If you have an upcoming cruise that will stop at Cabo, Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta, this is one is a series of must-read articles about these ports. I will go into detail about what we typically do and what we recommended you do when visiting these three wonderful ports. In this post I will focus on the cruise stop-over at Puerto Vallarta.

Excursions & Information About the Cruise Line Stop to Puerto Vallarta

First some background info: We are frequent cruisers based in San Diego who have found Mexico to be a very safe place to visit, especially the tourist areas around Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta. We have spent a lot of time in Mexico and Erika, my wife, is originally from Mexico. This isn’t an advertisement for the cruise lines, I will mention the ups and downs of each stop in the Mexican Riviera Cruise – while we normally don’t do excursions through the cruise line, I believe these are worth doing for various reasons which I will explain in more detail below.

Puerto Vallarta

This is our third stop in the Cabo – Mazatlán – Puerto Vallarta loop. We love PV and our most recent visit did not disappoint! We left the kids on the cruise ship and had a great day on our own in PV. The boys were in the Kids Camp and Emma was with the babysitter. If you follow us you know that PV holds a special place in our heart. We spend a lot of time there and that is where Erika and I originally met.

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If you have an upcoming cruise that will stop at Cabo, Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta, this is one is a series of must-read articles about these ports. I will go into detail about what we typically do and what we recommended you do when visiting these three wonderful ports. In this blog post I will focus on the Cabo leg of the cruise.

Excursions & Information About the Cruise Line Stop to Cabo

First some background info: We are frequent cruisers based in San Diego who have found Mexico to be a very safe place to visit, especially the tourist areas around Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta. We have spent a lot of time in Mexico and Erika, my wife, is originally from Mexico. This isn’t an advertisement for the cruise lines, I will mention the ups and downs of each stop in the Mexican Riviera Cruise – while we normally don’t do excursions through the cruise line, I believe these are worth doing for various reasons which I will explain in more detail below.

Cabo

In a typical 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise Cabo will be your first or last stop. My personal preference is when you visit Cabo first because you have more time in Cabo. If you visit Cabo last you typically have to leave by 3 pm in order to return to Long Beach in time.

After you read this post please read my post titled, Important & Useful Information For Your Mexican Riviera Cruise. You will find a lot of useful information there. Be sure to read that for more details.

I will give you a summary of the port and a breakdown of tours and options based on your budget.

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If you have an upcoming cruise that will stop at Cabo, Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta, this is one is a series of must-read articles about these ports. I will go into detail about what we typically do and what we recommended you do when visiting these three wonderful ports. In this post I will focus on the Mazatlán leg of the cruise.

Excursions & Information About the Cruise Line Stop to Mazatlán

First some background info: We are frequent cruisers based in San Diego who have found Mexico to be a very safe place to visit, especially the tourist areas around Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta. We have spent a lot of time in Mexico and Erika, my wife, is originally from Mexico. This isn’t an advertisement for the cruise lines, I will mention the ups and downs of each stop in the Mexican Riviera Cruise – while we normally don’t do excursions through the cruise line, I believe these are worth doing for various reasons which I will explain in more detail below.

Mazatlán

Our second stop on the Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta loop. This section will consist of two sections. What we did on our most recent visit and what we typically do. I will explain what we did last time but it is not our preferred thing to do in Mazatlán. We had no choice because we took our 6 month old daughter off the ship in Mazatlán and had to do a bubble / ship organized excursion. For Cabo and Puerto Vallarta we left her on the ship with our baby sitter who was traveling with us at the time.

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In this update I take you through the process of adding a fire bowl to your pool area, this post is a follow-up to my blog about building swimming pool as an owner-builder. The first step was to get a couple of planters from a local nursery that were 28 inches in diameter. I then water-proofed the planters with water sealer and then painted them with indoor/outdoor matte white finish.

Back when we were building the pool I dug a trench behind the pool area to run the gas line to where I planned to install the fire bowls. I also ran a two inch white PVC conduit from the gas line through the concrete of the pool area right to the spot where the fire bowls were going to sit. All this was pre-planned and done in advance – so if you’re building a pool in your backyard, plan ahead to where you want to add fire bowls or other features that may require a gas line/fuel source.

Most of the planters you find come with a three-quarter inch hole at the bottom for drainage, so running the PVC conduit through them worked out really well. Once we got the fire bowls in place and painted, I ended up running gas lines to them and used a no-whistle hose line, a flex hose that’s similar to what you’d find in a fire pit. If you use a flex hose (like a yellow one for an appliance) those tend to have a whistle to them, so keep that in mind when installing it on your fire bowl.

The next step was to fill the fire bowl with sand and top it off with a cement board and layer of DG (decomposed granite). A final layer fire glass on top of everything completes the look. I fired up the bowls to test them out and the results, especially at night, were stunning. I was very pleased with the fire bowls and the effect was exactly what I was hoping for. I think they look great.

Before putting all this together I was looking at different options for fire bowls and I found that every build offered by pool manufacturing companies were quite expensive. The advantage of going with a professional installation job is that there’s some automation involved so, for example, you could sync the fire bowls with the app and have them turn on and off like they do with the pool lights or the pool equipment. But realistically, I don’t plan on using these fire bowls very often. I’ll only be using them whenever I have people over so I don’t mind having to come out here and manually turn them on every week or two.

Here’s a quick summary of all the parts I used and how much they cost:

  • 28-inch terra cotta pots bought at the local nursery = around $100 each.
  • 18-inch fire rings = $60.
  • Bag of fire glass = $40
  • Couple of bags of sand and DG (decomposed granite) = $10-$15
  • Whistle-free flex glass line = $20

Fire Ring I Used (Affiliate Link) https://amzn.to/3uqPAxQ
Gas Hose (Affiliate Link) https://amzn.to/3tybv6E
Gas Valve (Affiliate Link) https://amzn.to/3wudg6X
Fire Glass Home Depot – 10 lb. Cobalt Blue Reflective Fire Glass

If you’re using propane or natural gas, then you’re going to have to factor in the cost of getting gas or getting your fuel source to the fire bowl. I ran a conduit when we did the pool concrete and because I knew I was going to add fire bowls at a later date.

So, I think for a couple hundred dollars, I’m really happy with the end result! Adding a feature like a fire bowl is just a nice feature that really enhances the pool area at night.

If you haven’t already check out my blog on building the pool and check out all my other DIY posts.

Erika surprised me on my 40th birthday by arranging a Trip to Valle de Guadalupe. This little slice of heaven is an hour and a half south of the border from here in San Diego. In the video I share some of the highlights of this trip and also give shout-outs to Trans Turismo, the transportation company that took us on our tour of Valle de Guadalupe’s beautiful vineyards.

If you’re taking a Trip to Valle de Guadalupe, I highly recommend you check them out:

Trans Turismo Valle de Guadalupe
Abel Monterrosa Montes
Cell 646-113-79-07 or 646-226-38-62
Email monterrosa-11@hotmail.com or monterrosa@transturismo.mx
Facebook facebook.com/TransTurismo.valledeguadalupe

For more Alex & Erika Travel Vlogs check out: alexerika.com/category/travel-vlogs/

Here’s a review of the accommodations and facilities at the Marival Distinct Luxury Residences. Marival Distinct is an all-inclusive resort at Nuevo Vallarta, which is around 20 or 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is a very popular holiday destination in Mexico, and one which we visit regularly, since it’s only about a two-and-a-half-hour flight from San Diego.

We stayed at the Marival Distinct Luxury Residences. As shown in the video the rooms are quite nice – everything you can expect from resort accommodation and then some. Our rooms featured 2 bedrooms, a spacious living room plus kitchen & dining areas. I include some footage of us touring the rooms so you can get a better feel of the layout. Some of the amenities included are TV’s in every room, AC units in each room and a washer-dryer. We also loved the large balcony with ocean views – even though we had to keep the door closed in the evenings to keep the mosquitoes out.

If you are looking for an excellent all-inclusive resort in Nuevo Vallarta you should give Marival Distinct a shot. The resort has great food and great entertainment. They exceeded our expectations, including the staff that really went above and beyond that made our vacation enjoyable.

If you’re vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico be sure to visit Nuevo Vallarta and check out Marival Distinct Luxury Residences: www.marivaldistinct.com

Here is a brief video highlighting our Pirate Ship Excursion in Puerto Vallarta. We board on a rickety pirate ship in the middle of the sea, which is soon invaded by “pirates” who put on a show for us complete with explosions, sword fights and, for some reason, dance numbers. It was good harmless fun; there’s audience participation and the kids were entertained. The fun didn’t stop at the pirate ship! After the show we headed back to the beach at Puerto Vallarta hopped on a banana boat towed by a motorboat. If you ever find yourself in Puerto Vallarta, check out the Pirate Ship Excursion they have there. A fun day at sea for the whole family.

For more information, visit: www.pirateshipvallarta.com

For more travel vlogs, check out: alexerika.com/category/travel-vlogs/

This Hosim RC Truck Review and Test Drive features the Legendary Hosim Large Size 1:12 Scale High Speed RC Truck model. This is the third truck in the Hosim Legendary line we bought and they’ve all been quite impressive. At a 1:12 scale, it is a bit smaller than the other Legendary RC Truck models, but the overall quality is just the same as the others. If you are new to the world of RC trucks, I can easily recommend this model due to its solid build quality and interchangeable parts that can be replaced.

As you can see in the video, my boys put the truck through its paces and they loved it! For younger kids who want a speedy and tough RC Truck to play with, this is a great option!

For a list of all the RC Trucks we’ve bought, check out the link below. (Note some models we’ve reviewed here and in our YouTube channel may be out of stock): https://www.amazon.com/shop/alexerika

For more RC toy reviews similar to this Hosim RC Truck Review, please visit: https://alexerika.com/category/rc-cars/

Hosim RC Truck Review

This Carnival Cruise Health Update 2020, was recorded in September 21, 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a frequent traveler with Carnival Cruise, I wanted to offer a snapshot on the state of the cruising industry circa September 2020. I get into the recent online discussions regarding the health of the Carnival Cruise company and discuss the new policies they posted on their website.

Over the past couple days, I’ve spoken with many people who are involved in cruising – including performers who work on Carnival Cruise ships and fellow Carnival Cruise fans and share what I have learned. The cruise industry as a whole has come under great pressure to allow them to start working again and get back to normal operations. Obviously, this isn’t possible with a global pandemic raging around the world, so extraordinary measures have to be taken to ensure the health and safety of the passengers and workers on the cruise ships. Have they gone too far in their safety measures? Have they not gone far enough? Will the extra restrictions on cruise ship passengers not being able to go out and forced to stay within the Carnival Cruise “bubble tour” take away from the overall experience?

There has been some alarm in cruise circles at the recent news of Carnival selling off 18 of their ships, but keep in mind that Carnival had 105-110 total ships (before the pandemic) across the nine brands that they currently own, so downsizing some of their less effective cruise lines and selling off unperforming ships due to pandemic-related low demand is actually a wise decision. I go into greater detail about it in my Carnival Cruise Health Update video – if you have any additional info or want to add to the conversation, please leave a comment here or on my YouTube page.

Here’s a HAIBOXING Off-Road RC Truck 2995 Review. This model is significantly larger than the other Haiboxing RC Cars & Trucks I’ve reviewed before – during my initial unboxing I was struck by how solid and sturdy it felt. The car has 4-wheel drive and an LED light bar operated by the remote controller. The chassis is covered up to prevent dirt and sand from going in and there’s an extra tire strapped to the car’s back.

Also in the box was an an additional battery, a USB charging cable, some extra pins, and a tiny screwdriver and wrench for changing tires – which the kids absolutely loved doing. Because this car is larger than other Haiboxing models the battery has a 1600mAh capacity as opposed to 850mAh one that comes in smaller variants. Daisy chaining two batteries together you can get up to 30 minutes of track time, which is pretty impressive.

This larger model is in the $120-$140 range, and as with all the other Haiboxing RC cars and trucks the parts are interchangeable and widely available online. Me and the kids took this out for the spin and despite its size, this thing can move! The size and the speed of this larger model may be a little too much for smaller kids, one of the smaller versions we reviewed in the past may be more appropriate.

You can buy this awesome RC buggy here – https://amzn.to/3qFymd9

Our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/TheRealAlexAguilar

Hope you enjoyed this HAIBOXING Off-Road RC Truck 2995 Review, you can check out our other RC Car Reviews here: https://alexerika.com/category/rc-cars/

HAIBOXING Off-Road RC Truck 2995 Review