Mahahual used to be a quiet and friendly small fishing town off the beaten track. However a large cruise ship docking jetty dubbed "Puerto Costa Maya" has been constructed just up the beach. Every day a couple of cruise ships dock and the occupants are disgorged onto the town to drink, shop, swim and ride jet skis and quad bikes. However the further south away from the cruise ship dock you go the quieter the town becomes, so it's still possible to have a quiet time of it, especially at some of the hotels south of town.
Hurricane Dean (August 2007) landed just North of Mahahual and heavily damaged the cruise ship dock and destroying much of the small village. Most residents have since rebuilt and cruise ships have returned to using Puerto Costa Maya on 31 October 2008.
As of February 2009 many nice hotels are up and running. A new seaside Malecon runs from the Main Road to the Southern End of Mahahual Pueblo. The Malecon is a pedestrian walkway with the beach to the east and businesses to the west. Many nice restaurants and shops line the Malecon. The town now has several ATMs: one is in the "Casitas", a subdivision adjoining the port, at the Mobius internet/DVD rental store; another is located at Luna De Plata, a kilometer south of the pueblo; a third is an HSBC bank ATM within the town's only Pemex station, 4 kilometers west on the main access road. Cash is still the best option as many times the ATM machines do not work or are out of cash. The Pemex ATM is almost never out of $ and is your best bet.
If you are looking for quiet tranquil beaches, away from the crowds, drive through Mahahual and continue some 4 kilometers along the coastal road. After passing the small bridge of Rio Bermejo (hardly a river, more a small stream connecting the mangrove waters with the ocean) you will find small ecological hotels, restaurants and rental houses, all beachfront. Electricity is generated with solar panels, wind mills and most of the businesses use a generator as a back up. Rain water is captured on roof decks and collected in systerns used tio shower and flushing toilets.
When you arrive at km 12, there is a turn of to the right, take it to either return to Mahahual or continue to Xcalak. If you continue on the beach road, you will find lots of empty bays,only a few rental houses on the road side.
Organized tours are also available from a variety of companies.
You will not necessarily be over run with the tourists from the cruise ships, when they leave you have this sleepy town to yourself. Things switch quickly from bustle to mellow.
Staying just a few km outside of town will keep you from the majority of the cruise traffic.
Your best bet is to rent a car. Most travelers land in Cancun. Get a car they are get ready for the drive down. It will take over four hours but do not confuse this area with Cancun. Four hours gets you to an entirely different world.
There are several sites of Classical Period Mayan ruins close enough for a day-visit. Note that Mexican law requires a fee of about US$5 for the use of video cameras at these sites.
Chacchoben - Dates to the 3rd-8th centuries. The tallest pyramid rises above the trees and for those physically and psychologically equipped to climb it, offers a view of the countryside. Several smaller ruins at the site may have been the houses of nobles. For a guided tour to Chacchoben you can contact The Native Choice the only tour operator from Chacchoben offering tours to this and all the ruin sites in Costa Maya.
Kohunlich - A ceremonial center and the capital of a powerful dynasty. The Temple of Masks features five stucco masks with the features of the Sun God, along the its stairs. It also contains the ruins of residences and a ceremonial ball field.
Dzibanché - A (formerly) important city, featuring stone plazas bordered by temple pyramids, including the Temple of the Owl and the Temple of the Cormorants.
Ichkabal - Under excavation by INAH since 1995, this vast and important preclassic city, located 30km from Bacalar, will open to the public within the next two years. A "lost" city of gigantic proportions, Xcabal may be one of the most important discoveries in Mayan archeology in decades.
If you are interested in conservation, ask for directions to GVI (Global Vision International) who are now located 35 km North of the town in Uvero.. This is the base for marine conservation work carried out by a young and enthusiastic group of full-time staff with the help of 16 volunteer divers, in liaison with Mexican partner organisations. Staff and volunteers are from around the world; they will be happy to tell you about the project and how you can become a volunteer yourself. Food and living conditions are basic but the experience is unbeatable.
The barrier reef, which is part of the Meso American Reef, just off shore offers opportunities for snorkeling or scuba diving, and keeps the waters of the Caribbean safe for kayaking. This reef is the 2nd longest barrier reef in the world being just over 900 km long, starting at puerto Morelos in Mexico, stretching down past to Belize to terminate at Honduras. A few of the dive operators are Dreamtime Diving  who also provide accommodation and Nomad Divers .
Nomad Divers, . Scuba Diving in Mahahual, Costa Maya, Mexico
Gypsea Divers, Malecon (Infront of Nacional Beach Club), . Professional Dive and Snorkel Business
55 foot Catamaran, Crystal Blue Persuasion, takes interested travelers out for sailing and snorkeling trips. You can't miss this ship, it's docked outside of Tequila Beach halfway between the lighthouse and the town. For more information, visit the website Sail Mahahual
Gypsea Divers and Snorkeling, In front of the Nacional beach club on the malecon
Restaurant Almaplena, km 12,5, ☎ 9831375070, . Facing directly on the edge of the caribbean sea. The restaurant menu offers mainly mediterranean cuisine with local influences that incorporate and enhance the best ingredients and regional flavors
Casa del Mar Serves excellent shrimp tacos.
El Grito, inside Matan Ka´an hotel. real mexican food
Tapas Bar, Capitan Mono, El Delfin are a few of the bars/Restaurants on the Malecon. Just south of the town you have Maya Luna.
Travel In' (Travel Inn), 6km south of Mahahual on the beach road, . Fantastic and varied international food from a Dutch couple who transplanted to Mahahual some years ago.
Restaurant Maya Luna, km 5.2, ☎ 9838360905, . Beach front restaurant,south of Town. mix of European and Mexican kitchen with an Indonesian touch. Famous for their Stuffed Pineapple !
Maya Chan Beach, Km. 6.5 Carretera Mahahual - Xcalak, ☎ 983-101-3585, . 7:00. Maya Chan Beach Resort is located minutes south of Puerto Costa Maya is an oasis amongst the flood of tourists and hungry locals. Palm trees lazily sway in the Caribbean breeze, beckoning you to come and enjoy the outdoor living space which has been configured to your specific wishes. Turquoise oceans tempt you to come discover the underwater world through the glass bottom of a Costa Maya kayak tour or the mask of your snorkeling gear. All included. And your beach beds and hammocks will be waiting for you well after the early risers have staked their claims. So come relax on your private part of the Costa Maya Beach Resort5.
Maya Chan Beach Resort, Km. 6.5 Carretera Mahahual - Xcalak (South of town at kilometer 6.5), ☎ 983-101-3585, . 7-7. Costa Maya's Premier Beach Resort.1.
Nohoch Kay, End of the malecon. Fantastic seafood in a laid back casual setting on the beach. Their special fish fillet with shrimp in coconut pineapple sauce is amazing!
La Pasada, 1 km carretera Mahahual Xcalak, ☎ 983 1317806. Mexican food with fresh local ingredients ..enjoy a relaxing and tranquil meal from our beautiful beach
Caballo Blanco. Restaurant/Hotel directly on the beach in the centre of the village Great food ,own beach
Pizza Papi Pasta (Italian Restaurant), (Avenida Paseo Del Puerto 1085), ☎ 983-104-0667, . 5:30 pm. Pizza Papi Pasta is located at Puerto Costa Maya, really italian food with brick owen wood. Cool service and nice night ambient
El Grito, downtown (in front of foutball field). 7:00AM-10:00PM. Excellent mexican foodmoderate.
La Bodeguita, Center of Mahahual, . 13.00-01.00. Sports bar and meeting place for locals who gather here after work to watch their favourite sports game, often a soccer or boxing game. Or to play some pool or darts