Frequently Asked Questions
Where do Mexican Riviera cruises sail to?
Ships sailing from California cruise the Mexican Riviera, as the scenic western coast is called, and visit Pacific ports like Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta.
When is the best time to cruise the Mexican Riviera?
Cruises sail the Mexican Riviera year-round. Ships are busiest between Christmas and April, but high school and college students are especially plentiful in March, when spring break crowds descend on their favorite destinations.
How long do Mexican Riviera cruises last?
Mexican Riviera cruises typically range from three to 12 nights, but can be longer.
Will I need a passport?
Passports are required for all international visitors, but U.S. citizens on cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port and travel to the Mexican Riviera are able to re-enter the U.S. with proof of citizenship other than a passport or passport card. Acceptable proof of citizenship includes a U.S. state-issued original or certified copy of their birth certificate (hospital certificates are not acceptable) or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization and a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license). Passports are required for cruises that begin in one U.S. port and end in another. A new, lower-cost alternative to the passport, called a passport card, is acceptable for entries into the U.S. by land or sea. The passport card is not acceptable for air travel. Photocopies of required documentation are not acceptable in any circumstance.
Is English spoken?
It is spoken and understood in many ports of call, especially those connected to the tourist trade. Spanish is the official language of Mexico, so pick up a few basic phrases before your trip.
What is the local currency? Where can I exchange currency?
Mexico uses the peso. Currency exchange stations are available at most banks, hotels and airports, though many tourist destinations accept credit cards.
Is tipping a common practice?
Tipping is customary, and a welcome reward for top-notch service.
What should I wear?
The Mexican Riviera is a largely tropical destination, and visitors should opt for breezy, free-flowing clothes made from natural fibers. Shorts and t-shirts are comfy during the day, while casual slacks, polo shirts and sundresses are perfect for evening activities.
What should I pack?
Bring your summer essentials when visiting the Mexican Riviera, as you're sure to spend some time on the beach. Sunscreen, sunglasses and swimsuits are a must; so are protective hats, insect repellant and good walking shoes.
Is the water safe to drink?
It's best to drink bottled water during your travels in the Mexican Riviera.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't necessary for visitors from North America, but visitors often carry over-the-counter medicines to guard against stomach bugs.
What types of electrical outlets are used in the Mexican Riviera?
Like the United States, Mexico uses 110-volt outlets. Converters and adapters are recommended for European visitors.
How do I make a telephone call from the Mexican Riviera?
Tourist resorts and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls, but calling cards also are available. Most U.S.-based cell phones work here, too.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy? Can I haggle over prices?
You'll find some of the best souvenir shopping in streetside stalls. Everything from hand-painted pottery and intricate wood carvings to souvenir shot glasses and T-shirts can be found in the loud, colorful markets that anchor most tourist destinations. Bargaining is a common practice in the Mexican Riviera.
How do I get around?
Most ports of call provide taxis, buses and scooter rentals, but well-developed tourist areas like Puerto Vallarta are very pedestrian-friendly.
Can I rent a car?
Yes, if you're over 21 years old, carry a valid driver's license and can provide a major credit card to cover insurance costs. Keep in mind that car rentals can be expensive here -- some companies charge extra for "accident-prone" customers between 21 and 24 years old.
What can I do there?
Just about anything, but most activities are based on the beach; try fishing, diving, snorkeling, sailing, surfing or working on your tan. If you prefer land-based adventures, you can tour museums and archaeological sites, sample the local shopping or stay active with a hike, bike ride, tennis game or round of golf. Your cruise company also can provide a number of engaging activities with a full roster of shore excursions.
What is the diving like?
Mexico’s Pacific coast offers colorful coral gardens and a few fish-filled shipwrecks; a mix of shallow bays and underwater caverns provide dive sites for all skill levels. Or try an exciting alternative: cage-diving with great white sharks.
Do you have any photography tips for travelers in the Mexican Riviera?
Bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter.