Harvest Caye is one of the best Norwegian Cruise Caribbean destinations. On the island, you can immerse yourself in nature on the 75-acre oasis with a pool, salt-water lagoon for water sports, a huge beach and fun shore excursions like zip-lining or snorkeling.
So What is Harvest Caye?
Harvest Caye is one of the newest ports in the western Caribbean cruise itinerary for Norwegian Cruise Lines. It was opened in November 2016 and features exciting activities and beautiful views! Some of the most popular include a huge swimming pool, a 1300-foot-long zip line, and a white sand beach.
The island is owned exclusively by Norwegian Cruise Line and the port is definitely one of the most natural Caribbean cruise ports. Norwegian Cruise Line partnered with the government of Belize to make this cruise port as authentic as possible, so you won’t find shops like Diamond Internationals. And, all of the staff working on the island are locals, (all the restaurants, amenities, and stores are locally owned).
Things to Do at the Harvest Caye Port
On our itinerary on the Norwegian Escape, we had quite a few other exciting ports like Cozumel and Costa Maya, so we decided to take it easy and rented paddleboards at Harvest Caye. We had quite a bit of time after we were done paddleboarding and had time to swim, spend time on the beach, do the Wildlife experience, see the butterflies, and hang out by the pool. So let’s start – the best things to do at the Harvest Caye Port (a lot of them are free).
Paddleboarding and Kayaking on Harvest Caye ($29)
On the far side of the island near the lighthouse, you will find a calm area that features a few bends and turns for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. The area is marked off from the surrounding water and feels far away from the rest of the activities. You can rent a kayak or a paddleboard before cruising or when you arrive to the island – the price will be the same.
Relax by the Pool (Free)
To the right of the welcome center is a 15,000 square foot swimming pool. This swimming pool is huge, beautifully designed and has a swim-up bar. And with the whole island for Norwegian guests, the pool wasn’t overcrowded!
Use this waterproof phone case while at the pool.
Swim and Play Volleyball at the Beach
After you’re done relaxing at the pool, enjoy your beach day. Behind the pool area and across the pavement you will find a 7-acre beach with at least 2,500 lounge chairs. There is plenty of shade and the water in December was perfect for swimming!
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Wildlife Experience (Free)
On Harvest Caye, you will find a small “Wildlife Experience”. Inside, there is a boa constrictor, and two aviaries with a toucan and scarlet macaw – species of animals that are indigenous to the island. The entire area is free but only takes a couple of minutes to walk through.
There are many beautiful flowers and plants, which make the island very colorful, giving it a tropical Caribbean scent. You will find out more about these flowers and plants at the wildlife experience. If you’re already on the island, take a minute to walk through and meet some animals!
Bonus: the Blue Morpho Butterfly Sanctuary (Free)
Inside the Wildlife Experience, you will find a sanctuary with hundreds of butterfly species in a glasshouse.
Kids Splash Area (Free)
If you have kids, check out the splash area. You will find it a bit further along the pavement dividing the pool and beach area. With tons of contraptions spraying water in every direction, kids are sure to get wet and have a blast without having to worry about the depth of the pool or the ocean’s waves at the beach.
Ziplining Above the Island ($29-$89)
The whole time we were at Harvest Caye, people were flying through the air on the zipline over the island. The best route goes from the lighthouse, over the beach, and across the water. Every minute a new person would go above our heads, and they seemed to enjoy it a lot. Of course, there was a free zipline and rope course on-board of Norwegian Escape, so we decided to do other stuff on the island instead. The zipline costs between $29 to $89, depending on the route you want to take and adult versus child pricing.
Bonus tip: Sunscreen on the ship can be expensive so you should get it before you go!
Ropes Course ($19)
If you have an older kid or teen, they might be interested in the ropes course. It seemed to be fun and there was hardly any line there.
Shopping on Harvest Caye Island
Harvest Caye has a number of souvenir stands and shops selling everything from small trinkets to bamboo bed sheets.
Harvest Caye Tips and Tricks – Things to Keep in Mind
Bring Cash or Credit Card and Ship Card
You have to carry cash or a credit card to shop or purchase anything (even a meal) on the island. Your ship card is not accepted at the port but required for onboarding the ship and for renting lockers.
Lockers Are For Rent
Around the island, you’ll see several lockers that you can rent. They cost $5 for the full day and you can use your ship card (no cash is accepted). I left all of my valuables in the stateroom to avoid using the lockers and kept my ship card and go pro with me the whole time. I left the beach towel and clothes on the beach when I went swimming and didn’t even worry about anyone taking it!
There is a 12.5% Tax and 15% Service Charge at Restaurants
Food and drink on Harvest Caye can be pricey. Most beers are between $6-7, while a burger and fries can cost $13-15. On top of that, however, is a 12.5% tax and 15% for a service charge (a tip).
Go Back to the Ship for Lunch
If you don’t have any long excursions planned for Harvest Caye, you can just walk back to the ship for lunch and come back out for more sun and beach time! The island is pretty small and you can always get a ride to move things along.
Get a Ride Up and Down the Pier
To get to Harvest Caye, there’s a lengthy walk from the ship down a long pier. If you have mobility issues, you can use a cart that brings passengers from the ship to the shore. If you are walking the pier, be sure to stay on your side of the walkway to let the carts pass.
There’s No Wi-Fi at Harvest Caye
I went in search of wi-fi around the island and found that there were no restaurants that allow passengers to use WiFi (free or paid). I was told the only place to get access to WiFi is at the cabanas (nearly $600 to rent), so if you planned to connect while in port, you should choose another port!
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Harvest Caye is a great port with a lot to do for free! You can use this port for a less adventurous beach day and enjoy some time in the pool. Are you going to Harvest Caye? What do you plan on doing?