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transportation options / taxi fares for Mahahual trip

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
1,257 posts
31 reviews
transportation options / taxi fares for Mahahual trip

We’re booked for Costa Maya for the Christmas holidays. We were planning on using a combo of ADO buses and taxis, but now not so sure. I’m having trouble finding taxi rates to compare to renting a car to decide.

We’re spending the first night in PDC and had planned to take the morning ADO bus to Mahahual. From there we’d take a taxi up to Mayan Beach Garden, where we’re staying for 4 nights. Then we planned to take a taxi to Xcalak (Costa de Cocos), our next destination for 6 nights, then a taxi back to Mahahual where we’ll stay for 5 nights. Our very last night is booked in Cancun on the hotel strip, where we’ll be closer to the airport. We planned to take the ADO bus back up from Mahahual to Cancun (via PDC it would seem), and taxi to the Barcelo in Cancun.

However, wrench in plans, it looks like there is no early bus to Mahahual on the day we planned to leave PDC. We want to leave PDC as early as possible so that we can get to MBG as early as possible. So these are the options I was thinking of:

1. Taking the earliest ADO bus to Limones, then a taxi to MBG. Does the ADO bus always stop there? Is it easy to get a taxi there to take us to MBG? How much would the taxi cost?

2. Taking the earliest ADO bus to Bacalar, then a taxi to MBG. We know the bus stops in Bacalar, and even though some back tracking, is it easier to catch a taxi from Bacalar? How much would the taxi cost from Bacalar to MBG?

3. Taking the earliest ADO bus to Chetumal, then rent a car and drive to MBG etc. We’d drive the car back to Chetumal and take the ADO back up to Cancun.

Any other options I’m missing?

We weren’t really planning to rent a car, as we’re in each area a short amount of time and don’t plan to travel from each place until time to change destinations. So the car would be parked for 4 nights/6 nights/5 nights. However, if the bus/taxi idea is just too complicated/time consuming, then maybe a car would be a better option. I just think I’d rather not have to drive from PDC all the way to Mahahual, hence the renting in Chetumal idea.

What would a taxi run us for the in-between trips from:

MBG to Xcalak?

Xcalak to Mahahual?

What do you think of the logistics of these options? If you can help tell me the taxi fares that may help in the decision.

Edited: 19 September 2018, 20:12
4 replies to this topic
Yucatan Peninsula...
Destination Expert
for Yucatan Peninsula
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9,363 posts
1. Re: transportation options / taxi fares for Mahahual trip

1. Limones is not on the ADO schedule. I've used ADO many times in that region, and never stopped at Limones. I think the 2nd class Mayab bus stops there.

2. Not every ADO bus makes a stop at Bacalar (I've been on buses to Chetumal that didn't stop at Bacalar), so make sure you get on one that does. It would be easy to get a taxi from Bacalar, but I can only make a guess at the fare (several hundred pesos, but probably not more than 1000 pesos).

An option I've used between Mahahual and Chetumal is colectivo (they stop at Bacaclar). A colectivo is a van with seating for about 9 or so passengers (so not very comfortable), and the ones I used on that route had space for luggage (but not a lot of space). The fare between Mahahual & Chetumal was 80 pesos a few years ago (if I remember correcly).

I don't know if any 2nd class buses go to Mahahual -- I don't remember seeing any when I lived there.

Are you aware of the two bus terminals at Playa del Carmen? On the ADO website, you'll see "Turistica" and "Alterna". Buses to Mahahual, Bacalar and Chetumal leave from Alterna on 20th Avenue at Calle 12 (12th Street). The Turistica terminal is on 5th Avenue at Av. Juarez.

Another note about the ADO website... schedules are sometimes not accurate for more than about 4 weeks from the current date, so you can't rely on the December schedule bring 100% accurate until late November. As I look at it now, there's only one afternoon bus to Mahahual from Playa.

Another idea... have you looked at ADO buses from Chetumal or Bacalar to Mahahual (I don't have time to look up all these options)? Would you consider staying a night at Chetumal or Bacalar?

Edited: 19 September 2018, 20:49
Nova Scotia, Canada
Level Contributor
247 posts
11 reviews
2. Re: transportation options / taxi fares for Mahahual trip

I know people here take the buses to get around the Yucatan quite successfully but it's not for me. I've done very similar trips to yours but always rented a car. I'd find it way too stressful hauling suitcases,waiting & relying on taxis & buses in the heat, on the side of the road that may or may not be on schedule.

You may want a car at the MBG ( we've stayed there & loved it) as it's a bit out of town and for me I like to explore the area on my own schedule. Your own car you can visit some Mayan ruins,and explore Mahahual Chetumal,& Bacalar.

There are some concerns on driving in the area you'd need to read up on and who's got the best rates on car and insurance but I swallow the cost of the car and the maximum insurance I can get and consider it just part of my adventures over all cost.

Contact Marcia at the MBG, she'd have the info on the taxi costs around Mahahual and may have other option for you as well.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
1,257 posts
31 reviews
3. Re: transportation options / taxi fares for Mahahual trip

Thank you both for your quick replies!

@MisterB – I have read your responses on transportation questions before, and once again, lots of good info and advice. If we decide to keep to the bus/taxi plan, then I guess we could plan to take the bus from PDC to Mahahual. As a backup, closer to the time, if the early bus straight to Mahahual isn’t scheduled, we could bus from PDC to Bacalar (making sure it is the right bus. On the ADO site I put in from PDC to Bacalar specifically to get the correct times). I don’t think I’d want to bother with collectivos for such a long distance. I’m not sure what another night in Bacalar or Chetumal would get us? Since we’re staying the first night in PDC we can get an early start the next morning. I am aware of the 2 bus stations in PDC, (Likely thanks to something you posted somewhere) I see that the ADO site tells you which one the bus leaves from or arrives to. We’re staying at la Pasion, which is close to Alterna which is where the Bacalar buses run from and most of the Chetumal ones as well. The Mahahual bus leaves from Turistica, which isn’t all that far either. There are 2 buses per day (currently, on the day we want) from Bacalar to Mahahual. It looks like if we catch an early one from PDC we can catch the earlier one from Bacalar. Then of course there’s the reverse trip. Once again, limited buses from Mahahual.

@ReclCom – I totally get what you are saying! The bus system seems pretty extensive around the Yucatan, so I figured it would be easier and cheaper… and less stressful. But it seems complicated. We’ve never rented a car in Mexico. (Ok, well I was part of a group decades ago that did in Puerto Vallarta and we drove all around and up to Sayulita without incident) In Huatulco the taxi’s were so easy and cheap. We have rented in other places. Costa Rica was expensive and rather crazy driving around pot holes and wild life. Twice in Antigua we rented, which was expensive and crazy as well, and on the left to boot. In Antigua last Jan. we drove a LOT going to new beaches every day, so I don’t want to drive so much (if at all) this time… Where else… Turks and Caicos, Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire (with dive gear in the truck and nothing else while you dive or it gets stolen)… My husband lived in Puerto Rico for a short time long ago. That was insane. Hmm… maybe we’d be ok to rent from PDC…. Or maybe at least from Chetumal to reduce the driving distance. The car would need to be returned to Chetumal though, so we’d have to see how early they opened to get a good early start. I looked briefly at car rental prices and they are so much less than other places we’ve been. I’d also have to make sure we’d have parking at our place right in Mahahual (el Fuerte). Driving isn’t without its hassles either. I dunno… All food for thought…. If we decide to rent, then I want to book the car ASAP.

Oh, and I have contacted Marcia about other things, right after we booked. She seems absolutely wonderful and we really look forward to our stay at MBG. Kinda wish we were there the whole time, but it will be nice to see other areas too.

Is a car good enough for Costa Maya up to MBG and down to Xcalak, or do we need higher clearance of an SUV? (We’ve done the whole bottoming out on bad roads in rental cars in other countries. Not fun)

Edited: 20 September 2018, 01:51
Nova Scotia, Canada
Level Contributor
247 posts
11 reviews
4. Re: transportation options / taxi fares for Mahahual trip

The small compact cars we've rented have work fine, you can use Google maps yellow man and drop right down onto the beach road in Mahahual and the road up to and past the MBG to have a look at what you'll be facing.

We've also rented in Costa Rica but there we rented a 4x4 to cruise the country and If you drove in San Jose & around the country you'll have no trouble on the Yucatan. I think our worst driving experience was in Santo Domingo & around the Dominican Republic where red lights don't mean stop and green lights don't necessarily mean go. Similar to Alto on the Yucatan that doesn't mean stop, from my experience I think it means to slow for a bit then floor it or get rear ended.

I know there will be days where you won't need the car but just like at home the convenience of it out weights the cost.Use Google maps and virtual drive your route to see what the roads are like, Once past Tulum its clear sailing with very little traffic on a new highway ( no pot holes )

We've stayed at the City Express Holiday Inn in PDC, it doesn't get great reviews but its been clean and is easy access off the highway and for a night at either end of our stays its worked out fine.

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