Note: This post was originally written on Wednesday, February 1st.
Today was an early day. The ship made it to Puerto Vallarta early this morning and we had a Port Adventure booked. I barely slept last night between going to bed super late, getting up at 6 am to get things ready for our 7:30 am departure, and worrying that I was either going to sleep through the alarm or Josh would still be sick.
Anyway, 6 am rolled around, I heard the alarm immediately, and got up and going. I got Josh up around 6:30 am and the kids close to 7 am. We all ate a little bit of breakfast and headed down to Studio Sea to meet up for our Port Adventure. I was pretty bummed when I started looking into the Port Adventures after I booked the cruise. They have SO many awesome options and our kids are too little for almost every one of them.
I ended up booking the Las Caletas getaway based on awesome online reviews. We checked in and headed down to Deck 1 to go through security on our way off the ship. There’s a pier in Puerto Vallarta, so the ship was docked. We walked off the ship, went through customs, and followed the guide to a smaller boat run by the Vallarta Adventures company.
Most of the excursions (in Puerto Vallarta) are operated by Vallarta Adventures. They seem like they have their act together pretty well, which I imagine is part of the reason Disney offers so many of their excursions as Port Adventures. Anyway, we were escorted onto a small-ish boat, given life jackets, and directed to seats. Once everyone was aboard, we started making our way toward Las Caletas.
About 5 minutes into the trip, we saw a bunch of dolphins jumping out the water and the captain maneuvered the boat that direction. We were able to get pretty close to them, which the kids got a big kick out of. Then we continued on our way. It’s about an hour boat ride to Las Caletas from the port. During the ride, the crew served muffins, fruit, orange juice, and coffee. They also had an open bar on the boat ride over. 8:30 am seemed a little early for a margarita though! The crew also did quite a bit of entertaining during the trip… singing, dancing, etc.
When we arrived at Las Caletas, the boat pulled up to the dock and we all got off. Sidenote: the awesome thing about Las Caletas is that it is a private beach that is only accessible via boat. That means that only people on the private excursions were there!
It was a very nice sized beach, especially considering how many people were on the tour. There was plenty of room to spread out and it didn’t feel crowded at all. There were plenty of beach chairs, giant umbrellas, restrooms, an open shower, and several open bars. Included in our excursion were snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, a cooking class, kids adventure park, nature tour, inner tubes, and lunch (and an open bar). There was so much to do and not enough time. They also had optional (aka extra fee) scuba diving, sea lion encounter, power snorkeling, and massages. The prices were very reasonable, but we didn’t opt to do any of them. There was so much to do that was already included.
After we got off the boat, we found ourselves a nice little spot of shady sand and dumped our stuff into some beach chairs. The kids were itching to get into the water, so we started there. They splashed and shrieked and giggled and jumped in the waves. Josh and Ava swam out to the floating dock to jump in. The kids took turn on the inner tubes, floating around on the waves.
When they brought out the kayaks, we knew we had to give it a try. After the great canoeing disaster of 2011, we felt we had to redeem ourselves. It turns out that kayaking with one adult (i.e. one person with an oar, not two!) is MUCH easier! I’m happy to report we all had fun doing it and I was surprised at all the fish we were able to see!
Josh gave stand-up paddle boarding a try as well. He was doing pretty good there for awhile and then he totally fell right off! I missed it too because the kids were distracting me. After that, we hurried off for the Kids Adventure Park. Of everything, this was the disappointing part of this excursion. I had done research ahead of time and was somehow led to believe that this activity was for ages 3 and up. (Sidenote: I checked their website and it does say 4 and up… not sure where I got 3 and up… bummer).
Unfortunately, when we got there, they said it was 4 and up and that Lia was too little to do the ziplining. And of course, I broke the cardinal rule of vacationing, I told her she would be able to. She was pretty disappointed when we got there and they said she was too little. She kept telling me that she was big enough. It was really just a baby zipline, especially compared to the ones we did in Oregon. I thought for sure I could talk them into letting her slide by, but they weren’t having it.
The Kids Adventure Park was REALLY awesome though. They did face painting and then strapped the kids up for the zipline, helmets and all. Then they all walked into an enclosed cage where they got to feed ducks by hand and THEN the guide brought in about five spider monkeys. The monkeys were jumping and climbing all over the kids helmets, backs, and arms. Now, my kids TOTALLY freak out at the zoo in the bird feeding exhibit. I fully expected the same thing to happen in this case, but much to my surprise, Max and Ava got a HUGE kick out of the monkey experience.
After the monkeys, the kids got to ride donkeys up the hill to the zipline platform. Well, I got to DRAG a donkey carrying Ava up the hill to the zipline platform. Once we got up to the top, they made all the parents head down to the landing area. We couldn’t see much of what they were doing but it was a platform to platform zipline, then they climbed up a rope ladder climbing thing, walked across a swinging rope bridge, and finally ziplined platform to (much lower) platform to end it.
I was certain that Max and Ava would not be impressed with the baby zipline since they had done the real thing before. Turns out I was wrong. They loved it! Just goes to show you, it doesn’t take a lot to impress my kids. The Kids Adventure Park took almost an hour and a half, so by the time we were done, we had about 30 minutes to get a quick lunch before our boat was leaving.
I had read nothing but amazing reviews about the food, so I was super excited. I have to say, I was pretty let down. They didn’t have anything kid friendly except fresh fruit and corn on the cob. None of us ate much at all. I was really expecting some tasty Mexican food. They had fresh, homemade tortillas and tortilla chips, but no salsa or guacamole or taco meat or anything.
So, we ate a little bit, gathered our things, and took the hour long boat ride back to Puerto Vallarta. Overall, this excursion was fabulous! My biggest complaint would be that we simply didn’t have enough time there. We arrived around 10 am and left at 2:30 pm (local time). Two more hours would have been perfect. Oh, and I did have one margarita while we were there… I think they forgot to put the tequila in it.
We made it back to Puerto Vallarta and headed back to our ship for a nap. Everyone slept except Max. I’m not sure why he didn’t fall asleep. It certainly wasn’t for lack of being tired! After we all got up, we got ready for dinner and then headed down to the Walt Disney Theatre for tonight’s show. The show was Toy Story: The Musical. As you would expect, it was very well done! One of the best parts of the cruise for sure has to be the awesome shows.
After the show, we headed to Wavebands to catch Sideshow Bert’s juggling and comedy act. He was pretty entertaining and the kids enjoyed his antics, which included sword swallowing, a few magic tricks, and juggling machetes while riding a unicycle. We stayed for about 10 minutes of the dance party after the show before we headed to Triton’s for dinner.
Josh had a steak of some sorts and I had a salad with raspberry vinaigrette, shrimp appetizers, and sea bass for dinner. For dessert, Josh had a brownie a la mode from the kids’ menu and I had chocolate mousse. Josh’s brownie looked amazing, so I ordered one for myself to take back to the room! We have thoroughly enjoyed dinner every night. We have awesome servers (thanks Carlo and Andre!), awesome tablemates (hi Dan, Karen, and Luka! you guys rock!), and of course the food is fabulous! After dinner, we headed straight for bed.
Josh’s Note: You’ll see Max eating an apple on the boat to Las Caletas. I will always remember that after he the first bit of his apple, he exclaimed, “Dad, I’m eating Mexican food!!!! I LOVE Mexican food!”
Note: This post was originally written on Wednesday, February 1st.