Danger's Blog, Cancun Casa,Living on Isla Time
In a Little Cafe on the Other Side of the Border, a Virtual Visitor's Blog on Cancun

July 2009
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Blogging the Cancun News
Filed under: Cancun Casa Blog, Cancun Tourism
Posted by: Dangers @ 10:57 pm

 Here at Cancun Casa, we’ve been held hostage of late by our originating IP Host (a quick ping will track them down). As such, while our readers were able to land at the Little Cafe in cyberspace these past days, we, the owners, were held in secluded isolation from the world of Cancun Casa, maybe that was a good thing, not being able to log on or in to the website for over two days. It appears our IP Host (begins with a “V”) and their provided router decided rather unceremoniously to block Cancun Casa from it’s own internal network. The good news is, the connection issue so mystified their techs that once appropriately challenged to this new and unusual problem, they set forth to resolve it, though we do admit that it was rather odd to at once be able to view the Internet as usual but not be able to access one’s own website, a website hosted entirely on another independent server.

 Ah, the miracles of fiber optics and high speed transmissions.

 In any case, we’ve some catching up to do here and hence we bring you the recent news of Cancun, Mexico in this weeks Blogging the News.

Hotel Occupancy on the Rise:
Bolstered by the National vacation season and strong foreign promotions by the Mexican Government and Local Tourism Industry, advertising hotel discounts and other promotional activity, the Cancun Hotel sector reported occupancies as high as 81% for specific days in the second half of the month of July. Daily reports from the Cancun Hotel Association indicate that despite the significant damage to tourism from widespread adverse publicity from the A(H1N1) virus and border violence, the industry is experiencing a decided rebound compared with previous months. Currently hotel occupancy is still down approximately 9-10% from the same point last year for the month of July but the current increase is welcome news to the local hotel and tourism based industries, especially with the low season of September through November right around the corner.

Missing Tourist Found, Deceased: Local authorities in Cancun have identified the body of missing tourist Julia Howard, missing since June 16, 2009 from the Moon Palace Resort and Hotel. The remains of Julia Howard were identified via personal effects and forensic identification of a medical prosthesis found at a remote tropical mangrove forest location upwards of 3 miles south of where Julia Howard was last seen while staying at the Moon Palace Resort. Family members of Howard’s arrived in Cancun this week to claim the body via the British Consulate and publicly lashed out at local Mexican Authorities who via the Quintana Roo Attorney General blamed the family for being irresponsible and inattentive in allowing Howard to first become lost, wander some 3 miles in the dense tropical jungle, and succumb to natural causes via the local environment. The Howard family for their part believe their 78 year grandmother was abducted, murdered and dumped at the remote location, clearly believing that it was impossible given Howard’s age and condition to walk that far under the severe tropical conditions through a dense, swampy jungle. They are also outraged that the Quintana Roo Attorney General has publicly admonished them. Speculation from both authorities in Cancun and the general public continues as to what may have happened to Julia Howard but to date the scant evidence reported is inconclusive to the mystery of what happened to Julia Howard in Cancun. Reports indicate that the cause of death could not be determined due to the deteriorated remains and that the family plans to have the body cremated.

Beach Restoration Coming to Cancun September 1, 2009:
Based on local reports and news of the much awaited beach restoration project, work will commence on or about September 1st in the Cancun area. The work is expected to establish certain man made breakwaters in strategic locations, remove existing previous breakwaters, including geotubes, and to provide beach sand replenishment. The project will carry with it a long term (10 years) maintenance agreement that establishes a commitment to annual restoration in areas that may be damaged due to future storms and erosion.

(Courtesy of Por Esto/Cancun)

Updated: 08/03/09: The Gran Caribe and Royal Cancun beach is being reported as closed again despite previous news stories to the opposite that announced an agreement between officials and the resort owner. Basically, the new reports indicate that the beach is closed but there’s no one in authority monitoring them and the Hotel management doesn’t have the legal right to allow or not allow their use (in Mexico almost all beaches are considered public domain). So in essence, the beach in front of the two resorts are officially closed but with no one in authority guarding over them, the public has access to the beach, should they desire. Does it make sense? No? But then again nothing really does in this now surreal situation.  Thanks to Noticaribe, Reforma and Novedades for the update. http://www.noticaribe.com.mx/cancun/2009/08/defiende_profepa_clausura_de_playas_es_excesivo_felix.html

However, we’ll all be happy to know that the Gran Caribe and Royal Cancun are still open (the resorts never closed or were they required to), just without officially sanctioned open beaches. http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/08-03-2009/0005070703&EDATE=

Updated: 08/01/09;Gran Caribe Hotel Beach Closure: As per an apparent breaking agreement between PROFEPA and the owner of the Gran Caribe Hotel and the Royal Cancun, the beach has been reopened. The Hotel owner has agreed to start the removal of the illegal jetty as of August 5, 2009 and allow PROFEPA inspectors unrestricted access for monitoring. Mexican Authorities in Cancun have closed off beach access to the Gran Caribe Hotel in Cancun due to illegalities concerning beach replenishment and the construction of a private beach jetty just off shore of the resort. On Thursday, after almost two years of warnings to cease, desist and remove, PROFEPA, the Mexican Environmental Agency swooped down on the Gran Caribe Real Hotel along with military support from the Mexican Navy amid reports of continued beach work going on at the resort’s beach. Local reports indicated that officials requested startled tourists on the beach to leave the area for the formal beach closure and arrested five employees of the hotel performing beach restoration work in violation of the law. The owners of the Gran Caribe Real over the last two years have built a jetty type sea wall off shore and replenished the beach with sand and other materials in an effort to protect the hotel from the sea, particularly sea surges during tropical storms, and to provide an ample beach front for tourists. PROFEPA claims these works were done without proper authority, in detriment to the local environment including the off shore coral reef and with devastating effects to other nearby resorts that were struggling to maintain storm damaged beaches. The irony of the situation is that in the very near future, all beaches in this area will be part of a massive beach restoration plan. Part of the plan requires the removal of the existing man made jetty built by the hotel, of which, the Gran Caribe’s owner(s) have in the past vowed to remove prior to the restoration which of course, hasn’t happened to date. The beach at the Gran Caribe’s adjacent sister hotel, the Royal Cancun, has also been effected. There are recent reports that the Governor of Quintana Roo has protested the closure to Mexican Federal Authorities. Of further note, PROFEPA has been very active recently in moving against illegally constructed buildings and people destroying areas under environmental protection from Tulum to Isla Mujeres.

Swine Flu/ A(H1N1) Update:
As of July 28, 2009, the total reported cases of A(H1N1) in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo, Cancun’s home State, to date is 385 confirmed cases with one related fatality reported as per reports from the Mexican Health Secretary. Mexican Health Officials are pre-emptively increasing supplies and medical equipment to the Yucatan Peninsula States among other areas in an effort, akin to most proactive nations, to be prepared for an expected surge in new cases this coming fall and winter. Of note, the neighboring State of Yucatan has seen an increasing number of cases over the last two months.

Ferry Fare Hike Cancun to Isla Mujeres:
In a controversial move to increase fares with limited or no notice, the ferry boats running between Cancun and Isla Mujeres have increased fares, doubling the previous fare amount for the general public (read tourists). Two of the main companies transporting both tourists and locals alike via ferry between Cancun and Isla Mujeres have raised their prices each way from 35 pesos to 70 pesos for the general public, from 25 pesos to 40 pesos for local citizens, 10 pesos to 15 pesos for students, and from 15 pesos to 25 pesos for the elderly. While the impact will likely be insignificant to most foreign tourists despite the price hike, for the local citizenry, the increases in a struggling economy are substantial, especially for those workers who travel between the ports each day. Currently, major public outcry is occurring over the fare increases and the local government’s are threatening action along with grassroots citizen committees.