Hi TravelingMamas – I’m taking a cruise to the Western Caribbean soon and I’d like to get in touch with places so that I can give back while on vacation. The cruise originates in New Orleans with port stops in Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Costa Maya. Any assistance is appreciated.
Cruising for a Cause
Hi Cruising for a Cause –
I’m so excited your are taking time from your vacation to give back to those in need. Cruises are a great way to see different destinations, help a variety of charities, and have a vacation as well. I’ve been to all these destinations and have even given back at most of them. I was introduced to giving back while on vacation through Nancy Schretter, founder of Together for Good. We cruised for a cause together a few years ago on the Norwegian Spirit and it was one of my most rewarding trips ever taken.
Before cruising to each of these ports, keep in mind that you will be limited on the amount of donations you can bring into each country. Whatever you bring off the ship will have to be carried a long way by yourself. Here are some tips and suggestions, along with contact information for the port stops on your cruise:
Ciudad de Angeles – This is an orphanage that provides a family-type environment for over 20 children. Their website provides a wishlist of items needed. Contact the orphanage at least 48 hours in advanced and they will give you the best time to drop off items. You will take a taxi to the address given to you when you make arrangements.
Cozumel Chrysalis Group – This non-profit group provides school supplies to low-income families in the Cozumel area. Paradise Beach is a drop off point where backpacks of supplies are collected and then you can spend the rest of your day relaxing on the beach.
Check out all places listed in Mexico on Together for Good.
Dorothy Menzies Child Care Centre – This a convenient place to drop items while on your cruise. This residential childcare facility is located in Belize City and takes donations of a variety of school and care items. You will not be allowed to take photos of the children or interact. I will warn you, this is is not a colorful facility like you might see in the US and you will see that your items are much needed. Contact Karl Menzies by email.
The Liberty Foundation – Located near Ladyville, this residential facility houses 25 children ages 1 to 11. Contact Delfina Mitchell, the director, to make arrangements for dropping off items and visiting with the children. You can also ask here what items are most needed before arriving. She can be contacted via email.
Check out all places listed in Belize on Together for Good.
There are a number of places in need on the Island of Roatan. I have not visited any of the places in need listed, but recently a few cruise writers made a stop at a local orphanage while taking a shore excursion. The tour was arranged through Victor Bodden of Bodden Tours.
Check out all places listed in Honduras on Together for Good.
Uai Nat Ze – Costa Maya is a really good port for mixing voluntourism and fun. There are a variety of opportunities, depending on area needs and the time of year. During a port stop with Nancy, we delivered needed supplies, decorated the kindergarten in Mahahual, and spent the afternoon enjoying an authentic meal with some locals. Contact Kevin at Uai Nat Ze to arrange your visit. You can read all about our day in Costa Maya.
I hope this information is helpful to anyone cruising for a cause. What Nancy Schretter has been able to accomplish with her site Together for Good has been unbelievable. If each cruise passenger brought just one backpack of needed supplies to at least one port on their cruise vacation, then so many children of the ports would benefit.
TravelingMamas.com and friends will be planning a Cruise for a Cause this Spring. As soon as the details are available it will be posted here on TravelingMamas.com and other online outlets. We hope you’ll join us for fun and giving back while on vacation. But you don’t have to wait for a group cruise to do some good. Anyone can help these destinations at anytime they are on a cruise with these port stops.
Have a question for TravelingMamas.com? Send us an email. We’ll do our best to get the answers you need. Please keep in mind, we are not trip planners or travel agents and cannot help you plan your individual travel needs, but we can give you ideas on what to do and where to go.