During the recent Thanksgiving, I had pause to do some serious thinking
about the things I am thankful for. Without getting too sentimental
(and believe me that is easy to do post-Dean) I want to thank all
of you who took the time to reach out and help these past few months.
I count all of you not only as neighbors, but as friends. I'm grateful
when you stop by and say hi and I can put a face to a name. I'm grateful
for the wonderful notes of kindness I received. I'm grateful I have
clients that want to come back to our hotel and that few if any have
abandoned the Costa Maya. I'm grateful for this beautiful stretch
of beach we call our home and to all of those who have planted more
palm trees after the storm or who have helped shovel some sand. I
won't go on, but please know that all of you were part of my thanksgiving
this year and will continue to be in years to come.
I would also like to thank those who continue to support the area.
Please continue to vacation here. I've heard from more than one person
that they weren't visiting Mahahual because they didn't want to bother
people here. On the contrary!!!!! The Costa Maya needs and wants your
business. Most of the hotels (with the exception of Paradise Lodge
and El Placer del Mar) will be open by Christmas time and some of
those South of town and Xcalak never closed. In most instances, the
beaches are wider and more open, encouraging long beach walks. Here
in Placer, you can still explore some impressive ruins, but most have
been demolished and beaches are slowly being restored. Diving is still
great and snorkeling and fishing are good. Its a different feeling
without the cruise ship businesses dominating the landscape. The people
here today are the real residences and businesses of Mahahual. Please
take the time and vacation here, but also spread the word about the
MESSAGE BOARD DISCUSSION: HURRICANE INSURANCE
December is the time to start buying insurance for the upcoming
year. Usually they won't sign up a policy during an active season.
That means that the window to buy insurance is only December to
May. Talking with people who had insurance, their experience with
Dean has been less than positive. A few people have been happy,
but most are disappointed, coming up $50,000 short in some instances
and only getting 10 cents on the dollar in another, to still negotiating
with the insurance company 3 months later. I talked to one person
who insured through their bank, and another with Lloyds of London
and were very happy - so it can be done (for a price)! Please visit
the message board and voice your experience and questions about
MEETING FOR BUSINESSES IN MAHAHUAL
Since Miguel Sosa stepped down as head of the Chamber of Commerce,
there hasn't been a lot of activity to organize the businesses of
Mahahaul. That changed last week with the organization of a new
business charter. Their goal is to promote Mahahual, create special
events and festivals to draw people to Mahahual and to aid businesses,
specifically those related to the tourist industry. Meetings are
scheduled on Saturdays. As we get more specifics, we will post them.
MARRIOT HOTEL AT THE AIRPORT
How many times have you arrived late in Cancun airport or had an
early morning flight and just wished you could stay closer to the
airport. A new Courtyard by Marriot just opened at the airport.
They have on site car rental and is very convenient. Right now,
the shuttle to the hotel is $12 and the posted rate is $115. We
looked for it on-line and couldn't find it listed on the Marriot
site, but when Kim stayed there to try it out, they said it would
be listed soon.
CRUISE SHIP NEWS
Cruise ship head tax: Mexico has approved a head tax on
cruise passengers. Several ports, including Puerto Costa Maya, opposed
the tax. The fee is 56 pesos, or about US$5, according to a statement
issued by Carolina Cárdenas, vice minister of tourism planning
for SECTUR in Mexico. Cárdenas said 95 percent of the income
generated by the head tax will go to municipalities for infrastructure
works, conservation and maintenance programs, and cleaning and monitoring
of the coastal zones. Five percent will be assigned to the National
Institute of Migration. The resources will be distributed proportionally
to the municipalities, taking into account the number of passengers
their ports receive.
The tax has been opposed by some Mexican ports, including Puerto
Costa Maya. We do not support the measure in question,
Costa Maya President Teofilo Hamui said in mid-October.
Progress of the Cruise ship dock: The work on the cruise
ship seems to be progressing at a steady pace. They have been working
for about a month now and you can see giant cranes from the lighthouse.
At this point, there have been no changes in the projected finish
date of Sept. 2008.
Mahahual with the picture of the pier construction in the distance
BELIZEAN FREE ZONE
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2007, the doors of the Corozal Free Zone were
opened to the Belizean public for the first time. Most of you are
aware of the free zone where you can purchase goods tax free and
gamble at a couple of casinos. The goods are on Belizean soil, but
it is for Mexicans to use. Until now, a Belizean could not shop
there. Joel Cervantes, Chief Executive Officer at the Corozal Free
zone said that there were approximately 5,000 people visiting t
the Free Zone and this included private vehicles and a number of
buses. After speaking to several owners and investors, they had
a high boost in sales . . So it was a successful day for the Corozal
people and investors and the Belizean families.
Cervantes says that they are expecting many more people to flock
to the Free zone on December 15th when they have the next open day.
There will probably be more days scheduled, but no word on whether
Belizeans will ever come and go at will.
Construction of the Malecon is proceeding, but at a slow pace.
The plan was to dig a deep footing and put pipes and other infrastructure
within, but high water tables have flooded the trench, making deep
canals on the beach front street. Most of the restaurants and beach
businesses have closed down and no through traffic is allowed on
the beach. To make up for it, a lot of decent inexpensive Mexican
restaurants have sprung up on the second street back, some with
Malecon "canal" in front of Tapas bar
Cleaned up beach after Dean
FLOODING IN TABASCO
It is worthwhile for a minute to mention the high water table.
Perhaps many of you have heard about the flooding in Tabasco. The
floods in Tabasco have displaced 900 thousand people from their
homes, closed the major highways to Yucatan peninsula and flooded
major farming areas causing shortages of things like rice and some
vegetables. Because the Yucatan peninsula's water is all underground,
the water table in Tabasco directly affects the water table in Mahahual.
We have had a normal wet year this year, but the water on the sides
of the road are very high. We went to look at some property lately
outside of Bacalar and found the water table so high we could not
get to the property, something that is very unusual in that area.
Trying to dig foundations means that one hits water right away.
I never thought I would say this, but I'm happy that some of the
Chechen trees are greening up. The reason is that any green is delightful
in areas that were completely devastated. There are still plenty
of dead ones closer to the beach, however!
tree and leaves
If you would like to know more about Chechen trees, please check
this link for pictures and more information. http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/Trees.htm
RESTORATION PERMITS - DOOR NOT CLOSED YET
As of today, you may still apply for restoration permits - the
90 days we were quoted appears to be working days, not calendar
days. I encourage any of you who would like to restore your beaches
or remove the dead plants to get a permit. When a consecutive strip
of property owners in the San Jose area who restored their beach,
an area that was particularly hit hard with lots of beach erosion,
the before and after difference is extremely positive. I really
believe that if you do restore your property, you will not suffer
any loss in property value. But please get a permit. PROFEPA and
SEMARNAT have been here more than once looking at the area and some
people have unfortunately been written up. By the way, more before
and after shots have been added to the Costa Maya Website. I am
now looking for restoration shots. Please let me know if you would
like your before and after shots posted, or send me shots of your
place after you restored your property. WE need to get the word
out that the Costa Maya is coming back strong!
San Jose lot after Dean
San Jose lot after beach restoration
Answers to help you obtain permits (Please study the following
before contacting us)
The permit is free for unimproved land, but a biologist must file
the report for you.
The group rate for the report or tramit people in this area is
$300 - Non group rate is $600.
If you have multiple lots, there must be a permit filed for each
lot (contact us about this since there may be some economies for
multiple lots over two)
If you have a house on your property, please contact us - homes
have additional permits
If you are in the process of selling your property, this permit
If you already have an EIS to build, you will still need a restoration/reforestation
permit to restore your beach.
In order to get the permits, the following are needed (your accountant
or lawyer has these):
1. Copy of corporation papers
2. Copy of title
3. Copy of Catastral paper (also called Cedula)
4. Copy Last Land tax receipt
5. Copy of Environmental impact permit (SEMARNAT) if you have one
6. Copy of ID of legal representative or person with the power to
sign for you in Mexico. This may be your lawyer, accountant or even
yourself if you have an FM3.
OR: If you do not have such a person, you will need to assign someone
a simple power of attorney. If you do not have such a person, we
can send you a form in which you can assign Kim Bales to be the
power for this limited purpose. If you do not have an FM3, It must
then be notarized with an Apostille in the US. Find out more information
about an Apostille -http://travel.state.gov/law/info/judicial/judicial_2545.html
- Please do not e-mail us asking what an Apostille is. As a foreign
property owner, you should know this information
7. Before and after photos as many as possible. If you are
in the US, and do not have after Dean photos we can help you get
8. If you want us to help you get the permits, e-mail me for an
address to send documents and funds.
Remember, there is a short time period on the permits.
Beach erosion after Dean
Beach restored, extra sand moved to beach.
MAYAN BEACH GARDEN NEWS
Many of you have sent kind emails and wondered what our plans are
to reopen. We are happy to say that we are reopening on Dec. 21st.
We decided not to attempt to rebuild the three cabanas that were
destroyed, but to clean and repair we have. I'm biting my nails
as Dec. 21st draws closer, but it is looking pretty good. Our doors
were delivered last week, now to get a carpenter back here to install
them! We've changed things a little. With only three cabanas, we
can't justify the staff we used to have. We've decided to open the
Mayan Beach Garden restaurant 5 days a week and offer a snack bar
on two days a week. On the days the restaurant is open we will be
now be open to the public. We hope you stop by! More news in the
next newsletter. Meanwhile -- please continue to support the area.
I have several homes for rent. All suffered damage in the 10's of
thousands of dollars. The best support all of us can get is to get
your business. Please check out the following homes that are for
Casa Porto Vino: -- Available New Years!
RIO-INDIO / PLACER BEACH ROAD
The only good result of the sand being taken from the roads is
that the Rio Indio to Placer Beach road is now open. They brought
in fill to repair some of the places that had eroded so some parts
are rocky. It does not require a 4 wheel drive to make it through.
After a lot of rain, high clearance is a good idea, however.
MORE SAD GOOD-BYES
Last month we mourned the passing and demolition of El Placer hotel.
In this past month, even more homes have been cleared and the beach
restored to white sand and palms. Lazy Waves and Captain's Quarters
both "bit the dust." Some of you may have visited the
beach home that Bruce and Louise loved and lived here 3 months out
of the year. They watched as the house was demolished and planted
more trees after. The other home was Captain's Quarters, which has
been here on the Costa Maya for over 25 years, and one of the first
concrete structures in the area.
Lazy Waves after Dean
El Placer after Dean
END OF HURRICANE SEASON
The hurricane season went out quietly this year after breaking
a couple of records with back to back category 5's. From the National
hurricane center - "-- With a central pressure of 906 millibars,
Hurricane Dean had the third lowest pressure at landfall - behind
the Labor Day 1935 Hurricane in the Florida Keys and Hurricane Gilbert
of 1988 in Cancun, Mexico. Dean is also the first Category 5 hurricane
to make landfall in the Atlantic Basin since Hurricane Andrew hit
South Florida in 1992."
Hurricane Felix in September also became a Category 5 storm on
the five-step scale of hurricane intensity, killing 102 and leaving
another 133 missing in Nicaragua, according to the Pan-American
Dean and Felix were the first two Atlantic hurricanes since records
began in 1851 to make landfall in the same season as Category 5
While the US missed severe storms, Central America and the Caribbean
were hit hard. Even when no actual storm was swirling somewhere,
unusually heavy rainfall characterized the wet season, washing away
roads in Jamaica, flooding sugar fields in Cuba and in the state
of Tabasco, a river burst its banks at the end of October in Mexico,
leaving four-fifths of the state under water.
NOTES FROM POLLY IN XCALAK
". . .Well personally my cistern is full and I am really tired
of seeing grey sky's, black clouds and rain, rain and more rain.
Might as well be in England!
The up side is the wild life that we are seeing. On the Xcalak-Mahahual
road a family of Great Curassow's have been spotted many times in
the last few weeks. [MB NOTE: There is a picture of a greater Curassow
on the on-line version of this email)
The gardens on the beach road north of town have a Tucan visiting,
and hundreds of Monarch butterfly's that really should be elsewhere.
I had to stop for a spider monkey to dance across the 307 arms aloft.
It took a shake of my head and couple of seconds to comprehend just
what it was crossing the road.
The fly fishermen that have had the good fortune to be here this
month have been going home with grins from ear to ear. Victor Castro
tells me that there have been Grand Slams and Super Grand Slams.
Two fishermen in the same boat, same day, Grand Slam and Super Grand
Slam. The other guides reporting more or less the same.
The Xcalak Caribe Restaurant is open Wednesday - Sunday 12 noon
- 0800pm. Christmas opening. Dec19th - Jan 06th every day 12 noon
The Leaky Palapa is now open from 5.30pm Friday/Saturday and now
Sundays. Christmas opening. Dec20/21/22/23/24. .........Dec 28/29/30/31
Xcalak Realty has opened an office in town, good luck David Huix."
...Polly from Xcalak