Today I biked to the neighboring village Costa Maya to withdraw money with my friend’s credit card, because Mahahual has no ATM.
(It was for her, and also an additional loan for my last days in Mexico. I have successfully transferred money via Western Union, to be picked up in Belize, but I’ll tell more about that further down in this post.)
It was a short but sweet ride. The best news is that I had the wind at my back, and it was so much nicer to bike this way! Tomorrow I’m biking back from the coast, and I’m hopeful that it will be a much more pleasant ride without constantly struggling against the wind.
Costa Maya was an odd experience. I’m pretty sure someone thought “hey, let’s make this the next super tourist resort!”, but something has gone wrong. All the buildings had “for sale” signs, and it was like a complete ghost town.
You could wonder why this of all places had an ATM, but there is ONE place that is alive; a big 4 star hotel named Costa Maya Inn that seems completely out of place.
It was a nice little trip, and I got to add 6 km to my totals.
Except for just relaxing on the beach, reading, writing, one may also do some snorkeling! For 250 pesos, you’re taken out to sea, you get fins, snorkel and mask and get to swim a certain distance with a guide.
In this case, he was a super enthusiastic Mexican-American hotel manager named Marcelo, who needed a change and was now swimming with tourists instead. I think either you’d love him, or you’d find him to be “too much”. Whatever your preference is, he’s certainly a character.
I had not done much snorkeling before, but it was alright! A little grey at times, but very clear sight, as I saw the bottom at a 20 meter depth. Occasionally there were corals with lots of fish of all sizes, which was cool, and the highlight was swimming right next to a huge green turtle (one meter long surely), and it felt like something right out of Finding Nemo.
My two favorite restaurants in Mahahual are Loncheria El Primo and El Salsero Mayor, both on the main street, Huauchinango.
The former has this super tasty burrito (left food pic) for 45 pesos, tacos for only 10 pesos, and a whole liter of fruit juice for 30 pesos.
The latter has a lot of variation, and it’s all less than 70 pesos per meal. In the middle, we have chilaquiles; some kind of nachos covered by sauces and more. On the right, gringas; wheat tortillas with a bunch of ingredients. You could say they are like tacos, but bigger and more filling.
I’ve also tried enchiladas (almost pancakey tortilla rolls covered by sauces) and burgers there.
Now I have enough Mexican pesos for my last few days here, but I will need a good amount of Belizean dollars upon arrival in the new country. So I tried using Western Union, sending 500 SEK + the fee of 25 SEK (a total of around 65 USD). For this, I get to withdraw 117 Belizean dollars at any shop that deals with Western Union. There are three in Corazal; the city closest to the Mexican border.
I compared the currency conversion at XE.com, and learnt that 525 SEK is currently worth 129 BZD, so it’s not too bad! I lose 6 USD on a 65 USD transfer, which seems similar to the fees and conversion fees when using regular ATM’s.
I’ll tell you next week if I managed to withdraw those Belizean dollars or not!