Eat Tacos & Guacamole
There are places to get food all throughout the cruise port. But we stumbled upon a place in the back street by the alebrijes that roasted fresh meat on spits and sold tacos. And it was delicious. We spent a relaxing hour sitting at a table in the street, eating tacos and guacamole while our little guy napped on his daddys shoulder.
Local Transportation Tours Taxis Buses And Golf Cars
The terminal has two exits into a large parking area – this is where shore excursions tour buses do park. But it is also where you will find other local transportation.
A local tourist booth offers different packages for Mahahual’s beach clubs, including umbrellas, lounge chairs, showers, all sorts of water sports, and, obviously, bars .
If none of these packages appeal, or if you just want to spend a couple of hours at the beach in Mahahual, it is pretty easy to get on the shuttle, take a taxi or a golf car to look around Mahahual before deciding where to lay your towel and what to do.
Shuttle Kiosk – Costa Maya
In this large parking area, you will also find a shuttle bus to Mahahual , taxis , and Golf Cars if you wish to explore the area on your own. Although the golf cars may not be available in the parking area of the cruise terminal, check this link – Mayahual Golf Carts -to double-check availability and eventually book an alternative golf car rental.
How Safe Is Cozumel
Cozumel is a very safe place to vacation with a low historic crime rate, especially relative to other US and Mexican destinations. In the high-traffic tourist areas, crime is nearly zero. Everyone understands the value of the tourism industry, and the safety of visiting tourists is given the highest priority.
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Book An Open Bar Pass At A Beach Restaurant
Similar to Maya Chan, there are several beach bars/restaurants that offer tables, loungers and umbrellas right on the beach and unlimited drinks. One such place is Jaimes at the Blue Reef and another is the YAYA Beach Club. These restaurants offer an easy way to relax during your port stop, even though your memories might be a little hazy after spending all day here.
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Costa Maya is an upcoming tourist destination off the Caribbean Coast of Mexico. It was once a sleepy coastal town with fishing as its main source of income. Through the years, it has become an important port for Caribbean cruises and because of this, has gained the attention of both local and international travelers. You can even swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery Costa Maya and be entertained by these highly intelligent animals, or let history take center stage at the Mayan Ruins Chacchoben. Learn more about the importance of the Mayan civilization through their way of life. These are just two of a number of interesting places you should visit. The thing is that when you visit a place for vacation, you always want to buy something that will remind of that place. With that in mind, here is our list of what to buy in Costa Maya, Mexico.
These hammocks are not like your ordinary run-of-the-mill hammocks that you can buy anywhere. There is more to Costa Maya hammocks compared to the rest of the lot. These are Mayan hammocks that come in various colors weaved tightly by hand, with the knots barely visible from afar. It is an age-old tradition that dates back 700 years, and a trade that embodies the Mayan way of life. These hammocks were not only used to rest, but also to conceive, be born in it, and even be buried in it.
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Get Close To Tropical Birds At Aviarius
Aviarius is one of the most unique things to do in Costa Maya. Within the port area that you visit as you exit the pier, there is Aviarius an encounter with tropical birds that traverses the port. Youll walk on suspended bridges from station to station above the port, with chances to get up close and personal with all sorts of tropical birds, including flamingos and macaws. Its also a great way to get amazing views of the cruise ships in port.
At The Port In Costa Maya
Costa Maya is primarily a tourist region and is for the most part a manufactured cruise port that is relatively isolated other than Mayan ruins and fishing villages surrounding the port area. The port area has many restaurants, bars and local shops including the typical Diamonds International, Tanzanite International, Del Sol, etc. similar to most other cruise port tourist areas. There is a large pool that has a swim up bar into the Cantina Latina restaurant. There are also public shows that are free to enjoy including acrobatics, Mexican style Lucha Libre wrestling, live music and dancing while you can pay to swim with the dolphins or watch their antics for free. There is not really a good beach option at the port due to the cruise port structure / dock and the Coquina rock beach front. There is a tram and taxi area to bring you to nearby Mahahual where there are numerous nearby restaurants and the nearest beach to the port. There are other beach options listed on our Beach Options page.
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Costa Maya Cruise Port Info
Costa Maya port is Mexicos second-largest cruise port after Cozumel. It is located about 5 minutes ride from the small fishing village of Mahahual, and around 290 km south of Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel.
Resembling an authentic Mayan city, the Costa Maya cruise port complex is designed to suit the cruise ship passengers needs. Costa Maya cruise terminal can accommodate the worlds largest cruise liners and has 4 berths in total. If there are more than 4 cruise ships in port simultaneously, other ships will drop anchor and transfer their guests ashore via tender boats.
Once you exit the ship, there is a long pier taking you to the terminal building housed in an orange building. If you have walking difficulties or traveling with small kids, there is a free trolley service to take you from your ship to the terminal building. If you have booked a shore excursion, here is where the tour dispatch takes place: here you can also book last-minute tours if you still havent.
The port complex features a wide range of facilities:
Outside of the cruise terminal area, you will find a large taxi rank, golf carts, bike/car/ATV rentals, local tour vendors, Jade Maya Museum, a replica of a Mayan pyramid, and a few more facilities/places of interest.
Costa Maya Mexico: What To Do During Your Visit
Are you planning on vacationing in Costa Maya, Mexico? Here is a guide of what all you can do while enjoying your relaxing vacation in paradise.
The cruise industry is already above 80% of what 2020s numbers were. While continuing to lag behind the number of people who traveled in 2019, this is a promising sight to see in an industry that many of us thought might not prevail.
Now that we can reschedule those cruises once more, where are some popular destinations?
Mexico has always been a hot spot for tourists. Costa Maya, Mexico is a beautiful port that gets swept under the rug by Cancun and other, more popular areas including the cruise destination of Cozumel, just 130 miles away. However, it sports all the beauty and wonders Mexico has to offer.
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Hang Out By The Pool In Port
As you exit the ship youll make your through the port area where there are lots of shops, restaurants, and things to see. One draw is a massive swimming pool where cruise guests can lounge and swim complete with swim-up bars. Its free to swim and hang out, making it a good option if youre looking for an affordable way to spend the day. Simply walk into the port area and youll run into the pool.
Taxi Or Trolley To The Beach
You can either buy a $3 trolley ticket or take a $3 taxi ride . Tell whomever is driving that you want to go to 40 Canons Hotel or in Spanish, simply, Cuarenta Canones. Its a 10-15 minute until you reach the last stop at the end of the road. The town is actually Mahahual.
If you have no back or neck issues, the trolley is fun as it happily bounces along the bumpy roads. Taxis of course provide a much smoother ride but not quite as much fun. If youre a solo traveler, youll probably have a few laughs and make some some new cruise friends along the way.
Enter the whitewashed breezeway at 40 Canons and walk towards the beach. You cant miss it.
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Try A Mayan Healing Ritual
Mayan healing ritual
Take a much-needed wellness getaway in Costa Maya, where you can indulge in a complete mind and body detox in an authentic Mayan sauna. This sacred ritual of spiritual cleansing is performed by a knowledgeable shaman. Soak in a restorative bath, then head inside the Temazcal to sweat away impurities and toxins. Pamper yourself with nourishing clay or a massage treatment.
See The World Underneath The Waves On A Glass
If you want to get out in the water but dont want to snorkel or scuba dive, you can always take a glass-bottom boat tour. These trips will take you out in the gorgeous water and give you a chance to see whats underneath the waves. The best part is you dont get wet, making it perfect for small kids or those with mobility issues. Look at the excursions with your cruise line to book.
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Hit The Spa For Mayan Healing Rituals
Sure you can head to the ships spa or even get a massage on the beach for that matter. But Costa Maya offers a special Mayan Healing Rituals that include an herbal bath, a sweat lodge, clay mask, a coconut milk bath, and a hammock massage. Its a unique take on the traditional spa experience and a trip to the spa that wont soon be forgotten.
Take A Swim In The Free Pool
When you first walk into the port of Costa Maya, youll see tons of stands set up selling typical Mexican souvenirs. But if you walk through those and to the left a little bit, then in the middle of the port area there is a huge awesome swimming pool that is completely free! Just grab a beach chair, waiters will bring you any food or drinks that you need , and jump right in.
The day that we visited just happened to be the one day that the Polar Vortex covered the entire U.S. * and so the temperature in Costa Maya dipped to about 75 which meant it was a chilly pool. I cant imagine that would ever happen to you on your trip, but no worries if it does because there are 9 other fun things to do in the rest of my guide.
The awesome thing is that kids generally arent affected by cold swimming pools at all, so my nephew had a great time splashing around and playing in the fountains in the shallow end.
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Whats There To Do In Costa Maya
The last option for cruise ship visitors to Costa Maya is walking outside the port area to get a taxi or a golf cart to explore on ones own. Some people like heading into the small fishing town of Mahal. There are some nice beaches with lounge chairs and umbrellas. The only catch to use these amenities is purchasing a couple drinks and some food from the hotel or restaurant offering the service. Not a bad way to spend the day.
Pay particular attention to the time your ship is in port. Some of the attractions are located far from the port area. Like all port calls, stay on ships time. Cruise visitors wanting to venture off the Costa Maya development should make sure to book with the cruise line or find a reputable tour operator that guarantees your arrival back to the ship. Quick trips to the nearby fishing village of Majahual can be made via taxi or shuttle bus.
- Take an excursion to nearby Mayan ruins at Chacchoban, Kohunlich or Dzibanché
- Zip line through a Mayan forest from Costa Maya
- Charter a fishing boat
- Go to Uyumil Che
- Go to Xcalak for a snorkel or dive at a nearby reef
- Go diving at Chinchorro Reef Underwater National Park in nearby Riviera Maya
- Visit Sian Kaan, an UNESCO World Heritage site
Ride Through The Jungle On Atvs Or Buggies
There are two excursions that you can explore this area, riding through the jungle, and by the seaside. Both the ATV and buggy excursions are really fun, and very similar, but if you are more on the wild side, we would choose the ATVs.
On this excursion you have a bumpy ride, and if it rained recently, you will get covered with mud! Make sure you bring a valid drivers license, a bathing suit, sneakers, and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.
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What To Do In Costa Maya Cruise Port
Rent a Golf Cart
Finally! After our way out of the maze, we bumped into a vendor renting golf carts. At first, we started to walk away, but then I looked over my shoulder and thought, FREEDOM!
Taxi, smaxi. Psfff. Who needs a taxi when you can drive yourself around?
Hubby followed my train of thought and in minutes he negotiated a 5-hour rental for much less than they were offering it for. So, dont be afraid to haggle a little. Still, be fair.
Thankfully, hubby loves to drive because if it were just up to me, not sure if this is the route I would have chosen. Make sure youre comfortable being behind the wheel and in a golf cart with no doors or windows.
With the rental, they will provide you with a map and give you the route youll want to stay on with the golf carts. They may also point out locations where you can park for free.
Driving Around Costa Maya
The vendor handed us a map and gave us instructions on two main streets that looped around the Costa Maya, Mexico cruise port area. We didnt pay too close attention to that since we drove through the back streets and even went past the unpaved roads.
I highly recommend you stay on the paved roads as the ride starts to become bumpy and the driver will have a harder time maneuvering the car.
Dont be afraid to be your own tour guide.
El Malecon in Mahahual is considered to be Costa Mayas beachside downtown area. The pier is filled with beachgoers and nightlife.
You will find everything at el Malecon:
Parque Nacional De Arrecifes
The Arrecifes de Xcalak Park is the southernmost location in Costa Maya, located just seven miles from Belize. It has one of the last unspoiled stretches of the Mexican Caribbean and is designated as a Mexican national reef park. It is also a departure point for scuba and snorkel tours. Explore the various eco-systems in the area, such as coastal lagoons, beaches, jungle, and coral reefs. Discover unique habitats for waterfowl such as great blue herons, ibis, and ospreys. The wetlands are also a breeding site for fish and crustaceans. Delight in this park and all of its natural wonders.
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Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve
Sian Kaan was established in January 1986 and means Origin of the Sky. The biosphere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains tropical rainforests, mangroves, marshes, and a marine section. Over 379 bird species have been identified in the Reserve, and it is also home to many mammals, native bees, dragonflies, beetles, crustaceans, mosquitoes, and butterflies. The reef which intersects the marine area is comprised of 84 species of coral. Sian Kaan promotes sustainable tourism which will minimize the environmental impact of tourism within the Reserve and is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Take a Nature Tour into the lagoons of Boca Paila and Caapechen through the natural mangrove canals and lagoons and try to spot crocodiles and tropical birds. You will also see a Mayan temple along the way. The saltwater lagoons are world-famous among fly fishers. A Guide will take you to the best areas to catch fish like the barracuda, tarpon, and bonefish.
What Is An Excursion
An excursion is an activity that you book in a cruise port. The excursions range from historic tours, snorkeling and beach tours, visits to popular attractions, activities that will get your adrenaline pumping, and cultural activities. They are booked through local tour companies and cost additional money. Excursions can go from anywhere from $39 to hundreds of dollars for scuba diving, golfing, and helicopter tours.
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Directions From The Port
Update Dec. 2, 2021: This little breezeway path behind the stairs is closed. When I first wrote this articleyou would see the little path between the tree and the stairs. You could walk through there and when you emerge, youd notice a makeshift table under a long awning to book your taxi or trolley.
Now its changed. Best suggestion is to use the ships map and walk past the stairs following the maps directions to the taxi rank, golf cart rental or trolley.