Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > July/Julio 2006

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: July 10, 2006**************************


Hi Neighbors,
June has been wonderful this year. The temperatures have been fairly cool and there has been a nice breeze. The weather has been a joy to experience and life is good as we wait for hurricane season to commence, hoping it will miss us this year. We promise to send updates to this mailing list regarding any hurricanes that come our way or anywhere along the Mexican Caribbean coast. If you follow the weather in Chetumal, you might see that there are thunderstorms and clouds forecast every day. This is true! for some reason, Bacalar and Chetumal have had rain a majority of the days and we have been spared.

You may have noticed that I have increased the font size of the newsletter (but not the website)- hope this helps those 50 something's out there. You can read this and past newsletters at the following link on my website:


* Discussion board for Costa Maya Neighbors (BETA) - Subject FM3's?
* Home Mortgages on the Costa Maya?
* Costa Maya Cruise News and Calendar
* Another Mahajual makes the news
* "Uchben Kah", Ecological park - update
* New development on the Costa Maya
* Mayan Art at the Met
* Noni -- local wonder plant
* Mexico Elections
* Spotlight on your Neighbors
* Properties for sale


I launched a discussion board for Costa Maya Neighbors last month, but haven't received much response yet. I thought it would be good to start a discussion Topic. The topic of interest is FM3's. After several expensive starts, Kim and I now contact our accountant and he gets it for us and we blindly pay our money and go on. So far we haven't had any problems, but we've never allowed our FM3s to expire. Our neighbor's 6 month visa expired before it could be renewed and despite Herculean efforts, she was unable to renew it. She now must leave the country, reenter on a tourist visa and start from scratch. Luckily she was able to leave and come in via Belize, but had to pay a pretty stiff bribe to avoid having to stay 3 days. Does anyone have any experience getting FM3's? How did you go about doing it? Please log in to provide some input that may be of interest to others. If your FM3 was painless -- how did you do it and do you even need one if you own property? Some of you may be wondering what the deal is about FM3's. This is the opportunity to ask your questions. Also, take a minute and register the status of your FM3 on the poll. Every month we will put a new poll up and report the results the following month:


I sign up for all types of newsletters about living here in Mexico. One of the newsletters, Mexico Buyer's Guide mentioned Mexican Mortgages in the Yucatan. I emailed them asking if they knew of anyone who could secure mortgages on the Costa Maya and they were very responsive, stating that Mortgages were available on the Costa Maya. Mexico Buyer's Guide ( sent me the following quote to use in this newsletter:

"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. We have heard good things about 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."


Cruise ship schedules have been very slow, except on Fridays which have ships every week throughout the summer. Cruise ship visits are always tempered by tropical storms, so there may be lots of changes to schedules. We'll keep an eye out for it. Meanwhile, I keep getting news of more ships scheduling visits to the Costa Maya.


Thinking that Mahahual/Majahual/Mahajual was a name unique to the Costa Maya, I was interested to find out that there is another Mahajual (which too may have several spellings). Mahajual, El Salvador, recently made news by being beaten severely by waves by was a what is being described as a "freakish Pacific Storm" by CBS news. Many of you may have heard the US perspective of the news where Los Angelos and San Diego received some fairly substantial waves. I'm not sure how extensive the storm was reported, but beaches from Mexico to Chili received abnormally high water and waves from a Tropical storm that originated off the coast of New Zealand. Playa El Mahajual is located about 15 miles west of the capital of San Salvador where waves up to 20 feet damaged some 20 corrugated-metal homes. Hopefully we are protected somewhat by this type of storm by the reef out front, but storms many miles out in the North Atlantic can cause waves, even on a beautiful windless day. You can read more about the unusual weather, the other Mahajual and the storm results here:


Last month I reported that the ecological park on lake Bacalar, Uchben Kah was reported to be run by Xelha or Xcaret. This is a mis-translation from Spanish to English on my part. It is patterned after Xelha and Xcaret but is run by the Ejido Pedro a Santos, not one of the big international theme parks. Uchben Kah, meaning "old town" is an old chiclero village on the north shore of Bacalar and is accessed from 307 just outside of Pedro Santos. The rate is 10 pesos per person and once inside you can rent kayaks and canoes to take you out to a blow-up climbing wall and series of flotation devises in the middle of the lake. There is also a kayak ride from a cenote down a river to the lake with cabanas planned in the future.


CANCUN: Do people travel to Mexico in the summer? YES! Cancun was named third best World destination for this summer, following London and Rome, according to a poll by, the third largest tourism website. The opinion poll of Orbitz, called Insider Index, is carried out based on reservations made by the airline companies between June 1st and August 31st, 2006.

COSTA MAYA: Sol Melia and Iberostar and the construction company OHL have announced again their interest in investing in the Costa Maya. The vice-secretary of Political Infrastructure Politics of Quintana Roo stated that air and land trips were carried out with the business executives, who made a commitment to present a concrete offer to FONATUR in September.

COZUMEL: In an effort to maintain their status as a premier diving and snorkeling location, Cozumel is working with the Mexican Navy. On June 2nd, two former Patrol ships sank to their final resting place to become new underwater attractions for exploration by divers and snorkelers. The recent ship sinking served as the launch of a long-term program which consists of several ship sinkings, organized by local government officials, over the coming year to provide new dive and snorkeling sites outside of the National Marine Park. The two patrol ships, the Laguna Mandinga and the Patzcuaro, measuring 85 feet long and 42 feet long rest approximately 370 yards from Cozumel's shore at a depth of 38 feet. You may have mixed feelings from an ecological standpoint (like I hope they scoured the ships for every drop of oil) but the Director of Cozumel's Tourism Promotion Board stated: “It is exciting to know that we are providing a future home for hundreds of species of marine life while contributing positively to Cozumel’s majestic underwater eco-system. We are also pleased that as a result of these projects, our destination will continue to have something new and fresh for return divers and snorkelers to explore." Cozumel reefs are protected as part of the Cozumel National Reefs Marine Park, and diving in Cozumel is ruled international dive/eco-standards.

RIVIERA MAYA: I reported on a town meeting on a previous newsletter regarding the plans to unify the Caribbean Coast. According to a new tourist report, Riviera Maya plans to be greatest tourism destination in the Caribbean. Domestic and foreign hoteliers plan to build 7,000 new guest rooms in the Riviera Maya this year and turn this region in the largest tourism destination in the Caribbean, ahead of Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In December, the Riviera Maya will have 30,122 guest rooms, exceeding Cancun which has close to 29,000 guest rooms. If you have driven through Playa del Carmen lately you will have seen all the construction. There is hardly a stretch of 307 that does not have either a large all-inclusive or town. The Riviera Maya stretches south of Cancun to Tulum. If you remember Tulum and Playa del Carmen way back when -- they were similar to Mahahual at one time.


NEW YORK - A new exhibition "Treasures of Sacred Maya Kings" recently opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and runs through Sept. 10. The show features more than 150 objects primarily from Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras, some recently excavated. The show, organized in thematic sections on such subjects as religious duties, royal portraits, writing and royal feasting, emphasizes a time period from about 200 B.C. to 600 A.D. also known as the classic period of Mayan culture. The exhibit has already been seen in Los Angeles and Dallas and previously in London where I saw it over 2 years ago. It is well worth seeing if you at all are in the New York city area and are interested in Mayan culture. There were some pieces I had never seen before in any of the books on Mayan art and artifacts. The artifacts in Mexico come primarily from Calakmul, about 3 hours from the Costa Maya.


You may have heard of Noni (Morinda citrifolia)-- natural wonder plant from Hawaii that has hundreds of healing properties including, colon and breast cancer, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, muscle aches and pains, menstrual difficulties, headaches both mild and severe, heart disease, AIDS, gastric ulcers, sprains, mental depression, senility, poor digestion, atherosclerosis, blood vessel problems, drug addiction and more! I recently visited a Mayan Healer who claimed (via 2-way translator from Mayan > Spanish > English) that it cured everything from stomach ailments to diabetes. One of my workers uses it successfully to control her husband's diabetes. BUT IT TASTES AWFUL!!!! I'm sure that companies selling Noni are putting in something to make it more palatable!

It states on the internet that it came originally from Polynesia, but I'm not sure how it jumped from the Pacific to the Atlantic side to grow prolifically along the beach roads here in the Costa Maya. It isn't damaged by salt water and has become acclimatized to the area, even though it may not be a pure native to the area. Apart from saline conditions, the plant also can withstand drought and grows in secondary soils- hence it's ability to grow in sand. Even though it grows wild along the beach, it goes for 200 pesos a kilo (2.2 US pounds) in Chetumal.

If you have Noni on your property, think about how you might want to preserve it, if nothing else for its beauty. Noni is identified by large beautiful shiny green leaves that are unevenly shaped. It flowers and bears fruit year round. It does seem to occasionally get visited by leaf cutter ants, but quickly recovers in about a month after being completely stripped. There are pictures of Noni on the Mayan Beach Garden website to help you identify it.


Many of you may have followed Mexico's Presidential elections. While Felipe Calderon from the Conservative National Action Party seems to have won by a very slim margin over Lopez Obrador's leftist Democratic Revolution Party, Obrador has yet to concede and claims the balloting was rigged. There were scattered protests in favor of the leftist candidate but so far it has been calm. Lopez Obrador, who has a history of mobilizing millions, first called on his supporters to turn out Saturday in Mexico City's main square. I've spoken to people on both sides of the line and Obrador certainly brings out the passion in people, where Calderon is viewed as a vote against the left. Meanwhile, the ski-masked Fernando Marcos is crying foul as well, but refraining from supporting Obrador. If Mexican politics interest you, watch from afar. The US Embassy has issued the following notice, which I found interesting as I wasn't aware that it is illegal for foreigners to get involved in political activities in Mexico.

"Warden Notice Regarding Election-Related Demonstrations in Mexico City, Mexico
The U.S. Embassy advises its citizens in Mexico to avoid demonstrations that may be held in support or protest of the results of the Mexico’s recent Presidential election. The Mexican Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners, and such actions may result in detention and/or deportation. Media reports indicate that demonstrations are planned to be held in Mexico City beginning July 8, 2006. U.S. citizens are encouraged to avoid any large crowds, to avoid downtown Mexico City and surrounding areas during active demonstrations.

We wish to remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any protests. Since the timing and routes of marches and demonstrations are always subject to change, U.S. citizens should monitor local media sources for new developments.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department's travel registration website at

For any emergencies involving American citizens, please contact the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Office of  Citizens' Consular Services Reforma Ave 305, Col Cuauhtemoc Mexico, D. F., Mexico CP 06500 Tel: (011)(52)(55) 5080-2000 or e-mail: .  For additional information, please refer to the Embassy website:   "


This month, meet Joe Lebore, who owns property in Rio Indio and plans on building as soon as he gets his SEMARNAT permit. You can read more about Joe, see plans of his house and find contact information at:


I've added a couple of new properties on the property for sale page. Don't forget, you can also post t hem on the forum, but if you can't figure out how to post them yourself, you can send me photos and I'll put them on the website. Please resize them so they are no larger than 600 wide and provide descriptive text so I don't have to think! they will be posted on The beach-front house that was for sale in San Antonio (about a mile south of Mayan Beach Garden) has now been sold.


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 correction (as in the correction above on Uchben Kah). 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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