Central America Resorts and Cruises

The Best Budget Friendly Day in Costa Maya (actually in Mahahual)

Use this review for a great budget friendly shore excursion in Costa Maya.

You have to leave the cruise port in Costa Maya! If you don’t, you are missing out on Mahahual. Mahahual is the perfect budget friendly shore excursion while on a cruise. When you disembark you will notice that the cruise port is very popular. The port is absolutely massive with sun beds by the water, large pool, Flamingos, restaurants and countless shopping options. Many people don’t leave the port which is a huge mistake. There is a wonderful small fishing village just around the corner to visit. And you guessed it right; it’s Mahahual. This guide is all about having the best budget friendly day in Costa Maya. Included are how to get to the village, our favorite Mahahual beach club and some tips/tricks so you can have the best day. So keep scrolling to find the best budget friendly day in Costa Maya.

At Pragmatic Travelers, we only recommend what we have actually done, seen and eaten!

Flamingos at Costa Maya Cruise Port just one of the things to visit while visiting.
Flamingos at Costa Maya Cruise Port.

Thinking of a cruise? Check out our recent review of the amazing Celebrity Beyond.

Leaving the port

Whoever designed the Costa Maya port, made sure it was difficult to find your way out. It was bit of a maze getting out, so I don’t remember all of the steps but just find your way to Amorino Gelato. (This is real deal gelato, so get some!) Walk through the gelato store and you will find the exit with taxi stands. Just remember you won’t need to do this with shore excursions only if you are venturing out on your own.

Looking for more budget friendly options check out our day in historical Nassau and our amazing beach day in the Cayman Islands. 

MALEcon 21 Beach Club is the best budget friendly shore excursion in Costa Maya.
MALEcon 21 Beach Club

Mahahual Excursion But Do It Yourself

This is not a cruise organized excursion but a do it yourself adventure. (My personal preference!) And this is exactly what I did on my Celebrity Beyond sailing this January. Mahahual is a sleepy fishing village that has turned into a tourist area (due to the cruise ships). It is filled with beach clubs, restaurants and vendors. Yes, the vendors do speak to you but a polite, “no, thank you” does the trick. This is not the most beautiful beach area but it was peaceful with flowing palm trees. It really won me over. Our time here was one of my favorite days. Follow the step by step guide below to get there from your cruise ship.

  1. Leave your ship and make your way down the port to Amorino Gelato. (See above.)
  2. Take a right (I believe) and head to the taxi stands. Some of the taxi stands will try and convince you to go with their beach club deal. I ignored this completely.
  3. Ask the taxi driver to bring you to the lighthouse (Faro de Mahahual). It was $4.00 per person.
  4. Then enjoy a leisurely walk down the boardwalk. Really beautiful area with ocean to your right and restaurants/beach clubs all over the place.
  5. Find a beach club that matches the vibe you are looking for. Plant yourself and enjoy the day. This is a much more affordable option then doing a beach excursion with the cruise.
  6. Don’t worry about finding a taxi back, there are taxi stands up and down the boardwalk.
Best Budget Friendly Day in Costa Maya
Mahahual is a beautiful area to walk up and down. A perfect budget friendly shore excursion.

MALEcon 21 Beach Club

After our wander down the boardwalk, we settled on MALEcon 21 beach club. We made the right choice! They have a few options for spending the day at their beach club. You can rent a beach lounge chair for $30.00 BUT they then use that money to pay for your drinks and food. If you don’t want to pay a cover charge, you can sit down at the tables, hammocks or beach couches. All of these seating options were for free (i.e. no cover charge). We ended up doing just that and made ourselves comfortable on a beach couch. From there, we enjoyed the gorgeous views, time to read and cold beers. We also ordered the guacamole and Tacos Caribe. MY GOD those tacos were some of the best I have ever eaten. This beach club also accepts credit cards which was helpful We spent under $40.00 to spend the day at MALEcon. Loved our relaxing time at this beach club. You can’t go wrong with a day here.

Need help packing? Check out our cruise packing checklist with free printable.

Best Budget Friendly Day in Costa Maya
Sunset over Costa Maya Cruise Port.

Mahahual Tips and Tricks

  • The American Dollar is accepted in Mahahual so no need to worry about getting Pesos.
    • Make sure to bring cash. Not every beach club accepts credit cards.
    • You will need cash for the cab.
  • It is perfectly safe, so enjoy walking around the boardwalk.
  • Waters are calm enough for children to swim in.
  • Don’t be gross. Our server told us a story about Americans complaining about Mexicans on the beach. Don’t be that person. You don’t deserve to travel, if you do.
  • Authorized beach vendors wear a specific white shirt. You can haggle with them or just say, “No, Gracias.” Not a big deal so don’t be a jerk.
  • Seaweed can happen on this beach. It is a natural beach.
  • While it is only a 10 minute ride from the port, don’t risk missing your boat. Give yourself plenty of time to walk to a taxi stand and get to the port.
  • While you should leave the port, give yourself some time to explore it and get Italian gelato.
  • Most people speak English but the cab drivers didn’t. Learn a few phrases in Spanish.

Looking for  a beach club in Cozumel? Check out our review on Nachi Cocom

Your Thoughts…

This was our best (budget friendly) day in Costa Maya. How do you like to spend your time in Costa Maya? Which beach clubs do you like to visit? Comment below.

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