Thursday, December 26, 2019

March 19, 2019 - Costa Maya, Mexico - Mostly Cloudy - 80s

Costa Maya is historically not one of our favorite ports of call.  There are several reasons:  The port is mainly a commercial stop, with literally a hundred plus shops selling everything from trinkets to tequila.  The port is also a party port with its "Margaritaville" complex (pool and lounge chairs).  Costa Maya also has arguably the longest pier of any of the ports we have been to.  It's a long walk and, in the heat, even longer. Mobility challenged individuals most likely need a lot of help to get from ship to shore and there is no trolley or shuttle. Finally, there are usually several ships here and that just makes the shopping village a sea of people.  Today, we are the only ship here - that will help.

After having another nice breakfast and letting all of the tour folks off the ship, we disembarked and started our long walk on the pier.  The pier is a good spot to take pictures of both the ship and Costa Maya.

We are planning to go to the village of Mahahual, which is just a couple of miles or so South of the Port.  We had originally decided on a taxi because my research indicated that it was about $5-8 dollars to get there.  We made our way through the maze of stores (literally a maze) to the back part of the complex where the taxis are supposed to be.  As it turned out, the taxis cannot get into the shopping complex parking lot so the only way to get to Mahahual is by a tram pulled by a truck.  The fare in this case was $10 per person.  Having no choice and not wanting to spend the day wandering through the stores again, we hopped on the tram.

The bumpy ride, which took only about 10 minutes, took us through streets with empty lots and some buildings under construction.  There were plenty of bars and little eateries.

The tram let us off at the beginning of the town and about one block from the Malecon and beach. 

We walked a few blocks on the main street and even found an actual upscale spa (run by a woman who spoke perfect English - expat maybe) that was both pricey and booked for the day.

The Malecon is lined on one side by shops, bars, restaurants, and some hotels.  On the beach side, there are beach massage establishments, one after the other, that run the length of the Malecon.  There are girls trying to drum up business from the cruise folks walking through.  The price at each of the places must be set as it is $20/hr everywhere.  We were both a little hesitant to try the beach massage as there is no privacy and you are among scores of people getting massages in their swimsuits.  The various companies have distinct t-shirts - it's a very organized business set up.

We asked one of the women if it was possible to have a massage indoors away from everyone.  The beach massages seemed noisy and not that relaxing.  She thought about it for a while and her solution was to use of the rooms in the hotel across the street. They would haul two heavy massage tables into one of the empty bedrooms and the price would be the same.  Besides, the hotel had a washroom which was a bonus.  

That's what happened.  The room was cramped and the girls could barely fit into the room with us.  Bottom line. The massages were OK but we will probably not do something like this again - the logistics and ergonomics did not work out.  The price, however, was right.

We walked a little more down the Malecon and then grabbed some nice chairs under an umbrella on the beach.  The chairs are free and the views are great.  

The restaurants are constantly sending people over to try and get you to order something off the menu (and some of our cruise mates did just that).  We settled for a beer and a diet coke - together the tab was about $8.  The beer hit the spot and the fact that we had phone service was a bonus.  

Ellen had a chance to put her feet into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico 

and I got some great shots of the beach, the boats, and the area.  We are so close to the port that I was able to get a nice picture of Reflection docked.

We stayed at the beach for over an hour and then checked out a few more shops before hiring a cab to take us back to the port (I negotiated a $5 fare for this ride).  As we got into the cab, a squall passed through dropping a little rain on us.  The biggest problem with the rain is trying to take some final pictures of Mahahual.   I wanted to take a picture of the Faro, the lighthouse, but had to settle for a shot from the taxi.

The taxi took us up to the gate of the shopping complex and it was just a short walk to the back entrance.  As we meandered our way looking for the entrance, we came across a fake pond containing some flamingoes.  

The walk back to the ship was long and we were too late for lunch.  Pizza and ice tea did the trick.

We will come back to Mahahual the next time we are here - at least for the beer and the beach.

After dinner, we went to the Ensemble Lounge instead of the show.

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