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Property Owners > Archived Newsletters > April 25, 2008 -

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

***********************Newsletter: 25 - Apr. 2008**************************


Hi Costa Maya Neighbors

GOOD NEWS for those who depend on the Costa Maya Pier for their livelihood!!!! Mahahualeans are celebrating the official announcement that the cruise ship schedules will officially start up again in July with two fully functional berthing spaces.

Photo of Marcia, courtesy of Captain Graybeard

Those who follow this newsletter and the news of the Costa Maya know that it was destroyed last year and at first they announced that it wouldn't reopen until September of 2008 - a date that seemed a lifetime away at the time. On Monday, it was announced that two births will be open in July and by November, a third berth will be open that will handle the industries largest cruise ship -- that is the 5,400 passenger Royal Caribbean vessels debuting in 2009. Can you imagine what one of those will look like in Mahahual dumping all those passengers onto the new Malecon? You know that I, of course, have mixed feelings. I don't miss the traffic, but I have many good friends who have really suffered this last year because they have had no income. I have one friend who went to Chetumal and opened a pizza restaurant, another went to Cancun to drive taxi, only to return to Mahahual because he hated the traffic and decided to tough it out until things rebound. It has been wonderful to see the feeling of community and have people talk about things that have nothing to do with the problems of the cruise ships. There hasn't been a sense of "us" vs. "them" but a feeling of Mahahualeans pulling together.

I wonder if the passengers will like Mahahual post-Dean. If they never venture out of the Mall area, as many never did, they will never know the difference. Those who did and found Mahahual a fun and very Mexican place, may wonder what happened to the quaint Mexican town, and certainly they will notice the lack of jungle. On a drive up to Cancun yesterday, I took the time to notice the jungle areas that were damaged by Wilma over two years ago. While buildings have been completely restored, Quintana Roo has a much shorter jungle than it used to have. From Cancun south, you can still see over all the trees into the giant all-inclusive resorts. Prior to Wilma, for the most part they were hidden behind trees. It has been 8 months since Dean. While the mangroves are sending out green shoots and bushes are growing along the sides of the roads and starting to fill in bare lots, it gave me pause to wonder how long it will be before you won't notice the damage on the Costa Maya. The one silver lining is that I have a good view of the lagoon from our rooftop and a great view from lake Bacalar when you drive south on 307. I will enjoy these views while I can, but welcome the privacy and wildness when the trees grow back.


Last week's topic about FONATUR's decision to pull funding from the Costa Maya didn't cause too much activity in the message boards. I don't know if most of you have no opinions or if you are absorbed with all of the news of the Economy and the elections coming up. I'm affected because I seem to have a few less hotel guests, although, I don't know if the decline in numbers is because of some other factor like the after math of Dean. Mahahual is excited about the upcoming July cruise ship schedule and there is lots of building activity, property is being purchased and people are generally optimistic. But our neighborhood extends further than just Majahual to include all of you. This week's discussion is about how the US economy might be affecting your own Costa Maya Plans.

VACATION RENTAL PROMOTIONS (2007 Spring and Summer))

We know the economy is making everyone jittery, but it is a great time to visit the Costa Maya. You can still see what Dean did in the area, but most of the beaches have been restored. I love it without the Cruise ship passengers. If you are thinking of coming down to check out your property, think about staying in a rental house. There are some great prices and some great houses. You can see all homes at

Rio Indio Oasis - **Great deal for those last minute trips**

Short term Private room (2 persons) - inside of 20 days from reservation date - full use of all amenities and shared common area.

$95/night 1st night - $75/night each additional night (plus taxes)
Long term rental discounts from list price (all seasons)

2 weeks - 20% discount
3 weeks - 25% discount
4 weeks - 30% discount
4 weeks plus - 40% discount

Mayan Beach Garden -

Mayan Beach Garden is offering 15% off any cabana reservation during the month of June and July PLUS the 5th night free. Just mention this newsletter to get the discount.

Casita Dragonfly - "Couple's" special

Good only for two person rental on this two bedroom house South of Mahahual. $600 a week or $100 per night for the months of April, May and June plus taxes. Normal rate for all other rentals. Must mention this email.

Villa Costa Maya

May -August is discounted 10% from this time last year, NOW ONLY $455 per week plus taxes. Staying a month? The rate is $1300 for that period.


All of us eventually come to dread the drive from Cancun to Mahahual. Its hard to love it when you have to face traffic in the Playa del Carmen-Tulum corridor. The good news is that there are more flights coming into Chetumal now. One is an Aviacsa flight from Mexico D.F. mid-day. Previously Mexicana was the only flight between Mexico City and left Chetumal at 7:30 in the morning and arrived at a similar late hour in the evening making a night stay in Chetumal a necessity. This was fine if you have business in Chetumal, but it wasn't ideal for everyone. The new times make it easier to coordinate with other connecting flights. The flight leaves Mexico city at 10:30 and gets into Chetumal at 12:15. Departing time from Chetumal is 12:55 and arrives in Mexico city at 2:45.


01 (800) AVIACSA (toll free in Mexico)
non-toll free in Mexico: 54 82 82 80

The other option is a shuttle flight from Cancun to Chetumal and Merida to Chetumal. Alma de Mexico Airline flies Mon-Friday from Cancun and Mon-Friday to Merida. The rate was $1935 MX round trip when I checked. The flights run twice a day.

Alma de Mexico Airline
1(800) 800 2562 (ALMA) from Mexico
1(888) 811 2562 (ALMA) from the US

Both websites have English versions as well as Spanish


Ever been pulled over by the police in Mexico and asked for money by the police? According to a new poll sponsored by the nonprofit group Transparency Mexico, Mexicans spent $2.5 Billion in Bribes in 2007. Bribery has been a fact of life in Mexico for a very long time. 197 million bribes were paid nationwide in 2007, compared to 115 million in 2005, the study shows - so it is getting worse. As many know who have been stopped at the side of the road and experienced extortion by the police, every single police officer in Mexico has likely demanded a bribe at one point or another. Its part of the culture. There are some great tips to avoiding having to pay at the side of the road in the driving section on our driving tips page.


photo courtesy of Clean Virginia Waterways

Plastic on the beaches is the most notable form of debris we see on the beaches, but there are a lot of cigarette buts that also present a threat to wildlife. Cigarette filters have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures who mistake them for food ... According to Clean Virginia Waterways, and cigarette buts are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic, and can persist in the environment as long as other forms of plastic. Smokers may not realize that their actions have such a lasting, negative impact on the environment.

It is very common for highly littered items such as soda cans, snack wrappers, and fast food containers to have a simple "Please Don't Litter" message. You won't find such a message on cigarette packs. When a butt gets casually flicked onto the street, nature trail, or beach, wind and rain carry the cigarette into the water supply, where the toxic chemicals the cigarette filter was designed to trap leak out into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and many aquatic life forms Cigarette butts may seem small, but with several trillion butts littered every year, the toxic chemicals add up!


Many of you have asked if you can grow Banana trees on the beach. The short answer is yes with a lot of caveats. Banana trees get pretty beat up by the winds here - shredded almost. It is their nature to withstand tropical storms, but they don't look very good afterwards. Banana trees have grown very successfully behind houses, back by the road and close to the mangroves. You won't get a lot of bananas from them, although we got a few small fruit before dean took them all out. The best use for banana plants are the leaves which can be used to wrap tamales in, to make Cochinita pibil and a number of dishes served here in Yucatan where Bananas are plentiful.

A machete can be use to cut a banana leave, although there are actually specialized tools for this purpose that look like hooks with the sharp part of the blade in the inside portion of the hook. You will see this tool in hardware stores in small towns and markets.

To prepare the banana leave, you have to singe it. Remember how I said that banana leaves get shredded by the wind? They are very fragile. In order to make it soft and pliable for wrapping food, it must be pulled through a flame. We turn our propane burners on high and pull the leaves through the flame. They immediately change color - to a darker green. You can watch the color change and you know it is enough. After pulling it through the flame, the stem is removed from the center and the leaves are cut in rectangles for wrapping tamales or left whole for wrapping cochinita pibil.


Back in 2006 we were told of a jungle zipline tour that would sail over the jungle west of Lake Bacalar and end at the lake. The location was a mystery, but we were told by someone who worked for the company that supplied the large poles that it was approximately at km. 35. That location puts it midway between Cafetal junction and Bacalar town. We aren't sure exactly the location at this point in time, but Bio Maya is the name of the tour and it now has a website. They are promoting the activity on blogs throughout the web and with a video on You-Tube as if it they had been a toursit visiting. Yet on the website they are somewhat secretive. They do include a Google map of the zipline site, but it is hard to pinpoint. As of April 20, 2008, there were no signs for this along 307 either. According to their website they are opening in Summer of 2008, coinciding with the reopening of the cruise ship pier in Mahahual. Tours are $65 for adults, $50 for Children.

BioMaya website - is only in Spanish at this time.


The 3rd annual blues festival is happening this weekend (April 25th and 26th) in Xcalak. If you get this email and are anywhere near Xcalak - please stop by. More information in Polly's column below.

Photo borrowed from the Costa Maya Blues website


Whatever you were going to do on Saturday 26th April cancel it. Come on down to Xcalak and join all of us on the town beach for the 3rd Annual Costa Maya Bluesfest.

Starts at 16.30 till ..................................

The story goes like this (if I remember right) 3 years ago a guy (Jonny O) turned up at Don Murphy's Son Risa Hotel without a reservation. Turns out he was supposed to be playing the blues in Cuba with the rest of his band, but, not having the right visa or was it passport, he couldn't go. He just came on down to the end of the road, found Murph, who just happened to be a huge blues fan and had been to see Jonny O band in the States. Sooo of course he gets to come to the Leaky Palapa and play for us. Last year the whole Jonny O band plus a band from Chetumal, this year 3 bands! bigger and better each year.

Now it's getting quieter Marla and Linda at the Leaky Palapa are only opening Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays.

Some friends went on the Bird Island Trip and reported that the wood storks were nesting, loads of them with chicks. I would love to go see them before they fly.
I have this new puppy, Lulu, spoiled rotten. She was one of the puppies that we found at the Xcalak Airfield living with 10 other dogs and the Marines. When we went out collecting dogs for the spay/neuter clinic in January. Yes I needed another dog like a hole in the head but,........ She has a long slim nose that 2 minutes ago was in my tea mug drinking my special English tea. My very first puppy, takes up 3/4 of my bed, brings me presents of stinking maggoty fish from the beach and likes to hide them in the corners of my new furniture, and I still love her to bits!!

Only leaves me to wish all the other Mum's a Happy Mothers Day. I am very lucky, already had the English one, next is USA then Mexican, can't be bad.
Going to send this to mine.......................


When I'm a little old lady
Then I'll live with my children and bring them great joy.

To repay all I've had from each girl and boy
I shall draw on the walls and scuff up the floor;
Run in and out without closing the door.

I'll hide frogs in the pantry, socks under my bed.

Whenever they scold me, I'll hang my head.

I'll run and I'll romp, always fritter away
The time to be spent doing chores every day.

I'll pester my children when they are on the phone.

As long as they're busy won't leave them alone.

Hide candy in closets,rocks in a drawer,
And never pick up my clothes from the floor.

Dash off to the movies and not wash a dish.

I'll plead for allowance whenever I wish.

I'll stuff up the plumbing and deluge the floor.
As soon as they've mopped it, I'll flood it some more.

When they correct me, I'll lie down and cry,
Kicking and screaming, not a tear in my eye.

I'll take all their pencils and flashlights, and then
When they buy new ones, I'll take them again.

I'll spill glasses of milk to complete every meal,
Eat my banana and just drop the peel.

Put toys on the table, spill jam on the floor,
I'll break lots of dishes as though I were four.

What fun I shall have, what joy it will be to
Live with my children....the way they lived with me!

~author unknown~



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,
Best wishes from your neighbor,



Updated: 25-Apr-2008

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