Our 19 day Panama Canal cruise finished with two final Mexican stops. But that’s not how it was supposed to be. As we were leaving the port in Costa Rica, the Captain announced that we would be forgoing our planned stop in Nicaragua due to civil unrest in the country. Protests over government changes to social security had spread across the country in the days prior to our planned visit. With an abundance of caution, Princess Cruises decided it was not safe to stop there.
We were pretty bummed about this last minute change since we had planned to take surf lessons in San Juan del Sur. We spent time there a few years ago and really loved the area. This time, however, it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, we had two more days at sea, where we continued with our typical sea day activities. Steve has been training for marathon, scheduled for the week after our cruise. So, he’s been running and running and running. He became known around the ship as “the runner.”
We also spent plenty of time in the gym. I was pleased to be able to continue my cycling training on the nice spin bikes in the aerobics studio.
We finally made it to our next planned stop, Manzanillo, Mexico, after what seemed like a long time at sea. We’d never been to Manzanillo, so this was another new adventure. Instead of an excursion, we just explored the beautiful waterfront, and wandered a bit, enjoying the feeling of being on solid ground.
First stop was the local market, where we were in awe of the local fresh water blue crabs. Fresh seafood was definitely the specialty here.
Next we hopped on the local bus, and after a 45 minute ride through the city, we ended up on one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve seen. Playa Miramar was lined with palapas backed by little restaurants that served the coldest beer and the tastiest guacamole. We wiled away a few hours just taking in the views.
Back on the ship, we were at sea for another two days before our final stop, Ensenada, Mexico. Ensenada was the port that substituted for San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and most passengers were not too excited about this stop. Even though we’ve cruised a lot over the years, we had never been to Ensenada, so we were okay with this change. Once we got there we understood why most of our fellow passengers were not too excited. There’s just not much there!
We walked through the tourist area where we saw similar handicrafts that we can get in Puerto Peñasco. After about two hours of wandering, we headed back to the ship and prepared to return home the next day.
While we had a great cruise and enjoyed the warm sunshine of the tropics, we were happy to return home to family and friends. From Los Angeles, we drove to Phoenix to see our dear friends the Heaths and to pick up our buddy Sam.
Within two days of arriving home, I came down with bronchitis and spent most of the next week on the couch. Meanwhile Steve ran and finished the Whiskey Row Marathon, whose motto is “Are You Tough Enough?” Steve sure is. He finished the grueling 26.2 mile course in just over four hours. The rest of the week Sam and Steve kept busy with golfing, attending the Whiskey Off-Road bike race here in Prescott, and hanging out.
Our time with Sam finished up with a quick trip to San Diego. I was asked to sign books at the big ATD conference, so it was a good excuse to visit the beach. While there we fit in some nice meals, beach time, and a great bike ride in Coronado.
We’re now “nesting” back in Prescott and preparing for our next adventure, which kicks off in about three weeks. If the Internet gods are on our side, we’ll have more updates for then. Thanks for reading!