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Monthly Archives: July 2015

August 2015

NOTICE: The Pelican Free Press is publishing a few days early this month in preparation for technical improvements affiliated with the installation of the new Windows 10 operating system . Thank you.

Phase 4 beach creation plan

runs into environmental snag

More studies required, says developer

By Staff
In the May issue, the Pelican reported that  a new private, $1.6 million USD protected beach development was planned for the rocky shore of the Puerto Aventuras Phase 4 project between the Barcelo Hotel and the Caleta Chac Hal Al.

Work on the beach project was estimated to begin next month, in September, said PA developer Roman Rivera Torres, and be done by April. But since then, a fly flew into the ointment, and the federal environmental agency, SEMARNAT, has rejected the environmental impact study after seven months of consideration delaying, if not ending, the project.

At question, evidently, is the large man-made reef planned off-shore that Rivera says is “necessary for lowering wave action, detouring sargassum back to the parallel current, and depositing and maintaining new sand in place.”

Delays are nothing new

Rivera, who has become attuned to such delays in the 30-year Puerto Aventuras development, said, “We have not canceled the project. It is only going to take much longer than estimated, with more studies for us to present in evidence.”  He said the big rocks and necessary equipment to construct the reef is still at hand but “I don’t see it happening yet in the next four months. It’s incredible in this day and age that the permitting process may take longer than the construction.”

The delay in permitting also seems to be one of the culprits impeding the planned sand replenishment of the Omni Beach area along with delayed funding from housing construction in Phase 4.

As to the new beach in Phase 4,  Rivera had filed plans for that project in an effort to provide a man-made sandy beach protected by a 376-meter long (411yards) barrier reef for the use of guests of future hotels/condos in that area. While the proposed beach borders the caleta, the private beach will not interfere with the caleta’s use by residents of the general Puerto Aventuras resort community, Rivera said.

The beach is planned to replace the flat stone slabs along the water’s edge adjacent to two hotel lots on the Caribbean shore to attract investment and development to the area. “The construction of beach and protected area provides an incentive for investors to buy and build,” Rivera said. “While permits are in process, we are trying to sell with the commitment of completing the beach project.”

Will use caleta, canal sand

People who use the caleta consistently for swimming and snorkeling have noticed an increase in natural developments that have carpeted the caleta bottom. It has reached the point where, at low tide, water barely reaches the waist of an average-sized person.

Rivera  said some of the sand that will be needed to create the protected hotel beach will be pumped from the caleta and from considerable sand deposits in the area of the south channel. He said there is enough sand in those areas to create the new beach and to replenish the Omni Beach when permits and funding for the Omni project are in hand. Funding for the Omni project will be accumulated from building fees in Phase 4 as homes are built and the fees are collected by the Colonos.

Rivera said, as long rumored, that a Russian investor had placed a down payment on the property but then “disappeared about a year ago. We have a couple of options today for one single hotel. The land allows 590 keys (rooms) and consists of 38,000 m2.” he said.

Akumal Villas – View villa specials, discounts for luxury vacations


Reveler dies in fall from

Puerto Aventuras building

A man among seven revelers who were drinking on the roof of a rooming house on Coconut Street in the Poblado July 23 died  immediately after falling from the roof at about 3 a.m., police reported.

The report noted that remaining revelers had tried to move the body away from the building but became aware of too many witnesses outside the building. Five of the people present were to be made available for arraignment on a charge of murder, noted local press reports. All the revelers were from Chiapas, according to the police.

Poblado residents have complained to authorities in the past about liquor establishments along the newly resurfaced main road enticing drinkers and damaging the image of the community.

Mexlaw – Mexico’s only Canadian law firm is located in Playa

Sargassum scourge continues attack

on area beaches, hurts businesses


Tons upon tons of foul-smelling sargassum is being removed weekly from area beaches by additional work forces and volunteers from such institutions as taxi unions and churches. There is a major effort ongoing to keep beaches clear for tourists, some of whom, according to local reports, have canceled hotel stays to vacation elsewhere.

What everybody hoped was a passing phenomenon, sargassum continues to plague the Mexican Caribbean’s otherwise pristine beaches, causing losses in the tourism industry and calls for scientists and environmentalists to find a way out of the dilemma.

In one rare but scary instance, Paamul Jack, an avid environmental photographer and videographer, videoed a crocodile washing up on the beach in Yan Ten, just north of Paamul, and surfacing amid a wave of sargassum fouling the shore.  (See the video at  https://youtu.be/eIpv1FpMruw ).

PA is using locally collected sargassum to mulch as eventual fertilizer for the community’s gardens. Some area groups are calling for government research on using the kelp to raise pigs and chickens and other positive uses. Lifeguards at area beaches reported an average 20 complaints a day from foreign and domestic beachgoers who said they contracted itching hives after coming into contact with the kelp’s population of fleas, while a few complained about stings from jellyfish floating in the weed…

“This situation on the sargassum is new and, for tourism purposes, something will have to be done because it seems that these invasions will continue and not be a once in a lifetime event,” says PA developer Arq. Roman Rivera Torres.

“Part of the problem is that the authorities do not know how to allow protections against it and the conservationists say it is a natural process and should be left alone, saying that it will be good for our beaches helping to retain sand. That’s a questionable notion, since, when you bury it, it turns into organic matter that later produces limus (slime),” he said.

“Limus (or limo in Spanish) is the very fine talcum or dust from limestone that combines with organic substances from mangroves or sargassum. People from the area call it “sopluc” because of the way it sounds when you sink your foot in it and pull it out. If stirred, the odor is similar to rotten egg, not a good sensation to step in,” Rivera said.

Investment Properties builds dreams on time and on budget


Mosquito spraying program begins


The Colonos has begun rainy-season mosquito spraying between 6 and 9 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday until November. The administration notes it will be using a non-toxic product in pools for better protective results.

In tandem, Colonos officials ask residents to do their part to help control the disease-carrying mosquito population by keeping yards clean and free of any type of container that can harbor standing water where mosquito eggs hatch.

“Help us by not throwing rubbish or garbage into the empty lots of the complex as we recently made a yearly cleaning of those lots. And remember that when you help us, the entire community benefits,” the officials said.

Scientists have recently learned that the same mosquito that carries dengue fever can also carry chikungunya, another disease similar to dengue. Dengue fever is the most common cause of fever in travelers returning from the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and South Central Asia. This disease is spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes and cannot be spread person to person. Severe dengue can be fatal, but with good treatment, less than 1% of patients die from dengue.

Playa’s General Hospital reported in June that area dengue fever cases were down by 50 percent while some possible Chikungunya cases were suspected in the Chetumal area at that time, according to the State Health Department.

Put dengue, chikungunya away

by keeping mosquitoes at bay

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Six dengue fever vaccines are in development, but not yet available. The vaccine that’s furthest in development is a three-dose vaccine for children. The results of a phase III trial were published in July 2014. This study showed that the vaccine appears to be safe, and it prevented dengue infections slightly more than half the time.

Those who had the vaccine but still became infected with dengue had a milder course of the disease than did those who weren’t vaccinated. Although the vaccine is not as effective as doctors would like, it is safe. The company that makes this vaccine hasn’t yet announced any plans to seek approval to market the vaccine.

So for now, if you’re living or traveling in an area where dengue fever is known to be, the best way to avoid dengue fever is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that carry the disease.

If you are living or traveling in tropical areas where dengue fever is common, these tips may help reduce your risk of mosquito bites:

· Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing. It’s particularly important to keep mosquitoes out at night.

· Reschedule outdoor activities. Avoid being outdoors at dawn, dusk and early evening, when more mosquitoes are out.

· Wear protective clothing. When you go into mosquito-infested areas, wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks and shoes.

· Use mosquito repellent. Permethrin can be applied to your clothing, shoes, camping gear and bed netting. You can also buy clothing made with permethrin already in it. For your skin, use a repellent containing at least a 10 percent concentration of DEET.

· Reduce mosquito habitat. The mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus typically live in and around houses, breeding in standing water that can collect in such things as used automobile tires. Reduce the breeding habitat to lower mosquito populations.

Tweak that rainy-season leak – call Definitive Solutions

Briefly Noted…

Oil Painting Lessons at PA’s Information and Arts Center will be offered in a 12-hour course from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning sometime in August. It is open to all ages and levels and directed by Eduardo Stein. Fee is 2,000 pesos and class size is limited. More information available from Gladis del Carmen at 984-802-9047… The PA Library, which morphed into summer hours on July 15 will resume regular daily after school hours on August 24. The library is open only on Wednesdays from 10 to 4 p.m. during the summer break… More prepared foods will be subjected to the 16 percent VAT (sales) tax, officials have announced. They said the addition of more food products, many sold in the area’s convenience stores, is not a tax expansion but a clarification of the existing tax rules…

Cameras needed – The Graphic Design Workshop students in Junior High and High School at Colegio Puerto Aventuras, are looking for digital cameras DSLR as donations or negotiations to purchase. The cameras do not require video. If you can help us, please contact Prof. Guillermo Hernández, head of the workshop at [email protected] ….

Best Police Force – The municipal police force of Solidaridad’s Playa del Carmen was described as “one of the best in the country” by speakers at a business association meeting in Playa del Carmen. Pablo Alcocer Gongora, made the comment at a business meeting of a retail group known as Kanak-Servytur, noting that local police serve the public with “correct and wise” decisions, which is why visitors see Solidaridad as a safe destination.”…  Mexico’s employment rate shot up by 78,435 new jobs in June, the highest monthly increase reported ever since job statistics were inaugurated in 1997…

The pesky sargassum  that has been fouling area beaches and detouring visitors from the shoreline all along the coast has a bright side. It has provided temporary jobs for more than 200 people  hired to clean the kelp from the beaches. Meanwhile, business groups have been meeting to discuss solutions to the continuing invasion threatening the tourism industry… An oddity – Playa officials report that tourists from the U.S. and Europe rent more bikes to tour the city than do domestic visitors, causing a summertime 30 percent drop in rentals… Aventuras gangs? – Police and a social agency say they have counted 98 separate street gangs in Playa del Carmen, a city of some 150,000 residents, but added that about 15 of them are in the town (not the resort) of Puerto Aventuras… Fifteen robberies from various condos have been reported from January through June in the resort. In one cash theft on Puerto Aventuras Boulevard, the thief was identified, returned the money and is now banned from getting through the main gate…

A boa constrictor that was trying to cross Boulevard Playa del Carmen was run over by a truck and injured. But it wasn’t left there to die. Three people using sticks helped the injured snake off the highway. Police took the boa to a vet where it was treated and later released into the wilds… More Asians coming? – Don’t be surprised if more Asians begin appearing on Riviera Maya shores. The tourism industry is promoting a direct flight from China to Havana that includes side trips to the Riviera Maya… A Musical Thanksgiving is in store this year for the Riviera Maya as the annual jazz festival gets under way in Playa del Carmen on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, and continues through the 28th…

Q. Roo’s 3.6% unemployment rate is well below the national average, reports the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, thanks to job-training programs implemented in the state. A national survey ranked Q. Roo. the state in which Puerto Aventuras is located, as being among the states with the greatest contribution to economic activity and second in job creation… The City Theater in Playa del Carmen, under construction for three years, was scheduled to become operational as of late July. The theater has cutting edge sound and lighting fixtures and a 36-meter high stage making it able to render first-class performances for area residents to enjoy…

For what it’s worth , four out of 10 adults in Solidaridad are overweight or obese… Bike lanes are being planned for a stretch of Constitution Avenue in Playa del Carmen, acknowledging  that bicycles are an important aspect of local travel requiring safety measures. PA also created a bike lane on the resurfaced main road in front of the Catalonia Hotel … For the first time,  Air France will begin scheduled service in January from Paris to Mexico City with its 516-passenger A380, the world’s largest passenger plane. Can Cancun be far behind ?… ‘Akumal disagreements  continue to flourish over beach access as major hotel prepares to open its doors Nov. 1 …

Playa’s Red Cross agency is adding to summer beach safety in the Mamitas  area using a small  boat to patrol nearby beaches in support of its safety personnel ashore… Worrisome statistics – The director of the Center for Youth Integration in Playa reports that at least 60 percent of area secondary school children have tried marijuana and that a whopping 90 percent of area 4th graders have experimented with alcohol… Immigration falling – University researchers in Texas and New Hampshire say immigration from Mexico to the U.S., both legal and illegal, has fallen by 50 percent since the peak year of 2003. The drop is attributable to Mexico’s growing economy, they said…

Need a nearby place to store car, boat, furniture? Call Riviera Maya Storage 

Commerce Corner

Q. Roo  pioneers licensing

of state real estate agents

As predicted in a previous story from Mexlaw offices in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo has become a pioneer state in formulating and implementing a licensing procedure for real estate agents.

Following an 80-hour  course of study, 47 agents were first to be certified this summer and many more are expected to be taking the exam required for licensure going into the future. Certified agents will need to complete continuing studies annually to keep their license in force, according to the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals (AMPI).

The goal of giving agents a legal standing is to promote more certainty in real estate transactions and provide force-of-law protection of sellers, buyers and all principals involved in a given transaction.

Individuals operating in real estate transactions without  a license will be subject to monetary penalties. An estimated 1,500 individuals are believed to be working as agents in the state.

Capt. Rick’s for catching the freshest fish around


AT&T investing $3B USD

for expansion in Mexico



U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T will invest $3 billion USD to extend its high-speed, mobile Internet service to 100 million people in Mexico by 2018, the company has announced.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said in statements after meeting in Mexico City that the country’s recent telecommunications reform enabled such investments.

AT&T entered the Mexican mobile service business when it acquired Lusacell and Nextel Mexico for $4.4 billion USD earlier this year. Mexico’s sweeping reforms are aimed at increasing competition in a sector dominated by billionaire Carlos Slim’s America Movil empire.

The presumption is that phone rates will become competitive at some point. For some snowbirds, the hope is that simplified phone plans be developed that take into account the part-time nature of some residents (snowbirds) who are not in the country all year but want to keep their number active.


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New CFE substation meets

area’s growing power needs


The new Riviera Maya Power substation recently began operating at 100%, adding greater capacity in the area to meet higher future demand.

It is worth noting that outages have become much less frequent in Puerto Aventuras, making for a more pleasant and uninterrupted lifestyle.

The new station is responsible for distributing electricity in six municipalities. Although this infrastructure started to operate after a trial period that began last April 26, it began to supply electricity to about 20 area substations in northern Solidaridad about six weeks ago. Benefiting from the expansion are Tulum, Cozumel, Solidaridad (Puerto Aventuras), Benito Juarez, Isla Mujeres and Lazaro Cardenas. The cost of investment was almost one billion pesos, the Federal Commission Electricidad (CFE) said.

This infrastructure has a capacity of 400 000 kilo volts, which makes it the largest capacity in Quintana Roo. It is sited among the Ejido Alfredo B. Bonfil and Puerto Morelos, with its construction ensuring a supply of electricity for the next 15-20 years in the region of continuing growth.

CFE said the launch of Riviera Maya Power may have gone unnoticed to the inhabitants of the region but ensures a vibrant power resource for the area’s predominant tourism industry.

Call Alan’s Tech if your electronics are a wreck

Reason to study Spanish goes

beyond snow-birding in Mexico

By Suzanne Goldenberg,The Guardian, and Stephen Burgen in Barcelona

The U.S. now has more Spanish speakers than Spain – only Mexico has more. The United States is now the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico, according to a new study published by the prestigious Instituto Cervantes.

The report says there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the U.S. plus 11.6 million who are bilingual, mainly the children of Spanish-speaking immigrants, for a total 52.6 million. This puts the US ahead of Colombia (48 million) and Spain (46 million) and second only to Mexico (121 million).

Among the sources cited in the report is the U.S. Census Office which estimates that the U.S. will have 138 million Spanish speakers by 2050, making it the biggest Spanish-speaking nation on Earth, with Spanish the mother tongue of almost a third of its citizens.

By state the highest concentration is in the former Spanish colonies of the south and south-west, with New Mexico top at 47%, followed by California and Texas (both 38%) and Arizona (30%). Some 18% of New Yorkers speak Spanish while only 1.3% of West Virginians do. Perhaps surprisingly, more than 6% of Alaskans are Spanish speakers.

The report – El español, una lengua viva – (Spanish, a living language) estimates that there are 559 million Spanish speakers worldwide, a figure that includes 470 million native speakers and those with some command of the language.

The Instituto Cervantes was established in 1991 to promote the Spanish language abroad and last year had more than 200,000 students registered in its courses. It estimates that 21 million people are currently studying Spanish and here, too, the U.S. leads with 7.8 million learning the language, followed by Brazil and France.

The report adds that two-thirds of Spanish-linked GDP is generated in two areas: North America (US, Canada and Mexico) and the European Union. Between them they account for 78% while Latin America only accounts for 22%. It calculates that altogether Spanish speakers contribute 9.2% of the world’s GDP.

The Index of Human Development ranks Spanish as the second most important language on earth, behind English but ahead of Mandarin. It is also the third most widely used language on the internet, although less than 8% of internet traffic is in Spanish. The report says that Spanish is the second most used language on Twitter in London and New York. It also comes second on Facebook, a long way behind English though well ahead of Portuguese, Facebook’s third language…

(P.S. – Translator and educator Gloria Contreras assembles Spanish classes in the winter season. Reach her at Cel. (52) 984-108-3517 for more information.)

Need a change? Spend a weekend away at Gaia Hotel, Tulum

Nature Watch…

Like an apple, papaya a day

helps keep sickness at bay


What many snowbirds look forward to when returning for a sojourn in Puerto Aventuras and its en

virons, is the abundance of fruit not as readily available in North America. We often see snowbirds ordering a “fruit plate” for breakfast at local restaurants or grocery shoppers loading up on limes, avocados and papaya, the latter Mexico’s answer to “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,”

According to a popular saying in Mexico and Central America, “a papaya a day keeps the doctor in the distance.” Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants , vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes with important health benefits.

Papaya is known for maintaining the digestive system in good condition. That’s due to the enzyme “papain” that is present in the fruit. Medical Center spokesmen at the University of Pittsburgh say papain may be particularly useful for people who do not generate enough pancreatic enzymes, resulting in symptoms of indigestion such as gas, bloating and flatulence.

This fruit also stimulates intestinal mobility to combat constipation because it has a high fiber content and properties of papain. The World Health Organization recommends taking 30 grams of fiber a day to have a good intestinal transit, preventing constipation problems and digestive complications.

Recent research by students at the University of Karachi, India, found that papaya seeds contain high levels of proteolytic enzymes and an alkaloid called carpaine which has proved effective in killing intestinal worms, parasites and amoebas.

Papaya has about 80 mg of vitamin C per 100 weight grams, which is equivalent to the amount in an orange of over 150 grams. Vitamin C dosage recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 90 milligrams for males and 75 for females.

Papaya is a fine source of antioxidants, vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. High levels of these nutrients can help protect our skin from free radicals, molecules that cause oxidation, muscle cell damage and aging. Let’s hear it for Mexico’s breakfast fruit plates peppered with papaya.

The fruit grows on a tree-like plant, is native to central and northern South America and has become naturalized in the Caribbean Islands, Florida and several African countries. It is a popular ingredient in smoothies and salad plates

See the sea. Plan a dive by clicking on Aquanauts


Pelican Free Press Newsletter

For emergency phone numbers, church services, “resident” and “gate” card forms and processes; rules for golf carts and motorcycles, pets, construction by-laws, recycling schedule and other pertinent community information and services, please click on the Puerto Aventuras Colonos icon below. Thank you

PA Colonos Information


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