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-a discussion about weather on the Costa Maya
There hasn't been a lot of weather to talk about lately here in Costa Maya. We had a calm 2009 hurricane season, a beautiful winter, albeit a little colder than normal and a spectacular spring. Normally late March and early April can guarantee that we will be sand blasted and Martin will be hauling sand back to MBG's beach come April. Not this year. We had a few windy days and then it got cold again. It has been just spectacular! Both the diving and the fishing has commenced full swing. Further more, about the time I was pining about the annual drought situation, we had a very nice rain that dumped about an inch. My plants greened up over night and everything is set to be beautiful for my favorite month of May. Why? Great water month, lots of good fishing, not very humid, but nice and hot. That's my kind of weather. Meanwhile the hurricane prognosis for the year isn't really great.
The US National Hurricane center hasn't posted their prognosis yet, but a couple of other forecasts have been published. You can read a very interesting forecast from Colorado State - TROPICAL METEOROLOGY PROJECT FORECAST SCHEDULE. The report is really for weather nerds, but there was enough there to make me read to the end - skipping over the three letter acronyms that can make your brain go numb. Basically, we are looking at a more active hurricane year than we saw last year. Even though the caribbean is a little colder, there are "anomalies" in the caribbean that are being seen. If I read it correctly, the lack of evaporation normally created in warmer waters may actually cause the water to heat up more, causing a chance of more hurricanes. I don't pretend to understand this, but they combine these anomalies with the passing of El Nina and data that they have collected since 1950 to come up with forecasts for the year. Our Costa Maya fingers are crossed for a good year hear and everywhere!
Make sure and take a look at all the Mahahual news this month - quite a bit is happening this time of year. I've also included a new photo tour of Costa Maya and Mahahual.
Argusia gnaphalodes also known as Sea Rosemary or Sea Lavender is one of the more beautiful salt loving plants on the Costa Maya shores. What I was surprised to read was that it was endangered in Florida, about the only place it grows natively in the US.
You may have seen sea lavender growing profusely close to the waters edge if you look at beachfront property on the Costa Maya. This is an evergreen, rosemary-like shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall and appear even somewhat tree-like in appearance if pruned or crowded out by other plants. Left to its own devices, it spreads out horizontally like mounding groundcover. It is native to beach dunes, coastal grassland, coastal scrub and coastal strand from Florida to south America. It is drought- and highly salt-tolerant and useful for wildlife attracting butterflies and birds.
It is listed on the endangered species in Florida because it is commonly replaced with other plant life.
Here on the Costa Maya, Sea Lavender is fairly prevalent up and down the coast. It starts easily from seed, can withstand salt spray and helps hold down the soil. When landscaping, it's silvery-blue green foliage makes a stark contrast with darker green plants when landscaping.
mahahual and Costa maya news
Recycling finally here? the promise of the "super bags"
Recycling may finally be a reality. Big Super Bags arrived last week with the sole purpose to deposit plastic recyclables into. The ultimate goal is to turn plastic into plywood-like sheets of recycled plastic that you can trade in for plastic. The idea is to collect plastic, exchange it for "credits" that you can then trade for sheets of plastic plywood or items made out of recycled plastic. At some point in time, the plastic processing will happen here in Mahahual.
Currently all of the proceeds are being donated to the schools. The next pickup of the bags is April 21st, so if you have plastic - please bring them by and feed my SUPERBAG!
Old Recycling News
Many of you donated money to recycling many moons ago. . .pre-Dean in fact. I still have an accounting of the money that was donated. At that time the promise of recycling also felt real and I was working directly with the Alcaldia at the time. That was back in 2004! When the town of Mahahual asked for donations, thanks to the generosity of many of you, there was a total of $2332 collected towards recycling. I gave Mahahual $935 dollars worth of pesos leaving a balance of $1397 USD.
The money was used for a fence and fill to level the ground for the recycling and compost bins. That project fizzled after parents at the school complained that people were dumping garbage and not just plastic and the restaurants were dumping bones and meat into the compost bins which attracted flies. You can still see the leveled area next to the school but the compost bins were wiped out by Dean and never replaced. Those who donated in 2004 and 2005, I want to thank you for your patience. The money earmarked for recycling will still be used for that purpose and status updates will be posted here in this newsletter. Suggestions from the town are to pay for signs to promote recycling, flyers and garbage receptacles specifically for plastic or use to pay for people to clean up the beaches during slow season.
Cell phone registration
On Saturday April 10th, the deadline passed for Mexican cell phone subscribers to register their phones with the government's National Registry of Mobile Phone Users, or Renaut. If they did not, the Mexican government promised to soon begin cutting off their cell phone service. However, as of April 15th, it looked like they had still yet to cut off service.
To register a phone, you can either send a text message with your personal details or visit a retailer to register. Mexicans have a number, similar to a Social Security number that allows them to register on the internet or via texting Foreigners can register only with their passport - but it is very easy to do. I registered 4 phones with one passport.
Because the government stands to loose millions of pesos in taxes, there will be a gradual suspension of unregistered service instead of a whole-sale cutoff.
The government's purpose in setting up the National Registry is to reduce the number of crimes such as extortion schemes (e.g., where a loved one is claimed to have been hurt or abducted, and the family is told to send money for medical care or their release) using cell phones. Some 120,000 extortion attempts by telephone were said to have occurred last year alone.
Starbucks - where is the coffee?
I had the opportunity to meet someone in front of Starbucks the other day. What a disappointment. There is no real coffee at Starbucks. There is only a cooler full of bottles of Starbucks 7-11 version of their sweetened mochas and frappucinos whose only purchasers were kids. I sat there and watched hundreds of people stream in and back out again. What a loss for starbucks!
Mahahual featured in Sport Diver Magazine (May 2010)
The 10 page article with beautiful pictures starts out: "Few people make it to Mahahual. An isolated, end of the path outpost, it lingers in the past a mere four hours south of Cancun. To get there, I traveled a long straight road that leads me through impenetrable forests hiding jaguars and yet-to-be-discovered Maya temples. . . . " The article also includes photos of Mahahual, local ruins, and a quick review of the area, plus a lot of hype and no mention of the thousands of people pouring out of the cruise ships weekly. I happily read it and tried not to criticize the exaggerations. A copy of the magazine was passed to me by Terry Callaway, whose property is in Cazona.
Photo and Art contest (part of Jatsa-ja)
The last two years the festival of Jatsa-ja has featured photos of Mahahual and the Costa Maya. This year, the contest will be expanded to include other artwork as well. Details will be coming, but if you have created any original artwork or have taken some amazing photos of the Costa Maya and the southern part of Quintana Roo, here is your opportunity to show case it. Jatsa-ja will happen the 2nd weekend in August. Send inquiries to email@example.com.
Photo video tour of Mahahual after the cruise ships have departed
(NOTE: if you have difficulty viewing, click on the video to see it on the YouTube web site)
Fishing tournament delayed one week
The Annual Costa Maya/Mahahual governor's cup fishing tournament has been delayed one week. The new date is May 7, 8 and 9th. If you planned on being here the first week of May, you won't be totally disappointed. Now you can fish without having a lot of other boats in the water competing! There have been a lot of fish out there.
Event: TORNEO DE PESCA COPA GOBERNADOR 2010 Start Time: Friday, May 7 at 8:00pm End Time: Sunday, May 9 at 6:00pm Where: Mahahual Q. Roo
After praising the new nursery/ vivero last month, I thought I should post a picture of it. The hand written sign says "Tierra Negra" which is a nice word for Compost. The nursery is located in the km. 55 area on the North side of the road.
New Forestry Study and Federal Permit
Last November, Kim was expecting SEMARNAT approval for a house he was building. He was surprised to find out that it was approved pending the completion of a forestry permit. At the time we had never heard of such a thing. Now, four months later, we are better educated and that same house just finished the forestry permit process. Any of you looking to build will have to get this forestry permit and study which can add up to $50,000 pesos to the permitting process. I asked Patricia Espinoza, Environmental Engineer about the permit and required study that goes with it.
Question: What can you tell me about the law/policy and what areas it impacts? Answer: The forestry law applies to all areas of Mexico which have original vegetation and in the coast it applies everywhere because the ecosystem is fragile and contains protected species. The forestry law was created in 2003, changed in 2005 but SEMARNAT only put it into effect in late 2009. The law states that land not developed reverts to forestry and must therefore requires a change of the use of the land. The laws that applies in this case are: LEY GENERAL DE DESARROLLO FORESTAL SUSTENTABLE, NOM-022-SEMARNAT-2003, Ley General de vida Silvestre and NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2005. The required study is (ETJ) -Estudio Teacutecnico Justificativo.
Question: Is this all of the Costa Maya? Answer: These are federal laws that Apply to ALL of Mexico.
Question: Is this all of the Costa Maya? Answer: Yes
Question: Does it include people who want to build in the Sian Ka'an? Answer: Yes, especially in Natural Protected Areas.
Question: What about in Mahahual and Xcalak town? Answer: Yes
Question: What happens if you do not have the Forestry Study? Answer: The forestry Study is required. If you build without having the EIS (environmental impact study) and the ETJ then you are guilty of a federal felony. PROFEPA can close your property and place fines on the property.
Question: Are there other fees beyond just paying for the study? Answer: Yes, the fee for reviewing the study varies from 800 pesos to 5000 pesos, depending on the size of the property. 1 hectare = 800 pesos. In addition, when the study is approved you pay the "forestry compensation" which means that you will pay per each square meter that you will change the forestry use (not for all the lot, just for the portion that you will remove natural vegetation). As a reference 1 hectare equals around 15,000 pesos). This does not include the study itself, only the fees.
Question: How are the fees for the permit calculated? Answer: There’s forestry tablets to calculate the fees, usually depends of the kind of vegetation and the size that you will use.
Question If you have no trees on your lot do you still have to get the study? Answer: Yes, because of the coastal ecosystem.
Thanks Patricia for taking time to answer these questions.
Lion Fish invasion and what you can do about it
(Courtesy of Julie Minter, Blue Ocean Safari)
The first Lion fish on the Costa Maya was spotted about a year ago. Since then sightings have become more frequent. Although the residents of the Costa Maya have been trying to get rid of them, there is a lot of territory to cover and not too many divers. In other areas of the Mexican Caribbean local dive shops have organized special events to try to do some sort of control – if the dive shop you dive with does not open support killing of lion fish during a dive, talk to them to see what they can do to organize something.
If you don’t know what a lionfish is, you won’t find a picture of it in Caribbean fish ID books because they are not native here. Most people see the Lionfish as a regal and exotic looking fish. However, its spines are toxic (although not poisonous) and it has no known predator which would allow mother-nature to control it naturally in these waters.
According to NOAA, each Lionfish can produce 30,000 eggs every spawning cycle, with several cycles per year. Juvenile lion fish are even along the Costa Maya shores and most divers and snorkelers are starting to see them in increasing numbers. Man is the only predator which can get rid of the infestation.
If you spot one, what should you do? First, never use your hands, their spines are sharp and can be very painful if the skin is pierced.
When snorkeling or walking along the shore: They float on the surface of the water, which makes it easy to drop a net over it, scoop it up with a bucket or colander. Once on shore, Ice water will humanely kill it immediately.
When diving: Kill with a spear gun (this is legal) or capture with a mesh bag
We have a very limited number of people and dive centers which have committed to help and remove the lion fish from these waters. You can help. I urge divers traveling to the Costa Maya to make this issue a concern. Talk to the dive shop owners and let them know that you support lionfish removal during your dive. Don't dive with companies that don’t support it.
This article is from Julie at Blue Ocean Safari who invites everyone to dive the “Lionfish safari” in Costa Maya. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help protect our reef and the fish in it. www.blueoceansafari.com
ask for Alejandro, Jim or Julie
Lost world of Quintana Roo revisited
If any of you have read the Lost world of Quintana Roo, you will be particularly interested in the journey of Wendy Morrill and her father. They are attempting the autobiographical trek chronicled in the book "Lost World of Quintana Roo" by Michel Peissel who traveled the entire length of Quintana Roo in 1960. Starting from Mexico City he makes his way to Merida and then travels by bus on a very poor road to the coast of what is now Cancun. Imagine in 1960 you could stand on a desolate beach that is now the hotel strip of Cancun.
The Yucatan coast was inhabited by cocaleros, small huts existing on fish, coconuts, turtle eggs, tortillas and other food of the land. Along the way he visits such places as Tulum, Pulticub, Tampalam and Rio Indio.
When you read this you realize that this man was very, very lucky. He had inappropriate provisions and was forced to live off the benefit of the Indians and others. Although out of print, you can find the book on Amazon
As part of their journey, last year they stayed here at Mayan Beach Garden as they hiked from Pulticub to Punta Kanechaxh, about 120 miles. You can read about their adventure on Wendy's blog.
Free nights stay if you schedule a visit to the show room. Todd Story, owner of Mayan Paradise Properties Inc is offering a free night's stay in a luxury Costa Maya Villa condo to anyone who schedules a visit to view the condos.
You can find the condos by turning left at the light house - driving north on the road that parallels the beach. You can't miss them, they are the only beachfront project near the port. Financing is available.
Latest Image showing third floor support posts getting set into place. Taken from the lighthouse.
Spotlight on your Costa Maya Neighbors - Todd and cherylyn Story
It's been a while since I featured one of your neighbors here. Todd and Cherylyn Story volunteered to share their goals for the Costa Maya this month.
What first brought you to Costa Maya?
After returning home from spending several weeks in both Costa Rica and Panama searching for a place that I felt had
excellent growth potential for future development and coming up empty handed. I stumbled upon a picture of a new cruise ship terminal by the name of Puerto
Costa Maya. We had just returned back home and I showed the picture to my wife Cherylyn and said to her, "this is the place." Within a couple of days I was in Mahahual seeing with
my own eyes what I had expected from the photos.
What did you do in a previous life?
I was a Construction Supervisor
for Pacific Gas & Electric.
Snap shot of Todd during ground breaking of CM Villas.
Where are you from originally?
A small foothill community in California by the name of Placerville, located between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.
Why did you decide to develop property here? Three reasons, the beauty of the natural environment, the fact that very little development had taken place and some very important infrastructure was in place.
What challenges have you faced and what has been the most difficult to over come? The amount of bureaucracy is unbelievable. In the States I only have to deal with
one entity, the County for the environmental and permitting process. Here in Mexico the Federal Government handles the environmental process, then you go to the
County for your construction license and they do not communicate with one another.
However, the most difficult hurdle to over come was the effects of Hurricane
Dean. I had completed my environmental studies and they were submitted then comes Hurricane Dean completely changing all the vegetation of my lands. I had to start all over again.
You have stated that you want to position yourself as the premier developer on the Costa Maya - What does that statement mean and how do you plan to do that?
exactly right. The statement means that if you are coming to the Costa Maya with the intent to purchase a condominium or house and you have
done your homework then you will surely be in contact with Mayan Paradise Properties so as to assure yourself of the highest quality of construction
on the entire coast. In order to achieve this status I have built a team of professionals that are the best in each of their given field. I have spent countless
hours with each of them making very clear what my expectations are of them. We all share the same vision, to be the premier development team
in the region.
What was your inspiration for the Costa Maya Villas?
My main inspiration was that everyone was telling me that there was no way that this could be done.
What are your goals for the Costa Maya and Mahahual?
I have several goals for Mahahual and the Costa Maya. First we need to develop the area in a manner
that puts an emphasis on working in harmony with the environment unlike that of the northern part of the state of Quintana Roo. The greatest asset that
the Costa Maya has is its environment. If we develop the Costa Maya with no respect to the environment in the end we will have nothing but concrete
and asphalt. Secondly we need to make sure that we have an extremely clean and safe place for visitors to come to.
Can you share any other projects that you have in the works after the Costa Maya Villas are completed?
Yes, at this point in time we are just finishing up with the
construction detail plans of my next condominium project Aktaan Ha Villas which is scheduled to begin construction in the first part of August this year.
This new project will be located 200 meters north of Costa Maya Villas. I have also completed the initial architectural design works and am in the process
of changing the use of the land for Paseo Maya, a 30,000 sq. ft shopping plaza to be located adjacent to the lighthouse on the north side. The concept
will be that of the town center. This project will be constructed as a joint venture in conjunction with Frischmeyer Investments.
What are your long term vision/goals?
My long term vision is for the Costa Maya/Mahahual to have the status of the premier address in all of Mexico.
Mayan beach garden reservation News-Beach view rooms as low as $57 a night with breakfast for two!
The Free stuff offer is still in effect Thru October 2010. If you email and I forget to offer you a deal - you'll get a free cocktail (minimums apply). The longer you stay, the more the free stuff accumulates. Additionally -- they are good any time through October 2010.
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!
Fishing in Espiritu Bay (Sian Ka'an)
Anyone wanting to fly fish Espritu Bay has been challenged by inexperienced guides, lack of good housing and just not knowing the area. Previously, the only way you could get good guides was a week at Casa Blanca, an exclusive fishing lodge in the middle of the Bay only accessed by boat or plane. Now you can book a couple of days on the island and stay at Casa Rodondo. So you can stay and Mayan Beach Garden, leave the non-fishermen here and go up to Casa Rodondo for a couple of days without having to devote the entire week to fishing.
2 Day 2 Night - GROUND TRANSFER FROM MAYAN BEACH GARDEN not included
For MBG Guests (prices are per person - no more than two persons per boat)
Nightly Accommodations hot breakfast & family style dinner included
Full Days of Fishing with fly fishing guide lunch and boat beverages included. On Site Host
Editor's NOTE: I will be posting Polly's text shortly - please check back!
I've had several requests to place classified adds here. If you have something you want included in the classifieds, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. This month there is only one, but I hope to have more next month. .
FIXER-UPPER HOUSE FOR SALE
2 Bedroom Beachfront House by owner. There was some damage from Hurricane Dean. Will sell "As is". Located about one km. north of the Uvero Beach Club
Looking for Articles
You will note that while Polly has been taking a break - others have stepped up to write information that might be of interest to everyone. If anyone would like to submit articles to this newsletter that would be informational to others, please contact me at email@example.com. Thankyou to Julie Minter and Todd Story for submitting articles.
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