Cruise Tourism in Mexico Soars to New Heights

Mexico registered significant growth in its cruise tourism industry, with over 7.7 million visitors arriving at its ports in 2022.

Mexico has always been a top destination for cruise ships and their guests, and this trend continued throughout 2022. According to Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco, 7.7 million cruise ship passengers arrived at different Mexican ports last year, representing a substantial increase from the previous year.

Cozumel has the busiest cruise port in the world, which proved true again in 2022, with almost 3 million passengers visiting the popular island. However, places such as Costa Maya, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada have done equally well in recovering from the hardships experienced in 2020 and 2021. 

Busiest Ports in Mexico for Cruise Arrivals in 2022

Cozumel and Costa Maya in Quintana Roo, Ensenada in Baja California, Cabo San Lucas in Baja California Sur, Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco, and Mazatlán in Sinaloa are the top ports that received the highest number of cruise arrivals in Mexico in 2022. These ports alone accounted for 94.6% of the cruise passengers who arrived in Mexico last year.

Cozumel, in particular, saw a significant increase in arrivals, with 1,114 ships and 2.9 million passengers in 2022, a trend it’s continuing this year. Mahahual in Quintana Roo had 462 arrivals, with 1.23 million cruise passengers.

Cruise Ships in Costa Maya, Mexico
Photo Credit: byvalet / Shutterstock

Ensenada in Baja California received 323 cruise ships and 744,221 passengers, while Cabo San Lucas in Baja California Sur had 227 vessels arrive with a total of 540,773 tourists. Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco received 184 cruise ships with 458,319 passengers, and Mazatlán in Sinaloa had 141 arrivals and 399,926 cruise passengers.

2022 was off to a flying start in Mexico’s cruise tourism industry. By the end of May, 2.9 million cruise passengers had already visited the country—a clear indication of Mexico’s growing popularity and recovery as a cruise destination.

Throughout the year, more than 2500 cruise ship calls were made to one of Mexico’s many cruise ports. These ships arrived in different ports of Mexico, including some lesser-known ports such as Progreso, Huatulco, Acapulco, Manzanillo, and Zihuatanejo.

Mexico is home to more than 12 ports equipped to handle the arrival of cruise ships to its shores. Each port has unique attractions and experiences to offer, making them popular destinations for cruise passengers from around the world.

Some ports, like Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta, offer beautiful beaches and water activities, while others, like Ensenada, are known for their wineries and gastronomy.

Government’s Focus on Developing Tourism Sector

The Mexican government has been working hard to ensure that the country’s ports are equipped to handle the growing number of cruise ships and passengers. Many ports have undergone upgrades in recent years to accommodate larger vessels and provide better services to tourists.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

The average expenditure of cruise passengers was $76.7, which is an 8.3% increase from the previous year, showing that the focus from the government is paying off.

Read Also: The Best Cozumel Beaches Near the Cruise Port

This spending resulted in a significant economic impact on the region, particularly in the ports that received the most arrivals. The cruise industry generated a foreign exchange income of 542.7 million dollars, significantly boosting Mexico’s economy.

Despite the challenges posed by the global pause in operations during 2020 and 2021, Mexico’s tourism industry has remained resilient. Many visitors have felt confident in traveling to Mexico and enjoying all the country offers.

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