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Maya Palms Resort - Costa Maya

Discussion in 'Mexico' started by Treetop, May 25, 2012.

  1. Treetop

    Treetop Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Illinois
    We just got back from a weeks worth of diving at Maya Palms, thought I'd share my views.
    Fly into Cancun, rent a car which was easy, drive south - drive south some more. between 4 1/2 hrs to 5 1/2 hrs or so you will arrive at the resort. highway almost all the way down - easy driving. once you turn off main highway, go a couple klicks and you hit a army checkpoint - no worries, they might pop your trunk, but they aren't interested in truists so much I think. drive through till you almost reach Mahahual and hang a right just like the directions on their site say sign for Xcalak, though the checkpoint has moved. There is a gas station just past turn off if you need it. drive around 20-30 minutes more and hang a left at the sign for Punta Herradura - then SLOW DOWN, roads to this point were flawless, now prepare for potholes. Not undriveable, but have care. Go to the end of this road and it T-bones into a dirt road going N-S, again - potholes, drive slow. keep going till you see the huge gates on right - don't worry, you didn't go to far, you cannot miss the gates - about 10-15 minutes maybe from turnoff going slow.

    Mark met us at the gate and let us in. The driveway is just past the main gates on right. Call him and estimate time, he will watch for you. We arrived around 8:30 or 9 local time, however, they fired the kitchen up for us and had a wonderful meal prepared and waiting, and mixed me up a pina colada as a welcome drink. great way to unwind after trip. They have a full bar with many choices, and lots of room to lounge around. We ate wonderfully, the meals were plentiful, and tasty. You kind of tell them what you like or dislike at the start of the week and they tailor out a menu for you based on whats fresh and good at the market. The presentation of the food was great with Mark cooking breakfast and lunch and Ken supper, and we never lacked for coffee or water fills or the drink of choice - Thanks guys! I ate more than I usually do on vacation because everything was so good. But don't worry - you will dive it off.

    The resort is built to cater to smaller dive groups of up to around 24 I think he said at this time, and the ambiance is great, all mayan architecture, ocean and jungle. From the top of the main area, I panned around and all I could see was jungle, and ocean, with only a few houses poking through here and there. Wonderfully isolated. Flowers all over - hammocks and loungers by the pool. Relaxing palapa bar/eating area where we had breakfast and lunch everyday listening to XM radio which Mark tuned to the stations we liked, and watching the ocean. bring bug spray for the rare times the ocean breeze slows down as there are a few biting flies and mosquitos that could show up for lunch.

    Diving here is very easy. After breakfast just stroll 30-40 feet through the garden path to the dive shop area. Each day, they had our gear staged and ready for us to check over. We did our pressure checks and connections and prep stuff, then some of their helpers carried it all down to the boat for us. They would do all the air checks and connections for you if you like, but we asked to check our own. Boat is right on beach very close to staging area. You dive one tank most days, come back and surface interval for about 1 1/2 hrs then go for another. Ken is great with the diving profiles, and since it was just the two of us each of our dives lasted over an hour. There is a small boat for small groups and a large boat for lots of people, which we didn't go on. The small boat was just fine, as the reef is extensive and waves were negligable. There is a ladder to get back in after handing your gear up to the captain. Our dive guide Ken was great, he double checks your tanks to make sure they are on, then you gives you a three count and you roll back into the blue.

    You can stick to only boat dives, or they will bring out kayaks for you to row out and anchor off the shallow reef off the resort beach. Takes a little getting used to, but you can dive as much as you want after you master the kayaks. Shallow reef is around 8-14ft deep, but lots to see.

    Visibility was pretty good most days, iv'e had better in some other caribean spots, however the mangroves feed nutrients to the water which nurish the reef, which was amazingly extensive, so it really is a good thing. And better yet, it brings the turtles. I saw more turtles here than on any previous dive trip. Loggerheads and hawksbill, one of the loggerheads swam next to Ken and I believe it measured from his head to his knees - over 4 ft long. You get get right next to almost all of them. The reef itself is massive and continuous, no where that I've dived has had this much reef. soft waving corals and huge barrel sponges from top to bottom of reef. Downside to this, is the fish have a lot of places to hide, so you have to peek under things a bit to see all there is to see.

    We ran across a pair of very large eagle rays, baracuda, several medium size grouper, 5-6 ft nurse shark, a huge bull stingray on a night dive, Moray and spotted eels, lobsters galore, banded shrimp, Octopus, triggers and queen triggers, tons of smaller reef fish, ever present lionfish galore in herds at some points, and the highlight of the trip, when Ken and I were hanging on safety stop he heard some Dolphins, and called them in with his shaker. An adult pod came and checked us out and got fairly close. First time I have been in water with wild dolphins - Amazing - Thanks Ken!

    All in all a wonderful vacation and great resort with a super staff! Recommended as an alternative to cozumel, a little longer to get to, but for the relaxation and personalized service - well worth the trip.

  2. Treetop

    Treetop Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Illinois
    Here's a few shots to show some of the underwater view. Shot with a sealife DC1200 - ambient light
    eagle ray 1.jpg turtle 4.jpg moray eel.jpg nurse shark 1.jpg PICT0071.jpg PICT1282.jpg turtle 2.jpg
  3. Dave C

    Dave C Manta Ray

    Thanks for the report. I stayed at the Hotel Tierra Maya near the town of Xcalak in March and very much enjoyed it. I'm the type of guy who likes to get off the beaten track, and Xcalak is certainly that. One of the highlights was seeing a jaguar and cub crossing the highway between Mahahual and Xcalak. There were a lot of fish in Xcalak!
  4. elizabeth517

    elizabeth517 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Loreto,BCS,Mexico
    I would kill to see that! You are so lucky. I've done tbat road several times and the best I've seen is a kinkajou!

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