Porthole’s Five Faves
Eco-Experiences at Harvest Caye
Five ways to discover Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest island paradise.
As cruise passengers disembark at Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand-new port of Harvest Caye, they can start to see and smell the island’s flora as they walk the canopy-covered pier positioned alongside the mangroves. The recently opened island destination and constructed cruise port in Belize offers plenty to its visitors with inland excursions, watersport activities, ziplines, Belizean owned-and-operated (and locally sourced) retail shops, a 15,000-square-foot pool, a seven-acre beach, and luxury villas.
So whether you decide to do it all or schedule a do-nothing day at the beach, you’ll leave Harvest Caye with a greater appreciation of Belize and its local environment by exploring the eco-adventures.
More in the Mangroves
Discover the local saltwater mangrove estuaries and learn about the local flora and fauna on a guided excursion. The 1 ½ hour sightseeing tour, Lagoon Wildlife and Mangrove Estuaries comes complete with an experienced captain to navigate the protected waters of a local lagoon and also charts a course toward one of the shallow areas to meet the gentle manatees, local birds, and more.
To get a feel for the environment, Harvest Caye also provides ways to get on (or in) the Caye’s own lagoon with kayaks and stand-up paddle board rentals. Take a paddle back among the local mangroves and with each stroke you’ll gain a sense of this important, unique environment. In addition, an inland jungle river-rafting excursion lets you enjoy beautiful jungle scenery along a Class I mountain spring-fed river.
The Sky’s the Limit
The Flighthouse is a thrilling 136-foot-high venue for aerial activities such as suspension bridges, free-fall jumps, a tandem “superman”-style zip line, and stunning views of the island. More than 3,000 feet of zip line includes stops at three different platforms, and a ropes course is located on a platform in the saltwater lagoon.
A short walk from the beach is the wildlife experience, where you’ll find yourself surrounded by exhibits of blue morpho butterflies, a boa constrictor, toucans, and the future site of a scarlet macaws breed-and-release program. Take a stroll through the small park as you listen to local expert Tony Garel, Harvest Caye’s Chief Naturalist, who has more than 25 years of experience working toward conversation efforts in Belize. Harvest Caye also set up a local NGO Harvest Caye Conservation Foundation to continue the efforts for conservation in Belize.
Make your way to the shopping section of the island where you’ll find not only name-brand retailers, but also locally sourced products and musicians who give visitors a chance to discover more about Belize, including the chance taste local food. For example, the eco-friendly organic chocolate, Moho Chocolate, comes from small farms (100 to 200 trees) and workers actually commute to the rainforest along the Moho River as to not disrupt the natural setting and environment. Here, they harvest the cacao for Moho to process. It may cost more than an average chocolate bar, but besides being delicious, it allows patrons to understand the process with a short chocolate-making and educational tour on site.
— Craig Zabransky
Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line
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