This afternoon we pulled into the port of Costa Maya. Costa Maya is what Cancun was 25 years ago; a blip on the Yucatan peninsula that the Mexican government plans to eventually develop into the next hot resort area. Over the past decade or so land has been purchased by private developers who sit back and wait until the government puts the infrastructure in place and then the metamorphous will begin. For now Costa Maya is nothing more than a pier built to bring tourists in by cruise ship. The Mayan Pavilion Park was built specifically for cruise line passengers and is a complex of shops, amphitheater, beach with loungers and umbrellas (but no ocean swimming) and a huge pool with a swim up bar. Many cruise line passengers never venture beyond this area! For many others, a port of call is only as good as the variety of excursions it can offer, and there were plenty of options for me to choose from for today’s visit.
Having already done the “jungle tour and beach break” on a previous cruise, I booked a four hour excursion with a private tour company to Chacchoben. This is a relatively new archeological site for tourists. It has only been open to the public since 2002. The first people settled the area of Chacchoben around 1000 BC. Evidence collected during excavations shows that most of the structures restored were built around 300-360 AD and were modified up to five times during the occupation period. A circular path of the area includes three excavated and restored pyramids, as well as many walls and staircases. Excavation is continuing on several mounds which are known to contain more buildings. The site was incredible; massive gray stone temple pyramids set amongst a lush green landscape of palms, banyan trees and draping Spanish moss. With the right guide a site like this becomes a “live” history lesson! Even the kids enjoyed it!"