Our final port was in Costa Maya, which is a little town on the Mexican coast. Before we went on the cruise, we booked an excursion here through The Native Choice.
The office was only about a 10 minute walk from the port. When we arrived, they were already aware of our departure time and had condensed the tour in order to make sure we still saw everything that we were paying for. We breathed a huge sigh of relief, since we worried the whole morning that we might miss our cruise departure time.
Our tour started with a bus ride about 30 or so minutes out to the Chacchoben ruins, where we learned are home to about 14 different temples. Some have been kept up with and some have let nature grow over them. The ones that they have kept in good condition are so gorgeous, and the whole grounds area really is just beautiful.
There are these vines called Strangler Figs everywhere and wow! what a sight that is. We saw all three stages of the “strangling” process; from when it latches onto the tree it is going to over take all the way to when it is finished and all you see is hollow shell of where the tree used to be.
While you can’t walk up the temples here, at one point you walk up the steps that lead to a second level where two more temples are. The sight of when you cross the horizon line and see the sun hitting one of the temples (complete with a vulture sitting on top) was spectacular.
The general layout of all of the temples that we have seen throughout our vacation are the same, and yet you never actually tire of seeing them. Or at least I didn’t.
The Mayan Village
We then left the ruins and headed to a Mayan village where some natives would be cooking us lunch. The town was gorgeous. Our hostesses were three local ladies dressed in traditional clothing. They were impressively cooking over an open flame when it was easily 85 degrees out! We had a tour of the house and garden where we would be eating, but they weren’t quite ready to serve us.
So we took a walk around the vibrant village as our tour guide, Enrique, told us some fun facts. My favorite part was all of the dogs walking around. One dog walked with us part of the way and then just walked into these people’s house like she owned the place…. so adorable!
During our walk, we passed a school. Enrique told us that they used to let tourists go to the school but it was effecting the children in that when their teacher would ask what they wanted to be when they grew up they would yell out “a Tourist!”… so they stopped that part of their tours. Personally, I think the children had the right of it… why would a tourist (or how I portrayed it… a traveler) be a bad thing for a child to strive towards?
The Mayan Meal
Before we ate, one of the ladies taught us how to make tortillas. We all failed miserably and she had to fix them to make them pretty and functional.
It was a lot of fun to try it out and particularly to watch the tortillas cook over the open flame. They puffed up right before they finished cooking. And the lady cooking them was a pro, taking them off of the flame with her bare hands. She handed me mine and I was wincing trying to hold it!
Lunch consisted of tamales made in banana leaves, chicken, rice and beans, and vegetables. They also brought us out empanadas and for desert we had fruit kabobs and flan. It was all so delicious, I could have eaten all of the handmade dishes full of food. I’m not a fan of flan, but the texture wasn’t gelatinous like the times I tried it in the states.
We then had to head back to our boat for departure. The experience was wonderful and I definitely recommend this tour to anyone who is traveling to Costa Maya. It is more than worth every penny.
We spent our final day on the cruise at sea. So another day filled with drinks, sunshine, food, and fun. It’s so crazy how fast time flies when you’re on vacation! You can also read about our Key West, Belize, and Cozumel stops that were part of Royal Caribbean’s Yucatan Escape cruise if you’d like. I've linked them below.
Have you been to Costa Maya? What did you get to see, eat, or do while you were there? I’d love to hear you stories. Leave a comment below and tell me about it!