Spent part of a day in Costa Maya while on a cruise. When I booked the cruise I assumed that it would be the stop I was least interested in visiting. It ended up being the best day.
There were five in my group, and three of them did a catamaran/snorkel excursion. My brother and I figured that we would get off the ship and do a little exploring, since we had no real plans.
The cruise ship-created area sucks, with the same crappy stores as every other port. Once we found our way outside the fake area built by the cruise lines, we rented a golf cart and drove into Mahahual. Several places looked interesting, but we decided to keep driving south and save any stops in town for the way back. We drove about 20 minutes down the road that runs along the water. That is where we had such a nice day.
It was a Tuesday and there was only one ship in port, but the little hotels and restaurants along the road/beach were deserted. It was pretty much just the two of us, our golf cart, and the little road that runs along a beautiful stretch of beach. We eventually stopped at a nice looking boutique hotel called Arenas because there were a couple workers fixing up the outdoor restaurant/bar. We asked if they were open for lunch and someone came out and told us they could provide tacos and beers, which sounded perfect.
We spent the next couple hours sitting outside staring at the ocean. Best of all, there was no one else around. We maybe saw 10 people the entire time, and no one on the very narrow beach. It was the closest thing to the solitude of the Corona commercials I have ever experienced. The tacos were simple and very good - beef (that is all they had that day), potato, cilantro, onion, and a couple different salsas to try on warm tortillas. The price was nice as well; two orders of tacos, six Negra Modellos, and six waters was $20 or so.
I had initially thought of doing Maya Chan or one of the other beach breaks for the day. It looks nice, but I am glad we decided to do something on our own, as we had a great, relaxing day along the beach that probably cost much less. Now I really want to go back to Mahahual and stay at Arenas.