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Home > Member Reviews > ninkabink's Port Reviews of Acapulco, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

ninkabink's Port Reviews of Acapulco, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo
Carnival Spirit cruise in January 2010
Member Name: ninkabink
Cruise Date: January 2010
Embarkation: San Diego
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Member Review: ninkabink's Carnival Spirit Review
Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
Even though I had done a bunch of online research in advance, none of us could agree on what to do in Acapulco. We did want to see the cliff divers, but that wasn't until the evening. So,for the meantime, we decided to find a hotel or restaurant to get some lunch, then we would order drinks and hang out under their palapas.

Getting off the ship, you have to walk through the port building to the street where you are hounded by cabbies and tourguides. I would recommend walking out past the port building until you can find a cab to anywhere along the coast under $8 US. The guys at the port are asking $15 US for a one way trip and up to $100 US for 5 or 6 hours. Don't do it, they are totally ripping you off.

We ended up getting a cab for $15 US (ripoff!) to take the 4 of us just shy of Condesa beach to some random restaurant. Our first clue that this was a bad idea should have been the cheap laminated menus with pictures of the food on them. And the prices were comparable to what we pay in LA for Mexican food. The beers were 300 pesos or $3 US. Not cheap. Whatever, we decided to eat there anyway. Um, YUCK! Our fish and shrimp tacos were fishy and overfried, the salsa and guacamole were tasteless and the beans were grainy.

The minute we paid the bill - again, overpriced! - we started walking on the beach towards a bar called "Paradise" that one of the young british crewmembers recommended. He said that is where the crew go to drink and party at night. The place looked like a old weathered shack with an open bar, but the beach seemed nice. The palapas, at least, were the authentic thatched ones and not just plastic pop-up tents.

After ordering a few buckets of beers at "Paradise" and sinking our toes into the warm sand, we had finally reached chill status and we hung out there the rest of the day. The water was clean (as far as we could tell) and warm. Once we were back on the ship and our nasty fish lunch started to digest, however, we didn't feel well enough to go back out to see the cliff divers.

My recommendation for Acapulco is to head over to the Fairmont Princess resort and eat/drink/swim over there. It will be a costlier cab ride, maybe worth the $15 we paid to go half the distance, but it will be worth it. We heard the resort and the beach there is beautiful.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Despite POURING RAIN on this port day, we couldn't have had a better time in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. The bay where the ship anchors is SO beautiful, even in the pouring rain, we just couldn't stand to stay on board all day. Since we needed an indoor activity, my girlfriend and I convinced our husbands to take us to a resort in Ixtapa for massages.

After learning our lesson with taxi prices in Acapulco, we took a brief walk from the dock to the little shopping area just next door, and we walked all the way to the end before a cab agreed to take us to Ixtapa for $8 US. The cabby didn't really speak english, but what we could decifer is that it hadn't rained in the month of February in Ixtapa for 25 years! We could tell, too, since the roads were badly flooded. We took a deep breath and said a prayer, and then we were off in that rickety cab to Ixtapa. The cab ride is normally about 20 minutes, but the driver was very careful and he drove slowly so it took about 30 minutes.

He dropped us at the NH Krystal hotel in Ixtapa, since the year before we had great massages at the Krystal in Puerto Vallarta. This resort, however, did not have a spa at all. Bummer. We discovered, though, that this hotel was totally prepared for a rainy day. The hotel staff had the bar area set up with Wii bowling, card and board games, free drink specials - and people were loving it! Even though my friend and I were eager to get our massages, we stayed at the Krystal and had a couple (strong!) margaritas while the boys played Wii bowling with the hotel guests. What a blast!

After that we caught a two-minute cab ride to the Emporio Resort. We could have walked, really, but it was still pouring rain. The Emporio is truly impressive, from top to bottom! The boys grabbed a seat at the bar and ordered lunch while my friend and I got our spa treatments. And. What. A. Treat! The "Couple's 50 minute Massage" was only $96 US and worth every penny. What they don't tell you on the spa menu is that you get 10 minutes in the sauna, followed by 10 minutes in the steam room, followed by 10 minutes in the jacuzzi AND THEN you get a 50 minute massage! WOW! The massage therapists were the most professional and courteous I have ever experienced. They spoke in whisper soft voices, they used gentle but firm pressure where necessary, they ensured a quiet environment with low lights and aromatherapy...I could just go on and on. We tipped them very well so hopefully they know how greatful we are!

After another $8 cab ride back to the dock, we wanted to shop. The shops were so charming with their leaky tin roofs and everyone scrambling to stay under the eves. It's too bad that we didn't have much time to shop because there were gorgeous hand-painted wooden and stoneware platters, beautiful tequila and shot glass sets in the iron holders, lovely hand-painted jewelry boxes and carved turtles and frogs....oh! The artisan goods here were different than anything I've seen before in Mexico. I would really love to come back with more time and money to this place.

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