While many visitors to Mexico are drawn to the Yucatan and the Riviera Maya, there are plenty of other parts of this huge, fascinating country to explore. While the Caribbean coast is a favorite amongst international tourists, there is an awful lot to recommend about taking a walk on the other side and discovering the joys of the Pacific.
The Mexican Riviera stretches right the way down the Pacific Coast of Mexico, from Baja California in the north to Oaxaca in the south. It offers stunning beaches, remarkable desert and jungle landscapes, some seriously exciting wildlife on land and under the water, and a glimpse into some of the most interesting aspects of traditional Mexican culture.
For older travelers, the Mexican Riviera can feel like a breath of fresh air compared to the flashy resorts of Cancun, the party scene of Playa del Carmen, and the Instagram influencer-fuelled eco-glam vibes of Tulum. A Mexican Riviera cruise packs an awful lot into one trip, from whale-watching in Baja California to mezcal tasting in Oaxaca, and everything in between.
So if you are cruising to the Mexican Riviera this year, take a look at some of the top excursions for older travelers and discover the beauty and magic of this wonderful corner of the world.
While Cabo itself might be a little brash and loud, the surrounding area is absolutely gorgeous. Experience traditional artistic vibes in San Jose del Cabo and a bohemian paradise in Todos Santos, or head out by boat to find sea lions, whales, dolphins, and a wonderful array of birds in the Sea of Cortez around El Arco, the iconic Cabo rock formation.
San Blas often flies under the radar on the Mexican Riviera, but it is well worth planning an excursion here. From San Blas you can visit the remarkable city of Mexcaltitán de Uribe, a man-made island town in the middle of a lagoon which was the birthplace of the Aztecs. It is a unique city in its own right, and a fascinating historical monument as well.
Puerto Vallarta offers the opportunity to go whale watching, visit the incredible Marietas Islands (home of the famous Secret Beach, as well as amazing colonies of beautiful seabirds), and discover the laid-back joys of the charming beach towns of Sayulita and San Pancho. San Pancho in particular is relaxed and full of art galleries and cafes, making it a wonderful stop on a Mexican Riviera cruise itinerary.
Manzanillo is surrounded by gorgeous white-sand beaches, amazing cultural festivals and traditions, and stunning jungle landscapes. Visitors to this gateway to Colima can head off on guided tours to see a volcano up close, or just rest and relax in the charming colonial city center. For fishing enthusiasts, Manzanillo has been described as the ‘sailfish capital of the world’, and is a wonderful sports fishing destination. The beaches here are warmer and calmer than most on the Pacific Coast, which makes it a slightly more relaxing experience for older tourists looking to dip their toes in the ocean.
Puerto Escondido is one of Mexico’s surfing capitals, and while this might not appeal to older cruisers in particular, it also acts as the gateway to the Oaxaca coast, which is one of the most exceptional spots to visit in the entire country. From lagoons glowing with bioluminescence and mass sea turtle hatchings to whales, dolphins, and manta rays playing off the beach, towns like Zipolite, Mazunte, San Agustinillo, and calm and tranquil, while the remarkable wildlife of the mangrove swamps makes this corner of Mexico a genuine must-visit!