Caletas 9-293x300Recently while aboard the beautiful Disney Wonder on a cruise to Mexico, we decided to try a different kind of shore excursion. It exceeded our expectations. Usually we tend to do more independent shore exploring but this shore excursion proved to be an excellent choice for something done in a group and with planning. And for traveling families who might be concerned about safety while going ashore in Mexico, this gave an excellent and safe option.

Upon arriving in Puerto Vallarta we were whisked away by excellent and amusing guides, who took us to the “other side” of Puerto Vallarta.

After about 20-30 minutes by boat we approached Las Caletas, an isolated and unspoiled, private beach hideaway and home to once famous film director John Houston. But the ride was half the fun as our crew danced, and provided excellend comic relief along with snacks, drinks and music. Amazingly, they blended hilarious antics and dance routines with a naturalists’ perspectie on the flora and fauna along the way. It was a peculiar mix but provided a more-than-entertaining transit.

Upon arrival to the private magic oasis, we were greeted by exotic birds who, on cue flew out to our boat to welcome us. Handsome cabana boys waved welcome as did pretty, exotic ladies you would expect to see in a tropical movie. 

Caletas 8-300x237While we sampled the fun activities at Las Caletas such as snorkeling, kayaking, Parrot and Monkey Encounters, Guided Nature Walks, Cooking Lessons, massages and more, a lovely and authentic Mexican lunch was created for all to enjoy after working up an appetite.

Unlimited beer and soft drinks drinks were offered throughout our stay at no cost. We felt welcome and immersed in a tropical culture, even if only for an afternoon. We opted for down time too, swinging in hammocks and lounging in a private cove on a padded cabana outlook perched high above the sea.

For children, they even offered a Kids Adventure Park with clay modeling classes, wild seal encouters, Learn to Dive classes, ziplining and Nature exploration.

This was a quality excursion through and through. There are not too many shore excursions we would repeat but this is certainly one of them.

Carmel L. Mooney is the editor of, an online travel magazine. Carmel co-hosts a travel radio show every Saturday afternoon on KJAY 1430 AM in Sacramento. Her family travel column can be read in California Kids Magazine at: You can follow her on Twitter: @CarmelLeeMooneyor Facebook. Carmel is also the Executive Director of Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions, a non-profit that trains and places Autism Service Dogs. You can read her service dog blog at: