Mahahual was once a quiet and small fishing village located far away from the Riviera Maya in the southernmost reaches of Quintana Roo. And, like the Riviera Maya, the Costa Maya is steeped in history and rich in natural splendor and idyllic Mexican Caribbean charisma. Now a popular Caribbean cruise ship port, and much easier to reach by land, the village of Mahahual still retains her rustic, laid-back charm that takes you to Margaritaville. Visit Mahahual once, and you’ll be hooked. Here are just a few of the many things to do in Mahahual.
The Malecon a promenade that begins at the iconic lighthouse and stretches 1.2 miles south along the beach, is a fun way to spend the day. Here you’ll explore a plethora of shops where you can find great gifts hand-crafted by local artisans, restaurants featuring excellent seafood and Italian dishes, and the most beautiful Caribbean seaside vistas imaginable. Mahahual’s Malecon is also a great place to people-watch when the ships are in port.
One of the best ways to get around Mahahual is by bike. There’s no greater feeling than pedaling your way along the Malecon, with the sound, sight, and breeze from the sea. Biking around Mahahual is very convenient, inexpensive, and gives you freedom and mobility to explore the village at your own pace and see more in a day. It’s easy to lose yourself on the Malecon, but don’t skip the opportunity to see what’s happening just a few steps away, where you’ll find the “real” Mahahual. Lots of restaurants and shops. Definitely away from the tourist experience.
Whether you snorkel from the beach or take a longer ride out by boat, the crystal-clear waters of Mahahual make for a world-class underwater adventure. Snorkel and dive charters are available all along the Malecon, just look for signs or inquire at the dive For the ultimate adventure, head out to the Chinchorro Banks (Banco Chinchorro), an atoll about 1.5 hours east of Mahahual in the Caribbean Sea, where you’ll see untold numbers of fish and sea life and have the opportunity to dive age-old shipwrecks, including a Dutch galleon which ran aground on the reef 250 years ago. Snorkel and dive outfitters are available all along the Malecon, and if you’ve never been diving before but want to try it, no worries. Most dive shops on the Malecon offer a Discover Scuba Diving course, conducted by certified dive masters, who will get you up to speed on equipment and out diving the reef in time to have you back to the beach for dinner.
As you make your way down the Malecon you’ll find an endless number of restaurants which also have beach clubs, where, for the price of drinks and a meal, you can hang out on the beach all day. One favorite is the Krazy Lobster, with a club occupying an extensive area of beach along the bay. You can’t miss it – just look for the Krazy Lobster next to the beach club entrance. Here you can kick off those flip-flops, plop your feet down at a table or lounger beneath a palm tree or palapa, and have fresh guacamole, great chicken quesadillas, and, you guessed it, lobster, along with buckets of beer for an excellent price, served up on the beach with an unforgettable view. After this, you’ll no doubt want to kick back and relax in one of the many hammocks in the shade. Or, work it off with a kayak trip around the bay. Most beach clubs rent kayaks or loan them out free to patrons, and besides being fun and great exercise, it’s a fantastic way to see the bay, coral reef and myriad fish beneath you.
Mahahual may be remote but is conveniently located near other destinations which would make for a great day trip. Lake Bacalar, the lagoon of seven colors with gin-clear water and stunning shades of turquoise and blue is a great place to kick back for a relaxed afternoon on the sandy shores. Swim, kayak, or rent a sailboat to explore these amazing waters. Xcalak, another great destination, is less than 40 miles from Mahahual, and where you’ll find an assortment of unique craft beer brewed by Dave Randall at Costa de Cocos, a quiet fishing lodge located right on the beach of the southernmost reaches of Quintana Roo.
Even though you’ll likely find everything you need in Mahahual, you’ll want to pack a few things for your journey to this remote tropical paradise. Sunscreen is always a must no matter the time of year. Be sure it’s eco-friendly. Mosquito repellent is also a necessity, especially at night. Be sure to pack a camera, and take more photos than you think you should. A backpack is best to carry personal items and gifts. You may even want to take binoculars, great for zooming in on what’s happening on and around the bay.
Getting to Mahahual is easiest by renting a car. It’s only a two-hour drive south of Tulum on 307, but you won’t regret it, and once you get there, you may never want to leave.