2019 Ports Announced—and We’re Traveling to a New Continent!
We’re still brimming over with joy from last month’s exciting Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise. Traveling across the Caribbean with thousands of like-minded individuals, visiting beautiful and historic towns, dining on delicious plant-based meals together, learning about the movement through lectures and social events—what a rush!
Let’s do it again!
Our 2019 Holistic Holiday at Sea voyage will take place March 3–14, 2019, traveling to a new continent for us—South America! Sailing on the elegant MSC Divina for 11 nights, we will depart from Miami, Florida, and adventure to Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; Cristobal, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Cozumel, Mexico. You can view the full itinerary here. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the highlights of each stop.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Our first stop after a day at sea is Ocho Rios, Jamaica, famous for its beaches, music, and shopping. Translating to “eight rivers” in Spanish, Ocho Rios does not disappoint those seeking pristine waters and aquatic adventures. From kayaking and tubing to swimming and sunbathing, there are so many outdoor activities to experience. The Cobaya Garden and Museum is an indoor/outdoor facility that hosts permanent exhibits on the native Arawak Indians and Spanish settlers and features an explosion of tropical plant and animal life (check out the colorful parrots!).
Another must-see is Dunn’s River Falls that empties 200 feet into the Caribbean Sea. While climbing the natural steps (about 650 feet) of the waterfalls can take about an hour to an hour-and-a-half and includes getting wet, stairs to the side can assist visitors who want to stay dry and avoid the uneven terrain of the waterfall.
One of Latin America’s most photogenic cities, the fishing village of Cartagena, Colombia, was founded in 1533 as a Spanish port and is steeped in history. Feast your eyes on Spanish-Colonial architecture in the Old Town, surrounded by high stone walls. Juxtaposing old and new, Bocagrande shows off a modern skyline with cocktail and music lounges and open-air bars.
Named in honor of Philip IV of Spain, Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is the city’s largest fortress, built to fend off pillagers. Its construction began in 1536 and it is located on the Hill of San Lázaro. Well preserved today, the castle is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Colombian government has used it as a location for social and cultural events in honor of foreign delegations.
Nature lovers are encouraged to take a Mangroves Ecological Tour where they’ll discover a range of birds, including the Kingfisher, White Heron, Pink Spatula, and Pelicans, among others.
For such a small country, Panama packs a lot of adventure. Its size means that the majority of its sights are easily accessible. From Cristóbal, visit the impressive Gatún Lake, which was the largest manmade lake in the world in the early 20th century, created from a dam in the Chagres River. If you choose to take a boat on the lake, don’t be surprised if you see crocodiles, sloths, or various monkey species around. There’s wildlife wherever you look.
The Lake is at the heart of the Panama Canal, the 48-mile passage built between 1903 and 1914 as a link between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts for the shipping of goods. This area is home to more than a hundred species each of mammals and reptiles. You may see a colorful toucan, eagle, or any of 500 types of birds.
Cristóbal has a varied landscape and Panama has an even greater density of plant biodiversity than Amazonia! Don’t forget your camera!
Puerto Limón, Costa Rica
The cultural hub of Limon, Puerto Limón, is Costa Rica’s capital city and home to several museums and attractions, including Parque Vargas, a palm-lined seaside park. Look carefully for two-toed sloths in the trees! Can’t spot them? Head over to the Sloth Sanctuary, sitting on a tiny island at the mouth of the Río Estrella. This is an important rehabilitation and research center for injured and orphaned sloth. There’s also an observation platform for bird watching—and for spider monkeys!
Sail along the Tortugeuro Canal, known as “Costa Rica’s Amazon,” and see colorful wooden houses on stilts. An experienced tour guide can point out some of the wildlife that an untrained eye may miss! The 3,400-acre Veragua Rainforest is a “research and adventure park.” National Geographic Traveler called it “The Cream of the Cream of the Rainforest.”
Costa Maya, Mexico
Mayan temples and pyramids await you in Costa Maya, where architecture dates back to 100 AD. While the Mayans were not the first civilization in the region, they left the greatest impact—these villages.
The three main ruins that aren’t too far from the port are Chacchoben, Kohunlich, and Dzibanche. The first human settlements in the Chacchoben area date back to around 1000 BC. By 360 AD, it had been established as the most prestigious ceremonial center. Containing about 200 mounds, Kohunlick covers about 21 acres and was once a regional center where people stopped along trade routes. Once a major Mayan city and the capital of the Kan dynasty, Dzibanche was a large city with several templates and pyramids, such as the Cormoranes Pyramid and K’inich Na’ Pyramid (meaning “House of the Sun God”).
Soak up the sun on one of the soft sand beaches or rent a jet-ski along the seafront promenade, a miniature version of Playa del Carmen. Save some shopping for the center of this port where you can buy jewelry and souvenir items.
The bright blue waters of Cozumel are breathtaking. The inland blocks of San Miguel hold Mayan ruins and birds. Rent a moped and traverse the perimeter of the island, stopping for some fresh guacamole along the way.
Xcaret is a theme park with a museum, tropical aquarium, Maya village, beach, ruins, pools, and rivers down which you can swim, snorkel, or float. Nearby Xplor has outdoor adventure, including ziplines and a hammock splash (where zipline meets hammock meets cool waters)
Book Now for the Best Deal
While there’s enough onboard to keep you active or relaxed, six ports of call each offer their own unique attractions and activities. We are super excited to add South America ports this year. The super early bird rate ends on April 27. Don’t delay—save your spot today!
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