Mexico, that temperate and tropical paradise just south of us, is home to a huge variety of prime vacation destinations like Todos Santos, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Cozumel — each of which offers a completely different experience. But if you want to see more of the country than just the poolside bar of an all-inclusive resort, you’ve got to get around.
That said, self-navigated travel through areas you’re not familiar with isn’t necessarily the safest way to see Mexico. So how do you stay safe while maxing out your opportunity to see it all?
Cruise, baby, cruise! Here’s why you’ll want to book one for your next vacation to Mexico.
Try a top-notch cruise lines like Royal Caribbean (ranked number two by U.S. News for offering the best bang for your buck), which tours along the Mexican Riviera with stops in Cozumel. These trips tend to put a bit more focus on quality and attention to detail than your average resort — which will mean something to you if you’ve ever come down with a case of food poisoning while abroad.
Don’t worry about going out at night
On a cruise, you don’t need to question whether or not you’ll be able to safely flag down a taxi to get back to your resort after a night out. All you really need to worry about is choosing a restaurant on the ship to eat at and if you’d like to hit up the cocktail lounge/dance floor afterwards or stargaze on the deck (or both).
See the country without travelling through unfamiliar areas
Remember how there were spots in your neighbourhood where your parents didn’t like you hanging out? Those places are probably ingrained in your brain at home (thanks, Mom) — but when it comes to a foreign country, you might not know the safe areas from the rough ones. Your cruise organizers do, though. So let them navigate. Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a half-dozen different Riviera-covering cruises, all of them awesome, though we’d opt for this one, which offers the best bang for your buck, food and drink-wise.
There’s lots to do on board
Some people are against the idea of being “cooped up” on a ship. But we’re pretty sure those people probably haven’t been on a cruise liner like the ones operated by Carnival, which feature live theatre productions, water slide parks, yoga classes, adults-only pool areas, casinos, nightclubs, cocktail bars and even Wi-Fi (thank heavens).
Your cruise comes with built-in travel guides
Shore excursions are made super easy (and super safe) thanks to the organization and guidance from ship staff. If you’re willing to spring for extras, you can go with a group and tour guide to partake in bonus activities like swimming with dolphins, zip-lining or exploring ancient Mayan ruins with an expert.
There’s no language barrier
No Spanish? No problem. If, on the off chance, you should need urgent help, you won’t run into any trouble finding someone who speaks your language — because practically every staff member on the boat will. (Also handy for when you’re trying to find out where to order a piña colada from.)
You only have to unpack once
Translation: It’ll be pretty tough to lose any important medication, documents or your favourite pair of sunglasses. Phew!
Cruises are designed with families (and family safety) in mind
Your teenagers don’t want to sit by the pool with you all day, and you don’t want them sitting around at the bar? Cruise ships have taken this into account. They’ve got places for teens to hang out, playgrounds for younger kids and quieter spots just for the grownups. They’ve literally thought of everything. Disney Wonder cruises, which embark from San Diego and tour the Riviera, are great for families.
It’s almost impossible to get separated
Where’s your kid/parent/sibling/significant other/BFF? Answer: They’re on the boat. (We recommend checking the bow. Look for the person yelling ‘I’m the king of the world!’)