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Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good

Posted By: blackeyedsusan

Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/07/04 11:50 PM

We just got back from Costa Maya Resort 3/27-4/3. We went diving with BAD--they were great! I have written more info on that in response to "not so B.A.D.?", for anyone who is interested in the diving.

We had some fears about staying at Costa Maya due to some of the things we read on this board. While Costa Maya is not as nice as their "five star" advertising would lead you to believe, it is not a horrible resort. I never felt unsafe while staying there, and found the staff to be pleasant and helpful. We went to Belize to dive, not to be pampered at a luxury resort. So, we were pleased with the vacation and the diving.

Since people's tastes and expectations vary, I will try not to be judgemental, and just provide facts on the resort. Prior to leaving for vacation, we received notice from II that some of the features were not going to be available at the resort. The week before our trip we got a call from Costa Maya, re-explaining that. At that time they made arrangements with us for transportation from the airport to the resort. As promised "Jesus" from CMR met us at the airport, he took us and our bags to Fido's to catch the water taxi. He also brought us to the supermarket to pick up items to bring to the hotel, since there are no stores in the resort area.

Checking in at the resort consisted of being handed a key, and giving a copy of your credit card. The front desk person then said, "someone will show you to your room". After a few minutes of waiting, we asked to just be pointed in the right direction.

When we entered our room, we found it clean, but a bit outdated. The floors were all tile. The living room furniture was showing some wear. The kitchen had a bar sized fridge, which was roomy enough for all of our groceries and drinks. There was an electric frying pan, which we cooked in almost every night. The microwave looked new, and was quite powerful. There was a toaster, a blender, and a coffee maker. Dishes: 3 spoons, 4 forks, a cork screw, one steak knife, a few butter knives, 4 coffee mugs, 6 drinking glasses, 4 dinner plates, 4 bowls, 4 small plates, a spatula, and a slotted spoon. They DID NOT provide a can opener, a bottle opener, a cutting board, knives, large bowls, or food storage containers. The miniblind above the sink was missing, but the brackets were there. The bathroom was clean, but we noticed tiny bugs in there when we checked in. They went away when we cooled the room with the air conditioner. They came back in the kitchen one day when I forgot to wipe down the counter. The bed was queen sized and extra firm, with two pillows. The closet was roomy. We did not store anything in any drawers, but they are available. They supply you with drinking water in the room. I noticed our water tank had some small particles floating in it, we dumped it, cleaned the container and spigot, and got a new bottle. The water was clean for the rest of the week.

All of the rooms view the ocean. They all have decks. Some rooms had resin chairs and a table on the deck. Ours didn't, but they brought some to us from a vacant room when we asked. The pool is very small, and shallow. I didn't swim in it, but saw kids in there most of the week. There is a beach, but not really for swimming. It is a beach, with a step down to the ocean, there is lots of seaweed, and very few swimmers. With the tradewinds, you can lay on the beach with out getting too warm anyway.

We did not eat in the restaurant. We did walk to Portofino's one night for dinner. There is a beach bar, that was quite popular. It seems that Costa Maya has the cheapest transportation in to town. $5 US in each direction. Other resorts and the island ferry charge $10 for the same trip.

There was a notice in our room that towels and sheets are changed every 4 days. We left our dirty towels on the floor and they changed them daily.

I did not love the resort, but it was comfortable. I didn't want to leave at the end of the week, but I probably won't go back. I would suggest that Costa Maya be a little more honest with their advertising, and finish their improvements as soon as possible.
Posted By: JohnB

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/08/04 12:03 AM

BES, good honest review!! Staying at Portofino in 28 days!! How was your short experience there? Could you swim there? We are a little worried but don't mine the adventure....Oh would like to do a few shallow dives, was BAD nice do you think I could do some shallow dives 25' to 35'?
Thanks
Posted By: seashell

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/08/04 12:13 AM

Just looking for clarification here, right after you mentioned the room being a bit outdated, you said that the floor was tiled. Was that merely an observation or did you think that was a problem (of the outdated kind)? Did you mean linoleum tile or stone tile?

Most places I have been in either have stone tile or a hardwood floor. In Mexico, I have never stayed at a hotel or B&B that had anything other than stone tile floors. So I'm curious as to what you meant, that's all. Thanks.
Posted By: taters & dab

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/08/04 01:26 AM

Thanks for your in-depth report on CMR. We are going through II on a Getaway package may 8-15. Sort of stuck with it as we tried to get out of our reservation but could not. I am not too happy with II and their advertising. In checking with CMR website I found a 7 nite stay for $ 485 May to Sept. We had to settle for a "Getaways" with II as the resort we wanted in AC was not available for an exchange. These "Getaaways" are advertised by II as a "discount packages" at great resorts. We paid $599 for our "discount package" which was $114 more than CMR's rate. I don't know how many are affiliated with II but I would warn you to investigate the "deals" before you commi frown t.
Posted By: sandytoes

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/08/04 06:12 PM

BlackeyedSusan

I'm going to be staying at CMR in a few weeks. Trying to gather as much info as possible so I won't be too surprised when I arrive there. How crowded was the resort? You said the swimming wasn't very good because of the seaweed. Is is possible to swim past the seaweed so you could snorkel? Can you walk for any distance on the beach? Did you ever rent a golf cart or bike at the resort? If so, where did you take them? How was the water taxi service to San Pedro from CMR?
Thanks!
Posted By: blackeyedsusan

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/09/04 12:27 AM

It was just an observation. It is stone tile. Your question reminded me of another detail, the bathroom door was difficult to shut because there was not enough room for it to move back and forth over the tile floor.
Posted By: blackeyedsusan

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/09/04 01:09 AM

Sandytoes,

It is possible to swim past the seaweed, but the best way to snorkel is to go off of the dock. They have wooden steps that go down into the ocean. However, be careful. The bottom step is very slippery and ends right at the water level. We went at night, so I didn't see that. Afterwards, my husband had to pull me up on to the dock, so that I didn't fall.

Another good snorkeling location is Mexico Rocks. It is visible from shore, but you will need to rent a kayak if you want to get out there. It is dangerous to swim anywhere past the end of the dock due to the high volume of boat traffic. We were told to be especially careful in the afternoon, when many of the fishermen and boaters will be druk.

The beach in front of the resort is not long enough for a decent walk. Once you get past that, you can walk along the ocean. It is not all beach, some of it is more like a sandy path. We walked South. We ran into Portofino resort in 15 minutes, and Mata Chica in 45 minutes. We did not walk North, and we heard that there isn't much in that direction.

We did not rent a golf cart. We did talk to people who said they enjoyed using the carts. We were planning to rent one, but never got around to it. They advised us not to take the carts all the way into town. We did not rent bikes, or talk to anyone that did.

The water taxi at the resort was decent. But it only runs 4 times a day in each direction. It is $5 each way, but some guests reported just getting on it without paying. We bought tickets for it at the front desk. They give you a discout if you buy 10 tickets. We took the Island Ferry twice. That was not as roomy or comfortable, and it cost $10US in each direction. It does make more frequent trips. We got wet both times we took the Island Ferry. You stay dry using the resort water taxi.

I hope you enjoy your trip.
Posted By: blackeyedsusan

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/09/04 01:39 PM

John B,

I don't think you have anything to worry about. Portofino seemed very nice. It was definitely more upscale than CMR, and the staff were more professional. It was a small resort, I over heard someone describe it as intimate. The areas we saw there were clean and well kept. There is no pool at the resort, but there is a hot tub. The beach was much nicer at that resort. I am not sure about the swimming, I don't recall seeing people in the water, and I am not sure about the seaweed. We went diving with people who were staying there, and their only complaint was the cost of the food there.

BAD was great. They will pick you up at your resort if you want to dive with them. We didn't do any real shallow dives. But they seem to be open to what people want to do. I think they would accomodate your request for a shallow dive, as long as everyone else in the boat didn't object. I wouldn't hesitate to contact them and ask some questions prior to your trip. We emailed them, and they were great about answering questions. When we got to the resort, they remembered us from our email.
Posted By: JmHanna

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/10/04 04:46 AM

Anyone who is on vaction that would actually document the utinsels in a hotel unit and post it needs some help.
:rolleyes:
Posted By: Now Danny

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/10/04 12:09 PM

That's the only complaint I had with Banana Beach room. The Church kee was worn out. Hard to use. I guess it saw a lot of action before I got there.
Posted By: dbdoberman

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/10/04 12:22 PM

hahaha, Jim! Maybe they need another trip to AC!

Good to see you the other day. Sorry I wasn't more communitive. I was a zombie from being up most of the night saying goodbye to part of the group who were leaving. Thanks for helping everything work out.
Posted By: Denny Shane

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/10/04 12:35 PM

Actually, when I was in the business... you would be surprised at how many people actually asked about utensils, cooking things, stoves, etc.

Right down to plates and glasses... They didn';t know what to expect or bring... I got all kinds of questions "do the rooms have bidets?" etc...

Even, "do you provide hookers?" laugh eek
Posted By: dbdoberman

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/10/04 02:51 PM

uh, Denny, was I a guest there? :p

Folks have been wanting details on CMR, and BESusan provided them. For folks intending to make some meals, this is probably good info to know. Thanks Susan.
Posted By: blackeyedsusan

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/10/04 02:55 PM

Well Jim,

Your reply gave me the impression that putting other people down is something that makes you feel better about yourself. So, I'd say that you are the one who needs help. But, after doing some research I can see that you are a local who hangs out with the CMR operators. So, I guess you are just trying to discredit my review.

The reason I made the post so detailed was to be helpful in a non-judgemental way. Obviously, this is something you don't have the capacity to understand.

Originally posted by Pier Lounge / Palapa Bar:
Anyone who is on vaction that would actually document the utinsels in a hotel unit and post it needs some help.
:rolleyes:
[/QUOTE]
Posted By: dbdoberman

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/10/04 03:20 PM

Next time you visit AC, BES, stop in the Palapa and visit Jim, he actually is a good guy. I bet he would provide the belikin! I think there are more than a few folks who are trying to help CMR escape the bad rep left over from the previous owners/management, and considering it is on Belize time, the new managment is doing a fairly good job from what I could see when I went up there last week.
Posted By: Sir Isaac Newton

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/10/04 05:15 PM

BES, very fair trip report.

Jim, most timeshare folks do want to know what kind of kitchen stuff is in the units. But it was kinda funny.

A bunch of (not all) residents on the island are friends of the "CMR" operators, as far as I know.

They are looking pretty good up there as their renovations have started this week according to their staff.

S.I.N.
Posted By: suntam

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/10/04 08:15 PM

What did you think of the water taxi by the way? How long did it take and how much did it cost?
Posted By: kmheath

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/12/04 01:14 AM

Quote
Originally posted by JohnB:
BES, good honest review!! Staying at Portofino in 28 days!! How was your short experience there? Could you swim there? We are a little worried but don't mine the adventure....Oh would like to do a few shallow dives, was BAD nice do you think I could do some shallow dives 25' to 35'?
Thanks
We just returned from Portofino. There one week. It is intimate, clean and the local staff are wonderful. We adored Mo (boat driver extraordinaire and great guy in general...love his smile! laugh Marcello from restaurant and Alicia (day waitress) were great to us and our 4 teenagers. Marcello was fantastic to our kids and to us...all wait staff and bartenders were extra friendly. Really loved Sandy's (owner) smile daily...she is a sweetheart. We also enjoyed having Sadie the chocolate lab around to play with as we missed our Sadie (golden retriever) There is great snorkeling nearby at Mexico Rocks...we kayaked out and saw great sites. The food is very expensive but good. We also tried Mata Chica for dinner and enjoyed the change of food and scenery. Our kids LOVED the ride to town on the golf carts....I could have skipped that as it was very dusty and hot...ate alot of dirt and it took approximately 1 hour each way. It is fun to experience the "ferry" which is powered by ropes and manpower...We did get tired of the boat trip to town. It can take as long as 40 minutes depending on how many stops.
We used BAD and they were good...they will work with you and are very accomodating.
All in all we met some great people...Nancy and Cliff.. and Grace and her parents... and our kids would go back in a heartbeat. We will most likely try another area...but will never forget the wonderful staff at Portofino!
Posted By: oldgringo

Re: Costa Maya Resort not bad, BAD is good - 04/29/04 12:06 PM

I, for one, think a report on the utinsels in a room is VERY important.
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