One of my most favourite places that I have been to in Mexico is Mahahual. It is located on the Caribbean Sea and is about a two hour drive North then East of Chetumal. While Cruise ships do dock there, there are not a lot of tourists that visit Mahahual since it is fairly secluded. This is probably one of the reasons that I like it there so much. When you go, plan to spend the day to soak it all in.
First stop when driving to Mahahual from Chetumal is to stop at the El Pan de Santos. It is a bakery run by Mennonites and they bake the most delicious treats. They also have coffee and bathrooms (hello!). El Pan is about forty-five minutes into the drive from Chetumal to Mahahual. Once you see the ladies selling the pineapples at the topes, you will see it on the right. Remember: look for the pineapples. 🙂
When you drive into Mahahual you will see a lighthouse, hang right and you will enter the more beach area of the town. You can find parking on any of the streets on the left. Then: hit the beach. Mahahual is basically one strip of beach and restaurants. All of the restaurants have their own lounges and tables with umbrellas directly on the beach. Choose the restaurant that you would like to (eventually) eat at and lounge there for the entire day. The use of the chairs should not cost money as long as you buy food and drinks from the restaurant.
The water is crystal clear in Mahahual. It.is.heaven. Some of my favourite days have been lounging here, staring at the Caribbean and watching the Kite birds soar. They also have the most delicious fish here (I even convinced a normal non-fish eater of this). If you have a few people, you can get a fish made to that number of people. They will bring it out to show you it before grilling it up. There are also a number of great bars and shops along the strip so make sure you do some shopping. One of my favourite rings with Australian opal was bought here. The prices for jewelery are great (hello Mexican silver!).
A few years ago there was a hurricane that did a lot of damage in Mahahaul. When you drive into the town you will see the evidence still of the storm.
If you do not have a car to get to Mahahual, do not fret – coach buses do travel here from Chetumal daily. They normally leave quite early in the morning (hello 7am-ish!) and leave in the early evening but it is totally worth the long day.
P.S. Some photo credit for the images in this post goes to Mr. Brad Ferguson.