A Great Little Bed and Breakfast Hotel in Mahahual

For a town its size Mahahual has a pretty large variety of places to stay for travelers. And with the explosion of vacation travel accommodation aps like airbnb, homeaway, and booking there has been a subsequent wave of locals looking to cash in on the latest trend by converting a room in their home into a room for rent. This is a good thing because it allows some of the would-be have-not’s to cash in on the local business boom but it can be risky for travelers who end up spending their vacation in a less-than-ideal situation that looked good in pictures.

But and few quality small places have cropped up out of the fertile field and established themselves as cozy little nooks with the friendly familiar vibe that comes with inns and B&Bs. One of them is Casa Sueno Caribeno.

Casa Sueno Caribeno (which translates to Casa Caribbean Dream, for all you gringos out there) is a small bed and breakfast with a rustic touch of the Caribbean and Mexico all rolled into one. From the moment you pass through the front gate and are greeted by the palm tree, bermuda grass, bougainvillas and coral touches, you really feel the vacation mode descend over you like a comfortable blanket.

The rooms are stylishly decorated with vibrant Caribbean colors and unique details that are specific to the theme of each room. The Coralina Room, The Palmera Room, and the Caracol Suite are filled with thoughtful touches of coral, palm trees, and conch shells that whisk you stress away as soon as you cross the threshold.

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The garden is a great place to relax and enjoy your complimentary breakfast, read a book, and just sit quiet and listen to the breeze and tropical birds as they sing to each other in the tree canopy.

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But if you are feeling adventurous you can hop on one of the complimentary bikes and go explore the town and the beaches. And why wouldn’t you? They also have complimentary snorkel gear for you to use for the day.

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To really help you melt into your vacation there is also a spa with a wonderful variety of treatments. I have previously written about it on the blog and you can read the article here. All guests receive a 25% discount on spa services as an additional benefit!

The owners also have a great vision for the future and will be adding a rooftop soaking pool with an area for exercise and scheduling private yoga classes this year. They are a young couple from Colombia and the USA who have worked in the wellness and natural health industry for years and are working to make Casa Sueno Caribeno a true wellness retreat.

So if you are planning a vacation to the Costa Maya and are looking for a place to stay with a real “just visiting friends” vibe where you can really relax and restore yourself, Casa Sueno Caribeno is waiting for you. See 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!

A Great Yoga Class in Mahahual

One of the most popular activities for health-minded travelers these days seems to be yoga. Whether you are a life-long yoga enthusiast or trying it for the first time on vacation it can be great way to unwind, get some light exercise, and replenish your anxiety-ridden spirit.

If you are looking, there are a few places to get your yoga fix here in Costa Maya. There are offerings from formal private classes from established inhabitants, beach front informal classes from wandering travelers, community, expensive, cheap, hatha, kundalini and everything in-between. But in this article I wanted to shine a spotlight on what I see as the best all-around yoga class in town for those who are doing their homework.

My wife has been a yoga lover for years and years and she has dragged me to classes all over the world. I am a bit of an all-around fitness fanatic and I love to mix it up and to me there is nothing worse than a yoga class that consists the same basic moves every class. It doesn’t challenge me or hold my attention and nothing puts me to sleep faster than moving through the same old sequence time and time again . My wife feels the same way, and we have had a number of disappointing experiences.

That is why when we heard tale of a great yoga class taking place every Tuesday and Thursday morning for a reasonable price that our friends were really enjoying we had to go check it out. I walked into the class for the first time skeptical due to my history with boring classes but I was soon moving through some poses I had never done, mixed with the more familiar sun salutations, warrior this and that and others. I thought to myself “what’s this?? Have I discovered the yoga needle in a hay stack?”. I left the class thoroughly pleased with my experience and Carolina, the instructor.

The next class was again a pleasant surprise as we moved through yet more poses and positions that I had never done and it was not just a carbon copy of the previous class. We were both super satisfied. From that class on we have both been totally hooked, barely missing a class, and are brought to life every Tuesday and Thursday morning by the big bright smile of Carolina as and she greets us at the door and gets our bodies moving.

The class is held at the Wayak Community Center in the neighborhood “Casitas” in a room that is built in the traditional Maya thatched-roof style. The morning air feels cool as the breeze blows through and the sweet smell of Nag Champa incense fills the room. Carolina’s soft and knowledgeable voice leads you through an hour of challenging yet relaxing poses and sets you up to have the perfect day afterward.

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If you are one of those yoga travelers or are just in town and looking for a new active experience at a reasonable price, I highly recommend you join us on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 8am for your wake up yoga. You will leave will a big flexible smile on your face!

Cleaning Crew Making Big Strides in Casitas

In as little as 3 months our cleaning crew has started to make a major difference in the neighborhood “Casitas” here in Mahahual. Not only does it look cleaner due to our weekly efforts, but it is now staying cleaner and the group is growing every week.

Recently the port owners pitched in, thanks to a popular petition organized by members of the group and signed by many locals, and finally installed some trash receptacles along the main walkway down the middle of the neighborhood that used to be riddled with trash. Credit is due to the port because there was no fight and they gladly acquiesced. Naysayers and negative nancies said it wouldn’t help, claiming the bags would blow away or no one would ever empty them, but they have been in place for about 2 weeks and the area is pretty much free of trash and the receptacles are regularly emptied!

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The port even recently donated wheel barrows, shovels and rakes to the group…

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We have also had an increase in volunteers from local organizations like the tour company Aviomar and its employees joining in, and volunteers from Takata Experience lending a hand.

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And most recently funds were raised to buy some trash cans for locals that don’t have them and distribute them at no cost…

 

We are making big strides and Mahahual is even more beautiful today than ever for it! If you are a visitor and lover of our little town you can help by joining us, any given Sunday around 10am, and pitching in a hand. Or by donating so more trash cans can be bought and distributed.

Donate here!

Thank you for any support and we hope to see you soon!

Hayhu Beach Club in Mahahual

Incase you’ve had your head in the sand for the past year and haven’t heard of one of the best new establishments in Mahahual, I want to tell you about Hayhu Beach Club. The pronunciation can be tricky so the first thing I need to do is clear that up so that we can be on the same page. Phonetically in English it would be pronounced “high-who” but being that we all have different linguistic skill sets I have heard “hey-who”, “hey-ho”, “he-hu” and everything in-between.

The meaning, despite the confusion, is really quite beautiful.  It means “to know how to love” in Guarani, the tongue of the natives in Paraguay, where the dynamic trio of owners originate from. And know how to love they clearly do.

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Hayhu was a labor of love for years before finally opening its doors to international beach-goers on December 17th of 2017. The owners searched Caribbean coasts far and wide looking for the perfect home for their future endeavor before finally finding Mahahual. Once they hit the Costa Maya for the first time they, like many of us, knew they had found the perfect place.

Hayhu boasts the perfect mix of beautiful Caribbean sea, soft white sand, delicious cocktails, quality foods and relaxed vibes to make your visit here exactly how you had pictured it in your mind. Far from the hustle and bustle of the malecon, with its friendly yet ambitious vendors, over-saturation of tables and loungers from restaurants, and over-priced meals, Hayhu is a place where you can truly relax and take a deep breath of the salty-sweet sea air.

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Hayhu represents a departure from the antiquated vision of vacation from generations past, who preferred all-inclusive giant Vegas-style resorts that don’t blend at all with the local environment and culture. We all know what Cancun looks like don’t we? Hayhu represents a newer idea and blends seamlessly with the surrounding jungle environment, seemingly born naturally from it rather than built.

They are also big on being eco-friendly, using solar panels to power the operation for the most part and naturally filtering and processing the waste water generated instead of sending it down the tube. As nice as that sounds there is no quality being sacrificed for the environment. The music is good, the drinks are cold, and the food is delicious.

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The menu boasts everything from lobster to a delicious South American cut of beef called “picana” that will leave even Texans impressed. The cuisine is a step above what you can find in most places in town and makes for a great afternoon out. There is something for everybody. Take a look at the menu on their website here.

Hayhu is located about 20 minutes south of town by car or taxi but the drive is totally worth it. That’s how you get all of the peace and tranquility that can be absent from the cruise-shippy part of the malecon. And there are no shortages of things to do while you are there. Take your snorkel gear for a great diving experience on vibrant reefs just out front, grab one of their paddle boards or kayaks and explore further, try your hand at kite boarding with on-site instructions, or relax into a nice book and chill.

Hayhu is the type of place that we locals like to see spring up in our community. A quality place by quality people trying to give a quality experience. They certainly do know how to love and it is evident from the minute you set foot in Hayhu. But don’t just take my word for it. Read some of the many glowing reviews of the place in trip advisor here.

So the next time you are in Mahahual, don’t miss one of the new gems of our coastline. Check them out on facebook for more pics and info!

What Time is it in Costa Maya?

Seems like a simple question doesn’t it? But like many things around here, the seemingly simple can be more complicated than you think. But that is part of the charm!

With Costa Maya being a popular cruise destination and destination for backpackers and tourists from all over the world, being on time is very important to make sure that you don’t get left behind when your ship pulls away, your plane flies out, or your bus takes off. My wife and I once spent 3 weeks here thinking we were in sync with the time only to find out we had constantly been an hour late!

The reason for the confusion is that our state, Quintano Roo, has experimented with different times and time zones in the past. It participated in daylight savings time, in sync with eastern standard time in the U.S.A., until 2016.

Since then, Quintana Roo has decided to drop daylight savings time so during half of the year the clock is the same as the east coast of the US, and half of the year it is an hour behind. This puts us chiming right along with eastern standard time during the busiest tourist months of late fall, winter, and early spring.

If you are in doubt or confused, nobody will blame you! Have a look at the website, timeanddate.com for this area at this link to be absolutely sure: https://www.timeanddate.com/time/zone/mexico/cancun