Our Favorite Cruise Ports in the Western Caribbean
The Western Caribbean is known for its pristine beaches and the kind of tropical locations travelers dream about. It’s also home to the largest reef in the Western Hemisphere, one of the region’s largest shipwreck diving sites, and centuries-old Mayan ruins. From the architecture of Key West to the coffee plantations of Jamaica, the famous beaches of Grand Cayman, and the colorful coast of Mexico, the Western Caribbean offers unique experiences for every cruiser.
Here are a few of our favorite cruise ports in the Western Caribbean—arguably the most popular cruise destination in the world.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
This picturesque port on Jamaica’s north coast is an early stop on most Western itineraries. Once a former fishing village, its highlights include the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls. This 600-foot waterfall is just a short drive from the cruise port and visitors love to hike there. After viewing it, many of our travelers tell us how awe-inspiring it is to see the cascading water and beautiful rock structures up close. It is a vibrant display of God’s power and creativity.
Top Things to do in Ocho Rios:
- Climb the cascading Dunn’s River Falls.
- Ride the Mystic Mountain Sky Explorer chairlift.
- Enjoy a self-guided tour of the botanical gardens at Shaw Park.
- Tour the grounds of the 18th-century Prospect Plantation.
- Swim the mineral water and waterfalls of Blue Hole.
George Town, Grand Cayman
Home to the spectacular Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman is one of the most popular scuba and snorkeling destinations in the world. The island also boasts Stingray City, where you’ll stand in clear, waist-deep water while velvety stingrays swim around you. George Town is known for more than its sea life. This financial hub also offers luxury boutiques and shopping for local treasures. Imagine enjoying this tropical paradise during the day and then returning to your cruise ship for Christian concerts and teaching in the evening.
Top Things to do in the Grand Cayman:
- Shop duty-free along Cardinal Avenue in George Town.
- Take a turtle safari at the Cayman Turtle Centre.
- Enjoy the view from Great Pedro Bluff at Pedro St. James Great House.
- Wander the gardens of Queen Elizabeth II National Park.
Thanks to explorer Jacques Cousteau, Cozumel gained a mid-century reputation for having some of the best reefs in the world. But there’s more to see here—including ancient Mayan ruins—than what’s visible within its crystal-clear waters. That’s why, statistically, Cozumel is the most popular cruise ship port in the Caribbean and one of the most visited in the world.
Top Things to do in Cozumel:
- Hit the mainland to see Tulum, a significant Mayan historical site.
- See smaller ruins in San Gervasio, on the island itself.
- Stay dry but explore the underwater world on the Atlantis Submarine.
- Walk and shop the ocean promenade in San Miguel.
- Shop for local crafts near Benito Juarez Park.
Almost directly south of Cozumel, this tiny island off the northern coast of Honduras is located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean and the second largest in the world. Like Cozumel, this area is a paradise for snorkelers and scuba enthusiasts but offers plenty more for those seeking sunshine and other experiences. Stroll through the colorful and unique shops with new friends you’ve made. Share your favorite moments of the powerful messages and worship you have experienced together.
Top Things to do in Roatan:
- Kayak in the protected Half Moon Bay.
- Immerse yourself in natural wonder at the Butterfly Garden.
- Ride the chairlift to the private Mahogany Beach.
- Hang out with sloths and monkeys at Gumbalimba Park.
- Relax under a covered palapa at isolated Little French Key.
Costa Maya, Mexico
This unique port on the eastern coast of Mexico often gets overshadowed by Cozumel, but Costa Maya has everything Caribbean cruisers want, from soft sand beaches to an offshore coral reef. Once a sleepy fishing village, Costa Maya is surrounded by dense jungles, clear waters, and serves as a gateway to the Mayan Ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Top Things to do in Costa Maya:
- Enjoy the waterslides and pools of Lost Mayan Kingdom Adventure Park.
- Explore the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben, an hour away.
- Take a 30-minute walk to the fishing village of Mahahual.
- Snorkel among shipwrecks at the Xcaret National Reef Park.
- Dive deep at Cenote Azul, a cavernous spring in Bacalar.
Key West, Florida
Generally, a first or final stop for Western Caribbean itineraries, the temperate weather and quiet waters of Key West have been attracting travelers since Ernest Hemingway sought refuge here. On this tranquil island paradise, he and others discovered a vibrant local culture and some of the most spectacular sunsets in the United States. Whether you prepare to depart for home or stay an extra few days to explore Key West, you’re sure to share the stories from your Christian cruise for years to come.
Top Things to do in Key West:
- Shop Duval Street downtown or the bustling Mallory Square.
- See fluttering color at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
- Tour the Hemingway Home and Museum or the Truman “Little White House.”
- Take a ferry ride to Dry Tortugas National Park for snorkeling.
- Dig your toes in the sand at Smathers Beach.
Discover for yourself why Western Caribbean cruises are so popular. What destinations and experiences are on your bucket list?