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Property Owners > Archived Newsletters > OCTOBER 15, 2007 -

Costa Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa Maya, - Mahahual / Mahajual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along the coast

***********************Newsletter: Oct 15, 2007 **************************


  • Forum: Just Chatting
  • Happenings in Mahahaul
  • Permits for beach restoration
  • Resurveying your property
  • Crocodile sightings (and other odd animal behavior post Dean)
  • Great online Maps of Mexican states
  • Salt hardy plants
  • Caring for Hurricane-Damaged Palms
  • Overseas absentee voting information for the 2008 Primary and General elections
  • Uvero neighborhood association - last call

Hi Neighbors,

Its now been 6 weeks since Dean and we are definitely in Recovery! That feels good to say. Not only do we all have bathrooms now, but we all have hot showers! Here at MBG, we have managed to screen off our kitchen area while we wait for doors and windows and we've restored most of the underground water and electrical lines. We are still running off limited power because we are struggling to get the parts to hook our solar panels back up, but things get better ever day. I can officially say we aren't camping out any more because as of last week I no longer have to carry water into the kitchen. Meanwhile, post-Dean recovery continues to bring out the best and worst of people (sounds faintly like Katrina on a much smaller scale?). People who are staying in the area are being proactive, more restaurants are open than there used to be on a non-cruise ship day and people are putting things back together. New casitas in Mahahual continue to go up at an accelerated pace and rebuilding is going on everywhere.

Cleaning things up at MBG

We still have not seen any government aid but have long given up on that. However difficult, once you reconcile to be self-sufficient and bite the bullet it actually feels pretty liberating. Thanks to the many generous people who have helped, even in small ways - we are progressing forward! Its a testament to the type of people who purchased or will purchase property here and are our future neighbors. Its probably a lesson for all of us living out here. We are all still trying to get electricity and when we get past this recovery stage it will be a priority again, but its nice to know we can function off line. By the way, I'd like to put a plug in for the CFE /Mexican power company. They were amazing. I've never paid much attention to how power companies operate in the states, but the CFE's handling of this emergency was flawless. Even before it hit, hundreds of trucks were ready in Carrillo Puerto just waiting to find out where it would hit. They were already working the next morning putting up temporary power poles. In less than a week they had power to Mahahual, were reconstructing the power lines to Uvero and taking down the rubble and putting up new high power lines along Cafetal. It only took them a couple of weeks to accomplish everything. They must have good project managers! I salute them and its nice to know something is this efficient here in Quintana Roo. Can't wait until we have electricity.

Archived newsletters can be accessed at this link (many now with pictures)


I want to thank everyone for their discussions on the hurricane Dean forum. A lot of good information was posted there and continues to be. After the hurricane discussions petered out, non-Dean related topics cropped up. We created a new forum "just chatting" so that people could post anything they wanted that was non-topic related. Check it out and post your comments.


Lots of things are happening in Mahahual.

  • The first thing you will notice is a mountain of Sand. The speed of delivery and volume of sand that was deposited was astounding. I'm sure once the Malecon is finished, the sand will be spread on the beaches of Mahahaul (which you will remember, didn't really have a sandy beach). The sand originated from the excess sand on the roads in Uvero. If you go to the web version of this email, there are pictures of the mountain of sand.

Mahahual's ountain of sand on the left (and they are still collecting)- view from lighthouse

  • Construction in the Casitas - there are still lots of houses going up in the area around the pier. Several new homes started since Dean and are rapidly rising.
  • The ADO Bus service is on the same schedule as before Dean with service to both Cancun and Chetumal
  • The beach road in front of Super Carolinas is closed for construction of Malecon. I can't see any actual construction yet other than a lot of "no passe" signs.
  • Saturday Oct. 13, there was a Dive organized to try and bring business back to Mahahual. This was a major event because many boats and equipment were ruined. Hopefully this will grow to become a yearly event. This is a slow time of year and the perfect thing to do in October. The water was glass that day, although cloudy.
  • The lighthouse certainly seems to be a hub of activity - aside from the mountain of sand that is piled there, the road leading north from the Lighthouse shows major changes. Costa Maya Villas condominium project started excavation a couple of weeks ago. We'll be watching this closely because it is the first of its kind here and hopefully will set a standard for other projects.

Benquesoya the area between the light house and the port seen in the distance

Pictures of the Mall at the dock in the distance. This is the same area as the image above only at ground level.

  • We are waiting for other businesses to get up and running. Many who had insurance must wait for the insurance companies to make reports before they can start. This is difficult for many who are still waiting. TransCaribbean and the Pemex gas station are two examples of this.

    6 weeks and there has been no sign of cleaning up the Pemex station in Mahahaual

  • We haven't seen work start on the port, although there are workers in the area. We have to assume there is a similar issue there as well.

    If you know of some Mahahual happenings that should be posted here - please pass them along.


We finally have concrete information on permits for beach restoration. You do need to get a permit to restore your beach and plants. While the permit can be done at any time, it is free right now. We are not certain when this will expire. AT first it was reported in the paper that the free permits were available 90 days form the hurricane. There may be an extension of another 90 days, but we are not certain. We suggest you do it now. We have heard that if you want to restore the level of the beach and clean things up later, it will require an environmental impact study. The logic is as follows: Dean impacted the environment so severely that currently there is no need for a property owner to get an environmental impact study. They do want to track the activity, however. With the permit you can restore your beach and plants and if you have mangroves on your property you can remove debris and dead mangroves. Over time, plants start growing back, nature takes over and the environment stabilizes. Once you have the permit, you have some time to restore your beach - at least 6 months, but we are not certain what this time length is as they seem to be formulating policy - remember it has been over 50 years since something like this has hit the southern coast of Quintana Roo - and nothing quite this severe has damaged the environment like this. Without the permit, at some point you will have to get an environmental impact study if you want to restore your beach. This can be in the thousands of dollars.

Answers to help you obtain permits (Please study the following before contacting us)

  • The permit is free for unimproved land, but a biologist must file the report for you.
  • The group rate for the report or tramit people in this area is $300 - Non group rate is $600.
  • If you have multiple lots, there must be a permit filed for each lot (contact us about this since there may
  • be some economies for multiple lots)
  • Once the report is filed, you can begin clearing. You do not have to wait for the actual permit
  • If you have a house on your property, please contact us - homes have additional permits
  • If you are in the process of selling your property, this permit is transferable.
  • If you already have an EIS to build, you will still need a restoration permit.
  • In order to get the permits, the following are needed (your accountant or lawyer has these):
  1. Copy of corporation papers
  2. Copy of title
  3. Copy of Catastral paper (also called Cedula)
  4. Copy Last Land tax receipt
  5. Copy of Environmental impact permit (SEMARNAT) if you have one .
  6. Copy of ID of legal representative or person with the power to sign for you in Mexico. This may be your lawyer, accountant or other person.
  7. OR: If you do not have such a person, you will need to assign someone a simple power of attorney. If you do not have such a person, we can send you a form in which you can assign Kim Bales to be the power for this limited purpose. It must then be notarized with an Apostille in the US. Please click on this link or paste link into internet address bar to find out more information about an Apostille - ) Please do not email asking what an Apostille is. Each State department also has information about Apostilles.
  8. Before and after photos – as many as possible. If you are in the US, and do not have after Dean photos we can help you get them.

If you want us to help you get the permits, email me for an address to send documents and funds.

Remember, there is a short time period on the permits.

If you need a bid on excavating your property and don't know anyone, Costa Maya Land Restoration is doing work on properties here in Placer next week (this is the excavation business run by Todd Story who also is building Costa Maya Villas) and we can ask him to give you a bid. It is cheaper if you can get it done when he is already in the area because otherwise you will be charged an equipment transfer fee. He is not checking email regularly when he is doing on-site excavation and is not available to take phone calls, but we can let you know how much it would cost. Many of you have asked about what excavation would entail. Usually this is bringing in sand to the elevation that it was before and propping up trees. I've put some pictures of excavations on the Dean Costa Maya Live website so you can see a beach restoration. If you have any of your own restoration shots please send them to me.

Restoring beach elevation in Tampalam


Most of us have lost our land markers. Along with that, we have lost our visual references as well. where in the heck is my property? things look so different that without a GPS you could very well not be able to find your property. We suggest getting your property resurveyed by someone certified by Catastral. We have already seen some last disputes cropping up and Catastral was here in the area last week resurveying properties in the San Jose area. They won't necessarily survey your property even if you are next door to someone, but will only survey the lots that they are commissioned to do so.


Everyone seems to be seeing Crocodiles. Everyone but me. They are showing up in the sea, crossing the roads and hanging around where they normally are not seen. Other wild-life seems to be cropping up in different places as well. A Jaguar and cub were seen outside Mahahual. We'll continue to see the impact of Dean for some time. As mentioned above in the section on permits, Hurricane Dean had a huge impact on the environment.

Crocodile swimming in the Placer tide pools


This great link to maps was posted on the Costa Maya Live forum. It was too good of a link not to pass it along! These are 2007 maps of Mexico put out by the department of Communication and Transportation of Mexico. They appear more up to date than most maps we have seen.


After the wall of sea water washed through here I noticed that some plants recovered quickly, some are just starting to leaf out and others are rotting at the centers and will never recover. Aside from the fact that many are laying sideways, there is the issue of salt tolerance. some plants just don't like salt spray and salt water. Salt tolerance of a plant relates to resistance and ability to grow under conditions of (1) high winds, (2) salt spray, (3) alkaline soils, and (4) infertile, sandy soils. The tolerance of a given plant to salt may be affected if any of the four conditions become extreme (this doesn't even mention a wall of salt water accosting them). Everyone on the Costa Maya got some salt water, even if it was only a few inches. As I am thinking of reforesting my property (see article on permits above), I may make some new decisions based on salt tolerance. When Wilma came through two years ago, we had about 3 inches of water surging to the back of the property. Several plants didn't make it at that time. While it is unlikely we will ever get anything that is as serious as Dean, it is likely that we will have surges of water that could kill salt sensitive plants.

For a list of Salt Hardy plants and trees:
From the University of Florida - chart of salt tolerant trees and Palms
Also form the university - Chart of salt tolerant plants


The following is adapted from The Disaster Handbook 1998 National Edition Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences University of Florida (developed by the Cooperative Extension Service for the benefit of Florida’s citizens)

"The first step in developing a strategy for salvaging hurricane damaged palms is to assess the damage that they have received. Uprooted palms, especially those most recently planted, should be placed upright as soon as possible and replanted at the same depth at which they stood previously. If necessary, support bracing should be applied to the trunk. Under no circumstances should nails be driven directly into a palm trunk. Such damage is permanent, and provides entryway for pathogens and possibly insect pests as well. These braces should be maintained for at least six months. Broken leaves may be trimmed.

uprighting palms at MBG

As long as no undue stresses were received by the bud in the crown, blown-over palms should recover quickly once righted. If the palm cannot be attended to quickly, the exposed root ball should be covered with burlap or similar material or else kept moist enough to prevent the roots from drying out and dying. If the trunk of a single-stemmed (versus clustering or clumping) palm is broken—whether completely severed at the base or anywhere along its length, or splintered or sharply bent (kinked) at some point along its length—that palm is irredeemably damaged and cannot be saved. Palm stems have no ability to heal as do broad-leaved trees. Clustering or clumping palms, however, continuously produce new stems and should not be removed, even if all conspicuous, tall stems are badly damaged. Broken stems of a clustering palm should be carefully cut out as close to their base as possible.

Even though a palm may have been left standing after the hurricane's passage, severe stresses to the crown and, most importantly, the irreplaceable bud or "palm heart" may have been experienced. This sort of damage is not readily visible at first, but can lead to decline later in the year, especially if disease organisms attack the weakened tissue. Application of a prophylactic spray or bud drench to the crown of valuable palms may thus be advisable to help prevent loss due to bacterial and fungal rot of injured tissue.

Some palms, though standing, may have lost most if not all of their leaves. These should be treated as above. If the crown of a palm was partially snapped off the top of the trunk, recovery may still be possible if the bud or apical meristem was situated below the point of breakage. Such specimens will need to be monitored in the months to come. Salt tolerance of palm species is not well-documented in the literature, and the information available is often contradictory. If palms were inundated with salt water in the root zone, flushing with fresh water as soon as possible will minimize damage from salt burn. Of course, this is easier said than done in the hardest hit areas. (Luckily the Costa Maya had quite a bit of rain after the hurricane)

Fertilizer should not be immediately applied to the root zone of any palm that was uprooted by the storm. A soluble micronutrient spray can be applied to the crown at the same time as a fungicide if desired, though the value of doing this to a damaged palm has never been objectively proven. A light application of "palm special" granular fertilizer can be broadcast or banded around the palm keeping fertilizer clear of the trunk base) once new growth is underway and new roots begin to emerge from the root initiation zone at the base of the trunk. It will take at least several months for the re-establishment of overturned palms to get fully underway.

For the following 1 to 2 years, hurricane-damaged palms should be monitored carefully. Remember that stressed palm crowns may not immediately show damage, but loss of the palm can still occur as much as 2 years after the stresses are received.

  • Assess the damage. Don't waste time on palms that cannot be saved.
  • Get toppled palms standing and supported as quickly as possible.
  • Apply fungicide to the crown and bud region. Micronutrient can be added to the spray if desired.
  • Do not allow root balls to dry out during re-establishment.
  • Monitor damaged palms carefully during the next 1 to 2 years.


The following information is from the US Consulate in Merida:

"This is a reminder that in just three months we will be entering the U. S. presidential and state primary season. Five primaries are currently slated for January, another 20 are scheduled for February, and the rest take place from early March through early October. Registration for the first primary (the District of Columbia) closes December 10, 2007. We encourage you to act now so that your opinion is heard – not only in the November 2008 presidential and general elections, but also in the presidential primary and state primary elections! The official U.S. Government website for overseas absentee voting assistance is the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website

Generally, all U.S. citizens 18 years or older who are or will be residing outside the United States during an election period are eligible to vote absentee in any election for Federal office. This includes primary, run-off, and special elections that occur throughout the year, as well as the general election in November 2008. Some states allow overseas voters to vote in elections for state and local offices, and for state and local referendums.

Voting eligibility and residency requirements are determined by the various U.S. states, and are available on-line at Your "legal state of residence" for voting purposes is the state where you last resided immediately prior to departure from the United States. Voting rights extend to overseas citizens even though they may no longer own property or have other ties to their last state of residence, and even if their intent to return to that state may be uncertain. For those who have never resided in the U.S., sixteen states, to date, allow eligible U.S. citizens to register where a parent would be eligible to vote.

To register to vote and/or apply for an absentee ballot, you can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The on-line version, the OFPCA, is accepted by all states and territories except American Samoa and Guam. Voters from American Samoa and Guam must use the standard form of the FPCA, available at the Consulate General or through many American civic groups. The on-line OFPCA form must be completed legibly, printed, signed, dated, and mailed to your local election officials. Your state may allow faxing to speed the process, but you will still need to send in the original by mail. Use an envelope and affix proper postage. The official U.S. Government website for overseas absentee voting assistance,, has a wealth of information about absentee voting, including the state-specific instructions for completing the FPCA form, links to state and local officials, and a downloadable emergency ballot for use by those who register in time but fail to receive an official ballot.

As a general rule, you should try to send in the FPCA so that it reaches your local election officials at least forty-five days before the first election in which you are eligible to vote --- ample time for them to process the request and send you a blank ballot. If applying for both registration and an absentee ballot, you may want to mail the FPCA earlier. One FPCA will qualify you to receive all ballots for Federal offices for the next two regular Federal elections (through 2010). However, we recommend that you submit a new FPCA in January of every year, and whenever you move, to ensure that your most recent mailing and e-mail addresses are on file with your local election officials.

Under normal circumstances, most states and territories begin sending ballots to overseas citizens 30-45 days before an election. However, if you haven’t received your ballot within three weeks of your state’s ballot receipt deadline, and you are required to return your voted ballot by mail, you should download, complete, sign, date, and send in a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), available at Make sure it is witnessed if required by your state. If you subsequently receive your regular absentee ballot, execute it and return it regardless of when you receive it. Court decisions sometimes require late counting of ballots voted by Election Day, but received by local election officials for a specified period of time following Election Day.

The Voting Assistance Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Merida is also always available to answer questions about absentee voting. To contact the Voting Assistance Officer, call 999-942-5700 or send an e-mail to (


This message is from Pam Laurion:

"After taking a break from Hurricane Dean, I am finally ready to move forward with the neighborhood association. This is The LAST CALL for anyone who wants to join. I will need the following info to submit to the attorney.

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • occupation
  • address
  • name of corporation

Please send all info to me at "


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, the newspapers are notorious for not verifying information 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.

Until Next month...

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



Updated: 26-Apr-2008

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