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Time zone change alert for Feb. 1

 

Eastern time zone takes effect

in Puerto Aventuras on Feb. 1

Moving clocks ahead 1 hour adds evening light

By Staff  

   The state of Quintana Roo, in which Puerto Aventuras is located, will move from the central to the eastern U.S. time zone on Feb. 1. The change in the state’s standard time zone is seen by the tourist industry as a boost to business.

The time zone will not change in the State of Yucatan, something travelers to Merida, Progreso and other points west should keep in mind.

Residents here will be able to set their clocks ahead by one hour before going to bed on Jan. 31 and wake up to the new time zone on Feb. 1. It means Riviera Maya will be ahead of the rest of Mexico by an hour. The move was approved by the federal government.

Quintana Roo contains tourist hot spots like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel. It also is home to unobtrusive ex-pat and snowbird communities like Puerto Aventuras, Paamul and Akumal.

Residents of this area by the Caribbean Sea will set clocks forward one hour for good on Feb. 1, 2015. The time zone switch is expected to enhance the tourism sector by creating longer, brighter evenings.

The “Southeastern Time Zone” as this new Mexican district is called, is the time- equivalent of United States Eastern Standard Time.

This change places Quintana Roo and its many tourist destinations in the same time zone as the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico once the change takes effect on Feb. 1.

The conversion will also improve airline connectivity with various cities in North America, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, but particularly in the teeming U.S., such as Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Miami, Boston and, in Canada, Montreal.

The change is also expected to deliver significant energy savings at the Cancún and Cozumel airports as well. It also means that daylight savings time usually occurring around April will not be observed in the new zone from 2015-2019.

 

Editorial…

 

And what about Cuba?

   The change in the time zone synchronizing Quintana Roo, and thus Puerto Aventuras and the rest of the Riviera Maya, with U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST), arrives at an opportune historical moment.

The apparent goal of the switch has been to grease the major U.S. eastern seaboard tourism markets centered in major population centers like New York, Boston, Providence, Philadelphia, Hartford, Washington D.C., and airline hub Atlanta. The move could also titillate snowbirds in the Montreal area as well.

The recent diplomatic breakthrough between the U.S. and Cuba adds an unexpected ingredient to the Caribbean tourism industry that some Riviera Maya investors feel will exacerbate competition.

The population on the Mexican Caribbean has been exploding along with the tourist industry, morphing sleepy villages into teeming cities like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Prices and taxes on everyday needs from tortillas to gasoline and electricity are rising, thus decreasing the “bargain” perception of the Mayan Riviera particularly for snowbird real estate sales.

Cuba is 93 miles from the Florida Keys, a distance easily covered in four hours by modern fast ferries in which travelers from the freezing north could ferry cars and themselves from Florida to a Cuban destination in the future. Cuba has a land mass of 42,426 square miles, 3,570 miles of coastline, a low population density of its 11.3 million people, topographic diversity of flat plains and mountains and tropical climate similar to the Mayan Riviera. Tempting.

Cuba has already made significant strides in tourism, which has surpassed sugar as the main source of revenue. according to various reports. It attracts an average 3 million-plus tourists annually, mostly from Canada, generating several billions in income.

Business leaders in this area are already debating the long-term fallout from the political détente between the U.S. and Cuba, what it might mean for the island’s future foreign investment and development policies and the impact that will have on the Riviera Maya.

Developing a plan to capture and lock more tourists and home-buying snowbirds from the U.S. eastern seaboard as soon as possible makes sense for the Riviera Maya.

 

 

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 … COLONOS ASSOCIATION board of directors meets on Jan. 28 in the Colonos office…CHAC HAL AL ASSEMBLY convenes Friday, Jan. 30 at the Colonos meeting room… 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…

 

Commerce Corner…

Dental office expands site,

adds endodontist to staff

By Staff  

SMILE) Dental of Puerto Aventuras, located in the Bamboo Mini-Mall on the new marina, has expanded its dental services as well as its office space.

Dr. Enrique Perez announced the addition of Dr. Ines Gaffner, a specialist in endodontics and prosthetics, to the staff. She arrives here after being in practice in her native Spain since graduating from the International University of Catalonia in 2010 with additional masters degrees in her specialties.

Dr. Gaffner’s arrival adds to the comprehensive dental services offered at SMILE) where two more chairs and modern equipment have been added to the facility located in the office’s two floors.

Endodontists perform a variety of dental procedures, the most common being endodontic therapy, more popularly known as “root canal,” the treatment of the infected pulp of a tooth to eliminate the infection and protect the tooth from further contagion. In addition, endodontists perform dental surgery and repair cracked teeth among other procedures for which they are specifically trained. Dr. Gaffner also specializes in prosthetics, the replacement of missing teeth via dental implants and/or removable replacements.

Dr. Gaffner, who speaks some English, is currently studying the English language at daily lessons to become more proficient. She lives in Puerto Aventuras with her husband, an executive with the Catalonia Hotel here.

The office has a comfortable indoor waiting room with wide TV, a gracious bi-lingual receptionist, an outdoor waiting area that provides solitude and a vista of the new marina boating activity, and a colorful children’s waiting room on the second floor with toys. Read more by clicking on the SMILE) logo in the sponsor column at left.

 

Work on Puerto Aventuras airfield

expected to begin in two weeks

By Staff

Quintana Roo State Secretary Gabriel Mendicuti Loria predicted during a visit to Playa del Carmen last week that the new aeropista runway and service facilities in Puerto Aventuras should be completed in about eight months after construction begins in two weeks to replace the airfield in Playa del Carmen.

The new airfield , located west of Highway 307, already has a dirt access road near the Lapis jewelry outlet and just across the southbound highway from the first “retorno” out of Puerto. The road entrance was partially blocked by stones in the last few weeks.

Some environmental groups had earlier complained the airfield will disturb the habitat of endangered species as jungle is cleared for the strip. Also, three companies, although acknowledging the need to move away from the current airport in Playa del Carmen, say their business is expected to drop by 50 percent at the new, out-of-the way site.

Those businesses include Aerosaab, Skydive and Aerotropical. They predict that the 400 monthly flights by 10 planes will drop to 200 at the new site. The final length and width of the new runway is not assured at this time or whether the facility will be upgraded to service small private jets. There has been no mention so far whether the new airport will try to attract a connecting shuttle service to the Cancun Airport.

Currently, agents of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) are investigating the site for any possible anthropological remains before work begins.

 

Poblado residents re-energize

argument for access to sea

  

Residents from the Puerto Aventuras Poblado demonstrated again last week at the Municipal Palace (City Hall) in Playa del Carmen for some form of access to the sea. More than a dozen people led by Tun Orlando Cox made a logical presentation by noting that all Mexicans should have the right to “enjoy the (environmental and natural) wealth of the nation.”

As it now stands, Pobladans have to spend pesos to bus themselves to Playa del Carmen or Akumal because the Puerto Aventuras resort and the private all-inclusive hotels of Barcelo and Hard Rock have not left a single access route to the beach by privatizing all the land leading to it. It was the fourth time the residents demonstrate for beach access at the City Hall.

Similar complaints went out two years ago from some resort homeowners when the only access to the beach in the resort was closed during a busy weekend, denying even property owners ready beach access. That situation has been corrected by a right of way issued to the Colonos for resort property owners. The Colonos is the association representing all property owners inside the resort. It administers surface infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, landscaping common areas and security among other general needs and issues.

 

The Mail Bag…

Writers say foul sewer gas

odor in area ‘disgusting’

Want answers from responsible officials

Dear Editor:

After several weeks of noticing a foul odor of raw sewage mixed with the usual fragrance of wood smoke from the Poblado blowing through my apartment on Punta Matzoma, I have spoken with one of our staff and he has confirmed, with a look of disgust, that this has not been my imagination. He has smelled it, too. His opinion is that the drains need to be purged from time to time, and this makes sense.

We have all experienced for many years the odor of sewage emanating from the P.A. sewage grates; but now it is airborne and in large volume. Our staff person added that it is the same over in Puerto Maya and the P.A. Poblado.

Questions: Does Colonos monitor sewage flows regularly, and, if so, who reports on the findings? With all the additional building over the years, has the sewage treatment plant been expanded? Who makes such decisions? Does Colonos take regular coliform readings at the beaches here, and are those reports available to public authorities and owners? Who is in charge of sewage and water quality in this “private touristic development?” Playacar has had the same problem for many years and now Puerto Aventuras? Thank you very much.

Signed/ Phyllis Boyd

Dear Editor:

Can anyone please address the issue of the air quality in PA for me? We live by the school and have to close our doors and windows as of the last few months, at different times, because of the disgusting sewer gas smell. I know I am not alone in this problem. Others have been issuing a concern. Who is the person to address this problem?

It is very embarrassing to have guests coming with this issue. Thank you

Signed/ Kathy Madrigrano

(Ed. Note: The new private water company H20 of Puerto Aventuras operates the water and sewerage systems. It can be reached at 984-802-9050. The Pelican Free Press welcomes a response from company officials in this matter. Numerous complaints have also emerged about foul odors and discoloration of the beach seawater near the Shangri La hotel beach in Playa del Carmen. Its suspected. but not confirmed, cause is the dumping of sewage from nearby buildings. An investigation is under way.)

 

 

Briefly Noted…

Metrick mile –  The Watchamacallit Magic Bus  driven by the Whodyacallim guy Peter Metrick of latidue 20 Restaurant is ready to provide fee-free rides to folks headed from anywhere in the resort to Latitude 20 Restaurant. Call 984-802-9372 The lack of street signs and simple addresses have drawn complaints on both sides of the highway dividing the Puerto Aventuras resort from the Poblado neighborhoods. A pitch was made for simplified addresses in the resort during the annual Colonos Assembly in December while, in the Poblado, the municipal delegation wants street signs to help visitors and delivery men find where they are going… More beer was spilled and stolen when the driver of a double-trailer truck tipped over into the brush off the highway about 20K south of Tulum. As though to prove people are alike everywhere, locals pulled up in cars and trucks and looted cases of beer from the spoils left by a driver who simply fell asleep after driving his load from Veracruz headed for Playa del Carmen. It’s the second truck headed for that destination to tip over in recent months and be looted, the first one on Highway 307 just outside the Playa city limits last spring, painfully slowing a traffic back-up for the better part of the day… President Pena Nieto announced last week that Mexico’s unemployment rate of 3.76 percent is the lowest in seven years. U.S. unemployment rate meanwhile is currently at about 5.6 percent and 6.6 percent in Canada… Adminstrative employees are on strike at the Autonomous University of Yucatan (Uady) over a wage increase. The union representing some 4,000 employees at all campuses is asking for a 10 percent hike and the university is offering 3.5 percent… The original Marlboro cowboy in the TV ads, Darrell Winfield, a real cowboy and father of six, died at 85 years of age at his Wyoming home last week. Cause of death was not released … More attention to bicycle safety and riders’ needs is being paid by the municipality of Solidaridad, of which Puerto Aventuras is part. There is a move on to issue rules of the road for bikers along with an effort to create more bicycle paths to improve safety and comfort. A growth in the number of people using bikes for daily transport has spotlighted the issue. Puerto Aventuras could use defined bike paths along its older main roads like Puerto Aventuras Boulevard to match the excellent paths in the developing Phase 4… Illiteracy in Soliidaridad has declined by 65 percent, reports the State Institute for Youth and Ault Education, from 7,000 to 2,000 since 2010 as the result of public education opportunities…

 

Nature Watch…

Tourist dies of heart attack

after battling Akumal tide

By Staff  

A 72-year-old U.S. citizen from Boston died of a heart attack upon leaving the water in Akumal Bay last week after an exhausting struggle with a suspected rip tide. That, and nearly a dozen rescues over the holidays in Playa del Carmen waters, is enough to recall our annual warning to swimmers concerning rip tides and how to spot and evade them.

For the uninitiated, a rip current, or simply “rip” is a potent water channel that flows from the shore to the sea through a surf line, sometimes flowing as fast as 8 feet per second. They potentially occur at any beach with breaking waves in the world’s oceans, seas and even large lakes. A rip is formed when wind and waves drive water toward the shore, forcing the water sideways. When wind and waves drive water toward the shore, that water is often forced sideways by the oncoming waves and it streams along the beach in search of an exit.

This results in the rip. It is more often than not narrow and found in trenches between sandbars, under piers or running along jetties.

There is a misguided view that undertow or rips pull victims under water when in fact the current is stronger at the water’s surface, which tends to dampen incoming waves, creating an illusion the water is calm. This may deceive some swimmers and lure them into the swift-moving channel in some cases causing death following exhaustion while fighting the current.

Typically, the strongest part of a rip current is the direct line between the water’s edge and the sandbar opening, but the current will also pull in water from either side of the basin. In this way, a rip current might pull you sideways, parallel to the beach, before it pulls you outward, away from the beach.

Once the receding wave makes its way through the sandbar opening and meets up with water at its own level, its pressure immediately drops. Overall, the water flow pattern has a mushroom shape.

Depending on its severity, you may be able to see a rip current from the beach. Strong rip currents disrupt incoming waves and stir up sand from the ocean floor. When you’re at the beach, keep an eye out for narrow, muddy streaks in the ocean where there aren’t any waves breaking.
If you get caught up in a rip current, it’s crucial that you keep your wits about you. Your first instinct may be to swim against the current, back to shallow waters. In most cases, even if you’re a strong swimmer, this will only wear you out. The current is too strong to fight head-on.

Instead, swim sideways, parallel to the beach. This will get you out of the narrow outward current, so you can swim back in with the waves helping you along. If it’s too hard to swim sideways while you’re being dragged through the water, just wait until the current carries you past the sandbar. The water will be much calmer there, and you can get clear of the rip current before heading back in.

People drown when they thrash about in the water or expend all of their energy swimming. To survive a rip current, or any crisis in the water, you have to keep calm, and you have to conserve your energy. If you don’t think you can swim all the way back to the beach, get past the rip current and tread water. Call for help, signal to people on the beach and, if all else fails, wait for the waves to carry you in.
If you’re on the beach and see somebody else caught in a rip current, call for help from a lifeguard or the police. Don’t immediately dive in and swim out to the person. It’s too risky to swim out there yourself unless you have a raft, boogie board or life preserver with you.
People who are not excellent and strong swimmers must exercise sensible caution when entering water with breaking surf and noticeable undertow, particularly near sandbars, reefs and jetties. A rip current could be lurking nearby. Common sense dictates that people not swim or snorkel alone or venture out in deep water or heavy surf without a life preserver and/or friends nearby.

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