Costa Maya Excursions: Amazing Lagoon and Hidden Mayan Ruins

A special Mexican region awaits visitors of the Caribbean coast in Costa Maya. Located in the southeast of Mexico, this cruise port is near the cozy town of Mahahual. Costa Maya is a popular destination for Caribbean cruises. Several cruise ships can dock at the long pier of the Costa Maya port at the same time. Ships of the companies Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, MSC, TUI Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line stop here. The area offers a surprising number of attractions such as Mayan ruins, the famous lagoon of Bacalar or beaches that can be discovered during a Costa Maya shore excursion.

Costa Maya shore excursions

Many guests of the cruise ships visit not only Costa Maya but also Cozumel in Mexico. For more information about the Cozumel Cruise Port is available on our page Cozumel Shore Excursions. Tours of the two destinations can be perfectly combined and coordinated. For example, in Costa Maya you could do a shore excursion to the Mayan ruins Chacchoben and in Cozumel an island tour to the Punta Sur Eco Park. Below we have put together useful information and individual Costa Maya shore excursions.

Costa Maya Shore Excursions

Our Costa Maya shore excursions are conducted in small groups and have a certified English speaking tour guides. Discover the history of the Maya, a fascinating lagoon and much more during your day in Costa Maya. 

Overview Costa Maya

Shore Excursions Costa Maya

Shore Excursions Costa Maya: Tours from the Cruise Ship Port

The Costa Maya cruise port is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula. In the south is the border to Belize. Only three kilometers away from the cruise port Costa Maya is the small resort city of Mahahual. In Mahahual there are many restaurants and souvenir shops, bars and a very nice beaches. Tourists stroll leisurely along the beach promenade (Spanish: Malecon) and enjoy the fresh breeze that blows from the sea.

The Costa Maya port is relatively new and was built in 2001. The region around is still underdeveloped. There is little going on outside of Mahahual, small Mayan communities are spread in the jungle. The nearest town is 50 miles away, Mahahual has not even a supermarket.

The Costa Maya cruise port was hit twice by a hurricane, and parts of the port were rebuilt. The cruise terinal has a beautiful pool landscape, many restaurants and bars. Overall, the Costa Maya cruise port is slightly more expensive than Cozumel. The beaches in nearby Mahahual are beautiful and on the waterfront one beach club is next to the other. Everything is tailored to the needs of the tourists.

Map Costa Maya Excursions Mahahual

Costa Maya map for Costa Maya cruise port, Source

The Costa Maya port offers a wide range of activities

Costa Maya excursions: The Mayan Ruins of Chacchoben

Excursion Costa Maya Ruins Chacchoben

Excursions Costa Maya: The Maya ruins of Chacchoben

Well preserved are the Mayan ruins of Chacchoben in the woods near the Mayan village which is also called Chacchoben. Although the original name is no longer known, it is possible to imagine on the basis of the structures how the life of the Maya was at that time. The great square, the dwellings, the temples of the most important Mayan deities, and the government house; all form an impressive testimony of the past. Our tour to the archaeological site of Chacchoben includes not only an introduction to the world of the Mayan people and its historical embedding, but the guides, many of them Mayan descendants, enthusiastically tell about their traditions, diets and language.

Costa Maya excursions to Chacchoben offer an amazing introduction into the legacy of the Maya

Costa Maya Excursions: The Bacalar lagoon of the seven colors

Bacalar lagoon Costa Maya Excursions

Costa Maya Tours: The lagoon of the seven colors Bacalar

Turquoise water, deep navy blue, a pale light blue. The different shades give the Lagoon of Bacalar the name: Laguna de los siete colores, in English: lagoon of the seven colors. The water of the lagoon is fed by subterranean cenotes – freshwater caves, for which the Yucatan Peninsula is so famous. Strictly speaking, it is not a lagoon, but a lake. The lake of Bacalar is 52 kilometers long and very narrow. The widest point is 2 kilometers. Along the west side there are many accommodations, most of them in Bacalar. If you come here, take a boat trip on the lagoon of Bacalar, enjoy a dip in the wonderfully refreshing water or relax in the pleasant tranquility that surrounds this place.

One of the highlights in Costa Maya Bacalar lagoon

Costa Maya excursions: The Mayan Ruins of Kohunlich

Excursions Costa Maya ruins Kohunlich

Excursions Costa Maya: Temple of the masks in Kohunlich

Far away from civilization are the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich. From the well-developed road leads a gravel road for about 10 miles inland. The journey alone is breathtaking. While at the beginning of the road, the typical low forest dominates the picture, the vegetation suddenly changes to tropical rainforest with meter-high palm trees. The green seems to swallow the road, as it has buried the impressive Mayan buildings for hundreds of years.

In the massive terrain, the structures are architecturally close to Guatemala, older than most Mayan sites in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula. The most impressive is certainly the Palace of the Masks, which is located at the very end of the complex. These masks show human faces, each with elements of the important Mayan sun god.

Costa Maya shore excursions to Kohunlich close to the border of Guatemala

Costa Maya Excursions: Beaches of Mahahual

Excursions Costa Maya beaches Mahahual

Excursions Costa Maya: The beaches

Costa Maya shore excursions: Walking along the malecon in Mahahual

If you want to go to the beach in Mahahual, you have the choice between different, managed beach clubs. Most charge an entrance fee and provide beach chairs, umbrellas, food, installations and water activities

For some visitors, the port offer of beach clubs and excursions in Costa Maya is overwhelming. Many sellers and taxi drivers take their guests to the beach clubs, where they receive the most commission. Therefore, it is advisable to inform yourself in advance about the activities and attractions in Costa Maya and book online.

Below is an overview of the most popular beach clubs in Costa Maya. They are all located on the waterfront:

At Maya Chan Beach Club, transport is included in the price

Fantastic food and a beautiful beach at Nohoch Kay Beach Club

The Blue Kay Resort includes 2 (alcoholic) drinks in the entrance fee and provides snorkeling gear

The Tropicante Costa Maya also has offers for vegetarians

Pitaya Beach Club offers international as well as Mexican cuisine and seafood

Costa Maya Transportation

As on Cozumel, there is no public transportation in Costa Maya. This is due to the taxi monopoly, which gives taxi drivers special rights in passenger transportation. When a cruise ship arrives, the taxis wait in line at the only exit. The taxi drivers have precise rules about who is allowed to do the transportation.

Due to the lack of public transportation, cruise ship guests have the following options:

Walking

Although Costa Maya is relatively close to Mahahual, the distances in the heat are relatively far. The waterfront of Mahahual is long, so you should save your energy for walking up and down.

Taxis

Right after arriving on Costa Maya, many taxi drivers are waiting. Taxis are expensive for the reasons mentioned above and it is always advisable to arrange the price in advance. Taxi drivers are used to charge a price per person.

Tours

Excursions are the most convenient way to get to know the Costa Maya area. Our tour guides know Costa Maya for many years and show the most beautiful corners of the area. We have put together a selected package of Costa Maya excursions that will show visitors the highlights of the area in a matter of hours.

Summary

  • Costa Maya is a relatively new cruise port in the Southeast of Mexico
  • Best thing to do in Costa Maya is an excursion: Mayan Ruine, The lagoon of Bacalar or the beaches around Mahahual
  • The Costa Maya port is only three kilometers from the little village Mahahual

More about the Costa Maya and Mexico

Climate

The Costa Maya has a very mild climate all year round. The best travel time is between November and April and that is also the main season in Costa Maya. Most of the tourists come by cruise ships and stay for one day. In summer it can get very hot and humid. In the months of December to February it is wintertime with beatiful weather most of the time. When the wind turns and blows from the north, it can get fresh at night. Therefore, you should bring a jacket during winter time.

During the months of March and April is our dry season. The humidity is not too high and it is pleasantly warm. From May, the temperatures rise significantly and it can be very humid. It rains every now and then, but usually not more than an hour. The summer months are perfect for beach vacations.

Visa

You do not need a visa to enter Mexico, if you come with a cruise ship. However, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date of departure from your cuntry. Although no other entry documents are usually required at the cruise ports apart from the ship card, it is advisable to take your passport with you. In special situations, cruise guests are checked at the ports. Most of the time, this check only applies to fresh food that cannot be imported into Mexico.

Currency

The official currency in Mexico is the Mexican pesos. However, you can pay with dollars anywhere in tourist areas. It is not worth exchanging pesos, because you can no use your remaining mexican pesos in other countries during your cruise.

Health

Mexico has no vaccination requirements. Nevertheless, it is advisable to check, if standard vaccinations are up to date before traveling. The tetanus and polio protection should be checked. Malaria is not common on the east coast of Mexico, but cases of dengue or Zika may occur, albeit very rarely. Therefore, a mosquito repellent and long, light clothes for the evening are recommendable. 

You should not drink tap water in Mexico as it is only suitable for showering and washing. Bottled water in bottles or from a canister (20-liter container) is suitable for drinking. Ice cubes are made from drinking water. Medicines can be bought in pharmacies without a prescription and are cheaper than in most countries.

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