Mexico’s enticing culture and natural allure make it a cruise destination that warrants more than one visit. In fact, the readers of Cruise Critic recently named Holland America Line the number-one cruise line of choice for Mexican Riviera in the 2019 Cruise Critic’s Cruisers’ Destination Awards based exclusively on consumer ratings and reviews.
From its historic ancient cities to its flavorful cuisine, there’s so much to do and see that it can feel impossible to do it all. If you’ve been there, done that, Holland America Line’s Encore Collection of shore excursions is designed for guests who have visited a destination before but are looking to mix it up with an off-the-beaten-path experience. Through these excursions, guests are given the opportunity to explore what lies beyond the attractions that are already familiar.
Here are some Encore Collection shore excursions in Mexico that will deepen your knowledge of the country and make you feel like a local.
SALSA & SALSA
If you’re looking for a fun experience that allows you to bring home some Mexican culinary traditions, this is the tour for you. The recipe for a good time is nothing less than dancing, cooking and all-you-can-drink margaritas! Enjoy a hands-on cooking adventure like no other. This tour takes place at a marvelous beachfront hotel located in the heart of the Golden Zone. After you’ve mastered your cooking skills, which include making an authentic salsa, enjoy a salsa lesson from your dancing chefs.
“Definitely worth the money! What a fun time we had. The salsas we made were scrumptious, everyone seemed to enjoy the unlimited margaritas (mine was virgin, and still yummy), and learning the salsa was a hoot! Definitely recommend this excursion!” –Guest Alaska7Time
EXCLUSIVE BEACH RESORT — MEDANO BEACH
Cabo San Lucas
When traveling by cruise, beach plans are a given. If you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all, right? Think again! This is no ordinary day at the beach. Mouthwatering food and refreshing beverages included. Private, deluxe and exclusive. Family-friendly too! Enjoy some fun under the sun at Cabo’s newest, luxury beach club and resort.
Enjoy a stroll down the sandy stretches of Medano Beach with the water lapping at your feet. Take in the fabulous views of your cruise ship, Cabo’s skyline and Land’s End (including the famous Arch) situated directly across the bay. A buffet of either breakfast or lunch is just a few steps away. Bring your appetite, as the bounty is plentiful and includes delicious options.
WHALE PHOTO SAFARI
If you’ve explored Mexico on land, take to the sea on this tour in search of majestic wildlife that call these waters home. Board an APEX speedboat and journey to the heart of Banderas Bay. A magical moment awaits you here as you encounter wild dolphins and majestic humpback whales in their natural habitat. Freedom of choice for wildlife is the essence of this tour, as the marine mammals are able to come and go at will.
Seek, and hopefully find, the wildlife of the bay for some truly precious moments watching the whales and dolphins play, feed and nurture their newborn calves. They are often seen breaching and performing peduncle slaps and tail slaps. Your expert guide will explain these behaviors.
“This was one of the best excursions we have had. The excursion company has “spotter planes” to alert the crew where whales are sighted. Only 30 minutes is allowed to observe the whales so another sighting is hoped for. We were busy the whole time we were in the bay. Our naturalist guide, Nikki, knows so much about these phenomenal animals – she loves her work. Don’t miss this excursion.” — Guest Victoria, AZ
COLONIAL SAN SEBASTIAN
Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Madre mountains, San Sebastian boasts a remote location and historic appeal. This outing offers fantastic scenery and typical scenes of rural Mexican life, making the journey into the mountains both thrilling and relaxing. The town is like a living museum, untouched by time.
You’ll have time to wander about this beautiful mountain village of 600 residents, whose prosperity peaked in the 1700s. San Sebastian retains the essence of its colonial heritage, with its quaint cobblestone plaza lined with dignified white-washed buildings, a classic Porfirian bandstand, an 18th-century church, and many old-world haciendas.
Enjoy a traditional lunch in town before returning to the coast.
“I thought this was a fascinating journey into the Sierra Madres … The scenery was beautiful and the farms along the way were picturesque. We stopped at a tequila restaurant, a bakery and finally a small family coffee bean grower along the way making the long journey not so long. The town was smaller than I expected but I thought it was very charming … the whole experience was well worth it!” — Guest Mamba
Enjoy Mazatlán’s dramatic coastal scenery on a brief ride to the internationally-renowned Pacifico Brewery. Take a guided tour through each step of the beer-making process, including the malting rooms and fermentation tanks. You will learn some great facts and trace the Pacifico brand through a small museum that exhibits old brewing equipment. Enjoy a tasting session, accompanied by a spectacular view of the city and the harbor of Mazatlán.
“Interesting information regarding the history and making of the beer. Much walking around the property to different preparation areas, ending in a small museum room for a tasting session. Saw some city sights and stopped for shopping and Mexican lunch. A nice day!”– Guest MVTiger
Whether you’re looking to cruise to Mexico for the first or third time, Holland America Line has three ships from October 2019 through April 2020. Remember to pre-book your shore excursions so you can get space on your top picks.