Costa Maya

Costa Maya is a small tourist region in the municipality of Othón P. Blanco in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, the only state bounded by the Caribbean Sea to its east. This municipality is close to Chetumal (capital of the state) on the border with Belize. The area is generally undeveloped but has been growing quickly and rapidly after construction of a large pier to accommodate cruise ships. Costa Maya includes two small villages − Mahahual and Xcalak − and extends physically from Xcalak in the south to the southern border of the Sian Ka’an in the north, a distance of approximately . While Xcalak is approximately south of the Costa Maya cruise port, the fishing village of Mahahual is only about away. Cruise ships can easily be seen from the village. Mahahual has soft sand beaches, grass thatched palapas, and a coral reef a short distance off-shore called Banco Chinchorro, as well as several bars, restaurants, and shops. A new development called New Mahahual is being created directly inland from the port. When ships are in port, the village is busy with cruise passengers. Costa Maya’s port has a new and modern tourist shopping mall. The center has a central plaza with saltwater pools and ‘swim-up’ style bars. There are several jewellery stores and many small shops selling ubiquitous souvenir items. It is generally open only to cruise ship passengers. Costa Maya is the closest port of access to many of the lesser known Mayan ruins in the Yucatan including Chacchoben and Kohunlich. These sites are substantially less excavated than the better known pyramids of Tulum and Coba to the north; Chichen Itza and Uxmal in Yucatan. The port sustained heavy damage due to Hurricane Dean in August 2007. This included the dock designed for cruise ships. Holland America’s Westerdam was the first cruise ship to return to the port since Hurricane Dean on October 31, 2008.