Home Columns Expat Insights Part II: How I came to Mahahual

Expat Insights Part II: How I came to Mahahual

by Yucatan Times
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Stewart Rogers is an American expatriate who lived in Belize for two years before relocating to Mahahual, Quintana Roo, where he has lived for the past four years. He is webmaster for the web blog, www.costamayalife.com. The blog is sponsored by a real estate company in Mahahual. He has written a series of four articles on his move to the Caribbean and on lifestyles in Belize and Mahahual. The articles are appearing in The Yucatan Times for four consecutive days. This is Stewart Rogers’ story in his own words:  

I had someone ask me recently: “Would you ever live in Belize again?”  I thought about it for a moment, and I said, “No, I much prefer Mexico, and Mahahual to Belize.”  I explained Belize is a beautiful country and all, but once I set foot in Mahahual, I was hooked.  I lived in Belize for two years, but now, I prefer Mexico.

I left the USA in 2002 for Belize for the first time, after I read a bunch of stuff on the internet about how beautiful the country was, and I also always had an interest in the old Mayan civilization.  I lived in Kich Pan Ha near Orange Walk, an old Mayan ruin that had a lagoon and used to be an artisan settlement for the ancient Mayans.  I lived in the jungle and tried to make a run at the business there for tourists, but the economy was so bad after 9/11, not many tourists came, so I went back to the USA.

After going back to work in the USA, I still could not get Belize and the Caribbean out of my mind, and longed to go back.  So after a friend of mine died, we had planned on going back to Belize some day, and talked about it a lot while we worked together.  He had come to Belize and he wanted to retire there one day.

After he died, I thought I am not getting any younger, and I have no job now, (he owned the business we worked at together, and his family sold the business after he died).  So I said on part 1 of these series, I sold my car, gave a bunch of stuff away and decided to make a go of it in Belize.

In 2009, I caught a flight to Cancun from Greenville, South Carolina and arrived in Mexico.  I went to Playa del Carmen for the first time, and I really liked it and stayed a couple of days.  After a couple days in Playa, I headed out for Belize and the border.

I had decided to try to find something in Corozal, Belize to do.  I had been to San Pedro, San Ignacio, Orange Walk, and practically all of Belize in 2002, and decided Corozal looked like a place for a fresh start.  I lucked out and after a week, I ended up at the Oasis Resort Hotel and a woman from the USA who owned it let me live in a palapa hut on her property, and I started a blog there and helped around the place.

Aerial view of Corozal Town, Belize (Photo: en.wikipedia.org)

Aerial view of Corozal Town, Belize (Photo: en.wikipedia.org)

I got to know a lot of people in Corozal and it is a nice town and everything.  But there was not much going on in the tourist market there, and times were hard.

After a year there, Belize was becoming expensive, much more than I had experienced in 2002, I set out to Mexico to stay in Caldaritas, help out a retired man from Texas, and try to figure out what to do.  While I was there and in Chetumal, people kept telling me I should look into going to Mahahual to find a job.  I had never even heard of Mahahual before, and had no idea what is was like.  I met a guy at the mall one day, from Mahahual, at the Yak sports book watching USA football.  He told me that they were looking for people who speak English in Mahahual because of all the cruise ships and tourists.  He invited me to come for a visit.

My passport was expiring at that time so I had to take a trip to Playa del Carmen to renew my passport.  So I went to Playa del Carmen, stayed a week and looked around to see if there was any work in Playa del Carmen.  I decided I was going to go to check Mahahual out, and see if I liked it or if maybe I could find some thing to do there.

That was the best decision I ever made in my life.  The first morning I was there I was in Fernando’s Hostel and a Mexican man who was there walked by and asked if I was from the USA.  I told him yes, that I was from South Carolina.  He asked me if I wanted a job working with tourists from the cruise ships, he said a lot of the cruise ships were from the southern part of the USA, and he would like to have someone there who knew how to deal with them.  I told him. “Don’t worry I am fluent in Redneck”.  I started working at the port that week.

Well that was three years ago, and I have been in Mahahual ever since.  The man that offered me my job, is still my boss, and he also manages Costa Maya Real Estate, which sponsors my Costa Maya Life web blog.  I am in Playa del Carmen now for a month on vacation, and that is the longest I have been away from Mahahual since I got there three years ago.

Mahahual Boardwalk (Photo: mexicorelax.com)

Mahahual Boardwalk (Photo: mexicorelax.com)

The minute I set foot in Mahahual, I felt like this was the place I wanted to be.  I thought Belize was a beautiful place, but it does not hold a candle to Mahahual.  The beaches are beautiful here, the people very friendly, and the weather is fantastic.  Mahahual is truly a paradise in my eyes and according to my standards.

I get asked a lot from people who find out I have lived in Belize, to compare Belize to Mahahual.  So I have decided to do a series of articles comparing Belize to Mexico.  This is the first installment, and I will continue  with different aspects of life in Belize and Mexico that I have experienced, both good and bad.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Yucatan Times.

By Stewart Rogers


Stewart E. Rogers Jr. originaly from Greenville South Carolina, grew up in Germany, Japan,  and all over the USA. University of South Carolina 1980 BA in Journalism. Now a resident  of Mahahual, after living in Belize for 2 years, he loves the Caribbean, eat, work, live with  Mexicans and Mayas. Loves Mayan ruins and history. Expert on Belize and Quintana Roo. Not your typical expat. Webmaster at www.costamayalife.com.

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1 comment

Linda-Lee McIver March 1, 2016 - 11:28 am

I have now just read your second of a four part series and it’s like a mirror image of my feelings when I went to Quintana Roo both times. I have not felt at home here in Calgary anymore since 2012 and I actually felt homesick both times I left after spending time there with the people and their culture. It is like nowhere else and an amazing jewel to covet and explore.


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