaurant in Monterosso to the warm hospitality in Venice, our hearts (and stomachs) were full.

The End of Our First Day in Monterosso

As the day came to a close, we meandered back to our hotel room through Monterosso’s cobbled streets, I noticed how much quieter the town was in the evening after the cruise ship tourists had left for the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cruise and will continue doing them, but sometimes it’s nice to explore a spot on your own, at your leisure, away from the relentless timetable of cruise ship arrival and departure times.

That’s it for our first night in Cinque Terre. Stay tuned for our next blog post as we continue our journey through the Italian Riviera with our three kids. Until then, ciao!

#CinqueTerreCruise, #CruiseToCinqueTerre, #ExploreCinqueTerrebyCruise, #CruiseLifeatCinqueTerre, #CinqueTerreAdventures, #CruisingCinqueTerre, #CinqueTerreCruiseExperience, #CinqueTerreOnBoard, #CruisePortsCinqueTerre, #CinqueTerreTravelGoals, #CruiseExcursionsCinqueTerre, #CinqueTerreCruiseItinerary, #CruiseShipViewsCinqueTerre, #CinqueTerreCoastalCruise, #CinqueTerreMustSee, #CinqueTerreCruiseDestination, #CruiseAndExploreCinqueTerre, #CinqueTerreSeaDiscovery, #CinqueTerreCruiseAdventures, #CruiseToCinqueTerreIslands

The Trip So Far – Day 2 In Venice, Italy with My Wife and Three Kids

Hello everyone! This is Day 4 of our European Vacation where me, my wife Erika, and our three kids go on an epic adventure the islands of Murano and Burano in the Venetian Lagoon. So far, we spent the first two days of our trip in Paris and now find ourselves in Venice, Italy. Be sure to check out our entire series of blog posts documenting this incredible trip and our write-up on Day 1 in Venice.


Breakfast and Shoe Shopping in Venice

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We start our day having breakfast at our hotel. The food was great, and Erika and the kids were buzzing about their new shoes they bought in Venice yesterday. It’s funny, even though we have a Nike outlet three miles from our house back in San Diego, my wife and kids came all the way to Venice Italy to buy full price Nikes!

Venice Travel Tip – Complimentary Hotel Breakfast

Complimentary hotel breakfasts are a great way to save when travelling with family. Many hotels offer a variety of breakfast options, including continental breakfasts, hot breakfast buffets, and made-to-order items as well as coffee, tea and a variety of juices. When choosing a hotel, be sure to factor in the breakfast options to get the best bang for your buck.

Some things to keep in mind when it comes to complimentary hotel breakfasts:

  • Breakfast offerings can vary in quality and variety from hotel to hotel.
  • Breakfast service is typically limited to a few hours a day in most hotels.
  • Some hotels may require you to make a reservation for breakfast.

Venice Day 2 Itinerary: Exploring Murano and Burano in a Single Day

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Since this was our last day in Venice, we wanted to make the most of it and explore the islands of Murano and Burano. They are one of the many islands that dot the Venetian lagoon, accessible by vaporetto (water bus) or water taxi. Each island has its own charms and attractions, and Erika and I were determined to explore both by the end the day.


Our First Stop: Murano

Normally we would take the water bus, or vaporetto as they are locally known, to Murano. Water buses can be found all over Venice and are a quick and cost-effective way of getting around the city. Today, however, the tide was particularly high, making travel by vaporetto impossible, since the higher water levels meant that they would not have the overhead clearance to cross the many bridges that line Venice’s canals. With travel by vaporetto out of the question, we had to opt for an alternate mode of transport: the humble water taxi. The kids’ excitement was contagious as we hopped onto a water taxi, ensuring our adventure continued despite the tide’s whims. Zipping across Venice’s canals or the Venetian lagoon at high speed was a lot of fun!

Venice Travel Tip – Water Taxis

Water taxis in Venice are a private motorboat that can be reserved or boarded from specific docking pontoons, some of them known as municipal taxi stations. The private taxi stops are scattered in a couple of locations around the historic center. They are a convenient way to get around Venice, but can be expensive when compared to a vaporetto (water-bus). The fare is based on the distance traveled and the number of passengers.

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Upon arriving at Murano, our first stop was at one of the many glass factories in the area. Murano is famous for its exquisite glass artistry and is home to expert glassmakers who operate small scale glass making factories and workshops. We took a guided tour of a glass factory, where we witnessed the creation of Venetian glass figurines hand created by sixth-generation artisans. Each hand-crafted piece is a work of art and a masterpiece in its own right. The vibrant colors and intricate craftsmanship left us in awe and thankfully our two hyperactive boys didn’t break anything in the shop attached to the factory.

We stopped for a quick lunch at a nearby café, explored the canals some more (the kids were amazed at the fact that Amazon deliveries happen in Venice via boat), bought a chandelier for our home back in San Diego, explored the waterfront and watched people fish before boarding on a vaporetto for the second leg of our journey: the island of Burano.

Venice Travel Tip – Don’t Fall Victim to Pickpockets!

Be mindful of pickpockets when travelling on a crowded vaporetto in Venice. Pickpockets often target tourists in water-buses and water-bus waiting areas. They are extremely skilled and can easily relieve you of your wallet or purse in a matter of seconds.

Here are some tips on avoiding becoming a victim of pickpockets in Venice:

  • Don’t put your wallet in your back pocket.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially in a crowded vaporetto and other tourist hotspots.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables – store them in your hotel room safe.
  • Wear your backpack in front of you.
  • Use a money belt or a cross-body bag that can be worn under your clothes.

Our Second Stop: Burano

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At the waterfront we boarded a vaporetto and headed off to the Burano, the second stop of our journey. Burano is a small island located at the northern end of the Venetian lagoon. While Murano is known for its glass working, Burano is famous for lacemaking, which has been practiced there for centuries. It is also famous for its iconic brightly colored homes that cover the island. We explored the charming multi-colored streets and alleys of Burano, stopped off at a roadside bakery for some excellent chocolate chip cookies, took a bunch of photos and eventually boarded another vaporetto back to our hotel room in central Venice.

A highlight for me was spotting the leaning bell tower of Burano. I had no prior knowledge of this building and noticed it while we were exploring Burano. Further research showed that the tower is called Burano Bell Tower or “Il Campanile Storto Venezia” (Google it!) Towards the end of the day everyone was rushing to get the last vaporetto off the island – including us! Luckily, we made it and spent a relaxing trip across the water to our hotel in the main island of Venice.


Back to Our Hotel Room After Murano and Burano

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After a day packed with adventure and travel, we ended our day with dinner at Ristorante San Silvestro, a quaint restaurant tucked away from the bustling canals. This restaurant is a hidden gem offering authentic Italian cuisine at the right price. The food was excellent – the best we had during our stay in Venice – and the wait staff made us feel like family. By venturing off the beaten path and busy tourist trap areas, we found a magical spot that makes travel truly memorable.

Venice Travel Tip – Beware of Overpriced Restaurants Serving Mediocre Food!

Restaurants along the canals in Venice cater exclusively to tourists and have a bad reputation for high prices and mediocre food. To avoid falling victim to these tourist traps it is important to do your research and read online reviews before choosing a restaurant. Look for places that are off the beaten path and don’t be afraid to walk a little further to find a good value restaurant. This way you’ll find a great little spot that provides excellent food and service at a reasonable price.


That’s it for Day 2 in Venice. We hope we have shown you that it is possible to have an enjoyable vacation with young kids in tow. Join us as we continue our journey through Europe with our kids, creating unforgettable memories, and sharing tips to inspire your own family adventures. Stay tuned for more stories, insights, and recommendations from our epic journey across Europe – and if you haven’t already, you can read other stories in our European Vacation.

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Our European Trip Continues – Arriving in Venice, Italy

Hello again! Here’s Day 3 in our European vacation with Erika, me and our 3 kids. This time we’re in beautiful Venice, Italy! The purpose of this video and blog series is to show people that you can travel across Europe with 2 young kids and a baby – it’s not always easy, but, if you have the right attitude and are prepared, it is doable and enjoyable. My wife is originally from Mexico and I’m from San Diego, California. We enjoy these travels with our kids because we’ve done it on our own before. I always loved seeing Erika experience something for the first time and being excited about it on our previous vacations in Europe. Now, we both share the same delight in seeing our kids enjoy new experiences on their first trip to Europe.


Checking in to Our Hotel Room

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Having just landed in Venice, we start off the day on a taxi-cab on our way to the hotel. We decided to skip the hassle of taking the metro and just get a taxi instead. It’s a more expensive, but it’s worth it for the convenience and comfort – especially when you’re travelling with two tired boys and a sleepy baby. Due to vehicle restrictions in the heart of the old city, the taxi will get us so far in Venice and then we’ll have a seven or eight-minute walk to our hotel, which isn’t too bad.

We decided to hire a porter to help us with our luggage, and it was definitely worth the 20 euros he charged us. It was probably the best 20 euros we’ve spent all week. We’re definitely going to use a porter again to help when we leave Venice. As we walk through the city, we can’t help but marvel at the beauty of Venice. I tried to look up the route to our hotel on Google Street Maps, but it would only take me so far. It was weird, but now I understand why – the area we’re walking through is so narrow that it’s not visible on the map. But that’s part of the charm of Venice – discovering hidden gems and narrow alleyways as we explore this beautiful city.

We arrive at our hotel and it turns out I’m the only one that fits in the elevator since it was so tight, so we’re going to take a second trip for Erica pushing baby Emma on the stroller. Despite the tiny elevator, our hotel room was amazing. It’s a big room (by Venice standards) with more than enough closet/storage space and a nice shower. We’re all excited to get settled in and explore Venice over the next couple of days, but first need to do laundry. Thankfully there’s a laundromat within walking distance of the hotel.

Venice Travel Tips – Venice Times Hotel

It is always difficult to find hotels that caters to families, so I would like to highlight The Venice Times Hotel, which exceeded our expectations. Its location in the heart of Venice let us explore Venice’s iconic sites from our front door. Our room was great – spacious (by European standards), comfortable and well-appointed. Breakfast was a highlight, with a variety of choices. A great choice for staying in Venice with kids.


Folding Laundry in the Streets of Venice

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When it comes to laundry, we usually pack for 7 nights and do laundry every 5-7 days. We prefer to travel lighter when we can, as traveling around Europe with more weight can be a pain. Even though we still felt like we were traveling with a lot, it’s mostly due to the kids, especially our baby Emma. We did three loads of laundry, and while the machines were spinning, we decided to go and get some lunch. There was a restaurant nearby with good reviews online that we tried – and we weren’t disappointed. These days looking up reviews online makes it easy to find great places to eat – just make sure the people behind the reviews are real and not fake. Focus on reviewers with profile photos who have left multiple reviews.

After our meal we went back to the laundromat and got our clean clothes. There wasn’t enough room at the laundromat so we had to fold our clothes in the street. We got the kids to help and they had a blast – except when Aiden dropped my newly cleaned shirt on the ground on some dog doodoo. You can make every outing with kids fun if you get them involved in the activity, which Erika always does a great job of doing.

Venice Travel Tips – Doing Laundry in Venice

Laundry can be a hassle while vacationing across Europe, but it’s not impossible. Many hotels offer laundry services, but they can be expensive. Alternatively, you can use laundromats or self-service laundry facilities.


Water Taxi Tour of Venice

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After laundry we decided to take a private water taxi tour of Venice. It was like having our own private boat. The VIP treatment was great, and we looked comfortable as we cruised along the canal. Initially, we were going to take the vaporetto, which is like a city bus on the canals of Venice, but the line was crazy. So, we decided to spend more for a private taxi. While we were at the laundromat, a lady told us how she recently got robbed on the vaporetto. They took everything from her purse – wallet, IDs, cash – everything. Her story put me off them, even though Erica and I have used them in our previous trips to Venice.

Overall, it was a great day in Venice – even with the laundry mishaps.

Venice Travel Tips – Using a Porter in Venice

Porters are essential to get to your hotel in Venice with a lot of luggage since the entire city is a car-free zone. Porters are familiar with the city and can help you navigate the narrow streets and canals.

Here are some specific benefits of using a porter in Venice:

  • Porters can help you carry your luggage to and from your hotel, train station, or airport.
  • They can help you navigate the narrow streets and canals of Venice.
  • They can help you find your way to tourist attractions and restaurants.
  • They can help you with your luggage on public transportation.
  • They can provide assistance with other tasks, such as loading and unloading your luggage from a taxi or boat.

Here are our take-aways from Day 3 in Europe:

  • When travelling with children and especially babies, think about how you’ll do laundry during your trip. Pack accordingly and plan out your laundry days.
  • Use a porter to help you with your luggage when in Venice! The expense is more than worth it. Remember, cars aren’t allowed in Venice city center and you’ll have to walk to your hotel.
  • Involve the kids in daily activities to get them engaged and interested.
  • Find good places to eat with online reviews, just make sure the reviews are authentic.
  • Bring a stroller if travelling with a baby! I cannot stress this enough. We typically travel with the GB Pockit+ All City Stroller. You can buy one used and sell it after your trip to recover some money. Airlines allow you to put it in the overhead compartment which is a huge bonus.
  • Be very careful around crowds in Venice, especially around the crowds waiting for their water bus. Pickpockets are sadly common and tourists are easy prey.

That’s all for this time. Stay tuned for further blog updates on our European adventure with our kids! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for all our travel vlogs.

#VeniceCruiseShips, #CruiseToVenice, #VenicePort, #VeniceItaly, #CruiseLife, #CruiseVacation, #VeniceBound, #CruiseShipExperience, #VeniceAdventures, #CruiseTravel, #CruiseShipViews, #ExploreVenice

Our 2nd Day In Paris with My Wife and Three Kids

Here’s Day 2 in Paris, the second video chronicling our trip across Europe. This is our second day in Paris (technically third, but we don’t count the first night!) where Erika, myself and the kids take in some culture as we explore the basilicas and museums in Paris. As always, there’s more to come here and in our YouTube Channel as we make our way through all the major European stops!


McDonald’s Breakfast Before Hitting Museums in Paris

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We start off the day outside a McDonald’s reminiscing about the little café we went to at the base of the Eiffel Tower yesterday. It was a total tourist trap, strategically placed to drain as much money as possible from unsuspecting visitors (like us!). The food looked average at best so we didn’t order any – all we had were two coffees and four bottles of water, which cost as a whopping 55 Euros! Something to keep in mind for first-time travelers to the busy tourist areas in Paris.

Paris Travel Tip – Avoid Overpriced Tourist Trap Cafes

Overpriced tourist trap cafes in Paris are a dime a dozen. They are often located in popular tourist destinations, such as the Champs-Élysées or the Eiffel Tower, and they charge high prices for mediocre food and service.

Here are some tips for avoiding overpriced tourist trap cafes in Paris:

  • Do some research before you go. Read reviews of cafes online or ask locals for recommendations.
  • Avoid cafes that are located in popular tourist destinations.
  • Look for cafes that have a local clientele. This is a good sign that the food and service are good and the prices are reasonable.
  • Be prepared to walk a little further to find a good cafe. The best cafes are often located in the less touristy areas of the city.

Exploring Museums in Paris – the Louvre

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After energizing ourselves with a little breakfast, it was a quick cab ride to the Louvre. As we reached one of the most famous museums in Paris, excitement filled the air and we were ready to immerse ourselves in a world of art and history. On entering the Louvre, we were pleasantly surprise with an unexpected perk – since we had our baby Emma on a stroller, we were allowed to bypass the queues provided our own private elevator ride. Feeling like VIPs, we stepped into the open-circle elevator and ascended towards the world’s most valuable paintings and sculptures. What’s there to say about the Louvre that hasn’t been said before? It was a great experience. There’s so much to see and learn you need a few days to see it all properly – we unfortunately had a few hours. The kids got to see the Mona Lisa, an Egyptian Sphinx and walk on the ancient foundations of the original Louvre Castle. It was crowded and busy with tourists, but that didn’t diminish the sense of awe and wonder.

Paris Travel Tip – Best Way to Experience the Louvre

The best way to experience the Louvre in Paris is to do your research and plan ahead. To make the most of your visit, it is recommended to plan beforehand what you want to see, check the interactive map on the Louvre’s website, and consider taking a guided tour.

Here are some additional tips for experiencing the Louvre:

  • Buy your tickets in advance to avoid the queues.
  • Arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
  • Bring a water bottle and snacks, as there are no food or drink vendors inside the museum.
  • Take breaks throughout the day to rest your legs and mind.

We took full advantage of the sunny weather and bright conditions on our way out by taking a bunch of selfies in front of the Louvre and then met up with Erika’s relatives (who were vacationing in Paris at the same time as us) and took a scenic cab ride to our next destination: the Montmartre district of Paris. On the cab ride there I regaled Erika’s sister with anecdotes of the time Erika and I fell asleep during the intermission of Les Misérables in our last trip to Paris and the time Erika and I fell asleep (for five hours) on a beautiful beach at Messina during our last cruise to Sicily. What can I say, travelling across Europe really takes it out of you, you get your shut-eye where you can.


Exploring Sacré Coeur & the Art District in Montmartre

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From the awe-inspiring Sacred Heart Basilica to the bustling Art District, the historic Montmartre District of Paris is a vibrant neighborhood that has plenty to offer visitors. We started off by exploring Sacred Heart Basilica, which is a majestic cathedral sitting on the top of a hill that offers breathtaking views of Paris. After exploring the church, we stopped off for a pizza lunch (that was excellent) and explored the back alleys of the Art District. We spotted some sports cars in the streets which delighted the kids, and ended our day with some gelato. Unfortunately, near the gelato shop were three sketchy men who were pretending to be tourists but were acting very suspiciously – they quickly ran off when Erika’s sister confronted them. Be careful with your belongings, especially in crowded areas frequented with tourists.

Paris Travel Tip – Get Enough Sleep!

Getting enough sleep is essential for enjoying your European vacation. When you’re well-rested, you’ll have more energy to explore, you’ll be better able to handle jet lag, and you’ll be less likely to get sick. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and try to stick to a regular sleep schedule, even when you’re traveling.


That’s it for our day visiting museums in Paris, we’ll be back with a new blog post and video of the next leg of our European journey!

  • Here are the takeaways from Day 2 of our stay in Paris:
  • Watch out for tourist-trap cafes and restaurants near popular sites that over-charge unsuspecting visitors.
  • You won’t see everything in the museum in just a couple hours, so don’t sweat it! Enjoy the time you spend there.
  • If you have a packed itinerary, you may randomly fall asleep when you have a quiet moment to yourself!
  • Watch out for pickpockets in crowded tourist hotspots! Be aware of your surroundings.

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Starting Our European Trip – Day 1 In Paris, Italy with My Wife and Three Kids

This “Paris – Day 1” video is the first of many more videos highlighting our European trip. Stay tuned for more to come here and in our YouTube Channel! We took this trip with our two young boys and baby daughter – we have never let our kids stop us from traveling. I will offer as much advice as possible for this series. Don’t hesitate to reach out or ask questions! Leave a comment here or under our YouTube Video.


Our First Night in Paris

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The start of our journey to Paris was eventful, to say the least. We had a flight delay of four or five hours, followed by drama in the plane as an uncooperative passenger was de-boarded (which is a polite way of saying they dragged his ass out of the plane), which added even more hours of delay. Nevertheless, we finally arrived in Paris and immediately started our European vacation with a dinner and tour of the city on a double decker bus. The top of the bus was entirely made of glass, giving us a great view of the mean streets of Paris as the bus cruised through the city. Some people might think it would be difficult to dine on a moving bus (with little kids no less), but it was actually very smooth and enjoyable. Erika, myself and the kids all has a blast and went back to our hotel.

Paris Travel Tip – Flying With Little Kids

Flying with little kids can be a daunting task, but with proper preparation and planning it doesn’t have to be. Here are five tips to help you have a smooth trip:

  • Pack essentials like diapers, wipes, snacks, and drinks.
  • Bring a stroller or carrier for your child.
  • Book a seat for your child next to you.
  • Bring some familiar toys or activities to keep your child entertained.
  • Let your child burn off energy before the flight.
  • Be patient and understanding.

Visiting the Eiffel Tower

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A word on our hotel, the Residhome Appart Hotel Paris Opera. It’s more of a residential vacation rental than a traditional hotel room, and a great option for families with little kids. It also has a great central location in downtown Paris, close to all the sites of interest. By now we all had 10 hours of sleep and were refreshed and ready to take on Paris! Our plan for our second day in Paris was to visit the Eiffel Tower, explore the city and (hopefully) have a picnic in a park. We stopped by an outdoor café for some delicious chocolate croissants and made our way to the iconic Eiffel Tower, conveniently located near our hotel. I took a moment to appreciate the stunning architecture of the old church we pass by. France, particularly Paris, is known for its plethora of historic churches, and it’s a sight to behold. Unfortunately, when you’re vacationing with two hyperactive boys a moment is all you’ll get to appreciate Parisian architecture.

It’s a good thing we booked advanced tickets to visit the Eiffel Tower, otherwise we would have been out of luck if we had attempted to buy tickets on the day itself.

Paris Travel Tip – Buy Sightseeing/Museum Tickets In Advance

Buying sightseeing or museum tickets in advance is essential when vacationing in Europe during the summer. Popular attractions can have long lines, and tickets can sell out quickly. By buying your tickets in advance, you can avoid the hassle of waiting in line and guarantee your entry. You can also save money by buying tickets online, as many attractions offer discounts for advance purchase. Here are our recommendations:

  • Check the website of the attraction to see if they offer online tickets.
  • Book your tickets as early as possible, especially if you are traveling during peak season.
  • Be aware of any blackout dates or other restrictions.
  • Print out your tickets or have them ready on your phone.

We reached the tower at around 2:45pm. It’s a magnificent sight to see up close, even from ground level – it’s much bigger in real life than it appears in photos and videos. One thing that you might not expect is the amount of security at the tower. Plexiglas surrounds the perimeter, and access points require full body and bag scans, similar to airport screening procedures. This isn’t our first time up there—Eric and I have been before – but it’s a whole new experience for the kids.

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Needless to say, we had a great time at the top of the tower. Our Eiffel Tower tour-guide was great, she gave the kids a great history lesson. The views of Paris from the top of the tower, even in the overcast conditions when we were there, were amazing. We took our time snapping photos and videos atop this iconic landmark, and then descended down to Earth to continue our Paris journey. Now would be a good time to point out: when travelling Europe with babies, bring a stroller! If you have multiple kids use multiple strollers. Double wide strollers won’t work – invest in a couple of smaller strollers. You can always sell them on when you get back from your vacation.

Paris Travel Tip – Bring a Stroller for Your Baby

When visiting Paris with a baby, bringing a stroller is essential. The streets of Paris can be narrow and crowded, so a compact stroller is best. A lightweight stroller with good suspension will also help to smooth out the bumps on the cobblestone streets of Paris.

Our original plan was to have a picnic in the park after our visit to the Eiffel Tower. However, plans sometimes take unexpected turns. We adapt and make the most of every situation. With a bottle of wine in hand, we decide to enjoy a picnic right there on the street. The best moments happen when we embrace spontaneity. We did meet Erika’s family (who were vacationing with us) later on at a park and did have our Parisian picnic at the park – next to the Eiffel Tower no less!


Exploring the Latin District in Paris

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We ended our day by exploring the Paris Latin District with Erika’s family. When we vacation with the kids, we give our boys one thing they can do per day. It could be a destination, a snack or a small souvenir. They learn quickly to choose wisely and not waste their pick for that day! This day our sons picked to go to McDonald’s in Paris, so we stopped there for a little late-night snack, after which we finished the night with a meal and drinks with Erika’s family at an outdoor patio restaurant. Outdoor patios are always a good option when out and about with kids late at night. As long as it’s not a club, most places that serve alcohol will accommodate your group even if you have kids. It gives you a good opportunity to experience the night life.


That wraps up Day 1, stay tuned for Day 2 in Paris!

To summarize, here are some tips when travelling Europe with kids:

  • Combine eating and sightseeing by going to outdoor cafes or outdoor patio restaurants.
  • Buy all your sightseeing/museum tickets in advance, especially if you’re going during peak tourist season.
  • Bring a stroller for babies. If you have more than one baby, bring a second stroller. Parisian streets are not suitable for double-wide strollers. You can always sell them on after your vacation.
  • Give the kids something to look forward to every day – a treat, a souvenir or something they get to choose to do.

Check out all our other travel blog posts and videos.

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Are you a parent who enjoys going on cruise ship vacations but hesitates to plan a trip with young children? Carnival Cruise Line Childcare options might just be the solution you’ve been searching for. In this blog post, we’ll explore why Carnival stands out as one of the best cruise lines for families, especially those with younger kids. From their exceptional Night Owls Program to their affordable prices and diverse destinations, Carnival offers a great cruise ship experience that caters to both parents and children. Let’s dive in and discover why Carnival Cruise Line should be at the top of your family vacation list.

Night Owls Program: A Blessing for Parents

When it comes to traveling with young kids, finding reliable childcare option on-ship can be a challenge. Carnival Cruise Line, however, has your back with their Night Owls Program. Designed specifically for children aged six months and above, this program provides parents with a much-needed break during the evening hours. From 10 pm until 1 am, for just $7.50 per hour, trained professionals at the Camp Ocean kids club take care of your little ones while you enjoy some quality adult time. This flexibility allows parents to have a memorable cruise experience without compromising on their children’s well-being.

Carnival vs. Disney: Night Owls vs. Small World

While Disney is known for its exceptional family experiences, Carnival holds its own against the competition. Disney offers the Small World Nursery Program, which provides hourly childcare throughout the day. However, Carnival’s Night Owls Program offers an advantage by extending the childcare hours until 1 am. This additional time allows parents to truly unwind and enjoy their evening activities without worrying about their kids. Moreover, Carnival’s affordability compared to Disney makes it an attractive option for families looking to get the most out of their vacation budget. One of the major considerations for any family vacation is the cost. Carnival Cruise Line childcare shines in this aspect, providing excellent value for money. We’ve gone on both Carnival and Disney cruises, and with Carnival you can often enjoy two cruises for the price of one Disney Cruise. This affordability allows families to allocate their vacation budget towards other activities and experiences.

Traveling Europe with Kids on Carnival Cruise Lines Childcare

Last year we had the pleasure of exploring Europe on a Carnival Cruise Line with our kids. While exploring beautiful destinations like Greece and Sicily, Carnival provided us with a reliable childcare solution in the evenings. It allowed us to immerse ourselves in the local culture both as a family and just with Erika and me. Carnival’s exceptional staff looked after our kids while we explored various European destinations as a couple late into the night.

When planning a cruise, it’s tempting to get caught up in loyalty programs and their perks. However, with the changes in loyalty programs across various cruise lines, it’s essential to focus on what truly matters: the itinerary. Carnival Cruise Line understands this and prioritizes offering exciting destinations rather than relying solely on loyalty programs. As our kids age and require less babysitting, we plan on picking our cruises based on their itineraries, rather than perks like childcare services or loyalty discounts. For now, however, since our kids are still young, Carnival Cruise line childcare services is the only option for us as a family.

Ensuring Safety and Peace of Mind with Carnival Cruise Line Childcare

One last point to end on: as parents, our top priority is the safety and well-being of our children – especially when travelling abroad on a cruise ship. Carnival Cruise Line understands this concern and provides peace of mind through their security measures. They equip parents with old-school Nokia type cell phones that work only in the ship which they can use to directly contact us in case of any emergencies.

Liked this article? Check out our other cruise-ship blog posts exploring various destinations and tips on how to make the most of your cruise.

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