Costa Maya is a popular cruise ship port destination on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula near Belize. This area is famous for its largest Mayan ruins and quaint fishing villages.
The modern port was initially constructed for cruise passengers but was impacted by Hurricane Dean in 2007. It took a while before tourism truly got off the ground, but now it’s an evocative gateway into the Mayan culture of the past and present.
The town of Mahahual is a popular cruise ship destination with tranquil Caribbean beaches and impressive coral reefs. Originally a small fishing village, the town is much smaller and quieter than nearby tourist towns like Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
The Costa Maya cruise port has all the amenities and facilities for passengers including salt water swimming pools, bars, restaurants, shopping mall and a great selection of shore excursions combos. However, if you’re looking for something more authentic and a bit less crowded, you should consider taking a day trip to Mahahual.
This is a very authentic fishing village and has a lot more soul than the cruise terminal. It is a very popular beach vacation spot and there are a number of hotels that are located right on the beach. The best thing about this is that there aren’t many people around and it is perfect for a relaxing beach vacation.
Xcalak is a sleepy little ex-pat beachfront community at the very end of the Costa Maya. It’s not a destination by any means, but it is definitely worth a look to see the incredible untouched beaches and old Caribbean feel.
Known for its world class salt water flats fishing, the area is also home to the Meso American Reef and its protected marine park (Xcalak Reef National Park). Scuba divers can enjoy diving the second longest barrier reef in the world, spotting tropical fish and even exploring shipwrecks from the Spanish colonial period.
The town is surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty with a lush mangrove forest and the Boca Bacalar Chico River. Xcalak is slowly being developed with infrastructure such as a local clinic and library.
Although it is a developing region, the Costa Maya still offers many surprises. While some areas will undergo rapid cyclic development and tourist saturation, the majority of Costa Maya will remain a more subdued type of coastal tourism destination.
Located on the southern coast of Quintana Roo, Chetumal offers visitors many features and benefits. From its manatee sanctuary to its pristine beaches, there is something for everyone in this caribbean jewel.
The city is quaint and relatively young, founded in 1898 with a Caribbean flavor featuring many small English-style wooden houses. The main boulevard is just a short walk from most hotels and the marketplace and has an abundance of charm, especially when the weather is good.
It has a number of historical sites, including the Oxtankah archaeological zone and the Kinichna site next to it. The former is a significant place in the study of Mayan culture.
You can also visit the San Felipe Fort, built by the Spaniards to protect themselves from pirates. Other highlights include Xcalak, an idyllic fishing village; and Bacalar, a place famous for its lagoons. The pristine waters in these are crystal clear and offer an extraordinary connection with nature.
Bacalar is a charming town with an authentic charm and an unmistakable vibe that is unlike anything you’ll find in the Riviera Maya. The small lakeside village is surrounded by family-owned businesses and a quiet, laidback lifestyle that is sure to make you feel like you’re back in the Mexican version of Mayberry!
The best way to experience this charming town is to get out and explore. A cab can be called for around 20 pesos (about $1) and drivers will be happy to show you all of the best spots in the city.
If you’re a fan of street art, Bacalar has an impressive collection of vibrant murals and unique sculptures throughout the town. Some are located in the historic center of the city, while others are spread out throughout the area.
There are plenty of things to do in Bacalar, from visiting a local beach club to exploring the nearby archaeological sites. However, if you’re looking for something a little more cultural and a bit off the beaten path, then a boat tour of the Lagoon of Seven Colors is an excellent option!