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Xcalak vs. Mahahual

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Xcalak vs. Mahahual

Greetings - We're debating the choice to stay closer (vacation rental) to Xcalak or Mahahual.

We're both seasoned travelers, attracted to the diving and sealife in the region, along with the quiet and small village lifestyle. Diving /Snorekling opportunities seem to be somewhat the same for each, We're not diving junkies that have to be out there every day, but would love the experience a few days out of our week.

Maha, sounds divine, but I'm concerned with the changing of the vibe for Maha with the daily cruise ships day trippers.

Is it worth to go further to Xcalak in comparison? No cruise ships there yet!

Thanks!

Edmonton, Canada
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1. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

I spent a few days just outside M (we called it "M" to avoid ongoing hilarity about pronunciation), but never made it to "X".

Downtown M seems to be wall-to-wall beach clubs full of cruisers, with some gems thrown in (eg try Nohoch Kay for great food). At our out-of-town place, there'd be a several-times-daily parade of noisy ATVs roaring up the road, then later roaring back down the road. Again, that's a cruise effect.

For a return trip, I'm torn. I did love our hotel (Balamku), but other than that and a couple of restaurants, there's not much to pull me back to M. I think next time, personally, I'd check out X.

Southern California
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2. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

Have only stayed in Xcalak (Hotel Tierra Maya but there are many nice places, check the lodgings on bill-in-tulsa.com and locogringo.com). It is really nice and laid back, not a diver but the diving is supposed to be good especially if the weather cooperates and you can get out to Banco Chinchorro. Only visited Majahual as day trips from Xcalak and the difference between when the cruise ships are in town or not is night and day.

Nice nearby ruins include Chaccoben and Kohunlich (near Lake Bacalar on Ruta 186).

Hopefully you will have a car.

Minnesota
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3. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

We've been to both, and will be going back to Xcalak this February. Mahahual is much bigger and much more "touristy".....because of the cruise ships. There are plenty of shops & bars. One place we liked to eat was on the street behind main street, just south of the bus station. It's called the 100% Agave. Don't be thrown by the look, the food is great & the manager/owner is knowledgeable and very nice. If you stay in Mahahual (and have a car) drive south out of town - down the beach road for three kilometers or so (just past a abandoned resort) you will find a deserted & fabulous beach. Deep pink sand, turquoise water & rolling surf. Bring water etc. because it is deserted, and there are no restrooms, drinking fountains, stores, people.....

You will find no postcards, trinkets or souvenirs in Xcalak. The place to go for diving in Xcalak is XTC diving, which is located just north of town near the hotel Costa de Cocos....which has a restaurant. If you go to Xcalak, you MUST eat at the Leaky Palapa - which is truly spectacular. Xcalak is a small fishing village (the fishing there is great & the dive boats double as fishing charters - you can also book a boat to take you to Belize for the day).

Have a great trip!

UK
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4. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

You may want to look at staying North of Mahahual.

Our first trip was last year, and we are returning this year. We stayed in both Xcalak and also North of Mahahual, and it's the area North of Mahahual that we are returning to.

We're snorkellers rather than divers, and like to be able to get in to snorkel from the beach, rather than taking a boat trip.

Xcalak has a lovely atmosphere, but there is a lot of turtle grass by the beach and you either have to wade through it to swim/snorkel or walk along a jetty to get in.

Mahahual itself was way too touristy for our liking, although fine to pop into for supplies (avoiding times when there are cruise ships).

We landed up staying at Mayan Beach Garden, North of Mahahual, and are going back there again. www.mayanbeachgarden.com Here there's no village, but houses and lots along the beach. Marcia, who runs MBG, also acts as agent for several rental homes in the area. The beaches are lovely (though suffer from the tide born plastic pollution that is all over the place here), there's plenty of places where you don't need to wade through turtle grass to get into the sea, and the land-based snorkelling is way better than from Xcalak.

Marcia ia also in contact with a divemaster that can take you out (check this with her before travelling, as it's a small operation so may not be open always). There are no restaurants in the area other than at the Mayan Beach Garden, but the food here is very good, and it has a friendly bar.

North of here, you can drive into the biosphere and snorkel a wreck, see some amazing beaches, and visit a remote fishing village.

And even if you don't book via Marcia her website is an amazing place for general info on the area - better than many guide books!

Menlo Park...
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5. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

I'd favor X. We have been going there for years. But MBG has a feel that's similar to the Xcalak hotels, very small and personal and quiet. I prefer to dive with XTC and the Leaky Palapa is the best eatery on the coast. The town of M leaves me cold, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Dean.

Santa Cruz
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6. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

Hi! Going to this part of Mexico for 5 days mid-Sept. Debating between MBG and some place in X (ideas welcome) and am wondering which spot would make for a shorter ride to Banco Chinchorro for scuba diving. Do you know how far it is? Thx.

Minnesota
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7. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

Can't speak to the diving, as we only snorkel. The MBG (which gets great reviews) seems pretty far north (closer to Bahia de la Ascencion).

If going to Xcalak the three most popular places are just north of town...... Sin Duda (8 km north of town) Casa Carolina (6 km) and Costa de Coco (1 km). All three are listed here (TA) - and on Bill-in-Tulsa and Locogringo and have their own web sites. We love Sin Duda. Costa de Coco has a restaurant, the other two have kitchens. Also about 1 km north of town is XTC Diving, and they also have a very good reputation. We've used them for snorkeling trips and for a day-trip to San Pedro Belize. BTY, if you are going to Xcalak, you MUST eat at the Leaky Palapa - it's wonderful.

Have a great trip!

maui, hi
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8. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

Both are great places, but Xcalak has better snorkeling off the beach (however it is farther away). The Balamku hotel in Majahual is the best place to stay in either location. A luxurious eco hotel with cute little taco stands and restaurants nearby!

Southern California
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9. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

Have only stayed at Hotel Tierra Maya which has a pretty nice restaurant, have eaten at Costa del Cocos and met the owners of Casa Carolina. Used Bill-in-Tulsa for booking with no problems at all, and definitely second the suggestion for eating at Leaky Palapa. Also a few years ago had a great shrimp sandwich at Xcalak Caribe but not sure if it is still open, as I heard somewhere that Tom and Yamira (who were the former co-owners of Tierra Maya before Dave and Kim bought it) moved to M.

Only visited Majahual, ate at several places, Hotel Majahual does a pretty good version of Huevos Motulenos.

maui, hi
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10. Re: Xcalak vs. Mahahual

Casa Carolina is a great place to stay in Xcalak and the rooms even have little kitchens to make your own food.

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