Costa Maya Newsletter
Newsletters > Mar. 2005
of primary interest to property owners on the Costa Maya, - Rio Indio
- Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along the
March 12, 2005**************************
Where exactly is the Costa Maya?
Update on Recycling efforts - Balance and setting up a non-profit
corporation to handle wastes and protect the environment
Re-zoning efforts in the city of Mahahual - No more horses in the
Costa Maya Chamber of Commerce News - Semana Santos preparations and
how to join the chamber
Immigration Q & A
Sorry for the late publishing date of the newsletter but I was waiting
for the Immigration meeting (especially after spamming you with false
alarms the last couple of weeks!). Q&A from the Immigration meeting
is listed below along with a link to a web site that provides more information
about Immigration issues.
You can find this newsletter and archives of past newsletters at this
WHERE EXACTLY IS THE COSTA MAYA?
The Costa Maya is all of the following:
- The area that stretches from Xcalak to Punticulb, or the boarder
of the Sian Ka'an.
- The name of the Pier and cruise ship destination
- A group of small communities (including Mahahual, Xcalak and El
Placer) that have banded together to take care of the growing population,
garbage and other issues.
- I have been told that it officially does not include lake Bacalar
or the Sian Ka'an
UPDATE ON RECYCLING EFFORTS
The efforts to improve the recycling drop off center at the secondary
school have been going full board. The foreign investors (as all of
you who have generously donated are referred to) have collectively contributed
again to the city who have used the latest funds to build additional
composting bins. This is a very good thing for the community as the
number of restaurants and hotels increase. 60% of a restaurants waste
can be composted and turned into fertilizer. I purchased the first load
of composted soil from the city, but I purchased everything they had
(and I have an order in for more!). Those of you who want compost for
your gardens can get on a waiting list to purchase compost when it is
ready. With the money donated they will have 8 new large bins (they
only have 2 now) so this will become easier to acquire. The sale of
the compost will help them maintain the bins.
New contributions to the recycling fund:
>>John and Valarie McChristy .............. $100
>>Todd Story .......................................$100
>>Pam and Don Laurion........................ $100
>>Correction: The Layman's donation last month was reported as
55 pesos, when in actuallity it was 550 pesos (I still get my dollars
and pesos mixed up!). Apologies and thanks to the Laymans.
Total donations to date: 1,491.27
Debits from the fund:
Previous : .............................. $200
February: ............................... $454 (or $5000 pesos)
Other news about "garbage" and recycling.
The group who has been meeting together weekly to solve the recycling
problems has banded together to form a non-profit/civil corporation
to take care of all of the garbage for the Costa Maya as well as to
help enforce environmental issues. The corporation has a president,
secretary, treasurer and other officers. As described above, the Costa
Maya is a stretch of land running almost 100 miles, so over the long
term this will be quite a project. I think the name of the corporation
is Amigos de Costa Maya (Friends of the Costa Maya). I haven't heard
back as to whether or not the name is taken by some other corporation.
Once we have approval of a name, this section of the newsletter will
The group (soon to be incorporated) petitioned Chetumal for funds to
improve garbage collection. They were granted $7000 dollars. This was
less than they asked for, but will allow them to purchase a motorized
4-wheel "scooter" to supplement the tricycle they now use
for recyclable waste collection. It will also pay for a trailer to haul
the recyclables in, a trash compactor for the plastic collected, labor
to collect garbage, sun-resistant garbage bags and a few incidentals
such as gasoline and other items. You can see why the money you have
donated up to this point is so appreciated.
If you are familiar with Mahahual, you may have wondered what the little
round white house was as you entered Mahahual. Currently it is owned
by SEMARNAT, the environmental protection agency of Mexico. The goal
is to use this for a turtle museum. It is hoped that SEMARNAT will help
pay to renovate it and deed it over to the area. In order to do this,
a trust has to be created to raise funds, market and promote the protection
of the turtle grounds and educate people about protecting the environment.
If you are interested in this project, let me know and I will forward
your contact info to an English speaking representative from the University
of Quintana Roo who is heading up this effort.
RE-ZONING EFFORTS IN THE CITY OF MAHAHUAL
The city of Mahahual if very small, only three streets deep and a few
blocks long. The Primary school is on the beach road, which most of
you are aware is a sandy beach road. Every day the kids get out of school
and walk down the street, mingling with tourists who have come off the
cruise ships. In the midst of this are taxis, horses, ATVs, bicyclists
and miscellaneous motorized vehicles. It is an accident waiting to happen.
A petition has been filed to rezone the area to protect the pedestrians.
While horses may not sound dangerous, their excrement left on the streets
is pretty awful so they are the first to be targeted. Expect changes
in this arena soon and if you are traveling through Mahahual, please
COSTA MAYA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE NEWS
Semana Santos, or the week around Easter, is the focus of the Chamber
right now. The Military checkpoint has been monitoring the number of
vehicles during this time frame for the last two years. In 2003, there
were around 5000 vehicles, 2004 - 8700 and this year it is expected
to be over 10,000 vehicles with an average of 4 per car. Add this to
the cruise ship passengers and you can expect shortages of Gasoline,
purified water and Ice as the locals vacation at the beach. If you are
planning a visit here, please be prepared and don't come to Mahahual
with an empty gas tank -- fill up in Chetumal or Carrillo Puerto just
After reporting the formation of the Costa Maya Chamber of Commerce,
I got requests asking how to join the chamber of commerce if you are
not here. The president of the Costa Maya chamber told me that they
are members of the Mexican chamber of commerce community. Therefore,
if you want your corporation to be a member please tell your accountant
to join the Costa Maya Chamber (not the Chetumal chamber). He should
know exactly what to do.
IMMIGRATION FACTS and Q & A
NOTE: This was a safe meeting to ask questions, but the presence of
immigration officials scared many people off and they didn't stay to
ask questions. I was one of only 2 persons asking questions, so I didn't
get the benefit of bouncing off other individuals.
1) There are four main types of foreign Visas here in the state of Quintana
Roo that you need to be aware of.
Tourist Visas -- these allow no working of ANY type.
FMVL - given to Belizean citizens, and is good for 72 hours. They CANNOT
work with this type of visa, so you cannot hire someone with this type
FM3 -- different lengths of time and varying qualifications listed.
This is good for 90/180/365 days, based on the type of application.
Most of the information below is about FM3s.
FM2 - provides more time and benefits than an FM3
2) Is the FM3 you get as a Business owner different than a FM3 for a
It is the same visa, but it states on the visa whether or not the holder
is a business owner or worker
3) Are there limitations to the number of Foreigners with FM3s you can
No, but you can only hire 10% foreigners. The other 90% must be Nationals.
3a)Do the owners of the corporation count as part of the 10% (meaning
that a husband and wife would require 20 nationals?)
No, the owners of a corporation do not count. They should have a visa
with an owner status. This is why it is important to have the visa with
the right status.
4) Can I rent out my house with a retirement visa status?
No, this requires a FM3 with the status of Business owner
5) Can I get an FM3 outside of Mexico?
Yes, you can get an FM3 for the status of retiree or worker, but you
cannot get an FM3 with the status of business owner. You will have to
be in Mexico to get this type.
6) Who needs an FM3?
Everyone who is not a tourist. Retirees, business owners, workers, even
7) I currently have an FM3 that expires this May from when I was working
in Guadalajara. I would like to change the employer to my wife (owner
of our property) and my position to property manager. How do I do this?
The first thing you must do is to make the changes in your corporation
to designate yourself as a manager. From there you make the change in
8) We own property in a Mexican Corporation that is labeled inactive
as it is land only. Do we need to have an FM3?
No, not if you are not going to do anything with the property.
9) Before you build a house do you need an FM3?
Yes, because you need to register with the government - at least as
10) Can you be working while you are waiting to set up a corporation?
No. You must first file for an FM3. About a week later you will get
a temporary stamp which will give you the authorization to work while
you are waiting for the official FM3.
Additional comments from Immigration: If you are a partner for an active
corporation it is a requirement to add to your permanent FM3 the status
partner/employee or owner to your FM3. All shareholders, not just CEO's
are required to do this. They will have tax numbers now in the event
that the corporation pays you dividends, you will pay taxes on those
dividends, similar to taxes in the states.
There is a web site that answers many questions. Part of the site is
in English. http://www.inami.gob.mx/pagina_ingles/principal-ingles.asp.
Until next time!