This past week I had a blog reader from Indiana visit Mahahual for the first time. His name is Denny Sprunger, and he is a retired school teacher from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He contacted me awhile back about coming down and exploring Mahahual, for a future place to maybe spend the winter away from the cold.
I had an extra room in the back that nobody was using, so he stayed there while he was here. After he left I asked if he would write me up something to put on this blog. I wanted to give the readers here another viewpoint of life here besides mine. I have not changed or edited anything in any way, this is his own words. I just asked for his impression of Mahahual, and he gave me a good teacher like summary.
“Mahahual, pronounced “ma-ha-WAL”, is a sometimes sleepy beach town and sometimes active tourist town. This little piece of Caribbean heaven is located about 3 to 4 hours south of Cancun in Mexico. I flew into Cancun, easily found the ADO bus to Playa del Carmen, spent the night in Playa, and caught the small bus to Mahahaul. Plane fare and bus tickets from Indiana to Mahahaul came in around $400 round trip. The trip took just under 24 hours with the overnight stay in Playa de Carmen. There are nice hotels right near the bus station for under $50 a night.
Three to four days of the week in Mahahaul are just the local people going about their day when there are no cruise ships in town. Some businesses on the Malecon (the main beach front street) remain closed. The beaches are mostly vacant and the street vendors are absent. Many of the locals speak English if Spanish isn’t in your repertoire. These quiet days are great for enjoying the sunshine, reading, or listening to music on your mp3 player. The back street has chicken dinners with all the trimmings for under $5, six packs of beer for under $4, and even cigarettes for $2.50.
When the cruise ships arrive and the tourists are in town the activity really picks up. Lunch tables and beach chairs quickly fill the beach. This is the “running of the salmon” and the business owners and vendors are busy fishing for tourist dollars. There are massages, souvenirs, handcrafted items, and fake Cuban cigars. For lunch you can have ceviche to hamburgers and all the authentic Mexican dishes in-between for under $10. Mexican beers, Corona to Dos XXs, are $2 – $4 depending where you buy. There are upscale hotels, dive shops, restaurants, and clothing stores. The cruise ship tourist are in town for about 6 hours and then Mahahaul returns to it’s sleepy self.
The US and Canadian ex-pats have found Mahahual. Not lots and lots of ex-pats but a nice group. They are friendly and always willing to chat. “Where you from?”, and “How long have you been here?” are easy conversation starters. Most are snow birds escaping the cold winters up north just like the wannabes like me.
Mahahual felt very safe to me. No one tries to steal from you at knife point. I was not out and about at 3 a.m. and I doubt if anyone would have bothered me if I was. Personal safety is a much bigger issue in the US than in Mahahaul.
My conclusions about Mahahual are I’m going back. My wife and I are planning now to spend 2 winter months next year in Mahahaul. Spending time in the sunshine, on the beach, and at reasonable prices is this gringo’s dream.” Denny Sprunger
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina