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. This might change in the near future, as there are plans to construct a second cruise ship dock on the other end of town. Probably around km 12 of the coastal road south. This is probably the maximum Mahahual can take, calculating the amount of people disembarking from 4 cruise ships simultaneous.
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.
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. Another reliable option is the ATM in the Hotel Costa Maya Inn, also located in "Casitas". 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. No ATM at Pemex or Mobius (2017)
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.
From Bacalar you can get a combi (mini van) for 75 pesos each way (may 2015). The ride takes about 1h 15 min. The combis run everyday from the main road in Bacalar, every 30 min aprox.
Most travelers fly into Cancun to begin the journey. There is currently a direct ADO (large bus with reclining seats, TV's and a bathroom) that departs Cancun Airport daily around 3:30 pm. There is also a return bus. These ADO buses stop in Playa del Carmen and Tulum on the way to Mahahual picking up additional passengers. This is a very comfortable and economical way to get to Mahahual. An alternative some prefer is to rent a car 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. Car rental is best for those staying outside of town, or planning on doing extensive traveling outside of Mahahual. For those coming in on a cruise or taking the ado into town taxi's are plentiful and cheap to get around locally.
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 .
- Gypsea Divers, Malecon (Infront of Nacional Beach Club), . Professional Dive and Snorkel Business edit
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
Spear Fishing with Spearfishing Costa Maya located at the lighthouse
Beach breaks at any of the many restaurants and bars located on the extensive Malecon
Many local crafts are available in the small town of Mahahual and often at lower prices than other cruise terminals. You will regret passing them by when you see Cozumel prices. Hint... don't buy within the cruise port but in the actual town, and negotiate...
- Restaurant Almaplena (Almaplena Eco Beach resort), km 12,5 Camino Costero Mahahual-Xcalak, ☎ 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 edit
- Casa del Mar Serves excellent shrimp tacos.
- El Grito, inside Matan Ka´an hotel. real mexican food edit
- 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. edit
- 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 ! edit
- 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 Resort 5. edit
- 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. edit
- 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! edit
- 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 edit
- Caballo Blanco. Restaurant/Hotel directly on the beach in the centre of the village Great food ,own beach edit
- 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 edit
- Taqueteria el Pastorcito. 4 pm to 1 am. very friendly family. Open only every two days, the neighbour we didn't check out because they are unfriendly. These two places are one of the rare late night snack options but cheaper than the others 10mxn per taco! And la taqueteria el pastorcito is really delicious! 10 each taco al pastor. edit
- Maramao Resturante (Italian Restaurant and Mexican Resturant), Calle Robalo (Just on the southern part of Mahahual at the side of the local school), ☎ 0052-9838345791. Maramao Resturante is a nice place to have some fresh seafood, mexican food and italian food or just to stay on the beach and enjoy a drink. edit
- El Grito, downtown (in front of foutball field). 7:00AM-10:00PM. Excellent mexican food moderate. edit
- 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 edit
- Almaplena Eco Beach Resort 
- Arenas Hotel  - Boutique hotel
- Mahahual Hotel 
- Cabanas del Tio Phil Carretera Antigua a Xcalak
- Margarita del Sol Oceanfront Suites 
- Maya Luna Hotel 
- Maya Palms Resort & Dive Center 
- Mayan Beach Garden B&B, KM 21.5 N Camino Costera Rio Indio-Uvero, ([email protected]), . checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 11:00 PM. edit
- Casa del Cielo de las Estrellas (vacation rental house), km 8.5 Coastal Road Mahahual-Xcalak, ([email protected]), . checkin: 3:00 pm; checkout: 11:00 am. see website for rates. edit
- Travel In' (Travel Inn), 6km south of Mahahual on the beach road, . Quiet and isolated if you want to get away from the noise of Mahahual. Guest House and Camping Palapa. 200MXN. edit
- Casita Dragonfly, Km 11 S Camino Costero Mahahual-Xcalak, ([email protected]), . Charming 2 bd., 2 ba. beach house: internet, caretaker, gardens, kayaks, privacy. edit
- Bakamku Inn on the Beach, South of town just before Travel Inn, . Quiet, beachfront Eco-hotel with charming palapa accomodations and great, attentive owners edit
- Hotel Caballo Blanco, malicon, . Great hotel in the centre of the village ,right on the beach,sea views,own beach Tina is the owner and also a great cook,satellite TV,WiFi A/C edit
- GA Klein Playa Paradise, On Malecon next to Sulumar Restaurant, . Brand New Condo on the Malecon in town, ideal for families and couples traveling together. Second Floor Unit–sleeps up to 9. It has 2 bedrooms, 1 bunk bed room for children or smaller adults, 2 baths, a full kitchen, gas stove, microwave and refrigerator. Condo has a private pool. edit
- Yum Botic Villa (vacation rental home) (Costa Maya Beach House), Caraterra Mahahual-Pta.Herrero Km 35 (North of Mahahual- Beach road after gas station to Uvero), ☎ 1-917-725-4234, . checkin: 3:30 pm; checkout: 11:00 am. An eco-friendly, solar powered, secluded, fully equipped 3 bedroom villa surrounded by palms & steps away from its 213 foot private beach and turquoise sea. Wake up to tropical bird songs. Watch spectacular sunrises and sunsets & evening star shows. Each sea front bedroom has a private bathroom and access to either the expansive terrace or patio. Internet, full time caretakers, kayaks. (19.004786,-87.593221) edit