Costa Maya, Mexico
Costa Maya is a small tourist region near the border of Mexico and Belize in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is on the eastern coast of Mexico almost directly east of Chetumal. The cruise port is full of bars, shops and restaurants and is buzzing with tourists while there is a cruise ship docked in port. Near the small cruise port are 2 small towns: Majahual and Xcalak. Majahual is the nearest to the cruise port.
Costa Maya is located in the Central Time Zone, sharing a timezone with Mexico City, Chicago and Houston.
- Central Standard Time: GMT-6
- Central Daylight Time: GMT-5
Since Costa Maya is in Mexico, the official language is Spanish, although the English language is spoken throughout the region as it is a tourist region as well.
The official currency in Mexico is the Peso, although much like the language, all prices in the cruise ports and most prices in the neighboring towns are in dollars, although you may be pleasantly surprised by giving someone $3 and getting $2.70 back as some smaller shops primarily deal in Pesos.
What not to miss
Costa Maya's best features are the nearby Mayan Ruins. The most popular Mayan ruins nearby are the Chacchoben ruins. They are centered on a large pyramid and surrounded by what may be houses which have yet to be excavated. The other ruins which are commonly traveled to from the Costa Maya cruise port are the Kohunlich and Dzibanche ruins.
For the shopper in your home, one thing that should not be missed are the stores right in the cruise port. Costa Maya has a shopping village that offers many souvenirs that are local to the area. The port's duty-free shops are a good stop for most cruise passengers with a store for pretty much everything and is conveniently located steps away from the ship. From clothing and alcohol to cartons of cigarettes (complete with brutally and sometimes hilariously honest warning labels) the shopping village has something for everyone.
If you are not into shopping then the cruise port also has a large swimming pool with a swim-up bar if you want to relax with your favorite cool beverage. You can also rent jet skis, golf carts and bicycles if you want to have fun in the surrounding areas. For those simply wanting to relax there are beach chairs and tables set up on the man-made beach. If you don't mind spending $5 a person for a cab to the nearby town of Majahual then it has many tourist attractions as well, such as a scenic beach side walking path. If you don't mind traveling farther away, a half hour boat trip will bring you to the Chinchorro Reef Underwater National Park is good for divers and there are many shipwrecks in the surrounding area as well.
Placed to Avoid
As Costa Maya is primarily a tourist region and is for the most part a manufactured cruise port that is relatively isolated. In port there are really no unsafe places or places to stay away from and most excursions will be led by guides. If going on your own to one of the nearby towns then caution should be exercised as always especially in Mexico.
Cellular service is available for all major carriers through local partners however reception is not very good. You would have to add international service to your plan to avoid paying high international roaming rates (even with international plan the rates are relatively high). Verify cost with your service provider prior to departure. The best way to contact anyone is through Wi-Fi voice (VOIP), texting (iMessage or similar) or video (Facetime calls).
The port in Costa Maya has free wi-fi throughout the terminal area. Local restaurants, resorts and the Malecon also offer free wi-fi to their customers.
All of the areas directly at the Costa Maya cruise port are able to be reached by foot. For those that are a little more adventurous and are able to walk along the Malecón then you can reach the nearby village of Majahual which is just south of the cruise port.
Malecón is a word used in Spanish-speaking countries for a stone-built embankment or esplanade along a waterfront