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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Rare earthquake shakes area

 

Snowbirds that ‘wing it’ to PA,

plan to show they can also ‘leg it’

 

Number of runners could near 700 this year

By Staff

   We know that snowbirds can fly, but can they run?

Well, Gayle Sandholm of Montana and PA, at age 71, and some other fellow (and lady) snowbirds around his age are joining an estimated 500 or more runners for PA’s 7th annual road race beginning at 7 a.m. Jan. 25 at the Porto Bello starting line on Puerto Aventuras Boulevard.

“I figure I’ll be among the top 10 finishers in my age group,” Sandholm teased during a recent check of the race route in Phase 4, “because there’ll probably only be nine runners in their 70s.”

The race has become progressively popular statewide, attracting increasing numbers of runners all along the Mayan Riviera and then some, including some proficient African runners living in Cancun. A few years ago the limit of runners was 500. Now, attesting to its growing popularity, the limit is set at 700.

There is still time for newly arriving snowbirds from Paamul, Akumal, and elsewhere with a zest for the outdoors, fresh air, competition and a chance to strut their stuff, to register at the Colonos office here for a good run (or walk, as you like it) and a chance to win a cash prize.

The categories and starting times for men, women and children are: 7:00 am – 10 km: Free (19-39 years), Masters (40-49 years) and Veterans (50 and over); 7:00 am – 5 km: Youth (15 to 18), Leisure (19-39 years) and Masters (40 years and over); 9:15 am – 1000 meters: Older Children (from 9-14 years); 9:00 am – 400 meters: Minor Child (under 9 years).

Registration cost for adults is 200 pesos and 150 pesos for children. This year, the proceeds from the race will be donated to the municipality of Solidaridad DIF Quintana Roo for materials to equip the "Prosthetic Workshop", which serves the entire northern region of the state for poor people in vulnerable situations. Register online at www.carrerapuertoaventuras@gmail.com or www.carreradolphindiscovery.com

The races this year will finish at the large palapa at the rear of the Dolphin Discovery Store, which is this year’s prime sponsor. It will be one of the exciting areas to experience the thrill of the finish line. As in past years, massages will be available for runners with potential muscle cramps. There will be water stations along the way and refreshing fruit and distribution of awards at the finish line.

Mr. Sandholm has been wintering in Puerto Aventuras for five years and has carved a reputation here as a bird watcher. He was a church pastor then a campus minister for 15 years at the University of Montana. He is an avid camper, outdoorsman and fly fisherman.

He graduated from Drew University in New Jersey with a masters degree in Ministry, then the San Francisco Theological Seminary with a Ph.D in Ministry. “I had a lot of fun running the race a few years ago for the first time,” he said, “and now that I’m a bit older, I’m doing it for the challenge – and the fun.”

 

Centro Comercial assembly

re-scheduled to Feb. 21

   The Centro Comercial Assembly originally slated for Jan. 10 is rescheduled for 8 a.m. Feb. 21 in the Colonos Meeting Room while the agenda and notices are sent to stakeholders.

The need to reschedule follows a Dec. 6 special meeting to recall the previous board as part of the outfall arising from a disagreement between that board and Cafe Ole, which filed a criminal complaint against the previous board for its action in ordering part of a fixed bar to be demolished.

The disagreement over that and other issues have yet to be settled and that will be the task of the new board elected at the same special meeting that the previous board was recalled by a 71 percent voting majority.

Elected were Edgar Giffenig, former golf course manager, president; Hector Pavon, Fideicomiso operations director, treasurer; Teresa Gutierrez, real estate sales company owner, secretary; Mirtila Lopez and Barbara Fox, both residents of Centro, as voting board members. Several of the members have close ties to the PA Trust, or Fideicomiso.

 

Colonos maintenance fees

are due quarterly in 2015

– The Colonos reminds residents that the 2015 maintenance fee will be due quarterly starting this month. That’s why the last payment of 2014 was for 2 months (November/December) in order to adjust payments for 2015. Remit fees early to take advantage of the discount. Payments are due in the following quarters:

January, February, March (discount in January); April, May, June (discount in April); July, August, September (discount in July); October, November, December (discount in October).

 

Municipal animal department

to begin enforcement in resort

   Pet lovers, leash your pets!

The municipal animal rescue agency (CEBIEM) and the Colonos have reached agreement to cooperate in responding to dog complaints here and picking up loose dogs roaming the streets without a leash.

The bilingual teams of municipal employees will start patrolling Puerto Aventuras resort on Monday, Jan. 19, in a clearly marked vehicle on random days and times responding to complaints, such as barking dogs disturbing neighbors, and observing the area and its pets.

“For the first three weeks, the animals will not be caged and owners held harmless. But beginning the fourth week,” said Colonos GN Armando Rincon, “loose animals will be taken and brought to the agency pound.”

The municipal pound, now operating under a more humane name and procedure somewhat like an animal rescue league, will randomly send its truck to Puerto Aventuras weekly to collect stray, unleashed and unsupervised dogs.

Once a dog is caged in the truck, owners who want to recover their pet will have to produce a pet registration and/or rabies vaccination certificate. They will have four days to retrieve their pet at the municipal pound in Playa del Carmen located on Juarez Avenue next to the jail and gas company in Playa.

Enforcement with fines

If that happens, owners will have to pay $500 pesos fine if the pet is already neutered. If not, the municipality will have it neutered and charge the owner an extra $350 pesos to pay for the procedure.The pets will be put up for adoption after four days.

Owners walking their pets and not collecting the droppings will be reprimanded the first time and fined on the second offense. This municipal rule applies to the federal beach zone as well, according to a letter from the health department.

An alternative to municipal intervention would be for dog owners to willingly observe the local rules governing pets, including no trespassing on private property, which includes the golf course, and assuring their pets are not disturbing neighbors. (See the rules by clicking on the Colonos logo in the upper right hand column).

 

Wildlife photo hawkers in Playa

called  “stain” on destination

      

  Men carrying assorted wildlife used to pose with tourists for souvenir photos are becoming a problem again on Playa’s 5th Avenue, but this time the antics of the human handlers are the targets of most tourist complaints.

There have been reports made to officials that the handlers, while charging 50 to 300 pesos for a photo taken with the consumer’s camera, have been yelling at and shoving passersby who are taking pictures of the handlers themselves and their animals without paying.

Among witnesses to one scene of the men harassing tourists was visitor Sandra Boe staying in Puerto Aventuras with friends Tim and Jacki Berreth. Below is their account of what was happening:

“ We were on 5th Ave Sunday in Playa when several men in green shirts and khakis appeared with a doped cub, which I believe was a lion, a coati, and a baby spider monkey. They were asking for payment from people to have their photos taken with the animals. The men were adamant about not appearing in the photos themselves, rudely shoving people’s phones, iPads and cameras away. The cub was not moving and appeared to be sedated.

“I circled around them and took several photographs that clearly show their faces and the animals they had with them. I understand from Jacki the Pelican has run articles about this illegal activity before. I am interested only in getting the word out and hope it will be helpful to the cause.”

Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) is aware of the situation but, according to local sources, lacks authority to stop those hawking the animal photos without permits. It is unknown whether the municipality’s new animal care unit dealing with dogs and cats, Cebiem, has any authority to intervene for the protection of wildlife.

BULLETIN: It was reported just before press time that nine members of a gang exploiting wild animals in the photo-shoot game were arrested on 5th Avenue by the Municipal Tourist Police after receiving a several complaints from tourists who said they were manhandled by the hawkers who were asking exorbitant prices for photo shoots with the animals.

 

Rare earthquake strikes nearby

   A rare earthquake rumbled in this area Sunday night, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale. While a tremor was felt among some of the population between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, no damage or injuries were reported and there was no threat of a tsunami, officials from the National Seismological Service (SSN) reported.

The epicenter was located 67 kilometers southwest of Playa and five miles into the town of Tulum, the SSN said, with a depth of three miles. Quintana Roo has experienced only one other quake with an epicenter within its borders, and that was in 2002. It had a magnitude of 4.7 on the scale. Two other quakes were also reported on Sunday in Oaxaca, both epicenters near each other and nearly an hour apart.

 

THE 7th ANNUAL Puerto Aventuras road race this year is Sunday, Jan. 25, and will begin at 7 a.m. at Porto Bello, same place as last year, but end at the large palapa in Centro’s Dolphin Discovery, which is the major race sponsor this year. Local runners can register at the Colonos office during working hours. For more information on registration and costs (200 pesos for adults, 150 for children) click on the Colonos site in the right-hand column … COOKING CLASS – Latitude 20 cooking class has switched back to its regular Friday class schedule at 10 a.m on Fridays… ART SHOWS are held each Thursday evening at the Information and Art Center…Spanish classes at Latitude 20 are held at 11:30 a.m. (basic) and 12:30 (intermediate) on Mondays and Wednesdays…

 

Briefly noted…

Christmas trees are being collected by the municipality for making compost. They can be brought in this immediate area to the delegation building in the Puerto Aventuras Poblado located at the end of the Main Street just past the Red Cross building…A Brazilian tourist at a party on 1st Avenue in Playa lost his balance after drinking and fell three stories from a condominium to his death…Some Tulum Hotels are being accused of dumping sewage into the coastal waters, creating an odor, polluting the inshore seawater and threatening groundwater. It is alleged authorities are not acting on hotels operating without sewage treatment plants…Another water problem, this time in Solidaridad, is the delivery of purified water in bottles that have been exposed for too long in the sun while on open delivery vehicles. The officials say it exposes the bottles to solar radiation that can detach plastic particles causing pathogens in the water. As of Feb. 7, authorities say delivery will not be allowed in open vehicles. There are the 73 purification operations in the area. Two companies servicing Puerto Aventuras resort use covered vehicles…The federal environmental agency (Profepa) plans to locate an office in Playa de Carmen to better respond to complaints, and perform scheduled inspections and verifications…A campaign to spay and neuter thousands of cats and dogs in Solidaridad began last Friday. PA is part of the Solidaridad municipality. The Municipal Center for Animal Welfare (Cebiem), which is working on a service plan for Puerto Aventuras, is participating in the project with several volunteer organizations…Work on the PA sports complex on the edge of Puerto Maya is expected to be completed this year…Criminal proceedings  have begun against the wife of the mayor of Iguala who allegedly was involved in the disappearance and probable death of 43 students in September. She faces charges of assisting a drug cartel in its work since 2005 and complicity in the disappearance of the students…President Pina Nieto  reports that 714,000 jobs were created in Mexico in 2014, the most in five decades…France certifies official  honorary consul in Playa del Carmen. She is Carine Gebelin Claude, who has served unofficially in the office since October..Hotel occupancy along Riviera Maya of more than 80 percent appears guaranteed through April according to reservations and the “spring break” phenomenon…

 

Mexico’s ‘corruption perception’

worsens in 2014 world rankings

   Mexico again ranks in the bottom half of the world Corruption Perception Index, coming in 103rd out of 175 total countries annually ranked by Transparency International. The higher the ranking, the worse the perception.

The index results were reported by the Justice in Mexico news monitoring program at San Diego University. While considered a developing nation, Mexico, the report notes, has been unable to pull itself out from under the perception of corruption, its score remaining flat since 2006 while some other countries in the bottom half have showed gains, supplanting Mexico’s standing.

Mexico’s world rank has declined from 70th in 2006 to 103rd in 2014 while other countries who shared the 70s ranking in 2006, such as Brazil, China, Egypt, Ghana, Peru, India and Senegal, achieved better ranking in 2014 while Mexico remained the same, lowering its comparative world standing.

Transparencia Mexicana urges the Mexican government to adopt and enforce anti-corruption measures including a national transparency investigative system, a federal tribunal of responsibilities for the three government branches; defining and regulating conflict of interest in state and municipal governments and public disclosure by political candidates of assets, 5-year tax statements and declaration of potential conflict of interest among other reforms.

 

The Mail Bag…

Resident wants specifics

Dear Editor:

It was reported in the Pelican that again the beach replenishment project is currently in limbo awaiting the government bureaucracy to issue the necessary permits. I would like to know exactly what permits have been applied for and what they are asking approval for, as in exactly, not in vague terms, but exactly what they want to do.

I would like the complete plan, what government agency did they send the application to and when did they send in the application. I’m sure the powers that be, as you have referred to them, can supply that information to you. Maybe even a copy of the application or a link to the agency that they sent it to. It seems that some information is given to us, but nothing specific. If the powers that be have a plan, it should be spelled out exactly, not in vague terms.

Signed/Ron Hurst, resident of Chac Hal Al

(Ed Note: Specifics and timetables have been presented in the Jan. 16, March 7 and June 30 editions of 2013 but have failed to materialize yet and now seek refuge in the vagueness of circumlocution. The situation apparently is what it is.)

Dear Editor:

Missing golf cart found

My golf cart that was missing for three weeks has been found. Thank you to the Pelican and others who helped look for it.

Signed/Andy Pittman

 

Nature Watch…

Proposed Tampa-Yucatan ferry

would use Progreso facilities

  (Ed. Note: There has been talk locally for the last two or three years about a proposed ferry service from Tampa, Fla., to Progreso, Mexico, on the Gulf of Mexico. But how many people here are aware the pier in Progreso is a whopping four miles long jutting into the Gulf of Mexico, one of the largest such partially arched, cement piers in the world.

Aside from handling cargo container ships for distribution to Q. Roo and Campeche, fishing boats and other vessels such as the proposed passenger/car ferry, the pier hosted nearly 100 cruise ships in 2014. The town itself is worthy of a look-see as are quaint fishing villages along the Gulf coast in that area, report some Aventurans who have visited the area.

Progreso is about 30 minutes north of the Yucatan state capital of Merida, the largest city on the Yucatan Peninsula, which is now connected to Playa del Carmen by a new road from Playa that shortens the drive by about two hours, give or take minutes. Read pier information below.)

“The pier that extends from Progreso into the Gulf of Mexico is among the longest beach structures in the world. Located in a port city in Mexico in the state of Yucatán, the pier was built for docking large cargo and passenger ships.

“The pier hasn’t always reached such great lengths. Starting in 1985, builders began extending the original structure from 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) to its current length of 6.5 kilometers (4 miles). Built over a wide and shallow continental shelf, the additional length was necessary to allow docking by larger ships. In 2014, almost 100 cruise liners docked in Progreso and brought more than 344,000 passengers to the city.

“The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image of Progreso’s pier on November 5, 2014. According to Gabriela García-Rubio of the Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education. Light turquoise areas offshore are probably shallower than the darker areas. Prevailing winds here typically blow from the east-northeast, producing short-period waves and carrying sediment westward along the shore.

“The older segment of the pier (closest to the shoreline) was built atop arches that allow some sediment to pass through. The rest of the pier, however, is solid. Despite its arches, the structure as a whole has likely decreased the amount of sediment transported alongshore, leading to "updrift accretion and downdrift erosion," according to research led by García-Rubio.

"It is interesting to note that the darker regions (of the satellite photo) are next to the solid part of the pier, which seems to be in agreement with a significant reduction in the alongshore transport," García-Rubio said. "The effect of the pier is more complex, however, as it seems to be producing settlement and a seaward movement of the shoreline."

Gasoline, electric rates inch up

Centro Comercial postpones

Jan. 10 assembly to Jan. 24

  By Staff

    The Centro Comercial Owners Association has postponed its scheduled Jan. 10 general assembly to Jan. 24. This action follows a Dec. 6 special meeting to recall the previous board as part of the outfall arising from a disagreement between that board and Cafe Ole, which filed a criminal complaint against the previous board for its action in ordering part of a fixed bar to be demolished.

The disagreement over that and other issues have yet to be settled and that will be the task of the new board elected at the same special meeting that the previous board was recalled by a 71 percent voting majority. Elected were Edgar Giffenig, former golf course manager, president; Hector Pavon, Fideicomiso operations director, treasurer; Teresa Gutierrez, real estate sales company owner, secretary; Mirtila Lopez and Barbara Fox, both residents of Centro, as voting board members. Several of the members have close ties to the PA Trust, or Fideicomiso.

Several owners in the CCOA said they have not yet received an agenda. A sign on the CCOA office door Monday said the office was closed until Jan.9 .

 

Petrol, CFE greet 2015

with price increases

Hikes erase new minimum wage spike, say unions

 

Gasoline prices have increased 1.9  percent in the New Year as Mexico links the price of petrol to inflation, which is reportedly about 3 percent. The good news, if that’s what it can be called, is that it is the only predicted gasoline price hike for 2015. The new gasoline price is the maximum allowed by the government although some operators can lower the price where competition may demand.

The local press reports Magna (regular) gasoline is selling for 13.70 pesos per liter or roughly 51.78 pesos per U.S. gallon. At the current exchange rate the price is $3.49 USD per gallon…more than the plummeting U.S. national average of around $2.60 per gallon give-or-take depending on the geographic region.

While the hike is negligible to snowbirds because of the peso’s plunge against the dollar, it means higher prices for Mexican nationals who are already reeling from the 4 percent increase in the IVA (sales tax) last year to 16 percent, a 2015 increase of 1.9 percent in liquid gas (for cooking etc.) now in effect, a few pesos up on the staple tortillas, and a bump of 2.1 percent in the cost of residential electricity to $0.0546 per kilowatt hour.

Mexican union leaders are saying the yearly fuel increases wipe out a considerable portion of the 4.2 percent minimum wage hike that took effect this year.

Modification of the PA resort’s water rate structure to a single flat rate has added to the cost for homeowners, from 10, 12,15, pesos per m3 for low-rate users to a flat rate of 20 pesos for high and low end consumers.

 

 

COMING EVENTS…

THE 7th ANNUAL Puerto Aventuras road race this year is Sunday, Jan. 25, and will begin at 7 a.m. at Porto Bello, same place as last year, but end at the large palapa in Centro’s Dolphin Discovery, which is the major race sponsor this year. Local runners can register at the Colonos office during working hours. For more information on registration and costs (200 pesos for adults, 150 for children) click on the Colonos site in the right-hand column … COOKING CLASS – Latitude 20 cooking class will switch back to its regular Friday class schedule at 10 a.m this Friday… ART SHOWS are held each Thursday evening at the Information and Art Center…Spanish classes at Latitude 20 are held at 11:30 a.m. (basic) and 12:30 (intermediate) on Mondays and Wednesdays… Monthly recycling will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Skate Park…Colonos plans to meet with condo administrators later this month at a date and time to be announced to discuss “important issues”…

Volunteers needed for Jan. 25 race

Dear residents:

“Like every year, our yearly Puerto Aventuras race will take place on Sunday, January 25, 2015. This wonderful event wouldn’t be as great as it has been during six previous editions without the support of our sponsors and collaborators. For that reason, we ask for your kind support to be volunteer and help us during the event. Tasks are very simple such as, provide water, distribute medals, give runners equipment, etc.. If you are interested to helpith us, please let us know sending an email in order to take note and check how many people we have available. Looking forward to your collaboration, kind regards. “

Carlos Enrique Quiñones Flota
Coordinador Administrativo
Asociación de Colonos, Propieatrios y
Fideicomisarios de Puerto Aventuras, A.C.
Tel. 873 51 16 Y 17
E-mail: coordinacion@colonos.org; Página: www.colonos.org

     

Population hike of 18 percent

seen for Solidaridad in 2015  

The Municipal Population Council predicts an 18 percent rise in Solidaridad’s population this year, 2 percent more than the 16 percent increases of 2013 and 2014.

That means, according to the agency, an expected municipal population of around 203,000 by year’s end.

Foreigners living in the municipality now constitute 12 percent of the population, the agency report notes, with Argentinians first at 6 percent of the foreign population, and the remainder split up between Italians and Cubans, among other foreigners.

One attraction is the number of new housing projects – 100 – spread across some 2,250 sq. kilometers of Solidaridad. The developments act as magnets for nationals moving in from nearby communities not only for jobs but for housing.

The population growth is not unexpected in the Puerto Aventuras resort where construction of new housing continues in the first three phases and the new Phase 4 development nears infrastructure and canal completion. Housing in that Phase will eventually contribute to the increase.

The Puerto Maya development across the highway continues to build housing and attracting more residents, prompting predictions that population there combined with the adjacent Poblado, could exceed 15,000, albeit accurate, specific figures are hard to come by.

 

Colonos Assembly 3: 2015 projects

Bahia Xaac lighting prioritized;

work may start in two weeks

In the wake of residents’ requests for expediting light installations on Bahia Xaac, Armando Rincon, Colonos general manager, said Tuesday the Colonos has approved an earlier than expected start to the project.

He said operations manager Eduardo Reynoso has been told the use up materials on hand from previous lighting projects and apply for funds for any new materials needed to complete the project. Rincon said he estimates work will begin in about two weeks, after which the next lighting project will be on Bahia Soliman.

Bahia Xaac residents had been complaining the street was so dark they feared walking there at night amid parked cars and traffic creating the potential for an accident.

Other projects planned for 2015 include replacing the brick roadways in front of the Catalonia Hotel and Latitude 20 restaurant as funding allows, lighting and leasing the tennis courts in the evening to allow residents night play at nominal cost, and continued planning and design of improvements at the main gate.

 

Briefly Noted…

The PA golf course has extended its resident 500-peso two-for-one weekend special for an indefinite period with the exception of the golf cart, which will be paid separately… Drive carefully on Playa overpasses as cracks and potholes have been found in the structure’s connecting joints, particularly from 70 Avenue to Constituentes Avenue heading south… The first auto death of 2015, meanwhile, was recorded Sunday at the bottom of an overpass in Playa del Carmen when a pedestrian tried to cross Highway 307 as cars were speeding by and was struck by several autos… Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, accompanied by family and Secret Service, toured the island of Cozumel last week, visiting various ruins…­More than 20,000 tourists jammed Playa del Carmen’s waterfront and 5th Avenue to celebrate the New Year and Puerto Aventuras’ Dolphin Walk restaurants were also experiencing a busy start to the New Year… Tulum-Playa del Carmen travel reached a high of 16,000 collectivo passengers in the first two days of 2015 along Highway 307, causing long lines and challenging the capacity of the 150 vans working that route… A kilo of tortillas could increase in price to 18 pesos, reports the tortilla association in Tulum. Spokesman for the group said gas hikes and increases in other production costs total 15.50 pesos, meaning that the bakers profit by an unsustainable 50 cents per kilo for the staple food… The consumer protection agency district office in Playa del Carmen reports that cell phone services topped the list of 483 complaints handled by the office in 2014, with the electric service of CFE coming in second… Presidents Pina Nieto and Obama are having talks in Washington this week on a variety of subjects including the “Missing 43” students from Iguala and the new U.S.-Cuba relationship…

 

The Mail Bag…

Golf cart missing

Dear Editor:

My electric golf cart is missing. Could you put something in the next Pelican Free Press? I would appreciate it. The Playa Paradise people told me that it has been missing for about 10-15 days.

The last time any of them saw it, it was located in the parking area of the old complex that is at the end of Bahia Chemuyil by the highway. They have reported it to the Colonos security. The cart number is 229. If anyone finds it, they are to call Mario who works for Playa Paradise. His cell number is 984-157-5999.

Thanks.

Signed/Andy Pittman

Discounts for residents

Dear Editor:

We went to the Colonos office to request one more new resident identification card (if you didn’t get one for each of you from your condo administrator, then you have to go to Colonos and ask to be added to a list).  It will take about a year to get it.  Yes, a year.  Colonos has no issuing power for the cards, it is actually done by another PA entity, (the Fideicomiso). We asked for a list of the places in PA that give discounts and they gave us the list.  Here it is:
1.  Jessie Gelato, 10%; 2. Dive Aventuras , 20%; 3, Aventuras Gelato, 20% ;  4.  Xpa spa, 20%; 5.  Mi Kfe , 20% ; 6, Golf and Racquet Club, 20%; 7.  Marina, PA, 20%; 8.  The Pub Restaurant , 15%; 9.  Latitude 20, 10%; 10.  Arte Mexicano ,20%; 11.  El Calendario Azteca, 20%; 12.  Emergency 911 Pharmacy , 20%; 13.  Boutique Fantasy, 20%; 14.  Dolphin Discovery, 20%; 15.  Hotel Omni (but no amount of discount is listed).

Signed/ Mary and Bernie Strojny

Commerce Corner…

China ships 32-room hotel

to Tulum for PA biz couple

Deal made using internet, Alibaba

By Staff

   You may have heard of Alibaba.com via its recent trend-setting public offering. It is China’s answer to U.S. giant internet retailer Amazon, but it’s on steroids judging from its reach right into the home of a Puerto Aventuras couple.

Felix Jaber, a contractor/developer and his wife, Georgina Lara, independent real estate agent of Puerto Aventuras, parlayed the internet connection into an unusual 32-room hotel on the edge of Tulum. The Hotel Gaia opened for business just prior to the holidays and, like the rest of Tulum, had an auspicious start with high occupancy over the holidays.

What’s uncommon about the 2-story structure on a neatly landscaped lot, ample parking and 25-meter lap pool off Highway 307 just 1.5 kilometers south of the heart of Tulum, is that it is a traveling minimalist’s dream.

The rooms are roughly 8- by 20-foot containers of steel and polyethylene walls pre-fitted then bolted together on-site somewhat like Legos. The rooms were placed on a solid cement-steel mesh slab one by one using a crane. They contain bed, WiFi, mini-split air conditioning, open storage for baggage and clothing and bathroom with shower and screened, slide window.

The ground units were loosely bolted together, anchored in the cement and the second story rooms placed on top of them in similar fashion, then all the bolts were tightened for a secure, stable structure.

Jaber said utilities were then run into the rooms of which one is used as the office and the other a cafeteria offering 24/7 TV, coffee and baked goods. The lot is so designed that guests with a car can park in front of their door.

“Tulum is very popular with the hipsters who like to hike and back-pack along the beach and enjoy that kind of ambiance.” Jaber said. The Hotel Gaia offers the adventurous and active tourist who doesn’t want to sit around a hotel room all day, a place to sleep, to shower, have WiFi, continental breakfast and be on their way, the couple said.

Jaber said as China moves many of its farm people into the cities for employment, this type of pre-fabricated construction is being used to house them. He said different types of walls and unit sizes are available to handle different types of weather. The couple built and opened Akalan Apartments, six 2-bed, 2-bath rental units of customary construction in Tulum last March.

In photos below are the reception room with TV open 24/7 (left photo,), the 25-meter lap pool (top right) and view of the hotel during  recent grand opening.

 

 

Nature Watch…

PA, Riviera Maya, not only

beaches ravaged by nature

By Staff

It isn’t unusual for visitors and snowbirds in Puerto Aventuras to lament the shrinking beachfront in Fatima Bay,or of hotels in Playa del Carmen taking questionable environmental steps to preserve what sandy beach they have left.

If patience is a virtue, then the more virtuous residents and snowbirds of Puerto Aventuras accept the fact that nature is two-faced. It designs breathtaking seashores with incomparable artistry on the one hand, and then in fits of rage, destroys the beauty of its own creations.

Here on the Riviera Maya, ample beachfront that attracts worldwide tourism means much more than a suntan and a refreshing pelagic breeze. It means jobs for the indigenous population, profits for foreign and domestic entrepreneurs and investors and economic growth for the entire area.

While in the pursuit of progress, humans contribute to some of the desecration of what nature has sculpted.  Some of the outfall it generates is a great expectation that the responsible humans will rectify it magically.

That’s the beachfront situation up and down the Atlantic coast in both hemispheres where erosion has become a fact of life. Fixing it permanently is a formidable if not impossible task.

Residents of Puerto Aventuras await the “big fix” of Fatima Bay where sand has shifted away to a point of considerable concern but not to a degree that the beach is unusable.

Beachgoers and bathers with a balanced attitude toward Mother Nature find enough of her bounty in Fatima Bay to satisfy a pleasant, roomy day at the beach. That said, the powers that be explain that a planned replenishment project is currently in limbo awaiting the government bureaucracy to issue the necessary permits.

Residents can still pack blankets and chairs, lunches and lotions and enjoy the nearly medicinal Caribbean water of the bay beaches and be contented they don’t own a house on the Atlantic shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Why? Read reporter Patrick Cassidy’s 2014 summary below in the Cape Cod Times.

 

“More of the Cape’s sand slipped away in 2014. There were no super storms or hurricanes, but the pounding of nor’easters continued to take a toll on the Cape’s fragile coastline.

Dunes at Town Neck Beach in Sandwich continued to fade, threatening a nearby salt marsh and the town’s historic village. Meanwhile, the town continued to push the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has control of the Cape Cod Canal, to take responsibility for jetties that starve the beach of sand to replenish those dunes.

Private homeowners in Sandwich ended the year having contractors install a costly envelope system, essentially sand packed into coconut fiber mats, to slow erosion in front of their homes.

On Nantucket, private homeowners in Siasconset and the town teamed up to use Geotubes, a system that is widely banned by conservation commissions because it incorporates rock that can exacerbate erosion.

On Martha’s Vineyard, an effort is afoot to save Gay Head Light from tumbling off the scenic cliffs.

In Barnstable, the town ended 2014 spending $90,000 to rebuild a dune to help protect the parking lot at its popular Sandy Neck Beach.

And on the Outer Cape, both Brewster and Chatham continued to feel the effects of nature’s wrath. In Chatham, two more cottages on North Beach were razed and Brewster received a $155,000 state grant it is using to remove an asphalt parking area, restore dune habitat using sand, native vegetation and fencing, and relocate 30 parking spaces.”

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