We visited Costa Maya on a cruise. We were hoping for a setup like Mahogany Bay, since both are cruiseline-owned ports, but we found there wasn’t much to do in the crowded port area except shop and use the pool. So we decided to visit Mahahual.
There was a bus running to Mahahual for $3 per person. We walked just outside the port gates to the taxi stand and caught a ride for $2 per person with no waiting. We walked along the boardwalk and saw the same merchandise as in the port. The vendors were fairly aggressive, and not as willing to bargain as those in the port. I would recommend shopping at the port, not at Mahahual. We saw a lot of people getting massages.
Mahahual beach is beautiful - a long, white beach with soft sand and palm trees. The surf was rough, good for Skidoos but not for snorkeling or swimming. Most of the beach clubs seemed to offer similar amenities. We picked the Krazy Lobster for lunch, and it was pretty good. They had a special on a bucket of 10 beers for $10, which was too many for us, but looked like a popular deal. US dollars were accepted everywhere. If you are stopping at Costa Maya and don't want to go on an excursion, visiting Mahahual beach is more interesting than the small cruise port.