Woke early and on the road (oh, wait, did I mention it was a PAVED road, oh happy happy joy joy!) to the beach.
Say it with me: Ma-ha-who-all (emphasis on ha, and the last three syllables mush together).
According to Wikipedia:
Mahahual was a quiet, friendly fishing town off the beaten track until a large cruise ship dock was constructed in 2001 just up the beach, with its own “faux village complex” created from scratch expressly for cruise traffic. Hurricane Dean hit the area in 2007 , heavily damaging the cruise facilities and destroying much of the actual town (about five minutes’ drive south). A year later, though, cruising resumed and many of the residents had rebuilt. A new Malecon (pedestrian walkway) was installed through much of the beach town, with the water to the east and bars, restaurants, and shops to the west.
Very very pretty place, and as you can see from the map above, it’s on the same stretch of reef that’s off San Pedro Town in Belize. The cruise pier is situated in a deep-water break in the reef (see photo below). Elsewhere, the reef is within swimming distance with water no more than 8-10 feet deep, if that.
We arrived around lunch time and were immediately hustled along the beach entry road (while still in the truck) by folks brandishing menus and excursion flyers. We decided to drive south of the main village first, just to see what might be seen, and soon found ourselves on a sand road with gorgeous views, dotted with privately owned beach lots and a variety of seaside hotels (note cruise shop at the distant dock in second photo).
By the time we headed back to the main part of town, it appeared the cruise passengers had headed back out. In fact, the Malecon, which we had expected to be bustling, was very quiet.
We checked into our overnight lodging at the Hotel Quinto Sole, changed into swim attire, and went out to explore that gorgeous water. It was a bit rough, but still such amazing colors, and so so clear!
The beach in front of the hotel had sun beds – concrete platforms for mattresses covered in waterproof fabric, with palapa sunshades – as well as two massage stands ready for beachside service.
For the moment, we just wanted to chill, and eventually the beach hustlers (polite, but persistent) left us alone. And then, suddenly everyone seemed to have left us alone. In fact, where was everyone?
After being cooped up in the house (with rash and rain, see previous post), we’d been kind of looking forward to a crazy night on the town; but apparently that’s not what we were in for on that particular day (a Thursday), in the off-season, with no cruise ship in town. As truly beautiful as it was, at the moment Mahahual felt like a carefully staged, empty movie set.
Clearly, what was missing was a cast of characters – and it would have been so great if we could have transported in all the crazy friends and family we left behind – yup, we’re about halfway through our adventure here (maybe?!) and we’re not missing America so much, but we are missing you guys. Sigh.
So we settled instead for a stroll along the Malecon, watching the full moon rise, and called it a quiet evening.