One of the most popular cruise itineraries is a journey along the west coast of Mexico for either seven or 10 days, generally leaving from and returning to Los Angeles, or in some itineraries San Diego.
This is often looked at as a chance to get away from the realities of work or school and simply have a chance to relax in the warm tropical sun of winter. These cruises are normally offered from late fall into mid spring, as it becomes very hot and uncomfortable during the summer months.
The best time of the year for cruising Mexico is between late November and the end of April. The weather is difficult to predict, but during the Northern Hemisphere winter, even in these tropical latitudes, temperatures are slightly lower, generally in the low to mid 80’s. And the humidity levels are also lower despite the slight chance for rain occurring, especially on the northern edge of the coast where weather fronts that impact California sometimes trail as far south as the Baja California Peninsula.
We often think of Mexico with reference to its adobe buildings, tile roofs and Baroque church towers, town plazas where Mariachi bands stroll in the evening.
Many of us living in the United States and Canada are well acquainted with the flavors of Mexican cuisine and find them quite captivating. And we are drawn to images of the ancient cultures such as the Maya and Aztec through the remains of their ancient cities.
Ports of Call
Here is just a brief description of what is each port of call has to offer:
- Ensenada, Baja California – A fishing and tourist oriented community of more than 500,000 that is somewhat of a near border town. It does have hillside villas overlooking pounding surf and a central plaza where locals congregate.
- Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur – A modern and elegant resort city at land’s end, the southern tip of the 1,000-mile-long Baja California Peninsula. The water is azure, the hillsides are covered in tall cacti and there are floral plantings almost everywhere.
- Mazatlan, Sinaloa – This is a large mainland city of over half a million. It has white sandy beaches, high-rise hotels, but also a historic district with traditional buildings dating to the 1700’s and a spectacular Baroque cathedral.
- Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco – Made famous by the movie, “Night of the Iguana,” this resort has its old town district with whitewashed houses topped by red tile roofs and then its modern quarter with gleaming high-rise hotels and apartments, all facing a turquoise bay and backed up by lush tropical hillsides.
- Manzanillo, Colima – A city that is both an active fishing port and retirement getaway topped off by the exotic Las Hadas Hotel, one of the most glamorous of establishments.
- Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Guerrero – A combination of the old fishing village of Zihuatanejo with the modern, planned resort of Ixtapa next door gives you the best of both sides of México.
- Acapulco – The largest city on the west coast of México with over two million inhabitants, Acapulco today is a somewhat faded lady, no longer the prized resort it once was. But it is still a fascinating city to visit.
- Puerto Chiapas – This is a new planned container port that enables cruise ships to bring guests to this most southerly state in the country. It is the various interior ancient ruins and traditional towns that are the reason for coming to Puerto Chiapas.
Remember that México is a great country filled with historic sites, romantic architecture and distinctive cuisine and music.
There is an expression that Mexican people use so often when they proudly talk about the glories of their country, putting aside the negatives, and thinking only in positive terms. They will always end any proclamation about their country by adding, “Viva México,” which translates to mean long live México. This statement is meant to convey pride, conviction and a love of nation.
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