Oct 29, 2008
Last week we learned that a funny thing happens when you forget to pay your electricity bill, they cut off your power. Please excuse the lack of posts, we were trying to work from Coffee Cafe, but getting actual work done can be a challenge in a place where your friends are regularly showing up and stopping to chat. The power is back on now, thank goodness.
It had been raining for about 40 days here (I was looking for materials to build an ark), but the sun popped out last Friday, so I thought I should jump on the chance for some holiday time. I decided to head to Majahual with a couple girlfriends for a mini-break (as Bridget Jones would call it).
Majahual is about 3 1/2 or 4 hours south of Playa del Carmen, just at the southern end of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere. The drive is easy and, apart from the topes (speed bumps) that mark small towns that you have to drive through, relatively uneventful. You just go past Tulum and keep going south until you reach a sign that tells you where to turn for Majahual (also written Mahahual) and follow that road. You can't miss it, it's the first beach town you reach along the road.
You may remember Majahual was devastated by Hurricane Dean. They had a cruise ship pier that was lost in the hurricane (the new one opens November 1) and the area has really suffered from lack of tourism. It's just a little too far from the Cancun airport to pick up much American tourism, but they did seem to be picking up a few Europeans (mostly backpacking around or coming up from other Central American destinations).
We stayed at the Maya Luna Eco Hotel which, despite the fact that there's no mention of it on their website, is actually located a couple kilometers from the town of Majahual. The hotel is nice and romantic. We had a beachfront bungalow that had a king size bed and a single bed, with a roof top terrace for $60/night. The best restaurant we ate in was actually at that hotel as well (I highly recommend the pineapple stuffed with shrimp and cashews- yum).
The main reason we wanted to go to Majahual was to see how the diving was down there. We had a friend who used to work in diving in Cozumel who was now working down there, so we made arrangements to dive with him. He rounded up a boat captain and a crew member and picked up some tanks and met us at the hotel.
The reefs are some of the best I have seen in Mexico. We didn't make it out to the Banco Chinchorro (because there wasn't any gasoline in Majahual at the time, so they couldn't fill up enough to take us out to the Banco), but we all agreed that it didn't matter, the reefs were so unspoilt that we had a lovely time just a few minutes out from our hotel!
Majahual is protected by a barrier reef that forms coral fingers, rather than a wall like in Cozumel. There is a profusion of healthy-looking soft corals and small marine life. We didn't see that many fish, but we did see quite a few crabs and lobsters, one turtle and one stingray. Mostly we just enjoyed the beautiful reef (and it'd been quite a long time since I dove in the ocean, so it's nice to relax my brain after so much cave diving). I certainly have a different feeling about ocean diving and safety after cave diving. Ocean diving just seems so much easier!
We spent the afternoon having lunch and a couple drinks in town. The beach is beautiful and I would recommend this location for people who really need to vacation away from other people and love their peace and quiet. There are a couple hotels in town and a couple restaurants, but that's about it. They have a malecon where people can walk along the waterfront that was clearly developed for the cruise ship people.
It's amazing to see the difference between how quickly Cozumel rebuilt after Hurricane Wilma and how slowly Majahual has been able to rebuild after Dean. Just goes to show the level of toursit dollars a place like Cozumel brings in. If Tulum is too busy for you, try Majahual.