10 Awesome Tips for your Cruise to Mexico

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Cruise to mexico - awesome beach

Planning a cruise to Mexico? We’ve got your back!

We’ve just wrapped up a vlog series on our recent trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, and it occurred to us that cruising to these ports in Mexico is a pretty unique experience. So, today, we have 10 tips for cruising to the Mexican Riviera. If you’re getting ready to cruise to Mexico, you won’t want to miss these. 

Be aware of time zone changes:

If you’re considering booking your own shore excursions in Mexico, check and double check the ship versus shore time, so you don’t end up being left behind. Not sure where to find this info? Your ships newsletter, the front desk staff, and the shore excursions desk can ALL help you.

cruise to mexico - wrist watch

A good old fashioned wrist watch can be an excellent idea if you prefer not to trust your mobile device or smart watch. Each cruise line handles time changes differently, so this is a critical detail to research.

Pack carefully:

This next tip is HUGE, and super important to know BEFORE you cruise to Mexico. Plan for chilly sea days, particularly if you’re sailing during the winter and spring months.

While your time in Mexico will likely be warm and sunny, and resort wear will be perfect WHILE you’re in Mexico, you’ll want to pack warmer clothes for evenings on the ship and the first few and last few days going up and down the Pacific Coast.

cruise to mexico - runing in surf

In general, the summer months will be much warmer all around, but winter, spring and fall weather on your sea days will mirror California weather, NOT the warm balmy temperatures you can expect down in Mexico.

We like to pack jeans, warm shoes, and a lightweight jacket for everyone in our family. Here’s a pack with me video to get you started!

Money matters:

We recommend you research the exchange rate for pesos before your trip. This can be particularly helpful if you plan to shop with cash or take a cab in Mexico.

Cruise to Mexico mexican pesos

This doesn’t mean you need to exchange currency in advance, because most vendors will take US dollars, just be aware of the approximate exchange rate so you don’t get taken advantage of. There are great currency conversion apps and websites you can check out in advance.

Pack ones and fives:

Speaking of shopping, it’s a good idea to pack small bills when traveling to the Mexican Riviera.

Cruise to Mexico colorful material in mexico market

From tipping a shore excursion provider, to shopping with local vendors, having small bills on hand reduces time rummaging through your wallet, and helps to ensure you don’t overpay for something. 

Let’s go to Cabo, baby!

Now that we’ve got money matters out of the way, let’s talk about Cabo San Lucas for a bit.

Did you know that Cabo san Lucas is a tender port? That means you’ll take a tender, or “water shuttle” to get to shore. Be sure to plan extra time to get off the ship. This might mean getting a ‘tender ticket” from the ship’s staff early in the day when you visit Cabo.

Every ship handles tendering or “water shuttles” little differently, but you’re daily newsletter will spell this out for you. Just be careful not to plan something too early in Cabo, because tendering can take some time.

Do it yourself in Cabo:

While we’re on the topic of Cabo San Lucas, If you’re looking for something affordable to do for the day, we like to take a water taxi and hangout on the beaches in Cabo. We’ve made a video on how to get to Medano Beach. It’s easy and inexpensive and you can get there two ways. By water taxi, or traditional cab.

Get cheaper taxi rates:

Looking for a Cab instead of a water taxi in your ports? Walk just outside the port area for a few minutes for lower rates.

Cruise to Mexico buscerias mexico

This is especially true in Puerto Vallarta. In Mazatlan, expect to take the free open air shuttle from the ship to the area where you can pick up a cab. Where you’ll dock in Mazatlan is an industrial port, so the shuttle will be your only way out of the port. 

Know what to expect:

Our next tip is explore all the coast of Mexico has to offer. Just don’t expect Caribbean blue water.

cruise to mexico - jumping on beach

For example, Puerto Vallarta offers a jungle meets the sea vibe where you can snorkel, hike and rappel down waterfalls, while Cabo offers desert vibes and the chance to take an ATV ride on a remote beach or ride camels on a coastal ranch.

There are SO many unique things to do in the Mexican Riviera, but I think what I’m trying to say here is, don’t compare it to a Caribbean cruise. 

Don’t forget this one:

This tip is more of a general tip for ANY cruise, but we’ve gotta say it. Put your phone in airplane mode the moment you head to the sailaway party on your first afternoon onboard.

If you’ve purchased an internet package, you’ll use airplane mode anyhow. Still need to use your phone onboard? No worries- you can use services like What’s App or Facebook to send messages or make calls if you’ve purchased an internet package.

See for yourself:

Lastly, we invite you to check out our vlogs from our journeys to the Mexican Riviera. We have lots of shore excursion and activity ideas and dozens of tips and tricks for your next Mexican Riviera cruise. Here’s some playlists.

Here’s some of our favorite playlists so you can take a look at how much there REALLY is to do when you cruise to Mexico. A Mexican Riviera cruise has almost limitless possibilities. 

  • Royal Princess Vlogs: Visit Cabo, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta with us in this fun series. What makes this cruise unique is that we choose all Princess Cruises excursions. We rode Camels in Cabo, visited a Turtle Sanctuary in Mazatlan, and visited gorgeous Las Caletas in Puerto Vallarta.
  • Carnival Splendor Vlogs: in this series, we take a day 1 spa tour, show you how to get to Medano Beach via water taxi, and hit the 80’s Rock and Glow Party onboard.
  • Carnival Miracle Vlogs: This trip was a blast! We discovered a sailing excursion in Cabo, visited a resort for the day in PV, and danced like crazy at the Sailaway Party!
  • Star Princess Vlogs: Wow, if you get the opportunity to try a 10 night cruise to the Mexican Riviera and Sea of Cortez, do it! We swam with whale sharks, frolicked on the sand dunes, and ate some amazing food on this cruise to Mexico.

We’d love to hear your Mexican Riviera cruise tips! Have you visited these ports? What did you do on your cruise to Mexico? Shoot us a DM on Instagram or Facebook.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, we’ll see you on the high seas!

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Sheri and her family are California based cruise content creators focused on providing practical tips and advice to new and seasoned cruisers. CruiseTipsTV’s audience enjoys following Sheri and her family as they travel the world by ship creating travel films. Sheri has visited destinations like Japan, Mexico, Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean, and has experienced 33 cruises on 6 cruise lines. She was named one of Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 10 Travel Influencers Changing How We Vacation in 2018 and 2019. Sheri has been quoted in the New York Times, CNBC, Forbes, Prevention, and Business Innovator Radio. Her YouTube Channel, CruiseTipsTV has over 87,000 subscribers and 17 million views.