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Harvest Caye: What to know about Norwegian Cruise Line’s Private Island

Harvest Caye

Off the southern coast of Belize lies Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) private island retreat.

Surrounded by the lush greenery of Central America, guests are treated to a wide range of activities on the 75 acre oasis. The island was developed in partnership with the Belizean government, and local inhabitants own the businesses and work onsite, contributing to the local economy.

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Harvest Caye aerial

Harvest Caye hosts an abundance of natural wildlife as well as access to a barrier reef, the second largest in the world.

Here is what you need to know to prepare for a visit to Harvest Caye.

What's the weather like?

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Harvest Caye

The weather in Harvest Caye is ideal for cruisers all year long, ranging from the 80s to 90s. December and January tend to have the lowest temperatures of the year, (still high 80s) and the hottest period is between May and October. 

January to May are the driest parts of the year; summer and fall tend to be rainier, with October being the peak. Humidity is high during these peak times.

Sea temperatures are similar in pattern to the weather, and it is warm enough to swim all year long.

Going onshore

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Harvest Caye marina

Harvest Caye is the only port with a cruise ship pier in Belize, a bonus for Norwegian cruisers. Walking along a covered path, it takes about 10 minutes for guests to reach the island. There is transportation available for those who are in need.

English is widely spoken, and both U.S. and Belizean dollars are used. As local people own the island businesses, ship cards are not accepted as a form of payment in restaurants, bars or shops. Do take note: there is no wi-fi available onshore.

The island is on central time, but cruisers should pay attention to ship time. With the sun and heat, it is essential to bring adequate sunscreen, a hat, and a towel. The ship does not provide towel service on the island but there are lockers to rent at a cost of $5.

Things to do

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Harvest Caye zip

Harvest Caye provides a great selection of activities, whether it be the beach, pool, or something a little livelier.

Key Highlights:

Beach - The island has a 7 acre beach area with plenty of loungers and some palm trees for shade. The far end is rarely crowded with lots of spots available.  

Pool – Popular with guests, the 15,000-square foot pool has a swim-up bar and a waterfall. The resort style area is complimentary and includes chairs and umbrellas. The pool is not heated, which is not a big issue given the weather.

Ocean - Harvest Caye allows for access to the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world. There is also a saltwater lagoon that hosts several water activities.

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Harvest Caye beach

Activities and shore excursions:

On land:

  • 3000 foot long zipline stretching along the island
  • Double Beach Run zipline (side by side) where guests race facing downward
  • Ropes course
  • Volleyball courts
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Harvest Caye lagoon with kayaks

Water activities:

  • Barrier Reef Snorkeling
  • Rainforest River Tubing
  • Standup Paddle Board
  • Kayaking
  • Parasailing
  • Wave Runners
  • Boat cruise
  • Monkey River Eco Tour (rainforest)
  • Glass Bottom Boat Ride
  • Catch and Release Fishing
  • Ferry to the mainland (Placencia)
  • Kid’s splash park
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Harvest Caye butterfly house

Those wanting to explore nature can enjoy the free wildlife experience with butterflies and birds, in addition to the island’s botanical gardens.  

There is also an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the region with visits to Mayan ruins and the archaeological site of Nim Li Punit. For a culinary twist, see how chocolate is made and try some locally made sweets.

Just before heading back to the ship, visit the shopping village with locally made souvenirs,  t-shirts, chocolates, and more.

Cabanas

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Harvest Caye cabana

There are two main types of cabana rentals at Harvest Caye, which can be booked through NCL’s website:

Private Canopy Pool Cabana

  • Starts at $350
  • Poolside location
  • It comes with lounge chairs and curtains for additional privacy
  • Easy access to the bar, retail shops and Landshark Bar & Grill
  • Price includes 4 guests
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Harvest Caye cabana family

Luxury Beach Villa

  • Starts at $800
  • Located on a secluded portion of the island by the ocean
  • Includes private restroom, indoor and outdoor showers, BlueTooth audio, a digital safe, mini-refrigerator, beach hammock and front porch
  • Air-conditioned interior space
  • Private butler and concierge service are provided
  • Price includes 6 guests

Food and Beverages

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Harvest Caye pool bar

Unlike most other cruise lines' islands, food and drinks are extra, and the ship card cannot be used for payment. Ensure to bring cash and credit cards.

Harvest Caye has eight venues for meals, snacks and drinks. The menus include typical bar food with some touches of the Caribbean with fried plantains and ceviche. Fruity cocktails, rum and beer are all popular drinks, including some local Belizean beer.

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Harvest Caye landshark

For a different view, the Manatee Bar & Grill is located on the other side of the island (which is not far at all) by the marina. Or for a quiet spot, walk to the far end of the beach to Horse-Eye Jack’s Villa Bar & Bistro 

How to visit Harvest Caye?

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Harvest Caye front gate

Harvest Caye is listed on itineraries in the western Caribbean. There are 5 and 7 day cruises leaving from the ports of Tampa, Miami, Galveston and New Orleans.

There is also a 9 day cruise from New Orleans and Miami, or a special Panama Canal cruise spanning 10 days.

There are a number of Norwegian cruise ships that stop in Harvest Caye:

  • Norwegian Bliss
  • Norwegian Breakaway
  • Norwegian Dawn
  • Norwegian Encore
  • Norwegian Getaway
  • Norwegian Jade
  • Norwegian Jewel
  • Norwegian Joy
  • Norwegian Pearl
  • Norwegian Sky
  • Norwegian Star
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