This summer, my family went on a Caribbean cruise with our close family-friends. We visited Haiti, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Mexico. It was an AMAZING vacation.
Haiti was the first stop of the cruise. Because of the situation in Haiti right now, most of the island wasn't open to the public. We spent the day on the beach instead.
There was a marketplace on the beach where we were able to buy some souvenirs.
Shopping in the Caribbean was really different. They don't use price tags-- you have to bargain for what you want. Because the vendors in Haiti were so poor, we could hardly walk through the market without being pressed to buy something. It was sad.
The next stop of the cruise was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. While we were there, we decided to climb the Dunns River Falls.
We climbed this 600 foot waterfall, led by a Jamaican guide who sang songs all the way up the falls. It was SO much fun!
Our guides took us to a spot along the river where we could get out of our tubes and go "cliff jumping."
In Grand Cayman, my family went snorkeling.
It was hard to get used to breathing underwater, but it was incredible to see all the fish and plantlife.
These were some of the fish we saw while snorkeling. We also saw a lot of sting rays and even an eel.
We also went to Stingray City while touring Grand Cayman. There, hundreds of stingrays come in search of food. We stood there as the stingrays swam around our feet. We were able to hold them, feed them, and I even kissed one!
Although stingrays can be deadly, they generally only attack in self-defense. For example, if someone accidentally steps on one buried in the sand, it may whip its tail up and inject its dangerous barb, which is filled with venom. Our guide said that he had been stung by a stingray twice and informed us that it was the most painful experience he had ever been through. Luckily, none of us were stung in Stingray City.
The final stop of our cruise was in Cozumel, Mexico. However, part of our group decided to take a boat over to the mainland in Cancun. We wanted to see the ruins of Tulum.
Tulum was unbelievable. This ancient Mayan city has artifacts dating from A.D. 564, although the city itself didn't really begin to thrive until the 1200's.
Although this 2,000 square mile city is small in comparison to other Mayan ruins of Mexico, it still has one aspect that attracts thousands of people each year-- Tulum overlooks the gorgeous turquoise waters of the Caribbean.