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Costa Maya Newsletter> Archived Costa Maya Newsletters > Nov. 2, 2008 -

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

*******************Costa Maya Newsletter*******************
November / noviembre 2008

Hi Costa Maya Neighbors-

Happy Day of the Dead and today I am greeted with lots of sunshine! Little would I know when I said a few months ago we would be talking a lot about water in my editorials, that I would be talking about too much water, but that's what has happened here on the Costa Maya. For the entire month of October, the Costa Maya has been inundated with rain - torrential rain that has come down day after day. This is the kind of rain normally associated with tropical storms and Hurricanes, but in this instance it was from Tropical Depression 16 and Invest 91, both of which decided to park themselves off the coast of Honduras and refused to move.

So what is an invest, you might ask? The National Hurricane Center's glossary states that "an invest is a weather system for which a tropical cyclone forecast center (NHC, CPHC, or JTWC) is interested in collecting specialized data sets. . .and/or running model guidance. " This means that there was a lot of information about the storm - all of which proved to be depressingly un-useful as the rain continued to fall and the waters rose higher.

I cried as1/3 our beautiful new road was under water and as I watched all the overflow water spilling out of the cistern. I have to say, however, that I was glad we had it restored. The only bad areas were the areas where we brought in fill. As the water sat there for days, the new fill turned to mush and trucks duck holes into them. Still, it held up remarkably well and even after the flood the road is far better than it was before we had it graded and improved.

I was surprised at the plants that loved excess water and those that died. For example, the hardy vincas - many died - apparently they are a drought loving plant. The palms on the other hand have never been happier. So those of you who participated in the tree planting - rejoice! You can expect that most of them lived. I've posted pictures of the flooding under the Mahahual news section. We still have some rainy season left, but according to the NHC, the water and air is cooling fast so development of systems should be slow. HURRAY!

By the way, if you are in the area on Sunday - Nov. 2nd, stop by for DIA DE LOS MUERTOS or Day of the Dead festivities. Lupe makes completely black and white Relleno Negro made with Chil Mole and Pan de Muertos (Day of the Dead Bread). Cost is $13.50 a person and you won't go away hungry. Includes dessert and Jicama Salad.

Marcia with Baracuda

Past newsletters can be found at NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES

PS If you are planning on a Thanksgiving or Christmas time visit - please book your accommodations soon! - Only a couple of properties left!



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Mahahual/Majahual - Costa Maya Updates

Cruise ship returns to Mahahual/Majahual on Oct. 31

As promised, the cruise ship returned on Oct. 31 after a couple of weeks of unbelievably hard work by the people of Mahahual getting the town ready. All week before the big day, busses with would-be tour guides were driving up and down the highways "practicing." We sure noted the difference on the roads - jeeps were roaring down the beach road and extra taxis were in the area. However, the weather was far than desirable. It was dark in the morning and then in the afternoon the wind was very brisk, even though the sun came out. Despite the festivities and fiesta atmosphere, I'm sure they had far fewer people exit the Holland America boat than they had hoped for.

Flooding report on the Costa Maya

The rain ended only a week before the arrival of the Cruise ship. There were some upsides to all the rain, one being that the very dead and barren area on both sides of the access into Mahahual was full of water, so it actually looked better than normal. That is good news for first visitors to Mahahual who have repeatedly been shocked when they see all the dead mangroves that have never grown back.

Tequila Beach High water flanks the access road to Mahahual/Majahual. You can see Tequila beach in the background.
Placer Beach Road flooded No, this isn't a River, it is the Beach Road south of the Placer Access. Luckily the recent grading made it so that when the lagoon over flowed, it only covered the road about 6 inches. It was scary, but no one got stuck.
egrets The silver lining in all of this rain was a huge influx of waterfront birds. Because we all ended up with waterfront property on both sides of our property - we had the benefit of both Shore birds and other water foul, like these white greater egrets. These were taken in our back yard on a lonely black mangrove that died as a result of Dean and is now surrounded on all sides by water.

Costa Maya Port review

If you aren't familiar with the Costa Maya Port (because, of course they won't let you in there if you aren't a passenger) this article on Cruise Critic is educational. It describes the Costa Maya Port accurately as well as gives a good review of the area. The description of Mahahual is lacking, but it's an interesting read.

Free Eye Click

Mahahual held an eye clinic where Costa Maya Residents could get their eyes tested for free. Thane Bee, Majahual's very gentle chiropractor, lent his office to the efforts. I'm not sure how many people actually had their eye's tested, but Thane said he tested 93 on one day. The testing continued for several days to be followed up by prescription glasses if needed. By the way, Thane has opened his shop just 1/2 block from the Malecon. Kim is a regular customer, so we can vouch for him!

Majahual Cruise ship clean-up

As expected, Mahahual mustered a massive clean-up with additional help from the state. I've mentioned the dead mangroves as you enter the city. In an effort to hide them, huge screens were put up to hide the mess. The beach was pristine and energy was flowing everywhere. It was nice to see the town looking good. The following picture was supplied by Kevin Graham of Costa Maya Living who kindly let me use it after my finger got in the way of my photo!

Mahahual/Majahual screen


Yes, Chetumal does have a state fair. Its actually very cool. I learned a lot at the fair this year because I took the time to talk to some of the vendors as I haggled about prices. Of course they upped the prices on me because I was a Gringo - I really hate that and walked away from more then one, but in the end came away pretty happy about the whole thing.

Chetumal State Fair

The State fair includes everything from rides, to arcades, to Cows and 4H type crafts, to beer and soft drink vendors offering free drinks and even more interesting - there are the items only available in Fairs. I wasn't aware of this, but I always wondered where you purchased such things as rustico pottery pictured above. These and other similar items are made in little villages around Mexico and are sold in fairs all over the country. People live at the fairs and go from town to town selling these items. The pottery above is made in a little village outside of Mexico city (as all villages seem to be located!). The pottery is famous for making beans and mole right on the gas flame- no need for a metal pot. They even had tortilla "planchas" made out of the ceramic ware. I fell in love with it.

The fair also sold lots of plastic ware, pans, wooden items such as canes, frames, toys and carved boxes that are so representative of Mexico. I wish I was feeling richer and I would have filled my car! The food was good and entrance is free. The fair is located North of the Airport in Chetumal at the junction of Insurgentes and Obregon. It takes place the last two weeks of October every year.


NEW ROOMS at Mayan Beach Garden.

Mayan Beach Garden has been limping along with only 3 rooms since we opened in December after Hurricane Dean. This has really been difficult keeping afloat with so few rooms as you can imagine, but it was important to us to keep our staff, so I think we made the right decision. We have been slowly converting available spaces to extra rooms, and starting the first of the year will be back to our original 6 rooms. You'll find everything just a little bit better, I think. The gardens look great again and the 3 new rooms are more spacious than the old. And of course, Placer has that famous beach and great snorkeling at the point. . . ;-)


Mayan Beach Garden always serves a traditional Day of the Dead feast on Day of the Dead. Traditionally we serve it on Nov. 2nd and Guadalupe, our cook knows exactly how to prepare it perfectly.

November 1-2 Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) This holiday is a perfect example of the complex heritage of the Mexican people. The beliefs of today's Mexicans are based on the blend of cultures of their ancestors: the “ofrendas” practices to the dead and the gods by the Aztec and Maya which are layered with Catholicism. November 1 is set aside for remembrance of all Saints, the deceased infants and children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels). Those who have died as adults are honored on November 2. Their relatives gather at cemeteries throughout Mexico, bringing skeletons and other macabre toys, colorful tissue paper, elaborate wreaths and crosses decorated with paper or silk flowers; candles and votive lights; and fresh seasonal flowers. These rituals are continued at home with the building of altars to the dead and are focused at inviting the spirits of the dead to return home for sharing laughter, tears and memories.

Lupe with Day of the dead Bread

Culinary NOTE: Throughout the markets in Chetumal, you will find skulls and coffins made from sugar, chocolate or amaranth seeds and “pan de muerto”, the main “ofrenda de muertos” (offering to the dead). We serve this bread at Mayan Beach Garden, fresh baked in our kitchen and served with hot chocolate. It is also a day to eat all the good foods that the ancestors enjoyed. At Mayan Beach Garden, that means serving Chili Mole - a completely black and white food. I asked my cook what you would eat if your relative didn't like chili mole and he assured me it was everyone's favorite. While Chili Mole is occasionally eaten at other times of the year, like turkey at Thanksgiving, it is primarily served on Nov. 2nd.


Strolling around Mahahual marveling at all the building that's going on, I think it's like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Lots of pesos being spent--well spent.

I live here in Xcalak and I know how lucky we were last year, a couple of old wooden houses and a few tin roofs damaged or gone. Nothing like Placer, Rio India and Mahahaul. But the pueblo of Xcalak seems to be getting some knock on effect in as much as there is money for the Government buildings to be repaired and restored. The town pier is one example, and by co-incidence Adolfo Acevedo posted some old photos on Bill in Tulsa's message board including one of the pier in the 1980's.

Light house pre-hurricane Janet This is the lighthouse that was in use when Hurricane Janet came through in 1955. It was destroyed and the Lighthouse Keeper killed. Xcalak was decimated. A new Lighthouse was built further up the road.
Xcalak pier

The pier stretches out towards the reef entrance and has a small light that lines up with the lighthouse to guide the boats inside the reef safely.

Adolfo's photo of the pier circa the 1980's.

pier xcalak After Hurricane Mitch in 1998 the pier was reinforced with rock and concrete but the small light is the same one, just another base,metal not cement. This is the town pier today. The work was started months and months ago, stopped for while as they had run out of funds and then restarted and will be finished in 15 days I'm told.
A Canadian friend is building a house, he has an extremely talented artisan, Ernesto, carving the pillars. Isn't it just beautiful work? If you need some thing like this done, come and find him before he goes back to Palenque. concrete carving Ernesto carving concrete

Xcalak Restaurant news

The girls, Linda and Marla , have completed renovations at the Leaky Palapa and sent out an e-mail to the effect, enough polishing, painting, and more polishing ........ they are opening Thursdays and Fridays as of 30th October. Whoopeee.

Toby, has opened his restaurant at his house, next to the Hotel Caracol on the main road. A real family affair, great food. Open Thursday - Tuesday 08.00 for breakfast, lunch, dinner. Closed 10.00pm. Bring your own liquor/beer.

Jumble sale Success (after the shameful begging letter!)

The first Xcalak jumble sale 21st September 2008. We put the word out and got quite response for both clothes to sell and people to sell them too, we raised more or less $60.00, the Delgado and his wife Minni helped, I just held the money box.

Since the sale, I have people stopping by the house asking when the next one will be, very happy to tell them every third Sunday of the month until further notice.2ND Xcalak jumble sale postponed a week because of the rain. 27Th October 2008.

People are just fantastic, aren't they? We had so many black bin bags dropped off, and so much "stuff" the second sale was 3 times as big as the first one. All the Xcalakana's were ready for this one, we started at 2.00pm, people already waiting for us to put the tables up and the clothes and "stuff" out. I really can't tell you if this was a fashion show/cabaret or jumble sale. Had three helpers, Luz Maria, Lorri and Vicky, raised more or less $150.00 for the Spay and Neuter clinic.

Remember, you can drop things off at Mayan Beach Garden, Polly's house or now in Mahahual at the new Laundry mat. Ask for Rebecca.

Intro to Ellie

<<Introducing Effi

Will it fit??? What do you think?? Do you like the colour?>>

trying on hat

<< Siiiiiiiii perfecto.

Finishing touch.>>

There! I have to say we all enjoyed our selves sooooooooooo much. I laughed so much my ribs hurt!!

Polly in Xcalak

finishing touches

us consulate updates

"The United States Consulate in Merida cordially invites you to Election Night 2008. Come join friends and family to watch the presidential results as they come streaming in live from the USA. Please read this email carefully for information on how to get your tickets to this special event.

The excitement kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 4th at the InterContinental Presidente Hotel (Avenida Colon N. 500 at the intersection of Calle 60 in the Centro). Guests are welcome to duck in and out to check on the tally or to spend the evening as we await news about the next President of the United States of America. Light fare will be served throughout the night, and a cash bar will be available. The InterContinental has limited on-site parking (valet or self-parking).

Please note that this is a ticketed event. To reserve your ticket, please RSVP by Monday, October 27 to Please indicate your complete name and citizenship along with the complete name and citizenship of any guests that you plan to bring with you. Please note that this event is for adults and teenagers and that tickets are non-transferable. We will respond the week before the event with instructions on how to pick up your tickets.

A U.S. citizen will need to present a U.S. passport in person to pick up the tickets and bring identification for any guests. If you did not receive this message directly from the U.S. Consulate in Merida, please register online at to receive future correspondence, updates, and invitations.

We look forward to spending this historic night with you!"

U.S. Consulate Merida


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: 03-Nov-2008

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