Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > August 2005

Costa 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

***********************Newsletter: August 9, 2006**************************

Hi Neighbors,
One of the things about living in this part of Mexico is that to survive with any type of sanity, you have to acquire an attitude of patience, or at least practice acquiring it (I'm still at the practice stage). Getting things done quickly here on the Costa Maya is an aberration when it happens. The discussion subject of FM3's on the message board last month was no exception (Check out Immigration and Customs - FM3s - We had many people offer up some great advice along with some painful experiences in waiting. If you think you can get things done fast here - reevaluate your expectations. Kim spent 4.5 hours in a bank the other day just trying to wire money to the US. Business owners here hire agents whose sole role is to wait in line for them, and certainly one would have come in handy that day Here on the Costa Maya, take the advise of Jimmy Buffet:

". . . It's these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, Nothing remains quite the same, With all of our running and all of our cunning if we couldn't laugh we would all go insane. . ."

Occasionally something happens at the pace you expect -- celebrate. It may be the only time.

You can find this issue of the newsletter and archives of past e-newsletters at this location:
Newsletter archives.

* Message board for Costa Maya Neighbors
* New development on the Costa Maya and surrounding area
* Chit palms -- why they are a protected species
* Jelly fish - what's good about a jelly?
* Cruise News
* Mortgages on the Costa Maya
* Track historical hurricane hits in Majahual and the Costa Maya
* Learn Spanish on-line
* Spotlight on your Neighbors

Last month I introduced the concept of a monthly discussion topic. This turned out to be a great idea. If you didn't get a chance to read the discussion, the subject was FM3s. The discussion is still there and it is not too late to contribute. As a report on the activity, there were 15 posts and over 420 views, meaning a lot of you are "lurkers." What is a lurker, you might ask? According the On-line Dictionary of Computing Terms, it is:

Lurker: One of the `silent majority' in an electronic forum; one who posts occasionally or not at all but is known to read the group's postings regularly. This term is not pejorative and indeed is casually used reflexively: "Oh, I'm just lurking." . . .When a lurker speaks up for the first time, this is called `delurking'.

There are over 400 people on this mailing list, so hopefully we can get a lively discussion and 'delurk' a few of you. This month's topic is Corporation vs. Fide Camiso. How did you purchase your property and is one better than the other? What are the pitfalls of either? Are their tax implications? I've heard lots of talk about this and I noticed that in last month's discussion there was mention of Fide Camisos vs. Corporations. If you have experience either way, pro or con, please check it out and voice your thoughts or even your questions. Someone may know the answer.


For a long time we've heard rumors that there was going to be a Sam's Club in Chetumal. We were told it was going to be over by the Mall of Americas, but we could find no sign of any construction. Last week the Mayan Beach Garden van broke down and I found myself driving around in a tow-truck. The driver pointed out the location of the new Sam's Club. Then, as I was on foot, I walked by a building where they were hiring for jobs at Sam's club. The very next day, the newspaper had pictures of local authorities laying the cornerstone and announcing that it would open on October 17th, 2006. I think I can finally say that it is not a rumor. One less trip needed to Cancun for supplies! The new Store will be located south of 186 and East of the Airport (not by the Mall of Americas).

Likely as not, you have Chit palms (Thrinax radiata) on your property. You may have so many you can't create a path without destroying them. It might seem that something so plentiful should carry no restrictions. A little knowledge really helps clear up this issue. Native to the state of Florida and Yucatan Costal areas, Chit palms are also know as Thatch Palms in Florida, Wu ding zong in China and Jamaican Thatch on the Caribbean islands. These palms are found up and down the Costa Maya and are utilized for the construction of palm huts. They take 145 years to reach cutting age. Due to the uncontrolled tourist development of Quintana Roo, overpopulation on the northern coast has occurred which consequently creates a high demand of this dwindling species, thus its threatened status. It is protected by SEMARNAT, Mexico's environmental protection agency and illegal to cut without a permit. I can see why they are endangered, they are resistant to insects so are in demand for fences and even the construction of wooden docks. The wood is heavy when wet and sinks, making it an ideal candidate. The problem is that it is indiscriminately cut and used, diminishing the species.

Listed as Threatened Plants in the Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act Thrinax radiata are in imminent danger of extinction within the state of Florida as well, the survival of which is unlikely if the causes of a decline in the number of plants continue.

The natural Jungles here on the Costa Maya and around Mayan Beach Garden are thick with Chit Palms, especially north of Mayan Beach Garden - they are somewhat like a weed. Because they are plentiful, I think that many people carelessly cut them down without realizing their value as a species. You can identify Chit palms on the Mayan Beach Garden website: You will be wise to get a permit to clear these if you have them on your property. The permit is part of the environmental study mitigation plan, but if you want to clear before then, you can get a permit from the same biologists that do the environmental impact studies. The price is in the neighborhood of $600 USD and protects you from any fines that may be assessed for improper lot clearing.

You can also find out more about Thrinax Radiata on the US Governments Plant database. Check out other species of palms while you are there. It is quite an interesting website for botanist wanna-be's.


The average person doesn't think about jellyfish too much -- only when stung. But there may be another reason to be wary of the creatures: their blooms. That's when jellyfish reproduce in mass numbers in a small area.

The problem is blooms may be happening more frequently, and they're lasting for far too long. On such a large scale, jellies can smother an area, eating up all the fish eggs and ripping fishing nets with their sheer number. (Note, there are "blooms" of thimble jellyfish here on the Costa Maya in the Spring, but I don't know if they are getting worse or this is just a normal yearly occurrence)

There are in the neighborhood of 30,000 different species found all over the world. Pretty much everywhere you look in the ocean, you can find jellies. The problem with jellies is that they get in the way of us humans. They sting swimmers at beaches. They'll wash up dead on shore and people, not knowing what they are, pick them up to play with them and get stung. Also, anytime you get a non-native species from one body of water and transplant it to another, you can cause all kinds of trouble. Oil tankers and cruise ships do that with jellies all the time.

Ninety-five percent of Jellies sting. Some are actually able to choose whether to sting their prey. As for the stingers, they're like jack-in-the-boxes -- there's a box, a trigger, and a trap door. When you hit the trigger, the trap door pops open, but instead of a puppet, there's a hollow, harpoon-like, spring-loaded dart full of neurotoxins. They make it so the muscles stop working so that the prey doesn't struggle. If you're a gelatinous animal, you don't want to struggle with your prey. You want that thing to stop moving.

In the ecosystem, they play an important role. They're eaten by a lot of things, including turtles. Some animals ride around on jellyfish. There are juvenile fish that use jellies as homes. They hide in tentacles and don't get stung, but are protected from predators. Just by the nature of being in the ecosystem, they eat a lot of things, and how that affects everything is really unknown at this point.

So, what is the best way to treat a jellyfish sting? The severity of the sting has to do with the potency of the neurotoxin and how big the spring-loaded dart is. Most jellies you come across actually have stingers too small to get through a human's thick skin. Others get caught in your swimming suit and only upon abrasion get spring-loaded (rational for skinny dipping?). If you do get stung, if possible, first remove any tentacles that are still around the affected area, then use running water in an attempt to remove any stingers that haven't stung yet. Then put vinegar on there. If you have mustard, you can use that - it has a lot of vinegar in it and it is in a paste form. After that, use a topical antihistamine cream in case you have an allergic reaction. Once you've been stung, little red welts will arise and they will itch three or four hours later. The cream keeps you from itching. There are some "jellyfish sting" suntan lotions out there and bottom line is, they don't work. Some jellyfish will continue to sting for days, especially if you don't treat it immediately. Vinegar will continue to offer some relieve. I have a spray bottle of vinegar in my shower and use it every time I itch a little when I come in from swimming in the Caribbean. If you don't have vinegar, urine will work in a pinch . . . and most people have that with them ;-). This information about jelly fish is based on an article on You can read the original article at .

It's kind of quiet on the cruise front. Fridays are busy and there is a huge Disney ship about once a month, but other than that it seems like a three days a week schedule. We have only seen one ship that couldn't dock this July due to weather (that I am aware of). I did find a great article on about travel insurance that is worth passing along, especially if you are traveling this time of year (Hurricane season). Its valuable for all types of travelers:

I reported last month that mortgage financing was available. I have been asked to provide different contact information, so I am reposting the information with updated contact. The following information is directly from Harold Goakey, the managing director of Mexico Buyers guide.

"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. Mexico Buyers Guide recommends 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 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. Tell Doug that you are a Mexico Buyers Guide referral for a special cash back offer for August."

Harold Goakey, Managing Director - Mexico Buyers Guide

Wondering whether or not there have been a lot of hurricanes to hit Mahahual? NOAA has a great tool where you can put the name of location and track hurricanes and tropical storms back to when they started tracking them. The Costa Maya seems to be pretty free from serious hurricanes, the notable exceptions being Janet in 1955 which went right through Xcalak and Chetumal. Click on the Place Name and input Mexico. After the left screen refreshes, click on Majahual (note the spelling) and submit. Select what storm categories you want to see and the years and click submit. It works better if you only submit the hurricanes and not all the tropical storms as there have been quite a few tropical storms hit the area, but not too many hurricanes. Also, I kept getting errors on the page when I put "All Years" so I put the storms for the last 100 years. That worked very well. If you compare it to the number of serious storms in and around Playa del Carmen, you will feel pretty good.

I'm starting another new monthly feature -- tips to learning Spanish. My Spanish is still in its fledgling state and I continually struggle to understand the nuances of the language, so researching the subject also helps me progress in my goal to speak fluently. I will take any aid and any thing that will help me learn the language. Many of you already know Spanish, but those of you who don't we'll start discussing Spanish words and phrases here, as well as guide you to some great free web sites and learning tools on-line.
This month, check out which has some great on-line games to aid teachers who are teaching Spanish in k-12. Try it out - you can feel yourself learning Spanish as you do these games - and they are free for everyone, not just teachers!

This month, meet Natalie, John and Aleeta, who are from Minneapolis, MN USA and have property 4 km. north of Rio Indio. Natalie and Dale would love to get to know their neighbors as they start to contemplate building. You can read more about the Natalie and Dale at:

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 disclaimer. 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....


Updated: 05-May-2008

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