Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > June 2005

Costa Maya 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: June 15, 2006**************************

* NEW! Discussion board for Costa Maya Neighbors (BETA)
* Town Meeting June 8
* Costa Maya Cruise News and Calendar
* Shoulder season
* Cancun Reborn?
* June 8, World Oceans Day
* Turtle Museum and recycling center
* 2006 hurricane season official announcement
* Tourists to shop tax free in Mexico
* New development on the Costa Maya
* Inauguration of "Uchben Kah", Ecological park
* Spotlight on your Neighbors
* Properties for sale
* Mayan Beach Garden on the cover of Karen Brown Guide to Mexico
* Petition to ban Jet skis and ATVs
* Federal Zone

Hi Neighbors,
Now that that busy season for us is over, I have had some time to start thinking about something other than running a hotel. For me, that means more snorkeling in the afternoons, visiting with neighbors, finding out more about what is happening on the Costa Maya, catching up on some projects and going on some road trips -- oh, and stealing a few minutes to read some of the novels that guests have kindly left here. By the way, we have a small book swap library, so if you are in the area and have read every book in your possession, you are welcome to stop by and exchange yours for something we don't already have -- you will have to go a long way before finding a book store (Chetumal), let alone one with books in English. If you happen to have spare novels in any language, drop them off to share!

Speaking of the written word, if you have some insight, news or an issue to discuss and would like to write an article about your experiences on the Costa Maya, please send them to me and I'll be happy to publish them here (we reserve the right to edit). Please note that everything will be published on the website. You can find this newsletter and archives of past newsletters at this location:


I have received so many requests for a neighborhood discussion forum, that I have finally created one. I'm not the world's best programmer, so I found some free software and branded it Costa Maya Live. I am also in the process of creating a Costa Maya Live website for posting properties for sale and other items of interest to neighbors on the Costa Maya. - Not sure where it will eventually lead, but its a fun neighborhood project and keeps me connected when I live way out here in Placer. I'm hoping that it will help promote the sales of properties and rentals when more homes are built. I have created a Costa Maya Forum for properties for sale. You can post your properties there. I've already posted the ones that I know about. The website isn't ready for prime time, but the Forum is ready for a test drive. Please check it out and voice your thoughts. There are over 400 people on this mailing list, so hopefully we can get a lively discussion.


On June, surprisingly starting more or less promptly at 10:30 , the Quintana Roo tourist board staged a meeting in Mahahual at Tequila beach club. Most of it was to promote their new "Post-Wilma" state-wide tourist promotion, but it was also a town meeting to hear the thoughts and concerns of the town of Mahahual. Their new program consists of:
* New signs promoting the Cancun to Chetumal Corridor
* Kiosks at gas stations with touch screens
* Expansion of the airport in Chetumal (there was no mention of what that means)
* New facelift for Mahahual including a walkway along the beach that is closed to cars and a separate road for the cars, a Glorieta (round-a-bout) for taxis to drop off tourists at the commencement of the walkway and a sea wall along the walkway to protect the town.
* AND a lot of bureaucratic postulating

The citizens of Mahahual had a chance to voice their Concerns which included:
* Request to eliminate wave runners and jeep tours along the beach roads (this was voiced more than once and included a petition)
* Request to address the garbage problem BEFORE promoting the area. This problem was brought up so many times that eventually the sub secretary of tourism said "we get the point, can we move on?"
* Request to get rid of the tents along the federal zone since you can't see the water when you walk along the road
* Clean up the beaches (garbage again)
* Standards for public restrooms. All the bathrooms in the restaurants are filthy according to the person making the request.
* Specific requests from the fishermen and Taxi cooperativos to get with the program and provide power, water and (again) garbage
* Requests for businesses to stay open on days there were no cruise ships. "We need to be treated like a village and not just a cruise ship destination" was one concern voiced.
* Request for a permanent recycling solution (yours truly)
* Request for ATM
* Request to deal with Mosquitoes


If any of you are planning on visiting the Costa Maya and wonder when the cruise ships will be in, you can find out at The link to the Port Costa Maya / Mahahual calendar is: This useful site also gives you the name of the ships that are docking in the Costa Maya. For example if you want to know if it is a big ship (Disney Magic = LOTS OF PEOPLE = Stay away!) or an average cruise ship (Carnival = average amount of people = maybe venture into town) you can make intelligent decisions about when to visit Mahahual or stay here at Mayan Beach Garden where it is quiet.


Regardless of whether or not you are taking a cruise or staying in a hotel, you may hear the term "shoulder season." This term was new to me, but not the concept. The travel season in warm weather locations has been lengthening and most locations have adopted a mid-season pricing structure in addition to the traditional high and low season. You will find this especially in the Playa Del Carmen area where last year in in the month of August you could hardly find a vacancy and most hotels were even quoting high season prices! Low season is now considered September to mid November. Holiday season pricing is for many places extended now to Semana Santos as well. Don't be surprised if your favorite spots aren't as cheap as they used to be.


Fonatur announced that as a result of hurricane Wilma, Cancun has been reborn. The hotels have spent millions to not only restore the hotel zone, but to put a fresh new face on Cancun. Many hotels took the opportunity to reposition themselves as more upscale and Family friendly in an effort to rid themselves of the "Spring break" notoriety. Fonatur also mentioned the Costa Maya and a myriad of other projects in the works. No wonder it is taking so long to get some infrastructure here! You can read the announcement on


At first glance, turtles and recycling have little to do with each other, but Mahahual is a different kind of town. Quite a while ago I reported that Mahahual was hoping to have a turtle museum in the town. SEMARNAT has donated a prime piece of property in Mahahual for the museum. The SEMARNAT property is marked by a little round white building where the road into Mahahual forks and you are diverted west of the pedestrian street and adjacent to Super Carolina. Orlando Iglesia and Carlos Lopez have been working a long time to get the building and property set aside for that purpose. Reuniting the "old Mahahual" in a common cause, vendors have been donating labor during off hours. There is a lot of work to be done. The entire roof has to be redone as well as wiring and stairs to the second floor. SEMARNAT also donated $160,000 pesos to the cause -- which is insufficient for the project. They will be soliciting funds to finish it after the election since funds are currently frozen and they also aren't allowed to raise funds until after that time. You might remember if you follow these newsletters that Orlando and Carlos were instrumental in starting a recycled program in Mahahual that despite Herculean efforts on their part fizzled. Their plans are to put the recycling center on the property. I'm holding on to the rest of the donations for the recycling center. If they put it there, I will be the first to donate the money that you all have given me. We'll report on this more, and include pictures of the museum's progress on the Mayan Beach Garden website.


As most of you have already noticed, Alberto, the first named tropical storm has already hit. The Costa Maya welcomed in the rainy season and received 6-10 inches from the storm. The official Hurricane season prediction doesn't look like it will be as severe as last year, but the National Hurricane Center doesn't paint a rosy picture either. The outlook calls for a very active 2006 season, with 13-16 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes. This prediction indicates a continuation of above-normal activity that began in 1995. However, they do not currently expect a repeat of last year’s record season.


Starting July 1, 2006, International tourists will be able to make tax-free purchases while vacationing in Mexico starting on July 1, 2006, thanks to a Tourism Ministry-backed law recently passed by Mexico's Congress with overwhelming support.

Spearheaded by Rodolfo Elizondo Torres, Mexico's Secretary of Tourism, the law will grant international visitors a full refund of the tax added to purchases if the buyer follows a few simple steps. The new law is expected to increase competition in the tourism sector and foster private investments in Mexico. Sales tax or IVA varies in each state. For example it is 10% in Quintana Roo and 15% in Yucatan.

In order for international visitors to be adequately reimbursed for purchases, they must adhere to the following criteria:

1. The merchandise acquired must be purchased in Mexico and verified by airport or seaport customs.

2. The value of the purchase made by the visitor must be verified with a receipt presented at time of departure to be worth at least 1,200 Mexican pesos (approximately US$110 at current exchange rates).

3. Reimbursement to tourists will be contingent upon any added costs a possible return may generate.


Highway 307 is finally seeing the light at the end of the improvement-tunnel. Work is complete from Cafetal junction all the way to Chetumal and has now begun on the both ends of the Cafetal to Tulum stretch. If you are driving from Cancun, you might need to budget an extra half hour since the work has created steep drop-offs on this shoulderless highway and you won't be able to drive as fast. If your tire catches the edge of the road, the ramifications could be extremely dangerous.

May 17 The undersecretary of Tourism, Juan Pedro Mercader Rodriguez, stated that Miguel Fluxá, one of the main hotel industrialists of Spain, president of the Iberostar chain, came to the Costa Maya with the objective to identify property where a large hotel from this Spanish company will be located. Many of you may have seen the monster sized Iberostar on the Mayan Riviera, which I believe is the largest on the Riviera Maya. The undersecretary of Tourism, indicated that in the next five years three thousand new hotel rooms will be built in the zone located between Mahahual and Uvero. “At the moment they are about to conclude the POET (zoning) and we hope that it provides 20 thousand rooms on the entire Costa Maya. It is this administration's goal, to develop three thousand five hundred rooms, then the Costa Maya can be considered a tourist destination and it will have all the opportunities for success”. The Costa Maya Port in the community of Mahahual, received a million tourists last year, which makes it like the second port in importance of the country only behind the island of Cozumel. (Source: Approach Radio}

While the hotels have been slow in coming, homes are starting everywhere. Just here in Placer and neighboring San Jose, there are 5 homes currently in construction. Many are in construction in the area of Xcalak and Mahahual as well. The permit process has slowed everyone down. While SEMARNAT promises 60 working days to complete a set of plans, they are slow in returning the signed paperwork and you can still get shut down if you don't have it in your possession.

If you didn't catch my message about Plaza La Cost and La Costa Condos, you can view plans of the project and contact the owner directly at The project hasn't started yet, but we'll be watching this closely as it will be the first luxury beachfront shopping in the town of Mahahual unless the cruise ship decides to open up the mall at the pier to non-cruise ship tourists.

No concrete word on Electricity or potable water.


On April 4, the governor of the State, Felix González Canto, inaugurated the eco-tourist park “Uchben Kah” (old town) which represents first in its type in the south of Quintana Roo. Located on the north end of Bacalar, the park is about 45 minutes from the Costa Maya Port and the town of Mahahual. A large sign on 307 marks the parking lot to the part which covers 90 square hectares, offers kayak, canoes, bicycle and jungle tours. They have also a recreated a chiclera village where several typical large houses can be observed, a tree of the “hung pirate”, the jail of “teporocho” and a tree serpent. During Semana Santos we saw cars parked up and down 307 so it seems already to be a hit by local standards. I have heard that the project was built by the organization that built other ecological them parks in the Riviera Maya, although that has not been verified. I visited it post-completion and its on a beautiful spot. I'll visit it again now that it is complete and give a report here.


This month, meet Trish Nelson and Bill Ellis, who are from Cape Cod, Mass. USA and have property in Sapphire, about 22 km north of Mahahual. You can read more about the Trish and Bill at:


I've now created a website for you to post properties for sale. Not only can you post them on the forum, you can send me photos and I'll put them on the website. Please resize them so they are no larger than 600 wide and provide descriptive text so I don't have to think! they will be posted on


Small hotels in the middle of nowhere always struggle to get noticed. Often the only way is to get in the guide books. So far, few have ventured north of Mahahual, not even realizing that there are three small little hotels in Placer. Karen Brown Guide is an exception. We were featured in the 2006 Mexico edition, but in the 2007 edition we will be featured on the cover. The books aren't out yet, but prints of the water color that graces the cover are already available. If you've stayed or visited us here, you will quickly recognize the cover photo.


Carol at Balamku, a hotel about 12 km south of Mahahual, has started a petition to ban 4x4 tours as well as jet skis from the Costa Maya. The jet skis are especially dangerous to snorkelers and swimmers and emit a tremendous amount of diesel which damages the reef. The 4x4 tours are noisy, offensive, travel the beach roads that cut through many of our properties and they beat up the roads without paying anything to maintain them. If you are interested in learning more about the petition you can contact Carol at


Just a reminder that the federal zone - the 20 meters of beach that starts at high water mark and is adjacent to your property if you own beachfront - is "first-come-first-serve." What that means is that someone can buy the "concession" or the right to use the beach in front of your property. Once the concession is secured, there is not a lot you can do unless the other party defaults on the taxes due. Unfortunately, the fees have gone up this year because it now requires an environmental engineer in addition to topologist and surveyors.


The editor of this newsletter (me) makes no claims that the information here is completely true. I am not a newsreporter 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. THANKS!!!!!

Until Next month...

Regards from your Costa Maya Neighbor
Mayan Beach Garden, Boutique hotel on the Costa Maya


Until next month or until there is some new news to report....


Updated: 05-May-2008

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