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Home > Member Reviews > Kentskie's Port Reviews of Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo

Kentskie's Port Reviews of Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo
Carnival Spirit cruise in October 2011
Member Name: Kentskie
Cruise Date: October 2011
Embarkation: Los Angeles
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Member Review: Kentskie's Carnival Spirit Review
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
As many times as my wife and I have been to Mexico on cruises (many) we have never been to Ensenada. I had always heard about Hussong's and we had to go there. It did not disappoint. One rather expected Pancho Villa and the gang to saunter in at any moment. A great place opened in the 1890's. A lot of fun places to eat and drink around Hussong's. We went to one of them and had tableside made guacamole that was delicious. One of our favorite stores in Mexico is Michael's Gallery in Mazatlan which stocks very unique items. We despaired that we were not going to Mazatlan on this trip not only because we love the town but because we always find amazing things at Michael's. We found this wonderful store along the main street named Bazaar Casa Ramirez which has an incredible selection of unusual items from all over Mexico. We were thrilled and found some great things there. After that we went to a restaurant for drinks and snacks and then taxied back to the ship. Amazingly enough it was the same price as the hot crowded bus that we came took into town.

Many people on board had been to Ensenada numerous times and weren't fond of it but we found a lot to like.

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Cabo San Lucas
Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
Cabo day 1:

Fortunately Carnival uses the Cabo tenders which are ever so much better than using the lifeboats. Ever so much better. Ever. They are open and thus cooler.

We got to Cabo and took a taxi to the Hotel Mar de Cortez our favorite hotel. Not touristy and more like the Cabo of old before it became LA Sounth. As they say in their brochure "A charming and popular colonial style hotel in the center of what was once a quaint fishing village." We had drinks there.

It was hotter than a fire on a griddle in July. We shopped a bit and bought nothing and went on to El Squid Roe where we had a delicious lunch. They make the salsa at your table and is it good. We had tequila con Sangrita (sort of the Mexican equivalent of a Bloody Mary tequila in one glass the Sangrita in another. The Sangrita is made with citrus and chili. Delicious.) and margaritas then we ordered Victoria chicken and if you do nothing else in Cabo avoid the Victoria Chicken but we also had quesadillas which were wonderful and most of their food is too. The service is as warm as Cabo and friendly.

Then on to the big shopping center which has far fewer shops than before but it is much cooler. Sad the bit about the shops not about cooler cooler is good especially with a hot temperature outside. We went to our favorite liquor store and bought some Herradura Reposado our new favorite tequila. Then we took a picture of the metal pirate. I said to him in Spanish that he must be hot in his outfit. He answered in American English. "It's not so bad." Blazing international connections wherever I go.

Then to the drug store and home in a taxi. Long wait on the water taxi but we finally got back to the ship and cool blessed cool. The water taxi guy sat us on top so we caught the breeze. He stopped when I wanted to take a picture of the ship so I could get a better shot. Very, very nice.

Cabo San Lucas: (Day 2)

We decided to view Cabo from afar and stayed on board.

I find it interesting that we sailed away from Cabo the first day and circled during the night and came back the next day. We are booked on a Princess Cruise that also does two days in Cabo but stays in Cabo overnight. When I asked why I got a myriad of answers including "It's the law." "Too difficult and dangerous to tender at night." etc. When I told them about Princess they finally said that if they stayed in Cabo they couldn't open the casino and shops. More likely the truth.

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Puerto Vallarta
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Having been there many times we just returned to favorite haunts. Cocktails at the River Café along the Rio Cuale.

A visit to the local market.

Lunch at La Destileria overlooking the Malecon. Delicious food and a great view refreshing ocean breezes and at the end a complimentary trio of tequilas to taste. While we were dining Mariachis played and a Native band with dancers came through.

We finished up at our favorite bar with a drink with our favorite bartender.

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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Many people hated Manzanillo but we loved its authenticity.

We were greeted by locals playing music as we disembarked.

I hadn't been there in years. I stayed twice at Las Hadas and was eager to see it again. We hired a taxi with a wonderful driver who showed us the destruction from the recent hurricane and gave us an excellent tour of the area.

We went to Las Hadas. It is still nice but far from the spectacular hotel it once was.

Our driver took us back into town and we were fascinated by the downtown area. Very authentic. The market was wonderful bustling and filled with wonderful sights, sounds, and smells. Back along the Malecon we found a great place called the Bar Social. They had delicious bar snacks and good drinks and a man in the corner playing the guitar and singing. It was out of a movie. Great place.

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