You can now read up to the minute Mahahual happenings at http://costamayablog.mahahuallive.com/ and Facebook
*****************Costa Maya Newsletter *******************
October 20th / Octobre 2010
Costa Maya Newsletters: of
primary interest to property owners and those interested in Mahahual /
Majahual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and
other points along Quintana Roo South
Maya Neighbors - Internet woes, Tropical Storms Karl & Paola and the mystery of "MAÑANA" & "AHORITA"
Once again the Costa Maya gratefully slipped by with only minimal damage after Tropical Storm Karl and Paola touched the area. Paola only brought a few waves while we watched thunderous black clouds in the distance. Karl did some damage, however. The reports said that Karl was just a Tropical storm, but it was a fierce one. Lots of palapa umbrellas blew over in Mahahual and especially the hotel zone south. Most of the inhabitants of Bacalar will swear it was a hurricane as they had quite a bit of damage with up to 100 roofs damaged and many low lying plants such as corn and sugar cane blown over along with the random large tree. The worst affect to all of us was the fact that the internet tower blew over and as of the writing of this newsletter north of Mahahual still doesn't have service back.
Now the reasons we don't have it are complex - but Jesus--not the one we worship on Sundays but the internet Jesus kept telling us we would have it in the "afternoon," or "MAÑANA" until finally we got the sense we would have to search for a different alternative. Which brings me to AHORITA and MAÑANA. If you are here in Mexico, it is pointless to rest your hopes on something happening MAÑANA - because in reality - MAÑANA means "just not today." It is best to find out which MAÑANA they are referring to. Once you learn that - you can be relieved of a little stress. But even more complex is the meaning of the word AHORITA.
If you look up AHORA in a Spanish - English dictionary you will find the meaning to be "now." Look a little further and you will see the word AHORITA. The translation says "right now." But "NOW" in Mexican culture seems to have a surreal meaning and attention needs to be given to which "NOW" you are referring to. When someone says AHORITA to you, they don't really mean "right now" they mean "in a little minute" or "when I get finished with what I am doing," or even worse - "when I get around to it." I had a guest from Mexico city - a young entrepreneur who had traveled extensively and who described to me that AHORITA is one of the problems stopping Mexico from being a 1st world country. It frustrates everyone the amount of time it takes to get anything done here. So what do you say if you want something done "right now, this very minute" and you don't want to wait?
AHORA MISMA - literally, the same now. Say it with a smile and it might happen. If not, maybe MAÑANA.
Perhaps some of you have insights into this phenomena of time disparity in Mexico. I'd love to hear from you.
Your Costa Maya Neighbor - Marcia Bales, writing this from Placer - 20 km north of Mahahual.
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 (although won't happen until the internet is back up and working)
mahahual and Costa maya news
In Search of the Secret Mayan Paradise - Mahahual
A new campaign was announced last week -one that has the potential to change the face of Mahahual in a similar way that the cruise ship business did. The new campaign estimates that it will bring in up to 100,000 people a year for day visits in the next three months and as the promotion matures, for hotel stays as part of larger bus tours. The promotion will start in Mexico and spread to Europe with Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Austria being the first countries targeted. Europe is very comfortable traveling in bus tours - so the goal is not going to be for Americans and Canadians who seldom travel in buses. The financial benefit to the sponsors is head count. Every business that they sponsor pays $10 pesos per person that they bring to an establishment. This is similar to the cruise ships that also pay a head fee. Hopefully this will do to Old Mahahual what the Cruise ships have done to the local tour business only this will bring traffic to the town and not just to the pier.
Mahahualaneans back in action
Questions about Mahahual answered (well some of them)
Most of the following questions were sent to me by Sara Thomas, who is a fairly new property owner in the area. I figured I might as well do my best to answer them. If anyone knows more information about any of the following - please send it along and I'll add the info to the next newsletter.
Is the airplane pilot making many runs into the Majahual Airport?
Unfortunately no - it is a vicious circle. People can't take advantage of it unless it is cheaper and they can't lower the price until more people take advantage of it.
Are property values about the same?
They seem to be about the same, but lately there is a lot of property for sale in the area. Luckily people are not willing to drop their prices unless it is a hardship sale, so overall, prices seem to be staying about the same. I asked this question of Kevin Graham of Costa Maya Living Realty, who as has many properties for sale as anyone, and he said "Asking prices are about the same but selling prices are less." (NOTE at the bottom of this newsletter is one of the homes he has for sale - the Guerin's home)
How is the quantity of jetsam doing?
Not good -In addition to the garbage from Honduras, Venezuela and Columbia (the worst offenders) the amount of plastic bottles coming in from the cruise ships is blossoming. Mostly water and juice bottles with labels like Trinidad, Haiti, Kingston, Jamaica, St Croix and other ports of call in the Caribbean. My guess is they are blowing off the cruise ships due to careless passengers. I would like to see plastic bottles banned on the ships.
Is the road Huachinango paved yet?
Yes - as far as the soccer field.
Who has moved into area from the States or abroad, (I still go back to your archived..."Meet Your Neighbors")
Trish and Bill Nelson arrived about three weeks ago and moved into their new house. They are the first permanent residents to move into the Sapphire or Placer Norte area. I for one am so happy to have them here! Also, Pastor Ralph is a welcome addition to the community although a temporary one.
Recent news of the Tulum Airport.
Aside from rumors that they will never build the airport, there are a few news items about the airport that occasionally show up. The latest information was that the field had been narrowed down to 5 bidders, the most interesting to me was the name of Carlos Slim (Richest man in the world) showing up on the list and the absence of Asur. Since Calderón came in April and formally announced the building of the airport - there hasn't been too much information coming forward. Whatever you think might happen, a lot of eyes are looking at the Southern half of the state. (See the article about the lost Secret of the Maya - Mahahual)
Uvero...Swim with the Dolphins back?
I reported last month that the swim with the dolphins was returning to the Cruise ship pier and not Uvero. So far, I haven't seen any evidence of where they will put them nor have I been able to verify this information with Via Delphi who still has Uvero listed on their web site.
...monkeys? (still listed on your web)?
I know - I am overly optimistic.
Condition of jungle taking over roads....
The Placer Access road is pathetic. Everything else is currently getting trimmed. My fingers are crossed.
Can one drive to Uvero via the coast road now?
Not only can one drive to Uvero, but all the way up to Pulticub. The road to Punta Herrera is passable in a normal car when not raining.
How many ships are coming into Puerto Costa Maya a month?
This is a hard question to answer because all the storms have shined favorably on Mahahual. Since so many are turning and going north, the Mexican Caribbean coast has been spared the bad weather and therefore, many ships have been diverted here. 5 ships a week have been coming most weeks.
Any updates on legislative action concerning foreign ownership of land, that was discussed before they took vacations or something...???
Sorry, can't answer this one - the last one was a tidbit of news that I have never seen repeated. Due to the slow legislative process here - worse than the US, I don't expect this for a time.
Ownership of a car in Mexico....and present kind of visa necessary for it....
There is always a work-around to everything, and accountants can sign for vehicles. I again am not sure about this one. Both this and the question above deserve some thoughtful answers.
I heard there was a Walmart and an Office Depot coming to Chetumal
There is a SuperWalmart being built somewhere along the boulevard - right now there is a sign by the University - in the past there was a sign close to Sam's. I will not be spending the night in Chetumal to attend the grand opening like I did at Sam's club (did I really do that?).
There is and Office Depot at Plaza de Americas - the Mall in Chetumal. There no Home Depot, unfortuneately. We have been hearing that there was an Home Depot in Playa del Carmen by employees of Home Depot in Cancun, but that seems to be a rumor. At least no one in Playa knows where it is at this point. A feasibility study was done on a shopping center in Chetumal that was to house an Home Depot, but I do not know the result of anything after the study was done. In the meantime - embrace Continental Hardware.
International Beach cleanup day in Mahahual September 25 Recap
Beach Clean-up day coincided with the arrival of Tropical Storm Karl and was almost cancelled. It was rather difficult to clean up due to the wind and waves, but it was fun and satisfying never-the-less. This year, one of the sponsors - Sustenta, gave away 40 water purifiers as prizes to those who brought in the most bags.
Most spectacular in the plastic collection process were a few elementary school children who really got into it. The school had a month-long school to win the water purifiers for their homes and for in the school.
All of the biggest individual winners came from the school. Placer took 2nd place in the one-day team event (I think we may have the most concentrated trash) and first place went to a school group. Many businesses helped the effort by paying their help to clean up for the day.
It took two of these trucks to pack up all the recyclable bottles collected and take them to a recycling plant. The Alcaldia helped collect the non-recyclable trash by sending out additional trucks to collect gray bags or non-recyclable trash picked up from the beach. We received two trucks that came to Placer that day. In the end, thanks to the children and the support from Julie Minter who bribed them with snorkel trips on her boat - it was a great day!
Emergency phone numbers for Costa Maya
The following numbers are here as a repeat by request.
| Tourist Security
|| 01 800 903 9200
| Quintana Roo Police
|| (983) 832 9600, 832 0843, 832 1500
| Highway Police
|| (983) 832 1932
| Fire Station
|| (983) 832 1578
| Red Cross
|| (983) 833 0223
| General Hospital
|| (983) 832 1932
COSTA MAYA VILLAS
I haven't reported much about Costa Maya Villas for a while because things slowed down a little in the summer. Things are back in swing and the cabinets, granite counter tops and floors have been installed in the model.
In addition, I've been spending time getting ready the reservation system that will be servicing the condos and Owners so that it will be ready to rent as soon as the project is finished.
If you have any questions about Costa Maya Villas, contact the email address at the right or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are still units available. Prices will go up when the units are completed.
Travel news and Tips
Dollar to pesos exchange now possible again in Banks
It is now possible to exchange dollar to pesos at most banks with your passport. There is a limit of $1500 USD per month, but most banks will limit you to an amount per day. My bank allowed me to exchange $1000 US at once.
Watch those ATMs
The main Chetumal branch of Banamex bank (on Obregon) had an issue last week where 300 people had their ATMs compromised - most of them from government accounts. The money went in and was promptly removed the next day. Watch for this to happen in the US, as this was US technology and Banamex (owned by Citigroup) officials reported that this type of ATM thievery has happened in the US as well. The technology includes a strip which is placed inside the card reader and which reads your card information. That information is useless without the pin, but they also put a tiny camera in the ATM booth that can see the keys that you punch. If they can't read the keys, they just go on to another user. If you are using an ATM in Mexico (or anywhere for that matter) cover your hand while it is punching in the pin so it cannot be read by the camera. The word seems to be out - yesterday - as I was at the Santandar Bank ATM, I noticed someone next to me hiding his hand as he punched in the key code.
Bus travel from Mahahual North
Unfortunately, there is only one direct bus to Cancun at this moment in time which leaves at 5:30 PM. If you want to travel to Cancun in the morning, you may have to change busses a couple of times. This isn't a problem as long as you know the places where you can grab another bus north. The Junction towns where you can grab busses are:
- Mahahual to Limones
- Limones to Carrillo Puerto, Tulum or Playa del Carmen
- Carrillo Puerto to Tulum or Playa del Carmen
- Playa del Carmen Airport shuttle which leaves about every 45 minutes.
Returning, follow the path in reverse. There is an 8:51 bus from Playa that goes direct to Mahahual. When I took it a few weeks ago, there was no bus listed to Mahahual. I had to ask for it.
(NOTE: this information is true as of Sept 30, 2010)
Playa del Carmen bridges nearing completion
We've all moaned a groaned about how long it takes to pass through Playa del Carmen. They are now nearing completion of an elevated highway that bypasses the worst intersections of Playa del Carmen. They created similar bypasses for Porto Morelos and Akumal. The goal is to have this completed by High Season.
Mayan Calendar - 2012 possible error?
The following information was sent to my by Uvero Home owner Susan Ackoff and was published on LiveScience.com.
It's a good news/bad news situation for believers in the 2012 Mayan apocalypse. The good news is that the Mayan "Long Count" calendar may not end on Dec. 21, 2012 (and, by extension, the world may not end along with it). The bad news for those (like my daughter) who have planned end of the world parties is that there may be no doomsday after all.
A new critique, published as a chapter in the new textbook "Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World" (Oxbow Books, 2010), argues that the accepted conversions of dates from Mayan to the modern calendar may be off by as much as 50 or 100 years. How, you might ask, could it be off so far and no one knew until this publication?
The Mayan calendar was converted to today's Gregorian Calendar using a calculation called the GMT constant, which is based in part on the phases of the planet Venus. But according to some experts and the author of the book, the current interpretation of the calculation may have some errors and cannot be proved to be correct.
So what is the correct date? The author doesn't say, only that there may be some doubt on the accepted Dec. 21, 2012.
My daughter is not going to cancel her party, and nor will MBG come that date - one doomsday date is as good as the next for a fiesta!
Mayan Beach Garden Reservation News
$50 - $100 off through Dec. (Pre-holiday special)
Stay 5 nights or more on andy Mayan Beach Garden Reservations from now until December 15th and receive $100 off your stay. Stay 3 nights or more and receive $50 off your stay. Mention this newsletter offer to receive the discount!
Christmas Rentals still available
Mayan Beach Garden has a few openings left for Christmas and pickings are starting to get slim - but Christmas rentals are available in some of the homes if you are thinking of coming down at Christmas and haven't made your plans yet.
CASA PORTO VINO (five star reviews on this home)
10% off a 7 day booking (any time of year!)
If you have always wanted to stay at Casa Porto Vino, contact me at email@example.com. You can combine the special above with this offer on Casa Porto vino. Still available for Christmas.
Casa Guerin is now renting out both levels of the home. You can rent out just one level or both for a crowd. Still available for Christmas.
TAJ MAJAHUAL - most unique house on the Costa Maya
Taj Majahual has Christmas availability. Rent either the "whole enchilada" or just one room. Mayan Beach Garden is within walking distance for Christmas dinner.
monday night football at MBG -
Yes, we broke down and got Skye in our Bar. Through football season - Monday night football buffet for $100 pesos includes a beer. Join us!
Investment Seminar at Mayan Beach Garden - Jan 22-23
Upcoming Educational Seminar: Buying Property in Costa Maya and Lake Bacalar
Seminar Leader: Denis Couture, PMP, PE
Date : January 22-23, 2011
Time: 9:00 AM
Location: Mayan Beach Garden
Seminar Cost: $75 per person (2 attendees for $125)This 2-day seminar will cover all aspects of buying property in the Costa Maya and Lake Bacalar region and answer all your questions. After this seminar you'll know if buying property in the Costa Maya is right for you. Topics will include:
- Understanding the different areas of the 70 mile Costa Maya area and Lake Bacalar
- What to look for in selecting property
- How to legally buy property in Mexico and avoid the pitfalls
- How to calculate closing costs
- Knowing the differences between owning property through a bank trust vs. a corporation
- Paying property taxes on your property
- How to calculate capital gain taxes
- Estimating building costs
- Selecting attorneys and accountants
- Opening a bank account in Mexico
- Owing property in the Sian Ka'an Reserve (Biosphere)
If interested or have questions, contact Denis at firstname.lastname@example.org . My recommendation is that you book a room for the night of January 21st, in order to be there on time for the start of the seminar on the 27th. Contact information for Mayan Beach Garden is email@example.com. You can also contact them though their web site. http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/ Hotel reservations will be handled on a first come basis. We have arranged a 15% hotel discount to those extending their stays and booking a room for 5 or more days.
Payment of $75 per person or $125 per couple for the seminar can be sent through Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
Make your reservations for both the seminar and hotel as soon as possible, to guarantee your spot.
Mayan Beach Garden Cookbook - new recipes
People have been suggesting we do a cookbook for a long time, but the sheer amount of work that goes into making a cookbook is daunting. Mostly, the double checking to make sure that someone you don't know can duplicate a recipe. With that in mind, I thought that if I put a few recipes in the newsletter every month, I can get feedback on the recipes. These are two new ones that I finally wrote down the recipes to. You can find other recipes like this on the Mayan Beach Garden Web site.
Avocado and tomatillo salsa on the left and Chipotle salsa with tomatillos on the right
Avocado, Tomatillo (tomate verde) & Serrano salsa
This beautiful green sauce is served all over the Yucatan peninsula. Sometimes it is made with habaneros and is very hot. This is lovely served with fish tacos, on Chicken or Pork and as a dip for chips or on fajitas. It lasts about three weeks in the refrigerator. (picture below)
by: Mayan Beach Garden
Yield: 3-4 Cups
3 chili Serranos
2 cloves garlic (large) unpeeled
1/4 white onion sliced
4 chile verde (also known as Tomatillos in the US) washed and with paper shell removed - about 2" in diameter
2 avocados peeled and pits removed
Cilantro to taste, chopped loosely
Salt to taste
Juice from one lime (or to taste)
Directions: Place first three items on tinfoil and put the tinfoil on a dry frying pan or directly over a gas flame and char or "Asado" the items. To "Asado" the Serranos, garlic and onions, loosely make a little oven with the tinfoil. You check often and turn the items until they are charred or blackened on all sides but not on the inside. The garlic should give slightly when pressed and the onions and serranos should be soft.
Place the Tomatillos in a pan and cover with boiling water. Boil just until soft and remove the tomatillos with a slotted spoon.
Squeeze out the garlic from the paper outsides and place everything (except the paper outsides of the garlic) into the blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until creamy. If you like your salsas milder - remove the seeds from the inside of the serranos before the Asado process. If it accidentally turns out too hot - add additional avocado, lime and salt.
Chipotle salsa with Tomatillos
This sauce is not too hot
and perfect for those who like the taste of Chipotle chilies, but not the heat.
Like it Pica? Add more chilies. Use the type of chilies that are in Adobo sauce and purchased in cans in many stores in the US. Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes, but are often sold with a paper like shell on the outside. In Mexico they are called Tomate Verde (Green Tomato) while Tomatillos are a tiny version of the Tomate Verde.
by: Mayan Beach Garden
Yield: about 2 Cups
6-8 tomate verde (Tomatillos in the US) (small to medium size - about 2" in diameter) washed and with outside paper shell removed.
2 cloves garlic in paper covering
One 1/2 inch slice of onion
3-4 chipotle chilies with seeds removed.
Salt to taste
Directions: Place first three items on tinfoil and put the tinfoil on a dry frying pan or directly over gas and char or "Asado" the items. To "Asado" the Serranos, garlic and onions, loosely make a little oven with the tinfoil. You check often and turn the items until they are charred or blackened on all sides but not on the inside. The garlic should give slightly when pressed and the onions and Tomatillos should be slightly soft.
Squeeze out the garlic from the paper outsides and toss everything (except the paper outsides of the garlic) into the blender with 3 chipotles. Salt to taste. It is delicious on meats and not too hot. Add water if you want it a little thinner. Its a very thick sauce.
Vary the heat by adding additional chipotles or include the seeds. Keeps well in the refrigerator. This is delicious served on steak or pork.
NEWS FROM XCALAK
While waiting for Polly's news - she sen a beautiful picture of her black orchid that just bloomed. It was a gift from her Carpenter in Limones - nice surprise! (Polly thinks that this is the National flower of Belize)
But getting on to Polly's column. . . .
The Olivaceous Cormorants are nearly always on this sunken dredger drying out after fishing.
Walking down the beach and suddenly there is a panic in the water, something big and hungry is after these snappers. They were “flying”.
At the end of the pier Rosa was hand line fishing, her month old daughter Astra Celestial asleep on her lap. Rosa's sister was in charge of putting bait on the lines I was relieved to see! At a month old, this really is a case of start them young. They had caught one medium size snapper for lunch and were working on catching more.
If you have been traveling through Quintana Roo in the last few years after Dean you may have seen these small concrete houses going up. Finally the program has reached Xcalak, this is the Mexican Government replacing wooden houses that were damaged or demolished in hurricane Dean. As I understand from talking to Moises who's wife Lennie has just had her house finished, well, you know, nearly! You had to have had a building that was on land assigned to you, or titled to you, to be eligible.
Huge trucks rolled into the Pueblo with blocks,cement, big cement beams, plumbing, electrical everything necessary to build a house. There was also money to pay the masons, plumbers,electricians, paid in stages, foundation, walls, roof etc. There are 14 new houses in Xcalak., more able to withstand hurricanes.
Letter from a Neighbor
". . .I send my greetings to Xcalak Polly. I never met this person and only read the column in your newsletter, but someone who attends wonderful Mexican baby showers and frees snakes caught in a fence is someone who would make a good neighbor in my estimation.
I am one of the many North Americans who have visited Mahahual more than once and am now returning, drawn by its beauty and its people.
I am also one of the North Americans visitors who mourned the devastation left by Hurricane Dean even though we were living thousands of miles away, we followed the news with sadness.
We wondered about people we met down there. David and Bob-the two musicians? The woman who was making jungle attire and traveled to Chetumal where she could use an electric sewing machine? Our French-Canadian friend? The residents of the area who lived in houses that were surely blown away?
We are on our way back this winter and still we wonder who might be down there that we know.
Can you publish my letter in your newsletter?
Thanks . . ."
W5319 Elmwood Road
Menominee, Michigan 49858
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 216 pixels wide. 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 being done as a community service. Both homes below are neighbors who would like to sell their homes.
NOTE: Mayan Beach Garden Reservations rents out this house. You can find pictures of it at Casa Guerin. This house is still available for Christmas rental and both levels rent out separately.
"Casa Guerin"is for sale, located @ K 20, Placer, a short walk up the beach to Mayan Beach Gardens. Fairly priced @ $399,000.00 USD's. A beautiful 3 bedroom, 3 bath, & 3 large direct Ocean view Terraces, A 2 level rental home or may be used as a private Villa, with 2600 sq ft. Title Insurance held with Stewart Title (Texas, USA). The Home is held in a Corporation which can be easily transferred to new owners with minimal paper work. The owners hold the "Concession on the Federal Zone". The home has been recently completed in Jan. 2009, so everything is brand new. The solar system is state-of-the-art. This home is very "rentable" and would be a great source of income while being able to experience beach life whenever you please. Visit: http://www.costamayaliving.com/Listing00232.html
FIXER-UPPER HOUSE FOR SALE
2 Bedroom 2 bathroom Beachfront House by owner. There was some damage from Hurricane Dean (structurally sound). Will sell "As is". Located about one km. north of the Uvero Beach Club
Casa Roja was one of the few structures in the area that survived Hurricane Dean, a category 5 storm. Needless to say, the home is extremely well built. $9K USD was spent after the storm to reinforced the foundation (soil added and compacted), which was not damaged during the storm - the "basement" cistern continues to collect water and is sound. While the structure is solid, accessories were lost in the storm (doors, windows, generator ruined, solar panels, etc). To keep the property safe, we pay a grounds keeper to live on the property. Power is supplied from generator and water is from a cistern.
Asking: $220,000 USD
Located North of Uvero - Casa Rojo
Lot size: 20m x 42.38m x 20m x 39m Beachfront
Builder: Rex Sunderland
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.
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
Unless otherwise stated, all content is copyrighted by MMB Contractors
Until next month,
Best wishes from your neighbor,