****** Costa Maya-Mahahual Newsletter-September 2015 *****
Costa Maya Newsletter: of
interest to visitors and property owners and anyone looking to learn more about the Costa Maya, Mahahual /
Majahual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrero - Xcalak and
other points along Quintana Roo's Southern Coast
Editorial- Closed Mondays
You may have noticed that Mahahual is dead on Mondays. I will get to that in a minute, but first - it has been almost a YEAR since I have mailed out a newsletter. During the dry spell, so many things have happened in Mahahual you might not believe it. The biggest change is now that the entire state of Quintana Roo is now eastern time instead of Central. I feel like I can sleep in every day!
Three new hotels have opened since last Semana Santa and several Condominiums are in the works. The reason for this is that the hotels are booked every weekend. The restaurants are busy and people are enjoying the beach. Mahahual has become a Cruise ship destination Tuesday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday a place where Mexicans flock for weekend vacations.
That leaves dead Monday. Very few restaurants are open and many simple things like the Pharmacy and bakeries are often closed. People need a day off and since everyone works Saturdays and Sundays, you can't blame them for closing. But if you want to go out to eat. . . ?
"So who is open on Mondays" one might ask (besides Mayan Beach Garden. . . we are always open)? Dr. Dive is usually open and if you want lunch in Mahahual, hotel restaurants and No Och Kay are usually open. But there are some new players, like Ibiza Sunset and a couple of Pizza places that are open. Check out the new comings and going section in Mahahual to see who is now open. The selection of restaurants has doubled in the last year, which is fun. -- just manage your expectations on Mondays
What isn't fun is the sargasso that has made its presence something you can't ignore. In fact there is a musical group that has formed called the "Sargass-holes" so that even after the sargasso runs its course, we will always remember this year.
Those of you who have visited this year have seen it. Its appalling to see it extended out into the water for many yards. ARGH!!!!! how can you stay on top of it? More about the Sargasso in the newsletter. Those of you who remember the February of 2012 where we had an unusual occurrence of Sargasso will appreciate that this year we have had it nonstop since September of 2014. We've had a few good days where there wasn't any, but over all it has been a problem throughout the Caribbean. You can read more about it in the body of the newsletter.
Make sure and read the section on Mahahual . . .if you remember the many promises and plans that I've reported in the past, a few are really going to happen, including the sports dome and the water park. This information is covered in the body of the newsletter.
Lastly, I will be moving to a different form a communication, namely a Blog. That should make it easier to find information from past newsletters and I can update the newsletter as things happen instead of monthly. the truth is, an entire newsletter is difficult to put together, but blogs can be updated frequently. I will send a link in a week or two so that you can sign up for the blog.
Your Costa Maya Neighbor,
Marcia Bales. . .writing this from Placer and Mayan Beach Garden Inn - 20 km north of Mahahual on a recently paved beach road. .
Past newsletters can be found at NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES
Sign up for up-to-date info at Costa Maya-Mahahual Live Blog with updates and current events
mahahual and Costa maya news
Calendar of events in Mahahual
- Jats'a Ja 2015 July 31, 1st and 2nd of August
- Wahoo de Plata Tournament -- 27 - 29th of November
- Next Cruzando Fronteras - dates to be announced, first week of March 2016
Arrival of the Dome . . .
Few will argue that Mahahual is a slice of paradise. As a result, it is a fact that the number of visitors and residents have increased recently so that you no longer know who is a resident and who is a tourist . It is also a fact that the government has put money into the infrastructure bringing water and electricity to both tourist areas and KM 55.
Now, it seems that there is going to be a sports dome. Originally it was planed to be located in KM 55. But something odd happened, on the last day of Cruzando fronteras Trucks came with pile of Sascab and began piling it on the North-West corner of the football field. Only shortly before starting work did anyone find out that it was going to be in the center of the town. The football field is used for many things besides soccer, such as parking and activities for events.
Below is a picture of a standard dome that is build throughout Quintana Roo.
Building the Dome in the football field, has caused opinions for and against. Mostly against. It should be emphasized that no one objects to its construction. The debate revolves around the ideal place to install the structure. The 14 families that live in the center of town argue that the dome should to be built on the football field, while the 124 families that live in KM 55 maintain it should be built there. Originally the authorities promised a public consultation around where best to place the dome, but it was never done. Further argument for the placement in KM 55 is the recently complete House of Culture and the new Primary school. However, according to Fernando of 100% Agave, he said the permits were never granted to put the dome in KM 55, and no one wants it by the Alcaldia's office, which was plan C.
Those opposed to the dome being in the futbol field do so primarily for aesthetic reasons. Back in 2005 there was a plan to turn the futbol field into a park with a cultural center and meeting spaces. With a green, red and white metal dome on the NW corner, it will hardly look like the Costa Maya Development plan of white buildings and Palapa rooftops. . Below is a picture of the dome taken just before Jats'a Ja which had plans for most of the events to be taken place in the dome. The roof was up, but the floor didn't have the finish concrete, so the dancers had a tough time on the rough surface.
Almost finished dome with Jats'a ja event ready to go. . . . .
Malecon extended in April 2015
With an investment of $19 million pesos, the 3rd phase of the Malecon was completed shortly before Semana Santa of 2015. The new Malecon doubles the length of the 1st phase but allows cars and has a wide sidewalk for pedestrians. That means that when you go south on the beach road, it will still be slow going, but not for the same reason. The road is very narrow although it is a two lane road.
It is noteworthy that the proposed extension of the Malecón includes stamped concrete similar to the 1st phase, signage, landscaping , street furniture, street lighting, and pedestrian walkway. Power and water were extended down the road. it looks very nice and is inviting, however as in many cities, there is no longer street side parking. Businesses like Luna de Plata have arranged adjacent lots for their customers to park.
Mahahual Water Park
I've mentioned the Water Park a few times, but now the park is not only under construction but is rising above the tree-tops. It is planed to have three restaurants, river, zip lines, mountain coaster, water games, 9 water slides and pools. Currently 200 people are working to reach the December 2015 deadline. All visitors to the coast will be able to visit and participate in the water park, not just cruise ship visitors..
The park can accommodate 1000 visitors a day. Or so they say in the online news sites.
But coming to the Costa Maya means sharing the beach or facilities with only a few people. . . or is it a sign that things are changing. . .
|ADO returns to Mahahual
The ADO bus has returned to Mahahual with two routes. The journey no longer uses one of the larger buses, but a smaller 16 persons 1/2 bus that is quite comfortable and has videos to watch all in Spanish. The terminal is now Fernando's little liquor store - Solo Chelas. It is located on Huachenango on the block north of the futbol field. Tickets can be purchased there up to a week in advance. The times it leaves Mahahual are 7:00 AM in the morning and 5:10 in the evening. Solo Chelas is not open in the morning so you will need to pay the driver direct, but the downside of that is that you won't be able to get a reserved seat all the way to Cancun, so I recommend purchasing it in advance if you are catching a plane. This is a direct to Cancun with stops in Tulum and Playa del Carmen. I took the sunday morning bus without purchasing a ticket and found it only had 3 empty seats, so had the morning been busier I would have been out of luck.
You can book tickets on line, but there seems to be an error. You must book the ticket to Cancun instead of Cancun Aeropuerto. However, once you search for the route, it comes up with Aeropuerto. If you put the Cancun Airport into the search, the result is 0. I don't know how long this will continue.
Leaving Mahahual to Cancun: 7:AM and 5:10 PM with stops in Tulum and Playa del Carmen and Airport upon request
Leaving Cancun down town to Mahahual: 6 :45 AM and 3:30 PM with stops in Tulum and Playa del Carmen and airport for the afternoon run
NEW COMBI SCHEDULE to Felipe Carrillo Puerto
Daily now there is a new combi schedule to Felipe Carrillo Puerto. This will aid those that want to head toward's Cancun. For early flights out of the Cancun Airport, there is one leaving Mahahual at 5:45 AM. I"ll test the service to Carrillo in about a week and let you know the round trip. From Carrillo to points north, you can transfer to an ADO or Mayab to Playa del Carmen. This is super good news.
NOTE: the service stops at the Van depot, not the bus depot. This is about a block's walk. If you have tons of luggage, you may have to pay a taxi to transport your luggage for you, or pay someone hanging around the van station to walk the distance for you. The image below is accurate as of 9-Sept-2015 and as everything in Mexico is subject to change.
Combi (Van) schedule Chetumal - Mahahual and Mahahual
|Salidas de Mahahual a Chetumal
Horarios / No. de transporte
06:00 am 150
07:00 am 151
08:00 am 153
09:00 am 167
11:00 am 89
01:00 pm 151
03:00 pm 150
04:00 pm 153
05:00 pm 167
06:00 pm 89
Teléfonos para reservaciones:
No. de transporte / Teléfono
150 (+52) 918.104.22.1687
151 (+52) 922.214.171.124
167 (+52) 9126.96.36.199
89 (+52) 9188.8.131.522
153 (+52) 9184.108.40.2063
|Salidas de Chetumal a Mahahual
Horarios / No. de transporte
06:00 am 167
08:00 am 89
10:00 am 151
11:00 am 153
12:00 pm 150
02:00 pm 167
04:00 pm 89
05:00 pm 151
07:00 pm 150
08:00 pm 153
Mahahual Restaurants and Businesses - Old and New
Its hard to list the beach restaurants and businesses in Mahahual any more because they are changing rapidly. The standbys (some of which are shown below) continue year after year. Others come and go. I know that most people go to the same restaurants every time, but there are a lot to try. Polly and I decided to meet in Mahahual for lunch and start at one end and work to the other. What seemed like an easy task turned out to be difficult. We found many weren't open, had bad service, dirty bathrooms (I like a clean bathroom) or lied to us about the fish they served, telling us that the Oriental Bass fillets were Abadejo or Lion Fish. If they didn't have anything other than We found National Beach Club, Caballo Blanco and Sulumar told us the truth about the fish. At some point, we gave up and went back to our old favorites, but vow some day to give a more complete evaluation. .
If you notice the photos of the beachfront restaurants below, there are some new ones along with the old stand-by's. The Diving Burrito is located in the Old Tapas location, The Krazy Lobster is located in the old Mahahual Restaurant Location and the Tipsy Turtle is located in the location of the the Oxtankah restaurant. I can't say that the cute names will make them good restaurants, but quite a few of my guests as been to the Krazy Lobster and they all said the waiters are very friendly and no complaints about the food. (note. . . most of the pictures were taken on a Monday morning at 9:00 AM and only Caribbean's Life and 40 Cannones appeared to be open at that time - although I saw some movement at ) Green Iguana.
Karlita's is currently closed with plans to reopen in October, so there is no photo included. Karla says she is making changes, but here wonderful pastries and coffee will still be available. All the photos above are on the beach, but I thought I would take a photo of some of the businesses and restaurants on Huatchenango. I wish I had taken all of them. . . I don't like to exclude anyone. You may not recognize all of these. El Primo is a very Mexican style restaurant. The tacos are delicious. I have to say that is all I've tried. Solo Chelas is Fernando's Liquor store. I threw that in so that you could see what the ADO office looks like. El Izote is in the same block and is often full of locals. I haven't tried it. Ole Paella is Freddy's restaurant serving Spanish food and very good Paella. El Katrachito serves Mexican food, tortas, Burritos and tacos lunch and dinner. Don't expect great service, you might have to ask for things like napkins and silverware, but I thought the burritos were good. Last of all is the new Devino's Italian restaurant. There are actually two locations, one here and one in the Casitas where the old Aroma's used to be located. My guests have liked their flame baked Pizza.
Below are a few businesses that you may not know exist. Cafe Colonial is on one of the streets perpendicular to the Malecon. Located on the same street is the Panaderia. On another of the parallel streets is located the Fish Spa, where you can sit down and have little fish nibble at your calluses. Can't wait to try it. It is the perfect gift for someone you love. Probably not open on Mondays. Also pictured below is the new catholic church which is shown peaking out beneath the dome. This used to be a quaint wooden shack with a wooden cross out front. Below right is just one of the new condo projects going up. This is adjacent to National Beach club. The neighborhood is changing!
littlefeet.orG - save the turtles on the costa maya . . .
I've long been jealous because Akumal has a wonderful turtle preservation organization and Mahahual has nothing. In the past, we here on the Costa Maya can only watch as the turtles lay their eggs, hoping to catch the nests hatching and save a few turtles in the process. We aren't trained to help nests in trouble.
Kayla Noble (she is the grand-daughter of Marilyn Marshall) is working with Little Feet Environmental to fund such a project. She has been going up and down the coast marking nests with GPS and dating them. Its been exciting to see some interest.
The Costa Maya is Littlefeet Environmental’s first grassroots marine turtle conservation project. It begins on the 12th of October and goes for one month. If you are interested , you have the opportunity to receive your PADI qualifications (if you aren't already certified) while initiating In-Water Surveys to research marine turtle populations in the largest coral reef atoll in the Northern hemisphere, the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve along with Sian Ka'an Marine World Heritage Site and Xcalak National Marine Park.
In Banco Chinchorro you will be able to work with the local fisherman and live with them in small huts stilted above the crystal clear Caribbean Sea while a family of American Crocodiles hang out below! Not a single photo could do this place any justice, it's something you'll need to see and explore for yourself!
If you are unable to participate in this fun adventure, you can donate to the cause. Donations are mostly used for gasoline to pay for marking and documenting nests.
In addition, Kayla is working to get locals involved up and down the beach. Please think of helping the turtles on the beaches of Costa Maya. With the extra Sargassum this year, they could really use help. http://www.gofundme.com/mahahualturtles
Contact Andy who is currently working in Xcalak: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kayla Nobel: email@example.com
working out of Mahahual
Mayan Beach Garden - New at MBG
Beer Distributorship at Mayan Beach Garden
||Just a reminder . . . Mayan Beach Garden now is in partnership with Modelo whose brands include Corona, Modelo Especial, Leon, Pacifico and Victoria. We are the Modelo distributors from Rio indio to Punta Herrero. That means that you can buy beer by the case at the lowest prices available here at Mayan Beach Garden. We had so many problems getting a liquor license, and there was no distributor for this area, so we finally bit the bullet and decided this was the only way we could get our license. We need your help to keep the license, which means volume sales, so if you are staying in a house in the area you can now buy your beer locally . We carry Pacifico, Leon, Victoria, Modelo especial light and dark and Montejo in cans. We can deliver to your house and we offer a discount if you pick up here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for orders and delivery.
More New Mosaics
Mayan Beach Garden has added yet another floor mural this year. Now, all but one of our rooms has a mosaic floor mural. The one shown below is the floor of our Beachfront Suite.
Homes available through Mayan Beach Garden Vacation Rentals
Over the last few months, Mayan Beach Garden has added a few new homes to its list of rentals. Some of these are located on the best beaches on the Costa Maya. Others offer quiet and magical seclusion. If it turns out to be true that 2016 will be a banner year - please make sure you get homes reserved early. Spring is already quite full in the housing rental market in the Costa Maya. In addition to the homes below, the perennial favorites Casa Porto Vino, Taj Majahual, Casa Que Canta and Casa Las Brisas all will house at least 8 persons, so if you have a group make sure you keep those in mind!
Casa Caribe Azul and Casa Joya Escondida (both on Sapphire Beach in Placer)
Casona Palms (in Uvero) and Yum Botic (in Uvero)
Casa Azucar (in Rio Indio) and Casa Maria (South Placer)
Casa Porto Vino and Taj Majahual
Reminder - Maya Beach Garden Restaurant is open to the public
I frequently get asked if Mayan Beach Garden restaurant is open to the public. The answer is YES! We run our business much like a supper club with a menu of the day (with limited options to choose from). The menu changes every day. Check us out! Menu of the day Calendar
NEW! Create and Cocktails at Mayan Beach Garden.
Create & Cocktails
Starting this fall, you will be able to spend a fun afteroon doing creative activities, enjoying tapas and a cocktail while visiting and laughing with Friends. Yours Truly (Marcia, if you don't know) will be your first teacher and we will be doing different creative activities. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and to reserve your spot. The first event will be on Monday Sept. 14th at 2:00 and because we will be working out the kinks, it will be only 200 pesos and include paints, canvas, your first cocktail and snacks.
Spear Fishing teams up with Mayan Beach Garden
More Info on Mayan Beach Garden and spear fishing. . .
Those of you who may have wanted to learn how to spear fish with an expert - the time is now here. Mayan Beach Garden is partnering with Victor and Kimberley from Mahahual Ecotours. Those who would like a Spear fishing experience and stay at MBG can now get a package deal with fishing and lodging combined.
Spear Fishing is the ultimate in sport fishing. The use of tanks for Spear fishing is illegal in Mexico, but free diving and snorkeling is completely legal. Mike has all the permits needed to take you either from shore or boat snorkel. With a few tips, you'll find you can stay down longer and even maybe spear some fish.
Nature gone amuck - What is it with all the sargassUM anyway?
For a year now, the Costa Maya has had more Sargasso than normal. The first hint that something was not normal was when we found dark brown Sargassum weed in the waves last August. I read up on it and found that early in 2014 Galveston and other locations in the gulf of Mexico had mountains of it while we had none in 2013. We had a guest here that was a manager of a large Hotel in Galveston and confirmed that it was horrible and they basically had to use front end loaders to move the sargassum which was just replaced the following morning.
No one is absolutely certain as to where all the sargassum is coming from and what is causing it, but there are a lot of theories. Most of the Mexican Caribbean coast is socked in, but a few locations, primarily points, have been spared. The picture of Rio Indio to the right shows how bad it is in some areas. The currents bring it in and sometimes take it out.
In Early July, we received a huge influx. Large islands as big as football fields floated onto the shores of from Cancun to Roatan. Since then, we have been fighting the mountains of sargassum because nature is not providing currents that would normally take it away.
There are a lot of benefits to Sargasso, most importantly it is a breeding ground for small fish, turtles and other sea life. Sargasso makes great fertilizer and you can even eat it. Cancun and Puerto Morelos are dumping their sargasso in Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Puerto Morelos Both locations are turning it into rich natural and cheap fertilizer.
Several articles have reported the influx - if you haven't heard about it, you might want to read some of these informative web sites.
Useful Link for importing Goods into mexico
Importing items into Mexico. Cervera, an international importation company located in Mexico, handles all the paperwork, logistics and legal issues regarding importing items into Mexico. They have been around since 1946 and their web site is in both English and Spanish. I found this web site to be lacking in real information, but they have offices in Merida, Cancun and Progresso and there is ample contact info on the web site Most of you only want to import a few household items or a vehicle, but this also applies to items for resale. They handle logistics, insurance and some other items you might not be thinking about.
This was forwarded to me from another reader. I have no experience with this organization, so cannot vouch for them.
Calls without borders
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s Telcel was forced by competitors to “eliminate” the Mexico-U.S. border and allow mobile users to call from Mexico to the U.S. and vice versa for just a small charge.
Telcel, Mexico’s dominant wireless telephone company, is a unit of Slim-controlled América Móvil. It said July 16 that under the plan “Telcel Sin Frontera” (Telcel Without Border), mobile users can call and text to the U.S. without paying long distance charges, and when they travel to the U.S. they will be able to use their minutes, messages and MBs just as they would in Mexico, with no roaming charges.
Telcel charges a monthly service fee of 50 Mexican pesos (around US$3) for the “Telcel Sin Frontera” plan which subscribers can activate in Mexico or the U.S.
“We are eliminating the border between Mexico and the U.S. In terms of communications, it will be one region,” Daniel Hajj, America Móvil’s CEO and Slim’s son-in-law said.
I will be signing up for the new plan and let you know how it works. It requires a contract with Telcel to take advantage of the plan.
What to do if you loose your passport
It is probably your worst travel nightmare. . . you set your purse down for just a minute, and the next thing you know it is gone . . . along with all of your identification and all the family passports. . .
A lot of you may not be aware, but I'm a Warden for the US consulate and have been since 2003. Anyone living in Mexico full time can apply to be a Warden. Usually it doesn't require much, but it is important to be able to inform others about the policies and procedures. The primary issue that occurs is lost passports. My responsibility is to pass information on so people can help themselves. With that in mind, I had some guests that lost their passport in Bacalar and wrote this informative letter that spelled out the steps they went through. I thought you might be interested in what they had to say:
Thanks so much for all of your help with our lost purse situation. We are home! I really can't express my gratitude enough!
The play by play of lessons learned (aside from the obvious... don't put all your eggs in one basket and for goodness sakes don't leave that basket in a park with a crowd of teenagers) is:
Step 1: For a police report you need to go to a minesterio publico and if no one is home locally they are probably in chetumal. It will cost between $115 mxp and $150 mxp to get a formal report. They may ask you to pay the fee at a bank but if you look pathetic and desperate enough they may be willing to do it even if banks are closed. They REALLY insist on SOME form of ID to create the report - emailed copies of an expired passport or even your friend's ID seems to work. They will put lots of stamps on the report. :).
Having a police report will allow the immigration office at airport give you a new visa without chArging you. Also may help with insurance if that is needed.
Step 2 --passport replacement. This happens at consular agency. Can be in Cancun (or Merida as per your experience). If going through Cancun you need minimum 24 hours. Email at least a day before and you may be considered "urgent" and ok for walk in. They emailed me back even over the weekend. They had the form to fill out ( and appreciated the copies of police report and birth certificate that we had though they would have liked copies of the passports...)--I think at the very least they require SS#s for each person. Fee is $135 adult $105 child and must be paid in cash but can be in mxp$. Then you will also need passport photos ( they will direct you to a shop about 5 km away which opens around 9:30) $120 mxp and then also a Santander bank (across the street ) to pay for a courier $120 mxp per person to take paperwork to Merida. Then you bring the passport photos and the bank receipt back to the consular agency and they will package it up and you will pay the fee and they will send it off to Merida to get processed.
Step 3: Next day you pick up the package at a paqueteriA in downtown cancun. It is a temporary (3 mo) passport as you know. They will send a letter with it and a form to get new photos and a totally new valid passport.
Step 4: THEN, When you get to the airport, you get into the immigration line if your visa is lost as well. Bring a copy of the police report for the office (one copy for every lost visa) or they will send you to ask the airline to make the copy which could take a very long time. If you have no police report they will charge $27 ea. for a replacement.
Then with your brand new temp passport and your new visa you will be able to board the plane and fly home!
Thanks again for all your help. I appreciate both the phone support and technical support and even more so the moral support! You made a tough time much easier--starting from the moment you said "oh I'm so sorry that happened!" If there's anything we can do for you please let us know!"
NOTE FROM MARCIA: When I needed an emergency passport, I went to Cancun office where they called the Consulate in Merida. Rather than wait the extra day and delay my trip another day, I drove same day to Merida, got the temporary passport and drove back to Cancun, completely everything in one day so that I could leave the next day. The office in Cancun was very helpful making a report for me and telling me about the photos which I picked up and took with me to Merida. Everything went very smoothly.
news around Mexico, Quintana Roo and the yucatan peninsula
Latest on Yucatan to Florida Ferry and Ferry to Cuba
United Caribbean Lines will offer Ferry Service to Cuba from Florida starting in the fall of 2015*, with future service to include Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. http://www.unitedcaribbeanlines.com/
The web site is now up and operational. You may go to the site to sign up for the email list.
The web site states that in mid 2015, there will be an announcement regarding Mexico Ferries from Florida. Originally , the Ferry was scheduled to leave from Tampa, but plans are in the making for stops in Florida ports such as the Port of Miami, Tampa Bay, and Port Everglades. The proposed schedule will have ships departing Florida at 6pm, arriving in Havana at 7am the following day. Ships will depart Havana at 6pm and arrive in Florida at 7am the following morning. Final schedules to Cuba will be announced after approval and confirmation from US and Cuban authorities.
Plans are also underway to obtain a license which will allow a trip Cancun to Havana. Would be fun for all the gringos in the Yucatan for a great getaway to Cuba without flying.
Quintana Roo Changes to Eastern Time Zone (with no Daylight savings time)
On February 1st if 2015m /Mexico introduced new time zones. Quintana Roo changed to Eastern Time zone and eliminated Daylight savings time. What that means for travelers coming in and out of the state, during the summer months, we will be on Central time and during the Winter months we will be Eastern time. If you live here the clocks never change when it normally changes to daylight savings.
There were other changes as well. If you look at the map to the left, all the turquoise area remained central time, the pale pink became Mountain and the pale green became pacific time zone. Two states, Sonora and Quintana Roo do not have daylight savings.
I announced a couple of years ago that this was going to happen, but didn't know the dates. In fact, I thought it was like many things in Mexico that are announced and never happen. In this case, it came as a surprise as it was announced in January.
I'm pretty happy with the time change. . . i love the extra hour to sleep in and the extra hour in the afternoon to enjoy the light. i think it is safer for drivers planning on driving down to Mahahual from Cancun and also I believe there will be savings in electricity. While not everyone feels the same, I think most people are in favor.
New Inter-Municipio Garbage dump
Not tall far from Rancho Km 5 where they have lovely organic eggs and greens, there is a new Bacalar-Othon P. Blanco landfill that will be shared by inhabitants of Xcalak, Costa Maya, and surrounding areas. The dump will be located in an area of five hectares, near the ejido Cafetal. I've watched for months while trucks with fill have been driving in and out of the the area where the dump was. I knew it was something impressive, but only lately realized that it is the garbage dump. The dump has a leach field, a covered with a geotextile layer and geomembrane 1.5 mm thick. You can't just drive in and dump your trash. There is a booth for the control and monitoring and three wells made specifically to monitor ground water. Xcalak and Mahahual generate 10 tons of garbage a month: “With this, the problem of garbage and Mahahual Bacalar be resolved. In addition, it seeks to avoid affecting the water table,This was news to me, but the life of open dumps is a maximum of 5 years, although some are expanded over and over again, which endangers the groundwater. I'm not sure if this is considered an "open dump" or something more permanent. Either way, I feel it is good news that garbage is being handled responsibly. Now if they could just get some recycling going. . . . .it would be far more responsible.
Mexico Real estate agents must have mandatory training, license
Beginning January 2016, all real estate agents in Quintana Roo will be required to have mandatory training and proper licensing before being allowed to legally buy and sell real estate as a professional agent. The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing will be offering the new licenses. Courses for real estate agents in the state of Quintana Roo will begin August 15th of 2015. Certification will include courses on accounting, finance and law and will take 3 months to cover. The law went into effect in March of 2015. Some agents are already licensed. as members of AMPI, (Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios) or Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals..
This law aims to keep track of the consultants in the state engaged in the sale of real estate, and determines that from now on, these consultants must have accreditation and license to practice.
If caught practicing without license, the individual could be fined up to 66,000 pesos (4,400 USD), by the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing of the State of Quintana Roo (Seduvi), secretariat responsible for regulating the practice.
I hope the training includes a section on ethics. Many of you were shocked when a local Real Estate Agent was accused of misappropriating ernest money funds and even failing to pay owners the full value of their properties, or selling lots and homes without informing the owners. I don't believe a license is going to stop this kind of behavior, but at least there will be some standards or behavior, best practices and an agency that one can take grievances to. This is welcome news.
My recommendation for those looking to buy or sell their lots is to look for someone with this new license.
Modernization of Chetumal Airport
The federal government announced early in 2015 that they had allocated an investment of 41,740,000 million pesos this year to continue the modernization of Chetumal International Airport, a project that includes the extension of the runway by 500 meters, and extending the passenger building, in compliance with international standards in aviation in order to be able to receive larger aircraft.
The current airport can only process one flight at a time, but with the improvement, they say they will be able to handle 2 simultaneously, in addition, handle larger airplanes.
Don't expect this to create a boom in tourism. The proposed investment will enable more then 50,000 passengers a year. they didn't say how many are traveling now. Only that the current Chetumal airport only handles 1% of the traffic in the peninsula and Cancun processes 16 million passengers per year. Any increase in air traffic and airlines competing with each other should cause prices to drop.
Quintana Roo Drivers Run More Red Lights
Ever wondered if it is normal to run red lights in Mexico? Apparently it is normal in Quintana Roo where the driving violations are double or more than the national average. Since there aren't that many traffic lights in the state compared to Mexico City, for example, make sure and watch those stoplights.
Gambling in Quintana Roo? Study underway
Mexico’s gaming regulatory body in SEGOB (The Interior Ministry) has confirmed that there is a project underway which would see Las Vegas style casino complexes being built in three zones: the Riviera Maya, Acapulco and Baja California.
The Ministry of Tourism, the Executive Office of the Presidency and the Ministry of Economy are looking to create large scale gaming zones in order to attract foreign investment into Mexico.
In a press conference Director General of Gaming and Raffles María Marcela González Salas said that the new permits would allow a total of up to 775 casinos in each zone However, whether it would actually reach this number would depend on both local and foreign investment.
The objective of the new law is not, she said, to pave the way for a large expansion of gaming but rather to focus gaming in specific tourist zones and curb the growth of gaming in urban centers. She also underlined the fact that there was still time to include the project in Mexico’s new gaming law which could be considered by the Senate later this month. This was after the House of Representatives finally approved the new Federal Betting and Raffles Law in December last year. The new law aims to regulate the gaming industry more efficiently, safeguard the rights of players and make the licensing process more transparent.
Southwest Air takes over AirTran’s Mexico and Caribbean flights
Southwest Air will be another option for US passengers this travel season as the airline adds two international schedules to their flight route. Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins announced that the company will be taking over AirTran’s international schedule and likely expand to add new destinations, however, there are no concrete plans just yet.
He explains, “We have precious slots and we have big plans. We’re pretty much everywhere we want to fly in the U.S. (and that) the airline can now start drawing new lines between very strong dots that are already on the map and Orange County is definitely one of those.”
Travelers wanting to head to Mexico and beyond this season can now add Southwest Air to the list of airlines as the carrier will be making Cancun, Los Cabos and Mexico City regular daily destinations. The airline will also be adding several new stops in the Caribbean.
As of November 2, Southwest Airlines will provide service to Mexico City and Punta Cana.
Service to San Jose and Costa Rica will begin March 7, 2015.
The company has already begun its international service into Cancun, Aruba and Montego Bay.
Preparations for the tourist boom
The president of Othon P. Blanco, Abuxapqui Espinosa, urged hoteliers, restaurateurs, tourism service providers and the general population to prepare to become great tour hosts, because he said the best time for Chetumal and Costa Maya tourism is coming.
Alberto Pérez Barrios, Municipal Director of Tourism announced that Volaris will begin flights to Chetumal, while the Maya Mahahual Water Park will employ 100 to 150 people.
In addition, my Mexico City guests tell me that Mahahual has become a very popular place for Mexican tourists . . . it is becoming the "new" place to go.
NEWS FROM XCALAK
XCALAK POLLY What's New in Xcalak:
We had a very successful spay and neuter clinic here in Xcalak. Dr Guillermo Alvarado Gonzalez from Mexico City spent 10 days with us and we have 43 dogs/ cats that will not be reproducing and adding to a "too many dogs" problem.
He also did many consults and minor surgeries. Clipped nails checked teeth and many and much more.
The Vet charged 400 pesos per animal, we had donations enough to pay for half of the dogs/cats and we thank you generous people for that. We also want to thank our Delegado and his wife for all their help.
We found great volunteers amongst the teenagers in the Pueblo, in particular Esperanza, Dalton and Armando. When he finished here he went up to Mahahual and did a successful clinic there with the help of volunteers from Mahahual.
Dr Guillermo is hopefully returning in November to us in Xcalak and to Mahahual.
||The end of last year was a time for us to say goodbye to Andy Saunders. He spent some time in hospital in Minnesota before returning "home" to Xcalak. Ruth said he wanted to be here, and when the inevitable happened and she was here on her own she to didn't want to leave. Her family came and she reluctantly put Sandwood Villas on the market. She worried about her dogs as she spoiled them, wanted them to be with dog people. The property sold quickly, we had a farewell pizza evening at Costa de Coco's and reminisced about the many years of parties and fun.
You are remembered with much fondness..
Took the girls to Xahuayxol, saw a big family of Coatis crossing the road so stopped. I have this big silly grin on now. Its so long, maybe two years since I saw a family this big, used to see them all the time. So, between 30,40 all sizes. Many, many babies, juveniles, the big adults, no hurry, just crossing from left to right. Maybe since its so dry now they had been at a cenote. Beautiful, its made my day, week, month.. I stopped on the way back to see the orchids, well, amazingly they are still blooming. They were first brought to my attention the February before last and they haven't stopped blooming. Then coming into town on the left hand side of the wetlands,there were birds, birds and more birds.
So glad I went today.
Xcalak businesses, Contact info and Events
The following list was compiled by a kind Xcalakean who was kind enough to send it along for all of you to read:
Costa de Coco's is open for 3 meals every day (365 days a year) from 7am until late evening. Special orders are never a problem, just send in your requests. They also deliver pizza to your beach home in Xcalak. They have a Full bar, Artisan-home brewed beers and their very own Home Distilled Moonshine (both available by the case or bottle at www.mangomoonshining.com ) . They are also working on a vodka and should be ready very soon! They have 16 cabana rooms and are looking for agents to book rooms for them in Mexico City. The dive operation will be open in October with a 2 tank dive for $80usd. Also offering snorkeling, day trips to San Pedro or Bird Island and Fly-fishing for a full or half day. http://www.costadecocos.com/cocos.html
Leaky Palapa has changed their name to Leaky Palapa Catering Co.The following is directly from the girls at Leaky Palapa:
We will be hosting weekly club events at the restaurant, starting with a Traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. As well we will be offering onsite and offsite catering for parties of 8 or more... Let us make your dinner party a great event !
For info or to become a supper club member email us at email@example.com
The Diving Chicken Open Saturday -Thursday 6:30 -10 pm for Hamburgers and hot dogs and french fries and Sundays 8am-2pm for the Chicken Special! Locally raised Rotisserie Chicken, rice, beans, slaw and sauce for 130mxn, either pick it up or they will deliver to your Beach house in Xcalak, just order by Friday firstname.lastname@example.org. Just around the corner from Dos Hermanos store at the Futbol field.
XTC Dive Center & Coral Bar & Grill XTC Dive Center is a PADI 5 star IDC Resort; they offer diving for all experience levels as well as training from Open Water up to Instructor and Technical Diving. In-water activities include paddle boards, kayaks, snorkeling trips, fly fishing, night dives and Banco Chinchorro excursions as well as cultural extensions to San Pedro, Belize. The Coral Bar & Grill is now offering breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as after hours bar 7 days a week, coming soon are movie nights in their movie theater, barbecue nights, wine tasting's with their sommelier and much more. For more information and upcoming events, check their web site or Facebook Page: www.xtcdivecenter.com
Other Businesses' in Xcalak:
Ecolocos, the renewable energy company of Tamara Lashbrook, is now based in Xcalak. Tamara holds professional certificates in off-grid and grid-tie residential and commercial photovoltaic systems. Ecolocos provides the following services in the Riviera Maya: renewable energy system design and installation (both battery-based and grid-interactive); equipment sales; system maintenance, repairs and upgrades; site assessments and architectural consultations for new construction. Tamara can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
SANCEN Natural Cleaning Products is soon moving its laboratory to Xcalak, as well. SANCEN house cleaning products are biodegradable, biocompatible and non-toxic. Products include Dish Soap, Laundry Wash, Soft Scrub, Wood Cleaner, Glass and Window Cleaner, Kitchen Cleaner and Multi-purpose cleaner. You can find more information about each product at www.greentulum.com/products. Contact Tamara Lashbrook in Xcalak firstname.lastname@example.org for prices and ordering.
Nataly "Nataly is the Xcalak resident-Therapeutic Masseuse. She comes to Xcalak from many years of keeping the Cirque du Soleil performers in tip-top shape. She will come to your home in Xcalak or you can go to hers for treatment. Her email address is email@example.com to make an appointment.
Moyses Huix Is the Xcalak resident fix it guy! He works on generators, general plumbing (water pumps, water heaters and gas lines), all electrical wiring, Air conditioner ( mini split units ). Contact Moy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Xcalak Realty - the local Xcalak realtor if you are interested in to selling or buying a home or property in Xcalak and the Costa Maya. www.xcalakrealty.com
Beach food and delivery trucks: put a sign out, they will stop
Lucio from Bacalar: Tuesday, Friday and Sunday (veggies, fruit, etc)
Manuel: Wednesday and Saturday (veggies, fruit, etc)
Marta's Tamales: every couple of weeks on Friday
Campeche Camarones: once a month (or so) on Saturday (?)
Xcalak Water truck: every Thursday
Cristal Water truck: every Friday
Beer truck: every Thursday or Friday
Propane: every 2 weeks or so, Z and Imperial Propano
Xcalak Co-operativa for local fish/lobster: open on various days located near the Xcalak playground Blue and white building. Conch is still banned from buying, selling, catching or eating until 2017.
Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Xcalak: https://www.facebook.com/xcalak.parquenaciona
Garbage Dump hours: Saturday 10-4pm. The charge for cars $30ps, pickups $50ps and trailers $100ps...full of garbage.
Message from the US consulate regarding Taxes
Dear U.S. citizens,
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided the following guidance for U.S. citizens abroad preparing for the 2015 tax filing season. This IRS guidance is posted under Federal Benefits and Obligations on travel.state.gov. U.S. embassies and consulates cannot mail tax returns on behalf of U.S. taxpayers living abroad.
1. Who Must File?
All U.S. citizens and resident aliens must file a U.S. individual income tax return, even if they permanently live outside the United States and may not owe any tax because of income exclusion or tax credit.
2. When is the 2014 Federal Tax Return Due?
Due date for Form 1040: April 15, 2015
An automatic extension to June 15, 2015, is granted for taxpayers living outside the United States and Puerto Rico. No form is required; write "Taxpayer Resident Abroad" at the top of your tax return.
Caution: This extension applies only for filing your tax return, not for payment. If you owe any taxes, you're required to pay by April 15, 2015. Interest and penalties will generally be applied if payment is made after this date.
To request an additional extension to October 15, 2015, use Form 4868.
Caution: This extension applies only for filing your tax return, not for payment. If you owe any taxes, you're required to pay by April 15, 2015. Interest and penalties will generally be applied if payment make after this date.
Other extensions may be available on IRS.gov.
3. Can I Mail My Return and Payment?
You can mail your tax return and payment using the postal service or approved private delivery services. A list of approved delivery services is available on IRS.gov. If you mail a return from outside the United States, the date of filing is the postmark date. However, if you mail a payment, separately or with your return, your payment is not considered received until the date of actual receipt.
4. Can I Electronically File My Return?
You can prepare and e-file your income tax return, in many cases for free. Participating software companies make their products available through the IRS. E-File options are listed on IRS.gov.
5. What Forms May I Need?
1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
Instructions to Form 1040
1116, Foreign Tax Credit
2013 Instructions to Form 1116 – 2014 instructions will be available soon, please check on www.irs.gov
2350, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Income Tax Return (for U.S. citizens and residents abroad)
2555, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
2555-EZ, Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets,
- 14653, Certification by U.S. Person Residing Outside of the United States for Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures
6. How Do I Pay My Taxes
You must pay your taxes in U.S. dollars.
Direct pay. You can pay online with a direct transfer from your U.S. bank account using Direct Pay, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or by a U.S. debit or credit card. You can also pay by phone using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or by a U.S. debit or credit card.
Foreign wire transfers. If you have a U.S. bank account, you can use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. If you do not have a U.S. bank account, ask whether your financial institution has a U.S. affiliate that can help you make same-day wire transfers.
Foreign electronic payments. International taxpayers who do not have a U.S. bank account may transfer funds from their foreign bank account directly to the IRS for payment of their tax liabilities.
7. Other Reporting?
You also may have to file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), by June 30, 2015.
8. Does the IRS Provide Help in Other Languages?
The IRS provides tax information in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Go to www.irs.gov and use the drop down box under "Languages" on the upper right corner to select your language.
9. Where Can I Get Help?
Contact the International Taxpayer Service Call Center by phone or fax. The International Call Center is open Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
Tel: 267-941-1000 (not toll-free)
10. I Received a Notice from the IRS – What Do I Do?
If you receive a notice from the IRS and need to contact the IRS, call the number listed on the notice or the International Taxpayer Service Call Center (see above).
11. Where Can I Get More Information?
For information on the IRS web site about international taxpayers,see this page.
For general information about international taxpayers, see Publication 54, "Taxation of U.S. Citizens and Residents Abroad."
For information on the Affordable Care Act and taxpayers outside the United States, see Publication 5187, "Health Care Law."
12. I Haven't Filed All My Tax Returns – What Can I Do?
If you have not filed all the returns required of you and want to catch up on your filing obligations, see this announcement: IRS makes changes to offshore-programs.
Classified adds have moved to this link Classified Ads. If you have something you want included in the classifieds, please send it to email@example.com. Limit text to 100 words and pictures no larger than 600 pixels wide, but preferably 432, so that text can go side by side the photos. Include a contact email or phone number. It is a good idea to use an email address that is not your primary address to limit Junk mail coming your way. There is no charge, this is a community service for sale by owners.
New this month is a boat with motor.
Looking for Articles
If anyone would like to submit articles to this newsletter that would be informational to others, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.