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“Undiscovered Diving Paradise”

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Maya Palms Resort & Dive Center
Ranked #9 of 23 Mahahual B&B and Inns
Detroit
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Undiscovered Diving Paradise”
Reviewed May 2, 2012

This is the first place I've been anywhere where I didn't see another dive boat. Beautiful spur and groove reefs that extend for miles. Saw turtles, stingray, moray eels, lots of fish and huge, I mean huge, barrel sponges. They were everywhere. We did 14 dives in fives days, including a neat little kayak dive from the resort to the first reef, about 400 meters off shore. We saw large schools of tangs on that dive in just 8 feet of water or less. We should've just brought the snorkels but it was fun diving.

The resort itself is near perfect. There were six people staying when we were there. It's secluded, safe and very quiet. The perfect getaway. The grounds are immaculately groomed, the pool a nice temperature and the dive shop was right next to our room.

The menu is prix fixe which is good and bad. I loved not having to decide what I wanted for dinner and every meal was delicious. They describe the food as Caribbean fusion. I don't know what that is but it was excellent. I could see how a really picky eater might not like not having a choice but the staff sends out questionnaires before arriving so you do have a chance to tell them what you like and what you don't. My travel companion isn't used to eating big breakfasts when she finally spoke up they gave her a selection of cereal instead and that made here happy.

The pace of the resort and diving is very laid back. The dive boat left only when everyone was ready to go so there was no rushing around. We took long surface intervals and generally ate lunch around 2 or 3, with dinner around 7:30 or 8pm. I'm not used to this but quickly came to like this slow pace. The reefs are in the 60-80 foot range so having a long surface interval really helped.

The dive staff was fun and made each dive different and special. And the resort staff took care of our every need.

The drive from Cancun was actually fun and we never felt like we weren't safe. This is the SAFEST part of Mexico and they take care of the tourists. I wish I had more than a week to hit more of the nearby Mayan ruins. We toured Chacchoben, about 45 minutes away, and Tulum, on our way back to Cancun. But this is deep in Mayan country and I really would've like more time for that. But the diving came first.

If you're looking for an all inclusive dive resort, where you feel like you're almost on a deserted island, this is the place. You will do incredible dives and won't be hassled by other travelers or people selling trinkets on the beach. I'll definitely be back.

Room Tip: The rooms nearest the restaurant are still quiet and very convenient. Wifi is available in the resta...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank John G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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118 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 27, 2012

Wow!! What a great place to be for a week of diving. Had two great dives per day. Our last dive we even saw a Manta Ray which they haven't seen one since 2007. Also saw several stingray, turtles, lobsters (extremely large), sharks, and lots of beautiful fish. Service was awesome and meals were exceptional. What a great place to relax and hang out by pool or in loungers facing the ocean when not diving. Rooms where nice size with lots of space to lay out all your things. Special thanks to Mark, Ken, Doug, and Cathy for making us feel special and at home. Already planning our return trip!!! Don't let the 4 hour drive from Cancun stop you from going this is how you get to paradise without everyone else being at the same place as you.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jadasnider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
31 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2012

My husband and I took a cruise at Thanksgiving, and one of our stops was Costa Maya. We love to scuba, so we contacted Maya Palms and asked to dive for a day there.

The property is about 30 min by cab from the pier. To get to the cab pick up was about a 10 minute walk from the pier. However, it was worth it. The hotel is awesome! The staff also made sure that our cab driver was there to pick us back up in time for the cruise boarding at 3PM, and they kept things moving but never rushed :)

We had 1 tank dive, then lunch, and another tank dive after lunch. We were fortunate to be the only divers there since it was not a busy time. The lunch was lovely with tacos and guacamole, and the pool and grounds a tropical respite.

I asked to see a room, as we would like to come back and stay. The room was clean and very tastefully appointed. If I was seeking a place to "get away from it all," this would definitely be a place to look into. The AC was also in working condition, with each room having a unit. For divers, the dive shop was very clean and professional and it was definitely a worthwhile experience. FWIW, the manager told me that the busiest times see about 30 folks, so it is a property that caters to those wanting some R&R :) The other reviews remarking of the idyll of a personal Mexican villa are spot on.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank aek429
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2012

My wife and I had the fortunate opportunity to be the only guests the week we were there! We were spoiled! Mark saw to all our needs. The accommodations were excellent! Hospitality unequaled. The food, delicious! We felt as if we were living at someone's Mexican Villa, with our own personal wait staff. Ken provided us with an intimate diving experience. Hawks Bill Turtles, Stingray, Sea Cucumbers, Lobsters, as well as many other undersea critters I could not name. Ken put on quite a display of Lionfish Hunting, personally dispatching a dozen or two to another realm.

  • Stayed February 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gstrehlow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Snoqualmie, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 29, 2012

If youre looking to get away from the massive crowds of cruisers to a serene place slightly away from all the madness, Maya Palms will definitely satisfy. It was an easy 20 minute cab ride thru town which was a nice exposure to the local scene. I reccomend getting the cab driver to stop on the way at a local roadside eatery/bar so you can score some fresh conch and a beer. once you reach Maya Palms, Mark greets you like Ricardo Montalban in fantasy Island. Nothing but plush accomodations and first class service. The mexican platter lunch was amazing. Could only imagine how good the shrimp would have been.Thanks for the frijoles recipe! Mark knows his was around the kitchen. The pictures on the site are accurate and accomodations are even better in person, Im glad I researched this place and took the leap of faith and you will also. When we were there, we had the whole place to ourselves. Talk about relaxing! A guy carved a coconut for each of us and had fresh cocnut water out the tap. sweet. Since this place is ecofriendlym they do run off the grid and some things such as ice are a luxury. They had plenty for our margaritas but i bet showing up with a bag or two of ice will get ya some perks. Especially if you like frozen blended drinks like we do. Felt bad eating all his ice supply. Our dive master was super chill and knowledgeable and they take care of all your gear. I can go on an on...Point is I cant wait to go back and stay a week and truly GET AWAY and relax. and yes they have freewifi if ya have to stay in touch. And youre only a short drive from Tulum if you want a day trip to swim in Cenotes, hit the beach, and see some ruins. Thanks again guys.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Adamsmasher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ashland, Oregon
Level Contributor
74 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2012

After reading about the dive excursion on the Maya Palms website it sounded like the perfect day for a cruise stop in Costa Maya. My husband and I are both experienced divers and we dive at every port. We almost always book separately from the ship to get a better experience. The Maya Palms resort was a 25 minute drive from the cruise ship down a sand/pavement road with a lot of pot holes. The drive was neat as you get to see the town of Mahahual and it cost $20 each way. The resort is beautiful with a nice entry, landscaped paths to get around, nice mosaic chairs, a pool, 2 hammocks and the view from the top of the pyramid is expansive. The host tried really hard to ensure you had a good time. This is where the good part of the review ends though.

We came to enjoy a nice resort, but mainly to dive. Our time at port in Costa Maya was short, but from our arrival at Maya Palms to our departure we had over 5 hours. That should be plenty of time for 2 dives and a lunch. However after our arrival we waited for almost 2 hours before going diving. As we were setting up gear the other couple that were diving asked the d.m. Ken at least 4 times if they should rent wet suits or would they be warm enough in swim suits. Ken ignored there question a couple times and once asked where they were from and then said they would be fine. This was a bit of a red flag to us as the water temp was 79, warm water but we had been diving in it the last 3 days with full 3mm wet suits and we wouldn't have wanted to be without them. If a diver asks multiple times about it, I would think to err on the side of caution and rent them a wet suit. For the dive we went out on 2 small boats because there big boat is not in service. The dive was pretty good, it seemed like there were swim throughs we could have been doing and weren't for some reason. One unbelievable event happened during this dive, the d.m. Ken broke off chunks of sponges two times. He crumbled it up and fed it to fish. We couldn't believe this! We have a don't touch policy and breaking off pieces of reef is unthinkable to us. See our photos for where he took the sponge and we saw many more of these along the dive probably from previous Ken dives.

In between dives we should of had our Mexican Platter as was advertised. The host came over and told us it would be ready in about 15 minutes when we got back. After those 15 minutes we were then informed that no we would not be taking a break, but we would be going back out diving. It seemed like we were already running out of time and we did want to do 2 dives, so we went back out. Once again we took out two little boats with Ken in the other boat. After our first dive we were told by Ken to leave our gear in the boat and they would switch it for us. Now we normally always check our gear and do this ourselves, but with the weird rushing around and the boats being anchored off shore we hadn't done this. Good reminder, always check your own gear. We got out to the dive site and put on our gear. My husband turned on my tank and I checked all my regulator, octo, etc.. Then the guy next to him turned on my husband tank. As husbands tank was turned on the sound of air gushing out came. It was turned off and we checked the o-ring, it was fine. Turns out the valve on the tank wasn't compatible with husbands regs. The d.m. had the only gear that would work with the valve and he was in the other boat so it took 15 minutes to have him swim over and then swap tanks. Finally we get into the water. The seas were rough so we descended right away after the okay signal at the surface. 2 breaths into my decent I had no air. I look for my husband who was a few feet below me looking down. So I banged on my tank while surfacing. When I got up I orally inflated my bc and then husband came up and turned on my tank. We decided to continue the dive and began our decent again. When I looked down Ken was swimming away on the reef with the other divers, totally oblivious to what happened. This dive was only 35 minutes because we had to get back to meet our taxi and go to the ship. After we surfaced I found out that the boat captain had turned off my air as I was sitting on the edge of the boat waiting to roll in. No idea why he did this other than that he had no dive training.

When we got back to the resort it was already the time we had scheduled with the taxi driver to pick us up. The host did have some food for us which was nice, but we didn't have any time to enjoy it.

In the end while the facilities and the host were good, I would not return or recommend the Maya Palms because of the dive shop and dive master. The schedule was do nothing for 2 hours and then rush, rush, rush and safety was not a priority.

Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank caymantiga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Millbrae, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2012

We found Maya Palms by using a Google search for dive locations in Coast Maya. We were arriving by cruise ship and wanted to be away from the typical tourist locations. My husband sent an internet inquiry and received very prompt correspondence from the owners in St Louis. As the owners of the resort were from the US it put my husband’s fears a bit at ease as he is not a fan of visiting Mexico. We booked our dives and we were sent VERY detailed information as to how to get to the resort, what to bring and what to expect. NOTE: If you arriving by cruise ship, follow the directive to get a yellow taxi outside of the terminal. They will try to keep you or require you to take one of the taxi’s in the terminal but they will not guarantee your return to the terminal. The yellow taxi’s outside of the terminal will. (We made this mistake)
When we arrived at the resort, after a 15 – 20 minute taxi ride down a dirt road, we were greeted by Mark. Although I do not know Mark’s official title I would have to say he is the “do it all man”. He not only acted like the doorman (it is a gated/private resort so he had to greet us at the front gate), he was the above water tour guide, cook, concierge, waiter, bartender, admin person and photographer. Of the entire week either on the cruise ship or at any stop, Mark was the one person who provided us the most AMAZING customer service the entire week – Thank you, Mark!
Mark toured us around the grounds and introduced us to the dive shop manager – Ken. Although Ken is the dive shop manager he too is a “do it all man”. He is also an underwater tour guide, cook, waiter, bartender, mason, maintenance tech and water purifier man. Ken and his assistant also provided superb customer service and were very knowledgeable as to where the dive site are.
We took our first dive Ken took us on a “Lion Fish Safari”. Ken displayed great concern for “his ocean” and was able to eliminate some reef inhibitors as needed (divers should know what I am talking about..….). We came back from shore where Mark served is a great local lunch of pork taco’s, beans and rice. It was the best food we had all week (including on the cruise ship). We took our second dive which was even better than the first. The reef’s are very protected allowing the coral and sea fans to be rather large and the abundance of sea life was great. On the two tours we saw HUGE lobsters, French angle's, rays, eels, lion fish (unfortunately too many), puffer fish, barracudas, parrot fish and an array of sea life I am not familiar with specific names. I would recommend diving at the resort to anyone. Snorkeling is also allowed at the shoreline at the resort.
When we completed the dives and packed up, Mark had called the appropriate taxi for us which was there waiting for us. Although the taxi was waiting Mark took the time to show us a suite as we all plan to return for some more amazing service and spectacular dives in the near future. Thanks to Mark and Ken at Maya Palms we are able to reflect back on our time in Costa Maya as our favorite stop of which we cannot wait to return.
As a side note, the resort is actually beach front, has an onsite dive shop, nice pool with pretty cool lounges, an onsite bar and from what we were told their packages they include breakfast and dinner in the price. There are only 18 suites so if you are really looking to get away from everything and everyone this resort is definitely an option. Not counting the staff (and pooches) we only saw one other person on the grounds while we were there.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Catherine B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Maya Palms Resort & Dive Center

Property: Maya Palms Resort & Dive Center
Address: 10 km Carr, Mahahual-Xcalak, Mahahual 97770, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Costa Maya > Mahahual
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 23 B&Bs / Inns in Mahahual
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Secluded seaside resort 15 minutes south of Mahahual. Modeled on architecture of Mayan ruins. Air-conditioned seaside cottages, reverse osmosis water, hot showers, comfortable double beds, quality linens, internet access, freshwater pool, palapas all set within botanical gardens. 4 story pyramid bar, restaurant, and observatory with spectacular views of Caribbean. PADI Dive Center. World-class Scuba and snorkeling a 5 minute boat ride to the reef. Swimming, kayaking, fishing. Very private resort, within a gated walled compound. We have a three-night minimum stay requirement. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Maya Palms Resort And Dive Center
Maya Palms Resort & Dive Hotel Mahahual
Maya Palms Resort & Dive Center Mahahual, Mexico - Costa Maya

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