Puerto Chiapas is at the southern-most point of Mexico and is the gateway to Guatemala. It is an area rich in history, political turmoil and a big coffee growing region. The port has been recently renovated and has a large thatched-roof pyramid to reflect the Mayan heritage of the area along with a restaurant and swimming pool exclusively for cruise passenger usage. We were greeted at the pier with music and dancers in native costume. Izapa is a 30 minute drive from the port and is the site of ancient ruins. It is believed to be where the sacred Mayan Calendar originated. There is also an interesting mangrove jungle tour by boat.
Bahia de Huatulco is always one of our favorite stops. There are nine small bays all of which are ecologically protected from mass overdevelopment. Because of the low scale building, the port of Santa Cruz resembles a small Italian fishing village. Most of the bays are nature preserves and this was quite evident to us as we were having breakfast on the aft veranda. We saw flocks of yellow and green parakeets darting around the bay. When they settled in a tree, it looked a lemon tree
ripe for picking. There were also fish jumping all around the ship. We hired a panga boat for a sea level tour of this beautiful area. We saw a local marina filled with big yachts. We passed by La Bufadora, an erupting blow hole. When we return here in May, we’ll probably take a longer boat ride and visit some of the other bays. For the price of a Coke, we were able to use a computer at a café and post one of our blogs. We went for a swim in the bay to cap off our water oriented visit to this lovely area of Mexico.
In Acapulco we took our Cruise Specialists group on a tour which included a stop to watch the famed cliff divers. There is now a young girl who has joined the ranks of the divers. According to our guide she is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest female to dive from 45’ into the sea. The tour then took us around the bay to the Hotel Quinta Real for lunch. We were serenaded by a Mariachi Band during lunch which we thoroughly enjoyed, but then we weren’t
sitting right next to the band as were some passengers. The city traffic was unbelievable. It seemed that everyone in Mexico City had decided to drive to Acapulco for the New Year’s fireworks display. We wished that we could have stayed in the Bay for New Year’s Eve, but we had to cover 700 miles in about 35 hours in order to arrive in Cabo San Lucas on time.
It turned surprisingly cool and breezy once we cleared Acapulco Bay, so the shipboard New Year’s Eve celebration took place inside rather than the usual on-deck party. After an early dinner, we gussied up for the black and white ball with tuxedo and gown. There was an elegant song and dance stage show to get us in the mood for celebrating. The ship was decorated from stem to stern with balloons and streamers. Hats and noise makers were handed out, and with the band playing in the atrium, Jamie did a Dick Clark style countdown to the New Year. We ended the evening on our own balcony toasting to the promise of 2008.
With only five hours in port, we had to really move to see much of Cabo
San Lucas. We tendered ashore, visited the old town, hit an internet café and a few shops, marveled at the high cost of almost everything, and then it was time to take the tender back to the ship. As we cruised past Lover’s Beach and around the famous arch we were encircled by hundreds of dolphins leaping and cavorting all around the ship. What a lovely farewell to Mexico.
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