Mahahual was built as a cruise ship port, designed to limit environmental impact, while still developing another portion of Mexico’s economically vital tourism industry. Basically, their goal was to build a port/containment city, and keep the volume of low impact guests high, and high impact guest low, which became the guiding principle as the town was planned and developed. Half day cruise ship guests impact our expensive sewage treatment plants at a fraction of those who stay in our hotels, and because they arrive in ships and not cars, like hotel and remote guests, the automobile runoff that works its way into the wetlands and ocean are very limited. These are the two largest contributors to human impact on the reef systems that make the area a unique, and therefore the most heavily regulated for environmental impact. This is the reason the area is a great place to vacation, but also why we have, and always will have, a small but very interesting hotel industry. Most hotels in the containment area of downtown Mahahual, are fewer than 30 rooms, with many having less than 10. Hotels outside the town, and we have many smaller boutique hotels in the remote areas, are almost always less than 10. With regards to environmental impact, smaller means less impact. But it also means no crowds and a much more laid back and “tranquilo” ambiance, which Mahahual’s hotels offer in ample supply.
As concierges, we are often asked, “where is a good hotel to stay”, and the answer is, it depends on what you are looking for. Some are better than others of course but almost all are nice and well worth the very low rates you find in Mahahual. It would be impossible for us to choose a favorite! However, we do often hear people say they want to stay in town but want to feel a bit more isolated from the crowds that so often fill the downtown on cruise ship days. To those, we say no problem and we point them to what we can truthfully say is our favorite part of town for hotels, which is the south side of downtown, or “Mahahual Sur”.
The south side of town is an area where the malecon has stopped and the road changes to sand and hugs the Caribbean shoreline. This area is planned as the next phase of the malecon, nobody is sure when that will come, but most agree, it is not “manana”. Until then, it is home to some of Mahahual’s nicest, and quietest, little boutique hotels. Because these hotels are a few hundred meters from the end of the malecon, most cruise ship guests do not venture down into the area, leaving the beaches for the very few guests the tiny hotels can accommodate. Quiet, off the beaten path ambiance, while still just a short 5 minute walk into the action of the downtown malecon.
Along this stretch of beach are a few of Mahahual’s most undiscovered and delightful boutique hotels. One of those is Cabanas Del Doctor. http://www.lascabanasdeldoctor.com/ This charming little hotel has rustic cabanas, new modern hotel rooms and even a camp area on the beach if you really want to rough it. This is one of the town’s older hotels and like many in the area, rebuilt after Hurricane Dean into an even nicer place. What was prior a cabana hotel for adventurous backpackers is now also a modern hotel with air conditioned rooms and hot showers. No worry, the cabanas are still there so you can choose, rustic or modern. Both are great.
Just a few doors down is Hotel Luna De Plata, http://www.lunadeplata.info/mahahual-majahual-costa-maya/?en_ho_mah&gclid=COOQm-bsj6kCFWUbQgodYxW3pA which also happens to have one of the better restaurants in the entire town, as well as new and elegant accommodations. Like all the hotels along this stretch of Mahahual, Luna De Plata has its own beach, that when shared with the small number of rooms they have, becomes a very roomy and pleasant place to relax and enjoy a day at the Mexican Caribbean, without the crowds.
Luna De Plata’s rooms are a bit more upscale than some in Mahahual but their room rates are competitive with most. The restaurant serves up the best Italian food served this side of Playa Del Carmen too. Try the lobster ravioli, muy ricco!
The other favorite south Mahahual hotel of ours is Arenas, http://www.arenasmexico.com/ and again, just steps from the other two and a few hundred yards from the end of the malecon. This small hotel is another of the more elegant boutique style hotels at lower than expected rates.
This hotel has a small restaurant with a very intimate ambiance that allows guests to feel special and a bit pampered. Rooms are modern and have A/C, hot showers and fast internet. Arenas beach is set up with loungers, beach sofa, tables and hammocks, all shared by only a few guests lucky enough to be staying at this tiny boutique hotel.
These are just three of Mahahual Sur’s boutique hotels, but there are others and most are equally nice and reasonably priced. If you are wanting to come to Mahahual and do not want to have to make the long drive from Cancun in a rent car, these hotels of Mahahual Sur are perfect. Guests can take the daily airport bus from Cancun to Mahahual and easily taxi or walk around the small area that is downtown Mahahual without the need of a rented car. Point to point taxi service in Mahahual is $20 pesos per car, which is less than $2 USD. Or ask your concierge to just get you a bicycle for usually about $10 a day. Walking our beautiful and world famous malecon is free. Combine those prices, with room rates that range from $40 – $100 USD per night and vacationers can enjoy fine Mexican Caribbean accommodations that give a sense of remoteness, while still being inside the small friendly little fishing village turned cruise ship port and all the amenities it has to offer. Ahhh Mahahual!