Western Caribbean cruise, part 3: Costa Maya

Today’s tidbit: “Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

Continuing along our Western Caribbean cruise, our third stop was Costa Maya. The port area is all man made. As I have mentioned, I prefer getting out of the tourist area and really seeing the island and interacting with the locals and all that place offers, which is exactly what we did. With acres of unspoiled coastal land, vast natural resources and rich historic and cultural influences, it would be a shame not to venture out. We booked the Mayan Experience, an all day tour. The adventure started with a guided tour of the Chacchoben Ruins and continues on to Chacchoben village where we ate an authentic lunch prepared by a family at their home.

Sneak peek image:

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Be sure to click below to read more and check out more pictures. Enjoy!

{Costa Maya port + culture}

As the website states, “It is the first Western Caribbean port designed exclusively for the cruise ship industry and is strategically located just hours from Cancun on Mexico’s southern Yucatan Peninsula. Resembling an ancient Mayan city, Costa Maya is able to accommodate three ships at once, with the capability to dock Oasis and Epic sized ships, and entertain visitors at a destination that showcases the ancient and colonial heritage of the Mexican Caribbean with all of today’s modern conveniences.

Set against the deep turquoise sea, Costa Maya is comprised of three grand pavilions, artisan and costamaya shopping areas, a beach club, saltwater pools, fine restaurants and bars, and all the resources necessary to explore the surrounding jungle and coral reefs. It is the region’s most complete and diverse port of call, providing cultural, natural and archeological excursions. Costa Maya is one of ten ports in the Western Caribbean and is the winner of Seatrade Insider’s Port of the Year.” Read more.

Along our tour we learned that while the locals are grateful for the port and the visitors it brings, they also are strongly working to keep Costa Maya unspoiled and not turn it into another tourist island like Cancun. They want visitors to see the island and people for what it really is… and rightfully so. “With acres of unspoiled coastal land, vast natural resources and rich historic and cultural influences, Costa Maya offers visitors true insight into the essence of Mayan culture and the heritage of the Mexican Caribbean. Costa Maya has the highest concentration of Mayan archeological sites and the largest existing Mayan population in Mexico.” Read more.

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{Chacchoben Mayan Ruins}

As the website states, “For many years Chacchoben, remained silent as evidence of the greatness of one of the most brilliant civilizations of the new world. Today, Chacchoben is the most visited ruins site in Costa Maya. Explore Chacchoben’s ritual heart, a space once reserved for great kings and nobles and now yours to discover. Experience the world of the ancient Maya and feel their vision while you enliven your senses with the sounds of nature.” Read more.

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{Mayan Experience tour}

One of my favorite things about traveling is to embrace different cultures and interact with locals. You get a totally different experience than if you just stick to the tourist areas that are often more of a comfort zone.

As the website states, “Open up to the opportunity to experience a different world first hand, have fun as you learn how to make your own tortilla, enjoy the exotic flavors of the Yucatan with an authentic lunch cooked with local spices and ingredients specially for your visit and make new friends.The Mayan Experience adventure starts as you immerse into the world of the ancient Maya at the peaceful ceremonial center of Chacchoben Ruins with a guided tour.

After the ruins the adventure continues on to Chacchoben village where the ladies from a local family will welcome you into their colorful world where, as a special guest, you’ll witness how the traditions and way of life that survived from the glorious days of the Maya civilization and the Spanish conquest blend with the modern world resulting in a colorful expression of today’s Maya culture.” Read more.

It really was a neat experience and I would highly recommend it!

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{sun, sand & water} After that delicious lunch and colorful experience we headed back in the bus. Once we arrived where the tour had started from we had a little bit of time before having to be back on the ship. Time to enjoy the beach!

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Back on the ship, we soaked up the last of the sun on the deck as we enjoyed the daily drink special and watched the sunset as we pulled out. Perfect.

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Really a great place to visit that gives you a totally different feeling than most of the islands I’ve been to.

Check back next week as we head to Cozumel, our final stop.

5 Responses to “Western Caribbean cruise, part 3: Costa Maya”

  1. Allie says:

    That was a fun day…that lunch and those tortillas were so good! Always nice to see the “real” parts as well as enjoy the touristy beach

  2. Karen says:

    It surely was one of the most authentic days and something most tourists do not get to experience. Glad I found Native Choice Tours! Not a beach person, but I have to agree that was lovely.

    • alyssa says:

      It was definitely something different and a nice change. Just like South Africa, it’s always nice to really interact with the locals and immerse yourself in their lifestyle. Lovely day all around.

  3. Anne says:

    Beauty, history and culture… very neat opportunity and day you all had!

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