Panama Canal Cruise - Day 4

Now that Christmas is past, I'll continue my recap of our recent cruise through the Panama Canal.

On day 4, we stopped in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. We've been there once before, and love the atmosphere of this town. The scenery is beautiful, ringed by the Sierra Madres and facing the gorgeous waters of Banderas Bay. We boarded a boat for a 60-minute ride out to Islas Marietas. The crew was terrific, and entertaining, too!

What a gorgeous island! A huge, volcanic island with tunnels and caves. Almost nothing grows there, except a bit of vegetation that is home to thousands of birds called boobies that soar and dive into the water for fish. (Our guide, Giovanny, startled us all by exclaiming over the microphone once, "Look at those beautiful boobies!")

We intended to snorkle, but the water was so cold we were both ready to get back in the boat within 15 minutes to warm up in the hot Mexican sun. After we'd dried off a bit, we climbed into a kayak and paddled around the island. We went through volcanic rock tunnels and into caves, and enjoyed some of the most stunning views we've ever seen. Ted told me, "I feel like I'm in National Geographic!" On the way back to the cruise ship we spotted several humpback whales. Of course, they were camera shy. I got lots of pictures of spashes as their tails disappeared beneath the surface.

Back on the ship, we headed up to the Lido restaurant to sit beside the window and look out over the city while enjoying a cup of coffee. From the deck of the ship we could see one of the most popular tourist attractions in Puerta Vallarta - Walmart!

We had to force ourselves to stay awake for the entertainment that night, a concert of 50's songs by the ship's singers and dancers that was one of the best we've ever heard on any cruise ship. We went to sleep to the rhythmic rocking of the sea.