Ohhhhh Mahahual, I miss you! I miss the easy, laid-back days and the ‘manana’ attitude. Life moves much slower in Mahahual in the best possible way.
If you’re planning a trip, this post will help you with the practical stuff: where to stay, what to pack, where to shop around town & tips for money management.
Where to Stay
We love self-catering places & the apartment above the Tropicante was absolutely perfect for us! The top 3 things that are most important to us in a place to stay are: 1 – walking distance to bars, restaurants, shops & diving, 2 – a great view with outdoor living space, 3 – a kitchen with a fridge and basic utensils, plates, cups, etc. The Tropicante Apt nailed all three.
If you want to be part of the action you can’t get any better than this. Steve was a wonderful host – he owns the Tropicante restaurant downstairs in addition to the apartment. He greeted us as soon as the AGI dropped us off, gave us his own personal coffee to use for the next morning, handed us each a cold beer and gave us some dinner tips while showing us around the apartment. He also insisted on buying us lunch at the Tropicante all week in exchange for the apartment’s AC being out (thank you Steve!). He’d been waiting for the electrician to come for a while, sometimes the ‘manana’ attitude works against you! It wasn’t bad at all, the apartment has great airflow and there was a nice steady breeze all week. There’s a huge covered balcony overlooking the ocean, beach & malecon – we pretty much lived on that balcony. I was out there early every morning having coffee, listening to the birds, reading and enjoying the beautiful view. I can’t think of a better way to start my day. There was even a daily yoga class on the beach under the palms.
We spent every evening on the balcony too, having a beer or some wine while enjoying the post sunset glow. The apartment has two sliding glass doors leading to the balcony and a back door with a screen giving the whole place great air flow. We left the doors open day and night. We felt very safe here & will definitely be back!
Where to Shop
Since we had a refrigerator we bought some basic groceries for snacks, lunches, happy hour, etc. We went to pretty much every store around the malecon & in the casitas since this was a research trip for us and I like to see the variety & cost of goods that are easily available. We could definitely get by shopping at the stores around town.
Karlita’s – bagged ground coffee
On the malecon right before Fernando’s restaurant heading south. If your place has a coffee maker as ours did this is the place to buy ground coffee for $7 a bag. The kind with a touch of cinnamon was the best! Also a great place to pick up a nice dessert – there was a beautiful array of homemade cakes for sale by the slice.
El Primo – best all around shop
On the main road near Fernando’s liquor store, they had the best all around variety and always a decent selection of fresh fruits & veggies. They have some cheese out and more in coolers behind the counter – I need to work on my Spanish!
Produce store – best variety of fresh fruit & veggies
I can’t remember the name. On the main road a couple blocks south of El Primo.
Bakery – best fresh baked bread!
Across from Cafe Colonial – there’s nothing better than bread made from scratch still warm from the oven.
There are a few stores in the casitas (3 that we checked out). If you’re looking for US brands and products, this is the place to go.
ATMs & Money Management
No where we went took credit cards so definitely plan for that and while everywhere will accept US currency, you’ll get a worse exchange rate paying with US in town. The best thing to do is get pesos from one of the ATMs. There’s a maximum withdrawal limit per day so work that into your planning especially if you have a big expense to pay at the end of the week.
- On the malecon: inside the Bucceando dive shop & on the side of De Vino – 3000 peso limit per day
- Inside the casitas – 5000 peso limit per day
What to Pack
This is an extremely casual place with no dress code anywhere. Pack light! Layout what you think you need then put a 3rd of it back. Things you’ll want to bring:
- Water bottle – our apartment had a 5 gallon water jug that we used to refill our water bottles all week. Less trash produced – everybody wins.
- Bug spray – if the breeze dies off, you’ll probably want this.
- Sunscreen – just not on dive/snorkel days, the chemicals are bad for the reef. Rashguards are a great alternative for sun protection if you’re in the water!
- Hat or visor
- Ground coffee – but now that we found it at Karlita’s, less of a must to pack
- A few good books – if you forget to bring books or run out, the Tropicante restaurant has a huge variety of used books for sale and even a box of free ones out front.
Have a question about something I didn’t cover? Leave me a note in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer it!
Until next time …
Warm thoughts to all!