Today Oasis of the Seas docked in Costa Maya, Mexico for the only port day of our 4-night cruise. From beaches to cycling and eating mouth watering Mexican food, it was a day well spent.
The gangway opened around 8AM, and I disembarked Oasis of the Seas right away so I could start my day before it got too warm. We were docked next to Jewel of the Seas.
I hoped to rent a bicycle, but I was wary of booking in advance because the weather forecast showed thunderstorms. However, the weather appeared sunny with partial clouds in the morning, so I took the chance at a bike ride.
The best day I've ever had in port thus far was when I rented an e-bike in St. Maarten and looped the entire island in one day. Being on a bicycle is so freeing, as there is no need to wait for taxis or worry about how you will get from place to place, so I was looking forward to discovering Mexico by bike.
I rented a bike for the day from a tour operator located adjacent to the Mayan pyramid replica in Costa Maya, located just outside the port. The total cost for a day rental was 300 MXP, or around $15 USD. I was given a pink beach cruiser, and while it wasn't as fancy as the hybrid e-bike I had in St. Maarten, it was perfect for exploring the coastline of Costa Maya.
The only other time I was in Costa Maya, I visited the Chacchoben Mayan ruins, and while it was an awesome day, the tour did not leave any extra time to explore Costa Maya. Therefore, today's plan was to discover the culture and lifestyle of Mahahual, the town next to the Costa Maya cruise port.
I started with a short ride to the Faro de Mahahual, a lighthouse with a nice view of the port. From there begins a 1/2 mile stretch of a car-free boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, and beach clubs. Called a malecón in Spanish, this is a hub of activity and the perfect place to get a glimpse of Mexican culture.
I rode the length of the boardwalk and continued on, which turned into a gravel road followed by a stretch of sandy road surrounded by both ocean and rainforest. I rode about 6 miles each way on the quiet road, passing popular beach resorts like Maya Chan before turning back to cycle toward the malecón.
I'm lucky I turned around when I did, because as soon as I got back to the boardwalk it started to rain! I sought refuge in the La Dolce Vita cafe, where I had one of the best smoothies ever, made with mango, maracuya (passion fruit), and banana.
Next up was lunch, and I was hoping to taste authentic, non-touristy Mexican food. I decided on La Curvita, a small restaurant on the corner just two blocks off the malecón, where I had a delicious meal of chilaquiles rojos.
If you're looking to have a great meal in port, my top tip is to leave the main tourist street and find a small, hole in the wall restaurant filled with locals. Additionally, if the menu is small and not in English, this is a good sign the food will be authentic and at local prices.
Using these tips, whether in Rome, Thailand, the Bahamas, or Mexico, will usually always result in a fantastic meal.
It rained lightly on and off throughout the rest of the afternoon, but as the humidity was so high it actually felt quite nice! Today was a good reminder to never put too much thought into the weather forecast when cruising to tropical destinations. I expected a day of heavy rain and thunderstorms, but this was not the case at all.
I cycled a bit more around the boardwalk and in the town of Mahahual itself, grabbed an espresso and pastry from La Tartaleta Panadería, dropped off my bicycle, and headed back to Oasis of the Seas.
Just like I expected, renting a bike resulted in an unforgettable day exploring Costa Maya and Mahahual. I was surprised to see just how bike friendly the town is, and I would recommend to anyone interested in a slightly active day to rent a bike!
Once back onboard, I spent some time decompressing in the thermal suite and in my stateroom.
It was Indian night at the Windjammer for dinner and it was super delicious! After dinner, I spent the rest of the evening relaxing in Central Park with an espresso martini while listening to live piano music.
Overall it was a wonderful day in port and onboard. Latin America has always been my favorite region of the world, so I absolutely love cruising to Mexico. Mahahual exceeded my expectations, and I found all the locals to be extremely friendly!
Tomorrow is the last day of our cruise, which will be spent at sea.
I'm not usually a fan of port areas, and the Costa Maya port feels a bit like a Mexico-themed Disneyland. The pool is nice and there are plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy, but it definitely does not feel like you're in Mexico while there. I recommend leaving the port and visiting the malecón in Mahahual instead!
The seaweed in Costa Maya seemed a lot worse than I remembered it being when I briefly visited in September 2021.
If traveling with kids, I would recommend taking a taxi to the malecón and renting a bicycle from there instead of near the cruise port so that you can avoid cycling on roads with cars.
I still really want to try a day at Maya Chan, so I will definitely do this the next time I'm in Costa Maya!
Also, shout out to my stateroom attendant, Mustofa, for being a Royal Caribbean Blog reader!