The Mexican Riviera is a popular cruise destination with warm weather year-round. However, some months are better than others for cruising this region based on factors like weather, crowds, and holiday peaks. By choosing the optimal time for your Mexican Riviera cruise, you can maximize your enjoyment while avoiding challenges like stormy seas, muggy heat, and inflated fares.
Best Times for Good Weather
The Mexican Riviera enjoys pleasant weather for cruising throughout the year. However, the ideal climate occurs during the dry season from November through April. During these months, daytime highs reach the 70s to 80s Fahrenheit with cooler nights in the 60s. Rain is infrequent, seas are calm, and humidity is moderate.
The wet season from May through October brings warmer temperatures, higher humidity, and an increased chance of showers. June through September are the hottest and stormiest months. However, the rain usually comes in brief afternoon downpours, so you can still cruise comfortably if you don’t mind occasional wet weather.
Monthly Weather Averages in the Mexican Riviera:
|Avg High Temp
|Avg Low Temp
As shown, the coolest temps, lowest rain chances, and calmest seas occur from December through April during the peak dry season. May, June, and October are shoulder seasons with moderate weather. July through September tend to be the hottest and stormiest months in the Mexican Riviera.
Cruising during peak periods often means dealing with larger crowds both on and off the ship. To avoid hordes of passengers, plan your Mexican Riviera cruise during the off-season when demand is lower. Late August through October tend to be the quietest months. Mid-January through April also avoid the heaviest crowds since they fall between the winter holidays and summer vacation crush.
On the other hand, December and July are the most popular cruise months, especially during school breaks. Expect full ships and busier ports if cruising over Christmas, New Year’s, or summer vacations. Booking early helps guarantee cabin availability for peak sailings.
Special Events and Holidays
Timing your cruise to coincide with special events and holidays in Mexico adds excitement. However, it also leads to higher fares and crowds. For a festive cultural experience, cruise over Cinco de Mayo (May 5), Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead in late October/early November), or Mexican Independence Day (September 16). These holidays all involve colorful parades, parties, and traditional observances.
The weeks before Easter also offer a lively celebration atmosphere in Mexico. Christmas and New Year’s sailings let you ring in the holidays with a fiesta. Expect peak fares and minimum stay requirements for these ultra-popular weeks. Off-season months mean fewer crowds and activities, but you’ll dodge the holiday inflation.
Major Events in the Mexican Riviera:
|Busy cruise weeks with religious celebrations
|Cinco de Mayo
|Festive parades and parties on May 5
|Mexican Independence Day
|Parades and fireworks on September 16
|Day of the Dead
|Vibrant observances honoring the deceased
|Feliz Navidad celebrations and decorations
|Ring in the New Year Mexican style with fireworks and revelry
Best Months to Cruise
Weighing factors like weather, crowds, and holidays, here are the best times to cruise the Mexican Riviera:
November: Pleasantly warm days and cool nights with low rain chances make November ideal for cruising. The first half of the month falls during the shoulder season before holiday crowds arrive. Celebrate Día de Muertos and enjoy lively ambiance.
Mid-January through mid-March: Dry weather prevails during these months, along with smaller crowds between holidays. Average highs reach the low 80s with comfy cool evenings. Bring a light jacket for possible temperature dips.
April: Comfortable mid-80 degree temps combine with low humidity and rainfall in April. Easter crowds dissipate by mid-month, making it a tranquil time for cruising. Spring break boosts excitement at ports.
May: Before the rainy season starts, May offers warm yet pleasant temperatures. Cinco de Mayo celebrations add fun on early May cruises. Wildlife viewing is excellent with spring bird migrations.
June: Though one of the wettest months, June enjoys warm seawater for swimming. Cruising before summer vacation crowds arrive can yield value prices and minimal port congestion. Tropical storms are rare early in the month.
While any season offers perks, the consensus is that fall through spring brings the most favorable weather and manageable crowds for cruising the Mexican Riviera. But avoid spring break and the winter holidays if you wish to dodge the masses.
Popular Ports of Call
Most Mexican Riviera cruises start from the port of Los Angeles, conveniently reached from across the U.S. and beyond via LAX airport. Popular ports along the itinerary include:
Cabo San Lucas
Known for its stunning rock formations, beaches, and resorts, Cabo San Lucas makes a scenic stop. Snorkel with sea lions, party at beach clubs, or join a glass-bottom boat tour.
In Puerto Vallarta, stroll the boardwalk Malecón, browse artsy galleries, and admire the towering Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Nearby beaches like Mismaloya offer golden sands.
Check out Mexican charm in Mazatlán’s historic downtown before heading to lively beaches like Playa Olas Altas. Nearby Stone Island’s calm waters appeal to families while Playa Bruja draws the party crowd.
La Paz provides access to outdoor adventures like swimming with whale sharks, sea lion encounters, and off-road desert touring. The bay’s islands are home to colonies of blue-footed boobies.
Other less common stops include Ensenada, Loreto, Santa Rosalía, and more. With roundtrips from LA ranging from 3 to 14 nights, you can customize the length and ports.
Popular Cruise Lines
The Mexican Riviera is serviced by many top cruise brands, with certain lines dominating:
Carnival Cruise Line
Known for fun, family-friendly vacations, Carnival offers some of the most affordable Mexican Riviera itineraries. Their sister line Princess Cruises also cruises the region on lengthy Panama Canal or Hawaii routes.
Top-rated mega-ships from Royal Caribbean cruise from LA to Mexico. Choose short Baja getaways or week-long roundtrip “Mexican Rivera” voyages.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney operates seasonal Baja cruises with family activities plus Disney entertainment. These appeal to families with kids and Disney loyalists.
Sophisticated mid-size ships operated by Holland America offer longer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal combination itineraries at moderate prices.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian’s “Freestyle Cruising” concept appeals to younger cruisers with multiple dining choices, relaxed policies, exciting nightlife, and specialty dining.
Other lines like Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and more also offer luxe Mexican Riviera options.
Best Type of Cabin
With balconies for sunbathing and ocean views, balcony cabins provide the optimal way to enjoy a Mexican Riviera cruise. But they cost around 35-75% more than equivalent inside cabins.
To save money, book an obstructed view balcony, window stateroom, or inside cabin. Just be aware you’ll lack a private outdoor area. Suite cruisers gain amenities like concierge service, priority bookings, and VIP lounges.
Try to avoid cabins at the very front or rear, where motion is most felt. Lower deck cabins can suffer noise from engines or nightclubs. Mid-ship rooms near elevators are prized for convenience and fewer stairs.
Pros and Cons of Mexican Riviera Cabins:
|Most affordable option
|No window or balcony
|Allows natural light and views
|No private outdoor space
|Outdoor lounging and scenery
|Higher cost than insides
|Added amenities and elite perks
For the full experience without big suite prices, opt for a balcony in the ship’s mid-section. Inside or obstructed balcony cabins can save substantially for budget-focused travelers.
Follow these tips to score deals on your perfect Mexican Riviera cruise:
- Book early for lowest fares, especially on popular sailings.
- Be flexible with your dates to capitalize on sales and last-minute deals.
- Sail in shoulder seasons like May or September to avoid peak pricing.
- Downgrade your cabin category to save money.
- Get a discount by dropping to an obstructed balcony or window stateroom.
- Stay on top of promotions advertised by the cruise lines.
- Consult a travel agent to help find and apply the best offers.
With an ideal cabin on the right-priced sailing, you’re ready for an unforgettable cruise vacation along Mexico’s beautiful Pacific coast.
What to Pack
Packing the right clothes and gear makes your Mexican Riviera cruise more comfortable and fun. Bring these essential items:
- Sun protection: hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
- Light clothing: shorts, tanks, swimwear, sundresses, sandals
- Long sleeves/pants: for cooler nights and air-conditioned rooms
- Jacket or sweater: year-round for chilly evenings
- Semi-formal attire: for dining on formal nights
- Seasickness remedies: meds, wristbands, ginger candy
- Motion sickness patches: reduces queasiness
- Refillable water bottle: stay hydrated in Mexico’s heat
- Portable battery pack: charge devices without outlets
- Collapsible day bag: for carrying essentials ashore
Bon voyage on your memorable Mexican Riviera cruise adventure!