OCTOBER 31, 2007 -
Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa
Maya, - Mahahual / Mahajual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera
- Xcalak and other points along the coast
Oct. 31, 2007 **************************
- Forum: Just Chatting
- Malecon dedication in Mahahaul
- News from Xcalak
- Permits for beach restoration
- Road Condition Report
- Chit Palms - Hardy and Salt Resistant
- Sad Good-bye to El Placer Hotel
I hope you are having a wonderful Halloween and aren't sick of hearing
about Post Dean - but at least now it is about recovery. I am a little
nostalgic as I think of Day of the dead that is coming up in a couple
of days and my cook Lupe isn't here to make Pan de Muerte at the Mayan
Beach Garden Restaurant served with the special Chocolate milk they
drink on that day. I may borrow a neighbor's oven, because at this
point I still don't have a working oven. I will, however, attempt
to make "Rellano Negro", the blackened chicken and pork
they serve on Nov. 2nd. I'm sure it won't be as good as when Lupe
makes it, but I'll enjoy cooking and sharing with friends. Both of
my cooks are planning on coming back when we reopen and I CAN'T WAIT!
Yesterday, lo and behold, when I was sifting through some of the salvaged
items from the mangroves, I found the MBG cookbook! I can't tell you
how relieved I was to find that I didn't have to conjure up repeatable
Lupe and Pan de Muerte with crossbones on the top
Nature is succeeding at recovery. The jungle is greening up nicely
once you get away from the beach. You have to look a little harder
for life at the beach. There is a little mound of sand that has been
deposited on the shore, where you can begin to see how far the erosion
occurred. There are other things you can't possibly miss, like the
mountain of sand in Mahahual, the construction going on in the Casitas
and new little Mexican restaurants popping up. Big caterpillars and
front end loaders are working away everywhere and the hotels south
of town are opening up one by one. The downside of all of this activity
is the roads are a travesty (road report below). I don't know if this
is legal or not (it is hard to believe that it is) but the city of
Mahahual is taking all the sand in the roads to Mahahual (hence the
mountain of sand). First they removed sand from Uvero - Pulticub.
Now they are starting at Rio Indio and working their way north to
Placer. The good news is that they will clear the road in the process,
the bad news is they will take the sand. What we have heard is that
they believe they own the sand in the road. If you have not restored
your beach, you probably will loose the sand that is in the road.
IN some cases, we are not talking about very much sand, but in other
areas it is 2 meters deep. NOTE, they are not taking sand from the
Mountain of sand in Mahahual
FORUM: JUST CHATTING
This is a great time to check out the forum and discuss the Malecon
and the mountain of sand. I'm sure that someone knows better than
I what the real story is behind this. Or, just chat. Right now there
is a question on the board about Day of the Dead Festivities, someone
looking for a Caretaker opportunity and carpooling from Cancun to
Mahahual during Christmas season. Checkout the conversations going
MALECON DEDICATION IN MAHAHUAL
October 17th was the grand opening of the Malecon and dedication
by Felix, the governor of Quintana Roo. They were all set up to pour
a sample slab of the malecon for photo-op purposes and every important
person was there. I didn't stay for the photo-op, but took pictures
of the event and then got back here to restoring MBG. Photos of the
event are posted on this version of the archive. It includes photos
of the signage which has visuals for what it is supposed to look like.
I was very impressed with the governor. Rather than rush in for the
photo-op and leave, he spent the time listening to the people of Mahahual
and never actually participated in the pouring of any concrete. They
crowded around him asking him to look at their petitions and he listened.
Félix González Canto listening to the people of Mahahual
Overhead shot of Mahahual
Plan for the Malecon
Sample pavers -
who knows which will be chosen, but the one is front was the top contender
only closer to the color of the sand
Lighthouse glorieta - it looks like they will need all that sand to
This before and after shot -- I'm not sure why they think the new look
More shots of the malecon - no longer the little fishing village
more proof of a fishing village gone modern.
NEWS FROM XCALAK
I've asked Polly from Xcalak to give us a monthly update of happenings
in Xcalak. I'm delighted she accepted so that everyone can get a feel
for for what is happening down south. She writes:
". . . We have a bone fishing guide here in Xcalak whose name
is Victor, his wife is Flora. Flora has a mantra, God loves Xcalak.
I am a believer!
Dean was coming, we were leaving, I said good-bye to my house and
car. My house was less than a year old with no hurricane insurance
and I had promised to drive a friends car out should there be a hurricane!
My car was parked as far in the jungle as I could get it.
Returning through Bacalar, Pedro Santos, and on towards Xcalak it
was unbelievable to get here and find it mostly untouched. My house
is concrete block, the older wooden houses were not so lucky and lost
roofs, walls and got flooded from the lagoon. We lost some trees and
God did an awful lot of pruning. Kevin Graham, bless him, got us dispensas
and we also got a lot of donations and bought lamina. The houses look
good the trees are green. Only just over a month on.
At this time all the hotels are open, Costa de Coco's bar restaurant
is open with the pizza oven working in the evenings. Sylvia is open
most lunch times. November 9th Leaky Palapa opens. They take reservations
if you e-mail. email@example.com. With a new palapa roof perhaps
a change of name needed. Toby and Moses who formally worked at the
Hotel Mahahual beach bar are opening the Xcalak Caribe on Nov. 1st
for lunch 12:00 noon till 9:00 PM. Fridays, Saturday is Playday. chicken
BBQ, volleyball on the beach, crab racing, chicken drop!! and whatever
else they can think of that is fun. They have hired the chef from
the Cats Meow...............I look forward to some decent cooking!
(really fed up with mine).. Yamira from the Xcalak Caribe restaurant
has moved to Mahahual with Tomas.
Our dive shops have both reported reef is looking good. All we need
is for the tourists to come and share it all with us."
Polly in Xcalak!
PERMITS FOR BEACH RESTORATION
I'm repeating the information on restoration permits because the
deadline for getting them may be pulled any day. Also, many people
have been clearing without permits and PROFEPA is taking a closer
look. Having had a run-in with PROFEPA in the past, we don't recommend
it for anyone! We suggest you do it now if you are planning on restoring
your lot. Also, please don't schedule a contractor to clear your lot
without the permit. Once you have the permit, you have some time to
restore your beach - at least 6 months, but we are not certain what
this time length is as they seem to be formulating policy - remember
it has been over 50 years since something like this has hit the southern
coast of Quintana Roo - and nothing quite this severe has damaged
the environment like this. Without the permit, at some point you will
have to get an environmental impact study if you want to restore your
beach. This can be in the thousands of dollars.
Answers to help you obtain permits (Please study the following before
- 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.
If you need a bid on excavating your property and don't know anyone,
Costa Maya Land Restoration is doing work on properties here on
the Costa Maya. You can contact Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org
and he will give you a bid. Note when he is in Mexico, his response
time is slow. He is not checking e-mail regularly when he is doing
on-site excavation and is not available when in Mexico to take phone
calls, but we can let you know how much it would cost. Many of you
have asked about what excavation would entail. Usually this is bringing
in sand to the elevation that it was before and propping up trees.
I've put some pictures of excavations on the Dean Costa Maya Live
website so you can see a beach restoration. http://www.costamayalive.com/DEAN-propertyRestoration.htm
If you have any of your own restoration shots please send them to
me. Regardless of who you get to restore your beach -- get a
ROAD CONDITION REPORT
- 307 - Construction on 307 is moving along nicely. The improved
road south of Tulum goes for quite a few kilometers before it narrows
to the dark jungle road we've been accustomed to. At this pace, they
should have it finished in a year.
- Tampalam/Jungle road - the Hurricane blew trees over the
road. It has been over two months and still the trees have not been
cut. This has created a very dangerous situation on the Tampalam road.
It has been narrowed to one lane, and people still travel as fast
as ever. The trees on the road create blind corners and the pavement
is black with skid marks. Please be careful when traveling on this
road. Secondarily, the weight of so many trucks removing the sand
are also beating up the jungle road which is starting to break up
severely. These dump trucks are far more heavy than the tour busses.
- Xcalak Road - no significant change since the hurricane
- Beach Road South of Mahahual and North of Xcalak - no significant
- Uvero-Pulticulb beach road - this is drivable when conditions
are dry, but the removal of the sand in the road has created lakes
in the road every time it rains. Also, the dump trucks have severely
beat up the road creating deep ruts. High clearance and patience is
- Rio-Indio Placer Beach road - As of today, this is not yet
cleared. From the north you can drive about 6 km from the Placer access
and about 4.5 from the Rio Indio access leaving about 2-3 kilometers
uncleared. We expect that to change quickly as the dump trucks and
front end loaders remove the sand. We have heard that in the process
of removing the sand they will open the road. This should happen in
the next two weeks.
CHIT PALMS - HARDY AND SALT RESISTANT
I've reported on Chit Palms (Thrinax radiata) before, but
not with a Post-Dean perspective. Before, it was in regard to their
status as a protected species. Now, with joy I see them coming back
- although many are at an obtuse angle to the ground! If the palm
heart was not broken, they have been successfully fighting back to
life. Chit Palms have a pretty extensive root system. Their trunks
are very strong and thin and their foliage is not as heavy as a palm.
Therefore, when the wall of water came by, many of the trees weren't
uprooted or broken in half, but pushed down and covered with sand.
At first they all seemed dead, but now at least 50% are springing
to life. Likely as not, you have Chit palms on your property. Prior
to Dean, you may have so many you couldn't create a path without destroying
them. If you live north of Mahahual they are probably leaning away
from the beach, if you live South of Mahahual the wind may have pushed
them toward the beach. They are easy to prop up. We found by digging
on the side of the of the palm that is away from the lean and down
to the root level, you could then push the palm back up right, packing
sand on the opposite side. Some of ours were buried under 2 meters
of sand. There are before and after photos of chits outside MBG below.
Left: a few days after dean / Right: yesterday - straightened
chits coming back to life
Remember, these are a protected species and if you restore your lot
and had Chits before, you will be expected to have some chits remaining.
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 , 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 to the access road - 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. There is more information
about Chit palms on the Mayan Beach Garden website:
You can also find out more about Thrinax Radiata on the US Governments
Plant database. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=THRA2.
Check out other species of palms while you are there. It is quite
an interesting website for botanist wanna-be's.
SAD GOOD-BYE TO EL PLACER HOTEL
El Placer hotel and Tom Steddum were at one time, the heart of El
Placer. You didn't stop in Placer without sitting down and hearing
some of Tom Steddum's stories and get some advice. Tom finally sold
the hotel to Kent Lancaster (already a Costa Maya neighbor), Chris
Sheir and some other partners. They quickly decided to remodel, putting
quite a bit of money into the restoration. New septic system, electrical
and plumbing all had to be installed and a new 45K generator was all
ready to cool the hotel with recently installed air conditioning.
New canopy beds were all ready for the owners who were going to come
down on Labor Day weekend to to see the freshly remodeled hotel. Unfortunately
Hurricane Dean hit on August 20th and was especially hard on El Placer
hotel. The new owners never got to see the finished hotel. Sadly,
the hotel was so damaged, it required demolishing. For a week, a caterpillar,
4 dumptrucks and front end loaders moved sand, hauled away broken
concrete and moved sand back out to the beach where only a few of
the many trees Tom had planted survived. I'm glad the owners took
the step to clear the property because it is now safer and when we
look over at the now white expanse of beach that was once a dive shop
we will miss the hotel, but look towards what will come when the new
owners decide to build again. I've placed historical pictures of El
Placer hotel below.
Left: El Placer before remodel/ Right: El Placer after
remodel / Below L: After Dean, Below R. After demolition
The editor of this newsletter (me) makes no claims that the information
here is completely true. I am not a news reporter, Spanish is not
my native language, the newspapers are notorious for not verifying
information 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
Unless otherwise stated, all content is copyrighted by MMB Contractors
Until Next month...
Regards from your Costa Maya Neighbor
Mayan Beach Garden, Boutique hotel on the Costa Maya