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“Luxury and service in the wilderness”

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Maya Palms Resort & Dive Center
Ranked #10 of 23 Mahahual B&B and Inns
S.F.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Luxury and service in the wilderness”
Reviewed February 16, 2007

This Maya Palms is fabulous get away. I was there at the height of the tourist season and and after spending a few nights in the area of Playa Del Carmen, I was relieved to get away from the crowds, the overly manicured beaches and the kids dive-bombing in the swimming pools. The drive from Cancun takes about 5 hours through jungles with butterflys and iguanas on the sides of a modern well maintained road. There are quaint small villages and services on the way. Traffic was light.
The Maya Palms is very remote while offering all the comforts and luxury that you would normally only be able to get in a much more developed resort area.(ie airconditioning, swimming pool, full bar, electricity, wireless web and daily maid service.)
The hotel grounds are full of tropical flowering trees which attract a huge variety of birds whose song woke me in the mornings. The ocean was abundant with turtles and rays and the night sky is full of stars (which you may have forgotten were there if your from the city).
The service is fantastic and personalized. The sucba staff custom taylored the diving to my leveI and took others in seperate groups.
I have certain dietary issues that some facilities cannot satisify but this was no problem for the staff at the Maya Palms.
The Maya Palms is off the beaten track but worth the trip. If you want to be in a pristine natural setting, but also want to spoil yourself, this is the place to go.

  • Liked — Nature
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
12 Thank ScubadogS.F.
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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English first
Farmington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed February 4, 2007

We just returned from Maya Palms Resort, in January. Our group consisted of 8 couples, 2 of them non diving spouses. Maya Palms is located about 6 miles south of the village of Mahahual in an area called the Costa Maya. This area has been the beneficiary of a large cruise ship port built just north of Mahahual.
We flew into Cancun, rented 2 vans and made the 4 hour drive to Maya Palms. The highway is 4 lanes for 60% of the drive, and very good 2 lane for the rest. Our drive took us through Playa del Carmen, Talum, and Lemones.
Upon our arrival in Mahahual we journeyed south along a sand beach road which snaked along the Caribbean coast for 6 miles to Maya Palms Resort. I have to say, from what we saw in Mahahual and along the 6 mile ride to Maya Palms, we were astonished when we came upon Maya Palms Resort. This place was like coming upon an oasis in the desert. Basically, all you see in Mahahual and along the beach road are seedy buildings, beach shacks and jungle. You know you are approaching Maya Palms when you see a 10 foot stone wall lined with white trunked palm trees going for about a half mile, then you come to the entrance to the resort. It looks like a Mayan Palace that emerged from the jungle.
We where greeted by Doug and Catherine, Pedro, Ken, and resort pets, Nemo and Chepiro. We were treated to a refreshing welcome drink, as we completed our check in and were escorted to our beach front villas. There are 2 aspects of Maya Palms and 2 different worlds. One is when you arrive you are on the jungle side of the property. Then your world changes 180 when you arrive at your beach front villa..on the ocean side.
Maya Palms was like a world unto itself, unaffected by the outside world. The property is totally self contained, clean and well maintained. Maya Palms has a freshwater beachside swimming pool, a PADI Dive Center, a great restaurant and bar with a lookout on top. The beach is very private. (No people except MP guests). The gardens have lots of Orchids, Palms, Tropical Plants, and Birds.
They have 3 dive boats; we used the 49’ Freezone. The dive center was well equipped and must have had over 100 tanks. They provide soft weights. There are large freshwater rinse tanks, and an impressive tank filling system.
Our stay was 10 days. We scheduled 2 dives daily for 7 days. Our boat left at 1000am and returned at 1130am we ate lunch and boarded for our second dive at around 130. This was our typical schedule everyday. Tanks were always filled to 3200psi, no short fills. Nitrox was available.
The diving is astonishing. It reminds me of Cozumel 20 years ago, but much larger reef. Very virgin, huge sponges, lots of turtles, and medium size fish. The diving is spur and groove. Spur and groove diving occurs when a mountain of coral (barrier reef) has deep narrow
(6'-15' width canyons) grooves, running from the base of the reef towards shore... Our dives usually began along the base of this coral mountain range at approximately 80-90 feet, headed north in a very light current. Along this deep route we saw giant sponges 6-7 ft tall, some hosting eels in their base, large barracuda, and a wide variety of marine life. Most astonishing is the condition on the reef. The reef is virgin, healthy and vibrant. After 10 minutes or so, our guide would take us through some of the most spectacular swim thru canyons (grooves) it was like diving a wall without having to go to great depths. Here we would occasionally see turtles, lobster, and rays. Our dives were usually 40-50 minutes. Upon surfacing the dive boat was always nearby to recover us. This was typical of the diving we did each day. Every dive site is on GPS and the Captain was very precise as to the exact point of entry. In front of Maya Palms there are over 20 dive sites, each is unique in its own way. The dive site areas extended from Maya Palms and went south. We insisted on a dive north of Maya Palms because that is where the other dive boats seemed to congregate, and thought we were missing something, Well, we did one dive about 3 miles north, and agreed we would dive from Maya Palms and south. Ken said the other boats do not like to make the journey from town to Maya Palms reefs.
The boat ride was never more that 15 minutes. Most of the time we arrived on site within 10 minutes.
The reef is so rich that it literally grows out of the sea. The dive boat must navigate through 30 foot cut in the reef to get to the Open Ocean and dive sites.
We typically had breakfast at 8am and were out on the reef by 10am. We returned to the resort after the dive at about 1130 ate lunch, and hung out in the hammocks. We would leave for our 2nd dive at 130. Again no long boat rides because the sites are so close to the resort.
We did 3 night dives, leaving around 530-6pm for a 5 minute ride to the base of the inner reef. There are several swim-throughs which allowed us to get to the other side of the reef. They will not take their boat into open ocean at night, because of the tight squeeze getting in and out of the natural bay formed by the barrier reef.
Maya Palms is gifted with an ideal location for a diving resort because it is encompassed with the protection of the barrier reef which forms a natural bay. The barrier reef is about 400 yards from the beach, with virgin diving on the other side.
The beach front villas are very nice renditions of Mayan buildings; they are made of stone and concrete and have 2 full size beds, bathroom, shower, air conditioning, and porch, with all glass looking out to the sea. There are 2 separate villas per building. All the water is reverse osmosis and safe to drink. (The only place in Mexico I could drink water from the tap). Electricity is (USA) 110 volts 60 cycle current. Stone walkways extend from the villas and through the gardens to the main Palapa (large grass hut), Pool, and Restaurant with a spectacular marble bar. We even had internet access throughout the resort.
I especially enjoyed catching the early evening sea breeze while laying in the poolside hammocks with a cold beer. Words cannot describe the peace and tranquility I had at Maya Palms.
The service at Maya Palms was unsurpassed. We were treated to the friendliest family of staff I have ever experience. Catherine and Doug Goergens, (owners), Ken (manager, dive instructor), Pedro (Head Chef, and Hospitality manager), Anna (assist chef) and the rest of their crew, were at our service 24-7. This large complex set in the jungle along the beach accommodates only 40 people max. You get the feeling you are on your own private island.
The food is fabulous breakfast: Mexican breakfast or eggs, bacon hot cakes, serial, fresh fruit. Lunch: Mexican platter, burgers, sandwiches, soup, salad. Dinner was the great surprise; we had everything from Mexican gourmet, steak, lobster, chicken, pork and shrimp served to us on platters. I gained weight on this trip!
We ventured into the village of Mahahual (20minutes drive) to do some shopping and grabbed dinner. The shopping is only good if cruise ships are in port. The food was expensive and did not measure up to what we had become accustomed to at Maya Palms.
We took a day trip to Cenote Azul, and some newly discovered ruins, and watched the sunset at a 16th century fort on Lake Bacalar. This was a fun day only about 1 hour from Maya Palms.
We took another day trip to Chetumal Bay and Belize Freezone (2 hour drive). The Freezone is a Duty Free area in Belize at the Mexican boarder. The Freezone has 3 Las Vegas style casinos, and is home to one of the worlds largest flee markets. Containers arrive from all parts of the world and the goods are sold at wholesale prices. Liquor purchases are a bargain.
All in all, I recommend you treat yourself to this wonderful resort. It is truly out of this world. Places like Maya Palms are quickly disappearing and being absorbed by the giant operators. Enjoy this while it is in its infancy. They say this is the fastest growing area in Mexico.
I am escorting another group from our club in June. We have reserved the entire resort this time. I will report when I return.
Their website is www.mayapalms.com.

Stayed January 2007
Helpful?
15 Thank ReefInvader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, CA
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2006

I have recently returned from a 5 day diving vacation at Maya Palms. Beautiful grounds, great food, clean and cozy rooms, a professional and accommodating staff and a magnificent reef.

The grounds have been landscaped and planted with a natural garden notable for the orchid collection, fruit trees and native plants. Unlike mega-resorts with shaped bushes and potted plants, Maya Palm's grounds leave you with a strong sense of the native landscape and jungle, which contributes to the serenity and timelessness of the space. The freshwater pool is perfect to relax in or to swim a few laps if you have energy left after the dives

The food was prepared by Anna and Pedro and was delicious. Fresh Fish, Mexican Platters and delicious home made sauces were served to us in the palapa bar area. Nemo (the security guard) always made sure we felt secure-He allowed us to pet him whenever we liked and demonstrated considerable skill and tenacity while retrieving sticks or small coconuts thrown into the sea.

Our rooms were great. Situated right on the beach I could hear the waves lapping against the sand as I drifted to sleep. The tap water was delicious. It was safe for drinking and great for showering.

My 3 days of diving were too great to even describe. Two dives each day gave me 6 dives of some of the best reef diving I've ever had. Professional captains and divemasters insured our safety at all times and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. The bio diversity indicates that this reef is a very healthy reef. So many large and small reef fish, rays, turtles lobsters and coral formations as well as some of the most prolific sponges are dancing in my memory...I can't wait to get back!

I highly recommend a stay at the Maya Palms. If you have a shore leave at the Costa Maya Port, you should arrange a scuba or dive package with Maya Palms. This resort is a secluded jewel in the jungle-you will be glad that you stayed (and dived) with the Maya Palms Resort

  • Liked — The Reef!
  • Disliked — The Mosquitos
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
12 Thank satsujinsha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed May 26, 2006

My son and I stopped here for a cruise ship shore excursion and we both loved the visit. Doug and Cathy were excellent hosts and repeatedly saw to our needs. The diving was fantastic. We went just a few hundred meters offshore and saw a variety of flora and fauna including a manta ray and large turtle which swan through our group. After the second dive I became seasick and Cathy couldn't have been more sympathetic and helpful. Doug and Cathy and their entire staff were warm, friendly and very professional. I hope to return for an extended stay soon.

Ben

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 14, 2006

I only got to stay there for a day because we were on a cruise ship....BUT..... We are going back ASAP. Maybe this month even. The resort is remote, hell... the town is remote. They are just getting 'on their feet' so to speak (the town). But I showed up at Maya Palms...with no reservation for a dive, and they said 'Sure, let's go dive!' I was blown away. The reef is just literally a few hundred feet offshore, and it's awesome. It's not the Great Barrier Reef or anything, but you see something interesting everywhere you look, and there are treasures to be seen. Then there is the customer service. I can't say enough about ho nice the entire staff was to me. I had a touch of sea-sickness and a hell of a case of mask squeeze (novice diver), and the owner herself took all the time in the world to make sure I was back on my feet. Waaaaaaaaay above the call of duty.

Then there is the resort itself. It's beautiful. Wonderful cultural landscaping and architecture. You can easily see the attention to detail. The ameneties are 'primitive' in the respect that you won't have cable TV, and all the creature comforts of home. But one look out the window and you won't care a bit. There is an on-staff chef, beautiful bar that they are just finishing up, and spacious rooms. Plus a private pool and washroom. The beach is just spectacular, unspoiled...and a view you can't beat.

In a nutshell, I plan to take my wife, who is pregnant, and my two year old. And I know they'll be well taken care of and SAFE! The town itself leaves a little to be desired, but the town doesn't make the dive...or the resort for that matter.

Out of 5 stars, this place gets a six!

  • Stayed February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
19 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2006

We have just returned from 3 weeks at Maya Palms Resort. It is truly where the jungle grows to the sea. We did 2 dives daily. Never the same spots and never more than a 15-minute boat ride. The beach is very private and you feel as if you are on a tropical island.
Maya Palms is like an oasis in the middle of the primitive Caribbean coast. We checked out all the resorts in the area, and none compared to Maya Palms Resort.
The accommodation’s are villas (resemble studio apartments) located on your own private beach. All the villas are air-conditioned, but it wasn't needed because of the cool nights. The water is purified (even the toilet use pure water).
The staff is professional, friendly, and mostly bilingual. Catherine the owner along with Pedro the chef kept our pallets well satisfied. Their food is fantastic. (That is almost miraculous considering a stay of 3 weeks) The meals where delicious, and served to coincide with my dive schedule.
Our original stay was to be for only 10 days. But, we where having the vacation of a lifetime. We sent the nanny and the kid’s home, and we stayed for another 2 weeks. We are glad we did!!
After the holiday crowd cleared out (they where fully booked), a dozen or so other guests and we had the resort to ourselves.
The owners Catherine and Doug purchased the Maya Palms Resort and opened last Christmas. (The previous owners
operated under the name Maya Ha). Doug explained that they had to rebuild the infrastructure, hire a professional staff, and replace the dive operation. Catherine has developed the most beautiful gardens and orchid collection we have ever seen. Seriously, when you enter the resort, it is like being in a botanical garden.
Maya Palms is a PADI training facility and resort. They operate six pack 28-foot pangas, and a 48-foot offshore panga for Chinchorro Dives, and larger groups of Divers. While there, I earned my Master Diver and got a good start on my Divemaster.
My wife is not the dive addict that I am. She enjoyed the pool, beach, the gardens, and daily yoga sessions. She also caught up on her reading.
We also had the convenience of 24-hour Internet service. I was able to use my laptop in my villa.
I have read some negative reviews on this forum, which cannot be accurate reviews of Maya Palms. If fact it looks like some guy from Oregon got burnt by the old ownership (Maya Ha) and keeps re-posting the same negative review, but attributes it to Maya Palms now. Those negative reviews are not fair or accurate. They have nothing to do with the ownership or operation of Maya Palms. I have made the owners aware of these unjust reviews. I hope they will do something about it.
I recommend Maya Palms Resort for the traveler wanting to escape the ordinary and maximize diving on rich undamaged reefs. Maya Palms offers the seclusion of an oasis on the edge of the jungle, with all the amenities of a 5 star Caribbean resort.
We booked our trip through their main office in Missouri.

  • Stayed January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
31 Thank Worldtravl
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 #10 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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