Before getting off the ship, we had to go through Customs and Immigration for the United States. Once completed, we went to a different area to catch a tender to shore. Although it took a little while, the process flowed smoothly. While unloading at the pier, we saw an Otter swim by with a baby on her tummy and a bald eagle perched on a sign.

Holland America life boat used as a tender.
Bald Eagle sitting on a sign in Kodiak, Alaska.
Holland America Westerdam with mountains in the background in Kodiak, Alaska.

Visitors Information Center

We walked a few blocks from the ship to the visitor’s information center and visited with the friendly folks there. We had already picked up a walking map where the tender dropped us off so we were ready to explore.

Wildlife Refuge Center

Just across the parking lot from the information center was the Wildlife Refuge Center. The building appears to be pretty new, and there is a massive statue of a bear outside. The website said it was closed on Mondays when we looked at it, but the tourist information people said they open when there is a cruise ship in town.

Bear at the Wildlife Refuge Center in Kodiak, Alaska.
Bear display in the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge Center.

The refuge center is part of the National Park System and is staffed by Rangers. There were many beautiful displays and lectures from the staff, who provided so much information about the wildlife and plant life in the area.


Kodiak is not that big, so we walked out to the main road and checked out any open shops. We were surprised to find that several were closed on Mondays. In a new multi-purpose building, we also found a local craft fair taking place specifically because the ship was in port. It was not huge, maybe only 15 tables, but meeting the residents and seeing their wares was fun.

Lunch Time

Mexican food is hard to find in Asia. We searched at every stop we made and although we did find one place in Thailand that claimed to be a Mexican restaurant, the food was nothing like we had ever eaten in the US or Mexico for that matter.

Google Maps told us there was one Mexican Restaurant in town called El Chicanos. The reviews were mixed but we were desperate for a burrito or enchilada by this time. We found the restaurant a short walk away (almost everything in town was a short walk away) and placed our order at the counter.

The place was clean and bright; the server was friendly and efficient. The food was FABULOUS! It was hot and tasty; lunch alone made our day!

Jim eating lunch in Kodiak, Alaska.
Veggie burrito plate.
Enchiladas and rice!

Other Sights

On our way back to the pier, we checked out a few other sights, including a historic Orthodox Church initially established by the Russians when they occupied this territory. We also stopped by the marina, where all of the fishing boats were parked, and we sat on a bench by the channel to enjoy the scenery.

Russian Orthodox church in Kodiak, Alaska.
Boats in harbor in Kodiak, AK.
Kodiak mountains

Return to the Ship

As the afternoon wound down we headed back to the pier to catch the tender back to the ship. The tender trip in the morning was very smooth and at a relaxed pace. Our afternoon driver was more aggressive with both speed and turns. I may have closed my eyes as he sped straight into the massive cruise ship; a few bumps later, we were docked alongside the ship and ready to disembark the lifeboat.

Mountains in Alaska.