Just Say “No Gracias” To Jaladores In Mahahual/Costa Maya .. And Then Enjoy Your Day

Today’s Spanish lesson is the word “jalador”. Not the squeegee, which it translates to, but the street slang jalador. Why am I teaching you slang Spanish today? Because if you are coming to Mahahual for a vacation visit, you will need to know that word. Jaladores are the annoying guys who wait for you to step out of the taxi or shuttle so they can pounce on you and talk you into going to one of the local beach clubs, bars or restaurants. Free-lance commissioned sales people, and all with the charm of Eduardo Haskél, (Eddie Haskell to the gringos) and the ethics of an ally cat. They will charm you, BS you, lie to you, whatever it takes, to drag you into what is always one of the worst places in town to spend your day at the beach. How do you know they are no good? Because they have to pay jaladors to bring them people, that’s why!


Jaladores of El Faro, Drunk Burrito & Big Mamas All On 1 Group Of Tourist

The tradition of jaladores in Mexico began in the “fondas”, small little restaurant operations in Mexico’s urban markets. These little fondas are Mom and Pop places with no budget for advertising, so they pay people tips to go out and hustle up, or push the people like a squeegee pushes water, into their places. The tips are small, so the people who work as jaladores are generally the lower end of the worker pool. If you can’t get a job as anything else in Mexico, you are a jalador. It is however not accepted business practice in most places of Mexico. These days, in most tourist and modern urban areas, jaladores are not permitted at all because they are usually more annoying than than helpful. In cities like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and even Tulum, soliciting business away from the business’ location is forbidden. Stiff fines go to violators and the result is tourist can stroll 5th Avenue, or any avenue in Playa Del Carmen, and not have to dodge a jalador every step. The shops on the streets can still try to talk you into their shops, and that can be a bit annoying, but paid jaladores, out soliciting business are no longer there.

Jaladores are the “used car salesmen” of the community. They can usually talk a mile a minute, and it is intended for one purpose, and it has nothing to do with you having a great day. It has everything to do with getting you into whoever is paying them the most money that day. They are aggressive and try to push the button in your head that says, “this place is fine, because they are all about the same”. Trust me, the beaches all look the same, but the restaurants and beach clubs are not all the same.

Let me be clear, GOOD BUSINESSES IN MAHAHUAL DO NOT USE JALADOES!! Most feel it distracts from the ambiance of our town and is not a positive thing for tourism. This is especially true for international tourism, where visitors are not accustomed to such aggressive behavior and too often do not return because of it. Bad places, that can’t get customers the old fashioned way, by hard work and doing a good job, do it the easy way, they pay jaledores to bring them people. Those jaladores will say or do whatever it takes to get you to follow them too. If you say you are looking for a specific place, like mine, you’ll be told we are closed down, I’ve been kicked out of the country for kicking puppies, I’m dead, I full but also own his place, I’m 10 miles outside of town, we changed the name, and on and on and on. How do you know a jalador is lying? You got it, his lips are moving! Too often their work pays off though, and people “buy the used car of the day”, while the good guys, the ones who don’t use jaladores, miss out.


Doubling Up Jaladores From El Faro & Diving Burrito-That’s Tourist Abuse

Businesses like my Tropicante, as well as others like 40 Cannons, No Hoch Kay, Caballo Blanco, National Beach Club and a few others, do not use jaladores. Our concern is, as I say, the image of Mahahual tourism in general. The greeting tourist get when they step onto the streets of Mahahual is very much one of the lasting faces a tourist will forever have of Mexico and Mahahual, and I don’t think the jalador is what anyone thinks is a healthy face for Mexican tourism. If a businesses has no regard for this, you have to wonder about how they run other parts of their operation, like the food and drinks they serve you, or the way they treat their staffs.


The King of The Jaladores, Usually At The Second Stop 

When you are approached by a jalador, and you will be as soon as you step from a taxi or even worse, the local shuttle trams from the port, do all of us good businesses a favor. Don’t support this sort of business behavior. Please! We have tried for years to get this practice banned, like it is in other tourist areas of Mexico, and for many reasons, have not managed to do this. If tourist will just walk past these guys with a simple smile and a “no gracias”, the jaladores will go away. When they do, you can go find where you want to spend the day the old fashioned way, stroll the malecon, look at the businesses, the menus and the staff, and decide for yourself where to spend the day. That, or Google!

Visitors should help us make our town more tourist friendly by rewarding the businesses that work hard, provide good service and respect you as a tourist, and skip past the jaladores when they approach you. Do that, and you’ll enjoy your stay in Mahahual. Follow Eduardo Haskél and you will most likely end up in one of the communities worst businesses.

About talesfrommahahual

Stuck in Paradise!
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10 Responses to Just Say “No Gracias” To Jaladores In Mahahual/Costa Maya .. And Then Enjoy Your Day

  1. Julie Riggs says:

    This is quite possibly the best entry I have ever seen on a travel blog for Mexico. You hit it spot on. Thank you, thank you- I do hope this practice does not increase, and you are so very correct. A good business does not need these to be successful. Best of luck to you and the other spectacular businesses you named in getting this banned.

    • Thanks Julie. We need all the help we can get on this, so please spread the word and share the blog with any who are coming to Mexico. If nobody follows these people, businesses will stop using them.

  2. Pingback: How To Transport From The Costa Maya Port, Into the Town of Mahahual | Tales From Mahahual

  3. Cindy says:

    My adult daughter and I will be there in May and have reservations at Tropicante. Been to Mexico many times, including once to Costa Maya, and always avoid businesses that are so aggressive like this. We are hoping for a problem free day getting to and from Tropicante especially since we have this info and Steve’s map.

    • No worry. Copy the map and you’ll find us easy, no matter if you taxi or shuttle on the wagons from inside the port. The land sharks are harmless, and if you say “no gracias”, its like shark repellent and they leave you alone. No worry, you’ll find us no matter, the town is very small! See you in May!!

  4. Brian Gainey says:

    I’ve been to Tropiconte beach and I will be back. The service and food was excellent. They will take care of you and make sure you have everything you need or want. Don’t forget to get that message on the beach. Thanks Steve for having an outstanding establishment!!! Brian from Mississippi

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  6. Pingback: Need A Taxi Into Mahahual From Port of Costa Maya … Just Find Captain Charlie! | Tales From Mahahual

  7. jony says:

    if the taxies are so helpfull why did they stop over 50 realestate people coming to mahahual. like the mafia that they think they are.
    check out the story at
    or https://www.poresto.net/ver_nota.php?zona=qroo&idSeccion=3&idTitulo=670717

    • Sorry, but I had to laugh t your note. We were all really mad about that too. Any time you can get 50 Realtors to leave town all at once, you sure don’t want to stop that! Baaaaa-Booom. Sorry, but since you work for a local real estate company, I’m allowed one Realtor joke.

      Yes, the taxis are very helpful to us but only because they are one of only two transport options cruise ship passengers have for getting into town. Taxis, or the shuttle wagons, and of the two, the taxis suck the least. To be honest, it is work so easy, even they can’t mess it up. But they do. For us it is a matter of subjecting visitors to one taxi driver or who knows how many jaladores that are rude, aggressive and leave a very bad image on our town and Mexican tourism. Taxis for shuttling people 3-4 minutes into town, they can do. But beyond that, we agree, do more to harm our town, than help it.

      History lesson: Almost 20 years ago, when the port was about to open, the high chiefs in the area decided that because day tourism was new, the needed tourism companies to do the occasional tours from new cruise ships in those early years were not here, so they gave the local taxis expanded privileges to do the work instead, as the industries grew. It made sense at the time. There was no economic carrying capacity for full time tour companies, so allowing the other qualified transport people, local taxis, to do things a taxi license does not normally allow made sense. Vans, round trip transports and further from their home area were all allowed via special permission. That permission is still in place, in spite of the fact that we now have the economic carrying capacity for full time transport and tour companies. The taxis drivers have been doing this special arrangement so long, they now believe it is ONLY them that can do transports. The transport company we use, AGI Tours from Cancun, to do airport transport to and from Mahahual, had to sue the highway department and get a federal court order to get the taxis to stop harassing their vehicles. The local companies that use the same transport license AGI has, must now also sue the same highway department to remove the special privileges the taxis still enjoy.
      Taxis are the only people who can pick you up on the curb and transport you for money. Their license gives them that permission and does not give a tour company that permission. But, a tour company can pick up pre-arranged people and transport them anywhere, including Mahahual. That is a tour! Taxi drivers, most did not even belong to the union back when the special privileges were given, don’t understand this and their union has huge influence over the highway department that regulates all this. Getting the special permission removed will only get done by the courts and so far, none of the local companies have done this. Only the Cancun company, AGI Tours, has used the courts, and they operate freely here. Either each company needs to get their own court order, or all together, they need to get the special privilege given the taxi drivers years ago removed through the courts.

      We all suffer because of the behavior of a few here. Stopping legal transports, which the Realtor’s bus was, is just more of the same. And until they remove the special privileges given taxis 20 years ago, letting them act as tour companies, this will continue. It sucks because there is nothing we can do about it. But what WE can do to assure our guests and visitors to our town have a good experience, is find how the system works best, and directing all wanting to go to town from the port to Captain Charlie, is the way to go.

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