Our final port was in Puerto Costa Maya, which is a little town on the Mexican coast. Before we went on the cruise, we booked an excursion here through The Native Choice and as the date approached and we realized that we only had 5.5 hours off of the boat, and our tour was set to last 5.5 hours. So naturally we were getting a little nervous that we might be stuck in Costa Maya. We tried to email them a couple of times, but never got a response. We figured we’d just go to the meeting point and see what they say, either we’d cancel and get our money back or they would work with us and make sure we were back on the boat by the time we needed to be.
The Costa Maya cruise port is actually really cute. It’s decorated very festive-like with people dressed up, shops (of course), and a few bars and places to lounge on the water, among some other things.
The Native Choice office was only about a 10 minute walk from the cruise port. When we arrived, they were already aware of our departure time and had condensed where they needed to in order to make sure we still saw everything that we were paying for. We breathed a huge sigh of relief.
I included the link above in case you are interested in more information about The Native Choice and the tour that we booked. I highly recommend it.
Our tour started with a bus ride about 30 or so minutes out to the Chacchoben ruins, where we were told are home to about 14 different temples. Some have been kept up with and some have let the nature grow over them. The ones that they have kept in good condition are so gorgeous, and the whole grounds area really is just beautiful. There are these vines called Strangler Figs everywhere and wow! what a sight that is. We saw all three stages of the “strangling” process, from when it latches onto the tree it is going to over take all the way to when it is finished and all you see is hollow shell of where the tree used to be.
While you can’t walk up the temples here, at one point you walk up the steps that lead to a second level where two more temples are, and the sight of when you cross the horizon line and see the sun hitting one of the temples (complete with a vultur
e sitting on top) was spectacular. The general layout of all of the temples that we have seen throughout our vacation are the same, and yet you never actually tire of seeing them. Or at least I didn’t.
We then left the ruins and headed to a Mayan village where some natives
would be cooking us lunch. The town was gorgeous. We had a tour of the house and their garden where we would be eating, but they weren’t quite ready to serve us (our hosts were three ladies dressed in traditional clothing and cooking over an open flame, when it was easily 85 degrees out!), so we took a walk around the colorful and vibrant village as our tour guide (Enrique, he was awesome, super nice and very informative) told us some fun facts. My favorite part was all of the dogs walking around. One dog actually walked with us for part of the way and then just walked into these people’s house like she owned the place…. so adorable!
At one point we passed a school and Enrique told us that they used to let tourists go to the school, but it was effecting the children in that when their teacher would ask what they wanted to be when they grew up the children would yell out “a Tourist!”… so they stopped that part of their tours. Personally, I think the children had the right of it… why wouldn’t a tourist (or how I portrayed it… a traveler) be a bad thing for a child to want to grow up to be?
We got back to the village and before we ate one of the ladies taught us how to make tortillas (we all failed miserably and she had to fix them to make them pretty… I think it was a set up because she had to have had flour on her hands as fast as she was working the dough). It was a lot of fun to try it out and particularly to watch them cook over the open flame; they would puff up right before they were done. And the lady cooking them was a beast, taking them off of the flame with her bare hands. She handed me mine and I was wincing trying to hold it!
Lunch consisted of tamales made in banana leaves, chicken, rice and beans, and vegetables. They also brought us out empanadas and for desert we had fruit kabobs and flan. It was all so delicious, I could have eaten all of the handmade dishes full of food. I’m even not a fan of flan, but their texture wasn’t gross and gelatinous like the time’s I’ve tried it in the states.
We then had to head back to our boat.
The experience was wonderful and I definitely recommend anyone who is going to Costa Maya to take the time to do this tour, it is more than worth every penny.
Our final day of the cruise was a day at sea. So another day filled with drinks and sunshine and food and having fun. It’s so crazy how fast time flies when you’re on vacation!
Have you been to Costa Maya? What did you get to see, eat, or do while you were there? I’d love to hear you stories! Feel free to share in the comments 🙂