Pacific side of Panama Canal is a scenic wonder

And the story continues.
We have made it through the Panama Canal and now are on the Pacific side headed north. Puntarenas, Costa Rica is the first stop on this side. Many of our group took a train, boat and bus tour to see the most available sites. They were in the water with crocodiles, along the shore with a bus and into the jungle on a train which has been in service for more than 50 years..The weather was as tropical as the scenery.
Huatulco (pronounced WAH-tool-co) seems to be the newest port in Mexico located on the Oaxacan coastline. It is an absolutely beautiful small town with a population of around 25,000. They have worked hard to transform this area into a tourist destination with shoreside shops and restaurants around Tangolunda Bay. We had fresh seafood for lunch and then went exploring. From the top of the hills we had a perfect view of the Norwegian Sun waiting for our return. We stopped to look at a couple of new resort hotels, drove through a small residential district and made note of the modern improvements to this area. Definitely a place to return to.
Much bad news has come out of the Acapulco area in recent years with cartel battles, hurricanes and general unrest. According to the locals, the media in search of stories has blown a lot of this out of proportion. We certainly did not see any unrest as we were driven around the in private vans.
We went up the hills into a private residential area (Bill Gates has his home there) to the chapel built to memorialize two young men who died too soon. Their family wanted to do something special and indeed it is. You can enjoy spectacular views of Acapulco Bay from a very calm and peaceful vantage point. Tour buses are not allowed here, but we had gained special permission for the visit.
The highlight, of course, was a show by the renowned Acapulco cliff divers. This was scheduled specifically to fit our time frame. For more than 80 years, men have been diving off the cliff at La Quebrada into 12 ft. of water. With ultimate patience, they wait for just the right wave to give them the depth they need and then sail through the air into it.
Another special advantage of our tour was a stop at the home of the famous painter, Diego Rivera. Prior to his death, he did a mural on his outside fence line. This is something that most tourist do not see because you must drive through small streets but it is a beautiful work of art and should not be missed
We were very pleased with the itinerary for this cruise, as it allowed for “sea days” between many of the ports of call.
We took full advantage of them to enjoy a private birthday celebration with our own Jean McCarron providing entertainment with a comedy performance and being invited to perform in the main showroom for an afternoon talent show;
had a shipboard interview by the Cruise Director with Audrey Stacy who was the oldest passenger on the ship and will be celebrating her 100th birthday this summer; and played games, enjoyed the pool, or just relaxed.
Cabo San Lucas is very much a resort town with many shops, fishing boats, and touristy things to do. It is easy to walk through the area looking into shop and always finding a place to sit for a bite to eat or a cool drink. We headed down the beach to The Office, which literally sits in the sand. A wonderful lunch and a margarita gave a nice finality to our last stop in Mexico.
This column is running a little long so I won’t go on about our stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco Victoria and finally Vancouver. It was a fantastic 19 days with a wonderful group.
Check out your calendar and make some plans to join us on our adventures. Our Leavenworth excursion has been moved to August and still has room. The Lavender Festival is also in August. Israel in October, A Southern Holiday in December, and South Africa in March. We are also making plans for a Hawaii cruise in April and Alaska in the Spring.
Make reservations and ask questions at 253-927-8207 or e-mail me at