Chetumal Airport to Expand

When I have friends contemplating coming to visit us in our lovely little beach town the inevitable question that arises is “how long does it take to get there?”. To which I respond honestly yet anxiously, “4-5 hours once you get to Cancun”. Then I watch the excitement of a possible Caribbean adventure melt away from their previously glowing eyes.

The time it takes to get to our isolated little part of the world is the main reason that we aren’t inundated every other weekend with friends from Florida or North Carolina, looking to do a 3-4 day weekend trip to come see their favorite couple. Depending on who you are and where you are coming from the idea of renting a car and driving in a strange country or sitting on a bus for 5 hours will take the air out of the tires of your travel plans.

I have the argument all of the time that the roads and buses aren’t what people believe they are thanks to crappy Hollywood depictions of gringos packed in between sweaty and grim-faced locals, careening down a dirt road on a chicken bus, but I rarely sway the opinions of the less adventurous. What would really be wrong with a chicken bus anyway? It makes for a great story!

But recently we got some good news that the international airport in Chetumal will recieve 147 million pesos (rougly 7.5 million dollars) to expand it operations. That puts our little town much more in reach being that Chetumal is a short 2 hours away. Locals are well acquainted with it because we make a run once a week to stock up on things that you can’t get around here. It is our feeder city.

Previously, Chetumal airport really only connected to Mexico City but the new mayor of Quintana Roo has been pulling strings to get more routes open and has been successful in opening a route to Guadalajara. The new announcement came after the success of recent remodels to with which the airport saw an increase of 2.1% of passengers and over 300% of shipped goods passing through its gates.

There are no details about which routes will open and when. As with everything here I wouldn’t hold my breath thinking that the routes will be open immediately. But with time the details will reveal themselves and I will keep you updated.

So if the idea of 5 hours on the chicken bus has been your main obstacle to visiting our little beach town, pack your bags and have them ready because we will be waiting for you soon!

Is There a Gym in Mahahual?

That is  question I get all of the time as the resident health nut of our dear Costa Maya. “I heard there was a gym. Do you know where it is?”. Mahahual has had several incarnations of gyms of sorts. All taking on different forms and experiencing varying lifespans. One giving birth to another. The cycle of life and death.

The answer to the question is the only gym in Mahahual at the current moment, a reincarnation of our old fairly stable gym, rests in the beachfront hotel Blue Kay. When the old gym closed down over contract issues between the owner of the gym and the owner of the building it was in, Blue Kay swept in and bought most of the old equipment and put it in an airy, wooden space above the front desk at the hotel.

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The conspicuous building stands alone at the entrance so you can’t miss it. There is a roof, a floor, the equipment, and not much else. The equipment is composed of dated machines, reminiscent of 80’s spandex and headband workouts, and some free weights. There is no cardio equipment or stretching/warm up space, mostly due to the constraints of the overload of machines compared to available floor space, so you’ll have to do your cardio at the beach. It isn’t glamorous but it does have what you need to get in a basic workout, especially considering that there is no alternative at the moment.

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I am being somewhat hard on it, as a lifelong fitness rat accustomed to the latest and greatest, but the gym at Blue Kay can really be a cool experience, especially from a traveler’s viewpoint. Working out basically outdoors with a nice sea breeze and mangrove view can be a welcome novelty to people living the city life abroad, especially if that city happens to be sitting at sub-zero temperatures at the time. At at only $35 pesos (about $1.75 USD) for the day, it is worth it.

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The gym could use the touch of an experienced gym goer to clear out some of the redundant machines and really utilize the space properly. Modernizing the available equipment would really turn it into a gym that is optimized and make the novelty of the beach-front work out a highlight of your trip. But it is what we have for now and it works well enough.

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If you are in town and looking for a pump then head over to Blue Kay and see what you’ve got. You can get in a nice sweat. I’ll be the tall guy looking for enough space to stretch…

A Great New Spa in Costa Maya Mahahual

When you go on vacation to remote destinations like Costa Maya there are a few things that come to mind as pillars of a good vacation: tasty tropical drinks, swimming lazily in crystal clear salty waters, and relaxing spa treatments. Mahahual to this point has been able to offer the former two in abundance but if you arrived here before recently looking for a real spa environment and variety of services you will have been sorely disappointed.

Sure, there are the local “unta aceites”, or oil rubbers, who work down along the malecon: local ladies with a weekend’s worth of massage training, yet plenty of ambition, who would be happy to rub you down for a $20 spot. Not bad for what you are paying. And there is day spa or two that offer waxing and great nail work. But if you were looking for seasoned professionals with experience and a real menu of spa services you might as well have been looking for a Brazilian Steak House.

Well as we all know (and lord knows we have our doctorate in the philosophy here), all good things come in time, and now we have a real spa. Costa Maya Wellness and Natural Skincare is the place for all of your pampering needs while you visit us here in Mahahual. They have an extensive spa menu leaning towards a natural and holistic approach to wellness with services such as massage, facials, acupuncture, therapeutic stretching and even vitamin and mineral injections that they have dubbed “Vitality Shots”. (See list of services here)

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The spa was born out of a young couple who moved here recently and wanted to bring their professional touch to our small Caribbean town. In their treatments they use organic products, either bought or made in house, and really take their time, taking care not to rush you in and out. You really can soak in the experience and let the stress peal away.

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The spa is small, with one treatment room for now, and services are done one at a time. But they offer free WIFI and complimentary tea, a mineral foot bath, and oxygen therapy while you wait so you can begin to feel rejuvenated from the minute you walk through the door. As business grows they plan to open a second room.

It is a part of the small inn (Casa Sueno Caribeno) that the owners run as a sort of boutique wellness retreat, which they think is just the sort of thing that the new generation of travelers is looking for as the seek to de-stress from the burden of their hectic home schedules. The trip advisor reviews are excellent but you really should come and experience it for yourself the next time you are in our little corner of the world.

The spa drought in Costa Maya is over and we couldn’t be happier about it. Even locals need a little pampering every now and then!