Greetings sports fans! Amazingly, the Azamara Quest made it from the Sea of Cortez all the way to East Rutherford, New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII yesterday before returning to Mexican waters. That’s the (virtual) power of Azamara Club Cruises.
Super Bowl XLVIII
While the Azamara Quest didn’t physically make it to the Super Bowl, the transformation of the cabaret into a veritable sports center for the big game was impressive nonetheless. And that’s coming from someone who has a complete disinterest in sports.
The house was divided, as my dad says, with Denver Broncos fans on one side and Seattle Seahawks fans on the other. Even the decorations and food chose sides with colored balloons and desserts – not to mention the awesome ice sculpture the crew created.
La Paz, Mexico
Our travels into the heart of the Sea of Cortez also began yesterday when we docked at La Paz. Other than the reeking stink of the port, the day was enjoyable. A bus ride took us past a number of high-end resorts with impossible looking golf courses before arriving at the main part of the beautiful waterfront city.
Our first stop was at the anthropological museum which, despite being under restoration, was extremely impressive. Highly detailed miniatures depicted the ancient local landscape, and expertly staged dioramas painted the historic scene in three dimensions.
In fact, our friendly tour guide, Anibal Lopez Espinoza, was a recently published anthropologist himself, making the excursion that much more interesting all around. We purchased his fascinating book, Reminders of a Forgotten Past, which details the Cape Region’s rock art.
The tour was also artisanal in nature and included stops and a couple of shops that were a bit lacking in selection. More interestingly, one was a factory shop that allowed us to observe a worker making cotton napkins at a manual loom. La Paz overall was beautiful and provided a first glimpse at the vibrant blue waters offset by the arid browns of the landscape.
So far, Topolobambo is the port highlight of our cruise. As I type this at our balcony, I’m listening to a stellar cover band play a wide selection of English language tunes pier-side. The marathon 16.5-hour Copper Canyon tour requires a longer than average stay here, and the wonderful hospitality expressed by the port has been incomparable.
Apparently, the Azamara Quest is the first cruise ship to visit after an absence of two to three years time. Surely, ships and passengers would do well to frequent this port. The people (including the dancers pictured in the header) are friendly and proud of their city, and we’ve had an absolute blast today enjoying the atmosphere.
The fishing town is primarily industrial with fresh exports including corn, tomatoes and sugar. So, in the city center we sought out a local seafood restaurant and were very pleased by the ceviche, crab-stuffed avocados and camarones (shrimp) rancheros served at El Farallon before heading over to the expansive botanical garden.
This city attraction is an impressive public park and remnant of the American colony that was established here in the late 1800s and flourished for 30 years. The garden was once home to sugar tycoon Benjamin Francis Johnston, and the ruins of his palatial home and once indoor pool are still explorable on site.
Otherwise, the garden, populated by ducks and turtles, is a diverse collection of plants from all over the world with flora that blooms all year long. Today was a local holiday, and the many jungle gyms (and plentiful shady areas) were in high use by families and their little ones.
Returning back to the pier we were greeted once more by enthusiastic locals and volunteers who encouraged us to participate in a fun game of bingo, from which we won a bottle of wine. The best was tonight though when we purchased mini hot air balloons for children’s charity and launched them into the tranquil night air. It was a magical experience I won’t soon forget. Thanks Topolobampo!
For more information on Azamara Club Cruises‘ itineraries like ours to the Sea of Cortez, visit the line’s website here.
Have you visited any of these Mexican ports? Please feel free to share your experiences in the “Leave a Reply” section below…
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: JASON LEPPERT