Posted October 26, 2004 by Kay Walten in Mexico Destinations,Riviera Maya Photos
Sipping a cerveza while her friends get their hair braided, it’s a party on the beach ’till the whistle blows to re-board the boat. Up to three cruise ships a day stop in Mahahual for a bit of on-shore adventure and beach fun. Water sports, drinking, eating and shopping are the preferred activities but there are also tours like a quick trip to the Mayan ruins of Chacchoben, about an hour away.
Things to do are either on the beach or Mahahual’s main drag facing the sea. Natives who live here or are staying locally usually come with their own party provisions. Camping is even tolerated right on the main beach. Mahahual is essentially a one street town, the beach and main street being the big attraction. And things are just getting started here with new businesses popping up all the time. A few years ago there was next to nothing here, before the cruise ship dock was built. Now with up to three ships docking a day there is a new economy and new opportunities for all.
Cruise ship patrons soak in the rays at one of Mahahual’s beach bars. Local parents party in the shade at the edge of the beach while thier kids play in the Caribbean. Taxis are everywhere, in town and by the cruise ship pier, waiting for the tourists’ mad dash to Mahahual’s beach bars, restaurants, shops and sights. It’s a carnival atmosphere for everyone, usually with one of the “floating hotels” seen off shore.
At Restaurante Mahahual Kay gets ready to dig into a Mexican favorite coctel de camaron.
Several inexpensive hotel accommodations are available in town, with restaurants nearby.
The main beach has plenty of fine sand for carefree swimming. Boat tours are available for more fun at sea. On a good day it’s pretty much paradise on the Mexican Caribbean. For timid land-lubbers transparent kayaks are a dry alternative to snorkeling, but don’t forget the sun-screen!
We even bumped into an artist friend, Juan, who comes here to offer his mini paintings.
The main street through Mahahual is also the beach road to Punta Herradura and Xcalak. Once we left Mahahual town center going south things quickly reverted to a non-touristy scene. There are a few accommodation options using alternate energy. Pole power is in town and will soon be run down the beach road.
Hands down our favorite breakfast cafe was Casa del Mar on the beach, just south of central Mahahual. Great food, friendly service and an excellent sea view at this little beach palapa restaurant.
We spent the night at Maya Luna 5-10 minutes south of central Mahahual (no web site for them yet). They had clean rooms on the beach, fan only, alternate energy. There are also nice rooms at Balamku beach inn a little farther south, and good food and accommodations at the Travelers Inn. Going much farther takes you away from Mahahual and past a series of lots, many of them abandon with beach house ruins. We stopped at several and fantasized about buying them, especially the ones with big beaches. As you can imagine, real estate is a hot item here. Keep in mind it’s buyer beware!
Along the way we noticed a boardwalk leading into the mangrove. From the Mahahual/Xcalak aerial photos we knew there were lots of giant lagoons along the coast and so we were fairly certain this boardwalk led to one. Almost immediately the mangrove overgrowth gave way to a giant lagoon/estuary where two air boats were tied up. To our surprise, thousands of freshwater jellyfish were amassed along the shoreline, quite amazing to see.
Two good accommodations in Xcalak are Casa Carolina and Costa de Cocos bungalows. Activities are primarily fishing, snorkeling, diving and relaxing. The town is a fishing village with tourist services offered in a few locations and at the accommodations.
In Xcalak town center there isn’t much for tourists but Silvia’s restaurant and the athletic field. This is about as kicked back as you can get. You will find the locals to be friendly warm people, and the ex-pats always have a good story or advice for visitors. Evening activities include reading a good book, going to a resort’s bar (Costa de Cocos) and reviewing the days’ adventures, or whatever else you can come up with. Xcalak is best known for outdoor sea adventures like kayaking, fishing and diving.
Check out our detailed information about the Costa Maya, Mahahual and Xcalak on our Destination section!
Riviera Maya Activities (210)
Mexican Art (61)
Community Organizations (25)
Mexican Culture (172)
Mexico Destinations (122)
Family vacations (93)
Food & Drink (221)
Guest Bloggers (20)
Riviera Maya Photos (300)
Riviera Maya events (78)
Riviera Maya Services (61)
Sustainable Tourism (112)
Vacation tips (54)
Destination Weddings (29)
Costa Maya (11)
Loco Adventures (42)
Mayan Ruins (35)
Riviera Maya Destinations (232)
Community Announcements (20)
Mexican Recipes (30)
Riviera Maya Restaurants (66)
Mindful Traveler (48)
Yucatan Activities (43)
Riviera Maya Vacation Tips (133)
Mexico Vacation Tips (163)
Restaurant Reviews (8)
Interview with a Local (15)
"A company made up mostly of American Expats living in the Riviera Maya with a booking list of many hundreds of properties. Big enough to know each property intimately and small enough to know each customer personally. A level of service simply impossible for the giant companies to provide.
--Jim T., Colorado
"I have booked most of my Mayan Riviera trips through Loco Gringo and can only say I wouldn't even consider using anyone else to handle my bookings for stays in that area.
Their booking process is simple, fast and friendly, and they will answer your questions and queries until you are completely satisfied that every single detail has been taken care of.
Who else would know the area better than folks who live and work right there? Try to get that level of expertise and knowledge with a booking agent who lives and works several hundred, or even thousands of miles away.
Not only that, but they are genuinely nice people as well, who really care for their customers and the community and area that they call home
Keep up the great work Loco Gringo!!"
"and for the past five years we have used Loco Gringo for every reservation, I'm sorry that we did not find them sooner.
I have been searching Loco Gringo for all these years and one thing I have not yet found ........... someone who is not fabulous to work with. Great people, great owners and a great way to run a business."
--K & DB, Outer Banks, NC,
"I had contacted you before I left for my first trip to Mexico and all of your recommendations were spot on. I started in Playa Del Carmen and worked my way to Tulum. I had only expected to stay 2 nights there and instead wound up staying for a week-and that still was not nearly enough time. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks! I will be checking in with you guys as I am tring to plan a trip to Holbox next. That place looks amazing!"
--Louis Skip Gonzalez, Unidos Magazine
""I was soooo delighted with the Loco Gringo services. Everything was trouble free and all my questions were always answered promptly. Thanks for a GREAT trouble free vacation!""
"What an amazing company Locogringo is. Every silly question I have.... they answer , If something comes up like a travel day change, adding more people, or whatever it might be... you get a response from a real person ... who seems to love what they do . That is hard to find these days and I really appreciate that."
"We have been Booking our Riviera Maya vacations from Loco Gringo since 2005. Always Great communication, helpful tips and quick responses to our questions. They were especially helpful when Hurricane Wilma hit and put a stop to our Vacation plans. They made sure we knew about the weather situation and did all the work with re-booking our vacation in Paradise!"
"And their amazing website is one of the main reasons we started going regularly to the Riviera Maya and especially Akumal. No other place around the Caribbean has nearly as good a web presence as LG has given this area."
--Dan, St. Louis MO,
"quick and informative replies from Bart ( thanks Bart) , easy booking procedure plus online management of your booking . I am highly impressed."
--Theressa - Middlesex U.K.,
"It is like having a friend make your reservations for you .... we always feel comfortable knowing LG will be in charge of our arrangements because they know the area first hand, they live there ..... you ask a question and they answer it with good humor and great knowledge of what they speak. I will always recommend Loco Gringo in a heart beat!"
"Loco Gringos is the VERY BEST booking site I have ever worked with. They respond to emails promptly, work hard to honor special requests, answer questions etc. They ALWAYS take great care of their customers and are conscientious and professional at all times. We have booked 8 trips with this company and NEVER hesitate to use them or recommend them when traveling to the Riviera Maya."
"We usually need reservations for 2 to 4 people but for 2 years we needed reservations for 7 to 9 people, adults and kids and they have always done a flawless job in getting the resort we wanted and at the best price too!!"
"Thanks for everything you have done with Locogringo… the site is great and your staff has been nothing short of incredible when it comes to helping us plan our trips. Maybe we’ll run into you on one of your walks some day."
"Both in 2011 and this year we have booked our room through Locogringo.com. We searched and found a great rate at the resort we wanted, and then Locogringo met that price, and with their booking came their amazing customer service and the peace of mind that if we need anything while we are there we simply need to call. I always get a fast turnaround on any email I send them, and they work so hard to find us the best rates and the rooms we want. We hope to have a long relationship with them, and recommend their site to everyone we know."
--Tim A and Teri A, Salem, UT
"When we use LG to book a trip we get immediate help with all of our questions in a very timely way by people who know what they are talking about and are extremely helpful, patient, knowledgeable, and congenial. They really get how to do customer service.
Once we book through LG we never have to worry about any of it again. We are always amazed at how smooth and trouble free our bookings through LG have been."
--K.B., Fort Worth, TX
"She & her new Husband had a fantastic hassle free trip. This was their very first time to Mexico and her comment upon return was " Dad, 7 days is NOT enough time ! " Super job, LG."
--Bernie in Denver,
"I will be bragging about your site to any and all who will listen. Our experience was phenomenal!!!"
"I would recommend Locogringo to everyone I know. It is such a great service that they provide from researching and booking the perfect place to stay to finding all the needs you could possibly want during your stay. Thanks Locogringo."
"LocoGringo.com books total trip packages and I recommend LG to all my friends and even to strangers I hear talking about going to Mexico!!"
"Go to the home page or check the forum."
"...for your patience with me and making this process go soooo much smoother! I truly appreciate you and the staff at LocoGringo. Thanks again! I can't wait to be sitting on the beach!
Maggie in Colorado"
"Not sure if we will be returning next summer, but will definitely let you know if we are, as Loco Gringo is the ONLY way to go for us!"
--Lesley P., Texas
"I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU! The trip we booked through Loco Gringo was perfect! The price was exceptionally good and the service was second to none! If you’ve never booked with Loco Gringo before, we *highly* recommend them!"
"All our Riviera Maya trips have been booked using LocoGringo. We love their service."
"Now is a great time to tell you how wonderful you and your staff are at making it so easy to find and book the best vacations, THANK YOU !"
--Joyce & Hugh,
"People who “live the area” will want to make sure you enjoy your vacation and come back again!"
"We spent a lot of our time sitting on the second floor porch with our feet propped on the railing just staring at the water. Coming home was hard this year..Staying for two weeks still wasn't long enough."
"So here is a GREAT BIG TEXAS THANK YOU TO LOCO GRINGO for all the awesome, fantastic vacations in Paradise."
"Loco Gringo has an AWESOME website with great info, it is lots of fun to visit, be sure to join their forums. The forums hold more information and trip reports than you can 'shake a stick at'!"
"It's a great comfort to visit the Riviera Maya and know that Loco Gringo is there to help, if needed. "
--Bryan in IN,
"You always recommend amazing accommodations and we are always comfortable and feel safe. Your staff does a fantastic job at making our vacation each year a ” hassle free ” experience ! All we have to do is ” show up ” and the rest is already taken care of. We will continue in future to use LocoGringo and also continue as we have done already, to highly recommend your company to anyone we know that is planning a vacation."
--Nancy & Bill, Toronto, Canada
* Denotes A Required Field
How much are you thinking about spending?