Costa Maya, Mexico
Nestled in the south-east Caribbean coastline and close to the Belize border, Costa Maya is a purpose-built cruise precinct developed in 2001 to service the growing number of passengers looking to discover the jewels of Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
As the gateway to the ancient Mayan world, it’s a port of call for several cruise liners making their way along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. In addition to the entertainment, shopping, and leisure pursuits for passengers to enjoy in and around the port itself, the lesser-known Mayan ruins of Chacchoben, dating back to 350AD, are only 45 miles away.
There’s also plenty to discover in the town of Mahahual, located 2 miles away from port. What was formerly a sleepy fishing village is now rapidly expanding due to its newfound place in the itineraries of cruise ships around the world.
The Costa Maya region is also home to Mexico’s largest Mayan population and the country’s highest concentration of Mayan archaeological sites. For cruise visitors, calling at Costa Maya is a perfect introduction for those interested to learn about the mysterious Mayan past of the Mexican Caribbean.
Located approximately 150 kilometres north of the Belize border along the southern Yucatan peninsula, Costa Maya port is situated on Mexico’s southern Caribbean coastline in the state of Quintana Roo. The port is approximately 5 kilometres away from the town of Mahahual and is approximately four and a half hours south of Cancun.
Created with the needs of passengers in mind, Costa Maya’s cruise terminal can accommodate three large cruise vessels simultaneously. With two expansive saltwater pools and more than 70,000 square feet of shopping areas, all of the restaurants, entertainment and leisure facilities around Costa Maya’s port are located within the three main pavilions at the end of the pier.
- Free Wi-Fi within port complex
- Pools with swim-up bar
- Water sports kiosk
- Tour desks
- Massage area
- Private beach with chairs and hammocks
- Beach clubs.
How to Get Around
For passengers wanting to explore further afield than the port precinct and the town of Mahahual, an organised shore excursion to visit Mayan sites is recommended due to their remoteness and the limited public transport options in the area.
Taxis and local buses are readily available to get from the port into Mahahual and cost around USD$5 and USD$3 respectively. From port, passengers can also walk along the beachfront esplanade into the centre of Mahahual.
Travel times from the port:
- It is a 35 minute journey to Mahahual’s shops, resorts and restaurants.
- It is a 1 hour and 21 minute journey to the Chacchoben archaeological site.
- It is a 5 minute journey to Mahahual
- It is a 2 hour and 11 minute journey to Chetamul on the Mexico/Belize border.
- Currency - Businesses in Mahahual and around the Costa Maya port area use the Mexican Peso. Coins are available in 50c, MXN$1, MXN$2, MXN$5 and MXN$10 denominations. Banknotes come in MXN$20, MXN$50, MXN$100, MXN$200 and MXN$500 denominations. Like other tourist areas in Mexico, US dollars are also widely accepted.
- Time Zone - The Costa Maya region operates on Eastern Standard Time (EST), which is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC.)
- Weather - The southern Yucatan peninsula enjoys a tropical savannah climate with a distinct wet season during the summer months and dry season during the winter. Year round temperatures with little fluctuation can be expected, along with an average summer high of 32 degrees Celsius.
- Chacchoben Ruins - Referred to as the ‘place of red corn’, visitors can still spot red paint on the partially excavated Mayan ruins at Chacchoben, which were officially opened in 1999. Visitors can climb the major temple of ‘El Gran Basamento’ and enjoy a wonderful view of other ruins in the area and the jungle below. Several shore excursions also combine a trip to Chacchoben with a visit to a Mayan family farm, which includes a traditionally prepared meal.
- Beach Clubs - Costa Maya is nirvana for beachgoers with several beach-break excursions offered in and around port. The Uvero Beach Club is only accessible as part of an organised shore excursion. Passengers who choose this option enjoy complimentary non-motorised water sport hire, open bar service, and hammock and beach chair use.
- Chinchorro Reef - For keen snorkellers and divers, the Chinchorro Reef National Park is a must see in the area and features 9 sunken shipwrecks. The Chincorro National Park is part of the Meso-American reef, the world’s second largest reef system. Many cruise lines offer daily sail and snorkel packages.