Carnaval Costa Maya Mahahual 2018 Review

It has come and gone like a flash. The pueblito has returned to its quiet and sleepy state from the figurative and literal hangover from this past weekend’s Carnaval activities. The only sounds are the blowing of the seasonal breeze through the trees and songs of the tropical Great Kiskadee and Yucatan Jay birds pirched in them. It was a great weekend of parades, dancing and entertainment in that familiar imperfect Mahahual style.

The events kicked off Friday with a parade leaving from our neighborhood, casitas, scheduled for 6:30pm, which started promptly at 7:30pm in typical caribbean fashion, and traveling down the malecon with music and candy for the kids, ending up in “the dome”. As residents of casitas we thought it would be nice to grab our bikes and get there early to make sure we had a good spot for the show. That turned out to be silly of us because the parade only left from casitas, it wasn’t for casitas, as evidenced by the main float cruising by at mach 30 without a single wave or candy thrown our way.

The events calendar said the parade started in casitas so ourselves and a few flabbergasted others were left eating dust and sucking exhaust fumes as the floats whizzed by. If you are coming next year, be aware of that fact. Things don’t always make sense so plan for other eventualities!

After regrouping we headed down to the dome to check out the other events before the music started. There was a good sized crowd in good participatory spirits compared to last year at the light house when only a few hundred showed up and had all of the energy of a crowd at an international insomnia convention. The kings and queens were announced, the local dance troupe put on a show, the vendors fired up the tacos and marquesitas and Carnaval was officially under way for 2018!

The kids took over the stage with their care-free and cutting edge dance moves and once the Dos Equis took hold, everybody else was moving too. Lights flashed, cans emptied and tails shook until the music stopped around 3am.

Saturday’s activities were published only on the local facebook page in plenty of time for people to plan their day…late Saturday morning.  So if you were like me and don’t live on facebook, you had no idea there was another parade and round of activities before the music started again, despite my best efforts to try and find out what the schedule of events for the weekend was…flamboozled twice by the parade!

We made it down to the dome Saturday expecting a smaller crowd with a little less enthusiasm but what we found was a sea of little brown locals, dancing and smiling, peppered with hairy white tourists and expats who were just as happy to be there. The energy was thick and the night was quality once again. The kids ruled the stage and the lights flashed into the wee hours.

Overall Carnaval in Mahahual in 2018 was a success. We might be a small community but we really felt big this past weekend. If the improvements from 2017 to 2018 are any indication of the trend for the future, I would say don’t risk missing Carnaval 2019! Just make sure you don’t wait for the parade in casitas!

 

 

 

 

Carnaval Schedule of Events in Mahahual Costa Maya 2018

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Here we go guys as promised! For those gringos without the lingo I will translate for you here so you know what is going on!

Friday February 16 starting at 7:00pm in the Dome!

Kings and Queens of Carnaval 2018 Mahahual

7:00pm – Welcome and Presentation of Hosts

7:05pm – Inauguration by the Municipal President of Othon P. Blanco, Ing Luis Torres Llanes

Coronation Ceremony, Queen of Inclusion, Queen of Pro-Diversity, Emperors and Kings of Carnaval

7:30pm – Carnaval Antics

9:00pm – Presentation of Troupes

10:00pm – (Musical Acts) Los Huiros de Cozumel, Nohoch Purux y Pompi, and the best DJ in the Mexican Caribbean, Disco Macs

 

So there you have it! Looks like this year we are going to be celebrating in the dome instead of under the lighthouse. Stay tuned for updates from the festivities!

Carnaval 2018 Calendar for the Mexican Caribbean

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Carnaval is coming to Mahahual this weekend! I will post a schedule of events as soon as I can get my hands on it! For those who will be here visiting us for the first time you can look forward to live music, performances, comedy, arts and crafts, and more!

Mahahual Locals Spotlight #1

Hello all!  We are back at it after some time off and are starting off strong with a new series; “Mahahual Locals Spotlight”. This series will be published monthly and will highlight the journey of a well-known local who fell in love with our lovely little town and never looked back.

As you know, Mahahual is a special place full of special people that makes up a very unique community of locals, born and raised nearby, Mexican nationals who moved from far away parts of the country, Europeans, Americans, Canadians…you name it! We are all here experiencing this crazy ride together and each of our unique personalities and stories are what makes Mahahual what it is! Let’s get started!

This month we interviewed Lorena Lucidi, the well known, multi-talented, and lovely manager/waitress/owner/bartender of Divino Delicia Italiana, and Divino Delicia Mexicana, two of the staple restaurants here in Mahahual. You can catch her any day (except Monday!) in Divino Delicia Mexicana on the first corner in Casitas serving up delicious cappuccinos, vegetarian omelets, and huevos mexicanos to locals and tourists alike in three different languages, with a smile and relaxed demeanor.

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Costa Maya Life: Well first thing is first, how did you end up in Mahahual?

Lorena: It’s a long story! My husband and I are originally from Italy but where living in London for several years. The weather was bad and the pace of life was just too much for us. We wanted to do something different so we could enjoy life more. My husband’s father, Angelo, had moved down from Italy to Playa Del Carmen and we decided to go live with him. But we quickly realized that Playa Del Carmen, even though it isn’t as big as London, had the same pace as a city 10 times its size.  It wasn’t much different.

Costa Maya Life: Did you guys have a plan for what you wanted to do once you got there?

Lorena: We wanted to start a business renting paddle boards, jet skis and things like that but we realized that it was too expensive there. You have to pay a tax and the tax for each paddle board was as much as for a boat. We also thought about opening up a restaurant there but it was also extremely expensive. The rent and cost of living weren’t that different from Mahahual but to own a business was another thing.

Costa Maya Life: Yeah the tourism industry there is already pretty well established I would imagine! So how did you find Mahahual?

Lorena: Well some friends of ours had told us about Mahahual, it’s beautiful beaches and relaxed charm, and that there was a cruise port. So we came down to check it out and we loved it. We decided we wanted to stay right away!

Costa Maya Life: Yeah that seems to be how it happens!

Lorena: So we went back to get our stuff and moved down immediately.

Costa Maya Life: So what did you do for jobs when you first moved down?

Lorena: Well six years ago Mahahual was very different. There weren’t as many things here and there was a need for almost everything. We met some local hotel owners who let us open a business on the beach in front of their hotel renting paddle boards and jet skis like we wanted to in Playa Del Carmen. Imagine that for two people coming from London where it is cold and rainy all of the time, to a beach town in the Caribbean working all day every day on the beach, it was like a dream for us!

Costa Maya Life: Yeah it doesn’t get more picture perfect than that! So what happened? Why did you stop doing that?

Lorena: Well, being out on the beach all day, every day, is fun for a while but it does get old believe it or not! Business was good but we were having some problems with cruise ship tourists using the equipment and damaging it, then trying to get them to pay for it, or them getting hurt, because alcohol and jet skis aren’t really a good combination….it just became too much of a hassle. So we decided to look into opening up a restaurant because Angelo has a real passion for cooking. He loves it!

Costa Maya Life: And is that what he did in Italy? Owned a restaurant?

Lorena: No. He just loved cooking. And my husband and I had both worked in the industry in London. So we had some experience.

Costa Maya Life: Ok! So we all know that there are a lot of good Italian restaurants here in Mahahual. Were you guys one of the first?

Lorena: There were already some good restaurants in town but not too many when we opened Divino Delicias Italiano down at the beach. We wanted to open something nice, but not too fancy, where people could come for a good atmosphere but not have to worry about dressing up too much or paying to much.

Costa Maya Life: So business was good?

Lorena: Business was great! The first year there was always a line out the door waiting for a table. Every night!

Costa Maya Life: You guys do have some great food. That is totally understandable!

Lorena: Thank you. Then after the first year business kindof normalized and it has been steady since then.

Costa Maya Life: Well to the locals here in Casitas, Divino Delicia Mexicana is THE place to eat and enjoy some coffee. When did you open this one? What is the story?

Lorena: We decided to open this one after the success of Divino Delicia Italiana down at the beach. Before we bought it three years ago, this location was owned by a greek man and functioned more as a bar than a restaurant. When we first bought it we would be open until 5 in the morning and both sides of the street would be full of people because we were the only bar in Casitas. Pizza Papi was there, but this place was the spot!

Costa Maya Life: Yeah I remember when we first started coming down this place was really jumping at night!

Lorena: Yes but after a while it began to calm down some thank God. At the beginning we never had anybody come in to eat…maybe 10 people all day, but at night it was like a disco. Then after a while it began to shift and now we are more of a restaurant than a bar. we can’t stay open too late because they built the apartments above us and we can’t make so much noise.

Costa Maya Life: Yeah now it is really the low key local meet up spot. There are a few more places to go and have drinks in this area but this is still the place where “everybody knows your name”.

Lorena: Yep.

Costa Maya Life: Well that is a great story. One last question and I’ll let you go…What was the thing that really made you stop and say, “Wow. This is the place where we want to be”, when you first came down?

Lorena: Well we came down for two days the first time. The first day there was a cruise ship here so we saw the town and all of the people walking around and the potential to open a good business and that was positive. But the second day, when there was no ship and we saw how quiet and relaxed everything was, we really got that sense of freedom and relaxation that you really don’t get in many other places. Obviously the water is beautiful, the beaches are beautiful and the people are friendly…but that sense of freedom was really the thing that captured us.

Costa Maya Life: Yeah the air here can definitely be infectious. Thank you!

You can catch Lorena, her husband Marco, and her father-in-law Angelo anytime at Divino Delicia Mexicana in Casitas or Divino Delicia Italiana at the beach next to Hotel Pacha Mama every day except for Monday!

Questions and Comments Mahahual January 2017

It has been very busy down here during holiday season, so I am a little behind on this section, “Questions and Comments”.  I try to do this once a month, but I think I missed December.  So here are my latest questions and comments I have gotten on this blog.

As usual, I will do the questions first, and answer them, and then post comments.

“I was wondering about that topic lately. Thanks for sharing.

Any sources you can give me for cooking authentic Mexican food?”

There are a lot of websites that are dedicated to authentic Mexican food, try Google or look for a cook book.  Tons of sources out there.

“Do you have any problems with ciguatera poisoning in the fish caught in the area? I’m heading down there in January and my fishing friends are scaring me to death about eating any of the fish caught in the reefs.”

No problems here, I eat fish here every day. Don’t listen to your friends.

“What is the status of this development as of Christmas 2016 please?”

This question is about new housing development in Mahahual that lists houses at $155,000.  One house has been built, and others are starting construction.

“What are the current times that the ADO leaves Playa for Mahahual? Is it daily?”

Yes it is daily. Times are 8am, 11am, and 4pm, I believe, you might want to check on exact times.

“I came down 3 months ago with a flight arriving Cancun at 0930. I arrive PDC by 1130 and had to wait for the 4:30 bus. I was thinking there has to be a better way? That doesn’t involve changing collectives every few towns. You see lots of buses on hwy 307. Probably out of the main Cancun terminal heading to Chetumal but I do wonder if there is a more frequent bus direct from Cancun to Mahahual? ”

“Nice blog..good info amigo. Exploring a small business opportunity there…looking for a studio or small apartment to rent for 3-4 months. Ang suggestions?”

Nothing to rent at the moment anywhere in town.  I checked with several places for some other blog readers.  I cannot even find something long-term for myself.  No room in Mahahual this winter.

“Hola Stewart–what do you think the odds are for another cruiseport down by Puerto Angel?”

None, nada, the is an expansion of current port planned to include another dock. None, they are going to expand current port. Only natural passage through reef.

“I always enjoy your blog.can you direct me to the community Facebook page I’m going to be living there next winter and I want to look at what it’s about.”

One good community Facebook group here is Unidos por un Mahahual.https://www.facebook.com/groups/165143903580392/?ref=bookmarks

“Lol…no snow here in Toronto Canada…1st bout of winter I’ve had in 4 years ! Need your guidance…want to explore Mexico and muhahaual…explore opening a snorkl adventure Center there…www.snorkladventures.com. I’d like to find a comfortable but inexpensive room or studio for 2-3 months to rent. Can you refer me to someone? Grateful as always and keep the posts coming..love them!”

Nothing for rent at moment.  Your best bet is to come down and scout around, is the best advice I can give you.

“Stewart, I have question regarding asylum in Mexico – remember reading but cannot find again. Is there an email for you I can use. Many thanks.”

The article is in archives of this blog.  If you need more in-depth information I suggest you contact my friend  Milly Arceo at http://www.legallyinmexico.com.  She is an Immigration Specialist in Playa del Carmen.  She used to work for immigration, so she knows what she is doing.  I talked to her today, and she is going to handle some thing for me.  Just tell her Stewart sent you, she can give you all the details and options.

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And now the latest comments.

“Very interesting I came here about 15 years ago to pdc. Have been back and forth. And totally agree with you I am English American but am much happier here iin Mexico. Of course I have lived in foreign countries most of my life. Fi will friend you. Intend coming up there soon to visit. Enjoy every day to the full as I do.”

“How about a PATRIOTS hat and a can of spam ! LOL !”

“Red Snapper, beautiful, great fish for ceviche. Try fresh conch for a delicacy ceviche delight or shrimp or crab meat if available, All good!”

“Sounds like the acidity in ceviche helps to supplement low stomach acid, as well as making the protein easier to digest by ‘pre-digesting’ it. That’s a good tip.”

“Great information We are planning on retiring and looking now for beach front property.”

“The Mexican military engineer invented the fusil mondragon, the first semi auto rifle on the world, and a few cannons that has been used all over the world.”

“This is a great article and sums up the entire and what I refer to as, the south of Tulum experience. From a selfish point of view, I hate to see articles like this, I saw the same thing happen to the Florida Keys from the late 70s to the 2005 era, not good. Not good meaning the entire article is true, Mahahual is wonderful, the Keys used to be wonderful and I do not want to see Mahahual go the route of complete commercialization and ruin the beauty of: No Shoes, No Shirts, No Problem.”

“I couldn’t describe our future life together any better, this is what we and probably 99% of the population needs in the USA. Toss in health that doesn’t bankrupt you and it is what I would call as good as it ever is going to get. Love You”

“Congratulations! That is a huge achievement! I love Costa Maya and just recently traveled on a cruise there. Check out my recap at https://courtneylivin.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/caribbean-princess-cruise/

“The schedule appears inaccurate. We will be in costa maya on january 26.”

“Wish I was there! We got 6to 9 inches in Boston, MA”

 

Mahahual, Mexican Caribbean.

Mahahual, Mexican Caribbean.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina