Today, we arrived in Costa Maya, in Mexico.
As we hadn’t been assigned any tour escorting duties, we decided it would be a great opportunity to go in search of a beach and perhaps enjoy some swimming that we’d intended to indulge in in Roatan, but missed due to being drafted into escorting duties at the last minute.
The ship was berthed right out on the very end of a long pier, making for a long, hot walk to the port; fortunately, a land train had been laid on to take passengers most of the way, which was rather fun.
The port was a purpose-built tourist haven, with bars and endless shops manned by bored-looking shopkeepers who couldn’t even muster up the energy to harangue us with any conviction, all selling the same brightly coloured Mexican tat and sombreros that probably look great when you’re in Mexico but would a bit daft in North Yorkshire. A small pool by the seafront contained four sad-looking dolphins (which we didn’t see but were told about by another, visibly distraught passenger); frankly, neither of us wanted to see such a tragic and cruel sight. Needless to say, we couldn’t find our way to the exit fast enough.
Once out on the street, Costa Maya became a very different place. We’d obtained a map of the area from Reception, so we knew roughly whereabouts the nearest beach would be, situated about a mile away south of the port in Downtown Mahahual. Taxi drivers with open people carriers haranged us, of course, offering a drive to the beach, with food and drink, and restroom facilities included for a mere $25 each. That would be $50 for the two of us, then. Another taxi driver offered us a lift for $3 each, each way, which would come to $12 in total. We declined, opting to take a walk instead (figuring it couldn’t be more than a 30-minute hike).
On the map, there appeared to be a direct road to the Downtown area, but when we asked someone who appeared to be a policeman, or someone official at least, we were directed the slightly longer way round, down a large, wide avenue, which we took.
We were able to walk down the middle of the wide avenue, were a walkway provided us with welcome shade from the heat of the sun (and, I can tell you that it was extremely hot!). As we walked, we both commented on how quiet, and unfinished the place seemed. Half-built houses and business plots were potted here and there, sandwiched between the scrubby vegetation; long, dusty roads appeared to stretch into infinity, populated only occasionally by the odd car or moped. We passed a few locals along the way, all of whom seemed friendly enough (Olah!), one of whom was carrying large plastic bottle of water somewhere (when in Mexico – don’t drink the water…)
Sure enough, it only took us about half an hour to forty minutes to reach the tall, white lighthouse that signified the start of Downtown Mahahual. Continuing along the coast, we soon came to a beach, which we identified from the map as Tequila Beach, where we were able to buy the use of chairs and loungers, a table shaded by a thatched canopy, use of the restrooms and facilities and a free drink, all for the princely sum of $5 each.
We stayed all day at the beach, swimming, lounging and reading. At lunchtime, we ordered very reasonably-priced hamburgers and chips from the bar before plunging headlong into an afternoon consisting of yet more serious swimming, lounging and reading. It being a Sunday, there were a number of what seemed like locals also enjoying the Blue Kay Beach Club, but there were no passengers from the Voyager to be seen (we can only assume that the taxi drivers took them to a different beach further along). It really doesn’t get much better than this… we were very happy.
All-aboard time was 5:30pm, for sailaway at 6pm so we started to gather out belongings and reluctantly make our way back to the port sometime after 3:30pm. This time, we followed one of the back roads that we could see on the map, which was very leafy but quite exposed to the sun. It was a much shorter route, and we couldn’t quite understand why the bloke that had directed us had pointed us in the direction that he had (maybe we were more likely to be ambushed by Mexican bandits on the back road).
Back at the port, we pottered around the tat shops for a bit before finally heading back to the ship. It had been a memorable day.