No matter which Baja Mexico cruise you choose, one thing is guaranteed to be true: The journey is the destination — and every destination is a journey. From Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas and everywhere in between, the magic of Mexico's Pacific Coast is enchanting and enticing.
You can take a shorter cruise to Ensenada or Cabo San Lucas, or extend your trip and continue south to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. No matter how far you go or how deep you dig, here are the best ways to ensure you enjoy your time on land as much as you relish the luxurious environment on the ship.
If you take a three or four-day Baja Mexico cruise from California, you're sure to call in Ensenada, the first stop on the way traveling down the Mexican Riviera. Although Ensenada is right on the sea, you'll want to make a beeline toward the Wine Route that snakes through northern Baja's lush interior. Whether you enjoy tapas and cheese boards, or simply sip the red and white wines on offer at vintners like Casa Pedro Domecq and Vinedo Cuatro Cuatros, it's easy to see what all the buzz is about.
Of course, there are plenty of delights to be found along the sea. Take in the panorama from Ensenada Mirador, which offers sweeping views of the city and All Saints Bay beyond it. Or, head north of the city center and take a swim at Playa San Miguel, where smooth, black rocks meet turquoise waves, which are as famous among surfers as they are among sunbathers.
When you search for Baja cruise inspiration, one place you always end up traveling to is Cabo San Lucas. Taking a Cabo trip to the tip of the Baja Peninsula isn't complete without a visit to El Arco, or "The Arches" in English. Enjoy a boat ride or stand-up paddleboard excursion around and underneath these arches, whose muted, sanded surfaces contrast almost hypnotizingly with the electric shades of blue water lapping at their bases.
Of course, plenty of onshore delights makes Cabo a top stop on a Baja Mexico cruise from Los Angeles. Tear into succulent steaks and luscious lobster at JM Steakhouse, or savor a romantic, seaside meal at Don Manuel's, located along the picture-perfect Pedregal Coast. Sip craft beer during the day at the aptly named Baja Brewing, or dance the night away at La Vaquita, where the only thing hotter than the jams is the shot menu.
Mazatlan is home to captivating coastal scenes, but this is one of the first stops on your trip where you'll see truly impressive historical architecture. Take a walking tour to get a guided explanation of the Centro Historico along the Old Mazatlan walk. Or, head out on your own to discover attractions ranging from colorful Plaza Machado and its picturesque balconies, or the Immaculate Conception Basilica, constructed at the end of the 19th century in a Baroque revival style.
End the day along the sea, strolling the coast-hugging Malecon promenade as the sun sets into the Pacific Ocean. Walk all the way north to the Letras de Mazatlan Instagram spot, or enjoy a golden hour swim at beaches like Playa los Pinitos and Playa Norte in the south. No matter where you choose to explore, extending your journey southward to Mazatlan is bound to be well worth it.
Speaking of beaches, there's a reason most of the best Baja Mexico cruises sail all the way to Puerto Vallarta. There are simply few better places to hit the sand and surf along the Mexican Riviera. You've never felt as alive as you will sunning yourself on the shores of Los Muertos Beach in the southern hotel zone, while Playa de Oro farther north more than lives up to its golden name.
If you've got a full day or longer in Puerto Vallarta, take a day excursion by boat to the Marietas Islands, where a breathtaking hidden beach awaits. If you haven't got as long or simply don't want to venture as far, explore central beaches like Las Glorias Beach and Playa Camarones, where you can savor the latter's namesake shrimp at delicious restaurants like Mango's Beach Club and El Barracuda.
Whether you just take a three or four-day Baja Mexico cruise or extend your trip as long as a week, there's no limit to the discoveries you can make exploring the Mexican Riviera. Tour the stunning wine country outside of Ensenada, or take a boat trip through the Arches of Cabo San Lucas. Farther south, appreciate Old and New World architecture along the sea in Mazatlan, or take your pick of boundless, beautiful beaches in Puerto Vallarta. Cruising is about so much more than the time you spend at sea, particularly when you stop along Mexico's treasure-filled Pacific Coast.