On sea days there are a variety of activities. Bingo and the casino are not our thing. We always attend the cruise director’s talks on upcoming ports and excursions. One day, as we headed towards Mexico, there was a cooking presentation on Mexican cuisine called Ports to Table. Jeremy, our fabulous cruise director is on the right, a new hire from Mexico in the middle, and the head chef on the left. The chef prepared two dishes, Chile Rellenos and one with tortillas that I can’t remember the name of.
A couple nights ago they had crème brûlée as one of the dessert options in the dining room, Bill’s favorite. The dining room manager told him he could actually order it every night, even if not on the printed menu. One night he asked for one and received two! He was thrilled and took advantage of that offer for the rest of the cruise!
Our first Mexican port was Puerto Chiapas, located at the very south tip of the Mexican Pacific coast, near the border between with Guatemala. We did not see any excursions that interested us and there really wasn’t anything of interest at the port terminal. It was one of those ports where you wonder why they bothered to stop here. However we were greeted with a warm welcome by some regional dancers.
It was such a hot day I wondered how they stood those costumes. We walked off the ship to check out the terminal. Just typical souvenir stores. We could have paid for a shuttle into the town of Tapachula, but we read there really wasn’t anything there worth going to see. We didn’t stay long at the terminal, went back to the ship and enjoyed the afternoon on our balcony.
Next day was the port of Huatulco. This was a very picturesque port, the kind of place it would be nice to spend a few months in the winter. It was clean and felt safe. Once again we didn’t see any excursions of interest. We took our time having breakfast and leaving the ship. We walked the mile into the town of La Crucecita, a leisurely walk along a nice wide sidewalk. Uphill going, downhill back but with no shade. We went to a large grocery store and bought some canned drinks to take back on the ship and a couple to drink on the way back. We were walking along and somehow I managed to trip and fall hard on the sidewalk, skinning my elbow and knee. While I was sitting there trying to catch my breath and regain my pride, a van pulled over and a man got out to see if we needed help. I assured him I was going to be okay. He obviously knew we were from the ship because he said when we get back to the ship be sure and ask for an ice pack. I was more upset about my canned drink I dropped and spilled than my injuries!
We enjoyed a lovely sail away that evening from our balcony.
Day Twelve – At Sea
Our next port was Puerto Vallarta, a port we had heard a lot about and looked forward to visiting. It is often portrayed as one of the most beautiful, cultured and luxurious vacation spots in all of Mexico. It was a sleepy, quiet town until Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton showed up for the filming of the movie, “Night of the Iguana” in the early 1960’s, and put the town on the map, so to speak. Elizabeth Taylor was not in the movie but accompanied Richard Burton to the set. They fell in love with the area and bought homes there. They were each married to other people at the time and lived in separate houses across the street from each other. They had a second story bridge built over the street connecting the two houses so they could go from one to the other without being seen. I was hoping to see the houses but it wasn’t on our tour or simply wasn’t pointed out by our guide.
We had pre-booked an excursion here. Let me start by saying it was a disappointment. More shopping and eating than touring. And I don’t think we were the only ones disappointed.
Our first stop was the Malecon, or boardwalk, in downtown Puerto Vallarta overlooking Banderas Bay. Notice the cairns, rocks piled in groups, which people like to do when they come here.
The Boy on the Seahorse, sculpted in 1976, is one of the iconic symbols of the city.
Another is Triton and the Mermaid. According to Greek mythology, Triton is the son of the Greek sea god, Poseidon. Triton is reaching out to his wife, Amphitrite, goddess of the sea.
Lluvia (Rain) symbolizes openness in which the man is receiving what the world offers him with eyes looking up into the rain and enjoying the water falling on him. It represents the people of Puerto Vallarta who welcome locals and visitors with open arms.
A pirate boat sailing in the Banderas Bay offered tours of Puerto Vallarta that evidently included sound effects. It startled us as it fired a cannon as it passed by.
Some young men dressed as Aztec warriors tried to entertain the crowd. Our guide said they were just there to perform for tourists and then ask for money. We avoided them.
Our next stop was at The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, located in the center of the town square.
The church was built between 1930 and 1940 and has services on the weekends in both Spanish and English. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of Mexico.
After touring the church we took a short walk before stopping at a leather shop. Notice the city bus. In Mexico we they don’t have signs on the bus announcing the stops. They take soap and write the names of the stops. Notice Walmart is at the top of the list.
Remember I told you the guides like to take you to shops hoping you will buy something. On this excursion it was a jewelry store followed by a leather shop. The owner talked about how they made shoes and other leather items, and then gave us plenty of time to shop. Shoes, jackets, purses, wallets…..we didn’t buy anything. Both stores offered free small drinks like margarita and beer.
Next up was a drive along the Banderas Bay. We stopped at an overlook where a man stood with a huge iguana. We were told you could hold the iguana, but only for a tip of course. I learned quickly the man wasn’t happy if you were interested in taking pictures only.
This is Mismaloya Beach, Mexico.
Across the street was a number of kudamundi, also known as a Mexican raccoon.
From there I hoped we would continue along the scenic bay, but instead we were taken back into town to a Mexican restaurant. Lunch was not part of the excursion, and even though it was too early for lunch, we were all ushered inside to order lunch at our own expense. Rather annoying since we weren’t really hungry and the restaurant wasn’t cheap.
After lunch we headed back to the ship.
Another disappointing excursion and guide. We noticed when we docked this morning that directly across the street was a Walmart Supercenter and a Sam’s Club. Since we had plenty of time before the ship left, we walked over to Walmart to get a few things. As we were rushing with a large group of people to cross the street before the light changed, I stumbled and fell once again. I skinned up the SAME knee as a couple days ago, my arm and even the knuckles on one hand. Bill and a man carrying a baby helped me up. I was too worried about possibly getting hit by a car to worry about my injuries or my pride.
The rest of the afternoon we spent enjoying our balcony with ice on my battered knee.
We managed to get some night pictures of Puerto Vallarta as we sailed away.
Next up: Our last and favorite port of the cruise, beautiful Cabo San Lucas
The photos you are taking are so great to see, especially the colorfulness and the beauty and grace of the Church. I sure hate the fact that you are falling, my dear lady! That’s usually MY routine! Looking forward the next blog. Sounds like the excursions are “tourist traps” and everyone expects a monetary award for their display; whether is be goods or critter attractions to lure people in. We experienced a lot of that when we lived in Tucson and would visit Nogales, parking on US side and walking across border. Many vendors and lots of hustle and bustle! Enjoy your balcony and rest of your voyage! k