Barb and I just returned from a 13 day Mexican Riviera Cruise during which we had the pleasure of celebrating our 49th wedding anniversary (WOW!). Although we have done the Mexican Rivera before we want to share this journey with all our camera friends. We left Long Beach on the evening of January 31 and were immediately treated to 85 mph winds off the coast of California, which made for an interesting first night at sea.
After one day at sea we arrived at our first stop, Cabo San Lucas. It is located at the tip of the Baja California Sur peninsula and is a popular fishing village as well as a destination for the wealthy yacht owners. Cabo has been rated as one of Mexico's top 5 tourist destinations. As you turn into the harbor you are presented with a majestic image of the Arco de Cabo San Lucas.
You are anchored off shore and tendered in, as Cabo is not a deep-water port. The harbor is full of very expensive yachts as well as fishing charters and a myriad of small water taxis and glass bottom boats for the tourists as well as plenty of shoreline shopping.
After 2 days in Cabo we left for our second destination. La Paz is located on the eastern side of Baja California Sur peninsula on the Gulf of California. La Paz is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur although you wouldn’t know it by its appearance.
It does have some interesting residents though.
And some interesting scenery!
On one side of the main square of La Paz stands the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Paz, built in 1861 by Dominican priests on the site of the city’s original Jesuit mission, built in 1720.
Our next stop was Mazatlán. For the last several years Mazatlán has not been on the cruise lines stop itinerary due to a rise in the local crime rate. However last year the cruise lines started returning to Mazatlán. That being said, as you approach the harbor area you are provided with a “friendly” escort as well as when you depart.
You are also treated to a view of the famous Bird Rock Islands. Bet you can’t guess how they got their name.
The really exciting activity is to take a local taxi to the “Gold Zone”. No seat belts, no air bags, no windows, 25 blaring speakers inside and a driver on drugs. The Gold Zone, located about 25 minutes from the port, is a tourists shopping delight. Every piece of jewelry known to man and some out of the world restaurants. Our favorite is Ponchos, which has coconut shrimp as big as your hand and is located right on the beach.
After leaving Mazatlan with our Government provided escort we spent 2 days at sea before arriving in Manzanillo. Manzanillo is well known internationally for deep-sea fishing and, for you older guys, is where the movie “10” with Dudley Moore and Bo Derek was filmed. Manzanillo is the busiest port in Mexico, as measured by total tonnage and volume of containerized cargo. However parking for cruise ships gets a little crowded.
The welcoming committee at Manzanillo is a little more exciting than the one at Mazatlan.
The architecture and housing density is also interesting not to mention the colorful exterior paint selections
The most interesting attraction is the Iguana sanctuary. A protected sanctuary for hundreds of Iguana who share their accommodations with chickens and roosters.
We said goodbye to Manzanillo and head for our final stop of Puerto Vallarta. I have to say this is one of my favorite stops and this will make our third visit. Puerto Vallarta is where John Huston filmed the 1963 movie “The Night of the Iguana” with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The US media covered their extramarital affair quite extensively. OK, enough of the gossip. The waterfront walk is void of cars and full of shops and restaurants. Our favorite is the River Café.
One of the more photographed landmarks in Puerto Vallarta is the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The foundation for the church was laid in 1903 but it took until 1952 for the church to be completely finished due to numerous conflicts between the church and state. The church literally dominates the Puerto Vallarta skyline.
As we bring our trip to a close and head back to Long Beach there is one remaining thing I must share with you. At sea you are treated to some of the most amazing sunrises and sunsets that can only be observed from the ship. Unencumbered by landscape, buildings, telephone poles or cactus these are only available when the foreground is nothing but water and the horizon just goes on forever. Enjoy our final images and thanks for coming with us.
A very special thanks to Rick and Barb for sharing their special anniversary with us. They not only took some great photos for us, but Rick wrote the narrative so we could enjoy the story that goes with the photos. We look forward to your 50th anniversary trip. Are you taking requests?