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Costa Maya Newsletter> Archived Costa Maya Newsletters > June, 2009 -

Costa Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners and those interested in Mahahual / Majahual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along Quintana Roo South

You can now read up to the minute Mahahual happenings at

*******************Costa Maya Newsletter*******************
June / Junio 2009

Hi Costa Maya Neighbors-

POOR MAHAHUAL - Mahahual is a sad town these days. The streets are empty, the stores are closed and only a few hardy stores stay open. If you come into the town you will be accosted by workers in the streets begging you to come eat at the one or two restaurants that are open. Many have chosen to close down as a result of the lack of people coming to the area. One of the reasons to come to Mahahual - cheaper accommodations and no crowds has been eliminated - you can get great deals on hotels in Cancun and Playa del Carmen and there are no people! Pablo Villegas, a cinematographer from Mexico city visited here the week after the flu. He took the picture below of the beach with the malecon on the right - the deserted beach sums up Mahahual. Granted, Pablo favored things deserted - something unattainable in Mexico City.

Marcia with Baracuda


In an effort to bring tourists back to Mexico - the large hotels in Cancun are offering incredible deals. Of course, if you stay up there, you miss one of the best times of the year for nature lovers. The weather has been spectacular, the water great for diving, fishing and snorkeling . We had a nice little rain in the early part of the month which made all the flowers explode. Due to a cool winter, the migrating nesting birds continued on in large numbers into early May. The parrots and Ibis seem to still be flying in great numbers across the mangrove swamps. Days are hot - but the breeze makes it comfortable. It's also fishing season! The Mahi-Mahi are running along with sail fish, Wahoo, Cero and Marlin. While much of this month's newsletter is about the flu aftermath and how governments and people are adapting, one has to stop and be grateful as mother nature continues to astound with its beauty. Those who aren't here taking advantage of it are missing out!

Past newsletters can be found at NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES

PS As you will see below- this is going to be a tough year for the Costa Maya. If you don't already, instead of staying up in Playa del Carmen and Tulum - Try staying on the Costa Maya for a change!



What do you think Mexico should do about its image? My accountant says that everyone in Mexico thinks there is a conspiracy to keep Mexico from becoming a 1st world country. Its not the first time I've heard that. What's your opinion?

What should be done to change the current image--can anything be done? Mexico is about to spend 90 million dollars on an add campaign using celebrities to try and help. What's your opinion?

Give your opinion on the Costa Maya message board: Mexico's image-- what can be done?

mahahual and Costa maya news

No flu in Mahahual

According to official statements - there were no flu cases in Mahahual. The closest cases have been in Chetumal - two hours away.

Putting people to work cleaning Beaches

Starting the week of May 18 800 people will receive temporary employment in southern Quintana Roo. The grants will be delivered over two months and the amount is up to 5 thousand pesos per person per month. The jobs will only be for those people who lost their jobs by virtue of the flu scare," said Andrés Ruiz Morcillo, mayor of Othon P Blanco. Priority will be given to the inhabitants of Bacalar and Majahual. Much of the work will be dedicated to cleaning the beaches, roads, mangroves and other areas. I asked if it was possible to get cleanup in the Placer area, Xcalak and also up in the Sian Ka'an. No to the Sian Ka'an because it is in another Municipio, but I have not heard about extending the help outside of Mahahual.

Mahahual promotions

Gonzalez Hernandez, secretary of the municipal explained that the first phase of the campaign to promote Mahahual is to promote the image of Mahahual and Bacalar at a state and regional level, the second is to publicize special promotions, and the third, a tourist caravan that includes the three states of the Peninsula, Chiapas and Tabasco.

Coming festivals are:

  • The gold-silver fishing tournament 12th of June to the 14th
  • Jatza-ha, July 17, 18 and 19

    The informant pointed out that this campaign will highlight the natural beauty of Mahahual, which has dozens of miles of unspoiled beach, and activities such as diving in the reef and sport fishing.

Cruise ship revenue loss as a result of the flue epidemic

Because cruise ships were cancelled as a result of the flu, Majahual missed all the ships in May and June. This represents a loss of up to one million dollars to the community. Carnival cruise ships resumed visits to Cozumel on June 1st. Tentatively they are scheduled to return July 1st to the Costa Maya. Many people are struggling to pay off loans they took out as a result of Hurricane Dean. The banks are helping with new loans to pay of the old ones and are offering three months free interest. It will be a tough summer!

Gold Silver Fishing tournament June 12-14

To reactivate Mahahual, residents have begun a series of events that highlight the fishing tournament "Gold Silver", considered the cornerstone of this ambitious project to rescue Majahual.

"Only together we will succeed. Those who love this land we are enduring the storm, "said Carlos Pérez Quintal, Majahual entrepreneur and promoter of the event.

The tournament "Gold Silver" will take place June 14 to 12, with the departure from the Costa Maya cruise ship pier. Organizers hope to break the record entry of 60 boats.

The fishing tournament has a prize of 800 thousand pesos, as it includes a Pick Up truck and a 2009 Chevy 2009. Simultaneously, as part of the tournament (and to keep people land side occupied) There will be a Soccer and Volleyball tournament with prizes. Entry fees for the Beach Volley ball tournament are $400 pesos a team of 2 and $4000 pesos for a Soccer team.

Specifics on the Costa Maya campaign to bring in customers

The Costa Maya and the Municipio of Othon P. Blanco has a plan to bring in Customers. The plan includes:

  • Spectacular presence in the federal highway - Escarcega to Chetumal at the village of Ucum
  • Large signs from both directions at the intersection of Cafetal
  • Signs in Chetumal, Mérida, Campeche (Campeche), Chiapas ( Tuxtla Gutierrez) and Tabasco (Villahermosa).
  • Promotions in newspapers in the following cities: Chetumal, Cancun, Merida, Villahermosa and Tuxtla Gutierrez.
  • Distribution of descriptive brochures in the main cities of the Mexican Southeast, through an inter-municipal and interstate coordination.


  • Improving the urban image and services of Mahahual.
  • To encourage, support and promote the calendar of activities for the community of Mahahual.
  • Design and printing of new brochure descriptive and informative to the main points of interest, location of Mahahual, photos and contacts
  • Design and Printing Poster
  • Design and printing of propaganda and publicity in charge of tourism service providers with information about promotions and Lodging, Food & Beverages and Services.
  • Organize tourist caravans to neighboring states of Quintana Roo.
  • Post bulletins in tourist magazines and tourist flight (aviation).
  • Promotion of radio spots


Divide the market into groups by common factors and focus our marketing efforts towards them, taking into account our immediate basic needs.


  • Directing efforts toward persons with higher purchasing power.
  • Analyzing the indicators generated by tourists and visitors and to identify potential market segment for Mahahual this season.
  • Directing the marketing mix of resources to a particular segment


  • Perform agreements with various government agencies and private sectors to disseminate printed materials faster and at lower cost.
  • Make use of advertising space in airports and Bus terminals.
  • Update databases of providers of tourist services in Mahahual Web Site H. City Council O.P.B.
  • Reactivation of kiosks for tourist information.

Spay and Neuter Clinic postponed

It now looks like the date for the Spay and Neuter Clinic will be early January 2010, so 2009 will not have a Clinic. The good news is that by doing it in 2010 we will have the support of the local Humane Society and VIDA who sponsor these. Once we get on the regular circuit it will become a yearly event. The money raising activities will continue. There is a mailing list associated with the Spay and Neuter Clinic. If you want to become involved and get email conversations about the clinic - please contact and I'll make sure you get added to the mailing list.

Activities around Mahahual

  • Spanish Classes:Sundays at 1 p.m. at Corona House! 
  • Circle of Faith Bible Studies:Corona House at 10 a.m. every Sunday
  • Painting classes on Fridays

Flu Aftermath

Advertising campaign

Six states plus Mexico City will benefit from an emergency campaign being formulated by the National Tourism Promotion Council. Oscar Fitch, general director of the council, said the program will be aimed at promoting travel to Quintana Roo (Cancun, Cozumel and the Maya Riviera), Guerrero (Acapulco and Ixtapa), Jalisco (Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara), Baja California Sur (Los Cabos), Sinaloa (Mazatlán) and Oaxaca (Huatulco) as well as the national capital.

The 18-month-long campaign will be aimed at restoring tourist confidence in Mexico following the flu scare in the country. As a result of the flu, travel to Mexico is expected to fall by at least 40% this year, according to the Tourism Ministry. Promotional efforts will be launched once health authorities determine that the country once again is safe to visit and the United States lifts it suggestion that no American make a non-essential visit to Mexico.

Announced later, 90 million dollars will be spent on the campaign utilizing celebrities.

Occupancy statistics and forecasts

Mexico's Ambassador to Spain, Jorge Zermeno announced that after the crisis caused by the influenza A outbreak in Mexico, parts of the Riviera Maya and Cancun will reach occupancy levels of between 50% and 60%, and 100% during Christmas, as announced today by the country's ambassador in Spain, Jorge Zermeño. This occupancy would be lower than usual in summer (75%) but above 20% or 30% that occurred immediately after the outbreak of the flu. Currently, occupancy is already at 40%.

The ambassador also stressed that before the flu crisis , the occupation in the first two months of the year had grown despite the economic situation and weak forecasts from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In this regard, the director of the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism of Mexico (Fonatur), Miguel Gomez Mont, explained that the flu had a huge impact on tourism in Cancun and Riviera Maya, because most of the tourists are foreign tourists. In contrast, the Pacific coast has benefited by national tourism, since a large number of inhabitants of Mexico City took refuge in the area during the flu.

"The 'warning' by European countries affected us much," the director of Fonatur stated, who noted that after the removal of the warnings in Germany, France and United States occupation in a few days went from 18% to 40%. (no mention of the great deals provided by the hotels and airlines!)

As a result, the crisis for the influenza A, unemployment has seen a sharp spike . In the area of the Mexican Caribbean, the number of unemployed reached 25,000.

"We are giving tax relief and support for educational programs for a health problem does not become a security issue," the director of Fonatur.

Moreover, the ambassador also highlighted the launch of a promotional campaign, with the motto "Vive Mexico " will be launched initially in North America and by the end of June to Europe. Also, Spain and Portugal will have a subsequent campaign for the month of July "with the support of media, tourism industry and the solidarity of all friends of Mexico."

The Ambassador of Mexico in Spain reported that the Mexican authorities had a meeting with leading hoteliers to convey "back to normal" after the health alert. In this regard, Zermeño said that the only establishments that closed during this period were 39 Spanish hotels in the Mexican Caribbean, claiming that most of its visitors are European.

US state department lifts travel advisory

The non-essential travel advisory was lifted on May 15th in the afternoon. The next possible cruise ship is June 3, but it doesn't look like it will land.

World Environmental Day June 5 2009 held in Quintana Roo

Mexico, will host a series of events in Quintana Roo for World Environmental Day (WED) on Friday June 5, 2009. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mexico's Environment Secretary Juan Elvira Quesada, and Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will attend the conference.

UNEP has a goal of planting 7 BILLION trees in 2009. Some things you can do on this day:

  • Take concrete steps toward making the planet greener and cleaner
  • Switch off the lights
  • Take public transportation
  • Recycle
  • Plant a tree
  • Clean up your local park
  • Hold corporations responsible for their environmental practices
  • urge your government representatives to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen.

The global premiere of the new film 'HOME', by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, will be one of the major worldwide events taking place for World Environment Day, with more than 100 locations around the world. The film will also be available for free download on YouTube.

Tulum Airport (TUY) News

News is expected very soon about the new airport in Tulum. The land has been secured by the federal government the project should be put out to tender before the end of May.

A number of companies are interested in bidding for the first phase of the project, which is estimated to be worth around $50 million - ASUR is again the leading candidate. Local newspaper reports suggest the new airport will have a capacity for around 5 million passengers per year. There have been delays for this project including difficulties procuring the land, change in leadership, lawsuits. . . kind of sounds like a project in the US!

Local businesses were putting pressure on authorities last week to make the announcement. They hope it will give a much needed boost to local tourism, which has suffered from the flu scare.

Earthquake registers in Chetumal - history in the making

An unusual 3.5-degree earthquake early on the morning of May 28 when led a wave of fear and alarm in Chetumal, the state capital, where hundreds of people took to the streets, having awakened by the jolt, so far unexplained in this area . It woke me up with a "bang" but I didn't feel any shaking. Lupe, my cook at Mayan Beach Garden woke up with the bed shaking.

The tremor was related to the 7.1 earthquake with its epicenter in the Gulf of Honduras. Several people died in Honduras as a result of the earthquake.

Red Cross officials received numerous calls from people alarmed by the shock that struck the Yucatan Peninsula, but no injuries or material losses were reported except nervous attacks.

Throughout the 37 year history of the state of Quintana Roo, there has never been a tectonic shift. In fact, the Yucatan Peninsula is not considered a zone of earthquakes.

"Without doubt, this day has been recorded in the history of Quintana Roo," said the officials.

Many people were afraid of a Tsunami which never materialized.

Caribbean cushion starfish (Oreaster reticulatus )

Cushion Star Fish If you snorkel anywhere in the Costa Maya you have probably seen the Cushion Starfish or Oreaster reticulatus CLASS: Sea Stars, Asteroidea. Also called Cushioned Star, it is common in the sea grass. This sea star is probably the most widely known and most easily identified member of the Caribbean marine biota. It is often dried and sold as gifts. According to the Smithsonian, Tropical Research center, O. reticulatus feeds primarily on microorganisms and the particulate matter associated with sand, seagrass, and algal substrates, but has the ability to graze on algae or prey upon other echinoderms. The stomach is everted to envelop prey, and digestion occurs outside the body.

When I first came to the Costa Maya I was told that the Starfish were harmful to coral so I am embarrassed to say that I killed a few. Some species are, but this one is not. Still, they aren't as prevalent as they were when I first came here due to drying and selling them in shops. The species can get very large, often 20 inches across. The speciman I am holding in the picture is more like 10 inches across. When young, they are green so that they blend into the grass. The species has both male and female and while far from endangered - they too have a difficult time finding each other to mate.

Marcia with starfish


Another new house!

GREAT UVERO RENTAL! We are happy to introduce YUM BOTIC ("Thank you" in Mayan) which is a beautiful 3 bedroom house in Uvero. If you have property in Uvero or just want a lot of peace and quiet on a calm beach with no neighbors for almost a kilometer - this is the house for you. Pictures and Rental information are listed on the Mayan Beach Garden website.if you are interested contact

Yum Botic

Sizzlin' Summer Deals on Costa Maya Vacations!
(did I really write "Sizzlin Summer Deals?)

These are special rates for this summer - take advantage of some great prices right now.

NEW Flight Regulations for Secure Flight

Pretty soon flights in and out of the US are going to require more ID. Below is the schedule for the new requirements called "Secure Flight." The new information may impact you if nothing else by slowing things down. You will start finding the airlines collecting this information in on-line ticket purchasing right away to save time at check-in.



May 15, 2009

Airlines start collecting the full name of passengers (don’t necessarily need the date of birth, gender and Redress Number).  Data is not transmitted to TSA.

August 15, 2009

Airlines start collecting the full name, gender and date of birth, and if available, the Redress Number from passengers. Data is not transmitted to TSA.

October 31, 2009

Airlines must begin requesting and collecting the full name, gender, date of birth and Redress Number (if available) for:

·         all flights to, from and over flying the United States

·         all flights from a non US location to a non-US location

Data is not transmitted to TSA.

October 31, 2009

Foreign air carriers must begin requesting and collecting the full name, gender, date of birth and Redress Number (if available) from:

·         passengers on flights to or from the United Sates

·         from non-traveling individuals (i.e. crew)

Data is not transmitted to TSA.

March 30, 2010

TSA is working with each airline to phase in the implementation of Secure Flight with the plan that all domestic airlines comply.

Data may start to be transmitted to TSA from airlines.

End of 2010

TSA is working with international carriers/airlines to phase in the implementation of Secure Flight by end of 2010.

Depending on the airlines’ cut over date, data may be transmitted to the TSA.


I love you Xcalak
I need to put the record straight. I got my metric and imperial measurements mixed, sorry, Ivan's croc was a foot long, not a meter!!  He did say he probably would have lost the wrestling match they had if it had been a meter!! I am sure I wouldn't have wanted it sitting on my lap in a flimsy cardboard box either.

After weeks of drought, I awoke to the sound of rain rushing down the drainpipe from the roof into the cistern. Music to my ears. It wasn't yet dawn but I needed a celebratory cup of tea or two. I just had to take this photo before drinking the second, then the dawn chorus started, those birds sounded so happy. The next night we had a beautiful storm, thunder, lightening and a really hard downpour, the next morning everything looked so bright and new. The trees and plants were green again having been ghostly white with dust.
I don't know just who did the rain dance but . . .  thank you.




lineated woodpecker


Mariner's day

Mariner's day

I forgot to tell you we also "saw" what we thought was an Ocelot, as it crossed the road.  In the headlight's glow we thought we saw, rounded ears and roseate spots,not as large as a jaguar would have been. When we excitedly told people this, the locals said, "Oh yes, there are two different family's living up here, they both have cubs and are seen quite a lot".

I was visiting up North, close to Son Risa when 3 Coatimundis came out of the garden and walked across the road right next to me.  I feel incredibly lucky to live in close proximity with Jaguars, Ocelots, Coatimundis and all sorts of other wonderful animals that I haven't yet seen, but believe me, I'm looking!

We have a Lineated Woodpecker living here in town that is either ridiculously stupid or extremely clever. He/she drums on the street light posts (metal) and sits on the top of the light (metal) and drums madly, I have also seen and heard it on a tin roof. Imagine that first thing in the morning! I wonder if the little creatures do come out of the seams of the metal? No,no photo, I don't want to embarrass it (the photo at the left is one of Marcia's)!!

This pile of plastic has been cleaned out of the bay from Portillias up to Gavilan by the men of the pueblo. All the boats went out and the men then dove for the plastic, I saw the boats coming in full with the trash.  The women have been cleaning the beaches in the early morning and again after the sun looses it's heat at about 4.00pm. The Municipal Government pay them for this clean up (see story above). It has made such a difference here. I am really happy to report this,and I know Marcia is going to be delighted, the marine life must be so happy. Just seeing those horrendous photo's of the turtles with plastic around them, restricting their growth and eventually killing them must make us all aware of our responsibility. Living close to the most beautiful ocean in the world is a privilege.

June 1st, was Marina's day. Our lovely Capitania de Puerto, Susy, was of course in charge of the proceedings. There was a short dedication  and then we all got on boats. Fishermen's boats, the dive boat from XTC and the Parque Rangers boat. Susy was on XTC's big dive boat and they led the way. It was too rough to go outside of the reef but we got fairly close to the cut  before Susy  put the wreath in the water.

All the other boats then circled round, finally peeling off and saluting the Fisherman's Co-operativa's Chinchorro boat that was at anchor here in the bay.   It was a fine measure of respect and fun. After, there was Cochinita Pibil tacos and frescos, and everybody went  their way.  Thanks Susy for making us all so welcome and encouraging us to take part. 

I am going to visit my #1 son and his family in Austin, Texas. I had a ticket booked on Vivaaerobus who have been doing a wonderful service from Cancun to Austin direct. Great service, on time going out and coming in, even a little early at times and usually about $100.00US round trip with all taxes included. Well due to PIGS FLYING (Swine Flu), all their Austin/Cancun flights have been cancelled. I am now traveling with another Airline, it's $300US, three times the price and is going to take three times as long with a stop in Houston.  Wish me luck with your Immigration Officers and the lines, Austin being small was wonderful for me, 10 minutes and through, no yellow line to keep your toes behind, just " have a nice day" and on your way. The last time I went through Dallas I was in line for 2 hours. I loved  Vivaaerobus    ............................



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 and hear.

Unless otherwise stated, all content is copyrighted by MMB Contractors Inc.

Until next month,
Best wishes from your neighbor,



Updated: 13-Apr-2010

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