Costa Maya History

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.  Despite being the namesake for the region, the Mayans were not the first civilizations in the region. By the time the Mayans started to settle there, other Native Americans had been there for a little over 6300 years, and they had permanent settlements for a little over 3000 years. Not to mention the lesser-known Olmecs who settled near the gulf coast and had come and gone as well.

However, the Mayans had left the greatest impact on the land; a few of their fascinating villages can be found today in form of the nearby Mayan ruins. The Mayans had used the Yucatan coast mainly in trading and exports using their large dugout canoes. They traded fabric, jade, obsidian, salt and shells mostly. For example, the nearby village of Xcalak was used as a trade port because of the 2 Gaps in the nearby reef, and this trading may have led to the recently discovered unnamed historical site found just outside of Xcalak.

The Spaniards, however, had other plans. The Conquistador Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba arrived to conquer the Yucatan Peninsula in 1517 and the Mayans retaliated, not wanting to lose the land they had held for so long. Because of this, many died. This gave the other conquistadores that visited reason to subjugate the natives. Ultimately over the next 20 or so years the Spaniards reduced the Maya population by over half, and had also destroyed a lot of Mayan Artifacts to suppress the culture itself.

Fast-forward 300 years to Mexican Independence day, the Mayan territories in Yucatan had joined the United States of Mexico in 1840. Also around the same time Mennonites came from New Zealand to Mexico. They are still there to this day, distinguishable by their denim overalls and red plaid shirts.

Xcalak had been a major port until 1955, when Hurricane Janet had left it in ruins. Many Mexicans died and many of the remaining natives moved inland. The ones who remained, however, returned to fishing. The city was repopulated from people from nearby nations and cities.

You can credit a decree made by the government of Quintana Roo (the region in which Costa Maya is located) for making Costa Maya into what it is today.  It detailed the renovation of Costa Maya including the rebuilding of the dock and enlarging of the airstrip in Xcalak. There were 2 hurricanes that affected Costa Maya in the 2012, Hurricane Dean and Hurricane Ernesto.