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Cruises to Costa Maya

Costa Maya (Photo:Roman Stetsyk/Shutterstock)
Costa Maya (Photo:Roman Stetsyk/Shutterstock)

About Costa Maya

If you build it, they will come. Costa Maya, located on a peninsula along Mexico's Caribbean coast (about 100 miles south of Playa del Carmen), feels like a private island created from scratch expressly for cruisers. That's because it was; developers created the port terminal/faux village complex not far from the Belize border solely to woo cruise lines, and everything -- from the manmade malecon, a beachfront pedestrian path in nearby Mahahual, to the beach club used for shore excursions -- has been created with passengers in mind.

The port itself, which opened for business in 2001 and was rebuilt after Hurricane Dean in 2007, features myriad facilities in its village -- pools, restaurants, a spa, shops and a small beach (though it's too rocky to swim). The port developers also own a club and water sports area on Uvero Beach, which is actually away from the terminal and is typically used by cruise lines as a shore excursion option. Besides the amenities that tourists see, developers took care of the essentials outside the village including brick-paved roads, concrete cottages for employees (who all come from elsewhere) and a water-sanitation system. (Yes, it is safe to drink water within the Costa Maya confines.)

Beyond that, the folks who created Costa Maya also invested in and remade Mahahual (also known as Majahual), a one-time fishing village of 200 people that's about a 45-minute walk or $8 cab ride away. An attractive malecon anchors a row of seaside hotels, restaurants, dive shops and beach clubs that serve fresh ceviche and offer water activities along lovely white sand beaches with shallow surf (perfect for families). Although development is restricted to low-rise buildings, Mahahual's growth has attracted a small group of entrepreneurs, including a sizable Italian community, interested in making the town the "next Tulum."

For travelers who just want to get into the "don't worry, be happy" mindset, the appeal of the area's beach clubs, usually with free Wi-Fi and the lure of cheap beach massages, can pretty much consume the day. Those who want to venture further have intriguing options, too. The region is home to some lesser-known (but still important) Mayan ruins. The site most cruise passengers come here to see is Chacchoben, a city dating to around 350 A.D.; some excursions focus solely on Mayan food and culture. Bacalar lagoon offers kayaking and swimming in the Cenote Azul, and there's also a Spanish fortress you can tour. While Costa Maya might look sleepy at a glance, there's something for everyone in this corner of the Caribbean -- and it only keeps growing.

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DAY 1: Tampa

7 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Tampa
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Cozumel, Roatan ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
New Orleans
Visiting:
Costa Maya, Harvest Caye ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Miami

12 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Great Stirrup Cay, Cartagena ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Miami

11 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Cartagena, Gatun Lake ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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17 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Coquimbo, Arica ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Perfect Day at CocoCay, Cozumel ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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18 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Key West, Cozumel ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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6 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Galveston
Visiting:
Costa Maya, Roatan ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Key West, Costa Maya ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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5 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Costa Maya, Cozumel ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
New Orleans
Visiting:
Cozumel, Costa Maya ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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11 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Cartagena, Gatun Lake ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Port Canaveral
Visiting:
Cozumel, Costa Maya ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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66 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Puerto Plata, San Juan ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Costa Maya, Roatan ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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56 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
St. Maarten
Visiting:
Antigua, Sopers Hole ...
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Cruise Line:
Windstar Cruises
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6 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Cozumel, Belize City ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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6 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Galveston
Visiting:
Costa Maya, Belize City ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

11 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Cartagena, Colon ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Galveston
Visiting:
Costa Maya, Roatan ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Tampa
Visiting:
Roatan, Costa Maya ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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12 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
Cozumel, Grand Cayman ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
New Orleans
Visiting:
Cozumel, Harvest Caye ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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73 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
St. Barts, Martinique ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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5 Night
Cruise to Costa Maya

Leaving:
Galveston
Visiting:
Costa Maya, Cozumel ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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Why go to Costa Maya?

Pros:

Mayan ruins, as well as beach activities, are the main draw.

Cons:

Beachfront town is a long walk or taxi ride from the port area.

Bottom Line:

This port was designed with cruisers in mind and offers a day's worth of fun in the sun.

Costa Maya Cruise Port Facilities?

The terminal, a faux village created solely for cruise passengers, is just steps from the dock. The pier-side complex features a number of free-to-use pools, one of which is huge with a swim-up bar; restaurants, bars and shops including the usual suspects like Diamonds International; and a small beach lined with chairs and hammocks for relaxing.

Good to Know?

Because of the area's small size, Costa Maya and Mahahual have very little crime. The only real hassle are the vendors who walk on the beach (some beach clubs forbid them, but enforcement is lax). A simple "no gracias" sends them along.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency in Costa Maya is the Mexican peso. However, many vendors will gladly accept U.S. currency. There's an ATM in the cruise port area and also in Mahahual, but you might want to have cash on hand before this stop, as few vendors take credit cards.

Language?

Spanish is the official language, though English is widely spoken, as most places in the area cater to tourists.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya Destinations
  • 2016 Top-Rated Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya Destinations

Costa Maya Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Escape
Ryanfifield95
Sail Date: Mar 2020
Costa maya was our favorite stop! They have some many options right at the port that I would suggest not doing a single excursion that day! They have two pools with swim up bars, many shops, great restaurants! It... Read More
Norwegian Escape
Jackieohhh
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Costa Maya is very cute. But also very touristy. It’s almost like a fake area of Mexico. You had a long walk to actually get to Costa Maya but once you got there there were tons of shops especially little shops.... Read More
Norwegian Pearl
JenKeyes
Sail Date: Jan 2020
Loved Costa Maya! Wonderful shopping and lots to do.... Read More
MSC Meraviglia
cruzingambler
Sail Date: Mar 2020
Greeted by one of the owners, David, on our arrival. He gave us a tour & introduced us to his staff. We had open bar, delicious drinks & a delicious all you could eat lunch!! Kudos to the team. We had comfortable... Read More
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