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rollerdonna July 7th, 2008 10:09 PM

Mexican Riviera Excursion Suggestions?
We'll be doing our first Mexican Riviera cruise on Princess in Oct. hitting the ports of Mazatlan, Puerta Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas.

Does anyone have any good shore excursion suggestions for these 3 ports, particularly booked through Princess?
Any help would be much appreciated!


Jeff of Torrance July 8th, 2008 12:27 AM

We've been to the Mexican Riviera several times. We typically don't do excursions per se, but just walk into the local town. Here's what we do at those ports:

Cabo San Lucas. We always walk to Solimar Beach via the lobby of the Hotel Solimar, and go south to the end of the beach for a little sunning. The recent-most time a Mexican father and son asked us if we wanted to be shown how to go the Honeymoon Beach (which is an "excursion" for the cruise lines). I always thought that one could get there if you don't mind a little bit of "boulder hopping." We politely declined, but they continued on over the rocks. I later climbed to the top of the "first bit of rocks," which revealed that it would take another bit of boulder hopping to actually get to that beach. At any rate, we usually go back to the Hotel Solimar for a couple of fish tacos and a beer before returning back to the ship. To get to Solimar Beach, just go towards the Pacific Ocean off of the cruise dock (it's only about 1/4 mile). We saw whales off of Cabo, plus I witnessed a stingray leaping and flipping near the ship on our last trip on the Golden Princess.

Mazatlan. On our recent visit, we walked the approximately one mile to the Pacifico/Corona brewery, where we were given a very inclusive tour, followed by a beer at the "top of the tower" lounge. They also gave each of us a small momento brochure with our picture included. Cost, plus some good exercise. In a prior visit, we just walked to the cathedral for a self-tour, followed by some local window shopping. The Golden Princess seems pretty liberal in allowing passengers to bring beverages purchased ashore back onto the ship. One man in our brewery tour hauled four quarts of Pacifico back to the ship. We only took one.

Puerto Vallarta Puerta Vallarta is very charming, and an easy bus ride (cost about 80 cents each way) from the main highway just outside the public dock area. Take the "Centro" bus, which goes as far as the old plaza before turning around. On returning look for the "Walmart" bus. There is also a Sam's Club and Walmart across the highway from the dock. The old town center has great walking, shopping, nice beaches and the old cathedral. We have also just walked south along the beach from the dock and relaxed on lounges at the many resort hotels along the beach.

Rev22:17 July 10th, 2008 07:30 PM

Re: Mexican Riviera Excursion Suggestions?


Originally Posted by You
We'll be doing our first Mexican Riviera cruise on Princess in Oct. hitting the ports of Mazatlan, Puerta Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas.

Does anyone have any good shore excursion suggestions for these 3 ports, particularly booked through Princess?
Any help would be much appreciated!

Okay, here goes...

>> In Cabo San Lucas, a boat ride to Los Arcos (aka "Land's End") is not to be missed. The natural rock formations and the wildlife are pretty incredible. There are several excursions that incorporate this with snorkeling, beach time, a land tour, or other activities. Cabo San Lucas also has fabulous beaches, for those of us who are beach people!

>> If it's your first visit to Mazatlan, do the city tour that includes the cultural show featuring the Pampatla Flyers. The so-called "Golden Zone" is a dump, but the show and the city's art and history have much to recommend them!

>> In Puerto Vallarta, I highly recommend Princess's tour called "Tequilla Distilleries and Beach Club" or something similar. This excursion visits two distilleries that make real "top shelf" tequillas, one by the modern method and the other by the traditional method, then goes to a beach club that has a magnificent beach. If that does not appeal, the city tour also is very good. When I last checked, there was one error in the descripion of the city tour -- the Church of Our Lady of Guadaloupe is NOT a cathedral, though it is very impressive -- but the tour is nonetheless very good and thd tower divers are excellent.

Have a great cruise!


katlady July 11th, 2008 11:47 AM

Whale season in Mexico (Sea of Cortez ) runs from January to March so you will not be there at a good time for Whales. The Huana Coa Canopy Adventure is a zip line tour with 9 ziplines. I haven't tried that one but it sounds fun. :D

In Cabo San Lucas I enjoyed an excusion called Sea Trek Helmet Dive After the excusion I enjoy the beach. You can see my photo gallery.
I have never swan with the dolphins but you can also do that in Cabo this excusion is called Cabo Dolphins.

For PV we did hideaway at las caletas it was relaxing. Here is the description from Princess website:
"Only accessible by sea, board a catamaran for the approximately one-hour trip to secluded Las Caletas Cove, this natural paradise stands out backdrop of lush green forests in an secluded cove just south of Puerto Vallarta. When you arrive at Las Caletas, you can choose between pure relaxation or gentle exploration in the unspoiled natural setting of this tropical beach hideaway. If relaxing is on your personal agenda, you can kick-back on the beach, relax in the shade on a comfortable hammock, or indulge in a therapeutic body massage or facial at our hilltop Spa Center. Throughout the day, there are bilingual eco-guides offer snorkeling, kayaking tours, yoga class and clay modeling or take a Paella cooking lesson; discover Las Caletas' prolific flora and bird life on a free guided nature walk through the jungle, orchid gardens and interactive parrot center, or explore the natural amphitheater and the Mayan Pyramid hidden in the forest. A buffet lunch with beverages will be served. Spa services are also available for purchase. "

Chuck Palm July 19th, 2008 04:38 PM


David and I go to Puerto Vallarta quite often and sometimes for as long as a month at a time. There is much to see and do. You can take buses anywhere, or taxis are very reasonable. Just don't use the taxis right by the cruise ship terminal because they are far too expensive (tourist trap for cruisers). The little yellow Nissan Tsuru taxis are great and very inexpensive.

One day is not enough time to see Vallarta. I'd take a taxi (to save time) to Galleria Uno, a local art gallery. They will give you a wonderful magazine called "Vallarta Lifestyle." It is full of maps,things to see and do. It also has excellent restaurant reviews to read.

Much of the best shopping is very close to their gallery. Los Muertos beach is an easy walk, south down the Malecon from there. You can enjoy the beach there and stroll around the Zona Romantica for more shopping and interesting people watching. Restaurant Row is right there too.

If you are going out to lunch I would suggest Le Bistro, River Cafe, Trio's,
or The Blue Shrimp.

Mariscos Polo (not pollo) has the best fresh-daily seafood in town but it is not fancy enough in decor for most gringoes. Polo, the owner is a wonderful man. His shrimp burritos and (my favorite) pulpo burritos are out of this world. I dream of them. If we are in P.V. for a month, we'll probably eat there at least twice a week. (8 times) He has great margaritas too. (No embience here, just great food and service)

If your ship doesn't leave until 10 or so, you MUST take a taxi to Las Carmelitas Restaurant. Get 6:30 reservations for a sunset dinner.It is the cab ride from hell but really worth it. This is by far the most fabulous view restaurant in P.V., but very moderate in price. The sunset view is like none other in the world, I promise. This is a true Mexican experience in a beautiful palapa outdoor restaurant. They grow their own beef. Their ribs are fabulous as is the whole fish. Service is fantastic. Tell your cabby to come back at say 8:30 to pick you up. You'll be back at the ship by 8:55 or so.

If there are other things you want to see, e-mail me or we can talk on the phone. I have lots of ideas about a couple of amazing beaches, favorite stores for shopping, etc. I'll be glad to help.

Most of all trust me that Vallarta is far more safe than any U.S. city. Do not be afraid to explore independently. Save your excursion money for Mazatlan, where there is little to see or do on your own, I.M.H.O. I'm going to P.V. from 8/19 to 8/24 for a visit with our best friends, Mare & Conrad. They are both retired doctors and are expates living there full time now. I'll give you up to date suggestions upon my return if you like.

Have a Margarita for me at Burro's Bar on Los Muertos beach if you walk by. Nice place to cool off and listen to some tunes.

Chuck Palm July 19th, 2008 04:50 PM

I almost forgot:

David and I both liked the "Colonial Villages" tour in Mazatlan. This port is the place to get out of town and see what Mexico is really like. Mazatlan is not very interesting as a city itself, I'm sorry to say.

Check out "" for articles from the Vallarta Lifestyle Magazine. This should give you some great reading before your trip.

Have Fun!

Chuck Palm July 19th, 2008 05:08 PM


The best "Mexican" restaurant in town (centro, near the church) is "El Arrayan." They have excellent truly gourmet Mexican cuisine, but a little bit on the pricey side. Their recipes remind me of some done by acclaimed Mexican chef, Patricia Quintana of Mexico City's favorite restaurant, "Izote." There is no view here but the restaqurant is a real treat for "foodies."

rollerdonna July 20th, 2008 10:12 PM

Wow! Thanks everyone, for all your suggestions, especially Chuck's many details. I'd like to try some of those suggestions to get around the expensive ship-sponsored excursions. Great beaches and good food, and maybe a good Margarita are mostly what I'm looking for!


katlady July 22nd, 2008 08:59 PM


Originally Posted by rollerdonna
Wow! Thanks everyone, for all your suggestions, especially Chuck's many details. I'd like to try some of those suggestions to get around the expensive ship-sponsored excursions. Great beaches and good food, and maybe a good Margarita are mostly what I'm looking for!


Because I'm cheap and was eyeballing the Mexican Riviera I found the websites for the dolphin swin in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is cheaper and also has a sea lion swim. Here are the websites. I have never done these excusions but I have always wanted to.

capgirl July 27th, 2008 10:27 PM

We did Mazatlan shrimp feast and it was wonderful also did the cooking excursion in PV loved it.

ferrangi July 31st, 2008 06:54 PM

Chuck... or anyone else... LOL
Have you ever heard of a resturant named "El Coleguita" I'm not sure of the spelling, I think it's in Puerto vallerta? :shock:

hez August 1st, 2008 08:06 AM

Because this is my first cruise (and probably my last...since money is tight...) i had a hard time choosing shore excursions. I chose: In Pt. Vallarta, in the morning, countryside horseback ride and in the afternoon, swim with the'll be a busy day!!

In mazatlan, i chose the Stone Island Beach break, which is the only shore excursion that my sister (Rollerdonna) and i are doing together!

In Cabo, The Premier cabo yacht experience. Has anybody done this?? it sounds like heaven and i'm hoping it's as good as it sounds!

Chuck Palm August 1st, 2008 09:03 PM

Ferangi, I've never heard of that restaurant. Sorry I just don't know.


rollerdonna August 20th, 2008 02:47 AM

Ahh, I see my little sis has posted! I have the same question , since I have finally chosen 3 shore excursions, can anyone give me feedback on those I chose?

1) Cabo San Lucas: Premier Beach Escape
2) Mazatlan: Stone Island Beach Break (with my sister)
3) Puerta Vallarta: Pirate Ship Adventure

Thanks for all your suggestions


dmaikui September 7th, 2008 11:50 PM

Chuck Palm
Wow you would make a great about some authentic fish tacos, like off the street kind. I can't wait to try the bar on the beach you mentioned for some drinks and tunes!

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