MITSUGIRLYS BACK TO BELLY SUN CRUISE review and pictorial
Day 6: Costa Maya
Day 5 on the ship: Heading to Costa Maya Mexico
I thought I would add a map that they gave us of the Costa Maya port. I know that a common question on here is how to get out of the compound and where is the taxi station located. This will help show where to walk to if you are not catching the shuttle bus or on a private excursion.
If you need to actually walk down the street to the taxi stand outside of the compound, here's where you'll find it.
So today would be like any other day. I sat my alarm for 7am and I woke up at 6:55am before it went off. I really don't know what's gotten into me on this cruise.
We showered and headed upstairs for our normal breakfast at Moderno and it was yummy.
We heard them make the announcements that they were waiting on the port authority to clean us, then we never heard another announcement. I swear this is the first ship on NCL that I don't recall hearing very many announcements when it was time to go ashore.
So, about 8:15am, I figured we should be able to go ashore and headed down.
Like all ports, we had our wonderful pictures taken by the awesome, very professional, takes great pictures so you'll buy them NCL photographers and then headed on our way to the exit of the compound.
There she is in all her beauty. At least she looks pretty darn big from down here!
The people movers were already sprung into action and picking up passengers for the long haul to the port. Darnit, we just missed this one.
Looking over at Cha Cha beach and wondering if there would be anyone sneaking in today and becoming a part of the "hole in the wall" gang.
A glance over at the compound
I always wondered how they got these long people movers turned around without running the hoards of people over. This would answer my question...they detach it from one end, drive around to the other side and reattach and go.
These guys are always here for pictures each time we've been here. If my daughter would have been with us (my oldest-Kendra), I knew we would have been stopping again.
A few pictures along the way...even though I have a million of these shots already...I guess she might have grown a few inches in between each stop???
We made it outside the port and purchased our shuttle/bus tickets at the stand. Just like before $3 for adults and $2 for children. Only this time we would actually get to take the open aired trolley shuttle. We have never been on it before. Woo hoo. Exciting. (This means I would be able to get pictures along the way with no glass glare...only blur from moving. Hey only 1 bad thing is better than 2 right?). They had different "styles"
We were first on the shuttle and I picked the front seat. hee hee. I figured that would give me even a better chance a good pictures.
It was such a beautiful sunny day. I just absolutely love the colors of this port. Bright and colorful.
For those of you that have to walk to the taxi stand outside the port, I know I have explained the "route" and the "walkway" several times on these boards, but never really had pictures to accompany my descriptions. This time I managed to get pictures as we drove by.
The pedestrian sidewalk is actually located in the MIDDLE of the street. It's a pretty wide are that you walk down and has greenery and landscaped nicely. They also have areas to sit under a trellis if you want.
This is at the end of the road (see my map) and where you catch the taxis. They use to have the curb painted yellow where it begins, but I don't remember seeing that now. Also, I noticed that there wasn't a lot of taxis sitting there, but instead sitting closer. I wonder if people complained because of the walk?
Going around the corner.
Anyone notice the for sale sign? I think I might have to contact them. They have nurses in Costa Maya right???
So on to the fun part of the day. I'm going to stop and tell you a little about picking this place.
We have been to Costa Maya a few times before. The first time in 2011, we went to Maya Chan as suggested on these boards. It was a very lovely place, good hospitality, AWESOME food and a relaxing day. However, the ONLY thing I didn't like about it was the water. Everyone knows I love that crystal clear BLUE water. While I don't mind some sea grass, there's just too much here for my enjoyment.
Next trip, in 2012, I was determined to find SOME PLACE in Costa Maya that HAD to have that postcard picture perfect blue water. I located Almaplena and have directed people there from here since. It's exactly that! Heavenly looking and a great place to go. The only drawback is that it's a little further than Maya Chan, but still easy to get to (20 minutes from the port).
Our next trip, I wanted to try something different (as I usually do) and started combing the boards for information. A lot of people were suggesting places along the Malecon..mainly Nohoch Kay. So, we decided to give it a try. I have to say it did not impress me AT ALL. We didn't really like the water...it was so shallow you couldn't swim or canoe. It had tons of sea grass, which gave off the brownish color to it. The service was ok, the food was ok, but we did not get the warm welcoming from the owner as others have stated on here did. There was also people trying to sell you items all day, which others had stated wouldn't happen. It just wasn't "our" thing. To me, it's just a bunch of little food places, lined up and down the beach, and not very "private" and it definitely doesn't give off the AI experience to me.
So here we are in 2014 and I'm ready to either go back to Almaplena...or find a different similar place. I knew this was going to be a HUGE task and knew that I would probably have to go pretty far out to locate it. I looked on TA and found a few places of interest. However, when I contacted people about them, they wasn't too positive about their experience or how to get there on your own.
I turned to my trusty google earth companion. I tell ya, I use this thing more and more each time. I am always researching and I have to see for myself what the surrounding areas look like before going. Google Earth allows you to get pretty close in and gives you a great idea of the area.
So what I did, I pulled up the Malecon. I determined what area of the Malecon (according to earth) looked as if it didn't have any seaweed directly in front of it. Then I pulled down onto the beach and "walked" up and down the beach looking at my surroundings...AND THERE IS WAS!!! At the end of the beach and over by the lighthouse...a beautiful PRIVATE looking soft sand beach with crystal blue water and very little seaweed and what looked like a generally nice and HUGE area/beach. I KNEW I HAD TO GO HERE!!!
The place was called Blue Bay. I started researching online, on TA and every place I could find something. I have to admit, there wasn't much out there. The website they had was really crappy, but I emailed them...no response. I contacted them using the web...no response. I posted on their site...no response. Ugh!!! Then some fine people on here told me to contact the people next door to there. Then I found out that Koox Hotels had acquired this place (which led me to believe they must have been having some financial difficulty and there were a few bad reviews coming in from a long time ago...about the rooms, not the beach).
When Koox contacted me back, they stated that they are no longer in affiliation with Blue Bay, but they would be happy if I spent the day with them (which is not what I was looking for).
I had given up hope and was sad. I had decided I was just going to have to book Almaplena again (or at that point I was reconsidering Maya Chan).
Then a few weeks prior to leaving for our cruise, I did another search. I don't know...something just told me to give it one more shot.
The place had changed their name to BLUE KAY and they had a new website!!! WOO HOO. I contacted them again and got an immediate response. YES! They offered day passes to cruisers and I knew I was going there now!!!
They gave me the following information:
Yes we offer a day pass that includes all day kayaks, bicycles and snorkel equipment for one person, plus our beach club installations, for $250 pesos.
If you need something else just ask me and I’ll response you asap.
I’ll wait for you in our paradise soon.
Thanks a lot for all.
So around $20 pp wasn't too bad for a place I knew I really wanted to check out. However, it wasn't an AI and I knew we would have to purchase food & drinks.
I inquired about those prices as well. This time it took 4 days without a response and me emailing them again asking if they received my email and they responded immediately that time.
Sorry for the late responds, we have chaises, chairs, palapas umbrellas, showers, bathrooms, hammocks, and 200 meters of beach front.
Yes, we accept US Dollars, and the exchange rate chafe but now we are taking the dollars at 12.50.
Soda 25 pesos, Beer 30 pesos , National Drinks, Cocktails and frozen drinks 50 Pesos and food fajitas, fish dishes from 100 - 150 pesos, the most expensive would be lobster at around 300 pesos ( 1 pesos per gram)
We would be happy to help with more information, please fell free to contact us at (phone number and facebook info).
Ok, so no problem. It all sound great and just what I was wanting. I was excited that they not only had a website now, but they had a facebook as well. Time for some serious stalking and running it through my head a few more times, deciding "this is it" and just going with my gut feeling and hoping for the best.
For $20 a person, plus adding up what we thought we might spend on drinks and food (we'd go lightly that day since it would cost), I figured it's still cheaper than an AI at around $65 or whatever they charge now depending on where you go.
So...that's how we ended up with this place...thank you GOOGLE EARTH!!! :D
So obviously I had walked the beach several times on google earth and I had also walked the streets. I knew the surroundings and where we needed to go. I just didn't know when or how we tell the driver, who happens to be in the truck ahead of us, when we needed to get out.
We came up on the lighthouse and I started seeing the signs that read "Blue Kay" along the road.
Then I noticed the driver pulling into Senior Frogs...which I knew was right next door. Whew, at least we wouldn't have to walk far.
Everyone started getting out of the people mover and a guy came running out of Senior Frogs to greet them and give them directions on the place. We kept walking. I was just waiting for them to say something to us, but they didn't. They did have a confused look on their face though.
Along the "back" way to Blue Kay, there were critters to greet us.
Once we arrived to Blue Kay, we went in a big hut that looked like a customer service/check in area.
I figured I would at least stop here to get directions for paying for the day pass. We were greeted by a lady at the deck and I inquired about the day pass. She told me that I would need to talk to the guy out at the beach hut by the canoe/bike rental and pointed us in the right direction out the other side of the building and told us to find "Nino".
We were walking across the malecon, headed toward the beach area...
We were stopped by the waiter (who didn't realize we were going to be staying there today) and he gave us a speech about how we could spend the day there, free of charge and enjoy their beautiful beach, palapas and food. He kept going on and on (like any other vendors in the ports) to try to get us to stay there. I wasn't listening very well at that point because I was still stuck on the "for free" part he said in the beginning of his speech.
I clarified...."free????" He said yes, just buy food and drinks (I think he might have said $20) and my reply was "well absolutely, we were planning on doing that anyhow" and I knew we would probably be spending more than that now!
He pointed toward the beach and palapas and told us to sit anywhere we wanted.
We found our spot. The perfect spot between the malecon and the beach.
I looked over at the pretty water and immediately snapped a picture with my ipad. I knew this was going to be a great day already and I couldn't wait to show it to the kids back home...who wouldn't be joining us until the following week...ha ha, your loss. I'll have a drink for you!
I was very impressed so far and couldn't wait to get a drink in my hand. It was morning, so I tried to keep my wits about me and ordered a soda while I continued to take in my beautiful surroundings.
Of course Sakari had dropped her things, took off her shorts, put on her goggles and ran for the water. (That girl would live in the ocean if she could. I think she's a mermaid).
"Get back here young lady, I need a picture first!"
About this time the lady from the front desk noticed us and started heading our way. Oh gosh, I just knew I was about to have "words" with her since she knew that we knew about paying for a day pass, but yet I had just been told the beach was free. I was determined to stand my ground on this one.
About the same time this "Nino" guy came over as well. She ask about us purchasing the day pass and I informed her that we were just told the beach was free as long as you buy food and drinks. She replied "yes, but not the canoes, bikes and snorkeling equipment, that's the day pass." Pshhh, who needs that? I wouldn't have used it anyhow and I have my own equipment. I'm saving $60!!! She said "So you no need day pass?" Nope! Then all was good.
Time to check out the beach a little. I walked out to where Sakari was already swimming. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!!!!
The sand was powdery soft and awesome. The water was crystal blue and clear. I knew I had found that paradise.
I ran back to where my husband was sitting and told him I was going down the beach to explore...I'll be back. This is GORGEOUS.
There was our beautiful Sun waiting for us after we were done here.
Another good thing was there wasn't very many people here either. Plus, the place is really big and plenty of beach area along with palapas and chairs...plenty enough room for more had there been more people here.
After making it to the end of the beach area (well at least as far as I wanted to go that time around), I walked back along the grassy area/grounds to explore a little.
They had these big signs along the beach area, each was different. When we were at the end, I decided to have Sakari pose at one and take her picture. I was obviously in such awe of my surroundings, while patting myself on the back for finding such an awesome place that I totally didn't notice what was painted on this one that I happened to take with my child in the picture. LMAO!!! Oops.
Plenty of lush greenery everywhere.
They had nice sandy walkways leading to different areas.
Looking across the street at where people stay in cabins here. (I will explore that area later).
They had several weird things made out of...well, weird things. LOL
There was a open area in the middle too. I remember seeing some guys later in the day playing ball here.
The hut where they rent the bikes at. While I'm not interested in doing anything like this now...because I can't =Sakari, I would love to do it some time in the future when Sakari gets big enough to ride the bikes. She knows how to ride a bike, just not of this size. So some day it will be fun to go off exploring on the bikes down the malecon.
They had an area next to us with a lady who gave massages.
I made it back to the hubby and told him how beautiful the place was and then bask in the glory of me finding it making him agree that it was an awesome choice and I did an awesome job. (He always agrees no matter what lol).
Sakari ran back out to the water like if she was a fish out of water and couldn't wait to get back in before she lost consciousness.
At this time, the hubby already decided that to heck with the time, we're on vacation time and we were ready for the good drinks. We ordered some drinks and he decided why not have a "snack" as well and ordered some nachos. I headed out to the water with Sakari because she said there were fish everywhere.
There were some sorta huge rocks right by the shore...I mean RIGHT by there and you could basically lay on your belly with your face in the water to see part of them. We looked around that area and found tons of fish everywhere.
Some Sergeant Majors:
THEN I CAME UPON THIS....The sideways fish, flounder. It's the very first time I have seen one while snorkeling (I have seen them at the huge pay aquariums like Ripleys in Gatlinburg and other places, but never on my own).
He was sitting in the sand really still and of course, trying to blend in and hide with his eyeball sticking up and watching me get closer and closer.
I guess he caught word that this cruise I had picked up something I shouldn't have and I was getting too close for his comfort, so he decided to move to the other side of the rock...like we weren't going to follow him or anything. HA!
A few fish in some of the sea grass areas.
Sakari found a conch shell and had to show me and then quickly put it back.
We decided to head on out a little further (at least to the point that she was either able to touch or didn't have to swim far before touching the bottom again). For the most part, it's fairly shallow (as in an adult can stand up in most of the area) and we located this little guy, who was blending in pretty good. Can you see him? Can you see him??
He was just the cutest little thing. I love these little long horned cowfishes. The way their little fins flutter reminds me of a hummingbird. I use to have one of these in my salt water aquarium and I have loved them since then. Only this one was a lot bigger than the one I had in my tank of course.
Sakari kept finding what I called sea grapes, but I might be wrong. She swore they were fish eggs and continued with that story the rest of the day no matter what I told her.
Obviously by the crystal clear blue water, there's plenty of sand in the area too.
A rainbow wrasse
Several groups on surgeon fish were in the area.
Sakari discovered that she had a few friends following her around. They went everywhere she went and wouldn't leave her alone.
Everywhere she swam, they swam. Everywhere she stood, they were right there surrounding her feet starring at her. It was funny to watch and she was fascinated by them.
I know she secretly wishes she was a fish. Yep, they're still there Sakari. You can't out swim them.
We found a crab
And then he found us...puttem up, you messing with me? Go ahead, I double crab dare you...arms wide open and ready for us. Come at me bro!
We headed back in and daddy was waiting on us.
I drank the rest of my drink and ordered another round. The hubby had received his nachos and they looked and WAS yummy!!!!
One thing I noticed at this point, while eating, drinking and still walking around in circles taking pictures because I just can't stay still...there was a sign on our palapa that said service. I started messing with it and discovered that it turned. Hmmm, ok, so I guess that's how you let them know you need something. Ours had been stuck on "Service" since we got there. Maybe that's why we were getting so many drinks and food. LOL Worked for me!
I decided after this many drinks, I needed to find the restroom and headed over toward the main restaurant building area.
Across the malecon I go...
They had a cute little covered restaurante here and some swings at the bar area. Cute.
Going into the restroom, Sakari decided she wants a door just like this some day and then ask me if we'd be able to collect enough shells for it. I told her she better get busy and find more because she was off to a slow start.
They had a locker area right outside the restrooms and between the restrooms and the dining area. I would later be told they were $2 to rent. Not bad.
When I came out of the restaurant, I decided to do a little more exploring while I was waiting on my food to come (I had ordered after tasting the hubbys yummy nachos).
I headed back toward the entrance building where I first came in.
One more glance over at the palapas where the hubby was. I imagined he'd wonder for a little bit why it was taking me so long to return, but then again, he knows me so well and knows that no matter where I go (even to the restroom) I take my camera. And if I have my camera, I'm more than likely wondering off somewhere for some more pictures. It's just a given with me.
Yes, they do have FREE wifi here. It worked pretty good and could be used even down at the beach. Did I mention is was FA-REEEE!!!
When I arrived back to the palapa, the hubby must have got his belly full.
My yummy drink had arrived and so had my yummy food as well.
Now, I DON'T like tomatos. I don't like them so much that I normally won't order things like spaghetti at restaurants, instead I'll have alfredo. When I eat pizza, you can could it with the sauce on it and I'm fine, but I will pull back the cheese and toppings and "scrape" the sauce off. However, I could eat the tomoto and onion salsa all day long if I could. Oh my gosh it's just SO GOOD.
Here's the menus. I do have to tell you that a majority of the staff here either only speak Spanish or a limited amount of English that it's sometimes hard to communicate with them. Nino did not speak any English and when he tried to talk to us when we first got there, I immediately said "no hablo espanol" when he started talking to us. For some reason, he acted like he didn't understand that either and just kept talking in spanish (I know a few choice words and phrases) and could tell he was asking me questions that I couldn't answer. That's when he handed us off to what would become our waiter, who did speak pretty good english...Roberto. He was a terrific host, server...and I would find out later, the head chef as well.
Anyhow, why am I telling you this? Because the menus are in Spanish as well. Thank you taco bell for at least teaching me what some of these things are and how you spell them so that I could pick them out on a spanish menu. (I might add that after so many visits to Mexico over the years, I absolutely refuse to eat at Taco B(h)ell anymore. I want real Mexican!
They also serve breakfast too!
I finished my plate (and probably even licked the plate clean when I didn't think others were watching), downed the rest of my drink, told the hubby I was going "drunk snorkeling" (then he got that worried look on his face, but I was only kidding) and pointed all the way out at the rocks and said "that's where I'm headed!!! Keep an eye on your daughter and hopefully I'll return"
Since I really didn't know what was out there or how deep it was, I really didn't want to struggle with Sakari tagging along (as much as I hate to snorkel alone). I don't mind if both of us going out that she's with us because we tag team watching her and helping her out when needed. But just me...it's too much unless I know I can stand in the water. She's never happy about this, but some friends come along in the water and off she went to play.
I figured I would "just for the heck of it" start by laying on my belly again and scooting around the rocks by the shore...to my surprise, I found a pretty LARGE pipefish, or at least that's what he looked like, but a very large version of anything I had seen before. Like huge. Like really really huge. The biggest one I have seen while snorkeling huge.
I really hate when you take pictures and from the pictures it can't really show you how big something is and to me, they usually look pretty small in the pictures.
But look at the rock...which was more like a huge bolder (hopefully I'll have pictures of it somewhere later in the review looking at it from above the water) then look at the size of him. He was really long.
Then I started to head out over the grassy area.
I found all these shells in the same area. I thought that was weird that they were all grouped together.
Then I ran across my favorite little guy again. Still hanging out in the same area.
I came up out of the water for a moment to glance over at the beautiful Sun, still waiting in port and jealous that I was having such a wonderful day without her.
I looked back to see how far I was from the shore.
Hmm, not bad, I could still touch the bottom so let's continue.
I ran across this lobster. He thought I didn't see him.
Then things started to get a little more interesting.
Starting to see a lot of coral.
I was actually getting pretty amazed at the coral out here.
Wow, I never imagined that all this was out there.
See it out there hiding?
It had friends...lots of friends...and I'm sure a mommy some where around the area. I headed out of there really quick.
There are rocks that stick up out of the water where this snorkeling area is. I popped up out of the water and seen this:
This is how far you are from shore:
When you get to the rocky part, this is what you see. I guess there's absolutely no way you are getting over those rocks. It was like a wall of sea urchins and almost kinda dreary looking and scary. Even if they wasn't here, you would have to stand up out of the water and walk over because it was just that shallow.
I have no idea what the heck this is or what kind of coral it is. It looked like a shiny big blob of poo. Do you see the little pencil sea urchin on the left side of it? I missed it while I was snorkeling but now see it in the picture.
A huge Caribbean Blue Tang.
Some blue tangs, surgeon fish and a pair of banded butterfly fish were in the area.
A Juvenille Beaugregory
A whole bunch of grunts
Four eyed butterfly fish
Parrot fish. It was weird to see them picking at the sea grass. They are normally chewing on coral and they have huge teeth and if you are real quiet, you can hear them chomping on the coral and crunching it up.
More banded butterfly fish.
Finally I was done. I think I covered most of the area, or at least the area by the rocks that I wanted to cover.
I headed back to shore and snapped a few more pictures after coming out of the water.
One thing that dawned on me this time around during the cruise and after getting home and looking at my pictures... I know a lot of people comment on how brillant the colors can be in some pictures. I am constantly changing settings on the camera and taking multiple pictures of the same things...just to make sure that I get enough pictures (remember I said I took 3500 pictures this cruise=yikes). So I know there are some settings that I switch to a lot like the landscape settings, which seems to give a lot of color. Then there's the beach setting that tones down the light a little. Sunset can give you some crazy color even in the day light and it all depends on your shot. There's also a magic setting that will pop the colors, soft focus, and a dramatic hdr setting.
Well, I do notice that some are a lot more vibrant than others and this is what I discovered this time around. When I'm snorkeling, I have the camera set to the water snorkeling/underwater mode. Every so often I come up out of the water and snap a few pictures and then return to the water. Also after coming out of the water I sometimes forget to turn my settings back to _______ whatever settings for the land shots. THIS is what's giving it the bright and bold colors like these photos above and below!!! It really deepens the blues and greens.
Shower area along the beach to rinse off with.
I know most cameras (at least my Canon D10's) if you left the underwater setting on outside, it gave off this god awful orange colored picture. It was the absolute worse and it could ruin your day if you forgot to turn it off and took pictures like that the rest of the day. Boy what a disappointment. So after awhile of that, you learned really quick to switch back and forth between settings.
However, this camera does not do that. I actually like the way a lot of them come out. Maybe I should just start shooting all of my landscape pictures in this mode. hehe
Anyhow, just wanted to share that with you guys that might shoot with the Olympus Tough cameras. If so, let me know if you have had any luck with this.
Back to the camp and reassured the hubby that I survived and that he had missed an awesome snorkeling adventure.
I really didn't expect all the coral and everything to be so great out there. But, I thought it was pretty darn cool considering I was in Costa Maya.
Time to order some more drinks. hehe
Sakari coming up to tell me about all the shells she found so far (which still isn't enough to make shells doors)
Oops, sometimes I forget to wipe off my lens as well.
And that didn't last long...
I decided it was potty time again...these drinks are running out as fast as they are poured in.
As you might be able to tell...I have went to the restroom and wondered off again...a given.
Now just a little explanation about this place, Blue Kay.
It is a place that you stay and spend the night. They have a campground there and they also have little "huts" that you can rent. They are extremely small and they kinda remind me of some of the KOA campgrounds we use to stay at back when I was in my 20's and actually thought camping was cool even though I didn't like it. I'm a big girl now and can admit I hate camping. If it doesn't come with an actual room and my own hot water, I'm just not into it. Give me a small interior ship cabin any day.
Well these little cabins are extremely small. From all of the pictures that I have seen online, the bed takes up the entire space with a walkway beside it to the door. The bed is actually up against the window and I have seen pictures of them opening up the window and just sitting on the end of their bed with their feet hanging off.
They also have "dorms" that you can rent and share with others. I'm thinking I read that maybe 4 people to a room with bunk-beds. I guess this would be an economy way to stay in Costa Maya.
So, I decided I would go exploring this area now.
Those shutters open up to create a window. I have to admit, they were small, but it was a cute little area.
These places were a lot bigger. I think they may have been the dorms.
Here you would fine the showers
I made it back out to the malecon and noticed just how far down I was...almost by the lighthouse.
I decided to head back up to the beginning close the office. I knew I had seen some type of dome thing and wanted to check it out.
So I backed myself out of there (you had to crawl in)
This little guy was waiting on the seats outside and then scrambled as if he knew I had done something wrong.
I headed back to the hubby to report on the grounds...and of course order another Bahama Mama.
The hubby decided he wanted to go for a walk and explore with me. I gave him a guided tour since it was now my specialty.
A lady walking along the beach with items for sale, but she did not bother us or approach us. She just smiled.
It looks like this should have been the one that I took Sakari's picture by instead of the "leaf" one.
I always wanted to do a shot at the beach with someone jumping up in the air. Sakari is short of course and doesn't come up in the air too high. I forgot that she's done nothing but eat on the cruise and it must have been weighing her down.
When we were walking back, I noticed there was a lot of people in the water playing volleyball right in front of where we had been hanging out all day.
I got back and decided it was time for a soda. Edgar shared with me.
Earlier in the day a couple was sitting ahead of us and over to the side. They ask if we were on our first cruise and we told them how often we cruise. They said that they loved the place we were at (Blue Kay) and they would love to come back and do a land vacation here, but it was ashamed that the nearest airport was a 6 hour drive from there in Cancun. They started saying that they didn't like cruising and that the ship was small and boring. There was just nothing for them to do and this would be their first and last cruise.
Well, they weren't even at Blue Kay for very long either and they left. We decided to move up in their chairs since it was closer to the water. I'm not sure why we sat so far back to begin with and trying to watch Sakari in the water.
Looking back at our "old" spot.
I have to admit, the only bad thing about this place that we could find were the hard wooden chairs. Of course nothing is going to get me down. I just piled the beach towels on it and I was good to go.
Sakari headed back out the water and to play with some friends again.
I snorkeled a little more...until I seen this. Wonder if it was mommy coming in to see who disturbed her children out at the reef.
Ok...here's the rocks by the shoreline that I was talking about finding the flounder and neat fish by.
See it's right by the shore.
I decided I would call it a day from snorkeling. I had seen everything and found out just how good the snorkeling could be here. I had seen things that I had never seen before and that makes for an awesome day. Sakari wasn't willing to give up though.
Her little friends had went off for awhile and had some icecream. Sakari decided that she wanted some ice cream and I let Roberto know. He said they didn't have any but would fine her some kind. He also informed me they had "the best" cheesecake ever! (How did he know I loved cheesecake???) I told him I would take one.
The children out in the water with their ice cream.
I just want to say that I feel so greatful that we are able to take these cruises and give Sakari the opportunity of growing up (so far) learning about different cultures, lifestyles and interacting with others. I sat back watching Sakari with her little Mexican friends (their mother was the lady at the massage table I believe) and watched how they interacted. Neither of these Mexican children could speak any English. Of course Sakari could not speak Spanish...except for hola. But yet these children could play and communicate in a way toward each other to relay exactly what they wanted and needed. They shared their toys, Sakari shared her goggles, they played ball and had a great time. Isn't it sad that some day these children will grow up, learn the "bad" way of life taught from those around them and come to disrespect other cultures, languages and so on if they are not the same as them? Isn't it sad that we live in a world where there's so much hatred and racism? Isn't it sad that if someone else doesn't have your beliefs, then they are the bad one? Isn't it sad that we get frustrated when we can not communicate with someone in our own country because they have broken English or don't speak it at all? But yet we could learn a lot from watching our innocent children. Somehow they manage to communicate just fine and get along. I hope that I will be able to continue to enrich Sakari's life as she grows older and I hope that she will keep these values. Even if it's only 1 person in this world...it can make a difference. Just a thought.
As the kids played, I played on the beach myself.
Practicing a little tilt shift...it doesn't work as well on the land as when you are high up looking down.
Sakari's treat never came and neither did my cheesecake. I decided to walk up to the restaurant and ran into Roberto. That's when he explained that he was the head chef. So, he was not only running and taking orders, but he was going back and cooking them as well. At that point I felt sorry for him. They need more help obviously. He apologized for the wait on the desert and said he would have it right out.
Sakari loved the swings at the bar. She finally got her icecream and it was a special ice cream...
My cheesecake arrived too. It was good, but not out of this world. It had somewhat of that "foamy" texture that I really don't care for. I'm more of a New York Style cheesecake girl. But, it was good enough for me to eat it all I can tell you that.
A bird sat in the trees and sang to us while we finished our treats. These birds have such a beautiful voice. So different than the ones back home.
It had been a beautiful, perfect day that we didn't really want to end. However, it seemed like a very long day too and we kept looking at the time thinking it should be close to time to go and it never would be. I loved that.
We decided that we wanted to take a walk down the malecon before we left and Roberto came over and we settled our bill. It only came to $48 for all 3 of us for the entire day!!! Wow! We felt like we were eating and drinking all day and this was a pretty darn cheap day for the 3 of us. I gave him a very nice tip. He told me that the cheesecake was on him since he forgot to bring it back to me.
I ask him about getting back to the port and he said whenever we were ready, he would call a cab for us and they would be there to pick us up within 15 minutes.
I ask if we were allowed to store our things in the lockers and he said he would give us the lockers for free for buying so much food and drinks. That made me think that just maybe this is a hidden gem and since no one really knows about it and since it's located kinda away from the other places on the malecon, maybe they don't get a lot of business. Nice for us, but I guess not for them.
We put our things in 2 lockers and away we went for our walk along the malecon. Although I had been to Nohoch Kay before, we really didn't walk anywhere down the malecon to see what was there.
Since Blue Kay seems to be a little distance from the "main" places at the malecon, there wasn't really a lot to see for awhile.
When you do get to some of the other places, it's basically just more restaurant/bars and beach area. There's some hotels along the way as well.
I don't think she ever takes these goggles off!
We really didn't get very far before we turned around. To me, there really wasn't much down there that I wanted to see and the area didn't compare to where we were staying at that day.
We turned around and headed back and decided that it was almost time to call for a cab and head back.
The one thing that is fairly close to Blue Kay is Senior Frogs of course.
Once we returned, we told Roberto that we were ready for him to call us a cab.
He ask if we had seen the Cuban boat down by us and we told him we seen a boat, but had no idea what it was all about.
He told us that some Cuban's had built the boat (using various materials and car parts) and escaped their country. They were out on the water for 9 days and 2 days there were just drifting without food and water. This is where they ended up the night before.
He said his boss felt sorry for them and gave them food (and actually 2 of them jobs) and was hiding them out.
The boat was interesting to say the least.
The entire boat smelled like gas. I can only imagine what it smelled like for them.
We did see a lady walk by with some bags, but once again, she didn't bother us or hound us like most vendors do.
One last picture of Blue Kay to remember our very special day here and awesome discovery.
Once Roberto had called the cab, it arrived out front within 5 minutes. We were rushing to grab our things and off we headed back to the port, completely satisfied.
We made it back to the port in about 5 minutes and Sakari decided she had not had enough "water" time and played in the pool for awhile. I told her 15 minutes while daddy went in the shops and then we had to go.
A few pictures along the way back to the pier
Of course I needed picture of the beautiful Sun smiling at us as we walked back to her. She was welcoming us back!!
We headed back up to our room and showered real fast and then headed up to deck 12 for the sailaway.
I took pictures of the sunset.
Here's an overview of just BLUE KAY.
It kinda gives you a feel for just how big this place is.
Just a few final thoughts on Blue Kay:
I personally thought this place was gorgeous. It was just what I had been searching for and I was extremely pleased with overall everything about the place.
The service was good (with just the blooper with the cheesecake/ice cream taking a little long, but it was understandable with our waiter also being the cook), but Roberto was always checking on us to see if we needed anything.
The food was excellent in both taste and the price.
The drinks were good and tasty and just like we like them. The sodas were also VERY cold and hit the spot when needed.
The snorkeling IMO was awesome and it was a pleasant surprise that I didn't know was there. Very easy to get to and in fairly shallow/calm water.
The beach was beautiful: powdery soft sand...even in the water.
The water was crystal clear blue water=a most for us.
The sea life was plentiful and much more than I would have expected with a sandy bottom beach. Of course any time I find something I have never seen before it makes for an excellent day!
The grounds were nicely landscaped with plenty of room for seating both in the shade and in the sun.
Only negative would be the hard wooden chairs. If they had some type of foam or padding on them=perfect!
They have the added extras...IF you require them: snorkeling equipment, canoes and bikes.
You can get a massage if you would like.
Not many vendors in the area hassling you (we only seen 2 total and they did not hassle us).
Super easy to get to and a cheap ride on the open air bus to get there ($3 adults & $2 for children)...now that's cheap transportation! Of course this saves times in traveling which means you get to spend more time in paradise!
NO ENTRANCE FEE...need I say more? :p It was our cheapest day on the cruise and one of the best. :D
So both the hubby and I agreed, we had found our little paradise at Costa Maya. We loved it so much there that we decided that THIS IS THE PLACE and we would go here whenever we decide to return to Costa Maya. This doesn't happen often with me (us). I usually like to continue to experience other places and get a feel for the entire area if we can. However, I am more than satisfied with this place for awhile to come now. We WILL go back again the next time! :)
So back to that evening. Sailaway from the port and watching the sunset.
She had a shirt on all day to help with NOT getting burned, but it looked like she managed to get a little red anyhow.
We pulled out on time, like always. No pier runners or anyone missing.
We had dinner in the buffet since we were already in that area and Sakari was hungry again. Every meal must include a pretzel roll of course!
After dinner, Sakari wanted to head to the kids club. It was the Wacky Tacky Party and the counselors were dressed up funny. I wish I would have known they had something like this...I would have planned better with some crazy outfits for Sakari.
We headed to our normal spot...the casino and I did pretty good that night, always staying ahead.
Then when it was time, we headed to the show in the theater. The dailies said it was going to be a ventriloquist/comedian. His name was Kenny and we had seen him before on one of the other cruises. He stated in his show that he "likes to change things up a bit" and gets his material from different things that happen on the cruise. However, it was the SAME show with the same lines as the last time we had been to his show (which was over a year ago). We honestly didn't think he was too funny, but I did remember that the last bit of his show was ok, so we stayed for the end. I noticed that there were a lot of people getting up and leaving. He is one of those guys that is telling a joke and trying to be funny, but yet repeats himself over and over with asking a question to the "dummy" and it will seem as if he's stalling and thinking of what to say next. It's just not very entertaining and obviously others didn't think so either. I have read other reports saying they didn't enjoy him either. Maybe NCL should think about letting go of this one after the contract is up.???
Another problem was the way this particular theater is set up, the 2nd floor kind of over hangs the first floor. Kenny goes out into the audience for participation and then everyone upstairs can not see a thing that is going on. You are sitting there wondering and waiting...not good IMO. He should limit the audience participation to at least the areas on the first floor that can be seen from the balconies. Otherwise people lose interest.
After the show, we decided to pick up Sakari and she was ready to eat again. This night I discovered the pasta bar and boy was I ready for a change. I got my alfredo and noodles and it was a good "change" from the rest of the cruise.
After dinner we went back to the room and found
another VIP gift...(not my thing)
And also a survey of the port of Costa Maya. I had every intention on filling it out and turning it in, but I started packing for our next port day and completely forgot. Somehow it ended up in my huge stack of papers to bring home. Oops
Our towel animal for the night was a beautiful swam and we were back to the "big" animals.
We were really tired tonight and headed to bed a little earlier than normal.
Of course not before Sakari could get in a quick drawing of a lizard as she furiously scribbled away as I went to turn off the lights while counting out loud to her...