Top 5 Shore Excursions in the Caribbean You Need to Explore

Cruises attract vacationers of all breeds due to the near-limitless amenities offered onboard. However, what happens off board can be just as enticing as what happens onboard. Spending time in port gives cruise goers the opportunity to explore a new and exciting world of food, culture, and adventure.

As one of the most popular cruising destinations on the planet, the Caribbean is jam packed with tourist-friendly port excursions for every type of traveler. In this blog, we’ve compiled our ultimate list of the five best shore excursions in the Caribbean, along with various cruise itineraries that will take you there. 

Swimming with pigs in the Bahamas

Photo by Viator  

First up is a refreshing dip in the beautiful blue waters of the Bahamas. However, this is not your typical ocean swim. In this extremely popular tour package from Viator, group members will have the incredible opportunity to mingle and swim with the island’s local pig population.

After taking a 30-minute boat ride to the beautiful Rose Island, you will have the opportunity to lounge on the luxurious beaches and enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. Here, you will get to meet these friendly and sweet swimming pigs, giving you the unforgettable opportunity to splash around and snap as many Instagram-worthy pictures as your heart desires. 

This four-hour tour enhances your in-port experience by providing you with a truly one-of-a-kind beach adventure. If you’re interested in checking this off your bucket list, consider booking your next cruise to the Bahamas with Royal Caribbean or Carnival, as they both offer a plethora of Caribbean itineraries sure to be worth your while.

Waterfall Tour in the Dominican Republic

Photo by Viator

The next stop on this Caribbean excursion adventure is the beautiful Dominican Republic. Known for its year-round tropical weather and stunning natural beauty, the Dominican Republic is the perfect place to unwind after a long stretch at sea. 

In this affordable and unforgettable shore excursion, you will be guided through the Dominican jungle to a series of seven different waterfalls. Once equipped with the necessary gear (shoes, helmets, and life jackets), you will venture up through the tropical wilderness to each of the seven waterfalls. Not only will you have the opportunity to swim in their sublime waters, but you will also get to slide down natural water slides and explore nature’s beauty in a secluded paradise. 

This tour also includes a buffet-style lunch with beverages included, making it the perfect half-day adventure to give you a small taste of all that the Dominican Republic has to offer. If you’re interested in stopping in the Dominican Republic on your cruise vacation, check out this incredible itinerary from Celebrity Cruises. 

Free Walking Tour in Havana, Cuba

Cuba is one of the most culturally and historically rich countries on the planet. From its tropical climate to its traditional music to its long and turbulent political history, it is the perfect place for travelers looking to get a diverse and immersive Caribbean experience. 

One of the must-do shore excursions of this island nation is to take a walking tour of the historic capital of Havana. Strawberry Tours offers a number of diverse walking tours to choose from. Whether you want to explore the history of the Cuban Revolution or are looking to get to know all that the Havana nightlife has to offer, this is the perfect tour company for you. And the best part? Each and every one of them are free. 

The “Essential Free Tour Havana” provides an in-depth introduction and exploration of this remarkable city. You’ll spend the day roaming its streets and learning all about architecture, history, daily life, and culture from a knowledgeable tour guide. If you’re planning on staying a few days in Havana, this is the perfect way to get to know the ins and outs of the city all the while learning about its fascinating charm. 

Getting to Cuba, however, comes with its challenges. As of 2019, the US government has faced heavy restrictions forbidding cruises from porting in this beautiful Caribbean country. 

However, not all hope is lost, as all it takes to add a stop in Cuba to your Caribbean vacation is a little research, luck, and determination. And with everything Cuba has to offer, it is well worth the trouble. 

Bacardi Rum Distillery in Puerto Rico

No visit to the Caribbean islands would be complete without stopping at a rum distillery, and this one in Puerto Rico is sure to please. As the world’s largest premium rum distillery, this is a can’t-miss spot just a stone’s throw from San Juan’s cruise port. 

The distillery itself offers a wide range of guided tours, from a VIP Founder’s experience to a Mixology course to a simple rum tasting. The features of these tours vary, but you can rest assured that no matter which one you choose, you’ll get to learn the ins and outs of the rum business all the while sampling the rich flavors of the world renowned Bacardi rums. 

Unique among its tours, the Mixology course is perfect for those hoping to take some knowledge back home with them. You’ll learn not only the fundamentals of mixology, but you’ll also learn how to craft the perfect cocktails to impress your friends and family back home. 

Interested? Consider booking your Puerto Rican cruise vacation with Royal Caribbean, as they have on offer a wide range of cruises with port stops in San Juan. No matter which one you pick, you are sure to garner memories to last a lifetime. 

ATV Tour to Secret Beach in Aruba

Photo by Viator

Rounding out this list of the best shore excursions in the Caribbean is this exhilarating ATV tour in Aruba. Taking you to exclusive, hidden locations on the island, this tour is guaranteed to give you the adrenaline-inducing adventure of your dreams. 

On this excursion, you will have the opportunity to drive your very own ATV through paradise, allowing you to access beaches and sightseeing locations inaccessible to most tourists. In addition to swimming at these secret beaches, you’ll also be able to go cliff diving and hiking, giving you a one-of-a-kind, action-packed experience. 

The best part of this shore excursion is that your guide will pick you up directly at your cruise’s port location, making navigating to and from this tour as simple and seamless as possible. There are plenty of cruise lines that dock in Aruba, but these itineraries from Carnival Cruises are some of the most valuable offers out there. 

These Caribbean Shore Excursions Are Waiting for You!

white cruise ship on sea under white clouds and blue sky during daytime
Photo by Colin Lloyd

As you can see, the Caribbean is home to a host of unforgettable shore excursions that are sure to elevate your cruise vacation. With the region’s rich history and stunning topography, you are sure to find a shore excursion that’ll have you reminiscing for years to come. Whether you choose to swim with pigs in the Bahamas or taste the world famous rum in Puerto Rico, you are sure to have a blast. And the best part? When the adventure’s over, you get to return to the ship and continue with your wonderful cruise experience. That’s what we call luxury.