The worst port we ever visited

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#1
477 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
We visited to this port in March on the HAL Oosterdam. I could find very little on it on both CC and TripAdvisor, and a lot of what I did find was negative.

While I am certain that some adventurous souls would enjoy a boat trip or bus ride to a remote area to hike or pass out school supplies to local children, this isn’t really what appeals to us while on vacation.

And with that said, this was for us the absolute worst port of the approximately 30+ or so we have visited on our many cruises. It is true – this is primarily a loud, fairly busy (ugly) container port. The only thing to do if you are not on an excursion is walk through a large, crowed, stuffy building adjacent to the port where merchants all sell the exact same thing. I am not sure why HAL (or any cruise line) would put in here. Be forewarned.
#2
Chicago area
68 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by richard1s
We visited to this port in March on the HAL Oosterdam. I could find very little on it on both CC and TripAdvisor, and a lot of what I did find was negative.

While I am certain that some adventurous souls would enjoy a boat trip or bus ride to a remote area to hike or pass out school supplies to local children, this isn’t really what appeals to us while on vacation.

And with that said, this was for us the absolute worst port of the approximately 30+ or so we have visited on our many cruises. It is true – this is primarily a loud, fairly busy (ugly) container port. The only thing to do if you are not on an excursion is walk through a large, crowed, stuffy building adjacent to the port where merchants all sell the exact same thing. I am not sure why HAL (or any cruise line) would put in here. Be forewarned.
What port are you referring to?
#4
NYC
1,620 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
We took our two year old with us on Go with Gus' humanitarian tour. The boat trip down the Rio Dulce was quite peaceful and lovely, and we really liked visiting the school (but you should skip that if you have no interest). We didn't visit the Mayan communities or the fort, since that would be too much with a kid and we wanted to see the school (although I totally understand why others might want to skip the school).

The boat ride really wasn't adventurous for our two year old, or the grandparents who came with us. I thought it was a beautiful port with very friendly, hardworking tour guides and I was sorry that the government of Guatemala has imposed such high fees that discourage more cruise ships from coming here (our tour guide worked during days when ships aren't in port on a banana farm.)

The port is basically a container port, and like Roatan, Honduras you should absolutely plan something when you are here ahead of time since it won't be enjoyable to wander around aimlessly.
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#5
New Cumberland,PA, USA
30,798 Posts
Joined May 2000
We actually thought the port was fine...as we joined a private tour over to Antigua...which was fun. Our worst port in over 100 cruises (to 6 continents) was Constanta, Romania.

Hank
#6
477 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Originally posted by Hlitner
We actually thought the port was fine...as we joined a private tour over to Antigua...which was fun. Our worst port in over 100 cruises (to 6 continents) was Constanta, Romania. Hank
Antigua seems like a really interesting place but how long did it take to get there? It looks like about a 400 mile round trip from the port.
#7
Raleigh NC
25,355 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
I'll throw Corinto Nicaragua in the mix for worst ever.
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#8
650 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Years ago my husband and I spent 10 days in Guatemala, with 6 of those days in Antigua (which we loved). Although we almost always take independent tours, if you plan to visit Antigua, I would advise utilizing the ship's tour. Traffic (especially anywhere near Guatemala City) is horrible and drivers can be aggressive which creates fender-benders. If the unforeseen does occur, at least the ship should wait on its own excursions.
#9
47 Posts
Joined Apr 2017
To each his own, but Santo Tomas was one of our FAVORITE cruise stops ever. We don't ever plan to just get off and shop the shops at port, so that was not our plan here either (and admittedly, if that's all you plan to do, there's not a lot here for you). We took a tour down the Rio Dulce to learn about the families and culture and how they live. Yes, we brought school supplies to children, but we did SO much more also. Learned to make tortillas and tasted fresh ones, had coconut water and fresh fruit, met locals, waded in a hot spring, and enjoyed the fabulous scenery. Guatemala is beautiful and the people are kind and friendly. We wish there were more options to visit this port!
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#10
South Carolina
30,961 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Just wish there were more options of things to do in Guatemala ....
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#11
1,028 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
We loved Santo Tomas. It is not a typical port with bars and shopping, which we found refreshing . We took a Rio Dulce tour via boat and it was very interesting and beautiful scenery. There were several other tours offered - trips to Mayan ruins, hikes to waterfalls, kayak tours, beach day at a resort, etc. We definitely will try to include this stop on future trips.


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#12
Mid-South U.S.A.
912 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
This was one of my favorite ports. We took the open air trolley tour through town. Our guide was friendly, informative and gave us a good background of what it is like to live in their town. Yes there was poverty but the children seemed well nourished and well dressed and the people happy. We did a little shopping in the large building adjacent to the cruise dock and got some really unique hand made items.
#14
St. Louis
264 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
Anybody dock in Puerto Quetzal? Sailing on ncl later and its one of the stops.
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#15
USA
205 Posts
Joined Feb 2015
Originally posted by v3cruiser
Anybody dock in Puerto Quetzal? Sailing on ncl later and its one of the stops.
Yes, last year. Of course, with the volcano erupting, I don't know what your stop will be like now, but we had an excellent time there. There were a number of really good excursions - Antigua for example, or the one we went on which was a trip into the mountains to see fascinating Mayan ruins. The port itself had a nice area with a few places to eat or get a drink and some wonderful local crafts for sale. I don't know how much of this has been impacted by the volcano, though. I would guess that many of the excursions that were offered last year are, for the time being, anyway, not going to be available.
#16
St. Louis
264 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
Originally posted by bluegiraffe
Yes, last year. Of course, with the volcano erupting, I don't know what your stop will be like now, but we had an excellent time there. There were a number of really good excursions - Antigua for example, or the one we went on which was a trip into the mountains to see fascinating Mayan ruins. The port itself had a nice area with a few places to eat or get a drink and some wonderful local crafts for sale. I don't know how much of this has been impacted by the volcano, though. I would guess that many of the excursions that were offered last year are, for the time being, anyway, not going to be available.

Thanks for your reply. Right now I'm thinking of taking the on and off tour that starts in antigua.
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#17
Spring Hill, FL
3,557 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
Antigua is a wonderful city. Unfortunately, it is not on the water. One has to take a bus (or something) to get there. Once there, a traveler is exposed to many different things, from food to articles of clothing. I would go back now! However, there has been some issues with natural calamities that will keep that city from having visitors for several months.

I have a stash of things to donate to the local schools in the country. However, my next several Central America cruises do not include Guatemala. I am so tempted to deposit those things in Nicaragua, another country that has had recent issues (civil unrest). Those things are gathering dust on the shelf. I really want to do the right thing.
Jim
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#18
Memphis
24 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
Originally posted by richard1s
Antigua seems like a really interesting place but how long did it take to get there? It looks like about a 400 mile round trip from the port.
It depends on whether you're docking on the Caribbean side or the Pacific side.
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