The vibrant island of Costa Maya is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking natural landscapes and exciting outdoor activities along the Caribbean coast of Mexico.
With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and lush rainforests, this region has become a top destination for those who enjoy diving and snorkelling.
And if you live in a coastal area that isn’t too far from Costa Maya, you can cruise over from nearby destinations like Tampa to get there a little more luxuriously.
Once you step off your cruise ship, the adventure doesn’t stop there. Here are 7 unmissable adventures to explore while you’re in Costa Maya.
1. Explore the Underwater World
Are you looking for an unforgettable underwater adventure? Look no further than Costa Maya’s snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. With its clear waters and colorful coral reefs, this amazing destination in Mexico is a must-visit for any avid diver or snorkeler.
Whether you are just beginning to go diving or are an experienced diver, Costa Maya offers plenty of options. Snorkelers can explore the stunning reefs just off the shore, while scuba divers can venture into deeper waters to discover hidden caves and shipwrecks.
The Mahahual coast is great for scuba diving and snorkeling, as the local barrier reef offers many beautiful sights to see underwater. Tropical fish and colorful coral will excite anyone looking for a new underwater experience.
If you want more adventure with underwater cave diving, Gran Cenote has over 130 interconnected caves just waiting to be explored. You’ll see ages-old stalagmites and maybe even a few creatures like sea turtles or starfish.
With visibility ranging from 30 to over 100 feet, you will have plenty of chances to spot sea turtles, rays, exotic fish species, and other amazing creatures while you explore.
2. Discover Ancient History
Believe it or not, Costa Maya is home to some of the most famous ancient Mayan ruins in the world, and they are steeped in history and mystery. From towering pyramids to intricate carvings, these ancient sites offer a glimpse into a civilization that existed long before ours.
The Mayan ruins are absolutely unmissable. They have been carefully preserved by archaeologists and protected by the government, ensuring visitors can explore them safely and respectfully.
Some of the most popular sites here include Chacchoben, Kohunlich, Dzibanche, and Chichen Itza, all offering a unique insight into Mayan culture and architecture.
3. Relax on Pristine Beaches
Costa Maya is ideal for beach lovers searching for pristine, white-sand beaches. With miles of unspoiled coastline, visitors can relax and unwind while listening to the gentle waves of the Caribbean Sea.
The clear turquoise waters provide a refreshing escape from the heat and offer a variety of water activities, such as snorkeling and diving.
In addition to its natural beauty, Costa Maya has plenty of amenities to make your visit comfortable and enjoyable. Beachside restaurants serve fresh seafood dishes along with traditional Mexican cuisine. Visitors can also take advantage of beachside massages or indulge in a cold drink while lounging on a sunbed or hammock.
Some of the most popular beaches throughout Costa Maya include Maya Chan Beach and Hayhu Beach, both of which are along the coast of Mahahual. Maya Chan Beach Resort has a lot of amenities for both children and adults, including beach games, water sports, and beach clubs. Hahyu Beach offers a more luxurious experience, with delicious food and personal massages.
Mahahual’s beaches are a picturesque example of pristine paradise, with clear waters and easy access to the Meso-American Barrier Reef. They’re perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling before checking out the local village for some food and souvenirs.
Whether you are out traveling alone, with your friends, or with your family, Costa Maya caters to all types of travelers.
4. Ziplining Through the Jungle
Ziplining through the Maya Forest is a thrilling and unforgettable experience for adventure enthusiasts. There are several exciting zipline tours in the area that take visitors through the lush greenery of the Mayan jungle.
This exhilarating activity allows guests to soar above treetops, swing over ravines, and witness stunning views of the surrounding coastal landscape. Here, you can see a combination of lush green forest and sparkling blue waters, depending on where you look.
You may also be able to see some wildlife like tropical flowers, birds, reptiles, or even monkeys as you zip through the trees. With such a diverse, shimmering landscape, there’s no shortage of new sights to see on this adventure.
The zipline tour takes about two hours and starts with a safety briefing from experienced guides who provide all necessary equipment, such as helmets, harnesses, and gloves. Visitors are then taken high up into the trees to enjoy breathtaking views of the jungle canopy before taking off on their first zipline ride.
With multiple platforms located throughout the jungle canopy, guests can glide from one point to another at up to 50 mph speeds while feeling the wind rushing past them. For those looking for an extra tidbit of thrill, ziplining is an adventure not to be missed in Costa Maya.
5. Get Off the Beaten Path with ATVs
An ATV excursion in Costa Maya is the perfect way to satisfy your adrenaline cravings. Whether you are an experienced ATV rider or a newbie to ATVing, you’ll have a great time on this one-of-a-kind ATV adventure.
Your journey begins with a safety briefing and equipment fitting before heading into the rugged wilderness. After this, you will tackle rocky terrain, splash through mud puddles, and zoom over hills as you navigate the jungle landscape.
We particularly love how along the way, your knowledgeable guide will point out local flora and fauna and share interesting facts about the Mayan culture that once thrived here, so you get to have fun and learn some fun facts at the same time!
Some of the most common places that offer ATV tours include the Kohunlich Mayan Ruins, the historic city of Chacchoben, and the gorgeous coast of Bacalar.
We highly recommend booking your ATV adventure in person, so you’re guaranteed available ATVs during a specific day and time. If you go without advanced booking, they may have ATVs available, but this is not guaranteed. You can expect to pay anywhere between 1,300 and 2,500 pesos for your trip, depending on the length, location, and other details.
With panoramic views of lush green vegetation stretching out before you, this exhilarating ride is sure to leave you astounded in more ways than one.
6. Indulge in Authentic Flavors
One of the most exciting aspects of Costa Maya is its vibrant food scene, which offers a delicious blend of local flavors and international flavors. The region boasts a rich culinary heritage shaped by centuries of cultural exchange between indigenous Mayan communities and Spanish colonizers.
Today, dining options in Costa Maya range from traditional street food vendors to upscale restaurants serving fusion cuisine. Some common foods you may find locally include:
- Tamales – steamed corn dough stuffed with meat, cheese, vegetables, and herbs
- Empanadas – dough stuffed with various meats and fried with oil, usually described as a type of turnover
- Cochinta pibil – a traditional Mayan dish made with slow-roasted marinated pork shoulder, often eaten with tortillas
So, whether you are on a tighter budget or looking for an indulgent food experience, there are plenty of unforgettable options to choose from in this tropical paradise.
7. Step Into a Wildlife Paradise
Costa Maya has a rich cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years, allowing visitors to step back in time. One place where you can experience this first-hand is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
Covering over 1.3 million acres, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is one of Mexico’s largest protected areas and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains the Muyil Archaeological Site, where you can visit the ancient ruins of Muyil, which will teach you more about ancient Mayan civilization.
The reserve is also home to an incredible array of wildlife, from jaguars and pumas to monkeys and sea turtles. Visitors can pay around 50 pesos to enter and explore the reserve by hiking through its lush forests or kayaking along its winding waterways.
There are also several guided tours in the area, so you can have a professional guide you through so you don’t get lost. Several-hour boat tours on average cost around 1000 pesos per person, but offer a lot more of an informed trip than just exploring by yourself.
If land isn’t your thing, the reserve also offers water activities such as paddleboarding for you to enjoy the view.
We’ve been on lots of great trips, and Costa Maya is one of the best for those looking for the perfect blend of history and adventure. From snorkeling to exploring ancient archaeological sites, there’s no shortage of amazing outdoor things to do throughout Costa Maya.
Before you hop on your plane, be sure to consider which activities you want to enjoy on your trip so you’re prepared once you arrive. Once you get there, you’ll be ready to dive right into the fun.