Originally Posted by You
We have 2 free Air Tran tickets so we want to cruise out of a furthur port than we can drive to (FL) so we're thinking LA or San Diego which brings us to port choices now. Please give me your advise and why.
married 20 years not bringing kids. going in Oct or Nov.
Okay, I'll serve it straight up.
>> Cabo San Lucas
is a resort destination in its own right with great beaches and water excursions. I highly recommend any of the shore excursions that include a boat ride out to "Los Arcos" (literally, "The Arches") at "Land's End." This area is teeming with an incredible array of wildlife as well as impressive rock formations. There are several excursions that go there, variously combining it with snorkeling, beach time, a scenic coastal drive, or various other activities. Ashore, there are a lot of villas for the rich and famous, but the upper middle class also can afford to go there for vacation.
is an older resort city with a lot of history, art, and architecture, so the tour of the city highlights is definitely worthwhile. Most of the shore excursions also include a very impressive folkloric show featuring the Pampatla Flyers. The shopping area called the "Golden Zone" is not very classy, though there probably are bargains to be had. The resort hotels have nice pools, but the beach venders (not allowed in the pool areas) are very aggressive.
>> Puerto Vallarta
also has a lot of history, art, and architecture, so the tour of the city highlights is also worthwhile here. It's also the gateway to the Tequilla region, where the tours of the tequilla distilleries are very interesting.
is primarily a commercial port that does not have a cruise terminal, so the few cruise ships that call there are currently docking in the commercial port area. There are, however, some nice all inclusive resorts along the bay, both to the north and to the south of the commercial port area. I highly recommend a shore excursion to one or another of these resorts, as there's not much else to do.
is a very quaint and charming Mexican fishing village. The main shopping district, where the locals do their shopping, is very accessible -- just walk to the end of the tender pier and turn right along the waterfront. If you walk a couple blocks up the waterfront, you'll come to the beach where the local fishermen land their catch. In the morning, you'll see them servicing and stowing their gear before taking their catches to open air market. The resorts in the area are in Ixtapa
, which is about ten miles northwest of Zihuatanejo along the coast.
is the largest city on the Mexican Riviera. It has an old urban downtown with a lot of history, more or less where the ships dock, but it also has very exclusive new sections to the north and the south where the rich and famous own expensive villas and where you'll find exclusive hotels like the Fairmont Acapulco Princess Hotel that cater to the rich and famous. This is another destination where the tours of the city highlights -- and there are two or three that visit different attractions -- are very worthwhile.
I should mention that several of these ports have "flea markets" by the pier where you'll find very good bargains on local handcrafts and other local products, including vanilla extract (stock up if you cook!) and Mexican silver (be sure to look for the ".925" stamp).
BTW, there are eleven night itineraries that call at all six of these ports and ten night itineraries that call at all of these ports except Manzanillo.
Have a great cruise, whatever you decide!