There are ways to get to this small colorful island -- a tourist region in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo -- but the easiest and most convenient way is via cruise vacation. Even a half day's worth of exploration is enjoyable.
Part of the
|Visitors are welcomed by a Mayan greeter|
Puerto (port of) Costa Maya was specifically designed for the enjoyment of cruise ship guests. Some ten years ago, it was a simple laid-back fishing town that was morphed thanks to rebuilding and expansion. Now there is a promenade that runs along the beach.
|Visitors shop and sunbathe at Costa Maya's plaza|
Now, when cruise guests
disembark the ship, they find themselves entering Costa Maya's
70,000-square-foot shopping and entertainment center complete with
saltwater pools, a 650-seat amphitheater, markets and restaurants.
In the massive central swimming pool, guests stay cool while
enjoying the sounds of music and the tropical views of the
The pool overlooks shops selling clothing, jewelry -- everything from Tanzanite and diamonds to gold watches -- and handicrafts, to Mayan art, silver, leather, fragrances, etc. Walk around the complex and you may come upon partnered male and female dancers festively twirling and dancing to lively music while dressed in vibrantly colorful outfits.
|Dancers perform in the shopping plaza at Costa Maya|
Costa Maya's population is only about 2,000, but the region itself is home to a huge population of Mayan descendants, and a large concentration of ancient Mayan archaeological sites. The Great Mayan Reef off Costa Maya's coast is an ecosystem that is touted as the world's second largest barrier reef.
All of this gives
visitors plentiful choices for activities and diversions. This is
why cruise ships offer so many Costa Maya excursions. If shopping or
lazing on a beach is not your ideal, and if kayaking and snorkeling
aren't on your recreation list, then consider a tour of Chacchoen
Mayan ruins located in a jungle setting about an hour from the
For a family adventure,
take a glass bottom boat tour that begins in the nearby Mayan
Houses in Costa Maya are
painted in bright pastels typical of the