Cruise to remember: Island Princess Cruise Review by Ontario Cruisers
Overall Member Rating
Cruise to remember
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: San Francisco
Actually the stop is Hualtuco, Mexico (wasn't on the list) A small port town which looks like it was built for the cruise ships. Janet and I walked to the nearest town Crucieta (about 45 minute walk through safe streets) Bus to town from the ship is $45 and a cab is only about $5/person but if it's a nice day, it's a nice walk. Nice town. Walked past 3 hospitals on our way to the town square. Nice church to visit and a good town to walk around to shop. Picked up a panama hat for $5 and a six pack of Caronna for $6. Was going to take a taxi back but needed to burn off some calories, so we walked back. There was roadwork going on which looked like it could cut the time down to about half an hour. Shopped at the port shops for a while. The better deals were in Crucieta.
PUNTARENAS, Costa Rica (not on the drop down list) Pre booked a tour with charlie Soto of OkeyDokey Tours. Only the four of us this day plus Charlie and his driver Ricardo. Our first stop was the monkey lady's house. It's down a road where no tour bus could get. This lady brings out a bucket of cut up bananas and starts clapping her hands. At least a dozen Capuchin monkeys come down from the tops of the trees so you can feed them. You put a piece of banana in your fist and they will peel your fingers back to take it. Fed them for a good 20 minutes. She expects at least $2 per person and well worth it. Stopped at a wilderness hotel where you could go zip lining but we chose the next stop. The Crocodile Man tour on the Tarcoles river. One and a half hours on this tour boat travelling the river (we counted at least 35 crocs) at one point the driver gets out on the muddy shore and feeds a croc some turkey legs. Lots of wildlife with a well narrated tour by local Costa Ricans. The Scarlett Macaws are something to see if you get lucky. Next we stopped at an outdoor buffet by Jaco beach for a Costa Rican Lunch (included). Went to a Marriott resort and fed the iguanas at the shore. The driver stopped at a local grocery store where I bought local beer and some premium coffee. (4 bags $13.38). Went to a local wood shop and then got dropped at the pier. Lots of good market stalls there to shop. Probably the best prices of the tour and locally made products. Not the usual stuff you see in most ports. Coffee was $7 a bag.
FORT AMADOR - PANAMA CITY Booked VistaMar Panama Tours. (eco-rainforst tour) A driver with a van met the nine of us in the port area and we drove for 45 minutes to a dock where we got on a hard canopied boat with our tour guide Carl. Headed out into the canal and Gatun lake. Lots of info. Got up close to the drilling rigs working on deepening the canal and the pipelines carrying the dirt and rocks away. Pulled up on a jungle island and capuchin monkeys came on the boat to be fed peanuts and dried fruit. Another island produced Tamarind monkeys that we fed grapes. We could hear howler monkeys as we cruised down a smaller river. We arrived at Carl's place. looked like 2 big houseboats attached with an upper and lower deck. It had washrooms, a diving platform,gift shop, kitchen and a large eating area. a hot lunch was ready for us with unlimited refreshments. He had on board a night monkey (very cuddly)a couple of large iguanas, toucans, a couple of small caymans and a boa (if you wanted a picture with one around your neck). After lunch we got into a motorized canoe and a couple of kayaks and headed further into the rain forest to a waterfall where we went swimming. Back to the houseboat and then the 30 minute trip back to the dock for the waiting taxi and the ride back to the port. Less
Cabin review: OWe611 Oceanview (obstructed view)
Cabin was very nice. Good location. Headed back to the first stairway and right up to the back pool or right down to the theater. Could walk the other way right to the library and the center atrium. No problems here. It was actually an obstructed view cabin.Read All Oceanview (obstructed view) (OW) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Port 7 ARUBA Tomcar Tour Rating 4
StarBreeze Panama Canal
Island Princess Panama Canal
Overall, A Good Trip