ROATAN Maya Key Website:
We booked Maya Key with NCL for this day after reading several remarkable post and pictures from these great informative people here on CC and I just knew that my daughter would love this place (because of all of the animals). I just had no clue HOW MUCH “WE” would love it as well. This place is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! We don’t find a whole lot of places that we visit that make us say “we will come back here” (only 2 places to be exact that we have said this about), but this is one of them…so make that 3 now.
I have to say that, once again, we never book with the ship BUT this island can ONLY be made available with the cruise line! I guess you use to be able to do the tour on your own, but they stopped doing that and you now HAVE to book with the cruise ship in order to go there. So, that’s the reason we did it.
We were to meet at the dock at 8:15am. We cleared customs quickly and as soon as you get off the ship is where they were meeting at. We were one of the first to get there (of course…I’m prompt). I think we waited around for a good ½ hour or so for everyone to finally get in line that had booked the excursion. They put arm bands on us and we all piled in the boat that was going to take us there. The boat was full, but we didn’t find it uncomfortable full if you know what I mean. The boat is right there at the dock, so no walking a long distance or anything. It’s right beside the Star.
The welcome committee was there dancing for us when we got off the ship and the port was decorated for Christmas.
We circled around the Star and BOOM, we are at the island. They said it was a 3 minute ride and I think I blinked maybe twice and we were there. That made it super nice.
When we got off of the boat, they gave a quick talk about the island and what all it has to offer. They told us they would be doing a “tour” with the animals and it would take about 45 minutes or so to do the tour. We decided we wanted to make the most of our short 4 hours that this excursion last and we would just walk around and look at the animals first instead of doing the tour.
Then came the dreaded announcement…when to meet back on the boat to take us back to the ship.,,are you ready for this? They said “You can come back to the dock any time you would like to go back to the ship. We will be running every ½ hour up until 3:30pm”. Um…did I just hear that correctly? Seriously? We were going to get to stay all day????? YIPPEE YA WHOOOOO!!! My day was just made and I was definitely about to make the most of our day there! I think my husband had to grab my hand to keep me from jumping up and down from all of the excitement. If only it was like this on all of the ship tours, I just might book more often and NCL would get most of my money. ARE YOU LISTENING NCL? Give us more bang for our buck with longer times.
So we were off and running. I think most people headed toward the beach area. We headed toward the replica Mayan Ruins to take some pictures hopefully without people in them. As we walked toward that way, the grounds were beautiful and it had lush landscape. Man I’d like to hire the people that work there for my yard. It could use some sprucing up with all of the colors they had there.
Notice they have different clocks around the grounds to keep track of time. They have a clock for each cruise line and what the cruise ship time is. Our time never changed this entire cruise. Both the ports and the ship were on the same time which was nice to not have to worry about that. However, a Carnival ship was there too and they were on a different time than us and the island. I thought this was a nice touch for Maya Key to do.
Everywhere you look is was gleaming with bold colors. Absolutely beautiful.
Along the walk there were macaws and parrots in the trees just hanging out. One of them could talk and Sakari loved it. I’m just grateful that she didn’t walk around squawking like a bird the rest of the day (she has a tendency to do this, we just throw her a bone and she stops...or is that her doggie days? They all run together after awhile. I have to admit, she does a great impression...arms flapped out to the side, neck out, butt out and she has the "walk" down pat!)
My husband and daughter spent some time here. I of course wanted to get the day started and started walking off waiting for them to get the hint.
So finally my family caught up to me (after I was able to get some pictures without them walking in to the frame…by the second day, I had my husband trained that when I stop, he stops behind me. He knows I’m about to take a picture. I have complained for years that I swear he throws a body part in to every one of my pictures on purpose. It was hilarious to see him come to a dead stop the entire cruise when I stopped. I think I got to a point that I was actually testing him. He passed! LOL).
This was the first building we came to. You could go inside to see Mayan "things". I'm not up to date with all of this stuffand what the "terms" are for it. I have never been much of a "history" buff...I just knew that the world was ending tomorrow and I was about to make the most of my day here...come on. Look, snap picture, walk!
Yes, we climbed all the way to the top (like it's really high...not).
"Don't jump, don't do it, you have so much more to see today. Just don't jump" "Ok, if you do, just know I'll be snorkeling solo today" What? Don't judge me, he would have said the same thing. (Love you bunches hubby).
There is a "ball court". No I did not take the time to read the signs on it, I took the "lazy" way out and remember reading about it here on cc. Critters were all around.
You see that arch at the top? Yea, well I really wanted a picture looking through it and I completely didn't notice it when I took the picture. I never did "find" it. I guess that's what I get for "rushing".
Steps little enough for the munchkin to climb. This is the main reason that we have never really did the ruins yet and probably won't for many years. She is just too little. Does she have enough energy to climb the real ones? YES! Most definitely. Do I? Probably not. But would I completely freak out with her going up the real Ruins...um yep. So, we will definitely wait for that one.
Inside the building...(I was a little shocked that they don't have someone in there watching people).
There are steps that you come down to make it out to the beach/grounds where the animals are.
Do you notice that my daughter is carrying something in her hand? She found the most colorful feather that must have been from one of the birds. She loved this colorful feather. She didn't have the feather for long...you will find out why later.
More critters were hanging around. I kind of spooked him when I was walking down the stairs so I didn't get a good picture of him when his head was turned toward me. I can't remember what these are called at the moment but I remember reading up on them.
So on to the animals...
For those that don't know, this is an animal rescue center.
Notice the husband couldn't resist..."But he wanted petted". I'm sure he also wanted a snack! More petting to be done. He was so trying to lose some fingers that day.
What do you think the monkey was reaching for? Any takers? Yep, he took off with Sakari's Macaw feather. She was so disappointed. Notice how it says "Least Concern" at the bottom for the Monkeys? Yep, that about sums it up. They had no concern for Sakari's feather she was saving.
Go ahead, pet it. I dare ya...pet the nice alligator.
More monkeys. He must have taken one too many feathers from little kids. He was in a small house.
This big cat was not impressed by my husband AT ALL. My husband thought he was being cute. "Here kitty kitty kitty". She raised up and showed her teeth. He said it again. She quickly showed him who was boss and the hubby quietly walked away with his tail between his legs. She wasn't playing or having any of his "monkey business".
We only found 1 iguana walking around today. I'm sure there has to be more at this place. He didn't seem to want to play with us either.
I just happen to look up and noticed this...a HUGE termite colony in the tree. It looks just like the one (also in Roatan) that was along our cave tubing hike we did the last time we were here. Yes, we ate them that time around but I didn't see anyone around here offering samples. I tried to find someone. I really did. I needed some fresh breath on this hot day and a Roatan termite would do just the trick! But, no luck. Darn.
The area that you are walking along viewing the animals was so pretty.
By now Sakari had found a coconut and she was as happy as can be. She totally forgot about the Macaw feather that was so rudely stolen right out of her hands earlier.
The sun was bright that day and this area is absolutely beautiful. They take really good care of the grounds (as noted previously with the lush greenery and such) and they had this entire place completely raked. Every bit of sand was raked (until we all came along and stepped on it). But it was definitely a little slice of Island Paradise!
What are these? We found them just laying there like that. (No doubt someone's little mini-me gathered them all up and then was made to leave them there by their parents)...but what are they? Sakari's way of saying she wants something is..."I like those. I wish I had those." Yes, that's what she said here too. I told her not to touch them "They are a family" and that seem to work out well as she stared them down walking away slowly.
...walking right along the water, past all of the animals and I dead stop in my tracks. Um, are those monkeys in the trees just hanging out? With no cage? Nothing separating them from us other than a small little stream? Do they not like water at all? What do they do when it rains? They all go inside the little house on the land there? It was kind of a different experience for sure. I believe they were howlers monkeys...although I don't recall ever hearing a "howl" the entire day. I guess they were pretty content then right?
I guess they had their own oceanfront property.
Right past that is the pier that you walk out to snorkel on.
It was time to finally pick our spot for the day. We grabbed some chairs from a stack and put them where we wanted them under the tree. Plenty of shade or sun for whatever your little heart desires. I prefer the sun, but the hubby had some red shoulders (not as red as they normally get on most of our cruises, but a little red) and decided the shade was going to be "our spot" for the day. It's ok, I stayed out in the water 99% of the time anyhow...which I always do.
Of course Sakari couldn't wait to let us settle in before she was off and in to the water.
The water felt great and it was crystal clear as you can tell from this picture...you can see her entire body in the water.
One of the Maya Key employees was walking around with one of the monkeys on his shoulder. He was letting everyone know that in 1/2 hour he would be over in front of the "Monkey Land" aka running free on their own prime beachfront property area...and that he would give the kids a chance to hold the monkey if they wanted.
Well, last year we did the zip lining with Victor Bodden and afterwards you get to hold the monkeys. Sakari was bitten by one of them. Yep, she still remembers that and said the monkeys are mean. She decided not to go over to hold the monkey.
If you think you are going to see anything from the beach area water...think again. All you will find are little itty bitty fish.
Wait...what is that sound? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it, no wait, back up...yes, it's a plane!!! It was flying low too! I loved it. It was almost a mini-Maho Beach from St Marteen. WOO HOO. I could deal with this. There was a landing strip right "next door" to this island so the planes fly in real low. I never really heard them coming until they were right up on us and I tried all day long to get a video I believe with no success. I guess that gives me another excuse to go back. Sorry, at this point I did not realize that my camera came with a setting for "planes moving fast" on it. I would discover that setting later in the cruise.
I am going to share with you some more pictures from around the grounds there. I actually took these toward the end of the day before we left as some "last minute in case I didn't get them 10 times before this one" shots. So, they may be random. You guys like random right? It keeps you on your toes.
When you first walk in to the restroom part, it is all open and you will find the lockers here. I did not see anyone using them. Then from there, you go in to either the men or womens restroom. The restrooms are really nice, very spacious, and very clean.
Here is a little creation that I made that day for everyone back home...in the cold, some with snow...this one's for you.
Meet Sandy the sandwoman: As Fergie always says "my humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps"
We weren’t at the beach for long before I was twiddling my thumbs, trying to hold back the excitement of wanting to hit this reef I had read about at the end of the pier. There were a lot of reports about how good the snorkeling was there, but I have yet to see any snorkeling pictures to be able to determine for myself what “their” definition of “good snorkeling” was. I know we each have our own thoughts of what is good and it varies. But I just wanted to see some pics! No one has ever provided pictures and when I ask for pictures, I never really got much of a response other than it was GOOD.
We gathered our snorkeling equipment (we have our own) and headed down the long pier, that was right beside the beach where our stuff was at, and I could hardly contain my excitement. The water was clear along the way and I spotted a few fish that looked like trumpet fish or something with a long nose swimming on the top of the water. I tried several times to get a picture of them, but they were quick. This is the best one that turned out.
When we made it to the end of the pier, there were several guys there (that I assume are the “guides” if you need it) and they hang out there all day watching the snorkelers, telling them “where” to go, and helping you with getting your gear on. They also come armed with dish soap to rinse out your goggles before going in. What a nice touch. I know that people have mentioned that they are out in the canoes during the day watching out over everyone, but I did not see them in the canoes at all that day. The canoes were tied up along the side of the dock.
As I started to enter the water down the ladder, one of the guides was coming up out of the water with a small lobster. Everyone around took this opportunity to takes pictures of it. Do you notice that he is laughing? Well, it's because it was dead. I was wondering how he was just holding it like that and it wasn't trying to get away or pinch him. Ok, you got us. Nice trick.
As you go in to the water, the guides tell you to follow the bottles in the water. That will take you where you need to go along the “path”. I didn’t know where it was that I needed to “go”, but we listen to him and followed the path slowly as we took everything in. The bottles were just plastic soda bottles that were tied down in the water and some of them had a big red plastic ball up at the top (so you could see the path from the top of the water as well and tell where people were at). I'll point out the bottles in some of the pictures when I get to them. There are just so many I don't feel like digging through all of them to locate them on my host site.
Alrighty then...here is what you will see when snorkeling. If anyone knows the name of any of these fish, please let me know. There were some that I had never seen before and I am unable to name them.
Then we get to "where" we are going...I had no clue...if I could have gasp in my snorkel, I would have. It was the FINDING NEMO DROPOFF! (I find this funny because right at this moment, my daughter is watching Finding Nemo on t.v. and I'm typing about it). Well, we have now experienced it. It just...drops off! Off to no where but the beautiful deep blue sea. Wow. Very beautiful but yet kind of freaky in a neat way.
The reason they have bottles for you to follow the path is because if you get off the path (which we did by mistake after we hit the open water) is that the coral comes really close to the surface and you can get yourself in to situations that could bang you up and harm the coral. You can see in this picture that it's pretty close to the surface. Some gets closer but it can be a sticky situation to get out of if you are not careful of your surroundings.
Enough of snorkeling FOR NOW (meaning I have a lot more wink wink). The hubby and munchkin had headed back while I SLOWLY continued to explore on my way back (truth be known, I didn’t want to get out or leave this underwater paradise), but figured I would go back too. By the time I made it back and climbed up the ladder to get out…they were nowhere in sight. Nowhere! I mean they had removed their equipment, walked down the long dock and were back at the “campsite” gone. How’d they do that so quickly? Maybe I went slower than I thought.
When we had first arrived, they told us that our cruise ship time for lunch was going to be between 10:30 and 1pm. So, we were getting pretty hungry and decided it was time to head for lunch.
They had a “lunch line”, which there wasn’t many people there when we went and it was under a small roof structure. There is a bar, which offers drinks for lunch. They had the jugs filled with unsweetened tea or water to drink.
Their lunch consisted of the following:
House Salad (which consisted of lettuce, green pepper and carrots only. I guess their "house" didn't grow much there on the island)
Baked BBQ Chiken, which was really good.
Fried Sea Bass <----you talk about good! YUM!
Coconut Rice and Beans, also very tasty.
Fried banana chips, I didn't find these too terribly good. Not bad, but just not as tasty as I thought they would be.
There is a nice dining area with nice chairs under the umbrealls right where the food and bar are located.
Also, I just wanted to mention...the arm bands they have on you when you head here were marked off with a marker as you go through the lane for food. Maybe it's not an "all you can eat" place. I'm not sure. I do know that we had more than enough to get full either way.
Sakari (and I) managed to make a fews friends at this port. So we had lunch with them.
FYI: This place is owned by Anthony Key.
After going back to the “camp site” someone found a caterpillar and gave to Sakari to hold. She loved it.
Then it was time for some more swimming and beach time because we all know you can't get enough of that!
Mommy knew that she wanted to head back out and snorkel some more. This is not the place you go to and snorkel and call it a day. You have to do it more than once...it's just that good. I knew there were definitely more pictures to be taken!
Daddy decided to stay back at the beach with Sakari and I headed off down the pier once again for more adventures.
As I was walking along the pier toward the end, they had put the dead lobster on display for everyone. I had to take another picture.
Back in the water I went. There weren't very many people in the water at that time (not that it was crowded or a lot in the water the first time around, but when I mean there wasn't hardly anyone, I mean there was two other people).
Here are my pictures from this time around.
When I was almost done snorkeling and headed back to the dock, I came across this sticking out from under a huge piece of rock/coral. It was kind of freaky looking and I stared at it forever taking pictures. It never came out and it was just plain weird looking. Anyone have any idea at all what this could have been????
As much as I hated it, I knew I had to get out and say goodbye to this awesome snorkeling area. The family was waiting for me back at the beach and we hadn’t even visited the pool yet for pictures or taken our “Santa hat” pictures. I s-l-o-w-l-y walked back down the pier knowing that I would never get to return to this awesome place (well, at least this visit anyhow) and noticed that the beach area had almost cleared out. Where did everyone go?
We washed off our snorkel gear (they have water spickets to do this by the chairs) and packed everything back in to our bags and headed toward the pool.
But first, time for our Santa hat picture to send back home to the family and friends via facebook...and one by the palm tree since we didn't have a Christmas tree...this would definitely do
The pool and pool area was very nice too (at this point, I don’t think I could find anything not nice about this place). There was plenty of room to sit down and relax while we let our daughter swim for a while. She was busy jumping in and swimming to the stairs over and over and over. You would think this kid wears out but she doesn’t. She can go until 2am in the morning just like me. She had the biggest smile on her face.
Cant' wait to get in the water
Here we go
Full of smiles
We stayed for about 45 minutes or so and then decided to head toward the boat to go back.
As we were walking toward the boat dock, we noticed a different area we hadn’t explored yet. It was the area where you do the shark, stingray swims and where they had the sea lions. Now I knew prior to going that they would not let you swim with the sharks or rays unless you were an older age (I think it’s like 12 years old or something). So, I had completely forgotten about this part. So we went over to check things out.
For some reason I didn’t see any of the rays or nurse sharks. I’m not sure how deep the water was there, but nothing was in sight. The area kind of reminded me of the dolphin swim place at Costa Maya. It was really small (probably smaller than Costa Maya’s was). We kept walking and seen the sea lions. They looked like they might have had a busy day and were sleeping. Not once did they notice we were there. There were 3 of them in sight.
We walked back to the boat dock (sadly) and decided to go ahead and leave at 2:30. There was hardly anyone left on the island, which is normal for us...we stay until the end everywhere we go.
Walking back to the boat, I’m reflecting on things I forgot to mention earlier.
The pool is 4’ deep. There is also a smaller pool that backs up to it (I assume for little muchkins). We did not go in it and neither did my daughter…since she’s a big girl and all and she won’t think twice about telling you that.
There was absolutely NO NO-SEE-UM’S there the day we were there. I know this has been a complaint from passengers and I have ran in to them at Costa Maya when others haven’t, but for our day there, nothing! Nothing at all. We didn’t even use spray either. We encountered NO bugs. Just animals…which we were happy with!
I did manage to see another iguana that day. When we were headed to the pool, you walk across the lunch patio area. There are tress growing up in the patio and they have holes around them. The huge iguana took off in one of the tree holes and hid. I couldn’t get a picture fast enough. Darn.
We got on the boat to head to the port with smiles on our faces. I continued to snap pictures along the LONG 3 minute, blink twice, boat ride.
This was a great snorkeling place. The grounds were beautiful, the animals (rescue) were plentiful and the replica ruins were nice. It gave you a variety of things to see and do instead of just a regular beach day.
The beach is not the prettiest or the biggest, but I was there for the snorkeling and IT WAS AMAZING! If you love to snorkel and see a lot of marine life and corals...this is your kinda place. The food was decent and there were plenty of places to sit.
The pool was nice and a great way to relax, in fresh water, toward the end of the day.
We were very impressed with this place and highly recommend it.