Our offers for shore excursions in Costa Maya
Book your shore excursion in Costa Maya with us. You can select the right excursion for your cruise stay here:
Small groupsExcursions in a family atmosphere
Great servicePick up directly at the harbor
High reliabilityOn-time-back-to-ship warranty
Effective time managementBook your activities in advance
Cheap shore excursionSave money by self organising
High individualityArrange activities and times freely
Useful information for excursions in Costa Maya
In the following paragraphs, you will find information about the cruise port, the most beautiful sights and a lot of useful information for shore excursions in Costa Maya.
The most beautiful sights in Costa Maya
The approximately 99.5 miles (160 kilometres) long coastal section on the Yucatán peninsula is called Costa Maya. It is located in the southeast of Mexico near the border with Belize. For a long time the surroundings were almost untouched and only developed with the construction of the harbour. Even today the region is still quite sparsely populated.
The harbor area offers cruise guests the possibility to relax in numerous restaurants and bars, to stroll in shops or to enjoy the beautiful pool landscape. But there is also a lot to discover in the surrounding area. The visit of historical Maya buildings is worthwhile. During your cruise you can be fascinated by one of the various Mayan sites and learn more about the culture of the indigenous people. Alternatively, there are numerous beautiful beach sections along the coast. Perfect for relaxing or snorkeling.
If you want to stay close to your cruise ship, a visit to Mahahual is recommended. The village is only 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) away from the cruise port and can be reached quickly. Once a tranquil fishing village, it has developed over time into a small tourist resort. On its long beach promenade there are many shops, restaurants and bars.
Especially popular are the numerous beach clubs, where you can spend a relaxing day in a Caribbean atmosphere on the wonderfully light sandy beaches. The year-round pleasantly warm water invites you to take a bath. You can also try out various water sports or discover the dazzling underwater world with colourful corals and fish while snorkelling. With a bit of luck you might even meet turtles or rays.
Lost Mayan Kingdom
A popular destination for families is also the Lost Mayan Kingdom theme park. It is located only a few ft from the cruise port and there is a direct connection with small shuttle buses (trollies). The park offers among other things various water slides and ziplines with a magnificent view of the sea and the harbour. Adults as well as children will get their money’s worth during a visit.
Costa Maya is an ideal starting point to discover one of the many historical Mayan sites in the area. The fastest way to reach the Mayan ruins of Chacchobes. They are located in the southeast of the Yucatán peninsula and can be reached in about one hour from the Costa Maya port.
The Mayan site is mystically located in the middle of the jungle and was only rediscovered in the 20th century. The first excavations began in 1994 and since 2003 the archaeological site has been open to visitors. Among other things, three temple pyramids can be admired, which can be climbed thanks to their stair-like gradations. The temples are said to be over 1,300 years old and exude a mysterious atmosphere. The place itself is said to have been settled by the Mayas as early as approximately 200 BC. During a guided tour you can learn a lot about the extensive grounds and the exciting culture of the Maya.
You should plan a little more time for an excursion to the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich. The journey takes about one and a half to two hours each way. The Mayan site is said to have been settled in 200 BC and the ruins to be marvelled at are said to have been built between 250 and 600 AD. It is said that as many as 10,000 Maya lived in the complex for the wedding. The original name of the Mayan city is not known. The present name was given by the first archaeologists after a coconut palm species that lived there.
This facility is also hidden in the lush jungle. Visitors can admire the remains of numerous buildings on the extensive grounds. The highlight of the complex is the imposing Temple of Masks, which is decorated with large stucco masks. These show a jaguar and human faces with elements of the sun god.
North of Kohunlich there are more Mayan ruins waiting to be discovered. For the Mayan site of Dzibanché, however, a journey time of about two hours per trip must also be reckoned with. Compared to the other archaeological sites, the complex is smaller but still worth seeing. It was rediscovered in 1927 and has been open to visitors since 1994. The name means translated as “written in wood”, which refers to the hieroglyphic inscriptions that decorate wooden crossbeams in one of the temples.
The beginnings of the site are said to date back to the second century B.C., although the various temples were not built until 495 A.D. The entire plant was also dependent on the larger Mayan city of Calakmul. In the neighbouring village of Kinichná there are other buildings, although it is unclear whether these once formed a joint Mayan site with Dzibanché.
The lagoon of Bacalar
An approximately one hour drive takes you from the port to the town of Bacalar. A completely different experience awaits you there. The city is located on the west bank of a freshwater lake that is over 28 miles (40 kilometres) long and only about 1.2 miles (2 kilometres) narrow. The lake was created by a fusion of seven underground caves or limestone holes, so-called cenotes, and enchants its visitors with its unique colourfulness. The water surface covers a spectrum of darker and lighter shades of blue and turquoise. The lake also owes its nickname “Lagoon of the Seven Colours” to its variety of colours.
On an excursion you can either simply enjoy the beautiful surroundings and relax or set off on an exciting boat trip. In addition, a refreshing bath in the pleasantly cool water is just the thing.
Map of the cruise port in Costa Maya
The port of Costa Maya was only opened in 2001 and was completely adapted to the needs of cruise guests. After an extension, up to three cruise ships can now moor at two long piers, which are arranged at right angles and project into the wide sea. If you walk over the piers to the mainland, you will get directly to the Costa Maya Village. Alternatively, trolley buses are usually available to shuttle between the ships and the port area. However, you should be prepared for waiting times, especially if several ships are in port.
The spacious Costa Maya Village is part of the harbour. It is a closed area and offers a selection of restaurants, bars and shops. A large pool area and deck chairs can also be used free of charge. In addition, atmospheric staff in costumes and small shows provide good entertainment. Some cruise guests therefore simply spend their day in Costa Maya in the extensive port area to enjoy the offered amenities.
Costa Maya itself consists mainly of the harbour area and has hardly anything else to offer. For cruise passengers, it is therefore advisable to embark on a guided shore excursion. With the knowledge of a local guide and the safety of a group, you can experience the popular Mayan sites at their best.
Things to know for land excursions in Costa Maya
Cruise lines and routes
Costa Maya is an integral part of cruises in the Caribbean and Central America. The port is served all year round by cruise ships of international shipping companies. These are primarily Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line. However, the peak season for cruise ships is between November and April.
Other destinations on the classic Caribbean and Central America cruise routes are often ports such as Cozumel, Belize City, Roatán, La Romana, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Colón, Puerto Limón and Cartagena de Indias.
Entry and visa
Citizens of the UK do not need visas to enter Mexico as tourists for less than 180 days. Other Europeans can stay for ninety days. Non-US citizens travelling via the US, however, may need a US visa.
Please check the entry requirements with your cruise company.
Taxi and public transport
There are no public bus lines in and around Costa Maya. The Mayan sites hidden in the jungle are also difficult to reach on your own due to the distances. It is therefore advisable to make use of a guided cruise excursion.
The nearest village Mahahual is about 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) from the port. However, the path can be easily reached in different ways. On foot you should plan on about 45 minutes. In view of the tropical climate, however, it is much more convenient to use existing shuttles or taxis.
Shuttle buses and trains depart regularly from within the port area. They are a safe option to get over the short distance to the neighbouring village Mahahual for three US dollars per person. But compared to a taxi trip, the trip normally takes a little longer, as there are several stops at different beach clubs. During the stopovers, street vendors (jaladores) usually smell their chance to get the passengers to get off and to lead them to certain beach clubs or restaurants.
An alternative without stopovers are taxis. However, these may not be located either inside or directly outside the port area. If you leave the Costa Maya Village through the port exit and follow the road for a few meters, you will already see the first taxis. We recommend to discuss and negotiate the prices with the driver before the start of the journey. A one-way trip to Mahahual costs about US$8 and takes about ten minutes.
The official currency in Mexico is the Mexican Peso (MXN), which is divided into 100 centavos. At tourist locations it is usually easy to pay in US dollars. We therefore recommend that you bring US dollars with you. You can exchange these before you start your Caribbean cruise.
Costa Maya has a tropical climate. Temperatures fluctuate only slightly and average between 27 and 32 degrees all year round. The pleasant water temperatures also ensure year-round bathing fun. It is warmest with air temperatures above 30 degrees in the summer months between April and September. This is also the time when humidity is at its highest. Between June and November most of the rainfall falls and the danger of hurricanes is greatest.
The best time to travel is therefore between December and April. The temperatures and humidity are more pleasant at this time of year and there is often a light refreshing breeze. The main season for cruise ships, in which German and European shipping companies call at the port, is also in the winter months between November and April.
Website port operator and tourism organisation
Video: Impressions of Costa Maya
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