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More Ships Dropping Anchor off Mexico's World Class Coasts

Ally

Deckhand
The Mexican seascape is experiencing a surge in its port activities by adding facilities, modernizing its ports and satisfying the growing demand of cruise travelers. Due to Mexico ’s growing popularity, cruise lines are assigning newer and bigger ships, adding itineraries and introducing year-round service to the region.

With more than two dozen ports of embarkation, and construction on terminals to handle cruise ships, Mexico is the number one cruise destination in the world. The country received 6.5 million visitors and more than 3,100 cruise ships in 2005. Its appeal is punctuated by white-sand beaches, charming architecture, colorful art, great diving and snorkeling sites, and a "fiesta" atmosphere that is felt day and night.

Cozumel, regarded as the favorite Port of Call in the Caribbean , is enjoying a healthy and thriving comeback. Most cruise-ship itineraries to Cozumel resumed three weeks shortly after Hurricane Wilma passed. The efforts of reconstruction and progress of the island’s infrastructure have paid off: Cozumel received 2.5 million visitors in 2005, and port authorities reported receiving 1.3 million passengers up until July of 2006.

Other ports and cruise destinations in the process of expansion or enhancing infrastructure include Chiapas , Ensenada , Puerto Vallarta and Campeche . In February of this year, Mexico 's Chiapas Port completed a US$7 million construction to receive a significant number of cruise ship calls.

The first passenger vessel to dock at the port was Holland America Lines’ The World of ResidenSea, which called for two days in February of 2006. In 2007, 10 cruise ships are scheduled to stop at the port, carrying about 25,000 passengers. Cruise lines planning to visit the port include Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), Carnival Corp.'s (CCL) Holland America Line and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Baja California’s Sectur authorities recently initiated discussions with cruise line officials to increase and create new cruise itineraries through the Seattle-Ensenada routes. In 2005, Ensenada received almost 600,000 passengers making it the second most visited cruise port in Mexico . Ensenada is also famous for its historical buildings, missions and wineries located in the Valley of Guadalupe , Mexico ’s premier wine-producing region.

Puerto Vallarta is currently expanding its facilities to better service multiple large cruise ships simultaneously. Already among the country’s most popular destinations for North American tourists, Puerto Vallarta received 259 cruise arrivals carrying more than 540,000 passengers in 2005.

According to the Port Administration of Puerto Vallarta, the expansion of the harbor infrastructure includes the construction of two docks for cruise ships of 983 feet in length and partial demolition of an existing dock at a cost of more than US$15 million. This project will satisfy actual demand for the next 20 years, and according to port authorities, would generate approximately US$317 million for Puerto Vallarta throughout the same period.

The Campeche Port on the Yucatan peninsula is the gateway to the Mayan world and recently has initiated productive discussions with cruise line officials to bring the cruise business to Campeche . Campeche boasts more than 18 prehispanic sites open to the public.

Mexican cruises call in a variety of enchanting and exciting ports. Here are a few that are favored by frequent cruisers:



In the Mexican Caribbean :

The Port of Costa Maya, which began operating in 2001, is the newest Caribbean port of call, located on the western Caribbean on Mexico ’s Yucatan Peninsula . Today the port receives four to five cruises per week. The port of Costa Maya received more than 294 cruises in 2005 and constitutes a new option for the cruise ship passenger seeking adventure at sea and on land, cultural and historical travel and ecotourism outings.

The Port of Calica, the newest gateway to the Yucatan , is only about an hour's drive from Cancun and Tulum. Just three miles south of Playa del Carmen, Calica is next door to the incredible Xcaret (pronounced Ish-car-et) nature park, which is fast becoming one of the most popular attractions on the peninsula. The port of Calica has two terminals: one with a capacity for boats up to 11 meters long, and another for smaller boats. Divers and snorkeling enthusiasts are fascinated by Calica's multicolored waters and thriving aquatic life. Others can just enjoy basking in the sun on one of its many beautiful beaches.



In the Gulf of Mexico :

The Port of Veracruz is a lively and attractive port with a fascinating blend of colonial and modern architecture. Its gentle and fun-loving people, combined with an excellent regional cuisine and distinctive music and dance, are certain to please every traveler. The area is also known for surfing and adventure travel.

The Port of Progreso, located in the Mexican state of Yucatan , is the direct gateway to the Mayan world, welcoming the most important cruise lines in the world. Progreso’s passenger terminal was inaugurated in April 2001. In 2005, the port registered 90 cruises carrying more than 191,000 passengers. Progreso is on the northwest coast of the Yucatan Peninsula , with the charming colonial city of Merida only about 20 miles inland. Fans of prehispanic culture will be pleased to know that the ruins of Chichen-Itza and Uxmal are easily accessible.
 

Ally

Deckhand
In Pacific Coast/Sea of Cortez:

The tourist hub of Los Cabos in Baja California Sur is yet another of Mexico ’s new cruise destinations with the most popular port of call on the west coast. In 2005, some 348 cruise ships arrived to Cabo San Lucas Port carrying more than 619,500 passengers. The port itself is located in the tourist center, with easy access to shopping malls, art galleries, restaurants and bars. In addition to being one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the country, Los Cabos is renowned for its golf courses, surfing and sport fishing, since the junction between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean produces an abundance of fish including grouper, marlin and sailfish, among others.

Mazatlan in Sinaloa State is also a popular cruise destination, receiving 223 cruise ships in 2005, with some 473,000 passengers. Mazatlan ’s port has three piers and a large passenger terminal. The city’s scenic beauty, including 13 miles of snow-white beaches such as Playa Las Gaviotas and Playa Sabalo, is complemented by a delightfully festive atmosphere—the city hosts the world’s largest carnival outside of Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans .

Manzanillo Port in Colima State is a charming city full of festive streets, friendly people, beautiful landscapes and outstanding tourist facilities. In 2005, 49 cruise ships docked at this port, carrying more than 97,000 passengers.

Acapulco, long a traditional destination for the cruise passenger, has also experienced an increase in cruise ship traffic with 146 ships arriving in 2005 carrying more than 266,000 passengers. Acapulco offers a variety of attractions for day visitors. A tropical climate year-round makes it the perfect place for all kinds of activities, and its reputation for great nightlife is well-deserved. A unique mixture of golden beaches, Sierra Madre Mountains and tropical jungles and lagoons makes this city a favorite among locals and international tourists alike.

Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, located in Guerrero State , share similar and equally impressive surroundings with the crashing waves of the Pacific to the west, and the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain chain to the east. The port of Zihuatanejo reported receiving 86 cruises in 2005 carrying 170,406 passengers. Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo features a number of first-class resorts, golf courses, restaurants, and of course, incredible beaches. Among the many attractions, some of the more popular activities among cruise ship passengers include scuba diving, surfing, and deep-sea fishing for sailfish, marlin and yellow-knife tuna.

Lastly, the pristine waters and virgin landscape of the nine bays of Huatulco, located in the southern state of Oaxaca , are its most valuable resources. Preserving this natural beauty is the priority of the Mexican government as it continues to develop the area: of the region’s 52,000 acres, more than 40,000 correspond to ecological preserves. The result is a place where visitors can enjoy the finest amenities in an idyllic natural setting. Huatulco received 54 cruises last year, representing an eight percent increase from 2004.



About the Mexico Tourism Board

The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico 's tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB is Mexico ’s tourism promotion agency, and its participants include members of both the private and public sectors. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Japan and Latin America .
 

BoHunk

Deckhand
Ally...where do you find all this stuff? I just love the info. I want to go to that one I cant pronounce...Hautulco...
 
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