Mahahual used to be a quiet and friendly small fishing town off the beaten track. However a large cruise ship docking jetty dubbed "Puerto Costa Maya" has been constructed just up the beach. Every day a couple of cruise ships dock and the occupants are disgorged onto the town to drink, shop, swim and ride jet skis and quad bikes. However the further south away from the cruise ship dock you go the quieter the town becomes, so it's still possible to have a quiet time of it, especially at some of the hotels south of town.
In 2007, Hurricane Dean landed just north of Mahahual. It heavily damaged the cruise ship dock and destroyed much of the small village. The village was rebuilt, cruise ships returned, and many nice hotels opened.
A new seaside malecon runs from the main road to the southern end of Mahahual Pueblo. The malecon is a pedestrian walkway with the beach to the east and businesses to the west. Many nice restaurants and shops line the Malecon. The town has several ATMs.
If you are looking for quiet tranquil beaches, away from the crowds, drive through Mahahual and continue 4 km along the coastal road. After passing the small bridge of Rio Bermejo (hardly a river, more a small stream connecting the mangrove waters with the ocean) you will find small ecological hotels, restaurants and rental houses, all beachfront. Electricity is generated with solar panels, wind mills and most of the businesses use a generator as a back up. Rain water is captured on roof decks and collected in systerns used to shower and flushing toilets.
When you arrive at km 15, there is a turn off to the right, take it to either return to Mahahual or continue to Xcalak. If you continue on the beach road, you will find lots of empty bays,only a few rental houses on the road side.
From the bus stop of Bacalar and from the bus station and airport of Chetumal, ADO bus service is available to and from Mahahual twice a day. From the Chetumal airport ADO charges M$255 (April 2022). It costs less altogether to take a taxi from the airport to the Chetumal main bus station and an ADO bus from there for M$150 (April 2022).
From Chetumal Caribe buses depart from the main bus station and colectivos from the old bus station in the street Salvador Novo. In Bacalar you can join the buses and colectivos at the intercity bus stop.
If you are coming from the north like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, check on the ADO app or website to find out if there are ADO buses serving this route. Otherwise go to an ADO bus station and ask at the ticket counter whether there are second class buses for that route. And you could ask your accommodation in Mahahuala whether there are colectivos from Limones. Then you could take a Mayab bus from Tulum, Cancun or Playa del Carmen to Limones and change there to a colectivo to Mahahual.
Organized tours are also available from a variety of companies. You will not necessarily be over run with the tourists from the cruise ships, when they leave you have this sleepy town to yourself. Things switch quickly from bustle to mellow.
By cruise ship
The 1 cruise ship dock is in the east of the village.
Your best bet is to rent a car. Most travelers land in Cancun. It will take over four hours but do not confuse this area with Cancun. Four hours gets you to an entirely different world.
- 1 Aviarius - Costa Maya. As of April 2022 it is temporarily closed. A bird park with a nice view from the suspension bridges
- 2 Faro de Mahahual. The lighthouse
- 3 Maya temple replica.
There are many tours offered from Costa Maya port and the town of Mahahual to meet all kinds of demands. Enjoy the many restaurants and shopping along the sandy beaches located in town. Venture out onto the water with unlimited water excursions. Enjoy the culture and charm of this small and diverse village.
- 1 Maya Park (Maya, Lost Mayan Kingdom). A water park with zip lines and big slides
- 2 Tequila Corazón de México - Costa Maya. You can do a tequilla tour and taste some.
- 3 Poco Loco's Mini-Golf.
The barrier reef, which is part of the Meso American Reef, just off shore offers opportunities for snorkeling or scuba diving, and keeps the waters of the Caribbean safe for kayaking. This reef is the 2nd longest barrier reef in the world being just over 900 km long, starting at Puerto Morelos in Mexico, stretching down past to Belize to terminate at Honduras.
You can find many water excursions from town, including catamarans, paddleboards, fishing, jet skis and flyboard.
- Nomad Divers. Scuba diving.
- Gypsea Divers, Malecon (in front of Nacional Beach Club). Professional dive and snorkel business.
- Dreamtime, South Malecon. Professional dive and snorkel business
- 4 Amigos Del Mar, email@example.com. Official Cressi Dive Center with top of the line dive equipment. Their customized dive boat fits 14 divers and has racks for 32 tanks. They also have the required government permits in order to take divers to the Banco Chinchorro Protected National Reserve.
- 5 Doctor Dive, Calle Coronado con Calle Huachinango s/n, Centro, 77976, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Dive trips, PADI courses, snorkeling
The beaches of Mahahual are often restaurant concessions that provide many services to you. You can find great food and drinks and massages on the beach. The nice sandy beaches provide great swimming and snorkelling opportunities.
- 6 Yaya Beach (Yaya), Av. Huachinango con Calle Coronado. 09:00-00:00. Bar, restaurant and beach service.
- Puerto Angel Beach
Out of town trips
There are several sites of Classical Period Mayan ruins close enough for a day-visit. Mexican law requires a fee of about US$5 for the use of video cameras at these sites.
- 7 Chacchoben. – 80 km. Dates to the 3rd-8th centuries. The tallest pyramid rises above the trees and for those physically and psychologically equipped to climb it, offers a view of the countryside. Several smaller ruins at the site may have been the houses of nobles.
- 8 Kohunlich. – 170 km. A ceremonial center and the capital of a powerful dynasty. The Temple of Masks features five stucco masks with the features of the Sun God, along the its stairs. It also contains the ruins of residences and a ceremonial ball field.
- 9 Dzibanché. – 190 km. An important city, featuring stone plazas bordered by temple pyramids, including the Temple of the Owl and the Temple of the Cormorants.
- 10 Ichkabal. – 140 km. Under excavation by INAH since 1995, this vast and important preclassic city 30 km from Bacalar is not yet open to the public as of Feb 2019. A "lost" city of gigantic proportions, Ichkabal may be one of the most important discoveries in Mayan archeology in decades.
The town has several ATMs: one is in the "Casitas", a subdivision adjoining the port, at the Mobius internet/DVD rental store; another is located at Luna De Plata, a kilometer south of the pueblo; a third is an HSBC bank ATM within the town's only Pemex station, 4 km west on the main access road. Cash is still the best option as many times the ATM machines do not work or are out of cash. (updated in 2012)
At the beach
- 1 Maramao Restaurante, Calle Robalo (Just on the southern part of Mahahual at the side of the local school), ☏ . Nice place to eat fresh seafood. Mix of Mexican and Italian dishes with the possibility to eat right on the beach.
- 2 Sabores de Oaxaca.
In the western part of the village
- 3 Mi Cantón Yucateco.
In the eastern part of the village
- 4 Pizza Papi Pasta, Avenida Paseo del Puerto 1095, ☏ , email@example.com. From 17:30. Pizza Papi Pasta is at Puerto Costa Maya, really Italian food with brick oven. Cool service and nice night ambient
- Travel In' (Travel Inn), 6 km south of Mahahual on the beach road. Fantastic and varied international food from a Dutch couple who moved to Mahahual.
- Restaurant Maya Luna, km 5.2, ☏ . Beachfront restaurant south of town. Mix of European and Mexican kitchen with an Indonesian touch. Famous for their stuffed pineapple.
- El Grito, inside Matan Ka´an hotel. Real Mexican food.
- Capitan Mono. on the Malecon
- Almaplena Restaurant, km 12,5, ☏ . Facing directly on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. The restaurant menu offers mainly Mediterranean cuisine with local influences that incorporate and enhance the best ingredients and regional flavors.
- Maya Chan Beach, Km. 6.5 Carretera Mahahual - Xcalak, ☏ . 07:00. Maya Chan Beach Resort is minutes south of Puerto Costa Maya. Discover the underwater world through the glass bottom of a Costa Maya kayak tour or the mask of your snorkeling gear. All included.
- La Bodeguita, Center of Mahahual. 13:00-01:00. Sports bar and meeting place for locals who gather here after work to watch their favourite sports game, often a soccer or boxing game. Or to play some pool or darts
Staying just a few kilometers outside of town south along the beach will keep you from the majority of the cruise traffic.
at the beach:
- 1 Camping lunas bar. The provided tents are directly at the beach and for about M$350 (April 2022)
- 2 Las Cabañas del Doctor.
in the western part of the village:
- 3 Casa Mahahual. They offer a provided tent for about M$250 (April 2022). Private rooms are also available.
in the eastern part of the village:
- 4 JH Hotel.
- Hostal Jardín Mahahual.
- Arenas Hotel. Boutique hotel.
- Travel In' (Travel Inn), 6 km south of Mahahual on the beach road. Quiet and isolated if you want to get away from the noise of Mahahual. Guest house and camping palapa.
- Casita Dragonfly, Km 11 S Camino Costero Mahahual-Xcalak, firstname.lastname@example.org. Charming 2-bedroom, 2-bath beach house: internet, caretaker, gardens, kayaks, privacy.
- Hotel Caballo Blanco, Malecon lote 1 manzana 12, ☏ , , email@example.com. Beachfront boutique hotel with rooftop pool.
- Almaplena Eco Beach Resort, Coastal Rd Mahahual-Xcalak (km 12.5). Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00.
- Margarita del Sol Oceanfront Suites.
- Maya Luna Hotel.
- Maya Palms Resort & Dive Center, Costa Maya, Carretera Mahahual-Xcalak, ☏ .
- Mayan Beach Garden B&B, KM 21.5 N Camino Costera Rio Indio-Uvero, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 23:00.
- Casa del Cielo de las Estrellas (vacation rental house), km 8.5 Coastal Road Mahahual-Xcalak, email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. see website for rates.
Your next destination for staying can be:
To the south
- Xcalak - Remote village for great fishing and diving
To the south-west
To the north