Cruises from Florida to Latin America: Your Gateway to Adventure - Info Panameña

Cruises from Florida to Latin America: Your Gateway to Adventure

Since Florida represents the southernmost point in the USA, getting from there to Mexico, Central America, and South America involves a much shorter trip than anywhere else you could leave from. As you set sail from these sunny ports for cruises from Florida, you’ll be looking forward to upcoming stops in ancient cities, gorgeous beaches, vibrant capitals, or the Panama Canal.

cruise from Florida

Your adventure begins in one of the world-famous Floridian cruise ports such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Tampa. These hubs are well-equipped to provide a smooth departure and all of them are gateways to to the Caribbean and Latin America.

With cruises from Tampa, for instance, you can head to the Yucatan Peninsula, Honduras, Belize, Panama, Costa Rica, and Colombia with regular departures. You can take a retirement cruise full of comfort and entertainment, but do something more adventurous than just puttering around the Bahamas.

At many times of the year, you can sail from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale even further, including all the way down to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Ships that go through the Panama Canal may take you Ecuador and Peru.

With a myriad of cruise lines to choose from, you can find a voyage that caters exactly to your taste, your timeline, and style of travel, including luxurious liners with all-inclusive amenities.

If your idea of fun is being on a megaship that holds thousands, however, you’ll need to board in one of the two southern ports. Ships entering Tampa Bay need to pass under a high bridge and the ships that look like floating skyscrapers are too tall.

We posted a definitive guide to Central America cruises before, but those were from both coasts and Texas. Here’s where you can get from the Florida ports, including Mexico and South America.

Where You Will Stop on a Latin American Cruise

As you navigate through the warm Caribbean Sea or the vast Atlantic Ocean, each day presents a new destination to explore. Your itinerary might include stops in culturally rich cities like Cartagena, Colombia, with its cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, or in the diverse ecosystems of the Amazon River. Dive into the deep blues of the Honduras Bay Islands or explore the biodiverse jungle regions of Costa Rica and Panama.

Embarking on a cruise from Florida to Latin America offers an array of experiences, from exploring ancient ruins to lounging on sun-soaked beaches. While you’ll need to dock in big enough ports to accommodate cruise ships, there are plenty of those down the Caribbean and Atlantic coasts.

Cruises to Mexico often stop in a combination of Progreso, Cozumel, and Mahual/Costa Maya, with excursions available to Mayan ruins, Merida, Playa del Carmen, and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. Further south they will dock near Belize City, Rio Lagartos, or Roatan Island. There’s one port on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and cruises will often go through the Panama Canal from the Caribbean side and end up in the Pacific Ocean on the other side.

Cartagena Colombia

Those that keep going down the Atlantic may head to Cartagena, with excursions available to many places in Colombia. Some will stop in lesser-known destinations such as Guyana or will continue on to several stops along the coast of Brazil. It’s possible for some ships—including luxury ones from the likes of Silversea—to to travel inland 1,500 kilometers up the Amazon River to Manaus.

Sailing into Rio de Janeiro presents a beautiful panorama of the skyline and pointing rock mountains, the Christ the Redeemer statue looking down at you from the highest point. After crossing by Uruguay, with maybe a trip to Montevideo, the last stop is usually Buenos Aires. It’s a long stretch of coast down to Ushuaia, the crossing point for trips to Antarctica in ships meant for rough seas and ice.

How Much Time Do You Need to Reach Latin America From Florida?

If you’re only headed to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, you can depart on a cruise that lasts less than a week and travel to Cozumel and back. Most ships heading there will make some other stops at Caribbean islands to break up the trip.

To go further than that, you’ll need at least 5 full days and probably more like a week. Don’t forget to factor in getting to your port city a day early to be safe and building in time to get home from Florida.

For example, an itinerary going to Belize and Honduras is usually at least 7 nights and 8 days. A longer one reaching Panama and Colombia will likely take two weeks. Those that travel further south are 20 to 30 days. With some of those, you may be flying back at the end as well.

cruises from Tampa Florida

Sailing Dates and Availability

The peak period for cruises from Florida is when it’s cold up north and people want to escape, so you’ll find more departures November through March than in the warmer months. School breaks are in the summer though, of course, so if you’re traveling as a family you’ll still find some options in June and July. Many of the ships head across the Atlantic to serve the Mediterranean in the summer months though rather than sticking around the Americas.

Once it starts getting into hurricane season, however, generally August until November, it’s too risky for cruise ships to ply these waters. It’s also the rainiest time of year in Central America.

Itinerary Highlights on the Ship

For some parts of the journey, the getting there may indeed be half the fun. There are some waterways that get top billing in the itineraries because of what you’ll see from the deck.

The example mentioned earlier is the famous Panama Canal, a wonder of engineering that allows ships to pass through locks at different elevations and cross between two oceans. Some Panama Canal sailings don’t return to their original port: they sail from Florida and end up in California, or vice-versa.

cruise through the Panama Canal
Cruises that include the Amazon River of Brazil allow you to see river banks and wildlife instead of the wide open ocean. Excursions in these regions are far more nature-intensive than ones stopping off at island ports.

Understanding the Fine Print

When planning your cruise from Florida to Latin America, it’s crucial to pay attention to the finer details of your booking to avoid surprises. Understanding your rights around cancellation and what your travel insurance covers can save you both time and money.

Before booking your cruise, review the cancellation and refund policy carefully. Cancellation terms can vary significantly depending on the cruise line and ticket type, as well as how close to departure you are getting. You’ll often lose half the fare price if you cancel less than two months out and you could lose it all if canceling a few weeks before it sails. Insure your trip properly so you won’t be out so much money if a medical emergency or other issue arises.

Additionally, certain promotional fares might have stricter restrictions which could include being non-refundable or subject to higher fees upon cancellation. Always verify these details on the external website or in the documentation provided by the cruise line when booking your trip.

Purchasing travel insurance should be a given for reasons beyond just mitigating your cancellation risk. It will also cover medical bills abroad, reimburse you for lost or delayed baggage, and probably even cover problems with your flight in getting to port.

As with your cruise agreement, some policies might also have exclusions or limitations, so read the terms closely and know what you’re buying.

Embarking on a cruise from Florida to Latin America offers you a unique opportunity to explore diverse cultures, cuisines, and landscapes. You’ll find a variety of itineraries that cater to different tastes and preferences. You can choose from shorter excursions that are ideal for a quick getaway or longer voyages that allow for deeper exploration.

See more information here on hotels near the Tampa cruise terminal and check here for hotels in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale.

Other Stories