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Old 07-07-2014, 01:01 PM   #1
mom4fun
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cartagena, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto vallarta

I am seeking first hand information on shore excursions for these ports. Can anyone share any advice on what to do or even what not to do? I've tried to do a search and I've found very little info.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:00 PM   #2
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In Cartagena we did the "Historic Cartagena and Old City Walking Tour" We really enjoyed this excursion and as a bonus it was one of the least expensive ones we every had participated in.

We had a great guide. We walk on the city walls a little, then down one of the streets to the plaza where we visited the cathedral, gold museum, inquisition and historical museums before continuing on through the city to meet up with our bus again.

In Puerta Vallarta both of the zip lining tours were very good.

We did a snorkeling trip in Cabo - loved it it. It was a blast. In reality the snorkeling wasn't all that great but the vendor had available for us: a thing that you could hold onto and it would pull you through the water while snorkeling (motorized "torpedo"), stand up paddle boards, kayaks and the beach was a short swim away. The boat ride to and from Chileno bay was worth the price of admission. On the way back to Cabo, we went up close to the arch.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:03 PM   #3
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In Cabo we did a resort day. I forget the name of the excursion and what resort it went to. I will edit if I can find it. In PV the Las Caletas excursion is fabulous.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAJPLO
In Cabo we did a resort day. I forget the name of the excursion and what resort it went to. I will edit if I can find it. In PV the Las Caletas excursion is fabulous.
I saw the Las cameras excursion, but it looks like the best part was a children's area that my son will be too old for. He will be 14 on the cruise.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:34 PM   #5
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Just did the WBPC trip.

In Cartagena, our DIS group arranged a private tour with a tour guide Dora. She was great. We had our own bus, went to most of the same places some of the other tours did but in a different order so we were there either before or after the crowds, and had a great time. She was reasonably priced and had time for shopping at two spots.

In Puerta Vallarta, we did the Pirate Ship excursion and it was great! The ship is right near the cruise, the 'pirates' were super friendly and always made sure we had everything we needed, the food was great! Snorkeling was available if you wanted or you could just hang on the beach. The show on the boat was pretty cheesy, but it fit perfectly.

In Cabo, we did a snorkeling trip on a catamaran, Santa Maria snorkel and sail. This was really great also. The snorkeling was better than Puerta Vallarta, the crew of the boat was friendly and helpful. The food was just sandwiches but the home-made guacamole was delicious. The drinks were great and plentiful (only after the snorkeling stop ).

We would definitely do any or all of these again. Great Times!
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:47 PM   #6
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Those are some great ideas. Keep them coming.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom4fun View Post
Those are some great ideas. Keep them coming.
Well, we don't typically do the more active excursions, but this is what we've done.

Cartagena - we didn't stop there on DCL, but on HAL. Our excursion was called Scenes of Cartagena. Basically a walking tour of the main old city center and an overview of the whole area. We enjoyed it.

Puerto Vallarta - 3 times there on DCL. First two stops we took the City Tour. Pretty basic, but nice for a first time visit to get the lay of the land (we took it twice because the second time we were with 3 new cruisers who hadn't been there before). 3rd time on DCL we took the Bandares Bay Snorkeling Treasure Hunt. That was fun. We also stopped there on our recent Panama Canal cruise (not DCL), but didn't even get off.

Cabo - Again, 3 times there with DCL (5 days in all). Twice DCL stopped there for 2 days. We've taken the Harbor Cruise & Scenic Stop excursion. Again, another "just get the lay of the land" sort of tour. We've also taken the Coastal Highlights Tour (stops at a glass blowing factory, cactus garden, and San Jose del Cabo (small town about an hour away from the port area). We enjoyed that one quite a bit. And we've taken the Whale watching and Deluxe Coastal Cruise. That's seasonal (only in the wintertime) but we thought it was great getting that close to the whales.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:09 PM   #8
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In Cartagena, we did the tour by horse carriage. We enjoyed it very much.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:23 PM   #9
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In Cartagena, we did the tour by horse carriage. We enjoyed it very much.
Did the driver talk to you on the tour? Were there a lot of people bothering you to buy their stuff?
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:18 PM   #10
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Did the driver talk to you on the tour? Were there a lot of people bothering you to buy their stuff?
The driver did talk to us. We started on a bus and toured the neighborhoods between the ship and the old town. He talked to us there on the bus. Then each carriage holds 4 people and everyone is given a headset. He then talks to all of the group spread out in several carriages following his carriage thru the streets. His English was quite good and the headsets worked very well. The only people that were persistent about trying to sell stuff was during our one stop for shopping. Also a mime jumped onto some of the carriages and wanted money for his "performance". We enjoyed it very much.
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:46 PM   #11
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We sailed the WBPC in May 2014.

Cartagena -- Horse Carriage Tour of Cartagena
Our boys were 3 and 6 at time of sailing and I booked this excursion because I thought it would be the best excursion for kids. It was ok -- not what we envisioned. I had done a horse carriage ride in Buenos Ares and expected it to be similar.

We took a bus from the port to the carriage ride. We had headsets so we could hear the guide. My kids wouldn't leave them on. I would love to say the guide was great but his favorite phrase was "look at". Look at that statue. Look at this flower. Look at that building. He spoke english very well but I wish there was more substance to his presentation.

The carriage itself was in good condition and the horse seemed well cared for.

I found it annoying that people kept jumping on the side of our carriage trying to sell stuff (hats, cigars, carvings, sunglasses, etc). We also had a mime jump in & ask for tips so we could get our picture with them. Nothing was done to stop this and the vendors went from carriage to carriage.

The sights were beautiful but I would have loved the opportunity to get off and see some of the churches, statues, etc we were riding by. The fresh breads and fruits smelled fabulous but there was no opportunity to stop.

After the carriage ride we were back at the starting point and had the opportunity to tour the shops in the Dungeons. This was our only opportunity to use a restroom and it was pretty gross. Glad I had boys and they were able to stand. The shops were ok. When we arrived there didn't seem to be very many other people but it filled up with tour groups after about 10 minutes.

Then we took the bus to the fort. This was super disappointing. There was only enough time to stand in front and take a picture. I would have liked to walk to the top but no time. The tour bus almost left without me and another family. Thankfully my hubby stopped the driver and let him know.

Then it was back to the ship.

Overall this was a disappointing excursion. My boys kept asking how much longer. I feel like we didn't get to see much.

When comparing Cartagena with fellow cruisers most were left disappointed. I am glad that we are able to say we were there but I wish there would have been more. I always felt safe on the tour but would not have felt safe venturing out on our own.

Puerto Vallarta -- Pirate Ship
Both my boys love pirates, peter pan, etc so I thought this would be a good option for us. Overall this was a great excursion and I would recommend it.

You eat your meals below deck. It is a little hard to climb the stairs to get down. The pirates carried our children. There is a very strong smell due to the tar and stain on the ship. The smell really got to me. It made me feel so nauseous. It was really overwhelming. Plus there were no windows so there was no horizon line and the ship really rocked. If you get sea sick you may want to avoid this one.

The breakfast was blah -- green/gray scrambled eggs and 1 slice of cold deli ham. They had cereal and milk for the kids. Nothing to write home about. Lunch was pretty good. I had the stuffed chicken and my hubby had the steak. The veggies were crisp and good. In hindsight we should have had some breakfast on the ship in the morning and stayed above deck for the breakfast as it would have tasted better and I never quite recovered 100%.

While the pirate show was cheesy my boys loved it. They were both smiling from ear to ear.

The private beach was secluded. There were umbrellas but no chairs. I would have paid extra to have a comfy chair to sit on. My whole family enjoyed the banana boat and my older son really liked the pirate scavenger hunt. The waves were a little rough and there was a drop off. So once I got to the point the waves weren't pushing me around I couldn't stand. Glad I brought the puddle jumpers for the boys. They were able to easily float.

When we got back to the ship we were able to take a shower and rinse off. The line was long and pressure wasn't great so I never really felt like I got the sand off but it was better than nothing.

My boys enjoyed this excursion so it made it great for me too. So worth the cost. If you have kids I strongly recommend this excursion.

Cabo
My son was not feeling great on Cabo day -- lots of kids got sick by the second week. We took the tender to shore and walked around a bit. We saw some really interesting fish and lots of sea lions jumping on boats which was fun to see.

Everyone seemed to really love Cabo. I wish we were able to explore and enjoy it more. If my son had been feeling better we planned to take a water taxi to the arch and then a public beach.

Enjoy your sailing. It was FANTASTIC. Hoping we have the opportunity to do it again some day.

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Old 07-07-2014, 09:12 PM   #12
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We were on the MR wonder cruise and did the PV excursion with DCL. It was run by Vallarta adventures and was a kayak, snorkeling, swimming whale watching trip..was it SPECTACULAR...best excursion ever..we talk about it even though it was years ago..http://www.vallarta-adventures.com/t...-eco-discovery
I also zip lines with them..not to be missed if we like zip lining.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:16 PM   #13
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I did the DCL Panama Canal cruise in 2012, and that has been my only visit to these ports. Since this was our first time, I wanted to see the towns at each port. So at Cabo, we just explored the area around the port. We just walked around the streets, and went in several different shops. (below is the marina)

Puerto Vallarta was my favorite. We took the city bus from the port, to the Malecon (boardwalk). I took this picture while we were still on the ship. You can see Sam's Club across the street. (Wal-Mart on the left)

This picture is looking back to the ship. Notice the bus pulling out. There is a white building to the left of the bus. To the left of that building, you will see a couple of people. That is where we exited the port. We then took a right (left in the picture), and walked about 20 or 30 yards, and there was a bus stop there. It was less than a dollar a person back in December of 2012....

This is the type of bus that will take you downtown. Notice "Centro" in the windshield, and when you leave the Malecon or downtown area, you will look for a bus with Sam's and Wal-Mart (just like this one). I took this picture after we got off the bus in front of Sam's Club....

At the Malecon, there is so much to see. You're walking along the ocean front, and there are vendors selling their wares, food vendors, shops and restaurants. We then walked across the river into the Old Town area. Would love to go back someday....

In Cartegena, at the end of the pier area, you walk thru a gift shop, and in front of the gift shop, there are taxis. My plans were to take a taxi to the Clock Tower, and explore the town. Once we got in the cab, our driver said we should take a tour. And he explained where he would take us. He said we had not seen Cartegena, unless we went to the La Popa Monastery. So we settled on $20 per person (there were 4 of us). We first went to the La Popa Monastery overlooking Cartegena. Beautiful view, and the Monastery was interesting. Can't remember the entrance fee, but it wasn't very high....

We then went by San Felipe fort. We just took a few pictures from the bottom, but we didn't pay the entrance fee to enter. We ended up in the Old Town area near the clock tower. Our driver took us around the town, and explained some of the sights. We then stopped at a restaurant that he recommended. We also walked along the old wall around the town. The town was very interesting. Glad I wasn't driving. Traffic was terrible, and people would walk right out in front of you, and if there was 3 or 4 feet clearance in front of your cab, someone would squeeze in, in front of you. But, we enjoyed Cartegena...
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:14 AM   #14
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Thanks so much for the details! It has been so hard to get info. Has anyone done the camel and outback adventure in Cabo or Las americas pool and beach in cartagena? Also in Puerto vallarta, there is paradise beach adventure at a hotel.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:28 PM   #15
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Anyone else have suggestions?
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