We are doing the repositioning cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to SF on the Coral in April/May and are pretty set on what to do at stops in Curacao, Huatulco and Cabo San Lucas. Looking for recommendations for tours or activites in Aruba and Acapulco. I don't like "in your face" vendors and am not really into shopping. We are moderately active mid 50s who like to see new things and people watch. Four hours on a tour bus with stops at carefully selected "sucker spots" doesn't (forgive me) "float our boats." Any suggestions welcome!
The street venders in the Mexican Riviera ports of call were notoriously pesty until a few years ago, though probably because there were so many of them rather than because they were excessively aggressive individually. Nonetheless, the government realized that they were driving tourists away and decided to intervene. The solution was to establish "flea markets" and to make booths in the "flea markets" available to the street vendors. This turned out to be a great arrangement for everybody.
>> The vendors could display far more merchandise in their booths than they could carry on their persons, and thus offer a better selection -- displayed so potential custimers could see it -- and thus make more sales.
>> The vendors had to stay near their booths, so they could not swarm around and overwhelm tourists. If you do go into a flea market, there are only two or three vendors near you -- and most won't bother with you unless you stop to look at something in their booths.
>> The flea markets are situated so tourists who are not interested can walk past them without going in, and so the vendors can't harass them.
Overall, the system seems to work very well. A few street vendors do still ply their trade the "old fashioned way," especially in Mazatelan, but they are a lot fewer in number even there than in times past.
In Acapulco, the tour called "Acapulco through the Ages" is an excellent choice. This tour visits a variety of attractions ranging from a fort converted to a museum to a modern villa of the very wealthy (that one can rent for $1500 or more per day -- not bad if divided among the eight couples that the villa can accommodate!). When I took this tour last fall, we did not encounter very many street vendors anywhere. There may have been a shopping stop along the way, but shopping was not exactly the focal point of the tour!
If the tour called "Acapulco through the Ages" is sold out, the city highlighs tour is a good second choice. It's another tour that stops at a variety of attractions and on which shopping is not the main focal point.
In Aruba, I highly recommend the expediition called "Sail, Snorkel, Barbecue, and Beach" or something similar. On this expedition, a sail catamaran (good and stable!) picks you up at the pier and sails along the coast, with the crew pointing out several of the highlights along the way, to a couple snorkeling/swimming areas (snorkel gear and lessons provided, or you may stay aboard the boat if you prefer). The boat then docks at the company's facility, where the staff has the barbecue ready. After the delicious lunch, there's swimming and sunbathing at the spendid white sand beach located right next to the pier if you wish. At the end of the time, the boat crew hosts the sails again to take you back to the ship. I should also mention that the crew does serve beverages aboard the catamaran.
Have a great cruise!