Costa Maya was our second and final port of call of our 5-day Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Costa Maya is a relatively new town that was built specifically for tourism in 2001. Its popularity as a cruise port of call was climbing fast until Hurricane Dean, a Category 5 hurricane, destroyed it in August 2007. Almost a year passed before the town was able to get back on its feet. Today Costa Maya has a colorful plaza with souvenir shops, restaurants, swimming pools, and performers. All this is nestled beside a beach with turquoise waters. There were rocks that made wading into the ocean impractical but a large saltwater pool made up for that. I was really pleasantly surprised with Costa Maya.
Our ship, Grandeur of the Seas, was the only ship docked at the port that day. There is quite a distance from the ship to the plaza at Costa Maya. A complimentary trolley is offered for those who need or want to use it. It was a beautiful March day with temperatures in the low 80’s; therefore, my wife and I decided to walk.
We had to save our browsing of the plaza for the afternoon since we had booked a morning shore excursion to the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben. My first impression of the plaza was all the bright colors: boldly-colored buildings, the blue swimming pool, the turquoise waters of the ocean, etc.. All this was accented by the vibrant costumes of the dancers performing to Mexican music. Costa Maya does a nice job of creating a kind of fantasy land for the visitors. If you are looking for an authentic cultural experience, you are not likely to find it here. You’ll need to sign up for a shore excursion that takes you beyond the gates of the plaza.
My wife took some time to do some shopping while I relaxed in a hammock on the beach. The vendors in Costa Maya were a little more aggressive than the laid-back ones we encountered in Belize the previous day but not to the point of annoyance. U.S. currency is accepted in the shops of the plaza. The prices seem to vary greatly, so it is best to haggle a little or shop around. My wife saw a dress that interested her. She was initially told it cost $85 but she was able to talk the man down to $25.
Before long, it was time to head back to the ship to begin the journey home. We had really enjoyed our day in Costa Maya.