Been away, haven’t seen you in a while…How’ve you been…
In truth this blog’s writer has been on a bit of hiatus for a week or so due to some of life’s trials and tribulations, regular followers of the blog will note the loss of a dear friend of ours, Carney, in the blog below this, while we’ve been dealing with some other serious issues as well. As the old adage states, when it rains, it pours, and life’s been dealing us quite a soaking lately. However, it has occurred to us via the thoughts of the more intelligent of the sexes, my wife, that we live to write and write to live here, and I had better get back to writing before I start waxing poetically about country songs, old hunting dogs and pick-up trucks. Though, I might send you a sawbuck if you picked up on the song and verse in the blog title.
Well, what about Cancun you say, you came here to read about Cancun, Mexico or some such thing, to ease your mind, dream of Caribbean Beaches and mist about breezy palm trees while drowning in Pina Coladas in the sun drenched land of the Maya, amongst the ancient pyramids of the gods, with pterodactyls aloft overhead, before partying with the moon to the techno buzz of Cancun nights. Well, hell, we’ve got that too, why didn’t you say so… ;-)
Cancun, the Week in Review:
Beach Restoration Project- In Cancun, the local government announced this week that they have awarded the beach restoration project(s) (it also includes beaches on Isla Cozumel and along Playa Del Carmen’s coast) contract to a Mexican based subsidiary of Belgian Company Jan De Nul, Mexicana de Dragados s.a.The project is expected to start on July 15, 2009 providing that it’s environmental impact study is approved and anticipated completion is slated for December 16, 2009. The project will attempt to restore Cancun’s beaches in the area between Punta Nizuc to the Punta Cancun area, and includes a 10 year maintenance program. Some folks may remember that it was the company Jan De Nul that provided the short lived restoration of beaches subsequent to Hurricane Wilma in 2006 before yet another tropical storm season unleashed a series of storms that eroded the 2006 beach replenishment project into history. This time, unlike the last replenishment project when local authorities refused to heed contractor Jan De Nul’s advice regarding maintenance, there’s a ten year beach maintenance plan in place to continually manage beach restoration over the next decade.
Hotel Occupancy- The much watched and anticipated hotel occupancy numbers in Cancun are on the rise in a positive sense, typically inching upward towards respectability for the hotel sector in Cancun and all of Quintana Roo after a devastating sequence events, primarily caused by the worldwide swine flu scare A(H1N1) and continued fallout from publicity over violence stemming from both warring drug cartels and the Mexican Government war on same. The occupancy numbers in Cancun are near 55% for mid June rebounding from a disastrous May period that saw occupancy drop to 20% and force the closure and consolidation of a handful of hotels. While 55% isn’t anything to cheer about (numbers for the same period last year were 81%), most major hotels can at least balance the books when numbers are in the 50-60% range which encourages employment and the return to work of thousands of laid off employees.
Swine Flu - To date there has been 71 confirmed cases of swine flu A(H1N1) in Quintana Roo, Cancun’s home state in Mexico with zero fatalities. Worldwide there’s been at least 35,938 cases confirmed with 163 fatalities in 76 countries. The World Health Organization raised their health warning level to “6″ over the past week indicating the flu had met all requirements for a worldwide pandemic in its spread. The good news thus far is that for most people who will come down with swine flu related illness, the strain is relatively mild in most healthy people and poses only a minor threat at this current evolution of the strain, hopefully, it will continue to remain that way. The WHO has not issued any requests for bans on international travel. The United States leads the world in confirmed cases with at least 17,855 people confirmed to have been infected with swine flu. For the record, the swine flu is reported to be on the down swing in Mexico currently, Mexico reporting a total of 6,241 cases to date since the April outbreak.
Hail to the Chief - The local city government in Cancun appointed a new police chief, retired general Urbano Perez Bañuelos, a no nonsense type loyal to the State and loyal to Mexico, after the February assassination of another former military general, General Mauro Enrique Tello Quinones, by conspiring drug cartels and crooked cops on the local force. The new chief has already started weeding out bad cops on the force and is said to be looking for experienced former military officers and soldiers to bolster his command via new police officer recruitment and to assure protection of the local citizenry. The chief has run an array of military garrisons throughout Mexico in the past and appears committed to turning around the police system in Cancun. In other news, soldiers from the Mexican Federal Government working with local officials in Quintana Roo have been rooting out large numbers of drug cartel members and their leadership via arrest including many involved in the General Quinones murder. There’s many honest men within the Mexican Government and their enforcement agencies that are serious about putting an end to the drug cartels operating in Mexico and they should be applauded for their efforts.
Fire Damages Casa Maya Hotel - A fire originating in the machine room of the Casa Maya Hotel in Cancun forced the evacuation of an estimated 30 guests this past week until brought under control by local firefighters, no injuries were reported.
Cancun on Sale - For those looking to book a Cancun Vacation these days, prices are typically exceptionally good as is airfare due to low occupancy rates in the region. Most major resorts are offering deeply discounted rates in an attempt to bring tourists back to the beach mecca and those savings are being passed along to major retailers and travel agencies. Visitors will also find many local tour operators offering discounted rates for opportunities to visit places like Chichen Itza, Xcaret, Isla Mujeres and Tulum. If your looking for the big bang beach vacation that’s easy on the wallet, there may not be a better time to book.
(Courtesy of Cancun.travel)
We’ll leave you with one of our favorites in the Island Collection, a YouTube video by rodopchanka featuring the music of Enya doing “Caribbean Blue”. This is one of those laid back beautiful songs that echoes the Caribbean video footage attached, enjoy.
Somebody sound the all clear, the fear is gone, with a few sweeps of the pen, foreign communities across the globe are issuing the all clear for Cancun and the rest of Mexico regarding international travel. Today, Canada, still sleepy from a long weekend joined the U.S., the UK, Switzerland, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador and a host of other nations in the removal of the non essential travel warnings and advisories posted regarding Mexico. In an amazing turnabout in the swine flu craze, despite the obvious widespread world outbreak of “novel H1N1″, and the World Health Organization never recommending a non essential international travel warning, the nation states of planet Earth maddeningly issued said warnings and advisories that are now being widely rescinded. We would like to think there was some method behind the madness, other than the typical bureaucratic wag the dog mentality but we’re very hard pressed to do so.
As it is, we’ve some updating to do on Cancun and the rest of Mexican Caribbean and now seems as good a time as any to crank up the week that was and the week ahead. So please read on, follow the bouncing bullets, and we’ll try and get us all up to speed on the week ahead and the week that was. We’ll lead off with the major news updates for both travelers and locals alike;
W.H.O. announces swine flu is now widespread throughout the world and that we are witnessing (not to mention partaking) a likely pandemic level flu outbreak. The good news, thus far, is that for the most part the current mutation of the swine flu is similar in health concerns to what is commonly called the annual flu.
Currently all or parts of over 30 major hotels in Cancun and the rest of Quintana Roo are closed due to lack of business as a result of the swine flu scare.
Marina operators in Puerto Juarez indicate that business is off by as much as 90%.
A previously suspected homicide involving a 53 y/o female of foreign origin (Argentina) who died of drowning near Playa Delphines, is now being handled as a suicide. The woman was an Argentine Ex-Pat who had moved to a friend’s home, to seek employment in the Cancun area, in September of 2008. She had recently lost her job (in Cancun) as an assistant accountant and is reported to have been despondent, reportedly, in the past she had stated she would end her life by walking into the sea. Tragically, this appears to be what has happened, however, the Cancun police are still investigating and are in communication with family members, and the friend she was living with.
Conflicting reports continue as to whether all Cancun bars, restaurants and event areas are operating under 100% occupancy rules. Previously, establishments were required to limit occupancy to between 40 and 50% due to swine flu precautions, and it had been believed that these rules had been vacated but a report from the Quintana Roo Health office appears to indicate an intent for the 50% requirement.
All major tourist venues are open and operational including Maya sites, Eco Parks, Sports Events, Marinas, Public Transportation, Malls, Retail areas and the majority of Cancun downtown and hotel zone Hotels.
Many Cancun Hotels are offering a swine flu free travel program, simply stated, if you come to Cancun, catch the swine flu, must be confirmed, you’ll receive 3 years of free hotel stays at the resort you stayed at. If you don’t get the swine flu, you have a great time and pay the bill at checkout.
Hotel Occupancy in Cancun is 29% as of May 17, 2009 and on the increase since non essential travel warnings have been rescinded internationally.
The Cancun Beach Replenishment and Restoration is tentatively slated for a mid June start-up. Public opposition is anticipated under the guise of environmental reasons from the citizens of Cozumel. Much of the sand to be used for the restoration is slated to be removed from marine sand banks well off the coast of Cozumel that local citizens fear will be damaged permanently, threatening the islands safety during tropical storms and endangering local marine habitat.
Cancun’s “Atlante Iron Colts” along with the local Cancunense are enjoying the major league soccer team’s championship of the CONCACAF after defeating Cruz Azul. As a result of the victory, Atlante will play in the FIFA World Cup at the U.A.E. in December.
The Cancun Airport and Marinas providing transportation to the Islas continue to check, mechanically, for people that have swine flu symptoms via fever testing devices.
La Parilla Restaurant in the downtown is celebrating the annual “mole” culinary fair featuring the cuisine of various regions of Mexico, the event continues through May 31st. (and, no, it’s not that kind of mole)
The Flamingo Plaza continues its classic car exhibition in the hotel zone.
Xcaret Eco-Park will celebrate World Environment Day, June 5, 2009.
Xcaret Eco Park will also be host to the sacred Maya journey from Xcaret to Cozumel and back via canoe on May 21-23. Events, re-enactments and various festivities are being held on both Isla Cozumel, Xcaret and Playa Del Carmen.
Puerto Morelos will host its XX International Fishing Tourney May 29 through June 1st.
The 4th annual marathon international swim from Cancun to Isla Mujeres will take place on May 30,2009.
The controversial proposed development of the Pok Ta Pok Golf Course into luxury condominiums will never get off the ground as per representatives of Fonatur, the public agency that oversees tourism development among other venues.
Reports indicate that Cozumel will lose 73 of the previously scheduled 94 Cruise ships slated to make their port of call in Cozumel between May and June.
If we missed something you think is important, please feel free to pass it along and we’ll add it to the blog for this past week and the week ahead. The mood in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean appears to be on the positive side, especially with the non essential travel warnings lifted from the U.S., UK, Canada and the official announcements of the Cruise Ship operators that Cozumel and Majahual’s ports will once again be scheduled for stops.
The horizon has been defeated by the pirates of the new age….
This one’s a press release of interest from the folks at ReMax Mexico…
New research by RE/MAX Investment
Properties comparing homicide rates in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico
shows that Mexican tourist zones are much safer than those in the
U.S.A. and many tourists are probably safer on vacation in Mexico than
when on vacation or living at home.”
(PRWEB) April 16, 2009 — New homicide rate research released today by Mexican real estate (http://www.investmentpropertiesmexico.com/)
agency, RE/MAX Investment Properties, indicates that major tourist
zones in Mexico are up to 26 times safer than some tourist zones in the
• The Mexican state of Baja California Sur - location of tourist
zones Los Cabos, La Paz and Loreto - has a homicide rate 26 times lower
than Orlando, 18 times lower than Miami, 17 times lower than West Palm
Beach, 12 times lower than Tampa and half that of Honolulu.
• The Mexican state of Quintana Roo - location of tourist zones
Cancun and the Riviera Maya - has a homicide rate 14 times lower than
Orlando, 10 times lower than Miami, 9 times lower than West Palm Beach,
6 times lower than Tampa and lower than that of Honolulu.
The study looks at homicide rates for the first 3 months of 2009 in 15
Mexican states and compares them with the average 3 month homicide
rates for 18 cities in the U.S.A. and 9 cities in Canada in 2007 and
The figures also show that Mexican tourist zones are even safer when
the homicide rate is compared with major cities in the U.S.A. and
Canada, where many tourists to Mexico have their homes.
For example, Baja California Sur has a homicide rate 39 times lower
than Washington D.C., 19 times lower than Houston, 17 times lower than
Dallas, 7 times lower than the city of New York and 3 times lower than
Gary Almedal, Broker at RE/MAX Investment Properties, said, “We knew
Mexico’s tourist areas were safe, but our homicide rate research really
put things in perspective. Many tourists are probably safer on vacation
in Mexico than when on vacation or living at home.”
As President Obama visits Mexico, RE/MAX Investment Properties hopes
that the research will help overcome the recent representation in some
media of Mexico as a violent country all over.
The new study shows most violence in Mexico is restricted to isolated
zones in Chihuahua, Guerrero and U.S. border areas. Mexico’s biggest
tourist areas remain a paradise for vacationers.
Notes to Editors:
• The research used the most recent official government statistics
available for the USA and Canada and recent national newspaper
statistics for Mexico.
• The number of homicides per million population for the 3 months
January to March 2009 in Mexico was compared with the average number of
homicides per million population per 3 months in 2008* in the U.S. and
2007 in Canada. (* Except Washington D.C. where 2007 figures were used
due to unavailability of comparable data for 2008.)
• RE/MAX Investment Properties is an independently owned and
operated real estate agency in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. They
specialize in finding unique investment property opportunities in
• Since the Mexican data relies on newspaper reports it may
underestimate the number of homicides. Even taking this into account,
the Mexican tourist zone homicide rates are still considerably lower
than those in many tourist zone and cities in the USA.
• The study only looked at homicide rates, not other forms of
violent crime, so only represents one measure of safety for any given
• Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law
enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.
• The population statistics for the USA and Canada are for 2007 and
for Mexico for 2005. Differences in the years and changes in population
may have an effect on homicide rates.
Representatives from the State Departments of the United States and United Kingdom recommend Cancun to Visitors in Video Courtesy of Cancun.Travel, the official travel site for the government of Mexico. The videos are in obvious response to the negative, often irresponsible foreign, predominantly U.S., media reports lambasting the country in general over its continuing war with drug cartels. The majority of incidents are occurring along the border with the U.S., and in this case, almost 1400 miles from Cancun, which remains relatively safe as does most of Mexico.
Currently, it’s estimated that over one million Americans already live in Mexico and more are continuing to flock there for a variety of reasons. Millions of others vacation and visit Mexico each year from the U.S alone and do so without fear of harm and safety issues.