Harvest Caye, Belize: Don’t Stay on the Ship

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Harvest Caye, Belize is one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s private islands in Southern Belize.  As we spent our day enjoying what this resort-style island has to offer, we wondered, who doesn’t like a resort? If your cruise is docking in Harvest Caye and it’s your first time, don’t stay on the ship.

There are plenty of mixed and controversial reviews about the “man-made” island, however, none of that mattered to me. Our day at Harvest Caye, Belize was solely going to be a day of relaxation.

A day at the beach or pool is always a good day. Don’t you agree? Throw in a bit of exploring and some good food – sounds like a vacation to me!

Would I have liked a stop in the mainland Belize port? Sure! But we were intrigued by the idea of Harvest Caye and ready for a day of some fun in the sun. Also, we were in Belize City last year and we had a blast cave tubing.

This Harvest Caye shouldn’t be confused with Little Harvest Caye. Which is another private island that you can rent out all to yourself on another vacation.

harvest caye belize | featured image

Please note: this trip and post was written pre-Covid.

This was the 5th stop on our cruise with Norwegian Pearl and we were blessed with wonderful weather. We decided that this morning we’d take our time, sleep an hour later than usual, eat breakfast and then leave the ship to explore.  As an afternoon activity, we booked kayaking in advance.

Things to do in Harvest Caye, Belize

View of Harvest Caye Belize from Cruise Ship

There are so many things to do in Harvest Caye, there is no reason to stay on the ship all day. Unless you hate beautiful pools and beaches. Harvest Caye is worth getting off the ship for at least a few hours and soaking up what it has to offer.

If anything, support the locals working on the island and give back to the local economy.

On our walk onto the island from the ship, I can tell you I immediately appreciated the covered walkway. There is also transportation available for those that can’t make the walk. On a hot day like it was, the fans with misters felt amazing!

Harvest Caye is also safe and easy to enjoy.

Activities & Excursions at Harvest Caye

The Pool

Pool at Harvest Caye Belize
Capture a photo of this shot from the 2nd floor of Landshark Bar & Grill

We hit up the pool immediately. This resort-style pool at Norwegian’s private island is large and spacious. The area around it was clean and surrounded by lounge chairs that were taken up quickly.

Luckily, we found two seats close to the pool. After settling in we ordered drinks from one of the servers nearby. There are plenty of servers to take your orders. There is a swim-up bar at the pool, which appeared to be very popular and busy all day.

Inside the blue waters of the pool at Harvest Caye Belize

Large misting fans were set up in a couple of corners around the pool area. There are pool cabanas available for an extra cost, but note you have to book in advance.

Don’t Miss: Best Beach Drinks That Never Fail

The Beach

Sandy beach, blue sky and water at Harvest Caye Belize

The sand at Harvest Caye’s beach isn’t the softest. It was a little rough on my feet, however, not enough to keep me from heading into the salty warm water. The beach was clean and the water enough for me to see my red-colored toenails. No need to worry about rough waves as it is calm and perfect for children to play in.

If you have your own snorkeling gear, you can snorkel, but I didn’t see anything besides sand and broken seashells. I think you have to swim farther out to see any fish or coral.

There is plenty of seating available for everyone at the beach.

At the excursion desk, you can also inquire about the ferry from Harvest Caye to the mainland. There is one available but at an extra cost. You can absolutely book an independent excursion as long as you make appropriate meetup arrangements on the mainland. To be safe and guarantee you’re back on the ship on time, see what shore excursions the ship has available.

Cabanas and villas are also available for a cost throughout the island, some even have their own butlers.

Beach Packing List

Get beach-ready with this packing list! Whether you’re heading on a day trip to the beach or taking a beach vacation, this beach packing list comes in handy each and every time. Don’t miss packing any of these items. Printable included!

Kayaking

Tip of a yellow kayak and a pair of feet pointing towards the lighthouse over the lagoon at Harvest Caye

This was the only excursion we booked for the day and we had a great time. We only kayaked around the mangroves; it was fun and relaxing. Of course, hubby did all the paddling. ?I am not much of a kayaker.

Personally, for someone like me with little experience, I appreciated the peaceful waters and the safe perimeter the mangroves provided. You get to see the lighthouse, watch cruisers zip line across it, you’ll paddle past the rope course and sometimes you’ll get to see a few starfish.

Watch our kayaking video below! 

Besides hanging out at the pool or beach, you can also participate in one of their many activities:

  • Ziplining
  • Paddleboarding
  • Kayaking
  • Nature Center
  • Splash Zone for kids
  • Rope Course
  • Butterfly Exhibit

Next time, we’d like to try zip lining. It looked like so much fun.

NCL as well offers other excursions. For more info, visit the ship’s shore excursion desk.

One Day in Key West, Florida

Is Key West on your cruise itinerary? Plan to a trolley tour, visit Hemingway’s home, see where to get the best key lime pie, and more… all in one day.

Tasty Itinerary: The Food at Harvest Caye

Frozen drink with cherry on top

Unlike other private islands owned by the cruise lines, food and drinks are not included. You must pay out of pocket, so make sure to bring cash or a credit card with you when you leave the ship. The ship card will not work as payment.

TIP: IF YOU’RE ON A BUDGET AND YOU WANT TO SAVE $$, RETURN TO THE SHIP FOR LUNCH.

There are a few bars and restaurants available. We ate at LandShark Bar & Grill by the pool and it was pretty good. We shared fried plantains topped with pico de gallo and cotija cheese, and a basket of fried shrimp.

While it was good, we would have loved some local fare. We had the best Belizean tamales last year in Belize City and we were hoping to find some local cuisine.  Everything was all geared towards what they probably think tourists -the average American- likes to eat.

Still, though, we enjoyed our lunch and drinks.

Also, on the day we were there, they had 2 for 1 margarita. I have a feeling that’s always the special of the day.

Note: Do not forget to close out your check with your server. Someone near us at the pool ditched their check and left the server high and dry. Not cool! The check total, unfortunately, had to come out of the server’s pocket.

Harvest Caye is a Port-of-Call for All Ages

We really enjoyed Harvest Caye. Sure, it is geared towards tourists, but there is nothing wrong with that.

There is something wonderful about being able to get off the ship without any worries and walk right into a paradise. I totally appreciated the small luxuries available, like big clean bathrooms. The lockers are placed throughout to store personal belongings were a huge help at one point. Sometimes it’s those details that make a difference.

Everyone you’re traveling with will be able to find something to do on the island. Some activities are extra, but what excursion isn’t at other ports?

This is a great port-of-call for all ages. It offers something for everyone.

Next Stop: Costa Maya, Mexico

Have you been to Harvest Caye, Belize? Is a port-of-call on your cruise itinerary? Are you planning to leave the ship?

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11 thoughts on “Harvest Caye, Belize: Don’t Stay on the Ship”

  1. You transported me again!!! You’re kind of making me want to go on a cruise now even though I have an irrational fear of cruises. ??

    That tropical paradise looked lovely! I really liked the video too!

    – Lauren Elena

    Reply
    • Your comment means the world to me. I’m always wondered if sharing my experience is enough and if my writing is doing it justice. I also try to be honest with my posts, so it makes me happy to see comments like yours. Also, what do you fear about cruises? They are fun and relaxing. You should at least try it once. Plus, there are always some great deals to cruise and it includes a ton of yummy food! lol

      Reply
  2. You always transport me with your posts! I love them. And they are always so informative. If I ever travel to any of your spots, I will definitely be reading your posts again for trip research.

    Cruise fears- hitting an iceberg or something else that will drown us, a stomach bug or food poisoning that affects a lot of passengers, forced fun with strangers (I’m antisocial (or I think I am but maybe I’m not that bad).

    Reply
    • Awww thank you! Made my day.
      You’re anti-social. I’m finding that hard to believe. Perhaps we click because we are both anti-social and we somehow found each other on the world wide web. hehe.

      Reply
  3. This was great! Thanks for that! Question about kayaking though: from your video it looks like you’re only able to kayak in that small pond-like area. Is that true, or can you choose to go out further if you want? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Kay – The lagoon has a pretty big loop around and it was
      slightly challenging for us as kayaking beginners. You are kept within the confines of the lagoon and you can’t take the kayak outside of it to the bay. It was honestly a nice activity that lasted an hour and then you had time to go do other tings. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thank you for stopping by and reading! -Kathy

      Reply
    • I’m introverted, so I don’t well socializing half the time. I do try. Usually extroverts adopt me OR I find another introvert just like me that understands me. I want to say it’s easier to be social on the web, to a point it is, but I find it so overwhelming sometimes.

      Reply
      • I am the exact same way! No joke. I’ve never thought of it that way, but now that you mention that, I think I have probably been adopted throughout my life by more extroverted friends. That definitely helps!
        Is your husband an extrovert? I often think that I should find someone more extroverted but then I also think maybe I shouldn’t close the door on introverts. Idk?

        Reply
  4. My husband and I are celebrating milestone birthdays on NCL Escape in a couple of weeks. I was excited to find your blog specifically about Harvest Caye! The NCL website is not very informative so I had no idea it was an NCL island. We have booked the Mayan Spice and Ruins Tour excursion. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    Reply
    • That sounds like fun! I believe you’ll be leaving the island for that excursion. Have a great time and report back! The NCL Escape is supposed to be amazing. My BFF was on it last year to Bermuda and loved it.

      P.S. Happy Birthday to you and hubby!

      Reply

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