Mahahual Locals Spotlight #2

This month in the Locals Spotlight we were privileged to interview Miqueas Gomez Vasquez, a talented local builder who specializes in abanileria (masonry/structural building). He is a master of his craft, employing his talents to build anything from closets to entire houses, and his infectious smile and honest, easy-going personality are an extra topping, free of charge, with his work. Let’s dig in…


CML: Thanks for talking to us Miqueas. Tell me first where you are from and how did you come to Mahahual for the first time?

Miqueas: I am originally from Chiapas. I first came to Mahahual 15 years ago on a mission trip to teach people about the Bible. It was a very different place back then.

CML: I can imagine. Tell me what it was like…

Miqueas: Well it was a tiny blip on the map. No tourists, no lighthouse, no malecon, no casitas, nothing. The beach was completely virgin. There were no paved roads and the only way to get here was through the beach road. It took several bumpy hours from the next place. The highway that everybody uses to get here now didn’t exist. And nothing at the beach was there. Maybe two stores. It was really just a couple of huts and fishermen.

CML: Wow! So you came with a church group?

Miqueas: Yes there was a group of us and we stayed a few kilometers down the beach for a month in a little palapa owned by a foreign guy. I can’t remember his name now because it has been so long. But I think it is still there… We just wanted to educate people about the bible who had no other way of getting the education.

CML: Well that sounds like a great trip. So then you went back to Chiapas. When did you decide to move to Mahahual permanently?

Miqueas: I came back to Mahahual to live about six years ago.

CML: But now it was very different, right?

Miqueas: VERY different. They had built the malecon, casitas, the port, the lighthouse, hotels, restaurants, shops, everything.  It was really surprising. Suddenly it was a little town with a lot more business and things to do.

CML: Well I imagine that was a good thing for you. Did you always work doing the same thing or did you do a little of this and a little of that like everybody else here?

Miqueas: Yes at the beginning I did a little of this and a little of that. I dedicated myself mostly to plumbing but I even sold bread for a little while! I did mostly plumbing with a little abanileria (structural work) here and there until the abanileria really picked up. Now I do almost exclusively abanileria.

CML: That’s great. How about your family. Were you already married when you came?

Miqueas: No my wife and I got married here about 5 years ago. In the mayor’s office there was a judge that would come from time to time and do marriages so we got married there and then we had a party on the beach.

CML: Very cool! So you guys had all of the family down from Chiapas and did a big party?

Miqueas: Well it wasn’t that big. We had family but not everybody came because we didn’t have the resources to bring everybody down. We had friends and a few family members at the beach and had a good time. Then we went to Chiapas and had another party so it was ok.

CML: And your kids? Were they born here?

Miqueas: Well none of the kids are born in Mahahual haha. They were born in Chetumal.

CML: Of course! but they are growing up here and are happy?

Miqueas: Yes they love it. We always take them to the beach to play and there are better schools here now and other kids to play with so it is good.

CML: So what is the biggest change you have seen in your time here in Mahahual?

Miqueas: Well the most interesting thing is that there isn’t a big distinction between the low season and the high season anymore. Before when I first came, during the high season there were lots of tourists coming from the cruise ships like normal but then during the low season it was practically deserted. Now there seem to be people all of the time.

CML: How do you feel about that? Do you think Mahahual is going to keep growing or do you think it will stay small.

Miqueas: I think Mahahual will grow but not to the size of Playa del Carmen or Cancun. And growth is good because there are still a lot of things we need. The only thing I worry about is public access to the beach. In Cancun they put up a lot of huge hotels that privatized the beaches so the public practically have no way to just go enjoy the beach. I worry about that happening here.

CML: Yeah I think as a community we all need to be on our toes about that to make sure there is always a nice public beach for us to enjoy.

Miqueas: Absolutely

CML: Ok my friend here is your last question: What is your favorite thing about Mahahual?

Miqueas: That’s easy…seeing the sunrise and the sunset. More the sunset. There is something indescribable about it. It is really magical here.

CML: I couldn’t agree more! Well thank you again for talking to us and giving us a little peak into your life!

Miqueas: Thank you!


You can find Miqueas around town riding his red scooter or working on a job site. For project inquiries you can use whatsap +5219831855247.



Sargassum Attack! Costa Maya Mahahual Under Seige Again in 2018


It is back and smellier than ever. Sargassum season is in full swing for Costa Maya in 2018 and it is piling up along our shores.

Tourists run from it because when it starts to decay it smells like what I would imagine the early morning bathroom of a hungover whale shark on a Caribbean bachelor party would smell like. Locals dread it because it means early morning and late night shifts on the beaches along the malecon shoveling endless piles of it into wheel barrows to be carted off during by lumbering garbage trucks in the night.

It is a topic that is getting a lot of attention in the small pueblo of Mahahual as well as the rest of the Caribbean Coast of Mexico…

Sargassum is a type of sea algae that grows naturally in the Atlantic ocean and Caribbean Sea. The species that wash ashore are rootless, blooming and floating freely in the ocean until winds and tides bring it to shore. It has always been around, first described by early European explorers who dubbed one region of the Atlantic off the eastern coast of the U.S. the “Sargasso Sea” for its copious quantities in that area.

Sargasso sea

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It serves a variety of positive ecological functions like providing a nursery for sea turtles, a home habitat to different marine creatures like the Sargassum Fish, shrimp and crabs, birds and whales, a food source for a number of little creatures once it lands on shore, and protects against shore erosion.

The problem is that since 2011 it has been amassing in record numbers every year on some of the Caribbean Sea’s most beloved tourist destinations, including Costa Maya. Locals see it as a nuisance and are at a loss about what to do about it.

Apparently, however, there may be a silver lining. Sargassum, it turns out, may be useful. Powdered sargassum has been an herbal remedy in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, indicated for problems like goiters and thyroid issues due to its high iodine content. In Bermuda it is placed under banana trees as a source of fertilizer. Still others claim its phytochemical, vitamin and mineral content as just as robust as other sea weeds commonly eaten in other parts of the world. Yum! Take a bite…

Nobody knows for sure why the sargassum problem grows each year but some suggest it is due to rising sea temperatures, changes in sea currents due to climate change and some attribute it to agricultural fertilizer run-off into the ocean causing more of the algae to bloom.

Either way, we have a stinky problem on our hands again for 2018 and we need to start looking for a way to turn a lemon into lemonade. This sargassum can be continue to be a curse, or we could turn it into a blessing.

You never know, the next time you visit you might sit down to a nice plate of fried grouper on a bed of sargassum salad!