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Mexican Riviera Cruises

The best cruise destination for the active type of travelers

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Last updated: by Olha Savych
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The Mexican Riviera embraces 20 beautiful cities and lagoons, tucked along the western coast of Mexico. These resorts are set a considerable distance from one another, so the most convenient way to uncover these gorgeous havens is by taking a cruise. Some port highlights include bustling Ensenada, the party town of Cabo San Lucas, historic Mazatlán, charming Puerto Vallarta, and of course, famous Acapulco. Mexican Riviera cruises offer wide access to dazzling beaches and water activities, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, SUP, and fishing. And these cruises' variety and flexibility make them extremely popular.

Best time to cruise the Mexican Riviera

Even though the Mexican Riviera is good all year round, the best season to experience this part of the world is during the dry season, November to May. These months boast balmy temperatures, hovering around 70–80+ °F (21–27+ °C). Still, if you decide to embark on a cruise during the off-season, note that the most uncomfortable months are August and September due to the average of 90 °F (32 °C) paired with frequent rains and high humidity levels, not to mention Pacific hurricanes.

Mexican Riviera cruise itineraries

Most Mexican Riviera cruises start on the US West Coast from Los Angeles or Long Beach ports. Other popular departure points are located in San Diego and San Francisco. Alternatively, you can start your adventure from Mexican ports in Puerto Vallarta or La Paz, but these trips are operated only by small or expeditionary cruise lines.

The Mexican Riviera

The most frequent option is a week-long itinerary, which implies some lasting stops with overnights in the most prominent ports of the Mexican Riviera. So you can take your time walking on the cobblestone streets and indulging in the rich food scene of Puerto Vallarta. Another bright stop is Cabo San Lucas, noted for exquisite nightlife, excellent marlin fishing, and winter whale migration. Besides, these cruises stop in Mazatlán, known for the largest port on Mexico's Pacific coast and picturesque Old Town.

Baja California

As for smaller itineraries, you can opt for three- or four-day cruises throughout Baja California, which start in LA or San Diego and end in Ensenada. The main attraction of such tours is Catalina Island, offering premier boutique shopping in the city of Avalon, glass-bottom boat rides, and fashionable dining options. This route will best suit those who have never been on a cruise before.

Sea of Cortez & Panama Canal

Yet, if you crave a longer journey, consider ten- or twelve-day itineraries, cruising between the Sea of Cortez's ports, namely La Paz, Loreto, Guaymas, and Topolobampo. Also, Panama Canal cruises typically make stops in the Mexican Riviera's port cities, such as Manzanillo, Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, and Huatulco.

Mexican Riviera cruise tips

Some unpleasant incidents can spoil every vacation. To avoid such, we highly recommend leaving all precious things onboard and bring along only the most essential properties while you roam the cities. Remember that Mexico is notorious for petty thieves. Also, it would help if you were extra alert while visiting parties in Cabo San Lucas, especially during the spring break, when local pubs and nightclubs teem with students.

Lastly, if you visit California or Mexico for the sake of a cruise vacation, you will most likely want to stay in the departure city for a while and explore it too. Consider your accommodations in advance—look at our map, showcasing available options in the vicinity of cruise terminals.

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