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Property Owners> Archived Costa Maya Newsletters > April, 2009 -

Costa Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners from Mahahual / Majahual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along the southern coast of Quintana Roo

*******************Costa Maya Newsletter*******************
April 9/ 9 Abril 2009

CONTENTS
  • Editorial - Is Mexico Safe to travel?
  • Message Board discussion: Reports from the US statMayan Beach Garden - Jardin de Playa Mayae department - have they changed your perspective about owning property in Mexico?
  • Mahahual/Majahual - Costa Maya Updates
    • Mahahual Ship Schedule for 2009
    • Notes from the meeting of Mahahual Businesses in combination with Canaco Costa Maya, Chetumal, president of Quintana Roo and Secretary of Tourism 3/20/09
    • Semana Santa
    • Painting classes in Mahahual
    • Costa Maya mentioned in USA today
    • Spay and Neuter Clinic needs help
    • Primary and Secondary School news
    • Mahahual out and about
  • Quintana Roo news
    • New Ruin of Xcabal
    • Promotions for Quintana Roo Sur
    • Space station in Quintana Roo
  • Mayan Beach Garden News
    • New houses for rent
    • New rooms at Mayan Beach Garden (pictures below)
    • Menu Calendar on-line
  • News from Xcalak Polly
Hi Costa Maya Neighbors- Safety in Mexico

The issue of safety in Mexico is of great concern this month. Not only do most of my guests ask if they should be worried, I have had several cancellations. Since most of my clientele are from North America, the recent news articles about Mexico being a dangerous place hit me in the pocket book with an intensity equal to Dean. Aside from my own financial interests, it is good because it has actually made me feel safer. The Government of Mexico is taking this seriously adding beefed up security and additional advertising.

Marcia with Baracuda

The warning from the US department of state came out on Feb. 20. I read it and thought nothing of it. Every year a warning comes from the US state department telling Spring breakers to vacation sensibly and avoid dangerous areas. This year, they added the warning to stay away from the border cities. Considering the drug war - sounded like common sense to me. It was like the internet pipe shut down from the US. All of a sudden there were no more reservation emails from the US. Instead, I started getting these fearful emails. When I discovered that the news media had picked up on it - I already had 4 cancellations. When people stay away because of Hurricane Dean or because of the economy - this is all understandable and you work through it finding creative ways of dealing with things. How do you counteract fear? I'm a little hotel owner on a beautiful stretch of beach. I'm clueless as to how the media can equate the border cities with tranquil tourist beaches that are as far away as Denver is from New York (which also has dangerous places in it). If any of you are at all nervous about traveling here, please don't be! Worry about something you should be worrying about - like getting robbed at the gas station or avoiding a Tabano bite! If you want to talk about it, visit the forum and discuss it with other property owners and Costa Maya lovers.

For more information on the subject, check out these web sites:

Past newsletters can be found at NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES

PS There are rentals available at Mayan Beach Garden and at private homes. If you don't already, instead of staying up in Playa del Carmen and Tulum - Try staying on the Costa Maya for a change!

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MESSAGE BOARD DISCUSSION: Illegal dumping in the Atlantic hitting the Costa Maya?

I've lived on the Costa Maya now for almost 6 years and I've never seen such garbage that is collecting on the shores this year. Normally you find garbage from the US and garbage from Latin American countries. For the first time we are seeing garbage from india, the middle east and from unidentified Asian Countries. What's your opinion on all of this? Are there any reports of illegal dumping in the US and into the gulf? Surely this garbage is floating up into the gulf as well!.

Tampalam Costa Maya Garbage

Mahahual/Majahual - Costa Maya Updates

Costa Maya (Majahual) Ship Schedule (reposting from last month because I've been asked where to find it)
You can find it at : Puerto Costa Maya Calendar

Mahahual meeting of Businesses 3/20/09

Mahahual meeting

Dignitaries in attendance : president of the municipio, Secretary of Tourism for Quintana Roo, head of the restaurants for Chetumal, The Doctor - the director of Businesses for Costa Maya, President of the Costa Maya, President of the hotels for Chetumal, Representative for Semarnat, William Calderon (alcaldia for Mahahual) Director of Development over the Costa Maya and the Port Captain.

Head of the Municipio, Andrés Ruiz Morcillo (second from the right) had quite a few things to say:

  • No massage tables on the beach mixing with the restaurants (not sure what that means exactly as no one representing the massage therapists was there to comment)
  • Leash laws - reconfirmed the leash law. The animal control officers are serious about clearing the tourist area from stray and sick dogs. They can't afford to have a tourist bitten in this climate of poor economy. They will extend their vigilance up and down the beaches. Don't argue with them. They have a right to take any dog that is not fenced in or leashed and can come onto your property. If your dog has a tag they have to hold the dog for 72 hours before euthanizing them. With no tag, they can kill them immediately.
  • He announced the near completion of the improved road from Cancun to Chetumal, including access to Mahahual and the Costa Maya

The secretary of Tourism (on the far right in the picture):

She stated that a new Ruin - Xcabal would be opening up soon. the ruin is West of the town of Bacalar about 35 km. No opening date for the open of the ruin was given, but the ruin is starting to get pre-press, mostly in relation to a road that is on the plans that will connect Dzibanche, Xcabal, Dzibanche, Kinich-Nah, Kohunlich. See below for more information about Xcabal.

She commented on how expensive Mahahual was - the taxis and some of the restaurants . Also the aggressive nature of some of the waiters and vendors is not a good image of Mahahual.

When I asked what the Tourist department was doing about combating the reports that Mexico was dangerous. She replied that it is a serious situation in the north of the country. The department is working on travel agencies that work with tourism. Regarding the opinions of US citizens: Promotions will be extended in the USA, Canada and Europe. They are going to be doing rebuttals to the news on CNN, Fox and creating promotions that QRoo and the Yucatan is safe. Tuesday the 24th of March, she is meeting with the police department to guarantee safety of tourists without fear.

Environmental and SEMARNAT issues

The Mayor of Mahahual announced several projects including the planting of mangroves to replace the dead mangroves on the west side of town. The representative from SEMARNAT talked more about this, but also about the need to get the federal zones. She said that there have been several federal zones purchased by people who do not own the land adjacent to the federal zone. She encouraged everyone to acquire the concessions for their federal zone to avoid problems. She put a plug in for her own services, but it requires the services of a biologist to purchase the rights to the federal zone. First an environmental impact study has to be done followed by a request to both the county and the federal government. It takes about a year to get your federal zone.

SEMANA SANTA

Every year, all of Mexico rushes to the beach for Semana Santa. Thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign, the Costa Maya is going to be crazier than ever. There is even a little "kiddy-fair" with rides for the kids in mahahual. It is located on the corner where you enter the casitas. The fair will be up for two weeks starting on April 5th.

Mahahual Fair

Every room in Mahahual is booked. Things started getting crazy on the weekend of the 4th and 5th of April. When I went into town to buy sodas on monday, there wasn't any to be had and no Corona beer. We are stocking up now!!!!! During the days of Semana Santa and also on Cruise ship days, maps and promotional material will be given out to people in Mahahual. Of interest is a Map of Mahahual - both the beach and the casitas. You can see the map on the Mahahual section of Mayan Beach Garden web site.

Camping has always been the order of the day in Mahahual. Last year they tried to eliminate camping on the beach altogether and failed. This year there are lots of areas set up for camping legally along with bathrooms.

Mahahual Bathrooms for Semana Santa

Painting classes in Mahahual

The following information was kindly provided by Marilyn Marshall who is attending the classes. During the week of Semana Santa, there will be no classes held.

Teacher's Name
Fransisco Hoil
Credentials:
He is a professor at the University of Chetumal.
Location: 
Turn down the road where the Kindergarten school is (light green building with red and white fence around the front patio). Travel nearly to the end of the street, it's a 2 story house with a large mural painted on the side... easy to see (left side of street).
Time:
Currently meeting on Fridays at 10:00 a.m.  (he would like to teach Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays) depending on students.
Cost:
He does not charge for classes, however, we have been paying him 50 pesos per class to help defer his expenses. He supplies the paint free, brushes are 36 pesos, canvases are 100 pesos for 2 ft x 3 ft.  mas o menos, framing depends on the type of frame you choose they run 30 - 50 pesos. 
Medium:
At the present time we are working with acrylics...  not sure what else he has to offer..
 
Fransisco is intent on using recycling materials to create purses from chip bags etc...  he would like to bring more culture and recycling into this area.  He is only interested in adult classes at this time. 

Merida - Mahahual direct ADO bus route

Great news, there is another direct bus route to Mahahual. You can now catch a bus from Merida to Mahahual. There are two buses a day running four days a week - Thursday - Sunday. This is great news, because many of the people that come here really HATE Cancun and Merida is great alternative. Furthermore, Merida is worth staying for a few days before coming here. I tried to pre-book a ticket on www.ticketbus.com.mx, but to no avail. As in all destinations that have to do with Mahahual, it is not on the list of origins or destinations. I've updated the ADO schedule on the Mayan Beach Garden ADO schedule page to show the new times.

Costa Maya mentioned in USA today

Many of you have already seen this article in USA today - here is a link to the article. It's a great review. Mahahual needs this kind of coverage! I would have loved to have included excerpts, but USA charges a fee to do so.

Spay and Neuter Clinic needs help

Due to lack of funds, the Mahahual Spay and Neuter Clinic has been cancelled. Polly of Xcalak and Ginny of Bacalar -along with Kevin Graham are organizing one for May... please contact me or one of the above if you can assist or for further information. 

Mahahual School News and activities for children:
  • Still waiting for the telmex internet service for the school.
  • Sue Stapleton is looking for computer covers (in the U.S.) to donate to the school to protect their computers from the excess dust.
  • John Schaeffer has offered to donate laptop computers to the schools.  While they would gladly be received, John wanted everyone to know the implications of receiving them.  Extra wiring has been installed and wired to the wall where the computers would be placed.  The computers had to be put into a room that had security grates on the windows and doors (only one room has this).  Chairs still need to be purchased for the students, tables need to be supplied... bookcases for the computer supplies, i.e. paper, cartridges, programs, etc.  Eder had to install the spanish programs which we purchased. The Mahahualeans who are organizing this would like to prepare another room for a computer lab as well, but at this time it is most important that the room be secured first. 

Children's Marathon activity

Date:     April 25, 2009
Time:    10:00 a.m.
Place:    Tequila Beach Club

Trophies and ribbons will be given out, there will be a clown, sodas (supplied by coca-cola and chips, balloons and candy.

Activities around Mahahual

  • Spanish Classes:Sundays at 1 p.m. at Corona House!  Starting again on April 19th.
  • Circle of Faith Bible Studies:Corona House at 10 a.m. every Sunday
Quintana Roo NEWS

Ruins of Xcabal

At the meeting in Mahahual the opening of a new ruin of Xcabal was announced. We've been aware that there was a new ruin 30 km west of Bacalar towards Reform, but when we tried to find it we were faced with first muddy roads, secondly a fire and the last time we were told we couldn't go there without a permit. The permit hasn't really changed, but the fact that they are already announcing a new road to the Ruin is good news. The road will connect the ruins of Kohunlich, Dzibanche and Xcabal making a loop. This will enable tours to see all three ruins from bus tours. At this point, the state says that 22 of the 30 km of road are finished, but it may still be 2 years before the ruin is open to the public.

Xcabal is being compared to Calakmul and Tikal in terms of size and importance to the area with hundreds of structures and one very large temple. It is an old site, pre-dating the time of Christ. Xcabal was discovered in 1995 and excavated for the first time by INAH in 1995. The main temple is reported to be four times the size of Kukulkan in Chichen Itza. When this ruin is opened, the Southern Part of Quintana Roo will become the most important area for Mayan ruins in all of Mexico. The reason that the city was hidden for so long was that it was buried for centuries overgrown by dense jungle.

Promotions for Quintana Roo Sur

The name "Costa Maya" has been successful in bringing attention to the area, but now Chetumal wants to be included in the act. The new add campaigns now include all of Quintana Roo South in the Costa Maya, not just the coast line to Xcalak. This would include Bacalar too.

Mahahual

Mahahual add

Space port to be built in Quintana Roo

Yes, this has been reported in the news. Last year, the Mexican National Congress approved the founding of a national space agency, Aexa. In March, they announced that a Space port will be built on the border of Quintana Roo and Belize. While it may seem incredulous that Mexico has a Space agency, in the years of 1958-1960 they had an agency that fired a few rockets. Unfortunately the program didn't go forward and scientists were forced to go to other countries.

The new agency Aexa only has a budget of 21 million pesos per year, hardly enough to build a space port. Because Mexico is taking tourism seriously , one of the goals is by 2030 to be sending Tourists into Space! They say they can do it for less money than the US because they will be closer to the equator, hence the location. I couldn't find where in Quintana Roo this might really happen. The image below is on a body of water, but geographically it doesn't really make sense unless it were in Chetumal bay which doesn't have any mountains around it. I'll keep looking. The image below is taken from the Spanish language blog on the subject http://volaralespacio.com/wordpress/?p=15#more-15

AEXA space station in Yucatan 

MAYAN BEACH GARDEN NEWS

MAYAN BEACH RESERVATIONS UPDATE!

Last month I introduced Taj Majahual and Casa Guerin. At the time I didn't have a web site ready for Casa Guerin, it is now listed. Also, if you didn't see last month's edition, you might want to take a look at Taj Majahual too.

Mayan Beach Garden Restaurant Menus now online

We serve a menu of the day and you can now find out what the menu of the day is at Mayan Beach Garden menu calendar.

New Rooms at Mayan Beach Garden

I had mentioned in a previous newsletter that we were now back up to 6 rooms. Take a look at photos of the new rooms.

viewfrom deck
These are the views from the rooms above the Mayan Beach Garden Restaurant. These side-by-side rooms can be made into a suite via a connecting door.

bed room5 We added this Elevated bed in the room where the mosaic is (most of you have seen the mosaic). The other room has a similar configuration. The headboard is stone, surrounded by a stained concrete shelf.

NEWS FROM XCALAK POLLY

I have had a new fence built behind the house, it's made such a difference. Not only do my dogs have to be super Houdini now to get out, but I have more shade. I went out really early the morning after it had been built and look what was visiting. He/she was lucky as I had the pruning shears in my hand and was about to trim him/her up thinking it was a wayward piece of Jasmine. The camouflage is fabulous. Over a meter long, very skinny and pretty.

Polly

Mexican Vine Snake

MexicanDaffodil

Spring is here--How do you know this when the weather hardly deviates from the middle 80's?  Well in England we have snowdrops and primroses followed by daffodils, here the Mexican daffodils are out (Laelia Digbyana) this beautiful creamy green orchid which looks like a big daffodil with a frill round it.

If I hadn't have been too slow to catch a cold the other morning, I would have a fabulous photo of a "gaggle" of grackles (I don't think they are called that collectively, but they should be) about seven of them, three pulling on the frayed end of my rope tope out front and the others shouting, and I mean shouting encouragement.

Xcalak Fishing Tournament

Don Menchor's house

xcalak-ecotours


  By the time I had stopped laughing and got the camera a car came past and ended proceedings. They are building nests in the high palms in front and the side of my house.

We had the Xcalak fishing tournament weigh in here, I believe, correct me if this is wrong, that it was the Chetumal/Mahahual Tournament. It was very very windy so not many boats came to weigh in but here is a photo of the winning catch.  I also want to show off, look at our, Xcalak's, beautiful Capitania de Puerto, Susi. Only two lady port captains in the whole of Mexico, and we have one of them.

This photo is of Don Menchors house, he is a fisherman and loves the ocean, can't you just tell from the colors he has painted his house, the same colors as the Caribbean, ten steps from his front gate.

Next to his house on the corner, is this new building, the office of The Tourist Coop Bahia Blanca. They have a great web page in English and Spanish, and are ready and waiting to take the tourists diving, fishing, snorkeling or bird watching.
www.xcalak-ecotours.com

Parrot Update #2
Lolita now quite literally rules the roost.

The big trucks are still whizzing about, our houses are dust bowls but the road is lovely to drive.


After burning up cyberspace with our emails yesterday Marcia, Ginny from Bacalar and myself met up in Aroma in Mahahual to see if we could come up with some ideas for the Spay and Neuter clinics to continue. We had received the bad news from the Humane Society and VIDAS that money was in very short supply. At this time they felt unable to ask the Vets to volunteer using up their vacation time and paying their own airfares and expenses. Maybe in the fall if things are looking better.  So .... Marcia is donating AIR MILES, we are going to resume the Jumble Sales, but in Mahahual. We are going to explore the possibility of Mexican Vets, with maybe a practice in Bacalar and outreaching here in Xcalak and Mahahual.  We are aiming for May.  Please if you have ideas, suggestions pass them on, we would really like to hear them. 

Have a great Easter Holiday    ........................    Polly

DISCLAIMER

The editor of this newsletter (me) makes no claims that the information here is completely true. I am not a news reporter, Spanish is not my native language, the newspapers are notorious for not verifying information and this is not my primary business, but rather a service to the neighborhood. If you find something untrue PLEASE let me know and I will print a disclaimer. I try to verify the information but even the newspaper prints up rumors, so I can only report what I read and hear.

Unless otherwise stated, all content is copyrighted by MMB Contractors Inc.

Until next month,
Best wishes from your neighbor,

Marcia

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Updated: 14-Jul-2009

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