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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of August 25, 2014



Beginning in December 2002, Insider was proudly the first website to provide readers the Cozumel News in English.

Articles are slected from local newspapers which we feel will be of interest to our diverse audience. These articles are then translated into English. We cannot always investigate the veracity of a particular article but offer these translations as a reflection of the Cozumel community news just as reporters write it for Por Esto, Diario de Quintana Roo, Novedades and El Seminario and many other sources.

We appreciate hearing from our readers and welcome your questions, suggestions and comments. Please send them to: questions@cozumelinsider.com

Note: All translated articles are the property of Cozumel Insider and cannot be used, displayed or reproduced without express written permission from Cozumel Insider.


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EDITOR's NOTE: Tourism is a large part of the economic engine that runs ALL of Mexico so it’s normal for everyone to try to protect that engine at all costs. But given the fact that over 83,541 people (a/o 12/31/11 per El Diario report of 08/04/12) were killed in this country, 30,000 are missing and 20,000 children were orphaned while Calderon was in office (20006 - 20012) and fighting the drug cartels, it is simply imprudent to bury one’s head in the sand and keep expecting travelers to believe the “it’s safe” story about Mexico. The Pina Nieto administration has not changed course concerning the cartels but instead modified its approach concerning the reporting of such government activities. Little information is available now via official channels other than statistics with regard to criminal activity within Mexico

Some of the news related items shared here attempt to illustrate common themes which I think are extremely important for part time islanders or travelers to understand now:

1) These are not the sleepy fishing villages of days gone by - Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel tout themselves as "world class" tourism destinations with over 3 million visitors each annually and as such will attract their proportionate amounts of crime.

2) There IS rising crime in these areas (so be ALERT and AWARE of your surroundings) yet the majority of crime goes unreported so there is no real way to have confidence in the few statistics that are released for this area.

3) Local/state police/judges, are for the most part, corrupt and usually complicit with criminal activity so they are not necessarily going to help you…especially if you are a foreigner. These "public servants" are only looking for a way to extort you (REALIZE you are on your OWN if anything should happen).

NEWS Archives:
Cozumel Arrivals: 15 Ships this Week
08/25 - Numbers remain low this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals rise to 15 ships registered to dock for the final week of August 2014. This is 1 more than the number of ships last week and 5 less than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season" beginning. With summer almost over and school beginning, an estimated 45,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ship arrivals leaving an estimated US$ 3.6 million dollars behind in the local economy.

High season for cruise ship arrivals typically runs from November 15 - April 15 each year with the remaining 7 months of the year considered "low season."

Once again this week Puerta Maya pier will be the big economic winner as 9 ships dock at Puerta Maya, 5 will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 1 arrival and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- ship arrivals.

This week begins with 1 ship docking on Monday, 4 on Tuesday, 1 ship Wednesday, 2 on Thursday, 3 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 4 ships in port and Sunday will see -0- ships.

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Cozumel Sees Drastic Reduction in Flight Arrivals
Cozumel saw a drastic reduction of flights last week with only 20 air arrivals in comparison to the previous week that received 42 commercial flights from abroad and Mexico City.

The most critical phase of the off-season in terms of flights arrived suddenly. Tuesday and Wednesday saw only one single arrival each day and Thursday saw only three arrivals. The airport staff said that the months of September and October are those in which the hospitality industry presents lower occupation derived from the low arrival of tourism, and they are predicting that the flights that will be coming to the island will be only 25 to 30% full. Each year, operators of “Airport taxis” look for some other employment during these upcoming two months in order to continue to support their families. November will begin again with the influx of tourism due to Thanksgiving travel and the Ironman event.
Cozumel Needs Handicapped Certifield Beaches
The municipality of Cancun is the most advanced in having certified beaches that have ramps and spaces for people with disabilities, as well as bathrooms, lifeguards etc… Isla Mujeres is seeking to achieve the certification of two beaches stated Alvaro Alberto Magana Galue, city treasurer of Isla Mujeres. While Cozumel, for now, does not have any certified beach.

Magaña Galue was in Cozumel taking part in the session of the Committee of Clean Beaches in Cancun and Riviera Maya, talking about the actions that are carried out for the maintenance of clean beaches and certifications citing that "the municipality of Benito Juarez (Cancun) has at least three, but I am sure that they are almost five beaches with the Blue Flag distinction, which speaks of a high quality in services offered by the beach "such as lifeguards, access for people with disabilities and walkers, rescue services and bathrooms among others. The” Blue Flag” is an international organization that has a very high standard".

For now, Cozumel does not have an accredited Beach, although months ago, Blue Flag people came to the island to inspect San Martín on the East Coast; However, at this point there are no bathrooms or ramps for people with special abilities.
Cozumel Scuba Diving Drops Off for Low Season
Cozumel Scuba Diving services operated at 90% capacity this summer until now with the arrival of visitors from international flights, as well as tourists from the cities of Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cancun and the arrival of cruise ships during the summer holidays. But as the month of September approaches, vacations end and school approaches, it is expected that Cozumel scuba diving business will drop by an average of 50%.
Cancun: Hard Rock Cafe Shut Down
8/23 - Hard Rock Cafe Cancun, which is not part of the Hard Rock International portfolio, and operating illegally as an unauthorized cafe, was closed last night by local authorities. The Hard Rock franchise is currently seeking enforcement of an earlier arbitration award to shut down the Cancun property among others operated by Operdora DB Mexico, S.A. de C.V.

Hard Rock International terminated its franchise relationship with Operadora DB Mexico, S.A. de C.V., Hard Rock Cafe franchisee in Mexico, in 2011 after several years of disputes relating to non-compliance with franchise standards and franchise payment obligations.

In 2001 Robert Earl, owner of the twice bankrupt Planet Hollywood chain, acquired controlling interest in Grupo ECE Mexico, S.A. de C.V., and its subsidiary Operadora DB Mexico, S.A. de C.V.

Operadora DB Mexico, S.A. de C.V. continues to operate several unauthorized Hard Rock Cafe restaurants in Mexico illegally, namely, cafes in Cozumel, Cancun, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, in violation of arbitrations in Mexico and final adjudication by Mexican arbitrators under the oversight of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris.
Cozumel Sand Replacement to Hotels Will Continue
The director of the Federal Maritimoterrestre Zone (Zofemat) Cozumel, David Viana Martinez, who works on the project of sand extraction for hotels in the Island, says efforts to provide sand to hotels requesting it will resume on November 16th. The extraction work is defined by the method and the area extraction which can and has caused delays in delivery. He explained that prior to starting work again a meeting with the Cozumel Hotel Association (AHCOZ) and the mayor, Fredy Martin Marrufo will be held to finalize details and agree on delivery dates of material which will benefit various hotels.

He recalled that the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) granted authorization for the extraction and use of 9 M3 of sand from the dry dunes in the eastern part of the island, however, much less has actually been removed due to respecting sea turtle nesting areas and season.

At the conclusion of the sea turtle conservation program, sand extraction will be reactivated to complete sand delivery to the beach hotels that requested as well as schools and public spaces of the town will benefit from this material.

It should be noted that the president tried to locate the AHCOZ, Beatriz Tinajero Tarriba to know details of the hotels that will benefit from the sand deliveries but was unable to contact her. The manager of the business organization AHCOZ , Isauro Cruz Lara, merely reported that they are waiting for the meeting with City staff and Zofemat to continue receiving the supply of sand at the nine hotels who requested material.
Playa del Carmen: Local Chef Wins Iron Chef Competition
Chef Xavier Pérez Stone, originating in the city of Mexico and who has been living the past 6 years in Playa Del Carmen, won the Iron Chef 2014 competition, which was held at the Canadian Hot and Spicy Festival, Harbourfront Centre.

He said that for this two-day competition, brought mushrooms from the state of Toluca, chapulines from Oaxaca and other specialties from Yucatan. "I am very excited to have won this competition with my Mexican ingredients," he told Notimex Pérez Stone at the end of the competition.

With a puree of figs with apple and spicy mushrooms, crumbs of Mexican chorizo and a raw tomato sauce, Chef Pérez Stone earned him the Taiwanese Chi-Wen Chen in the final which took place facing a jury of international experts. For six years, Pérez Stone has been working at the “Signature Cuisine" restaurant of the hotel Grand Velas, Playa del Carmen, in the State of Quintana Roo. The Hotel recently became a creditor to the five diamonds category for the quality of its food. "We are the only restaurant in a Mexican hotel that has this category", highlighted the gastronomic specialist. The first award of the Iron Chef 2014 consisted of recognition and a check for $ 500 dollars.
Playa Del Carmen Cleans up the Beaches
The municipality of Playa Del Carmen unveiled the results of actions related to the campaign: "International cleaning of coasts and bodies of water 2013 ", via its official Facebook page. The cleaning of the Zofemat brigades collected a total of 14,58 cigarette butts on the beaches of the municipality, of which 4,844 were found in the beaches closest to downtown between the fiscal Pier and Shangri – La beach.

Local residents from Playa Del Carmen, national and foreign tourists were invited to improvise ashtrays to collect the butts with other objects retrieved off the beaches such as plastic bottles bottles, plastic bags and empty cigarette cartons.
Puerta Aventuras: Irreversible Contamination Suffered
On August 22, two small boats sank spilling fuel and engine oil in the quiet waters of the marina of Puerto Aventuras. According to workers in the area, one of the yachts took on rainwater and with bilge pimps they tried to keep it afloat. Apparently one of the boats had been presenting problems staying on the calm waters of the port, according to witnesses, but with the constant and intense rainfall, the vessel flooded inside.

The workers carried out the job of draining the boat all day long only to return the next day to the unpleasant surprise of the sunken boat due to rainfall overnight. It was during the early morning hours when the aforementioned vessel could not keep afloat and sank, taking with it another yacht that was moored. Both ships began to leak fuel and oil used in the engines, which were submerged, creating irreversible pollution.
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NEW August 13, 2014 (Most Recent) Comprehensive Mexico Travel Warning
Because we are continually asked about travel safety in Mexico and Cozumel, INSIDER always maintains the most recent, complete version of the U.S. State Department Mexico Travel Warning HERE on our website for traveler convenience.


The good news continues to be that there are currently no regional security warnings in place that cover Quintana Roo, Cancun, Cozumel or Costa Maya so make vacation plans now to get here for some fun in the sun!



The Mexico Travel Warning dated August 13, 2014 from the Department of State can also be viewed in its entirety on the Department of State website.
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