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Home > Member Reviews > tip's Port Reviews of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta

tip's Port Reviews of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta
Mariner of the Seas cruise in October 2010
Member Name: tip
Cruise Date: October 2010
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Member Review: tip's Mariner of the Seas Review
Cabo San Lucas
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
This was a tender port and thankfully seas were calm. We did not have an excursion planned, thus we did not rush off of the ship. After a short tender ride, we were in Cabo and were surprised to see so many folks having to give up fruits and other foods to officials on shore. The ship does make repeated postings and announcements not to bring food ashore.

We took a cab to a spot on the beach called "Tabasco's" which came recommended from Cruise Critic posters on the Mexican Riviera forum. Even though we sent an e-mail to them asking if they had lounge chairs and umbrellas (they said that they did), the only umbrellas were on the tables at the restaurant overlooking the beach. Okay, no big deal, but we did not want to sit in the direct sun all day. We enjoyed drinks and a lunch that was nothing to write home about. My wife is a non-swimmer and chose to sit and read. I spent quite a bit of time in the water which was fantastic. The restaurant did have restrooms for changing. We were forewarned about the vendors who are persistent to say the least. The only advice that I can offer is to make no eye contact with them. After a few hours, we grabbed a cab back to the pier.

My wife spent some considerable amount of time bargaining at the flea market at the pier and claimed that she snagged a good deal on jewelry. Yes, they will take U.S. dollars for purchases less than $100. Her bracelet came to $80.

By 3 p.m. we were ready to take the tender back to the ship and avoided the long lines that would be present for the last tender at 4:30.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
The ship was able to dock, thus no tender was needed. It was an industrial port and everyone was required to take A short tram ride to the visitor's center. Once again, thanks to the advice of Cruise Critic posters, we had researched this port and reserved on-line the "Colonial and City" tour with Mazatlan Frank who came highly recommended. He met us at our assigned location and introduced us to our driver "Smiley" who led us and three other couples to his air conditioned van. As he drove us around the city, it immediately became obvious of his great pride for Mazatlan and his country. His English was excellent and he was quite knowledgeable.

Our first stop was a brickyard outside of town where a family was making bricks by hand. It was amazing to see the backbreaking work involved for very little in return. We then visited a small village and a shop where floor tiles were made along with a Mexican bakery where we purchased some terrific baked goods for a snack. Our guide had water, soda, and beer in a cooler.

We next went to a furniture factory and admired the craftsmanship. Although we did not buy any furniture, we did purchase some pure vanilla from a vendor. We continued up to the Town of Concordia where saw a church and the town hall. We took some time taking some pictures on the village plaza.

Our tour continued back to the Golden Zone of Mazatlan where we did some shopping and had lunch at a restaurant on the beach. Before we returned to the shop, guide showed us more sights of the city including some beautiful homes in a high elevation overlooking the city and the coast.

We highly recommend Mazatlan Frank's tours to anyone!

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Puerto Vallarta
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Once again, the ship was able to tie up at a pier and no tendering was required.

We find ship sponsored tours to be overpriced and nothing more than a cattle herd. We find that by checking out forums on Cruise Critic and researching ports on the Internet, you can get a much better deal and tailor a tour to your needs and desires. We booked the "City Tropical Tour" through Johan and Sandra. We were picked up at exactly 9:50 a.m. as promised right outside of the terminal. This was a larger bus tour and not a van, but it was cheaper than our tour in Mazatlan. We were given an overview of the city, a chance to do some shopping where much to my chagrin my wife boat a very expensive fire opal ring at Marino Jewelry. We did not plan on doing this and left our credit cards on the ship. They agreed to meet us back at the terminal at the end of our tour to make payment.

We spent some time driving through some of the more expensive neighborhoods which has terrific views of the ocean and my wife was impressed with the home of film director Stephen Spielberg. Next we visited a tequila factory in small village and then continued to a tropical rain forest of the Sierra Madres. My wife is a biologist and was quite enthralled with this. Lunch was at the El Eden Restaurant overlooking the river. It was quite pricey, but it was a beautiful location and we enjoyed watching the kids (and adults) use the rope swing to swim and zip line overhead. It is interesting to note that the Arnold Schwarzenegger film "The Predator" was filmed on location here.

The tour took us back to the pier and we would highly recommend it.

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