Learn Spanish Today for Free!

Have more fun by learning a little Spanish
Costa Maya Newsletter> Archived Costa Maya Newsletters > Jan, 2009 -

Costa Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners from Mahahual / Majahual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along the southern coast of Quintana Roo

*******************Costa Maya Newsletter*******************
January / Enero 2009

Hi Costa Maya Neighbors-

When Jim Conrad, the botanist and naturalist started writing his newsletters from Mayan Beach Garden he asked me if there was one thing I didn't want him to mention. I asked him not to mention the garbage on the beaches. In early December that wasn't much of a problem. By New Years the plastic started washing up. Not in small amounts, but piles of it. It was depressing.

Marcia with Baracuda

About the same time, John Erskine, who owns property in Sapphire handed me a magazine article to read entitled "Our Oceans Are Turning Into Plastic - Are We?" by Susan Casey. I was depressed for days. The article focuses on the North Pacific subtropical gyre - or Vortex of Garbage, the 10-million-square-mile oval that is over twice the size of Texas and growing at an alarming rate. Although it is on the other side of the world, when you live on the beach and daily pay someone to clean the garbage up - you quit asking where the garbage is coming from. Once you read this article, you realize - the garbage is coming from all of us and you are forced to look at your own habits. According to Susan, the average person disposes of 168 pounds of plastic every year. That plastic has to go somewhere - it never biodegrades. It only breaks into ever smaller pieces mixing with the soil, ending up in the stomachs of fish, birds and animals and finally - in you and I.

I don't normally make new year's resolution, but after being totally depressed about the state of our planet, I knew that this year I had to make a change. The problem is that just like loosing the 10 pounds that is also on the list, I'm finding them very hard to keep.

1 ) When purchasing items in Mahahual - don't use plastic bags - (easy with boxes)
2) Double the amount of garbage we pick up on the beach (Easy with willing guests)
3) Reduce the plastic footprint of the Hotel by 50% (I found that I will need a specific plan and buy off from my staff for this - it is way too hard without one)
4) Loose 10 pounds (equally hard!)

Good luck on your own resolutions - and never be afraid to ask me how my own are doing - I'm finding that it is almost impossible to live without plastic and cookies!

I've included a link to a PDF of the article: "Our Oceans Are Turning Into Plastic - Are We?" by Susan Casey.

Past newsletters can be found at NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES

PS February is filling up fast and vacancies are going to be very tight in Mahahual. If you are planning on a visit, please think of booking your vacation soon. If you have flexibility - March is still showing good availability, but expect that to change.


MESSAGE BOARD DISCUSSION: Electricity on the Costa Maya - is it time?

The subject of electricity has raised its head again. People seem to ask the question "when are we going to get electricity?" I can't answer that, because its not in the hands of the power company- it is up to us - AND it is a matter of work. Furthermore, there aren't very many full time residents here to carry the load. Still - I am one who would like electricity. (I'm not fond of the sound of 15 generators or the diesel odors emitted into the sea air) I wonder how many people in this economic climate would be willing or able to pay for electricity at this time. You know it will raise your property values and you know that it will save money putting in an expensive generator and/or solar system (plus the head-aches). BUT would you be willing to pay to have the infrastructure put in - is this the year to start a project like this? Please log onto Costa Maya Live and voice your opinion - this is an important issue for all of us, north and south of Mahahual.

Just Chatting

Mahahual/Majahual - Costa Maya Updates

Mahahual Cold
While the Eastern Seaboard and many parts of the US were shivering in the cold, Majahual was also feeling the weather. This has been the coldest stretch of weather I've ever experienced. We've consistently had nights in the low sixties, a couple of times even dipping into the 50's. Several Cruise ships in the last two weeks have had to turn around and not dock due to high seas. Others docked, but only the very hardy ventured into Mahahual due to rain and clouds. The next two weeks are forecast to have better conditions. The week of the 25th of January 2009 will be one of the first weeks after Dean that there is a cruise ship every day. The schedule is as follows:
  • Monday the "Grandeur of the Seas"
  • Tuesday, "Norwegian Spirit"
  • Wednesday, "Carnival Glory"
  • Thursday, the "Voyager of the Seas "
  • Friday, " Veendam.".
  • Al lot of people think that only Cruise ships visit Mahahual, but it is also worth noting that on January 18th, despite cool weather Mahahual received about 300 quintanarroenses (Natives of Quintana Roo, Mexico) who are coming to Mahahual to visit as a weekend destination.

Jim Conrad - Naturalist leaves the Costa Maya - excerpts from his newsletter

It was with great sadness that I said goodbye to Jim Conrad. After spending about 6 weeks on the Costa Maya camping and using our bodega as a daytime storage facility, he found it necessary to move on and study more about the natural world we live in. I feel richer having met Jim and I can vicariously follow him on his journeys via his newsletter. He has graciously allowed me to use some of his observances while he was here. I've included some of them here along with pictures of the species he discovered and photographed. You can learn more about Jim and sign up for his newsletter at

Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper, ACTITIS MACULARIA,
Picture courtesy of
"Teeter-Tail" is a name some people call the Spotted Sandpiper, ACTITIS MACULARIA, because as it walks it endlessly bobs its rear end up and down in a spectacularly exaggerated manner. And despite Spotted Sandpipers being conspicuously spotted during the summer, the one I encountered on the beach the other day didn't have a spot on it, as shown in the picture. Because the tail-bobbing makes this species so easy to recognize, and because it's such a common species in almost all environments with water nearby, including lazy stream banks and cattle ponds in the US, this is one of the best-known of American shorebirds. I see Spotted Sandpipers much more inland than on sandy beaches. The one in the picture, in fact, behaved differently from other shorebirds I saw at the water's edge that day. Instead of running farther up the beach or flying away, this bird ran into a pile of driftwood and hid in the shadows as I approached quite near.
Yellow Throated Warbler
Picture courtesy of
I've already mentioned how common Yellow-throated Warblers, DENDROICA DOMINICA, are as they over winter in much of Mexico, including the Chaps uplands and the Yucatán. They're common along our narrow sand road running the length of the low ridge between the ocean and the mangrove swamps. This week I got the picture of a friendly one right in front of the hotel. Many warblers lose their bright colors when they come here to over winter but Yellow-throateds don't seem to change much. Yellow-throated Warblers nest in the US Southeast and a little beyond, and over winter in most of eastern and southern Mexico, the Caribbean and much of Central America.
Wilson's Warbler
Picture courtesy of
Wilson's Warbler is another warbler species whose plain plumage stands in stark contrast to the Yellow-throated Warbler's bright colors and bold patterning. I've told you before how abundant this species is in much of central and southern Mexico, especially the humid uplands. Field guides describe the male Wilson's Warblers main field mark as its black cap -- which often remains invisible even in the spring. Beyond that, immature and female Wilson's Warblers are characterized by their "lack of wing bars, streaks, tail spots, or other markings," as the Audubon field guide puts it. In other words, this warbler species is spectacular for its lack of good field marks. Notice the curious thin, dark ring seeming to encircle the photographed bird's chest center. I've not heard other birders talk about this feature and I've seen no reference to it in field guides, but the Wilson's in the Audubon guide's picture also has such a ring. I have no idea what its significance is and I never noticed it until I was studying my picture.

Longtime readers <of Jim's Backyard Nature newsletter> know that each Christmas I take an unhurried saunter around wherever I happen to be and jot down which birds I happen to stumble across. This Christmas morning about half an hour after sunrise it was 80°F (27° C), a stiff breeze was blowing off the Gulf, and it was balmy and partly cloudy. Here basically there are two places to walk: Along the narrow sand road following the sand ridge separating the sea and the mangroves, and along the beach. A perfect two-hour walk I've taken many times is up the beach on the road, concentrating on the mangroves, then back along the beach. Here's what I saw this Christmas morning on that walk, with species listed in the order I saw them, so you can get a feeling for how the walk developed:

*** ALONG ROAD ***

1) CATTLE EGRET stabbing for crabs on the sandy road
2) MANGROVE CUCKOO watching me from roadside scrub
3) WHITE-EYED VIREO calling from mangrove edge
4) GOLDEN-FRONTED WOODPECKER pecking in dead mangrove
5) TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD perched on tall dead mangrove
6) LEAST FLYCATCHER fly catching at mangrove edge
7) PALM WARBLER on sandy road tail-bobbing
8) GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE screeching beside beach house
9) HOODED ORIOLE singing in snag beside beach house
10) WILSON'S WARBLER, soft tch! call in Poisonwoods (Che-chen)
11) YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER on snag among Poisonwoods
12) MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD, 2 sailing over road
13) YUCATAN JAY, 3 raucously complaining along road
14) CINNAMON HUMMINGBIRD zipping at mangrove edge
15) GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER calling wheep! wheep!

*** BEACH ***
16) BROWN PELICAN diving just offshore
17) TURKEY VULTURE sailing over mangroves
18) SPOTTED SANDPIPER tail-wagging in driftwood pile
19) SANDERLING, ±30 chasing waves in and out
20) RUDDY TURNSTONE, ±20 among Sanderlings
21) BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER with Sanderlings & Turnstones
22) ROYAL TERN unmoving on Shoal Grass flat

You can sign up for Jim's Backyard Nature newsletter at

ATV's on the Beach - are they legal?

Patrick Hadfield, who owns Villa Costa Maya (a lovely duplex about 18 km. south of Mahahual) sent me information regarding ATV's on the beach. Following is his correspondence with Paul Sánchez-Navarro Russell Director, Centro Ecológico Akumal

"We live on the Costa Maya, south of Mahahual, and . . .Occasionally a group of rental quads will drive full speed along the beach in front of our house. Are there any federal laws regarding this activity? There is some turtle nesting in the area, but have seen none recently."

Paul's response: "The federal laws are not clear on this, but in most areas it is not allowed. You are correct to mention the turtle nests, as the ATVs may have a negative impact on the nests, compacting the sand each time they pass over a nest, thus making it more difficult for the hatchlings to reach the surface. In addition, if the vehicles are passing at the moment a nest is hatching, there is potential for direct impact to live turtles. Also, the noise scares the nesting mothers away, perhaps driving them away for good. Finally, the constant use of vehicles on the beach diminishes the sand quality for all living organisms that depend on healthy beach habitat. One way to limit any ATV businesses, if they are tours, for example, is to apply for and maintain the federal zone concession through ZOFEMAT in SEMARNAT. As a beachfront property owner, one may pay for the concession of "protection" and thus limit any commercial activities on this federal zone, including ATV tours. All commercial business must then have your written permission to use your concession. This has been a useful tool for us in Akumal, to limit the number of commercial tours crossing our property to go to the bay. I hope this answers some of your questions. Please contact me if you have any further questions. . . ."

Paul Paul Sánchez-Navarro Russell
Director, Centro Ecológico Akumal Akumal, Quintana Roo 77730, México (52) 984-875-9095

Info from us consulate

If for any reason your car is stolen, or impounded due to a traffic violation or accident, you will now be required to present a translation of your title in Spanish to the police, proving your ownership, before the car will be released to you. Some folks have gotten translations to carry with them in case of any problems to avoid delays in recovering your vehicle. If you need the name of an official translator contact Kevin Graham, who knows one.

There has also been a recent change in local law that requires an FM2 in order to buy a new or used car with Mexican plates. Until recently you could get titles by presenting an FM3.

This information was passed on by Kevin Graham, representative for the US Consulate.


Living here in paradise every week is a good week, but do you sometimes have a really, really, good week? I have just had one even though the weather tried it's best to spoil it.

It started with a truck stopping in front of the house. Yami one of the pueblo's princesses comes to my gate with five orchids in her fist, Dad is telling me to plant them in a pot. They are in a pot and doing well. They had been home to their pueblo and so I got a gift.

My princess is two years old and has been saying Poli, Poli for the longest time. I seem to know all the children and all the dogs! So what's wrong with that?

wedding rings with Conch shell
Polly with Christopher and Cassie

I got an email from your friend and mine Marcia, would I officiate at a wedding? !!!!!!!!!!! WHAT ME ?????? It was a lovely new experience, officiating at a beach wedding for two really sweet young people. They knew beforehand it wasn't legal and they needed to have a civil ceremony when they got home but this was their dream. Lili and Marcia made The Mayan Beach Garden beach palapa so pretty and romantic, Lili has a real knack with flowers.

Somebody up there smiled down on them, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the sky was blue for them. The couple picked out which vows they wanted to say. Other guests acted as witnesses, it all went smoothly vows made, rings exchanged, champagne drunk and many photos taken. It was soon time for them to go back to Mahahual to rejoin their cruise ship. On the way home, the heavens opened up again.



pier xcalak
Lorisito, the Parrot

Through Christmas and New Year XTC dive shop was extremely busy, I believe half of Mexico City was there to dive! Javier took me up on the offer to help and I spent the next week or so in the shop leaving them free to dive, dive, dive.

This Thursday morning early Elisa calls with Javi G and a huge flower arrangement plus a pretty posy of blue and white flowers. I couldn't think of anything nicer especially on a cold, gray, rainy morning.

A neighbor came to the gate, 'Poli do you want to buy a parrot'? No thanks. 'Poli the people that have it don't have any money to buy it food' Oh. This is where the letters M U G stenciled on my forehead glow, and whoever I'm talking too can see them a mile off. The parrot is coming in on the bus, the bus gets in about 8.30/9.00pm soooooo, I am waiting at the Leaky Palapa as Linda tells me Marla always wanted a parrot. The parrot now has a good home, when it gets here. I went to check on the bus at least 4 times, the last time Marla came with me on the back of the quad. The bus is in!! The parrot isn't on it. All patrons at the Leaky Palapa are disappointed as are Marla, Linda and I. OK this is Mexico. In the morning the neighbor tells me, on the bus the next morning, I report in to the girls, It's still coming but tomorrow. OK Around 4.30pm I am heading back to my house after walking the dogs, there is a car and people at my gate. Whoopee, the parrot's arrived, off to the Leaky Palapa with him. Well he is in love with Linda already, dancing with her or having his head scratched. He is in the restaurant and everybody talks to him and tells him just how handsome s/he is. I hear a new bigger cage is in the offing for outside and maybe a special one for inside. He is a Red Lored, about 2 years old so he has seventy odd more to go, so best get him comfortable.

crocodile Added to all this, I receive phone calls from #1 son saying that he is coming to visit and a couple of days later #2 also phones to says he's coming. I love Skype. Sunday morning the sun is out, the gray has gone and the flowers are glorious. There is an octopus under the pier at XTC, he's a nice size, he was a perfectly camouflaged sand color when I saw him. Once again thank you Tito, it was you that started making the cinder block condominiums for the critters. Happy retirement. Oh Happy Days.


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: 26-Jan-2009

Home | Activities | Mayan Ruins | Accommodations | Travel Tips | Costa Maya | Recipes
FAQs | About us | Site directory | Links | Costa Maya Newsletter | Press Releases

Contact us via e-mail at
Copyright MMB Inc. and MMBKIM

Mayan Beach Garden - Jardin de Playa Maya


Check out other Costa Maya Vacation Home deals

Rio Indio Oasis -
**$1350 a week!!!!!**
No minimum!

Mayan Beach Garden Cabanas
Mayan Beach Garden
-Better than ever! Checkout our Weekly Menus On-line

New Improvements to Las Brisas - Two large Beachfront Palapas
Las Brisas del Caribe