Hello friends! Today I will tell you all about Mahahual Beach in the Mexican Caribbean.
This small beach town on the “Costa Maya,” in the south of the Yucatan Peninsula, is about 90 minutes from Bacalar, with much fewer tourists than Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
With its pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs, Mahahual offers a truly unforgettable beach experience.
Whether you’re a sun-seeking adventurer, a nature enthusiast, or simply someone in search of pure relaxation, Mahahual has something extraordinary to offer every traveler.
In this blog post, I’ll take you on a captivating journey through the top activities that will make your visit to Mahahual an unforgettable one.
From thrilling water sports to cultural encounters, this coastal haven promises a diverse range of experiences that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Getting to Mahahual Beach
From Mexico City
First, you must fly from Mexico City to Chetumal (just over two hours direct flights with Aeromexico or Volaris), and then continue by road to Mahahual (about two hours) by car, bus, or private transfer.
When flying to Chetumal, secure a seat on the right side of the plane to admire the views!
By car: About two hours from Chetumal airport. In case you want to rent a car, secure your rental here.
By bus (ADO Coach line): Service for this particular location is a bit scarce. They only offer service once a day. So the tickets sell out quickly.
The ticket is around 200 pesos. It is best to check with them in advance to confirm schedules. www.ado.com.mx
By cab: cabs from the airport charge about 1700 pesos. If you want to pay less, you can walk to the traffic circle to take a “normal” cab (which costs about 1400 pesos) or take a cab from the airport and ask him to drop you off at the point where the Chetumal-Mahahual vans leave (100 pesos) on Avenida Insurgentes.
By car: About 4.5 hours on Highway 307 Cancun – Chetumal/Carr. Tulum – Cancun/Mexico and then left on the road to Mahahual/Quintana Roo El Cafetal-Mahahahual.
By bus: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday departure at 8:30 am with ADO Coach line. Again, always confirm their schedules. www.ado.com.mx
My advice for the buses
I did a lot of research on bus schedules before going to Mahahual and the information was very confusing.
You have to understand that Mahahual is not as touristy as the rest of the Riviera Maya, so there are not many bus routes.
So once again, it is important to confirm the schedule by going to the bus station or visiting their website. www.ado.com.mx
13 Top Things to Do in Mahahual Beach
1. Enjoy the beach, of course
The water here is super calm and shallow, ideal for children and those who don’t feel very comfortable in the water.
You can access the beach by walking along the boardwalk, which is lined with small beach clubs and restaurants.
Of course, it is very different from Cancun or Playa del Carmen and the beach clubs are generally small and quiet.
I went to several beach clubs in Mahahual, these are my 3 favorites:
1. Yaya is a nice beach club featuring double beds and lounge chairs.
You must try the guacamole (the best in Mahahual!), their artisanal mezcal, and the Santorini salad.
2. Malecon 21 is another beach club in Mahahual with a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
Their margaritas are excellent, especially the spicy mango margarita with mezcal.
3. Pez Quadro is the beach club at the 40 Cañones Hotel where I stayed in Mahahual.
If you are not a hotel guest, you can get a day pass for about 200 pesos which give you access to lounge chairs and umbrellas, a shower, and restrooms.
It is the only beach club that charges an entrance fee, but this allows the hotel to keep most of the space for its guests and ensure some peace and quiet.
It’s really a place to relax and enjoy the water, rent kayaks, and get a massage.
You can order food and drinks and they will bring them to you on the beach, but there is not really a table to sit at so I recommend going to the restaurant which is nice, comfortable, and shaded.
Other beach clubs
If you’re looking for a popular atmosphere with more affordable prices, check out La Chilangaloense and Krazy Lobster.
To be honest, I didn’t like it that much because it was too big and crowded, and the beach was not as pleasant.
It’s fine for having beers with friends, but not for lying on the lounge chairs (I don’t think there are any anyway, or very few).
I had also heard of Nohoch Kay, but I found the place rather noisy, the food ordinary and the service poor. Maybe it was just a bad day?
If luxury and privacy are your things, try the Hayhu beach club, 30 minutes from Mahahual.
The day pass (from 500 pesos per person) gives access to a beautiful private beach, very quiet, with absolutely nothing around!
On-site, you will find a restaurant, bar, lounge chairs, hammocks, kayak and stand-up paddle rental, snorkeling equipment, and kiteboarding lessons. A cab from Mahahual should cost about 250 pesos.
2. Explore Mahahual
Downtown Mahahual only extends about 7-10 corners and you can easily walk along the Malecon (boardwalk), Sardina Street, and Huachinango Street.
You can walk to the lighthouse, which is one of the places to see in Mahahual and its colorful letters.
You can also go a little further, to the new residential area of Mahahual, where the entrance to the port of Costa Maya is located.
Snorkeling is not to be missed in Mahahual because of its proximity to the Mesoamerican Reef.
I was recommended Gypsea, located in the National Beach Hotel, run by a Canadian woman and her Mexican husband.
I generally have a little difficulty breathing with snorkeling gear and had only done it a few times in the cenotes, so I was a little stressed about doing it in the ocean.
But in the end, the guides were very patient and attentive, making sure I was always comfortable in the water.
The snorkeling tours may vary depending on the dive site. I paid 450 pesos and was able to see some beautiful coral formations.
There are other tour operators that take you further out for extra money, with more opportunities to see more corals, fish, and even manatees.
Of course, diving is another must-do activity in Mahahual.
You will find many spots between 15 and 60 m deep, only ten minutes away by boat.
Xcalak also offers several dive sites: La Pozeta (10-15mts) for beginners, La Poza for intermediate divers, and La Chimenea (20-27mts) for advanced divers.
About an hour and a half from Mahahual is the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, with the largest coral atoll in Mexico, and part of the second-largest coral reef in the world.
Here you can see a multitude of colorful fish, rays, 3 turtle species (hawksbill, green, and loggerhead), crustaceans, dolphins, nurse sharks (harmless to humans), and manatees.
There are also several wrecks of Spanish and English galleons from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
If you decide to go for a serious diving experience at Banco Chinchorro, expect to pay about 3500 pesos (185 USD).
Don’t have your diving certification yet? A good option is to take the Mahahual “discovery dive” tour which will allow you to submerge with all the equipment for 1800 pesos. Click here for all the details.
5. Bike your way around Mahahual
This is really one of the best ways to visit Mahahual beyond the tourist area!
You can ride along the boardwalk and the Costa Maya for about 10 km. I recommend going the opposite direction to the lighthouse which is more scenic.
The one I chose was not in very good condition and after a while on the dirt roads… my back was really hurting!
Expect to pay 50 pesos per hour or 150-200 pesos for the day (from 9am to 6pm).
Keep in mind that it’s hot and very sunny in the middle of the day. So either go early morning or after 4 pm.
There are also children’s bikes and tandems. I think I saw electric bikes as well.
6. Take an ATV tour
Another excellent option to discover Mahahual is to take a guided quad tour.
I followed Alejandro from Toucan Tours who took me to the lighthouse first and then to the entrance of the Costa Maya port to see the pyramid of Chacchoben, the most important archaeological site in the area.
We then returned to the road on the opposite side for several kilometers. Actually, we took the same road as the previous day by bicycle, but of course, going much further.
You have to book in advance (Whatsapp 52 983 123 1436) and the meeting point is at the Malecon (boardwalk), right next to the Aquastar Hotel.
600 pesos per ATV (1 or 2 people), and the tour lasts about 2 hours. No driving license is required.
If you share a vehicle with another person, bring a towel: it will be much more comfortable for the person behind you!
7. Go Kayaking on Mahahual Beach
I really wanted to go kayaking in Mahahual before going to Bacalar.
So I rented a single kayak (200 pesos for about 90 minutes) with Javier from Lizeta Tours, right in front of my 40 Cañones Hotel.
As there was a bit of current, he recommended going first to the lighthouse and then back, carried by the waves.
The water level was quite low, it was clear and I could see some fish, plus a nice view of the coast from the sea!
8. Relax and detox in a temazcal
A temazcal is a steam bath considered both medicinal and spiritual, and its practice dates back to pre-Hispanic times.
The Blue Kay Eco-Resort offers the opportunity to enjoy this unique experience, even if you’re not a guest at the hotel.
The ritual lasts approximately 90 minutes and is performed after being purified by the local shaman.
It is available from 6 pm to 9 pm, with a minimum of 5 people and you have to book at least 1 day in advance.
9. Go fishing in Mahahual
There really is something for everyone: spinning, trolling, offshore, or on the beach.
The main fish you will find are dorado, barracuda, lemon fish, grouper, snapper, and mackerel.
Don’t forget your sunscreen. Some trips include soft drinks, beer, and snacks, others do not.
10. Get the best Habanero Salsas at Km5 Ranch
On the way from Chetumal Airport to Mahahual, the cab driver, recommended a brief stop at Rancho Km5.
It’s a family-owned business that started 12 years ago. They dry their chiles and make a dozen different sauces based on habanero peppers.
Everyone in the area knows them because their products are very good.
I personally liked the mango and passion fruit sauces because they are a little sweeter and a little less spicy. They also have good peanuts.
11. Visit Bacalar
About an hour from Mahahual is Bacalar, a town known for its beautiful Lagoon (known as the seven-color Lagoon).
You can discover the Lagoon and its cenotes, the Canal de los Piratas, the Fort of San Felipe, and the Rapids of Bacalar, and if you have a little more time, go to the Xul-Ha Lagoon.
If you are thinking of spending a day in Bacalar, I recommend taking the catamaran tour to the 7 Colors Lagoon in the morning (which lasts about 3 hours) and then buying a day pass to have access to the lagoon for the rest of the day.
You can also do the opposite, starting with the day pass and then leaving by catamaran at 3 pm when the sun is not so strong.
Several hotel restaurants offer day passes (200 to 800 pesos depending on the place), in my case I loved Los Aluxes which I highly recommend: 300 pesos which give access to its beautiful facilities, and 300 pesos in credit to the restaurant. Open from breakfast.
For all the things to do in Bacalar and how to get there, here is My definitive guide to Bacalar!
12. Explore Xcalak
If you like to get off the beaten path, you have to go to Xcalak!
It is an ideally located fishing village, facing the Caribbean and close to several lakes, where you can do many activities.
For example: sport fishing (catch and release only), snorkeling, and scuba diving for all levels in the Xcalak Reefs National Park, which is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
You can rent a bicycle to explore the area or just enjoy the beach.
You can also take a kayak tour to La Aguada to see the mangroves and observe up to 40 species of birds.
How to get to Xcalak from Mahahual:
Take the Highway to Mahahual/Quintana Roo El Cafetal-Mahahahual then Q.ROO / Mahahual and at the end of the road, turn left (a sign announces Xcalak).
It’s about 90 minutes away. There are also several operators in Mahahual that offer tours to Xcalak.
13. Discover Chacchoben near Mahahual
About an hour from Mahahual is Chacchoben, one of the most important Mayan archaeological sites in the region.
This ancient city would have been occupied mainly between 200 BC and the eighth century, but even centuries after its abandonment, it would have been a place of pilgrimage, as ceremonial objects from the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries have been found.
You can visit, among others, Temple 24, the Great Plaza which was the center of the city, the Great Basement with the Temple of the Vessels and Temple 1, and several small ruins.
Where to stay in Mahahual?
As I mentioned before, I chose the 40 Cañones Hotel for my stay at Mahahual. Highly recommended!
First of all, the hotel is charming, quite intimate, with lots of plants and a rustic-chic ambiance. My room was very clean, with a comfortable mattress, TV, and air conditioning.
The location is perfect, right in the center of Mahahual, but in a quiet part of the Malecon (Boardwalk).
Here you will find a clean beach, with a restaurant, a beach club, massage tables, kayak rentals, and two ATMs. It is really very convenient!
I must say that having my morning coffee at the hotel’s oceanfront restaurant, with tranquility and a little sea breeze, is one of my best memories of Mahahual.
Hotels in Mahahual for different budgets
Eco Cabanas Bluekay: this is the best option to sleep cheaply in Mahahual. Small cabins with comfortable beds, a few meters from the beach, shared bathrooms, access to the beach with bar and lounge chairs, and a bohemian atmosphere. 40 USD average rate.
Hotel Jaiba Mahahual- Adults Only: for more tranquility, this is a small adults-only hotel located 15 minutes walk from the beach, with a pool and hammocks. Staring at 75 USD per night!
Almaplena Boutique Hotel: the ideal hotel to relax just 30 min from Mahahual on a white sand beach surrounded by the jungle. With a pool and restaurant, and ocean-view rooms. From 85 USD per night!
Hotel 40 Cañones: I spent 4 nights here and recommend it 100%. Small hotel with lots of charm, located in front of a well-kept beach, with its beach club Pez Quadro, restaurant facing the sea, and excellent service. Comfortable bed and air conditioning. Around 130 USD per night!
Party in Mahahual
Mahahual is a very quiet town where most places close around 6 pm.
There are some exceptions, but honestly don’t come here if you expect nightlife like in Cancun or Playa del Carmen.
That said, I was told there are 3 bars open at night: Luna Roja, Pitaya, and a nightclub called El Nido.
Are there ATMs in Mahahual Beach?
There is only one money exchange place in Mahahual, it is in the center of town.
There are also a few ATMs along the main street, some for withdrawals in US dollars and some in Mexican pesos. There are 2 ATMs at the Hotel 40 Cañones.
Many places (including the bus station) don’t accept debit or credit cards, so I recommend carrying enough cash to avoid paying too much when withdrawing from ATMs.
Renting a car in Mahahual
The easiest way to visit Mahahual is to rent a car, as buses are limited and there is a lot to see in the area.
But like any budget to consider, it is wise to compare different options to find the best car at the lowest price.
The best advice I can give you is to book through discovercars.com for three reasons:
First, you will be able to easily compare prices from different companies: a quick and easy way to find the best rates!
Second, cancellation is often free: so you have the right to change your mind at the last minute.
And third, it offers complete insurance that is less expensive than the other companies: it gives you instant savings.
When is the best time to visit Mahahual Beach?
There is a simple rule to make the most of the beach in Mexico: avoid the rainy season from June to October.
In June, July, and August: it is very hot and humid, with generally more sargassum.
In August, September, and October, the rains are more intense and there is a risk of hurricanes.
But this is just a general rule. I was in Mahahual in October and the weather was very pleasant without a drop of rain.
The best time, however, to go to Mahahual is from November to March. You can also consider April and May, but it is already much warmer. It’s up to you.
In conclusion, Mahahual Beach is a paradise destination that offers the perfect blend of fun and relaxation for every traveler.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, tranquility, or a mix of both, this stunning coastal gem has it all.
From its pristine sandy shores and crystal-clear waters to its vibrant marine life and exciting water activities, Mahahual Beach promises an unforgettable experience.
I hope you enjoy your time in Mahahual as much as I did. If you liked my article, please share it with your friends on social media, and don’t forget to leave your comments below. Vamonos!