At each stop, cruise passengers have the option to plan their own day or join a Royal Caribbean excursion at an extra cost. The latter includes fully-planned itineraries with activities like hikes, tours, and beach time.
The ship stopped at each port for about seven hours. I thought it was only enough time to get a small taste of each place, and the first two ports left me wishing I had more time to explore.
The first was Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras surrounded by one of the largest barrier reefs in the world, according to the Roatan Tourism Bureau.
Source: Roatan Tourism Bureau
I spent my day in Roatan on a Royal Caribbean excursion that went to Mayan Eden Eco-Park, a nature preserve with hiking trails and wildlife.
After a short drive, we arrived at the park, where our first stop was a butterfly sanctuary.
Here, I observed more butterflies at once than ever before. Different species fluttered around the enclosed natural space, and I also noticed plants I’d never seen before.
After visiting the butterflies, we spent the next hour or two hiking a trail on Ocelot Mountain.
The jungle terrain was lush and shaded with rich green grass, leaves, and vines. It was beautiful.
If I wasn’t on a guided tour, I’d probably spend all day hiking these trails, I thought.
I wished I had time to relax in one of the hammocks placed periodically throughout the hike.
During the trek, we crossed two suspension bridges, which was a new experience for me.
The first one was short, preparing me mentally for the second bridge, which I thought might be scary since our tour guide said it was longer.
I ended up loving the feeling of being suspended above the forest. I wish I could have crossed it again.
Back onboard, I longed for more time in Honduras and went to the ship’s top deck to get a better look at the island before departing.
I now want to plan a trip back to Roatan on my own to see more of the island and take a longer hike.
The island is known for its large and untouched wild nature area and surrounding coral reefs, according to the same source.
Source: Tourism Promotion Council of Quintana Roo
Since I’d never been to Cozumel, I was excited to see what it looked like outside of the port.
But I didn’t realize until I got there that the excursion I booked through Royal Caribbean took the entire day in Tulum, which was a 45-minute ferry ride away.
The ferry made me seasick and I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to have any time in Cozumel, but I’ll come back, I thought.
The ferry took us to Playa Del Carmen on the coast of mainland Mexico, and we took a bus to ancient Mayan ruins and the beach.
To me, the coolest part of this experience was knowing that archaeologists were able to learn so much about the history of this site only by observing what’s left of it.
The beach was a relaxing way to end the day after a history lesson. And although I enjoyed my time in Tulum, I was still left wondering what it would have been like to spend the day in Cozumel.
Best western Caribbean ports on Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas – Insider