Costa Maya, Mexico Cruise Port Guide

Embarking on a cruise to Costa Maya, you'll be welcomed by the lush, jungly landscape of Mexico's southeastern Yucatan peninsula. This destination is the gateway to 60 miles of white sand beaches, dazzling coral reefs, and ancient Mayan ruins.

On a Caribbean cruise that stops in Costa Maya, dive into the clear blue waters or snorkel alongside vibrant sea life. Try your hand at sea kayaking, join the thrill of a banana boat ride, or drift serenely along slow-flowing rivers in a tube. Wander through the sleepy village of Mahahual, where you can immerse yourself in the colorful crafts and tantalizing cuisine of Mexico. Don't forget the atmospheric Mayan antiquities waiting to be explored, such as Kohunlich and Chacchoben, nestled deep in the heart of the rainforest.

Cruises to Costa Maya, Mexico

View All Cruises to Costa Maya, Mexico

Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to Costa Maya

White Sand Beaches

Costa Maya is very much a laid-back beach destination with more than 60 miles of shoreline to explore. Here, coconut palms wave in the tropical breeze, draping over soft white sand lapped by the turquoise Caribbean. Beaches range from quiet and deserted to chic beach clubs serving all-day food, drink, and watersports. Just offshore is the vast Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, presenting fantastic opportunities for diving and snorkeling.

The Seven Colors Lagoon

The Bacalar, or Seven Colors Lagoon, gets its name from the seven different hues of the water that shimmers in shades of blue, aquamarine, and green. Kayaking, tubing on the rivers that feed the lagoon, or just floating in the warm water are all options here. The 18th-century Fort San Felipe Bacalar is nearby, along with a museum telling the story of piracy and Spanish occupation in the area.

Mayan Ruins

The Yucatan Peninsula is dotted with ancient ruins built by the sophisticated Maya civilization. One of these, Chacchoben, is only an hour from the port, located deep in the rainforest. At its heart, you’ll find an impressive stepped pyramid dating back to 200 B.C. From the top of the Gran Basamento pyramid, enjoy sweeping views over the trees and the chance to spot colorful birds and spider monkeys.

Learn More About Costa Maya Shore Excursions

Top Things to Do in Costa Maya

Explore Mahahual

A short cab ride or 45-minute walk from the cruise port, Mahahual was once a humble fishing village that now thrives from cruise tourism. Stroll the malecón (boardwalk), drop into a beach club for fresh ceviche and an ice-cold margarita, browse local craft shops for souvenirs, and relax on the white sand beaches. Swim from the beach or take a boat out to the spectacular reef that’s just offshore and snorkel over brilliant corals teeming with rays, morays, turtles, and tropical fish.

Try a Healing Treatment

Experience the ancient art of healing with a practicing shaman on a spiritual cleanse. You’ll pass through metaphorical earth, fire, wind, and water during the treatment, which includes a copal incense cleansing, soaking in a coconut bath, relaxing in the Temazcal, a traditional Mayan sweat lodge, a rejuvenating clay treatment, and a blissful neck and shoulder massage. After this meditative experience, take time to commune with nature, relax in a cabana, or enjoy the sun.

Take a Salsa Class

These fun workshops teach you how to slice, dice, and spice your ingredients to make authentic, zingy Mexican salsa and flavor-packed guacamole, as well as sampling traditional margaritas, tortilla chips, and ice-cold beer. The cooking element is combined with music and dance as a salsa instructor teaches you basic steps.

Top Food & Drink in Costa Maya

Mexico has a rich and diverse cuisine that extends way beyond nachos, tacos, salsa, and guacamole, although all of these are available at Costa Maya and are perfectly tasty. You may find the restaurants within the port cater to more international tastes, with local establishments along the coast packing more of a spicy punch.

Local flavors of Quintana Roo include slow-roasted pork served in a taco, chicken tamales with a spicy sauce, and salbutes, which are a small, thicker tortilla topped with shredded turkey or chicken and a spicy mole sauce that contains bitter chocolate. You’ll find tangy ceviche on most menus, as well as juicy seafood skewers. If you’re grazing local food stalls, look out for empanadas, filled with meat, cheese or vegetables, and decadently sweet churros.

Culture & History of Costa Maya

Puerto Costa Maya is a purpose-built cruise port, sandwiched between bottle-green rainforest and the blue Caribbean Sea. The coastal area here has been inhabited since around 6500 B.C., with the first Maya cultures appearing around 200 B.C. The Maya demonstrated advanced agricultural and architectural skills, building elaborate cities and transporting jade, obsidian, and fabrics for trade in their dugout canoes.

The Maya were subjugated by Spanish adventurers in the 16th century, which led to the colonial era. But the colonialists themselves were victims of regular raids by English pirates, attacking ships carrying gold back to Spain, a situation that plagued the coast here until the 19th century.

In 1940, the Mayan territories in the Yucatan joined the United States of Mexico. The port of Costa Maya opened in 2001 and continues to expand, providing significant employment for local people. Gentle haggling here is a way of life, so it’s always worth trying to negotiate for pricier souvenirs. Most people speak English, but you’ll get further and make more friends if you can speak a little Spanish.

Costa Maya Cruise Port Facilities & Location

The Costa Maya cruise port lies between the Caribbean Sea and dense rainforest, in the southern part of Quintana Roo state. While there are many adventures to be had further afield, you’ll find everything you need here for a day out. There are shops and places to eat, as well as ATMs, restrooms, WiFi, and even a spa and a large pool with a swim-up bar. You can swim from the beach here, although beach lovers should consider the shuttle bus that runs to the nearby town of Mahahual, where the beaches are better.

Meanwhile, experiences right at the port include Aviarus, an aviary with hanging bridges linking the different habitats; Kakaw, which tells the story of Mexican cocoa, including hand-made chocolate to sample; and La Consentida, a tequila distillery.

Transportation in Costa Maya

The pier at Costa Maya is long, and on a hot day, you might want to take the free trolley service from your ship to the port village. All the attractions of the village itself are accessible on foot. Otherwise, there’s a shuttle bus to Mahahual, the nearest beach, for a small fee. Taxis wait outside the port and golf carts are available to rent. You can rent a car, too, but most visitors choose to book shore excursions.

Shopping Near the Costa Maya Cruise Port

Cruises to Costa Maya, Mexico, put you right in the middle of a vast array of shopping opportunities. Discover elaborate, hand-painted plates, traditional blown-glass pieces, woven Mexican blankets, and beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry.

A Maya-style hand-woven hammock makes a great souvenir, as do hand-painted Talavera tiles, a Spanish legacy. If you’re looking for an edible souvenir, pick up a pack of vanilla, a costly spice that’s widely available in Mexico. There are dozens of shops within the port itself, but you may find a greater choice if you extend your search to nearby Mahahual.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The currency in Mexico is the peso, although U.S. dollars are widely accepted. If you pay cash in dollars, you may receive change in pesos, so pay attention as their value is completely different. Also, the same dollar sign is used for both pesos and U.S. dollars, so always double-check prices. ATMs are located at the cruise terminal and dispense U.S. dollars.

Mexico has a strong tipping culture, especially in tourist areas. Tip 10% to 20% in restaurants, and round up the fare in a taxi. Tip local guides up to 10% of the cost of the tour. It’s preferable to tip in pesos rather than dollars.

Find Cruises to Mexico's Costa Maya Port

Previewing: Promo Dashboard Campaigns