If you have an upcoming cruise that will stop at Cabo, Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta, this is one is a series of must-read articles about these ports. I will go into detail about what we typically do and what we recommended you do when visiting these three wonderful ports. In this post I will focus on the cruise stop-over at Puerto Vallarta.

Excursions & Information About the Cruise Line Stop to Puerto Vallarta

First some background info: We are frequent cruisers based in San Diego who have found Mexico to be a very safe place to visit, especially the tourist areas around Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta. We have spent a lot of time in Mexico and Erika, my wife, is originally from Mexico. This isn’t an advertisement for the cruise lines, I will mention the ups and downs of each stop in the Mexican Riviera Cruise – while we normally don’t do excursions through the cruise line, I believe these are worth doing for various reasons which I will explain in more detail below.

Puerto Vallarta

This is our third stop in the Cabo – Mazatlán – Puerto Vallarta loop. We love PV and our most recent visit did not disappoint! We left the kids on the cruise ship and had a great day on our own in PV. The boys were in the Kids Camp and Emma was with the babysitter. If you follow us you know that PV holds a special place in our heart. We spend a lot of time there and that is where Erika and I originally met.

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If you have an upcoming cruise that will stop at Cabo, Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta, this is one is a series of must-read articles about these ports. I will go into detail about what we typically do and what we recommended you do when visiting these three wonderful ports. In this blog post I will focus on the Cabo leg of the cruise.

Excursions & Information About the Cruise Line Stop to Cabo

First some background info: We are frequent cruisers based in San Diego who have found Mexico to be a very safe place to visit, especially the tourist areas around Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta. We have spent a lot of time in Mexico and Erika, my wife, is originally from Mexico. This isn’t an advertisement for the cruise lines, I will mention the ups and downs of each stop in the Mexican Riviera Cruise – while we normally don’t do excursions through the cruise line, I believe these are worth doing for various reasons which I will explain in more detail below.

Cabo

In a typical 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise Cabo will be your first or last stop. My personal preference is when you visit Cabo first because you have more time in Cabo. If you visit Cabo last you typically have to leave by 3 pm in order to return to Long Beach in time.

After you read this post please read my post titled, Important & Useful Information For Your Mexican Riviera Cruise. You will find a lot of useful information there. Be sure to read that for more details.

I will give you a summary of the port and a breakdown of tours and options based on your budget.

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If you have an upcoming cruise that will stop at Cabo, Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta, this is one is a series of must-read articles about these ports. I will go into detail about what we typically do and what we recommended you do when visiting these three wonderful ports. In this post I will focus on the Mazatlán leg of the cruise.

Excursions & Information About the Cruise Line Stop to Mazatlán

First some background info: We are frequent cruisers based in San Diego who have found Mexico to be a very safe place to visit, especially the tourist areas around Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta. We have spent a lot of time in Mexico and Erika, my wife, is originally from Mexico. This isn’t an advertisement for the cruise lines, I will mention the ups and downs of each stop in the Mexican Riviera Cruise – while we normally don’t do excursions through the cruise line, I believe these are worth doing for various reasons which I will explain in more detail below.

Mazatlán

Our second stop on the Cabo, Mazatlán & Puerto Vallarta loop. This section will consist of two sections. What we did on our most recent visit and what we typically do. I will explain what we did last time but it is not our preferred thing to do in Mazatlán. We had no choice because we took our 6 month old daughter off the ship in Mazatlán and had to do a bubble / ship organized excursion. For Cabo and Puerto Vallarta we left her on the ship with our baby sitter who was traveling with us at the time.

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This Carnival Cruise Health Update 2020, was recorded in September 21, 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a frequent traveler with Carnival Cruise, I wanted to offer a snapshot on the state of the cruising industry circa September 2020. I get into the recent online discussions regarding the health of the Carnival Cruise company and discuss the new policies they posted on their website.

Over the past couple days, I’ve spoken with many people who are involved in cruising – including performers who work on Carnival Cruise ships and fellow Carnival Cruise fans and share what I have learned. The cruise industry as a whole has come under great pressure to allow them to start working again and get back to normal operations. Obviously, this isn’t possible with a global pandemic raging around the world, so extraordinary measures have to be taken to ensure the health and safety of the passengers and workers on the cruise ships. Have they gone too far in their safety measures? Have they not gone far enough? Will the extra restrictions on cruise ship passengers not being able to go out and forced to stay within the Carnival Cruise “bubble tour” take away from the overall experience?

There has been some alarm in cruise circles at the recent news of Carnival selling off 18 of their ships, but keep in mind that Carnival had 105-110 total ships (before the pandemic) across the nine brands that they currently own, so downsizing some of their less effective cruise lines and selling off unperforming ships due to pandemic-related low demand is actually a wise decision. I go into greater detail about it in my Carnival Cruise Health Update video – if you have any additional info or want to add to the conversation, please leave a comment here or on my YouTube page.

In this video I discuss the benefits of private van rental in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun. During our recent trip to Playa Del Carmen we wanted to hit all the tourist hotspots and decided to hire our own guide and van instead of going with the tour buses that operate out of the resort. Group excursions in tour company buses in that part of Mexico can cost around $70 to $80 per person. We were a group of 11 people and as you can imagine that adds up. Also, this was during the pandemic and we didn’t exactly want to be cooped up in a van with a bunch of strangers.

A better option would be to hire a tour guide with his own van/minibus that does private tours for small groups. The guide we found, Emiliano, was great. He stayed with us for three whole days and took us everywhere, from Chichen Itza to Talum to Isla Mujeres. He worked with a partner which was great and made things more efficient since one person could accompany us while the other drove the van. Emiliano’s rate was $300 per day, which was more than worth it for the service he provides – and a great deal cheaper than using the tour company bus or taking a taxi. Private van rental in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun is the way to go if you’re visiting these places.

If you’re travelling in larger parties, consider giving Emiliano a call!

Emiliano WhatsApp / Cell  +52 998 321 2639
Email – emiliano@viajemosmexico.com.mx

And FYI, I never ask for or get any discounts from any of the people or services I mention in my travel vlogs. I always pay full price and the people I hire don’t know I’m going to make a video or blog about them.

Here I talk about why Mexico was the best Best Holiday Destination During the Covid-19 Pandemic for Americans. Many countries have not yet opened and are still not accepting visitors, while others that do accept visitors have onerous Covid-19 related restrictions and strict entry requirements. In the last few months, we have exclusively travelled to Mexico, around four or five times, and can highly recommend it. We normally avoid all-inclusive options and prefer to explore the cities, restaurants and beaches on our own, but due to the pandemic many restaurants and shops were closed and the all-inclusive resorts were the only tourist facilities that were open for business – so we went with them. I’m happy to report that we had a good time. The resorts took care of us, the price was great and the staff made sure that proper COVID protocols were followed by all the guests.

Some of the places we visited were Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun – all of which are easily accessible from the US. Since we live in San Diego, we could easily access Tijuana Airport via the CBX in Otay Mesa. From there it’s a trivial matter to catch a local domestic flight to pretty much anywhere in Mexico. If you are looking for a convenient holiday getaway in these trying times, Mexico is easy, affordable, and accessible for Americans, making it the Best Holiday Destination During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Here’s a more detailed look at our trip to Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun

This is a 2021 update on how to use CBX, or the so-called Cross Border Express. Personally, I have used it and my family for 30 times already because it is great and efficient – HOWEVER experiences may vary during peak tourist season. I made a video about it when it first opened to the public a few years ago and I highlighted in that video some tips on how to get through it at that time. Here’s an update to that video.

Spoiler alert: Do everything as much as you can online before leaving to save time. Also, this old-fashioned method also works great for residents of San Diego: park your car in Otay Mesa, hire a taxi to take you to the border and cross the border on foot with your Global Entry Card – it’s faster than CBX on a busy day.

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We recently returned from a 7 day Mexican Riviera Cruise on the Carnival Panorama. This was my 35 cruise and Erika’s 15th cruise.

Because we learned that the babysitting option, Carnival’s Night Owl’s program was still closed because of the pandemic we decided to bring our babysitter and got her an inside cabin close to our balcony cabin. That was a great idea and really worked out well.

If you didn’t already know we have three children, two boys ages seven and five and one girl who is 6 months old. In hindsight if we weren’t able to do a cruise with our babysitter I think we would have waited until the babysitting programs reopened. The interesting thing about Carnivals website is that it does show that the babysitting program is available. I finally found out that the babysitting program would not be available after messaging several staff members via social media.

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