Cruise Port of Call Barbados

The Barbados Cruise Port is a popular cruise port of call on southern Caribbean itineraries.

General– Barbados is in the Lesser Antilles, the eastern most island in the Caribbean. It is an independent British Commonwealth nation, bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Caribbean Sea.

Where You’re Docked– At Barbados cruise port cruise ships dock at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal and free shuttles take passengers from the ships pier to the terminal building. There are lots of shops inside the terminal and WiFi is available but not free. A walkway into Bridgetown runs along the waterfront. The distance into town center is approximately two miles. Most stores are open during the week but close at noon on Saturday and are not open on Sunday.

Boardwalk heading into Bridgetown

Transportation– There are lots of taxies available from the Barbados cruise port  area. The fares are regulated by the government but it is still important to agree on a price before the trip. The Georgetown Bus Terminal is located two blocks outside the port area, behind Pelican Village. Exact fares must be paid for bus rides and tokens can be purchased at the bus terminal. Rental cars are available but the rates are fairly steep and you will have to pay for a Barbados tourist driving license. Driving is on the left side of the road and, once you leave the city areas, many roads do not have name signs

The coast at The Crane, Barbados

Money

The official currency is the Barbados dollar (BBD) but US dollars (not coins) are widely accepted. The current exchange rate is US $1.00 = BBD $2.00.

Nearby trips:

Bathsheba, Barbados on the Atlantic coast

There are many beautiful beaches in Barbados but the easiest one to get to is Boatyard Beach on Carlisle Bay. It is about a 20 minute walk from the terminal or an inexpensive taxi ride. A fee of $20.00 is charged to use the facilities which includes a beach chair, shared umbrella, one cocktail, WIFI and free transport back to the ship.

 

Mount Gay Rum Distillery (web site) in Brandons, St. Michaels offers tours Monday to Friday and sometimes on Saturday. The current fee is $20.00 which includes a presentation on the rum’s history and a tasting. Tickets can be booked online.

Harrison’s Cave

Harrison’s Cave (web site) in St. Thomas is a network of caves, waterfalls, lakes and streams approximately 170 feet below ground. Tours are offered daily for a fee. The area above ground is a good place to spot green monkeys.

Earthworks Pottery (web site) is located mid island in St. Thomas Parish. It is an opportunity to view local potters at work and purchase some hand made souvenirs. Closed Sunday.

Bridgetown Harbour

George Washington House in Bush Hill welcomes visitors Monday through Saturday. It is the only place outside the United States that George Washington ever visited.

Bathsheba on the rugged Atlantic coast (eastern shore) is a great place to see surfers and enjoy a lunch at one of the local restaurants.

Black Pearl Party Cruises (web site) provides a 4 hour trip on the Jolly Roger which includes a buffet lunch, swimming, snorkeling, dancing and unlimited house drinks. The price is just under $90.00 with discounts for online booking and groups.

IMPORTANT – Do not wear camouflage clothing as it is illegal in Barbados; Only smoke in designated areas; Avoid touching or standing under the big shady Manshineel Trees as they are poisonous. Most of these trees are marked in red or banded in red.

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Port of Call Roatan Honduras

The Caribbean Island of Roatan, Honduras

The main cruise dock and visitors village
Sailing into Mahogany Bay

Roatan is the largest of the Honduran Bay Islands in the Caribbean and is becoming a popular cruise itinerary destination. Like many Caribbean destinations it is recognized for its beautiful beaches, water sports, including premier scuba and skin diving, and modern resorts. It also has a growing number of American and Canadian ex-patriots and seasonal residents. To accommodate the cruise ships the Honduras government helped develop Mahogany Bay with modern docks, a well equiped duty free village and a beautiful beach recreation area.

Where You Dock

Most Cruise ships now dock at the Mahogany Bay facility on the southwest coast. The beautifully laid out area includes piers, a duty free shopping area and a beach area. In addition there is also the Port of Roatan located a bit farther west past Barrio Loma Linda and occasionally cruise ships may still dock there. It is about five miles between the two port facilities.

Transportation

The best way to get around Roatan is by hired taxi or a rental car. Taxi’s are inexpensive and you can usually negotiate an island tour at a good price (share with other passengers).

Money

The local currency is the Honduras Lempira with one being worth about US 5¢. US Dollars are usually welcome and most major credit cards are accepted.

Mahogany Bay beach area

Attractions

Outdoor recreation is the focus on this Caribbean island with sandy beaches and clear, warm water being the central attraction. There are also several zip line facilities on the island and a dolphin encounter at Anthony’s Key Resort that’s very popular.

If your ship docks at Mahogany Bay you can spend the day right at the ports beautiful beach. It’s equipped with water sports equipment, beach loungers and umbrellas with a number of excursions leaving right from the cruise port.

A little over a mile from Mahogany Bay is the town of Barrio Loma Linda. It is not a resort area but a typical small Honduran town with stores and restaurants along with a couple of crafts facilities working in leather and wood.

 

Port of Call Cabo San Lucas

Baja California is a slender peninsula sticking south from the continent in western Mexico for almost a thousand miles. To the west is the Pacific Ocean and to the east is the Sea of Cortes blessing it with almost two thousand miles of spectacular beaches. At the very southern tip is a world class destination known for fantastic beaches, boating, deep sea fishing and five star amenities known as Cabo San Lucas but often referred to as just Cabo.

Cabo from the sea
Approaching Cabo

Baja California, is the Sovereign State of Baja California and a state in Mexico. It is the northernmost and westernmost of the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1952, the area was known as the Northern Territory of Baja California.

The harbor of Cabo
The harbor of Cabo San Lucas

Cabo is a popular port of call for cruises out of California as well as Panama Canal cruises and cruise ships traveling in and out of Hawaii.

Where Your Ship Docks

Cabo has no facilities to support cruise ships so this is a tender port. Ships anchor outside the small harbor just off Lands End. The tender dock is right in the middle of the popular harbor with easy access to shops, cafes, restaurants, excursion and charter boats. The downtown area is only a short walk away. There are also a number of good public facilities in the harbor.

A cruise to Lands End
Transportation

The best way to get outside of the city is to rent a car. All of the major agencies are represented from Avis and Alamo (not a popular name in Mexico) to Dollar. Because of where Cabo is situated it is somewhat isolated but there are a few attractions worth an extended trip. If you are interested in a distant location you can negotiate a fare with a local taxi.

One destination of particular interest is the Cabo Pulmo National Park about thirty miles up the east coast from Cabo. It features incredible beaches and spectacular coral reefs near shore. Take a look at the official web site HERE.

Headwear Senior Frogs
Currency

The local currency is the Mexican Peso but the U.S. Dollar is readily accepted. All major credit cards are welcome. One area of caution is be careful of pay phones and ATM’s. They can have very high fees if you aren’t cautious.

Attractions

The Cabo Wabo Cantina. This nightclub founded by Sammy Hagar of Van Halen is still an attraction. Watch a live rock band performing. In addition to the bar the cantina serves breakfast and lunch with dinner at the nearby Tequila Factory restaurant. Sammy Hagar is known to sometimes make an appearance.

El Arco at sunset

El Arco. This beautiful rock formation off the coast of Cabo San Lucas is visible from Medano Beach. There are glass-bottomed boat tours, whale watching charters, diving or snorkeling tour getting you up close. The waters around El Arco are clear and teeming with life, and it’s a popular site to snorkel, dive, and watch for whales. It’s the signature attraction of Cabo San Lucas.

Lover’s Beach. This secluded cove is hidden at the tip of Land’s End, surrounded by cliffs and accessible only by boat. It’s a perfect attraction for those looking to get away from the crowds and vendors at Medana Beach. It features beaches facing both oceans. Swim only on the Sea of Cortes side – the Pacific side can be dangerous.

The Sand Falls. Ninety feet beneath the waves, a stunning waterfall of sand cascades to depths of 120 feet and more, past hundreds of species of tropical fish and sea life. If you’re a diving enthusiast, you won’t want to miss it. This breathtaking sand chute was originally discovered by Jacques Cousteau, and it remains one of the chief diving attractions of Cabo San Lucas to this day.

Lighthouse of the False Cape. This lighthouse was built in 1890 to guide ships into port at Cabo San Lucas. It’s a ruin now, perched above gently rising sand dunes. The lighthouse is a common attraction with ATV tours and horseback riding excursions. In addition to the lighthouse ruins is beautiful ocean vistas.

Entrance Hotel California
Hotel California

The Hotel California. Made famous by the Eagle’s song of the same name it is a popular destination for scenic tours up the Pacific coast. Located about forty-five miles north of Cabo the drive itself is well worth the trip. The Hotel California Web Site.

 

Port of Call Cozumel Mexico

 

Cozumel is a port of call and is actually an island on the southeast coast of Mexico with the port city being San Miguel de Cozumel. It is part of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and a very popular cruise stop on most western Caribbean itineraries. Its real claim to fame are the beaches and the diving sites but it is also a good place for shopping as well.

The cruise terminal
Terminal de Cruceros

Where Your Ship Docks

Terminal de Cruceros or Cruise Ship Terminal is the major location for cruise ships but there is another major terminal located in the town proper. With this destination being so popular there is a possibility that your ship could dock at either location.

The Terminal de Cruceros is a well developed area with excellent facilities, two shopping villages, a number of bars (the infamous Mini Senior Frog’s and Three Amigos) and a number of good restaurants. It is about four kilometers into downtown San Miguel. It is also right next to a remarkably good snorkeling area right at the “beach”.

The pier in San Miguel

The other cruise docking pier is central to San Miguel and an easy walk to the main shops, restaurants and the original Senior Frog’s.

Transportation

If you are looking to get to locations within a few miles of the pier the best choice is a taxi. They are plentiful and moderately priced. Just make sure you settle on a fare before heading out. If your goal is to do some diving or serious snorkeling the recommendation is to book with a tour operator of which there are a number right at the pier and they usually include transportation. Taxi drivers also will offer a fixed price tour of the island and most people we have spoken with have been happy having taken this option. There are also numerous tours you can book with your ship.

The shopping village

Money

The local currency is the Mexican peso ($1 about 2 pesos) but U.S. Dollars are commonly accepted. One word of caution – this is a location where liberating tourists from their money is a popular past time. Be cautious of ATM’s, pay phones and money changers. ATM fees can be very high and pay phones that take credit cards cannot be trusted.

 

Attractions

Shopping – Both at the terminal and in town there are a number of bargains to be found. Mexico is famous for silver, onyx and pottery and often the prices are too good to pass up. Two items that are always a good deal are vanilla and tequila. In shopping for vanilla don’t be tempted by those large, cheap bottles of vanilla available in many gift shops. They may not contain real vanilla extract, and sometimes may contain something that could hurt you. That “something” is coumarin, an extract of the tonka bean that imparts an intense vanilla aroma and thus makes it smell like the real thing. Coumarin was banned as food additive in the U.S. in 1940 because of moderate toxicity. Pay attention and make sure you know what you are getting.

Chankanaab Beach Park
Chankanaab beach

One good recommendation is a visit to a beach and one popular choice is Chankanaab. The cruise ships will offer tours including beach trips and snorkeling but if you are looking for a day at the beach our recommendation is to take a taxi to Chankanaab Beach Park and pay the park admission. You’ll save a lot of money over the tour cost and can go and return when you want. It’s not far and there are usually taxis waiting at the park to take you back to the ship. There is a beach bar, a couple of food options, snorkeling and beach chair rentals and the water is great. To get out to the better reefs it’s a bit of a swim though.

 

Port of Call Montevideo, Uruguay

Making a Day in the Port of Call Montevideo, Uruguay

Tucked in between Brazil and Argentina along the South American coast is the county of Uruguay. Its capital and major port is the city of Montevideo where over half of the countries population of three million live. A frequent port on many South American cruise itineraries the city is located near where the Rio de la Plata flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It is two-hundred fifty miles down river and east of Buenos Aries.

Where You Dock

Cruise ships normally dock at the Terminal Puerto De Montevideo which sits at the tip of a peninsula which covers most of the Tres Cruces barrio. A barrio is neighbourhood or district and Tres Cruces means “three crossings”, referring to the three major transportation routes which meet in the area. The port is well developed but does not offer a terminal adjacent to the pier. However only a couple of blocks outside the port is a shopping district and public restrooms are available in the Port Market*.

Transportation

While Montevideo is a large metropolitan area,Tres Cruces is the heart of the historic city with most of the sites within walking distance. Getting outside this area usually requires a taxi. While Taxis are common they are not cheap as gasoline is expensive here. A majority of drivers only speak Spanish so be prepared with written names of your destination. Expect to pay about UYU100 for a ten minute ride. Tipping is not usual, but rounding up is common.

Getting To and From the Airport. A shuttle is available between the airport and downtown for about UYS 800/950 or US$45. A taxi should cost about UYU 1500 or US$70.

Currency

Currently a Uruguay Peso (UYU) is worth about US$0.03. Most merchants in popular tourist areas will accept Dollars and Euros and most major credit cards can be used. If using currency expect small change to be in Uruguay Pesos.

Attractions

Just outside the port is The Port Market. Outside are street stalls and local shops and inside the main pavilion is a collection of cafes, bars and restaurants. The area is particularly famous for its steak houses.

Within the Tres Cruces area are a number of attractions like:

 

  • Locks Fountain at Av. 18 de Julio
  • Ramírez Beach, a wide sand beach & popular hangout
  • Galeria SOA, Candombe pedestrian Curuguaty
  • Palacio Diaz at Av. 18 de Julio
  • Ciudadela at Av. Intendente Municipal Juan Pedro Fabini
  • Fountain Plaza Cagancha at Dr. Enrique Tarigo
  • Galería Caubarrere Convención at Restos de la muralla de la Ciudadela at Buenos Aires
  • Mausoleo de José Gervasio Artigas at Prócer de los Orientales
  • Monument at Plaza Independencia
  • The Black Gallery Arte Contemporáneo at Calle Perez Castellano
  • Palacio Santos at Av. 18 de Julio
  • Monumento a Atilio Narancio
  • Palmera de Juana de Ibarbourou at Manuel Vicente Pagola

 

 

 

Port of Call Ushuaia

Ushuaia, Argentina, Gateway to Antarctica

Introduction
Ushuaia under the Martial mountain range
Sea lions in the Beagle Channel

Ushuaia is often referred to as the end of the world and is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. It is recognized as the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range, and on the south by the Beagle Channel. It is a popular port of departure for ships and expeditions headed to Antarctica. A little over a decade ago the cities population was less than 10,000 while today it is approaching 100,000. This is partly due to the growing popularity of Antarctic tourism but equally because the Argentinian government has encouraged manufacturing with special tax breaks as well as subsidies for people living here.

The Beagle Channel is the most northern natural channel connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific and has been a popular shipping lane. South of the Beagle Channel is Tierra del Fuego which means land of fire. Because the area was often shrouded in fog early explorers called it the land of smoke which was exaggerated in Europe for advertising purposes into land of fire. A large part of Tierra del Fuego is an Argentine national park.

Where You Dock
Expedition boat getting ready

Ushuaia has a large pier right at the cities waterfront capable of handling most ships. It is usually busy in season with expedition boats getting ready for Antarctic tours along with large cruise ships rounding the Horn or setting out for Antarctic waters. Right at the end of the pier is the cities visitor center with facilities and information on tours and the city. Also along the waterfront are a number of tour booking offices.

Transportation
Puppy love 😉

While the city has a population of almost 100,000 it is geographically compact with most restaurants, cafes and shops located within a ten by six block area. While the Pan-American Highway passes through the city it is also isolated with no other towns or cities nearby. The big attraction for a visitor is the national park and the animal life on island is the Beagle Channel which are best visited on a tour.

Currency

At this writing the exchange rate is about 38 Argentine Pesos to one US Dollar. Because of inflation rates over the past several years buying Pesos before leaving the United States is almost impossible. In the city many shops will accept Euros and American Dollars but it is advisable to exchange some currency for convenience.

Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego
Attractions

Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego (Tierra del Fuego National Park) is probably one of the major attractions in the area. It is also the terminus of the Pan-American Highway that ends in a narrow dirt road inside the park. There are also a number of islands near the city in the Beagle Channel that are popular with penguins, seals, sea lions, cormorants along with whales depending on the season. There are a number of tour boats along the waterfront to book.

Cormorant island

In town there are a number of excellent restaurants, cafes, and chocolate shops along with gift shops. The city also can boast that they are home to a Hard Rock Cafe

Port of Call Madryn, Argentina

Porta Madryn, Argentina – the Heart of Patagonia

Introduction

Puerto Madryn is an amazing city that is very popular with cruise itineraries in South America. While Mydryn itself is a modern and thriving city with much to offer, the big attraction in the area is the national parks. The park of Mirador Elefantes Marinos has become famous for colonies of penguins, sea lions and seals along with pods of orcas. The orcas have gained a lot of notoriety in recent years for coming up to the beach to grab seals in the surf.

Where You Dock

Puerto Madryn has a large marine pier right in the center of the city capable of handling large cruise ships. A walk down the pier puts you right in the middle of the CBD with good restaurants, cafes and shops along with a large selection of tour operators. All along the waterfront is a wide beach with a walking promenade.

Transportation

Madryn is a port city boasting a large deep-water port and is also a major industrial city, mainly focused on aluminum production and fishing. Puerto Madryn is also in an isolated area of Patagonia with the biggest attractions in the area being the national parks. Trips out to the parks can take between one and a half to two hours each way and the best way to visit is to book a tour. Other than walking the best way to get around the city itself is by taxi.

Currency

At this writing the exchange rate is about 38 Argentine Pesos to one US Dollar. Because of inflation rates over the past several years buying Pesos before leaving the United States is almost impossible. Because of the high number of visiting tourists, in the CBD many shops will accept Euros and American Dollars. It is still advisable to exchange some currency for convenience.

Attractions

It is one of the most vibrant cities in Patagonia, with a beautiful coastal avenue overlooking Nuevo Gulf. As noted the focus of the tourist business is visiting the parks to see the penguins, seals and orcas. In town there are a number of shops and cafes  with over a dozen good restaurants within a block of the waterfront. One of the local favorite pastimes is drinking coffee with chocolates in the many chocolate shops along the waterfront.