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Home > Member Reviews > writedesign's Port Reviews of Cabo San Lucas, Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Cartagena (Colombia), Aruba

writedesign's Port Reviews of Cabo San Lucas, Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera), Cartagena (Colombia), Aruba
Island Princess cruise in October 2012
Member Name: writedesign
Cruise Date: October 2012
Embarkation: San Francisco
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Member Review: writedesign's Island Princess Review
Cabo San Lucas
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
Sweaty, full sun, no particular shade or place to sit. Small facilities-- cafes, small shops, street vendors from a booth to a spot in dirt with goods hanging on cyclone fence. Half were not open, lots of remodeling and construction. Lots of Policia, heavily armed. We were told Cabo was perfectly safe, as long as you stay in 'safe zone,' about 4 blocks of pier area. One member wore a Hawaiian shirt featuring marlins and vendors assumed he wanted to go marlin fishing and were especially aggressive. Don't stop at 'No, gracious.' Husband was getting a cold and we stopped in Pharmacia for cough pills. A dollar store looking place wanted $10 USD for a ceramic trinket. Junk. Town was rather empty and it was so miserably hot we came back early.

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Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)
Rainforest Tour Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Guide Minor greeted us. Van was new, clean, Toyota diesel. Seated about 18; 2 seats on driver's side, aisle, 1 seat on passenger side. About 1 1/2 hr drive to Rain Forest. Good 2 lane roadways. Drive wasn't always best parts of town. Homeless looking people, skinny mangy cur dogs in poor shape. Odd contrast of abandoned block buildings/homes, construction. Hike was downhill, across multiple suspension bridges. Really nice. Wasn't afraid of heights in least. Hiking was moderate, some steep or slippery, loose rolling rocks, or easy stone steps. Minor was great guide, explained all the fauna. Flowers and critters look lovely, but so many bugs and poisonous things that it made you keep hands to yourself. Bus was waiting at bottom of hike. Drove us to Pura Vida Gardens for buffet lunch. Private reserve run by US couple. Have terrace w picnic tables and chairs. Several groups converge for the lunch. Buffet set up in trays includes pasta salad, plantain, steamed local veggies, rice, boneless chicken in sauce, fish (tilapia?) in sauce. Beverages of local coffee, mango juice, raspberry/papaya juice, or water. I dished up very conservative. Food was so good wish I'd dished more. Wandered grounds for photos, including pet toucan in tree, till guide gathered us for a walk, 1st downhill around a creek, then uphill to lookout of waterfall. Drove back to 1st bathroom stop but walked beyond the entrance, thru cantina to garden terrace area with small river, foot bridge, to courtyard surrounded by buildings including working church, another cantina serving ice tea and fresh fruit. Lots of leaf cutter ants carrying not only green pieces, but colorful pink flower petals. At the bridge, a large Jesus Christ lizard was on a rock. Driver Eric climbed down on rocks to shoo him into river. Guess he didn't want to walk on water; he ran over rocks into crevice w lightening speed. On the drive home, driver pulled over for some howler monkeys in the trees along hiway. Guide got out and whooped to them and they whooped back. That was frightening. Best tour ever!

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Cartagena (Colombia)
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
This town was a real adventure. Crazy drivers. The reason there's no lanes is because no one would pay them any attention. We got a great cab driver who showed us Old Town. At one point a van/bus behind him didn't think he was going fast enough in a traffic jam, so the bus driver got out and came up and pounded on his window, cursing in Espanol.

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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
My friends liked this town best.

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