Mahahual and the Costa Maya is the new favorite vacation destination on Mexico's Caribbean Coast.It's time to leave the crowds, Mahahual is the Hidden Jewel of the Yucatan Peninsula.
This small fishing village located on the beautiful turquoise Caribbean Sea is just south of Playa del Carmen and Tulum and boasts white powdery beaches and temperatures ranging from 78-85F every day of the year.
With a nice highway from Cancun's International Airport, the drive to Mahahual is easy. There are many beautiful attractions along the way including the historic ruins of Tulum and Coba.
If you arrive at Costa Maya on a cruise ship you'll have been encouraged to take an organized excursion rather than do your own thing. Our advice would be walk straight through the tourist shops alongside the port, grab a taxi outside and in 5 minutes and at a cost of $2 per person US you'll arrive in Mahahual.
Note: The cruise ships will tell you that Mahahual is not safe. This is because they want you to shop and eat at the port owned mall and shops. Mahahual is very safe - Go enjoy!
Come listen to the soothing sounds of the Caribbean. Here "life slows." It's time to leave the crowds of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum and enjoy the natural beauty and authenticity of this quaint village.
Mahahual offers small hotels in the heart of the town and luxurious vacation villas on its secluded beaches. There are grocery stories, restaurants and many of the activities you'll find in any great Beach Vacation Destination... all without the crowds!
Chetumal is a city on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo and has a population of about 210,000. Chetumal is located about 1.5 hrs from Mahahual. It’s a safe and easy drive. We enjoy visiting Chetumal, shopping and seeing the sites. On the way back, we like to stop at Bacalar Lake for lunch and a cold drink. The city is situated on the western side of Chetumal Bay, near the mouth of the Río Hondo. Chetumal is an important port for the region and operates as Mexico's main trading gateway with the neighboring country of Belize. Goods are transported via a road connecting Chetumal with Belize City to the south, and also via coastal merchant ships. There is a commercial airport, Chetumal International Airport, with airline service. Chetumal was home to a number of coastal living Indians who traded marine assets with the mainlanders. Natural tributaries as well as man made causeways created the mode of transportation linking settlements as far away as Kohunlich. By the time the conquistadors arrived the splendor of the region was long gone and only sporadic fishing settlements remained. With the ever increasing number of British appearing to the south the Mexican government acted and in 1898 the "Spencer-Mariscal" treaty was signed acknowledging the border between Mexico and British Honduras [now Belize]. A garrison was established at Payo Obispo and troops stationed in an effort to curtail the illegal flow of arms and hardwoods. After the Caste War people migrated to the small village which then changed its name to Chetumal. In 1915 the regional government was moved from Chan Santa Cruz to Chetumal which then became the capital. Today Chetumal has a population of over 210,000 people and all the amenities of any large city. It is also a major trading center between Belize and the rest of Mexico. The city center is quite manageable on foot. Once you find the main intersection of Avenida de los Heroes and Avenida Alvaro Obregon you're within a short walk of several inexpensive hotels. The best hotels Chetumal has to offer are within five blocks of this intersection. You are also a short taxi ride away from the beaches. Chetumal has an excellent Mayan museum well worth the visit. It is located downtown quite close to a large market for shopping.
Spend a great 7 day trip in Mahahual
Fly from the US to the Cancun International Airport
Rent a car from any of the major rental car companies at the airport. You can see them all online. (rent in advance)
After picking up your car, drive to Akumal (approx. 1 hr. south of airport)
rent a hotel room or a bungalow. (Bungalows are cheaper) and can sleep up to 5 people. (www.hotelakumalcaribe.com) make reservations in advance. This is a nice location and right on the beach.
Drop your bags in your room and walk out to the beach. Here you will find the Lol-ha restaurant and bar. So, within one hour of leaving the airport parking lot, you’re on the beach with your favorite cold beverage! And it’s only the first day!! There is another awesome bar just a short drive up the beach (approx. 2min drive) The bar and restaurant is called La Buena Vida (www.labuenavidarestaurant.com)
Again, it’s right on the water and a must see!
Day two Wake up and have breakfast at the Lol-ha restaurant which is included with your stay. We recommend walking over to Turtle Bay Bakery about a 2 min walk. (www.turtlebaycafe.com) here you will find a great menu and coffee. Next, head back to your room and check out.
Next, make the short drive to Tulum (about 15 min) from Akumal and hit the grocery store. The large grocery store in Tulum is called Chedraui. Here you will find everything you need for the week. They have great produce, meats, fish, chicken, bread, cheese, milk juice and or course alcohol. Don’t forget to pick up a (Styrofoam ice chest, about 4.00 usd and ice) for the drive.
If you are adventurous and have time, we recommend the Ruins of Tulum or Coba. (You’re in Tulum and the ruins are right there) Coba is a 30 min drive from Tulum and you’ll spend 1 to 1.5 hours there. Then 30 min back to Tulum and the grocery store. (So, plan on 2.5 to 3 hrs)
We think the ruins of Coba are much better and you can climb to the top of the Nohuch Mul pyramid, the tallest in the Yucatan (entrance fee is around 4.00 usd each) After Coba, hit the grocery store. Plan on 1 hr at the grocery store.
Now you’re off to Mahahual…
The drive from Tulum to the Mahahual turn off is an easy 2 hours. A good place to stop and get gas is at one of three gas stations in Felipe Carrillo Puerto about 1 hour from Tulum. (Gas stations are at each end of town and in the middle) each end is less crowded. Continue past Felipe Carrillo Puerto about 1 hour to the Mahahual turn off.
The Beach and town of Mahahual is about 30 min from the turn off. Our recommendation is booking in advance one of several villas located in the area. We are biased and enjoy Casa Maria seen here (www.CasaMariaMexico.com) its perfect, they offer a min 4 night stay. You can also stay at one of the boutique hotels in Mahahual. We enjoy being away from the center of town and the cruise ship passengers. We do however like to go into town for lunch or dinner after the cruise ships leave!
When visiting Mahahual after the ships leave, tell the waiters you want the menu that’s in Pesos, not USD (much better prices)
Here is your return trip info:
Stay 4 nights in a Villa in Mahahual...
head back and stay in Akumal or book a hotel in Cancun for the night. Now your within 15 min of the Cancun Airport. Great Job!
Enjoy your 7 day adventure... the roads are great and the drive is safe!
Next time spend 2 weeks, everyone always does!