Situated on the Southeast coast of the Mexican mainland, Costa Maya, has become an increasingly popular stop on many Western Caribbean cruises. Here, Don from EatSleepCruise gives us the lowdown on this amazing destination.
There was a time when only a few select ships stopped at this little-known port of call, but now, the pier has the ability to dock up to three ships, including the world’s largest class of ship, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class. While this Mexican gem might no longer be a secret, the port has not lost any of its charm or cultural heritage. In fact, as the port becomes more popular, additional tours and activities are popping up, giving you even more options to spend your day ashore. Wondering why you should cruise to this Mexican paradise? Well, here are our top reasons to visit Costa Maya, Mexico on your next cruise.
A Ship for Every Cruiser
No matter the make-up of your traveling party, you are bound to find a ship calling on Costa Maya that will please everyone in the crew, including family-friendly ships like Norwegian Escape, Carnival Vista, and Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. Ships from Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, and luxury brands such as Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises also include sailings and itineraries that spend some time docked in Costa Maya. With ships sailing from multiple ports in Florida, as well as Texas and Louisiana, it is easy to find a voyage almost any time of year.
Visit Ancient Civilizations
Costa Maya is located in the heart of the ancient Mayan civilization. This means you are just steps away from exploring archeological ruins that are centuries old. The most popular stop is Chacchoben, located about an hour away from the cruise terminal. With several temples and ruins dating back to 300AD, tours of this site will give you a greater understanding of the history and culture of these complex people. Other nearby sites include Kohunlich and Dzibanche which also provide great insight into the Mayan civilization. One of the largest Mayan ruins ever excavated, Xcabal, will also be open exclusively to tourists in the near future.
Much of the natural beauty of the port and surrounding village of Mahahual have remained intact. Scuba divers and snorkelers will want to grab their gear for one of the many tours to explore the second largest reef in the world. The port lies right on the edge of the Great Meso-American Reef, giving you access to some of the most colorful and unique coral formations and diverse sea life in the Caribbean. If you’d rather stay closer to the shore, several popular beach stops are also located within a short walk (or cheap cab ride). Popular places include the Tropicante restaurant with free lounge chairs and umbrellas, as well as the beach clubs of Maya Chan and Nohoch Kay which offer all-inclusive ultimate beach break experiences.
For those looking for a bit more adventure, you can do a little off-roading. The only true way to get to the heart of this remote area is with all-terrain vehicles like dune buggies and 4X4’s that can maneuver through the dirt roads and trails.
High Speed Thrills
Want even more thrills? How about soaring over the nearby jungle with the BioMaya Canopy tour? Learn more about this diverse ecosystem as you traverse through a series of zip lines scattered throughout the area. After your flight, you can enjoy walking trails and other native encounters as you are transported through the reserve on an open-air safari bus. You can also take a short walk from the pier to the Lost Mayan Kingdom Park, offering wet and wild activities that are fun for the entire family. Test your endurance on one of 8 different waterslides, including tube rides and body slides, or hop on the different zip line courses, which end in a big splash. Adrenaline junkies must also try the Zip Coaster, which twists you up, down, and around a zipline track like an actual roller coaster.
A Lively and Diverse Port
With saltwater pools, lounge chairs, and a massive swim up bar, you can relax in style right at the port. There are a variety of shops and restaurants that offer you the opportunity to browse for authentic souvenirs and dine on local fare. You can further unwind at the onsite Spa with massage chairs overlooking the crystal-clear waters. The port even has its own ladders course as well as a Dolphin Discovery. Even if you don’t want to swim with these friendly and intelligent creatures, you can stop by to see the dolphins performing tricks free of charge.
For those looking to go beyond the port, you can’t go wrong with a short ride to the Malecon in Mahahual either. This seaside boardwalk offers more retail therapy, local delicacies, and access to long stretches of uninhabited beach. You can even board a local’s boat for a fishing expedition.
With so many diverse options, it is no surprise that Costa Maya has been popping up on so many cruise ship itineraries. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and book your next cruise stopping at this pristine gem.