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What a day. It was a little cloudy here and there and it didn’t start to sprinkle until we were on our way back to the ship and then stopped before we arrived at the port (typical Caribbean weather). I’m sorry to say that we missed Mark, because he had to fly home due to family illness (which we were aware of prior to the cruise), but still missed meeting him. Not to worry though, Zak and David was an EXCELLENT host.
We were met at the port with a huge (sorta older) bus and we all piled in. It was a bumpy ride there, but it didn't take too long to get there.
They had a welcome sign outside for us. I took a look around and loved all the flowers in the area, and of course, started taking pictures.
There was a little sandy path you walk down with plenty of greenery along the way. Nicely decorated. They showed us to our "reserved" spots. Our palapa was HUGE and situated back in a little secluded area equipped with 4 chairs, a hammock, and a bed. WOW. It was wonderful! However, we would be ate up all day by some type of flying critters and it would be non-stop.
I took a look around and had done my research ahead of time and had seen pictures of the "brownish" water with the sea grass in it. I had really debated on whether or not I wanted to go here because of it. After all, I come to the Caribbean to be at a beautiful beach with crystal clear blue water, not brown. But the groups were divided on what the water actually looked like here...some said clear blue while others said brown and icky. I do have to say that I had NEVER seen any pictures that showed the clear blue water. BUT, everyone raves about this place from the service to the food and I figured I would give it a shot.
I immediately went down to look at the water...I wasn't shocked...it was brownish, full of seaweed and not what you expect when you think of Caribbean. I wasn't disappointed because I had prepared myself ahead of time knowing that this could be the case. They did have an employee out in the water with a canoe "cleaning up" the sea weed and along the beach. They had the beach all nicely raked and everything was put in place.
We swam for awhile and hung out at our palapa...but we were ate alive every time we sat down and was away from the water. They did have some deep woods off there that they allowed us to use. So that helped a little bit, however, I have a 3 year old and it kinda scares me using this on her (afraid she will touch it and then accidentally wiped her eyes or something).
They did bring us chips and guacamole to munch on while we were waiting for lunch to finish.
Zak took us out snorkeling shortly after finishing our appetizers. If you are an avid snorkeler, this is not going to impress you. I heard that they had rain prior to us being there, so the water was a little stirred up and they wouldn’t be taking us out to the reef in the canoes. But that was ok, we were prepared to have a great day no matter what. So Zak gathered everyone to do a "tour" out from the beach area and in a U shape. Even though there really wasn’t any coral and very few fish, we did come across a star fish (which was my goal to find on this cruise since I haven’t had any luck on any previous cruises-but thought I would find one at West Bay-which I didn’t due to visibility) and we all got to hold it while he gave us the description of the starfish (it’s eyes, mouth and so on). Then on the way back in we ran across a cute little sting ray, which we got to hold as well. It looked like some leopard type of sting ray. They did provide all the snorkeling equipment that you need and the snorkel tubes are brand new in the bag and yours to keep when you are done snorkeling.
I wouldn't, by any means, consider this a snorkeling tour. We just went straight out, then turned left, went across, then turned back toward the beach and came back. What you seen along the way is what you got (which really wasn't much to see in means of coral or fish). We were just lucky to be able to come across the starfish and stingray that day. It's definitely not something you need a tour guide for and can do on your own. The water was not deep in the areas he took us and you could stand up if you needed.
Others went canoeing right after returning from the snorkeling, but I smelled food and that was our priority at the moment LOL. We decided to forego the canoe trip, but later we took a “short” trip out and back, just to say we did it.
Once the food was ready, they called everyone up and we got our food. The food was beyond excellent…couldn’t get enough even after getting full I wanted to keep going. The appetizers were served shortly after arrival with chips and salsa and guacamole salsa. It was so yummy!!! Chicken, fish and steak tacos were so good. I don't know if it's just because it was my first experiece in "Mexico" eating real Mexican food after about 20 years or not, but this was the best food I had ever had. To this day, many years later, I still remember this being the best I've had!
Others played sand golf (and it seem like they had a blast) but we hung out in the sand building castles, taking pictures, finding some crabs and having some drinks. We did manage to take our picture in front of the web cam they had there (and from what I’ve read, some cc members seen my little one playing in the sand) hehe.
Sakari managed to find some crabs and some of the other kids had one in a bucket they let her see.
There are private little shower stalls with wood around them and the water runs off onto the land. They try to collect all the rain water they can to conserve on water, which was really neat.
It was a wonderful day and I highly recommend Maya Chan for a relaxing beach day catered to you in style, good food, friendly people, and more than enough activities to keep you busy if you want. Otherwise, relaxing under the papala works just as good. (A lot of people got the massages and loved it).
The hubby did bring our small 10" laptop so that he could catch up on some work orders (they provide free wifi). The only issues we had with this, which I thought was rude, was Zak came along once and told him to "get off the computer, it's time to relax" and while I know he meant well, it didn't come off very nice as he kinda pushed the computer screen down. My husband is able to come on cruises because he can work from anywhere (he owns a store and while the store is closed while we are on vacation, he also has hundreds of orders from online that still comes in and he has to send them over to the warehouse for shipment). So, even on vacation, he has to "work" a little. But I'd take being able to work in this setting any day over sitting at actual work doing it.
We relaxed a little before it was time to go. Sakari really enjoyed the hammock and I could tell she was worn out from so much playing in the water and sand.
When it was time to go, we all headed to the bus and away we went.
The ONLY issues we had with our visit and has NOTHING to do with Maya Chan was the mosquitos were TERRIBLE!! We were bitten from head to toe. This started the minute that we got off the ship and was at the port waiting for our van. I had purchased some cactus pear juice something or other (recommended on here by cc members) that was supposed to be 1) a bug repellant and 2) sun screen protection…I’m here to tell you that it DOES NOT work for bugs. Sorry. Maya Chan does have tons of bug spray for you to use, but I here to tell you that if there is 1 mm of it missing on your skin, they will find it!
The other issue was all the sea grass. Of course this is natural to the area and the more rain, the more sea grass. This is not something that Maya Chan can do anything about. They did a wonderful job of keeping it cleaned up on the beach and the beach raked and even had someone out in the water gathering some in a canoe. But, step one foot in the water on the sand and everything was completely stirred up and just looked nasty. It didn’t stop the fun, but it’s not the picture perfect “Caribbean blue waters” that you would imagine. Just know if you go here, you'll be catered to by the staff and eat some wonderful food. You just won't be doing it with crystal clear blue Caribbean water and know what to expect.
For the price they charge and everything that is included…you can’t beat this place!
**Since we have been there, Maya Chan has expanded some and also rebuilt (due to hurricaines) and they offer even more options for palapas, such as a "tree house".