This important Port of Call Destination will likely be on your Royal Caribbean cruise itinerary when sailing the Caribbean. You’ll need to what you can do and how to experience Royal Caribbean’s Cococay Bahamas which is a private island resort only cruise guests can enjoy. We’ll guide you through the stunning island to make sure you don’t miss out on anything during your port of call visit.
Do note that Royal Caribbean recently announced that big changes are coming to CocoCay with new features and enhancements. You read all about it here.
Royal Caribbean’s Private Island
Little Stirrup Cay, commonly known as Cococay, is a modern-day private cruise port, owned by Royal Caribbean. The one-mile-long, 200 yards wide island is located 55 miles south of Nassau and is part of Berry Islands, a chain of small cays in the Bahamas.
And as it is common with the Bahamas, Cococay is a sight to behold with its burst of colors ranging from lush green interiors surrounded by long stretches of white sandy beaches, met by turquoise blue crystal clear waters.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has invested $20 million and turned this island into a choice cruise port for its cruisers. Resulting in a modern cruise port with restaurants, shopping outlets, many fun shore excursions and most importantly private beaches for you to enjoy without the hustle that is public ports.
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Things to do in CocoCay
If you are planning on going on a Royal Caribbean Cruise or any sister cruise line soon, then read these 15 things that you can do at Cococay and plenty of other tips and tricks, to help you have a pleasant experience when you visit the private island. Other cruise lines that visit the port include Celebrity Cruises and Azamara cruises which are owned by Royal Caribbean.
Cococay is just a simple island with beautiful beaches. Therefore, most of the activities on this cruise port revolve around water, splash, sun, and sand.
1. Caylana’s Castle Cove
Opting to be a bit different from other cruise lines, Royal Caribbean built the largest aqua park in the Caribbean on Cococay. The 20,000 square foot park is fitted with giant inflated water obstacle course structures which include two giant castles with a climbing wall on one side and a slide on the other, two trampolines, rolling logs, and floating sidewalks.
This is the ultimate go-to place on the island for the adventurous, young at heart kind of person. If you are looking for an activity that is fun yet challenging, then head on over to Caylana’s castle cove. (Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a kid’s play area, this challenging yet fun aqua park, will give you quite a workout.)
Test your stamina on the floating sandcastle, by climbing on one side and sliding on the other, or jump around on a trampoline in the middle of the ocean, what could be more fun than that?
If climbing is not your thing, then try balancing on the water logs, or go on the giant water slide that runs from the beach and into the waters. If you have kids, they can also enjoy their own aqua park, which features similar but smaller water toys. This excursion will cost you about $22 or $37 if you take both the aqua park and water slide package.
To get a better snorkeling experience, all snorkelers know that, where you choose to snorkel makes all the difference. If you are fascinated by the deep blue ocean, it’s beautiful coral reefs and marine life, then snorkeling is a must do on your Cococay port day.
Venture out into the sea using a boat, to get to the best snorkeling spots. To avoid the hustle of renting gears and looking for a local tour guide, just book this excursion with your cruise line.
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When you get off the tender ship, head to the left end of the beach, there are excellent spots for snorkeling there. Also, go snorkeling, where the plane and ship ruins are found, some of the island’s sea life hangs out there, such animals as small fishes, jellyfish, and even the lionfish.
3. Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is a great past time on port days, especially on Bahamian Islands, which have access to some of the best coral reefs in the world. Book a scuba excursion through Royal Caribbean Cruises and get to see a variety of fishes like the parrotfish, eagle fish, stingray and many others.
The guides at Cococay are knowledgeable and friendly. They will take you on the excursion while telling you all about the various marine life on the island while leading you to the coral reef, where you can dive up to 40 feet deep.
If you have booked your excursion via the cruise they will provide you with the diving gear such as a tank, regulator, mask, and fins. But if you don’t like sharing scuba gear, then it’s better to bring yours, though be aware that the lifeguards will require you to wear a snorkeling vest, which they rent out at the port for $6 per piece.
Now, remember, you have to be a certified diver to go on this excursion, so remember to carry your C card. This cruise excursion will cost you about$68 and $57 to dive with or without equipment.
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4. Go on a Jet Wave Tour
The fastest and most exhilarating way to explore Cococay and the Berry islands is through a jetski. Blaze through the waters, and zoom past the lighthouse, starfish alley and the abandoned island community of Cococay using this 1hour guided Jet Wave tour. You can opt to drive yourself or ride as a passenger. This will cost you roughly $104 or $38 respectively.
If getting into the water doesn’t necessarily fill your bill, then opt for kayaking instead. The waters at Cococay are crystal clear allowing you to view marine life in their ecosystem, while gracefully gliding through the waters. This ninety-minute excursion will leave you energized and refreshed to take on any other beach activity or leave you nicely tired, to relax at the beach.
Tip: Remember to bring a lot of sunscreen, a hat, good light-deflecting sunglasses and a bottle of water.
Due to much activity near the beach, the waters there may not be clear to do any decent snorkeling on. So, take a two in one kayak plus snorkel tour combo, where you will be guided to a good snorkeling spot offshore. There, you will interact with various sea life such as conch, stingrays, sea turtles and more. Kayaking adventures usually cost between $43-72.
6. Glass Bottom Boat Tour
While still on water activities, we cannot forget to mention boat rides. These simple, relaxing excursions are usually underrated, yet so good. Clear bottomed boat rides allow you the same snorkel experience, minus the effort. Cruise at a leisurely pace, and explore the sea life under your boat through the glass bottom.
All this while the guide tells you the various aspects of the marine life and coral reef formation. It is also a nice way to access great snorkeling spots, without tiring yourself out with a kayak. The guides at Cococay are so helpful and friendly, that they will once in a while dive into the waters, and bring back sea animals like the starfish for you to observe closely.
7. Cococay Nature Walk
Unlike most cruise destination ports, Cococay is just about relaxing and enjoying the sun. Take a peaceful, soothing nature walk, through the island, exploring its flora and fauna. A guide and naturalist will take you through the island, giving you the island’s history and helping you identify the different species of animal and plants available on the island.
Get to see such things as iguanas and different species of birds. The nature trail was renovated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to adopt a hardened path, which is easier to access even via wheelchair, so, now everyone can go on the tour without any limitations. This excursion will cost you about $30.
Tip: Remember to wear good walking shoes, if planning to go on the nature trail.
Soar high like an eagle, getting a bird’s view of the island and the water beneath on a parasailing excursion. If you are not afraid of heights and love extreme adventures, then this excursion is definitely for you. At just $100 per person, this 1-hour adventure will give you an unforgettable experience.
It starts with a boat ride, that lets your parachute inflate and fly as the boat pulling it gains momentum in the open waters and the next thing you know, you are 400 feet above the sea.
9. Visit Stingray Cay
Otherwise known as stingray city, stingray cay hosts a huge population of brown southern stingrays. Take a guided speedboat tour to the site and interact, pet and feed stingrays while taking vacation pictures for your Instagram or travel album. This one-and-a-half-hour adventure will cost you about $60.
10. Float in the Ocean on a Floating Beach Mat
Rent a floating beach mat, at $18 and lie on the clear blue waters of the ocean floating around, soaking in some sun, or just hanging out.
Cococay Beach Life
A day vacationing in the Bahamas would not be worth a cent, if beaches were not in the itinerary. As is usual with Bahamas beaches, expect white sandy beaches with crystal clear warm ocean waters. Cococay has at least 4 such beaches and unlike many cruise islands, these beaches are appropriately named according to what they are best known for (well, at least two are anyway).
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11. Snorkel Beach
First off, we have the snorkel beach which is the nearest beach, to the tender station. It is located east of the tender station and here is where you want to go if you are looking forward to doing some snorkeling. There is a variety of fish life to be seen on the snorkel beach.
There are also snorkel gear rental shops located on this beach where you can rent gear anywhere from $10.
12. Coconut Willie’s Beach
This is where you should head to if you have kids and or are planning to splash around in the shallow ocean waters all day. Located to the right of the tender, this beach features the famous Caylana’s Castle Cove Aqua Park.
This park has giant inflated water play toys including a giant inflatable water slide. This is where you want to take your kids to enjoy themselves, while you soak in the sun on one of the many free loungers or hammocks available on this beach.
Note: If you wish to take a nap on this tropical island in a Hammock, get to the island early, as they get occupied pretty fast.
If you are not lucky enough to grab a lounge chair under the palm and casuarina trees, you can rent a beach umbrella for about $20 to $40 for the whole day, or book a cabana (more of this on the south beach point next).
13. South Beach
As the name suggests, this beach is located at the southern end of the beach from the tender. It offers a private atmosphere away from the crowds. And takes privacy a notch higher, by featuring beach beds and private bungalows.
For just $244 you can get access to either one of these facilities, and enjoy extra perks such as personal waiter services, extra options on the menu, including seafood, 2 beach mats, 4 large bottles of water, fresh supply of towels, snorkel gear and equipment and lastly some much needed shade out of the glaring Bahamas sun.
This beach also hosts a floating bar, grab yourself an island-themed frozen drink to refresh yourself.
14. Water Sports Beach
This beach is adjacent to the snorkel beach and just as the name suggests, it’s good for a variety of water activities. At the water, sports beach is where you can get kayaks, wave runner’s, paddle board and other watercraft. On this beach also is the newly added Cabana Cove area, which features $294 a day cabanas that offer a lot of amenities similar to the private bungalows on the south beach.
15. Cococay Food and Drinks
To start off, some great news…..your drink packages still work on Cococay Island. The lunch served on this island is free and the menu is mostly barbeque, including hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken.
The options offered on the island, though similar to the Windjammer’s menu are surprisingly good. Little stirrup cay also has enough bars on the port, for you to enjoy a cold drink. Grab the famous Coco Loco drink on the island.
Note: Lunch is served from 10.30 AM to 1.30 PM, arrive early, to get good seating, as the lines grow long very fast.
For those with private bungalows and Cabanas, you have the option of getting different dishes like lobster and champagne at no extra cost.
Also Read: Here’s Everything About Carnival’s Private Island of Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.
16. Cococay Shopping
The first thing that greets you right after you get off the tender boat, is the colorful energetic straw market. If you love to shop, this is definitely a place to visit. You will be able to buy such things as jewelry, island-themed t-shirts, beautiful cover-ups, hats, ornaments, sunglasses and more.
Carry a bit of cash for shopping, for even though your stateroom keycard is good for just about any transaction on the island, you need some cash for the straw market and for tipping the helpful guides and island staff. You can also carry your credit card, some of the stalls in the market accept credit cards.
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We cannot end the article without informing you of Cococay’s weather so that you can plan your trips accordingly. While many would be forgiven for thinking, it’s always sunny and hot in the Bahamas, that is not the case at all and just like home, there are winter seasons in the islands too.
Winter in Cococay is characterized by strong winds, chilly weather and a lot of rain. If you happen to book a cruise during a winter season, chances are, that you will probably miss a day on Cococay. As most of the times, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ Captains don’t dock when the weather is not good.
However, you can find the best times to splash in the waters and bum on the beach in August, all the way up to November. Of course, you could try July as well, but be warned that it is usually the hottest month and temperatures can go as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Conclusion on CocoCay in the Bahamas
While this article gives you insider information on the things you can do while at Little Stirrup Cay or Cococay, it’s not exhaustive and there are so many other things you can do on the island.
You can have romantic picnics, or a long walk on the barefoot beach, which is on the other side of the island. Or go shell collecting, have them made into a blowing horn or even learn how to dive. The opportunities are limitless. Next time you dock at this port, get off the ship and enjoy this tropical heaven. Happy Cruising!!