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About CarolandNate

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  1. I assume you're talking about the Castillo death Barajas
  2. 7000 to 10000 pesos, so about 3 to 5 dollars
  3. We are doing the December 3-18 PC Full transit on the Emerald Princess. While we have booked several already, we are still up in the air as pertains to Huatulco. There are two that seem more interesting, so I ask anyone has one or both. There is the Rural Communities & Traditions and the Flavors of Mexico. They are actually quite similar as both got to Piedro de Moros, do tortilla and tamale making. The time is the same and the price is close. I would like to hear what others think.
  4. Looking for some feedback from previous travelers to the Panama Canal in general and Cartagena in particular. We will be doing the full transit from LA to Fort Lauderdale, December 3rd-18th, so we will be getting to Cartagena at the end. We have booked excursions through the ship for Puerto Vallarta, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas and Fuerte Amador and plan to do the same for Huatulco. I see that there are quite a few city tours through the ship and probably many more privately. They all seem to be hitting the same spots for the most part, but my thinking is that we can have more control if we go it on our own. Also a good deal cheaper. At first we thought about the hop on/hops offs as a more flexible option and to a certain extent they are. But we think that just taking a cab into the city gives us the most flexibility. Here is what I think I know. It is about two miles or so from the ship to the city, too far to walk. Cabs are about $10 US to the city and back. Getting a cab by the hour is be about $20 per. While the tours hit all the hot spots in their 3 1/2 to 4 hours, they can be crowded. Do I have this right? Since we can't see everything, we feel that we need to pick our spots and have something of a plan. That means the walled city, San Felipe Castle and probably Las Bovedas. I know the tours go out to the new city and some points outside the walled city, like Getsamani, but like I said, pick your spots. My thinking is to go to the castle first. Heard it is better in the morning, cooler and less crowds and then head up to Las Bovedas for a little while. From we go the walled city and spend the rest of our time there. It seems like most of the good stuff is there anyway, all within walking distance of one another. Plus there is the carriage ride. As far as cabs go, I was thinking we could get a cab for two hours from the dock and let them take us to the castle, then Las Bovedas, then the walled city. At that point, let them go and we spend two or three hoursthere before heading back mid afternoon. Or we can just get a cab in each spot. Is this realistic? Does it make sense, logistically and financially? Are the cabs accessible enough? More specifically, are the cabbies more inclined to want multiple hour trips or does it not really make a difference. How difficult will it be to get a cab at the castle. I am assuming that there are plenty in the old city or if not there a short walk to where they are. Speaking of walks, is walking from Las Bovedas to the walled city something we want to do. Same goes for the castle to the old city, if we skipped Las Bovedas. Any help would be appreciated from those who have experienced this area.
  5. Has anyone out there used the Princess HoHo for Cartagena. We are inclined to use it, but there appears to be ambiguity on the Personaliser and the details with regard to returning. What I do know is that they use the same vendor, City Sightseeing as pretty much everyone uses, like Viator. Because it is booked through the ship, the excursion begins at the ship and it get you to the starting point. They also get you back. If one books directly or through Viator, you have to get to said starting point on your own and back to the ship. So when it comes to price, the cost for the excursion and the cab fare is pretty much the same as doing it through the ship. You could walk to and back and then you save money. On the personaliser there are about 12 or so series of times, each with four hour blocks, starting at 8:30-12:30, etc My question is: Are you locked into a four hour span, so if you start at 8:30, are you required to take the 12:30 back to the ship, meaning be at the pick up point by that time. Or can you return at any of the designated pick up times, thus giving yourself more time. The last leaves at 3:30, so if you did that, it would give you seven hours. That would be the way a true HOHo works. They mention spending as much time as you like, stopping to eat, etc, but they also say that you should be at the pick up point at the (not a) designated time. The way I see it, one has several options. 1) A structured tour that is X number of hours and you do what they have you do, be it from the ship where you will have transportation from the ship and no worries about getting back in time. Or there private tours and you are responsible for getting to their designated spot. That means cab. Dora the Explorer is one that a lot of people talk about and she does pick up at the ship. 2) A semi structured tour, which would be HoHo, where the number of hours are your decision. Leave at 8;30 and if you want to habg around a little longer, just make sure you are done in time to get back to the ship or walk back. 3) An unstructured tour meaning that you are on your own. Take a cab (or walk) in. Walk around and stay as long as you want. Then cab (or walk) back. Any thoughts as to how the Princess HoHo works with that schedule online? And if you book through the ship, there about 12 or so times over the course of the day, each one with a four hour trip
  6. Oh, oh. We "older", I think. But everything I hear about this is good. Interesting what you say about Panama City. While the city and the locks tours may be educational and a chance to see the canal from a different perspective, we really want to do something different. I figure we will get a lot of educational stuff as we go through, not to mention on the ship the days before the transit. What I don't want is to do a city/locks tour the day before and then go through and be told basically the same things. The Embera tour really looks different than your typical tour and we also got to see a short piece on TV with one of the many streaming travel channels. So thanks
  7. Sounds good. That's what I am hearing, especially about Emberas. Hadn't been seeing too much good or bad about Nicaragua. There were three volcano tours, but only one that seemed to spend a decent amount of time at the volcano itself. Sounds like we made the right choice. Thanks
  8. I agree. My situation is different, in that I am not looking for the stay before for anything more than a night to crash, eat without a lot of hassle, be nearby and drop off a car that I will have had for three or four days. There is a lot of good stuff to see, but I have seen it. Aquarium should be seen, but only if you have time. I see Torrance as a place in the middle where you could go in either direction.
  9. The breakfast thing at Residence is actually pretty good. Probably not as impressive as DT, and certainly nothing like one at Westin, but it's more than a lobby buffet, a little of everything, including a waffle maker. And it's included and since I don't even pay for the room....... Westin is nice and there actually is a Westin in Long Beach (similar to Renaissance) and it is a Marriott now. Their buffet in Vancouver is one of those "whoa buffets" and being right there in the hotel was great. We left our luggage at the room, went to breakfast, and waited for the bus to take us over to the dock. There was actually another Westin across the street from the dock. Just check around Long Beach, San Pedro, Torrance. I had a list of about 16 hotels and that was just the ones where I could get a free night. I have Hilton points, but not enough and that would have required opening a new credit card to get enough intro points. I am already there with Marriott and Choice. Then check out all the rentals in the proximity. And if you don't car about being an hour from the dock or so, there more near the airport.
  10. Ah Montreal. One of my favorite places. Son was going to go to McGill before he decided elsewhere and I have a cousin who has been a professor there forever. Actually love Canada. In the 70s, we honeymooned in the Maritimes and a couple of years ago got back to PEI after 28 years. Love your country !!! Crowne Plaza is expensive. It is literally across the street from Enterprise, isn't it. The DT looks nice. We want a place with free breakfast and Residence Inns have a decent buffet and since we have Marriott Points and free anniversary nights, seems like a logical place to go. Also have Choice points and there is a brand new Ascend, which are the more upscale Choices in Torrance. Called the Bluestem and it literally opened a couple of months ago. It also is getting great reviews. There's also an Enterprise a mile or so away from it. Getting back to the breakfast thing, we don't want to go hunting around for breakfast that morning. When we went to Alaska, we stayed at a Westin through Princess and they had a buffet. Made life easier to eat and go and then tide us over until we get on the ship, where the serious eating begins. I like to think, that I know the LA area reasonably well for an east coast person. Daughter is out there and my son did an internship near LA when he was in college. When and where are you going on Princess.
  11. Lot of options. There is an Enterprise of San Pedro and it is about a mile from the Best Western, about two from the Hilton Double Tree. That Enterprise is 15 from the Long Beach Cruise terminal (Carnival). As far as going to Santa Monica, one night there and one in Long Beach, that is a good option as well. If you have never been to Santa Monica, it is kind of cool on the pier. If you want something to do near the cruise terminal in Long Beach, the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific are right near it, very close. If you think you would want to do the aquarium, you need the better part of a day. It is huge. There are a lot of hotels and car rentals to choose from. You might even want to consider staying in between, like in Torrance, which is a half hour from Santa Monica and the terminal. There are a couple of Enterpises in Torrance and an Uber from Torrance to the terminal is only about $25-30. We are going in December on a Princess, whose dock is on San Pedro. Right now, our plan is staying near Pasadena to the east until the day before (family). Then drive over to Torrance or Long Beach, where there are several Choice hotels and Marriotts. Get rid of the car the morning of and Uber over to out terminal. Since the Torrance and Long Beach car rentals are not too far, we are planning to uber from LAX to one of them to get the car for several days . FWIW, it is cheaper to Uber and do a round trip car rental there than a one way from LAX to a rental return in LB or Torrance. Check out Costco, if you have membership there. Hope that helps
  12. Appreciate the advice. That's what makes this Cruise Critic so valuable
  13. That's what I have read. Are the ship's tours worthwhile vs doing it on our own hop on hop off, cab or walk in, etc. They don't look to be overly expensive; they are about the same 3-4 hours and they appear to highlight the same places. Looking the map, it appears to be relatively small area in which to sight see. I'm thinking, do one of the actual tours and either come back to the ship or stay in the city, walk around and then head back on our own--cab or walk. Being the end of the cruise, we will likely be pretty wiped out, but then we would have two sea days to recover. Are there any that are more wow than the others or are they all pretty much variations of the same thing.
  14. Thanks. That's a good thought. I will do that. Along with what you are saying about Huatulco not being a frequent stopping point, I am also hearing from some that it is---okay, nothing special, bland, etc. You get the idea. If there is a stop to just wing it, this appears to be the place. And it does not sound like one where if we wait until we are on the ship to book, and perhaps get shut out, that we will say, "Oh no, look what we missed !" But it is good to educate oneself to make an informed decision at some point.
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