Holland America Ratings and Reviews

Customer Reviews for Banana Plantation & Rural Community

Banana Plantation & Rural Community

Board an air-conditioned van and journey into the heart of rural Chiapas for a deeper understanding of the local people and landscapes. Discover the culture that blends ancient traditions with modern necessity. You will visit a cooperative banana plantation—a rural community that works together for the betterment of all its members—in the Chiapas countryside. Among the wide, green fields of the Ejido Miguel Aleman banana farm, your guide will acquaint you with the history of the region, its people and traditions, as well as the banana growing and harvest process. Then, travel into the town that owns and runs the banana co-op and visit the local community center or school, where you will have the chance to meet and mingle with the local children and the dedicated teachers and social workers. The community center has also implemented a program to teach the adult population how to read and write and is the only community in the area that has purchased computers so that local kids and adults can learn to use the internet. Part of the proceeds of this tour will go to this community center learning program and you will be given a school kit pack explaining some of the basic day to day needs of the community children. You will be able to donate the kit to one of the kids at the community center or local school. Continue your tour of the town at the local church where the priest, who is an essential part of the community, will share information with you about the local customs and way of life. After your visit, you will head out of town to the banana packing plant. Here you will discover how the whole community works together to pack the bananas they all produce. All the profits from the sales of the bananas are distributed among the community members. On the way back you’ll have a last glimpse of life in rural Chiapas before returning to the pier. Notes:Wear comfortable clothing and shoes; bring sunscreen, a hat and insect repellent. The school may be closed for holidays during some visits; you will stop at the community center instead.
Average Customer Rating:
4.846 out of 5
4.8
 out of 
5
(13 Reviews) 13
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (13 reviews)
5 stars
12
4 stars
0
3 stars
1
2 stars
0
1 star
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13 out of 13(100%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Review 1 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

All 3 parts of this excursion are great!

Date:June 11, 2014
xLibLabLady
Location:Oak Harbor, WA
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
All three parts of this wonderful excursion are great. Visiting the elementary school classes was a delight. It was fun to watch as the children did authentic dances in costume. HAL gave each of us some candy to take to the children along with a packet of school supplies to give to the teachers at the end. I took extra supplies to donate. Adults gave some brief speeches about the community.
The visit to the banana plantation and processing plant were very interesting - we learned a lot about the process involved from putting out the plants to packaging the bananas. It was really different being surrounded by all those banana plants! We will not look at bananas the same way again because of what we learned. We have a much better appreciation of what is involved to get the bananas to our table.
The third part was being treated to a lunch of tamales, banana chips, and a beverage. The parent group on marimbas and drums who supplied the music for the young dancers also performed at the church.
This was an outstanding excursion, one of our favorites! I agree with others: Be sure to book it early as it fills up quickly and they cannot add groups due to the nature of the visit to the school and church lunch.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+1point
1out of 1found this review helpful.
Review 2 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Loved this excursion!

Date:May 17, 2014
Lizabet
Location:Kent WA
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
This excursion was so different - no resorts, noone trying to sell something or sign you up for another tour. The school was delightful. It was such fun to see the children in their setting. They presented authentic dances in costume. The banana plantation and processing plant were very interesting - we learned a lot about growing and packaging bananas. WE were treated to a light lunch at the church by gracious people. This experience taught us a lot about the history and culture of the area. Enjoyed it all!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
Review 3 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Interesting and Heartwarming

Date:May 15, 2014
jarand
Location:Colorado
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
It's about 30 minutes drive to the community where we visited an elementary school. We were each given some candy to take to the children (good idea to bring extra!), along with a packet of school supplies to give to the teachers at the end. We were welcomed by music from the parents, and a short speech from the principal. Then we were divided into two groups of around 25, and each group visited three classrooms. The children are used to visitors and were very polite! (Be sure to save some candy for each classroom visit.) Following the classroom visits we were treated to a dance performance by some students, and ended by giving our school supplies to the teachers. We then went over to the local church where they served us tamales and banana chips while we were entertained again by the parent group on marimbas and drums. (Good!) We ended our excursion with a one hour visit to the local banana plantation and packing factory. This was an outstanding excursion, one of our favorites that we've ever done! Be sure to book it early as it fills up quickly and they cannot add groups due to the nature of the visit to the school and church lunch.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
Review 4 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Our Favorite Excursion

Date:March 20, 2014
Bearatone
Location:Lewiston, ID
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:October
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This turned out to be our favorite excursion of the whole trip. The guide was very informative. It was nice to see a village that wasn't living in poverty. The children at the school were friendly and cute. They enjoyed performing local dances for us and we enjoyed watching and interacting with them.
The banana plantation was very interesting. It gave us a new appreciation for the bananas we pretty much take for granted.
We highly recommend this excursion.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+1point
1out of 1found this review helpful.
Review 5 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Day at the Banana Community

Date:November 9, 2013
Retiredtchr
Location:Illinois
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:October
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This was one of the best shore excursions we have taken. Our guide was very informative about the history and local area, as well as, the banana plantation operation. We especially enjoyed the time at the school and with the students and their teachers. My husband, a retired school principal, met their principal. The students were excited to meet us and perform native dances. Lunch at the church was a special treat--authentic Mexican food! We did not see the priest, but our guide was able to answer any questions. All the people of the community made us feel very welcome. No vendors made it a very nice trip!
Seeing the countryside on the way to the plantation gave us a good overview of the area.
Because of what we saw and learned, I will never complain about the cost of bananas again!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 6 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Not just another tour of a poor rural area

Date:July 6, 2013
BlackHawk
Location:Albuquerque, NM
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Eyeopening and heartwarming experience. It was a holiday, but the children and teachers at the school, came because we were coming. They were truly appreciative of the supplies and candy we gave them and had drawn pictures for us and put on a very nice dance performance. It was better than the adult dancers on the pier. The reception at the school and later at the local church was so genuine. They were poor, but very proud of their little community. At the church, we were served some home cooked tamales and plantain chips and were treated as if we were very special guests. The tour of the banana plantation and processing plant was very informative. Everyone should see for themselves how hard these people work, for just $15 a day. It makes you appreciate what a good deal you're getting at the grocery store, when purchasing bananas. Our bus had trouble with the AC, but the guide busted his butt to get us another bus, that met us after the banana plantation. They took much pride in trying to make sure we had a positive experience. After the fact, we would have been willing to pay more for this wonderful excursion and that's unusual for us.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+8points
8out of 8found this review helpful.
Review 7 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great excursion

Date:April 16, 2013
Cindy
Location:Quincy, IL
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
We really enjoyed our visit at the Miguel Aleman banana co-op, school and church. Our tour guide was Roger. He was informative and very proud of his home area of Chiapas. The school tour was fun. It is a K-6 school, and we were able to visit two classrooms. Some of the students performed local dances for us. The tour provided packets of school supplies that we distributed to the children. They appeared to be very pleased with the contents: two spiral binders, pencil, eraser, small box of crayons. We took additional school supplies that we donated to one of the classes. From our observation, I think these supplies would be highly valued: children's books in Spanish that are appropriate for ages 5-11 (very desired by the students# , scissors, magic markers, glue sticks. A comittee of members met us at the Catholic church. Although most did not speak English, they welcomed us warmly. They treated us to a delicious lunch of tamales #I will remember these forever). The lunch is not part of the tour. The residents provide it to us to ensure that we have a good experience in their community. They do accept donations to defray the cost of the lunch. All of us contributed in $USD and our guide indicates that they will have no problem with currency conversion. This was a 'feel good' day and we highly recommend it.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+11points
11out of 11found this review helpful.
Review 8 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Banana Plantation Tour

Date:March 25, 2013
sdpatricia
Location:San Diego, CA
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Ejido Miguel Aleman is where the tour ends up. You visit the school, perhaps the church, and the plantation. We gave notebooks to the school and some people gave more supplies and money. As it was right after Christmas, and tamales are traditional Christmas food, the church fed us their tamales (mmm...tasty), as a nice break between the school and the plantation.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+3points
3out of 3found this review helpful.
Review 9 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A day to make you feel good.

Date:June 8, 2012
swdrau
Location:Drouin Victoria Austalia
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:May
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Great guide, looked at the tickets and welcomed everyone by name, the only guide in our 6 weeks of cruising to do that. Part of this tour is to a rural school in a village where people operate as a co-operative and have a strong community spirit. We got issued with a student kit which we gave to the teachers and sweets we could give to the children. Visit was quite good, we entered 3 classes including the computer class.The students were assembled and some children from grades 2-5 did a display of dances and dressed in traditional costume. Then visited the local catholic church where the ladies welcomed us an provided a small lunch of local foods as their gesture of welcome. Then to the banana plantation which is a co-operative. Interesting tour, certainly different, no souvenir shops in the village a great "feel good" day. A "top notch" the guide and the tour content made this one of the best excursions we have done.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+13points
13out of 13found this review helpful.
Review 10 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Our favorite excursion of this cruise

Date:April 30, 2012
mallie
Location:San Diego
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
We really enjoyed the chance to see a small school, town, church and banana plantation, all part of a unique cooperative, and we thank Holland America for offering this tour. The women of the church made us delicious tamales, and the children danced for us and gave us drawings. Also had a chance to see the Chiapas countryside as we drove to the town. Definitely more than just a "shopping trip," as so many tours turn out to be.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+11points
11out of 11found this review helpful.
Review 11 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

well worth the experenace

Date:November 19, 2011
tigger
Location:Abbotsford British Columbia
Cruise Date Year:2011
Cruise Date Month:October
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I had the best time on this cruise at the school by interacting with the
children. The dances were great that was done by the children. The
lunch that the ladies of the church put on was great. The school packets
that Holland America provided for each member of the tour was well
received by the school. I also took extra school supplies to the school. I think that it should be put on the tour page to bring extra school supplies.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+10points
10out of 10found this review helpful.
Review 12 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A very worthwhile tour!

Date:May 15, 2011
CleoCat
Location:rural Alberta
Cruise Date Month:April
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The visit to the local school and church alone was worth it! My understanding was that a portion of the proceeds of this excursion went to the school for supplies that we personally handed to the principle. We got to hand out candy to the children and they entertained us with a little dance recital. The children loved to have their pictures taken which made it a lot of fun.
The lunch provided my the local church ladies was very nice (tomalies wrapped in banana leaves) and we felt good about giving a donation to them.
The banana plantation tour was also very interesting. A lot of good information was presented in a reasonable amount of time - not turned into a long boring tour.
Cruise Date Year:2011
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+13points
13out of 13found this review helpful.
Review 13 for Banana Plantation & Rural Community
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

It is interesting...

Date:January 8, 2011
wonder
Location:Fremont,ca
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
We had 3 stops for the tour. First stop is to an elementary school, stroll through the classrooms, and watch kids performance out in hot weather, not enjoyable. 2nd stop is to the church, enjoyed food prepared by the local which as we were told, was not meant to be a part of the tour. 3rd stop is the banana plantation, walking through the processing flow. It was interesting to learn how the banana gets from fields to our grocery store.
I regret to pick this as my shore excursion for my first visit to the area. After all this is where Mayan roots...
We were told there were only 22 cruises visits this port, don't remember whether it was per month or per year, I had impression it was per year. Only three banana plantation tours out of 22 cruise ships. So it is unique if you are interested on how things work. I would choose this, but not on my first visit.
Cruise Date Year:2010
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+2points
3out of 4found this review helpful.