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Mexican Riviera cruise information | Royal Caribbean Weblog

Cruising the west coast of Mexico alongside the Mexican Riviera makes for a wonderful trip, with dramatic landscapes, world-class delicacies, and culturally-enriching ports at your fingertips.

Understanding the ins and outs of cruising the Mexican Riviera is essential earlier than embarking in your cruise. In case you’ve cruised the Caribbean aspect of Mexico earlier than, you is likely to be stunned by simply how totally different the Pacific aspect of the nation might be, so it’s useful to know what to pack, what to do in port, and the right way to greatest put together in your crusing.

Right here’s our information to cruising the Pacific coast of Mexico alongside the Mexican Riviera.

On this information:

The Mexican Riviera refers to cities and cities located on the western coast of Mexico recognized for picturesque oceanfront resorts and vacationer sights.

The phrase “Mexican Riviera” was initially coined by Princess Cruise Line and has since been adopted all through the cruising trade to explain the wonder and cultural enrichment guests can count on on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Cabo San Lucas

Positioned on the southernmost level of Baja California is Cabo San Lucas, which is among the many hottest vacationer locations in all of Mexico and recognized for its social gathering environment, ample wildlife, and distinctive rock formations.

As your cruise ship sails into Cabo San Lucas, you’ll cross by Land’s Finish, a rock formation and iconic landmark of the town. Probably the most well-known of the rock formations is El Arco, a 200-foot granite rock within the form of an arch.

Associated: A day in Cabo San Lucas

In case you’re hoping to get away from the extra touristy, seaside resort vibes present in Cabo San Lucas, make the 30-minute journey to San Jose del Cabo. San Jose del Cabo is a extra relaxed, artsy city with fewer crowds providing a local-feel.

Cabo San Lucas is a young port, so make sure to accumulate your tender ticket early so you may disembark and get essentially the most out of your time in port.

Puerto Vallarta

As soon as a quiet fishing village, Puerto Vallarta has grown exponentially to be among the many busiest resort cities in Mexico. Extra lush and hilly than different Mexican Riviera cruise ports, Puerto Vallarta affords the proper mix of calm seashores and hip metropolis streets.

You’ll wish to go to the Zona Romántica (Romantic Zone) in Puerto Vallarta, a historic, waterfront previous city neighborhood that’s residence to boutique retailers, bars, eating places, houses, and condos.

Associated: A day in Puerto Vallarta

Historical past lovers could make a visit to the Xihuacan Museum and Archaeological Web site, which was residence to numerous tribes all through historical past together with the Aztecs, Olmecs, and Toltecs.


Crossing the Gulf of California from Cabo San Lucas will deliver you to Mazatlán, a resort city recognized for its huge white sand seashores and charming Centro Histórico. Mazatlán is essentially the most populous of the Mexican Riviera cruise ports, with round 500,000 folks calling the town residence.

Associated: A day in Mazatlán

Mazatlán is break up into three major areas: the Marina, Golden Zone, and Centro. Most guests will spend the day alongside Centro Histórico, Mazatlán’s Previous City. The historic metropolis heart is a walkable, cobblestoned neighborhood lined with colonial buildings the place you’ll discover quite a lot of museums, eating places, and plazas.

Don’t overlook to take a stroll on the Malecón (boardwalk) of Mazatlán, which is a whopping 13 miles. The boardwalk covers the size of the waterfront from Mazatlán’s most historic neighborhoods to the latest.

The cruise port in Mazatlán is situated inside a delivery port, so guests should take a fast shuttle to city earlier than exploring.


Ensenada is situated simply 2 hours driving distance from San Diego in essentially the most northerly a part of Baja California. Ensenada is a port metropolis surrounded by the “Napa Valley of Mexico” and is thought for its rocky geography, recent seafood, improbable browsing, and native wines.

Associated: A day in Ensenada

Cruising to Ensenada affords loads of actions to select from, together with wine tastings, buying at native markets, having fun with recent delicacies, and visiting the second largest blowhole on this planet.

Catalina Island

Whereas not technically within the Mexican Riviera (or in Mexico for that matter), Catalina Island is a port you’ll see on shorter cruises to Mexico out of the Port of Los Angeles. The island is situated simply 22 miles off the coast of Southern California and is greatest traveled through golf cart or bicycle.

A small paradise of seashores, wildlife, mountain climbing trails, resort villages, and buying, Catalina Island is bound to supply a fun-filled port day whereas on a cruise.

Whale watching

In case you thought you needed to take a cruise to Alaska to be able to e-book a whale watching tour, assume once more. The Mexican Riviera is among the greatest locations on this planet to identify these magnificent mammals. In reality, the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) has been known as the “World’s Aquarium” as a result of abundance of various sea life calling the world residence.

Whale watching on Mexico’s Pacific coast is greatest from mid-December by way of late March/early April, when whales make their method south from Alaska and the Arctic. The most typical whales you’ll spot in Mexico are humpback and grey whales. Whereas blue whales, sperm whales, orcas, and fin whales cross by way of the world on their migration route, they’re much rarer to identify.

Exploring Pueblos Mágicos

Probably the greatest elements of cruising the Mexican Riviera is strolling across the historic, cobblestone-street cities you’ll discover on this area of Mexico.

Pueblos Mágicos (Magic Cities) are small cities acknowledged by the Mexican authorities for his or her tradition, historical past, and appeal. There are at the moment 132 pueblos mágicos in Mexico, a number of of that are situated close by cruise ports within the Mexican Riviera, together with Sayulita and Todos Santos.

Visiting a Pueblo Mágico will join a customer with a small city’s distinctive roots, historical past, and traditions, all whereas admiring the colourful, intricate structure and pure magnificence that makes these cities so distinctive.

Take a stroll round port

In case you’re the kind of cruiser who prefers wandering round port as an alternative of taking excursions, you’ll discover lots to do in every Mexican Riviera port.

Be sure you seize a espresso, beer, or meal in a neighborhood Plaza. These city squares are the proper place to observe and observe native tradition and life-style. Whereas some are extra touristy than others, enjoyable in a shady plaza can assist break up a busy port day in Mexico.

Seashore day

Whereas the Mexican Riviera affords loads of historical past, tradition, and delicacies to find, generally a day in port is greatest spent enjoyable on a sandy seaside. Fortunately, the primary Mexican Riviera cruise ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta could make for a wonderful seaside day.

On the ever-popular Land’s Finish in Cabo San Lucas are two seashores: Lover’s Seashore and Divorce Seashore. Each seashores are solely accessible through boat, however Cabo San Lucas has loads of water taxis accessible to get you from place to put. 

Snorkeling and diving are additionally well-liked alongside the Mexican Riviera, which has an abundance of marine life to find, from pufferfish to butterfly fish, octopi, sea turtles, and even sharks!

In case you can’t resolve on one of many many seashores alongside the coast, think about a catamaran or boat tour! Whereas cruising alongside the coast, you’ll have the ability to go to a number of locations and sights whereas recognizing wildlife and swimming alongside the way in which.

Remember that some ports provide higher swimming alternatives than others. Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlán are inclined to have stronger currents and circumstances than Puerto Vallarta, which is situated in a small bay versus the open Pacific.

Resort For A Day

There are a number of all-inclusive seaside resorts providing day passes to cruise friends by way of Resort For A Day. These could make a pleasant, stress-free choice for these taken with a soothing seaside day.

In Puerto Vallarta you’ll discover RIU Palace Pacifico, RIU Jalisco, and Lodge RIU Vallarta, all of which supply limitless drinks and meals together with pool and seaside entry.

In Cabo San Lucas are two resort day passes: the Solmar Resort Cabo San Lucas and RIU Palace. Similar to in Puerto Vallarta, you should buy a day cross to the resorts and luxuriate in limitless eating, drinks, and entry to resort facilities just like the sauna, seaside, and swimming pools.

Adrenaline-filled adventures

Adrenaline-seekers will discover loads of adventurous actions to maintain them occupied on a Mexican Riviera cruise. From zip strains to kayaking and off-roading by way of the countryside, you gained’t go bored whereas in port.

ATV excursions are well-liked alongside the Mexican Riviera, permitting guests to expertise the countryside round ports by off-roading by way of vineyards, canyons, and deserts.

In case you’re in for a problem, think about a hike to the El Faro Lighthouse in Mazatlán. This 1.5 mile out-and-back hike takes round 45 minutes and affords one of the best views of Mazatlán and the close by Sierra Madre mountains.

Royal Caribbean affords a number of totally different itinerary choices to the Mexican Riviera, from quick weekend getaways to 7-night sailings and repositioning cruises. Ports visited will rely on itinerary size as a result of journey time required to succeed in sure locations alongside the Mexican Riviera.

3-night cruises

Usually provided over the weekend, 3-night cruises go to Ensenada, the northernmost port within the Mexican Riviera. These cruises embrace one sea day and a ten hour cease in Ensenada.

Associated: Information to weekend cruises: Ideas for taking a 3-night Royal Caribbean cruise

4-night cruises

4-night Mexican Riviera cruises go to the ports of Ensenada and Catalina Island. Additionally they embrace one sea day. These cruises are provided from Monday to Friday.

5-night cruises

Crusing on a 5-night Mexican Riviera cruise offers simply sufficient time to succeed in the port of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. There are two 5-night itineraries accessible:

  • 5-night Cabo & Ensenada cruise, with port days in each Cabo San Lucas and Ensenada together with two sea days
  • 5-night Cabo In a single day cruise, with an in a single day cease in Cabo San Lucas and two sea days

5-night cruises usually are not provided as typically as 3, 4, and 7-night cruises, however they are often discovered periodically all year long.

7-night Mexican Riviera cruise

A weeklong cruise to the Mexican Riviera permits ample time to journey to a number of ports additional south alongside Mexico’s Pacific coast, permitting for extra variety by way of surroundings, tradition, and actions.

7-night Mexican Riviera cruises go to the ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta. They’ve three sea days.

Repositioning cruises

Along with regularly-scheduled Mexican Riviera cruises on Navigator of the Seas are repositioning cruises alongside the Mexican Riviera. As cruise ships make their method from Alaska to the Caribbean (and vice versa) through the change of seasons, they’ll cross by way of the Pacific coast of Mexico, visiting a number of ports alongside the way in which.

These cruises are typically between 11-16 nights, departing from both Los Angeles or San Diego and ending in Florida. Repositioning cruises typically go to Huatulco, Mexico, a port situated within the state of Oaxaca, which isn’t visited on shorter Mexican Riviera cruises.

Navigator of the Seas is the Royal Caribbean ship providing year-round cruises to the Mexican Riviera from the Port of Los Angeles. As a just lately amplified Voyager Class cruise ship, Navigator of the Seas boasts loads of facilities, eating places, lounges, and onboard actions to maintain cruisers busy.

Highlights of Navigator of the Seas embrace the longest waterslide discovered at sea, ice skating, the Bamboo Room tiki bar, Hooked Seafood restaurant, and a resort-style Caribbean pool deck.

Associated: Navigator of the Seas information & assessment

There’ll sometimes be different Royal Caribbean ships stopping at ports alongside the Mexican Riviera. Nonetheless, this solely occurs throughout longer repositioning cruises as ships make their method from the Caribbean to Alaska (and vice versa). These ships are in Royal Caribbean’s Imaginative and prescient or Radiance Class.

Mexican delicacies is among the most beloved on this planet, and arguably among the best facets of cruising to Mexico is sampling recent, native meals.

Seafood is by far the most well-liked alternative for these cruising the Mexican Riviera, as lots of the cruise ports alongside the coast are recognized for his or her abundance of recent seafood. With savory ceviches, countless shrimp, and grilled fish with chili marinade, you gained’t go hungry for those who love seafood.

Non seafood-lovers may even be impressed by the delicacies discovered within the Mexican Riviera, with birria (meat stew), tacos al pastor, and chilaquiles well-liked all through the area.

Don’t overlook to take pleasure in your meal with a chilly glass of an agua fresca, a recent fruit juice discovered throughout the nation.

Packing for a Mexican Riviera cruise can appear difficult as a result of totally different climate patterns you’ll expertise all through the cruise. When you’ll be visiting heat seashores and jungles, you’ll even be crusing up the coast of Baja California and Mexico, which might be vulnerable to chillier temperatures, particularly within the winter months.

Associated: The Final Cruise Packing Record

In case you’re touring the Mexican Riviera in the summertime months, packing gained’t be too totally different from what you’ll pack for a Caribbean cruise, outdoors of an emergency light-weight jacket and denims for cold sea days.

The winter months will possible encounter good seaside climate whereas in port, however you’ll wish to pack a number of lengthy sleeve shirts and jackets throughout this time of yr for sea days.

So far as footwear is worried, make sure to pack a pair of comfy strolling footwear, whether or not tennis footwear or sturdy sandals. In case you plan on visiting the seaside, flip flops are most well-liked, and also you’ll additionally wish to pack formal footwear for dinners and occasions onboard.

Mexican Riviera cruise packing listing:

  • Swimsuit
  • 6-8 t-shirts
  • 3-4 shorts
  • 1-2 pairs of denims
  • 3-4 semi-formal outfits for evenings onboard
  • 2-3 sundresses
  • 2-3 lengthy sleeve shirts
  • 1 light-weight coat
  • 1-2 pairs pajamas
  • Flip flops
  • Sturdy sandals
  • Tennis footwear
  • Formal footwear
  • Water resistant daypack

Associated: The worst cruise packing errors to keep away from

Reserving a cruise to the Mexican Riviera might be an inexpensive solution to uncover Mexico’s Pacific coast, tradition, and seashores. You’ll typically discover aggressive costs on a cruise to the Riviera, particularly when contemplating the price of flying to Mexico your self and staying in a resort for every week.

Associated: How a lot does a cruise price?

You may count on to see the full worth of a 7-night Mexican Riviera cruise on Navigator of the Seas between $900 and $2000 for 2 folks in an inside cabin. Whole prices will rely on the time of yr, with summer time months and holidays far more costly than the low season.

You’ll normally discover cheaper Mexican Riviera cruises from January by way of April (excluding spring break), throughout fall (excluding Thanksgiving), and within the first two weeks of December.

Moreover, you could discover that excursions alongside the Mexican Riviera are sometimes extra inexpensive in comparison with excursions in dearer locations like Alaska and Europe.

Do I would like a passport to cruise the Mexican Riviera?

Royal Caribbean’s Mexican Riviera cruises are closed-loop sailings departing from the Port of Los Angeles. As a result of the cruises begin and finish in the USA, a passport is just not required. Company with no passport should deliver a state-issued ID and delivery certificates to be able to board the ship.

Nonetheless, cruising with a passport is all the time advisable even when not required. On the prospect of any surprising issues (lacking the ship in port, emergency evacuation, and so forth.) it’s all the time higher to have a passport than be caught out of the country with out one.

What sort of foreign money ought to I deliver?

US {dollars} can be broadly accepted at ports alongside the Mexican Riviera, though you could select to get pesos from an ATM as soon as in Mexico. In case you select to pay with US {dollars}, be sure to have an thought of the present change price to keep away from being overcharged.

When paying with US {dollars}, you’ll obtain change again in Mexican pesos. It’s a good suggestion to have small payments with you (i.e. don’t pay for a $5 meal with a $50 invoice). 

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