I'm going on the Holland America Statendam on a seven-day cruise in mid-January 2004 to the Mexican Riviera - Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta.
Should we do any excursions? All I want to do is lounge on the beach. I guess what I'm asking is, are the beaches close to where the ship docks at each of these places, or do I have to buy an excursion to get to a beach?
If you are interested, I do shore excursions in Mazatlan. I have an air conditioned van for up to 10 pax and also a nice open air trolley for 30. My tours are flexible and I take you to where YOU want to go. I give you the choices and you pick where to stop. Great prices too! Contact me for more information at:
You don't need to do shore excursions to lounge on the beach, but in some cases you may need to take a taxi or water shuttle.
In Cabo, the beach right next to the cruise pier (walkable) has nice restaurants with palapas and water sports. It's pleasant but not exceptionally pretty in my opinion. For more secluded beaches, try Santa Maria Bay or Chileno Bay -- both are a cab ride. Also, a $7 ride by water taxi to Lovers Beach is well worth it -- beautiful beach, secluded (but no rest rooms or food).
In Puerto Vallarta, there's a very inexpensive shuttle (or cab) to the town beach (the Malecon). It's got water sports, but isn't particularly tropical. You can also get on a water taxi to several more secluded, beautiful and tropical beaches -- Yelapa and Las Animas are two of the names I remember. In PV, the beaches to the north of the cruise pier are nice, too. Wide sandy beaches -- you just have to tell a cab driver what you're looking for, and he'll take you there! We spent a very nice day at Playa Mismaloya, which was about a 20 minute cab ride south of the cruise pier. Tropical, with restaurant -- but not secluded like Yelapa.
In Mazatlan, you can get day passes to a resort, or try a water shuttle to one of the islands. There aren't any beaches within walking distance of the cruise ship here.
I agree with Jeanne on her choices. I was at those ports last year. We always rented a vehicle and drove around ourselves. Definately do MIsmaloya in PV and go to the malecon. Lots of great shopping areas. Of course when we were in PV we were with my sister and her husband who is from PV so it was easy to drive around. PV is probably the most beautiful with the "mountains", jungle, rain forest areas. Happy sailing and see some sights. Don't limit yourself to the beach only as there are lots of great areas to see but essentially you need a ride to the beach.