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Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Costa Maya Newsletters > Costa Maya 2011 Newsletter for April

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******************* Costa Maya Newsletter-April 2011 *******************

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

Editorial- the World Bank Comes to Little Mahahual

Hi Costa Maya Neighbors,

Winter has been brutal to many of you in Canada and the US, but here in the Costa Maya with the exception of a few windy days, it has been fabulous. Mayan Beach Garden has introduced quite a few changes including the addition of high speed Internet and WiFi/Internet hotspot (you can't help notice the big tower on our roof), a new ramada keeping it company, armoires in the cabanas, an outdoor bathroom and shower, and two new stand-up paddle boards, which I still have to master. Best of all, beginning in late April, naturalist Jim Conrad will return to Mayan Beach Garden for a few months. He will be introducing classes in Nature meditation - more information on that in the Mayan Beach Garden section. Also, don't miss out on all the news in Mahahual - it's high season and there is quite a bit happening.

Marcia with Baracuda

In the midst of beautiful weather and improvements to MBG, I had the opportunity to attend a couple of meetings with the world bank, one of them in Mahahual. Their primary purpose was to encourage environmental projects in Quintana Roo and determine what problems most need to be solved. The grassroots meeting held at Restaurant Delfin was an example of political correctness. In order to get to the bottom of the problems that Mahahual faced, the representative from the world bank, Lorena Sanroman, from Costa Rica asked us to divide into teams then list the problems of Mahahual, what our vision for Mahahual will be in 30 years and what do we think would destroy Mahahual. The groups answers were interesting. I was in the most politically correct group and our answers dealt with peoples feelings and values. Other groups were more concrete, with lists that included lack of recycling, lack of planning for Mahahual, the problem of illegal burning and over fishing. Every group mentioned corruption and lack of leadership and education. I, like a broken record said that my vision was a recycling plant where we could take the plastic from the beach and process it right here in Mahahual making it into things like plywood and building materials. I'm afraid I am far to literal to fit into the touchy feeling group that I was in! Never-the-less it was interesting, everyone had their say and the night ended far too soon. How often can you say that about a Meeting in Mexico! The grass roots meeting was just a start - by mid april, concrete, financially accountable ideas should begin to come together under Lorena's leadership. The World Bank has been doing this in other areas since 1996 and just recently come to Othon P Blanco. As always, I'll keep you informed.

Sadly, I want to let everyone know that Xcalak Polly has decided to move to Belize. It is not that she doesn't love Xcalak, but she dearly wants to garden in a jungle. Her home is currently for sale and you can see pictures of it in the Classified section of this newsletter. The good news is that we can visit her in Belize!

Your Costa Maya Neighbor,
Marcia Bales. . .writing this from Placer and Mayan Beach Garden Inn - 20 km north of Mahahual.

Past newsletters can be found at NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES

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mahahual and Costa maya news

Upcoming Mahahual events - Mark your calendar

  • Adios Felix Fishing Tournament occurred Mar 19th
  • Lion Fish Tournament April 8, 9 , 10th
  • Semana Santa (not really a full week) April 21, 22, 23, 24
  • Governor's cup / Copa Governador (Fishing tournament) May 6, 7 and 8th
  • Dorado de Plata (Fishing tournament) June 3, 4 and 5th
  • Copa Mahahual / Mahahual Fishing tournament sponsored by Tequila beach June 24, 25, 26th
  • Jatsa' ja - 19, 29, 21 of August

mahahual fishing tournament
This large Mahi-Mahi was not enough to win the one-day Fishing tournament on March 19

Marilyn's Mahahualaneans news

  • Castaways Book Store is open and ready for business. It is located in the store right behind Aromas on the side street. .... and she is in the process of opening an "art gallery".
  • School Palapa    -    The palapa at the Primary School is now finished.  We are now looking at some tables and benches to provide more seating space for the children.
  • Km. 55 Playground    -    The monkey bars to be placed in the play area are ready and will be delivered in the coming week.
  • Resource/Library    -     Steve Uhl and Maggie are working on providing a space for children and adults to study after school between the hours of 2 and 8 to further their education, and for those who are not comfortable in a school setting also to assist children who are struggling with academics.  The School dept. is offering assistance in the way of books etc.  However, they need tables, chairs, benches and shelving.
  • Kerry Briones   has offered to be in charge of the distribution of used clothing.  We have been bringing down extra clothing in luggage for local residents mainly residents in Km. 55...  this is a very worthwhile cause and our pastor's wife is happy to be involved in this service.  So bring clothes, or purge your closets before you leave.  They can be dropped off at Corona House on Sunday mornings.  Or you can phone Kerry at 983 117 3570.
The Mahahualenas Vision for the fall:

The Children's Christmas Party was the first item of priority.  However, toys are needed for the kids Christmas Party...  mucho!!!!!  A lot of hands will help us collect these toys as the children are adamant that they no longer want T-shirts. Approximately 200-300 toys will be needed.  Used toys are fine, but must be clean and in good condition.  (Mayan Beach Garden will forward any toys left at the hotel to the Mahahualaneans)

The children's Marathon was a popular event and the Mahahualaneans have been asked to reconsider it.  This will be done for sure toward the end of March or first part of April.  However, the Carnival funding is out as they cannot support both events.  The vision and purpose is for Kids!!!!!! 

The Silent Auction and Bingo will be held so that they can continue to raise necessary funds for needy project that come up

Electrical Power in Rio Indio

Many people have noticed Electrical Power poles on the beach north of Rio Indio ending at Rancho San Anturo - a large complex owned by Luis Contreras. You may have seen his boats Boy Toy and My Toy around Mahahual and at the fishing tournaments. Ted Garcia (of the spectacular Casa Garcia-Hurricane Dean ruin) called the contractor and found out that the power lines are going only to the house and are privately owned by Sr. Contreras. We would need his permission to tie into those power lines. The good news, however is that power is possible and as a community, we could bring power down the Placer access if we wanted to organize and do so. You can contact Ted Garcia directly if you are interested in getting power to the area between Rio Indio and Placer North. Email me directly for Ted's private email address.

Mahahual Promotions - billboards in larger cities

If you go into Mahahual on a weekend, you will find it almost as packed as week-days. The reason is the word is getting out amongst Mexican tourists that Mahahual is a beautiful place to visit. Below is a billboard seen in Merida along the highway.

Mahahual Billboard
Merida Billboard

Billboard Mahahual
Billboard - Costa Maya and Mahahual

Tourist Information Booth

Mahahual has been in need of a tourist information booth for a long time. Happily there is going to be one in a prime location - at the corner of Pargo and Huachinango. The property owned by the technological institute of Chetumal is at the entrance of town and is perfect because Pargo can be used for parking and it is in full sight of tourists looking for information. Anyone interested can bring fliers to the booth. The booth will be open on the days the ships are in town and on weekends when the majority of Mexican tourists arrive.

If you are interested in supporting the booth, please contact Rolando Denegri Rolando recieves a commision for selling your hotel or tour from his booth.

Mahahual information booth


New Pastor in Mahahual

Pastor Jorge Briones is 24 years old from the Puebla area. He graduated from the Mexican Lutheran Seminary in Torreon in January. February 12 he married Kerry Pamperin from Juneau WI. They met while Kerry was on a mission project in Torreon. Kerry also 24, is a January graduate of Martin Luther College with a degree in Elementary Education. She hopes to begin English and Spanish classes this fall. They live in the Casitas in a blue house 3 doors west of Bere's store. They are the permanent mission team in our area and will continue to hold services on Sunday's at 10:00 in the Corona House and in Pulticub on Saturday's at 2:00.

Mayan Beach Garden - New at MBG

Nature meditation sessions with Jim Conrad

Those of you who have followed this newsletter may remember me talking about Jim Conrad when he stayed here two years ago. That was shortly after Dean and I'm afraid there wasn't the diversity of nature here at the time to keep Jim around for longer than a couple of months. Now he has promised to spend the rainy season with us here at Mayan Beach Garden - I think he will be surprised at how nature has taken over (or maybe not!). Jim will be conducting Nature meditation sessions both here at the hotel and also on location in the Sian Ka'an and in the jungle starting in May.

Jim's nature meditation sessions promise to be informative and inspirational. One cannot help but be inspired by his philosophy of nature. Even better, sessions are free to guests of Mayan Beach Garden. Don't let this opportunity pass you by.

Jim Conrad

New Stand-up Paddleboards

I'm just getting the hang of the sport of SUP, but Mayan Beach Garden just acquired two Panga Surf Stand up Paddle boards. I'm still at the kneeling stage, but I can see the attraction. I had my first lesson (after failing miserably on my own) and am anxious to practice extensively after I get my taxes done!

12 foot epoxy Paddleboards usually rent for $20-$40 per hour at the snorkel shops in the US and Playa del Carmen. We will only be charging $10 per hour / $20 1/2 day here at MBG.

As always, Kayak use is free.

Stand up Paddle boards

New menus get rave reviews - Meet Faviola

Mayan Beach Garden has great food - but we do sometimes get tired of making the same thing all the time. Thanks to Faviola, who has been with me for 5 years and has been promoted to 1st cook, we've introduced some new recipes into our menu that are helping to "mix things up." We have had guests stay here for 4 weeks with only a couple of repeats. New to the list (and now repeatable) are:

  • Tic N Xic style fish - Fish cooked in banana leaves smothered with Achiote, garlic, herbs and sour orange
  • Calabasa stuffed chicken breast topped with a poblano sauce
  • Fish fillet cooked in banana leaf with epazote, shrimp, manchego cheese and mango
  • Key Lime Cake
  • Orange, Ginger, Rosemary and garlic roasted chicken breast
  • Roasted Pineapple-mint salad
Faviola is on the right behind Martin who is cleaning shrimp.

Armoires in the rooms (we listened to your comments)

Our goal at Mayan Beach Garden was to have an open airy feeling with as little as possible in the way of that "musty" smell. Most of the time we succeed, but people have commented that we needed something to hang clothes in and be able to shut the door so they couldn't see the clothes. With that in mind, we designed some Armoires that have ventilation and still provide a way to get rid of hotel room clutter.

The design of the Armoires continues the Mayan theme that signifies Mayan Beach Garden.

Mayan Beach Garden Suite

The Wrack at Mayan Beach Garden Inn continues to serve up great drinks

Two months ago I announced the Wrack Bar at Mayan Beach Garden. This month I want to share a little bit more info. As many of you know, the wrack is the line of seaweed and debris that gathers on the shore. Both good and bad can be found along the wrack - but we hope it will make you think about Mayan Beach Garden's new Bar every time you see it. Bill Ellis and Tricia Nelson will be running the bar. They are inviting you to visit and try out Trish's great Margaritas and her specialty, "the Crack at the Wrack,".

The Wrack bar is open until 10:00 PM.



The Wrack Bar

Costa Maya Villas New Pictures

Costa Maya Villas Condo Hotel has turned from beautiful to WOW, and when you come to Costa Maya, you will have to visit. My office is nearing completion (well sort of) - still need internet connection there to do business, but every time I go I see major improvements. This week it was landscaping and the addition of some of the tallest trees in Mahahual since Hurricane Dean. The pool deck is being poured and the parking lot graded.

Below are some new pictures.. Only three units remain unsold.

Costa Maya Villas Condo-Hotel
The pool is ready for tile, and palm trees are planted
Costa Maya Villas and Cruise ship

For more information contact or Marcia at

Good Reference sites for Costa Maya- - Every once in a while I find a web site that is so helpful that I can't figure out how I managed a business on the beach without it- this is one of them. It allows you to find information about wind and waves for any location. The closest reporting stations are Tulum and Chetumal airport - not ideal by any means, but it includes an interactive map (pictured to the right) that I found extremely accurate, I was able to tell some guests to hold off for a day or two on their trip to Chinchorro because the winds were going to be too strong the day they had originally planned. - This great web site has quite a few photos of animals you will find here in the Yucatan Peninsula. The list of animals also includes insects, birds and reptiles. The site doesn't appear to have been updated since 2009, but it is still a valuable resource with many good pictures. - Jim has been living on the grounds of Hacienda Chichen Itza for the last year and a half writing and updating his web site Although this current newsletter written from Chichen Itza is informational, I always like to look over the newsletters from his time here on the Costa Maya. You will find very interesting observations of the plant and animals along the coast here.

Casita Dragonfly


Spanish Phrases
(or why I understand the words but can't understand what in the heck they are saying)

If you know Spanish, but never seem to be able to understand what people are saying, it might be that the combination of words they are using just don't translate literally. A prime example of words that you may know the meaning for but can't translate is "a lo mejor" which when broken down could be literally translated to mean "to better it." In reality, it means maybe or perhaps. The following list of common phrases that are said all the time comes from Marcus Santamaria’s Spanish Ear Training.

a fin de cuentas

after all/ when all is said and done

a lo mejor


boca abajo

Face down

¿Cada canto?

How often?

como no

of course

como si

as if/as though

creo que si

I believe so

cuanto antes

as soon as possible/at once

dar a luz

give birth

darse cuenta

to realize

de al lado

next door

de hecho

in fact/ actually

de la noche a la manana


de nuevo

once again / once more

todos modos


de vez en cuando

every now and then

dejar de

to stop / to quit

en absoluto:

absolutely not

en vez de

instead of / rather than

es decir

in other words

estar de pie


hacer caso

to pay attention

más bien

rather/on the contrary

no hay de que

don't mention it / no thanks are needed

para variar

for a change

por supuesto

of course

querer decir

to mean to say

sin querer

by mistake / without meaning to

soy yo

It's me

tener que

to have to

tener que ver

to have to do with

Tener que ver

to have to do with

tener razon

to be right/ to be in the right © Copyright 2009 Marcus Santamaria

Quintana Roo news

Bacalar Municipio announced

(Important notice for all property owners in the Costa Maya and Bacalar)

On February second, the 10th municipality in Quintana Roo was unanimously approved. The new municipio will have an area that encompasses, 83 towns and a coastline of 20.1 kilometers. Why does it matter to people on the costa Maya? Currently you are in the Municipio of Othon P Blanco - a stable municipio with money, rules and regulation and experience. Further more - the 20.1 km. of coastline will encompass some of your properties. The municipio Council of Bacalar will assume duties on April 11, 2011 and for the first couple of years will adopt the rules and regulations of Othon P blanco. So in the short term nothing should change.

In the long term - it could change things dramatically. The new Municipio includes the area between Uvero and Pulticub, which has always been slated for hotels and development. Mahahual and Placer will remain in Othon P Blanco. On 307, the area includes Xul-Ha north to Limones, and the border of the municipio of Felipe Carillo Puerto, West to Emiliano Zapat a and Noh Bec and East to the west side of the lagoon. That leaves the area of Xcalak to El Uvero in Othon P Blanco.

So the limits would be established with the community south of Xul-Ha, north including Limones to the community of Noh Bec de Felipe Carrillo Puerto, west on the short route to Merida with Emiliano Zapata, also of Carrillo Puerto and east with the back of the lagoon of seven colors, so that leaves the part of the Costa Maya of Othon P. Blanco, in your area from Xcalak to El Uvero including of course to the cruise port of Mahahual.

If you have a home in the are of Pulticub and Uvero, your building permits will be coming out of this new municipio.

New signs for Southern Quintana Roo

I've always said that someone important in the state must have a nephew in the sign business. Over a million pesos will be spent on new road signs in the southern part of the State. Mahahual and Xcalak will be the beneficiaries of these new signs. I hope we get some arrows this time and not just pretty graphics. Its pretty certain we will get more instructions that we are not to mistreat the signs!

no Maltrate
For the first time, we will see signs warning against cell phone use while driving. signals also have warnings to avoid cell phone use for drivers, because in recent days has become a risk factor in causing accidents.

Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza

Every year at the Spring and Fall Equinox, thousands of people head to Chichen Itza to witness the serpent climbing the temple of el Castille. Now as wonderful as this sounds, in real life, it is painfully slow requiring extreme patience to see the shadow moving up the sides of the temple. Because of the full moon, this year holds additional significance and spiritual awareness to many Mayanists. Chichen Itza is really in the state of Quintana Roo, but I thought this might prove of interest to some.

Chichen Itza

This year, despite being a public holiday, there was a charge for everyone entering Chichen Itza, even nationals. Usually, holidays and Sundays are free, but this year Chichen Itza and the ruin of Dzibalchatun will charge their normal entrance fee. It is estimated that this will bring in an additional 2,000,000 pesos with a visitorship of 16,000.

Entrance fee into Chichen Itza is 166 pesos for foreigners and 16 for nationals and Dzibalchaltun is 107 and 82 pesos respectively.

Dzibalchaltun is unique on this day because the sun lines up with doorway of the temple of the three dolls (shown at the right) and stele many meters away. The appearance of the sun in the doorway occurs only on the equinox. Dzibalchaltun is located north of Merida.


Travel news and Tips

Playa del Carmen Overpass Nearing Completion.

If you have driven through Playa del Carmen in the last year, you couldn't miss the traffic and construction as a series of bridges by-passing the busiest sections of Playa del Carmen are being constructed. According to one of my guests, the Southernmost section of the overpasses is completed and he was able to drive on it. When I went in late December, it looked complete, but wasn't open. I don' t know the projected date, but they appear to be working around the clock. If you decide not to drive through Playa on your way to the Costa Maya, take the "Arco Vial" which is the loop around Playa. It passes by a new Super Walmart and ends down by Sam's club, City Club and Soriana's. If you need to pick up items on your way here, this might be an option.

Playa del Carment Bridge



I love you Xcalak

Now don't expect any photo's, I went to a Catholic Baptism here in Xcalak. Remember the baby shower, well, same baby. In England when I have attended a Catholic church event I have gone along and been quiet and respectful. I have to say if the Catholic church in England had been like the one here I would be of the faith. What a difference, what fun!
The invitation said 3.0pm, so I was there outside the church,  being Mexico the only other people there were a couple of Americans that had been invited too. The doors were open so in we went and found a bench/pew to sit down on.


People started to turn up in twos, threes or families.  There were dogs running in and out, children playing, running up and down the aisle and in one door and round to the other having great fun.  There were to be four  baptisms that day.  The Priest arrived  with a CD player. We then had music, the Carpenters actually, this was the first time I had been in a Catholic church and known the words to the music, and yes of course I sung.! All I can say is this was a very easy and joyous occasion, dogs, children, the Carpenters, I am sure it was as He wanted it to be. The children got baptized and then we all went to the respective parents homes for the fiesta. Viva Mexico.

March Orchid ......  Encyclia bractescens.
Growing quite happily on the Frangipani and looking for all the world like a fairy bouquet. It has a lovely perfume that is quite strong first thing in the morning and then again at dusk.

Last year I bought a Bottle plant whilst in Belize. It is an amazing plant, for starters it also know as Gout Stalk and in India as the Buddha Belly Plant. In India it is deemed lucky to rub it's "belly", it also has many different medicinal  properties.It grows a big belly, the size depending on how much water it gets. The flowers are a hot orange on an umbrella like stalk, the leaves are a nice bright green and are three pointed. The new leaves and minute orange flower are tiny, tiny replicas growing further up the stalk.

The flowers bring butterflies, Hummingbirds and bees. The seed pods are extraordinary too, they swell, start to split and then explode, the seeds jettisoned several meters away from the mother plant.   I was told it does well as a pot plant, so far so good.

Bottle Plant

Once again we in Xcalak have been lucky enough to have an animal spay and neuter clinic. The wonderful Vets from Merida and our own Park Office came through trumps for us for the second time. In all we have had three clinics here, I can honestly say you can see the difference in these animals to some of the other pueblos.
They operated on over forty animals. Everybody worked well and it was a great success. I understand "our" vets are going to do a clinic in Mahahual. I know you will make  yourselves known for donations and volunteering as readily as the people in Xcalak did. 

Last month we had the "Yellow Lined Road.
The road from Xcalak to Mahahual and also the road from Mahahual to Placer was just lined with a blaze of yellow. Beautiful yellow daisy's, and the icing on the cake, the Loro's in flocks enjoying the feast. Flocks of up to fifty or more.  Little parrots, noisy, gregarious, green, blue jewels sparkling in the sunshine as they wheel and dive when something disturbs them. Unfortunately they have no respect for cars so mortality rates are up when the flowers are out. I did my best to get photo's, my friend took the one of the birds from the passenger seat of my car. It was cloudy that day, I didn't get another chance so it was this or nothing.

daisy lined road

Taming a wild cat! Just bring her home a kitten, one that was being quite literally (with a broom) swept out of the drub store in Mahahual. charley, ye, charley because she has a little black smudge mustache under her nose, thought I had brought her home to a surrogate mother. After a couple of days, Mece just gave in and accepted the role.

Last but not least, please see the photos my house in the classified section below. . .

Classified Adds


If you have something you want included in the classifieds, please send it to 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.

House for Sale in Xcalak

this beautiful little house is perfect for someone wanting to open a restaurant as it is located in the center of town right on the beach. The home includes the federal zone a 16 x 24 meter lot and is owned by our dear Xcalak Polly.

The house comes furnished, is on the grid which means it includes water and power. Polly has always had internet via Satellite and the house includes satellite equipment.

i don't usually include this many photos when I do a free classified, but Polly has been so helpful writing her column that I couldn't help but let you all see what a beautiful home she lives in, even though all of us will be sad to see her go.










Side yard and entrance into back yard. By the way . . . the quad is also for sale.










Looking out over the bar into the large living room.









Bedroom with King size bed. Privacy wall separates dressing area and closet







Spacious front porch (large enough for outside restaurant style sitting) looks out onto the caribbean.

Email me directly for Polly's email address if you are interested.



Xcalak house

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