The third day of our Caribbean cruise was spent in the lovely Mexican island of Cozumel. I have been to several parts of Mexico before as it is an extremely popular winter escape for Minnesotans however I had never been to Cozumel. Once again there was an enormous variety of fantastic excursions to do in Cozumel ranging from visiting nearby ruins to spending a day enjoying the surf and sand. We selected to do a catamaran snorkeling trip to a kid-friendly beach run by Fury Catamaran, the tour outfitter we used. It was a fantastic day and we had a blast.
Our first destination of call during our Royal Caribbean cruise this past Christmas was to Belize. After exploring Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras, Belize has been on my wish list for quite some time and unfortunately I’d only get a taste of this un”belize”able place (as the tour operators rightly called Belize). But a taste was enough to whet my appetite and understand why so many tourists are flocking to the amazing English-speaking cayes (small islands) off the coast of Belize.
By far the largest attraction in Belize is her beautiful, vibrant barrier reef. Belize boasts 190 miles (300 kilometers) of the 560-mile long (900 kilometers) of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is the second largest barrier reef in the world spanning from Cancun on the northeast tip through the Riviera Maya and up to Honduras. Most people come to Belize to enjoy the diverse scuba-diving and snorkeling activities afforded by the reef, however, there are many other fabulous things to do and see in Belize. Belize hosts her own share of noteworthy Mayan ruins, adventure sports and amazing wildlife.
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins
Around five o’clock we boarded our ship for the night, the lovely Milford Manner and sailed off into the sparkling blue depths of the world famous Milford Sound. We felt quite lucky to have such amazing weather and no rain in sight in a place that normally receives rain an average 330 days per year.
View from our ship, the Milford Manor, of the Milford Sound in all her splendor.
Another small ship paved the way ahead but besides this other ship, we were the only ones around.
The Milford Sound travels for ten miles/sixteen kilometers before the fiord meets the Tasman Sea. It is one of the most remote areas of New Zealand in which most of it is impenetrable except the fiord itself and the 34 mile/55 km track which is considered one of the top treks in the world.