Costa Maya, Mexico Cruise Port
- Overview of Costa Maya, Mexico
- What language is spoken Costa Maya?
- What is the national currency in Mexico?
- How do I get around Costa Maya from the cruise port?
- How can I stay in touch with home? Either via Email or phone?
- What are the top attractions and must-sees in Costa Maya?
- What are the best eats in Costa Maya?
- What are the must-drinks in Costa Maya?
- Which are the best souvenirs to buy in Costa Maya?
- What is the weather like in Costa Maya?
Costa Maya, just south of Cancun, and bordering Belize, is the closest port to many of the smaller, less well-known Mayan ruins. Very clean and very safe, this port is fairly new, and was built specifically for cruise ship passengers. The area of Costa Maya is approximately 80 miles long, and contains the towns of Majahual (aka Mahahual) and Xcalak. A large dock for cruise ships, called Puerto Costa Maya, was completed in Majahual in 2001.
The plan of the Mexican government is to control development, keeping the size and number of hotels down, and monitoring construction methods. They also plan to protect the mangroves and the coral reef and to use eco-friendly construction methods whenever possible. In 2007, the area suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Dean, but reconstruction has been ongoing and the area is ready for visitors once again. After the hurricane, a 1.6 mile oceanfront promenade was constructed along with new underground utilities and a lighthouse.
Check out this video of Costa Maya, Mexico↑ Back to Top
The principal language spoken is Spanish. Most people involved in the tourist industry speak at least limited English, or will at least make an attempt to understand and converse with you.↑ Back to Top
The national currency in Costa Maya, Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN).
Do they accept US Dollars around the cruise port?
The US Dollar (USD) is widely accepted, although you may get change in pesos. Credit Cards are accepted only in the shops in the port area itself. Travelers’ checks are not widely accepted.
Where can I get or exchange money?
There is a money exchange store (casa de cambio) by Loco Ricky's Sports Bar and Restaurant and Mobius Cafe in Nuevo Mahahual. The exchange rate as of February 2011: USD$1 = MXN$12.13 pesos.
- Banks closest to Cruise Port: There aren't any banks close to the port or in Mahahual.
- ATMs closest to Port: There is an ATM directly inside the Costa Maya port. There is also an ATM at Loco Ricky's Sports Bar & Restaurant in the Casitas area, along the Malecon (boardwalk) by Mobius Cafe (see map.)
The cruise ship dock is long but open cart transportation is available for those who cannot or do not want to walk. The town of Majahual is about ½ mile away, a $5 USD taxi ride. You can rent a golf cart to explore the nearby area.
Taxis are readily available at the dock area. You could also ask around in town (about 5 minutes away) to find a driver/tour guide who will take you to some of the local sites for a pre-arranged fee.
Jeeps, buggies and ATV's can be rented from Bazar Costa Maya, located in Centro comercial del Paseo del Puerto, which is the shopping area for the port. Email Bazar for more information and reservations.↑ Back to Top
Bazar Costa Maya is located on Main Street in the port area. Here you will find booths from where you can make international calls, with no connection fee.
Where are the Internet cafes?
- Bazar Costa Maya offers Internet services including computers and WiFi access for those that bring their laptop with them.
- Mamasita's Restaurant, located in the port area accross from the pool, has free WiFi on the second floor.
- Mobius Internet Cafe, located 1.5 miles west of the port (see map), offers Internet access, computers, international calling, fax and photo copies.
- Loco Ricky's Sports Bar & Restaurant, located in the Las Casitas area of Mahahual, next to Mobius Cafe, has free WiFi.
- Vamos (V@mos Cafe), located in Nuevo Mahahual, offers Internet access and computers.
What are the cell phone rates?↑ Back to Top
What are the top attractions and must-sees in Costa Maya? How long will it take me to get there and to explore?
- Xcalak, located about 37 miles south of the port in Costa Maya, is designated as a Mexican national reef park and is an excellent site for snorkeling, scuba diving and fly fishing. The world's second largest barrier reef, Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, passes just off-shore from Xcalak.
- The Chacchoben Mayan ruins, located 43 miles northwest of the port (see map), are in a lovely park-like setting. Dating back to 360 AD, this archaeological site gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the ancient Mayans. Your guide will gather the groups from atop one of the stone temples by blowing on a conch shell.
Check out this video of Chacchoben
- Sian Ka'an, located north of the port area(see map), is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are 1.3-million-acres of tropical forest, 300 bird species, pig-like peccaries, monkeys, puma and jaguar. The reserve also contains a portion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, part of the second-largest reef in the world.
- Uchben Kah Eco Park, located 40 miles northwest of the port, on the north shore of the Bacalar lagoon (ideal for swimming - don’t forget to bring or wear your bathing suit), this nature reserve in the rain forest has buildings from the 19th century to explore. There are bikes and kayaks to rent as well as inflatable water slides to enjoy.
- Laguna de Siete Colores, “The Lake of Seven Colors” (also known as the birthplace of the rainbow) boasts interesting rock formations jutting out of the water, a huge variety of tropical birds, and very warm water to enjoy.
There is a small, man-made beach right at the port area with some limited snorkeling, but it is too rocky for swimming. There is also a huge saltwater pool with a swim-up bar at the dock area for the passengers to enjoy, with a great swim-up bar area.
A better choice for a beach near the port is the beach in the village of Mahahual. Just a short taxi ride south of the port, the beach in Mahahual is clean with calm, shallow waters. Beach massages, jet skis and kayaks are all available here.
Uvero Beach, located about 30 minutes outside of town, is a beautiful beach and is very popular for snorkeling. The cruise lines generally offer a tour package to Uvero which also includes an open bar. Grab one of the palapas as soon as you arrive for shade throughout the day. ↑ Back to Top
The main and best shopping is found right in the Costa Maya port area. There is also a few shops in Mahahual, but if you are looking for jewelry, tequila, cigars, Mexican handicrafts it is all available at the port.
Check out the Costa Maya Port and Shopping map↑ Back to Top
There are no golf courses near the Costa Maya Port.↑ Back to Top
Chinchorro Reef Underwater National Park is part of the Costa Maya Reef, known as the Meso-America reef. It is a spectacular diving area with many PADI certified dive operators. offering a variety of options. This reef is not continuous; it’s a a chain of shallow reefs near the coast, deep walls, and coral gardens that stretch from Tulum and the island of Cozumel down to Xcalak. You will see sea turtles and hundreds of varieties of fish and other marine life, including dolphins.
The area surrounding the port has been recognized as a world-class diving site. In 2005, Costa Maya was called the “Best up-and-coming dive destination” by Scuba Diving magazine.
Below is a list of local dive companies that can take you to these dive destinations:
Check out this video of a dive off of Costa Maya with an encounter with a school of dolphins.↑ Back to Top
- The Costa Maya Zipline Tour will take you through the lush biosphere to 3 zip Lines, one of which is the longest zip line in Mexico (over 2,600 feet.) These zip lines do not use the typical "handbrake" used to stop your flight in the majority of zip lines, instead all lines are engineered to stop at the very end of the line. The zip lines will offer views of Bacalar and Cenote Azul. Contact the tour operator for more information on this tour.
Another zipline option in Costa Maya is the Canopy BioMaya Tour. This tour includes zip lining and ends with inner tubing the waters of Bacalar (Laguna de Siete Colores), while taking in the colorful wildlife.
Check out this video of the Canopy BioMaya Tour:
- Mayan Experience Tour is a chance to experience Mayan traditions. Hear the Mayan language, learn about their traditional home remedies and savor their food. This tour will take you to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins and also the village where you will experience modern Mayan life. There are also excellent shopping opportunities here. Tours are offered round trip from the port. For more information contact the tour operator by email.
Drink bottled beverages only and be cautious of fruits, vegetables and ice as well.
Costa Maya is very popular for Spring Break in March, while May is an excellent month to visit as the sea is still quite calm and mosquito season has not yet begun. If you are leaving the port area and going inland, be sure to bring insect repellent. You may see guards with guns – realize that they are there for your protection.↑ Back to Top
Conch ceviche and quesadillas with homemade guacamole are excellent at El Farro Restaurant in the center of town in Mahahual, along the waterfront. It has a very pleasant bar with swing seats, perfect for enjoying a late afternoon margarita.. ↑ Back to Top
A Frosted Rainbow Teaser is a colorful and interesting concoction. It is made up of three different flavored margaritas: Mango, strawberry and Lime. You can sample this cocktail at Mamasitas Taqueria Barin the port area.↑ Back to Top
Mexican multicolored blanket is a very port appropriate gift/souvenir. Shops in the port area, as well as, shops in Mahahual offer a wide variety of blankets.
Tequila also makes a great gift/souvenir from a Mexican port, such as Costa Maya, but the even better reason is Tequileria International in the port area accross from the saltwater pool. This shop has over 200 kinds of tequila and also great prices on Kahlua.
Lapis is a somewhat rare semi-precious stone in a gorgeous deep blue color dusted with some gold flecks. There is a shaded walkway from the port area to a shopping plaza where you will find a store carrying a selection of lapis lazuli jewelry items.↑ Back to Top
Where is Costa Maya?
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