Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > Oct. 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: October 11, 2005************************

Hi Neighbors,

This is a very short newsletter because the tourist industry has been quite slow here on the Costa Maya and I have been exploring other parts of Mexico. We happened to be in the state of Chiapas during hurricane Stan and experienced first hand the days of rain and the inability of the area to absorb that much water. The rivers were incredibly full and we could see houses standing in what appeared to be huge lakes. Hurricane Stan was devastating to the villages of the area because of mud slides. We happened to be in the village of Amatenango on the morning of the day that huge mudslides engulfed the area. We were oblivious to the danger that was going on around us and drove through some fairly steep hair-pin curves through torrential rain. Big pieces of road were undercut and saw several trucks that had slid off the road. We were merely annoyed because we couldn't go as fast as we would have liked and we were unable to view a ruin on the border of Guatemala because a river had overflowed its banks. Our trip took us along the Guatemalan border and the Ucamacinta River. I received a notice today from the US Consulate stating that many people in Guatemala and Chiapas are still stranded. We feel very blessed to be here today and I know many of you feel the same after all the hurricanes of this season. We have met many of you who own property in the Gulf and Atlantic coast who have been touched in many ways by the weather this year and worry about all of you.
You can find this newsletter and archives of past newsletters at this location:

  • Hurricane Stan - aftermath on the Costa Maya
  • Costa Maya Road report
  • Timing of getting an FM3
  • Beach erosion -- UNESCO resource
  • Meet your neighbors -- Wayne Kelly and Karla Nelson


Hurricane Stan only brought some reasonable storm surge with a tremendous amount of the usual garbage followed by a lot of rain to the Costa Maya. We had several days with 5 and 6 inch rainfalls. We didn't see any beach erosion, however. The rain is resulting in an onslaught of mosquitos. Please bring a good repellent if you are visiting anytime soon. We are not sure how long the standing water will remain in the low spots and around the lagoons and mangroves, but we have had two days of dry weather, but the temperatures have cooled down slowing down evaporation


The sand does an admirable job of absorbing rain - but the roads do not and we have had a lot of rain this year. The beach roads are becoming a slow drive (but still very passable) and potholes are popping up elsewhere. The jungle roads that head to the Sian Ka'an and south to Xcalak are only oil and gravel over kalichi shale. The oil and gravel surface is only about 3/8 of an inch, so it doesn't take much to break it down. This is especially bad close to Mahahual in either direction. There are some potholes that stretch from one side of the road to the other, so please be careful if you are planning on visiting. It is unclear if this will get fixed any time soon. The unpaved roads in the beach area of Mahahual are horrible. They grade it often, but because of all the traffic it only stays smooth for a week or two before it is a very rough drive. As romantic as a sandy road is for a fishing village, paved roads may be the only solution.


Eventually it will be in your best interest to get an FM3. There are a variety of FM3s depending on whether or not you have a business, are retired, trying to get a job, or living here just during part of the year. If you are planning on moving here and taking advantage of the one time "duty free" move per FM3, you may want to think carefully about the timing of this. Carla and Wayne, who are spotlighted this month, just came through the Mexican border with a trailer full of their personal furniture and goods expecting to take advantage of this law. They were informed that they could ONLY take advantage of this 6 months after the first granting of their FM3. Luckily Wayne has had his less than 6 months. They had, however, planned on making two trips with personal items using Karla's FM3 for the other trip, but Karla's FM3 is well over 6 months old. Now they are faced with paying a duty on their remaining goods or sneaking them in somehow. We have never heard of this before since not that many people have made a permanent move down here. Kim and I had already started the move before we knew anything about an FM3 and ended up with our goods in storage for 6 months while we waited for the FM3 to be granted so we never had the opportunity to find out about this side of the law. Please contact your consulate for more information on moving your personal items across the border. I will try and look into this more to find out what the law really is but thought it worthwhile to report this recent incident. I believe they entered Mexico in Brownsville, Texas.


Here on the Costa Maya we seem to be the recipient of the gentle side of Hurricanes -- certainly that is the case for the ones that hit this and the previous year. We were very blessed, but this seems also seems to be the norm. We can, however get some fairly substantial Storm surges from any storm. The surges bring in a lot of garbage and create beach erosion. Year round there is some beach erosion. Waves are generally highest from June to July and from December to March when the wind speeds are highest. Right now the tides are very low and the water is calm. I've heard several times that we don't have to worry about beach erosion because there is a reef out front. Because beaches are always changing, I think everyone needs to worry about beach erosion. I found a really good resource published by UNESCO on beach erosion in the Caribbean. It primarily applies to the islands which have been devastated by over development and beach erosion, sometimes loosing hundreds of feet of beach. This has also been the case in Playa del Carmen and other areas north of us. Some things that I found out after reading the publication are:

  1. Even on a beautiful calm day, you may get waves and swells or groups of waves that originate in the North Atlantic
  2. During each winter season, there may be from five to ten swell events, each lasting from one to eight days. Research has also shown that intense winter swell activity often runs in cycles, several active years being followed by several less active years
  3. During the summer, there may be wide beaches. This is eroded during the winter leaving the beach and buildings vulnerable to direct wave action.
  4. During the summer months, when the seas are calmer and the waves smaller, beaches tend to build up. This process is known as accretion or the accumulation of sand or other beach material due to the natural action of waves, currents and wind.
  5. If you own beach front property and are concerned, about seasonal changes occurring, you can take some simple measurements on a regular basis to assess whether a problem exists such as measure the water line to a fixed object like a tree.
  6. If purchasing beach front property, visit the site several times in both winter and summer before completing the purchase. If this is not possible, talk to neighbors about their observations of seasonal changes to the beach. Ask if they have photographs. Also consult local planning and environmental agencies, who may have information on beach changes.
  7. In most of the Caribbean, land below the mean high water mark belongs to the government. Beach front land lost from erosion is the landowner’s loss. This is true in Mexico Whenever possible, find ways to leave as much vegetation as possible to restrict beach erosion.
    You can read the entire publication which is in several cases. The site isn't too user friendly. To go to the next case click on the arrow at the bottom of each web page.

MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS - Wayne Kelly and Karla Nelson

Wayne Kelly and Karla Nelson are within two months of making a permanent move to the Costa Maya. It will be great to have some more permanent residents. Read about them and see a picture of their Costa Maya home

Expect the next newsletter to be just as brief because we will be leaving for the US for a couple of weeks and unable to get news as readily.

Back to top



Updated: 02-May-2008

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

Contact us via email at
Copyright MMB Inc. and MMBKIM