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About MSN-Travelers

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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    Eastern Caribbean

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  1. Have been going to Vallarta for 20 years, all but one as a resort visitor. I'm not sure trying to do both activities would be the best plan. If this is your first visit to Vallarta, I would do one or the other but not both. Vallarta Adventures should be the excursion provider and they always provide a first class experience. The Yelapa excursion is allot of fun but I am a little concerned about the time of year. March is near the tail end of the dry season. The Yelapa waterfall my be a dribble. Waters on the Mexican Pacific coast are not like the Caribbean. They are a little cooler and less clear. Just know that snorkeling in Bandaras Bay is OK but it isn't Hawaii or the Caribbean. The beaches on the south shore are beautiful and the boat ride (both ways) are very entertaining. Vallarta, itself, deserves a whole day, especially if you have never been there before. Enjoy . . .
  2. For Vallarta . . . Johann & Sandra are third party tour brokers with a very good reputation. However, the excursion operator that runs the Dolphin excursions in both Cabo and Vallarta are Cabo Adventures and Vallarta Adventures respectively. They have a sweetheart contract with the cruise industry that makes the cruise ship the only entity that can sell any/all excursions run by the "Cabo/Vallarta Adventures" folks. Johann & Sandra may list Cabo/ Vallarta Adventures excursions but they can only sell to the non-cruise passenger world. Enjoy! . . .
  3. Speaking for Vallarta only . . . Fresh made churros are normally found when the local families are out and about during or shortly after the dinner meal. Typically, this is after 7 PM. This does make it difficult for most cruise ship passengers. I do know that there is a location on the south side that caters to the tourist industry. You can find information about La Romantica Churros & Cafe Bar at TripAdvisor and on FaceBook.
  4. Speaking only for Puerto Vallarta - You might find that the "type" of fish you are hoping to catch may influence your decision on which port you will try to do this. Vallarta is located in a very large bay. Most of the really big fish are found out in the ocean as opposed to inside the bay. Travel time to/from the fishing grounds, along with the actual arrival/departure of you ship will determine how much actual "fishing time" hubby will have. This a tough activity for people coming off a cruise ship simply because you are constrained by the ship's itinerary. Here are a few of the better known outfits in Vallarta: Master Baiter's Sportfishing & Tours is one we have used but as resort vacationers rather than off a cruise ship. Trip Advisor has 45 different fishing charter outfits listed. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g150793-Activities-c61-t217-Puerto_Vallarta.html Johann and Sandra are very good at what they do, but they are a third party tour broker and they don't actually run/operate any excursions. Enjoy! . . .
  5. Vallarta has several demonstration tequila distilleries. These are often part of a "Tequilla Tour" and feature some of the product they make. This includes regular and flavored tequila's. We happen to visit the Mama Lucia facility some years ago. Typically, they are only available at the demonstration distillery. I did find a TripAdvisor posting that said the specific brand of Mandarin Orange flavored Tequila you are looking for was being sold at a little flea market on the Malecon. It is just down from the McDonalds with its entrance near the Redneck Sombrero. Flavored Tequila products are pretty common in the various tourist tequila shops on/around the Malecon. Enjoy!
  6. The La Playa liquor stores will have the best selection of tequilas. A google search will show you where they are located in the Vallarta area. The Soriana and Mega grocery stores often offer the best prices on mainstream brands. Think of them as an equivalent of our Walmart super stores in the States. Enjoy !
  7. I would suggest you have a rough idea what the liquor prices are at home before you head for the ship. Bargains can be found for certain brands but often the savings is minimal. Don't forget to factor in the logistics involved in getting the liquor home from the cruise port back in the states. You are pretty much stuck with packing it in your check bags. For Vallarta, the info Ine gave is good plus the Soriana Super (grocery store) immediately south of the port is a good source. Are shopping something in particular? Enjoy!
  8. Normally, this excursion site is not good for mobility challenged individuals, especially after sunset. It has been a number of years since we were last there. They may have been able to offer all-terrain wheeled transport since then. As Ine indicated, contact Vallarta Adventure directly for answers on this question. Enjoy!
  9. Hola, Have done the Las Caletas day excursion 14 times since 2000. The site and available activities continues to expand and improve with each passing year. To recap the previous information . . . Vallarta Adventures is the exclusive operator for Las Caletas. They are under contract with the cruise industry and under the terms of the contract, they are not allowed to sell excursions directly to cruise ship passengers. You must book through the cruise line. Even if you go online and find a third party excursion broker offering this excursion, you must book with the ship. (Essentially, the cruise lines book all the spaces in advance and release on-sold space 24-48 hours in advance for resort hotel guests.) Continental finger food with juice & coffee on the trip from the port to Las Caletas. They don't want you drunk on arrival. A pretty good buffet for lunch. You can watch them prepare all the food. Non-powered water gear is available, to include snorkeling equipment, free of charge. I believe they will ask you to leave either a driver's license or your cruise card when you check out the gear. You can use the gear independently or as part of an organized group activity. Everything is included except trinkets sold in the onsite store. They have an additive cost Massage operation at Las Caletas and will attempt to sell Massage services on the boat trip to Las Caletas. I seem to recall that they will also have a videographer/photographer on the boat who will try to sell a CD/DVD with pictures/video taken during your stay. We haven't been there for two years so other methods to extract $$ from your wallet may exist. Key staff introductions will be made during the trip to Caletas. They will introduce the Captain as the most important person on the boat. Don't be fooled . . . the bar tender is the most important person on the boat! Open bar while at Las Caletas and on the return trip to the port. Drink selection is limited and I believe they only had one brand of beer. Don't expect to get a Key Lime Martini or a Brandy Manhattan. They normally have large tubs of iced bottle water out for self-help service. Las Caletas staff will have tip baskets out as you leave the site. The boats crew will also have tip buckets out on your return to the port. Both are very passive effort and they are happy with anything you might have to offer. Enjoy!!
  10. Have done Vallarta Food Tours three times. Very informative and entertaining. Enjoy!!
  11. Have been there a dozen or so times over the last two decades. The site expands and adds activities every year. Value vs. Price is a personal judgment and is often based on your expectations from the start. We stopped going when the price to resort vacationers (booked online with discount) went over $110 USD. This season the basic price went up to $139, $118 with online discount. Nobody can every understand how or why the cruise lines charge what they charge. For years, the ship was more expensive than direct booked. Then the ship was cheaper for a couple years. And now (at least for Carnival) the ship is more expensive than direct booked. To be honest . . . Caletas lost its allure as we became very familiar with the city and surrounding area. Ziplines and para-sailing were a whole lot more fun at 46 than it is at 66. Enjoy!
  12. If you are referring to Secrets Vallarta Bay - Purto Vallarta . . . It is, at most, a 10-15 taxi ride from the resort to the Marine Terminal. Depending on the size of your party, it may take longer to get into and out of the taxi than the actual travel time. You can take a Federal taxi/van from the port (cost per person in US Dollars) or a city taxi located just outside the port property (cost per taxi ride, in pesos or USD's, with up to 4 passengers). Know that your only choice coming back to the port is a city taxi. The taxis located on the port property can only take passengers away from the port. I don't know what the port taxis will charge per person to take you to the resort. A city taxi should be roughly 80 pesos. (We stay at the Sheraton and pay 80 pesos to get to the port. Secrets is roughly half way between the Sheraton & the port.) Enjoy!
  13. We have used Los Veranos Canopy Tours several times. https://canopytours-vallarta.com The ziplines are one part of the excursion experience. Ease of access to the excursion site and additional on-site activities can play an part part of your evaluation process. Trip Advisor has additional information/reviews on the various excursion operators in the Vallarta area. ENJOY!
  14. Resort vacationers have an advantage over cruisers. We enjoy the freedom to book direct with Vallarta Adventures or a variety of third party tour brokers. We are able to book a single excursion direct with VA and get a 15% discount. Book two excursions and get a third excursion free. You folks arriving on a ship are bound by the contract price the cruise industry has with VA. You and your kids will love it!
  15. A subjective answer about excursion "worth" is a tough one. Almost as difficult as asking if it is safe to get off the ship. The size and age diversity of your party will have a huge impact on your "price vs. value received" experience. We have been to Las Caletas about a dozen times over the last 2 decades. We have watched it evolve and expand over the years to offer activities that appeal to all age groups. Value for the money? If you want a beach day that includes national drinks, a tasty buffet meal, organized water activities, a variety of optional for-fee activities and no beach vendors in your face . . . then it might be worth the cost. If you have kids, then the value goes up. The ride to Las Caletas is informative and offers breakfast snacks. The return trip is all entertainment and open bar. The adult beverages are national drinks. Don't expect Heineken beer or chocolate martinis. My current cost, booking online, is $118 USD. We are in our 60's and only go if we happen to have guests with us. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to understand cruise ship pricing. Cruise ship pricing was much higher than direct booked pricing for many years. Then the cruise ships were charging less than direct booked pricing for a couple years. Now it appears that, at least for Carnival, they are charging more again. If you are going to evaluate "value" based solely on the price paid, then you will likely be disappointed. If you want a beach day that is vendor-free and has a variety of activities that you can participate in without having to worry about food or restrooms . . . then this is a great excursion. Enjoy!
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