There’s no question, after viewing some of the creations of the Mayans, that they were an intelligent group of people. And once you’ve seen the beauty along the coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll also have an appreciation for their taste in real estate.
Puerto Costa Maya is farther south than the area that is commonly referred to as the Mayan Riviera. Situated just north of the town of Majahual, Puerto Costa Maya is in one of the southernmost areas of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
There is little around here in the way of modern development, but when Costa Maya opened its doors to the cruise lines in 2001, it quickly became one of the most popular cruise ship destinations in the Caribbean. A trip here is almost like traveling to a desert island, ripe with natural beauty, and without an overabundance of tourist hype.
On our trip here, we chose the ‘Jungle Beach Break’ excursion. We were loaded onto a comfortable, air-conditioned bus for the trip north to a private beach. If you’re a habitual reader of my articles, you’ll know that, for me, one of the greatest treats of an excursion is the road trip there. This one was no different – it afforded us the opportunity to see a very primitive area of southern Mexico while enroute.
Nearing our destination, a small road torn through thick jungle gave way to a forgotten white beach with clear, turquoise water. There was an open bar here, so that entertained most of the guests quite well. But my wife and I are avid snorkelers, and after eyeing the long, broad pier jutting into the Caribbean, we knew that another world awaited us underneath this structure.
We hurriedly donned our snorkeling gear and slipped into the water. Immediately we were met by the residents of this forgotten coast, who took the form of every tropical fish in every color imaginable, set against a backdrop of coral-crusted pier legs. The visibility underwater here had to be in the neighborhood of 100 feet.
Although there was plenty to see while floating around on the surface, I often found myself diving down for a closer look, on the deeper end of the pier. My wife made a comment that I must have grown gills, because I stayed underwater more than I surfaced. I am a certified scuba diver, and I must say that the marine life under this pier beat anything I’ve seen on any one scuba dive. And this was accessible from shore, with only a mask, snorkel, and fins.
We ended up spending the entire day under that pier, amazed at the technicolor treasure of marine life that resided there. When we returned to the sandy beach, we found that our cruisemates, having taken full advantage of the free bar, were more jovial than usual.
Puerto Costa Maya offers an array of entertainment options to the cruising crowd. It’s the only port that I’m aware of that was basically developed from dense jungle, specifically for catering to the cruise line industry. Other excursion options here include trips to the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins, and of course, scuba and snorkeling trips. If you’d rather play this stop low-key, you’ll find an abundance of shops, restaurants, and spots to sit and relax the day away. There is even an enormous pool which snakes between several restaurants and shops, yours to use, free of charge. Check with your cruise line for more information on all the available options!