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Monthly Archives: July 2017

August, 2017

Puerto Aventuras area escapes
Brunt of tropical storm Franklin

By Staff
The fringes of tropical storm Franklin rolled through Solidaridad with daylong heavy rains on August 7, leaving behind flooded streets in Playa del Carmen, some overflowing with sewage in outlying neighborhoods, a blanket of sargassum on beaches and the closing of a few waterfront businesses along 5th Avenue.

Puerto Aventuras survived the tempest with nary a scratch. Dra. Carolina Guzman, the community’s house-call doctor, said that to her knowledge there was no damage or flooding of consequence or any reported injuries. She said there was a deposit of sargassum in Fatima Bay that was removed the following day. She said calm and cooler sunshine reappeared on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Electronic technician Alan Witherington of Paamul and Alan’s tech Services, said the beachfront palapas there escaped damage but that some people lost power for a time.

The drenching downpour in Playa also shut down ferries and marine activities for several days, caused a modest dip in hotel stays, swamped roads from Punta Allen up to Playa del Carmen and disturbed or destroyed an unknown number of turtle nests along the coast.

On the bright side, no fatalities or major damage was reported and maritime losses, that is, boats providing tourism services, had been secured two days prior to the storm, limiting the risk of damage and losses.

The Riviera Maya is at the half-way mark of the 2017 hurricane season and has thus far escaped major damage from tropical storms and hurricanes. The season began June 1 and ends Nov. 30 as snowbirds begin arriving for the high season.

The Mail Bag

Well-known electrician dies
after several-month illness

Danny Fitts – 1955-2017

Dear Editor:
Daniel J. Fitts, 62, who owned Maya Maintenance Co. in Puerto Aventuras, died on August 10 following a hospital stay and an illness of several months. He lived in Puerto Aventuras for 12 years after moving here from California with his friend Jack Senteney.

He helped so many people in the area with their repair and construction needs here and in Playa and Tulum. So many of his customers became good friends of his.

He was an electronic engineer in California and such an outgoing and personable guy who enjoyed cooking for friends and bringing his cocker spaniels to work with him.

He had been sick since April 2017 and, being uninsured, required help in meeting mounting medical obligations, a need his many friends quickly and quietly filled.

Now more funds are required to pay hospital, funeral and cremation costs.

Here is a link to the fund that was set up in April where a donation can be made. In addition donations can be sent to PayPal, friends/family option, using [email protected].


Click here to support Danny Fitts’ medical expenses organized by Roger Sherman

Signed/ Karen Williams
Mex. Cell: 984-745-6961

Air Park project takes off
west of 307 and PA resort 

AIR PARKS RANGE from a modest house over a hangar, top left, to ultra-exclusive living, top right, like actor John Travolta’s digs at the Jumbolair Park in Ocala, Florida. Bottom photo is a large Gulfstream personal/corporate  jet that can be accommodated by the planned runway facility here.

 Good neighbor policy pledged  

By Staff
Work has begun in Puerto Aventuras on what is a literally “high-end” ecology-minded air park and tourist resort.

The vision sits on a nearly 1,400-acre site west of Highway 307. The site’s perimeter is nearly nine miles. The plan calls for first stage lots to be sold for construction of 265 villas and 160 condos spreading from the gateway road at Highway 307 to the air park entrance.

The first stage precedes construction of 463 luxury villas with hangars and assorted upscale amenities that will spread out from a 5,905-foot long runway capable of landing most corporate jets and personal propeller driven aircraft.

The gated and guarded air park development is called the “Taema Airpark Private Club” and is the first development of its type in Mexico to rely on sustainable energy and to “go green.”

RUNWAYS AND SOLAR PANEL ARRAYS work well together at the Barnstable Airport on Cape Cod. MA, where 24,600 solar panels in background parallel the runway and provide sustainable energy. (Staff Photo)

Initial lots to be sold

Jean-Damien de Terwangne, developement company CEO, said the access road entrance is on the west side of Highway 307, about a half mile south of the Puerto Aventuras pedestrian bridge. It is across the highway from the PA resort community’s Phase 4.

He described the Etos investment company as the prime shareholder of Terra Nova Puerto Aventuras S.A.,  which Terwangne heads.That company is owner of record of the lands, licenses and permits. “Taema,” he said, means “arriving at destination” in the Tahitian language.

Initial lots for villas are located closer to the highway and along the  roughly 1.5-mile main road to the high-end airport park entrance area and exclusive air club villas and amenities.

Site preparation is under way in Phase 1 with so-called  Hacienda and Aldea (village) neighborhoods. Phase 2 includes the airstrip, the VIP villas with garage/hangars for aircraft, a hotel, spa, indoor golf and clubhouse. Development of the air park infrastructure is expected to be completed by March 2019, Terwangne said.

He noted that first-stage lot owners  can choose their own contractors or use the development contractor. Air park villas will be built by the developer along with the hangars and amenities.

Two runways in town?

THE FLIGHT DECK – Modern technology guides the way.

With this announcement, Puerto Aventuras faces the prospect of having two small general aviation airfields within its borders. Hotel and business associations in bustling Playa del Carmen are pressuring the state and local governments to complete a partially built municipal airstrip on the northwestern end of Puerto Aventuras to replace the deteriorated aerodrome in Playa del Carmen.

A family affair with a private jet, in this case, a roughly $4.5 million light Hondajet.

Meanwhile, the “Taema Airpark Private Club” project envisions its runway as “strictly private” although its use could include limited commercial activities such as emergency Medevac landings, a flying school and sky diving. “After completing Phase 2, we will build a small convenience retail center next to the main entrance on Highway 307,” Terwangne said.

Depending on flight altitudes, aircraft will use either Cancun or Cozumel or sight. He noted that the air club and the Puerto Aventuras resort across the highway are two “completely independent residential complexes,” adding that Taema intends to be a good and respectful neighbor.

Has ecological virtues  

Terwangne underscored Taema’s commitment to go green. He said 85 percent of the land will remain in its current state and serve as the development’s “green lung.” The buildings, roads and airstrip use only 15 percent of the available land, he said.

“We are creating a unique socio-eco environment…that will help protect nature without sacrificing the comfort of our clients.”  In addition, he said, Taema will be Mexico’s first “100 percent sustainable energy project” requiring all properties to generate excess solar-panel power to help supply the national CFE grid with clean energy.

ROAD TO AIR PARK is generally in the area in upper left of photo bisected by Highway 307 and across from the resort’s Phase 4 in middle bottom of photo.

“This category of tourism is new for (Quintana Roo) our state,” Terwangne said. “It is extremely VIP and exclusive and will help support the local economy.”

Luxury villas for high-end clients will  space out from the airstrip  “…to allow our premium residents to be able to arrive in almost any type of private plane directly to their household and park their plane in their garage/hangar.”

Adding to the meaning of “exclusive” are a few figures: A large private jet such as the Gulfstream  G450 can cost from $38 to $43 million and a small version such as the relatively new mini-jet Honda A420 was selling new for around $4.5 million in 2015.

Protest group escorted out
of PA by private security

SECURITY GUARD confronts protesters on the dolphin walk in Centro.

By Staff
There was a minor clash in mid-July between a small group of animal rights protesters and elements of the Puerto Aventuras resort’s private security force.

The protesters, armed with cameras, signs and microphones, used subterfuge to enter the gate by telling guards they were going to a restaurant, noted a report of the incident by Security officers.

Instead, the protesters positioned themselves along the Centro dolphin walk shared with about a dozen restaurants while paying tourists were in the water swimming with the dolphins, a popular tourist attraction.

The protesters shouted slogans through the microphones, posted signs and waved banners. “These animals are not here for our entertainment,” shouted one of the protesters. “They want to live their own lives, not ours,” the protester said. Simultaneously, several dolphins in the background performed high leaps out of the water as part of the show, to the delight of paying guests and other onlookers.

By then, security personnel had arrived and told the protesters to cease and desist because they were trespassing and defacing private property with their posters. At one point a guard seemed to slap a phone or camera out of a resisting protester’s hand, a scene shown in a video supplied to the Pelican.

The event did not rise to the level of a major confrontation and therefore went unreported in the local press. Protesters were escorted to the main gate in their vehicles where conversations and complaints were articulated to municipal police who had been summoned to assist.

Playa parking lot owners
making bid to raise rates

   An organization representing parking lot owners in central Playa del Carmen have petitioned the government to allow rate hikes beginning next year. Current rates are 15 pesos per hour for medium-sized cars and 20 pesos for larger vehicles and vans.

The municipality, meanwhile, says it wants to investigate the possibility of installing parking meters in some sectors of the central city to ease traffic woes and discourage illegal parking that threatens public safety.

Juan Jose Uribe, spokesman for the group, said parking fees have remained stagnant for several years while operational costs have increased, necessitating the need to grow income.

He also mentioned the city’s interest in parking meters, noting that if meters are going to reduce business for the private lots, all the more need for a modest rate increase. Uribe spoke for the 10 lots located in Playa’s central sector that have a combined total of some 1000 parking slots.

Poblado residents express
over street gangs

Residents of Puerto Aventuras villages west of Highway 307 are complaining about the rise of hoodlum groups roaming the streets at night, sometimes accosting workers returning from their labors in the hospitality industry. The situation has not affected the gated resort with its  private security force.

The poblado… quiet days and worrisome nights? (Staff File Photo)

The local press in early July relayed the story of one father who reported seeing incidents of assault by gangs on workers and stealing items like cell phones and money from them with relative impunity.

Residents reportedly complain about beatings and other illegal activity while the police allegedly flirt with young girls, take too long to respond to calls for help or drive by a gang scene without bothering to investigate the possibility of untoward activity in the making.

The man said that parents were able to send their offspring on errands at night before, but the presence of threatening gangs and questionable police patrols and reactions have undercut that practice.

Is iconic 5th Avenue becoming
drug gang shooting gallery?

Vendor killed in view of tourists

A shootout greeted the first day of July in Playa del Carmen when rival cartel gangs fired upon one another in the “La Vaquita” bar on located on 12th Street near the Playacar entrance in the tourist area. Of three injured seriously, one died at the IMSS hospital, becoming the 29th gang-related death this year in Greater Playa. Several suspects were detained by the police.

Then on July 20, a street vendor purportedly selling bracelets as a cover for dealing drugs, said police, was shot dead on 5th Avenue between 10th and 12th streets in plain view of many tourists strolling the Avenue. The victim was approached by two men, one of whom shot him twice in he chest.

The shooters fled and a crowd gathered as the victim lay face up on the ground. Police and investigators dispersed the crowd and covered the body while awaiting investigators and ambulance. This victim became the 3oth gang-related homicide in Solidaridad this year.

A few days later, in another part of Playa del Carmen west of the highway, two hit men on a motorcycle fired on five men sitting outside a house. One person died, bringing the homicide count to 31 in Solidaridad this year. Two other men were injured and taken to a hospital.

Then on July 25, on 5th Avenue just north of Constituyentes , a lone gunman fired five shots at an 18-year-old drug gang rival in the tourist-congested street, striking him in the thigh and sending tourists fleeing and falling to the ground for protection as the shots rang out, emptying the area day and forcing some businesses to close.

On July 27, a lone gunman knocked on the door of the municipality’s deputy police chief ‘s home. The deputy chief immediately noticed the gun and began a scuffle . Several wild hots were fired but neither the chief nor anyone in his family was injured. The gunman fled when the opportunity presented itself in a gray car and driver waiting outside…

Legitimate businesses in the tourist sector have been expressing a concern to political leaders that frequent violence is damaging the tourist destination’s image.

Police nab suspected hit ‘man’
in Playa before he can shoot

A sicario (hit man) armed with a 9mm pistol loaded with eight rounds was detained in Playa’s “La Cucaracha” lounge in early July by tourist police who said the suspect was evidently there to shoot a rival from another organized-crime gang.

The incident occurred only two days after three men were shot, one fatally, in the nearby “La Vaquita” lounge. Both places are in the center of tourist activity.

The gunman at “La Cucaracha” had just turned 15 years old, the police said.

Riviera Maya’s popularity
with tourists still growing

MORE PEOPLE coming and going along the Mexican Caribbean.

By Staff
Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Cozumel recorded substantial gains in the tourism sector the first six months of 2017, reports airport and auxiliary groups serving the area’s travelers.

The number of passengers coming through the Cancun airport rose 12.1 percent in the first five months of the year and 18.4 percent in June. The passenger count from January to June was 10,789,843 and in June alone, 697,550 passengers, noted reports.

Various hospitality groups also registered near-record hotel occupancy all along the Mexican Caribbean from Cancun to Tulum, while Cozumel noted a healthy number of cruise ship visits and a 2.6 percent passenger increase at the airport there.

The numbers provide evidence that, despite negative publicity over political corruption and drug cartel violence, the region retains its attraction to foreign and domestic visitors and continues to offer investment optimism up and down the coast, say promoters.


The Roundup…

If Only…

…HIGHWAY 307 had legible markers like these on Cape Cod maybe fewer people would die in car accidents along the roadway from Cancun to Tulum. A traffic light too would help avoid fatalities at the Chedraui crossing in Puerto Aventuras. Two fatalities were recorded last month near the crossing and one near the Sirenis Hotel a few miles south of PA. (Staff Photo)

The 307 fatality  occurred between the Grand Sirenis and Grand Palladium hotels July 4 when a driver from Yucatan lost control of his car, crossed the median and collided with a van. The car driver was pronounced dead at the scene and four passengers in the van were triaged by Puerto Aventuras Red Cross EMTs and transported to a hospital for further treatment…

A case of killer bees occurred in the Puerto Aventuras village west of Highway 307  on July 6 when a landscape worker for the delegation was attacked by a  swarm of bees while cleaning a green area near the sports facility in the Puerto Maya section. Witnesses said the worker ran to a nearby bench to sit down, then went into a convulsion and collapsed. He was already without life when first responders arrived from an allergic reaction to bee stings… (See “To Your Health” below).

Play del Carmen has been named the friendliest city in South America by Expedia, the online travel agency. Thirteen other Mexican communities were also on the list of 40, including Puerto Morelos, Xpu-Ha, Cozumel, Akumal and Isla Mujeres in Quintana Roo. The selections and their standings were based on the responses of travelers worldwide…

New garbage trucks! Yippee! – No more black sludge on the streets! That was the reaction of one resort resident when new collection trucks rolled into town last month. Now if only all residents put out their disposables in a timely manner to prevent scavenging critters from tipping over containers and making a mess…

Traffic chaos was reported in downtown Playa del Carmen as the summer high season peaked with too many cars, roadways crammed with trash due to irregular collection and, finally, heavy rains that flooded some main thoroughfares causing 30-minute delays in some cases. The municipal government is studying whether installing parking meters will help alleviate the recurring problem…

A vacationer lost an arm to a crocodile in July near the Hotel LeBlanc and Spa in Cancun’s Hotel Zone when the inebriated the victim was attacked at a nearby cenote at 3:40 a.m. A hotel security guard doing his rounds heard the screams and came to his aid. Red Cross EMTs were first responders and brought the man to a  hospital where doctors could not save his arm…

Two companies propose sargassum control in Playa del Carmen, one by erecting net barriers at sea that unfortunately may trap marine life as well. The other wants to collect the sargassum, treat it biochemically to separate sand and return the sand to the beach. The remaining sargassum has a substance that can be used as a preservative in the food industry, say the proponents…

Still corrupt, but less so – The State of Quintana Roo has moved from 32nd place to 15th in a recent federal report that claims the state is making headway in eliminating corruption from politics and government, announced Gov. Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez. He said the state no longer is in last place in the fight against corruption…

Frida Kahlo

A Frida Kahlo Museum displaying some of her art opened last week at a 5th avenue location next to the Frida Kahlo Restaurant at 8th Street. The museum will reportedly offer discounted entrance tickets to nationals and state residents. Kahlo was celebrated for her work in surrealism, magic realism and self-portraits and was wed to master artist Diego Rivera from 1929-1939, then divorced. She died in 1954 at the age of 47…

Vacationers gave Cape Cod in Massachusetts its best year in history over the July 4 weekend and to top it off, the Riviera Maya in Mexico is expecting about the same results with 95 percent occupancy recorded in the early going of the summer season…

10 Chinese restaurants, two in Chetumal and eight in Cancun, were closed by consumer protection authorities over problems with hygiene. Officials said in some cases early investigation could not determine if some meat used in the dishes possibly came from cats, dogs or other animals not fit for human consumption. There are more than 140 Chinese restaurants in the state…

Canal-front property owners  in Marina II have been discussing with the Fideicomiso/concessionaire of canal waters the  implementation of a new maintenance fee allowed by the government to the concessionaire to maintain/oversee administration of the canal waters…

Check out recycling days for August

Trivial Pursuits coming up at 4 p.m. Sundays, August 13  and 27 at Latitude 20 Restaurant with proceeds going to the poblado Community Center. Owner Jim Stubbs welcomes new players to join in the fun….

Dates of note in August: In Mexico  – None: In the U.S.  -Purple Heart Day, Aug. 7

To your health
Worker death from bee poison
illustrated need to be prepared

 There is a notice in this issue of the Pelican concerning the death of Santos Baltazar, 40. He was attacked by a swarm of bees while cleaning a green area in the poblado and died before help arrived.

The sting, then…

Most stings cause only minor discomfort with short-lived pain and swelling around the sting. Some people. who may or may not know it, are allergic to bee poison and suffer a reaction called “anaphylaxis” which can be fatal without rapid emergency response.

Witnesses told authorities Baltazar escaped the swarm by running to a nearby park bench, but shortly afterwards collapsed in convulsions.

It is possible Baltazar did not know he was allergic to bee stings, otherwise he might have carried a bee sting kit of epinephrine with him. It also appears witnesses did not know what to do short of calling 911. Responders were too late.

…then the epinephrine solution for those who are allergic and less invasive measures for those who are not.

Anaphylaxis symptoms requiring emergency response include swelling of the face, throat and tongue; skin irritation; difficulty breathing; weak but rapid pulse; dizziness and fainting; vomiting, convulsion and loss of consciousness.

John Klug

Bystanders can help by checking the individual’s airways and breathing and begin CPR if necessary; reassure the individual  help is coming; loosen constricting clothing and jewelry in case of swelling; administer epinephrine if the individual has not been able to self-administer but is carrying a bee sting emergency kit; roll the person into the shock position if symptoms of shock are present (this involves rolling the person onto their back and raising their legs 12 inches above their body); keep the individual warm and comfortable.

This and other events like it illustrate the virtue of preparedness in life-threatening medical situations of every stripe, says John Klug of Puerto Aventuras and Denver, a beekeeper himself. Contact him at  [email protected] for information on membership in swift and efficient emergency medical evacuation for travelers and snowbirds on the Yucatan Peninsula. (See the website by clicking on the Medevac logo in the sponsor column.)

The Mail bag…

Writer notifies Marina II dock 
 owners of  fee implementation

Dear Editor:
Canal -front property owners in Marina II have been notified  by letters which were hand delivered to their properties in PA that the Concessionaire of Marina II ,which is a subsidiary of the Fideicomiso (Trust) of Puerto Aventuras ,will implement charges effective 1st June 2017 for the right to moor their craft (boats, jet skis, etc) at their docks.

Any owner of such a property who also owns a craft and is not yet aware of this notification by letter should contact Captain Gerardo Segrove at the Marina Office  by email : marinapuertoaventuras @ hotmail.com  for details.

A Meeting  between the Fideicomiso and some of the affected owners was held at short notice at the Omni Hotel on July  13. Unfortunately, this was poorly attended , it being the low season and many of those affected are absent from PA

Signed/Angelo Mouzouropoulos, canal-front property owner


POINT TAKEN – An iguana finds itself in the midst of a sharp warning to discourage humans from trespassing. (Jim Sammon Photo)

Concern is a cut above

Dear Editor:
I thought you might be interested in this photo.  This is the maintenance yard here on Blvd. Puerto Aventuras. As you can see from the photo they have been cementing broken glass on the top of the wall around the yard.  Wow!

What does that say about the security here in Puerto Aventuras?  The 24/7 security seems to be a concern, even for the maintenance people. It is right along the side of the new entrance to the bike path and dog walk, so it will be noticed by many.  It seems to me this is not the message one would want to express when selling lots for construction, houses or condos to new buyers.

One would not expect to find this kind of drastic security measure here in a gate guarded community like ours.  Sad, don’t you think?  What’s next, razor wire?

Signed/ Dr. James D. Sammon, concerned resident of Puerto Aventuras.

Looking for answers

Dear Editor:
Would it be possible to do an article on what they are doing with the rock they are putting far out in water off the Omni?  I have heard fish habitat as one answer. If that is the case, will they remove the netting? No fish of any size can fit through the mesh.  The other answer has been that it is the next phase of the beach reclamation.  The idea, as I understand it, would be to add sand to the current beach and remove existing breakwaters. Thank you.

Signed/Richard Homme
(Ed. Note: Beach reclamation has been an ongoing, piecemeal endeavor along the Fatima Bay waterfront for quite some time. )    


The rules we live by…or not!

(Page 5 of 22, unedited)

Duties of associates (continued)

  1. The associate members have the obligation to abide by the Association’s Bylaws or in its case, to fulfillment with the payment of penalties for breach of the same;
  2. It is the obligation of every member, in case of transfer of his/her property
    through any legal means to a third party, to also transfer their membership, that is to say, that the new purchaser or owner shall, by the simple fact of buying the property or properties, have the obligation to present his/her application for admission as an associate to the President or the Board of Directors of the Association, or if such to the case request the cancellation of the former member’s Associate Certificate and the issue of a new one. therefore, the associate member has the obligation to instruct the new purchaser or owner (notwithstanding what legal means or form is used for the transfer or assignment of the property) about the articles of incorporation and the Bylaws the new owner and/or associate is then bound by;
  • Every member who is the owner or lawful occupant of one or more properties
    located in the Puerto Aventuras Tourist Development, has the obligation to remain an associate member during all the time they are owners or lawful occupants of the property or properties corresponding them by law.
  1. To attend faithfully all meetings and assemblies of associates as called for;
  2. To serve with loyalty and dedication when elected to office as President or
    Board member, or in any other commission as designated;
  3. To abide by these Bylaws and the resolutions of the assembly of Associates or of the President of the Board of Directors;
  • To pay the ordinary assessments quarterly, in advance;
  • Refrain from carrying out any action which might obstruct the administrative
    activities, harm the reputation or affect the Association’s patrimony;
  1. To keep up the good name of the Association by their example and personal
    behavior; and
  2. To strive for the best friendship, decency, respect and mutual help relationship amongst all existing associates.

ARTICLE 11.- All associate members will have the right to be listed in the Associates’ Registration Book, and to request at any time their Certificate of Associate with its corresponding number, the same as to request copy of the Articles of Incorporation of the Association and its Bylaws.
Similarly, being currant in the payment of their assessments end/or contributions, they will have the most absolute right to demand from the President of the Board of Directors, to provide a precise list in writing of the services rendered by the Association in fulfillment of its corporate goals. (to be continued)


PRODUCTION DEADLINES: The Pelican Free Press encourages and welcomes public announcements of events and activities. The deadline for publication during our weekly high-season schedule is 10 a.m. on Mondays and by the 25th of each month during the summer schedule May-October. Thank you. Disclaimer: The Pelican Free Press is not responsible for content and/or claims made on sponsor web sites, logos or social media links.

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