Costa Maya, a port of call on a Disney Cruise Line Caribbean Cruise vacation, is a tourist region located on the Yucatán Peninsula 100 miles south of Playa del Carmen near the border of Belize in Mexico. Comprised of 2 small villages, Mahahual and Xcalak, Costa Maya provides a picture-perfect getaway the entire family is sure to love.
Things to See and Do
Amid jungle terrain and sparkling beaches, Costa Maya offers an unforgettable adventure to all who visit. Guests wanting to get closer to nature should look no further than the underwater beauty of Banco Chinchorro, considered to be the largest reef in Mexico and the second largest in the world.
History lovers on the hunt for adventure will want to spend time at Costa Maya's most famous landmark, the ruins at Chacchoben. Constructed in the 4th century by the Mayans, this ancient city includes magnificent stone structures and pyramids and was only recently opened to public.
For sun worshippers, Costa Maya's beaches are as abundant as they are beautiful. The most popular is Uvero Beach, which features sprawling white sands, clear blue water and charming eateries and shops.
Local Culture and Flavor
Costa Maya is a relatively new destination for tourists, so the area feels more authentic than many other cruise destinations. The timeless natural beauty is built around the small seaside village of nearby Mahahual, a haven for fisherman for thousands of years. Notwithstanding the restaurants, shops, pools and bars that can be found in the in the center of town, dusty dirt roads, thick green jungles and tranquil lagoons are still the norm in this part of Mexico, offering a restful retreat unlike any other.
Past and Present
Early Mayans were predominant in the area from 200 B.C. to 900 A.D. In the 16th century, English pirates ravaged the coast and battled the Spanish for control of the region. At the end of the 19th century, the Mexican Navy took over the land. A treaty with Britain was signed soon after limiting the territorial rights of Mexico, thereby forcing Mexico to build a new trade port in Xcalak.
By the 1950's, the economy was flourishing as businesses—including stone and wood construction companies—made the region a supply center for the region. Steady growth continued until the mid-1990's when the government outlined a plan to make Costa Maya a tourist destination. Today, tourism is Costa Maya's main economic revenue stream and it's easy to understand why, thanks to the island's plethora of unspoiled natural beauty that has remained untouched for thousands of years.
Fun Facts & Tips
Today, Costa Maya is home to one of the largest indigenous populations of Mayans in all of Mexico.
Although it may feel like an island, Costa Maya is actually located on a peninsula.