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Costa Maya is the best of two worlds: a modern port built from the ground up for cruise passengers and an evocative gateway into the Mayan culture of yesterday and today.
Tucked into the Caribbean coast between Riviera Maya and Belize, Costa Maya has an enviable concentration of Maya archaeological sites and the largest existing Maya population in Mexico. Even a cruise day-tripper with a few hours on land can experience traditional culture on excursions into nearby towns and communities, or step back nearly 2,000 years into the past at one of the impressive nearby ruins. Popular with divers, snorkelers and kayakers, Costa Maya offers waters protected by an extensive coral reef supporting a variety of sea life. On shore, the landscape changes from beach and small villages to lush jungle, inviting exploration by bike, dune buggy, Jeep and ATV.
Close to the cruise pier, a development called New Mahahual attracts visitors with swimming pools and other amenities. A new seaside malecon — pedestrian walkway — along the beach is lined with inviting restaurants and shops, so passengers who want to simply relax and enjoy all that was built just for them can.
Cruise lines that call on Costa Maya include Silversea, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean.
Three primary Maya archaeological sites close enough for a day visit. Note that Mexican law requires a fee of about $5 (US) for the use of video cameras at these sites.
One of Costa Maya's defining natural features is the chain of reefs just off shore, part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which stretches nearly 700 miles from the northern Yucatan Peninsula down to Belize, Guatemala and the Bay Islands of Honduras. Costa Maya waters, protected by the reef, are calm enough for snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and diving, all of which are offered by cruise ships in port.
The Costa Maya Port was built exclusively for cruise ships in 2001. Up to three ships can be accommodated at the same time. From the pier, travelers are transported to the Mayan entertainment complex. Pools, restaurants and bars as well as a modern shopping center featuring artisan crafts are part of the complex.
In the pier area you can get taxis and shuttles to the village Majahual, which is only half a mile or a $5 USD taxi ride away.
Store hours: Stores are typically open from 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday. Stores in the cruise pier shopping complex will be open on Sunday when a cruise ship is in town.
Tipping: 15% of your bill is adequate.
Safety: If you have an emergency while driving, call the Ministry of Tourism’s hotline or (55) 5250-8221, extension 130/297, to obtain help from the Green Angels.
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