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dmk
January 20th, 2005, 03:31 PM
I have booked to ride with Randi when we get to Mazatlan. My husband doesn't care to ride but would like to go to Stone Island anyway. How would he get there?

JohnQ
January 20th, 2005, 05:23 PM
Send Randi an email stating your husband wants the trip without the ride. I think she is charging about $12, which covers the taxis, water taxis, transport to horses and then on to Victor's. Not sure about the usual free drink? She does this all the time.

morriscats
January 20th, 2005, 06:31 PM
We did just the transportation on our second visit to Randi. She took good care of us plus you get more time to visit with her. She is a character.

dmk
January 20th, 2005, 06:32 PM
Great idea, John. I'll do that.

Sailfish
January 20th, 2005, 07:42 PM
Our group will be heading to PV in Feb 2006 - we made arrangements to host a volleyball tournament there, so we checked out Stone Island for ourselves last November. We simply walked over to the local ferry - about three blocks - it cost about $1 round trip. Once you get off the ferry, walk a few yards to the beach. Quite easy!!

The place is wonderful. But you don't have to book a horse back riding tour to enjoy Stone Island or go horse back riding. There are people with horses there so you can arrange your own trip for I beleve under $10 per hour. And there are places to eat, wide beaches and a very protected bay.

Our group's message board has archived information about Stone Island. You'll have to join to access it, but all you do is type in stone island at the bottom of the page and do a search. We have pictures and tons of info about our cruise and all the ports of call. It's updated daily.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/volleyballcruise2006/

agreene
January 20th, 2005, 08:23 PM
Has anyone taken this tour

http://www.mazatlan.com.mx/stoneisladtour/specialoffer.htm

The price is great!

Sailfish
January 21st, 2005, 12:24 PM
We met several people at Stone Island who did both Randi's Happy Horses, a tour from the ship and a couple who did a tour (not on the ship) with the same people who do the city tour. The link is for a post-stone island tour of Mazatlan for $15 for those people who purchased the Stone Island tour. After a day in stone island, there are these red pick-ups with benches in the back that pick you up and take you on a tour of the city after getting off the ferry boat. I think the tour is 60-90 minutes long. The people we met didn't opt for this, as they were wet from playing on the beach all day, and thought the pick-up didn't sound safe. We were at the same restaurant on Stone Island, that this group visited, and heard the tour guide asking people if they were interested in going.

I have no idea the cost of the other tours that go to Stone Island, but I do know that you can probably do everything these tours offer if you go it alone. Lunch at the various restaurants - all about the same price - was around $8-$10 per person - large shrimp with the works and few bottles of cerveza. With tip, we spent around $20 for two of us. You can go with a small group horseback riding through the coconut groves for around $10. And you can rent ATV's, wave runners, and other water toys while on the island.

One thing I found interesting was that NO one wants you to go to Stone Island on your own. As we had never been there before last November, we got off the ship and asked probably 10 different people at the port, for directions on how to get to the ferry. I knew it was easy to get to, but a friendly point in the right direction would have been appreciated. Not here. People were down right rude to us, saying we would be better off taking a tour, as the island is hard to get to. What a bunch of bull!

When we finally made it out of the cruise terminal, we turned left and walked until the road came to an end. There is a very small sign (that can ve easily missed) with an arrow pointing to the Stone Island ferry. It cost us $1 round trip for a 4 minute ferry ride to the other side of the port! I kid you not, it took all of 4 minutes! When we got off the ferry, again, we asked which way to go. There were these pick-ups with benches in the back waiting to take you to the beach for $1pp. Just as we were about to pay $1 each, two women from Germany said that it's only 100 feet to the beach! I kid you not! Those pick ups that transport people to the "beach" actually take you to a contracted restaurant. And they go the long way around, so as to give you a little tour of the island (it's really not an island). Once on the beach, you simply walk along the beach and find a place to call home for a few hours.

Prices for beer and food are about the same at all the restaurants - but the quality may vary. We went there in November to stake out a place where our group can set up several nets for a volleyball tournament in Feb 2006. We went looking for a restaurant capable of handling our group, most of whom will be playing volleyball. We needed clean facilities, a shower and changing rooms. Lety's along the beach, next to Victors (where Randy takes her people) fit the bill quite nicely, so we made arrangements with her. I went into every restaurant along the beach. There's a very nice one, where the waiters all have uniforms, that is fenced in, and their prices seemed a little higher, but I wasn't too impressed with their nachos. They also are the ones to host Carnival's shore excursion group there, which includes food and drinks, I believe.

The interesting thing is none of the people on tours stayed very long. If they went horseback riding, they remained there for about an hour or two at the most to eat and enjoy the beach. I can't say how long is enough time, but we got there around 11am, ate lunch and relaxed under an umbrella on the beach until 3pm. We were back on the ship by 3:30.

I was quite surprised how nice Stone Island really was. The beach is long and wide in a crescent shaped bay, with very calm seas, perfect for young kids. I waded out into the water what seemed like hundreds of yards only to still be in 3 feet of water. I'm sure this changes with the seasons, but it was enough to impress me.

I had read a few not so good things about Stone Island, and almost didn't go. But I had to find a beach for our tournament in '06 that was easy to get to (transport our gear) and near the ship. Glad I took the time to both research our option and visit Stone Island for myself.

Good luck!

dmk
January 21st, 2005, 01:45 PM
Thanks for everyone's help. Randi has asked for $15.00 for the rerurn trip plus a beer and Nachos. But I can see that it is easier and cheaper for my husband to take the ferry by himself.

Sailfish, isn't too bad that some people always have their had out for money?

bajalover
January 21st, 2005, 02:15 PM
I was one of the original posters for Randi's trips. Five years ago, when I first took her tour, she charged only for riders. My sons were little at the time and had arranged a cart for them to follow in. (no charge) Victors was a tiny place where we paid $4.00 per person, and 50 cents a beer. It was Heaven!! She wouldn't even take tips! MY how times have changed. We went back a few years later, with a party of 16. It was downright expensive! AND I was called at my hotel later and asked about not tipping. I don't begrudge anyone making money for a comfortable living. But if you could have known what it was then and compare it to now, it would be suprising. Its still a great tour and much better than the ships tour and Randi is a hoot. But it makes me sad it had to change.

dmk
January 21st, 2005, 02:28 PM
bajalover

What kind of a tip is expected? This is the first organized tour I've taken. We usually do things on our own. I never thought about a tip.
Help.:confused:

bajalover
January 21st, 2005, 02:39 PM
Our first trip she wouldn't take a tip from us. The next time, I was told our ride would be free, but our friends paid. That turned out to not be true. My sons also rode in a cart behind us. She decided not to charge us for that, but later called my hotel room drunk, saying she tipped her helpers for me, and that she gave them $20.00. I felt bad because before she would not take tip money. Thats what I mean about how times have changed. I understand that she runs a business though..
As far as your question, maybe a couple bucks per person. Other posters could probably tell you better than I.

Sailfish
January 21st, 2005, 03:11 PM
As I have never before been to Stone Island before, I didn't think it was all that expensive. We paid $1.50 for a bottle of beer and I felt $8-$10 was a good price for a plate of fresh giant garlic shrimp - it was fantastic. The restaurants along the beach all pretty much charged the same and served the same kinds of thing. Giant shrimp is what most people order, I think. One reason I liked Lety's is her home made tortillas. We were watching while the tortilla guy was going around to a lot of the restaurants dropping off the days supply of tortillas. Lety made her own, and when we asked for more, she made us more - by hand! I'm sure there are other places there that do the same. This really impressed me. Because I was looking for places to bring my group, only Lety showed me her bathrooms and kitchen - she was so proud of her little restaurant. It was spotless! None of the other places - and I went into each one, offered to do this. And none of the people I spoke with were so proud of their business.

But when it comes to your visit, I'd go to the place where you feel the most comfortable. Everyone was very nice. All the restaurants had their own patch of sand.

I totally respect and understand that these tours are the livelyhood of the people who operate them. I'm not implying by my posts that the tours don't have value. However, not everyone knows you can go places on your own also. Tours are a convenience that lots of people are willing to pay for. I for one frequently book shore excursions in places I have never been to, but it's also nice to know about other options.

Hope you all have a great time in Mazatlan!

39august
January 21st, 2005, 05:19 PM
Was there any shade at Stone Island, either natural or man-made(for rent)?

bajalover
January 21st, 2005, 05:35 PM
sailfish, Lety's sounds wonderful. Nothing better than handmade tortillas! I agree Stone Island is a gem, actually all of Mazatlan (been 4 times) is terrific. I think it's the people living there. They are so friendly and proud of their town and are willing to share it with us. I am glad that your post encourages people to go on their own. You can save alot of money not booking tours and my experience has been that that if you ask around someone will always help to answer a question or give directions. However, I think the locals have a misconception about us cruisers. I have travelled to maz both by ship and by plane, and if you mention that you just came off the ship it appears to the locals that you are a walking ATM!
One thing that Randi does is take care of her guests making them feel safe in an unfamiliar environment. There's something to be said for that, but it will cost ya!! I also agree that getting to Stone Island on your own is cheap and easy, just don't mention you came from the ship:)

Sailfish
January 21st, 2005, 06:26 PM
You'll find restaurant after restaurant on the beach - all have umbrellas or palapas for shade. Most have lounge chairs while others have tables and chairs. I would recommend you go early - by 10:30am - to secure the best place. If you buy some drinks and food, you can pretty much remain in the shade as long as you like.

I have links to pictures of Stone Island at our message board among our posts at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/volleyballcruise2006/

I'm sure if you travel to Mazatlan and stay at a hotel, local people will treat you better. I found leaving the port a pain - you have to make you way through hoards of people selling time shares and tours and some very aggressive cabbies. All rude and very pushy - made me want to get back on the ship and stay there! But once we got out of the port area, everyone in and around Stone Island was very nice.

JohnQ
January 21st, 2005, 10:54 PM
Whew!!!! Thats a lot of discussion for little ole Stone Island. I have only been there once and Cabo twice, but I think Randi offers a great tour, with her handling all the logistics and coordination. She makes everyone feel at home and tries her best to fit each rider to an appropriate horse. She treat everyone as family and I thought her $45 was more than reasonable. And as Sailfish says, the food and drink is much cheaper than the tourist traps in the downtown or resort area. I can also see why you chose Lety's. Victors would have a hard time entertaining and serving a bunch of volleyballers unless they brought in extra help. And as far as restrooms and showers, don't remember those being their highpoint. Randi did have a guard standing there while we ate so the vendors would leave us alone. She let two or three come by and show us handcrafts with no pressure.

As for prices, of all the tours we took in two trips to Cabo and Mex Riv ports, and two trips to Alsaka, both ship vendors and private, $45 was the cheapest we paid for anything, much less one that lasted about 5-6hrs and included a drink!!! So I will continue to recommend her tour to anyone who is really interested in having a low key day in a nice area. I have followed this board and several others since our first Mexico trip in 2000, and I have only seen about 4-5 posts that were not happy with her tour.
So if anyone is concerned about paying $45 for the tour, or 15 for the ride over, you are probably better off on your own. Good luck. Enjoy Stone Island.

Sea Island Lady
February 3rd, 2005, 02:09 PM
Stone Island Tour

Has anyone taken this tour

http://www.mazatlan.com.mx/stoneisl...pecialoffer.htm (http://www.mazatlan.com.mx/stoneisladtour/specialoffer.htm)
Sounds like it could be a good deal, but I don't really understand the tour. it says Stone Island, but then it says it will drop you off at the pier with plenty of time for Stone Island or to return to the ship.

I'm confused! :confused:

I like the idea of going to Stone Island on our own, but also want to do a tour. The city views look lovely.

Sea Island Lady
February 3rd, 2005, 03:57 PM
Never mind. Just read where this excursion is terrible.

Sailfish
February 3rd, 2005, 04:01 PM
Sounds like it could be a good deal, but I don't really understand the tour. it says Stone Island, but then it says it will drop you off at the pier with plenty of time for Stone Island or to return to the ship.

I'm confused! :confused:

I like the idea of going to Stone Island on our own, but also want to do a tour. The city views look lovely.

Here is my take on this tour. I believe you first head over to Stone Island; spend the day there. People who want the optional city tour (that costs extra) will go there around 3pm. Once the tour is done, you can either opt to be left at a shopping area, making your way back to the ship on your own via cab, or simply be returned to the ship. Depending on who wants to do this optional tour, there might be some flexibility as when you depart Stone Island. My guess is not many people do this optional tour.

With that said, I too have for the most part, read positive things about Randi's Happy Horses. My suggestion is mainly for people NOT looking to go horseback riding. I realize that horseback riding is the thing to do on Stone Island, but if spending the afternoon on a nice stretch of beach is your thing, consider going to Stone Island on your own. If you go on your own, you can stay as long as you like. If you go with a tour, you won't get much time there.

Suzi

lstrong
February 3rd, 2005, 06:56 PM
If I go to Stone Island on my own, is it then walkable to beaches/restaurants/Victors, or is there transportation?? I really just want to have a couple beers, take a swim and enjoy the sun. Thanks, Laurie

jdechter
February 3rd, 2005, 07:04 PM
stone island is a long beach easily walkable on the rustic side close to the port across a canal of water. you can get there on your own for $1--take the ferry. come back whenever and then go eat on the ship or go downtown. its easy to get to, if yu dont like it yu can come back. there are many vendors when you get to the port, you can get a "day pass" and go to a nicer beach by cab at el cid castilla. the beach there is much nicer. I have done both, enjoyed el cid beach, its big the theres signs of life.

BUCKGILBERT
February 4th, 2005, 07:25 AM
I'm new to this board. Thanks for all the information but I'm confused by Bajaha lover. First says that they were at a hotel and then the same dates, I think, was on a cruise????
I am doing lots of research so I can make our cruise the best for myself and my family. Have read many good things about Randi and her horses.
Does she take hotel people at the same time as us cruisers or:confused:
Anybody please help. I just want us to have a safe and fun cruise with shore excursions that will make my wife and kids, 13 and 15 happy.
It's our first:D and we are really excited.
Any imput would be appreciated.
Buck

Sailfish
February 4th, 2005, 11:30 AM
If I go to Stone Island on my own, is it then walkable to beaches/restaurants/Victors, or is there transportation?? I really just want to have a couple beers, take a swim and enjoy the sun. Thanks, Laurie

Here are directions to get to Stone Island on your own. After you get off the ship, you will be taken to an in-port shopping area via shuttle bus. It's an open air bus that takes all of three minutes to take you to the "official" cruise port. The reason for this it was explained to me , was that in Mazatlan, the ship pulls into a working port, and it would be dangerous for passengers to walk around. Suffice it to say, everyone gets on these shuttles that run continuously all day.

When you get to the "cruise port" you will walk through an indoor shopping area and out onto a court yard, with more shops and kiosks - places where you can buy food and drinks and trinkets. It is in this court yard you will have to walk past some very aggressive time share sales people, tour operators and cabbies. If you walk straight a head to the gate, you simply exit and turn left. As we did this, people who asked us where we were planning to go tried very hard to discourage us from going to Stone Island on our own. Comments included, "it's very dangerous to venture out on our own", "the ferry terminal no longer is there", "the only way to stone Island is on a tour", etc. All lies! I was so angry, I felt like stopping to lecture these people, but it wasn't worth the energy to do so. I have never encountered such rude and unhelpful anywhere in Mexico! Their motiviation in saying these things just about put me over the deep end, but it's just not worth stressing over. However, I can see why tourists would be afraid to venture out on their own in Mazatlan.

As you exit the gate to the port, you simply turn left and walk around 2 or three blocks until the sidewalk comes to an end. Stay left. There was a sign on the ground with an arrow pointing to the ferry landing - nothing more than a shack with a woman selling round trip tickets to Stone Island. Buy your ticket and save the stub for the return. When you get to the other side, you can ask the people which way to go if you like, but most will insist that you take a "cab" to the beach. The beach is actually straight a head. You go through some rocks or you can go down further a few yards to a place where you don't have as many rocks to go over. This is easy, and will take about 5 minutes to get onto the sand. The go left along the beach until to get to the restaurant you want. Victors is all the way to the left. Like all the other restaurants, he has tables on the beach. Victors is where Randi takes her tour.

I personally did not care for the crowds on the beaches near El Cid nor for all the aggressive vendors. Stone Island seemed more laid back, fewer vendors who appeared to be more respectful of "no gracias". When we were there in November, Stone Island was very clean and the beach quite wide. But like all beaches along the Pacific, they come and go. Some seasons you get more debris and depending on the storms, it could be quite narrow at times. In November, I walked out in what seemed a long way in waist deep water. I was told this is not always the case, but back then it was probably twice as wide as any beach and a lot less crowded even in the middle of the day.

Hope this helps.

Suzi

Billmont
February 4th, 2005, 03:32 PM
That is some great info Suzi, but I do have a couple more questions.

I was wondering if it would be a good beach location to take my 3 year old daughter? The main goal would be to splash in the water and play in the sand and maybe rent a Seadoo.

I would prefer to skip the tours, but it sounds like the hassles you got getting there on your own may be a bit too much, especially for a three year old. Your story reminded me of our day in Antigua on our last cruise. Rude cabbies and high pressure vendors. Any thoughts?

Bill

:D

lstrong
February 4th, 2005, 04:02 PM
Thank you Suzi - it sounds like just what I want! Laurie

Sailfish
February 4th, 2005, 04:03 PM
That is some great info Suzi, but I do have a couple more questions.

I was wondering if it would be a good beach location to take my 3 year old daughter? The main goal would be to splash in the water and play in the sand and maybe rent a Seadoo.

I would prefer to skip the tours, but it sounds like the hassles you got getting there on your own may be a bit too much, especially for a three year old. Your story reminded me of our day in Antigua on our last cruise. Rude cabbies and high pressure vendors. Any thoughts?

Bill

:D

It took 5 minutes from the time we got off the shuttle to get to the gate at the port and another 7 minutes walking to the ferry. It was a 5 minute boat ride across the channel to Stone Island and another 10 minute stroll to the Lety's restaurant on the beach.

It really wasn't a problem, but then again, I did not go with a three year old in tow. In November, the beach was not crowded. It's in a protected bay, with very little wave action. I was able to wade out a hundred feet or more in wait deep water. But the restaurant owner said the beach is subject to seasonal changes, as are ALL beaches. Some times there is more beach, sometime less. We were there in November, 2004, and there was a lot of beach.

If I were to go there again (and I am with my volleyball group in 2006) I wouldn't hesitate about taking kids. I don't have a very good impression of Mazatlan; the times I have visited, I found it to be a large, dirty city. I have never cared for it, and would take no issue if our ship didn't call there. That's why it's the place our group decided to host a volleyball tournament - no one in our group who has been there before wanted to tour the city or do any shore excursions. In fact, we seriously thought about remaining on the ship and hosting our tournament there. But that was ebfore I found Stone Island.

Stone Island is not like beaches you typically see inthe Caribbean. But there was a quaintness to it - a kind of "out in the boonies" feel to it. It was also close. It took us all of 30 minutes to pack up our stuff on the beach, walk to the ferry, ride back, and walk back to the pier. This alone was a major consideration in selecting it for our tournament.

I know there are people who are very much turned off by rude and aggressive locals, but if you want to get to Stone Island, you'll have to get through this gauntlet at the port. Did it ruin my day? Absolutely not. Now that you know what you would be in for, I'm guessing it won't come as such a surprise and in turn, make the trek a little easier for you.

Good luck!

Suzi

Billmont
February 5th, 2005, 12:54 PM
Thanks for the update. This is going to be a definite stop for us in May and it helps to have an idea how long a walk it will be.

And after reading all the reviews on the food at Victors, my mouth is already watering for the shrimp and onion rings.

Enjoy the beach volleyball.

Cheers.

bajalover
February 6th, 2005, 03:43 PM
BuckGilbert, I don't mean to confuse you. We have a timeshare at El Cid and we also have cruised the Mexican Riviera twice. The first time cruising about 6 years ago, I found Randi's name on an Fodors message board. Then 2 years later we bought our timeshare at El Cid. We were in Maz last summer also.