Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > April. 2005

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: April 9, 2005**************************

Hi Neighbors,

The newsletter is late once again! Every month I think there is nothing newsworthy to report and all of a sudden a lot of things happen. I've added a lot more people to the newsletter list since I last published the newsletter, so many of you are new. Welcome to the neighborhood! You can find this newsletter and archives of past newsletters at this location:


Warning from the US Consulate regarding corrupt law enforcement in Cancun
Update on Costa Maya Recycling efforts
Financial impact of weather at the Costa Maya
Costa Maya Chamber of Commerce News - Semana Santos Aftermath
New buildings in Mahahual

Mexico Public Announcement
Issued on April 06, 2005 This Public Announcement is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to the deterioration in recent weeks of local law enforcement in Cancun caused by a persistent shortage of municipal funds to pay for police and public services. Police responsiveness to emergency calls and investigation of crimes has been severely impaired, and the U.S. Consulate in Merida has received several reports of petty corruption and extortion aimed at U.S. travelers. This Public Announcement supplements the Announcement issued on January 26 and it expires on May 31.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Cancun has received numerous allegations of tourists being extorted for money by taxi drivers and malfeasant police or individuals posing as police officers. In some cases, tourists have been taken to ATM machines for immediate payment of alleged infractions. In other cases, extortion attempts occur after a motorist (typically in a rental car) is stopped for an alleged moving violation. The motorist is threatened with imprisonment if a "fine" is not immediately paid, even though there is no proof that any infraction has been committed. Visitors to Cancun should be aware that a written citation should be received before the payment of any fine. No money should be paid directly to a police officer. If you believe you are the victim of an extortion attempt, you should make a note of the officer's name and badge number, the time and location of the incident, and the number of the patrol car if applicable, and immediately call the U.S. Consular Agency in Cancun or the U.S. Consulate in Merida.

The U.S. Consular Agency is located on the second floor of Plaza Caracol, Boulevard Kukulcan, km. 8.5 Zona Hotelera, Cancun, and can be reached by telephone at (52) (998) 883-0272. The U.S. Consulate in Merida is located at Paseo Montejo No. 453, Col. Centro, Merida, Yucatan. The U.S. Consulate in Merida can be reached by e-mail at or by telephone at (52)(999) 925-5011 during working hours or (52)(999) 947-2285 after hours or on weekends.

NOTE: There are more than one type of police in Quintana Roo. The police in trucks are NOT traffic police. They are to protect the peace and have no authority to issue a ticket. The traffic police who have the authority to issue tickets are those in black and white cars.


The Costa Maya continues to try and struggle with the garbage problem. The community is not as united as it should be. The truck promised by the pier took one load of recyclable material to the Chetumal recycling center, but have not made any effort to repeat the good deed, even though a majority of the recyclables is generated by pier traffic. The non-profit corporation dedicated to recycling and protecting the environment is doing everything it can to get rid of the recyclables. These efforts include soliciting anyone with a truck to take a bag of compressed recycled bottles to Chetumal every time they go. If you have a truck and are headed to Chetumal, please contact me and I can let you know where to go to help. This group is determined to make recycling work here in the Costa Maya. On the bright side, the money they received from Chetumal is already being put to good use. They have a 4 - wheel scooter and a trailer which is now being used to haul trash and recyclable material and a compactor to compact the plastic.

The money that was donated from property owners receiving this newsletter (or foreign investors as we all are referred to) was used to make a much larger composting area. This project is finished and should last quite a while as the city expands and more businesses start taking advantage of it. The current project is to improve the plastic and recycling center using the remaining funds, but this is still in progress. They were hoping for more support from the pier, but since that doesn't seem to be materializing, the non-profit organization is forging ahead using your funds. I am waiting for a better proposal for this project before giving more funds.

New contributions to the recycling fund

>>Mayan Paradise Properties .................... $100
>>Dianne Duncan ......................................$100
>>Deborah Chapel ...................................... $50

Total donations to date: 1,741.27
Debits from the fund:Previous : .............................. $654
March: .................................. $180 (or $2000 pesos)

Balance: ..............................................$906


Since I own a hotel, and people come to the beach to enjoy the warm weather, water and sunshine, I always hope for great weather. Great weather for tourism is not necessarily good for the environment. The drought here continues. Where it used to be thick and lush along the sides of the road, it is now sparse. Many of the trees here drop their leaves so many of the trees are bare allowing you to look back into the jungle. When the rains come again, the trees will grow leaves again. Fire is a problem, however. The locals here cut down trees and then burn the refuge as a method of weeding the sides of the roads or clearing land. We have seen numerous fires that have gotten out of control here, burning many hectares. I drove out to the ruins of Dzibanche last week and drove through several kilometers of burned land. This time of year is known for being windy. The wind blows the sand and changes the shape of the beaches when brush and grass are removed. The wind can blow an inch of sand a day from exposed beaches, eroding the beach and revealing garbage that was deposited in previous storms. When it is too windy, the ships are not allowed to dock. I have been told that the dock looses $50 K in fees for each boat and the shops at the pier collectively loose an estimated $1 million per day when there are three ships docked (these numbers have not been verified with the dock). Recently there were some days that were too windy to dock at the pier. However, the town of Mahahual still had quite a bit of business from the hotels in the area. The Chamber of Commerce has been trying to get the shops in the town to open on times other than cruise ship days, but up to now they haven't been willing. This recent weather event demonstrated that there are still tourists in the area willing to purchase.


Semana Santos (Holy week) brought thousands of Mexican nationals to the beaches of the Costa Maya. The city of Mahahual had plenty of people in the streets, in the hotels and camping along the beach, but not purchasing much from the restaurants or vendors. Most tourists brought their own beer, food and snacks. Meanwhile, rather than show the visitors that they didn't need to stock up on supplies at their local groceries, the Mahahual vendors jacked up prices to ridiculously high prices. There were reports of 30 pesos for a loaf of Wonder bread and 35 pesos for ice. To get a small order of Civeche was $260 pesos (normally $80-100 pesos). No wonder the restaurants and businesses didn't cash in. The chamber is concerned that this is not the right image of Mahahual to portray to the rest of the country. Trying to repair the damage to the Costa Maya reputation will not be easy. Costa Maya Chamber of Commerce is working to limit this type of price inflation in the future with a combination of education and self-governing controls by the members of the chamber. Meetings will be starting in April to plan for 2006, the first one to be in Xcalak. During Semana Santos, the zoning was changed so that the beach front street was closed to vehicles and horses. This has turned out to be quite successful in terms of protecting the pedestrians, so the zoning will remain. Please follow the signs and avoid driving through the beach road of Mahahual when you visit.


The city of Mahahual is creating some new offices for the Mayor that will include a jail, storage, bathroom, showers, ATM machine, office for the chamber of commerce, meeting room, (so we don't have to always meet at the Aricife restaurant!) office to pay utility and phone bills and a small post office . For those of you who are familiar with Mahahual, the old water tower is being converted to house some of this. The work has already begun.

The goal of this newsletter is to inform and create a community of Property owners. I am not a native Spanish speaker, in fact my Spanish is fairly limited. I understand about a third of what goes on in city meetings and must rely on translators to help me out. If I get some of the facts wrong (as I have in the past and am sure I will continue), I will try and correct it in future emails. Many thanks to Miguel Sosa (president of the chamber of commerce) and Orlando Iglesias Barron (manager for the University of Quintana Roo Extension station and major force behind the recycling efforts here on the Costa Maya) for translating for me and helping me find out more about this great area.


Updated: 19-Apr-2008

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