1. Spend time in/on the water
Costa Maya is home to part of the second largest coral reef system in the world, the Meso-American Reef Sharing the reef with neighbouring Honduras and Belize, all of these destinations are havens for underwater exploration. From snorkelling and scuba diving, to exploring the seas on a kayak or catamaran, a day on the water is the best way to spend your time in port. Many operators offer snorkelling and diving excursions, and even if you aren’t certified, there are a number of introductory courses that you can try out.
2. Beach day
With numerous beach clubs in Mahahual, there is no shortage of options for a place to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach. Most have a cover charge, and then allow unlimited beach access for the day, along with food and drinks. The ones closest to the port are generally the most expensive, so venture further afield for cheaper alternatives.
3. Explore some ruins
There are a number of Mayan ruins within driving distance of the port where you can get a dose of culture and history. Keep the traveling time in mind when booking any excursion, since a two-hour, one-way drive eats into your port time pretty quickly, leaving much less time for actual sight-seeing. The Chacchoben ruins are the most popular, while the Kohunlich are also a great place to visit.
4. Laze around at the port
The Costa Maya Cruise Port has been constructed as a sort of Mexican Disneyland, with all the traditional Mexican elements on display. From a chocolate ‘factory’ to a distillery for tequila tasting, a large pool bar bordered by loungers to colourful (and largely overpriced!) souvenir stores, live birds in a constructed jungle and dolphins in a little enclosure, the port has more than enough to keep you amused for a day. You can do a jungle walk and get close to animals, and even swim with dolphins. However, given the size of the dolphin enclosure and the crowds who want to get close to them, it’s hard not to feel sorry for these creatures and we steered clear of that sort of activity.
5. Live like a pirate
Visit Bacalar town, which provides a glimpse into the world of actual pirates. With an impressive fortress and the option to combine a visit with a trip to the beautiful seven colour lagoon and further boat rides, this is a different take on Mexico from the usual.
Honourable mention: there is also a Mayan theme park that promises fun for all ages, from river rides and ziplines, to waterslides and a relaxing pool.