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As the name suggests, some of the earliest inhabitants of Costa Maya (and the Yucatan Peninsula), Mexico were the Mayans. The ocean’s always played a big role in the history of this port, especially in maritime trade and fishing. Tourism began here in the late 1980s with the opening of two local dive shops. In the mid-1990s, the municipal pier was restored and cruise ships started calling.
Category 5 Hurricane Dean slammed into this port town in August 2005, keeping it closed for well over a year while repairs were made. During the rebuilding, Costa Maya was designed specifically with the cruise ship industry in mind.
5 things to do in Costa Maya
1. The Port Itself
Built to accommodate three ships at a time, the port in Costa Maya isn’t just a place for your cruise ship to dock. It features shopping areas with local artisans and goods, a beach club, two saltwater pools, restaurants and bars, and more. There are also several activities you can do directly from the port including water sports. All of this is just a short distance from your cruise ship.
2. Chacchoben Mayan Ruins
Known as ‘The Place of Red Corn,’ you can still see the original red paint on the stucco walls of one of the pyramids and a mural on a temple wall. You’ll be able to climb some of these ruins, giving you a panoramic view of this historical area. It’s good to book a tour for these ruins; you’ll get more out of it. You can book directly with your cruise ship or privately with a local shore excursion company.
3. Fishing Tours
Tuna, wahoo, snapper and marlin, oh my. Known for some of the region’s freshest seafood and with a lengthy fishing heritage, Costa Maya offers you the chance to experience a fisherman’s dream excursion. Local expert captains can be chartered for an afternoon of fishing – all equipment, permits and licenses provided. Several charters will even cook up your catch for an additional cost.
4. Diving and Snorkeling
Similar to local ports Belize and Honduras, Costa Maya is also part of the Meso-American Barrier Reef (the 2nd largest in the world). Because of the proximity to this amazing marine wonder, various diving and snorkeling adventures await you where you can see hundreds of varieties of tropical fish, king crabs, turtles, sharks, dolphins, stingrays and more. If you do plan on diving, be sure to bring your credentials with you.
You may not be able to pronounce the name of this local city, but you won’t soon forget the beaches and atmosphere. For a taxi fare of $5-6 per person, you can take in this 1.5 mile strip of beaches and restaurants. Want a massage on the beach? Expect to pay half the price you’d pay on board. Want to just sit on the beach and relax? Many of the resorts in this town offer a day pass to cruisers (that usually includes all you can drink) for around $30-$50 a person.
- Bring plenty of sun screen
- Have cash and don’t expect to find an abundance of ATM’s
- Ask for locally caught seafood – it’s delish!
- With any excursions, always do your research to ensure best value
For more on Costa Maya, visit your cruise line’s website or for other options visit: www.puertocostamaya.com.
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