Costa Maya was devastated by Hurricane Dean in 2007. Clearly, the area is rebuilding as the pier and welcoming center are new. One can only imagine the beautiful sandy beaches before, but now are rocky and gone. Also from the view on our balcony, not all structures are being rebuilt. The pier and shops are all new construction. You can see where the storm swept onto the shore from the lack of large trees and the amount of debris still present. But, the day dawned sunny and warm, and we booked a Mini Rhino Adventure, so it was off to greet our guide.
There was a trolley offering those wishing a ride the length of the pier. We chose to walk and compare the size of our ship to RCCL's Grandeur of the Seas docked beside the Independence.
What a comparison, and just looking at these ships made us realize just how much larger the Independence is over the others!
The walk on the pier to the mainland takes just a few minutes. From the pier, it was apparent the amount of damage Hurricane Dean left behind. The beaches were replaced by rocks, and a delapidated building was abandoned. All this was in stark contrast to the new construction welcome and shopping area. There everything has a fresh, colorful coat of paint. Since the beaches were gone, the new shopping/entertainment district has a large, salt water swimming pool for visiting guests. Mammasita's, a restaurant/bar, has a pool bar for refreshments.
Our tour group met just outside the shops.
Our guide, Juan, gave us safety instructions along with driving lessons for our trip into the jungle. Once the helmet, goggles, and bandana were put on, it was time to head out. We followed the guide a short distance down the road to the jungle area. I let my husband do all the driving - we would still be there if I were behind the wheel. What a great experience! This trip was definitely not for those with back problems as the trail was very rutted and bumpy with very tight turns. The dirt/mud trail was just as wide as the Rhino with follage surrounding the vehicle. Along the way, the guide would stop and bring everyone back together. Since we were the first vehicle following the guide, my husband took it as a personal challenge to keep up with him! At every stop, he would turn and tell Bill - "You're a very good driver!" I think the two of them worked off each other along the way! The faster the guide would go to shake us off, the more determined my husband was to keep up!
About midway through, the guide's vehicle broke down.
I Spy This Guy!
The mechanic brought along to bring up the rear exchanged vehicles so the trip could move forward. Somewhere after that, another broke down, and our guide was forced to use a 4 wheeler ATV the remainder of the trip. The route was pretty brutal on the machines as well as the occupants! Just before the end of the trip, a tree fell separating us from the rest of the group. To remove the tree, the guide and his companions had to pull out the chain saw and cut the tree into managable pieces to toss to the side. This took between 30 and 40 minutes. Since we were the only ones to make it through, the photographer was sent to "entertain" us while in this jungle setting. She knew of some Mayan ruins along another path, so off on foot we treked to view the ruins and experience other sights in the jungle including the biting flies and mosquitos! Definitely not a trip for the glamorous! Soon, we were back on the way.
Upon exiting the jungle, the guide took us to a small beach break location. Here we could take a dip in the water, purchase refreshments (great guacamole and chips and my husband reports great tequilla), and use the restrooms before heading back to the shopping area. There were several iguanas sunning on the rocks near the entrance of the beach. Because of the tree, we were limited to only 30 minutes here instead of the scheduled hour. So, it was back to the shopping village. Before going back to the village, the guide took us to the lighthouse on the coastline.
Thank heavens we were docked! A quick trip back to the ship and a good shower was needed to revive me. We decided to taste the local food at Mammasitas.
The sun sets over Costa Maya
We ate in the main restaurant on the second floor under a huge thatch roof. I highly recommend the quesidillas and the pina colada wasn't bad either. There were shops selling everything under the sun. We picked up our typical souveniers, and stopped to watch some local dancers performing in the central area of the village. All too soon it was all aboard to head off to Cozumel
. In a few years, the remnants of Hurricane Dean will be but a memory and the beauty of the area will shine through. A great port - Costa Maya will recover.
Costa Maya Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Would you like good local food while in Costa Maya? Check Out Mamasitas. Located under a big thatch roof in the shopping area just off the cruise … read entire review