Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
stellarose

best place for ruins- Belize or Costa Maya?

Recommended Posts

taking family (DH, 18 and 16 year old teens) = which port is best for getting an excursion to ruins? I was told Mahogany Bay is best to stay in port- beach close to ship?? need my CC folks for help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, stellarose said:

taking family (DH, 18 and 16 year old teens) = which port is best for getting an excursion to ruins? I was told Mahogany Bay is best to stay in port- beach close to ship?? need my CC folks for help.

Use Native Choice in Costa Maya. Small groups.  Fantastic  guides.  Teens will love the immersion into Maya  culture. 

https://thenativechoice.com/

Plus closer to port than 2 of the 3 ruins excursions in Belize .

In Belize  go cavetubing!

Edited by crewsweeper

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did it in belize.and was glad I did when I saw what a dump Belize is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’ve never been to Costa Maya so I can’t give you a comparison but we did love the Lamanai Ruins excursion in Belize. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Costa Maya I went to 2 small sites on different tours, was okay, but lacked the wow power of larger ruins that I've been to in the area.

 

In Belize there are 2 distinct ruins, Xanantunich and Lamanai, each is expansive and has wonderful views from the top of the temple.  The guide you have should be able to tell you how the town was organized and planned, and the purpose of the buildings and if there was any association with astronomy, religion, or ceremonial rites. These are full day affairs with lunch and long bus rides; sometimes you can do a river cruise to return to the ship.

 

Belize also has Altun Ha, which isn't that far from the port.  It's historically insignificant, small, and was poorly patched up, I can't say restored.  The Costa Maya sites are better than Altun Ha.

 

Hope this helps - I been to Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba several times so I may be jaded about Mayan ruins.  JMO, YMMV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do not be looking for the great pyramids of Egypt in Central America, or something of that scale. Teenagers would probably rather stay at a beach somewhere. 

That being said...…….The Mayans were incredible people. Any city that would choose to live in the Tulum area, which is incredible, must have something going for them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did Chachobben in Costa Maya. At the time, it was our first Mayan ruins experience. For a first timer, I thought it was great. Fairly compact site with a few fairly large pyramids. Best part about it was that it’s a fairly short drive from the cruise terminal so you don’t have to spent mind numbing hours riding a bus, something my wife absolutely hates. 

 

We’ve visited other ruins since then, some have been more impressive while others have been less impressive, but we were very satisfied with Chachobben. 

Edited by Tapi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, mexicobob said:

The Mayans were incredible people. Any city that would choose to live in the Tulum area, which is incredible, must have something going for them. 

Well Tulum was more a religious/ceremonial site.  Coba nearby was a larger city.

 

Regarding the size of the ruins in CM,  You do not have time to fully explore larger sites.  Lamanai in Belize is very far away.  People like it because it gives them an Indian Jones appeal to get there.  Xunantunich is impressive given the location and height of the main temple, and the hand cranked ferry can be fun.  Nevertheless, long, long bus ride

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most excursions in Belize are somewhat of a long way away from the port.  So, I would choose to do ruins there- keep it to one long ride.

 

Also, Mahogany Bay, no need to stay close to the port if you don't want to.  Carnival has a beach at the port, but it's not as nice as the West Bay beaches (if you don't want to venture off, look at the Tabyaya beach excursion through Carnival).  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have been to the ruins from both ports. Both have interesting ruins. At CM you have a long bus ride. At Belize the  bus rise is broken up by a boat ride. We also saw lots holler monkeys at the Lamanai site in Belize. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LAMANAI SITE IN Belize is amazing. one of the places you can climb on. boat ride was fun and lunch was good

and yes we heard Howler monkeys

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been to Altun Ha and enjoyed it.  Sadly, it rained all day.  Only previous trip to ruins was Tulum on my first cruise, and it's amazing.  And, Belize is not a dump.  Sheesh. 😠

 

Going to be in Costa Maya in a couple of weeks on MSC and will book the tour to Chacchoben.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have only been to Chacchoben from Costa Maya and used Native Choice.  The vans were is really good shape, small group and a very knowledgeable guide. Not sure how different the ruins in Belize are but we really enjoyed going to Chacchoben.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, crewsweeper said:

Well Tulum was more a religious/ceremonial site.  Coba nearby was a larger city.

 

Regarding the size of the ruins in CM,  You do not have time to fully explore larger sites.  Lamanai in Belize is very far away.  People like it because it gives them an Indian Jones appeal to get there.  Xunantunich is impressive given the location and height of the main temple, and the hand cranked ferry can be fun.  Nevertheless, long, long bus ride

Tulum was a walled city that existed for centuries. Coba, which had a larger population...….does not have the view, and thus nobody goes to see it. 

There remains something special about the Tulum area which has attracted millions of people there for many centuries, and will continue to do so. Some people do not get it though, and they need to stay away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/3/2019 at 7:13 PM, mexicobob said:

Do not be looking for the great pyramids of Egypt in Central America, or something of that scale. 

To be fair, the Mayans didn’t have help from ancient aliens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lamanai is the best in my opinion. Yes it is over an hour drive, but at least you see some of the country. Then by boat where you see birds and often crocodiles. The ruins have the temple of the jaguar, a nice tall pyramid to climb where you get a nice view over the jungle canopy, and finally a structure with carved faces. A bit unusual. Be on the lookout for monkeys, tucahans and termite nests. A nice lunch is included. Costa Maya has Chacobben which is a nice compact place. You can't climb on the ruins there. There is a small shopping area and Cafe there too. Neither port has much going for it. Belize city is run down and dirty. Costa Maya has no tourism infrastructure. It is a port built by the cruise line. Some shops in the complex and some restaurants and a swimming pool. Rocky Beach with no swimming. In reality you can't go wrong with either choice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, cc-riderslc said:

Costa Maya has no tourism infrastructure. It is a port built by the cruise line. Some shops in the complex and some restaurants and a swimming pool. Rocky Beach with no swimming. In reality you can't go wrong with either choice. 

Yes that's true for the Costs Maya port complex itself, but, there are beaches to the north and south, primarily south with beach clubs and water activities. To get the same in Belize you need to take an excursion off shore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, smcgoldr said:

I have only been to Chacchoben from Costa Maya and used Native Choice.  The vans were is really good shape, small group and a very knowledgeable guide. Not sure how different the ruins in Belize are but we really enjoyed going to Chacchoben.

 

 I just made a reservation with them for my upcoming MSC cruise.  Price was almost half of what the cruiseline wants (and MSC doesn't do any price match), plus I so much prefer small groups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/3/2019 at 9:01 PM, lennythenose said:

We’ve never been to Costa Maya so I can’t give you a comparison but we did love the Lamanai Ruins excursion in Belize. 

Same here. Lamanai was fantastic. We also cannot do a comparison as we were never in Costa Maya.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have done Chacchoben in Costa Maya with Native Choice and highly recommend them.  One of the guides' father discovered the ruins.  We have done Xunantunich and Altun Ha in Belize.  Both were good- depends on how long a drive you want.  the hand-cranked ferry at Xunantunich was cool.  We would like to do Lamanai one day- heard the boat ride there is cool.  With both Xunantunich and Lamanai I would go with cruise line tours.  They are a distance away and it gives me protection in case something goes wrong.  At Mahogany Bay I suggest Little French Key.  It is an eco-resort and beautiful- SUP, snorkeling, cabanas, hammocks, grilled food and awesome drinks.  They will pick you up near the pier.  My husband does not like the beach but cannot wait to go back.  What a great place.  Make sure you choose LITTLE French Key and not just French Key.  Two different places.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A word of advice about Lamanai.

 

If you go, bring one pool towel and leave it on the bus. If you have an afternoon tropical shower while in the boat on the way back, you will be very happy for the towel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can do Uxmal out of Costa Maya, then it was by far the best tour I have ever been on to a ruin and I have seen some of the greats. 

 

With that being said there are 3 that you can get to in Belize, Xunantunich, Altun Ha, and Lamanai.  My personal favorite there was Xunantunich.

 

Not too far from Costa Maya are Tulum and Chichen Itza.  Tulum is pretty leveled due to its location but Chichen Itza is fantastic.  We were there back when you could still climb.

 

Like one of the previous posters said, I am a bit of a Mayan culture nut and if there are ruins near where we port, I try to see them.  Hope you enjoy them whichever ones you choose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We also did the tour Chachobben in Costa Maya - CM didnt offer nearly the variety of activities that Belize does.

 

Dont let anyone scare you about Belize though - the cave tubing is awesome, but taking a tour to Caye Caulker is AMAZING!  Belize has a LOT to offer!  Dont just tender into the ship port with nothing planned!  :)  You can get away with that at CM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, marci4tony said:

We also did the tour Chachobben in Costa Maya - CM didnt offer nearly the variety of activities that Belize does.

 

Dont let anyone scare you about Belize though - the cave tubing is awesome, but taking a tour to Caye Caulker is AMAZING!  Belize has a LOT to offer!  Dont just tender into the ship port with nothing planned!  🙂 You can get away with that at CM

we have nothing planned for CM.  an we find things right off of the port? belize we are doing ruins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not a fan of CM - That being said, there have been substantial improvements over the years.

 

After Hurricane Dean demolished the port, Carnival and I think RC pooled funds together to rebuild the port.  We were on the fourth ship to stop there after they re-opened the new port.  (4th or 5th)  People were desperate for an income, a little pushy, some were rude, and in your personal space.  That was NOT a pleasant stop.

 

However, we did go back a few years after that and it was marvelous.  Great shopping, good food.  And the beaches are very nice.  We grabbed a cab into Mahahual, copped a squat right there - got a "massage", played in the water,  had some great tequila, excellent food!  It was a very nice time - as opposed to our first stop.

 

I'm sure over the years, there has been much development and updating as well.  

 

My absolute favorite place in the ENTIRE Caribbean - is still Caye Caulker, Belize.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...