If it’s Tuesday, it must be Curacao

We no sooner got our laundry done after our trip to India and we were off again.  This time we joined several other couples from the Boquete area and went on a cruise to Cartegena, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba.  David and I had wanted to visit each of these places so this was the perfect opportunity.  Going with people we know made it all the better.

We drove to Panama City rather than fly ($90 each way with pensionado) or taking the bus (no explanation needed about a 7 hour bus ride).  We drove with another couple and driving allbananasowed us to stop more frequently.  You see some unusual sites on the Pan American Highway,  This truck had hundreds of pounds of bananas placed perfectly so they didn’t drop.  We stayed at the Hotel Milan ($38 with pensionado paying cash) which is a clean hotel in a great location.  The next morning, we drove to Colon.

 

This cruise was quite a deal.  Royal Caribbean will be leaving Panama in 2 weeks because they are not getting enough passengers to make the trip profitable.  That is really bad for Colon who spent a lot of money to dock their ships.  Many people are employed as dock workers, taxi drivers, etc.  This decision will definitely hurt Colon. But it meant greatly reduced prices for us.

We left on Saturday and arrived in Cartagena on Sunday morning.  There were excursions, taxis and busses of all types waiting at the port to take people to town.  We were told that we could walk to town, so off we went.  It was hot.  And we walked.  It was really hot.  And we walked some more.  One of our group stopped for water and asked how much farther.  ONE more hour.  Someone lied to us.  We grabbed a public bus and got there in about 10 minutes.

Major problem:  Even though Royal Caribbean has been docking in Cartagena every Sunday since last November, nothing in Cartagena was open.  Except for aggressive taxi drivers and street salesmen, the doors were locked. flamingo The most exciting part of the stop was the animal refuge at the pier.  It seems that either Royal Caribbean would change their schedule to hit the town on a weekday OR the town would open for the weekly infusion of revenue.  So we had an ice cream (and the worst service ever) and went back to the ship.  We also found that taxis wanted $10 for each person to take you to town but we paid only $5 for four of us in a cab on the return trip.

This stop marked the 6th continent we have visited.  Only Antarctica remains untouched by us.

Monday was an “at sea” day.  This day proved yet again that I am not a cruise person.  I do not gamble, cannot lay in the sun, and barely drink.  That doesn’t leave a lot of entertainment.  Royal Caribbean has a solarium that is a shaded area around an adults only pool.  I read until my Kindle ran out of juice.

Royal Caribbean unexpectedly changed our port stop schedule so Tuesday we were in Curacao.  CuracaoDavid and I carried our scuba gear since we heard that this island has great diving.   The seas were a little rough.  The beach is very rocky.  The combination made getting into and out of the water with 50 lbs of equipment difficult.  The dive itself was ok.  Not a lot of fish and not great visibility.  The reef was very polluted with fishing line and garbage.  What a shame.  But we found that David’s new camera housing is waterproof.

Bonaire is known for beach diving and beautiful reefs.  This was to be the jewel in our diving experience on this vacation.  We dived at two locations.  The first was,Dive Bonaire again, very rocky.  Even with wetsuits, we got pretty banged up getting out of the water.  The second dive was from a real beach.  The dive was beautiful.  We saw so many tropical fish and beautiful corals.  The reef was pristine.  We will probably fly to Bonaire for a week or so of diving.

iguanaOur last stop was Aruba.  These islands are so incredibly clean and colorful.  We didn’t dive as this was a short stop and reefs are only reached by boat.  Aruba has beautiful beaches but not much else.  I don’t understand why this island is so popular.  We were back on the ship for lunch.

 

Friday was another “at sea” day.  This reminded us of why we fly.  When it’s time to go home, I want to get home.  We again stayed in the solarium much of the day.

Docking was very early on Saturday so we were in the car heading back to Boquete by 8 AM.  Home by 5 PM.

In less than 2 weeks, we are going to Peru.  Have I mentioned today how much I love being retired?

 

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