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Rent a car and live a little!
yes, it's a long drive from Cancun, and Merida, closer in Chetumal, but not a lot of flights there right now. So grand youself some freedom and rent a car wherever you land. Yes, you should limit your driving on the 307 to daylight. there's quite a bit of construction on the 307 which can be confusing in the dark...but once you make that turn off to get to Mahahual, the roads are really good, outside of the errant and killer pot hole that can take an axel or at least flatten a tire. So be careful they are pretty easy to spot during the day.
Lots and lots of cabs in mahahual but they seem to disappear when the cruise ships leave...and if you are not staying right in town, you'll be hard pressed to find cell service to call one.
There are a lot of interesting ruins within a couple of hours of Mahahual, and I'm not real sure there are a lot of tours leaving town to see them.
So give youself plenty of time.
Also, the beach road to xcalak is beautiful if you are a fan of sea gazing---but be forwarned, and this may have changed. We saw what we thought was a rope tope (to get you to slow down) at Rio Huatch,, so luckily we did slow down. It was not a rope tope, the rope cutting the ROAD off was down, and we were within feet of going right into the river. so be careful.
Updated Apr 8, 2007
Just outside the Costa Maya complex is a hut selling tickets for the bus. It costs $2/pp for the 10 minute bus ride to the fishing village. You have to buy this ticket. You can't give $2 to the bus driver. The first stop is at a "resort" complex, but the bus will make another stop in the village, two "blocks" from the ocean road. When you are ready to return, there are plenty of taxis for about $2/pp. It's not far to walk, but you have to walk inland, south, and then back out to the ocean. Quite a ways. Just take the bus and relax. The water there is fantastically gorgeous!
Written Dec 8, 2006