What to Do In Costa Maya Mexico Instead of an Expensive Shore Excursion

After almost three years I recently had the chance to return to Costa Maya. Why was I excited? Costa Maya has always been one of my favorite cruise ports in the Western Caribbean.

A stop at the Costa Maya cruise port is a great excuse for anyone to eat good local food and simply relax on the beach.

If you’re going to Costa Maya on your cruise, lucky you! By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll know why it’s one of my top Caribbean cruise ports

And you’ll learn how to save money here, too.

Port of Costa Maya Mexico welcome sign.
Port of Costa Maya Mexico welcome sign

Best Things to Do In Costa Maya, Mexico

You don’t have to spend a lot of money.

In this article, I’ll explain how to spend a really great day in Costa Maya without buying an expensive shore excursion.

Puerto Costa Maya (the port’s official name) and the nearby sleepy town of Mahahual was once a rural fishing village. It wasn’t until 2002 that this region was transformed into the popular cruise ship destination. 

Costa Maya was the first “manufactured” cruise port in the Caribbean, but the infrastructure didn’t last too long. In 2007, Hurricane Dean had a devastating impact in the area. Costa Maya cruise port was closed for a little over a year. 

Finally, Costa Maya reopened and the port complex has been growing ever since.

Where is Costa Maya, Mexico?

When your cruise is going to Costa Maya, most people wonder, “where is it and what’s there to do when I get there?” Actually, a lot of people haven’t even heard of Costa Maya, Mexico. Or they’ve heard the name but have no clue what to do there.

Situated along the turquoise-colored Caribbean Sea, Puerto Costa Maya (Costa Maya cruise port) and its nearby towns rest between the sea and the deep jungle.

Geographically speaking, Costa Maya, Mexico is located on the Yucatan peninsula, near the southern border of Quintana Roo, one of 32 Mexican states. 

What to Do in Puerto Costa Maya Instead of a Shore Excursion

Cruise lines offer full-day and expensive shore excursions to visit the incredible Mayan pyramids, dolphin encounters or snorkeling. That’s great if you want to spend time on a motor coach.

Then there are the on-site tour operators who greet cruise passengers as they enter the port, hoping to pick up some last-minute business. These hard workers offer many of the same excursions as the cruise lines.

When I’m in Costa Maya, I just want a really good lunch and a cold drink. Followed by a couple of hours lounging in a beach chair or floating on a mat in the ocean.

Here’s how to do exactly that, save a bundle of cash and have one of the best port days ever. Head over to the town of Mahahual and its beautiful beaches.

How to Get to Mahahual Beach from Costa Maya Cruise Port

Directions from the cruise ship complex to the transportation area has changed over the last few years. As of this update, here’s how to get to Mahahual and the beaches on your own.

View of the walkway from the cruise ship pier in to the main entrance.
Port pier

Walk (or take the free tram) along the lengthy pier from your ship to the port’s colorful entrance. Don’t hesitate to hop aboard the tram if it’s really hot outside. The walk is longer than it looks!1.  After you pass through the Costa Maya entrance, follow the pedestrian path as you enter the bustling cruise recreation and shopping complex.  You know you’re on the right path as you pass the grand staircase on your right.

staircase with the open short cut to trolley area but now closed.
Mayan staircase in the port

Update:  This little breezeway path behind the stairs is now closed. 

You can’t “cut” through behind the stairs anymore to the taxi and transportation area. Now you have to walk past a zillion shops and snack bars until you come to the beautiful pink flamingoes.

Flamingoes at the cruise port
Flamingo pool in the cruise port

Look to Your Right, Across from the Flamingoes

2.  There are of course more shops.  But what’s special about Amorino is that it’s the quickest (and maybe tastiest) shortcut to the transportation area out of the cruise complex!

Amorino Gelato in the cruise port.
Amorino Gelato in the cruise port

Be polite as you cut through the shop and maybe promise to stop on your way back for a creamy gelato.

3.  Once you’re on the other side of Amorino’s, you’re getting closer to the taxi and rental area.  Plus you’ve avoided at least another dozen shops that try to lure you inside to buy.

PRO TIP:  Some of these locally owned shops have wonderful items, including unique turquoise and sterling silver jewelry, so plan to have some time to browse or shop on your way back to the ship.

Walkway to taxi area at the port.
Walkway to taxi area at the port

4. Here’s what you’ll see as you approach the taxi area.  Yes, you’re in the right place…it’s undergoing some improvements so don’t mind the appearance. Keep walking…

The taxi and golf cart rental area at the port.
The taxi and golf cart rental area at the port

Here’s where you can rent a golf cart or hire a taxi. The trolley and/or shuttle are currently not operating, at least not when I was there.

Take a Taxi or Golf Cart to the Beach

You can take a $8 taxi ride (that’s per taxi for one or more people) to anywhere in Mahahual. Or you can rent a golf cart for the day.

The current rate for a golf cart is $60 for a four-seater or $80 for a golf cart for 6 people for the entire day.

The golf cart rental company employees are wearing red shirts, thus the company name, Red Shirt Golf Carts!

A reader recently emailed me that you now need to make a reservation if you want to rent a golf cart! You can Google them and call Mayahual Red Shirts Golf Cart rentals to reserve your golf cart.

Illustrated map showing highlights of Costa Maya and Mahahual area.
Map showing highlights of Costa Maya and Mahahual area

5.  Take a taxi to 40 Canons/Cuarenta Cañones/40 Canones.

Tell whomever is driving that you want to go to 40 Canons Hotel or in Spanish, simply, Cuarenta Cañones. It’s a 10-15 minute ride until you reach the last stop at the end of the road. The town is actually Mahahual.

The driver will stop at the entrance to the hotel. Enter the whitewashed breezeway at 40 Cañones and walk towards the beach. You can’t miss it.

40 Canons Hotel breezeway in Mahahual, Mexico.
View looking back towards the road with my back to the beach

And Then There’s This – 40 Cañones Beach Club

40 Canons Beach Club.
Pez Quadro Beach Club opposite 40 Canons

and this…

40 Canons at the Promenade in Mahahual Mexico, near the Port.
You can walk and walk along this quiet Maleçon (promenade) along the sea. Some nice little shops, too.

Spend the day on the beach – there are several beach clubs along this stretch of promenade. All charge a fee.

Pez Quadro, the Beach Club at 40 Cañones, has an All You Can Drink package that also includes a meal, wifi and lounge chair for $122 per person. 

There’s also an all you can drink non-alcoholic package with the same amenities for only $45 per person. That’s a bargain price for sure. The food at the hotel is excellent.

Also a Lobster meal and open bar day pass for $167. 

40 Canones restaurant in Costa Maya, Mexico.
My favorite restaurant in Costa Maya is at 40 Cañones.

Where I Prefer to Eat Lunch

Personally, I always go to the outdoor dining area at the hotel for a fabulous lunch. At 40 Canons you can choose Italian or Mexican. The owners are Italian and serve traditional Italian meals.

Shrimp fajitas at 40 Canones restaurant
Freshly caught shrimp for their fajitas, tasty guacamole and so much more.

I love the shrimp fajitas. Guacamole is awesome, too…everything there is good. A full lunch with a drink will run from $12 to $30 depending of course if you order a fresh-caught lobster or a cheese quesadilla.

If you go with the Pez Quadro Beach Package, one dish is included in the rates.

Homemade guacamole and chips at 40 Canones in Mexico.
More of the same…so good.

After lunch, I like to take a walk along the promenade then head back to the hotel and the beach club.

You’ll find the beach and town quiet, peaceful and pretty much undeveloped.

When it’s time to head back to your ship (be sure to allow at least a full hour) just walk back to the road through the hotel. Taxis are usually available, but leave enough time just in case you have to wait.

As you drive back to Costa Maya (for a short distance it’s a different route) look for these rainbow-colored cabanas.

Colorful tiny houses in Mahajual Mexico.
I asked the driver to slow down so I could get a photo of these tiny houses

Once back at the cruise port, just follow the crowds out towards the pier. You can buy any last minute souvenirs from the hundreds of stalls and shops at the complex. Or that gelato I mentioned earlier!

People on board the free trolley at the port back to the ship.
Hop on the free trolley to go to and from your ship

Too tired to walk? Take the complimentary trolley back to your ship.

Seriously….You Could Have This…

Busy and crowded swimming pool at entertainment complex in the port.
Doesn’t look too bad…

Or You Could Have This…It’s Your Vacation

Stretch of beautiful sandy beach at Costa Maya in Mahajual Mexico.
Stretch of beautiful sandy beach at Costa Maya in Mahajual Mexico

The beautiful beaches of Costa Maya, Mexico. One heck of a cruise port!


Pinterest pin for what to do in Costa Maya, Mexico, with beach chairs and umbrellas. #costamaya

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  1. Hi Jennifer, thanks SO much for your positive feedback. Much appreciated. I’m so glad that you enjoyed your stay in Costa Maya and especially at Pez Quadro! And thank you for taking the time to write about your experience after your cruise. Happy cruising!

  2. We just followed you plan for Pez Quadro a few weeks ago and it was perfect. The cabs were easy to find, the beach was great and the food was delicious. Thank you so much! We are going on the same cruise next year and will do this again.

  3. I’ve been in Costa Maya once on a cruise to see the Mayan ruins. If I were on a ship that stopped there again, I’d probably stay on board.

  4. Hi Whitney,
    Thank you for your glowing comment…really made my day! While the Mayan ruins certainly are interesting to see, sometimes you just need to sit on a beach and relax. I totally get it! Thank you for signing up for my newsletter, too. I hope to get an Icon of the Seas review asap. Happy travels and Cheers to the pina colada!

  5. Hi cruise maven! Im not really into things like this but i read your article (above) for about 3 minutes and thought, oh my goodness this is the kind of right to the point with specific information I need and what she says….she gets ME. You hit the nail on the head. Mayan ruins …. great if you want to sit on the bus but I want to be on the beach drinking a beer or pina colada, with my wife snorkeling or swimming or doing nothing in a bathing suit! Thanks for being here and I will pay attention. FYI, next cruise is the Icon of the Seas, November, 2025 (we just got back from a Caribbean cruise in December) Hopefully by then you will have some feedback about the Icon of the Seas or its sister ships. I signed up for your newsletter and …Thanks again!

  6. Hi Anita,
    Yes, I was there late last year and updated the post to reflect the changes I noticed that happened since 2018. I hope I did not miss anything that also needed an update.


  7. Hi Penny,
    Thank you for reading my article and taking the time to ask your question. It all would depend on the amount of time that your Mayan ruins tour lasts. So without knowing that information, all I can suggest is to allow 45 minutes each way from cruise complex to Pez Quadro, based on taxi availability. How much time you plan to spend in Mahahual is up to you of course.
    Thanks again and have a terrific cruise and day in Costa Maya.

  8. how much time does it typically take to do this? We would like to do this after visiting the mayan ruins.

  9. Hi Bill,
    I’d check with your ship’s shore excursions – they’ll have all the other types of things to do besides eat. Thank you for your question and reading my article. Have a great trip!

  10. Hi Kathy,
    Thanks for reading my article. I’ve never known it to be necessary to reserve at Pez Quadro, but if you’d like to ensure a space, you can reserve a package on their website at https://www.pezquadrocostamaya.com/. If you’re not interested in a package with lunch and/or alcohol, then you could just walk up and, unless everyone on your ship is there, I would like to think that you could pay when you get there. Have a wonderful day in Costa Maya! And thanks again for reading the article.

  11. Hi Sherry thanks for the information on Costa Maya. Do you know if you have to have a reservation for the beach club next to the hotel, or can you just walk in? Our ship doesn’t dock until 1 pm so I’m not sure what we will want to do since it will be getting dark around 6.

  12. We will be in Costa Maya in June. We were told to rent a golf cart and go to the end of the road an check out several of the beach locations as we head back. They have always felt safe there and said the experience is great. Have you tried this? We do have a golf cart reserved but want to make sure it’s a good option before we get there. Excited to explore!

  13. Hi,
    Sorry to read about your unfortunately experience in Costa Maya. I don’t know what cruise line or hotel was included in your shore excursion, but it sounds awful. You should have been told to wear water shoes at the beach as the shore line can be very rocky and have shells. As for the military showing up, it’s not uncommon. In fact, the other day I heard there was some trouble in Mahahual, so that could account for the police presence.

    I hope you brought your complaint to the shore excursion staff and hopefully received a refund or onboard credit. Mahahual is a quaint fishing town with some good restaurants and beach-y hotels.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  14. I was in Costa Maya a couple weeks ago. If you do not leave the Port it is beautiful. However, we chose to leave the port and take what they called the “beach excursion”. We had been to Belize the day before so were excited to visit the beaches at Costa Maya. DON’T !!!! It cost us $80 a piece to go on the “beach excursion” and I have to tell you it was terrible. We took a tour bus, best part of trip. On the way to the beach there was not but run down buildings and garbage everywhere. When we got to the “resort”, there were old mattresses and garbage all around. The smell well it was horrible. However, we were stuck there, tour bus could not return to ship. So here we are stuck there! We walk inside and the sea grass and rocks were so horrible that you couldn’t get in the water if you wanted to. But I wouldn’t have wanted to anyhow because you have to PAY to use the bathroom. So you know the people that were going in the water were going for one reason. The vendors aggrevate you until you just can’t take it anymore and lose your cool. I had the same lady ask me 7 times if I wanted my hair braided. My hair is 2 inches long. NO NO NO I don’t. I finally had to get rude. It was free drinks all day ! The menu said the drinks had alcohol in them but the did not ! I was to afraid to try the food that the place was just nasty ! When we were finally able to LEAVE the beach. We saw trucks with guys in the back of them with face mask and machine guns. We that can’t be safe! In conclusion, for now, stay away from Costa Maya!

  15. Hi Brooke,
    Thank you for reading my article about Costa Maya. Yes, shopkeepers and taxis will gladly accept US dollars. In fact, that can give you a little bit of a bargaining point when shopping. Be sure to have small bills, too. I hope you have a wonderful time!

  16. Thank you for your helpful post! I have a question about paying for a taxi and the entrance fee to 40 Cannons. Do they accept US Dollars for payment or do we need to use pesos? Also, ca we use dollars to purchase items from the tourist shop?


  17. Hi Sallie,
    Thank you for reading my article and taking the time to ask your question. I was in Costa Maya a few months ago and did not see any bicycle rentals at the cruise complex or outside of it. If it was me, even if there were bicycles to rent, I would not rent one. But that’s my personal opinion. Once you get to Costa Maya and leave the cruise complex, you may see bike rentals, but again, I did not. Enjoy Costa Maya whatever way you choose to explore and spend the day. Have a fun cruise!

  18. Thank you for the informative blog on what to do in Costa Maya. I will be there in March with my two grown children and am wondering if there is a good bike rental option (instead of golf cart or taxi) located near the cruise ship landing.

  19. Hi Fernando,
    Thank you very much for taking the time to recap your experience. I’m really happy to know that everything worked out as planned. I’ve eaten at the hotel many times and have not been disappointed. I’m not a big fan of shrimp, so I have ordered other dishes and none have disappointed.
    Costa Maya, in my opinion, is just a relaxing day at the beach, away from the over-crowded cruise center and not spending hours on a motor coach. I’m glad it worked out for you. Thanks again for your comment. Much appreciated.

  20. Had a fun time with the family today. Instructions were easy to follow and made everything seamless. A few notes from my experience…. hailing a cab can be a bit caotic as they are not that organized. Also, not sure what changed but today they were charging $4 per person per trip to go to 40 canones. Perhaps not exactly a surprise but path to and beaches were not really clean which was sad to see. I hope the locals can straighten things up a bit to enhance the experience. By the way I did look for trash cans at the beach and there were none found where we were. Dining at 40 Canones was good but not great with rustic and well priced food. Bottom line it was still an awesome experience and we would do that again in a hearbeat. The local feel at the beach was great. Definetly a better and much cheaper uption than the excursions sold by the cruise and others.

  21. Hi Kim,
    Thank you for the update. I’ve added the Mayahual Red Shirts info to the article. Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know so I can update the info. Enjoy the rest of your cruise!

  22. Good morning. We are currently in costa Maya and I just wanted to bring it to your attention that the golf cart rental have to have a reservation.

  23. Hi Janice,
    Thank you SO much for your kind words. I’m really happy that my directions to the taxi area, short-cut and more were helpful to you. I have to agree that I’d rather spend a day at 40 Canons than take a shore excursion in Costa Maya…or spend the day anywhere else! They have it all. And thank you for taking the time to submit your comment upon your return. Hopefully, it will help others, too. Much appreciated!

  24. I followed your instructions (and pictures!)! This was my most memorable day on my cruise. 40 Cannons was lovely. Beautiful beach, precious people, very peaceful. Your directions with the pictures and taxi costs were the BEST. This was the best ‘excursion’ by far. Thank you Sherry, it helped so much!

  25. Hi Alison,
    I apologize for this late reply as your cruise departure day is so close. I was just in Costa Maya two weeks ago and I’m in the process of a completely updated post.

    Unfortunately, the trolley is no longer running. However, for your group of 6 people, there are golf carts for rent for 4 or 6 passengers. The company is Red Shirt rentals and you’ll find them in back of the cruise complex, as I describe in the article. The cost is $80 for the entire day. They’ll give you a map of where you can and cannot go (where the roads end).

    The beach club at 40 Canones, Pez Quadro, has a fee and you can purchase a day pass online (https://www.pezquadrocostamaya.com/) on their website or when you get there. As for “free” public beaches…there are a few between the cruise port and 40 Canones. You’d probably be better with paying for a day pass just to have a chair and umbrella, plus a meal and/or alcohol. Keep in mind that much of the shoreline can be a bit rocky, or have a lot of shells that make walking barefoot uncomfortable. Aqua shoes are a good solution. Depending on weather and time of year, there can be a lot of seaweed that washes up to the shoreline, too.

    There are other beach clubs along the Costa Maya shore, but I have not ventured all the way out there. Chunky Monkey seems to have good reviews but it’s not affiliated with a hotel like 40 Canones.

    I hope you get this information before your cruise! I hope to post the update on Monday, Nov. 7.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article and send your question. Have a wonderful cruise!

  26. Hi Kristie,
    Thank you for reading my Costa Maya article. I was just in Costa Maya two weeks ago and I’m in the process of a thorough update to the post. Since the pandemic, the tram/trolley is no longer running. Instead, there are only taxis and golf carts for rent.

    A taxi would be your best way to get to Mahahual. While I totally understand your comfort level, it is possible to find others to share the taxi ride. For the return, you’d either be on your own, or from 40 Canones, you could walk along the wide Maleçon (promenade/sidewalk) to find others waiting for a taxi. For me two weeks ago, I stayed onboard the ship until almost everyone went ashore. When I walked to the taxi area, there were some people with whom I could have shared an air-conditioned taxi. I chose not to only because I didn’t want to get into a small car with other cruisers and I didn’t have a mask with me. Otherwise, I would have gone. It’s $8 per trip (not per person) is what I was told.

    The taxis are regulated (there’s a dispatcher) and in a queue for passengers.

    I’ve always felt safe taking a taxi alone in Costa Maya (and Cozumel), but again, I completely understand the concerns of traveling as a solo female in a foreign country.

    I’ll have all the updated info and new photos posted hopefully by tomorrow (Monday).

    Thank you again for reading my article and I hope the update will help clarify any questions you may have about getting to Mahahual.

  27. You said that you can take a tram to the hotel. Can you take the tram back to the port? I don’t know if I’m am comfortable riding alone in a taxi.

  28. Hi Sherry,

    I’m so happy I came across your article, I’m going on a cruise next week and we are stopping at Costa Maya for a day, my husband and 4 children ages 6-11. We dock at 12:30 to 7pm so i’m just looking for a little trip to the beach with the kids to do some beach combing, play in the sand and back to the boat for dinner. I plan on taking the trolley there as it sounds really fun for the kids. I have a few questions I hope you might be able to answer.

    Is the beach you mentioned public? Can I access it without having to go to 40 Canones Beach Club?

    Does the trolley take you back to the cruise ship pier or do you have to take a taxi (there are 6 of us)?

    Thank so much for any more advice or tips you can give me.

  29. Hi Christine,
    Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m heading to Costa Maya as I’m typing this, so I’ll look for the Crazy Lobster! I don’t know if it is in Mahahual or at the cruise port center, but I’ll do my best to find it! As for a beach without a fee…there’s a very small beach area at the cruise port (a dip your toe in the water size beach) but you have to get to Mahahual to find the nicer beaches. Most if not all are not smooth sand into the water so bring aqua shoes. The beaches at Mahahual depend a lot on the weather for either rocks to walk over, too much kelp or smooth sand.

    If I find Crazy Lobster, I’ll let you know! Thanks very much for reading my blog posts! It’s much appreciated. Have a wonderful cruise!

  30. HI Sherry,
    I love your blogs! I have just consumed all your information for Cozumel and Costa Maya. I cruise there next month.
    I also subscribed to your newsletters. I do have two questions about Costa Maya. Have ever eaten at the Crazy Lobster and if so, how was it? Is there a free beach I can enjoy?

  31. Hi Sandra,

    Sorry you had such an awful experience. 40 Cañones is a hotel and restaurant. Across the sidewalk is Pez Quadro, the beach club for the hotel. And yes, the beach club has different prices. A day package with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, one entrée, lounge chair and wifi is $45 USD. If you want all you can drink plus the same other amenities, then it’s $85 USD. Add lobster and the first package then becomes $65; the second package with booze and lobster etc. is $119.

    So if your taxi driver said $65, that would be for the non-alcoholic package with lobster, lounge chair and wifi. I have no clue why you were charged $10 tax on your $26 meal!

    I always just go to the hotel for their wonderful restaurant, walk the promenade, head back to the hotel and get a taxi.

    Maybe your next visit to Mahahual will be better. Thank you for taking the time to read my article and send your comment.

  32. Asked taxi driver to take us to 40 Cannons Beach. He said they charge $65 per day. He suggested another place, $15 pp per day. What a rip off. Food bill $26 plus $10 tax plus tip. I argued a bit about $10 tax, to no avail. Came back by taxi (now $4). Cimplained to taxi fellow about $10 tax. They are sorry. Is it true the 40 Cannons charges $65 to get in?????

  33. Hi Ali,
    Thank you so much for taking the time and remembering to come back to my site for your comment! I’m really glad to hear that the restaurant is still top-notch and I’m looking forward to a revisit as soon as I can. Again, thank you!

  34. Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for reading this article. I agree…there are more things to do in Costa Maya. My objective with this particular article was to delineate the over-crowded cruise ship complex from a day in relaxing Mahahual. I will work on a new article for Costa Maya with more to do there. Thank you for the suggestion. Much appreciated.

  35. There are quite a few more things to do than sit on a beach! Please cover some of those too.

  36. Hi Jen,
    Thanks very much. I just replied to a comment yesterday that the breezeway cut-through could be blocked. Now it’s confirmed. I guess too many people figured out the short cut and bypassed the shops and vendors. Thank you very much for the update. I’ll add it to the article in an update. I hope you had a good day in Costa Maya.

  37. FYI: As of two days ago, that pass through next to the stairs is closed!! You must walk all the way around to get a taxi or golf cart.
    Use the map the ship gives you to find the taxi area.

  38. Hi Lesley,
    Thank you for reading my article. Yes, there is a fee for the beach club and its amenities. Pez Quadro is the Beach Club associated with 40 Canons Hotel. There’s a link to Pez Quadro in my article where you can book your day pass. My day in Costa Maya means lunch outdoors at 40 Canons and then a leisurely walk along the pathway, turn around and walk back to the hotel for a taxi back to the port. But the Beach Club is a good value with several inclusions (lunch and drinks, wifi, etc) to choose. Just be sure to leave a couple of hours or so for your return to the ship. Someone emailed me to say that at the cruise complex, the little cut-through breezeway that I mention in a photo now has a vendor booth or something in front of it? But it’s easy to find the taxi rank or the trolley.

    Have a wonderful cruise and a perfect day in Costa Maya! Thank you again for reading and taking the time for your question.

  39. So there is no charge to use their beach? We will be there next week as a port of call and am not interested in any of the cruise line excursions. I just was a beach and a local place to eat and can go back to ship whenever I want to. Thanks for this info!!

  40. Hi Stacy,
    Thank you so much for your email! I’m so glad you enjoyed your time in Costa Maya. It is a beautiful place. Also, thanks for reading my article and taking the time to write after your cruise. It’s much appreciated! I look forward to my next cruise that includes Costa Maya! Happy Travels!

  41. Hi Tammy, Thank you very much for your kind words. It sounds like you’ll have a wonderful family cruise vacation! For Costa Maya, and considering how many people are in your group and the expanse of ages, this may be one of the few times I recommend a ship’s shore excursion or possibly through a 3rd party. Though in your case, just going with the ship’s tour would be the simplest plan, IMO.

    Personally, I like to just spend the day having lunch on the beach in Mahahual, just a short taxi ride from the port. But with your group, an air-conditioned motor coach ride to one of the three Mayan ruins could have something for everyone. Most tours include time at a beach as well. And people can nap on the drive back to the port! Have a wonderful cruise! And thanks again for writing.

  42. Hello Sherry,
    Thank you for your blog.. Our family will be taking a cruise in April 2022 to Costa Maya. At this time there will be approximately 15 of us. Do you have any suggestions, we have age group from 3 18 year olds to 77 yrs young…. TIA for any advice or suggestions you may have.

  43. Hi Maureen,
    Thank you for your question. Yes, there is a fee for a day pass to 40 Canons Beach Club. Adults prices range from $45 USD to $85 USD depending upon the type of pass – alcoholic or non. Pez Quadro is part of the hotel. Personally, I’ve never used the beach club (the beaches in Costa Maya can be covered with seaweed) but I’ve had some outstanding meals at the hotel.
    I love Costa Maya and hope that you have a wonderful visit. Thank you again for your question and reading my article.

  44. Sheri
    I’m looking for pricing to enter 40 canons beach club. Is there a price to enter the beach club? Is it per person or adults pay? I was also looking for a website for 40 canons but only found Pez Candro. Could you direct me where to look? Thanks!

  45. Hi Jim,
    Thank you for taking the time to write and for reading my blog! Much appreciated. I’m not sure what you mean by “port experience”? Is this a Royal Caribbean shore excursion? There are options to purchase tours once you are in the cruise port pool complex but if there’s a trip that your really want to take, you might want to purchase it as soon as possible. Your travel agent or someone at Royal Caribbean should be able to find an answer to your port question. I’m familiar with spending time in Mahahual not a planned tour excursion. Sorry I can’t be of more help. It’s a wonderfully peaceful place to visit once you’re outside of the pool complex. Have a wonderful cruise!

  46. Hi Sherry,

    Great blog, thanks for the information on Costa Maya. I will be visiting there next March with our granddaughter and wanted to know what the cost of the port experience should be. Royal wants about $40pp but can’t you purchase tickets once you get to the port area directly? And what if you only want to see the animals/birds, can you only do one thing?


  47. Hi Michael,
    Congratulations on your oldest graduating into high school – perfect time for a celebration cruise. You’re best bet is to read other comments online about Costa Maya. You can also contact a travel agent who can possibly arrange shore tours for you and your family.

    The only change in my article is that the short-cut to the taxi at the Costa Maya cruise complex has been closed. Now you have to walk all the way around the complex to get to the taxi/trolley boarding area. Costa Maya is great if you want a simple beach day. But be aware that seaweed has been an ongoing issue along the entire stretch of Costa Maya beach and going into the water isn’t pleasant. This could of course change at any given moment.

    Have a fabulous family cruise! Thank you very much for reading my articles and taking the time to write.

  48. I am going to be going on a cruise and stopping in costa maya and want to make sure I’m well prepared for what we will be doing. We are going to be there the week of may 23 2020. I have 2 kids going 1 is 9 the other 13 and this is their first cruise. The 13 year old is going to graduate 8th grade so kind of a celebration and they both want to go to the beach. Can you email me some details so I can have everything in line for what we need to do and what to do so we are not spending that much money. Thank you for your time.

  49. Hi Alan,
    Thank you very much for taking the time to write your comments. All excellent points. I am disappointed to learn that the little short cut by the stairs is no longer available. It was nice to escape the shopping mall en route to the taxi area.

    Yes, I’ve read about the seaweed problem being an ongoing issue with no end in close sight. Personally, I rarely go into the water so thank you again for your report on the seaweed/sargassum and snorkeling. The few times I have, I remember the shoreline being rather rocky and full of shells.

    I will work on an update to the article asap. Thank you again for your really great comments. Much appreciated.

  50. Just a little feedback from our trip here on 7/11/19.

    1-You can no longer pass under the stairs to the taxi area. They have walled that off so you have to go all the way through the mall area, out the back, through the parking lot/security and then you find the taxis. Everything went well with the taxis, no issues getting there or back.

    2-This and some surrounding resorts are now part of some cruises excursions so it’s not as secluded as it once was. We still had no issue getting seated or anything along those lines, just worth noting.

    3-The seaweed/sargassum is overrunning this beach all the way up and down. They were extending the fence offshore during our stay and attempting to keep up with removal but it was pretty thick and you had to go through it to get to the water.

    4-Snorkeling off the beach was not worthwhile. You can go beyond the fence (make sure to pay attention when crossing just past there as it is the path the boats take to get in/out of the bay) but even that was just sand and sea grass, mostly conchs not really anything in the fish area. There is a stand right beside the chairs that will take you out on a boat to snorkel for a very reasonable rate but we did not try that during our stay.

    5-You will experience numerous vendors passing through the seats trying to sell things. They are very friendly but also respectful if you indicate no interest they will not continue to pursue. You can haggle on price (we did buy a couple things) but I have no idea how to haggle so I’m sure they enjoyed me being there…

    Food and drinks were good and staff was very nice. They were able to accommodate my eldest daughters Celiac (gluten allergy). The $20pp fee is adults only…I didn’t realize that so I was trying to eat and drink for 4 including my kids to reach my misunderstood $80 threshold which was only $40 (whoops), but no complaints as it was all very good. All in all it was good, just wanted to call out some items that have changed since the original column was written.

  51. Hi Brenda, Thank you very much for your nice comment; much appreciated. I will try to add your email address to my newsletter list and I think you will receive a double-check email asking you to please reconfirm that you want to receive my newsletter. Then if you click “yes” you’ll be on the list.
    Thank you again! Have a wonderful cruise and visit to Costa Maya.

  52. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your info on Costa Maya regarding upcoming cruise. If you have a Newsletter please sign me up!!


  53. Hi DeOndra,
    Thank you for writing – it’s much appreciated. Since things change all the time, I would suggest that you contact the hotel direct. When I’ve been there, I’ve eaten lunch in the hotel restaurant (fabulous!) then walked across to the beach area and tipped the person for a chair. I’ve never tried the fishing excursion so I can’t advise on that one. Whatever you do, have a wonderful day in Costa Maya!

  54. Hi there!
    My question is, if we pay for the all inclusive in advance, would we be eating in the actual 40 canons restaurant or just quesidallas off a menu in a lounge chair?
    I love the looks of the food and atmosphere of the actual restaurant .
    I would also like to know more about the fishing excursion that is mentioned in the Pez Quatro website, like how often do they really caught anything.
    Just trying to figure out the best option before November.
    Thank you!

  55. Hi Trisha,
    It sounds like you have some good plans in place. For Mahahual, your kids can snorkel near the shore but while the water in Mahahual is usually calm, be aware that there could be a current or a rocky shoreline to wade through til it was deep enough. But everything else you’ve mentioned seems good. Yes, there are a lot of beach chairs and for a small gratuity I would think that the person collecting the entrance fees would rustle up 10 chairs for all of you to be near each other. I am not familiar with making reservations ahead of time to reserve lounge chairs. If you are referring to just staying at the cruise complex, then rounding up 10 chairs near each other could be interesting.
    I hope this was helpful. Have a wonderful family cruise.

  56. Hi! Going next month and my kids love to Snorkel (11& 15yrs old). Can they swim out some and snorkel or would you recommend we find an excursion to do that? As of now plans are just to do lunch, little shopping and hangout at the beach. Also, are there always beach chairs to rent on beach? Can I reserve in advance? It’s a party of 10 and I want to make sure we can all sit together. Thanks!

  57. Hi Esteban,
    Good question. Aside from going to Mahahual on your own, I wouldn’t suggest venturing out of the town limits without being on some kind of a group tour. You can have a really nice day in Mahahual without spending a lot of money on a full day tour to the Mayan ruins -though they are really beautiful and amazing to see. If you rent a golf cart, there’s not much to do with it after a couple of hours. Puerto Costa Maya is just a recreation complex and the ride to Mahahual is only 10 – 15 minutes away.

    I’d suggest taking either the $3 dollar trolley or a taxi down to 40 Canons, have lunch, relax at the beach and stroll along the promenade. Either way, have fun! Thanks for your question.

  58. Hi!!!

    Going there in April but would like to deep more in the area….is the area big & secure??? Also, besides the golf carts are there any other options to move a little more??? Going with my parents and want to explore a little more…thanks!!!

  59. Hi Liliana,
    Lucky you…Costa Maya is one of my favorite ports. You could follow the suggestions in the article and you can read the positive comments from readers. Have fun!

  60. we are going for first time to Costa Maya, we are very exiting after I read all these comments,, we love the beach and w e are looking to relax in a pretty beach very clear where you can really relax, and enjoy the ocean and have some appetizers and a refreshing drink, where do you recommended to go?

  61. Hi Dale,
    I’m SO glad everyone had a great time in Costa Maya and that my advice and directions worked! I totally agree that I’d also like to spend a 3-4 laid-back days in Mahahual at 40 Cannons. The food at Maramao is excellent and the ambiance is so very easy.

    Thank you for sharing your follow-up for Costa Maya. If you don’t mind, may I take a part of your comment to use on my website? Just a little blurb in the sidebar. I would only use your first name and last initial. I hope you’ll approve, but if not, I totally understand.


  62. We followed your advice and glad we did. Cab ride to 40 Cannons was $8 for our group of 4. We checked out the area and two people had 45 minute massages for $20 each. We had lunch at Maramao. Very good and run by great people. Lobster and fish dishes as well as Italian. Prices were very reasonable and gave us access to the beach. We would not have found this place without your recommendation. I would consider going back to this place for a longer stay.

  63. Hi DeeDee,
    Good question. There are “free” beaches but if you want a lounge chair, you’ll pay a fee. Since you’re planning on a drink and a snack, that would surely take care of the cover charge. I’d suggest taking the trolley to the end at 40 Canones (why not have lunch and a drink there?) and then walk the promenade until you find whatever appeals to you. Have a wonderful time.

  64. Hi Sherry,
    we will be at Costa Maya/Mahahual with a cruise. We want to go by trolley to Mahahual. Is there a part of the beach without paying a fee? Or a bar where you can just can have a drink and a small snack?

  65. Hi Sarah,
    I always have lunch at 40 Canones and then just go across the pavement to the beach. If you only want to use the beach then yes, there would be a fee. Have fun!


  66. Hi Megs,

    For a family, a day at the beach in Costa Maya is a good option, as long as you purchase beach chairs with shade. While most of the shoreline is smooth sand, depending on weather, current etc, aqua shoes are a good idea in case of a pebbly shore as you walk into the water. Meals and snacks are available along the promenade and you can sit and enjoy a nice lunch at 40 Canones. Though with a 2 yr old, I don’t know how relaxing it might for you! Actually, in thinking this through, your best and simplest bet might be to just spend the day at the cruise ship venue, right there at the port. Easy to push a buggy, you can find shade, there’s a kids pool area and you can head back to the ship much easier. Looking back to when my kids were small (first cruise at 5 and 7), the simpler I kept activities, made for an easier and more pleasant cruise experience.

    Have a wonderful cruise!

  67. We are heading here in March. We are a family with smaller children (2-13), and was wondering if this would be a great place to come as a family? There aren’t a lot of options through the cruise line. I am more worried about missing our boarding time, since it’s early afternoon!

  68. Hi Susan,

    Have fun! I love Costa Maya. Enjoy your lunch at 40 Canones and save time to walk along the promenade, too. If you think of it, please drop me a note when you return and let me know how it all worked. Thank you! Bon Voyage!

  69. Hi Mary Ann,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a nice note. I’m happy that you and everyone enjoyed their day at 40 Canons. It’s one of my favorite self-made cruise days! If you don’t mind, may I use your first three sentences as a quote/testimonial? I will only include your first name (I don’t know your last name.) Thank you again for your note (it made my day!) and I hope you’ll approve.

  70. My husband and I and another couple followed these instructions last week when our cruise ship stopped in Costa Maya. This was one of the best days we ever had. We followed your directions and had no problems. We never saw the little makeshift table you spoke of to get a ride on the trolley or taxi but there were a lot of people there who spoke English that could get us a taxi. The taxi was $2 a person. The taxi driver understood Forty Canons easily and we had printed out the paper to show him in case he didn’t. When we got to Forty Canons, we were so pleased. It is a beautiful resort. It sits on a promenade where you can take a leisurely stroll and looks at the wares that the locals were selling. It was very easy to negotiate a price when we wanted to buy something. We were greeted by one of the beach attendants who spoke English. He said the beach chair and umbrella was $20. We told him no, we would pay $10 so he said ok. He let us pick out where we wanted to sit. It was not crowded at all and had a wonderful scenic place to sit. The water was crystal clear and the beach was nice. There are locals who walk around trying to sell you stuff but when you just shake your head no they smile and leave you alone. It was not a problem. The attendants on the beach are there to serve you drinks and lunch if you want to order anything. It was not expensive at all and the drinks were delicious. It was very easy getting a cab back to the ship. There were many outside the hotel. All in all, we loved everything about the day.

  71. Hi John,
    That plus some good food and you’re right! The beaches are gorgeous, too.

  72. Hi Christina,
    Happy 10th anniversary! If you follow the directions in the article, you should have a pretty easy time getting to Mahahual and the beach. When you get to 40 Canons Hotel, you can ask anyone about renting a beach chair with them. Otherwise, you can cut through to the beach and walk along the promenade until you find a location you like. Bring US cash in small bills, too. Have a great time in Costa Maya!

  73. We are headed here next week. Do I need any type of reservation or do I just walk in? I don’t speak Spanish well so I’m nervous. I want to have a great relaxing day as it’s my 10 year wedding anniversary the day we will be there. How do you get a seat on the beach? Just walk up and pick one or do they give you one

  74. Hi Paula,
    Please contact a travel agency in your area or if that is not convenient, contact the cruise line directly and they can send a brochure.

  75. Need liturature for your cruises to Alaska my address is Pau,
    Corning,box1i3, ap,Arkansas,72422t. 1la Rogerssend me literature on your cruises .

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