We travel to see new lands and learn about other people. We travel to make connections and experience cultures other than our own. Through Holland America Line’s shore excursions, no matter where you cruise you can find tours that introduce and showcase local highlights – whether through food, a musical performance or visit to an historical site. On your next Caribbean cruise, look at these tours that showcase the culture of the islands and leave you with a better understanding of this vibrant region.
“A Stroll Through San Miguel, Mexican Dinner & Mariachi Show”
When you think of Mexico, images of a colorful Mariachi band might come to mind. When in Cozumel, embark on the “A Stroll through San Miguel, Mexican Dinner & Mariachi Show” tour where you can eat, drink, dance and enjoy a Mexican fiesta with a live band. A Mariachi band offers colorful music that inspires the local dancers, whose repertoire represents the different states of Mexico. You will be invited to participate, if you wish! Please your palate with an authentic Mexican dinner and a margarita during the tour. After dinner, walk along the main boulevard and through the downtown plaza and learn more about Cozumel’s history.
“Port-of-Spain City & Cultural Show“
Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is famous for an incredible musical culture, which is showcased on the “Port-of-Spain City & Cultural Show” tour. On this shore excursion, see the highlights of Trinidad’s capital on an island-style, see architectural and historical monuments and learn about the the island’s rich heritage. Heading to the Botanical Gardens to explore and then see a spectacular Culture Show featuring the Flaming Limbo, Calypso and Steel Band, Indian dances and other cultural presentations.
“Puerto Plata Cultural Adventure“
Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a diverse Caribbean island, rich in nature, history and culture. The “Puerto Plata Cultural Adventure” shore excursion takes guests on a walking journey that delves deep into the true flavor of the destination. Walk through the center of the city and learn about the colorful Victorian-style architecture and see the local Plastic Artists Art Galleries. At the rum factory — one of the most popular rum distilleries — learn about this liquor that comes from sugar cane. Next, the journey continues along the malecón (waterfront) to see the San Felipe Fortress. Built in 1564, the fort was intended to protect the city from pirate activity. Stroll to a variety of art galleries, shops and the San Felipe Cathedral located at Independence Square. Taste fresh tropical coconut water — the beverage taking the world by storm — and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
“Made In Curaçao“
It’s hard to feel immersed in a culture without learning about its cuisine. On the “Made In Curaçao” should excursion, you’ll do just that and more! Head to the heart of the historical Scharloo district in the city center. Scharloo is the historical former Jewish Quarter of Willemstad and boasts many beautifully restored mansions that are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is here that a group of local artists, artisans, craftsmen and historians have joined forces to form the Nos Kos (Our Thing) initiative. Their artwork is sold at a pop-up market in Leyba Park. Admire the work and feel free to purchase a memento if you wish. You might also want to photograph the magnificent mural created by a popular Curaçao artist.
At the Aloe Vera Farm, a local guide will tell you about the plantation, the farm and the healing effects of aloe vera. You will see the process of extracting the aloe juice from the plant and in the shop you can choose to purchase products containing this natural product.
Your next stop is at Chobolobo mansion – the original distillery for Blue Curaçao liqueur. The machinery on site is still used today to make the delicious range of Curaçao drinks, and your guide will tell you how the distillation process works. You also will have a chance to taste it for yourself and buy the liqueurs, which make a fun and multi-colored souvenir.
“Island Traditions & Herbal Remedies “
Cultural immersion goes beyond the traditional experiences, and those looking to explore outside of the box and delve into health and wellness take note of this tour in Dominica. This amazing country has the second-highest longevity rate in the Western Hemisphere. On the “Island Traditions & Herbal Remedies” you’ll discover some of the practices that are slowly gaining Dominica recognition as the modern-day Fountain of Youth.
This excursion highlights traditional farming practices and herbal remedies passed on from generation to generation. Meet an organic-herb farmer whose wealth of knowledge and wide variety of herbs will amaze you, as he takes you into his world and fascinates you with many tried-and-true herbal remedies. You’ll be in harmony with nature as you enjoy a walk through the garden, hearing about the multitude of properties and uses of the various medicinal herbs. Let your senses be delighted by the aroma of the freshly cut select herbs; then, taste the infusions prepared just for you.
At a visit to a typical vegetable garden, you will be greeted by a member of the family for a guided tour of their subsistence farm. Learn all about traditional composting and farming practices that make for healthy living and healthy eating. Pick a fruit or vegetable, plant a tree, or gain information to inspire your next backyard project. Indulge in a tasty local snack that gives an opportunity to savor Dominica’s national dish, all prepared with fresh produce from this very garden.
Looking to experience the culture of the Caribbean? Holland America Line has a variety of tours for every interest.