Here is a summary of my visit to Mahahual Mexico in August 2022.
Welcome to my series on solo travel for the Fly 40+ Black woman in Mexico! In this series, I am sharing some of the places I visited in Summer 2022 as well as some of my favorite solo travel destinations in Mexico.
As some of you may know I immigrated to Mexico in May 2021. I just decided to jump off the hamster wheel get out of the rat race and live a slower and more peaceful life.
In addition to enjoying living in Mexico, I also very much enjoy solo travel around Mexico. If you have been with me since I began my relocation journey, then you know that I wrote about my visits to 9 cities in Mexico when I was trying to decide where to live. You can grab A Tale of 9 Cities: A Guide to my Mexico Research & Relocation Trips to learn more.
During summer 2022 I visited several cities and towns in Mexico and via these blog posts I am sharing the places I visited, the ones I loved and some that I didn’t love as much.
I will give you an honest opinion about whether I think they are safe, affordable, and enjoyable places for “us” Fly 40+ solo travelers.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about my solo visit(s) to Mahahual, Mexico.
NOTE: This is a summary of my visit to Mahahual, (“Maha-well”) Mexico. I visited Mahahual, over three (3) days in August for my birthday. A friend and I arrived on the evening of the 15th and left on the morning of the 18th. We had one perfect day – thankfully my birthday – on August 16th but it rained torrential for the entire day on August 17 so we stayed in our villa all day and only went out that evening when the rain had abated. So, this review really encompasses one full day spent out and about in Mahahual.
Mahahual, pronounced “Maha-well”) is a former fishing village in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is in the area known as Costa Maya on the Caribbean Sea coast.
The village is about 1.9 miles from the Costa Maya cruise port and cruise ships come in multiple days a week. The village has white sand beaches and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef runs along the coast. There are several hotels, bars, restaurants, and shops along its Malecon.
When ships come into the port, it is very busy but on days where there is no cruise ship, it is a pretty sleepy place to be.
I visited Mahahual in August 2022 when the temperatures in that part of Mexico average 85 to 95 degrees and humidity is quite high. In the summer months it is both HOT and HUMID. While the place where I stayed had nice breezes and winds off the sea in the evenings which minimized mosquito issues, the heat and humidity does give rise to mosquitos if the winds are down so bring not just sunscreen but insect repellent as well. Avoid being outside between 5 and 7 pm when mosquitoes are their peak and the winds are not yet up because they will eat you alive. Summer is rainy season and boy does it rain! We lost our second day of our 2 day stay to torrential rain and the drive to the airport was a bit harrowing as it rained heavily for most of the one-and-a-half-hour drive.
My driver was highly skilled thankfully but it was still a bit heart stopping at certain points as you literally could barely see the road for all the rain. Do keep this in mind if you visit in the summer months.
The weather and climate in Mahahual in the summer months demands reliable sunscreen and insect repellent. I like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Non-Greasy Sunscreen Stick for Face & Body, Broad Spectrum SPF 70 for my head and face. For my arms back and legs I like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion, Broad Spectrum SPF 55 , Travel Size, 3 fl. Oz. For insect repellent I like to use a combination of wipes and a spray. I highly recommend OFF! FamilyCare Insect & Mosquito Repellent Spritz, Unscented Bug spray with Aloe-Vera, 7% Deet, 9 oz and Cutter All Family Mosquito Repellent Wipes, 15 Wipes.
Mahahual is safe for Fly 40+ solo travel. It is a good place to visit as a female solo traveler, though I would recommend staying in one of the boutique hotels off the Malecon rather than where I stayed, a villa that was further from the Malecon than I expected.
My friend and I walked at night and early evening with no concerns. There were also sidewalks along the Malecon and even a person with some but not major mobility issues, could traverse the streets there. Despite the overall safety of the town, it is still important to exercise situational awareness and common sense as a female solo traveler. Grab the BaldGirlWillTravel: A Guide to Travel Safety and Security for Solo Female Travelers and ensure you follow the safety tips to ensure a safe solo travel experience.
Getting to Mahahual
The best way to get to Mahahual is by airplane if you are coming from outside or inside Mexico. If you are already in the Cancun/Playa del Carmen/Tulum area, you can take the ADO bus to the area but it would still be a relatively long trip. So flying is the best means of getting there.
The best airport to fly into Chetumal airport (CTM). You will likely have to connect through Mexico City (CDMX) which has the most flights but Cancun (CUN) may also have connections.
Mexico has no COVID-19 testing requirements for entry. Upon arrival, take a taxi from Chetumal to Mahahual. It is a one hour and thirty-minute drive.
It costs us 5,000 pesos roundtrip for the airport transfer. About $250 USD roundtrip ($125 USD per person). We also paid separately for rides to/from our villa to the Malecon at about 50 pesos per person per trip.
If you want to save money on transportation, you can take a 20-minute taxi into Bacalar and then take a Colectivo (local van transportation system) from Chetumal to Mahahual. The cost is 120 pesos per trip. It will drop you off at the Lighthouse in Mahahual and you can take a taxi or walk from there to the Malecon. There is also the Caribe bus which is a park and ride style bus that departs from the ADO bus station in Bacalar. Note: Both of these options require a taxi to/from Chetumal airport into Bacalar. To take the Colectivo ask the taxi driver to take you to the to the Van for Mahahual* or por favor, necessita el Van para Mahahual, gracias.”
To take the Caribe bus ask for a ride to the ADO bus station in Bacalar. I love to travel around Mexico by bus. If you want to look into bus transportation options around Mexico, or any part of the world, I highly recommend BusBud and Omio.
Bacalar, which I highly recommend visiting, is 20 minutes from Chetumal airport so you might opt to stay there and just do a daytrip to Mahahual. See the end of this blog post for my reasoning.
Getting Around Mahahual
The only means of transportation around Mahahual is taxi. There is no ride share service there. Taxis fares are on par with Cancun. I was told that this was due to the frequency of visitors from the cruise ships and the fact that they are willing to pay taxis 400 pesos one way for very short trips from the pier to the Malecon. It is likely best to identify a driver and agree upon a flat rate for the day. If you are staying overnight, opt to stay at a boutique hotel ON not near, the Malecon as there really is nothing happening elsewhere in the town anyway.
As with all of Mexico, Spanish is the primary language spoken in Mahahual. If you are not fluent I recommend downloading Google Translate and purchasing a language guide ¿Como se Dice? Practical Spanish Phrases & Words for Travelers to help you communicate throughout your visit.
Where I Stayed
I stayed at this villa on the beach that I found on Booking.com. Whlle it was nicely furnished, and the beach view and adjacency was nice, there were key problems with the place during my stay so I do not recommend it. Specifically, the A/C in the master suit NEVER worked. The host promised to have someone come and fixed it but that never happened.
Thankfully the AC in the living room worked so I had to keep the bedroom door open all day and night to be comfortable. Also, the cappuccino machine never worked, less of an issue but again he said it was fixed but it wasn’t. The location was also an almost 30-minute walk to the Malecon not 20 minutes as advertised in the listing so we had to have a driver pick us up daily to get us to/from the rental at about 50 pesos each way. The driver was very nice and I would recommend him and use him again in the future if I ever went back to Mahahaul.
Things to Do and Places to Eat
There are wonderful fresh seafood options to be had in Mahahual so I encourage you to take advantage of the seafood eateries down by the Malecon. You can also buy tourist trinkets, hire a boat to take you diving and/or snorkeling if that’s your thing on the Malecon. You can also rent a bike and ride around the area and along the Malecon. I had really great seafood on my birthday at restaurant called Nohoch Kay. We went back twice as we liked it so much. My friend had gelato on the Malecon that she said was fantastic! Lunch was about 250 pesos per person with cocktails so not bad. The gelato was about 70 pesos a bit steep for Mexico but not for tourist areas. We wanted to try the Krazy Lobster but it rained torrential for our second day so we didn’t make it there but I hear it’s amazing. There are also beach clubs you can try out during your visit for a cocktail, a bite, people watching and sunning. I missed out on this due to the rain on the second day which I planned to dedicate to hanging at a beach club all day. You can find top rated restaurants in Mahahual on TripAdvisor. Check them out for great places to eat and options for hotel accommodations as well.
You can book excursions and find things to do in Mahahaul on Viator. I highly recommend both for guided activities for solo travel especially for women traveling alone.
Overall Mahahaul is a nice little beach town, I understand why it’s a great stop for cruise ship tourist. It’s a great place for a daytrip but you are likely to get bored after a single day visit. I would recommend spending a weekend in Bacalar and renting a car or getting a driver to drive you for a day to Mahahual. It is definitely safe for Fly 40+ Solo Travel but not a very exciting place to be for an extended period of time. Especially considering that the prices are on par for accommodations and transportation with Tulum, Isla Holbox and Isla Mujeres, for a fuller tourist or solo visitor experience, you would be better off going to one of those place with more infrastructure, nicer beaches and activities for a longer visit especially in the summer months when all of the beaches have seaweed issues.
Enjoy This Vlog of my Visit to Mahahual, Mexico
No matter where you plan to solo travel your travel should include a travel safety plan. Grab the BaldGirlWillTravel: A Guide to Travel Safety and Security for Solo Female Travelers and ensure you follow the safety tips to ensure a safe solo travel experience.
A great way to plan travel excursions especially in Italy is through Viator. Check them out for great deals on walking tours, tours of popular places and airport transfers. As a woman traveling alone, I make a special point to plan my excursions in advance and I especially love Viator because I have the option of not paying in full until 48 hours before my tour date and I can get a refund until 24 hours before my tour!
How do I get the best prices on flights to all my adventures. I rely on Going (formerly Scotts Cheap Flights) and Booking.com. I am always confident that the prices I find on Going are the lowest I will find anywhere.
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