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Carnival halts jungle tour after passengers are robbed in Mexico

February 27, 2012 |  8:24 am

Carnival Cruise ship

Carnival Cruise Lines says it has suspended a guided nature hike in the jungle near Puerto Vallarta after 22 guests were robbed by hooded gunmen.

Mexican media said the gunmen intercepted the tourists' bus as it returned from the pueblo of El Nogalito, known for its trail through the jungle, featuring a waterfall, heavy forest canopy and tropical wildlife such as parrots and iguanas.

The gunmen boarded the bus about 5 p.m. Thursday and took cameras, money, watches and other valuable items, according to the newspapers El Norte and La Jornada. The gunmen then fled toward the hilly countryside.

None of the guests were hurt, and all made it safely back to their ship, Carnival said in a statement.

Local authorities criticized the tour operator for failing to follow recommended security procedures, and Puerto Vallarta Mayor Salvador Gonzalez Resendiz said that tours in the countryside were supposed to be conducted only in the morning.

The mayor said a security guard or police officer should accompany the tours. The 22 guests took the tour while on a weeklong cruise of the Carnival Splendor, which left the Port of Long Beach on Feb. 19 and returned Sunday morning.

In addition to suspending the guided nature trail tour where the robbery occurred, the company said it was working with guests to reimburse them for lost valuables and assist with lost identification.

"Carnival sincerely apologizes to its guests for this very unfortunate and disturbing event," the Miami-based company said.

The Carnival Splendor generally carries more than 3,000 passengers and makes weeklong cruises from Long Beach year-round.


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-- Rong-Gong Lin II in Los Angeles and Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City

Photo: The Carnival Splendor in 2010, when the ship lost power after a fire in the engine room. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times