Costa Maya Newsletter
Newsletters > July/Julio 2006
Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa
Maya, - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other
points along the coast
July 10, 2006**************************
June has been wonderful this year. The temperatures have been fairly
cool and there has been a nice breeze. The weather has been a joy
to experience and life is good as we wait for hurricane season to
commence, hoping it will miss us this year. We promise to send updates
to this mailing list regarding any hurricanes that come our way or
anywhere along the Mexican Caribbean coast. If you follow the weather
in Chetumal, you might see that there are thunderstorms and clouds
forecast every day. This is true! for some reason, Bacalar and Chetumal
have had rain a majority of the days and we have been spared.
You may have noticed that I have increased the font size of the newsletter
(but not the website)- hope this helps those 50 something's out there.
You can read this and past newsletters at the following link on my
* Discussion board for Costa Maya Neighbors (BETA) - Subject FM3's?
* Home Mortgages on the Costa Maya?
* Costa Maya Cruise News and Calendar
* Another Mahajual makes the news
* "Uchben Kah", Ecological park - update
* New development on the Costa Maya
* Mayan Art at the Met
* Noni -- local wonder plant
* Mexico Elections
* Spotlight on your Neighbors
* Properties for sale
DISCUSSION BOARD FOR COSTA MAYA NEIGHBORS (BETA) - FM3's
I launched a discussion board for Costa Maya Neighbors last month,
but haven't received much response yet. I thought it would be good
to start a discussion Topic. The topic of interest is FM3's. After
several expensive starts, Kim and I now contact our accountant and
he gets it for us and we blindly pay our money and go on. So far we
haven't had any problems, but we've never allowed our FM3s to expire.
Our neighbor's 6 month visa expired before it could be renewed and
despite Herculean efforts, she was unable to renew it. She now must
leave the country, reenter on a tourist visa and start from scratch.
Luckily she was able to leave and come in via Belize, but had to pay
a pretty stiff bribe to avoid having to stay 3 days. Does anyone have
any experience getting FM3's? How did you go about doing it? Please
log in to provide some input that may be of interest to others. If
your FM3 was painless -- how did you do it and do you even need one
if you own property? Some of you may be wondering what the deal is
about FM3's. This is the opportunity to ask your questions. Also,
take a minute and register the status of your FM3 on the poll. Every
month we will put a new poll up and report the results the following
HOME MORTGAGES ON THE COSTA MAYA
I sign up for all types of newsletters about living here in Mexico.
One of the newsletters, Mexico Buyer's Guide mentioned Mexican Mortgages
in the Yucatan. I emailed them asking if they knew of anyone who could
secure mortgages on the Costa Maya and they were very responsive,
stating that Mortgages were available on the Costa Maya. Mexico Buyer's
Guide (www.mexicobuyersguide.com) sent me the following quote to use
in this newsletter:
"US style mortgage financing is now available for purchasing
homes and condominiums in Costa Maya, as well as obtaining a loan
on your existing home to receive cash-back from your equity. Construction
loans may also be possible. This financing uses only your Mexico property
as security for the loan, and is available in either US Dollars or
MX Pesos. These loans are from 20 to 30 years in length, some are
fixed and some are adjustable. Down payment requirements vary from
20% to 30%. You need to talk to a qualified mortgage broker in Mexico
about the best program to suit your needs. As money has become available
in Mexico, there are many brokers trying to do business from the US,
and as you know, without on-the-ground knowledge and contacts of doing
business in Mexico, this can prove difficult at best. My recommendation
is to use a reputable mortgage broker with on-the-ground loan officers
and experience. We have heard good things about Mortgages In Mexico,
a company that has been doing business in Mexico since September 2004.
Mortgages In Mexico has a good reputation, with experienced loan officers
located in various locations throughout Mexico, including the Yucatan.
You may contact Doug Jones via email doug@MortgagesInMexico.com or
call 555-350-6331 (Mexico City) or 918-398-9588 (US). He can discuss
the various loan options available, help you make the best choice,
and go over the costs involved."
COSTA MAYA CRUISE NEWS
Cruise ship schedules have been very slow, except on Fridays which
have ships every week throughout the summer. Cruise ship visits are
always tempered by tropical storms, so there may be lots of changes
to schedules. We'll keep an eye out for it. Meanwhile, I keep getting
news of more ships scheduling visits to the Costa Maya.
ANOTHER MAHAJUAL MAKES THE NEWS
Thinking that Mahahual/Majahual/Mahajual was a name unique to the
Costa Maya, I was interested to find out that there is another Mahajual
(which too may have several spellings). Mahajual, El Salvador, recently
made news by being beaten severely by waves by was a what is being
described as a "freakish Pacific Storm" by CBS news. Many
of you may have heard the US perspective of the news where Los Angelos
and San Diego received some fairly substantial waves. I'm not sure
how extensive the storm was reported, but beaches from Mexico to Chili
received abnormally high water and waves from a Tropical storm that
originated off the coast of New Zealand. Playa El Mahajual is located
about 15 miles west of the capital of San Salvador where waves up
to 20 feet damaged some 20 corrugated-metal homes. Hopefully we are
protected somewhat by this type of storm by the reef out front, but
storms many miles out in the North Atlantic can cause waves, even
on a beautiful windless day. You can read more about the unusual weather,
the other Mahajual and the storm results here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/20/ap/world/mainD8IC743G1.shtml
UCHBEN KAH ECOLOGICAL PARK - UPDATE
Last month I reported that the ecological park on lake Bacalar, Uchben
Kah was reported to be run by Xelha or Xcaret. This is a mis-translation
from Spanish to English on my part. It is patterned after Xelha and
Xcaret but is run by the Ejido Pedro a Santos, not one of the big
international theme parks. Uchben Kah, meaning "old town"
is an old chiclero village on the north shore of Bacalar and is accessed
from 307 just outside of Pedro Santos. The rate is 10 pesos per person
and once inside you can rent kayaks and canoes to take you out to
a blow-up climbing wall and series of flotation devises in the middle
of the lake. There is also a kayak ride from a cenote down a river
to the lake with cabanas planned in the future.
NEW DEVELOPMENT ON THE COSTA MAYA AND MEXICO'S CARIBBEAN COAST
CANCUN: Do people travel to Mexico in the summer? YES! Cancun was
named third best World destination for this summer, following London
and Rome, according to a poll by Orbitz.com, the third largest tourism
website. The opinion poll of Orbitz, called Insider Index, is carried
out based on reservations made by the airline companies between June
1st and August 31st, 2006.
COSTA MAYA: Sol Melia and Iberostar and the construction company
OHL have announced again their interest in investing in the Costa
Maya. The vice-secretary of Political Infrastructure Politics of Quintana
Roo stated that air and land trips were carried out with the business
executives, who made a commitment to present a concrete offer to FONATUR
COZUMEL: In an effort to maintain their status as a premier diving
and snorkeling location, Cozumel is working with the Mexican Navy.
On June 2nd, two former Patrol ships sank to their final resting place
to become new underwater attractions for exploration by divers and
snorkelers. The recent ship sinking served as the launch of a long-term
program which consists of several ship sinkings, organized by local
government officials, over the coming year to provide new dive and
snorkeling sites outside of the National Marine Park. The two patrol
ships, the Laguna Mandinga and the Patzcuaro, measuring 85 feet long
and 42 feet long rest approximately 370 yards from Cozumel's shore
at a depth of 38 feet. You may have mixed feelings from an ecological
standpoint (like I hope they scoured the ships for every drop of oil)
but the Director of Cozumel's Tourism Promotion Board stated: It
is exciting to know that we are providing a future home for hundreds
of species of marine life while contributing positively to Cozumels
majestic underwater eco-system. We are also pleased that as a result
of these projects, our destination will continue to have something
new and fresh for return divers and snorkelers to explore." Cozumel
reefs are protected as part of the Cozumel National Reefs Marine Park,
and diving in Cozumel is ruled international dive/eco-standards.
RIVIERA MAYA: I reported on a town meeting on a previous newsletter
regarding the plans to unify the Caribbean Coast. According to a new
tourist report, Riviera Maya plans to be greatest tourism destination
in the Caribbean. Domestic and foreign hoteliers plan to build 7,000
new guest rooms in the Riviera Maya this year and turn this region
in the largest tourism destination in the Caribbean, ahead of Cuba
and the Dominican Republic. In December, the Riviera Maya will have
30,122 guest rooms, exceeding Cancun which has close to 29,000 guest
rooms. If you have driven through Playa del Carmen lately you will
have seen all the construction. There is hardly a stretch of 307 that
does not have either a large all-inclusive or town. The Riviera Maya
stretches south of Cancun to Tulum. If you remember Tulum and Playa
del Carmen way back when -- they were similar to Mahahual at one time.
MAYAN ART AT THE MET
NEW YORK - A new exhibition "Treasures of Sacred Maya Kings"
recently opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and runs through
Sept. 10. The show features more than 150 objects primarily from Guatemala,
Mexico and Honduras, some recently excavated. The show, organized
in thematic sections on such subjects as religious duties, royal portraits,
writing and royal feasting, emphasizes a time period from about 200
B.C. to 600 A.D. also known as the classic period of Mayan culture.
The exhibit has already been seen in Los Angeles and Dallas and previously
in London where I saw it over 2 years ago. It is well worth seeing
if you at all are in the New York city area and are interested in
Mayan culture. There were some pieces I had never seen before in any
of the books on Mayan art and artifacts. The artifacts in Mexico come
primarily from Calakmul, about 3 hours from the Costa Maya.
NONI -- LOCAL WONDER PLANT
You may have heard of Noni (Morinda citrifolia)-- natural wonder
plant from Hawaii that has hundreds of healing properties including,
colon and breast cancer, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure,
muscle aches and pains, menstrual difficulties, headaches both mild
and severe, heart disease, AIDS, gastric ulcers, sprains, mental depression,
senility, poor digestion, atherosclerosis, blood vessel problems,
drug addiction and more! I recently visited a Mayan Healer who claimed
(via 2-way translator from Mayan > Spanish > English) that it
cured everything from stomach ailments to diabetes. One of my workers
uses it successfully to control her husband's diabetes. BUT IT TASTES
AWFUL!!!! I'm sure that companies selling Noni are putting in something
to make it more palatable!
It states on the internet that it came originally from Polynesia,
but I'm not sure how it jumped from the Pacific to the Atlantic side
to grow prolifically along the beach roads here in the Costa Maya.
It isn't damaged by salt water and has become acclimatized to the
area, even though it may not be a pure native to the area. Apart from
saline conditions, the plant also can withstand drought and grows
in secondary soils- hence it's ability to grow in sand. Even though
it grows wild along the beach, it goes for 200 pesos a kilo (2.2 US
pounds) in Chetumal.
If you have Noni on your property, think about how you might want
to preserve it, if nothing else for its beauty. Noni is identified
by large beautiful shiny green leaves that are unevenly shaped. It
flowers and bears fruit year round. It does seem to occasionally get
visited by leaf cutter ants, but quickly recovers in about a month
after being completely stripped. There are pictures of Noni on the
Mayan Beach Garden website to help you identify it. http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/Trees.htm
Many of you may have followed Mexico's Presidential elections. While
Felipe Calderon from the Conservative National Action Party seems
to have won by a very slim margin over Lopez Obrador's leftist Democratic
Revolution Party, Obrador has yet to concede and claims the balloting
was rigged. There were scattered protests in favor of the leftist
candidate but so far it has been calm. Lopez Obrador, who has a history
of mobilizing millions, first called on his supporters to turn out
Saturday in Mexico City's main square. I've spoken to people on both
sides of the line and Obrador certainly brings out the passion in
people, where Calderon is viewed as a vote against the left. Meanwhile,
the ski-masked Fernando Marcos is crying foul as well, but refraining
from supporting Obrador. If Mexican politics interest you, watch from
afar. The US Embassy has issued the following notice, which I found
interesting as I wasn't aware that it is illegal for foreigners to
get involved in political activities in Mexico.
"Warden Notice Regarding Election-Related Demonstrations in
Mexico City, Mexico
The U.S. Embassy advises its citizens in Mexico to avoid demonstrations
that may be held in support or protest of the results of the Mexicos
recent Presidential election. The Mexican Constitution prohibits
political activities by foreigners, and such actions may result
in detention and/or deportation. Media reports indicate that demonstrations
are planned to be held in Mexico City beginning July 8, 2006. U.S.
citizens are encouraged to avoid any large crowds, to avoid downtown
Mexico City and surrounding areas during active demonstrations.
We wish to remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended
to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.
U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations, and
to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any protests. Since
the timing and routes of marches and demonstrations are always subject
to change, U.S. citizens should monitor local media sources for
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad
should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov
where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel
Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information
on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll
free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States
and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers
are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through
Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). American citizens traveling
or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate
U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department's travel registration
website at https://travelregistration.state.gov.
For any emergencies involving American citizens, please contact
the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Office of Citizens' Consular
Services Reforma Ave 305, Col Cuauhtemoc Mexico, D. F., Mexico CP
06500 Tel: (011)(52)(55) 5080-2000 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
. For additional information, please refer to the Embassy
website: http://usembassy-mexico.gov. "
SPOTLIGHT ON YOUR NEIGHBORS: Joe Lebore
This month, meet Joe Lebore, who owns property in Rio Indio and plans
on building as soon as he gets his SEMARNAT permit. You can read more
about Joe, see plans of his house and find contact information at:
PROPERTIES FOR SALE
I've added a couple of new properties on the property for sale page.
Don't forget, you can also post t hem on the forum, but if you can't
figure out how to post them yourself, you can send me photos and I'll
put them on the website. Please resize them so they are no larger
than 600 wide and provide descriptive text so I don't have to think!
they will be posted on http://www.costamayalive.com/Property.htm.
The beach-front house that was for sale in San Antonio (about a mile
south of Mayan Beach Garden) has now been sold.
The editor of this newsletter (me) makes no claims that the information
here is completely true. I am not a news reporter 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 correction
(as in the correction above on Uchben Kah). I try to verify the information
but even the newspaper prints up rumors, so I can only report what
I read and hear. THANKS!!!!!
Until Next month...
Regards from your Costa Maya Neighbor
Mayan Beach Garden, Boutique hotel on the Costa Maya
Until next month or until there is some new news to report....