Learn Spanish Today for Free!

Have more fun by learning a little Spanish before you come to the Costa Maya!

Property Owners > Archived Newsletters > July 2007

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: July 10, 2007**************************

NOTE: August's newsletter had the wrong link. click here for August's newsletter


* Lot clearing permits
* Message board for Costa Maya Neighbors - topic Emergency contacts
* Attention!!! Home-owners associations: Rio Indio - Placer and Uvero - Pulticub
* Recycling Plastic - coming closer. . . . !
* Mahahual News - Road improvement and correction
* Papaya - fruit you can grow on the beach !
* Mayan Beach Garden news -
* Articles of Interest in the news
* Spotlight on your Neighbors
* Houses for Rent in Chetumal, Uvero and Placer - long term and vacation rentals

Hi Neighbors,

Of all US holidays, Kim and I think we miss the 4th of July the most. We miss the barbeque, the gathering of neighbors and mostly the opportunity to be pyromaniacs for an evening. Many of you know that my husband Kim has a construction management business here on the Costa Maya. He comes by it honestly. In Seattle he built me a deck to beat all decks and over 150 people would gather to enjoy barbeque and potluck. Because we lived in unincorporated King County, Washington, we were able to conduct quite a display of fireworks and the weather always cooperated the day before -- raining in the normal Seattle manner making it safe to "rocket" to our heart's content. The last year we owned the house, Kim returned from Mexico for a last hurrah sending off the biggest fireworks he could find on the Indian Reservation. It was something to remember. We can't match the fireworks and will had to settle for five paltry bottle rockets, but we did do it up Mayan Style. We buried a pig in the ground "chil Mole" style. It even went great with potato salad!

Hopefully this 4th of July you are viewing fireworks and enjoying the heat. Speaking of heat, we finally broke down and added air conditioning to some of our cabanas. I have mixed feelings about the power usage, but if you have family members who may want to come here in the summer but are afraid of the heat -- they can now enjoy sleeping in an air conditioned room. The new El Placer Del Mar hotel rooms also have air (more about that in the section about Mayan Beach Garden news).


Last month I mentioned that Gabe Zarnoti was using his lot clearing money to clean plastic from the beach (more about Gabe below) . I failed to mention that he first had obtained a permit to clear his lot.. You may not be aware that it is a requirement here in the Costa Maya to have a permit before you clear your lot. Lot clearing requires a biologist and surveyor. You do not need a clearing permit if you have an environmental impact permit from the federal government to build your house, but many people want to do some clearing before they build their house -- in that case you will need the clearing permit. When you apply for a permit, you must state what you intend to clear. For example, you need to state that you are going to clear all the Chechen, or you are going to clear a driveway or clear the ground cover. You may hear from someone who clears properties that they don't need a permit. That is true. They don't need a permit, the property owner needs the permit.


Most of you fly into Cancun and then make the drive to Mahahual. Lots of things can and do happen along the road. If you were to have an accident or your car were to break down who would you contact? Lots of times you just need a reachable person to call. One of our guests and neighbor had an accident last week here at Mayan Beach Garden and we luckily found out about it at 11:00 at night through the "jungle network." (more about the accident below) Someone who knew someone told someone who told someone who that I check email every night just as I am going to bed. It would be great to have a network of emergency contacts between here and the airport, or here and Chetumal. If anyone has any names or contact information, please log on to the forum and provide some information that others can use. Although there isn't phone contact between much of the area around the Sian Ka'an, a contact in Filipe Carrillo Puerto, Tulum, or any of the other villages in between would be of great help in the neighborhood.
Topic: Emergency contact numbers:


The following message is from Pam Laurion, organizer of the Costa Maya North association:
" We now have an official name for our neighborhood association : "Los Colonos Del Norte de la Costa Maya." This neighborhood association is for any land owner north of the hotel zone in Uvero north to Pulticub. Currently we have 3 officers and still looking for 2 additional members. Daniel Garcia has agreed to President the association along with Michael Goldsmith and Pam Laurion. If you are interested in participating in the Neighborhood association for Uvero to Pulticub please contact Pam Laurion at

Information needed is full name, date of birth, occupation, address and spouse's information as well. All information will be submitted to Mr. Barrera our attorney around the 20th of July. If you have any questions please email Pam and she will gladly answer any questions."


The Rio Indio to Placer organization also has an official name: "Asociacion de Colonos El Placer-Rio Indio AC." We encourage everyone to get their names on the initial filing of the association. To be a part of the organization, we need the following information for all corporation officers:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • occupation
  • address

The cost of the corporation is $1100 which will be shared among all members of the association. The cost went up $100 because we had to change the name to more accurately reflect its location. Please send your information to Ted Garcia.


We keep hearing news of recycling centers in Mahahaul but never anything concrete. One must collect a kilo of plastic in order to earn only 1 peso. the children of my friend Rosy collected 230 kilos of plastic. That's a lot of plastic, but is only worth about 22 USD. Nevertheless, the project has inspired her to form a recycling drop-off spot at her home in Bacalar. It is located a block North of the Market in Bacalar and about 5 blocks East of the Gas station in the middle of town. I applaud her efforts and encourage any of you passing that way to drop your recyclables there. She needs a critical mass before a truck will come pick them up.


*Road report: Good news, the jungle roads (previously referred to by guests as "the pothole road) has been repaired by the department of the promotion of tourism. We are delighted. The potholes have been getting so bad that we felt some were dangerous. They missed a few spots and Unfortunately the repairs did not continue on to Pulticub. They only went as far as the beach club, turning toward Uvero missing some pretty big ones right at the Uvero intersection. Bad news -- rainy season is already taking a toll on the beach roads.

*Countdown to the Malecon--There are still a lot of issues regarding the Malecon, but at this point there appears to be quite a bit of lobbying occurring. The radio is full of interviews and statements promoting the Malecon. Its scheduled to start in August, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

* Correction: Last month I stated the Villa Costa Maya, a new luxury condo project had the go-ahead. I missed quoted the location. It is located SOUTH of the Pier and NORTH of the lighthouse. I had north and south transposed. Sorry for the confusion.

Species: Carica papaya
Common Names: papaya, papaw, fruta bomba, lechosa, melon tree
Family: Acanthaceae (acanthus Family)


When we first purchased our property we had a Papaya very close to the beach. . It had fruit, but they were about the size of a grapefruit and of a similar shape -- round. Native to the lowland tropics of South America, it is now cultivated world- wide I've planted several since then with varying degrees of success and have learned a few tricks - although I'd love advise from anyone who might offer up their experience. If you love papaya as much as I do, you might be interested in the following:

The tree grows easily from seed and reaches 20 - 30 feet quickly. The fruit can grow to be huge, dangling from the main trunk. although the size of the fruit seems to be directly related to the amount of water it receives early in the process. Mexican papayas produce fruits weighing up to 10 lbs (4.5 kg), on much larger plants. The fruit on my wild Papaya tree was light orange, while most of the ones you purchase in the stores are much darker and reddish in color. The taste is different depending on the variety you plant.

While Papaya is easy to grow, it does require water - at least 4 inches of rain per month for optimal fruit production. We had a great specimen that grew in the grey water of our washing machine. It also requires a male and female plant. Its pretty easy to tell the difference. The male has lots of small white flowers on stems while the female has large flowers along the trunk. They like plenty of sun and the fruit is sweater when grown in the sun. The Papaya plant is short lived - only producing for one year, and thereafter only small fruits.

You can actually eat the seeds, they taste a little like nasturtium seeds.

Like avocados, Papayas will ripen off the tree at room temperature. Here, they score the skin to speed up the ripening process. Never chill papayas until they are completely ripe. The young leaves are sometimes eaten like spinach, although I've never tried it.

The unripe papaya fruit and the leaves are the source of papain, an enzyme that digests protein and that is used as a dietary supplement to aid in digestion. Papain is used as a meat tenderizer, to clarify beer, in the processing of natural silk and to give shrink resistance to wool. Who would have guessed! And it grows in the sand!


Many of you know that Mayan Beach Garden is only one of three small hotels in Placer. Last year, Tom Steddum who owned El Placer del Caribe sold his hotel to a group of Radiologists and doctors from the Midwest. The hotel has been under remodel and will be opening soon under the slightly revised name of El Placer del Mar - or in English: "The pleasure of the sea." If you stayed there before, you won't recognize it now. All rooms in the hotel are air conditioned, some with canopy beds and of course are beach front, looking out on one of the Costa Maya's best beaches. Mayan Beach Garden will be managing the 4 rooms at the hotel. Watch for more information and pictures coming next month.


Cancun/Riviera -- no longer cheap. The following is based on an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The cost of the average room on Mexican Beaches is up $14 a night based on rooms booked on Orbitz. That exceeds the 8% "official" inflation index. Cancun averaged $200 a night while you could stay in Barcelona Spain, the top European destination for only $194. The Riviera Maya's average room was even more expensive, at $285. The entire Hotel average in Mexico is $210 a night while the average room in Europe is $196 a night.

Cancún, Mexico's No. 1 beach destination, averaged $200 a night, compared with $194 in Barcelona, Spain, the top European destination. Better news: Mexico's No. 5, Riviera Maya, slipped in at $18 a night less than the $303 it costs to stay in Mykonos, Greece, Europe's No. 5. But even that didn't stop Mexico's overall average of $210 a night from edging past Europe's $196 a night. The article's recommendation? Try the Costa Maya where rooms are under $100 even in high season. (Note: The rooms at Mayan Beach garden are still under $100 and we include a full breakfast!)

Mexico drying up On-line article by John Roos, Jun 13, 2007
The Northern part of Mexico is drying up and blowing away at an accelerating rate. Fifty Four percent of Mexico's land surface, is desert and the percentage is increasing at a rate of 2 percent a year. Why should we care here in Quintana Roo? NASA satellite over flights of the northern states show spreading swatches of bone-white, waterless desert. Also of concern are 38 Mexican cities including Cancun which are running out of water and could be dry in a decade. Quintana Roo is one of Mexico's two wettest states and UNAM, National Autonomous University (UNAM) Climate Study Center anticipates a 20% decrease in rainfall by 2080.

Giant conglomerates are being blamed for this, but because of Nepotism in Mexican government, there doesn't seem to be any way to stop this. For example, Lala, the giant dairy company has been granted permits to drill 250 wells in the Cuatrocienegas international biosphere. Last July, UNAM biologist Valeria Souza discovered that since the CONAGUA authorized the drilling of Lala’s wells, 70 percent of the aquifers in some valleys have vanished and the geology of the region, which for 35,000 years remained unaltered, is turning into desert. Lala is not alone; Bochoco chicken (there is a Bochoco chicken shop in Mahahaul) Pepsi Co, Coca-cola and others all suck up ground water in largely waterless states.

Latin American Popularity contest. Polls taken throughout Latin America in May showed that despite Mexico's troubled election, Calderon, the current president has very high approval rating. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is the most popular leader in Latin America with 76 percent approval rating, according to a study by the Mexican pollster Consulta Mitofsky. At the bottom of the list -- Mexico's neighbor: Guatemala's president Oscar Berga.

President Country % approval
Rafael Correa Ecuador 76
Álvaro Uribe Colombia 75
Felipe Calderón Mexico 65
Hugo Chávez Venezuela 65
Evo Morales Bolivia 64
Daniel Ortega Nicaragua 61
Tabaré Vázquez Uruguay 60
Néstor Kirchner Argentina 57
Manuel Zelaya Honduras 57
Antonio Saca El Salvador 56
Óscar Arias Costa Rica 55
Nicanor Duarte Paraguay 54
Michelle Bachelet Chile 51
Alan García Peru 49
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Brazil 49
Leonel Fernández Dom. Rep. 38
Martín Torrijos Panama 24
Óscar Berger Guatemala 20

The Tapir is "Culpable" - In the evening of July 3rd when most of you were planning your 4th of July picnic (and I was smelling cooking pig in the ground) Gabe Zarnoti and Cindy Crawford were on their way back from Chetumal when their Suburban slammed head-on to a Baird's Tapir on Cafetal highway at km 38. The headlines in the paper the next day were "The Tapir is "Culpable" and in Latin American style, pictures of the dead tapir laying in its own blood were on the front page of the Quintana Roo Diario. Inside, there were pictures of the totaled Suburban along with fairly consistently inaccurate information about the wreck. Another newspaper featured pictures of Gabe and Cindy. The good news is that only the Tapir died.

There were two other passengers in the car, one of which had to be med-evaced to the US, but the others suffered only minor injuries. Tales of Tapirs dominated our 4th of July celebration the next day. As an FYI - the Tapir they hit was in the neighborhood of 750 pounds and is the largest indigenous mammal in North America. The endangered Tapir is related more to horses and rhinos, but most of the locals call them "Elephantes" or big pig. They like swampy land, which is quite true of the landscape around Cafetal, although this was quite an unusual event.

7th wonder of the world - Chichen Itza - Thanks to a remarkable marketing campaign on the part of the Mexican Tourist board, Chichen Itza has been voted as one of the "new" 7 wonders of the world. For weeks, television adds have been running 10 times a day urging Mexicans to vote on-line. Apparently it worked. The press release from the Tourist board stated "Thanks to all the people who voted, Chichen Itza today is a new wonder of the world, considered an icon of universal importance for humanity. As a result of this global and democratic selection process, the world will know Mexico for one of its 173 archaeological jewels, tangible evidence of the plurality and ethnic richness of the country's past. We invite the world to visit and enjoy this impressive treasure, a symbol of the archaeological wealth of the Mayan world. " As nice as I think Chichen Itza is, I cast my vote for Machu Pichu which really does inspire wonder.

No new spotlight this month, but if you are new to the newsletter, you might want to check out:

HOMES FOR RENT IN UVERO AND PLACER - Long term and vacation rentals
PLACER: Many of you vacation in Cancun or Akumal or somewhere in big resorts and only come visit your property for a day. What a shame! The Costa Maya is a great place to vacation -- it takes at least a week to appreciate the beauty and get into the rhythm. We encourage you to visit the area for a longer period of time. Staying in a beach-home gives you an opportunity to see what you would like to have in your own home. We represent several owners homes and offer them for rent on our website. We'll be adding some new homes soon that are currently in construction, so please take a minute to look at what's there. We even have houses that are air-conditioned if you want to visit in August but don't feel you can "take the heat!" Also, please take note that mid December - end of March fill up fast, so you might want to get your name in and put a hold on a property, we only have a couple of vacancies left for Christmas.


UVERO: Many of you visited Dr. Greg Zeman's home before he died. His house is now available for vacation rental, sale or long term lease. The large one-story two bedroom house has a built-in care-taker, fans and air-conditioning in the bedrooms. The fully furnished house runs on a combination of solar and generator and includes washer and dryer, satellite TV and other amenities. Pets allowed. Here is a link to that house:

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: 13-Apr-2010

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

Contact us via e-mail at
Copyright MMB Inc. and MMBKIM