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!

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!

Sargassum Update January 2019

I just wanted to give a quick update for those who might be planning a trip and have questions about our friendly seaweed called Sargassum. So far this year the beaches have been relatively sargassum free, other than what is to be considered normal. All beaches in the Caribbean get a steady flow of small amounts of sargassum on a daily basis so a little here and there is to be expected.

But so far for 2019 the beaches have been clear and the water is that dream-like prism of blueish-green tones that take your breath away and immediately put you in a relaxed mood.

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The forecast is also clear for the next 8 days (which is as far as it can forecast) for the area so we are looking at more of the same. Mix that in with the experience and equipment gained from the last season and I think this area is ready to handle any sargassum invasion for the foreseable future.

So here’s to a great start to 2019! The temperature is perfect, the breezes are salty, and teh beaches are beautiful! I will keep you updated as the year goes on. We will see you soon!

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!