Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > Jul. 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: July 11, 2005**************************


Tropical storms line up - effects on the Costa Maya
Cruise Ships visiting Mahahual
Palm tree diseases on the Costa Maya
Those pesky tabanos
Election for Delgado
Chamber of Commerce update
More information on Environmental Impact Studies and the process for building
Spotlight on your Costa Maya neighbors!
Correction regarding the cost of water

Hi Neighbors,

I am really late with the newsletter this month! You would think I live in "manana-ville!" The truth is, we had our first wedding here at Mayan Beach Garden and found it was a lot more work than we had anticipated. The wedding on the beach was beautiful, despite Hurricane Dennis sending pounding surf and threatening a thunderstorm at the same time the vows were being read. (see section below on the Tropical storms)

Finally the rain has come to the Costa Maya, and in buckets. I know they had more rain in the area of Mahahual and South, but here in Placer we had over 18 inches during the period of Tropical storm Arlene (according to my unofficial rain barrel). It was great to have the rain, but here along the beach the aftermath is mosquitos. If you are planning a trip to the area to check out your property, plan on bringing insect repellant. Some areas are swarming with mosquitoes, especially on property that has not been cleared or that has standing water from the rain.

You can find this newsletter and archives of past newsletters at this location:

Those of you who live in the Gulf states are already aware of this but this is the first time in history that four named Tropical storms have occurred prior to July 5th. Earlier storms of 2005 brought a lot of rain, but not much wind, especially Arlene and Cindy. Last year, Alex, the first named Atlantic storm, didn't strike until early August -- Arlene was named on June 10th. The first hurricane of 2005, Dennis, is on the same track as hurricane Ivan. Last year, Ivan caused quite a bit of erosion to many of the beaches. Hurricane Ivan was a category 5, while Dennis has been hovering between 2 and 4. A tremendous amount of garbage has washed up on the shore in the last couple of days but we haven't witnessed any riptides that caused the beach erosion that we saw from Ivan. Neither storm brought intense rain or any wind to speak of. Now we are watching Tropical storm Emily and wondering what path it will go.

If you aren't familiar with it, here is a link to the National hurricane center so that you can track the storms. If there is damage to the Costa Maya we will cover it in the newsletter.


Some of you have asked which cruise ship lines stop at the Costa Maya Pier. Below is a list of Cruise ship companies that will be visiting the Costa Maya in 2005 and links to their web sites:

Carnival from Mobile, Ala.; Miami; New Orleans; and Tampa, Fla.

Celebrity Cruises from Galveston and Jacksonville, Fla.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines from Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Holland America Line from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, Fla.

MSC Italian Cruises from Fort Lauderdale.

Princess Cruises from Galveston.

Royal Caribbean from Galveston, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New Orleans and Tampa.

Windstar Cruises from Cozumel.


Up and down the Costa Maya coconut palms are dying. You see it when you drive along the beach road and especially up and down the beach itself. Two things are killing the trees. One is the coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) also termed black beetle which attacks coconut palm at all stages of its growth.

Far more destructive is Lethal yellowing, a disease caused by a phytoplasma. Thousands of coconut palm trees have died on the Yucatan peninsula to date. When you drive up into the Sian Ka'an it is sad to see the hundreds of dead palms. Parts of the beach seem to by mysteriously protected from both of these diseases while other areas have been hit hard. Here at Mayan Beach Garden we have lost 4 trees in the last two years and some of our neighbors exhibit severe cases. We thought it was the Palm Beetle, now we aren't so sure! Here are some symptoms of Lethal Yellowing disease in the coconut palm: premature drop of most of the fruit regardless of their development stage blackening of newly opened inflorescences ascending yellowing of the leaves (from the lower to the upper) spear leaf death and collapse, with possibly a few green leaves remaining fall of the whole crown, leaving a bare trunk or ‘telephone pole.’ Infected palms usually die within 3 to 7 months after the appearance of the first symptom.

As in many diseases, it is hard to identify the disease. The most effective means of managing the problem is that of prevention. You can prepare traps that attract the beetles. The traps are built with pheromone strips that attract the beetles. Poison bananas are placed inside the traps. Cutting down and burning infected trees helps prevent the spread of both the disease and insects since they lay eggs in rotting trees.

The most efficient way to deal with Lethal yellowing disease is by replanting with resistant coconut palms. Malayan Dwarfs have been planted on a large scale in Florida. However, these dwarfs were found to be quite sensitive to other environmental stresses such as drought, insect attacks, or hurricanes. They were progressively replaced by a new tolerant hybrid called ‘Maypan’, obtained in Jamaica by crossing the Malayan Dwarf as female and the Panama Tall as male. However, still other palm species have been shown to be resistant to lethal yellowing, including all the native palms of the Yucatan Peninsula, such as the Royal Palm, those native to Belize such as the Cohune Palm (the tall stately palms that grow in the ruin of Chacchoben) and still others such as the African Oil Palm. The Cohune Palm is sensitive to Salt air, but the Royal Palm does quite well as long as it is back a little bit from the beach.


The name Tabanos comes from "Tabanus" which is the Latin name for the genus of blood sucking flies, including horseflies. From the end of June to the middle of September the tabanos come out in force here along the beach where large permanently wet and undeveloped areas provide good breeding areas. They have a distinctive fly pattern that consists of rapid circles around its victim as they make up their mind where to bite. Even one can be annoying because it won't give up until it finds a victim. A lot of people don't even feel it bite, or once it bites, they don't feel any itch or after affects. Others are allergic; developing red itchy spots and even swelling and blisters. Benedryl spray or pills work wonders for those who are allergic. Yucatecan remedies include the use of lime, garlic and salt. There isn't a lot you can do about them but to swat at them or use insect repellant. They really don't like DEET, so if you are coming to the Costa Maya during this season of the year, make sure and bring repellant.

The good news for those of you who are contemplating moving down here and wonder if you are allergic, you can build up an immunity. The first year I was here I was extremely allergic, developing large water blisters. I lived in fear of getting bitten and was afraid to come out doors. I was told that I would build up an immunity but found it hard to believe. Now after lots of Benedryl, I am blessed to be in the category of those who barely feel them bite. They are only a problem in the day.


Mahahual had an election for Delgado/Mayor of Mahahual on July 8th. I'll report on the full results next month when I have the details. If you will remember we have had a lot of non-activity regarding the recycling center and the dirt roads through town haven't been fixed in months. There haven't been town meetings or meetings regarding solid wastes. This election in conjunction with the changing of administration in Chetumal has really stalled any progress. I'm optimistic that things should pick up again soon, I just don't know when the meetings will resume. I will report on the recycling program next month as well.


The Chamber of Commerce had some problems with its number one goal of getting an ATM machine in Mahahual earlier in the year. We had hoped to have one installed and working by April. Now it looks like September is a more reasonable date. I had reported earlier that the machine would be part of some government offices which would include the mayor's office and a post office but that got put on hold (see above article). The Banamex ATM machine is currently scheduled to be installed next to the Aricife restaurant which is a great location for local businesses of Mahahual. If you are currently contemplating opening a bank account in Mexico, consider Banamex. If there are a larger number of people who are customers there is a better chance of getting a branch in addition to getting more support from them.


There have been previous discussions in the newsletter about Environmental Impact Studies and the need to have one done before clearing your lot. When you do get around to building, not only will you need the study done, but you will have to submit the EIS with your COMPLETE set of plans to SEMARNAT. Among other things, this includes building details, structural, electrical and water details - all in Spanish. You cannot start building without the resulting SEMARNAT permit.

Two projects north of Mahahual are currently shut down due to the fact that although the builder filed and got a building permit, he was given false information stating that only Commercial structures like hotels need an EIS. All building along the beach needs an EIS and a federal permit from SEMARNAT. Historically, the building department in Chetumal will issue a building permit with little regard to the fact that you also need a SEMARNAT permit. They often don't know the law themselves. Our building permit for Mayan Beach Garden was signed by the Secretary of the Environment in 2002 without us ever getting a SEMARNAT permit even though his law went into effect in 2000!

See Archives of 2004 newsletters for previous discussions on EIS


This month's spotlight is on Patrick and Leanne Hadfield who own property 15 km. south of Mahahual. Their home is currently under construction and they have shared a very interesting diary of their purchasing and building process. You can read about their experiences on the internet on the "meet your neighbor's section of this website":


Last month we reported the following: A truckload of water is currently running about $800 - $1000 pesos for 10,000 liters (about 2500 gallons). The cost I quoted was for a 1/2 truck or for 5000 liters. A full tank will cost at least $1200 pesos. Sorry for the mis-information.

Until next month!


Updated: 13-Apr-2010

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