Take Your Photo In Front Of The Cozumel Sign
One of the best spots to have your picture taken is in front of the Cozumel sign. In the background youll have the ships docked and youll never forget where you were. The sign is located at the pier where Margaritaville is located and where Royal Caribbean normally docks. You might not be able to access it if your ship docks at the other piers.
Lounge And Snorkel At Playa Palancar
Located on the strip of beach clubs south of the cruise piers and on the western side of the island, Playa Palancar is technically a free beach. Entrance is free, however, you are expected to purchase food and drinks and there are also rentals like chairs and umbrellas. Facilities are also available. For people searching for a cheaper alternative to the beach clubs , its a great deal.
Renting Bikes And Scooters
Some of the downtown area can get crowded with cars and people, but if you want to venture out on your own renting a bike might be a good option. There are many shops that will rent scooters and bikes. If you dont want to have to work too much electric scooters area available too. And if you want to go beach hopping on your bike you can get one with fatter tires.
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See The World Underneath The Waves On A Glass
If you want to get out in the water but dont want to snorkel or scuba dive, you can always take a glass-bottom boat tour. These trips will take you out in the gorgeous water and give you a chance to see whats underneath the waves. The best part is you dont get wet, making it perfect for small kids or those with mobility issues. Look at the excursions with your cruise line to book.
Go On A Snorkeling Excursion
Well be honest, sometimes the seaweed can make the beaches at Costa Maya less than desirable. However, the water is still very clear if you get off the shore a little bit. Thats why its a popular spot to snorkel. Excursions are available through your cruise line and the pros can take you to spots where youll see abundant wildlife under the water.
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A Little History Of Cozumel
Though nearly a 3,000 year-old civilization, Cozumel was a commercial and ceremonial center during the classic Mayan period about 250 to 900 A.D. During this time the Mayans created many of its sacred archeological sites dotted across the island.
Mayans would travel to and from the mainland by canoe and considered this land to have religious significance.
Cozumel was also once a refuge for pirates and trading ships, giving them a place to replenish and feel protected by the dangerous coral reef. Eventually, in 1518, with the first Spanish expedition, the Spaniards occupy the land, finally making it the most prominent island inhabited by Mexico.
Now, Cozumel is a thriving tourist location for its beautiful sandy beaches, excellent snorkeling and diving, cuisine and much more.
Get Close To Tropical Birds At Aviarius
Aviarius is one of the most unique things to do in Costa Maya. Within the port area that you visit as you exit the pier, there is Aviarius an encounter with tropical birds that traverses the port. Youll walk on suspended bridges from station to station above the port, with chances to get up close and personal with all sorts of tropical birds, including flamingos and macaws. Its also a great way to get amazing views of the cruise ships in port.
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Fun Things For Cruise Passengers To Do In Costa Maya
Unheard of a decade ago, Costa Maya is quickly becoming a favorite of passengers.
Located just about 130 miles south of Cozumel, the port offers a lot of the perks of its famous island neighbor, but without near the amount of development. The result? A tropical, beachy port thats still manageable and not as heavily developed as Cozumel.
Cruise lines have been quick to pour into Costa Maya. Its location right near Cozumel means that Costa Maya can be added into an itinerary without having to go far out of the way. Chances are good that if you are headed on a cruise that travels the western Caribbean, youll make a stop in Costa Maya.
And while the area isnt as developed as some older cruise ports, it still offers plenty for passengers to do. Whether you want to explore ancient ruins, do some world-class scuba diving, or simply find a place to eat and drink to your hearts content, theres something for you.
Here are a couple of dozen ideas of things to do during your day in port
Local Transportation Tours Taxis Buses And Golf Cars
The terminal has two exits into a large parking area – this is where shore excursions tour buses do park. But it is also where you will find other local transportation.
A local tourist booth offers different packages for Mahahual’s beach clubs, including umbrellas, lounge chairs, showers, all sorts of water sports, and, obviously, bars .
If none of these packages appeal, or if you just want to spend a couple of hours at the beach in Mahahual, it is pretty easy to get on the shuttle, take a taxi or a golf car to look around Mahahual before deciding where to lay your towel and what to do.
Shuttle Kiosk – Costa Maya
In this large parking area, you will also find a shuttle bus to Mahahual , taxis , and Golf Cars if you wish to explore the area on your own. Although the golf cars may not be available in the parking area of the cruise terminal, check this link – Mayahual Golf Carts – to double-check availability and eventually book an alternative golf car rental.
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Costa Maya Excursions: Beaches In Mahahual
Shore Excursions Costa Maya: The beaches
Costa Maya shore excursions: Walking along the malecon in Mahahual
If you want to go to the beach in Mahahual, you have the choice between different, managed beach clubs. Most charge an entrance fee and provide beach chairs, umbrellas, food, installations and water activities
For some visitors, the port offer of beach clubs and excursions in Costa Maya is overwhelming. Many sellers and taxi drivers take their guests to the beach clubs, where they receive the most commission. Therefore, it is advisable to inform yourself in advance about the activities and attractions in Costa Maya and book online.
Below is an overview of the most popular beach clubs in Costa Maya. They are all located on the waterfront:
The Tropicante Costa Maya also has offers for vegetarians
Pitaya Beach Club offers international as well as Mexican cuisine and seafood
Go Off The Beaten Path At Mahahual
Live like a local on a day trip to Mahahual, a small fishing town boasting the powder-white sands of Tulum without the crowds. Mahahual provides a glimpse into the history of the Yucatan Peninsula and the daily routines of locals in their schools, shops, and homes.
While on the beach at Mahahual, lounge in the sand or take to the water on a stand-up paddleboard. Go fishing, swim with sea turtles, or explore shipwrecks on a guided dive.
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Y Down At Fat Tuesday
The first spot youll see as you exit the ship and make your way off the pier is a Fat Tuesday. This Mardi Gras-themed place has tons of drink specials and is right near the pier. In other words, its a party atmosphere. If you want to get a drink and party while in port, its the place to be and a short walk back to the ship should you have one too many.
Port Pulse: 5 Best Things To Do In Puerto Costa Maya
Puerto Costa Maya, a cruise port a few hours south of Cancun on the Caribbean coastline, is a gateway to old Mexico and Mayan culture amid very modern surroundings. The area has the highest concentration of Mayan archeological sites and the largest existing Mayan population in Mexico, according the ports website.
Get Up Close and Personal with Meet the Winemakers…Cruise Line & Cruise Ship
Built in 2001 specifically to attract cruise ships, Costa Maya offers the conveniences often sought by todays cruiser two saltwater pools, restaurants, bars and shops.
Costa Mayas 70,000-square-foot shopping center and bazaar offers crafts made by local artisans, including silver, leather and pottery, as well as stores selling liquor, fragrances, T-shirts and other souvenirs. There also are familiar retailers such as Diamonds International. The facility also has a drug store, bathrooms and a first-aid station.
The dock, capable of handling todays largest cruise ships, lets passengers walk off the ship to the facility instead of tendering the distance can be considered long for those with difficulty walking, especially in the heat. for more information.
Here are our five favorite things to do while docked at Puerto Costa Maya.
Scuba and snorkel.
Royal Caribbean offers a two-tank, four-hour dive with equipment for $126 per adult. Carnival charges $135.99 for a 3.5-hour Discover Scuba excursion.
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Visit The Mayan Ruins Of San Gervasio
The Yucatan was a hotbed for the Mayan civilization, and Cozumel is no different. Today you can take a cab and explore these ruins located in the middle of the island. The site isnt as large as major cities like Tulum or Chichen Itza, but still worthy of your time. Plus, its a convenient way to see Mayan ruins without having to take an all-day trek to the mainland.
Head Out On A Catamaran Tour
There is no shortage of way to get on the water in Cozumel. Case in point are the catamaran tours that offer the chance to sail in the crystal waters off the island, snorkel, and eat lunch. Most cruise lines will have this as an option on their excursions. Expect prices to run between $70-100 per person.
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Hit The Beach At Paradise Beach Cozumel
Whats not to like for beach lovers? Located just a few minutes south of the cruise ships, Paradise Beach is a beach club offering up a huge freshwater pool, white sand beaches, and crystal blue water. Sit on a lounger under the palm trees while the kids conquer the in-water obstacle course. Restaurants and bars are on-site meaning you can spend an entire day here, no problem.
Hang Out By The Pool In Port
As you exit the ship youll make your through the port area where there are lots of shops, restaurants, and things to see. One draw is a massive swimming pool where cruise guests can lounge and swim complete with swim-up bars. Its free to swim and hang out, making it a good option if youre looking for an affordable way to spend the day. Simply walk into the port area and youll run into the pool.
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Where Your Ship Might Dock In Cozumel
Your cruise ship will dock at one of three Cozumel cruise ports, all located on the islands western side. These include Punta Langosta, International pier, and Puerta Maya. Where you dock could depend on what cruise line you are sailing.
Think of Punta Langosta as the downtown pier. The International Pier is three miles south, and then Puerta Maya is the furthest outside of town, nearly five miles away. From Puerta Maya, its too far to walk into town, but youre closer to the beach clubs.
Punta Langosta is Cozumels local downtown pier. If your ship docks at this port, you will be in the center of it all and only a few minutes walk to downtown San Miguel, the largest city on the island.
Leaving the ship, kiosks and vendors will filter you through the Punta Langosta Mall full of shops and restaurants. And souvenir stands. Almost all Norwegian Cruise Line ships will dock here, assuming theres space. Plus, Disney and MSC also use this port.
Punta Langosta Mall has all the usual Caribbean shops Cariloha, Del Sol, Diamonds International, Colombian Emeralds. Take time to venture into the smaller shops. Be prepared to haggle for the price its what they do. But dont try to bargain too low everyone has to earn a living.
If you need any drugstore items, there is at least one pharmacy in the mall. Theres no haggling over prices at any of the pharmacies.
Final Thoughts On Costa Maya
We really werent sure what to expect from Costa Maya but were pleasantly surprised. Yes, its built specifically to cater to tourists, as most cruise docks are. But the visit to Chacchoben made it feel like we actually got to experience some local culture.
When it comes to Mayan ruins, Chacchoben is not nearly as well known as Tulum or Chichen Itza, which are closer to Cancun. But, if youre cruising, getting to Tulum, Coba or Chichen Itza from Cozumel is generally a full-day tour due to taking the ferry from the island to the mainland. In fact, when we first visited Cozumel, our excursion to the ruins at Coba was canceled due to not having enough people signed up.
Getting to Chacchoben from the ship was quick and easy and still left us plenty of time to do a little shopping and explore the port area. If youre looking for an excursion that shows off the local culture but isnt too adventurous, we highly recommend a tour of Chacchoben.
After that, youll have plenty of time to add on another excursion, do some shopping, or just head back to the ship and relax. When it comes to other excursions, there are plenty of options in Costa Maya, for adventure-seekers and beach bums alike. Having that kind of flexibility is one of the main things we love about cruising, making Costa Maya a good stop on any cruise!
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Book A Diving Excursion To Banco Chinchorro
Located off the coast of Mahahual, Banco Chinchorro is the largest coral atoll in the northern hemisphere. There are even a number of shipwrecks to explore, including a Dutch galleon where you can still see its cannons on the seafloor. Dive shops in Mahahual will offer tours and some cruise lines might also have excursions.
Visit Water Park Lost Mayan Kingdom
From the rooftop of El Tarro I saw a huge Maya temple in the distance I thought but it was the Maya Water Park right next to the Costa Maya cruise port. Visiting this water park is one of the best things to do in Costa Maya with kids. There are loads of exciting water slides, zip lines and more exciting activities.
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See How Mexico Used To Be In Mahahual
For decades Mahahual was a sleepy fishing village. While its certainly grown , in many ways it still has its character as a small town. There is a main street, lots of dirt roads and a number of small shops and restaurants. If youre expecting Cozumel or Cancun, Mahahual shows what life used to be life before Mexicos tourism boom.
Check Out The Amazing Reefs
Cozumel is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest coral reef system in the world, and it is a paradise for those who like to dive and snorkel.
Because most of the island is surrounded by some of the most amazing coral reefs in the Caribbean Cozumel has become a main attraction for thousands of expert divers every year.
Even if you just want to rent or bring along some snorkeling gear you will want to check out these pristine waters at one of the many coral reef locations.
Best places for snorkeling or diving:
- Villa Blanca Reef. Located between 2 cruise ship piers. Wall after wall of beautiful reefs.
- Chankanaab Reef. Part of Chankanaab Park. Reef is 300 yards from shore. More on Chankanaab later.
- Paradise Reef. Near the marine park. Lots of coral and sea life to see like nurse sharks and stingrays. 3 reefs 600 feet from the shore.
- Palancar Reef. Better for diving. Stunning caves and drop-offs.
- El Cielo Reef. Great for beginner snorkelers. Shallow water. Lots of starfish.
- Coral at Dzul Ha. 10 to 15 foot depth with plenty of lobster, crab, and all kinds of fish. Near beach club and restaurant.
- Colombia Reef. Great for diving with 80 foot drop-off. Find huge towers of coral, caves, caverns and marine creatures.
The first time I went to Cozumel I brought my own snorkel gear and just pulled over at random places to check out the water. Its really hard NOT to see some amazing things in the water around Cozumel.
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Explore The Waters At Xel
From the same people who brought tourists XCaret, Xel-Ha is another theme park that takes advantage of the ocean inlets and small rivers of clear water. Here you can snorkel, swim, waterslide, rope swing, and even cliff jump. There are also ziplines, bike rides and jungle trails if you want to have fun away from the water.