Today, I am pleased to have a guest post from a fellow cruise and adventure lover. Don Bucolo, my friend over at EatSleepCruise.com, shares the Seven Best Shore Excursions to Give You a Thrill on a Caribbean Cruise.
While many people dream of relaxing vacations (which is never a bad idea), others seek out a little excitement on their trips.
When contemplating your next adventure, you may not be thinking of a Caribbean cruise. Many travelers don't realize that cruises can offer exhilarating experiences. Today's cruise ships feature plenty of invigorating attractions -- from surfing and indoor skydiving simulators to ropes courses and full-fledged water parks.
But, the ships are not the only places that can provide a rush of adrenaline on your cruise vacation. Various ports of call throughout the Caribbean also give thrill-seekers great opportunities for heart-pumping, one-of-a-kind fun.
If you are looking for ports of call that offer more than beaches and shopping, check out our list of the most thrilling shore excursions to experience on a Caribbean cruise.
Climb a Waterfall. Yup, you read that correctly! When visiting Jamaica (either Ocho Rios or Falmouth), you are not far from Dunn's River Falls, a 600-foot-long and 180-foot-high terraced waterfall area. Brave souls can either go it alone or join a human chain to ascend this natural wonder, climbing over 180 feet from the base to the apex. Cruisers of all ages and abilities can safely make the climb; but it is not for the faint of heart. During our last trip up the falls, several would-be climbers bowed out at various stages along the path.
Go Off Road in the Desert. Not exactly your idea of a tropical paradise, the arid island of Aruba looks more like Arizona than a tropical island. A variety of cactuses and incredible limestone coasts are all part of the journey. The desert is home to gorgeous natural rock formations and pools. You'll find no better way to get up close than to tour the island on an ATV. Get your camera ready as you travel through the most picturesque parts of Aruba on this high-octane ride through the desert.
Compete in a Yacht Race. One of the most highly rated shore excursions in the Caribbean is found in one of the most frequently visited islands, St. Maarten. On the Dutch side of the island, become part of the crew on a working America's Cup yacht and get ready to compete. The "12 Metre Challenge" is unlike any other tour. Race alongside seasoned captains as you man previous America's Cup-winning yachts in a race around the island. It is a race to the finish, so be prepared to man the masts and work hard to earn that victory.
Fly Down the Longest Zip Line Over Water. Royal Caribbean sails cruises to its private beach resort on Haiti. At the port of Labadee, you have the opportunity to take a ride down the Dragon's Breath Flight Line. This half-mile long zip line is the longest over water, and the close to two-minute ride can reach speeds close to 50 mph. While getting set to soar, you get breathtaking views from the 500-foot high hillside. Your wearable video cameras were invented to capture experiences like this!
Hike a Tropical Rain Forest. You do not need to travel to South America to experience the amazing flora and fauna of a rain forest. When you visit San Juan, Puerto Rico, either during a cruise or ahead of your embarkation, you can take the 45-minute ride east to the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest system, El Yunque National Forest. Several hikes and walks are available, from well-paved paths of less than a mile long to several difficult hikes lasting hours on unpaved terrain. So, you can find opportunities for cruisers of all abilities and fitness levels to journey through the rain forest.
Get Up and Get Cruising
So if you thought that a Caribbean cruise had to be spent lying on a beach, I hope now you realize there can be much more to one of these vacations than just lounging around. Your next cruise can be filled with plenty of adventurous tours that will keep you active and have you hanging by the edge of your seat, sometimes quite literally.
Of course, after you experience one of these thrilling shore excursions, you will have earned a little down time. So, go ahead and reward yourself with a frozen drink (or two) and maybe even some time on a beach chair. After all, it is still a vacation.
About the author ...
Don Bucolo is one half of the husband and wife travel writing team at EatSleepCruise.com. Don and his wife, Heidi, love to explore the world via cruise ship and share their stories and adventures with other liked-minded cruisers. With cruise reviews, shore excursion reviews, travel tips, and their own unique sense of humor, they help travelers "sea the world, one port at a time."