We totally go for do-it-yourself shore excursions. This last cruise we took, we e-mailed a man named "Tomato" in Mazatlan before we arrived. We booked a full day tour with him in a air conditioned van for $30 per person. You can't beat that price with the cruise line tours. It was just our family of four and it was way more personable than a bus tour with half the ship. Plus he stopped whenever or wherever we wanted. Then he would wait until we finished and take us to the next place. Our guide was a citizen of Mazatlan and was able to give us an authentic idea of the life of one who lives in that country.
Tomato can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
. If you want more specific info. let me know.
We also self toured Nassau, St Thomas, St. Johns and St Martin/Sint Maarten. We get on line before leaving and check out the high lights of each place we are stopping. We then negotiate a taxi before getting in (necessary tour tip #1) and they take us where we want to go. There's no waiting for the other tourists to finish if you're getting bored, and you stop only if you like what you see. Lot's of times the taxi driver has their own ideas too. We seem to save at least 50% by touring on our own...