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Mahahual changed forever when the cruise-ship dock was completed, and it grows larger every year. Despite the (literally) boatloads of tourists, there's a lovely, relaxed, Caribbean vibe that you won't find further north, and once the passengers have returned to their ships, a quiet calm settles over the town. Mahahual is the only spot in the Costa Maya that's large enough to support a diversity of sleeping and eating options, while still being right on the beach.

New restaurants and bars are cropping up on the north side of town, a residential area known as casitas that's home to both locals and foreigners. Or go south toward Xcalak and you'll have no problem finding your own private beach with sugar-white sand.

There's great diving and snorkeling in Mahahual, and just enough nightlife along the beachfront malecón (waterfront promenade) to keep you entertained.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Mahahual.