There is truly something for everybody in Mexico
As for the best time to visit the region, September through May seems the popular time, but in actuality it is truly a year-round destination with its almost perfect weather most of the year, including temperatures ranging in the 70’s and 80’s. The temperatures peak in August and September and can go well up into the 90’s with high humidity.
If you’re planning a cruise to the Mexican Riviera, you’ll need to decide on an itinerary and length. Most cruises to this region leave from the west coast of the United States, and for a full seven-day itinerary, will stop at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas during a typical Mexican Riviera itinerary.
Though the seven day cruises are the most popular, there are certainly other options, such as eight, ten and even 14 – day cruises. These will add additional ports, such as Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, as well as Acapulco, among others.
For a shorter alternative, some cruise lines offer very popular three-night cruises which right from the west coast of the United States, usually either the port of San Diego or Los Angeles, with one stop in Ensenada. A four-night option includes a stop on Catalina Island as well.
As for what to do when you get there, there are virtually unlimited choices. Visit a beach resort and indulge in some water sports. Take a glass bottom boat ride or a day sail. Shop in some of the trendy stores for some real bargains, especially on European designer clothing and other luxury items such as perfumes.
If you visit Acapulco a visit to see the cliff divers is an absolute must. These young men perform throughout the day and into the early evening and their breathtaking dives off of these steep cliffs provide excitement for all.
Cabo San Lucas is the party town. Located on the southernmost tip of Baja, California, this town offers a unique combination of sea, desert and mountains, which means there is plenty to do there, especially for the outdoors person. Hiking, nature walks and water/beach activities are just a few of the options. Fishing for marlin is also a popular activity here, as is scuba diving and snorkelling, as well as para-sailing. Also don’t forget to visit El Arco, also known as “The Arch.” This is a neat rock formation located at the point where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. Take a boat trip out to the Arch and meet up with the hundreds of sea lions who live there.
The options for things to do on the Mexican Riviera, and in Baja are as varied as the many beaches to be found there, and when the sun goes down after a hearty day of playing on the beach, the nightlife is varied and interesting as well with lots of restaurants and quaint cafes and bars to keep you engaged until the wee hours of the morning. The region is full of contrasts, from high-rise resorts to quaint cobblestone streets lined with outdoor cafes and small bed and breakfast type establishments offering lodging to the many tourists who visit the area.
The entire region of the Mexican Riviera is very accessible by air or by sea. Several airports serve the area, and cruise ship terminals along the Pacific Coast of the United States, such as those in Long Beach, San Pedro and San Diego, California have ships leaving for the region several times a week. A flight from the U.K. is easily arranged through a host of airlines.
There is truly something for everybody in Mexico, and it’s certainly worth a visit on a cruise.
Acapulco, an important sea port city, is located in Mexico and is the largest city in terms of its tourist population. It has a stunning atmosphere and is located on a bay surrounded by mountains. The city is accessible all the year round and has much to offer to the tourist. In the last few years it has been known as a major party city, especially for students on spring break.
Acapulco has much more history and culture to offer the tourist who is looking for something more profound. It is said that Acapulco is one of the first Mexican cities to be inhabited, since there are remains, such as pottery and artwork, found which date back to 3000 BC. Dating back to 1200 BC, one can find numerous petroglyphs and cave paintings.
Cruising to Cartagena will allow you to enjoy its unique culture, history, beaches, and, of course, indulge in a little salsa dancing. It will also enable you to enjoy warm weather whatever time of year you visit. April is the hottest month, with an average of 29°C, and January the coldest, with average temperatures of 27°C.
A popular cruise destination for many operators including P&O, Royal Caribbean International and Windstar Cruises, the port of Cartagena is one of the most modern in South America and one of the busiest in Colombia. As your ship cruises towards the harbour, look out for the two ancient Spanish forts near Bocachica and then those of Castillo Grande and Manzanillo. In the country’s colonial past, an underwater chain would be raised from the sea bed between the forts as pirate ships appeared, then tightened and held fast. Then, with their cannons, the forts would fire on the pirate ships.
Cabo San Lucas
At the southernmost tip of the 800mile long Baja Peninsula, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, is the tropical paradise of Cabo San Lucas. What was merely a fishing village just twenty years ago, visited occasionally by California surfers and sport fishermen, has grown into one of Mexico’s leading tourist destinations. In recent years Cabo San Lucas has become an expensive international resort and the focus of Los Cabos. Despite all of the development, the town has been kept relatively pristine.
Cabo San Lucas enjoys an average temperature of 80°F and approximately 350 days of sunshine every year. Summer runs from the end of July through September and is generally hot and humid, with the possibility of short storms. Though hurricanes have hit the area, they usually pass safely to the south. When this happens Cabo may suffer rain for a day or two. Winter months bring cooler temperatures, with lows in December averaging 65° to 70°F and daytime highs between 73° and 80°F.
Ensenada is located on Mexico’s Baja peninsula, 65miles south of the US border. It is the second busiest port in Mexico and the largest on the Baja California Peninsula. The town is known for its bustling harbour community and for its mountainous agricultural centre.
The climate is similar to Southern California, with warm summers and mild and balmy winters. In summer daytime temperatures average 78°F, falling to around 65° in winter. During winter nights, temperatures can drop as low as the mid 40’s. Ensenada has an average rainfall of less than ten inches per year, mainly between December and March.
Mazatlan is located on the west coast of Mexico, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Gulf of California. This tourist dreamland is 674miles northwest of Mexico City and is the country’s largest Pacific port. It is just 20miles south of the unforgettable cliffs of the Tropic of Cancer, which are situated on the peninsula. The resort, known as the Golden Zone, is world famous and tourism along with fishing are the staples of Mazatlan’s economy. The town has one of the largest shrimp and tuna fishing fleets in the world.
Summers are very hot and humid, especially July through September, so the best time to visit is during the winter months, between November and May. The coolest period is January through March, when daytime temperatures average from the high 70’s F to low 80’s F and nights are in the low 60’s F.
Manzanillo is located nearly midway along the western coast of Mexico, approximately 150miles south of Puerto Vallarta. Close by and to the north of the town are the two bays that are partly responsible for its growth, Bahia De Santiago and Bahia De Manzanillo, which is the closest.
Average daytime temperatures range from the low to middle 80’s F, while evenings are only about 10° cooler. The winter months are relatively dry, but during the summer months of June to October, it is more humid, with a likelihood of showers.
Water sports are abundant in Manzanillo. There are wonderful beaches, the most popular ones being located at Bahia De Santiago, Bahia De Manzanillo and Playa Audiencia. Known as the sailfish capital of the world, Manzanillo is very popular with deep-sea fishermen along with scuba diving, which is run from centres staffed by qualified instructors. Parasailing also popular and is done from winch-direct boats, which eliminates potentially dangerous beach take offs and landings. The beaches are usually not too crowded, so you can also enjoy a relaxing day laying in the sun or playing in the waves.
Puerto Vallarta is located approximately midway along the western coast of Mexico. The shore is actually in the Bahia de Banderas, which leads out to the Pacific Ocean. This is the heart of the Mexican Riviera and Puerto Vallarta is second only to Cancun as the most popular tourist destination in the country.
Puerto Vallarta has a wet season, running from June through October, but the rest of the year is dry. When temperatures go up the prices go down, as summer months can be very hot and humid, with highs in the upper 80’s F. Between September and December the climate is more pleasant, with highs ranging from upper 60’s to upper 70’s F and with only the occasional shower. The best time to visit is December through March; though as this is the high season expect prices to be a little higher.