[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”left”]Everyone knows of the French Riviera, known as one of the first high-class seaside resorts in the world, but how many people have heard of the Mexican Riviera?[/blockquote] The idea is a newer one, stemming from the Mexican Government’s attempts to stimulate tourism along the country’s Pacific coastline by building resorts during the 1970’s. The idea worked and soon the area became known worldwide for its mix of spotless white-sand beaches and dramatic coastal cliffs, ascending into the pervasive Mexican jungle. Among the more well-known ports on this stretch of coast are Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo.
In the US, the area is famous for being the subject of the TV series “The Love Boat” which played a big part in popularising cruises amongst the American public. Partly as a result, the Mexican Riviera is often ranked in the top five most popular cruise destinations in the world and has a year round service from many of the major cruise lines. Like the Caribbean, the area is temperate for most of the year but can become too hot for some during the height of summer (August, September).
The vast majority of tourists visiting Mexico are American and the most common departure ports for these cruises are San Diego, Los Angeles, and Long Beach, California. Luckily, these ports are also convenient for those travelling in by plane making a Mexican cruise a possibility for people from all around the world.
What cruises are available to the Mexican Riviera and from which companies?
Some of the biggest cruise companies offer itineraries in the Mexican Riviera including Carnival, Crystal, Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. A variety of cruise lengths are available, starting at three days and going up to 14 days. The briefest cruises will call only at Ensenada whilst the longer ones will generally have an itinerary involving Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.
5 Must-Sees in the Mexican Riviera
1. The Death Defying Cliff Divers of Acapulco Bay
Just outside of the luxury resort town of Acapulco is a a pair of coastal cliffs known as La Quedabra. In between them is a narrow, shallow inlet of water into which local men dive from dizzying heights. It’s an outdoors variant of the old fashioned circus trick of diving into a tiny pool and the tourists love it, coming back time after time to witness the feat.
If adventurous stunts are not to your taste then there are plenty of other things to draw you to Acapulco, from the Zona Dorado high-end shopping district to any of the numerous luxury hotels that line the seaside.
2. Go Whale Watching and Meet the Sea Lions at Cabo San Lucas
There are many reasons to go to Cabo San Lucas, from the brand new resorts to the legendary club Cabo Wabo Cantina ran by former lead singer of Van Halen, Sammy Hagar. However, the most striking thing as far as we are concerned is the wildlife including plentiful California Gray whales (December-March) and barking sea lions to be found lolling about on the rocks at Land’s End.
Aside from the wildlife the area is also known as a favourite hangout for celebrities and for its championship golf courses. Famous photo opportunities include El Arco, a natural stone archway located at Land’s End, and Lovers Beach, the only beach in the world surrounded by two different oceans.
3. Be Blown Away by La Bufadora Geyser in Ensenada
La Bufadora is a powerful, intermittent geyser located in the resort town of Ensenada. Every day, tourists gather from all over the world to watch it fire, often reaching heights in excess of 80 feet. The fun of La Bufadora is seeing it, hearing the thunderous bang it makes when it goes off, and then watching unsuspecting tourists being drenched by the spray. The area is also home to a beautiful coastline as well as many up and coming Mexican wineries providing excellent quality for the money.
4. Take a Hillside Pulmonia Tour in Mazatlan
Mazatlan is the largest port on this stretch of coast and is known the world over for its watersports and fishing. However, without a doubt the most unique part of visiting Mazatlan is taking a tour on a pulmonia, an open-sided taxi, up to the clifftops for a magnificent view of the bay and the Sierra Madre mountain range.
5. Walk the Cobbled Streets of Puerto Vallarta’s Old Town
In stark contrast to its ultra-trendy nightlife scene, Puerto Vallarta’s Old Town is well known for preserving all the best of European culture and architecture. Walk the sculpture-lined streets and explore any of the towns six or so art galleries. The town is famous for its artists and the town’s malecon, or esplanade, has many examples of local sculpture.