The last port during our cruise on the Norwegian Jade was at Costa Maya on the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico. The pier was large enough to hold 3 cruise ships. On this day it held us, a Royal Caribbean ship and a Regent ship. The long walk down the pier led to a beautiful shopping district that also included several restaurants, swimming pools and beach area. Typical of the other ports we’ve visited, prices were high but many vendors were willing to bargain.
Our excursion to Chacchoben, Quintana Roo (booked through Shoretrips.com prior to our cruise) started with a long walk out of the shopping district and down some roads to their office. They claimed it was 4 blocks away but it seemed longer. Easy to find, it was about a 10-15 minute walk from the shops. There was a large number of other people who used the Native Choice company. There were several large tour buses and some vans outside their office. Check in was very quick and the wait before boarding the van was only about 10 minutes. The van was a little tight but comfortable and modern.
Our tour consisted of about 14 people with a tour guide, David, who was full of knowledge about the Mayan culture and the history of the ruins in the area. The drive into the jungle took about an hour. The facility when we got there was already full of several other tours. The entry and buildings in the entrance are modest — open air markets with several different vendors and small restrooms.
The hike was really easy. Mostly across paved or at least cleared paths. We first came across a large stone temple and took pics while David gave us more info. The stairs of the temple were roped off so you could only climb on maybe the first step of two. There were still some great photo ops to be had. The path led us to other Mayan areas — a town center and two more pyramids. According to our guide only about 40% of this particular Mayan city has been excavated.
After that, we took the van to a modern Mayan village where we had lessons in making tortillas then had a buffet lunch consisting of rice, vegetables, stewed chicken and other items. It was a great experience to get to visit with the host family and other natives and share a meal with them.
While the hike wasn’t as long or as challenging as I had hoped, the excursion was an enjoyable experience and the tour company did a commendable job with all aspects of the day.