The Ultimate Guide for a Mexican Riviera Cruise

The Mexican Riviera encompasses a string of incredible port cities and beach resorts along the sun-drenched Pacific coast of Mexico. The region and its top destinations boast unmatched enticements that make cruises to the Mexican Riviera appealing to families, couples and fun-seeking friends alike. Beyond the beautiful beaches, the diverse region’s scenic landscapes range from rugged mountain peaks to cactus-strewn deserts. You’ll discover cultural and historic attractions from tequila factories to colonial-era churches and an abundance of marine life. Let Carnival Splendor carry you away on a cruise to Mexico and you’re sure to have an equally amazing time onboard as you have on land.

Mexican Riviera Itineraries

Carnival presents three itineraries for its 7-day Mexican Riviera cruises, all departing from Long Beach (Los Angeles). To visit all three ports, opt for an itinerary featuring consecutive days in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta before sailing back to Los Angeles. A second option offers two full days in Cabo San Lucas and one in Puerto Vallarta, while another allows for an overnight stay in Puerto Vallarta, followed by a day in Cabo San Lucas.

ocean view of puerto vallarta during sunset

What to Pack

The Mexican Riviera’s weather is warm and sunny year-round, with average temperatures ranging from the high 60s to low 80s. Pack summer clothes and multiple swimsuits, plus a light rain jacket and sweater for cooler evenings and air-conditioned venues. Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must, and for day trips bring a small backpack, refillable water bottle and comfortable walking shoes. Check on any special requirements for excursions – some require closed-toe shoes. Binoculars are handy for many excursions. Carnival’s dress code is generally casual, but you can expect one or two “cruise elegant” evenings in the dining room. Bring one elegant outfit, or stick to the casual scene in the Lido Restaurant. Remember to double-check the ship’s luggage requirements before you pack your suitcase.

woman packing shorts, shirts, sunglasses and straw hat for vacation

Onboard Carnival Splendor

Carnvial’s Mexican Riviera cruises feature three fun days at sea – ample time to explore Carnival Splendor’s entertainment and dining options. Pack your days with aquatic action at the Splash Park, Twister Waterslide and pools, and evenings watching spectacular live shows. Take to the stage yourself at Lip Sync Battle: Carnival and channel your inner rock star or pop idol. Reach the finals and you’ll put on a show, complete with professional choreography, lighting and even backup dancers.

Perhaps lounging around at the Serenity Only Adult Retreat, then soaking in the Thalassotherapy pool at Cloud 9 Spa, followed by cocktails and jazz at The Cool is more your speed. Cruising with kids? Camps for all ages and the Seuss at Sea activity program has you covered with a character parade, story time and more.

carnival splendor sailing in the pacific ocean

Carnival Splendor has delicious dining options for every appetite, including pizza, old-fashioned barbecue, Indian fare at Tandoor, and custom Mexican favorites at the burrito bar. Morning or night, room service, Swirls soft-serve ice cream and more are always available.

If you are interested in more ship options sailing to the Mexican Riviera, keep an eye out for Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Panorama, setting sail from Long Beach in 2019!

Mexican Riviera Ports and Excursions

There are so many things to do in the Mexican Riviera that it might be difficult to decide what to do, but Carnival’s amazing shore excursions have you covered. Book early and you’ll be set for an adventure as soon as the ship pulls into port.

Cabo San Lucas is a superb destination for outdoor adventures. You can zip line over a canyon, ride horseback on the beach, sail, snorkel or dive. Golfers can play 18 holes at the Cabo del Sol Desert Course, one of the top golf courses in Mexico. If off-roading is more your speed, go on the Wild Canyon UTV Expedition, which has you driving through canyons and creeks, on the beach and across the longest hanging wooden bridge in the world. A unique excursion is the Camel and Mexican Outback Adventure. Drive across unspoiled desert canyons to a secluded ranch on the Pacific coast where you’ll explore cactus-lined river beds by 4×4, go for a nature walk, participate in tequila-tasting and tortilla-making workshops and ride a camel on the beach.

sunrise at the arch of cabo san lucas in mexico

Mazatlan is the largest port on Mexico’s Pacific coast, known for its charming old town, top-notch museums and 10-mile seaside promenade. The city’s a delightful place to explore, but you might like to venture to nearby Stone Island on the Nature Discovery and Turtle Sanctuary excursion. Visit one of the most important sea turtle sanctuaries in Mexico and learn how marine biologists gather and incubate eggs, then release thousands of baby turtles into the wild. History buffs can explore three historic locales in the Sierra Madre foothills on the Colonial Villages of Sierra Madre excursion.

10-mile seaside promenade in mazatlan

Puerto Vallarta invites you to wander its narrow, cobblestone streets, stroll the sculpture-lined bay-front promenade, and hit one of many great swimming beaches. Excursion options here include an extreme canopy tour, dolphin swim, trip to colonial San Sebastian and several snorkeling and sailing trips. Support grassroots efforts to provide opportunities for local youth on the Give Back with Purpose Community Tour, which takes you to coastal Sayulita and the historic village of San Pancho, where you’ll learn about the Entre Amigos project, taste artisan chocolates and see a cooking demonstration. Budding wildlife photographers and nature lovers can choose the Exclusive Whale Photo Safari, which takes you by Zodiac in search of dolphin pods and humpback whales in the Bay of Banderas.

aerial view of los muertos pier in puerto vallarta

The Mexican Riviera is a top cruise destination for good reason… in fact, many good reasons! Glorious weather, enticing ports, fascinating history and culture and so much more await along Mexico’s beautiful Pacific coast.