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Property Owners > Archived Newsletters > June 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: June 12, 2007**************************


* Malecon in Mahahual
* SURVEY RESULTS - what is your impression of Mahahual?
* Message board for Costa Maya Neighbors - topic the new Malecon
* Home-owners association for Placer and Uvero/Pulticub
* Articles of Interest in the news
* Federal Zone - more information
* Recycled Plastic - Someone is buying it, and it isn't Mexico!
* Recommendations to environmentally conscious hotels
* More Spanish on-line
* Mahahual News
* Mayan Beach Garden news
* Novel idea for lot clearing
* Houses for Rent in Chetumal, Uvero and Placer - long term and vacation rentals
* Spotlight on your Neighbors

Hi Neighbors,

Last month I made a visit to the US, and I'll have to admit, I've been hit by consumerism. It's been 3 years since I've been back to Seattle, where we are from. I was astounded at the choices. There were SO MANY CHOICES! Of course I'm not oblivious to the concept of selection because I'm constantly searching on the internet. But to see it placed before my eyes, where I could touch it was wonderfully confusing. I wanted to buy every new gadget I saw. Contrast that to searching for anything here in Quintana Roo. It's frustrating at best. For example, If I were to go into a store in the US to purchase salad dressing I would see floor to ceiling variety -- every shelf would have multiple brands, flavors, nationalities - and in some stores there might be 200 different bottles to choose from. Here in Chetumal (the closest city), you might have Ranch, Italian and Oil and Vinegar of one brand in little tiny bottles. This lack of choice ranges from furniture to light fixtures, to construction materials to clothing. I spent days looking for a decent light fixture and had to settle for something less than what I wanted. It's not impossible to find what you want, its just a lot of work and no guarantee that the item will be there when you next return to the store OR in the quantities you need. In one way, I think that's good. When I can't find things I want to buy, I save money and make do with what I have. Regardless, keep this concept in mind when you are planning your house and set expectations accordingly. You may have to "make do" with what is available. Often that means concrete. The Yucatan workers are certainly artisans at concrete work. Other things may require you to look around or settle for alternatives. Don't think I've completely settled with the Costa Maya "Status Quo." My Costa Maya friends will verify that I still live in a box -- mainly because I've yet to find what I want to fill it with!

You will note that this email is originating from this is because so many newsletters were coming back to me, I thought perhaps I had been registered as SPAM by someone. I am trying another route and see if this has better response. Pleas add this sender as a safe email address to avoid it going into SPAM.

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


Despite the protests of many of the residences of Mahahual, it appears that the Mahahaul Malecon will proceed forward, commencing construction in August. For those of you who are not familiar with the word Malecon -- the direct translation is "levee" but more specifically a waterfront walkway/seawall. If you have been to Mazatlan or Puerta Vallarta, similar malecons exist in that area. In this case the Malecon is a 7 meter wide concrete walkway that is almost 3 kilometers long and stretches from the Port past the light house Southward. There are still many things open to discussion, but the choice given to the town was "take the money for the Malecon or some other town will." According to Manuel Conde Cante, the Delgado of FONATUR in Quintana Roo, 40 million pesos will be spent on the project which will include drainage, culverts, underground power, garbage receptacles and bathrooms. Expect to see many of the ad-hoc businesses on the Federal zone to disappear, but legitimate businesses along the Malecon stand to benefit. The project will be built in 3 phases, with the first phase starting at the light house and extending to the Soccer field. In the meeting held in Mahahual, many questions were left hanging. For example, where will the vehicular traffic go? In the first phase, that won't be a problem as there is already a road that circumvents the Malecon. What will happen to businesses during the construction? How will businesses on the south of the Malecon be impacted in Phases 2 and 3? Will businesses loose some of their property to the Malecon? Where will the promised Bathrooms be constructed? How will this impact the look and feel of the village that makes it so charming? We'll keep you posted! If you own property in Mahahual, this may or may not be good news, although property values along the Malecon will likely go up. If you would like to view a PowerPoint presentation on the development of Mahahual, you can do so at this link.


Thank you to all who participated in the survey last month. The results were interesting, especially some of the comments. I don't have space to provide all the results, but here are some highlights based on 62 responses:

  • 61% of those filling out the on-line survey own their own businesses
  • 48% must really love the Costa Maya because you've been to Mahahual 7 or more times!
  • 63% of you would like the streets to remain sandy

    I passed the results on to the authorities, including all of your comments. Thanks so much for participating. I think we will do more polls because we now have a venue to voice these comments.


If you haven't yet, please check out the message board. The topic this month is the Malecon. What is your opinion of it? do you have questions, comments - Do you own property in Mahahual and want to talk about it with others? Even if you have property in the Biosphere, what happens in Mahahual affects you. You will have to register to make comments or take the poll.
Current Topic: What is your opinion of the Malecon:
Last Month's Topic Squatters:

The results of requiring people to register and be accepted has been successful. We haven't had a single spam entered. Still at least 12 spammers register every day in an effort to destroy our neighborhood message board. Thanks for your ongoing support. If for some reason, I have inadvertently deleted a comment of yours, your are unable to post or if I've failed to include you in the group that can create comments on the message board, please let me know. Thanks go to Bridget Montalvo for helping clean up the hundreds of bad names that had registered.


We have been mentioning neighborhood associations as a venue to which property owners can group together to get services and create communities. Two organizations are already forming.

Property owners association of Rio-Indio Access to Placer -- (Asociacion de Colonos El Placer-Rio Indio AC) Ted Garcia, who has been collecting names for the Electricity effort (thank you Ted!) has agreed to be president of the Rio-Indio Placer neighborhood association. We have already contacted a lawyer who has filed for the name "Asociacion de Colonos El Placer-Rio Indio AC". In the meantime, the non-profit association is looking for all of the neighbors. We need your names and information to proceed with getting electricity and water. Unfortunately, the visit of the official to Placer was postponed and when I went to the US, we haven't been able to reschedule. Still, I was impressed that at the Malecon meeting in Mahahual he publicly apologized. There is still time to get your information to Ted (see his contact info below).

Even if you don't have your paperwork ready (for example, your property may not have closed) please consider getting your name into Ted if you are interested in joining the Association. Our first order of business is -- you guessed it Electricity and Water. The cost to set up the non-profit association is about $10,000 pesos. We will be soliciting membership fees at some point in the future to pay for the startup. At this point we haven't decided what that is. Ted Garcia is the president, Karla Nelson is the Treasurer and Marcia Bales is the 3rd officer.

Uvero to Pulticub -- Pam Laurion who has property in Pulticub is working with the same lawyer and looking for more neighbors to join the non-profit in this area. If you have property in Cazona, Alma or other areas north of Uvero -- this is your neighborhood. Pam's email is She too will be collecting membership fees to join.

Other groups not yet organizing (that I know of) are:

  • Mahahual South to Punta Herreradura
  • Xcalak north to ? (I'm not as familiar with this area)
  • OTHER?

Each non-profit needs a President, Secretary and Treasurer. If you are interested in creating one in your area, we can "cookie-cutter" several neighborhood association corporations and maybe save some money. The cost of a neighborhood corporation is around $1000 USD. Split between neighbors, its inexpensive. The Costa Maya Live message board is a great place to find your neighbors and work on ways to collectively work on getting services. There is a neighborhood section specifically created for finding your neighbors.


If you haven't done so already, Please send in the following information as soon as possible. (legal descriptions and names are NOT enough):

  • Name of owners as shown on your passport or FM3
  • Name of corporation if owned by a corporation, or name and location of your Fide Camiso Bank trustee
  • Predial papers (your property tax statement)
  • Copy of cadastral (the official document that shows the square meters of the land, the legal description and the structures on the land, as well as the appraised value of all.)
  • Contact information

    Ted Garcia has volunteered to help compile this information. He owns property in Placer and knows the power issues we all face. There are three methods to convey the information:

    1) scan the documents and send them via email to Ted at
    2) Fax them to Ted at this number: 920 991 7345 (Please include cover page with Ted's name)
    3) make copies of them and mail them to the following address:

    Ted Garcia
    201 E Clearfield Ln.
    Appleton, WI 54913

    Tel: 920 991 8184
    Fax: 920 991 7345 (Please include cover page with Ted's name)
    Ted is located in the United States. We really appreciate his efforts in compiling this info.


  • New International Airport Terminal - The second-largest in Mexico, the Cancun International Airport has now completed a new third terminal in order to better serve its millions of international visitors. This US$100 million investment will double the capacity of international passengers, providing over 136,000 square feet of newly available space, 84 check-in counters, a platform equipped with 11 gates, and state-of-the-art security equipment featuring the first CT scanning system in Mexico. For more information, visit NOTE: Please avoid confusion -- you may be coming into the new terminal instead of the old one. If someone is picking you up, please let them know the airline you are flying and warn them to check at which terminal they should pick you up. You might also want to allow a little extra timr for returning vehicles as it is yet to be determined how rental returns will be affected.
  • Cancun Beach Party - Family-friendly, this year will mark the second-annual Cancun Beach Party – a three-day long festival that brings together visitors of all ages and interest from around the world. Guests will join together on eight miles of Cancun’s coast from August 10 through 12. Activities will include a sand sculpture contest, fireworks extravaganza, a kite festival, art exhibits, a sailing regatta, a food festival, aquatic demonstrations and beach parties throughout the entire Hotel Zone. For more information, please visit
  • Cancun International Film Festival - Emerging filmmaking talents from Mexico and Latin America will be featured in this November’s inaugural Cancun International Film Festival, the “Film Festival for the Americas.” For five days, the Festival will pay tribute to discovering and developing Latin America’s aspiring screenwriters, filmmakers and actors, including a program of showcases, tributes, awards, forums, and panel discussions. The event is open in Cancun to a worldwide audience of cinema fans, film professionals and journalists from November 14 through 18, 2007. For more information visit
  • Iron man Comes to Cancun -Sunday, September 23, starting from the Iron man host hotel, the Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun, One hundred of the world’s top athletes will compete in Cancun this year in what has been deemed by the Iron man organization as “the most beautiful half-marathon in the world.” The Iron man Cancun 70.3 is a preliminary event for the final World Championship and will feature a triathlon map that includes laps around the Cancun-blue Mexican Caribbean waters, a bike path along the route of the Ancient Mayans, and a running course along the city’s main Kukulcan Boulevard. For more information visit

FEDERAL ZONE (more information)

Bruce Houston. one of your neighbors, sent me some information about Federal Zones that I'm passing along. The following is based on information that originated from the office of Ballote & Associates S.C.P., Attorney in Merida. Many of you may be familiar with Ballote and Associates if you have purchased property with TransCaribbean Trust.

The strip of property 20 meters wide, adjacent to the sea is considered as the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone. The Federal Zone is inalienable , imprescriptible and not subject to sequestration. The Nation can only grant a Concession for maximum period of twenty years. Any one who is interested can obtain the Federal Zone Concession. The renewal process has to be submitted a year prior to expiration of an existing concession. There is yearly fee (as the property tax). The Federal Zone is property of the Federal Government. In the event that the Federal Government would want to expropriate it there is no process that can stop them. The process to obtain it could take more than a year.

Owning the Concession of the Federal Zone means that you will have legal and exclusive use of that area. The Concession of Federal Zone is also necessary to build infrastructures such as piers or just for the simple purpose of not having anyone using that area and to keep quietness in their properties.

1. A letter to the Ecological Resources Delegate stating your will to obtain the Concession.
2. Application.  
3. Copy of the corporation papers.  
4. Power of attorney (granted to a legal entity in Mexico).  
5. A copy of the ID of the legal representative of the corporation.  
6. Plot plan made by a certified topographer.  
7. Four pictures of the Federal Zone (Beach) from every cardinal point.
8. An official map where the property is located.
9. Use of the property adjacent or next to the Federal Zone.
10. Application to the Delegate of the Department of Urban Development.  
11. Property tax receipt through 2007.  
12. Current City Assessed Value.
13. Tax Identification Number of the Corporation.

Mexico City will issue the Concession in 10 to 12 months in the event there are no more requirements to fulfill once the documents are submitted.

Thanks Bruce for forwarding this information on. For more information you can email


I get many comments about the garbage on the beach. "Can't someone do something?" "You would think they would find a way to make money from all that plastic." A radio article on NPR radio reported that only about 23 percent of bottles in the US, including soda, are recycled. The bottles are chopped into chips, each smaller than a cornflake. Then, they're heated and turned into tiny white pellets of recycled PET, which competes on the marketplace with virgin PET. It's a hot market — so hot that the Chinese are coming to the U.S. to buy nearly 40 percent of the bottles Americans recycle. While used bottles from the U.S. are going to China, reclaimers are even going to Canada, Mexico and Latin America to find PET. In all, they imported nearly 300 million pounds of flakes and bottles in 2005. Recycled PET can be made into fiber, and then purchased by companies who are turning it into carpets, clothing, automotive parts and even new bottles. With so much demand for the empties — and so many bottles in the marketplace — My question is: Why can't someone here find a way to make it pay so that Latin America will be incentivized to pick up their own trash?


In response to global warming, The hotel association in Chetumal sent out a very forward thinking newsletters to the Costa Maya "eco-hotel" industry. It included some pretty standard stuff that we've heard before, but wouldn't hurt to reiterate here. Since many of you are looking into building homes for personal or for rental or businesses at some time or another, you might want to take a look at some of these ideas as you design your house. Forgive my comments interspersed in the list of ideas -- I just couldn't help myself!

WATER -- seems to be the biggest issue (I'll confirm that!).

  • Showers use less than baths. you save 7,000 liters a year.
  • They suggest wetting yourself, soaping off, then turning it back on to rinse yourself off.
  • Turn the water off while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • When you are finished, use the water to water plants
  • Only wash if you have a load that is completely full. You can reuse laundry water for cleaning.
  • Grow native plants that don't have to be watered. When dry season comes, live with falling leaves.
  • Plants will come back when the rain starts.
  • Water used to cook food can be used to water plants


  • Don't throw any leaves, or other items into the ocean, even if organic. (I'll vouch for that, it doesn't compost in salt water)
  • Don't forget to plant a tree at least once in your life (I love this one!)


  • More than 50% of all solid waste is recyclable (according to a study done by the Amigos de Sian Ka'an - 83% of garbage in Mahahaul is recyclable!)
  • If you can't recycle something, think twice about using in your home or business
  • Use cloth napkins, towels and other items instead of paper buy items in glass instead of plastic because it is considered "clean" refuse.


  • Avoid serving or eating red meat because of global warming from clearing land used to raise beef.
  • A kilo of beef uses more water than 365 showers.
  • Tinned products, (in tin cans) use many resources and energy -- choose other alternatives.
  • Don't consume exotic or endangered animals and obey the seasons for things like Lobster and Conch


  • Heating water is one of the most wasteful uses of electricity. They suggest training yourself to shower in water that is between 50 -60 degrees.
  • Wash clothes in Cold water - always Wash dishes in cold water - (Dawn dish detergent cuts grease and a tiny amount of Clorox in a sink full of water will disinfect all of your dishes)
  • Don't run the water to rinse your dishes.
  • Better to cook with gas than with electrical energy.
  • Turn off TV, radio, lights, computer (screen) if you are not using them.
  • Try and avoid purchasing items from PVC. It contaminates and is not recyclable.


  • The Mahahual Women's group meets every Wednesday at 2:00 PM at the Costa Maya Inn. Their next project (aside from hanging around the Costa Maya Inn Pool) is a Bingo game that will raise money for a palapa on the school playground. Currently there isn't adequate shade for the primary children. If you are around town, planning on joining the group and meeting some of the local females in town.
  • Sad commentary on the new Mahahual Pemex Management, but its true. The new set of workers at the Pemex is robbing customers. I got caught once, but not again! I've had several guests leave fuming! The trick that caught me is that when you pull up to the pump, if no one is on the opposite side, they say that the pump on your side is not functioning. They pull the hose around and put it in your tank. Meanwhile, there is probably 50 or 100 pesos already on the pump. You are distracted by cleaning the windshield, or a flat while this is happening. They will do this even if you say give me 200 pesos. Don't let them start pumping until you walk around and see that it is zeroed out.
  • Mayan Beach Garden will soon have competition! The condos we mentioned in a newsletter ages ago should be starting in July -- permits are verbally approved, just waiting for formalization. The first class condos are located south of the lighthouse in Mahahual and north of the Pier. Another hotel is being built off the beach but adjacent to the soccer field. There are also two new small hotels south of Mahahual. (Hello -- Airport?)
  • The first house in Sapphire broke ground earlier this month. The newly started home owned by Diane Duncan is located on lot 3A. For those of you not familiar, Sapphire is an area named by TransCaribbean trust and located between the Placer Access Road and Mayan Beach Garden. Sapphire has some of the most spectacular beaches on the Costa Maya and for a few years has not had any development on it.


Many of you will remember the small hotel owned by Tom Steddum -- El Placer del Caribe. Tom sold the 4-room hotel a year ago to a group of radiologists that include some of your neighbors (Kent Lancaster and Chris Sheir). It has been under remodel and is nearing completion. El Placer del Mar (slight change in name) rooms will be run and managed by Mayan Beach Garden. The rooms will have air conditioning, canopy beds, private decks, lots of light and will have a Spanish look an feel with lots of sunny bright colors. We are aiming for rooms to be available in August. We'll let you know in the next newsletter.


Gabe Zarnotti's and Cindy Crawford's house just got started last week. Many of you know Gabe and Cindy and we want to congratulate them, not for getting their house started but for coming up with a great idea that benefits the entire community (and anyone that might visit Costa Maya Beaches). Rather than clean the weeds down to the sand on his lot every week, he has decided to put his lot cleaning bucks cleaning the garbage on the beach. Once a week, a worker starts at his lot and spends 1/2 a day cleaning garbage north and 1/2 day south. All the plastic and glass is collected in a garbage bag that is picked up by the garbage truck once a week at Mayan Beach Garden . This doesn't just impact things visually , but encourages turtles to nest and keeps it from washing back out to sea and coming back on YOUR beach. Thanks Gabe and Cindy!


I carry a little purse sized Spanish dictionary wherever I go. Its pretty handy and has most common words. Still, I like electronic versions. Here are a couple of handy resources for translating on-line. This is a pretty nice Spanish dictionary, with quite a few words - This is an automatic translator on Google. You can translate entire documents. It works quite good on short sentences and pretty poorly on long sentences. Don't rely on this unless you know a little bit of Spanish. The translation is not Latin American, but Castilian and sometimes the translations just don't make sense. For example, the word "Basura" which is commonly understood here as "trash" is translated as "sweepings." Babelfish is another automatic translator. It is similar in that it doesn't differentiate between Castilian and Latin American Spanish. You can translate large documents. This is another dictionary that specializes in business terms. Even if you speak Spanish, often you don't know the Spanish business term, OR if you are looking for a certain trade or legal term, this may help. Free Translation is a company that has human translators -- always the best when something is really important. However, they have a machine translator as well. On their machine translator, our test word "Basura" comes out Trash. They can translate full sentences and short documents -- I like this translator for single words. It is only English to Spanish, but it tolerates misspellings and offers grammar suggestions.


June 11, 2008: (sent out by the US Consulate in Merida) The U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security announced today that U.S. citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda who have applied for but not yet received passports can nevertheless temporarily enter and depart from the United States by air with a government issued photo identification and Department of State official proof of application for a passport through September 30, 2007. The federal government is making this accommodation for air travel due to longer than expected processing times for passport applications in the face of record-breaking demand.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) was mandated by Congress in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to strengthen border security and facilitate entry into the United States for citizens and legitimate international visitors. WHTI requirements for air travel took effect on January 23, 2007.

Adults who have applied for but not yet received a passport should present government-issued photo identification and an official proof of application from the U.S. Department of State. Children under the age of 16 traveling with their parents or legal guardian will be permitted to travel with the child’s proof of application. Travelers who have not applied for a passport should not expect to be accommodated. U.S. citizens with pending passport applications can obtain proof of application at:

This accommodation does not affect entry requirements to other countries. Americans traveling to a country that requires passports must still present those documents.

As early as January 2008, the Departments will begin to implement WHTI at land and sea ports of entry. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlining a phased implementation is expected to be published in the Federal Register within the next two weeks.

Travel document security remains a top priority for the U.S. Government. Both the 9/11 Commission and the U.S. Congress urged strengthening of travel documents to prevent entry of terrorists across our borders, reduce use of fraudulent documents, and speed up entry procedures.

For the latest travel information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.


Its been a few months since I've added a new spotlight, but this week meet Pam and Don Laurion. They own property in Pulticub. Pam is currently organizing a neighborhood association from Uvero - Pulticub. Meet her and Don at

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.

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

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