I had a very unique experience for me yesterday, I got all the dead skin eaten by fish off of my feet. I went to the Fish Spa here on the malecon for the first time. I have been by the Fish Spa a bunch of times, but never thought it would be for me, but I was wrong. I have been meaning to do an article with Andrea for a long time about his Fish Spa business, but we kept missing each other. So yesterday I stopped in for an interview with Andrea and to check out his business.
There are two Fish Spa locations here in Costa Maya, one in the port, and one on the malecon in the middle of Mahahual. The Fish Spas here are owned and operated by Andrea Penello and Dorota Zwolinska. Andrea is originally from Genoa, Italy, and Dorota is from Poland. They have been together for ten years, and decided to settle in Mahahual, and then start a business.
They like a lot of the business owners here, they first came and visited Mahahual, and decided they loved the area so much, they decided to pick up and move here. They love the beach here, the friendly people, location on the Caribbean, and the quiet tranquil and stress free life here. Andrea told me he used to be the director of the biggest bingo casino in Europe. He said he got tired of working long hours at night, the stress, and having to deal with criminals all the time. So they left Europe and came here to Mahahual. They have been in business with the Fish Spa here since 2015. He said they love it here, and plan on being in business and living here for a while.
First on all, let me give you some information about the Fish Spa business. It is called Ictiotherapy, from the Greek, “Ichthys” that means fish.
It is a wellness experience using authentic Garra Ruffa fish, which give a pampering micro massage to your feet, becoming a 100% natural, pleasant, and relaxing experience.
The Fish Spa experience is a pioneer in the wellness world. Garra Rufa fish are harmless and toothless.
Following their natural instinct and with soft kisses, the Garra Rufa fish remove the dead cells of the outer layer of the skin. They generate an enzyme called “dithranol”, that has a moisturizing effect in the skin improving blood circulation, wellness and relaxation.
The Garra Rufa is a tropical warm water fish. It belongs to the family of carp, and can be found mostly in Kangal, Turkey. Garra Rufa fish measure between 3/4″ to an inch and a half, and can grow over 2 inches as an adult. The local population in Turkey discovered the ability of these fish to improve certain skin conditions.
It is a new tourism business, and there are fish spas now in a bunch of cruise ship ports, and places like Cancun and Playa del Carmen here on the Mexican Caribbean.
There are two locations here, one in the port and the other on the malecon in Mahahual. Both locations here have a fully trained staff. The fish spa sessions last twenty minutes and cost $20 usd a person. The staff washes your feet and massage them before putting your feet in the water. It is 100% safe and bacteria free. They use a UV lamp to kill the bacteria. It is also very sanitary, and the water is filtered constantly. It is good for all ages, and very relaxing.
On cruise ship days, Andrea and Dorota are at the port for the cruise ship business. They have 20 tanks at the port, so there is no waiting. They will even give you a free shot of tequila to get you started on your spa if you are nervous. (Just take the free shot of tequila, whether you are nervous or not). The location at the port does a brisk business, and it is not hard to find.
There is also a location on the malecon in the center of Mahahual. This location caters to the tourists on vacation in Mahahual, and is open every day, not just cruise ship days. It gets a lot of Mexican tourists, as well as expats, and other tourists from all over the world.
I had my spa session at the malecon location, and I can honestly say it was a soothing and relaxing experience. I had first heard of the fish spa experience when I was staying in Playa del Carmen, a couple of summers ago. I was at the pool in the condos I was staying at, and this Canadian kid about 10 years old, who would talk to me a lot at the pool, came home from his fish spa, and he was telling me all about it. He had a full body fish spa, and he said it was the “coolest thing ever”. I at the time thought it was just another tourist gimmick.
Well I learned different yesterday. After my session my feet were real smooth, and I felt relaxed. I could also feel that my blood circulation in my feet was better. I am a diabetic, and Andrea told me fish spa sessions are good for diabetics, because it helps increase blood circulation in the feet, which is a problem for a lot of diabetics.
So if you are coming to Costa Maya on a cruise ship, you should stop by and check out their Fish Spa inside the port. If you have never tried it, I can say by experience, it a nice relaxing experience, and does have health benefits. It only cost $20 usd, which is about the same price as a mixed drink in the port.
If you here on vacation, or just driving through, you can check them out on the malecon. A lot of the local expats get fish spa sessions now, and more will try it out this winter during high season. I am glad I tried it out, and will do it again.
If you want to make reservations, or need some information, you can go to their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/fishspacostamaya/?fref=ts
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina