Looking to satisfy your wanderlust in an exotic location (that’s still close to home)? Consider heading to Mexico on a cruise. You and your crew will see awe-inspiring nature, experience lively cultural adventures on land (and underwater) and enjoy the freshest Mexican cuisine. Best of all, Western Caribbean cruises range from four to seven nights and depart from Florida, Texas and Louisiana on the newly amplified Mariner of the Seas, the crowd-favorite Harmony of the Seas and—the world’s largest cruise ship—Symphony of the Seas.
Whether you’re looking for family-friendly activities or laidback beach time, Mexico has something for everyone. You can visit one, two or all three of these locales that will get each of your five senses going.
Beautiful and jam-packed with things to do, Costa Maya has plenty to offer, whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive beach break or something adrenaline-pumping like biking through the jungle. Picture soaking up sun while lying on the white sand of one of many Instagram-worthy beaches, with a drink or good book, along with a platter of fresh fish tacos next to your lounger.
Itching to get in the water? Try kayaking or scuba diving at the Meso-American Barrier Reef, an important marine region spanning nearly 700 miles. Anglers can catch prize-winning bonefish or enormous tarpon (before releasing them) with a personal fishing master showing the best local waters and fly fishing techniques.
Even though Costa Maya is well known for palm tree-encircled shores, it also boasts remarkably preserved Mayan sites. You even can depart the ship for an immersive multi-day tour to see three Mayan marvels, Chacchoben, Tulum and Chichen Itza, on an overnight adventure. Or, head to the fort of Bacalar, home to cannons of real-life Pirates of the Caribbean. For something interactive, make your own guacamole and salsa—and then later learn to dance salsa with your crew.
Head over to Cozumel, where you’ll be surrounded by nature’s wonders everywhere—even when golfing! Snorkel in the Palancar reef, named a top site by world-renowned divers (like Jacques Cousteau), and swim among starfish in a natural sanctuary. If you’re inspired by marine life, you can even give back by helping save sea turtle hatchlings.
Want to experience highlights of Mexican culture quickly? Try our Mexico in a Nutshell tour for a sampling of Mayan traditions, illustrated through aerial acrobatics and Mexican architecture. Taste your way through history with tequila sampling or while exploring the island’s deep cultural roots with Mexico’s renowned chocolate melting on your tongue.
Yucatan (aka Progreso)
Home to the famous Chichen Itza Mayan pyramid, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Yucatan peninsula also counts hidden swimming holes and historical towns among its many treasures. Explore the lesser-known “Little Chichen Itza,” or Mayapan, and take full advantage of the underground river caverns. Float in crystal-clear waters and immerse yourself among caverns’ formations created during the age of the dinosaurs, when Earth was struck by the devastating asteroid.
Journey back in time to the iconic Mexican haciendas, colonial-era estates, in Merida, the vibrant capital of the Yucatan state. The wealthy once resided in them thanks to henequen—an agave-like desert plant that became integral to the economy.
If (or really when) your appetite is awoken, you’ll want to take your pick from a variety of authentic local dishes, from lime soup to pollo pibil, a traditional slow-roasted pork dish.
To explore Mayan culture here, zero in on the Uxmal ruins, one of the civilization’s political hubs. You can explore the classic Mesoamerican ball courts, where ancient games were played, and the stone decorations of the aptly named House of the Turtles. The Dzibilchaltun ruins, an ancient trading center, and Temple of the Seven Dolls are worth a visit too, as they reveal the Mayans’ long-held understanding of the solar system.
Ready to embark on your own adventure to Mexico? Plan your next vacation and set sail to the Western Caribbean here.