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Costa Maya Newsletter> Archived Costa Maya Newsletters > February, 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

You can now read up to the minute Mahahual happenings at http://costamayablog.mahahuallive.com/

*******************Costa Maya Newsletter*******************
February / Febrero 2010

CONTENTS
Hi Costa Maya Neighbors-

Excuse to come to Mahahual and the Costa Maya

If you watched the photo tour of the Costa Maya you probably noticed all the building in the area around the pier. Most of the stores are open and a sculpture garden has been added to the wide center walkway. The area is beautiful and compelling - albeit not on the beach. The result of all of this development is that fewer cruisers make their way to old Mahahual. The shopping may be superior and the environment is pristine and the safe. And more and more stores are coming. Next month, we'll update the photo tour again so you can see the development. Meanwhile, the improvement to the Coast road from Rio Indio to Punta Herrera is moving along fast. The governor's promise to bring tourism up and down the coast is nearing completion (whether or not you want it!). All this development may be good for some folk's pocketbook, but those of us who came here for the piece and quiet have mixed feelings. It seems that I see and hear fewer animals and birds these days. Still, the water is beautiful and beckons me. Yesterday I saw three large eagle rays while snorkeling. On the flip side, when I was shopping at the fish market in Chetumal I was shocked to see an eagle ray fin being sliced into pieces for sale on the vendor's cutting slab. I hate to be snobbish, but I do get joy out of seeing their graceful presence in the bay.

If the weather is getting you down, here are a few reasons to visit the Costa Maya besides the warm sunshine and beautiful blue Caribbean! You will note that most of the newsletter this week is consumed with current events:

  • Meeting for foreigners in Chetumal Originally scheduled Feb. 21, 3:00 at the Convention center appears to be on hold for now.  Sponsored by the Municipality, this is geared to property owners and investors in the Costa Maya. I will update this web site as things change.
  • Carnival - this year, carnival in Mahahual is scheduled to occur on 26 and 27 of February (more information below)
  • Governor's cup - April 30th, May 1st and 2nd.  This is the annual fishing tournament that brings in hundreds of fisherman to fish for Marlin, Mahi Mahi and other trophy fish. This year a children's fishing tournament will be added to the event.
  • Copa de Plata - This fishing tournament is scheduled for June 10, 11, and 12 of June
  • Toyota/Coca Cola Tournament - date yet to be announced.  
  • Jats'a-Ja' (pronounced HAHT-sa-HAH) is scheduled for August 13, 14, and 15 or the week before the anniversary of Hurricane Dean. Start putting together those photographs for the art show. This year we are adding paintings and drawings as well!
Marcia with Baracuda

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

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Message board - Looking for your best Mexican Recipe

I've been thinking about ways to fund beach cleaning and have decided to publish a Costa Maya Recipe book with proceeds going toward cleaning up the plastic on the beach. I know that cooking and plastic don't exactly go together, but every little bit helps! If you would like your recipe to be included, please post it on the message board. Recipes should be items that can be made here at the beach with ingredients you can get here in Mexico and that can be repeated when you leave here and return to your home. Depending on the response, we will also offer the opportunity to vote on your favorite recipes. THANKS - can't wait to see those recipes.

Message board conversation for this month: http://costamayalive.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?p=2546&sid=7c017b3b2e6b032b0ff54c07213bb1a6#2546

mahahual and Costa maya news

Security Meeting in Mahahual Feb. 3, 2010
The Alcaldia, or Mayor of Mahahual hosted a meeting of foreigners living in and around Mahahual.  Most owned property and some  had been at one time or another victims of some sort of theft along the beach.  Needless to say it was well attended.  If nothing else, it was an opportunity to meet other neighbors. 

The most important thing that came out of the meeting was that if you don't report it, as far as the police are concerned, the theft didn't happen.  Further more, without a report, you cannot reclaim your property.  Most recently thefts have primarily been of solar panels and computer equipment.  The process is that you must report the incident to the Ministario Publico or District Attorney , and then it will get into a queue and be investigated.  Therein lies the problem for most people who insist that incidents are never investigated.  The queue happens to include All of Othon P. Blanco, the biggest Municipio in Mexico - 150 pueblos or towns, of which Mahahual is one of them.  Still, a report is essential for insurance purposes and recovery of your items, if for example, the items are later found in a storage facility.

If you happen to see a crime being reported, you can call '066' and  they will come and investigate immediately.  If, for example you discover something stolen just moments after the occurrence, they can set up road blocks.  HOWEVER, and this is a big however for some people, the phone is manned by Spanish speakers only.  Learning some emergency words would be very beneficial, such as 'Ayuda' the word for 'Help.' Alternately, non-Spanish speakers can go to the Alcaldia's office (Mayor) and talking to one of the two English speaking staff members, Cesar or Maria who will help them navigate the system.

If you see an occurrence  happening to a neighbor's property and want to make an anonymous call, you can do so by calling '089.'  Still, most reports are after the fact and are not very satisfactory.  It could take days to get the police to come out, only continual reminders and prompting can help get their attention.  However true the statement, It was not too comforting when the group of home owners were told "Remember that you are living in Mexico."

PREVENTION:
Since after the fact investigation by the police is poor, prevention seems to be the best recourse.  Some tips were given to the group:

  • If you are going to hire someone from Mexico, make sure they don't have a record.  They should have a report from the police stating this information.
  • Employees should have official ID with their picture.
  • Report incidents or suspected offenders in the area immediately. The Police do have a database of past offenders in Chetumal (however, do not report someone without cause - laws are similar as to those in the USA and Canada)
  • Protect your property.  
  • Hire a care taker
  • Have dogs on the premises - fenced is better so they stay on the property
  • All doors should have good locks
  • Bars on windows
  • Gates
  • Exterior lights left on all night long are not necessarily a good thing. Don't be a target by advertising everything you own by turning exterior lights on all night long.  It is far easier to spot someone with a flashlight.   It is better to have timed lights that go on and off randomly. 

The police do not have the money to patrol the entire coast.  Gas is expensive and it is not in their budget.  Further more, they don't have sufficient vehicles.  Suggestions were made to get ATV's and have them patrol the coast.  The City could apply for a couple more police, but home owners would pay for the ATV and gas.  The idea has merit and they promised to look into the idea. 

Social Gathering, Sunday Feb. 21, 2010- Postponed?

On the evening of February 21st, investors and property owners of the Costa Maya were invited to a "Social gathering"   hosted by Andres Morsillo the Presidente of Othon P. Blanco. The location at this point is undetermined and yesterday I heard that it had been postponed to March. Locations mentioned have been Bacalar and Othon P. Blanco. This is a great opportunity to meet our neighbors and address some of the issues we may have as foreigners and investors. He is welcoming any new ideas and proposals we may wish to bring to the table. This is an informal cocktail BBQ party with Andres and some of his staff, some which speak English. I will update this announcement when I learn the exact location and date.

New Museums coming to Mahahual:

  • A new Museum is planned for Mahahual - Museo Maya.  The plan for this museum will be coming at the end of February and will be located close to the Soccer field.
  • The Turtle museum is also being restored. This is the round building that is located on property that SEMARNAT gave/loaned to the town several years ago. With very little funds, it was almost restored but Hurricane Dean ripped off the roof. This property is just North of Super Carolinas

Details about Carnival

Friday 26th of February:

  • Carnival officially starts at 5:00 PM Friday the 26th with the parade that leaves from Barudi's Bodega.
  • Parade: The path of the parade heads north from Barudi's past Corona House then turning around and heading back through the casitas turning left onto Cafetal highway, then turning right and heading south on the Malecon and ending at the Fisherman's pier. At the Primary school, the children, who will be riding the safari bus will get off and walk the rest of the way - dancing. Anyone can join the parade anywhere along the way. The parade will repeat on Saturday. They are still taking applications for floats. If you would be interested in entering a float- please talk to Maria at the Alcadia's office to register your entry.... 983-130-5925. To date the float entries are:

  • Recycling float - Julie Minter will sponsor -
  • Mahahualaneans float - the ladies group -
  • Foreigner's Float - Iris from Aroma's is coordinating this
  • Circle of Faith - presented by the bible study group
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • GVI
  • Children of Mahahual on the Jungle Bus
  • Crowning of the Queen and Ugly king on the stage
  • Live music sponsored by Superior
  • Saturday 27th of February:

    • Parade: Repeat of Friday
    • Entertainment After the parade - ON THE STAGE - presentation of visiting entertainment from other localities
    • Visiting Queens from Bacalar, Xcalak and Chetumal. 
    • Live music sponsored by the Municipio.

    Bus from Belize only running on weekdays

    If you ever plan to take the bus from Belize or other parts of Latin America into Mexico, please note the following.  According to the Reporter, a Belizean newspaper, Buses, cargo containers and trucks are no longer allowed to enter Mexico during the weekends as all vehicles must be screened by gamma rays, a new security procedure to prevent contraband, human trafficking, arms and drugs. This would impact travelers between Belize and Mexico who want to travel on weekends via bus.

    The reason? No screening can occur over the weekend since the office is closed. This is part of a modernization project to protect the borders of; Mexico. Only private vehicles and foot traffic will be able to cross the border.  Actually, this has been a regulation that has been in place since 2006 and equally restricts Mexican buses from entering as well, but it was only on January 30 of 2010 that it was implemented at all border crossings.

    On weekdays, the gamma testing office is only open between the hours of 9am and 7pm. The solution would be to open the offices on weekends.  I don't know about offices along the US border, but as of January 30 2010, the offices are closed at the Belizean crossing.

    The solution?  Get off the bus at the border and walk across the border.  Taxi's will be waiting. 

    Lost Dog (from Connie Borne, KM 15 S.):

    Our little puppy Diego was taken from our place on Wednesday, February 10.
    We were only gone 2 hours and when we returned he was gone.  He is a beautiful
    puppy with unusual markings.  Maybe someone in your newsletter group
    has seen him.  I will attach a picture and our phone number 983-137-4738.

    Streetlights installed

    Cafetal and the back streets of Mahahual will now have streetlights. True to form, they paved the road and then immediately cut it up to put in lights. Curbs have also been added but pedestrian space is minimal.

    Recycling? Recicla 2.0

    The promise of recycling is getting more real. It looks like the land has been donated and all that is missing are permits. Any of you who have built know how long that can take! What makes this project different than the rest is the fact that it has a lot of support in the community, will involve the schools and will also create products that can then be sold to fund the project. If this comes to fruition, I will finally be able to buy sheets of plastic just like you can purchase sheets of plywood - and better yet, the plastic that is coming from the beaches will be used to make the sheets of plastic. Our fingers are crossed that Recicla 2.0 will soon be opening up here in Mahahual.

    Meanwhile, Julie Minter is entering a recycled plastic float for Carnival to draw attention to the project! GO JULIE!

    Water Taxi to Belize - now leaving from Chetumal

    Water Taxi

    The Chetumal to San Pedro belize Water Taxi is now running regularly Friday - Mondays. Weekends are currently not part of the program because of the high weekend visa fees imposed by Belize.

    The boat leaves Chetumal at 7:15 PM and returns at 3:pm. The cost is $55 USD round trip.

    I have yet to take the trip, but Lupe (my cook) has a daughter who works for Immigration issuing the day long visas. According to her, they are currently getting enough passengers to keep it going. It is my understanding that the boat leaves from the maritime pier which is North of Sam's club.

    Contact information is shown on the image at Left. Belize city and San Pedro will have English speaking operators.

    Mayan beach garden reservation News and Free stuff offer

    Staying at Mayan Beach Garden Inn is now more affordable with the offer of free stuff. The longer you stay, the more the free stuff accumulates. Additionally - there is no High season or Low season to these offers - they are good any time during the length of the offer.

    Referral Program

    Many of you have stayed with us here at Mayan Beach Garden and have also referred friends and family in our direction. We really appreciate your business, especially in these times when things are tight. The best compliment anyone can give us is to provide a referral. Because all of our customers are important to us (and hopefully will return!), for every person we know about that you refer (make sure they let us know!) we will credit 5% of their lodging stay toward a future visit for yourself. The more you refer, the less your stay will cost. Plus, it can be added to our" Free Stuff" offer!

    Charter Flights from Cancun to Costa Maya

    It is true! Mayan Beach Garden Reservations can now help you arrange charter flights from the Cancun Airport to Mahahual, Xcalak, Pulticub and other harder to reach areas with small airports.

    We are now working with Palm Valley outfitters to offer this service. Whether or not you are renting from Mayan Beach Garden, we can help book this for you. The trip is spectacular, as you get a complementary tour of the coast (and you will be close enough to land to take unbelievable photos).

    The Cessna 206 carries 4 with luggage or 5 with carry-on. Prices are based on the total cost of the flight, not per person. If you are staying up in the Cancun area and would like to fly down for the day to take care of quick business and return the same day, this is a great way to avoid 8 hours in the car. Please contact info@mayanbeachgarden for prices and to book flights.

    FREE STUFF!!!
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    • Free Taxes!
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    • Free Tortilla 101 class
    • Free night's stay
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    • Current offer good
      through June 2010

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Costa Maya Villas

    Prices increased on 15th of February. It was inevitable. The pre- construction prices for Costa Maya Villas had been frozen far after construction began, but as of February 15th, they rose 5%. Another price increase is scheduled for April 1st when the first unit will be ready as a showroom. According to the Mayan Paradise Properties Inc., this is one of the best investments on the Costa Maya because of the location, quality and design. Click on the floor plan below to see more plans of individual units. You can check out the progress at Mayan Paradise Properties construction and on the newly updated YouTube video below.

    Villa 3

    The reason I have been focusing so much on Costa Maya Villas is that not only will you be able to rent a condo from Mayan Beach Garden Reservations, but Costa Maya Property Management will be managing the properties. Todd, of Mayan Paradise Properties wants you to feel welcome to schedule a visit to Costa Maya Villas construction site, or just stop by and take a look. Mayan Paradise Properties Inc. has positioned themselves as the premier developer in the Costa Maya, focusing on the high end condo hotels and commercial properties. The project will be ready for rentals Winter 2010.

    If you don't know where Costa Maya Villas are located, you can reach them by turning left at the light house - driving north on the road that parallels the beach. Financing is available. Additional shots of Costa Maya Villas are included in the Mahahual Photo Tour.

    New Updated YouTube video for Costa Maya Villas Condo-Hotel

    "Huano" Palms and thatched roofs (excerpt from Jim Conrad's Backyard Nature)

    My Friend Jim Conrad who spent time with us last winter is now residing at hacienda Chitzen Itza. He has written a wonderful review of the Sabal Yapa palm, which is the type of palm used to make thatched roofs here. In the Yucatan, you will find two types of thatched roofs, those made with grass or Zacate, and those made with palm fronds. The material for the palm frond roofs are known as Huano. The Sabal Yapa is different than the chit palm you see around the Costa Maya (although this species is also protected).

    At the left you see an eight-ft-tall palm common around here, SABAL YAPA. Sabal species are recognized by North Americans as the palmetto palms so typical of the US Deep South. Here the Maya refer to Sabal yapa as Huano (WAN-oh). Most of the palm's fronds in the picture have been removed because people here use them for thatching roofs.

    When identifying palms a point to keep in mind is that the vast majority of palm species fall neatly into one of two broad groups: the fan palms, whose leaf segments radiate from the top of the leaf stem, or petiole, forming a ± circular blade, and; the feather-leaved or pinnate palms, such as the Coconut Palm, whose leaf segments arise from a rachis passing through the center of a long leaf blade, like pinnae arising from the rachis of a feather

    Palmettos are regarded as fan palms, even though their blades don't fit the fan-palm pattern exactly.

    Embracing about 190 genera and 2000 species, the Palm Family, the Arecaceae, is big and varied. Sixteen species are recognized in the Huano's genus Sabal, and most Sabal species cluster around the Caribbean Sea.

    Huano palms

    THATCHING THE MAYA HOUSE'S ROOF
    . . .This week Paulino and Santos have been thatching the roof with Huano Palm fronds. Last weekend a truck arrived carrying big bundles of Huano fronds tied together with the ropy stems of "Tropical Grapevine," Cissus sicyoides, as shown at the left:

    After chopping off each of the frond's stems, or petioles, so they'd be the same length, the men tied together bunches of them so they could be risen to their working spot on the roof, by rope, as shown below left.

     

    thatched roof

    One reason the Huano Palm's fronds are favored over other palm species is that the fronds' petioles extend like a midrib into the fanlike blade. The fronds are affixed to the wooden pole below them by inserting the petiole extension and the leaflets arising from it BELOW the pole, while all the rest of the leaflets go ABOVE the pole. This way the frond hooks onto the pole very securely. You can see how this looks in the image above.

    At the left, you can see what the house looked like after the first hour of thatching.

    You can read more of Jim's Yucatan Nature observations at BackyardNature.net

     

     

    NEWS FROM XCALAK POLLY I love you Xcalak

    Hola everyone

    The nice thing about yesterday, just after leaving here and before you get to our dump I saw the most beautiful, BIG, brown with rosettes, JAGUAR. I have never seen one as big or that color before. It was just strolling up the road, maybe stalking until he heard my car as 20 meters further up there was a small deer also walking up the road. They both disappeared into the jungle, same side. When I got home last night, Bob from casa Carolina .. .told me he had just seen the jaguar in more or less the same place.

    Editor's NOTE: Polly is somewhat occupied this month, hence a short column - her normal column will return next month.

    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

    ************************************************

    Updated: 17-Feb-2010

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