The Western Caribbean is far less well-known for cruise tourism than the Eastern side, not least because it is home to far fewer islands. On the other hand, the islands that are there are amongst the largest and most famous with Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Cuba amongst them. Western Caribbean cruises also commonly include a few stops in Central America to give you maximum bang for your buck. Some of
the beautiful Central American countries that you can see include Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica. Overall, the most common ports of call include a few in Mexico (Cozumel and Costa Maya most commonly); Ochos Rios, Jamaica; Belize City, Belize; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands etc.
Ochos Rios, in Jamaica, is frequently voted amongst the most beautiful places on earth and its famous Dunn’s River waterfalls are amongst the island’s most popular tourist attractions. Their shallow gradient means that you can walk straight up the waterfall itself, usually whilst holding hands in a human chain for safety – a once in a lifetime experience. Heading west, Belize City is one of the biggest transport hubs in the region and home to the fascinating Eco-Museum, with the building itself being made largely out of recycled materials and the Belize City Zoo.
Common ports of departure include Tampa and New Orleans, or anything else in the Gulf of Mexico, which are convenient for either long or very short cruises to this part of the Caribbean. Longer, more adventurous itineraries may even take you on a trip through the Panama Canal and out the other end to some Pacific ports in Mexico or the US. It’s the variety of ports that makes a good Western Caribbean itinerary most memorable and at their best they contain a good mix of Caribbean, Central American, and Pacific ports. Occasionally, however, you will find some Western Caribbean cruises advertised which do not actually feature any Caribbean island ports – this is not a problem as there are so many other ports and destinations to visit on your cruise.