I get a lot of questions and interest about Mahahual lately, and I am going to try to be more interactive in the future and respond to some of these questions with a post instead of just doing a reply on the comment. I have realized that some other people who read this may also be interested in the same topic. One question or topic I get from folks inquiring about living or retiring in Mahahual is the one I am going to answer below. This question was on a post I did earlier this week.
” Mahahual seems like a nice place, because Tulum and Playa are becoming too developed for me. About tourists, how often do the cruise ships stop in Mahahual, and how big are they?”
This question is a big concern for a lot of expats from USA and Canada because a lot of them don’t want to retire or live in a big tourist area. They want their peace and quiet in their Caribbean Paradise, and you can’t blame them.
A lot of expats that have been in Playa del Carmen for a long time that I have met recently , moved here before the recent tourist boom there. They say Playa del Carmen has become noisy and overrun with tourists, and all the other things that come along with that.
Costa Maya is able to accommodate three ships at once, with the capability to dock Oasis and Epic sized ships. Every major cruise line at one time or another stops in Costa Maya.
During low season like now, there are only 4 or 5 ships a month. The low season in Mahahual runs from the first of May to November. During that time of year, there a lot of cruise lines go to Europe or Alaska and don’t do the Caribbean.
During the low season, Thursday is the usual cruise ship day. Because of its location, Mahahual is sometimes the last stop before the ship goes back to dock in the USA. So Thursday is most of the time the only day that ships stop during low season. Also during this time several ships dock at 6am and leave at 2pm, so it is more a less a half day in Costa Maya. Sometimes a ship will stay on a Thursday to 4 or 5pm, but most are gone by late afternoon.
During high season, ships mainly come on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and occasionally on Friday. Very rarely will there be a weekend ship, and these usually are small ships with older retired people, and they very rarely go into town much. Because of the location of Costa Maya, it is usually the stop before or after Belize and Cozumel.
These ships dock at 7 or 8am, and usually depart at 4 or 5pm. During this time the malecon is full, and there is a lot of activity at the port, and the surrounding beaches and jungle, with tours and tourists. But starting at around 3pm, usually on a cruise ship day, the tourists head back to the port and their ships, and Mahahual turns back into a quiet sleepy village on the Caribbean
That is a big attraction to a lot of Mahahual’s residents, myself included. Also the cruise ships and their tourists do not stay long, only 6 or 8 hours, so the impact on the environment is not as great as say a bunch of resort hotels on a beach. Also with Mahahual being classified as an ecotourism destination by the Mexican government, there will never be a bunch of large resorts or hotels on the beaches of Mahahual.
So basically Mahahual during the winter months gets most of its tourist activity from the cruise ships on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and for the rest of the week it is a quiet little paradise on the Mexican Caribbean.
In fact a lot of the local expats here joke about not going down to the malecon when a cruise ship is in town over fear of being trampled by tourists, because of the vast difference between when ships are in town and not.
There are about 2,000 residents in Mahahual during high season, but on some 3 cruise ship days it can swell to 8,000 to 10,000 with all the tourists. But like I said before, the ships leave by dinner time, and leave and Mahahual cleans out.
So to basically if you are interested in living or retiring in Mahahual, it is a long way from becoming Playa del Carmen or Tulum, rest assured. And trust me if you live in Mahahual during the summer you will get all the peace and quiet you want in your little paradise
Thanks for reading, and any questions you may have in the future, I will try to answer as best I can. Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina