Holland America Port of Call: Costa Maya, Mexico

What an incredible day we had in Costa Maya, Mexico. The ship was able to dock at this port which is always better than having to tender in, because you have
freedom to come and go off the ship as you like. Costa Maya itself is really beautiful. The shore is modern, colourful and vibrant, and very welcoming. You can swim with the dolphins right near the port entrance, and there's plenty of shopping, swimming, and deck chairs for sun soaking with food and drink options close by. For our visit to Costa Maya, we decided to visit the Chochoben Mayan Ruins (definitely one of my bucket list items), and we had some time to kill before our tour started so we decided to grab a drink and some munchies.

I remember this day was SCORCHING HOT! One of those days where doing absolutely nothing, not moving an ounce, can cause you to break out in a crazy sweat. The only other time I've ever experienced weather this hot was on an abnormally warm day in Venice, Italy. Because I'm fair-skinned and the sun loves to burn me to a crisp, these are not my favourite kind of days but the excursion ended up being one of the highlights of our trip!

For all of the shore excursions, you meet your tour guide right at the end of the dock before entering in the port. Our tour was around $80-90 dollars, and was set to be 4 hours. We boarded a coach bus with no air conditioning (eek). The drive was about a half hour to 45 minutes, but along the way we had to stop and wait for another coach bus to pick us up because the speaker for the microphone wasn't working on ours. That was a bit of a killer in the heat but we tried
to keep positive in anticipation of what we'd be seeing later on that day!

Our tour guide Manuel was amazing! You could tell he was very proud of the Ruins and of being from the area. He was full of knowledge about the Ruins and had even offered paintings to show us of what he perceived the Ruins to look like in their hey day based on his historic knowledge of studying their past. Even though the day was sweltering hot, he answered all our questions and provided an incredible amount of information. Which for me is great because I'm a total sponge when it comes to exploring and learning new things. I

was impressed that there were quite a few more Ruins at this site than I expected. We learned that at one point it's believed the Ruins were originally covered in red stucco and claimed a bustling city home to 20-30 thousand people! The steps of the Ruins are tall, so when you walk them you have to look down to watch your step, which also puts you in the position of praying to the gods (which we got to try!). Climbing down the Ruins, you were supposed to side-step in their day as to not turn your back on the gods. We learned this location is actually quite new, only discovered in the past
10-15 years. The location was found because someone was flying over the area and noticed the land was quite mountainous, where normally it should be quite flat. As we were walking along, Manuel showed us random hills of dirt that he mentioned are pyramids that have yet to be unearthed. Because the terrain should all be flat, they know these random hills hide more secrets of the past so they are still working at uncovering them all. The area itself contains very large trees that are
hundreds of years old. It's all very beautiful!

At the end of our tour, we were offered a free beer or beverage. Free. Beer. Seriously! Nice touch, Costa Maya! We actually opted for pop because the day was sooo hot. On the ride back we melted from heat and exhaustion but we were also pleasantly and completely overwhelmed and mesmerized by the incredible history lesson we'd just experienced.

This day was incredible.


  1. Hey Leanne, I am traveling to costa maya mexico... and I was wanting to spend time at the pool you posted a picture of, do you remember the resort name?


  2. Hi Gracie - I don't recall the exact name but I do know it was directly at the port of call where our ship was docked. Hopefully that helps. There was a lot of activity areas right at the ship dock including the pool area, restaurants and swimming with the dolphins. I hope you have a nice time on your trip! :)

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