Exploring Costa Maya for The First Time

Last week I went on my first vacation since the kids were born and my very first long-term cruise. I had a blast and will be doing at least one cruise per year (I’m hooked now). So, for the next couple of posts I decided I’m going to do a recap of my vacation in case some of you are considering going to a few of the places I visited and for the final post of this series I’ll do a Q&A about cruising with Norwegian in case you’ve been considering booking a cruise with them.

Well, let’s jump in and get started.

Giveaways 4 MomSee Also: How to Prepare for Your First Cruise

Costa Maya the First Port on My Cruise

After being a sea for an entire day I was super excited to reach Costa Maya. It is a beautiful place, the locals are nice, and the weather is amazing. While here, we didn’t do as much as we did in other places, however, we did get to try out a margarita, enjoy the beach, go on a self-guided bird tour and do some shopping for souvenirs. I purchased a dress from here for myself as well.

Giveaways 4 Mom in Costa Maya

Things to Avoid

As I mentioned earlier this was my first cruise, so I had no idea what to expect except for what I had read on Cruise Critic and the Cruise sub-Reddit on Reddit. I felt like I should have avoided some things and I’ll list them out below for you:

  • Do not shop at the port: The reason I say this is as you go back into the town you’ll find the same products for cheaper.
Costa Maya Port Shopping
One of the stores inside of Costa Maya Port
One of the shops on the beach. Stumbled across it when doing a whiskey tasting
  • Don’t feel pressured to jump on the shuttle: It is okay to walk out of the port and once pass the shuttle you’ll find various things available for rent such as scooters, buggies, etc. Plus, the shuttle is only one way, so you still must catch a taxi back to get back to the port.

Things to Do in Costa Maya

Now, that I’ve gotten the mistakes that we made out of the way I’ll give you a few pointers on things to do:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask locals for help: Once away from the port don’t be afraid to ask questions from the locals if you need help with directions. They are very friendly.
  • Use the free WIFI: If you want to check your phone and are unsure if your service carrier will cover you under roaming use the free WIFI. There’s free WIFI on the beach.
  • Check out the beach: The beach is beautiful. The day the ship is coming the locals go out early to make sure it’s free of seaweed.

Giveaways 4 Mom at Costa Maya BeachGiveaways 4 Mom in Costa Maya

  • Do tip: Make sure you bring some cash with you to tip anyone who services you. At one store we went to a tip was even expected when purchasing something from the store.
  • Use the bathroom while in the port: The port bathrooms were clean. However, my partner went to the bathroom while outside of the port and advised me it wouldn’t be somewhere I would want to go in.
  • Try the margaritas: On the ship, the drinks are not strong at all. So, if you want a good margarita make sure you try one from one of the places on the beach.

Margarita in Costa Maya

  • Go Through the Aviarius: Before going back to the ship for the day we went through the Aviarius. Here you walk through and interact with all sorts of birds.
Giveaways 4 Mom Bird Feeding in Costa Maya
Feeding some seeds

Costa Maya BirdsCosta Maya FlamingosBirds in Costa Maya

Plus, at the top, you can get a great view of the dolphins.

Dolphins in Costa Maya

However, in one section I must warn you the birds are really friendly. As soon as we walked in they were all over us. I had about two land in my hair!

I was able to snap this photo right before 2 birds flew into my hair

Final Thoughts on Exploring Costa Maya for the First Time

Costa Maya was the kickoff spot on our cruise, however, it was a ton of fun. It’s a place I would love to go back and visit as it’s interesting learning about a different culture and seeing how they make various unique things by hand.

Costa Maya

If you want to have a memorable experience Costa Maya is one of the places you should add to your bucket list.

Have you ever been to Costa Maya? If so, what did you enjoy the most?

57 Comments

  1. Chante Burkett says:

    omg, I would have been in heaven as soon as I saw the birds. such a beautiful place!

  2. Wow girl, such a amazing trip to Costa Maya! You now got me wanting to do a cruise!

    1. Lou,

      I would definitely recommend a cruise. Hopefully, within the next week I’ll have my cruise post done that covers everything first time cruisers should know/expect.

  3. Lisa Rios says:

    Costa Maya is GORGEOUS! I have not been in a long long time. Back in 2012, we took a Disney cruise to the Caribbean and this was one of the destinations. It was magical!

    1. Lisa,

      A Disney Cruise sounds amazing. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing it with the kids, however, I really have to do some research and potentially save for a suite since I couldn’t imagine being cramped in a small space. I’m thinking the kids really need to be older though for it to be relaxing.

  4. Nanekia says:

    This came right on time. We were just talking about taking a cruise and look affirmation. Thanks for the push to just book it!

    1. Nanekia,

      Yes, definitely book it. It will be the best investment you make for yourself to relax.

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed your cruise! From the pics and your recap, Costa Maya looks and sounds like a lot of fun.

  6. What a beautiful cruise! I would have freaked out if birds flew into my hair!

    1. admin says:

      Stacie,

      I definitely was freaking out. However, when in another location I actually will let parrots in my hair lol. More about that experience will be in a future post.

  7. Leslie says:

    Thanks for sharing ! Costa Maya is beautiful. I have never been but enjoyed looking at your pics and hearing your experiences.

  8. Even though we travel a lot, we have never been on cruise but we are going to a wedding cruise next year. We are very excited about our first cruise.

  9. Jonna says:

    I’ve never been but it looks amazing! Those birds were beautiful! Wow this reminds me that we’ve only been on one cruise and that was our honeymoon 18 years ago

  10. Aditi says:

    Wow.. What a beautiful place to spend a vacation. I must head here soon. I agree that buying souvenirs or shopping at such places is generally more expensive than buying the same things in the town. Cheers!!

  11. Danielle says:

    That place looks so amazing! Definitely somewhere I would love to visit in the future! Plus all those birds look really cool!

  12. Kita says:

    Your pictures make me want to book a cruise right now. I’ve never been on one because I’m scared but one day I will conquer that fear.

    1. admin says:

      Hey Kita,

      You should do it. It was my first extended cruise and I was super nervous. However, by the next day, my fears were gone. You barely notice the boat moving under you and as long as you don’t look straight down at the water you should be able to avoid seasickness.

  13. Beautiful! I never even heard of this place before today and I travel a Lot. It looks so peaceful, thanks for this. I’m adding it to my list.

  14. This looks like an awesome vacay spot! We just started planning some trips for the upcoming year, and now I need to add this to the list 🙂

  15. Wow, such a beatiful place. Your photos are awesome:)

  16. Brytnie says:

    This is so beautiful! I’ve never been there but I’d love to go with bae! Feeling like a vacation coming on!

  17. Omg I’m so jealous! This place is beautiful. It looks like you two had an amazing time. I’m looking to start taking cruises myself so glad i read your tips! This will definitely help with planning.

    1. admin says:

      Girl, I’m addicted. Next month I’m starting a savings fund for my next cruise. I’m thinking Bahamas or Jamacia next.

  18. So this trip looks amazing! So I haven’t been on a cruise since 2009 and I’ve sworn them off until I can swim to save my life. But this trip is making me want to do one now. And I’m loving the experience wit the parrots.

  19. I have yet to cruise but I hear so many great things about them. It sounds like you guys had a great time. I always enjoy chatting with the locals. They know all of the best places to explore.

  20. It’s paradise! Glad to see you had fun,
    I always look for souvenirs shop in every travel destination that I made, yes I agree with you’ most of time things sold in port are more expensive..

  21. Kristy Bullard says:

    Our entire family loves going on cruises! We always have the best time!

  22. Geraline Batarra says:

    Wow, this place is really beautiful. I have never been there but I would love to see their beautiful spots most especially the beach.

  23. This looks like a beautiful port! I thanks for the tip on the bathrooms. The waters look so clear and beautiful!

    1. admin says:

      Jennifer,

      They are super clear. You can just look down and see the fish swimming while you’re in the beach water. Definitely nothing like our beaches here in Virginia.

  24. Erica D Ardali says:

    How BLUE is that water? Flamingos? Where is my credit card… we need to go there ASAP!

  25. Rosey says:

    I do like unique. I’d love to visit Costa Maya. Bet my grown kids would love to go too!

  26. Very nice photos! I hope your enjoyed your holiday with your family. I would love to visit Costa Maya soon.

  27. I have always enjoyed time in the tropics. I would love to go back!

  28. Elizabeth O says:

    It looks like Costa Maya has so much to offer. The pictures you took highlight the beauty of the place for sure.

  29. Mum mum Ma says:

    Oh!! What a fun!! The place looks amazing. Beautifully clicked Vacations are the best times. ❤️❤️❤️

  30. Kathy says:

    Wow, those are some very beautiful photos. I would love to visit there someday. Just being able to go on a vacation would be nice. This looks like a nice spot for families too.

  31. Ports of call are always expensive for souvenir shopping. This looks like a lovely cruise.

  32. Ruth I. says:

    The Aviarius looks fun. My niece would love to visit this place and see all those birds.

  33. I travel extensively and agree with many of your tips. For me, the main point of traveling is to get to learn about other cultures. So I would immediately leave the port and explore the back streets, including the restrooms – you wouldn’t believe the things I’ve learned about a country by using their restrooms – LOL!

    1. admin says:

      Cherri,

      Yes, I love learning about other cultures too. It was nice chatting with the locals and learning about day to day life and especially the time and patience that goes into making things. One guy I talked to created little jewelry boxes that had a special trick to opening them.

  34. Sheena Steward says:

    I’ve never been on a cruise but you’re giving me second thoughts lol. This looked so beautiful and there was so many activities and great food. I’m glad y’all enjoyed yourself.

  35. Sarah S Kasulke says:

    Thank you for sharing! I actually am going here for Thanksgiving!! It looks beautiful and thank you for the tips! Can’t wait to get myself one of those Margaritas!!

    1. admin says:

      Sarah,

      I’m sure you’ll have a blast there.

  36. Monidipa Dutta says:

    The birds are so beautiful. The place looks really amazing. I would love to visit Costa Maya someday. Thanks for wonderful tips and photos.

  37. Catherine Santiago Jose says:

    I have never been in that place but it looks like a nice place to visit and sounds like that there are so many things to do in that place, so beautiful.

  38. How beautiful! It looks like it would be an amazing vacation, for sure. Such gorgeous pics. Definitely a place I’d love to visit.

  39. HilLesha says:

    It has been 4 years since I have been on a cruise, but I wouldn’t mind going on another one. This destination sounds like it would be perfect!

  40. Your first vacation since kids were born!? Wow It looks so wonderful and exotic and well deserved. I haven’t been to an oceanfront myself in probably 7 years. I’m long overdue for the beach and tropical scene.

    1. admin says:

      Hi Heather,

      Yep. No vacation in 9 years. This one was the ultimate relaxation trip and was very overdue.

  41. Cindy Ingalls says:

    I went to Playa del Carmen and it was one of the best vacations ever! The food, the beaches, the people are all amazing!

    1. admin says:

      Hi Cindy,

      Our last stop was near there. However, it rained most of the day so I didn’t get to check it out. Definitely another place on my bucket list though.

  42. Bonnie G says:

    Great photos. Thanks for sharing. I always like seeing and hearing about places I’ve never been before.

  43. It’s gorgeous and I would love to go there. Thanks for the wonderful descriptions and photos. Even though you write beautifully, I still need to “see” it.

  44. Another place I have never heard of. It looks beautiful and relaxing. Those birds are beautiful

  45. THANK YOU for this post. I cant really travel much right now so I am envious!!!! And I love cruises! Thanks for taking me on your trip with you 🙂

  46. What an amazing adventure! I would love to visit Costa Maya with the family one day. I know we’d have so much fun.

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