I Belize in MAGIC! MITSUGIRLY revisits the Western Route. My Novel.
Day 7: Costa Maya, Mexico
COSTA MAYA Day 6 on the ship: 7-2PM
We knew that during the entire cruise it had been calling for sunshine in Costa Maya and we were looking forward to a nice sunny port day finally. I just hated that Carnival only stays here until 2pm. I have never really understood why Carnival does this. I mean they are no different than NCL and have the same distance to "drive back" to the port so what gives??? It's such a waste. I love this port.
Arriving at 7am meant we would be getting up early if we wanted to make the most of the day here. However, we really didn't have anything planned. We (Kendra and I) looked for something interesting to do here and I attempted to find a new place to visit, but wasn't getting the response I was looking for. Someone had mentioned a fairly new place called Shipwreck'd and I was going to check them out. My only concern was the water (looked like most of the other beach clubs with murky brown water and lots of seaweed) and that I had read their snorkeling was a little ways out. I emailed them with no answer. I finally messaged them on the social media site. I finally received a generic answer, which really didn't answer my questions. After messaging them back and telling them who I was and about my reviews (and the possibility of bringing more cruisers there for business with a review because I haven't seen anyone here yet or a review) they messaged me back with...............another generic response. Well, I like someone that answers my questions with a personal response. Let me know that you read it! Let me know you want my business! Show your potential customers you care! I didn't get that.
So...back to Blue Kay we would go. Blue Kay was pretty much unknown to the cruisers when we first went there and although it is located on the Malecon, it is so different than the other little beach clubs around there. It feels more secluded, it's a huge beach, the snorkeling is actually pretty good and in fairly shallow water, the water isn't murky brown even though there is sea grass in the area here and there. The service was friendly and the food was good. We just really enjoyed our day there last time that I knew I wanted to return again.
I set the alarm for 6am and went outside to check things out. It was still dark. It's always weird when this happens and I feel like I should still be in bed!
I remember last time we were here with Carnival and it was 7am, we actually got off the ship and it was still dark out. It was very weird to do this and honestly I don't like it much.
We all headed to the buffet for breakfast and I got my usual.
We were just a few days away from returning home and for some reason I decided to check the weather back home. I guess I wanted to remind myself that even though we had rain and "some" crappy weather on the cruise, it was still better than being home.
It started to lighten up a bit.
Once again, Kendra told us to meet her in the casino. When we arrived, I didn't see her. Is this going to be another mixed up day? Could she be waiting on deck 6 again? Nope, she was just being her normal slow self.
She told me that I needed to see the pool deck and we slipped off without everyone else noticing. There were towel animals on every chair and around the pool. I love when Carnival does this. I guess the chair hogs are out in full force this morning.
Kendra has found a new love:
Once again, there was no announcement that the ship has cleared and we were able to get off.
Hmmm, something looks different ?????
There's a lot of brown...why do I not remember it looking like this in the past?
My notes say we got off the ship at 9am. Did we really wait that long to get off? I'm not really sure.
We were able to get our port pictures done-in the daylight, so I guess that's a good thing.
Coming down the port dock, it was still looking really weird to me. My husband actually said "are you sure we have been here before?" He just didn't remember any of it and then ask "Are we at a different port in Costa Maya?" There are no other ports in Costa Maya I assured him.
Yea, I'm thinking things have changed since we were here last. None of this is familiar to us.
None of this was here last time.
There's the people dressed up that Kendra likes to get her pictures taken with.
We waited our turn and decided all to get in the pictures together. They take your camera and take pictures for you with it and you just tip them.
I had no idea Sakari did this...
I really like what they have done with the place. It looks so different.
You are going to get comparisons from here on out because the change in this port just blew me away! I could not believe the difference since we were here last in 2013.
This used to be the entrance. None of the props, bar and so on was here last time. The color scheme was different too. Before it was like stucco at the entrance and now it's like metal.
The "streets" looked a little fuller than it did before and more lush.
Last time we were here, everything was so colorful from bright yellows to reds to blue and pink. Now everything was more rustic looking.
Here is what the tower used to look like:
Now it looks like this:
What a big difference!
Eeevvveryyy thing had changed. It didn't even look like the same port anymore. When did they do this renovation? Why did they do it? Did a hurricane destroy it or something? I would never get a straight answer from anyone. When I asked people there, the taxi driver and even the people at Blue Kay, they told me 2007. LOL...not. I wasn't even cruising in 2007 and the last time I was there was 2014 and it looked way different. I have pictures to prove it...trust me. Then at one point someone said they redid it around 2012. Nope, try again. I DID NOT look like this the last time I was here in 2014. How can the people that live there not know when the change occurred?
It was absolutely gorgeous. The only way to describe it is that it reminded me of something you would see at a place like Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure. I felt like I was walking onto a movie scene and some dinosaurs were going to come out at any given moment.
Then there were these wooden swinging type bridges everywhere. What they heck was that? Where did it go? What was it for? It looked like we were in the jungle. Where are the raptors?
I noticed they kept the alligator head and used it a different way as a prop. We always get a picture of the alligator head eating Sakari.
They have added a fish spa. Oh how I really want to do that. I have only seen one in Cozumel at Mr Sanchos before. But there just wasn't enough time today.
More buildings that looked like cages above. I wonder what is in there.
Circling around to the pool area. Even it had changed. They now had some type of waterfall in the pool.
The building used to be red. There was no water fall.
There was now a huge bridge going directly over top of the pool.
No bridge before.
There were old trucks sitting everywhere as props.
Before, there was a sidewalk from shop to shop. There was only a small area around the pool that had some packed sand and beach chairs.
Now sand was what you walked in around the stores.
This used to be the exit out of the port compound. But now it was closed off and has a truck there. I started wondering if they have locked us in and we were now trapped under their spell.
What is used to look like:
Then we came across this...flamingos? At the port?
And birds too.
Ah ha! This is what all of the bridges and buildings on top of the buildings was.
I believe I over heard someone say you had to pay to go up and it was $10pp. That's pretty expensive if you think about it. We were a family of 7, so $70 for us to walk up and play chutes and ladders just to see birds and stuff? Although I would have loved to take Sakari because she's such a bird lover, we were on a mission to get to Blue Kay.
This was the bird house and entrance.
Ok, so how the heck you get out of here now? The entrances/exit that was right there is no longer there. Everything was blocked off. Then I found a sign. "Shuttle to Town". Great. It was actually going in the wrong direction. It was taking us toward the water area, which is opposite of where we needed to go. This is weird.
This area is along the water. They have a wooden sidewalk and shops along there. I have no idea if there was anything back there before because I never walked back in that area other than to view the dolphin swimming area.
There were shops up and down this area. Of course every cruise compound you are forced to walk by every shop along the way while you just try to get out of there.
Everything was so pretty here now.
Outside the restroom...these are the wash sinks. How cute.
We circled around and we were almost out of the compound.
WE MADE IT! We finally escaped Jurassic Park. The shuttles were lined up to take people to the Malecon but we knew from reading the boards that they will take you where they want to take you and probably where they get a kick back from the beach/restaurant owners to bring people there. We were going down the street to get our own cab and go directly where we wanted to.
Outside the compound there is a sidewalk that is right down the middle of the street.
There's even area's with some shade, which makes it nice on a hot day.
We didn't have to walk as far as we did last time we caught a taxi outside the compound. I was glad for that.
We found some taxi's on the side of the road and told them where we were going and piled in.
Off we went.
Ok, so maybe my timing was off about the time we got off the ship because I just found a picture I took of my watch when we got arrived at Blue Kay and it was 9:05am. So maybe we got off the ship at 8am.
It was a 6 minute ride to Blue Kay. Super easy. Super quick. They pulled all the way into the parking lot and dropped us off.
We had arrived and it was beautiful out!
Things had changed a little. I definitely didn't remember these weird looking chairs. Who could sit in them? They are so low to the ground, compared to the table, that you wouldn't be able to reach if you were trying to eat. They would probably make good sunning chairs though. But after going back to look at my old photos, I guess they were there and I didn't notice them.
Along the malecon, there were little cabana's for people to rent (2014):
Now they have like a huge "hotel/apartment" type of building there. He said they had just completed it this year.
I think I liked the way they looked before.
The restaurant/bar area is still the same and they still had the swings up at the bar. So it the bathroom.
And once again...no toilet paper in the toilet.
Last time we were there, they had lockers to put your things in and lock up. Now, it has been replaced with a cooler for drinks.
Before: (I'm not sure if they moved these to somewhere else or not).
There used to be a little hut that you rented bicycles at, which looked like this:
Now, they had a place to sell things instead:
The grounds are still gorgeous of course.
I don't recall seeing huge tables and chairs last time. This is nice. Nothing better than eating lunch under a palm tree on the beach while listening to the ocean.
Some of the palm trees looked as if they had seen better days. These chairs are a little nicer.
Now time to take a look around the grounds again. I feel as if there was a storm or hurricane that might have hit at some point recently.
Now maybe it was just me this time...but I swear there were a lot more palm trees everywhere. I remember it being pretty full and lush on the grounds in front of the beach. If you look at the picture above, it doesn't seem too full right?
Here's pictures from 2014 where it appears to have more trees (and bigger):
I don't know. Maybe it's just me. I just swear I remember a lot more trees and a lot more shade the last time.
See how open this appears? Here another shot of the hotel area they just built. Is it possible they were trying to give them a view of the ocean and removed some of the trees?
There was a long palapa type of building built and it had some long tables under it. There was a huge family sitting under there and they had music with speakers playing and a lot of food. Think family reunion type of setting. I didn't want to disturb their area or for it to appear as if I was taking pictures of them so I just snapped as I walked by toward the end of it.
Now, does anyone remember my story about the boat of Cubans that washed up on the shore of Blue Kay right before we had came there in 2014? Well if you don't it was a boat that was built out of various materials, including car parts and it reeked of gasoline. They had built the boat from scratch and escaped Cuba. They were out in the ocean for 9 days and 2 days of that they were just drifting around without food or water. Blue Kay is where they drifted too. The boss gave them food and water (and actually employed 2 of them) after they arrived and were hiding out.
Here's the boat when it arrived at BK:
This is what they decided to do with the boat after cleaning it up. It's now part of the landscaping.
Heading down toward the end of the beach:
It's nice down here and you would probably be about 99% away from the crowd, but I didn't see any chairs down this way except for one that looked like it actually belonged to someone. Maybe people that are staying there? There appears to be a lot more shade here as well.
Our Magic off in the distance.
Such a beautiful place!
These hammocks are new. However, I'm not sure they are for "anyone" to use. I watched these people get in the hammocks and soon after someone that looked like possibly someone who worked there came over and said something to them and they got out and walked away. Maybe they are for rent or possibly only for the guests that stay there.
There's those hard wooden slat chairs that everyone complained about. No worries, they come with cushions now!
Ok, let's talk about this area along the beach.
When we arrived I felt as though something had changed a bit. I didn't remember it being quite like this. We stayed toward the end of the beach and under some palm trees and there were a few "landscaped areas" in front of us but yet we could still see the beach and Sakari playing in the water.
This was our view previously....
Now, this would be our view:
This is the area, tucked behind the trees and a rope looking at it from the beach and the beach
To the right of there, it was pretty open.
When I ask about this area, the ropes, the "different" chairs along the front of the beach, I was told that they had "sold out" or "rented" that area to the beach club next door. GASP! So that now meant that if you are at Blue Kay and in this particular area, you get second row seating and not actually on the beach. I thought that was real crappy. However, no worries, you can always move down more and get beach front property if you need it. Which would be this area...
Both of the areas together:
Who knows, buy renting or selling off that beach front property, that might have gave them the money they needed to build their new hotel area. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
So...let's start with the review of our day there.
When we arrived, we immediately went to the chairs shown in the picture with the rope in front of it. There was a chair for everyone there and it was in the shade and we just came to that place first...so that's where we decided to sit. It was in the area that we had sat in the first time and we had no idea what the rope meant or the chairs in front of it aligned along the beach where. But they guys wanted shade, so it was the perfect place.
Of course we put our things down and the kids headed out to the water. The guys headed up to the bar for some drinks and us girls just sat there relaxing. It wasn't long before a guy, with very poor English, showed up and said $7 pp. So I started attempting to talk to him about their pricing. I explained who I was and being on cc and that there is a lot of confusion about their pricing these days. I told him that when I came here last, it was free and you just had to purchase food & drink. Then people started reporting it was $5 with a free drink. Then I told him how others would report it was $6 and some would come back and say nothing was charged. This is very confusing to people and the inconsistency is a turn off. He was having a bit of difficulty determining what to charge from what I could tell. He said "well, sometimes we charge $6 and sometimes we charge $7". Um ok, so how are people supposed to know the charges? You can't just charge some one amount and others another amount. He said he was going to go get his manager.
A guy came back, named Robert, that was very nice. I explained the situation to him like I had to the other guy. We talked for awhile and he told us it would be no problem to stay there and not to worry about it. I ask if he was the owner and he said no that he actually owned another beach club down the malecon, but it was being remodeled and moved at the moment so he was working here (I believe as a manager or something). He was from Germany and seemed to be an asset to Blue Kay because he spoke different languages, with one of them being English and he could translate to the staff. I did ask him about his beach club and took a picture of his shirt and told him I would look him up the next time we were in Costa Maya and if they were open, we'd check them out (and I wasn't lying...I will).
I did look them up online when I got home and it looks like a very nice place.
Before long, the "owner" (I guess but not 100% sure) came over (it was a lady) and introduced herself. I guess the original guy (server?) went and got her. Once again, I had to explain myself, who I was, where I was from and the confusion on the boards. Yes, I threw in the reviews that I do and that I was one of the originals that came here right after they changed their name from Blue Bay to Blue Kay before anyone knew of this place. I did tell her that I have brought plenty of people here from the boards thanks to my reviews and I was here to check out any changes and get answers for those on the boards and of course do another extensive review.
So, the information that I gathered was cruisers are charged either $6 or $7 depending on the season and how busy they are. That's the difference in price. So, what she told me what the with that $7, you get a $2 mat for the chair. So, that brings you down to the original $5 that people reported awhile back as a price (after it was no longer free). They do not charge for kids. So, then you have $5 left over. She said that is applied to your bill of food or drinks. So, basically it's free people...they just want you to eat and drink there...just like we did the first time when they didn't have a charge. The only thing you are really paying is the $2 for the blue mat for the chairs.
I just want to say that I personally think they are totally justified for this charge. When I first came here in 2014, they didn't charge anything. But they are like any other beach club, they are there to make money to stay in business, keep their beach beautiful, make improvements and so on. They do expect you to spend money there. Why wouldn't they? I remember after I did my original review, a lot of people started talking about going there and getting excited about how beautiful it was. BUT...I also remember people coming back (not a lot but some) that gave their mini-review of their stay there and it went something like this...."loved Blue Kay and it was so beautiful there and loved the beach...blah blah blah and we used their lockers and took a walk down the malecon and then we had lunch at _____________" ARE YOU SERIOUS??? That is just RUDE! You use their facilities at Blue Kay, you're using the beautiful beach and probably used their restrooms and such...then you went down the malecon and ate somewhere else? Like that's totally unacceptable in my book. I don't blame BK for coming up with a "fee" to offset this. It's because of people that probably did exactly what other cruisers posted they did that we now have a fee. The $5 is nothing! Spend your money with this place if you are staying there and using their facilities and beach. Plain and simple. Their service is good, their food is good and they are friendly. Why go somewhere else if you decided to come here? I just don't get it. #rantover
Anyhow, the owner told us not to worry about paying the $7. I wasn't looking for a handout or freebie, I was just looking for answers. They told us about changes, new stuff/building, sell off of the beach front, talked about the Cuban boat and so on. We paid for our beach mats and between the 7 of us...spent a good amount of cash there, which is exactly what they want. I would never go some place for free and not spend some money there. Just like when we went to The Money Bar. Although we didn't plan to eat there, we did drink a lot between the 7 of us (in both alcohol and pop).
Ok...so back to the review!
Kendra and I decided that it was time to snorkel. We really didn't have a lot of time here so we needed to get moving.
Sakari decided that she didn't want to go out with us and said she was snorkeling on her own and ran off with her camera in hand. Well then...fine. She's just growing up so quickly.
So here are Sakari's snorkeling pictures she took right up close to the beach.
She always manages to see things I don't....but guess what I would see things she didn't get to see....until I showed her that is.
That was a pretty big lobster!