Cruising With A Toddler In Central America

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At the end of January this year (2019) we booked on a last minute cruise to Jamaica and Central America. Having dealt with a lot the past year and needing a break, I searched for some deals and found this fantastic last-minute price with Marella Cruises. That is how we ended up cruising with a toddler in Central America.

Although we have been on a cruise before and didn’t think it was the right fit for us, we thought this might be different with a toddler in tow. To be honest we wouldn’t be able to visit so many places in one go at this time if we hadn’t have cruised from one destination to the next. This post is about the destinations we visited and I will write a separate post on reviewing the ship.

Cruising with a toddler in Central America starting in Jamaica

We flew direct from Birmingham to Jamaica and it was a nice comfortable flight. Long haul is so much better now our daughter has her own seat though more expensive! At the beginning of our trip, we didn’t really see Jamaica at all. We were taken straight from the airport to the cruise terminal and onto the ship ready for a day at sea to our next destination.

Roatan, Honduras

Our first stop was at the island of Roatan in Honduras. After docking in Mahogany Bay, we planned to spend the day on the beach. We took a taxi from the port and our driver recommended a few places. We thought a day pass at a small beach resort would be a good idea. So after taking us to a fantastic viewing point and a little market, we were driven to Bananarama Beach resort in West Bay. Here we paid $10 for sun loungers, a drink and access to the resort wifi.

The beach was lovely. Soft white sand and beautiful views into the Caribbean sea. There were quite a few beach sellers and we were often asked if we wanted to buy some crafts or have our hair braided. It wasn’t too pushy, but it did get a bit annoying when we were relaxing.

Our driver was available when we wanted to leave and return to port. We spoke to the person in charge and they contacted him straight away. He was great, gave us a quick guide and answered our questions about the island. All for around $40!

Cruising with a toddler in Central America

Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala

Our next stop was Guatemala. Today we chose to book a shore excursion. Limited by what we could do with a toddler we joined the Las Escobas Springs nature trail tour. Being picked up direct from port, we were taken to the reserve and explored the beautiful rain forest. Of course, it was hot and it rained. But it was an amazing experience for our daughter who was given extra attention from our guide. Learning about the plants and birds that live in this natural environment.

The main attraction was the waterfall and pool. Whilst lovely it wasn’t as spectacular as others we have seen. But we have been fortunate enough to see some amazing waterfalls in places like Croatia and Iceland. Back at the visitor centre, we enjoyed making traditional tortillas on an open oven. Our girl loved rolling the dough and cooking her tortilla as well as filling and eating it afterwards!

We were taken back to port and we decided to take a walk and explore the town. We visited the local market and took a stroll through the streets. The town isn’t a place that seems ready for tourism and although we didn’t encounter any major issues, we were a little uneasy when walking around. It isn’t every day you see people walking around with automatic weapons like it is normal.

Cruising with a toddler in Central America

Belize City, Belize

Belize is somewhere I would really like to visit again because we had such a great time. We initially took a wildlife boat tour from the port and had an amazing experience. During the tour, we saw manatees, saltwater crocodiles, herons, iguanas, brown bats and to top it off a school of dolphins joined our boat on the way back to port. It was an amazing tour and so great to see so much wildlife in its natural habitat.

After our tour, we explored the port and the surrounding area. We visited the lighthouse and the Belize sign having a little wander around before heading back to the ship. This was probably the best experience whilst cruising with a toddler in Central America.

Cruising with a toddler in Central America
Cruising with a toddler in Central America

Costa Maya Mexico

We didn’t do much at our time in Mexico. Tim was quite sick with sunstroke so he only left the ship for a little while which left our daughter and I to explore on our own. We did venture out towards the town but it became too hot to carry on and without proper contact with Tim, I decided to return to the port.

With plenty to do, we had no problem staying entertained. There was a swimming pool, bars and restaurants, shops and creatures to meet. Not really authentic Mexico but a bit of fun anyway.

Days at sea

During our week’s cruise, we spent two days at sea. We took this time to relax and enjoy the sunshine, the pool and facilities on board. We played crazy golf, used the baby room playing with toys and joined one of the organised play times. There was also the shows including a cute Peter Pan day time show which our girl loved.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

On our last day we had a few hours to explore Jamaica. We took the local bus to the town, decided against the tour they sold whilst on there and explored Montego Bay. After having a little look around and being approached by people trying to be an ad-hoc tour guide we decided to visit the National Museum West. The exhibitions were really interesting. We learned about the island’s past and also visited the Rastafarianism exhibit. The art was lovely and I felt like I’d gained from our visit to Jamaica from being here.

The rest of our time here was spent shopping in the small markets and then we went back to the port. We started to walk back but it wasn’t the best so we ended up getting in a taxi for the last 20 minutes. Once back we waited for our transport direct to the airport and then boarded our flight home.

cruising with a toddler in central america

Is cruising with a toddler in central america a good idea?

Our ideas around cruising haven’t changed since the last time and it is quite restrictive to the type of travelling that we are used to. However, this was a great way to see these destinations with a toddler as it took away the stress, planning and cost of visiting these places on their own.
If you have never been on a cruise then I recommend you try it. You don’t know how you will feel about it until you experience it yourself.

A cruise is a great way to see many countries in one holiday but I think it might be quite a while before we try a cruise again. I’m not sure if our holidays will get easier or more difficult as our girl grows up but we still have plenty of different ways to explore the world as a family.

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