There, that’s better
Awesome news! Our time off was approved and our trip is booked! In 35 days (33 now but who’s counting) we’ll be off to sunny Cancun, Mexico! No, we’re not reliving our college spring break days, Cancun is just the gateway to our adventure. From there, we’ll hop on a shuttle to Playa Del Carmen then onto a bus to Mahahual. We’ve had our sights set on Mahahual for quite a while and can’t wait to finally see it for ourselves! We always have a few destinations in mind and this time the decision came down to St. Croix or Mahahual. Every trip now is 100% research while we try to close in on our starting place when we go where it’s warm. How did we decide? A pro-con list of course! Is there any other way?
Mahahual vs. St. Croix
- St. Croix – Pros
- No visas required for US citizens traveling to USVI.
- We can work legally.
- Great diving, both by boat and from the shore with a good number of shops to find work with.
- Gorgeous beaches!
- Veterinary care.
- St. Croix – Cons
- We’d have to rent a car to get around & we prefer places where we can walk or bike to everything most of the time. At home we often have “no car weekends” where we walk or bike to everything from the time we get home from work on Friday until we return Monday morning. There’s something restorative about not driving so somewhere walk-able is a huge plus.
- Crime! Since the oil refinery closed down a few years ago there’s been an uptick in crime. Reaching out to other bloggers living there has quieted this concern somewhat but it’s concern enough to make the con list.
- It’s a bustling island, they even have some big box stores there & we’d really like to settle somewhere smaller.
- High cost of living.
- Mahahual – Pros
- Mexico has a very favorable 6 month tourist visa with only a touch down somewhere else required to reset it. There are boat trips from Mahahual to Ambergris Caye, Belize – we could shoot over there, have lunch, return and get another 6 month stamp. That’s a huge plus. There are also permanent residency options that we qualify for and based on our research the process isn’t terribly hard to navigate.
- Low cost of living.
- It’s a small town. I couldn’t find a recent census but in 2010 the population was 920. The area has been gaining popularity so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was closer to 4,000 by now, but that’s still tiny.
- Low crime rate – when everyone knows everyone, crime is rare. I want to be somewhere we feel safe in our home and in town. Check out Stewart’s post detailing the crime in Mahahual. That’s a great recommendation from someone who’s lived there full time for a number of years.
- Diving! Mahahual has access to the mesoamerican barrier reef (the same one that borders Belize and Honduras). It’s the second largest barrier reef in the world and offers spectacular diving. There are also quite a few dive shops in Mahahual so there are places for us to work within the dive industry.
- Veterinary care and pretty much everything else we could need can be found in Cancun or Chetumal, both just a few hours from Mahahual.
- A beach where we can walk as far as want to go. We love going for long walks, we just took the dogs almost 5 miles tonight, so this is a huge pro!
- The oceanfront malecon which is currently 1.5 miles long. A great place to go for a run, bike ride or walk our dogs. Being able to get outside and be active is a priority for us.
- Day-to-day life doesn’t require a car which we love. We’d have a car for city trips to get supplies, etc but we wouldn’t need it on a daily basis.
- The cruise ship port brings a steady supply of tourists which boosts the local economy. The good thing about cruises is that they leave each night, allowing Mahahaul to return to its sleepy roots until the next one arrives providing a nice balance.
- Mahahual – Cons
- We don’t speak Spanish … yet. I spent a good amount of time in the Dominican Republic when I was younger and some of the Spanish I learned stuck with me. I definitely understand more than I speak but that will change if we move to Mahahual. This is only a temporary con as we’re both looking forward to becoming fluent in another language.
- Since there’s a cruise ship port in Mahahual, I can see cruise ship days getting kind of annoying but we’ll have to see how it is once we get there. This is also a pro. The cruise ship volume also varies throughout the year & at one point it gets so slow there they call it “no season“. No season would be a nice break from the action.
The St. Croix pros & cons are almost even whereas the Mahahaul pros & cons are 10-2 making it a no-brainer for our next exploratory trip. 33 days will go by in a snap especially considering how busy we are at work. I can’t wait to see how accurate my pro-con list is after the trip, stay tuned to find out! If it’s even 70% correct, Mahahual could very well be where we move when we go where it’s warm!
It’s cooling down here! I turned on our heat today. If it’s less than 70 in our house the heat is going on. Life is too short to be cold!
Until next time …
Warm thoughts to all!