9 Crazy Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Could Do on a Mexican Cruise
Photo by Karen Doody/Stocktrek Images/Alamy/Erik Mace/Yahoo
Generally, when you think of a Mexican cruise, you think shopping, beach time, snorkeling, and maybe sipping an icy margarita. But there is so much more. Yahoo Travel went in search of things you might not know you can do in Mexican cruise ports and on board ships headed for those locations.
On sailings from Florida, New Orleans, or Galveston to the Western Caribbean, the itineraries usually include the fun-filled ports of Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Costa Maya, or Progreso. Cruises departing from Los Angeles and San Diego visit the west coast of Mexico — known as the Mexican Riviera — stopping in Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, Ixtapa, La Paz, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.
Mexico-bound lines include Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America, and Disney. In 2016, even the luxury line Silversea makes landfall south of the border. It’s no wonder Mexico is so hot. (And we don’t just mean the temperature.)
Ride a Camel
Who wouldn’t want to ride a camel down the beach? (Photo: iStock)
There is definitely more to do in Cabo San Lucas than sit on the beach. If you’ve always wanted to ride a camel, this is the place. You can book directly through some cruise lines or try Cabo Adventures, where you get to experience the Mexican Outback on an open-air truck ride, sample the cuisine, taste some tequila, and explore the shoreline via camel.
Swim in a Cave
Mexico has some seriously awesome caves for you to explore. (Photo: Herbert Meyrl/Westend61/Corbis)
There are very few opportunities to swim in a cave anywhere in the world. The Yucatan boasts water-filled caverns throughout the peninsula. One of the prettiest available to cruise passengers is Rio Secreto, where you can navigate an underground river flowing past dramatic cavern formations. Any tour that includes both hard hats and wetsuits is an adventure worth trying.
Related: The 30 Worst Decisions You Can Make on a Cruise Ship
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
Why not spend your port time helping out some adorable four-legged friends? (Photo: Tati Biermas via The Humane Society of Cozumel/Facebook)
Feel good about the time you spend in a Mexican port by donating your time. Ships are often docked long enough to allow you to split your time between volunteering and sunning on the beach. Animal shelters are always in need of people to lend a hand. The Humane Society of Cozumel is no exception. And the Los Cabos Humane Society happily hires willing cat cuddlers and dog walkers.
Rent a Pontoon Boat
Grab a pontoon boat and visit some sea lions. (Photo: Kip Evans / Alamy)
The most popular rental boat found on lakes across the U.S. has come to Cabo. Take a slow cruise from beach to beach, visit a sea lion colony, or just drop anchor and swim in the sea. Cabo San Lucas Tours rents pontoons that carry up to 10 people in one- to three-hour increments.
Related: The Top 7 Cruise Planning Myths… Busted!
Rent a Power Boat
Grab a yacht and spend the day snorkeling! (Photo: Dave Porter / Alamy)
If slow boatin’ on a pontoon doesn’t tickle your fancy, try this 32’ SeaRay luxury power yacht in Cozumel. The price for a four-hour charter is $959, but it comes with drinks, snacks, snorkeling equipment, fishing gear, and an experienced captain to take you to the perfect spot for whatever water adventure you have in mind. It’s a little pricier than your average snorkeling excursion, but share the cost with five other people and you’ve got it down to a manageable level.
Learn to Cook a Three-Course Mexican Meal
There’s no better way to relive your travels at home. (Photo: Lumina/Stocksy)
Cooking classes are popular in European cruise ports. We are happy to report that the trend is taking hold in Mexico, as well. This fun excursion from Shoretrips.com includes a cooking class and a day at the beach. Your friends back home will surely be impressed when you serve them an authentic Mexican fish dish, followed by fried plantains with chocolate tequila sauce. After class, you’ll share the meal with your fellow cooks, before adjourning to the beach for the afternoon.
Related: 27 Secrets the Cruise Lines Won’t Tell You
Take a Mayan Steam Bath
Participate in a traditional Mayan steam bath and then hit the beach at Chankanaab. (Photo: Cozumel Parks)
The traditional cleansing ceremony known as “temazcal” is a relaxing way to immerse yourself in the Mayan culture of the Yucatan. Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park on Cozumel allows you to combine your steam bath with a beach or snorkeling adventure. For a quieter option, Temazcal Cozumel even has a tiny cenote, or water-filled natural sink hole, for a cooling dip after your steam bath.
Attend a Classic Rock Concert
Rock your heart out with Heart on a Carnival cruise. (Photo: Manuel Nauta/NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Corbis)
Rock your Mexican cruise with an onboard live performance by the Wilson sisters of Heart. Choose from two dates in October for this amazing opportunity that is part of Carnival’s popular live series that normally only includes ports in the Bahamas.
Rent Your Own Beach Condo for a Day
We sure wouldn’t mind spending our port time by this lovely pool in Cozumel. (Photo: Airbnb)
Why settle for just a beach chair when you can have your own private digs? This is a great trick in Mexico: you can rent a condo at the beach for the day for less than you would pay for a typical beach shore excursion. It allows you to take a break from the heat when you want or when the kids need it. Plus, you gain a place to shower and change — without having to trek back to the ship.
One of the easiest spots is Cozumel: Vacation rental sites have hundreds of options, from tiny studios a block or two off the beach for as little as $27 a night to a lovely three-bedroom condo ($200). In some situations, you may need to pay for two nights in order to have a condo all day while your ship is in port, but it still comes in less than some shore excursions.
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