Many cruise lines will soon reposition their ships from Europe back towards Florida, New Orleans and San Juan, Puerto Rico to spend the winter.
One area that remains a passenger favourite on these winter sailings is the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. From safe and shallow glistening waters, to sea-life encounters, this really is a fantastic area to visit by ship.
However, the biggest difference to the eastern shores of Mexico when compared to some of the nearby Caribbean Islands is the archaeology.
There are several cruise ports including the most recently built Costa Maya port, located south of the border, that help to deal with the influx of tourism arriving by cruise ships.
The port first opened in February of 2001 and every aspect of the construction, from the path down to the beaches to the beach club, is designed to appeal to international cruise passengers. The small size of the port ensures that it has a cosy feeling while still offering plenty of opportunities to tour some of the best sites in Eastern Mexico.
Take a look at some other highlights in this region:
Boca del Puma
An eco-tourism excursion to Boca del Puma brings you right into the core of a tropical forest enabling you to discover its secrets of fauna and flora. On this trip don’t forget to pack a swimsuit so you can cool down with a swim in the cenote (waterway in a cave or pit).
The most famous Mayan archaeological site Chichen Itza is nearby. Almost every tour company in Cancun can arrange the full day excursion to Chichen Itza. Seek out one that includes professional guides to learn the details behind one of the most important Mayan settlements. The highlights include the Pyramid of Kukulkan, the region of Pok ta Pok and the Temple of 1000 Columns.
Coba is a long journey away but well worth the journey. The ruins here are the most significant and oldest you can find and were buried for years by jungles. Coba is recognised as having the highest pyramid of the Yucatan.
This recent archaeological find, Ek Balam (the Black Jaguar), is a day trip that offers some of the most well preserved sculptures near the region at its majestic Acropolis style pyramid.
One of the best-preserved cities of Mayan temples is located on a small hill along the edge of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico, near Cancun. The “city” of Tulum has been named as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The beaches are the standout of the area and many passengers disembark just to go swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. The beach that is closest to the port tends to be rocky and swimming shoes will make it more pleasurable.
Mahahual town was once a small fishing village before the arrival of the cruise port. It’s a 30 minute hike to get there or much easier by taxi for a small charge. Be greeted by a number of beach clubs, restaurants and fine white sandy beaches. The beaches here are ideal for swimming, snorkelling or simply lying on the sand and soaking up the sun, which never seems to leave the port.
Explore the waters with the chance to see beautiful tropical fish at the nearby Bacalar Lagoon.
All sorts of water sports are available near the port, including para-sailing, jet skiing, banana boats and kayaking. With crystal blue waters filled with vibrant coloured fish, snorkelling is a must.
Cruise companies required a port that would please all tastes of their passengers, as well as being in a closer proximately to some of the major sites. Lines such as Crystal, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess, Royal Caribbean International and Silversea, amongst others call at the Port.
This port was was designed and built as a destination for cruise ships through the Tourism Bureau of Mexico. It proved to be a time saver to get to all the major attractions of the Yucatan Peninsula, when compared with the ports of Cancun and Cozumel.
Written by Veronica Shine