Is Costa Maya Mahahual, Mexico a port on your next cruise vacation? We’ve got the inside scoop on what to do in Costa Maya!
Costa Maya is a small Mexican cruise port on the eastern coast of the country just south of Cancun, and north of Belize.
Until a few years ago, Costa Maya was a Mayan fishing village, but now it’s a booming tourist stop with beautiful beaches and lots of fun activities.
As you know, my Aunt Sally and I recently had an amazing tropical cruise getaway! Our first stop was Costa Maya, Mexico where we had a full day of kayaking, beach-going, and adventuring (p.s. second stop was Cozumel!).
I have the travel bug you guys. If I’m home for more than a few weeks no trip in sight, I get a little crazy. I love cruises so much because they do all the hard work for you.
I pack a bag, board the ship, and am carefree and waking up in new exciting places every morning! Confession: I already have two more cruises planned for this year.
I am so lucky to work with and have been hosted by Princess Cruises (thank you, Princess!) – Love the Caribbean. Support the Caribbean. Cruise the Caribbean.
What is there to do in Costa Maya?
Costa Maya, Mahahual is a coastal beach town, so expect all those things associated with sea and sun. But it is also driving distance from historic Mayan ruins. If you’ve never been to Mayan ruins before, I strongly suggest going at least once.
It is a somewhat long drive, but worthwhile to see incredible Mexican history in person. If you’re not into the ruins, of have seen them before, then there’s snorkeling, biking, kayaking, scuba diving – even an adventure park.
And that’s only a small sampling of what the Costa Maya area has to offer!
There are tons of excursion options at the port of Costa Maya – everything from lazy beach days, to water parks, kayaking, and even trekking out to the Mayan ruins.
We chose to do a short tour of the village of Mahahual followed by glass bottom kayaking!
It was so interesting to learn that the native language in this area is actually Mayan, and not Spanish. We had a wonderful tour guide who gave us so much information about the area.
Until the late nineties, Mahahual was a small Mayan fishing village without schools, electricity, or running water.
He expressed that the tourist industry has brought incredible growth and opportunity to the people of Mahahual. It was also wonderful to learn how dedicated to the environment the Mahahualans are.
Everywhere you went there were reminders to be conscious and tread lightly. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
After our kayaking, we hung out on the beach and enjoyed fresh fruit and cocktails. Corona for me (when in Mexico!), and margs for Sally.
Despite it being November and just a few days before Thanksgiving, the weather was warm and gorgeous. I firmly believe the best time to cruise the Caribbean is between November and February. Still hot, but not stifling!
After the beach we wandered around near the port and did some shopping. We thought our adventure for the day was nearing its and and discussed retreating to the cabin for naps.
We headed that way to get out of our swimsuits and were sidelined by a friend who said they were meeting more of our group at a restaurant called Shipwreck, outside of town. There were promises of margaritas and guac. So, of course we went along.
We hopped in a cab, and did our best to communicate where we were headed. We had a fluent Spanish speaker in the car with us, but learned quickly that it did no good since the local language is Mayan!
No bother though, Google maps for the win and we were on our way. The ride was long because the roads aren’t paved yet (they will be soon!), but eventually we ended up at a gorgeous open air restaurant built in the ocean.
Seriously, in the ocean.
We also indulged in fresh coconut water and coconut meat!
They let us know a gentleman had just pulled up in a kayak with today’s catch (not joking), so we should definitely order the exceedingly fresh fish tacos.
We did. Zero regrets.
We spent as much time there as possible before we absolutely had to leave. The food was delicious, the company was wonderful, and the see breeze was thoroughly mesmerizing.
Eventually though, it was time to move on. The ship waits for no one. Well, unless you’re on a ship approved excursion. Then the ship waits for you. But alas, we were on our own.
And thusly, had to get back. Post haste!
We all piled into the gas powered golf cart the girls rented, and zoomed away.
So much fun, you guys. So, much fun.
Points of interest in Costa Maya, Mahahual
- Mayan Cultural Experience Mayan Cultural Experience
See Costa Maya through the eyes of the Maya on a cultural immersion tour. Listen to the modern Maya language, learn about time-honored traditions, join in on a home-cooked meal and meet a local family.
- Uvero Beach Club Uvero Beach Club
A visit to one of Costa Maya’s most luxurious resorts lets you sunbathe on a sun lounger, relax in a hammock, take a swim in the ocean, play beach volleyball and enjoy the restaurants and bars.
- Snorkeling & Diving Snorkeling & Diving
The area is paradise for divers and snorkelers. Sea turtles glide through pristine waters, dolphins skim the waves, and vibrant coral and reef fishes thrive.
- Outdoor Adventure Outdoor Adventure
Costa Maya offers something for everyone from an ocean of watersports, such as kayaking, to exploration of the region’s ancient Mayan culture.
- Beaches Beaches
This area of the Yucatan is known for its pristine beaches. The town of Mahahual is situated along a lovely stretch of white sand and turquoise waters.
- Kohunlich Mayan Ruins Kohunlich Mayan Ruins
The Temple of the Large Masks and the Plaza of the Acropolis bring 5th-century Maya to life in this multi-level city. Surrounded by lush jungle with giant cahoon palms, timeless wonder is all around.
- Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Chacchoben Mayan Ruins
Mayan for the “place of red corn,” these astounding ruins south of Tulum date from the 4th century. Explore the circular paths, the three imposing pyramids, and ponder the mysterious hieroglyphics.
- Dzibanche Mayan Ruins Dzibanche Mayan Ruins
Explore Costa Maya’s best kept secret from the Temple of the Owls and the Temple of the Captives to the landscaped grounds ringed by jungle. Along the way, seek clues into ancient Mayan society.
What does Costa Maya mean?
Costa Maya translates to “Mayan Coast” which is literally what Costa Maya is – a port on the Mayan Coast of Mexico. Costa Maya isn’t actually the name of the town, just the port.
The village adjacent to the Costa Maya cruise port is Mahahual in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Where does the cruise ship dock in Costa Maya?
Costa Maya is actually the name of the port where the cruise ships dock – the town is called Mahahual.
When you disembark the ship, you will walk a boardwalk into the tourist area where there are shops, excursion opportunities, restaurants, and even a Starbucks!
What time is it in Costa Maya Mexico?
Costa Maya, Mahahual, and the entire state of Quintana Roo (including Cancun) is on Eastern Standard Time.
This is the same time zone as Florida, and New York City. If your ship departs from Miami, Tampa, Orlando, or Fort Lauderdale, you will not need to change your watch.
What is the weather in Costa Maya, Mexico?
Costa Maya is located in Mexico just north of Belize. It is in the southern most portion of North America and therefore is hot hot hot!
Costa Maya typically stays warm and humid throughout the year, and is a perfect “run away from the February snow” destination. Pack your sunscreen and floppy hats!
Where we’ve cruised
Caribbean, Central, and South America
Alaska and Canada
Must-read cruising tips
If you love the Caribbean, you’ll want to check out these other yummy tropics inspired recipes!
- Mango Pineapple Salsa – You’ll want to put this mango salsa on everything from fish tacos, to pork burgers, and of course chips!
- Whole Fruit Popsicles – Also inspired by those life changing pineapples, these delicious whole fruit popsicles are light, refreshing, and have no added sugar!
- Vanilla Mango Tropical Smoothie – This is such a treat after a hot afternoon bike ride or if you want a quick breakfast substitute. Mango and orange with the smoothness of vanilla is the perfect combo.
- Cilantro Garlic Sauce – Ohhhhh, cilantro garlic sauce is about to be your new obsession. We started by putting it on tacos, but now I like it on everything from fries to salads!
- Easy Pickled Red Onions – Last week in Cozumel I was reminded how much I love pickled red onions on pork, so of course I came home and made some right away.
- Pico de Gallo – Fresh tomatoes, onion, lime, ahhhhhhh. I could just eat this with a spoon!
Don’t forget to pack these!
- Dramamine ginger pills – These are a life saver! Just the right amount of ginger to quell seasickness, and they don’t make you drowsy. I swear by these when the ocean gets a little rough.
- Floppy straw hat – This won’t be much use on the deck, it’s windy up there! But a big floppy hat is perfect for protecting your skin during beach days at shore.
- Waterproof cell phone bag – We love these cellphone bags! Wear them around your neck and you can use them to carry your phone, cruise card, and cash too!
- Anti-chafing balm – In a pinch, a stick of deodorant will work, but if you’ve got power thighs like me, this anti-chafing stick will keep you from starting a friction fire. I never wear shorts without it!
- Lightweight backpack – This backpack is awesome! It’s super lightweight, and folds into itself so it doesn’t take almost any room in your luggage. We use it to take on excursions, so convenient!