Where do Mexico cruises sail to?
This often depends on your departure point. Ships sailing from California cruise the Mexican Riviera, as the scenic western coast is called, and visit Pacific ports like Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Cruises from the Atlantic or Gulf coasts of the U.S. head for the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico's Caribbean resort towns, including Cozumel and Calica, the port serving sunny Cancun.
When is the best time to cruise to Mexico?
Cruises sail to Mexico year-round. Ships are busiest between Christmas and April, but high school and college students are especially plentiful in March, when spring break crowds descend on their favorite destinations.
How long do Mexico cruises last?
A cruise to Mexico can be as short as three nights or as long as 12 nights.
Will I need a passport?
Passports are required for all international visitors, but U.S. citizens on cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port and travel to Mexico are able to re-enter the U.S. with proof of citizenship other than a passport or passport card. Acceptable proof of citizenship includes an original or certified copy of your birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license). Passports are required for cruises that begin in one U.S. port and end in another. A new, lower-cost alternative to the passport, called a passport card, is acceptable for entries into the U.S. by land or sea. Compared to passports, which cost $100 for first-time applicants ($85 for children), passport cards cost just $45 ($35 for children). The passport card is not acceptable for air travel. Photocopies of required documentation are not acceptable in any circumstance.
Is English spoken?
It is spoken and understood in many ports of call, especially those connected to the tourist trade. Spanish is the official language of Mexico, so pick up a few basic phrases before your trip.
What is the local currency? Where can I exchange currency?
Mexico uses the peso. Currency exchange stations are available at most banks, hotels and airports, though many tourist destinations accept credit cards.
Is tipping a common practice?
Tipping is customary, and a welcome reward for top-notch service.
What should I wear?
Mexico is a largely tropical destination, and visitors should opt for breezy, free-flowing clothes made from natural fibers. Shorts and t-shirts are comfy during the day, while casual slacks, polo shirts and sundresses are perfect for evening activities.
What should I pack?
Bring your summer essentials when visiting Mexico, as you're sure to spend some time on the beach. Sunscreen, sunglasses and swimsuits are a must; so are protective hats, insect repellant and good walking shoes.
Is the water safe to drink?
It's best to drink bottled water during your travels in Mexico.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't necessary for visitors from North America, but visitors often carry over-the-counter medicines to guard against stomach bugs.
What types of electrical outlets are used in Mexico?
Like the United States, Mexico uses 110-volt outlets. Converters and adapters are recommended for European visitors.
How do I make a telephone call from Mexico?
Tourist resorts and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls, but calling cards also are available. Most U.S.-based cell phones work here, too.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy? Can I haggle over prices?
You'll find some of the best souvenir shopping in streetside stalls. Everything from hand-painted pottery and intricate wood carvings to souvenir shot glasses and T-shirts can be found in the loud, colorful markets that anchor most tourist destinations. Bargaining is a common practice in Mexico.
How do I get around?
Most ports of call provide taxis, buses and scooter rentals, but well-developed tourist areas like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta are very pedestrian-friendly.
Can I rent a car?
Yes, if you're over 21 years old, carry a valid driver's license and can provide a major credit card to cover insurance costs. Keep in mind that car rentals can be expensive here -- some companies charge extra for "accident-prone" customers between 21 and 24 years old.
What can I do there?
Just about anything, but most activities are based on the beach; try fishing, diving, snorkeling, sailing, surfing or working on your tan. If you prefer land-based adventures, you can tour museums and archaeological sites, sample the local shopping or stay active with a hike, bike ride, tennis game or round of golf. Your cruise company also can provide a number of engaging activities with a full roster of shore excursions.
What is the diving like?
Cozumel's prime spot off the Yucatan Peninsula lures most of Mexico's snorkelers and scuba enthusiasts. The island is wrapped by colorful coral gardens and a few fish-filled shipwrecks; a mix of shallow bays and underwater caverns provide dive sites for all skill levels. Cancun is popular, too, as the home of a nature preserve that attracts whale sharks between May and September.
Mexico's Pacific coast offers similar attractions, as well as an exciting alternative: cage-diving with great white sharks.
Do you have any photography tips for travelers in Mexico?
Bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter.