Mahahual, pronounced [MA•HA•WAHL] (once was called Majahual), is a small fishing village of about 200 inhabitants, it's the heart of Costa Maya, Mexico's newest tourist destination and a jewel of the Mexican Caribbean.
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The distance between Cancun and Mahahual is 200 miles / 333 km (about 4 hours drive south), if you need transportation info check out our page Trip Services or view the distance table, you can also see the Maps area.
Not too many years ago Mahahual was nothing more than a few palapas on the beach and an outpost for the Mexican Navy. Then the cruise ship industry took an interest in Mahahual's undeveloped coastline and built a Port, today Mexico's 2nd most popular cruise ship destination. When cruise ships arrive the tranquil town comes to life. Despite this Mahahual preserves its charm of calm town and it is still one of the places most relaxing and pleasant of the whole Mexican Caribbean Coast.
Costa Maya's rapid growth, however, came to a halt in August 2007 when Mahahual suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Dean, a category 5 storm. The hurricane severely damaged the cruise ship terminal and devastated many of the tourist facilities. The local population and port officials, however, were committed to rebuilding their industry. Within a year, by June 2008, Mahahual once again was welcoming cruise ship passengers. The new port is better than ever, with room to accommodate up to three cruise ships at the same time, including the next generation of super liners.
The main "boulevard" of Mahahual is a a 3 km long pedestrian walkway ("malecon") that runs along the beach. That means lots of lazy beach strolls between a pretty white beach and some shops, beach bars and restaurants; all without having to worry about cars.
In the last years several mall restaurants and hotels have settled in town and along the north and south coast. These cozy restaurants serve a variety of Mexican, Italian and many other types of food.
Mahahual offers fantastic water activities, like snorkeling is considered one of the best in the Caribbean. Mahahual offers fantastic water activities, like snorkeling being considered one of the best found in the Caribbean. Mahahual is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) which extends from the southern half of the Yucatan Peninsula to the Bay Islands of Honduras. It's the second longest Barrier Reef in the World and unique in the Western hemisphere due to its length, composition of reef types, and vast diversity of corals and related species.
Mahahual in Costa Maya area has many wonderful snorkeling sites and virtually all of them can be easily reached right from the beach and it's a perfect destination for divers of all levels, and non-divers alike.
You will easily find snorkeling and underwater equipment as well as adequate support from several of the hotels along the coast.
Banco Chinchorro (Chinchorro Bank) is just two hours by boat from Mahahual and it is the largest atoll in the northern hemisphere beeing part of the Meso American reef system. There are plenty things to see around the bank, it is home to abundant marine life, with hundreds of species of fish, coral, and other sea life seldom seen elsewhere. The best dive spots can be found on the east side of the atoll, where you can explore numerous Spanish colonial ships and steam ships stranded on the coral.
There are lots of interesting activities you can enjoy in Mahahual. If you like adventure you can experience horseback riding excursions, ATV Tours, Wave Runners, Parasailing, Zip Line excursions or partake in expeditions to the Mayan Ruins and the jungle. Mahahual also offers shore excursions as snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing.
For total relaxation, about 13 Km south from Mahahual there is a place called "Puerto Angel" a stretch of pristine and secluded shore, white sandy beaches, crystal turquoise waters really great for swimming; for an unforgetable experience in the Mexican Caribbean.
If you look for the whitest-white sand beaches overlooking the Caribbean Sea, check out our Beach list.
Tourist visiting Mahahual on July can experience Jats'a-Já festival, a maya celebration of Mahahual's rebirth; the festival was created after 2007 Hurricane Dean as a commemoration with the purpose to kick away bad spirits.
Jats'a-Já is an expression of life's joy, local people organize nautical procession with floral offering to the sea, music and dancing on the malecon, cuisine expo and sporting competitions.