If you have ever dreamed of the perfect day at the beach, you really need to check out Maya Chan Beach in Mexico. Marketed at folks arriving in Costa Maya on cruise excursions, this place offers an almost perfect day at the beach at prices much lower than anything I have traditionally paid for shore excursions. This review comes from our June 29, 2017 arrival on the Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas. I will start with the problems on this trip before discussing the incredibly rich experience we had, and I have also posted a video review on YouTube. On balance, however, know this: On my next cruise I will specifically look for an itinerary calling at Costa Maya just so I can go to this place.
The only real negative of this excursion came in getting there. We we got to the port, we started by having to walk down a rather long pier:
That by itself, however, wasn’t much of a problem: While we had both children and senior citizens in the group, we were all in reasonably good physical health. The pier area itself, however, is quite well developed. The problem with development, however, is that there are a lot of options of where to go. It turns out that we needed to keep going to the right, which we only figured out when one member of our group produced a printed out copy of the instructions.
You will eventually leave the cruise terminal area to find a taxi stand where we found the guide to get to Costa Maya. There was a rather large scrum of people, and the employee we found at a small stand seem flustered with the rather large influx of tourists. We were a group of 10, and we wanted to all get to Maya Chan at the same time. As luck would have it, I lived in Mexico City for 22 months and am thus fluent in both Spanish and Mexican cultural practices. That became significant as I asserted what I wanted and may have (and I am not proud of this) done so before the other folks in the scrum of a line. Still, it worked, and we were off to the beach. I am also confident that speaking only English we would have made it with a delay of no more that 20-30 minutes. That said, this beach was exquisite. I did not want to lose a minute, and I am glad that I asserted myself and was able to communicate with the attendant in her native tongue.
The road to Maya Chan was also rather rough. We briefly went through the small port town of Majahual, and I made the observation that I was quite happy to have booked an excursion out of town. The drive took something like a half hour, and the dirt road did indeed present a number of bumps– just as the resort advertised on their web page.
Once we arrived, however, everything was perfect. We had only paid ~$60 per adult and ~$50 per child, and that included out transportation, lunch, unlimited alcohol, and an exquisite beach. We had a group of 10, and there was a palapa hut large enough for all of us. The photo below does not show it well, but there was a lounging bed and a couple of hammocks included with all of the other chairs.
The water was cloudy on the day we were there, but that did not trouble any of us. There were floating chairs in the water. The chairs were anchored to the sea floor and were at roughly waist height, and the staff would bring out any drink you wanted. The drinks were included in the price. I, for one, am very much in favor of having someone bring me cold beer while I am floating in a chair at sea.
Lunch time is when things got really fantastic. They served a taco buffet, and the only thing which was slightly odd is that they were using flour rather than corn tortillas. They were roughly the size of a corn tortilla, however, rather than the monster sized things you will typically get in the United States. You could also see them making the tortillas there and throwing them on the grill. Options were fish with a garlic butter sauce, steak with local spices, chicken in a marinade that tasted like oranges, and cochinita pibil- a kind of shredded pork. They served salsa, charro beans, guacamole, and other things to highlight the tacos. That was, hands down, the best meal I ate on the trip. Again, lunch was included in the price we paid to get in. There was a wild debate in our group about which kind of taco was best, and there were also differences about which beer was best with which to wash them down (Montejo, obviously), but we all enjoyed that meal tremendously.
There are only two more notes to make here. First, I got a very inexpensive massage while I was there. I think it was $40 for the hour. Do book that as soon as you arrive, and bring cash if you care to do it. That is the only thing for which you pay extra, and it is heavenly to get a massage when you can hear and smell the ocean. Second, do leave a little bit of time to enjoy the port when you get back. It is a well-developed port with some nice shopping. The road back isn’t nearly as bad as the exact same road in, because a day at the beach makes you just not care. I will book my next cruise to allow us to come here.