Panama Canal Cruise
Mike and Judy Henderson
April 11 to April 27, 2016
I'll leave the map of our cruise route at the front of each blog page so you can more easily see where we are. As I start this page, we're in Cabo San Lucas.
4/13/2016 Cabo San Lucas does not have berthing facilities for large cruise ships so we had to tender in. The ship anchored just offshore and a number of local tender boats came out to meet us. The ship lowered four of their lifeboats/tenders and those were also used to take passengers to and from shore. We took one of the lifeboats to shore and one of the local tenders back to the ship.
Here's a panoramic view of Cabo taken when we arrived. You can see the local tender boats waiting to take passengers to shore.
Cabo San Lucas is completely a tourist town. There are Americans everywhere and the signs are all in English. Overall, it's a nice, clean town. While there are many people hawking every kind of goods and tours, I think most of them are honest and will provide what you think you're getting.
It's really a beach and water sports town so we didn't fit in that well - we just walked through the town, sightseeing.
It's located in a desert so there's not much greenery around the town. We were wondering where the drinking water comes from - perhaps they have a desalinization plant.
Returning to the ship. You can see a couple of the ship's lifeboats/tenders, and one of the local tenders.
We departed Cabo San Lucas sometime after 6pm and sailed southeast toward Puerto Vallarta during the night. We expect to arrive at Puerto Vallarta about 2pm tomorrow.
I fear this trip blog is not going to be very interesting - a lot of the cruise is just "at sea" time. Hopefully, I'll be able to give some more interesting reports as we transit the Panama Canal.
4/14/2016 We moved into Central Time Zone last night, advancing our clocks one hour. We arrived at Puerto Vallarta about 2pm but the ship had to go through routine clearance so we couldn't get ashore until a bit later.
It obviously rains more here than in Cabo San Lucas - there's lots of greenery around the town. A three mile taxi ride brought us to the central part of town, called "Centro" on the maps, and we walked around that part of town. We visited the local church, called "Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe", and walked along the Malecon (which is the walkway, or road, along the ocean).
Here's the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta. There was a Malecon in Havana as well, boardering the seawall.
The interior of the church
It was a hot day and there didn't seem to be more to see in Centro so we took a cab back to the ship and prepared for dinner.
Oddly, we turn our clocks back one hour this evening - back to what we would call "Mountain time." I have no idea why we're doing this - looking at the time zone maps, we should be in the Central time zone. Perhaps this area does not switch to Daylight Savings time.
4/15/2016 A day "at sea". These can be boring days. There's not much to do when we're just cruising like this - so we read, watch the ocean go by, and try to kill time. The meals are the only thing that break up the day.
We attended a lecture on the Panama Canal by Bill Fall in the morning and participated in the ship's golf putting game in the afternoon. Bill does an excellent job of describing the history and operation of the Panama Canal. He lived in the Canal Zone and has made more than fifty transits through the canal. His knowledge and presentation are outstanding.
4/16/2016 Today was another day "at sea". We attended a couple of lectures and participated in the golf putting game in the afternoon. Tomorrow we reach Guatemala where we'll take one of the tours.
4/17/2016 We docked at the Port of San Jose, Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala about 8:30 this morning.
We took a tour that went to San Antonio Aguas Calientes, which is a fairly small village with a population descended from the Mayans, and to the old capital of Guatemala, Antigua. Here's Judy getting ready to get into the van. There were only eight people on the tour which was nice.
A roadside fruit stand displayed much of the local agricultural produce of the area.
I found the cashew fruit quite interesting - the cashew nut is in the shell at the top of the red fruit.
When we got to San Antonio, we attended a "Mayan Wedding" - not a real wedding, but a re-enactment to allow us to experience some of the Mayan culture. Here is the groom, the bride, and the bride's father.
Depicting the marriage.
Then the celebration - everyone has a drink!
And then comes the dancing - the bride and groom. Everyone else soon joins the dancing and they pulled all of us into the dance, also.
After the show was over Judy and I did some shopping for fabrics then went to the central square. Church was just letting out (today is Sunday).
There were two older women in traditional dress sitting on a bench. Our guide talked to them and learned that they were both in their 80's.
We went to a "jade"museum displaying Guatemalan jadeite jade, and then to a cafe to sample some of the locally grown coffee. It was delicious.
We're now back at the ship. We leave this evening, with one day "at sea" before we arrive at Puntarenas, Costa Rica.
Our adventure continues here.