Travelers to Costa Maya in Mexico often wonder if it is a safe destination for a relaxing and enjoyable visit on a cruise. They might have seen news articles on TV about Car Jacking and Kidnapping in Mexico and wondered about local crime rates. So is Costa Maya safe? In this article, I’ll explain why I do think it is safe.
The port town of Costa Maya is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is nestled among the stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Mexican Caribbean.
The area’s primary focus is on tourism, with the government and local businesses committed to ensuring the safety and enjoyment of visitors. Crime rates tend to be lower here compared to other parts of Mexico.
It is generally considered to be a safe destination for tourists. However, that guidance is of course always tempered with a “be sensible” approach to your surroundings and your behavior.
Just like anywhere, it is still essential for you to exercise caution and adhere to safety recommendations to ensure a worry-free trip.
Costa Maya Cruise Port and Mahahual
A visit to Costa Maya port really provides you with the opportunity to visit a “sterilized and safe” version of Mexico or the real touristic side of Mexico.
You see it is split into two areas. You have the Cruise Port itself and then you have the nearby village of Mahaual.
Costa Maya Cruise Port
I would describe Costa Maya Cruise port as a “Disneyland” version of Mexico. It was created specifically for cruise ships and everything in it is for the passengers’ enjoyment. The place is protected by private security and if you never leave that complex you’ll be nearly as safe as you would on the cruise ship.
Don’t get me wrong though. You could still be scammed by a local vendor selling you fake goods, or overpricing things.
Mahahual Fishing Village
Outside the port is the nearby fishing village of Mahahual, which is delightful. This is the real touristic side of Mexico and you’ll find an array of bars, shops, and other attractions. It’s got a very laid-back almost “hippy” vibe to it. I love it.
However, you are away from the cruise ship port. So just like any Caribbean Island, you will have vendors constantly trying to sell you things, and some of the things you might be offered for sale, might not be legal. So you need to be a bit streetwise.
But here’s the deal. This is really no different from how streetwise you would need to be in most large cities in the USA.
For the remainder of this article when I mention Costa Maya Cruise Port, I am meaning the whole area from the cruise port itself and Mahahual.
Is Puerto Costa Maya Cruise Port Safe?
Crime Rate and Common Sense
The crime rate in Costa Maya is low compared to major US cities like Miami. However, as a traveler, you should always exercise common sense to ensure your safety. For instance, if you venture into Mahahual, stay close to populated tourist areas, avoid exploring isolated places, and don’t flash valuable items like expensive watches or jewelry.
Safety Measures for Solo Travelers
If you’re a solo traveler visiting Costa Maya, taking extra precautions can enhance your safety. Some recommendations include:
- Avoid walking alone in less populated areas
- I know this is ridiculous and I know you shouldn’t need to but the advice is to dress modestly and avoid attracting unwanted attention
- Share your plans for the day with a friend or family member – where are you heading to, what time will you be back
- If you’re traveling alone, be very cautious when accepting drinks from strangers
Government and CDC Advisories
Be sure to check your own government’s travel advisories and CDC updates for the latest safety and health information related to Mexico. Staying informed with the most up-to-date information will help you make better decisions for a safe and enjoyable trip to Costa Maya.
Tips for Cruise Ship Passengers’ Safety in Costa Maya
Whether you choose to take a taxi, cycle, or rent a vehicle to get around Costa Maya, be proactive in identifying reputable transportation companies.
It’s best to use authorized taxis associated with your cruise line if possible. If you decide to rent a car, make sure to use a well-known rental company and verify insurance coverage.
Also, don’t venture too far. Remember if you were to have an accident or breakdown, how would that impact on the amount of time you have to get back to the ship? It is always best to err on the side of caution!
Plan Your Day Carefully
As a cruise ship passenger, you’ll only have a limited amount of time to explore Costa Maya. Prepare an itinerary for the day, taking note of the destinations you want to visit and the activities you want to do.
Choose popular tourist spots and excursions offered by your cruise line, as these will likely be the safest and most vetted options.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
While in Costa Maya, stay aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings at all times to minimize the risk of theft. It’s a good idea to leave your valuables, such as expensive jewelry and electronics, onboard the ship for safekeeping.
Travel in Groups
To ensure the safety and security of your excursion, try to travel with fellow cruise ship passengers whenever possible, especially if you’re exploring the area on your own. There’s strength in numbers, and having friends with you makes you less of an easy target.
Stay Hydrated and Use Sun Protection
Costa Maya’s tropical climate can be intense, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, wear sunscreen with a high SPF, and use additional sun protection like hats and sunglasses.
What to Do and See When You Visit Costa Maya
Given that Costa Maya is no less safe than most cruise ship destinations in the Caribbean, make a plan to enjoy yourself and have fun. There is lots to see and do in the area.
There is a variety of half-day tours and activities suitable for cruise ship passengers. The region offers exciting excursions, rich Mayan history, and relaxing beach clubs to make your day memorable.
A very popular spot is the ancient mayan ruins at Chacchoben. Located about 40 miles from the port, this archaeological site offers a glimpse into the ancient Mayan civilization. You can join a guided tour to enrich your experience and learn about the history and culture of the Mayan people.
Next, enjoy some time at the many bars and restaurants or visit a beach club on the beautiful Mahahual Beach. The beach features crystal clear waters and soft, white sand. Here, you can unwind, take a refreshing dip, or indulge in water activities like snorkeling and kayaking.
Our favorite spot in the town of Mahahual is the Costa Maya Krazy Lobster. Great food and a great location right on the beach.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the rest of Mahahual. You’ll find local shops, try authentic Mexican cuisine, and interact with the very friendly locals.
Health and Hygiene When Travelling to Costa Maya
When visiting Costa Maya, it is crucial to follow proper health and hygiene practices as their practices might not be as strict as yours.
During your visit, make sure to drink bottled water rather than tap water. This easy precaution helps avoid potential stomach issues or illnesses. Most restaurants and shops provide bottled water, so access should not be a problem.
Remember COVID-19 has not gone away! Frequently wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitizers.
Language should not be a major concern as most people working in the tourism industry in Costa Maya speak English. However, learning a few basic Spanish words related to health and hygiene might come in handy during your trip.
Ensure that you also pay attention to food hygiene. Stick to reputable restaurants or eateries and avoid consuming street food if you are unsure about its quality.
Travel Safety Tips for Cruise Passengers Around Costa Maya
Shopping and Souvenirs
When visiting Puerto Costa Maya while on a cruise ship, you’ll find a variety of shops and markets to explore. To ensure a safe and enjoyable shopping experience, here are things to keep in mind:
- Stick to reputable shops and markets. Read reviews from previous visitors to get an idea of which places are recommended.
- When purchasing souvenirs, make sure to check the quality and authenticity of the items. This will help you avoid potential scams or overpriced goods.
- Keep your belongings secure. Store your purchases in your day bag and avoid leaving them unattended while shopping.
- Bargain with vendors respectfully, but don’t feel pressured to buy anything you don’t truly want.
Engaging with Locals
Connecting with locals can enrich your experience and give you a better understanding of the local culture. Take the following precautions to interact safely with the people you meet in Costa Maya:
- Be cautious when accepting invitations from strangers. It’s best to remain in public areas and avoid going to remote locations unless you’re with a trusted guide or tour group.
- If you need assistance with directions, approach staff at a local business or ask your cruise ship’s crew members before you leave the port.
So, Is Costa Maya Safe?
Personally, I think Costa Maya is safe. It is as safe as most destinations in the Caribbean. The majority of tourists never have any problems. It’s the perfect place to visit, especially if you have never been to Mexico before.
You’ll have a wonderful experience in Costa Maya. Just like anywhere, make sure you keep your wits about you, follow your instincts, and don’t do stupid things.
Costa Maya is one of our favorite destinations and we cannot wait to get back there in September on our Wonder of the Seas cruise.
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