Cruise Port Costa Maya

Costa Maya is one of the top places to visit in the world

Our Day in Costa Maya | Mahahual Mexico

 Looking out from the ship pool deck a green carpet of 30 foot trees extends as far as I can see. Our ship is docked at Puerto Costa Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula, four hours south of Cancun and a few hours north of Belize. 

The port opened in 2001, built by a private developer in partnership with the Mexican government. By 2006, the port was the second busiest in Mexico with 600 ships stopping that year. 
www.budgetslowtravel: Costa Maya pier
Costa Maya pier
In August 2007, the category 5 hurricane Dean completely destroyed the port and the small village of Mahahual. Fortunately Mexico had just approved a master plan for infrastructure improvement to the area.
Mahahual malecon
Mahahual Malecon
Within two years, a new cement dock and the Malecon, a  two mile concrete oceanfront pedestrian walkway, with underground utilities, controlled drainage and new lighting were built. A state of the industry sewage treatment facility was installed. Cruise industry inspectors approved the new port and town, and the new Puerto Costa Maya received its first ships in 2009. The cement dock accommodates three ships at a time.  Crystal and Celebrity ships were already at dock when we arrived. The walk down the dock takes about 10 minutes. There is a shuttle for those who cannot or do not want to walk that distance. budgetslowtravel At the end of the docks is a shopping complex consisting of several dozen shops, a multiple pool and water park, seven restaurants and five bars. The shops are all clean and modern. They include T-shirt, leather, ceramic, jewelry, spirits and other shops. In addition to the shops there is entertainment for ship passengers. Local villagers dress up like ancient Mayans for pictures and a group of them ride the rotating swinging pole. The design of the complex is a bit of a maze that takes you past most of the shops and the vendors stand outside to entice you in with their light hearted quips. “Good prices today”; “Almost free today, Mister”.

Shuttle to Mahahual

Just outside the complex are the open air shuttle buses that take 24 passengers two miles into the village of Mahahual for $4 per person. Along the water under palm trees are a string of public beach resorts lined with beach loungers. There is a mixture of traditional palapas and shade sails for shade. Some places charge $10 per lounge chair for the day while others are free as long as you are buying food and beverages. Wifi is free. Drinks cost around $6 and beer is $3. My favourite meal is $7 for three 4” tacos covered in grilled sea bass and green peppers with coleslaw and flavourful white rice on the side. They all take US dollars and pesos and some take credit cards.


The other side of the Malecon is lined with small hotels, restaurants and vacation rentals. There is no shortage of vendors along the way. They ask but are not pushy. There are dozens of open air massage tables lining the entire way with white dressed masseuses. We walked about 20 minutes to the last beach resort. We were offered 30-minute massages for $10. Other places we have been to in Mexico lately range from $30 to $50 per hour, so we immediately accepted. Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico beach Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico beach   We each had a marvellous open air massage on the beach in the shade of the palm trees. I paid her $20 and she said, “My tip?”. I found that odd as she worked for herself and I don’t usually tip owners. I tipped her $3 and thanked her for the massage. I had used the free Wifi for 30 minutes while my wife was having her massage so I thought that was a fair trade.

Lunch on the Beach

Walking back along the Malecon we found a beach resort offering free loungers. We connected to the Wifi, ordered a beer, a Pina Colada, and fish tacos. Lounging right on the water edge in the shade under a palm tree we could see fish swimming in the clear water. Putting on my googles I walked out on the white sand. I swam in the warm crystal clear water out to the reef about 100 yards off shore. I floated and watched the colourful fish swim below me for an hour. We spent the afternoon enjoying the beauty and tranquility of the beach and water.

Expats Live Here

Walking back to the shuttle drop-off  we were enticed by another Canadian who was giving free samples of local tequila and rum. An expat, he was from Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver. He had been in Mexico off and on for the past 15 years. Twelve of those years he was in Todos Santos a small town on the Pacific just north of Cabo San Lucas on the California Baja Peninsula. We have been there numerous times. He left there three years ago. He had enough of the drug cartel killings that had began throughout the Baja in 2015. In a five month period in 2017 while we staying in San José del Cabo there were over 500 murders in the Cabos area, the region at the end of Baja California. He went back to Canada and found out he was too acclimatized to warm weather and couldn’t take the cold. He bought an old truck and 5th wheel camper and drove down to Costa Maya. The trip took him nine months. In the two years he had lived there, he had not heard of any murders or violence of any kind in the area. He likes that so he stays and sells liquor to tourists. At the shuttle drop-off, the taxis line up. The shuttle does not take passengers back to the port. The taxis are part of the transportation system. The cost is $4 per person for a ride back to the port.

Where is Costa Maya?

What is there to do in Costa Maya?

There is all kind of things to do in Costa Maya. As soon as you get off the boat you will be in the port shops where you can shop, eat and drink. There is entertainment and rental equipment to go snorkeling or swim in the water park. Here is where you catch excursions to Mayan ruins.

Local Tours

Tours by Locals has been connecting travellers with local guides since 2008. There are six tours at Costa Maya all guided by local tour guides that live there.

Shore excursions for Princess, Celebrity, Norwegian, Carnival, plus 16 other cruise lines

 Worldwide: Private Tours in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, the Americas, Africa and Australia/NZ

 Quality: Experienced, reliable local guides

 Convenient: Port pick-up with private transportation

 Personalized: Fully customizable tour itineraries, at your own pace

 Service: 24/7 Customer Support

 Reliable: Return to ship guarantee

For detailed information and to book a tour click here.

Is it safe in Costa Maya?

Costa Maya is a small port and village. It is very peaceful and the people are laid back. One person we talked to had moved there from the Baja where there is frequent crime and cartel murders. In the two years he had in lived in Costa Maya he had not heard of or seen any crime. Nature is another story. Hurricane Dave destroyed the port and village back in 2007 but during the winter months the weather is usually sunny and warm.

Our Recommendation for Costa Maya

Costa Maya is a wonderful cruise stop. We have been there twice and have only scratched the surface of things to do. It is picturesque with the palm trees, white sand and clear blue water. The people are friendly. The food, especially the seafood, is delicious. The drinks are cheap. Everything we like. I give it two thumbs up.

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