Mexico has long been a favourite destination for cruisers seeking sun, sand and affordable prices. With more than 10,000 kilometres of coastline, Mexico is a leading destination for cruise holidays, with cruise lines operating all year round along the Pacific and Caribbean Coasts. From the white sands of Acapulco to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, Mexico appeals to visitors of all kinds, with a cruise holiday offering time to get acquainted with the local culture and cuisine.
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Mexico had a rich indigenous history prior to the arrival of Hernán Cortés and Spanish settlers who razed the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan and built what would become Mexico City. Eventually gaining independence from Spain and subsequently the United States, Mexico established its constitution in 1917 and is today one of the world's top 10 tourism destinations.
- Currency - the Mexican Peso is the national currency. Bank notes are produced in values of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 pesos, with coins available in a range of smaller denominations.
- Population - approximately 120.8 million people live in Mexico, making it the world's largest Spanish-speaking country. More than 75 per cent of the population live in urban areas, with 20.1 million people living in the capital Mexico City.
- Language - Spanish is the official and most widely spoken language throughout Mexico, though many people in tourist areas can speak English and many signs in these areas feature both English and Spanish. The country also has 67 indigenous languages.
- Time Zone - Mexico crosses 3 time zones, from UTC-8 in the west to UTC-6 in the east, including Mexico City. The country observes daylight saving time between April and October.
Who goes there?
Mexico is a popular cruise destination, with ships departing from its major ports and arriving from other destinations in North, South and Central America for round trips or as part of a longer itinerary. Cruise lines visiting Mexico include Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises.
Best time to go?
With beautiful weather all year around, it is difficult to pinpoint one particular time of the year that is "better" than the others. Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival offer Mexico cruises every year, but the majority of the itineraries are during the dry season, which is from September through to May.
Things to See and Do
- Mexican Riviera - just across from the American border, the Mexican Riviera is understandably one of the country's major tourism spots, offering a number of welcoming ports for cruises heading south from Los Angeles, San Diego and further north. The beaches of Acapulco are legendary, Cabo San Lucas is a top destination for whale watching and Puerto Vallarta has gained a reputation as Mexico's most LGBT-friendly destination.
- Baja California - Mexico's most picturesque peninsula, Baja California combines wild desert and mountain landscapes with some of the country's finest surfing, diving, fishing and whale watching conditions. Far from Mexico City, this borderland has a notably distinct character and incorporates more indigenous influences. Those interested in pre-colonial history will find a wealth of archaeological sites in the surrounding mountains to satisfy their cultural craving.
- Yucatán Peninsula - the heart of the extinct Mayan civilisation, the Yucatán Peninsula has seen an influx of tourists since the ancient city of Chichen Itza was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Beyond its abundant historical sites the peninsula is also a favourite of nature lovers, home to the world's longest underground river and the world's second largest coral reef, not to mention the upscale beaches of Cancun.