MIAMI, Fla. – Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) will host the Mexico Pavilion at Cruise Shipping Miami 2012 trade show and conference, one of the industry’s largest events, bringing together over 90 participants, including state and federal tourism officials, port representatives, and tour operators from across the country. MTB will promote the continued growth of the cruise sector in Mexico, which remains among the top ten destinations for cruise arrivals worldwide.
Namely Mexico’s Undersecretary of Tourism Operations Fernando Olivera will welcome hundreds to the Mexico Pavilion where visitors will learn about Mexico’s differentiated products such as cultural tourism (archaeology, colonial architecture, and handicrafts), as well as journeys involving cuisine, natural resources, ecotourism and adventure tourism along with the traditional beach excursions.
Representatives from Ports of Call in Mexico will be on-site, including Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Guaymas, Topolobampo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Huatulco, Chiapas, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Progreso, Campeche, Veracruz, and Tampico.
Some of the highlights from the ports of Mexico include:
On the Sea of Cortez route:
Port of Guaymas
The Port of Guaymas, a gem in the Sea of Cortez, is ready to welcome tourists to their new state-of-the-art international cruise center with a Santa Fe-style architecture and abundant facilities, including shops that offer regional tribal art from Sonoran Artisans, the famous Cortez Pearl Farm, “Bacanora” the regional drink, Sonoran Craftworks, and an international restaurant bar. The “Disney Wonder” of Disney Cruise Line has plans to arrive in 2012.
Port of Loreto
The Port of Loreto has seen an increase in cruise ship arrivals over the past year. In 2011, Loreto hosted nearly 10,400 passengers, a 26.25% increase from 2010.
Port of Pichilingue
The Port of Pichilingue has seen an increase in cruise ship arrivals over the past year. In 2011, Pichilingue hosted nearly 40,000 passengers, a 66.76% increase from 2010. To ensure that both national and international tourists feel safe and comfortable during their stay, the Government of Baja California Sur is implementing a “Security Shield” program to increase installation of security equipment.
Port of Topolobampo
Topolobampo is the nearest Port to one of the world’s great train rides to the Copper Canyon. The canyon itself is legendary for its breathtaking scenery and stunning landforms only accessible by rail. The approximately six-hour rail journey (each way) will wind through tunnels and bridges as you climb from sea level to 7,200 feet. Topolobampo has many places to visit, such as El Fuerte Magic Town where Don Diego de la Vega, “el Zorro”, is said to have been born, as well as Farallon Island which many consider “an ocean oasis” because of its abundance of pristine marine life.
On the Pacific Route (also known as the Mexican Riviera route):
Port of Ensenada
This past year, the City and Port of Ensenada was honored to receive the Cunard Queen Victoria for the first time. Since each new arrival is an opportunity to welcome visitors to the Port and city of Ensenada, tourism authorities and the Ensenada Cruise Committee have recently launched a “Welcome Program” for cruise passengers and crew including a traditional Mariachi performance and presentations of Mexican folk dance. For cruise passengers who want to get the feel of the town, learn some Baja history, try some original cuisine or just do some shopping, a “Walking Map” is being created that will divide different and elaborate routes that are less than a 3-hour walk each.
Port of Mazatlan
Mazatlan has been a cruise destination for many years because the city offers such a wealth of tourist attractions, natural beauty, beaches and islands, guided walks, streets and facades and its rich supply of restaurateurs.
Mazatlan’s Port Authority continues to invest; and since 2006, API Mazatlan has invested more than $30 million in dredging, expansion springs and alignment, achieving:
a) 1300 meters of quays
b) 12.2 meters deep in the ship channel
c) Ability to four simultaneous cruise ships up to 300 meters
Port of Mazanillo
Located at the heart of downtown, the Port of Manzanillo provides easy access to shopping and sightseeing tours in the city, as well as colonial and ecological tours in the state of Colima. Many tourists, both domestic and international, enjoy the downtown area where you can shop at the flea markets during the day and explore the social scene at nighttime. At the port, the dock areas have recently undergone major renovation works, allowing two cruise shops to dock at once.
Port of Chiapas
After only five years since the opening of its cruise terminal, the Port of Chiapas has established a solid foundation in the tourism sector as the region is becoming increasingly known for its adventure and ecological offerings. As security remains a priority in Chiapas and the environments offering a unique and unparalleled experience, the demand for international travel to this region continues to remains high. The various tourist destinations include: Izapa Archaeological Zone, Coffee Route, Center City Tapachula, Laguna de Pozuelo, the Artisan Chocolate Tour, and Tour to Banana Plantations. These routes allow tourists the opportunity to experience the customs, cuisine and traditions of this region.
Port of Acapulco
A magical combination of incredible beauty and hypnotic charm, Acapulco is Mexico’s largest and most dazzling seaside resort attracting over nine million visitors annually. Today, a new Acapulco is being unveiled, led by a number of new investments, security initiatives and new attractions. One of the newest projects in the destination is the development of the Advisory Council for the Recovery of the Traditional Acapulco, designed to rescue, protect, restore and revitalize the Acapulco Traditional Zone. The Advisory Council will work to develop new parks, museums and attractions as well as improve public transportation and the revitalization of the urban image throughout the destination. Two of the most important projects currently underway are the development of a new transportation system (ACABUS) and a tunnel connecting the Golden Zone of Acapulco to the Diamond Zone. Leading the charge is Carlos Slim, Mexico’s most renowned entrepreneur, who has been named Chairman of the new Council.
The Council will also assist with the promotion of the multi-million dollar investment by the State of Guerrero and the Federal government – Acapulco Seguro (Safe Acapulco) – a new program that officially launched at the end of 2011. This program is designed to help visitors feel safe and comfortable during their visit to the destination and is made up of three sub-programs – Safe Nightlife, Safe Road and Safe Taxi. As part of the new program, over 600 new surveillance cameras have been installed in the major tourism zones and new lights have been installed along 80% of the Costera, one of the main areas of tourist traffic in the destination.
On the Gulf of Mexico:
Port of Progreso
Located in the Yucatan, the Port of Progreso is one of the largest off shore ports in the world. It has a pier of more than 7 km long and 10 berthing positions for cargo and passenger ships. The port is capable of handling cruise ships of up to 310 of LOA and 138,000 tons of gross tonnage. Recently the Port has invested 10 million dollars to increase the width of the curve of the navigation channel by 50 meters. This investment has improved Progreso’s capability of receiving larger ships and has made the calls of current services at the port safer. Nautical and navigation charts have been recently delivered to the main cruise lines operating in the Caribbean. The Port of Progreso is also the direct gateway to the Mayan world, located just minutes away from the impressive archaeological areas of Chichen-Itza and Uxmal, major attractions for visitors in search of tranquility, nature, folklore and culinary indulgences.
Port of Dos Bocas
Awarded by Dream World Cruises Destinations as the “Best Port Welcome 2009,” the Port of Dos Bocas is a colorful destination on the Gulf of Mexico’s Southeast coastline, surrounded by natural beauties where traditional dances, regional music, local products and original handcrafts surround the passengers who come to sense the land’s ancient legacy. The Port of Dos Bocas area has a great diversity of tropical and exotic flora and fauna; and its gastronomy is influenced by both Olmeca and Mayan cultures mixed with a contemporary fusion. The tropical climate provides a comfortable stay and invites visitors to take a walk across the old fashioned cocoa trees plantations and around its small chocolate factories or to explore the mangrove forests wildlife with the most beautiful views and sounds of nature.
Port of Veracruz
The oldest and largest port in Mexico, Veracruz is located in the heart of the city of Veracruz, near the waterfront, offering passengers the advantages of beach and city life. Many consider Veracruz a melting pot of cultures and a place of deep history; for example, the city is the birthplace of Caribbean music and longstanding traditions such as Carnival. Currently, Veracruz is working to integrate the so-called Gulf Route, which runs along the Mexican coast of the Gulf of Mexico, connecting the ports of Veracruz, Dos Bocas (Tabasco), and Progreso (Yucatan) – just giving more reason for cruise lines to invest in a deeply historical and cultural city port.
Port of Campeche
Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the port of Campeche leaves cruise passengers right at the heart of a coastal, colonial city. The city of Campeche, like many port cities, offers much in terms of Mexican history and culture; the state of preservation and quality of the city’s architecture earned it the status of an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
On the Mexican Caribbean Route:
Port of Costa Maya
Celebrating its 11th anniversary and noted Seatrade Insider’s “Port of the Year,” The Port of Costa Maya is proudly receiving the newest ships of the cruise industry, Carnival Dream and Allure of the Seas. With acres of unspoiled coastal land and strong historic and cultural influences, Costa Maya offers visitors insight into the essence of Mayan culture and the colonial heritage of the Mexican Caribbean. The region is scattered with ancient vestiges of ports, temples and archaeological sites like Kohunlich, Dzibanche, Chacchoben, and newly unearthed Ichcabal, a recently discovered Mayan ruin featuring a 150-foot Pyramid; slated to be one of the largest ruins in the region. Costa Maya is sheltered by the second largest coral reef system in the world, the Meso-American reef, positioning it as a world-class dive site.
Port of Cozumel
In 2011 alone all ports managed more than 7 million passengers in different facilities and means of travel like ferries, touristic boats and cruises – the leader port in Mexico cruises calls and one of the leading ports in the Caribbean. The tourist can enjoy several activities in continental area and the islands like scuba-diving, snorkeling, caves, ecological experiences, excellent food, white sand beaches and the Mayan culture with archeological zones and traditional handcraft souvenirs.
Cozumel Port has the capacity to serve up to 9 cruise ships at the same time including the recent largest cruise vessels Allure of the Seas, Pride of America and Oasis of the Seas to name a few. Punta Langosta and SSA Mexico are two companies in charge of operations of the cruises and have plenty of stores, mall, taxi services, rental cars and all the facilities that you can use to make your experience the most unforgettable.