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Travel Tips > Frequently Asked Questions

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Questions about the Costa Maya

What is the Costa Maya?

The Costa Maya is a marketing term assigned to the beachfront area that stretches from Xcalak in the south and north to the border of the Sian Ka'an biosphere. Secondly it is the name of the pier where the cruise ships dock. For the cruise ship visitor, the area is know as the Costa Maya port. The Costa Maya port had up to 12 ships a week during high season of 2005, was damaged as a result of the 2007 Hurricane Dean and was closed for almost a year.

What days are the cruise ships in Mahahual and the Costa Maya Port?

The Costa Maya cruise ship calendar is posted on the Mayan Beach Garden web site. The cruise ship schedules change constantly. Furthermore, they may not dock due to inclement weather conditions. You may want to wait until a cruise ship day to shop in town, rent wave runners or pursue other activities when there are more vendors. If you like tranquility - stay far away from town on those dates!

Driving, transportation and "How far away..." Questions

What major city would we fly into?

There are four options with the benefits and disadvantages to each below. (Information about busses below in this section)

  1. Cancun -- usually very competitive rates, easy to rent a car or take a bus from the airport. Plus there are some sights to see on the way down if you want to make a day of the drive (4.5 hour drive is the disadvantage)
  2. Chetumal -- Two hours away and 15 minutes from plane to curb. Currently there are no direct flights from the US to Chetumal but most flights originate from Mexico city. Easy to rent cars (they will be waiting for you at the curb) and taxi's in Chetumal are very cheap. You can take a Taxi here for $850 pesos plus gratuities.
  3. Merida - 4.5 hour drive, but you get to go through quaint villages. We like Merida too. Spend a night in Merida and then come here, stopping at some ruins on the way (we can make some suggestions) The drive has good roads and lots to see. If you inadvertently take the wrong 184 south, it will add an extra hour to the drive as you will end up going through every small town south of Merida.
  4. Belize City- only about 35 miles from the border to Chetumal. Prices can be competitive with Cancun airport and busses go from Belize City to Chetumal several times a day.

What are your GPS Coordinates?

According to www.getaddress.net our Longitude and Latitude coordinates are :
Lat: 18.89198054499498
Lng: -87.64063283801079

GPS (note - this is approximate)
18.53.51883269969875
87.38.43797028064728

However, our hand held Mexican GPS coordinates are 18.53497, 87.38410 . This may not line up with your GPS system.

What is there to do on the drive from Cancun to Mayan Beach Garden Inn?
The drive from Cancun airport to Mayan Beach Garden takes about 4.5 hours -- but there are several things to do along the way, from the Crocozoo, to the Mayan Ruin of Tulum, to the little town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto -- so plan on making a day of it. If your flight arrives in the afternoon, plan on spending the night in Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Tulum or Paamul and enjoy the drive. We do not recommend driving in the dark as there are no street lights.

What are the road conditions like?
Road conditions are relatively good. There are some areas of road repair going on, but everything else is on a fairly good road with widening and resurfacing projects going on. Specific ROAD CONDITIONS are on the Driving Directions page on the Mayan Beach Garden web site.

How late is the gas station open and is it open on holidays?
The gas station is open around the clock and on holidays. Sometimes, however they run out of gas or cannot operate because they are out of power. There is a gas station 5 km south of Cafetal junction in that event.

Would it be better to fly into Belize City or Cancun if we want to drive to your place?
While it is slightly closer in miles to fly into Belize City, getting a rental car that would allow you to cross the border can be expensive. There are good busses from Belize to Chetumal, however. Another option is to fly into Chetumal. The airport in Chetumal is only 1:45 hour away. You can now find flights into Chetumal from web sites like Orbitz and Expedia at comparable rates to flying into Cancun. Flights to Chetumal all go through Mexico City.

Can you rent a car in Chetumal?
You can rent a car in Chetumal from the following locations:

Continental Rent a Car
Av. Héroes 171-B. Lobby del hotel Holiday Inn
Chetumal, Quintana Roo
Phone:(983) 832-2411, 835-0400
E-Mail:continentalrentacar@hotmail.com
URL:http://www.continentalcar.com.mx

Vipsaesa
Av. Revolución No. 115
Chetumal, Quintana Roo
Phone:(983) 832-0092 y 832-2860
E-mail:vipsaesa@hotmail.com

Aventura Maya Car Rental
Av. Independencia No. 168 Entre Efraín Aguilar y Mahatma Ghandi
Col. Centro
Chetumal, Quintana Roo
Phone:(983) 285-5940
E-mail:aventuramaya@hotmail.com

Perico´s Tours (will deliver to Mahahual if you want to first take the bus)
Contact: José Alvaro Hoil Torres
Calle Manuel Acuña No. 109
Fracc. Cumbres
Chetumal, Quintana Roo
Phone:Tel:(983) 837-2503, (983) 839-1100 (cellular)
E-mail:pericos_tours_01@hotmail.com

Volkswagen Dealership - close to the airport
Chetumal (983) 832-37-57 or (983) 832-82-27
The Volkswagen dealership is located close to the airport by La Fuente Maya (Mayan Fountain).They are open until 6:00 PM for drop-ins but close in the middle of the day for Siesta (1:00 - 4:00 PM).

What is the best way to get to Mayan Beach Garden?
Currently, the best way to get to Mayan Beach Garden is to rent a car from the airport or Playa del Carmen. There is talk of major airlines flying into Chetumal, but because there is no international terminal in Chetumal, all flights have to first either go through Mexico City or Cancun to go through customs before continuing on to Chetumal. That makes your choices limited. Once in Cancun, you can rent a car from all of the major car rental agencies as well as some of the lesser ones. Once you get to the airport you can often bargain the price down or negotiate for a better car. You can also arrange car transport, but the rate is about $250 per one way trip. Busses are also an alternative.

Do I need a 4-wheel drive to get around?
The roads are very good all the way to Mayan Beach Garden so you won't need a 4-wheel drive to get there. However, vehicles with high clearance are an asset. Everything is paved up to the beach road. We are only 3 km south the beach road from the Placer access, which has a few potholes, but unless it has been raining buckets is easy to traverse. We are 10 km N. from the Rio Indio beach access. If you are going into the Sian Ka'an you can get there with a regular car except during rainy season.

Haw far is it from/to?
NOTE: all times below are to/from Mayan Beach Garden and assume conditions are normal - allow more time if driving in dark ir rain or at rush hour

30 minutes Majahual
1:20 minutes from the town of Bacalar.
Tulum
2.1/2 hours
Merida
4 1/2 hours
Playa del Carmen
3 1/2 hours
2 hours

Cancun

4.5 hours
1 hour to Mayan Ruin of Chacchoben
2 hours to Mayan Ruin of Kohunlich,
2 hours to Mayan Ruin of Dzibanche
2 hours
Chichen Itza
4 hours (if you go on the toll road)
1 1/4 hours

Is there any shuttle/public transportation available from Chetumal to your place?
You can get a bus to Mahahual, but currently no bus goes to Mayan Beach Garden directly. There are several busses that travel into Mahahual. You can buy tickets for specific travel dates and times at the terminals in Playa Del Carmen, Cancun and Chetumal. There are taxis in Mahahual that will take you to Mayan Beach Garden. Currently the price of a taxi from Mahahual is $250 pesos or $500 round trip. A taxi from Chetumal to Mayan Beach Garden is approximately $850 pesos one-way. A taxi from Mahahual to Chetumal is more expensive.

Can you rent a car in Mahahual?
Yes, at the time of this posting, you could rent cars in Mahahual at Tucan de Costa Maya. You may also rent jeeps by the day in the area by the port for walk-ins and by reservation.

I am going to drive around the Yucatan. Where can I find a good map?
The best map that we are aware of is a Canadian map of the Yucatan Peninsula. You can buy it on Amazon.com or directly from:

International Travel Maps
530 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 4A5

Lonely Planet also have a very good map. alternately, print up maps from Google maps.

Can you take a boat from Cancun to Costa Maya
No, not that I am aware of.

Is there a bus from Cancun to Mahahual?
Yes, but not directly from Cancun airport . If coming from the Cancun Airport (which is south of the city of Cancun), you must change busses in Playa Del Carmen or from Cancun city terminal which is north of the airport. The ADO bus to Playa leaves every half hour during high season from the airport. The rate is $150 pesos. From Playa Del Carmen you can get either a MayaB bus to Limones and transfer to a Caribe or ADO bus that goes to Mahahual or take the ADO bus from Playa Del Carmen direct to Mahahual or Limones.

NOTE: The ADO bus is often canceled, please check to make sure it is available.

Does your resort have a shuttle service to and from Mahahual?
No, we are not allowed by law to offer that type of service. However, if we are going in to town we are happy to drop you off and pick you back up when we return or arrange transport with Taxis.

Is there a boat from the Costa Maya to Belize?
Yes, the boat leaves from Xcalak and we can help arrange it for you. There is a minimum number of people required to make the trip or you will be required to pay the entire price of $250 USD (price includes tax). Please e-mail us for more information and for reservations. There is also a new boat taxi that is starting up with regular hours. We have yet to experience that option, so don't have a lot of details. There is a regular boat taxi from Chetumal to Belize.

Is there 24hr taxi service in your area?
Yes, The rate currently is $250 pesos each way from Mahahual to Mayan Beach Garden, but subject to change.

Other information about driving in Quintana Roo including driving tips

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Activities

Do you have "Boogie Boards" or other water equipment that we can use?
Yes, we do have Boogie Boards, Stand up paddle boards and snorkels for rent by the day. We also have a paddle boat for 4 persons and kayaks that are complementary for guests. For all others, you can rent Kayaks for a nominal fee. We have two life jackets in small adult sizes.
See Other Services.

Do you have snorkel gear for kids?
We have snorkel gear for adults and larger youths that you can rent, but we get very few children here so we don't carry equipment for them. So that you have the best time, we suggest that you purchase your snorkeling equipment before you come if you have children.

I've never snorkeled before, what equipment do I need? Is the snorkel equipment at Sam's Club or Costco good enough? Can I purchase inexpensive snorkel gear?
You can purchase good snorkel equipment at Sam's club and Costco, except there is no way to try on the mask unless they have a special vendor selling equipment. The adjustable fins are very good, but not all snorkels fit all faces. Look for the following:

  • When sizing a snorkel mask, make sure that there is a good suction when you breath in through your nose. If air gets in, you can be sure that water will too.
  • Look for snorkels that protect from waves coming in from the top.
  • Look for snorkels that have a purge valve just below the mouth piece. Water can collect there and it is easier to blow it out and it makes for less swallowed sea water.
  • The mouth piece should fit as well, although many people aren't bothered by the mouth piece. If you have a small bite or sensitive gums, you may want to try on the mouthpiece. You can purchase mouth pieces separately at dive shops.

There are many good makes, but you will have more fun if you have equipment that fits your body. We don't recommend the cheap sets. The mask plastic can be hard, making for poor suction around your face and the hard plastic on the fins can cause blisters on your feet. You can find a decent snorkel/fin set for around $70 USD at Sam's Club and Costco.

Do I need snorkel fins to snorkel - isn't a mask good enough?<
A MASK IS NOT SUFFICIENT!!! PLEASE do not try and snorkel without fins. If you try to snorkel in just bare feet, you must kick too hard and you run the danger of scratching your feet on coral and also of damaging this precious life form. The other thing is that snorkeling is about looking, not swimming. Fins act as buoyancy devices that help your feet stay afloat. PLEASE do not snorkel in aqua shoes, sandals or tennis shoes. It is too tempting to stand up on coral or other fragile sea life. If you are not a good swimmer, we suggest purchasing blow-up snorkel vests. We have some here.

What should I bring to have fun?
We've put together a packing list to help you make the most of your vacation -- its not fun to come unprepared, especially when the destination is a remote location.

What is there to do in the evening?
Dinner is served after dark, so becomes a socializing opportunity. We have games and a communal area with a couch and chairs that guests get together and lounge. We have found that most of our guests have enjoyed meeting new friends and end up playing cards or other games together, or just socializing with an after dinner drink. You will also find your internal clock changing and matching the rising and setting of the sun so that you will get tired earlier and want to get up with the rising of the sun -- leaving the clock behind. For those who need electronic entertainment, we have a selection of DVD's to play in your own portable player or laptop.

The evenings are gorgeous at the beach. On a moonlit night you won't want to be inside, but you will want to explore in the moonlight, which acts like a big flashlight lighting the white sand -- something you have to experience. If you have flexibility -- think about the stages of the moon as you schedule your trip. If you are into astrology, your best views of the stars will be on nights with a sliver of moon. The stars on those nights will astound you as you view the Milky Way with the naked eye.

Are there other shops and restaurants within walking distance?
Not at this time, we are fairly isolated. Mahahual is a 30 minute drive away where there are other restaurants.

What about night life in Mahahual?
There is not much in the way of night life in Mahahual There are a few bars and restaurants that stay open to service the workers who work at the pier. When there are no cruise ships, there are only a couple of them open at night. During festival time the city sponsors night events, but since Mahahual is geared mostly to cruise ship business these events are for the workers - nights are slow if there is no cruise ship the next morning. If you want to experience Mahahual - daytime is the best. Most of the restaurants are open in the day time.

How far are you from the dolphin swim?
The dolphin swim is located at the Cruise ship pier. Guests wanting to swim with the dolphins can arrange to do so on non-cruise ship days. The rates are very reasonable and can be arranged through Mayan Beach Garden.

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The Rooms

Can you see the ocean from the cabanas/rooms?
We only have one stand-alone cabana. All beachfront rooms have very good views of the beach, after all - you are on the beach. The two beach view rooms have views of the beach framed by trees. .

Can you hear the ocean from the cabanas/rooms?
You most certainly can!

Are the safes in the rooms free for use, or is there a separate fee for that?
There is no fee for the use of the room safes. We want you to use them and feel secure. Some have keys and some have combination codes. If we forget to give you a combination, please let us know.

Do you have 110 or 220 power?
We do not have 220 power. Mexico uses 110, the same power type and outlets as the US. Because we are solar powered, the lights are low voltage, and the fans run off batteries that are charged by the sun. We run a generator for about 4 hours a day in order to do our laundry. This subsidizes the solar power and provides power to a 110 outlet in each room. This outlets only work when the generator is running -- usually in the morning. This is the only time that you will be able to use hair dryers or recharge batteries.

Can I use my hair dryer?
We ask that you not use hair dryers at Mayan Beach Garden. There is one 110 outlet in the rooms, powered by batteries. Please embrace the windblown look or look for butane powered hair dryers that you can purchase before you arrive. One hair dryer has as much watts as every light and major appliance at the hotel put together.

Do you have power at night?
We power the rooms with a combination solar and generator which provides battery power all night long for lights and ceiling fan. NOTE: the 110 outlet will not work at night. Please contact us in advance if you have a breathing device that you need 110 for and we can work something out.

Do you have air conditioning?
Some of the rooms have air conditioning. BUT, the rooms at Mayan Beach Garden are so close to the beach that the breezes from the beach offer most of the cooling you will need. On those nights when the breeze is still, we have ceiling fans. During the winter months, you may even find yourself getting cold at night!

Making Reservations

How do I secure a reservation?
There are many methods to secure your reservation at Mayan Beach Garden. We require a minimum 50% or full amount if less than $100 to secure your reservation, which includes a $100 non refundable booking fee.

  1. Mail a check to an address in the US.
  2. Pay through PayPal, using your charge card. PayPal is the same system used by eBay. It works as follows: we send you a bill via PayPal e-mail. You follow the instructions and use your charge card to pay. We can accept international funds via this method.
  3. Bank Wire. If this is the method you choose to use, we can provide bank wiring instructions.
  4. Western union or Money Gram (exact spelling of my name is important)
  5. Use our automatic booking system to make a reservation with your credit card

Make Reservations

See also: How to secure your reservation.

What is your cancellation policy?
Please read our cancellation policy at: How to secure your reservation.

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Safety and Security in Mexico

Do you have safes in the rooms?
Yes

I have been hearing a lot about the drug wars in Mexico - how safe is it in should I be afraid for my safety in Quintana Roo?
Several million people travel to Cancun, Riviera Maya and the Costa Maya without incident. Following is a statement by the Warden for the US Consulate for the area here on the Costa Maya.

“An updated travel alert for Mexico was issued recently and can be seen at www.travel.state.gov.  I urge you to go to that web site. to get the official information that the department of state is dispersing on the matter of safety in Mexico. On top of the travel alert you should read of the Country specific pages for Mexico. I will warn you that you will probably be alarmed by what you read.  Please keep in mind that most of the violent crime that is occurring in Mexico that has had any affect to Americans is happening in the Northern part of Mexico, near the border.  Also keep in mind that the department has a responsibility to report the facts about situations that have occurred, but . . .99% of the people who travel for vacation purposes to Mexico every year have very enjoyable vacations without incident.
 
Of course, I can no more give you a guarantee about your safety coming here than I could about traveling to any vacation destinations in the US.  On the whole, I feel much more at ease anywhere in the Yucatan peninsula than in my hometown in the US.  . . .   Neither my life nor my daily patterns have changed and I feel no less safe than ever.  There has been no increase in reported violent or petty crime in this area directed toward Americans over the past few months.
 
Most of the emergencies I assist Americans with in this area (Costa Maya) are a result of them acting in a way they might not in the US.  It is very important to not take a vacation from your common sense.  Follow the laws, do not over consume alcoholic beverages, if you drive, go the posted speed limit, wear seat belts, do not talk on a cell phone while driving and get full car insurance. Do not engage in extreme sports, skydiving, parasailing, etc.. If you engage in tours, make sure that they are sponsored by your hotel or travel company or have been recommended to the business by a foreigner (US or Canadian). I would also recommend that you look in to getting travel insurance that has some medical coverage or check to see if your health insurance covers you in a foreign country”.
 
Kevin Graham
Warden – USCA - Costa Maya

Do you have security guard at night?
Mayan Beach Garden takes your security very seriously. We do not have a security guard. We let our dogs out at night (mostly they function as alarms because they are pretty friendly). We also have added security bars on windows so that you can leave the windows open and feel safe when in the rooms or out and about and like to let the air flow through.

Services and facilities

Do you have phones?
We do not have phones in any of the rooms. We only have cell phone coverage and only when standing on certain areas right on the beach or up on our rooftop observatory. If you need to make a phone call, you can also go into Mahahual and call from one or two phone/Internet stores or use a pay phone. The pay phones in Mahahual work with cards that you can purchase in most grocery or abarrotes stores. If you want to use your phone in this part of Mexico, you will need a GMS phone and purchase minutes that you program into your phone. We recommend getting a Mexican Sim card if you want all the services, like picking up messages on your phone. We have internet broad band that should work well for making SKYPE or other VoIP calls.

Can you tell me who the service provider is that has cell signals down there?
Telcel

Do you have laundry facilities?
We can do laundry for you, however, the laundering of linens must take priority.

Do you have beach towels?
By default, we don't supply beach towels in the rooms at Mayan Beach Garden because of the added impact the additional laundry has on the environment. Some of the Beach homes do have beach towels, but it is best to come prepared with your own towels. However, we understand the limited luggage space you may be working with. We do carry some light-weight beach towels that dry quickly and don't require a lot of water to launder. Please ask when you arrive if you need one.

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Checking in and Checking out

What is Check-in and Check-out time?
Checkout time is 11:00 and Check-in is 3:00 . Please let us know if you need to change these times and we can work around your schedule. Failure to provide advance check out notice will incur a checkout fee of $35.

If I arrive after 10:00, is there someone around? How do I check in?
We have dogs that serve as great door bells. If you have a reservation, we will be expecting you and will be happy to get up and show you to your room. If we don't come quickly, please honk. All staff quarters are close to the parking area. We will formally check you in first thing in the morning. Note: we still don't recommend driving south from Tulum to Cafetal junction after dark.

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Restaurant and Meals

What are meal times?
Coffee is ready at about 6:30, Hot breakfast is 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM, Continental breakfast from 9:00 - 10:00, Lunch is 12:00-2:30, Dinner is 7:00-9:00 in the winter and later in the summer (because of daylight savings time it gets dark later and we find that most people want to take advantage of every minute of sun). If these times do not work, and you are a guest with us, please let us know and we will be happy to work something out with you. We also can pack you a sack lunch for the day.

Do you have a small pub?
Yes, the bar is open until 10:00 at night on normal days.

Do you carry beer and wine?
We have a full bar and we do carry both light and dark beer, a good Chilean and Mexican wines (red, white and Zinfandel) and can make most mixed drinks using Rum, Gin, Whiskey, Vodka and Tequila and we always serve Margaritas and Pina Coladas. You are welcome to bring your own drinks, but because we have to buy ice in Mahahual, we charge a "cooling" fee of $0.50 (USD) for drinks not purchased an Mayan Beach Garden.

Can we store food items in your refrigerator?
Unfortunately, we have a very small refrigerator and we are unable to store food purchased elsewhere in our refrigerator. The Beachfront King rooms and the Suite come with small fridges. Ice can be purchased in Mahahual or at the gas station, but the fridges only come with very small freezers. We can rent you a cooler for only $5 for the duration of your stay. If you have medicines that need to be stored, we can help you with that.

Do you have "Kid Friendly" menus?
We don't have specific "kid friendly" menus because we don't have many children, but we do try and adjust our menus so that picky eaters (including adult picky eaters!) will find something they like. Please let us know in advance what your special likes and dislikes or dietary restrictions are.

I noticed breakfast on your sample meal menus. But it looks like the meal package only includes lunch and dinner. Is breakfast included in the room rate?
Breakfast is included in the rates for rooms at Mayan Beach Garden. Breakfast is not included in the room rates for the Beach Homes. For guests staying at the beach homes, all meals can be included for $26 per person per day. If only Lunch and Dinner are are desired, the rate is $22.75 per day per person.

Is it safe to buy food along the sides of the road?
We always buy food along the sides of the road. Normally it is very safe. We have never gotten sick from anything eaten from roadside vendors -- in fact every time we have gotten sick, it has been from eating in an American style sit-down restaurant. We can offer some tips in this regard:

  • Never buy fresh squeezed juice in recycled Coca-Cola Bottles (orange, coconut, watermelon and pineapple are very common) unless the caps are sealed. Some roadside vendors use recycled pop bottles and may not have adequate means to disinfect things. It is safe to buy juice in plastic bags or plastic glasses.
  • Look for clean hands. Most Mayans are very clean -- they love soap (when you visit a grocery store, you will be surprised at the size of the cleaning isle). However, if you see dirty hands, walk away.
  • If you see someone handling food with their bare hands and then putting their hands in plastic bags to touch the money -- this is a good sign of a clean kitchen and good habits - they know that germs are on money.

Can we decide on the meal package a day ahead or do we have to decide now?
When purchasing the "meal package" at Mayan Beach Garden, you can decide when you come or after you've eaten your first meal.

Can we have some days ON the meal plan and some days OFF.
Sorry, because of the casual nature of Mayan Beach Garden, it is difficult for us to switch back and forth. Most people find that they love leaving their wallet in the safe and not thinking about it until its time to go. We have priced the meal plan so that even if you decide to occasionally eat lunch in town, you still save money being on the meal plan. The meal plan saves you money if you are staying 3 days or more.

Is there a small cooler or fridge in the rooms?
The beachfront king rooms and the suite have coolers as part of the kitchenettes. We have ice for sale in the kitchen. If you are renting other rooms, we can lend you a cooler for the length of your stay. In the past we had fridges, but replaced them with coolers when we changed to more solar/battery hours and fewer generator hours.

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Weather and Conditions Questions

When is the rainy season?
The rainy season is from June to October. "Rainy" is relative, because it will rain really hard dumping a lot of rain and then get sunny. Seldom does it rain for days since most of the rain is either from thunderstorms or related to tropical storms. Tropical storms usually last a day or two, but this occurs during hurricane season which usually begins mid July.

What is the best time to visit the Costa Maya?
We get asked this all the time. I have finally decided that it requires a chart with all the variables of the weather as well as some other monthly highlights. The truth is that any month is good depending on what you want out of a vacation. (Average rainfall and temperature is taken from www.worldclimate.com)

Month Average Rainfall Average 24 HR Temp. Comments
Jan. 2.1" 75 F High season. The first week in January seems to have a little bit of a "lull" in terms of the number of travelers. The weather can be cold enough to warrant a jacket at night. If you like birds, green parrots are starting to show up as well as some other migrating birds.
Feb. 1.7" 76 F February can have some cool winds. The water can feel quite cool as the wind blows across the surface making it hard to snorkel or swim for long periods of time. A wet suit helps. (Cool is relative, but bring a jacket for evenings). Migrating birds make February one of the best "birding" months.
Mar. 0.8" 79 F Normally a great weather month with comfortable temperatures and little rain, but can be breezy. The downside is that there are a lot of people vacationing at this time, including those on spring break. It is good to make reservations far in advance.
Apr. 1.0 " 82 F Can be breezy affecting water activities, however not every day. This, on the other hand makes for great visits to the ruins and few mosquitoes due to the dry conditions.
May 3.6" 83 Great month for water activities with fairly calm water. The days are quite hot, but the humidity is fairly low making nights comfortable for sleeping. Few mosquitoes.
June 5.5" 82 Water can be like glass making for great water activities. The humidity is usually fairly low early in the month but starts to raise in the later part of the month. Travel with insect repellent if you plan on venturing off the beach. This is the start of the tropical rain season so rain is possible, but usually does not get in the way of activities.
July 4.0" 82 July can be quite humid. If you are from anywhere on the east coast you can understand. However, it may be the best month for water activities with the water like glass. Later in the month there is a chance of tropical storms. Travel with insect repellent if you plan on venturing off the beach. Biting Flies (similar to deer flies) can be a problem in the day - use insect repellent.
Aug. 4.3" 82 August can be humid, but again the water can be like glass so it is great for water activities. Hurricane season is in full swing, but with the exception of Hurricane Dean the Costa Maya does not have a history of high hurricane damage. Travel with insect repellent if you plan on venturing off the beach. Biting Flies (similar to deer flies) can be a problem in the day - use insect repellent.
Sep. 6.7" 82 Fairly pleasant but the rainiest month due to the fact that it is late in the tropical storm season. The rains are usually brief but heavy. This is one of the slowest times of the year, so you may find yourself alone on the beach! Travel with insect repellent if you plan on venturing off the beach. Great fishing and diving weather. This month is also the start of the bird migrations.
Oct. 4.5" 80 Very pleasant weather and very slow! Many hotels close because it is so slow. Shops will still open in Mahahual on Cruise ship days. If there has been a lot of rain in August and September there may be lots of mosquitoes at dawn and dusk. There is still a chance of some significant rain in Oct. Great fishing and diving weather.
Nov. 2.1" 76 Great weather month. Can be some cloudy and cool days, but usually the water conditions can be good. Few crowds. Bring lightweight jackets. There can also still be mosquitos in the evening and at dawn.
Dec. 1.9" 76 Sporadic weather. It can be cool or warm, windy or only slightly breezy. Bring jackets and long pants for cool breezy nights on the beach. Usually lots of sun even if it is cool.

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Questions about the water, beach, snorkeling, diving and swimming

Do you have a sandy beach ?
YES!

How quickly does it get deep ?
It gets waist high pretty quickly making it a good swimming and snorkeling beach. You don't have to wade through turtle grass to swim.

Can you snorkel right off your beach?
Yes, there is a good coral head about 100 yards from the shore with a lot of fish of many varieties. We have marked with a buoy so that you can find it and so that boats don't run into it.

How far is the reef?
This is a complicated question. Most people refer to the reef as the line of breakers that you can see off shore. Mayan Beach Garden is in the center of the bay, so that the reef is quite far to swim. It takes a good swimmer about 15-20 minutes, but on days with a strong surge it is very hard to get there. It is better to walk 10-15 minutes to the point and snorkel or swim from there where you are much closer. Also the coral is denser and you will see more coral and fish all the way out.

Do you have a lot of turtle grass?
Close to shore the beach is sandy. We do have turtle grass but you have to swim a little ways before you get to it. Turtle grass is great for the environment, it protects the shore and provides food for turtles and other plant eating species. Turtle grass is also where you see rays, starfish and Queen Conch, baby turtles hiding out as well as many other species.

How far can I walk along the beach?
There is nothing to stop you from walking as far as you have daylight and energy (bring sunscreen to reapply on the tops of your feet and ankles). You cannot do this in Mahahual because the Costa Maya Pier won't allow people to walk along the beach at that point. Other areas south of Mahahual may have Mangrove that gets in the way of your beach combing pleasure.

In February, how many days of the week is the water reasonably calm - calm enough for someone who is not an expert swimmer to swim?
See the section above on Weather and Conditions.

Is there swimming, fishing, or snorkeling from shore or do you have to go out on a boat or dock?
You can swim, fish or snorkel from shore.

I am concerned about the strength of the surf & if the beach is sheltered by the reefs & easy swimming? Does it shelve out gradually?
We have a sandy shore and therefore an ever changing beachfront. Storms can create some pretty strong surge which beats up the shoreline causing some uneven or soft spots. It can even unearth large shells and pieces of coral. Other times the water is like glass and the sand hard and level a long way out.

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Money Questions

Where can I change money?
Most businesses along the Cancun corridor to Tulum will accept US dollars, but most only offer a 10-1 peso exchange. (See link below for the personal currency assistant) Banks offer the best exchange rate and most offer ATM machines. You may also exchange money at a bank in Felipe Carrillo Puerto and will also have access to an ATM machine. The bank is located by the main gas station in town. The best exchange rates for your $ are normally given at a cash machine, a Bank, or at one of the money exchange booths in Cancun, Playa, Tulum, Chetumal or Felipe Carrillo Puerto. The money exchange rate at the airport is very poor. There is an exchange office in Mahahual just off the Malecon in the orange building at the North end of the soccer field.

To find today's exchange rate for the peso, use the XE.com Personal Currency Assistant
NOTE: If you have a pop-up blocker, you will have to disable that feature to access the Currency Assistant.

Once I am at Mayan Beach garden, do you accept credit cards?
We have Internet connection at the beach, which is our only way of accepting credit card payments. If the Internet connection is working we can accept credit card payment via our Merchant account, or PayPal but there is always a chance that we may not have service, your credit card may not be accepted in Mexico or if you are an existing PayPal account holder you will forget your password. Please plan on either paying in advance or bringing enough cash USD or pesos to pay for your stay. If you plan to use an existing PayPal account, you must know your password. PayPal will only allow account holders to use their credit card under a password account - the credit card they have on record may not be used in a "guest" account.

Where is the nearest ATM?
There are several ATMs in Mahahual. The closest is an HSBC at the Mahahual gas station. There are several ATMs in Mahahual along the Malecon and even as far south as Luna de Plata.

Will they accept US dollars in Mahahual?
Yes. While most items are priced in pesos, all places will accept US dollars or pesos but not US coins. They will even accept them in the Gas Station. NOTE: this is not true of all gas stations in the state of Quintana Roo. They will not normally accept Canadian or Euros.

Do gas stations accept credit cards?
Gas stations in Mexico are just starting to take credit cards. The Gas station at the North end of Bacalar takes visa and MasterCard. The gas station in Mahahual recently started accepting credit cards - do NOT hand any attendant your card but walk with them to the machine where they run the card and make sure it is only run once.

Should we buy traveler's checks?
Traveler's checks are not readily accepted in the Southern part of the sate. They are viewed as third party checks and vendors are often charged to exchange them, can't get a very good exchange rate or are forced to wait 90 days for the money. We will take them at Mayan Beach Garden, but they aren't our favorite. We have to hold them until we visit the US. You can easily exchange them in Casa de Cambios in Playa Del Carmen where there is an American Express office, but then, you might as well bring cash. US dollars are accepted almost everywhere, but the exchange rate will not be very good.

Can I exchange money at the airport?
Yes, but there is a Santander Serfin machine by the cash window at customs. Also, there are a couple of cash machines in ticketing. The ticketing or departures area is to your left as you exit immigration and customs. Coincidentally - if you bank with Bank of America, there are no banking fees for using a SAntandar Serfin ATM Machine.

Can you tell me how many pesos it will be to fill up a tank of gas?
That is a loaded question since tanks are of different sizes. Gas is measured in liters in Mexico. The price is set by the government and varies from state to state only by the state's tax base. If you are purchasing 12 gallons (or 48 liters) at 12.1 pesos a liter (price Sept. 19, 2013) you would expect to pay $580 pesos. Please read the driving tips for more information about paying for gas and those "tricky" gasoline attendants. It is best to pay a set amount for gas and have a good idea of how much you are paying for and how much you have in your hand when you go to pay so they don't pull any tricks on you.

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General Questions

When we vacation we always try to help local Charities. Are there some local charities in Mahahual that you can recommend?

Please refer to this webpage on our site for local charities.

Are there lots of mosquitoes?
Winter and spring months are traditionally the best time to avoid mosquitoes. At certain times of the year and depending on the amount of rain that comes during the rainy season, mosquitoes can be annoying at dusk. There is seldom a problem with mosquitoes close to the beach because they just can't fly around in the breeze that is most often present. The breeze has a tenancy to die down right at sunrise and again at sundown. You will notice an increase of mosquitoes at this time, so it is a good idea to bring mosquito repellent if you plan on A) being out at dawn or dusk B) wandering into the jungle away from the beach.

Do you have screens or mosquito nets?
All of the rooms have well maintained screens on the windows, so mosquito nets are not needed in the rooms .

Do you get many tourists from the cruise ships that dock at the Costa Maya port?
Mayan Beach Garden is far enough away from Majahual that you can avoid the crowds that accompany the huge cruise ships. In fact, even though there are tours that go to Uvero (4 km. north of us), you will seldom see anyone because the buses don't go down the beach road at El Placer. Occasionally a few wander in and we try to be friendly, but courteously remind them this is a private beach for Mayan Beach Garden guests.

You mention that there is construction going on -- is it noisy?
We do have minor repairs going on all the time in order to keep MBG in good shape. Any references to construction at Mayan Beach Garden property are out of date. We have tried to remove all traces from the Mayan Beach Garden web site, but there are other web sites who don't update their web pages very often so the information is several years our of date! Many people think we have something to do with that, but most often it is unsolicited. As in all small hotels, we are always fixing up, painting and improving so that your experience here will be one that you will remember.

Do you have testimonials from other guests?
Yes, we have had many guests who have been kind enough to send us pictures of their visits and send unsolicited comments about their experience. Guest book.

Do you allow dogs or other pets?
Yes. We do allow dogs but not cats or other pets due to potential allergies and asthma. There is a $50 damage deposit and $15 per day charge for dogs. Because some guests are afraid of dogs, we ask the the animal be on a leash when on Mayan Beach Garden grounds, that refuse be picked up and that you respect the quiet of others. You will be asked to leave if the dog is an excessive barker or bothers other guests.

Are there other properties near you or are you on an empty stretch of beach?
Mayan Beach Garden is located in the "village" of El Placer. Today there are a few scattered personal residencies that comprise El Placer. However, once you leave the small area of El Placer, it becomes quite isolated.

Do you think hiking shoes are needed or will teva-type water shoes suffice?
You won't need hiking shoes. If you are planning on climbing ruins, or exploring the jungle make sure you have tennis shoes, walking shoes with good gripping soles or sturdy shoe-sandals with socks. We do not recommend flip-flops for visiting the ruins. We do recommend any shoes with good soles that will not slip. Occasionally the steps of the ruins can be slippery or footing less secure. You can walk barefoot on the beach unless you plan on going up into the Sian Ka'an where there are many rocky beaches that are fun to explore.

Is there currently any construction at your resort?
Only minor repairs - hopefully you won't be bothered.

How can I tell when the cruise ships are in Majahual?
Usually the cruise ships are in Mahahual on Monday through Friday during High season (December - end of April) You can find a monthly schedule at Puerto Costa Maya Calendar.

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Updated 10-May-2014

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