Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > Oct 2006

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: Oct 11, 2006**************************


* Message board for Costa Maya Neighbors
* Chaya -- Cnidoscolus Chayamansa
* New development on the Costa Maya and surrounding area
* Learn Spanish on-line
* Hurricane prediction news
* Articles of Interest in the news
* Spotlight on your Neighbors

Hi Neighbors,
If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be looking forward to the Chetumal opening of Sam's club in great anticipation -- even considering spending the night so I can be there when it opens its doors at 7:00 AM in the morning -- I would have said you must be thinking of the wrong woman! How this place makes people change their stripes! As a rule, I hate shopping. But I hate the commute to Playa del Carmen even more! Rather than anticipating a new movie or the opening of a new restaurant -- its a warehouse shopping store that I would have snubbed my nose at in favor or Costco. Hopefully they will carry US grade beef -- sometimes you just want a good steak! I'm off to the opening of Sam's club -- I'll let you know next month if it is as good as the one in Playa -- which by the way has gotten better!

This is a slow month - September is the slowest of months so there wasn't much happening in the area - the town of Mahahual really dies in September on non-cruise ship days. Mexico celebrated its independence day on Sept 16th. Chetumal and Bacalar had big celebrations. Since we were closed, we were able to let all of our staff have the day off and celebrate with their families. The weather in September was unusually dry for the wet season and our cisterns all dried up. October has been normal with at least 5 inches so far in Placer (according to our unofficial rain gauge).

You can find this issue of the newsletter and archives of past e-newsletters at this location:


The response to the Costa Maya Message Board was kind of slow last month -- perhaps the subject matter of surveys wasn't a hot subject unless you are in the midst of having it done and running into problems (you might want to read the posts). I thought this month, in honor of the opening of Sam's club in Chetumal, to start a conversation about the best place to buy goods and services in Quintana Roo. If you have a vendor or professional that you would like to spread the word about, please take a moment and post their name. This can be anything from a lawyer, Accountant, Doctor, architect, carpenter, painter, massage therapist, realtor, vegetable stand, taco stand, etc. -- let's support good work and good people by keeping them in business. If you are looking for a certain service, post your search as well. If you offer a service for the neighborhood, please feel free to post it, but realize that the moderator (me) may remove it if it reads like an advertisement and gets in the way of the neighborhood feel of the forum. Someone has already started a discussion about finding furniture.

Goods and Services

Thanks in advance for supporting the neighborhood! Below are some links to some of the topics that have some discussions started.
General forum
Topographical Survey topic
FM3 discussion
Fide Camiso vs. Corporations:
Sapphire Beach neighbors

NOTE: Two months ago we had some problems on the Forum with Spammers. I have now had to require registration to post to any forum. Its made a difference, now there are only a few. Sorry for the inconvenience!

CHAYA -- Cnidoscolus Chayamansa

Its very likely that when you visit local restaurants for breakfast, you will see "Huevos con Chaya" on the menu. For a long time, I didn't know what it was, so I didn't order it. When I finally did, it was a great "a-hah!" Cooked Chaya tasted very much like cooked Swiss chard or Spinach. I then proceeded to look for it in the markets. I didn't find it at a Supermarkets but it wasn't hard to find in the farmer's markets. Ten pesos will buy you a very large bag of Chaya.

The name comes from the Mayan chay. Other common names are tree spinach, chaya col, kikilchay, and chaykeken. You probably won't find it in the supermarkets in the US because it is toxic when raw. The toxicity extends to the touch and to eating. Every local knows that you have to cook it before using and handle with gloves. They contain a high content of hydrocyanic acid. Doesn't sound to appetizing -- but it is! One minute of boiling destroys most of the acid. My cooks boil it for 15 minutes then store it in the fridge for a few days while we use it in soups and eggs. I'm not sure what it does if you eat it raw, but touching it causes you to itch. Wild Chaya seems to be worse -- the aftereffects caused me to itch for several days when I ran into some in some at the ruins of Uxmal where I casually brushed one aside. When I have absentmindedly picked up Chaya by hand at the market, the itch only lasts an hour and isn't too severe. It was enough to refrain from eating it (not sure what it would do to your stomach and lining of your esophagus!).

The Chaya bush is a large, leafy shrub reaching a height of about 6-8 feet. The dark green leaves are 6-8 inches across on a long slender stem and look somewhat like a maple leaf only a little "hairy." Chaya blooms frequently and both male and female flowers are at the end of long flower stems. Both kinds of flowers are small. The white male flowers are much more abundant. I don't know if you can eat the flowers.

It is fairly easy to grow Chaya at the beach, but it does take a while to get started. I started mine from a cutting and just stuck it in the sand. It took a while to get started. I had it under the drip line of a palapa cover, but it likes lots of sun and dry conditions, so it did better when I moved it into the sun. It took about a year before I could harvest leaves. At any one time you can harvest about 60% of the leaves.

1) Use gloves during harvesting to protect the hands from spines.
2) Use entire leaves and a bit of the stem. Leaves are immersed and simmered for 15 minutes and then served with oil or butter or in any recipe that you might use cooked spinach. Here in Mexico is it with potatoes, in soup or eggs; mixed with masa to make tamales de Chaya, fried with masa to make tortillas with Chaya -- the list is endless. They even wrap tamales in chaya for a different flavor.

Chaya is a good source of protein, vitamins, calcium, potassium and iron, having more than spinach. A good Mayan Medicine includes Chaya in his garden. Because it has such high nutritional value it is used for everything from treating kidney stones to treating anemia and malaria. Use ten leaves with one liter of water and drink as a tea. The taste is very pleasant and the liter should be consumed over a 24 hour period and then repeated. I eat it preventatively and because I really like it!


We all hope for the time that there is an alternative airport to fly into. We've seen a little light in that area, or at least some new rumors.
Reported on Reuters -- New airport for Cancun area? September 22, 2006
Mexican airport operator Asur has petitioned the Mexican government to allow a new airport to be built in the Mayan Riviera, which is the Playa del Carmen-Tulum corridor. Asur, also operates an airport on Cozumel. Cancun is an important spot for Asur, with the existing hub there accounting for more than 70 percent of its total passengers. Asur is concerned that a rival company, or even the state government of Quintana Roo, could attempt to construct an additional hub to serve the hotspot. The company currently controls nine airports in Mexico, including Villahermosa, Oaxaca, and Merida. Asur said it has asked the transport ministry for the permit to build a new airport but has not yet received a reply and could not guarantee the request would be granted.
We also heard from a "reliable source" that American Airlines was going to be serving Chetumal early in 2007 and they were hiring at the Chetumal airport! I looked at their website and Chetumal is listed as a "code share" city. You can find flights to Chetumal, but they all go through Mexico City and I could only find those going through Dallas Fort Worth or San Antonio. That can mean a 13 hour day for some of the flight times I saw. I'll keep checking. . .
I wonder if some mail to Asur and American Airlines might do some good?


The BBC is a great place to polish up your Spanish. It primarily teaches Castilian Spanish, but also specifies differences in Latin American Spanish. The lessons are as polished as any I have seen on line and they have a "test your level" which lets you know where to start your lessons. Based on your first error, (for me it was question 4) they make recommendations. I used the back arrow and put the right answer in and continued forward. At question 9, I missed again. At this point, I saw that the recommendations were different. Clicking through to my recommendations, I found they had videos, audio and transcripts. Some of the site has interactive lessons in Flash, but some of site has videos and audio that require Real Player which can be downloaded from the BBC website. You can purchase workbooks that go along with the video or purchase CDs to view the series. There are a few quizzes and games intermixed with the lessons, but I would have liked to see more, since I seem to be able to maintain my studying for longer periods that way. The good news, is this is most of the material is free and you can learn a lot of Spanish basics just using this website.


The National hurricane center has announced a new product that has great impact on the ability to forecast storm damage. The new product is a Surge forecaster and can be found at Unfortunately it doesn't look it will show the Yucatan peninsula, but perhaps it will expand the service later.

Also, based on information learned during Hurricane Dennis last year, they are changing the way they forecast storm surge. Hurricane Dennis cased a storm surge that flooded coastal areas nearly a couple of hundred miles away. Researchers now say the surge was caused by a "trapped wave" along Florida's gulf coast. Florida State University scientists discovered the trapped wave was a bulge of high water hundreds of miles long. This study has impacted the forecasting by the NHC.

Also, we want to state that we are VERY grateful that there haven't been any hurricanes come even close this year and appears that the rest of the year will continue that way. That said, the beaches here are full of trash because there haven't been any big storms to push all the debris into the bushes or storm riptides that pull the debris back out into sea. It is just sitting along the beaches waiting for someone to pick up the trash. If you plan on visiting your property -- plan on picking up a couple of garbage bags full of plastic to help clean up the area. Every garbage bag full of trash means something that won't wash in and out, just getting deposited again!


Recently we've seen some interesting articles you might want to read. They are much too lengthy to include here, but I've added a quick synopsis.

Border Invaders - editorial article that shares some interesting statistics about Baby-boomers move to Mexico.

Sea Bean Symposium Oct. 13-14, 2006. The symposium heals at the Cocoa Beach Public Library features Sea Beans found at the Costa Maya and is hosted by the author of "Tropical Sea Beans" Ed Perry and includes speakers from both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Bloomberg report on a rosy financial forecast for Mexico, including a forecast for a balanced budget after posting a deficit of 0.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2005, the smallest in nine years. A new law published this week requires the government to justify any deficits. Also in the news is the clearance for Wal-Mart de Mexico SA to open a bank in Mexico for loans and financial services to consumers and businesses. Walmex announced in August that it applied for a license to operate the banks out of its 826 stores and say they will charge lower fees than other banks. Sept. 19th, 2006.


Many of you have probably heard of the Worthingtons. They are permanent residences in Rio Indio and have already gained a wealth of experience in the time they have been here waiting to start their building process. You can read more about them and see photos of their house and horses that they brought with them. You can read more about them here:


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 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


Updated: 28-Apr-2008

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