Learn Spanish Today for Free!

Have more fun by learning a little Spanish

Property Owners > Archived Newsletters > OCTOBER 31, 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. 31, 2007 **************************


  • Forum: Just Chatting
  • Malecon dedication in Mahahaul
  • News from Xcalak
  • Permits for beach restoration
  • Road Condition Report
  • Chit Palms - Hardy and Salt Resistant
  • Sad Good-bye to El Placer Hotel

Hi Neighbors

I hope you are having a wonderful Halloween and aren't sick of hearing about Post Dean - but at least now it is about recovery. I am a little nostalgic as I think of Day of the dead that is coming up in a couple of days and my cook Lupe isn't here to make Pan de Muerte at the Mayan Beach Garden Restaurant served with the special Chocolate milk they drink on that day. I may borrow a neighbor's oven, because at this point I still don't have a working oven. I will, however, attempt to make "Rellano Negro", the blackened chicken and pork they serve on Nov. 2nd. I'm sure it won't be as good as when Lupe makes it, but I'll enjoy cooking and sharing with friends. Both of my cooks are planning on coming back when we reopen and I CAN'T WAIT! Yesterday, lo and behold, when I was sifting through some of the salvaged items from the mangroves, I found the MBG cookbook! I can't tell you how relieved I was to find that I didn't have to conjure up repeatable recipes again!

Lupe and Pan de Muerte with crossbones on the top

Nature is succeeding at recovery. The jungle is greening up nicely once you get away from the beach. You have to look a little harder for life at the beach. There is a little mound of sand that has been deposited on the shore, where you can begin to see how far the erosion occurred. There are other things you can't possibly miss, like the mountain of sand in Mahahual, the construction going on in the Casitas and new little Mexican restaurants popping up. Big caterpillars and front end loaders are working away everywhere and the hotels south of town are opening up one by one. The downside of all of this activity is the roads are a travesty (road report below). I don't know if this is legal or not (it is hard to believe that it is) but the city of Mahahual is taking all the sand in the roads to Mahahual (hence the mountain of sand). First they removed sand from Uvero - Pulticub. Now they are starting at Rio Indio and working their way north to Placer. The good news is that they will clear the road in the process, the bad news is they will take the sand. What we have heard is that they believe they own the sand in the road. If you have not restored your beach, you probably will loose the sand that is in the road. IN some cases, we are not talking about very much sand, but in other areas it is 2 meters deep. NOTE, they are not taking sand from the lots.

Mountain of sand in Mahahual


This is a great time to check out the forum and discuss the Malecon and the mountain of sand. I'm sure that someone knows better than I what the real story is behind this. Or, just chat. Right now there is a question on the board about Day of the Dead Festivities, someone looking for a Caretaker opportunity and carpooling from Cancun to Mahahual during Christmas season. Checkout the conversations going on!


October 17th was the grand opening of the Malecon and dedication by Felix, the governor of Quintana Roo. They were all set up to pour a sample slab of the malecon for photo-op purposes and every important person was there. I didn't stay for the photo-op, but took pictures of the event and then got back here to restoring MBG. Photos of the event are posted on this version of the archive. It includes photos of the signage which has visuals for what it is supposed to look like. I was very impressed with the governor. Rather than rush in for the photo-op and leave, he spent the time listening to the people of Mahahual and never actually participated in the pouring of any concrete. They crowded around him asking him to look at their petitions and he listened.

Félix González Canto listening to the people of Mahahual

Overhead shot of Mahahual

Plan for the Malecon

Sample pavers -
who knows which will be chosen, but the one is front was the top contender -
only closer to the color of the sand

Lighthouse glorieta - it looks like they will need all that sand to accomplish this

This before and after shot -- I'm not sure why they think the new look is better!

More shots of the malecon - no longer the little fishing village

more proof of a fishing village gone modern.


I've asked Polly from Xcalak to give us a monthly update of happenings in Xcalak. I'm delighted she accepted so that everyone can get a feel for for what is happening down south. She writes:
". . . We have a bone fishing guide here in Xcalak whose name is Victor, his wife is Flora. Flora has a mantra, God loves Xcalak. I am a believer!

Dean was coming, we were leaving, I said good-bye to my house and car. My house was less than a year old with no hurricane insurance and I had promised to drive a friends car out should there be a hurricane! My car was parked as far in the jungle as I could get it.
Returning through Bacalar, Pedro Santos, and on towards Xcalak it was unbelievable to get here and find it mostly untouched. My house is concrete block, the older wooden houses were not so lucky and lost roofs, walls and got flooded from the lagoon. We lost some trees and God did an awful lot of pruning. Kevin Graham, bless him, got us dispensas and we also got a lot of donations and bought lamina. The houses look good the trees are green. Only just over a month on.

At this time all the hotels are open, Costa de Coco's bar restaurant is open with the pizza oven working in the evenings. Sylvia is open most lunch times. November 9th Leaky Palapa opens. They take reservations if you e-mail. With a new palapa roof perhaps a change of name needed. Toby and Moses who formally worked at the Hotel Mahahual beach bar are opening the Xcalak Caribe on Nov. 1st for lunch 12:00 noon till 9:00 PM. Fridays, Saturday is Playday. chicken BBQ, volleyball on the beach, crab racing, chicken drop!! and whatever else they can think of that is fun. They have hired the chef from the Cats Meow...............I look forward to some decent cooking! (really fed up with mine).. Yamira from the Xcalak Caribe restaurant has moved to Mahahual with Tomas.

Our dive shops have both reported reef is looking good. All we need is for the tourists to come and share it all with us."
Polly in Xcalak!


I'm repeating the information on restoration permits because the deadline for getting them may be pulled any day. Also, many people have been clearing without permits and PROFEPA is taking a closer look. Having had a run-in with PROFEPA in the past, we don't recommend it for anyone! We suggest you do it now if you are planning on restoring your lot. Also, please don't schedule a contractor to clear your lot without the permit. 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 over two)
  • 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/reforestation permit to restore your beach.
  • 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 even yourself if you have an FM3.

    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. If you do not have an FM3, It must then be notarized with an Apostille in the US. Find out more information about an Apostille - - Please do not e-mail us asking what an Apostille is. As a foreign property owner, you should know this information

    7. 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.
    8. If you want us to help you get the permits, e-mail 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 on the Costa Maya. You can contact Todd at and he will give you a bid. Note when he is in Mexico, his response time is slow. He is not checking e-mail regularly when he is doing on-site excavation and is not available when in Mexico 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. Regardless of who you get to restore your beach -- get a permit first!


  • 307 - Construction on 307 is moving along nicely. The improved road south of Tulum goes for quite a few kilometers before it narrows to the dark jungle road we've been accustomed to. At this pace, they should have it finished in a year.
  • Tampalam/Jungle road - the Hurricane blew trees over the road. It has been over two months and still the trees have not been cut. This has created a very dangerous situation on the Tampalam road. It has been narrowed to one lane, and people still travel as fast as ever. The trees on the road create blind corners and the pavement is black with skid marks. Please be careful when traveling on this road. Secondarily, the weight of so many trucks removing the sand are also beating up the jungle road which is starting to break up severely. These dump trucks are far more heavy than the tour busses.
  • Xcalak Road - no significant change since the hurricane
  • Beach Road South of Mahahual and North of Xcalak - no significant change
  • Uvero-Pulticulb beach road - this is drivable when conditions are dry, but the removal of the sand in the road has created lakes in the road every time it rains. Also, the dump trucks have severely beat up the road creating deep ruts. High clearance and patience is recommended.
  • Rio-Indio Placer Beach road - As of today, this is not yet cleared. From the north you can drive about 6 km from the Placer access and about 4.5 from the Rio Indio access leaving about 2-3 kilometers uncleared. We expect that to change quickly as the dump trucks and front end loaders remove the sand. We have heard that in the process of removing the sand they will open the road. This should happen in the next two weeks.


I've reported on Chit Palms (Thrinax radiata) before, but not with a Post-Dean perspective. Before, it was in regard to their status as a protected species. Now, with joy I see them coming back - although many are at an obtuse angle to the ground! If the palm heart was not broken, they have been successfully fighting back to life. Chit Palms have a pretty extensive root system. Their trunks are very strong and thin and their foliage is not as heavy as a palm. Therefore, when the wall of water came by, many of the trees weren't uprooted or broken in half, but pushed down and covered with sand. At first they all seemed dead, but now at least 50% are springing to life. Likely as not, you have Chit palms on your property. Prior to Dean, you may have so many you couldn't create a path without destroying them. If you live north of Mahahual they are probably leaning away from the beach, if you live South of Mahahual the wind may have pushed them toward the beach. They are easy to prop up. We found by digging on the side of the of the palm that is away from the lean and down to the root level, you could then push the palm back up right, packing sand on the opposite side. Some of ours were buried under 2 meters of sand. There are before and after photos of chits outside MBG below.

Left: a few days after dean / Right: yesterday - straightened chits coming back to life

Remember, these are a protected species and if you restore your lot and had Chits before, you will be expected to have some chits remaining. Listed as Threatened Plants in the Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act Thrinax radiata are in imminent danger of extinction within the state of Florida , the survival of which is unlikely if the causes of a decline in the number of plants continue.
The natural Jungles here on the Costa Maya and around Mayan Beach Garden are thick with Chit Palms, especially north of Mayan Beach Garden to the access road - they are somewhat like a weed. Because they are plentiful, I think that many people carelessly cut them down without realizing their value as a species. There is more information about Chit palms on the Mayan Beach Garden website:
You can also find out more about Thrinax Radiata on the US Governments Plant database. Check out other species of palms while you are there. It is quite an interesting website for botanist wanna-be's.


El Placer hotel and Tom Steddum were at one time, the heart of El Placer. You didn't stop in Placer without sitting down and hearing some of Tom Steddum's stories and get some advice. Tom finally sold the hotel to Kent Lancaster (already a Costa Maya neighbor), Chris Sheir and some other partners. They quickly decided to remodel, putting quite a bit of money into the restoration. New septic system, electrical and plumbing all had to be installed and a new 45K generator was all ready to cool the hotel with recently installed air conditioning. New canopy beds were all ready for the owners who were going to come down on Labor Day weekend to to see the freshly remodeled hotel. Unfortunately Hurricane Dean hit on August 20th and was especially hard on El Placer hotel. The new owners never got to see the finished hotel. Sadly, the hotel was so damaged, it required demolishing. For a week, a caterpillar, 4 dumptrucks and front end loaders moved sand, hauled away broken concrete and moved sand back out to the beach where only a few of the many trees Tom had planted survived. I'm glad the owners took the step to clear the property because it is now safer and when we look over at the now white expanse of beach that was once a dive shop we will miss the hotel, but look towards what will come when the new owners decide to build again. I've placed historical pictures of El Placer hotel below.

Left: El Placer before remodel/ Right: El Placer after remodel / Below L: After Dean, Below R. After demolition and Restoration


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.

Unless otherwise stated, all content is copyrighted by MMB Contractors Inc.

Until Next month...

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



Updated: 26-Apr-2008

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