Mahahual, Mexico situated on the Costa Maya, is a great place to unwind. A long stretch of pristine Caribbean coast with its relaxed beach side vibes, it is also the perfect place for the avid and beginner diver. Mahahual sits just 3 hours bus ride south from Tulum and 5 hours from Cancun. If coming up from Chetumal after crossing the border from Belize it is also a good point to choose to spend a few days. Firstly we travelled into Mahahual from the North and then second time from the south after being in Guatemala as we just couldn’t keep away, for us was it was one of favourite places on our travels in Mexico! It was also the perfect place to learn how to dive.
Before visiting Mahahual and Mexico we did a little research and were a bit unsure of Mahahual as it does have a port from which cruise ships come in daily with people coming to check out the town, beach side bars and of course the beach. This adds to the buzz and atmosphere of the town during the days and still with plenty of bars, places to eat and endless coastline you will never feel like it’s too busy or over crowded. Usually the day visitors are gone by 3-4 pm and the town returns to a chilled laid back vibe along the Malecon (beach side front).
Things to do
Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world Mahahual has endless dive sites and snorkeling opportunities. The town has a handful of great dive places and as a beginner diver wanting to do my PADI open water, it was the perfect place for it. I took the 4 day PADI Open Water course with Takata Experience who were amazing. Set up a few years ago by a group of divemaster friends and located just after the Malecon finishes, south out-of-town along the beachfront. It took 3 and a half days to complete my Open Water course throughout which I was amazed at seeing sea turtles, barracudas, rays, lobsters, lion fish, angel and clown fish among other exotic marine life, with the coral also presenting an amazing to view to admire! The course with Takata Experience also included two fun dives at the end of the course which Kelly joined me on. The water was crystal blue and the conditions perfect each day, I couldn’t have asked for a better first diving experience!
In town there are a few places to rent bikes which is a great way to get around and see everything, it was also great for heading on a trip south up the coastline along the beach side road that stretches for several km’s! Just keep following the Malecon until it ends and continue around the beautiful coastline passing the odd boutique hotel, abandoned beach huts, locals houses and a bar called Shipwrecked which we stopped at for an ice cold beer, sat on the bar swings and chilled before heading back out on our cycle. The bar is built out into the water and cycling down the coast road you will not miss it, a great place to stop for a drink or get out of the sun for a wee while!
Along the Malecon of Mahahual is perfect for snorkeling straight from the beach and with the water so warm, inviting and filled with sea life you can easily spend a morning or afternoon floating around. Kayaks can also be rented at a couple of places along the Malecon which is a great option if you fancy a little deeper snorkelling experience without tiring yourselves out, we would definitely recommend doing this as going out a little further gives you a better chance of catching seas turtles & all other kinds of marine life.
There are a few places to practice yoga in Mahahual but our favourite was Costa Maya Yoga run by an amazing teacher Simone, who moved to Mahahual to set up her own yoga studio. Situated in the centre along the Malecon we would highly recommend for some early morning or afternoon zen.
Out of the many places we have been this was definitely one of the top places for just kicking back, enjoying some tasty Mexican food and really living the laid back beach life. Grab a bed or lounger along one of the many beach font bars and restaurants, go for a dip or in the turquoise clear blue waters , grab a hammock and affix to the many palm trees along the coastline, go for an afternoon nap or relax and enjoy some yummy guacamole with a beer or fresh made natural juices.
Our Top Places To Eat
Nohoch Kay’s was our top pic of places to eat, they offer amazing fish as well as a great varied menu. Very reasonably priced for such high quality and great service. We went back a few times while we were there.
Pizza Papi Pasta – Located on the main road in the nearby housing estate in what the locals call ‘Casistas’ just out-of-town, Pizza Papi Pasta has a tasty range of pizzas and pasta which you could sit in or choose to take out! As we were staying in an Airbnb ‘Casitas’ this was the perfect place to head for dinner.
Nacional Beach Club – This became our daily chill spot with full food menu, amazing Guacamole, jugos and our favourite here an ice cold Modelo & in a hammock in the sea at sunset!
Taquería El Pastorcito – Locals vibe with the best Tacos we had in Mexico. Definitely a pick if you fancy some authentic Mexican food cooked fresh at a good price. Located in the centre on the Main road running through the village next to the ADO ticket and local shop.
Mahahual has loads of restaurants along the beach front as well as the more local places situated on the main road running parallel a block back from the beach. You will find it hard to go wrong with dining in Mahahual.
Places to stay
We stayed in an Airbnb, a little bit more expensive but totally worth it. Located in ‘Casistas’ the housing estate just outside of the centre of town after the lighthouse was a 5 min walk and only a short ride on a bike to get into town. There were a good amount of places on Airbnb around Mahahual as well as some further up the coast ‘off the grid’ (with no mainline electricity or water) which looked amazing & totally away from it all & if you have the time could be worth checking out. There are not a huge amount of places to stay in regard to cheap backpacker spots in Mahahual but BAMBU HOSTEL is probably the closest. Other than that Mahahual has mostly hotels and loads of beach side places and huts to rent which if you have the budget to stretch looked amazing to stay in right on the beachfront, and would certainly make you feel like you are living the paradise life!
We loved Mahahual and will surely be heading back there some day. It is definitely one of our favourite places that we visited in Mexico, with easy access in and out, nice restaurants and bars, friendly locals, awesome diving and snorkeling and just the general relaxed beach vibes, this place was definitely right up our street. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have if you are thinking of heading this way!
You can also check out all of our blog posts on Mexico right here
Adam & Kelly x