Puerto Peñasco is a beach city in the northwestern corner of the state of Sonora in Mexico on the shores of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), about 112 km (70 miles) south of the border with Arizona.
Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point, is one of the fastest growing tourist centers of northern Mexico; as of 2009 the population is more than 45,000 people, which includes many American and Canadian expats.
The story goes that Al Capone put Puerto Peñasco in the map. During prohibition, he supposedly used the village as a transfer point for liquor to his USA organization. The word in the streets say that he drilled the first water well, constructed a landing strip, and also he frequented the first solid structure building, nowadays known as “Posada La Roca”, the 8 room hotel down at the Old Port.
Puerto Penasco is in the same time zone as Phoenix/Tucson, Arizona, and observes the same rules for Daylight Saving Time as Arizona (that is to say, it is not observed).
The border crossing at Lukeville, Arizona is open from 6 AM to midnight, daily.
The currency of México is the Mexican peso. The local merchants will typically accept US dollars at the going rate. ATMs are available around town that will allow you to use your US-based bank card and receive Mexican pesos, typically at a more favorable rate.
As in the rest of the country, Spanish is the predominant language among the population. The variety of Mexican Spanish spoken in the region distinguish itself from the rest of the country for its strong intonation and contraction of words. Due to its proximity to the United States, it receives a great deal of influence from English. For example, English words such as troca (truck), lonche (lunch) and bai (bye) are of common usage.
English is spoken by most of the vendors and in almost every restaurant in Puerto Peñasco. Earnest attempts by visitors to speak Spanish are always appreciated.
If driving your own vehicle there are many ways to get to Puerto Penasco, the most direct and easy way to get there is from Arizona thru the point of entry in Lukeville, the distance from Phoenix or Tucson is the same just about 350 km (220 miles) which is about 3.5 hrs of driving time.
From Phoenix you will need to take I-10 going west to Los Angeles getting off on exit 112 that connects to State Route 85 going south thru Gila Bend, Ajo, Why and Lukeville, once you go thru the border follow the road over the hill and past the bridge then about a block you will turn right into Mexico highway 8, which will take you straight into Puerto Penasco.
From Tucson you will need to connect from I-10 taking exit 260 to I-19, take exit 99, Ajo Way and go west eventually it will turn into State Route 86, it will go west thru Sells, Quijotoa and Why where it will dead end into State Route 85, turn left going south to Lukeville, once you go thru the border follow the road over the hill and past the bridge then about a block you will turn right into Mexico highway 8, which will take you straight into Puerto Penasco.
It is an easy and safe one hour drive by car from the American/Mexican border at Lukeville, Az at the south end of Organ Pipe National Monument on Arizona Highway 85. If coming from Southern California, the drive is a bit shorter by crossing south of Yuma at San Luis Rio Colorado, but this route requires more driving in Mexico, however the new highway, Mexico Highway 3, from El Golfo de Santa Clara to Puerto Penasco is now open and is a very nice drive, however due to the sand being blown into the highway be careful when coming to sand build up, they could be deadly at high speed, is not recommended to go off road unless you have four wheel drive and are familiar with driving in sand.
All drivers in México are required to have Mexican car insurance. US policies are not acceptable. Be sure to buy Mexican insurance prior to your trip down or at one of the many places along Highway 85 before you cross the border.
From Phoenix you can contact Head Out to Rocky Point at (602)971-0166, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
From Tucson contact Rocky Point Rides at (520)207-0532, e-mail at email@example.com
From Puerto Penasco there are two shuttle companies with offices in Phoenix and Tucson:
Transportes Nena’s +52 638-388-7089 or (602)442-6802
Transportes Superior +52 638-388-3640 or (602)455-9522 .
There are direct bus services to Hermosillo and other points statewide (Nogales and along Mexican Highway 15 & 2, Caborca, Santa Ana, Guaymas, Empalme, Huatabampo, Navojoa) to/from Puerto Penasco with Albatros Bus Company on Benito Juarez. This bus does not pass through Sonoyta or Rio Colorado or Baja California, to do that you must board another bus company.
If you did not drive in to Puerto Peñasco (as most visitors do) you can get around town via taxi. You can either have the hotel call them for you or go to the nearest major street and flag one down, fares vary however you should not pay more than US$2 or $3 per person, in the touristic area of Sandy Beach you will find the “taxi turistico” or “tourist taxi” their prices will be higher than those of regular taxis.
There are also microbuses that take people around town (mostly workers) for a minimal fee.
If you will be staying for a longer period, there are two places that you can rent a car:
- The Point Rent-a-car, On Blvd Benito Juarez across from Latitud 31 Restaurant and bar, tel. 388-5823
What to see and do
Puerto Peñasco has a few different areas:
- Fish Market – with the Malecon Kino overlooking the Sea of Cortes, many curio shops, restaurants, bars, ice cream parlors, remember thrifty ice creams?
- Playa Mirador – one of the oldest beach areas of Rocky Point, location was once famous as the “Spring Break” party street Avenida Matamoros, in a matter of 2 blocks you will find yourself in what seems to be a huge open bar, where college students from many universities concentrated during the 2 week vacation period. Now the street consists of many closed bars.
- Calle 13 – Another well known area for its numerous restaurants and bars, here you will find ATV and Rhino rentals almost in every block. To reach Calle 13, turn right off the main road (Benito Juarez). Calle 13 dead ends at the Penasco Del Sol hotel and the city beach; just before that is the turn for Seaside Reservations and the Las Gaviotas condominiums. The city beach is the hub of Mexican beach life, with numerous vendors and food trucks setting up shop on the sand.
- Sandy Beach – this is the location where most of the new developments are taking place, resorts, spas, 18-hole golf courses, condos and houses, restaurants as well as bars and of course a couple of miles of sandy beach and the future home port site for the cruise ships.
- Cholla Bay – located about 8 km (5 miles) out of town and home of famous JJ’s Cantina, it is just northwest of Sandy Beach.
- Las Conchas – the oldest American enclave in Rocky point exclusively residential with many available beachfront rental homes.
- Mayan Palace – One of the most, if not the most luxurious Mexican resort/timeshare, with its Jack Nicolaus 18-hole golf course, spa and many amenities to keep anybody, kids or adult busy. Open to members only. The general public cannot get day passes or use the restaurants. The golf course clubhouse restaurant, however, is open to the public.
And there are others like Playa Diamante, Playa Encanto, Playa San Jorge, etc. all located outside of town along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and are residential only.
What to do
- The Links at Las Palomas (Golf), Blvd. Costero 150, Sandy Beach, Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico 83550 (For directions, see Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort in the ‘Sleep’ section, below.). The Links at Las Palomas is an 18-hole, par 72, championship golf course that offers a classic links-style golf experience. The Links offers a club house, a fully-stocked pro shop, a restaurant, a driving range, practice greens and cart rentals. US$45.
- Boating, Fishing, Cruises. Santiagos Ocean Services has boats for Fishing trips, Bird Island Eco tours, Snorkeling Excursions, Dolphin and Whale watching, Dinner or Margarita Sunset Cruises, and for some real excitement they offer Parasail Rides that will give you a birds eye view of Rocky Point.
- Ultralight Flying Adventures, US$40 for a 15-minute flight over any part of Puerto Peñasco that you’d like to see from the air.
- Dancing, Puerto Peñasco has lots of nightlife, and there are many great places to go dancing: Manny’s Beach Club, Pink Cadillac, Baja Cantina, The Reef Club, Playa Bonita Happy Hour at Puesta Del Sol, Margarita Villa, and Bumaya (with the famous Foam Party)
- Beach, Puerto Peñasco have basically to distinctive beaches separated by Whale Hill, the rocky hill where the Malecon and the fish market are located, to the north you have Sandy Beach, which starts at Playa Hermosa at the end of Calle 13, where Hotel Penasco del Sol is located and goes to Pelican Hill/Cholla Bay, this beach is about 8 km (5 miles) of white sand and full of the new developments which includes condos for rent, resorts and hotels, this is the new touristic section of Puerto Penasco/Rocky Point which started developing around 2000. The other beach area is located to the south east of Whale Hill which starts with Playa Mirador, the oldest developed beach in Rocky Point, known by the great tide pools where many different sealife can be found when the tide is low in the shore reefs, however when the tide is high the beach is of sand and the rocks are not visible. After playa Mirador going along the coast you have the American enclave of “Las Conchas” where many beautiful homes of mediterranean style are and ends at the entrance to the Morua estuary. To continue down the coast, you must take the highway to Caborca which will take you to many of the other residential developments like Playa Encanto, Playa Dorada, playa Miramar ending at the Mayan Palace and the entrance to La Pinta Estuary.
- Off road vehicle rentals, There are lots of quad rental shops for easy access to the sand dunes outside of town near Cholla Bay.
- Health Club/ Club Playa Fitness Center (Realty Network), 281 Blvd. Fremont (1 mile east of city hall on Blvd. Fremont). 6AM – 9PM. This is a great place to get a workout in while in Puerto Peñasco. Memberships available, walk-ins welcome at US$5 per visit. Air conditioned, state of the art equipment, cardio, free-weights, universal machine, flat screen/HD TV/ Music. US$5.
- CET-MAR Aquarium, 43 Las Conchas Road (To get there go east on Fremont and turn right on Camino a las Conchas after the gas station on the left. It is on the bend as the road approaches the beach.). Monday through Friday from 10AM to 2:30PM and Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. Aquarium exhibit at the university, Centro de Estudios Technologicos del Puerto Penasco. Actual research is being done there, and the animal tours are mostly self-guided thru the tanks, barrels, and pools. The entry fee is about US$3. US$3 adult, $1 child.
- Shopping, The malecón (mah-lay-CONE), or “beach walk” in the Old Port part of town is alive with shops that sell everything from tourist souvenirs to fine art. While in Puerto Peñasco, most visitors stay in one of the hundreds of privately owned condos that offer fully stocked kitchens. For this reason, the fish market at the malecón is a popular stop for the fresh catch of the day, especially during the shrimp season, September to March. There are also many good restaurants to be found along the malecón, some of which provide stunning sunset views of the Sea of Cortéz.
- The Cholla Mall (also known as Rodeo Drive), has many shops with pottery, jewelry, clothing, and a variety of knick knacks. Two large pottery shops, across the street from each other, have a massive selection of artwork, rough pottery, and Talavera-style pottery. Planters of every size and shape, plates, platters, and bowls, candle holders and water coolers – you can find pretty much everything in these stores. While you can buy cigars at a few of the shops, they tend to be older and/or more stale than the shops on the Malecon. Fabulous Mexican restaurant on the street – beautifully decorated.
- Capone’s Restaurant and Bar, Located in Sinaloa Avenue in the Mirador beach area, Very casual drinking and dining. US$8-$15
- Delfin Amigable (Friendly Dolphin), Ave. Alcantar #44 (the main street out of the Old Port), +1 52 (638) 383-2608. S-Th 10AM-11PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. Traditional Mexican dishes, and a very creative seafood menu. Casual dining, and appropriate for the whole family. US$8-$22.
- JJ’s Cantina, 12 Coahuila Ave (Cholla Bay). A historic, casual restaurant and bar in Cholla Bay, popular with many of the local American and Canadian ex-pats.
- La Casa del Capitan, on top of “Whale Hill”, A restaurant with a great view. Mexican and American dishes served indoors or outside on the large patio.
- La Maria Fine Bistro & Cuisine (Las Palomas Beach & Golf Resort), Blvd. Costero 150, Sandy Beach , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. La Maria offers refined “cocina Mexicana” and world fusion dishes. A place for a special evening, or just to stop in for a late-night dessert.
- Lolitas Seafood Restaurant, located in Ave Cuahutemoc in Mirador Beach area
- Sapporo Sushi Restaurant, in Sinaloa Ave. one block west from Cappone’s restaurant in the Mirador beach area
- Kaffee Haus, located on your way to the Old Port. The Coffee Haus is a breakfast and lunch bistro tucked on a hillside just south of the old port. Established by German pastry chef Uwe Holtze and his wife Lily in 2005, the Coffee Haus was named after Uwe’s dog “Coffee”. Uwe, originally from Germany, lived in Canada and Boston before settling in Puerto Penasco. He brought with him a taste of Europe, combined with American, Canadian and Mexican fare. website, www.coffeeshaus.com Phone, 638-38 81065. Please be ready to wait for few minutes, normally during long weekends expect queues. Please give your name with counter, they will call you in order.
There are many casual clubs/bars in town and at the Old Port, including Pink Cadillac, Baja Cantina, Wrecked at the Reef, Playa Bonita Happy Hour at Puesta Del Sol, Luxor.
Where to stay in Puerto Peñasco
- FMI Rentals, Blvd Freemont s/n 103 Placita Aviana, Benito Juárez , ✉ email@example.com. FMI rentals offers about 79 short-term vacation condominium rentals ranging from 1 – 6 bedrooms in a few of the area’s resorts: Marina Pinacate, Princesa de Peñassco, Tessoro, Corona del Mar, Corona del Sol and Casa Blanca. Rental features and amenities vary by property and location, but can be seen via FMI’s site or the resort of the property you wish to stay in.
- Las Palomas Golf and Seaside Resort, Blvd. Costero 150, (As you begin to enter Puerto Peñasco, turn right at the second traffic light onto the street named “Calle 26” or “No Reeleccion.” Continue straight on this street and after crossing the railroad tracks. A short distance farther, the street will curve to the right. Continue straight on this street along the sand dunes to a traffic circle where exiting to the left leads to the security gate of the main entrance of Las Palomas Resort) , toll-free: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Las Palomas Beach & Golf Resort includes condominiums where you can stay. Each condominium (1BR -5BR) in this full-service resort has a stunning ocean view. The resort also offers fine and casual dining, “infinity” pools, swim-up bar, lazy river, room service, full spa services, WiFi and a 18-hole PGA gold course.
Unlike most small communities, Rocky Point has not experienced an increase in crime. It is important wherever you are to stay alert to your surroundings. It was noted recently in an article about crime in the USA that you are 17 times more likely to have violent crime affect you in Flint, Michigan than in Rocky Point.
Rosarito | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak Baja California
Travel to Rosarito
First thing, buy liability insurance. This can be purchased online or at numerous agencies at the border in San Ysidro. If you don’t buy it, have fun in jail. Even if the accident is not your fault, you will be held until that’s cleared. Even if you hit livestock on the road, you the driver are at fault. Liability ensures the cow’s owner is compensated. Also, arrive early most check=in times are around eleven and on busy holiday it will be very hard to find a room. The mexican cops prey on american plates so go early.
Rosarito Beach is easily accessed via a toll road that runs along the Pacific Ocean. The drive around Tijuana can be daunting. Follow the signs on the freeway, but be careful the signs usually appear only at the turnoffs. Don’t expect any notices before the turnoffs.
When returning there is an unmarked u-turn in Tijuana you need to take to get back to the United States. It’s at an interchange next to a Pemex station. Look for a line of cars with American plates making a u-turn.
If you don’t want to drive in, there are buses from Tijuana.
For about US$15 you can take a taxi to Rosarito. Some Taxi Drivers may charge more, though.
There are 2 main roads to Rosarito coming from Tijuana/San Diego.
The Toll Road (Mexico 1D – Cuota) is much easier and faster on getting to Rosarito. After crossing the border get into the 3rd lane (counting out from the median), in about 100 meters you’ll be on an overpass and a 4th lane will bring on merging traffic, move over to the 4th lane and an offramp to the right will take you to the Via International/Carretera Mexico 1D. This is the main highway to take you to Rosarito, Ensenada, and the western part of Tijuana (Las Playas). If you keep your eye out for signs that indicate any of these three locations it is easier to drive in Mexico, but remember that the toll (cuota) and free (libre) route often split from the same road so may careful attention to the signs to avoid taking the wrong road. The toll cost will be about M$30 (about US$2.50) each way.
The Free Road (Mexico 1 – Libre) goes through Tijuana and can be harder to follow.
One of the best ways to visit Rosarito Beach is by going on a one day tour from San Diego. You can call Five Star Tours at 619 232 5040.
Get around Rosarito
The whole tourist industry lies on Benito Juarez, the main street in town. There’s plenty of taxis as well. You’re never without friends or drinking buddies as long as you have cash.
What to do in Rosarito
- The Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Ride twice a year in April and October, is a “fun ride” 80 km (50 miles) along the coast and a few miles inland. Up to 10,000 riders participate in the ride, which ends with cervezas (beer) in Ensenada.
- California Motorsport Adventours Off-road adventure tours for people of all riding abilities. Everyone welcome: families, couples, friends, single riders, bachelor and corporate groups. Full day excursions or longer tours available also. Ride in the dunes and then enjoy a guided adventure into the surrounding mountain trails. Contact the office for reservations.
If you go to Rosarito for food a must stop is Puerto Nuevo located just 8 minutes south of Rosarito. This small town offers more than 35 restaurants all serving Lobsters. This style of lobster can be found throughout Baja called “Puerto Nuevo Style”
La Flor de Michoacan, on the north side of town on Benito Juarez, has a well-deserved reputation with tourists and locals alike. This restaurant is known for its carnitas (simmered and fried pork) dinners served family style with rice, beans, pico de gallo, fresh guacamole, and steaming, fresh tortillas wrapped in cloth and served in a basket. The restaurant also has a full bar and serves margaritas made with real strawberries. Carnitas plates are served two different ways. Mixed pork includes tripe and other pieces many do not find appetizing. If this is you, shell out the extra couple dollars and get the solid pork. You’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than US$10 a person, even with a pitcher or two of margaritas. The building is hard to miss, an imposing brick structure on a corner with a stop sign. Look for the word “CARNITAS” on top.
- Cha Cha Cafe, Km.31 Blvd. Popotla, La Barca, Rosarito Beach. (2 miles south of the Rosarito Beach Hotel.). 7am-4pm. Rosarito’s place to enjoy Food, Coffee, Desserts, People and Music. Take out and Delivery Available. Monday -Sunday.
Fresh sea food right off the boat, head south on the old road, at the Fox studios, there is a fishing village on the south side of the complex, about twenty restaurants, lots of locals and traffic on Sundays! Park on the main road and walk in. Food is very good, but if you expect American restaurant standards be aware, you are in Mexico. Walk around, don’t go in the first one, lots of English-speaking deported Mexicans trying to get you into their restaurant.
- The Mongolian Grill, Carretera Libre Tij-Ens Km.30 (2 miles south of Rosarito Beach Hotel). 11:30AM-8:30PM. Mongolian BBQ (select your meats, fresh veggies and seasonings). Weekly specials like Korean tacos and Thai coconut curry with chicken, shrimp, and bamboo shoots. US$6.75 + tax.
- Nonnies Italian Restaurant, Km. 31.5 Blvd. Popotla, La Barca, Popotla (2.5 miles south of Rosarito Beach Hotel). 11 am – 8 pm. Delicious, reasonably priced! Spaghetti & meatballs, fettucine, pizza, salads, and a great view! Call ahead for to go orders – your food will be ready when you arrive. Open Tuesday through Sunday. Open for “Spring Break fast” Fri, Sat, Sun at 7AM economical.
The history of Puerto Nuevo – in the 1950s and early 1960s this was a little fishing village where Americans would meet local guides at the billboard off the road. That billboard was for Newport Cigaretts – Puerto Nuevo is Newport in Spanish. This is the likely derivation of the name. One day the wife of a fisherman starting cooking the fish her husband and his clients caught… and the restaurant business was born. That original restaurant is known as #2 (this has to do with the lot numbering system); #1 was the second restaurant in town. Also, there are 8 restaurants in town with the name Ortegas. They are related and the competition is not all that friendly. Puerto Nuevo is a fun stop – the lobster is good – and you have plenty of choices for food, shopping and people watching!
Going out for a Drink in Rosarito
The Beachcomber lies in the central part of town in a resort village. The resort village is gated, so you’ll have to park in the lot outside of the gate and take a small walk. If the guard asks at the gate where you’re going, just say you’re getting drinks at the bar, you don’t have to have a house there to drink. The bar has a patio right next to the beach, making it the perfect place to drink a beer or margarita and watch the sunset. There is also access to the beach here as well. While the drinks aren’t the cheapest in town, they aren’t overpriced, and you’re not going to pay a cover.
For a big club experience, check out Papas & Beer . Papas & Beer is a large club in the heart of Rosarito. Although the drinks are overpriced for the area they are cheap compared to US prices. There’s usually a cover, and sometimes a line, but the positive side is that if you are looking to dance, meet new people and have some cervezas, you will find what you are looking for here.
Where to stay in Playas de Rosarito
Rosarito Beach is a fast-growing town. With that growth comes growing pains! For this reason, it is best to avoid all high-rises and accommodations in downtown Rosarito. Loud music coming from the clubs is a persistent problem that tourists face when they try to go to sleep every night. The best bet is for people to go to privately owned Villas or Condos or Houses. Listings of all three types are plentiful and readily found everywhere.
- Rosarito Luxury Penthouse Garden Floor Luxury 2 bedroom, 2 bath penthouse. Large balcony overlooking the beach. There is a circular bar as well as a kitchen, spa and pool nearby.
- Villa Bonita Vista 3 Bd 4.5 bath vacation rental in Bajamar. Villa Bonita Vista is located on the 7th green of the Los Lagos Course with ocean and golf course views. Bajamar is in Ensenada.
- Rosarito Beach Hotel, Blvd. Benito Juarez 31. Built in 1925, this classic establishment is perfect for younger couples looking to have a great time in Rosarito. It has multiple pools and jacuzzis, and is situated right on the beach. There are numerous restaurants and bars in the hotel, and guests are given vouchers upon check-in so that they may enjoy a certain amount of free meals and drinks. If tranquility and relaxation are what you have in mind, this is not the place for you. Due to the fact that it is centrally located amongst Rosarito’s downtown area on Benito Juarez, the music from the clubs is audible until 4 AM, and the bass will shake the hotel, making it hard for those guests who are not out partying to fall asleep. If you are looking to go clubbin, let loose, and catch some sun during the day, however, this is the place for you.
- SeaSide Reservations Rosarito Beach. A great selection of Baja California vacation rentals to fit every group size and budget, with properties in Brisas del Mar, Calafia Resort, La Elegancia, Pacifica at Ensenada Bay, Playas de Tijuana, Ricamar, Rosarito Shores, San Antonio Del Mar, Santa Barabara at Baja Mar, The Park At Malibu, and Villa Serena Condos.
- Casa El Jardin (Bed & Breakfast), Emiliano Zapata St. #600, Rosarito Beach, BC (Col. Reforma. A Few blocks down from Wal-mart Shopping Center).
- Las Rocas Resort & Spa, Toll Free Road Tijuana-Ensenada Km 38.5, 1 888 527 7622 or 1 866 445 8909, . 72 ocean front rooms and suites, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, Holistic Spa, Ballroom and Gardens.
- Bobbys Baja by the Sea – One of the nicer places to stay in Rosarito Beach is Bobbys Baja – just North of Puerto Nuevo’s lobster village. Bobbys is a condo resort – so all the units have a kitchen and they are a lot more spacious than a hotel room. There are really nice – which is something one cannot say about some of the local hotels.
Mahahual | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
Mahahual (also spelled Majahual) is a city in the municipality of Othón P. Blancothe, state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, a short distance northeast of Belize.
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.
In August 2007, Hurricane Dean landed just north of Mahahual. It heavily damaged the cruise ship dock and destroyed much of the small village. The village was rebuilt, cruise ships returned, and many nice hotels opened.
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 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.
If you are looking for quiet tranquil beaches, away from the crowds, drive through Mahahual and continue 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 15, there is a turn off 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.
From the port: 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.
From the airport: ADO bus service is now available to and from Mahahual from either the airport, central station Cancun or the stations in Playa del Carmen. 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. It will take over four hours but do not confuse this area with Cancun. Four hours gets you to an entirely different world.
What to see and do
- Puerto Angel Beach –
There are several sites of Classical Period Mayan ruins close enough for a day-visit. 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.
- 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 – An 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, Ichkabal may be one of the most important discoveries in Mayan archeology in decades.
What to do
There are many tours offered from Costa Maya port and the town of Mahahual to meet all kinds of demands. Enjoy the many resturants and shopping along the sandy beaches located in town. Venture out onto the water with unlimiited water excursions. Enjoy the culture and charm of this small and diverse village.
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.
- Nomad Divers. Scuba Diving in Mahahual, Costa Maya, Mexico
- Gypsea Divers, Malecon (Infront of Nacional Beach Club). Professional Dive and Snorkel Business
- Dreamtime, South Malecon. Professional Dive and Snorkel Business
- Amigos Del Mar, ✉ email@example.com. Official Cressi Dive Center with top of the line dive equipment. Their customized dive boat fits 14 divers and has racks for 32 tanks. They also have the required official government permits in order to take divers to the Banco Chinchorro Protected National Reserve.
- Doctor Dive, Calle Coronado con Calle Huachinango s/n, Centro, 77976 , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Dive trips, PADI courses, snorkeling
You can find many water excursions from town, including snorkel and dive tours, catamarans, paddleboards, fishing, jet skis, flyboard, and kayaks.
The beaches of Mahahual are often restaurant concessions that provide many services to you. You can find great food and drinks and massages on the beach. The nice sandy beaches provide great swimming and snorkelling opportunities.
- Yaya Beach (Yaya), Av. Huachinango con Calle Coronado. 09:00-23:59. Bar, restaurant and beach service.
- Almaplena Restaurant, km 12,5. 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
- Pizza Papi Pasta, avenida paseo del puerto 1095 , ✉ email@example.com. 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
- Tapas Bar, Capitan Mono, El Delfin are a few of the bars/Restaurants on the Malecon.
- 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. Beachfront 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. 7:00. Maya Chan Beach Resort is located minutes south of Puerto Costa Maya. Discover the underwater world through the glass bottom of a Costa Maya kayak tour or the mask of your snorkeling gear. All included. 5.
- Maramao Resturante, Calle Robalo (Just on the southern part of Mahahual at the side of the local school). Nice place to eat fresh seafood. Mix of Mexican and Italian dishes with the possibility to eat right on the beach.
- 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
Where to stay in Mahahual
- Almaplena Eco Beach Resort.
- Arenas Hotel. Boutique hotel
- Mahahual Hotel.
- Cabanas del Tio Phil Carretera Antigua a Xcalak
- Dreamtime Diving.
- 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, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11PM.
- Casa del Cielo de las Estrellas (vacation rental house), km 8.5 Coastal Road Mahahual-Xcalak, ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. see website for rates.
- Travel In’ (Travel Inn), 6 km 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. M$200.
- Casita Dragonfly, Km 11 S Camino Costero Mahahual-Xcalak, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Charming 2 bd., 2 ba. beach house: internet, caretaker, gardens, kayaks, privacy.
- Hotel Caballo Blanco, Malecon lote 1 manzana 12 , ✉ email@example.com. Beachfront boutique hotel with rooftop pool.
- Xcalak – Remote village for Great fishing and diving
El Tajin | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
El Tajin (El Tajín) is in the state of Veracruz in Mexico. It is a UNESCO World Heritage List.
El Tajin, Totonac for ‘thunder’ or ‘lightning’, is a group of sacred buildings where ceremonies and religious sporting events were held. First begun around AD 100, it was occupied and developed mainly around AD 600 to 900, and later abandoned. El Tajin was rediscovered by the Spanish in 1785.
The 10 km square site is located near the small cities of Poza Rica and Papantla, located on the Atlantic coast of Mexico, directly east of Mexico City. There is a direct road and the site can be reached by car or by frequent buses.
What to see and do
There are a large number of remaining edifices to be seen, some include multilingual information stands. Voladores (flyers), who ascend a tall pole and spin slowly to the ground while attached to ropes while meditating, can be seen outside the complex.
Wearing a hat is a good idea as the jungle temperatures and sunshine can be draining.
Cheesy souvenir stands surround the complex, along with a few restaurants. There are no hotels but the site is near Poza Rica, Papantla, or the small beach resort of Tecolutla. The site is popular with tourists and can be crowded on some weekends.
There is a small charge for entering the grounds. Voladores performances are free but it’s always good to aid the performers with a donation.
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