Sea Beans and Beaners In Costa Maya/Mahahual

I met the coolest “beaner” the other day on my beach here in Costa Maya/Mahahual. Be nice now… I meant that as in a “sea beaner”, or a person who strolls the beaches of the world, collecting sea beans. They call themselves beaners and apparently there are a lot of more of them out there than I would have ever thought. My new beaner friend’s name was Jim, and I have to say, he knows a lot more than just beans about his beans!

Jim, who is from Florida, (which is apparently the center of the sea bean universe) told me the Costa Maya beaches are some of the best he has found for sea beans. His pockets were bulging with beans and as we talked, he just continued to pull beans and explain them to me. He told me all about his sea bean organization, which boasts members from around the world and even has newsletters, guest speakers and their own authors of books on sea beans. Pretty big time bunch it sounds like! He told me that beaning is very popular in Florida, where they have both, lots of beaches and retirees, and all with the time to stroll and find sea beans.

DSC01730         w Megs and Aussi

I was aware of sea beans, we make little necklaces out of them for guests in my restaurant, the Tropicante, but really only paid attention to the two or three that work well for our necklaces. However there are many types of beans out there. Most are seeds or nuts that fall from the vines and trees in Central America, where the heavy tropical rains that flood everything each year, cause the beans to go into rivers and streams, many of which eventually connect into the ocean. The seeds usually have pockets of air inside them that keep them afloat and they can often travel thousands miles. Seeds from Central America can be found as far away as Africa and Australia. My new friend showed me many I had never seen before.

description_hamburger_three                        description_sea_purse_three

Deer Eyes or Hamburgers                                                     Purses

He was amazed at the number of “deer eyes” or “hamburgers” as we also call them here, as well as purses he was able to find in such a short time. Those are the ones we use the most for our necklaces and easy to find in this area. They are also one of the most sought after according to the beaners of the world. Both grow all over Central America, so they wash up all the time here, but finding one in Florida is much harder and why he was giddy about his day here in Costa Maya.

description_marys_one

He also found several “sister’s or Mary’s Crosses”, something he had never found more than once in a single day anyplace. He said it was a very hard bean to find, considered rare even, and he had found at least a half dozen it looked like. This is a black bean that always grows with a vertical and horizontal groove in the face of it that looks like a cross. It too is very hard, with a shiny finish that makes a very nice necklace and one that when we do have one, almost always gets picked first by our guests.

description_nickarbeans_tri                   grey pearl sea beans

He gave me quite a lesson in sea beans as he pulled them from all his pockets. One was an ugly little prickly pod, and one that I had seen before many times on the beach, but had past them up thinking it was  just a dead seed. He broke it open to find two “sea pearls” he called them, or little gray seeds that were very hard and shiny. I have found these pearls before, not knowing where they came from, and used them in necklaces even, because they are so unique and hard. He also found Guanacaste seeds from Costa Rica, another that I had also used in the past because they were very colorful and attractive; never knowing it was a seed from Costa Rica’s National Tree.

description_guana

                                                     Guanacoste Seeds From Costa Rica

So where can you find sea beans here in Mahahual. You can find them occasionally right in the middle of the day, as they actually wash up all day and night. The further away from the downtown you get, the more you tend to find. In the remote areas, I have found as much as a gallon container full in just a couple hours. Sea hearts, the larger brown heart shaped bean that I do not pick up, but are everywhere, I could easily fill a grocery bag full of in the same time, there are so many.

There is no shortage of local folklore to go along with the sea beans either. One of the older beliefs is that if someone with “mal de ojo”, which translates as the “bad eye” or what we might call the evil eye, looks at a child for too long, you must put a bean on that child to protect it for the entire next day from the bad thoughts that person had for the child. It is also believed to be a sign of luck, much like finding a lucky penny, and if you find one, you will have good luck all day. Divers even carry them down with them on dives as both a good luck charm, but also the air bubbles inside the beans that keep them buoyant, can also serve to keep a disoriented diver understanding which way is up.

DSC01802      DSC01634

As I said, we give them away on necklaces at the Tropicante and we always tell our guests that it will bring them luck and that of course, tell them also that they should drop a dollar in a slot machine that night back in the ship’s casino … just in case! Since nobody has called to share their millions with me, I doubt it has actually worked, but one of our repeat guests always has his on when he returns, and swears he always wears in when he needs good luck and it has not let him down yet. So, there you go!

As if there is not already enough things to see and keep an eye out for as you stroll the beaches of Costa Maya/Mahahual, you can now add sea beans to that list. If you can’t find one, stop in at the Tropicante and I’m sure we can find one for you.

Good luck and happy beaning!

About talesfrommahahual

Stuck in Paradise!
This entry was posted in Mahahual Visitors Manual, Tales From Mahahual. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sea Beans and Beaners In Costa Maya/Mahahual

  1. jeanbrauwn says:

    I love sea beans- I have some from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Florida! Can’t wait to come find some in Mahahual!

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