Cruising Destinations

Cruise Days–Costa Rica, Mexico and San Diego return

Panama Canal - Gatun Locks Westbound

Welcome to the fourth and last post in the series of posts which will look at the ports of call for the 28-day Panama Canal cruise which I was onboard earlier this year. In this post, I will cover the remaining ports in a little more detail than the summary post here “28 Day Panama Canal Cruise Summary.

Looking for the other parts? Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

After leaving Aruba, there was a day at sea before the second full transit of the Panama Canal. The second transit was the greatest benefit of doing the cruise over 28 days. There are a couple of advantages to this, such as seeing all three sets of locks at the opposite ends of the day. Also just getting to watch and see different areas of the canal as the transit progresses.

After completing the Panama Canal transit, the first stop is Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica. Followed by another three ports in Mexico, Huatulco, Acapulco, and Cabo San Lucus. With the cruise coming to an end in San Diego at the end of 28-days.

Panama Canal, Panama

Due to the way that transits for cruise ships are scheduled each transit will enter the canal in the morning. Then the exiting at the other end of the canal in the afternoon or evening. For this transit, there were three cruises all entering the Gatun locks together. The MS Statendam, Island Princess and Celebrity Century.

Panama Canal - Gatun Locks Westbound

I spent the time along this transit in a relatively similar way to the last transit. There was a mix of time spent on deck in the heat and humidity, with some time in the pool. But I also took advantage of some indoor activities to cool down from time to time.

Puerto Caldera – Costa Rica

Costa Rica was one of the ports that I was looking forward to seeing. Although seeing the country was of interest, the tour I had booked almost overshadowed this. There were a few parts of the tour. However, the main part I was looking forward to was zip lining. The rest of the tour included a one-hour bus trip from the ship to the forest area where the zip lining was. A 20-minute ride in a gondola to get to the top of the zip line course, and a reasonably good spread for the included lunch.

Costa Rica - Gondola

The zip line course was a series of ten different zip lines of various lengths, with the longest one over 1000 feet long. Depending on the individual zip line you achieve speeds up to 35+ miles per hour. The course here had one big plus; you did not need to worry about braking. On some other zip lines, you also need to slow yourself down with a brake on the equipment. The only issue at times was the amount of time that you had to wait in between turns. As a result of people needing to be helped to connect and disconnected to the zip lines. However, the views while you waited kind made it worth while.

Costa Rica - Ziplining

Doing this tour did not leave time for really anything else, it was a full eight-hour tour. There was little time left before the ship “all aboard” time. It started to rain on the way back to the ship so I was happy to get back onboard. However, this was not a concern. I don’t think I could have found a better way to spend the time in Costa Rica myself.

Costa Rica - Lunch

Huatulco, Mexico

Huatulco was the next port, and the only port duplicated for the whole cruise. A perfect opportunity for another beach day. After the first visit, I did ask people who had taken tours, and the primary feedback was, there is not much to see on the tours.

Acapulco, Mexico

The following day was a stop in Acapulco, Mexico. I had little interest in this port after reading quite a lot about safety issues in the area. With some cruise lines even opting for alternate ports or making a decision on the day whether to dock or not. While the ship may have docked, I chose to stay in the port area, and onboard the ship. Which turned out to be a good choice as stories filtered back about people being given bad directions to try and lead them away. So it does not look like I missed much, and still got a decent photo over the city.

Acapulco - Mexico

Cabo San Lucas – Mexico

The last port of the cruise was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was kind of sad that the cruise was coming to an end. However, what a fantastic port to end on. Cabo San Lucas is a tender port, which meant you needed to plan whether to be on or off the ship for most of the day.

Cabo San Lucas - Mexico

The views over the port, water, and surrounding areas are stunning. With water, that is a deep blue color, sandy beaches stretching along the shoreline and some very dramatic rocky features. Small boats are acting as taxi’s darting across the water in every direction. Many almost private alcoves with beaches and people enjoying the sun.

Cabo San Lucas - Mexico

The first thing I noticed once on shore was a very different feel to other Mexican ports that I visited. There was a feeling of fun, and everything was busy and happy. The market stalls were everywhere with people trying to sell their wares, or use their boat to get around the bay. It was an outstanding place to wander around and just see what was on offer. Such as “free tequila with your beer” or a bucket of 7 Coronas for $10 US.

Cabo San Lucas - Mexico - Beach

Cabo San Lucas - Natural Archway

Back To San Diego

After leaving Cabo San Lucus, there was still one sea day before arriving back to San Diego. While there were plenty of people happy to leave at the end of the first 14 days, I could easily have stayed longer. I made full use of the last day enjoying some of the luxuries of the ship for the last time. A cruise is such a great way to see some places you may never think to visit otherwise. Along with the benefits of getting to meet a lot of people and also only having to unpack once.

MS Statendam departing San Diego

More To Come

With this post, it brings the series of posts about my 28-day Panama Canal Cruise to an end. There are more posts to read from my travel and adventures. So I hope that you take a chance to check out some more posts. Especially if you would like to try cruising yourself, consider checking out my post about Choosing Your First Cruise Experience.

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