Hot Tips For Cruising to the Mexican Riviera

Mexican Riviera Cabo San Lucas

Are you ready to cruise the Mexican Riviera?

This week on the podcast we are talking about hot tips for cruising to the Mexican Riviera. Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about cruising to Alaska, and cruising to the Caribbean, but we’ve yet to cover the place we have cruised the most.

So, today, we have 10 tips for cruising to the Mexican Riviera. If you’re new to cruising in this area, you won’t want to miss these. 

First up, 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. 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.

This next tip is HUGE, and super important to know BEFORE you cruise. 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.

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.

How about dealing with money in Mexico? We recommend that 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. 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. Get familiar with the calculator on your phone. Also, haggling is okay. 

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

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 works a 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.

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, which we’ll link to below. 

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. 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. 

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

Puerto Vallarta Mexican Riviera
Puerto Vallarta

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.

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. We’ll link to those playlists below so you can take a look at how much there REALLY is to do on a Mexican Riviera cruise.

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Here’s what people are saying about the CruiseTipsTV Unplugged Podcast

  • Love this podcast - so many tips!
    November 8, 2023 by Berrmic from United States

    I’ve listened to many cruise related podcasts and this is the best by far. So many wonderful tips! I’ve become a carry-on only traveler because of CTTV and love being able to avoid the long walk to retrieve my luggage. I took the cruise line personality quiz on the CTTV website and we absolutely loved our first Holland America cruise. Much better fit than our previous cruises. I am always going back to previous episodes to pick up tips and advice I may have missed. Thank you CTTV!

  • Great podcast!
    October 25, 2023 by Soiffey72 from United States

    This is a great and fun podcast with such practical and useful information.

  • Best podcast ever!!
    September 2, 2023 by Orla H. from United States

    I started listening to the podcast about a month ago. They are so helpful for anyone who is taking a cruise, first or 50th. I’m going on my second cruise soon and just from listening I booked another! Thanks so much for giving me so many tips for my next cruise.