A solo traveler looking for a remote inn surrounded by natural beauty and great snorkeling, I was so lucky to find the Mayan Beach Garden, where I stayed for almost four weeks during January/February 2014. I can’t thank the hosts and proprietors, Marcia and Kim, enough for providing me with such a wonderful experience. In need of checking out from the hustle and bustle of Chicago (and its harsh winter), I arrived to find what I would describe as the ideal traveler’s inn.
Having stayed in four of the rooms while there, I don’t think you can go wrong staying in any of them. They are quite comfortable—more than I would have expected for an inn located so remotely—and are kept tidy on a daily basis by the staff (all of whom were very friendly and happy to accommodate me). The rooms, like the property itself, are very well maintained, with Marcia’s artistic touches apparent in the hung artwork and room details.
Set on an expansive beach, the front of the inn provided me with opportunities to sip a tequila before dinner and watch the sun set (I suggest that tequila drinkers ask for Mayan Beach’s own-barreled tequila—it was very good). Meal times proved to be one of my favorite experiences: Kim, who usually joined us guests for dinner, is such an easy to like, affable man—I think he (and Marcia, via her everyday interactions) sets a relaxed informal tone that welcomes everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from (dinners are communal, which, despite my preconceptions, I very thoroughly enjoyed). I had a great many interesting conversations with my fellow guests at that table.
It didn’t hurt that the food was FANTASTIC. I couldn’t believe it. I’m a bachelor, not a chef, but I spend half of my income eating out in Chicago, and I thought the food was great. And the meal plan I signed up for was very, very reasonable. I also drank 4-5 cups of coffee a day—it’s French pressed and very good. Those kind of touches, in the middle of that remote area, that helped make this a really special place: it’s not the Ritz Carlton—but how could it be and still maintain its place as an environmentally friendly, small, independently run inn? From this context, it provides fantastic comfort and amenities.
But my favorite experience was snorkeling—wow!!! The reef is a long way out, so there is a lot to explore between the beach and that reef. The first time, alone, and went out a bit, but not far (unfortunately, I saw “Jaws” when I was eight years old). But the next time I went out, I went with Marcia, who had generously asked if I’d like to go with her. I got out farther this time, and for two hours we went through some amazing coral formations and saw all different types of fish and a few rays. I went out snorkeling with her for three hours another time—which may have been one of the best experiences of my life (I hope I’m not setting her up to readers as an expected guide—she just happened to be going and I tagged along). The key is getting near the reef. Where I went, water is no more than 10 feet deep, all the way out to the reef.
I didn’t see a lot of solo traveler reviews, so I do want to say that I found being on my own at Mayan Beach perfect. In retrospect, I'm not sure what I would have done staying at a "regular hotel" or rental property for a month. The meal times provided me with an opportunity meet other guests, which led to opportunities to do things with others, and make some friends, too. And I had plenty of opportunity to soak up privacy and solitude, and even worked 35+ hours a week from my computer while I was there.
Having stayed at Mayan Beach for almost four weeks, I saw both how hard it must be to run a place like this so well and how successfully the proprietors strove to make their guests’ experiences there positive ones. I was also fortunate to get to know Marca and Kim a little bit during this period of time, and I found them to be absolutely wonderful people. I don't know how they do it. I can’t thank them enough for making my stay one I will never forget. Thank you!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Secluded off the grid solar powered beach front Inn, nestled on sandy white beach on the Mexican Caribbean. Walk for miles in either direction, swim or snorkel from shore. This is the closest Hotel to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere- maps and independent traveler's guidance are available. King sized beds, fans and large bathrooms in each room. Hot Breakfast included. To protect the tranquility and quiet of the hotel, only children over the age of 12 are allowed during the months of January, February, March and April. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mayan Beach Garden Hotel Mahahual
- Mayan Beach Garden Mahahual, Mexico - Costa Maya