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Maximize Family Fun: What Is Best Time To Cruise Mexican Riviera?

The Mexican Riviera, a stunning region located along Mexico’s Pacific coast, boasts beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and exciting excursions. Cruising the Mexican Riviera is an exceptional vacation experience, but choosing the ideal time to embark on this adventure enhances the journey. There’s a lot to consider when planning your cruise, from weather and the seasons to wildlife and Mexican cuisine. So when is the best time to cruise the Mexican Riviera? 

Mexican Riviera Cruises: Choosing the Best Time
Per conventional wisdom, The dry season, which runs from November through June, is usually considered the optimal time to cruise the Mexican Riviera. During this time, you will enjoy pleasant weather and limited rain, making it an ideal period for onshore excursions and outdoor activities.

 Knowing the best time to cruise Mexican Riviera not only ensures pleasant weather conditions but also allows you to make the most of the many activities offered at popular ports of call. While the Mexican Riviera is considered an all-year cruise destination, the best time to cruise it is during Mexico’s dry season, between November and May. This provides the best weather and increases the chances of seeing wildlife among reduced crowds of people.

Whether you’re interested in whale watching, exploring cultural sites, or savoring the local cuisine, timing your trip carefully will help you experience all that this beautiful destination has to offer without disappointment. Keep reading for more information to help you decide the best time to cruise the Mexican Riviera for you and your family when planning your next cruise

What Exactly Is The Mexican Riviera?

The Mexican Riviera is a tropical paradise that stretches along the western coast of Mexico. It features stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, lush vegetation, and various activities. Visitors can enjoy various activities such as swimming, sunbathing, fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving in the Great Maya Reef. There are also many cultural attractions, such as ancient ruins and Spanish colonial architecture.

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Navigating The Different Mexican Riviera Seasons To Choose The Best Time For Your Cruise

When planning your Mexican Riviera cruise, you want to make sure you choose the best time to go based on your personal needs and preferences. While the dry season, which runs from November through June, is usually identified as the best time to cruise the Mexican Riviera, other considerations may suggest a different choice for your own trip.

The Rainy Season: This season spans from late July to October, with the heaviest rainfalls in August and September. Although the rain typically occurs in the afternoon or at night, it can still impact your trip with high humidity and higher temperatures. However, if you are looking for lower prices and lighter crowds, cruising during the rainy season might be more appealing to you.

The Spring Months: This period spans March, April, and May. You’ll experience beautiful warm weather and significantly less rainfall compared to the summer months. The wildlife in the region also tends to be more active during this time, making it a great opportunity for animal lovers to enjoy wildlife sightings.

In contrast, the summer months provide a more tropical experience, with hot temperatures accompanied by high humidity levels. While this might not be the most comfortable time to cruise, those who don’t mind the heat can take advantage of lower prices and fewer tourists.

The Winter Months: This season offers milder temperatures and drier weather. This makes it an excellent time for those who prefer cooler conditions while still being able to enjoy the Mexican Riviera’s natural beauty and attractions.

In summary, the best time to cruise the Mexican Riviera depends on your preferences:

  • For optimal weather: dry season (November to June)
  • For lower prices and lighter crowds: rainy season (late July to October)
  • For wildlife sightings: spring months (March to May)
  • For milder temperatures: winter months (December to February)

By considering these factors, you can make the most of your Mexican Riviera cruise experience.

Evaluating The Best Time To Cruise The Mexican Riviera

Although you can book a cruise to the Mexican Riviera for any time of year, three key considerations typically influence that decision: The weather, wildlife opportunities, and the crowds (which also affect pricing). Let’s take a closer look at each.

Best Time To Cruise Mexican Riviera Based On Weather

In terms of weather, most people believe the dry season between November and May is the best time to cruise the Mexican Riviera because you are less likely to encounter showers and rough seas. 

Mazatlan: Oceanside resort pool

Furthermore, because the dry season coincides with winter in Mexico between December and May, you are less likely to encounter summer crowds. Therefore you can enjoy the blue skies and clear weather in peace.

However, while the coast of Mexico during the dry season has mild, balmy, tropical weather, the first few days and the last few days of the cruise will be closer to California than Mexico. Therefore, you will likely experience a chill in the air during these days, as you will be in the midst of California’s winter months. 

Consequently, while it may be tempting to fill your suitcase with nothing but swimming shorts and suntan lotion, a sweater, and a raincoat are essential items to pack for those colder, wetter days off the west coast of America. 

Suppose you don’t want to brave the California winter and don’t mind the possibility of scattered thundershowers and extreme heat. In that case, the summer months between August and September are also fantastic months to enjoy a sunny cruise.

Take note that once you reach the Mexican coastline, the weather can be extremely hot and humid. So stay hydrated, avoid the midday sun, and wear plenty of sunscreen!  

Best time to cruise Mexican Riviera | photohumpback whale breaching in Cabo San Lucas.
Cabo San Lucas: Humpback whale breaching

Best Time To Cruise Mexican Riviera For Wildlife

Although cruise ships off the Mexican coastline may conjure up images of ongoing fiestas, live entertainment, and beach parties, a cruise down the Mexican Riviera can be a relaxing trip and a unique way to experience nature and do some game viewing. 

While there is ample bird and marine life to view all year round, the big attraction of going on the Mexican Riviera between November and May is that some of the best whale watching in the world occurs off the western coast of Mexico. The best period to catch whales falls between January and March (although months that fall just outside of this window are also very promising.)

If whale watching is a priority, take a guided whale-watching tour once you dock at ports Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarta. Local guides can show you whale-watching hotspots that you are unlikely to discover independently on a cruise ship. 

Furthermore, your chances of seeing whales increase drastically, as you will be observing whales that are undisturbed in their natural habitat.

Beach in Cabo San Lucas that runs along the Sea of Cortez.

Mexican Riviera Cruises: The Crowds

Due to the popularity and affordability of cruising down the Mexican Riviera, you will seldom be able to have a trip void of numerous passengers. However, if you want to avoid particularly large crowds and increased prices, it is best to avoid this cruise during events like Spring Break, Christmas, and Thanksgiving.

However, crowds aren’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you plan to cruise down the Mexican Riviera to make new friends or have people to party with both on and off the cruise ship! 

Highlights of Popular Ports Included in a Mexican Riviera Cruise

Different cruise lines will include different ports in their itineraries. However, some of the most popular ports in the Mexican Riviera that are often included in cruises are Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. All three of these destinations offer beautiful beaches, unique culture, delicious food, and plenty of opportunities for adventure. Depending on the cruise line and itinerary, you may also visit Ensenada, as well as smaller ports.

Puerto Vallarta is a picturesque coastal town with a mix of old-world charm and modern amenities. Here, you can explore the cobblestone streets of the town’s historic center, relax on the beautiful sandy beaches, or take part in various water activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving. It also has sophisticated restaurants and galleries and exciting nightlife.

Best Time To Cruise Mexican Riviera | photo of cruise port at Mazatlan
Cruise Port at Mazatlan, Mexico

Mazatlán boasts a historic downtown area with beautiful nineteenth-century architecture, stunning beaches, and a thriving art scene. You can also indulge in fresh seafood and explore the picturesque malecón, which is one of the longest boardwalks in Mexico. It also has a growing reputation for its culinary scene.

Cabo San Lucas is well-known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and water activities. Known as the “Marlin Capital of the World,” Cabo offers plenty of opportunities for deep-sea fishing and whale watching.

Ensenada is a bustling port city that offers a blend of Mexican and Californian influences. It’s known for its lively atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the shops and restaurants lining the shore. While in Ensenada, you can visit the famous La Bufadora blowhole, sample some of the region’s delicious wines, or shop for souvenirs at the local markets.

When embarking on a Mexican Riviera cruise, you might also depart from or arrive at one of the following California ports:

  • Los Angeles
  • Long Beach
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco

Each of these cities offers its unique attractions and charm, making them excellent starting or ending points for your cruise adventure.

Finally, although less frequently visited on Mexican Riviera cruises, Acapulco is a historically significant port with stunning natural beauty. It is famous for its cliff divers, who perform daring jumps from the cliffs of La Quebrada. You can also enjoy the vibrant nightlife and various cultural attractions.

No matter which ports you end up visiting, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience on your Mexican Riviera cruise.

What Ports Are Not Considered Part of The Mexican Riviera?

Not every cruise port in Mexico is part of the Mexican Riviera. Indeed, some of the most popular cruise ports in Mexico are nowhere near the Pacific Coast. Two such well-known ports are the Cozumel cruise port and the Costa Maya cruise port. You will find these ports on various Caribbean cruise itineraries.

How Long Are Mexican Riviera Cruises?  

One of the great attractions to booking a Mexican Riviera cruise is finding a wide range of options, from short cruises of 3 or 4 days to cruises of 7 nights or more. So, for instance, on Royal Caribbean Mexican Riviera cruises, you can book a 3-night or 4-night, a 5-night cruise that stops at Cabo San Lucas, or a 7-night cruise that includes a stop at Mazatlan.

If you are looking for a longer itinerary, check out the Princess Mexican Riviera Cruises, which can be 10 or 12 days, and include an overnight stay in Cabo San Lucas and additional ports down the Sea of Cortez.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal month for Mexican Riviera cruises?

The best time to cruise the Mexican Riviera is during the dry season, which typically falls between November and May. During this period, you can enjoy excellent weather and a lower chance of rain. Moreover, traveling during these months may also increase your chances of seeing wildlife and experiencing the beauty of Mexico with relatively fewer crowds.

How does the weather vary during Mexican Riviera cruises?

The Mexican Riviera has a year-round cruising season, and the weather remains generally pleasant throughout the year. Temperatures typically stay in the 70s and 80s range for most of the year, although during the wet season from May to October, you’ll find occasional rain and humidity.

What are the most affordable months to cruise to the Mexican Riviera?

Although Mexican Riviera cruises can be enjoyed all year round, some months may offer more affordable travel options. Generally, the most budget-friendly months to cruise to the Mexican Riviera would be during the wet season (May to October), as the prospect of rain and humidity leads to lower demand and better deals on cruise packages. That said, while the prices may be cheaper, the weather may not be as ideal as during the dry season.


Although November to May is considered the best time to explore the Mexican Riviera, this all-year-round cruise is perfect for adventurous challenges looking for a multi-day excursion or a quick three-day trip along the west coast of Mexico! 

David Chapman


David is a seasoned international traveler with a diverse hospitality background. He loves cruising in Asia and the Mediterranean.

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