Paisano Pat's Blog and Island News


All Articles are from Mexican Newspapers and should be taken with mucho Margarita Salt!
posted 6/5/2014
Island Vet doing stuff
It seems that the estimate of stray pets on the island grows with every season. The latest article suggests there are more than 20,000 abandoned cats and dogs roaming the streets of Cozumel. Officials warn that stray animals contribute to serious health issues and say that there is not a real way to control the problem short of animal roundups and that just incurs complaints by animal rights advocates. Sterilization of strays and pets is one of the options available to officials so they and the Humane Society are offering free spay and neutering now through June 8th. More than 300 procedures were done the first day the service was offered, but the 15 veterinaries and 40 student assistants hope to do more than 600 daily. Still only a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of stray animals on Cozumel.

posted 5/31/2014
Ferry Passenger swears that he does not have the flu
We have come across an odd article regarding a new policy for tourists departing Cozumel via the ferry boats. It seems that Port Authority Officials will now require names and address info for travelers taking the ferry to Playa, just in case of an emergency. This is in response to the ferry sinking in Korea some time ago. Officials say that while they don't expect a ferry boat to sink they are just being prepared in case one does. Sign out desks are supposed to be installed in the Cozumel departure area of the ferry pier. The article did not say whether passengers coming to the island from Playa will also be required to give their contact info.

posted 5/27/2014
In a turnabout from the current policy Cozumel Officials have decided that restaurants and bars serving alcohol will no long be able to extend their hours of operation. Restaurants will only be licensed to serve drinks until 1 am and cantinas only until 7 pm. In the past bars and restaurants could apply for, and usually receive, an extension to sell booze for holidays, special events, long weekends or pretty much anything that might be an excuse for a party. The goal of City Officials is to try and reduce the consumption of alcohol by Cozumeleños and in so doing reduce car accidents and domestic violence on the island.

posted 5/7/2014
Benito Juarez Park
The environmental group Sky, Land and Sea (Citymar) has launched a campaign to halt the proposed remodel of Benito Juarez Park on Cozumel. Citymar is concerned about the proposed remodel because no one in the public has seen any of the plans or even knows what the budget is. Citymar would prefer the funds be spent on reforestation, drainage repair and lighting rather than another make over of the park. This sounds like a similar remodel that was proposed in 2010 when the then mayor wanted to rip out the trees and add more concrete to the park.

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posted 5/5/2014
Cozumel shops may close for good
When the new Federal Tax Law went into effect the first of this year there were a lot of predictions of doom and gloom in the island press. Critics of the law said it would result in the end of small Mom and Pop businesses on the island and that may be the case. The latest reports in the press note that some 100 of these neighborhood eateries and shops on the corner have closed for good. All the paperwork involved and the expenses of operating a small business legally are way more then most of these tiny places ever made. Another result of the law is that it is now even harder to start a new business on the island. We will definitely miss some of those colorful and convenient little island shops.

posted 5/1/2014
Ferry Boat from Cozumel to Playa
We always say that things can change fast in Cozumel and this story just confirms that. Two days ago, in a surprise move, one of the ferry companies, Mexico Boats, jacked up prices by 10 percent for people as well as vehicles to and from the mainland. As usual Cozumel's press and social media responded most negatively to this affront. The next day the Governor of the State got involved and apparently pressured the company to NOT raise rates. So the rates have been returned to what they were which still makes the trip the most expensive boat ride in all of Mexico!

posted 4/29/2014
Cozumel's Hard Rock Cafe has been shuttered after 20 years of operation. The managers of the Hard Rock owed more than $250,000 in past due rent and other debt. Court Officials and police seized the property during business hours last Friday and ushered tourists and employee's out the door. They did let employee's take some T-shirts. No word on what the owner of the property's plans are for the old Hard Rock location but reports are that some 50 ex-employees are looking for new jobs.

posted 4/22/2014
Last Friday two American tourists survived a harrowing experience while para-sailing on Cozumel. Reports conflict, but it seems high winds snapped the tow rope and the para-sail, along with it's passengers, flew ashore into a high voltage pole and entangled in the lines. Rescuers cut power to the lines (along with the entire south end of the island) and freed the para-sailors who were taken to hospital for treatment for their injuries. In an interview with the Captain of the Port, Alfonso Rodríguez Loaiza, minimized the accident and said that any water sport can be risky. He added that if the media continued to play up the incident then it could harm the image of the island. In that vein he refused to comment on who owned the boat involved or when it was last inspected for safety.

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posted 4/7/2014
From what we are reading it sounds like Ventanas al Mar, the only hotel on the East Side of the island, is building a swimming pool at the property. Unfortunately the owners of the property failed to get permission from the appropriate governmental agency to build the pool. Since the hotel lies in an environmentally protected zone it is doubtful that they would have been granted permission at all. That may be the reason that most of the construction work has, reportedly, been done at night.

posted 4/2/2014
The Mayor of Cozumel says that things won't change much in Juarez Park, the town square, and the sole purpose of the remodel is to bring life back to the area. He stated that no landscaping would be removed and that the distinctive features of the park would remain the same. The park would just be made more "modern." When asked if the public could make suggestions as to the remodel he said that at this point it would be difficult and costly to change things, but that the public should just trust that all would be well in the park.

Advert for El Cielo
Several creatures of the sea were in the island news last week. In the first article islanders reported finding a "poacher" chopping the tail off a sting ray he had captured on the north shore. The people who discovered this were most upset and violence was threatened. Before matters could get physical the poacher fled the scene. The other sea life concern is that starfish are being handled too much by divers, dive masters and tourists and their numbers are in danger of being greatly reduced. Just taking a starfish out of the water for the few seconds it takes to snap a pic can result in the death of the animal. According to the Cozumel Department of Ecology starfish and sting rays are NOT protected species so there is no penalty or fine for killing, maiming or just taking one home in a sack. The Department of Ecology's philosophy of let your conscience be your guide may not always be the best solution.

posted 3/24/2014
Benito Juarez Park, Cozumel
City Officials are taking some heat regarding plans to overhaul Juarez Park. Word is that the city plans to tear down the gazebo, where bands play every Sunday night, rip up some trees and make the area a vast promenade. By that we assume an open space paved in concrete. The Mayor plans on holding a meeting to address the concerns of Cozumeleños. We agree there needs to be some concern and that some parts of paradise should be left alone.

Soriana grocery store has come up with a novel program to relieve shopper's fears of buying rotten meat and fish. They are now allowing customers to open any and all packages and give them the sniff and touch test. If they pass then the customer can buy the product without concern. If there is some question of taint then they just put the item back on the shelf for someone else to deal with. We hope this program does not catch on with other island grocery stores.

Cozumel Sam's Club
While Soriana does what it will, seemingly with impunity, both Sam's Club and Bodega Aurrera have had their bakery and deli shut down for health violations. The Bodega was selling expired products in the deli while Sam's featured unsanitary conditions in the bakery as well as expired products. Both stores may be fined for their violations.

posted 3/18/2014
Complaints about the popular island grocery store Soriana have surfaced in the press and on Cozumel Facebook pages. Customers have accused the store of selling spoiled food, posting incorrect price labels and having a notable number of cockroaches on the premises. Investigations have also turned up building code violations that have not been corrected. In what is apparently an effort to limit the number of complaints on Facebook Soriana employees are trying to stop shoppers from taking cellphone pictures of questionable products inside the store. As a result many shoppers are taking their business, and their cellphones, to stores where shopping is less of a hassle.

The price for limes has skyrocketed all across Mexico and is running about 50 pesos a kilo on Cozumel. Because of the high price sales of the tasty fruit are down on the island but limes are still in demand. In what is being called the theft of the century a truck containing 600 crates of limes was hi-jacked in route from Tabasco to the town of Cuitláhuac in Veracruz. Thieves took almost all the limes and left the truck.

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posted 3/12/2014
Cozumel beaches rock!
Much has been made of the new Cozumel Information Booth set up, again, in Playa del Carmen. The booth, which sits on the pier where tourists and locals queue up to wait for the ferry to Cozumel, is supposed to be manned by college students. We are reading that on the weekends, when tourist traffic to the island is highest, the booth sits empty with no one to hand out brochures or tout the advantages of a visit to the lovely isla. Officials have been working on solving this issue for several months but so far have had little luck.

posted 3/11/2014
We read an odd report about a stop light falling into the road at the intersection of Ave. 20th and 15th near the Yellow Church. What is odd is that the stop light has been repaired by using a stick and bailing wire to hold it in place until a more permanent solution can be found. We suggest avoiding island stop lights if at all possible.

Who can we believe when one news story states that there will be a stronger police presence on Ave Melgar in town to provide more safety for both tourists and locals. Then the same day another article appears detailing that the real reason more cops will be on Melgar is because of the recent failed robbery attempts at the Diamonds International jewelery stores in both Playa and Cancun. Officials want to prevent any similar incidents so cops will now be stationed near the Cozumel DI locations. Safety is always good.

posted 3/4/2014
Cozumel weenie wagon
It's Fat Tuesday and tonight is the last Carnaval parade on the island. Reports are that it has been a great Carnaval season with hotels at 95 percent occupancy. Food vendors are seeing high sales of the usual faves like churros, marquesitas, and mayo smeared corn. On the other side of the coin, police are reporting that they made 144 arrests over the weekend, most of which involved people consuming too much alcohol and creating a disturbance. The Chief of Police suggested that people coming to the last parade should be sure and lock their casas and chain up their motos to avoid tempting thieves.

posted 2/11/2014
Cozumel Carnaval
Carnaval season is in full swing on Cozumel with all the usual color and pageantry. In our estimation, the best nights to be on the island are those of the big parades up Melgar. The first parade is scheduled for March 1st and the last one is Fat Tuesday. There will be live music in Benito Juarez park and in front of the Palacio those nights too and nobody gets much sleep! You can keep up with all the goings on at the Official Carnaval Website.

posted 2/6/2014
Mexican Tax Reforms have begun to take a toll on Cozumel small businesses. The required costs of complying with the new tax, specifically the hiring of an accountant to do all the paperwork, have proven too much for more than 23 establishments who have closed their doors. The tax increase went into effect January 1 and this closing down of businesses is exactly what was feared by opponents of the tax. Officials say most of the businesses closed were small operations like snack bars and grocery stands frequented by locals, but they all provided a service to the neighborhoods and a small income to the owners. The article also noted that this time last year 77 new businesses had been opened. Compare that to 23 closed so far this year and it does not look good for the Mom's and Pop's of the island.

posted 2/4/2014
Scuba Dive Cozumel
Cozumel Marine Park Officials are reporting a significant reduction in the amount of coral bleaching seen on island reefs. That's good news especially since 2012 was a terrible year for reef bleaching but since then the system has come back very well and now it seems the effects were only temporary.

posted 1/29/2014
It's nice to read good news about good cops in Mexico and one of them is on the Cozumel Police Force. The article reports that José Álvarez Cupul found a bag full of cash and documents while he was walking his beat. He tracked down the woman who dropped it and returned it to her. For his honesty he was honored by the Mayor and his fellow officers at a ceremony Tuesday. José stated that he became a police office so he could help people. We say keep up the good work José!

Cozumel businesses need to have their ducks in a row because the new administration on the island is checking everyone for violations. First we read that Love Cafe had been closed due to liquor violations. Now fines have been levied against Sam's Club and Bodega Aurrerá for the same deal. They were fined 120,000 pesos each. We have heard on the street that it was the past Mayor that allowed the unlicensed booze sales to continue at the stores.

posted 1/22/2014
Good news for tourists visiting Cozumel and staying in hotels. As of January hotels are reporting that they will NOT raise the room tax to reflect the new 5 percent VAT tax increase. In fact throughout the state of QRoo hotels are planning on keeping rates at last years prices and just absorbing the new tax increase.

New Diamonds International store
Construction has reportedly been halted on the new jewelery store being built on the corner of the main square and Melgar. This was the old Plaza Syria T-shirt shoppe, sold and torn down to make way for a new, larger, Diamonds International store. Project developers must reduce the planned height of the building to come into line with the Urban Plan for the city. They also can't move forward with building until they hire a new construction expert endorsed by the Association of Architects and Engineers of Cozumel. The "work suspended banners" that are normally placed on halted construction projects are not present at this time because City Officials didn't want to make the area look junky and off put any tourists.

posted 1/15/2014
Cozumel weddings drop
We have been reading that for some time the number of civil weddings performed on Cozumel have been dropping. The latest reports are that only one in 10 island weddings are civil with the rest being religious or symbolic. Tourists have tired of doing all the blood and paperwork required for a legal wedding in Mexico and indeed even during the ceremony there are so many forms to sign that it seems more like buying a house than getting married. The one island judge who performs the ceremonies says that there are now weeks when he does not perform any weddings at all.

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posted 1/13/2014
We are glad to read that Cozumel Officials are imposing fines on island litter bugs caught in the act. Their latest catch was a building contractor who, over the course of 3 trips, dumped a ton of trash in a vacant lot. He was fined 7650 pesos for littering. His only excuse was that the city dump was closed so he decided that a vacant lot would serve just as well for his garbage.

Also in the line of fire are island jewelery stores, many of which have been accused by tourists of selling fake silver and gems. It is always bad for the image of the island when tourists notice that there is a problem so the Mayor decided to get involved. He commented that, "in Cozumel we are already taking appropriate order to put a stop to this problem and also punish or fine those who engage in this situation." This problem is especially upsetting because many of these shops are along the waterfront and in the city center...the main tourist areas.

posted 1/9/2014
Cozumel Firemen were busy as bees in 2013 with bee control being the number one issue on the island...611 hives were dealt with. Second on the list of responses were false alarms at 207. Also on the list were over a hundred responses to clean spilled fuel off the roads. Firemen also dealt with capturing wild animals and 2013 saw the usual assortment of boas, crocs, racoons, lizards, and even a couple of pigeons. The Firemen did have time to respond to more than 300 actual fires.

Speaking of Crocs, we have come across a warning regarding fake Crocs (the ugly rubber shoe) that are coming across the border from Belize. Doctors are warning that these knock-off Crocs go by the name of Hawaiian sandals. They are made in China and are very cheap but may also cause allergic skin reactions. We always like to know where our Crocs are made before we take them for a test drive.

posted 1/3/2014
Costs for everything go up
We read that lines were long at PEMEX stations with people waiting to fill up with "cheap" gas before rates went up at 12am on January 1st. That was when taxes jumped from 11 percent to 16 percent for just about everything sold in Quintana Roo. A biggy were ferry rates to and from Playa which is already the most expensive boat ride in all Mexico. Apparently there is some confusion among retailers about how much stuff should really cost with the new tax rate. Some shops have changed prices several times in an effort to get them right. Officials think it might not be till February before all the new taxes are actually posted correctly.

posted 12/31/2013
The island press is reporting that in 2014 YELLOW may be the new RED! It seems that in the arcane world of Cozumel lingerie it does matter what color your unmentionables are as you roll into the New Year. Last year red was the color of choice and red means you want love and romance in your life. Yellow or gold means the wearer wants more wealth in their lives. So as 2013 ends more Cozumeleños are looking for mas pesos and yellow under garments may be the top seller for the season.

Cozumel Sunrise
Cozumel police are issuing their annual caution to party goers and sun worshipers who want to greet the first sunrise of 2014. They are planning to post 2 booze check points so they can make sure that drivers going to the East Side Beaches are all obeying traffic regulations and no one is texting, talking on a cellphone, drinking or has any alcohol in their vehicles. Police estimate that 1,000 people will greet the dawn on the East Side of Cozumel.

posted 12/19/2013
Officials in Cozumel's Department of Planning and Business Verification have their eyes on 24 establishments that are selling beer without licenses. Apparently these establishments, located all over town, are very good at not being caught in the act of selling spirits and so inspectors have to bide their time and wait for the right moment to strike. When they do catch the shops in the act then owners could face a fine of up to 25,000 pesos. In an effort to prevent sales at these clandestine boozarias the hours of stores that legally sell beer have been extended but so far that has not seemed to make much difference. We guess the illegal beer business is doing well.

posted 12/17/2013
Cozumel street lights on Melgar
We are not sure why but it seems that every couple of years Cozumel is in need of new street lights...lots of street lights. There are approximately 8000 lights on the island and we understand that currently 2500 need to be replaced, or repaired, asap. The estimated budget for the work is 250,000 pesos and it is hoped that all of these pesos will come from the Feds.

We were surprised to hear from an island amigo that a Cozumel police officer had given him a visual warning to stop talking on his cell phone and start paying attention to his driving...or else! We guess it's true since a recent news article states that police will be going after cell phone talking scofflaws and start fining them for using the phone while driving. There was no mention of how much the fine might be.

The big buzz on the island is that the PAMA jewelery store got stuck with a hot check for the sale of 4 wrist watches. The amount of the check was for more than 500,000 pesos! PAMA officials are looking for a cab driver who left the store with the 4 watches to deliver them to Mexico City for the mystery buyer.

posted 12/12/2013
East Side Scenic Look Out
The wooden scenic overlooks and palapas on the East Side beaches were built in 2010 and have since fallen into disrepair. Grass has blown off almost all of the palapas and the wooden platforms with changing rooms are falling apart. A car even smashed into one of them and that damage has not been repaired either. No one could determine who was responsible for the maintenance of these facilities and so nothing has been done. David Viana Martinez, director of Coastal Planning, has announced that as of January or February funds will be designated to fix up the structures and maybe make some of them more handicap friendly. We like it when stuff on the island gets repaired and is not allowed to fall into ruin.

posted 12/9/2013
Cozumel airplane theme park
The Cozumel public park with the airplane is back in the news and the new Mayor, Fredy Marrufo Martin, says the park will be finished under his watch. The original plan was to have a full size 727-200 airplane loaded with stuff for kids to do. Inside the fully airconditioned plane there was to be a library, computers and work and play space. The plane is there but unfortunately funding dried up and the plane has sat empty and rusting, turning into an eyesore. We hope things are really looking up for the park because, if finished, it sounds like a cool place for kids to hang out. But if all goes to heck then there has been a rumor floated in the press that the park plane was going to be hauled to the ocean and sunk as a new underwater dive site.

In a surprising move City Officials have designated the old coastal road that runs south of the Caleta marina to the El Pres, Money Bar and Fiesta Americana a one way south road. So now all traffic has to continue south to Chankanaab Park before cars can get back to the highway and go back to town. One Way Only signs have been posted but so far they are being routinely ignored by tourists and locals alike. We hear that police will soon be writing tickets to scofflaws.

posted 11/30/2013
Ironman event on Cozumel
Sunday's IronMan event is reportedly a sell out with 2700 athletes from around the world participating. Cozumel restaurants are busy and hotel occupancy is well above the 10-15 percent of recent weeks. City workers trimmed trees, mowed the grass and painted stuff in an effort to put a pretty face on the island. We are hearing from participants that windy, rainy Norte weather may put a damper on the race which is scheduled to begin tomorrow with swimming at 6:40 am at Chankanaab Park. If the water is deemed too rough then that part of the race may be canceled.

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posted 11/18/2013
Direct flights from Miami to Cozumel
Direct flights from Miami to Cozumel are set to begin on Thursday of this week. The American Air flight departs MIA at 11:20 am and arrives at 12:20 pm island time. Officials estimate that the five weekly flights will boost tourism about 10 percent for the winter season. As of press time more than 40 seats were still open on the inaugural flight and a mere $800 (mas o menos) can snag you a round trip ticket.

We read some time ago that the Cozumel Police were going to be using Radar Guns to catch speeders. Now we find out that the six Radar Guns are no longer being used but are locked up in police headquarters. The issue with the guns was that if there was more than one car on the road then the officer using the gun could not determine which car was speeding. So to avoid ticketing the wrong driver the police decided to stop using the Radar Guns. We like that and wish US cops would do the same!

posted 11/13/2013
We are reading that the archeological site of San Gervasio on Cozumel is expanding and adding some "new" ruins that will be open next year. These Mayan ruins, known as "The Ramonal," consist of 3 groups of buildings and were discovered in 1997. Officials at San Gervasio hope to have these new areas open to the public a couple of days a week, but first they need to hire more employees to work in the new area of the park.

A new state of the art hyperbaric chamber has opened on the island. The new chamber is located at Cozumel Medial Center (CMC) and is large enough to handle 14 people at a time. With this addition, there are now 3 chambers on Cozumel.

posted 11/5/2013
High Season has unofficially begun on Cozumel and as usual businesses are looking to the cruise lines to perk things up around town. This week 18 "floating hotels" carrying some 54,000 passengers are expected to visit the island. Friday, November 8th, should be a crazy scene with 5 ships all jockeying for position at one pier or another. Unfortunately several days of heavy rains have put a big damper on cruisers even leaving the boats, but islanders are hoping for a sunny day tomorrow.

posted 10/29/2013
Cozumel rare 2 headed turtle Cozumel's rare albino turtle
On our last visit to the island we were happy to discover that there is now a Turtle Conservation display set up on the East Side. While there is not much there...turtle T-shirts, turtle jewelry...the docent speaks English and is happy to answer questions. There is also a holding tank with baby tortugas waiting for release and those releases are usually daily at a different beach each day. If you are on the island check it out soon before the end of turtle season next month but in case you miss it then here are pics of the 2 headed and albino turtles.

posted 10/28/2013
Cozumel cruisers might just stop coming if taxes go up
We have never thought that Cozumel was an inexpensive place to live, but many things are still a value compared to US prices. However after the first of the year a massive Federal sales tax increase will take effect and prices for almost everything will go up...way the tune of a 45 percent price hike! The island, and all of Q. Roo, are protesting the changes and state officials are calling on federal officials to rescind the tax and even declare Cozumel a Duty Free Zone. One of the biggest fears is that cruise ship passengers will just stop buying stuff on the island since ports in Honduras and even the Caymans are Duty Free and plan to stay that way. This sales tax is already in effect in Mexico City and other parts of the country so unless something drastic occurs it is a pretty sure bet that come January Cozumeleños will be facing their own island sticker shock.

posted 10/22/2013
Playa San Martin, on the East Side of the island, has been named the first beach on Cozumel, and in all of Mexico, to be Smoke and Snuff free. We have read that smokers will be fined but we are not sure who will be handing out the tickets.
On our recent trip to the island we noticed that the new highway on the East Side has been completed. The old road that runs along the water is now strictly for use of bicycles and motos, while the new road is for auto traffic. We were surprised to see that the bike road was packed with taxi cabs that, we assume, were giving tourists a better look at the ocean than the new road offers. The new Mayor has instructed the Chief of Police to be more diligent in ticketing cars using the bike lanes.

posted 9/24/2013
If we are reading this correctly then the director in charge of the construction of the new Diamonds International in the square has resigned from the project as of 2 months ago. Diamonds International wants to build a 3 story shop on the corner where the old T-Shirt shop was on Melgar. The City Urban Plan only allows for a 2 story building. So with the building height in disagreement the guy in charge of the construction, who was endorsed by the Association of Architects and Engineers of Cozumel, left the project. The Urban Plan also states that only 65% of the property can be building and the other 35% has to be green space. While the media is not sure who exactly is in charge of the construction we are pretty sure there will soon be a 3 story building on the square with not a millimeter of green space around it.

Ice cream vendor gets the boot
Apparently this photo created a big buzz on the Cozumel Face Book page when it appeared. We are pretty sure it is a set up but if not then the ice cream vendor is in a great spot to sell his confections and will most likely be there for a long time!

posted 9/20/2013
Cozumel may be getting a casino...or maybe not. It just depends on what day of the week it is. Apparently a new "entertainment center" is being constructed where the old Chevy dealership was on Ave 30. However the word on the street was that this was really going to be a casino with slot machines and gambling. That was denied by knowledge workers at the job site, but then yesterday a truck load of slot machines arrived and when the island media swarmed to take pictures of the one armed banditos they were yelled at by the workers and all of the unloading stopped. Now City Officials have stepped in and halted all work on the non-casino until fines are paid. There is no official report on who the owners of the possible casino are but the last failed casino, Club 21, had some big name investors and it still failed miserably.

posted 9/18/2013
Cozumel resident Carlos Mena Garcia became the first disabled person to circumnavigate the island under his own power in a conventional wheel chair. He made the 68 Km journey in 13 hours and 20 minutes. Carlos said he made his record setting journey to protest the lack of support he has been shown by state and local authorities in regards to the handicapped on the island.

The Cozumel Fire Department had a busy day last week when almost all their services were called into play. Firefighters were just doing their jobs when they had to capture a boa constrictor, remove six swarms of killer bees, clean up spilled oil from a car wreck and cut trees that had the potential to cause havoc in the event of high winds. Just another day in paradise!

It has been raining a lot on Cozumel over the last week and apparently when it rains people like to buy and eat BREAD! The President of the National Chamber of the Baking Industry on the island, Orlando Cahuich Poot, says that sales are up 30 percent over sunny days. Mr Poot adds, "When it's cold or raining, people consume more bread. It's a phenomenon that I always perceive..." When the media toured several island bakeries they only saw the usual demand for baked goods, but bakery managers pointed out that sales are higher later in the day when demand for sweet and savory bread increases. Our take is that rain or shine a fresh loaf is always fine!

posted 9/17/2013
After striking and picketing for nearly 3 weeks Cozumel teachers, and teachers all across Mexico, are supposedly going back to their classrooms today. The strike was a protest over a national education reform bill and even NPR radio failed to say what the real issues were. Cozumel teachers say they had not intended to affect the education of their students and are going to try to make up for all the classroom time lost this semester. Perhaps one of the items on the protest list was the new text books released country wide. Reportedly the books contained so many errors and typos that it was an embarrassment to educators everywhere. Teachers had to correct the texts by hand. There are 235 million elementary text books and all need corrections. One of our fave errors was having the city of Tulum located in the wrong state, the Yucatan, instead of Quintana Roo.

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posted 9/11/2013
Construction has been dragging on the Convention Center remodel and word now is that it might not be ready to host the Iron Man event the first of December, 2013. We have read several articles regarding this project and officials in each report stated that work may be going slow right now but everything is on schedule. Apparently it was not on schedule since it was originally set to open last April. Reasons cited for the delays are foundation problems, weather and the elections. The Convention Center is located at the corner of Calle 17 and Melgar across from the Cozumel Palace.

posted 9/9/2013
As the tourist season slows down on Cozumel and funds get tight then more Cozumeleños turn to the good old Garage Sale as a way to make some extra pesos. The head of the Department of Business and Management Verification on the island says his office is seeing increased numbers of applications for permits to hold a garage sale. Apparently you have to have a permit to hold a sale and you can't sell new clothing still in the box. The article does not say if there is a cost for the permit but it notes that families do have to have some financial difficulties to hold a licensed garage sale.

The press is reporting what sounds like the story line of a true Mexican Telenovela and the Mayor of Cozumel is being featured as the lead character. Just last week his long time girlfriend gave birth to a healthy baby and congratulations were made all around. Then, a few days later, another girl comes forward and claims she has a 3 year old son by the Mayor and that they were having an affair while he was still married in 2010. She said she was only coming forward now so that the Mayor would claim paternity and pay child support. He is denying the child is his but in an odd twist it turns out that the GF with the son has been on the city payroll since the Mayor was elected and really had no job...just collected a 9000 peso check every two weeks. Maybe we can call this a Cozumela Novela.

posted 9/4/2013
Por Esto, one of the Cozumel island newspapers, printed a scathing article about the Mayor of Cozumel and how little his administration has accomplished during his 3 years in office. The Mayor of Cozumel did not like the article and rather than hold a press conference to give his side of things he just sent out city employees to buy up all the copies of Por Esto they could find. We think it was Por Esto's best selling edition this year.

posted 8/28/2013
Cozumel Lionfish
Sounds like a fun time was had by all in the Lionfish Tourney last weekend. More than 1500 of the ravenous beasties were taken from Cozumel waters. The 2 winning teams collected some 550 fish between them. There were even games and learning opportunities for the kids.

We are reading about more financial woes on the island. Now, due to not paying it's bills, the Department of Public Safety only has internet and phone service for about 15 days a month. The Municipal Police have no land line phones available for out going calls and can only receive calls...again for not paying the phone bill. The article goes on to say that it may be a while longer before services are fully restored as the current Administration is looking at celebrating Mexican Independence Day in September and that will cost the better part of 3 million pesos.
posted 8/22/2013
Confusion reigns as the coordinator of the Commission for Protection against Health Risks reports that Laguna Ciega is NOT polluted and there is no presence of sewage in the area. He stated that tests were made over 2 weeks ago and the water is all good. He added that there is No Way that these tests could be faked and the reports are accurate, however monitoring will continue. If this is true than we wonder what all the stink was about in the first place?

The old Warden of the Cozumel Prison, who was fired for throwing parties for prisoners and taking them to the beach, is now serving time in his old jail. He is being kept out of the prison population just in case. Still avowing he is innocent of any wrong doing, he commented that "authorities should be focused on arresting criminals, not innocent people."

posted 8/20/2013
This Sunday Cozumel will host the 5th Great Lionfish Tournament. Entry is free and cash prizes will be awarded for most Lionfish caught by a team as well as the largest Lionfish caught. There are both professional and amateur divisions so everyone can participate and win. Reportedly the Lionfish will be used to make a large ceviche.

Laguna Ciega when it was not polluted
Environmentalists have confirmed that the pollution in the lagoon leading to Passion Island, Laguna Ciega, is caused by feces and not natural plant decay. Cozumel Officials have decided to form a committee to look into the cause of the poop epidemic. The committee's aim is to safe guard the natural heritage of the island and "monitor, conserve, maintain and preserve the lagoon area vital to sustaining the local environment." The newly formed committee has not reported on how it plans to clean up the now polluted lagoon.

posted 8/19/2013
A Cozumel resident, on being awakened by a couple of robbers breaking into his home, grabbed his trusty BB gun and fired a round of pellets at the would be thieves. The scalawags fled the scene but neighbors had called the police when they heard the ruckus. The cops arrived and not finding any bandits to arrest decided to confiscate the BB gun as a safety precaution.

posted 8/14/2013
American Airlines has announced that as of November 21st it will begin almost daily flights from Miami to Cozumel. American had stopped flying this route about 4 years ago when Mexico was suffering from the supposed swine flu epidemic. Cozumel Officials are happy as the 5 flights a week could bring as many as 150 tourists per plane load to the island. It is hoped that the flights will really take place and American Airlines being in bankruptcy won't affect this new route to the States.

posted 8/12/2013
Racoons living on the shores of Laguna Ciega
The latest big stink on the island sounds like a nasty one indeed. We are reading that there is a strange, stinky pollution like material in Laguna Ciega on the North end of the island....the lagoon that crosses over to Passion Island. Fishermen who work in that area think it is a leak from the sewage treatment plant just 2K away. Officials say it is just the usual flotsam and jetsam from the sea rotting in the high heat the island has experienced lately. This lagoon is part of the new natural protected area of flora and fauna and is an environmentally delicate part of Cozumel. The stink has been an issue for over a week and so far an official cause has not been determined.

posted 8/6/2013
Inmates in the Cozumel Prison have filed a petition and even staged a riot in an effort to get their old Warden back. And who can blame them. The old Warden allowed inmates to get out of jail for the day, staged great parties that even family members could attend, and allowed marijuana, cellphones and booze into the jail. One newspaper commented that the old jail was a great place where inmates were happier inside than outside, because they lived better and had more privileges!

On a more positive note, another petition by citizens on Cozumel has resulted in the removal of the new concrete fence that was being built at the west end of the airport on Melgar. On receiving the petition the military commander immediately issued the order to take down the wall. The media hopes that more people will now want to take advantage of the great view available to watch planes land...especially considering that this view was almost lost forever.

We are reading reports that both of the island's propane gas companies have been accused of routinely under-filling propane tanks for customers. One customer was so certain they had been shorted on gas that they bought a scale to make sure and found they had been shorted 10 lbs. When they asked that the company correct the error the gas company gave them their empty tank back and refused to sell them any gas at all...a response that is highly illegal. The propane providers,Tommy Gas and Z Gas, have both been reported to PROFECO for violations but this is one of those issues that will be very hard to prove unless the customer has a scale of their own and be willing to use it.

posted 7/30/2013
Hundreds of people reported what they thought was a plane crash out over the bay between Cozumel and Playa about 10:30 last night. Emergency responders were put on alert but when Cancun air traffic control reported that no planes were missing all was put on hold. Turns out it was a rather large and fiery meteoroid that plunged into the sea. The Delta Aquariids meteor shower is one of the largest of the year, runs through mid August and tonight and tomorrow are the peak nights of activity. Check it out!

Cozumel turtles
The turtles are hatching! The turtles are hatching! Big times on the island as the first 300 baby Tortugas made it to the water last Saturday at Playa San Martin. Turtle eggs take about 51 days to hatch and from now on there should be hatching's on an almost daily basis so watch where you walk on the beach.

posted 7/29/2013
Everyone enjoys a day at the beach with family and friends and there is usually nothing wrong with that...unless the one enjoying the outing is supposed to be locked up in the Cozumel Prison. We are reading that the Warden of the jail arranged for one of his prisoners, and apparently long time buddy, to spend a day in the sun with his family and a cooler of beer. The Warden even arranged for a prison vehicle to drive them to the beach and back to jail when the day was done. After this incident was exposed by the island media the jail suddenly had a new interim Warden and officials are considering filing charges against the old Warden. If found guilty he could be spending some time in his own jail.

posted 7/25/2013
Another "window" is being closed on Cozumel, although this one is NOT a "Window to the Sea" is a window to the airport. The commander of the Military Air Base has decided that, for security, a wall needs to be built at the Melgar end of the airport where the old jets sit on display. This has always been an open field with a chain link fence around it that allowed air plane aficionados to park and watch commercial flights land at the Cozumel International Airport. The air base was built by the United States during World War Two as a defense against Nazi submarines. It has never been attacked but we guess the commander wants to make sure that no attack happens on his watch. Work has already begun on the 8 foot high cinder block wall that will supposedly remain unpainted and unadorned.

posted 7/22/2013
Cozumel ferry
Ferry traffic from the mainland to Cozumel is up....way up for the summer holidays. This past week officials say the usual 2,500 to 3,000 passengers a day riding the ferries jumped to 10,000 a day! Extra boats have been added to keep up with the demand. We find those numbers a bit high but that's what was printed in the paper, so....

Cozumel may be facing a trash crises and we are reading that it could come any day. The city owes around 10 million pesos to the garbage company (PASA) and city officials are trying to find something to pay them with. The city did have some money...16 million for selling a building on the square and all the funds from the citizenry who paid their garbage tax in a timely manner, but officials are not sure what happened to any of those funds. The city wants to give PASA the land and buildings they operate out of to pay the bill, but what will they pay them with next time they are owed pesos? Meanwhile, PASA is rattling it's garbage cans and threatening a trash strike, but as of press time all trash pickups were on schedule and no stoppages had been announced. Hopefully the funds will be found and the Basura Crises of 2013 will be a non-event.

posted 7/16/2013
Cozumel turtle
The Department of Ecology is reporting a record number of turtle nests on Cozumel. As of last week the count was 2,350 nests located on the East Side of the island. That is some 300 more than at this time last year. Way to go Turtles!

posted 7/9/2013
Cozumel palm trees
In what may be a sign of the times, the media is reporting that there has been a huge increase in Cozumel's homeless population. There are now, officially, 23 people living on the streets around town. That amounts to a precise 187.5 percent increase according to one island paper. Officials are concerned with these numbers because the homeless are mostly all located in the city center and that can give tourists a bad impression of the island if they happen to stumble across a wandering vagrant. The article didn't mention any plans to reduce the number of displaced individuals.

posted 7/8/2013
City elections are over and word in the press is that the island was awash in voter apathy. Less than 38 percent of registered voters bothered to go to the polls which was a huge change for the last election when Cozumel had the largest turnout in it's history to vote for the current mayor. Reports also say that the elections went very smoothly but that can be expected when so few people showed up at all.

Cozumel Parking Boot
We have been reading for months that the Parking Meters on Melgar were soon to be a thing of the past. Now the press is reporting that news was all a lie put forth by City Hall to appease the masses. The company who owns the Parking Meters has no intention of leaving and the only way they would pull up meters and split is if the City gave them about 60 million pesos. So the meters will remain for at least 15 years and Cozumeleños and tourists will continue being confused by them, paying fines and having their cars booted for parking a minute of two past the allowed time.

posted 7/3/2013
Cozumel Bay
The survey is in and fully 85 percent of tourists responding said they would recommend Cozumel as a tourist destination to friends and family. The survey was conducted last month by the Department of Tourism and more than 2000 peeps visiting by cruise ship and by plane were polled on what they liked and didn't like about the Island of Swallows. Among cruise ship passengers island services like restaurants and tours only scored between 45 and 57 percent. But 100 percent of those polled said it was well worth getting off the boat to see a little of Cozumel. Tourists who stayed overnight on the island scored services slightly higher at up to 70 percent. In the what Cozumel can do to make things better category the top suggestions were to improve the friendliness and aggressiveness of vendors along Ave. Melgar, clean the beaches and put more trash cans and bathrooms around town.

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posted 6/27/2013
Cozumel Cops riot
With elections coming up on the island we issue our usual warning that no booze will be sold at all from midnight Friday July 5th to midnight on July 7th...well except for cocktails at All Inclusive resorts and restaurants and other touristy places. Buying a bottle of booze will be more problematic though so plan your weekend accordingly. The other warning we have is from Cozumel's Chief of Police who is letting islanders know if there are any shenanigans, such as violent protests on election day, then he is prepared to turn loose 50 Cozumel Cops dressed to the nines in brand new riot gear complete with Kevlar helmets and body shields. Maybe the best advice is to say close to home with a margarita and avoid Cozumel's polling places entirely.

Who owns the damaged lookout tower
When a car load of tourists smashed into one of the scenic lookouts on the East Side of the island and destroyed it little did anyone realize what repercussions that would have. While the rental car agency was reimbursed for damage to the vehicle no one thought to ask the driver to pay to repair the lookout platform. So now who gets to fix it? The platform might have been built by the city but it is located in the Federal Zone and the Legal Department of the City has no record that the City accepted the platform much less built the dang thing. This may be one of the great questions for the ages...Can you really destroy something that was never really built in the first place?

posted 6/5/2013
Cozumel firemen work to open a clogged drain
Cozumel has seen rains of near biblical proportions for the last few days and as usual for a flat island there is too much water and not enough places for it to go. Many of the city drains are clogged with sand and trash and the result is lots of streets have turned into lakes that can overflow into peoples homes...especially when cars and trucks drive through the water and make waves. Cozumeleños living on some of the most flooded streets have taken matters into their own hands and have barricaded the streets to all traffic. The press is reporting that at least 10 streets have been blocked. City officials are urging Cozumeleños to help keep the drains open by NOT throwing trash into the streets ...good advice to follow even on sunny days.

posted 6/4/2013
Cozumel Beer
Health Officials in Quintana Roo are advising tourists and locals to be wary of establishments offering Free Beer. Those Health officials are responsible for checking all establishments that serve alcohol to make sure it has not been watered down or adulterated. Officials say they have not checked out any of those Free Beer bars on Cozumel yet, but might get around to them some day. We assume they are also talking about All Inclusive resorts and beach clubs but, as usual, no names were mentioned. We always like to know where the free beers are flowing!

Prison officials, prisoners and their families are calling it Cozumel's Prison of Love, and reports in the island press certainly make it sound steamy. According to people in the know intimate relationships between guards and prisoners inside the prison of Cozumel are threatening the stability of the prison. At least 3 female guards have boy friends in jail and a couple of them are planning to be married, although no dates were announced. One female guard has received an engagement ring from her prisoner of love. All of these shenanigans are strictly prohibited for obvious reasons and so far, at least, none of the couples involved have eloped.

posted 5/30/2013
Word in the press is that another part of Juarez Park is up for sale. Now on the block is the fountain located just south and next to Palmares Restaurant. This news comes just days after Diamonds International paid 16 million pesos cash for an ocean front t-shirt shop right next to the fountain. The media reported that the fountain had mysteriously fallen into disrepair and perhaps it's pending sale was the reason. Speculation is that a frequently assaulted jewlery store on the island will buy the fountain too but Cozumel officials aren't talking. Cozumel officials also aren't talking about where they are going to spend, or have already spent, the 16 mil in cash.

posted 5/28/2013
The Secretary General of the Artisans Union on Cozumel is complaining that tourists coming to the island are haggling more with merchants and trying to get discounts up to 50 percent on touristy products. He states that tourists know it's the slow season and so they try to press for better deals. The merchants either end up selling a product maybe at a lose or loose the sale entirely. He recalled that 10 years ago merchants obtained a 100 percent profit on everything they sold, but now the situation is completely different. We don't remember ever paying that much for touristy junk sold in Mexican shops but maybe our haggling skills just weren't very good.

We read with sadness that the oldest movie theater on the island will be closing its doors. The Cecilio Borge cinema on Ave Juarez has been showing films since 1980. It has also been the venue of choice for elementary school festivals and plays. While we have never been in the theater it is sort of an island landmark and predated the other Cozumel movie house Cinepolis by decades. Of course when any large establishment closes on the island the immediate rumor that pops up is that a Walmart is planned in that location. That remains to be determined.

posted 5/23/2013
Cozumel Sunset
There seems to be very little news on the island of late, but here it is in a coconut shell. There's the usual drugs being washed ashore. Drugs being burned. Complaints that the season is already much slower than last year. Businesses are going out of this case possibly Pepe's Restaurant on the water. There are now only about 10 cruise ships a week stopping at the island. The Director of Environment and Ecology has issued his annual statement to the public to NOT take dogs to the East Side beaches and DO pick up your trash...all in an effort to protect turtles. We are reading that many Cozumeleños choose to ignore his warnings and still bring the dogs and leave the trash. Political candidates on the island have divided up all the street lights in town and will be hanging their campaign material from them. If the number of lines of copy is any indication of support then the island media seems to have already picked the next Mayor of Cozumel, PRI candidate Fredy Marrufo Martin...for us it's still to early too tell. As usual it is hot on the island so officials warn locals and tourists to drink plenty of fluids.

posted 5/16/2013
We had read that alcohol consumption was an issue on the island but a couple of hombres took that to a new level when they cut through a chain link fence surrounding the Cozumel Jail. Their mission was to heave 2 bottles of booze over the concrete wall and into the prison proper. They were thwarted when two alert prison guards out for a stroll noticed the hole in the fence and investigated. The miscreants were arrested and placed inside the jail to contemplate their own possible future behind bars.

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posted 5/9/2013
Cozumel's Board of Tourism and PROFECO have had 20,000 brochures printed that have maps of the island as well as points of interest in them. The brochures are to help tourists get the most out of their visit to the island. They list the hours the ferry boats run, prices for tickets and much needed info regarding the parking meters. They also list contact info for PROFECO in case a tourist feels he needs to file a complaint about any island incidents. Officials say they will place the brochures in hotels and at the ferry piers. The article did not mention what language they would be in.

Cozumel, as well as all of Quintana Roo, is under a ban against fishing for sharks until June 30th. This is the first ban against catching sharks in all of Mexico and while sharks are not on the endangered species list yet officials want to make sure they do not get over fished. Officially Q. Roo reports over 250 tons of shark caught each year.

posted 5/4/2013
Lots of tourists come to Cozumel for a holiday and find that they enjoy it so much they decide to take a souvenir home with them. Of course when that souvenir turns out to be the car they rented on the island then something is wrong. All they need to do is get the vehicle on the car ferry to the mainland and they have a great memory of their trip. Who can you blame? The car rental agency doesn't tell the tourist that they can't use the car ferry and it's not the job of the ferry operators to look for rental cars leaving the island or the job of the military to watch out for that. They are more worried about guns and drugs then a car load of happy tourists heading off island. Basically there may not be an easy solution for the case of the wandering rent-a-car, but 3 of them have been stolen so far and none of them has been returned.

Spraying for mosquitoes
We have read two bits of good news for the isla. The first is that there have been no complaints to the Cozumel Cops about any pickpockets on the island, so they have declared Cozumel pickpocket free. The second good news item is that there have been significantly fewer cases of Dengue reported in 2013 then last year. Only 12 cases are confirmed so far but authorities still warn citizens to not let down their guard in the battle to eradicate the mosquitoes that carry this disease.

posted 5/2/2013
Island police investigators are deciding whether or not to believe statements made by one of the thieves caught in the Diamonds International robbery on March 12. Gerardo Moreno Pérez, alias "El Chato," says the gang was hired by Diamonds International to commit the crime and that they even had inside help from employees during the robbery. Investigators say that if this is the case than it is very disturbing. DI has not yet been asked to comment on these allegations.

One of our fave island restaurants has been the scene of a couple of robberies this past week...robberies that make you ask if it really might be easier to steal a fish than to catch a fish. In the first robbery at "La Perlita" on Monday thieves took several pounds of fresh shrimp. Two days later the thieves were back, this time trying to lift a 42 inch plasma TV off the wall and carry off a rather large fish. They were caught in the act by the restaurant owner who screamed for help and immediately dialed 911. She was advised that all the cops were all still busy working at the festival at El Cedral and no one could come to her aid for awhile. Her screaming did run off the thieves so she saved both the TV and the fish.

posted 4/30/2013
Cozumel Tortuga
The first turtle nest of the season has been reported on Cozumel at Playa San Martin. With the official start of the nesting season not beginning till May 15th the Director of Ecology thinks this early nest may be a sign that the island will see a record number of tortugas making landfall this year.

Mayair flights
Last weeks incident involving a Mayair flight making an emergency landing and running off the runway at the Cancun airport was thankfully just minor and no one was injured, but it did uncover a can of worms with this commuter airline. It seems the regular plane was having equipment problems and rather then just cancel the flight the company hired a small private plane to make the run instead. That plane had no affiliation with Mayair and was not certified or legally licensed to make a commercial flight at all. There may have been other instances in the past where private planes have been pressed into service by Mayair. We hate to see an airline that had been a safe and affordable travel alternative to Cozumel endanger lives and put a few dollars before the safety of it's passengers.

posted 4/19/2013
The military has been busy this week collecting packages of marijuana and cocaine washed up on East Side beaches. Since Sunday, 60 kilos of drugs in twenty one packages have been found and taken into military custody. Of course we always wonder if they really find all the drugs that wash ashore or does some of it still make it's way into Cozumel's drug underground.

We are now reading that sand meant for Cozumel hotels has stopped flowing from East side beaches. It seems that there was not enough money in the budget to pay the company that owns the dump trucks to complete the job. It is estimated that more than 80 trucks will have to make 400 trips to transport the 770 meters of sand to the hotels. The dump truck union says they will just put the work on "hold" until the funds needed to complete the project can be located.

posted 4/15/2013
Officially there is no problem with people living on Cozumel giving rides to their friends or relatives...well no problem as long as the Taxistas don't decide it is being done behind their backs and money is being made. In an effort to reduce the confusion and stop the Taxi Hombres from hassling innocent cars and drivers a delegate from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (SINTRA) pointed out how to stop the madness. All locals need to do is contact the offices of SINTRA whenever they are going to give a ride to someone they know. Easy as pie! Stopping to pick up friends you see walking through town? Just make sure to call (no phone number given) the SINTRA office before they get in the car. Or if you have an airport run to make just let the folks at SINTRA know and your trip will be hassle free.

Sand has begun to flow from the beaches on the East Side of the island to the hotels on the West. A total of 770 meters of sand is being divided between 8 hotels which means that each property will get about 96 meters of sand...not a whole lot. The Coral Princess was the first property to take delivery of the sand which reportedly is being taken from the beaches by heavy machinery. There is no word on when, or if, more sand will be forthcoming.

posted 4/11/2013
Playa San Martin, the most popular beach on the East Side, has been named the most dangerous beach on Cozumel by the island media. The press says that more drownings have occurred there than any other beach and if it were not for the lifeguards constant vigilance then there would be lots more drownings. In fact 10 bathers were caught in the undertows there over this past Easter Holiday but, fortunately, all were rescued . There is even talk in the press about closing down this popular hang and making it off limits for tourists and locals. We pretty much doubt that is going to happen though since it really is a great beach and peeps love a good beach. There is also talk about making Playa San Martin "Smoke Free." We also doubt that will be happening anytime soon.

posted 4/9/2013
Cozumel airport
If you are on the island and planning to pick up friends at the airport you might want to make sure all your papers are in order first. An American tourist took a friend's Land Rover to the airport to check on a flight. Federal Police decided to give his ride the once over and found that not only was he not authorized to drive it but that the Jeep was in the country illegally. The cops seized the ride and arrested the driver. There has been no word regarding the status of either car or driver as of this writing. This is the second time we have heard about a car being impounded and driver arrested at the airport for not having proof of ownership. So when in doubt our advice is take a cab.

posted 4/2/2013
Das Cozumel Boot
We read rumors months ago that the evil parking meters were soon to be banished from the island, but it seems that they are still firmly planted in the water front area of Cozumel and things have now gone from bad to worse. Using the meters to get a ticket for your car has always been confusing at best (we know) but now much of the equipment is not operating at all. The result is you can feed a meter and not get a ticket but if you don't put a ticket on your car then you get the parking boot and a 500 peso fine. It's a classic Cozumel Catch 22 with lots of peeps getting the boot and most of them are tourists. So tourists get a poor image of the island and vow never to return...well maybe not but they do get very upset. We are reading that the meters are unconstitutional in Mexico but the only way to get rid of them is to take the company that owns them to Federal Court. We are pretty sure that is not going to happen.

posted 3/28/2013
The Cozumel Police force is trying out a new toy that they hope will help them monitor and patrol the island and in turn keep the public safe from crime of all sorts. The device is a surveillance platform that can lift an officer or 2 high into the air. It also works unmanned and lifts a bunch of security cameras into the air. The initial tests of the unit delighted the cops. The platform was set up on 65th street and they found that the night vision cameras worked great, license plates could be zoomed in on and read easily and people could be recognized. The surveillance platform costs five million pesos which they say is a little expensive but it is essential the cops have it for the safety of the island. The other pretty cool feature is that the platform can be adapted to carry a sub-machine gun making it a self contained gun tower that can be towed any where on the island it might be needed. We can only hope that there won't be any island hot spots that will require a machine gun to keep the peace.

Tasty Lionfish
Cozumel is facing a huge Lionfish problem. It's not a problem that that are too many and they are destroying the reefs...although that is a problem. The latest problem is that there are too few Lionfish available to eat! Several Cozumel restaurants have been promoting the gastronomical delights of Lionfish for some time now and with fish being in demand during this Lenten Season many islanders are taste testing the Pescado Leon. So with a few Norte's closing the port to fishing and Cozumeleños new found love of Lionfish there is suddenly a shortage of this voracious feeder. Who knew it would ever come to this!

posted 3/25/2013
Several Cozumel Cabbies, on seeing an island tour operator pick up passengers, decided that they would take the law into their own hands and proceeded to block the offending van from moving and indeed block the entire road. Taxistas are notorious for preventing other companies from poaching customers and this is the second time in 2 weeks they have staged a blockade over a perceived poach. Apparently the tour operator was licensed and has all the paperwork to do business and the cabbies were the ones breaking the law, but they did stop the tour for the day. Several island businessmen have complained that when the Taxistas pull these types of shenanigans it only serves to give tourists a negative impression of the island.

Security Forces on high alert
To insure the safety of tourists and citizens during this Easter holiday season, island officials have put all the elements involved in emergency response on high alert. Lifeguards, fireman, cops, ambulance drivers, Green Angels and even taxi drivers will be watching out for trouble. There will even be more traffic stops featuring armed police and soldiers at checkpoints around the island. So if you are going to be on the island over the holidays be safe and know that help is just around the corner.

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posted 3/20/2013
We were surprised to read an article about the kitchen at the Money Bar being closed after Health Inspectors found signs of vermin at the location. Not surprised that it had roaches and rats, what open air bar and restaurant doesn't have its share, but surprised that it was actually named in a negative article. That rarely happens in the Cozumel press. We were also surprised that the issue was ever reported in the first place but was not handled in a much less...hum...public manor.

Good news from the Cozumel Animal Control center which has been rounding up and euthanizing some 15 dogs a month. The department has begun a program to actually find homes for these strays rather then just put them all down. They are working with the Humane Society to promote awareness of the plight of man's best friends which are usually abandoned by their former owners. So far homes have been found for 5 or 6 of them. Apparently though stray cats are another problem entirely because they adapt so well to life on the streets and are so hard to catch. The article notes there is no solution yet to the problem of feline overpopulation.

posted 3/14/2013
The usually quiet waterfront on Cozumel was the scene of a daring daylight robbery Tuesday afternoon as an armed gang raided the Diamonds International on Melgar. Fifteen banditos invaded the store, smashed jewelry cases, disarmed the guards and police and fired shots into the air. No bystanders were reported injured but several of the bandits received cuts from flying glass. It took Cozumel Cops about 45 minutes to respond to the scene....well after the gang had fled...but ever alert taxi drivers followed the fleeing gang and the cops rounded them up toute suite. It was almost an exact replay of the DI robbery in 2011 when the loot taken then amounted to some 2 million pesos worth of watches...most of which were never recovered. Tuesday's take is being reported at 5 million and as of press time it had not been located either. The would be robbers were reportedly hired by persons unknown in Mexico City and were promised 50,000 pesos each plus an all expense paid trip to Cozumel to pull the heist.

posted 3/11/2013
The Mayor of Cozumel is at odds again with City Councilmen and islanders. The latest dust-up is over the Mayor's push to amend federal environmental law and allow an Eco Hotel to be built on Passion Island. At a closed door council meeting the project developers, Go Group Ltd., Councilmen and the Mayor faced off with the Mayor pushing for amending the law and the Go Group thinking that their 41 room hotel was a done deal. The Councilmen balked at signing away a part of Cozumel's legacy and pointed out that nada could be built on the island. The Go Group hoped to charge about $500 a night to stay at the resort which could only be accessed by boat.

posted 3/6/2013
We are always reading about issues with scofflaw taxi drivers on Cozumel but this one is bizarre. It seems a speeding cabbie ran over one of the islands endangered crocodiles and failed to stop and render aid. The Department of Ecology was called to the scene at the Country Club on the North end of the island. Apparently the 6 foot croc was easily captured and is now being treated for it's injuries. It will be released into the wild when it is out of danger. There is no report on the whereabouts of the speeding taxista.

Four maintenance workers at the Cozumel airport thought they were eating tasty chocolate bars but those candy delights turned out to be laced with marijuana and sent one of them to the hospital with a drug overdose. The article says that a tourist gave the candies to the workers just before boarding a flight off the island. The workers said they were not able to read English and so failed to realize that the chocolate was laced with cannabis. We are not aware of any candies listing pot as an ingredient so doubt that language skills were an issue here...besides who reads what's in a candy bar anyway! We guess this just proves the old adage...."Do not take candy from strangers."

posted 2/18/2013
We are reading that the taxi union on Cozumel is preparing to go after a group of foreigners who are conducting island tours without permission from the proper authorities...highly illegal. The head of the union, Fernando Martin Marrufo, says his taxi hombres want to just block the road to shut the tour operators down one tour at a time, but he prefers that they wait and gather evidence first and not take the law into their own hands. Then they will take the information and proof to the authorities and let them shut down the upstart company. Marrufo would not name the company but says they are advertising their island tours on Face Book and the interweb.

posted 2/14/2013
We have been notified that sacred relics of the historical Buddha are making an extremely rare visit to the island and will be at the Cozumel Museum this coming weekend. This event is about creating World Peace and Loving Kindness and is not a religious event. The opening ceremony is this Friday from 6-8 pm and the relics will be on display until Monday afternoon. Admission is free!

Ever since the beaches of Cozumel were blasted by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 operators of the island hotels and beach clubs have been begging the city to allow them to dig up sand on the East side of the island and haul it to where it is needed for the tourists. Now the flood gates have finally opened and sand will be flowing as early as next week. Eighteen hotels and 10 beach clubs are first on the list to receive the precious commodity but from what we are reading there will not be much to go around. The Iberostar Hotel asked for 6,000 meters of sand and the El Pres wanted over 3,000. In actuality they will each receive, along with everyone else, just 30.45 meters of sand. Not much of a beach but maybe enough for a nice sand box at each location.

posted 2/11/2013
The Neighborhood Crime Watch program on Cozumel was started mainly by US ex-pats concerned about the growing number of burglaries and robberies on the island. While there have been no reports on whether or not any improvement has occurred in nefarious activities since the Watch started, the island press has taken notice of the program. Their take is that Cozumeleños should be ashamed that a group of non-Mexicans are attempting to make the island more secure while the locals seem to be taking crime as just a matter of course. The article notes that because the Cozumel Cops are so understaffed and under trained it is going to be up to the citizenry to band together and support each other or else thefts will continue.

posted 2/7/2013
El Centro en la noche
This weeks article on the demise of downtown hotels has prompted some insight by the Director of Tourism as to how to improve things in El Centro. Reportedly more cultural activities will be ordered for the area. The town square, Benito Juarez Park, will also play host to the Triathlon in the Fall. The Tourism Director also hopes to encourage more cruise ships to dock at Punta Longosta. But the big news is that no more jewelery stores will be allowed in the city center! Of course we are not sure how most of this will encourage tourists to stay over night but every little bit helps.

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posted 2/5/2013
Just when we thought things were picking up on the island, along comes a story about how pitiful business is in downtown hotels. It is so bad that there is talk that some of these really cute little places may be closing their doors for good. While occupancy will get a bump for the 4 or 5 nights of Carnaval after that it is expected that it will submarine to back to below 20 percent, with no improvement in sight. Like many business on Cozumel though proprietors only hope that "tomorrow" will bring a better day.

Loud Bar on Cozumel
Loud music late at night may be a thing of the past on Cozumel, at least if the department of Ecology has it's way. They are the guys that named the top 10 loudest bars on the island. Starting last Friday the Department of Business and Management Verification began issuing new noise regulations for island bars and restaurants. The window for noise runs from 1pm to 9pm Monday through Friday. On weekends the bars have to quiet things down by 10pm. The extra loud jumping joints have been named in the press though and they will supposedly be under tight surveillance by the Ecology Hombres. There is a request that if the noise continues to be sure and call in a complaint.

posted 1/28/2013
The Director of the Environment and Ecology on Cozumel says his department has identified 10 unnamed island business that are extremely noisy. That list includes restaurants, bars and nightclubs, but we think several churches made the cut too. Even though an establishment has been notified that it is on the extra noisy list not much is done about it for awhile. The business has 2 weeks to make an effort to quiet things down. We are not sure what happens if the raucous restaurant chooses to ignore all the warnings. We have never heard of any establishment being closed for good just for too much loud partying. If you do want to complain about continually noisy neighbors you can call 01-800-501-1234.

posted 1/24/2013
Carnaval on Cozumel
Carnaval is in the air on Cozumel and it is one of our favorite times to be on the island. The BIG parades start the night of Saturday February 9th and conclude on Fat Tuesday, February 12th, but there are events going on daily throughout the town. If you won't be on the island for the season you can still follow along via the inter-web as Cozumel celebrates. The city has created a website that, we think, might be updated somewhat frequently. Click HERE to check out the fun!

While Carnaval is a festive time on the island, for some devious entrepreneurs it was a time to make a few extra pesos. Reportedly, 1000 tickets for Carnaval events were forged and lots of them were sold to unsuspecting islanders delighted to get a discount on what they thought were legit tickets. While the forgers have been apprehended, we are not sure if the holders of the bogus tickets will get their money back or be allowed into the events. Maybe that info will be posted on the link noted above.

posted 1/17/2013
Hotels of the Sea at Cozumel
Cozumel is at the height of it's Cruise Season with ships filling all the berthing slots available many days a week. Some days there are so many boats at piers that the extra ships have to anchor in the harbor and have passengers brought to shore by tender. Today, for instance, there were 7 of these "floating hotels" docked at the island. But while the good times seem to be rolling for the moment, Cozumel's cruise biz has taken a big hit over the last few years. From 2011 to 2012 more than 90 fewer ships stopped at the island. That meant a loss of more than 134,000 passengers for the year. Island Cruise Officials publicly hope that those numbers can be made up in 2013 but world wide experts expect that the decline in cruising will continue at least for another year.

posted 1/16/2013
We posted a report some weeks ago stating that the reefs of Cozumel were, according to diving specialists, a natural resource that had not been promoted nearly enough. Now we read an article stating that the reefs are in danger of being over exploited. Officials say that too many vessels are licensed to bring divers into the Marine Park and that it is necessary to stop granting those licenses. They say that the boats also need to spread out and not all go to the same reef....mostly Paradise Reef. We are not sure what to think...too many or not enough divers...but figure it was just a slow news day and someone needed to write a story about something.

Cozumel's Chief of Police has finally thrown in the towel and declared that the island Police Department can't control crime anymore and it is time for businesses to hire private security companies to take up the slack. The Chief said that his officers are effective 80 percent of the time but that private citizens and business need to spend the bucks to prevent robberies and thefts in their homes and offices. The police can't be everywhere. As usual the Chief's comments did not sit well with island business owners.

posted 1/9/2013
Illegal sales of alcohol have long been an issue on Cozumel and no administration has been able to solve the problem. Apparently Cozumeleños like to purchase liquor well after the time allowed by law and so they frequented back alley booze shops and clandestine bars to enjoy the occasional nocturnal nip. But we are reading that after hour booze sales are almost a thing of the past and all thanks to a simple fix that no one had thought of...until now. All the current administration needed to do was extend the hours islanders can legally buy liquor to midnight and ...poof...problem solved. City Officials used to get up to 10 calls a day regarding illegal booze sales but now, with the longer time allowed to buy spirits, the complaints have dropped to 2 or 3 a month. We guess there wouldn't be any cranky complaining calls at all if islanders could purchase intoxicants 24/7.

posted 1/8/2013
The dreaded wind turbines are back in the news and it looks like the project is going to be supported this time by the Mayor of Cozumel. This project was given a resounding "NO" last year by environmental groups as well as Cozumeleños and many had hopes that the plan was dead....but apparently not so. In a Top Secret meeting just a few days ago the Mayor's private secretary extended a warm island welcome to the company hoping to install the turbines, Cannon Power. Reports from the meeting say that "the project has a high probability to materialize." The Mayor is only planning on allowing 30 wind turbines to be installed, instead of the originally requested 115, but as we all know things can always change quickly on Cozumel and not always for the better.

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posted 1/7/2013
Cozumeleños who took the trouble to go to the store and buy a Christmas tree this year should be responsible enough to take it to the tree collection point on Ave 65...that according to Rafael Diaz Chacõn, Director of Ecology. He added that no equipment or personal are available to go street to street collecting dead trees. That's kinda like telling people that since they bought that giant soda or liter of beer that they need to put it in the trash instead of just throwing it in the street. We hope most islanders do figure out a way to get their trees to the dump before next holiday season rolls around.

We are reading that lots of money is owed to the island's trash company, PASA, by the City of Cozumel. And that is no surprise since the city also owes past due pesos to the island's water company, CAPA. What is noteworthy, about the debt owed for garbage pickup, is that the parties involved can't agree on the amount actually past due. The garbage company says they are owed over 15 million pesos, but the Mayor claims it is just 5 million. PASA is only 2 years into a 20 contract with the city and whatever the amount owed we hope it does not keep growing exponentially. In the meantime trash pick up continues on it's regular schedule...for now!

The latest Car Ferry price increase of 8 percent begins tomorrow on the run from Calica to Cozumel. Islanders can probably look for higher rates for food, fuel and all consumables in the near future. The only good news surrounding the rate increase for Cozumeleños was that the "Plan Local" rate will remain at 380 pesos for compact vehicles making the crossing.

posted 1/3/2013
In an effort to provide assistance to non-Spanish speaking tourists on Cozumel, island officials provide bi-lingual staff in the command and control center used for emergency calls (C-4). Cozumeleños and foreigners just need to dial 066 to be connected to police, ambulance and fire rescue personnel. To make this easier on tourists from the USA they only need to dial the familiar 911 and all calls get routed to the 066 number. The only issues we have read about with the phone service at the C-4 is that occasionally the calls get routed to the command center in Playa Del Carmen which does not help callers on Cozumel at all.

Cozumel land for sale
Cozumel is in the middle of the time of year that islanders must pay city and garbage taxes. Discounts for paying on time are offered and pesos flow into city coffers. But not everyone is a good citizen and we are reading reports that at least 100 properties are well in arrears on payment of taxes. Some 80 million pesos are owed and those funds would go a long way to curing some of the Cozumel's debt problem. By law those properties can be seized and sold by the city and when this happened some years ago there was lots of interest from island real estate agents and prospective buyers looking to own a piece of paradise. So far, the current Mayor has avoided having a land sale and apparently hopes that by contacting the dead beat owners deals to pay can be arranged. Personally we enjoy the good fun of a bidding war for properties and there is always the hope of walking away with a sweet deal!

posted 12/31/2012
Cozumel Taxistas
Taxi rates have only just increased and Cozumeleños are already complaining about the poor quality and now higher rates charged by the island taxi service. Most do not feel there was any justification for raising the rates considering how small the island is and how little islanders earn. Also of note are complaints from locals that taxi rates for tourists did NOT that is news to us!

A crime committed last January on Cozumel may soon be taking a severe toll on island pollution, especially with the Christmas season almost over. A year ago the island's only tree shredder was stolen from the Department of Ecology and, despite the efforts of Cozumel's Finest, it has not been seen since. The Department of Ecology usually collects about 1000 Christmas trees for recycling into mulch and the shredder is key to that operation. There are no reports about how those trees will be disposed of this year. It is our hope they are not just left in the streets, an issue in years past, or stuffed into the island landfill.

Diamonds International
We are reading that tourists are no longer being allowed to take photos in front of the two Diamonds International stores on Avenue Melgar. DI private security guards are stopping anyone from taking keepsake photos of the jewelry stores. First of all we wonder who would want a picture of a Diamond's International store anyway and if it is indeed true that photos are now off limits in those areas we hope that ban does not spread to the entire water front of town.

posted 12/27/2012
We had read a few months ago that the new road paving done on Cozumel just before the Ironman triathlon was of poor quality and would not last. Now the island press is reporting that is indeed the case. The company that did the paving in the first place will make repairs to Ave 11 starting January 2nd. The repairs will be done free of charge. While several other newly paved roads are already showing wear Ave 11th is in the worst state so the Mayor ordered the work to begin there. No reports if other roads will be fixed or not.

Cozumel cops
We are reading about efforts being made to bring a Neighborhood Crime Watch program to Cozumel. The first organizational meeting held with the Chief of Police was more than packed with interested ex-pats wanting to know what they can do to fight burglaries and theft on the island. Ex-pats do not have many options when it comes to fighting crime in a foreign country though. The latest report is that future crime watchers will blow whistles whenever they encounter a crime in progress. Cozumel Cops on the other hand have more options available and have recently received new weaponry. The Cozumel armory now contains 11 semi-automatic rifles, 34 Glock 9mm pistols, 16 thousand 9mm and 10 thousand .223 caliber cartridges.

posted 12/20/2012
Cozumel Cops plan to be out in force starting at 10pm tonight as they gear up for the "Isla Cozumel Dawn of the Maya World" event taking place on the East side of the island. Three checkpoints will be set up along the Transvaal Highway and from the north to keep speeds down and alcohol out of the area. If you miss the Maya Dawn then you still have a shot at the Dawn of 2013 when security will also be out in force.

posted 12/13/2012
We are reading that 40 dive shops operating on Cozumel do not have adequate safety measures for divers (what those safety measures are was apparently not important enough to write about). Officials call these ops "pirates" but we call them just bad for business. As usual for the Cozumel press none of these dive shops were named.

Cozumel taxi drivers plan how they will spend their new extra pesos
December 17th has been set as the day that island taxi rates increase on Cozumel. Rates will go up 20 percent for all routes. Currently the lowest rate is 18 pesos for an in-town trip and that will be increased to 22 pesos. We have still not seen a rate chart that lists the different charges for locals and tourists, but we do expect much confusion starting next Monday.

posted 12/12/2012
Residents of one of the newer suburbs on Cozumel, Colony Miraflores, are all in an up roar over cable TV service. It seems that when this development was planned all of the city services were going to be underground and tucked away from damage by high winds and hurricanes. Extra money was spent by Federal agencies to make this a high tech community. Apparently some one forgot to tell the folks at the island's cable TV system, Cablemas, that all the services were supposed to be buried because their installers are going about the job of drilling 5 feet deep holes every 80 feet to install poles to carry cable TV lines to the homes. We see the conundrum here though....everyone wants their TV but they just don't want a hurricane driven telephone pole crashing through their front window.

Cozumel sunrise
Cozumel Officials believe they have settled the great debate they have with Isla Mujeres once and for all. It seems there has long been a belief in all of Mexico that the first rays of the sun strike Isla Mujeres before they get to Cozumel and Isla has promoted this fact for years. So everyone goes to Isla for the first rays of the new year sun and Cozumel is an after thought. But now according to the technical secretary of sustainable development in the municipality, Federico Ruiz Piña, a "scientific study" has been done that confirms Cozumel is number one in the sun and Isla Mujeres a distant second. So if you are coming to Mexico for sunrise on 12/21/12 or January 1st 2013 then you have to come to can't argue with a scientific study.

posted 12/6/2012
Cozumel Cops ticketing motos
Cozumel Cops have finally decided to go after handicapped parking scofflaws...those irritating non-handicapped drivers who claim handicapped parking spots as if they were their own. The officers first stop on their crusade was the parking lot next to police headquarters and city hall. There they found 6 motos hogging all the good handicapped spots. It turned out that the motorcycles belonged to employees working at the Chedraui shopping mall who got very upset when they found out they were being fined for illegal parking. They protested that it was not their fault...the parking lot was full and they had nowhere else to park! That excuse never works in our neighborhood either!

posted 12/4/2012
Cozumel Cop in a Box
The latest efforts at keeping Cozumel safe and secure have been brought to the island by the fine folks at Diamonds International. Two high tech police kiosks have been constructed on the waterfront and each one is conveniently located in front of one of the island's 2 Diamonds International stores. The booths feature one way glass, air conditioning and internet and each reportedly cost 300 thousand pesos. They also feature ads promoting Diamonds International. The island's chief of police, who currently has 14 police cars that can't be repaired due to lack of funds, says he would never have put these kiosks on Melgar if he had been consulted. He would have put them back in the neighborhoods to provide security for those parts of town. He also noted that he would never install an officer in one of these boxes...but if a cops needs a break from the heat then they might relax inside a cop box awhile before they head back outside to continue fighting crime.

posted 11/30/2012
This is the kind of stuff that can only happen in Cozumel. An inebriated local was speeding along Ave. 65 when he lost control and wrecked his truck. When the cops arrived he decided to delay going to jail for DUI and told the officers he was injured and required a trip to the hospital. When the ambulance got him to the hospital he jumped out the back and into a waiting vehicle which sped him away, making good his escape, so he could drink another day. Just so it wasn't a total lose the cops did impound the now wrecked vehicle he was driving.

posted 11/28/2012
The island is still abuzz with the warm afterglow of another successful Ironman and there have not really been any complaints. Well, except for some of Cozumel's Finest, who worked traffic and crowd control the day of the big race. The cop's beef was where was the beef with no real food being served to officers, many of whom were on the scene for 15-18 hours. They complained that they only got a banana, a slice of cheese and some bean soaked bread. Meanwhile VIP's ate like, well, VIP's and the under appreciated officers doing all the work got nada.

posted 11/27/2012
You know things are bad when the city of Cozumel is so broke that it can't pay it's water bills. The city is in arrears at least a million pesos to the water department, CAPA, and CAPA is starting to shut off water to municipal buildings around town. So far four police substations have had service suspended and City Hall, the City Market and Plaza Del Sol are next on the list unless the bills are paid. Cops at the substations are having to borrow water from neighbors just to wash and flush the toilets.

Things are still up in the air on the taxi rate increase planned for Cozumel. Officials say the new rates might start December 15th, or maybe in early January. The rates may be as much as 18 percent higher, or maybe only 15 percent higher, or maybe somewhere in the middle. It does look like there will be two rates for locals and one for tourists but we are not sure how the cab driver will decide if someone is a local or not. No one except the taxi drivers want this rate increase though and we are pretty sure whenever the rate kicks in that there will be lots of angry tourists and Cozumeleños arguing with taxistas no matter what rate they get charged.

posted 11/20/2012
Cozumel Ironman
Officials are saying that all of Cozumel is ready for this year's Ford Ironman event. About 2,750 athletes will compete in the race next Sunday, November 25th. Also this year 105 "elite athletes" will be racing, which surpasses the 60 elites that competed last year. Hosting hotels, like the Melia and El Cozumeleno, are expecting at least 85% occupancy, while smaller in-town hotels will also get a boost in business. Road closures start early in the morning of the 25th and will continue all day. If you have to travel to or from the airport or ferry plan, your route accordingly and expect delays. Otherwise if past Ironman events are any indicator then a fun time will be had by fans and competitors alike.

posted 11/19/2012
Despite the recent influx of cruise ships and tourists coming to Cozumel for the start of High Season, one island industry is not doing well at all. Maybe it's a sign of the times or just that fashions are a'changin, but reportedly, demand for hair braiding is way down. Gone are the days when talented island hair braiders or "trenceras" could routinely sculpt up to 4 heads a day for $20 the pop. Now they are lucky to score even one customer a day and the price would be haggled down to a measly $10! Maybe things in the braiding world will pick up or, like all things fashionable, what's hair today could be gone tomorrow.

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posted 11/13/2012
For tourists wanting to really get away from reality then the Iberostar on Cozumel may be for you. A couple staying at the All Inclusive property were victims of a theft. They called the cops from their room and reported the crime. Police raced to the hotel to assist the couple and were blocked at the gate and refused access to the grounds and the crime victims, supposedly at the request of the hotel manager and chief of security. This reportedly allowed the thief time to make good his escape. This is the second time that first responders have been denied access to the Iberostar. The first time was during a major fire on the property and Cozumel Firemen were halted at the gate. It was not until the firemen reminded the property manager that if the hotel burned up or if tourists were injured then the hotel could be closed that, they were allowed to fight the blaze.

posted 11/7/2012
Cozumel town square
The City of Cozumel has begun attempting to sell off city assets to raise money. First on the block is a building that houses T-shirt and gift shops and is located in the main town square on Melgar. This is high dollar real estate that is currently occupied by 4 merchants who are renting space for their stores. The city is asking 20 million pesos for the property. We are reading that unless one of the current occupants buys the property within 10 days then they will all have to vacate the premises so it can sit empty while it waits to be sold.

If you see a lot of smiling police-men and police-women on Cozumel today it's because they finally received some of their way past due back pay from City Hall. Most officers and even firemen got 3 weeks worth of food week less than the month of pay they were owed. That back pay amounted to a whopping 450 pesos, or about $12 usd a week. If the City says it's broke than it's police officers can't be far behind!

posted 11/5/2012
Ad promoting diving on Cozumel
The governor of Q. Roo, Robert Borge, is calling for more hotel and restaurant construction on Cozumel. He says that this would go a long way to boosting tourism and encouraging more airline flights to the island. Along a similar vein, Sergio Sandoval Vizcaino, a renowned Mexican diver with over 45 years experience, complained at the ScubaFest 2012 on Cozumel that the reefs around the island have not been promoted enough. He stated that since the reefs of Australia are so far away that more tourists should be coming to Cozumel and enjoying it's conveniently located and unbeatable reef system. He said it was a shame that divers had not noticed just how good the area reefs are. We think that both of these ideas are excellent and look forward to seeing more hotels and restaurants springing up around the island. We will certainly do whatever we can to encourage that more divers discover the wonderful underwater world that Cozumel has to offer.

posted 10/30/2012
City Officials have now decided to NOT increase property taxes on Cozumel. What they say they are going to do is increase the property values that are carried on the tax rolls, but no taxes will go up in 2013. The city is also offering the usual discount for Cozumeleños who pay their taxes early, with those paying between November 16th and 30th getting a 25% discount.

Horse drawn carriage on Cozumel
The Department of Environment and Ecology fined ten horse drawn carriages and pulled four out of circulation for defaulting on some items in the agreement signed between the city government and owners of the carriages. No listing of the violations was made, however fines reportedly ranged from 1,500 to 6000 pesos.

Just as we suspected, the Mayor of Cozumel reported that all is a "GO" for this year's Ironman and there are now no problems with the roads or any issues at all on the island. The Ironman takes place the end of November and officials expect the island to be packed with athletes and hundreds of fans cheering them on.

posted 10/25/2012
Cozumel Ironman
It seems like every year there is a report about some kind of crises that will keep the Ironman from happening on Cozumel and this year is no exception. A tour of the island this week by city dignitaries and Ironman officials turned up, apparently, a crappy job of road paving. The new asphalt is full of dips and bumps that can cause a danger to competitors biking on the East Side of the island. With the event only about 4 weeks away no one is sure what can or will be done about this fail. Probably nothing though and the sold out event will happen just as it always does and be declared another success by all involved.

Cozumel is out from under it's crushing debt load. The city was able to get 130 million of refinancing for its loans at a lower interest rate so life can go on as usual...or at least for the 20 year length of the loan. Of course this does not mean that the city isn't broke. It really just robbed Jorge to pay Juan which is pretty much what high finance is all about.

posted 10/24/2012
In his first month on the job the new Police Chief of Cozumel has really cleaned up the island. Sergio Terrazas, Director of Public Security, reports that his office is responsible for the arrests of 416 suspects. He reports that 125 drunks were arrested, as well as 79 people for disturbing the peace, 16 for DUI, 55 juvenile offenders, 15 people carrying knives and 86 arrests for various administrative offenses (whatever those are). But those are only the arrests. The number of Cozumeleños who have been affected by the chief are even higher, with 1800 islanders getting tickets for "various reasons," the bulk of which seem to be for not having proper documentation for cars and motos. The article did not give the total peso amount brought in by all these fines. We are hearing on the street that Cozumel Cops seem to be stopping more tourists and asking for a little "mordita" for the cause. We hate to hear stuff like that.

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posted 10/22/2012
The press is running with the latest island rumor that a new ferry service is coming to Cozumel. Wealthy businessmen have reportedly purchased a passenger ferry and a car ferry and are getting ready to take on the strongly entrenched companies that currently provide these high priced services to the island. The service is planned to begin sometime in December or January and will charge lots less than the competition. It would be great if all this is true and really happens, but we have heard stuff like this before and, as usual, will believe it when we see it!

posted 10/17/2012
Cozumel city debt
The Mayor of Cozumel has gone to the State Capitol of QR to apply for refinancing for city debt, which apparently is considerable. In addition to 109 million pesos borrowed from a federal bank to finance public works, the city is also in arrears to the electric company (CFE) and the garbage company (PASA) to name a few...all to the tune of over 250 million pesos. In a last ditch effort to stop the bleeding, the city will begin more aggressive efforts to collect some 30 million in past due property taxes. Officials have also detected 180 dead beats who have been sucking at the city payroll for years, some of whom don't even live on the island, but are still collecting bi-monthly paychecks. The city will also try to sell land it owns, such as the New Marina at the Caleta. Our guess is they will also sell the raw land just north of El Cantil too. Also in the works is a property tax increase for land owners on the island. The initial projected increase is between 15 percent and 30 percent, but some property taxes are projected to go up a whopping, 100 percent!

posted 10/15/2012
Cozumel transporation
We are reading that Cozumel Cops are again going to be enforcing the "2 on a moto" law and mandatory helmet law. Both of these have been on the books for some years and enforcement of the laws come and go. Sometimes violators get a ticket, but mostly they get a smile and a wave. We do know that the new island police chief is staging more traffic stops and arresting more islanders for mostly minor violations. The official reasoning is to keep Cozumeleños safe but we suspect the need for more money in island coffers is the real motive behind the stepped up police activity. The Mayor noted that cops will also be enforcing the law that states all vehicles MUST have current tags and in this case he mentions that foreigners with cars on the island must also have current plates or run the risk of being fined and have their vehicles impounded.

Cozumel Cops riot fun
Also in the news is a rumor that two, 15 story condo or hotel towers are being planned for the old destroyed Sol Cabanas Hotel. Supposedly, a feasibility study is in the works, and construction has not started yet. We have always wanted something to be done with this wonderful old property, damaged beyond use by Hurricane Wilma, but are pretty sure that 30 floors of condos are not really what we had in mind.

Reports are that this year's Ironman will set a record in attendance with 2,800 participants. This beats last years total of 2,400 athletes. The Iron Man will be held November 25th and we think it marks the official end to the slow season on Cozumel.

posted 10/11/2012
Cozumel Cops riot fun
Only 14 out or 34 Cozumel Cop cars are in working order and as of today police officials have no idea when the broken cars will be repaired...if ever. To remedy the problem of broken vehicles, the Chief of Police attended a breakfast with some island business leaders touting his plan to have businesses "Adopt a Patrol", meaning a sponsor would pay to fix the cop car and keep it running, rather than the city bear the cost. So far, business leaders have not warmed to the proposal, saying that they pay enough in taxes and do not need to pay any more. Some even pointed out that Cozumel gets a big Municipal Security Allowance from the federal government that, so far, has been used by Cozumel police to buy high powered weapons and riot gear...not fix cars. We have been reading that perhaps cops will begin patrolling their beats on bicycles, but then wonder who is going to pay for the bikes?

posted 10/9/2012
artist rendering of Cozumel Museum
Since things are so slow on Cozumel the Parks Department has, as usual, been closing most of their operations one day a week. Since September, Chankanaab, Punta Sur and the Museum in town have been shuttered on Sundays. Only San Gervasio remains open and that is because it is part of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, and all of those anthropological sites in Mexico stay open 7 days a week. Officials say that it will be business usual though come the first week in November. On a related note, it does appear that the restaurant at the Museum is out of business and we are not hearing of any plans to reopen it at this time.

posted 10/3/2012
East Side of Cozumel
Mexico Power Group, the wind farm on the East Side of Cozumel guys, are back with a scaled down proposal for the island. Well sort of scaled down. The latest is they now want to install only 32 wind turbines instead of the original 115. But now they want these new turbines to be even bigger than the original ones. Island press is saying that these new towers would each be the size of a 50 story building and would still span almost the entire East Coast. There was no mention of the giant fine that Mexico Power Group might have to pay for their first attempt at environmental destruction.

posted 10/2/2012
Whenever things get slow on Cozumel, like now, it seems that the story appears in the island press about how the All Inclusive hotels are ruining the island. Because tourists stay in an AI property they very seldom leave the property and they never eat anywhere but the property. There is no spreading around of the tourist's dollars to other businesses on the island. Only "crumbs" are left for other restaurants and non-AI properties to pick over. Of course by spending the entire holiday bellied up to an AI steam table and buffet line, tourists miss out on experiencing most of the charms that make Cozumel special...meeting the locals or discovering a new favorite dining spot or finding a private beach for two. AI's can be OK for a night or two, but after that fagetaboutit!

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posted 9/27/2012
In somewhat of a surprise, and after waiting 4 years, the President of Mexico signed the law declaring most of the north end of the island of Cozumel a federally protected zone. From Mezcalitos on the east, up the coast to Punta Molas and around the north end of the island to the west is all protected. Supposedly nothing can be constructed there, unless it is made of grass and sticks, and nothing can be done to modify the coastline. So lots of flora and fauna are protected. Since most of this land is in private hands the owners will have to be told they can basically not do anything to their land. We are not sure if Passion Island is included in this zone or not. What is NOT included in the protected zone is the North Sand Bank. This is the area north of the island where new beach sand for Cancun and Playa del Carmen beaches was dredged up in 2010, an action that was vehemently protested by many Cozumeleños. Hopefully Cancun beaches will not be needing sand anytime soon but if they do then they can still access this sand bank for 8 more years, unless other changes are made to the law.

You are here
Cozumel is going sign crazy. This week they are putting up new signage all over the island. At least a dozen signs will go up on the East Side warning people not to litter and to save the turtles. Our favorite new sign though is the one of a map that tells people "You Are Here!" Twenty of these will be scattered around the island so visitors will always know where they are. We have never cared knowing exactly where we are on the island though...just being there has always been good enough for us.

posted 9/25/2012
The company that planned to install wind turbines on the East Coast of Cozumel, Mexico Power Group, may be facing a big fine for destroying some areas of the island with out permission. According to island press the company may be looking at fines from 5,000 up to 3 million pesos for environmental damages. Our take on this is that no fine will ever be assessed, but stranger things have happened on Cozumel.

Cozumel has a new chief of police, Sergio Terrazas, and his appointment has created a massive upset on the island. Sergio Montes Terrazas was the old police chief from Tulum and he, reportedly, had such a terrible reputation for human rights violations and making threats to the press that Tulum could not wait to get rid of him. Cozumel's old police chief, Eduardo Isidro Sánchez Gutiérrez, was demoted and the next day, according to island news papers, he shot his wife and committed suicide. This type of thing does not bode well for the island and the press is hoping that this new police chief will turn himself around and do a better job than he did in Tulum and make a positive difference to Cozumel.

posted 9/22/2012
We have just returned from a 2 week stay on Cozumel and here are some of the highlights and low-lights: El Cielo Cozumel

A fantastic trip to El Cielo with Rita of Albatros Charters. This was one of the highlights of our holiday and something we had been wanting to do for years. The water was shallow, spectacular and a delight to just hang out in for hours. A riot almost ensued when we ran out of ice on the boat, but our quick thinking Captain Pedro forced a nearby vessel to give us a bag of theirs and the party could continue. We could do this trip every week and not get tired of it.

Bumping into people we had not seen in years and you never knew where they would turn the Chedraui, on the steps to an office building, an out of the way restaurant or just wandering the streets. We could have spent hours catching up with our island friends.

Making friends with a wonderful group of people from Merida.

Discovering wonderful new and old favorite restaurants like El Moro, Chilangos, Muellecito, Parrilla Mission and Le Chef.

Being hauled into the kitchen at Chilangos to see what was cooking for lunch.

Getting a big hug from the guy at the auto muffler shop just because his wife had a baby that day. creative internet use at the Melia

How big the beach has gotten at the Melia and discovering that the internet worked very well in our suite.

Being able to text in Spanish on our island cell phone to a Z Gas guy and arrange a gas fill at our casa. It was the fastest service we had ever gotten from any gas company!

We did notice on this trip how slow the island was, but that is the norm for Cozumel in September and October. What was not so normal was us being the only diners in 5 popular island restaurants over the course of our trip.

A low-light was finding out that the hated parking meters on Melgar are still in service and are as hard to decipher and as confusing as ever. It looks like there is no end in sight for these money sucking street bandits. Also the dreaded auto "boots" were seen locking up traffic all along Melgar.

Also low, and of much concern to locals and tourists, was our running into 3 police check points in 2 nights. When the police saw that we had a rental car they pulled us out of line and sent us on our way without a question. The locals did not fare so well.

posted 9/4/2012
The island press is reporting that the City of Cozumel has no real idea just how broke it is. The City Treasurer is required to make monthly reports on the state of the budget but has failed to provide any information to the City Council for the past 6 months. It looks like new funding will be sought to refinance loans now coming due but no one is sure how much they will need in new funding. Island cops have been reported protesting at City Hall about the salaries that are currently owed to them, some of which are paid in food stamps. To further add to the mix, the City still owes more than 4 million pesos to the guys who did all the new sidewalks in town (we love those sidewalks). That money has been owed since 2008. Can cities in Mexico declare bankruptcy?

Diving in Cozumel
We are reading that the reefs surrounding Cozumel are healthier than scientists had anticipated for this time of year. Coral bleaching from too warm waters had been expected to decimate 25% of the island's reef system. Current studies show that only 10% of the reefs have been impacted so far. Scientists attribute the reefs surprisingly good health to the waters being cooler this year. The optimum temp for a healthy Cozumel reef is reported as being less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature goes above that for any length of time the algae that provides food for the coral dies and the coral quickly dies too.

posted 8/30/2012
The cancellation of the East Coast Wind Farm by the Mexican Government has caused the Wind Farmers to go back to the drawing board for Plan B. They now envision only 26 wind turbines instead the original 115 and lots less land would be involved. The Mayor of Cozumel seemed a little vague on what he would do if the new scaled down project was approved but noted that he "will not permit any green areas to be destroyed and will be respectful of the competent authority." Okie Dokie!

Cozumel City Hall
We have been reading for some time that the City of Cozumel is broke or almost broke. There had been talk in the media more than a year ago that the fat needed to be trimmed from City Hall but no layoffs took place. Now it seems that something will be done and anywhere from 112 to 380 employees will be let go...maybe by the end of October. When all the chopping is done the city hopes to save some 3.2 million pesos a year.

posted 8/28/2012
Cozumel Fireworks
September 16th marks Mexico's 202 years of independence from Spain, and Cozumel will celebrate with music, food and, as usual, fireworks. Over 200 pounds of high explosives are scheduled to arrive on the island September 12th and will be kept under tight security by the Commander of the military garrison. The best spot to see the pyrotechnics is at the Palacio Park the night of September 15th. Usually no one has any idea what time the rockets go could be anywhere from 10 pm to midnight...but the whole island comes out for the fun. Plan on getting there early, staying late and having a blast!

posted 8/27/2012
Dengue control on Cozumel
Cozumel Officials were fearing major outbreaks of Dengue this year, but so far it has been a relatively calm mosquito season. There have been only 2 official Dengue cases reported and about 30 more are suspected. Last year at this time there had been 84 cases confirmed and one death on the island. Clinics had also run out of drugs to help treat the illness. Maybe the city's yearly campaign to remind islanders to get rid of standing water and use repellent is having an effect.

posted 8/20/2012
It looks like the wind farm planned for the East Coast of Cozumel is dying, if not completely dead. While protests by Cozumeleños on the island and in the social media may have had some little impact on the winds farm's fate, the real issue was that the wind farm had always been planned in areas of the island where it was against federal law to build pretty much anything, unless it was made of sticks and grass.

Club 21 out of business
Cozumel officials are always on the lookout for new development, especially if it brings new money to the island. Two projects have surfaced recently in the island press. One of those ideas, just waiting for the right company with very deep pockets, is a new cruise ship pier on the north end of the island. Officials have contacted several of the cruise ship lines about building another pier but currently there is not enough traffic to fill the 3 that the island already not much interest there. Our favorite next great idea is to put a casino in the Plaza del Sol on the square. Plaza managers say that, while no one has contacted them about a casino, there is plenty of room for one upstairs. Merchants already in the Plaza del Sol would welcome anything that attracts tourists and doesn't compete with their sales of shot glasses and bring it on. To the best of our knowledge the last attempted island casino failed miserably, thanks mostly to red tape and heavy handed officials, but surely that could not happen again on Cozumel.

posted 8/14/2012
There is a whole new group of jail trustees at the Cozumel City Jail, replacing the last batch who were transferred off island for allowing too much illegal contraband into the hands of prisoners. There was also the incident of a prisoner updating his Face Book status and adding photos to his account while he was behind bars. Officials had high hopes for this new group until last night when a surprise inspection of the jail by the military turned up a couple of cell phones, screwdrivers, lighters and, oh yes, a couple of women staying overnight in the jail. Word was sketchy at press time and there is some discussion as to whether the girls are wives, girl friends or ladies of the evening, but it does seem that conjugal visits can be allowed in the prison as long as the jail commander says it's cool. We are not sure if these were approved visits or not.

Another human skeleton has been found in a wooded area of the island. Authorities believe it is a male approximately 40 years of age. There was no sign of foul play. As of press time the unsub had not been identified but there is hope that personal items found in a couple of suitcases nearby will assist with that process.
posted 8/9/2012
The island press is full of the news that, following Hurricane Ernesto's passing, some 1600 turtle nests have been destroyed on the East Side of Cozumel. We suspect that of the 3000 + nests located to date most of them will recover. What really was destroyed were the stakes that marked the nests. Otherwise, very little damage was reported post storm. There was lots and lots of trash washed onto East Side beaches and the mayor wants to get it cleaned up starting this Friday and Saturday. The island ferries are running again and at least 3 cruise ships will visit Cozumel today.

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posted 8/6/2012
Officials of Cozumel's Marine Park are installing a system of underwater cables and buoys to mark the borders of the park. Authorities say this is for the safety of divers, but we are not sure how a diver knowing whether he is in or out of the Marine Park makes him safe or not. It will let fishermen know when they are poaching in the park or fishing in a permitted location. The first cable and buoy system was installed a few day ago and has already been stolen by persons unknown. This does not bode well for the future of the 24 buoys that are planned to mark the park's boundaries.

Cruise ships dock at Cozumel
Cozumel's mayor, Aurelio Joaquin Gonzalez, has offered to mediate between the cruise lines and the purveyors of island tours and activities who book through them. The cruise lines have long controlled how and where these tours are sold and how much is charged. More importantly they take a huge cut off the top of each activity sold and leave just a tiny share for the operator of the tour company and his employees. The cruise lines also decree that the tours only be sold by the cruise line to tourists coming off the cruise ships and not just to people walking up off the street wanting to book a trip. No word on whether any cruise line has contacted the mayor yet, but we suspect that negotiating a better deal for island tour operators will not be a big priority for Carnival Cruise Lines, RCL or any of the other owners of the floating hotels that make Cozumel a Port 'o Call.

Cozumel Cabbies take a break
posted 7/30/2012
We reported back in May that taxi rates might be going up on the island and not much has happened with that, except that there is more speculation that the rates will certainly go up before the end of the year. We are hearing lots of stories from the street though about more Cozumel Cabbies increasing rates in anticipation of that still unknown increase. The latest twist is that some taxi drivers are telling gringos and people they think are gringos that now there are 2 rates on the island...a cheap one for locals and a pricey one for tourists! We have read nothing about 2 rates so can't confirm it's validity. We do know that if you feel like you have been overcharged then get all the info you can about that cab, including the time and location you used the cab, and report it all to the Jefe de Taxistas. He will straighten things out!

posted 7/26/2012
The Mayor of Cozumel's personal catch phrase of "Create without destroying" may be put to the test if the Wind Farm planned for the East Coast of the island comes about. This project, by it's very nature, would destroy vast acres of pristine wilderness along the coast, areas that are environmentally protected, as well as play havoc with migrating birds. Environmentalists are saying that the Wind Farm will be more devastating than the Trump Hotel and Resort that had been planned, then canceled, for an area north of Mezcalitos. In an effort to take the sting out of the destruction, the Mayor is now saying that the energy savings to Cozumeleños could amount to as much as 20%. We find that interesting since reportedly all the electricity produced by the Wind Farm is to be sent to the mainland and none of it would be distributed to Cozumel. We are reading that the Mayor, in deference to public outcry, has asked federal authorities to review the environmental impact studies conducted by the company that will own the Wind Farm, Cannon Power Group.

posted 7/24/2012
An island newspaper is reporting that the plan to connect Cozumel to the internet for free is a "vile lie." Numerous attempts by reporters to connect to the, supposedly, "Free Internet" provided by Telmex in Benito Juarez park ended in failure. While you can find free hotspots in the park Telmex is apparently not one of them. The plan was to provide free internet service along the Malecon as well as the parks at the Palacio and Juarez but as of the end of last year that apparently has not happened.

Cozumel turtles
The island is on a roll to set wildlife records in 2012. With over 2,000 turtle nests marked so far this year, and several months left to go in the nesting season, ecologists are predicting that the Tortugas are on pace to beat the record they set in 2010 of 3,700 nests. The Loggerhead turtles have already set a record though with 450 nests as of June 20. Also of note is that 28 baby crocodiles have been born in 2 nests located on the south of the island. We now wonder if the attack of the fisherman by a fully grown croc, mentioned yesterday, might have something to do with the gator merely defending it's nest from a perceived threat rather then looking to make a snack of a fisherman.

Cozumel ferry
Cozumel can't seem to get a break from service providers in Playa Del Carmen. When tourists in Playa express an interest in heading over to the island, individuals acting as brokers of tours and rental cars do their best to talk them out of it, telling them there is nothing to see on the island and everything is very expensive...even citing rates of over $80 to take a brief cab ride to the north hotel zone. If the tourist won't be denied a visit then the broker will sell them an overpriced tour package or rental car which may or may not be honored when they arrive on the island. But the latest shot in the foot to Cozumel is coming from the 2 ferry companies which have been found to be pressuring passengers into buying round trip tickets for the ferry. They warn that this is the only way a visitor to the island can be guaranteed a seat on what may be the last boat of the day back to Playa. Anyone visiting Cozumel regularly knows there is no reason to ever buy a round-trip ticket since you never know which ferry company's boat you will be coming back to the mainland on. You may have to wait an hour or two till the boat you have a ticket for crosses. Cozumel Tourism Officials are saddened by these scams but so far have not been able to prevent any of them.
posted 7/20/2012
A crocodile attacked a fisherman while he was poaching in Cozumel's Marine Park on the south end of the island. The fisherman suffered bites and broken bones but, thanks to his friend hitting the gator with a stick, survived and is recovering in a hospital. Reportedly this is the first recorded instance of a crocodile attacking a human on the island. Environmentalists want to determine what was going on to make this gator attack the fisherman in the first place. By all accounts the fisherman was very lucky because these kinds of crocodiles don't usually let go of their victims but drag them off and eat them later. As if being chomped by a croc was not bad enough, the fisherman may also be facing charges of poaching in the Marine Park.

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posted 7/13/2012
Cozumel cruise ships docked
For years Cozumeleños have thought that making the island a Home Port for cruises would be a good thing for everyone. It makes sense with more people staying on the island before or after their cruise then more pesos would be spent for goods and services. But a new study just released by the University of the Caribbean has found that the hotel industry and cruise ships do not benefit each other. For instance, the study found that cruise ship passengers spent and average of $86.66 in 2010, whereas hotel guests spent 8.4 times that amount. But the real kicker in the study was that hotel growth occurs much faster in areas that do not have cruise ships present. This was the major reason that the hotel industry in Cancun and the Riviera Maya have decided to NOT lobby cruise lines to make that part of the world a Home Port and to reject even the construction of a cruise ship pier in the RM. Makes us wonder if Cozumel would have even more and bigger hotels if it were not for the cruise industry!

posted 7/11/2012
A big brouhaha may be brewing over the wind turbine project planned for Cozumel's East Side. We are reading that an environmental impact statement was secretly conducted last May and that city officials kept it hidden away until this week...just days before it was too late to have any public commentary on the plan. A brief reading of the plan turned up lots of errors as well as locations that don't exist and the most outrageous statement that only 19% of tourists coming to Cozumel go to the East Side...the thrust of that being since no one goes over there anyway why worry about any impact to tourism! One article commented, with tongue in check, that more hazardous construction and low paid workers are just what the island needs...they could spend their tiny paychecks in one of the new bars or brothels that the wind project will surely bring to Cozumel.

posted 7/9/2012
Cozumel's Director of Environment and Ecology his issued his thrice yearly plea for islanders to stop taking their pets to the beaches on the East side of the island. By "pets" we assume he means dogs and the point is that dogs interfere with turtles and their nests. They also take care of business on those same beaches and no one wants to step in doggie business.

We have found some clarification to our story about drug law changes in Mexico. The actual amount of marijuana that will be allowed as a misdemeanor is 5 grams, not 10 pounds as originally stated. This works out to about 3 to 5 marijuana cigarettes. That sounds much more reasonable. However, it is still up to each municipality as to how their police officers will go about enforcing these new drug laws.

In other breaking news we are reading that no new stop lights are planned for the island and the 7 traffic lights on Cozumel are working just fine. The Deputy Director of Traffic says that while more stop lights might be good for the island there are more important priorities for the police to work on. He pointed out that while there are areas on the island were accidents occur continuously that is just a coincidence and no new stop lights are needed. We wish he had revealed those high accident areas so we could make it a point to avoid them!

posted 6/28/2012
Good news is on the way for those liking a taste of marijuana on Cozumel and indeed all of Mexico. As of August 12th it will no longer be a federal crime to posses up to 4.9 kilograms of pot, or up to 499 grams of cocaine. Those arrested with amounts less than those noted will only be looking at a civil penalty, but the press has not reported what that penalty could be. We do wonder if those reported amounts are correct since 4.9 kilograms works out to over 10 pounds of pot and that is a lot just for personal use!

We found this interesting if maybe a little dated. A 2006 survey conducted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the National Council for Culture and the Arts, revealed that Mexicans read only 2.9 books a year.

posted 6/25/2012
The two ferry companies that provide service from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen have gotten together and decided to start an "Acuataxi" service from the cruise ship piers to the downtown pier. The "Acuataxis" could run about 10 times daily taking cruise ship vacationers round trip to downtown Cozumel for about $1 per person. The winners in this would be downtown merchants who could see an influx of shoppers who like the cheap easy way to see some of Cozumel. The losers would be the taxi drivers who may suddenly find themselves only watching as much of their business sails to town and so avoid the $7 cab fare. We have read that the taxi union is very upset by this but really are not sure how to stop it from happening. While the island police may turn a blind eye to taxi drivers physically stopping tourists from using private transportation, interfering with travel on the high seas becomes a federal crime with the Mexican Navy serving to enforce the rights of the shipping companies. We doubt that even surly cab drivers would want to provoke a confrontation with those Navy boys.

Cozumel cocktail
Mexico's Federal elections are coming up this weekend and that usually means no liquor sales for some of those days. This year we are reading that all sales will stop on Saturday, June 30th at 11:59 pm and not resume until Sunday at midnight. We have seen these dry laws apply to liquor stores, restaurants and All Inclusive properties alike and are never sure exactly how they will be enforced. To avoid finding ourselves without a libation this weekend we will be sure to stock the liquor cabinet, just in case!

posted 6/19/2012
Melgar Meter
We are reading the Melgar parking meters MAY soon be a thing of the past. A survey of Cozumeleños determined that 72 percent of the populace are opposed to the meters, while 20 percent are in favor. Three percent just don't care one way or the other. The company that owns the meters has a 15 year agreement with the city to operate the meters, but the article noted that if they are removed than the owners would receive no further compensation from the city for breaking the agreement. There are hints that the meters could be gone within a month, but we think it will be much longer than that before the much maligned Melgar meters are history.

More delays have been announced for the already long delayed Tampa Car Ferry to Calica. It seems that every year, or so, this projects appears on the internet and that is pretty much how far it goes. The last news had the ferry starting in August of this year and everything was a go. We now read that everything is on hold until August of 2013. Mexican officials say that the ferry will eventually be a reality, we view it as more of an uncertainty.

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posted 6/14/2012
Customs Officials at the Cancun airport are taking in more money in fines and import fees than ever...over 1,000,000 pesos in 2011, versus 600,000 in 2010. It is not that there are more people flying with taxable items, it's just that the custom official decides to charge a duty when one is not really owed. Tourists don't realize they can bring in the items duty free so they just pony up the extra bucks to move things along. Officials who have been made aware of this scam are advising tourists to know what they can and can't bring in duty free. There should never be a duty on one new or used laptop per person or a fee on one still and one video camera. The problem the tourist faces is that the Customs Official tells them that the law has just changed and now they must pay a duty or forfeit the item. Welcome to Mexico!

We have often posted that Mexican law requires that prices be posted on all items for sale in shops and stores on Cozumel. We don't usually hear much about any enforcement though, but that changed this week when PROFECO busted the Soraina Grocery Store for failing to provide adequate pricing throughout the store. PROFECO had warned the store before about this exact same thing but nothing was corrected. This time the store was fined 15,000 pesos for violations.

posted 6/6/2012
The cost of sand used for hotel beaches on Cozumel has gotten very expensive, but apparently there are not many options when it comes to sand. Nine hotels have been demanding beach sand since Hurricane Wilma and so far have gotten nothing from the city. However before any sand can be removed an environmental impact study must be conducted. That will cost the hotels a total of 250,000 pesos and take 2 months. But now with turtle nesting going on the study, and any subsequent sand removal, can not be done until late in the year. After the study is conducted then it can be determined how much sand can be removed from a beach near Punta Molas. At that point the hotels will pay the city of Cozumel about 1000 pesos per cubic meter of sand. It's no wonder that so many island hotels and beach bars just dig up sand in the night and bypass all the red tape and the extra expense.

The Department of Ecology on Cozumel is taking the operators of the Horse Buggies to task again. It seems the buggy owners were supposed to provide shade, rest periods, food and water to the horses each day. Reportedly the shady rest area in a parking lot on Melgar has not been used in over a month by the horses, but it does provide a nice shady spot for a car parked in that slot. Another rest area in town has not seen any use either. The Director of Ecology would like to see fines or punishment levied against the Carriage Operators but probably nothing will come of his complaints.

posted 6/5/2012
Turtle in a nest
The Center for Conservation and Environmental Education (CEA) on Cozumel is reporting good news after the first month of the turtle nesting season. The CEA has counted 54 turtle nests located along the beaches of the Punta Sur Ecological Reserve. The CEA is a volunteer based program that monitors the coast line of the Reserve and locates and counts turtle nests from 10pm to 6am. The Director of the CEA calls 2012 a very productive season so far. The Department of Ecology deals with the rest of the East Coast beaches and reports that so far they have only found evidence of one or 2 nests being disturbed and those were by wild animals and not humans.

The normally peaceful beach at Caletita was the scene of the latest crocodile capture by the Cozumel Fire Department. Early morning swimmers were taken aback to find a 5 foot croc hanging out on the rocks near the car ferry pier. The capture was routine with no one reported bitten. The cocodrillo was remanded to the Department of Ecology and returned to a swampy area further away from beaches used by locals. The article notes that so far during the current administration of the Mayor of Cozumel some 30 crocs have been captured and returned to the wild. We do not know if this is a record number of captures for an island administration or not.

posted 5/31/2012
Taxi drivers wait for the rates to go up
We are reading that a taxi rate hike is coming soon to our favorite island. In fact it could come any day now and in anticipation of that rate hike some cabbies have already taken it upon themselves to start charging more for a cab ride than the current law allows. We guess some cabbies are afraid that they might miss the announcement when the rate does go up, so better be safe than sorry. Taxista Officials say that of the 702 cabs and 2000+ drivers on the island only 15 have been caught jacking up their rates. But if anyone feels they have been taken advantage of they should get the taxi number, time, date and their destination and report it to cab central. When the rates do officially change the minimum fee for a ride in town will jump from 18 pesos to 21 pesos. Not too bad considering that there has not been a rate hike on Cozumel since 2008.

posted 5/24/2012
Rocky beach north of El Cantil
We always like to report on this property even though we are pretty sure nothing will come of it. The property is that little, pitiful, rocky beach just north of El Cantil. It is the last open water view in that area and no one seems to go there but locals who like night fishing. It is currently an eyesore. We always wanted it to be a better place, maybe a little no hassle sandy beach we can hang out and bring our own cooler too. There is now talk in the island press that maybe a little park and gazebo might be constructed there. The press reports that even though the legal ownership of the property is in dispute it seems the city currently is in control of the land. Maybe something will develop for the beach in the future. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed.

posted 5/18/2012
More controversy is in the news regarding the wind turbines being planned for the East Side of Cozumel. According to Cozumel's environmental watchdog group, CITYMAR, federally protected lands have been cleared for 3 test towers. Apparently the folks installing the turbines failed to get permission to clear cut the land, but just went ahead and chopped everything down. A CITYMAR spokesman stated that this was irreversible destruction to the environment and a disgrace to the country that does not respect or enforce its own laws. No word yet on whether any fines will be levied or if the incident will just be forgotten as usual.

After nearly a year of jumping through hoops and stumbling over red tape the Mayatlantis project planned for Chankanaab Park failed to win approval by the federal government and is DOA. The project would have consisted of submerging structures resembling Mayan ruins in waters around Chankanaab. The mini ruins are environmental friendly, attract fish and promote growth of new reefs. They also amuse tourists which was the reason park officials wanted the underwater ruins at that location. To add insult to injury, the company promoting and installing the Mayatlantis project packed up and took their proposal to Honduras where it took only 10 days to get approved!

posted 5/15/2012
More tourists needed
The Small Hotel Association of the Riviera Maya has come up with a great promotional idea to boost tourism and hotel occupancy. They are urging the Mexican Federal government to create more long weekends. More vacation days can raise hotel occupancy to as high as 85%. More people travel, eat out and go to water parks. The hotel association is currently only asking for Mothers Day, Columbus Day and the Virgin of Guadalupe celebration to be declared bonus holidays, but we say, "why stop there?" Why not make every weekend a 3 day weekend. Workers will be happier because they get more time off. Hotels will be full and tourists will be swarming the country. Sounds like a plan to us!

cruise ships with no where to park
Just in case more 3 day weekends don't boost business, then Cozumel has another idea on the burner. In one of those "if we build it they will come" moments, the Governor of Quintana Roo wants to build a new pier on the north end of the island. The estimated cost is only 40 million and it will allow 4 more boats to dock on the island. This idea has been bounced around in years past and not much has been done about it, and probably rightly so. With only one or two boats currently docking on the island per day and that number not expected to go up until December, then does the island really need more pier space?

posted 5/14/2012
News on the future of the old Sol Cabanas Hotel has surfaced in the media. It sounds like there had been a legal dispute going on for years as to the real ownership of the property. It now is mostly settled and there is talk that the new owner plans on building a hotel and beach club, but probably not on the scale of the original Sol Cabanas. According to what is allowed for that area, the new owner could build as tall as a 15 story structure on the land. We do like the fact that something will finally be done to restore this property, but are not fans of a new mega complex possibly being erected along the north shore of Cozumel.

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posted 5/8/2012
The Director of Ecology on Cozumel is reporting that turtles have already started arriving on East Side beaches. The official 2012 turtle season begins May 15, but already 10 nests have been located along the sandy coast. Access to the East Side is being restricted from 8pm until 6am so that the turtles can go about their business undisturbed. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches. The Department of Ecology is predicting that 2012 will be a record year for turtles nesting on the island.

Lagoon at Sol Cabanas
The beach at the old Sol Cabanas Del Caribe hotel has reportedly been fenced, by parties unknown, and is barring everyone from the area. The closing of beach access is highly illegal in Mexico and there has been some bitter grumbling by Cozumeleños regarding the matter. They want to know what the heck is going on? We are sorry to see this as Sol Cabanas has long been one of our favorite properties on the island. Even after the hotel was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Wilma, the beach and micro lagoon were a secret part of the island, known only to us and a few locals. We hope things get worked out as we hate to see even more access to the water being denied to locals and tourists alike.

posted 5/3/2012
The Mayor of Cozumel has taken the issue of not allowing taxis to use the parking lot at the International Pier to another level. He now, reportedly, is saying that he does not care what Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL) does and if they leave Cozumel that is fine with him. The Mayor stated, "There are several companies who wish to dock their ships on the island ... Italian companies with Finnish and American ships (that) would leave Galveston and Texas," (sic). The Mayor did not name those companies and further research shows that if RCL pulled out of the island that fully 40% of the cruise business would go away leaving a vacuum that could not be filled by any cruise line in the world. If Cozumel were to lose RCL's business then things would certainly slow down on the island and not in a good way.

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posted 5/1/2012
We are reading that the new Royal Square Mall, across from Cozumel's International Pier, is almost finished and already has some shops open and ready for business. Those shops include a Sun Glasses Hut, Diamonds International, Pama jewelery store, Hard Rock Cafe, coffee shop and a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. However, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL), whose ships dock at the International Pier, and the city of Cozumel have still not settled the issue of where the taxis can pick up cruisers. In the old days the taxi stand was right in front of the Pier, which seemed to work well for everyone. Now all cruise ship tourists must walk across busy Melgar Ave. and through the new mall to get to and from the taxi stand. This new procedure works out very well for the new mall but not so well for tourists who don't really care about another Sun Glasses Hut or jewelry store. The President of RCL, Mike Ronan, wants things to return to the old ways and has filed suit in federal court in an effort to make that happen. There has reportedly been some serious name calling between Mr. Ronan and the Mayor of Cozumel over the issue. The Mayor says he can't really do anything so, "too bad." We are reading that if calmer heads don't prevail then RCL, the second largest cruise line to visit the island, may be taking their ships to other ports and leaving Cozumel with an empty International Pier and mostly empty new mall.

posted 4/30/2012
Wild Side view
We are reading that Cozumel's Director of Public Works has received requests from both citizens and tourists to repair the old road on the East Side. Apparently folks actually like to look at the sand and water as they cruise along the coast. Lots of people use the old road just for that reason and they report that the road is full of potholes and the edges are crumbling away, making it no longer very safe. Of course there are no funds available to repair this most scenic of highways.

Cedral costumes
Island newspapers are reporting that the beaches were mostly vacant this weekend as some 18,000 Cozumeleños descended on the tiny town of El Cedral to enjoy the festivities. This is the only island fair that we know of in all of Mexico and we think it is even more fun than Carnaval. Horse racing, bull fighting and music were featured this weekend. Cozumel Cops policing Cedral are reporting that only 34 persons have been arrested for fighting, drinking and partying too much.

posted 4/26/2012
Tourists visiting Cozumel, as well as all of Quintana Roo, will have more time next April when the QR switches to East Coast USA time. The Mexican Congress approved the new time zone in hopes of boasting tourism and giving visitors more hours of daylight to enjoy the beauty of the country. They say the change also came at the behest of airlines wanting better flight times to the area. We have always struggled with Daylight Savings Time changes anyway. Now there will be one more factor to cause confusion.

Environmental groups are finally speaking out against the wind turbine project planned for the East Side of the island sometime in the distant future. Officials of the Center for Ecosystems Research, UNAM, conclude that the project would have a profound ecological impact on the island and its biodiversity. Birds would have to contend with the large turbines while arriving to the island for their yearly migrations. The noise of the turbines, which are constant between 94 and 104 decibels, would also have effects up to 2 kilometers away from each tower and that would be enough to interfere with egg laying turtles. Frankly, we think that this is one of those projects that will never happen on Cozumel, but we are glad to see that environmental groups are still being watchdogs over the island.

Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders
A group of 29 Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are visiting the Mayan Riveria on the mainland. The girls are being photographed for the Cheerleaders 2013 swimsuit calendar. We had hoped that with Cozumel's big tourism push that the girls could have done the photo shoot on Cozumel this year. Maybe next year.

posted 4/24/2012
Cozumel fishing boat
Officials who manage Cozumel's Marine Park estimate that fully one third of the boats using the park are doing so illegally. That's a lot of uncounted divers and snorkelers adding to the stress on the island's fragile reef system. The Mexican Navy is responsible for checking equipment and permits on boats in the park, and expelling violators of the regulations. Park Officials say that if anyone needs to see about getting a legal permit to use the park just drop by the Parks Office and they will see what can be done. OK!

El Tiburon--The Tow Truck
We have no doubt that many Cozumeleños were happy to learn that the island's tow truck is out of service and may not return to duty any time soon. The rumored cost to fix the tow truck is 70,000 pesos. The article did not state how parking violators are being inconvenienced now. In the old days, cops just removed the license plate from the illegal vehicle and the driver had to pay a fine to get their tag back. The tow truck changed all that, but to our way of thinking just made life more complicated. Maybe island life will move a little slower and be a little less stressful now that the tow truck is not trolling the city's streets.

posted 4/20/2012
An expert hired by the family of deceased cyclist Val Robichaux has determined that the driver of the taxi cab was solely at fault for the death. Mr Robichaux was struck and killed by a speeding taxi on April 10th and Cozumel Officials determined that he was at fault, not the cabbie. The family of the deceased brought in the investigator, at their expense, after City Officials had closed the case. The investigator determined that the taxi was traveling at least 74 mph when it struck the biker. We are reading that the next step may involve Mr. Robichaux's family suing the City of Cozumel.

Ugly Oasis Condos
Sales of real estate on Cozumel are still 40% below what they were in 2008. And, while sales have been increasing somewhat, the majority of those sales have been locals buying property on the island, not foreigners investing in the island. In an effort to restore that foreign market, island realtors will be making a swing through Texas in May to tout the benefits of Cozumel as a safe place to own a second home.

Cruise ship and empty beach
In case you missed High Season on Cozumel there is no need to worry, there will be another one next year. Officials are reporting that with the number of cruise ships visiting the island weekly dropping to below 20 then that officially means slow season has begun on the island. While there will probably be another wave of tourists flying in during the summer months, the island's bread and butter is made off the cruise business.

Good news for those driving out to the Festival at El Cedral....parking will now be free! Events kick off April 28th and wrap up on May 3rd. We say "go often and stay late."

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posted 4/19/2012
Cozumel Officials are always looking for the next great island enterprise that does not depend on tourism. It seems that some Cozumeleños have actually found one. For them, charcoal is the wave of the future. Even while businesses catering to tourism close on Cozumel the demand for charcoal is still quite good, at least according to one coal professional. Cervante Matu has been in the coal biz for 17 years and is now seeing more of his neighbors set up coal bunkers of their own in his neighborhood. We like Cozumel charcoal. It is not the uniform chunks you find in the states, but is real wood from dead island trees. It burns hot and lasts a long time. It also gives food a wonderful aroma. The next time you want to try chicken check out one of the ones grilled over real Cozumel Charcoal, and support what may be the nuevo island economy.

Street Meat Vendor
Cozumel's Restaurant Association (CANIRAC) is arguing that there are way too many street vendors in the main tourist area of the island. They say that too much food being sold on the streets just keeps people from dining in island restaurants. City Officials say there are only 300 purveyors of "street meats and treats" in Cozumel's main tourist area and that is the perfect number. As long as the street vendors have their permits (some dating back 25 years) then they are not going to be messed with by the city. Our fave street food...hotdogs, churros and marquesitas. Check 'em out!

posted 4/16/2012
A day of bicycling for an experienced Ironman, Val Robichaux, ended in tragedy last week when a speeding taxi cab plowed into the cyclist killing him. The incident was witnessed by his son who reported that the taxi was traveling in excess of 70 mph when it struck his father who was on the old highway. After striking Mr. Robichaux, the driver of the taxi parked further along the road and made no effort to assist the victim. The deceased cyclist is being blamed by Cozumel Police as causing the accident and we are reading that his family may be held responsible for paying for damages to the taxi. There seems to be much confusion regarding this tragedy, but Cozumel's Taxi Union is very strong and it will not surprise us if further investigation fails to find anyone else at fault.

The news that it will cost 5 pesos (less than 50 cents) to park in a parking lot at the Festival of El Cedral has sent many Cozumeleños into a frenzy of protest. There has never been a charge to park at this event and they do not want to have one now. There is also some concern that the money collected will go into an individuals pocket and not be used to pay for trash pickup.

posted 4/12/2012
Hurricane Paula
Forecasters are predicting a less active than usual hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this year. Prognosticators are anticipating six tropical storms, four moderate hurricanes and two intense hurricanes of category three to five on the Saffir-Simpson scale with sustained winds of 170 kilometers per hour or more. The names to be used in 2012 for the Atlantic storms are: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie and William.

El Cedral Dancers
In a major change to the quaint fair at El Cedral, officials are stating that there will now be a 5 peso charge per car parked at the site. This will go mostly to pay for much needed trash pickup. There is also talk about regulating the sale of beer in town. In the past, anyone with a front porch and a bucket of ice could sell beer to anyone. So maybe this will reduce some of the drunk and disorderly charges occuring during the fair. The festivities at El Cedral are scheduled from April 28th to May 3rd. As usual there will be horse racing, bull fighting and loud music. A fun time is usually had by all. We say if you are on the Isla check it out!

posted 4/5/2012
Cozumel musicians
It seems there is a greater interest in camping on the Wild Side of the island than ever before. The reason may have to due with the recent deluge of drugs washing up on Cozumel's East Side beaches. Military Officials are advising individuals to NOT troll the coast looking for a kilo or two of marijuana "just for personal use." Anyone finding drugs and not reporting them at once to officials could face as many as 10 years in a Mexican prison.

We did not know that there was a limit on the number of persons allowed in a car in Mexico, but apparently there is....just not on the Car Ferry to Cozumel. Several times a year the Car Ferry offers a Sardine Special. Cram as many people into your vehicle as you can and only pay for the car to cross...the people cross for free! That's a savings of 60 pesos per person. One family from Mexico City took the ferry up on its offer and stuffed 5 persons into the car. Easy! As soon as the car cleared the ferry pier it was stopped by an observant cop who advised the driver that there was a violation. He kindly offered to allow the driver to pay a small fine right then and there and avoid spending time at the cop shop and maybe an 800 pesos fine. The driver opted for the delay. Three hours later and we are still not sure if a fine was paid or not. City Officials did agree that the officer should have just issued a warning to the tourists. They also agreed that this type of thing was not good for the Image of Cozumel. The sardine tourists agreed and most likely will not be returning to the Island of Swallows any time soon.

posted 4/2/2012
We are very aware of how fast things wear out and break in the tropics and police cars are no exception. As of December of last year, Cozumel's police department had 67 cars and motorcycles available to patrol the island. As of last month 26% of those vehicles were in the shop for repairs with no return to duty date expected anytime soon. Reportedly, police officials will not even say if there are funds available to repair the vehicles. The island currently has only 420 police officers available. In an ideal island world there should be 800 officers based on population alone. This issue has been ongoing for the island cops for some time because, even in paradise, good help is always hard to find.

posted 3/29/2012
Cozumel has reportedly been awash in a sea of drugs lately. Kilos of marijuana have been washing ashore on the East Side of the island over pretty much the entire coast. About 40 kilos washed up 3 days ago and now another 50 kilos were found yesterday. Officials are reporting that some smaller amounts have brought the total marijuana find in the past week to 126 kilos...about 280 pounds! As usual, no one is sure where the stuff is coming from.

Cozumel musicians
You may be seeing more roving musicians on the streets of Cozumel and apparently a new city tax is to blame. City Officials have begun enforcing a tax on restaurants and bars that offer live music. These business establishments, mostly, can't pay any new taxes, so they have had to turn the musicians out into the streets. To add to this glut of street music, about 18 island restaurants and pubs have gone out of business, so there are just fewer places for island melody makers to showcase their talents...other than the streets.

We have mentioned this story before, but still like the sound of it. In response to citizen complaints, the Department of Ecology is cracking down on city bars and clubs that exceed the approved noise levels. The Department of Ecology has the sound measuring devices so they are the noise enforcers on Cozumel. So far, 6 establishments have been fined for exceeding the noise levels. Repeat offenders can be closed down. Just so you know loud from very loud, the day time decibel level allowed is 68dB, about as loud as a vacuum cleaner or laughter. At night a club has to quiet it down to 65 dB. About equal to loud conversation. For reference, a motorcycle comes in at 88dB.

As of this week the street that runs behind the Chedraui is one way to the north. The 4 blocks of Ave 5 Sur from Calle 17 to Calle 11 will no longer allow 2 way traffic at anytime. Reportedly this was done to facilitate traffic flow when circuses are on the island and speed locals to work at the Palacio. We are not sure why all of Ave 5 Sur was not made one way. Island streets can be confusing enough for some folks and this will not help with that.

posted 3/27/2012
There is lots of BEACH NEWS in the news lately:

Officially, none of the beaches on Cozumel are polluted. That is always good to hear, especially with Easter coming and lots of Mexican nationals visiting family on the island.

The Department of Ecology says about 160 volunteers have cleaned up over 4K of East Side beaches...specifically Playa Bonita. The goal is to clear a path for the Tortugas when they come to lay eggs this season. While some 16 bags of trash were removed from the beach, we are certain that there is still lots more garbage waiting to be picked up.

Cozumel has finally has been listed as being one of the Top 10 Beach Destinations in Mexico, by Trip Advisor. Playa Corona and Palancar Beach both were named. Cozumel came in 7th on the list, with Tulum and Cancun numbers 1 and 2. Also making the cut in Quintana Roo. were Playa, Akumal, Puerto Morelos and Puerto Aventuras. Cozumel seawall

We are reading that there is a push to dump tons of sand on the downtown beaches along the seawall. The plan is to make the downtown area more scenic and tourist friendly. We are not sure how this will work or even if it will happen as, currently, no one is legally allowed to dig up sand on the island and move it. Environmentalists will probably be against this plan since whenever sand is used to build up a beach that is close to any massive man made structure (i.e. Ave Melgar) the sand usually will not stay in that location very long.

posted 3/23/2012
Horse drawn carriage
As predicted, the Horse Drawn carriages are back on the streets of Cozumel, at least until the City's protest can make it's way through the intricacies of Mexico's court system. That can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years and until then the carriages can work anywhere on the island. Indeed, our latest visit found them in parts of town we had never seen them in before. In an effort to speed up the legal process, Cozumel officials have filed another protest in the High Court, but they will have a lot to overcome. The Carriage Operators have taken the stance that because they have worked on the island for 18 years they are now a public institution and they can rightfully continue working on the island forever!

Transcaribe loads a semi
The car ferry, Transcaribe, has raised rates 8% as of March 1st. Of course this means price increases for almost everything sold on the island. We are hearing lots of protests, but how can you fight a monopoly? The new one way rate for a car to cross is 723 pesos. Transcaribe is offering a Plan Locale card to island residents only that will reduce that rate to 380 pesos. We are reading that the people ferry Plan Locale card will not be accepted by the car ferry so users will need to obtain another card.

In an effort to reduce auto and moto accidents on Cozumel, the city is installing a couple of bi-lingual traffic signs. We applaud this modernization. Maybe officials are finally realizing that lots of people come to Cozumel and can't read a word of Spanish and a translated road sign will be a good first step. Of course maybe the sign will reduce accidents too which is always a good thing.

We have come across a disturbing bit of island lore that relates to moto accidents on the island. It seems that agencies who rent motor scooters make their real money when the driver wrecks the vehicle. If the driver crashes then he could easily pay hundreds of dollars in damages more than the moto is worth. This explains why motos rent so cheap and it seems anyone with a whim can rent one. Avoid moto roulette and rent a car your next trip. Our current fave is Blueway Rentals. No hassles and the very best rates we have found on Cozumel.

posted 2/28/2012
Horse drawn carriage has an accident
If we are reading the articles correctly, then the horse drawn carriages of Cozumel are no more. We had read rumors that 4 of the new bigger horses had died, but it looks like an incident last week where a carriage wrecked and dumped 4 tourists into the street was the last straw. So, as of yesterday, no more carriages are supposed to be working on the island. However, the owners of the carriages have been tenacious in finding loopholes around the law and making promises to anyone in authority just to keep the wheels rolling. The last word was that none of the carriage owners have been served legal notice of the cease and desist orders so they may use that as an excuse to keep working. Our real concern is what will happen to the horses if they are no longer needed to pull carriages anymore!

The latest money making scheme comes to us from the Post Office in Playa Del Carmen where a Mexican postal worker was caught stealing stamps off of letters and reselling them for personal gain. One downside of this is that he also destroyed the letters the stamps were attached too. When an investigative reporter decided to see if similar incidents were occurring on Cozumel he was stone walled by employees. The reported noted that the postal workers looked pretty nervous when he tried to question them, so maybe things at the Cozumel Post Officer need to be looked into...or maybe postal workers everywhere are just naturally nervous.

posted 2/24/2012
Cozumel Jet Park
One of our fave cool little island projects is in jeopardy. The airplane park  / library / resource center that features an actual 727-200 jet is pretty complete and looks neat. The only issue is that there is nothing inside the plane, except for a cot that the watchman sleeps on. It seems that when the project was proposed no one figured in the cost of the computers, books and furniture...another 3 million pesos. The article does not elaborate as to when that money will be forthcoming...if ever. Meanwhile if you are back on Avenue 130, between Calle Miguel Hidalgo then check it out. It makes a nice photo op!

posted 2/21/2012
Cozumel Carnaval Parade
Tonight is the last Canaval parade and, from what we are reading, it has been a pretty safe and sane Carnaval season on Cozumel. Aside from all the heavy drinkers arrested, as per usual, there was the incident with the "egg wars" that occurred last week. Almost 200 kids took it upon themselves to attack each other, passersby, cars and police officers with raw eggs, and when they were out of eggs they threw sticks and rocks. They caused a car wreck and generally made a mess. Most of the teen hooligans were arrested and later were released to the custody of their parents, who complained that the kids had been beaten by the cops.

Eggs aside, Carnaval always creates piles of extra garbage in the streets of Cozumel and this year was no exception. What did change was that the street sweepers and clean up hombres apparently decided to sleep in and did not lift a broom till late in the morning after Sunday's parade. The first waves of cruise ship arrivals were greeted with stinky trash, cups, bottle caps, cans, and confetti. Basically the flotsam and jetsam marking a successful parade. There was much grumbling by downtown merchants though who had to wash and clean up in front of their shops just to make things somewhat presentable. One merchant was horrified as he watched a couple of tourists move two bags of trash just so they could take a nice picture of one of the Carnaval statues on Melgar.

posted 2/14/2012 Spraying for mosquitos
We are reading reports that the pesky dengue carrying mosquito is still causing troubles in Mexico. The State of Quintana Roo ranks 4th in total number of cases of dengue reported in the country with 35 in the first 5 weeks of 2012. Twenty one of them are the regular dengue while 14 are the nasty hemorrhagic variety. The article did not report how many, if any, cases there are on Cozumel, but mosquito spraying is currently ongoing throughout the island.

City Officials announced months ago that Cozumel was soon to be home to a super cool and fun water park. It was going to be the best one in all of Latin America. Now we find out that the whole deal is bogged down in the miasma of paperwork that so much construction encounters in the country. The park is not moving forward and not moving is just a pile of paper. The article did point out that things might move along faster if more pesos were used to grease the squeaky wheels of officialdom.

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posted 2/10/2012
Chedraui at night
The Chedraui on Cozumel is on the verge of being shut down for health violations. Currently, the bakery and fast food areas have been closed by health inspectors for unsanitary conditions and serving expired products. Reportedly, the Chedraui has been guilty of these violations in the past and, in spite of warnings, has done nothing to fix the problems. Health Inspectors say that this time it will be different and the Chedraui better clean up its act or face the risk of having the entire store closed!

Cozumel cab drivers take a break
We have word that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has filed suit in a Cancun court to stop some shady goings-on on Cozumel. From our reading of the articles, it seems the owner of a new mall across the street from where Royal Caribbean docks on the island wanted to increase business to the mall shops. So he struck a deal with one of the old administrations on the island to make it illegal for any cab to pick up tourists at the dock or even on the street. This forced all the cruisers to walk across Melgar and completely through the mall to get to a new cab stand, a long trek for out of shape, overweight cruisers. Currently there is much buck passing going on and no one is taking the heat for this scheme. Royal Caribbean officials plan on meeting with Cozumel officials in hopes of working something out, or if not then we guess will let things grind out in the Mexican court system. As we recall this exact same thing happened years ago when the owners of the Punta Longosta Mall forced all cruisers exiting the ships docked in town to climb stairs and detour into the mall area before they could grab a cab or even get onto Melgar.

El Gato Negro
On a sad note, we have been informed that our favorite divey cantina on Cozumel has gone out of business. Island institution, El Gato Negro, home to cheap cold beers, tasty botanas, mostly cute waitresses, extremely loud music and many a long Friday afternoon bout of hot sweaty drinking, has lost it's lease and is no more. This has left much of the island's ex-pat community in turmoil and currently without an authentic Cozumel Cantina to call home. We hope a replacement for the Gato will be found soon and sincerely hope that this is not some cruel precursor to those End of Days predictions we have been reading about!

posted 2/6/2012
Cozumel officials are closely examining how the Tampa to Calica ferry may impact the island...and not in a good way. As of right now all the ferry boats bringing food, supplies and gasoline to the island would have to share the same pier in the Port of Calica that the huge car and people ferry from Tampa want to use....and there is only room for one ship to dock at a time. The worry is that the Tampa ferry (if it actually happens) would take hours to load and offload, as each vehicle and individual would have to be cleared by immigration officials. We are reading that one car could take up to an hour to be approved by customs and with some 600 cars on the boat then it could literally take days to clear them all. Island officials do not want anything going on in Calica that will endanger the transfer of supplies to Cozumel, and to keep that flow uninterrupted then monies would have to be spent to expand the port facilities or the Tampa Ferry will have to look elsewhere for a home port in Mexico. Of course one that comes readily to mind is the Island of Swallows. With 4 cruise ship piers and places to dock 3 car ferries (the new pier at Calitita will handle 2 ships at a time) Cozumel would make a great port and with as many as 4000 tourists a week disembarking from the states then island tourism would soar!

Eight tourists and a Mexican captain were rescued after the glass bottom boat they were traveling in sank in the middle of the Cozumel channel. The boat, reportedly, went down in less than a minute. The divers abandoned ship and grabbed what they could, just to keep afloat. The group stayed together and drifted for 5 hours before they were pulled from the water. All were in good health. An investigation is under way regarding the incident as the ship was traveling under a false name and was not in good enough condition to make the trip in the first place.

Most tourists don't travel to Cozumel to get a hemodialysis session, but many Cozumeleños do rely on this life prolonging procedure on a weekly basis. The General Hospital on the island has warned it will not be offering hemodialysis for a week while the nurse operating the dialysis clinic takes a holiday. Everyone needs a vacation now and then, but we are reading that the hospital is making no effort to have another nurse cover the facility during the hiatus, but is just leaving patients to fend for themselves.

posted 1/31/2012
Rumors have surfaced again about the Tampa to Mexico car and people cruise. The latest on this on-again, off-again scheme is that as of June or July it will be making maybe 2 trips a week from the port of Tampa, Fl. to Calica, just south of Playa Del Carmen. The ferry reportedly can carry 2000 passengers and 600 cars. If it does start running this would be great for adventurers wanting to travel with their cars to Quintana Roo, Cozumel and all of Mexico. Since this plan has been in the works for over a year now with seemingly no start date in sight we will adopt our usual "wait and see" take on this.

Out of the 35 police vehicles on Cozumel, 11 of them are not running and are in the shop for repairs. That leaves only 24 official cop cars left to patrol the island. The shortage is forcing some officers to use their own transportation to get to the scene of emergencies. And accident wise things are hopping on the island. On Sunday night there were five car wrecks, a suicide and two fatalities in other incidents in various parts of the city, so several officers had to respond sans official vehicles. There is no word on when the ailing squad cars will be back on the streets again.

posted 1/23/2012
Cozumel's Wild East Side
The President of the Employers Confederation of Mexico (Coparmex) is calling for the building of more hotels on Cozumel. Specifically he would like to see major building on the islands East Coast, north of Mezcalitos, in one of the last undeveloped and environmentally pristine parts of the island. His mission is to create more jobs for Cozumeleños and revive the island economy. He feels that if more hotels were built here then more tourists would be drawn to the island and would stay longer. We are not sure that will be the case though as, except for only a few weeks a year, the island can not fill the hotels that it already has. But who knows, maybe some more housekeeper and waiter jobs are just what the island needs to give it a boost.

Unhappy survivors of the Costa Concordia sinking
The Port Authority of Quintana Roo (Apiqroo) confirmed that there has been no impact to the schedules of cruise ships coming to Cozumel since the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off Giglio Island, Italy. Cruise watchers feel that Carnival, the parent company of the grounded vessel, will face a big hit to revenue for 2012. Cozumel officials are still hoping that the much deeper waters around Cozumel island will make the cruise passengers feel safer and that some 3 million cruisers will still visit The Island of Swallows this year.

posted 1/18/2012
Happy newlyweds
The number of couples getting married on Cozumel seems to be in a slump. Fewer folks getting hitched...more couples just living in sin, we guess. In an effort to put lovers on the right path, the Civil Registrar's Office on the island is offering big savings on a mass wedding in February. We are not sure just how much will be saved, but in these uncertain times every little bit helps.

The island's Director of Tourism has issued a statement warning everyone to "not rent motor scooters." We totally agree just from a safety standpoint, but the Director adds that when vacationers rent a moto and get in an accident then that can give visitors the wrong impression of the island...Good point! He also says the streets on the island are in poor condition (potholes and sneaky speed bumps) and many of the motorcycles are not as well maintained as they might be, even though they should be in perfect shape. Okie Dokie!

posted 1/12/2012
PROFECO's list of the top consumer complaints for Cozumel businesses is out. It looks like, in 2011, the top gripes were about mobile telephone providers and pay TV service. There were also a good number of beefs about auto repair shops and companies that rent motos and automobiles. That last complaint would be coming from tourists, and PROFECO (Mexico's BBB) is most active in reconciling those issues so the island does not get a bad name. A PROFECO spokesman advises everyone to read the fine print in any contract they sign, as well as to complain to PROFECO if they can't work problems out with the service provider. Indeed, the agency is successful in getting satisfaction for the consumer in 98% of the cases it handles.

Ruins sit above the beach at Tulum
Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History reports that Tulum was the number one ruin in the state of Quintana Roo., with over a million tourists visiting the tiny ocean front site in 2011. Following at number two was Coba with more than 450 thousand trekkers. San Gervasio, on Cozumel, was the 3rd most visited ruin in the state with 137 thousand day-trippers exploring the island's only ruin of note.

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posted 1/10/2012
Cozumel moto family
In a move that seems like deja vu all over again, the Chief of Police on Cozumel reports that cops will begin enforcing the 2 on a moto rule...again. This law was put into effect over a year ago and, despite a few tickets, was largely ignored by cops and citizens alike. We're still seeing up to 5 peeps on a motorcycle on a daily basis. The current fine for more than 2 on a moto is 163 pesos, but we are reading that it may go up in the near future. In related article, the number one auto violation on the island for 2011 was for persons operating a motor vehicle without a drivers license, with 3987 persons fined. The number two fine was for cars not having license plates. That makes sense...who needs a license plate if you don't have a drivers license anyway?

A new report ranks Cozumel in the top 10 percent for Internet use in all of Mexico. Eight out of every 10 Cozumeleños are connected via the web. Cozumel has 12 pairs of fiber optic cables running underwater to the mainland. They have the capacity to handle 9.7 million simultaneous sessions of voice and data over a single pair of cables. Officials say that all this band width, and high tech connectivity, there is no way that the island can be cut off from the rest of the world no matter what the disaster.

Cozumel sprays for mosquitos
We are seeing reports that mosquitoes are still plaguing the island and so larval control and spraying will be ongoing. Mosquito experts claim that 2012 will be an even more difficult year for Dengue in the Caribbean than 2011 was.

posted 1/5/2012
We have just come across a great tool that may encourage tourists to use the confusing Cozumel bus system. The bus system is geared toward locals to get them to and from the Chedraui grocery store. Most of the buses pick up there and cost about 7 pesos per ride. None of the routes go along the water, or out of town to the tourist areas. After looking at the maps, and checking the routes, we will definitely be taking a ride. For a pdf file with all the info click HERE.

Cozumel Waterfront
Cozumel has just been listed by the Federal Government of Mexico as one of the LEAST safe cities in the country. Even the US government does not count Cozumel as one of the most dangerous Mexican cities, so Cozumeleños are wondering, "What's up!" Understandably the Mayor of Cozumel is hopping mad and wants a retraction, as Cozumel has long been considered one of the safest places to be in all of Mexico. We will wait and see how the Mayor deals with this PR nightmare. FYI: Cancun also made the list but we are not surprised with that choice.

Isla Mujeres
In another affront to Cozumel, the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO), has just released its Competitive Index and the island failed to make the top tier on that report. Out of 402 municipalities, only 14 showed high competitiveness and three of those were Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Isla Mujeres. The rankings were determined mostly by how high income levels were in those communities. Also considered were their ability to attract and retain investment, in promoting sustained economic growth and the prospect of future demand for housing. Other municipalities topping the rankings were Cabo San Lucas, San Luis Potosí, Soledad de Graciano Sánchez, Hermosillo, Guanajuato, Xalisco, and Nuevo Laredo.

posted 1/3/2012
Cozumel Airport
If you have noticed that it now seems to take longer to clear customs at the Cozumel airport then you are not alone. Airport officials advise that the wait time for luggage has jumped from 20 minutes to 40 minutes in the past two months. They cite the necessity of more thorough inspections of the bags as well as shortages of personnel to conduct the inspections as major contributing factors to the delay. Makes us want to just bring a carry-on for our next island trip.

The Municipal Transit Department on Cozumel has become one of the major sources of revenue for the city. Traffic fines represent from 20 to 30 percent of the cash that the city collects per month. In an effort to boost the amount collected, a new fine for noisy, smokey motos and autos is now being imposed. It seems noisy vehicles give a bad impression to students as well as visitors and no one wants that. Authorities advise that the best way to avoid a fine is to have all your vehicle papers in order. But if you do get a ticket then pay it within 5 days to take advantage of a 50% discount for prompt payment.

posted 12/30/11
Mayair planes
Our latest trip to the island was our first time to use the services of a Mayair flight from Cancun to Cozumel and we must say the service was excellent. The flights were not crowded, were on time and the views from the planes were marvelous! Because the Mayair terminals are removed from the regular tourist flights, we avoided the crowds and the timeshare sharks. We also discovered that to fly like a local you can just show up at the departure lounge about 10 minutes prior to departure and still be on time for your flight. But as of January 6th 2012 we are reading that all those good things will change for flights to and from Cozumel. As of that date Mayair will move to the main terminal on the island and passengers will be subject to the regular pre-boarding screenings. Flights will also be closing 25 minutes prior to departure. We also assume that passengers will be fair game for timeshare hawkers too. We do have one other insider tip that saves so much on the cost of the ticket that it makes it almost cheaper to take the flight than it is to take the bus and ferry to the island, but you will have to contact us directly for that one.

posted 12/26/11
Probably due to the "worst season ever," the McDonald's on Melgar has gone out of business. This is bad news for the restaurant's employee's and lovers of fine American fast food, but good news for the stores immediately below McDonald's which will no longer have to put up with the restaurant's overflowing toilets and spilled cooking oil seeping down their walls. McDonald's joins the ranks of international companies like the Ford and Chevrolet dealerships that have also had to close up shop on Cozumel.

posted 12/22/11
City Officials say that if anyone wants to build a heliport on the island then they only need to check in with the Department of Urban Development to get the ball rolling. They also advise that there will be a lot of red tape involved and it will probably be a very expensive project. The first priority would be selecting the right location and then having a feasibility study done regarding noise pollution and safety. Some years ago a company named "Magic Adventures" planned to construct a heliport offering helicopter rides to tourists, but the Administration at that time nixed the whole deal because of safety concerns.

We are reading that as of January 1st, the fees to visit almost all the ruins throughout Quintana Roo will be going up. The biggest rate increases will be at Tulum and Coba, where it will cost 57 pesos to visit the sites. San Gervasio, on Cozumel, will jump to 46 pesos (we think from 33 pesos). If correct, that amounts to a grandiose 40% increase! So if you want to save a peso or 2 check out your fave ruin before the end of the year.

We have always adopted the old adage to not ship anything to, or from, Mexico unless you won't need it for a few months or just never want to see it again. It now sounds like Profeco may be getting into the act as complaints are mounting about island shipping companies like DHL and Estafeta. High rates, lost shipments and miss delivered packages are just some of the issues. Customers even complain that it is a waste of time to file a complaint. Good point.

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posted 12/16/11
taxi cab crash
Cozumel Cab Drivers have always taken offense whenever a non-taxi hauls tourists around town. Taxistas can go to great lengths to stop the competing Pirate Cabbie from going anywhere. The latest incident involved a long time Pirate Cabbie offender and when word got out that there was a violation going on a taxista representative raced to the scene in a manner consistent with any Taxi Cab Emergency! His wild driving caused him to run off the road and hit a tree. The Pirate Cabbie stopped to render assistance. No one was hurt and the Pirate Cabbie will probably just apologize again and say, "I forgot."

On November 17th, a police officer traveling at a very high rate of speed struck and killed an entire family of four on the Transvaal Highway. The family was riding in their 3 wheeled "tricyclero" and did not have lights or reflectors on the slow moving vehicle. Because of this horrendous incident, a new law has been proposed that requires all pedal powered vehicles to have lights and reflectors. Offenders will have the bike taken into custody and then must show proof of ownership and put lights on the bike in order to get it back.

posted 12/13/11
Caleta Marina
The latest we are reading about the new Marina at Caleta is that NO explosives will be used to open the mouth of the marina, as this could cause serious ecological damage to the island. This issue came about when concerned Cozumeleños discovered stakes placed in hard rock that looked like they might mark dynamite holes. Officials say that only heavy equipment will be used to remove the rock, and precautions will be taken to make sure the reef at Paradise is not damaged.

old ostrich
Two companies on the island have taken up making organic fertilizer from Cozumel worms and the stuff they leave behind. The companies, "Coz-Humus" and "Tumben luum," are reportedly having some success selling both liquid and solid fertilizers to be used by island gardeners. Both companies say their products are great for growing tomatoes, lettuce, onion, jicama and chile habanero among others vegetables. In a related story, ostrich farming may be coming back to the island next year. This was tried some 6 years ago and the project failed, supposedly because the ostriches got stressed out during the noisy fair at El Cedral. It is hoped that some future, unnamed investor will find a more peaceful location for his ostrich ranch.

We came across a vague story about the cops who killed and butchered a cow some months ago. Our best read is that any officers involved in the incident have been fired from the police force. The article does not name names or note just how many cops were involved.

Virgen of Guadalupe parade
The new statue of the Virgen de Chankanaab is on Cozumel and making the rounds of the churches and streets as part of the festivities in honor of the Virgen of Guadalupe. The original statue was stolen from the bottom of the ocean at Chankanaab Parque months ago and never found. The new icon, made from keys donated by islanders, is 1.6 meters tall and weighs 70 kilos. It will be carried around Cozumel during the festival of the Virgen of Guadalupe and then placed on the bottom of the sea at Chankanaab on December 18th.

posted 12/8/11
When we shop for groceries on Cozumel we occasionally check the expiration date on food items and it does not surprise us when we find expired stuff still sitting on the shelves. What we don't expect is rotten food being sold and that sounds like what was gong on at the Chedraui on Melgar. A customer complaint about very bad meat resulted in an apology from a cashier and an offer to refund the purchase price. The customer refused that offer, and instead complained to the health department. The resulting inspections turned up more bad food and a more vigorous apology from the store manager who said that the refrigerator had broken and the staff had not let him know. He noted that the Ched offers a 200% satisfaction guarantee on anything they sell, and will also replace the crappy product for free. We will remember that on our next visit!

Cozumel Wedding
For same sex couples looking to Cozumel as the spot to get married we are reading that they will need to keep on least for awhile. The judge that performs all the marriage services on the island says that by law he cannot marry gay or lesbian couples. However 2 same sex couples were recently married on the mainland and that has generated requests for similar ceremonies to be performed on Cozumel. Apparently there is a loophole in the law that does allow gay and lesbian Mexican Nationals to get hitched, but there is no similar provision for foreigners...yet!

posted 12/5/11
We are reading that there is a shortage of police officers on the island, but some islanders may feel that there are too many officers as it is. One lady reported that her moto had been stolen and, to her delight, cops reported finding it the very same day. When she went to retrieve it, taking all her proof of ownership papers, she was told by a cop that there would now be a fee of some 350 pesos involved that would help "facilitate" the moto's return. In Mexico, a bribe like that to get business done is known as "Mordita." We have not read the outcome of this incident.

Some Horse Drawn Carriage operators are asking the city to be able to use the old, smaller horses that have been banned by the City Council. The operators say they would only use them in an emergency, like if the other horse were sick or something and not able to work that day. The City Council reportedly denied that request.

posted 11/28/11
By all reports we are reading that this years Cozumel Ironman was another success. Almost 2,400 athletes competed in this years event and island number crunchers figure that at least 3 fans accompanied each competitor. That was enough to fill 85% of the hotel rooms on the island, so hoteliers are happy. Many Cozumeleños are marking the Ironman event as an end to one of the worst slow seasons the island has ever experienced.

On our latest trip to the island we were not at all surprised to see that the only 2 people on a moto law is clearly not being enforced anymore. We also noted that there has been some backsliding on the mandatory helmet law too. The one incident that brought this home was seeing a moto family of 4 drive past. Only two of the riders had helmets and the driver was wearing a police uniform!

posted 11/22/11
The Cozumel press is reporting that this Sunday "...the world's eyes will be turned toward the island of Cozumel..." as athletes from around the world compete in the 2011 Ironman. Indeed athletes can be seen everywhere on the island prepping for the big race. The first of the swimming groups hits the water at 6:40am this Sunday, with biking and running stages to follow. Participants have until midnight to finish all the races. If you are on the island Sunday watch for road closings and traffic delays. You can also just find a good vantage point on Melgar or at the Palacio Parque and cheer on the Ironmen!

East Side Overlook
On our recent trip to the island we were able to take advantage of the new scenic overlooks on the East Side. Built amid some controversy, as it was thought they could interfere with turtles laying eggs, we found them a great place to hang out. Each had a wheelchair accessible platform at road level with primitive changing rooms below that. The palapas were a nice size to provide a spot of shade or, in our case, shelter from the rain. None of them had adequate parking but that will change as the East Side road is widened. So pack your own picnic and check them out.

posted 11/16/11
We apologize for the lack of island news here on our blog, but the last 3 weeks have been filled with a Hurricane Rina postponed trip followed by a constant stream of activities on the island, so no time to post...or do much else for that matter. Our trip was great although brief, and we had some interesting highlights as well as low-lights. Sam's shopping

Sam's Club surprised as the place to be on Sundays. We have never gotten anything for free at any Sam's Club in Mexico, but the one on Cozumel turned out to be a wild free for all! Vodka, cake, beer, pie, hotdogs, wine...if it was consumable then it was being given away and usually as much as you wanted. During the week this store was almost totally empty but check it out on Sunday for the people watching and constant snacking!

We were also surprised by the entertainment available on the island. We were just passing through the Municipal Parque one night and caught an incredible performance by Latin Grammy award winning band "JotDog." It was maybe one of the 2 best concerts we have ever seen on Cozumel. It seems that you never know when the island will surprise you! Mosiacoz disapoints

We hit a low-light at one of our fave pizza joints, "Mosiacoz," where it seems you can no longer order the 3 for 2 pizza special and take your leftovers home with you. You have to either eat all the pizza at the restaurant or throw it away. If you try to take it with you they charge you full price for all 3 pizzas. What??!!

The island is still lovely though. If we had the time we could just sit on the East Side for hours each day and we certainly hope to be back much sooner rather than later.

It looks like it is pretty much business as usual for the island's Horse Drawn Carriages. We read that about 6 of them were out of service and we assume that was because the operators have not gotten the new, bigger horses. But our take was that of the carriages that were still working, the horses still seemed pretty small to be pulling those carriages full of overweight cruisers around town.

Crime is up on the island too. One of our amigas had her moto stolen early one evening while it was parked in front of a friends house. Island police say that motos are being scooped up off Cozumel's streets at the rate of 6 a day! You just can't let your moto out of your sight.

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posted 10/27/11
Tropical Storm Rina
Even though Hurricane Rina is now Tropical Storm Rina, Cozumel Officials have declared a curfew on the island and instituted the dreaded "Dry Law" until further notice. As of yesterday there can be no alcohol sold anywhere on the island, even tourist hotels. The car ferry has suspended service and the people ferries have stopped ferrying people. Police and military are watching the streets to make sure no one leaves their houses....also until further notice. Rina is now predicted to further weaken in strength but the island could experience rainy conditions for several more days.

wheelless carriage
A wheel fell off one of the island's Horse Drawn Carriages yesterday and, according to the papers, almost caused a life threatening accident. Fortunately no one was hurt and onlookers helped the carriage driver to restore the wheel to the vehicle. Carriage Operators still have till November 1st to get their horses in order or no longer be allowed to work on the island.

the band
Ever experience loud music or noise on the usually quiet streets of Cozumel? Well, if so then just contact the Director of Ecology on the island. He is supposed to have the equipment to determine how loud that music is blaring and if it's too loud then he can tell the offending club, bar or home owner to "silencio, por favor!"

posted 10/20/11
Taxi Cab owners on Cozumel have been lobbying for some time to raise rates about 20%. So far State Officials have not allowed the rate increase basically saying that it would be too onerous for Cozumeleños to pay more to use a cab during these tough economic times. The article reported that the cheapest published rate to hire a taxi in town is 18 pesos, while the most expensive rate is to circumnavigate the island, which is a surprisingly affordable 400 pesos. We need to remember that next time we flag down an island cab cause no taxista has ever quoted us 400 pesos to go around the island!

We are reading that Cozumel's horse drawn carriage operators are gearing up to ask for an extension on the November 1st deadline to get bigger horses to pull the carriages. The rumor on the street is that so far none of the operators have even purchased the required larger horses. No surprise there!

posted 10/18/11
More than 9 inches of rain deluged the island over the weekend. Several streets were closed due to high water and the port was closed to small boats. We also read that a lightening strike knocked out the warning light at the Caletita Lighthouse. Seventeen small craft were reported sunk by the rain in Cancun. Skies are clearing now and while all the rain might presage a new round of mosquitoes, it looks like Cozumel may be experiencing much cooler weather this week with highs only in the 70's. Maybe a cold norte will blow the skeeters out and mark an end to Hurricane Season in the Atlantic basin.

Cozumel will host its second Lionfish Safari October 19-23rd. The cost is $195 per person and that buys you training in how to kill the pesky Lionfish as well as 6 tanks of diving, a T-shirt, Lionfish snacks and 2 free drinks at Carlos' n' Charlie's. The event is geared to boost island tourism.

Six of the women arrested for the Diamond's International robbery have been released from jail. It sounds like they were arrested because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even so the cops kept whatever money the women had as well as their cellphones. Still no word that any of the now reportedly 29 million dollars worth of stolen watches has been recovered.

posted 10/13/11
small carriage horse
City Officials are saying that as of Nov 1st only Horse Drawn Carriages with newer, larger horses will be allowed on Cozumel streets. Requiring bigger horses was the city's response to allow the carriages to keep working on the island, even though horses are not allowed to work on paved streets in the rest of Mexico. Reportedly the city will not be offering financial support to the carriage operators to help purchase the horses. City Officials are adamant that, unlike past administrations, there will be no extensions to allow operators to keep working until they can find a big horse. We are not sure if they can just stop working until they find a big horse or if come November 1 and they don't have a new ride then they can never work again. We will keep you advised.

posted 10/11/11
Reportedly, Cozumel Cops have captured all 13 robbers involved in the Diamonds International heist. Seven women and 5 guys are now locked in the full-to-overflowing Cozumel jail. Police report that so far none of the 200 hundred watches stolen have been recovered. Claims by DI that the missing watches cost some 125,000 pesos each have some in the community very doubtful over what was really taken. Meanwhile all passengers departing the island via the ferry are being searched for the baubles. This has caused many tourists to literally miss the boat as the ships depart on time leaving would be passengers still in line being searched.

The most popular dive spot on the island, Paradise Reef, may be in danger of being severely damaged. Engineers working on the new Marina at Caleta have punched into the underground spring in that area and it is causing a flood of sand and debris to flow toward the reef. Builders were warned that this would happen and were advised to place underwater curtains to catch the particulates, but that advice was not followed. Some 40% of all Cozumel scuba dives take place on Paradise Reef and if destroyed the loss to the island could be irreparable.

turtle release
The guys who work with Cozumel's sea turtles are reporting that so far some 3,460 nests have been counted and that 171,000 baby turtles have been released into the sea. Officials plan to release the last of the turtle babies at a celebratory event in mid November.

sexy couple
We just had to throw this last story into the mix: It seems around 2 am Saturday morning a "horny couple" was caught in full intercourse inside a car parked on south Melgar. A third man, who was going to warn the couple if anyone took an interest in the rocking vehicle, was also arrested. Reportedly, alcohol was involved.

posted 10/06/11
Diamonds International on Cozumel was the scene for a daring armed robbery Wednesday evening. Witnesses report that from 8-12 masked criminals armed with pistols and an AK-47 swept into the jewelery store. They clubbed an unarmed security guard and used hammers to smash glass cases throughout the store. Reportedly shots were fired but no one was hit. Outside the shop other criminal types rounded up street cops so they could not stop the crime. After looting the store of at least $100,000 in jewelery the bandits fled in a van which was found abandoned a short distance away. We hear that the island went into lock-down mode...the 9pm ferry was cancelled and everyone leaving Cozumel was being searched. We are reading that as many as 4 suspected bandits have been arrested but we have no confirmation of this.

We have heard that island officials have started cracking down on motos illegally parked on Melgar. Eye witnesses report that motos are being hauled off to the impound lot by the truck load...or something like that. We are glad to hear that motorcycles will now be treated like any other motor vehicle.

There is another attempt going on to repair the famous Divers Fountain located on the seawall of the island. This seems to be one of those Cozumel landmarks that just never seems to work for very long. The last time it was "repaired" we think it worked for about 3 weeks and then was mysteriously broken again. Anyhow, the word is that it will be running again in November just in time for the Ironman. Come on down to Cozumel and check it out soon!

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posted 9/29/11
As of today motos will no longer be allowed to park for free on Avenue Melgar. We are not sure where they will be able to park or how much it will cost, but the article says that by this Saturday motos on Melgar will be ticketed for parking violations. Pretty vague stuff!

plenty of pesos
Two great reasons to come to Cozumel right now: The peso is near 14 to the dollar so you can buy more stuff for less money in Mexico. And hotel occupancy is now at a new low of 5% so you can get your pick of pretty much any room at the inn! See you on the Isla.

posted 9/27/11
Health Officials are advising locals and tourists to NOT TOUCH THE WHITE MOTHS that are swarming around bright lights on the island. The moths can cause a skin dermatitis in humans, so don't play with the moths. Reportedly, these moths were last seen in these numbers following Hurricane Wilma. Scientists think the moth population is getting out of control because birds and other natural predators are not eating the moths like they should. It seems most of the white moths prefer the very bright lights at the OXXO stores so be extra careful at those locations.

Tourism Officials are reporting that dive businesses on the island are suffering because divers now prefer to just sit at home and take a "virtual dive" by watching one on TV. Who wants to spend all that money diving and getting wet when you can have just as good a time watching a video! Really? Well if it's in black and white then it must be true!

Supposedly FREE WI-FI will soon be available along the town water front and in Benito Juarez Park. Telmex is setting everything up and it should all be in place sometime by the end of the year, if not before. The park in front of the Palaccio is close to having the service. If you have a Telmex account then you will just log online with that. If you do not have an account then, supposedly, you can get 1 hour of free internet a day.

posted 9/20/11
Hotel occupancy on Cozumel is currently below 19%. We think that this may be a new low for the island. The only plan we have heard of lately to boost island tourism is to destroy the protected areas on the East Side of the island and build condos and a couple of golf courses there. In any event, hoteliers are anxiously waiting for the boost in tourism they expect in November when the Cozumel Ironman comes to the island.

Blue Door
Some of the older houses on the island may be getting a face lift soon. Island Officials are planning to paint 22 of the oldest homes in the city center to give Cozumel a more distinctive look. Comex Paints will reportedly be providing the paint as well as an exclusive palate of colors just for the project. If these colors look cool then soon you may be able to drop by your neighborhood Lowe's and order a gallon of Cozumel Blue paint for your own facelift project!

posted 9/15/11
Authorities are saying that even though the Dengue epidemic is bad there is no quarantine being planned for Cozumel. The airport and ferry piers will not be closing. We are not sure why that became an issue at all since Dengue can't be spread from human to human but is only spread via mosquitoes. We think people are comparing it to the flu epidemic of 2009 and Dengue is not the flu. Officials are only confirming 84 cases of Dengue on the island and saying only 1 person has died of the disease. But they are also reporting that the the state operated clinics on the island have run out of medicine to treat the sick...sounds like lots of cases to us. Meanwhile a team of specialists in spraying the moscos is coming to the island to press the attack against the pesky skeeters. The mayor says there will be no truce in the fight against Dengue and spraying is planned street by street and house by house in an effort to wipe out the disease carriers.

Chankaanab and Punta Sur parks are going into low season mode and will be closed on Sundays. It is hoped they will resume their 7 day a week schedule sometime in December. We hope they will not be raising the current admission price of $19 usd any higher than it is now.

Two months into the season and the lobster-men of Cozumel have already hauled in 12 tons of the tasty crustaceans. The goal is to catch 25 tons in all, the same as 2010 and the lobster hombres say they are well on the way to meeting those numbers.

posted 9/13/11
Mexican Fireworks
Celebrations for Mexico's Independence Day are happening this week on Cozumel, with the wild party the night of September 15th. The big crowds will be dancing and drinking in the park at the Palaccio...probably all night so you will have plenty of time to join in the festivities. There may be fireworks or there may not be fireworks...these things change all the time. Security is supposed to be tight and minors are not supposed to be drinking...officials say. There probably will be some boring speeches but we say check it out cause this is one of those really fun times to be on Cozumel.

posted 9/12/11
Cozumel Villas
We are reading that the City of Cozumel has decided that this is the year it will finally go after the owners of condos and villas to collect taxes that are owed when the property is rented out for money. Hotel owners have always paid these federal and city taxes and have viewed condos and villas as having an unfair advantage because they don't have to pay anything back to the island. If this does happen then the big winners will be the electric (CFE) and water (CAPA) companies on the island because all those rental properties will immediately be charged the much higher commercial rate for utilities. Losers will be reputable real estate agents who will have to let prospective buyers know that if they choose to use their new purchase as a vacation rental then there will be lots more expenses and red tape involved then there used to be. So far we have not read how the city will go about collecting the fees but will let you know if they come up with a plan.

posted 9/7/11
The Mayor of Cozumel is pushing for a new tourist housing complex north of Mezcalitos on the East Side of the island. Even though construction of anything more than a stick and grass hut is forbidden in this protected area the mayor feels that this is the best way to bring new investment to the island. By changing the environmental laws to allow condos and homes to be built on the East Coast, the Mayor hopes to be remembered in 20 years as the individual who was courageous enough to do what had to be done to grow the island into a major tourist destination. Our take is that with some 3,800 hotel rooms on Cozumel now and occupancy running at near 30% then any new construction will just add more empty rooms to the pot. Now if the Mayor could get the ferry boats to carry passengers for FREE then he just might earn that coveted spot in Cozumel's history books.

booted car on Melgar
We are hearing fresh warnings regarding the parking meters of Cozumel. One of our island amigos is reporting that there is no information posted regarding the times that the meters are in effect and the meter maids are very quick to lock on the boot over a violation of mere minutes. In fact he says they seem to be hiding just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting parkers. Currently, if you are driving a moto then you can park anywhere as the meter police have not figured out how to ticket and boot a 2 wheeled vehicle.

posted 9/1/11
Cozumel's Director of Ecology is reporting that more than 3,300 turtles have been released into the wild so far this season, and he expects that number to go higher. Ninety percent of the turtles released are Hawks-bill, we think, while the other 10% are Loggerhead. Reportedly, there have not been many problems with predators disturbing the nests even though that was a concern earlier in the season. The Director acknowledges that there are still reports of old Cozumeleños who eat turtle meat and eggs. He says it is the younger generations who are aware of the need to conserve the species and they will be the ones to put an end to the harvesting of island turtles.

We are hearing rumors that horse drawn carriage operators on Cozumel have been violating their agreement with the city. Supposedly horses have been injured and abandoned to die. Operators are cramming too many people into the carriages and have horses working longer hours than the law allows. Carriage Operators can be fined 2,268 pesos per violation, if they are ever charged.

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posted 8/30/11
spraying for mosquitos on Cozumel
Be sure and bring lots of bug repellent to the island if you plan on visiting soon because it is mosquito season in the tropics and that means Dengue. While Cozumel officials are reporting about 50 cases of Dengue Fever so far this season, unofficial reports list the numbers as high as 300. Word on the street is that health officials are playing down the number of persons sick with the fever in an effort to not alarm the public. Spraying for skeeters is continuing, although we have read that an undetermined amount of the mosquito spray went missing, supposedly sold to individuals for personal use.

posted 8/29/11
rare starfish
We are reading that 2 new species of sea-life have been discovered in a cenote on Cozumel. Scientists from the US, China and Mexico are as yet unsure how this one underwater cave on the island of Cozumel is the only known location of a peculiar starfish and some creature called a sprocket wheel. None of the researchers have ever known of this type of sea-life adapting from a salt to a fresh water environment. One theory is that there is some nutrient in mangroves that allowed the creatures to survive in the cenote. Scientists hope to know more in a few years.

We have been reading for sometime that a wind farm was being planned for Cozumel and just passed it off as another wild scheme, but now it looks like something might, maybe, really happen. A total of 5, sixty meter tall towers are being planned on the south eastern side of the island. The company doing the deal, Mexico Power Group, hopes to produce between 50 and 85 megawatts of electricity initially. We are still not sure when that will be since it also looks like Mexico Power is soliciting investors to participate in the Cozumel project.

posted 8/11/11
We have been reading that new measures are being tried by Cozumel officials to encourage more tourism. Things like a new Facebook campaign and big signs promoting the beauty of the island in Mexico City airports. Officials want to try anything to play up how safe, peaceful and friendly the island is. One island car agency has found a new approach to encourage's called, "pay me more money or I will stab you with this knife." That's what greeted three Argentine tourists when they went to pick up their reserved motor scooters at "Punta Norte" rentals located on Ave 10 near Salas. The owner demanded an additional $58 over the $75 already paid. When the Argentinians argued and said they would not pay any more then the owner insulted them and pulled a knife to convince them that he really wanted more money. Eventually the cops arrived, found the agency didn't have the proper papers to be in business and shut them down. We are not sure if the owner was arrested or if the Argentinians ever got their money back or got their motos. The Mayor of Cozumel has offered that this is not the way he wants to encourage tourists to visit the "Island of Swallows."

posted 8/9/11
Interjet Airlines has reduced the number of flights from Mexico City to Cozumel, from 7 back to 4 per week. The extra flights had been added to take advantage of the summer holiday season in Mexico. The daily flights had been running 70% to 80% full. With the reduction comes the really low season on the island we have mentioned. Restaurants, hotels and rental properties on the island have been feeling the pinch for some time, in spite of the few extra tourists flying to Cozumel.

Cruise ship <i>Adriana</i>
The mainland town of Puerto Morelos is now a port-o-call for a cruise to Cuba. Tropicana Cruise Lines' ship "Adriana" will be sailing weekly from Progresso to Havana and Campeche. Prices start at $1200 per person and the ship has a capacity of 450 passengers. The Mayor of Puerto Morelos is not real happy about the situation as it now stands since the ship is only docking at PM for 3 hours...hardly enough time for passengers to see the tiny town, much less spend a lot of tourist dollars there. Reportedly, the only people who are happy are the cab drivers who jacked up their prices from 20 pesos to 30 pesos for the ride in to town. This kind of sounds like what Cozumel has been facing for years; The cruise ships don't stay long enough to add much to the economy and taxi drivers jack up their rates to gouge the tourists.

posted 8/8/11
A French tourist was struck by a boat while she was swimming off La Palapita beach on Saturday evening. She sustained serious injuries to both legs and her arm. The captain of the boat fled the scene and at last report, was still hiding from authorities. The tourist, Marilla Jessica Martine Perrin, is in serious condition and is being treated in a private clinic.

Another American tourist has been arrested at the Cozumel airport and charged with possession of bullets. This is the second time this has occurred in the past 2 months. Apparently this is now becoming so common place that the bullet toting tourist only had to pay a fine and then was on her way back to Dallas. Even though it looks like future offenders will not be doing any jail time, it would still be a good idea to check your luggage for firearms before you head out to the airport, just to avoid any misunderstandings. Of course we are still not sure what TSA is doing to allowing weapons on flights departing the states in the first place.

posted 8/4/11
Iron Man Cozumel
Registration for this year's Iron Man on Cozumel has closed early. Twenty Five Hundred participants have signed up for the event and that is the maximum number that can be handled safely and efficiently on the island. Officials expect some 7,000 Iron Man fans and participants to come to the island for the event in November. They hope to have the East Side road fully completed and to have paid the remaining 3.5 million dollars owed to the Iron Man committee by then. As of this time no changes are planned in the routes or starting time of the event.

posted 8/2/11
Costa Del Sol Villas
If you are on Cozumel August 13th then you might want to check out what is sure to be a bidding frenzy at Costa Del Sol. This normally quiet enclave south of town will be the scene of a never before attempted on Cozumel "No Reserve" auction. Parasio Azul, a 4 bedroom 4 bath fully furnished luxury villa, is on the block and the word is it will be sold for whatever the highest matter how low. The current asking price for this ocean view villa is over $800,000 usd but we are sure bidders are hoping to scoop it up for much less. You only need $25,000 in certified funds in order to bid, so check it out and let us know if it is indeed a "No Reserve" auction.

A second turtle has been found dead on the Eastern shore of Cozumel. The most recent weighed an estimated 200 kilos and was discovered on Playa San Martin. The first turtle death occurred last week. No cause for either death has been determined. Authorities are still concerned about packs of wild dogs on the East Side. Some of the packs have as many as 10 canines in them and many have been seen foraging for turtle eggs. The latest plan to deal with the feral dogs is to trap and euthanize them.

posted 7/29/11
Cozumel has the second highest reported incident of Dengue Fever in the state of Q. Roo. Cancun heads the list with 40 cases, followed by Cozumel with 20 cases. While that does not sound like a lot it is 100% more cases than were reported on the island last year. Dengue is spread by mosquitoes and comes in 2 versions. The regular one, that most people get, has low fever, joint pain and is not life threatening. The Hemorrhagic version is life threatening and requires hospitalization. Incubation for the Dengue is usually from 4-7 days. Officials urge citizens to keep standing water off of their property. Tourists especially should use lots of insect repellent containing DEET.

Lagoon at Sol Cabanas del Caribe
One of our old favorite hotel properties on Cozumel is still suffering long after its demise. Sol Cabanas del Caribe, which was closed after being smashed by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, had a fire breakout in the old abandoned restaurant palapa. Firefighters were called and they doused the fire in 20 minutes. No one was injured and arson is suspected. We miss the old Sol Cabanas and have fond memories of the first hotel we ever stayed in on the island. Located on the water just north of the Playa Azul Hotel it still features a little beach and perfect lagoon. Hopefully some of the palapa is left to provide a spot of shade for visitors.

posted 7/28/11
Adult pool at the Melia Hotel
We are reading that hotel occupancy on Cozumel is way down, sitting at only about 60% in July. That is really low for the summer holiday season on the island, especially when you consider that Cancun and the Riviera Maya are reporting occupancy rates in the 90% range! Even with the daily flights from Mexico City to Cozumel the influx of tourists has not made a real dent in hotels bottom lines....and those daily flights will end in August. With September comes the really really low season on the island, known as Hungry September, and all things touristy just grind to a halt. We love to head down to Cozumel in September or October though. The island is really peaceful and slow and even though some of our fave restaurants close up for those months many of them stay open and we can always get a good table. Just to point out how slow it will be this fall; we have to take our timeshare week during September or October and usually have to plan our trip around which week our unit is available. This year though our penthouse at the Melia Cozumel is completely open for any week we want and that has never happened before!

posted 7/27/11
The cost of drugs on Cozumel is going up. Cozumel police are reporting that due to their vigilance and cracking down on narcos, there are fewer illegal drugs on the island than there were and prices have gone up as quantity has gone down. Gone are the days when you could score a joint for 20 pesos. Now that same doobie will set you back 100 pesos. A regular bag of cocaine goes for 500 pesos. And if you thought you could get that hit of crack for only 100 think again as it will now be 250 pesos. Now that's what we call inflation!

posted 7/26/11
Lion Fish
We have been hearing from locals that the Lion Fish population in Cozumel's waters is still not under control and indeed it may never be. Some divers are reporting large fish in areas that are not being hunted on a regular basis. The President of the National Association of Aquatic Tour Operators is offering a plan to help with the Lion Fish problem and boost tourism. His idea is to have as many international dive clubs as possible come to the island at the same time and participate in a Lion Fish Safari. Divers would hear a lecture about the dangers of the fish and then get down to hunting the wily predator. Some prizes might be awarded and participants might get to snack on the spoils of the hunt. As of this writing no dates have been set for the aquatic safari.

We were delighted to read that the 2 ferry companies providing passenger service to and from Playa to Cozumel had been fined a total of 25 million pesos for monopolistic practices. Apparently though that fine has changed nothing in how the companies do business. The rates did not go down, they still take turns making the trip between the 2 ports and do not compete head to head to make the crossing. In fact the companies are using legal shenanigans to make sure they do not pay the fine at all and avoid any sanctions whatsoever. It is probably because of the high rates (160 pesos per tourist each way) that ferry ridership has fallen from 12 thousand to only 7,000 passengers a day. Sounds like it may be time for the 2 ferry companies to jack up their rates again to make up for the loses.

posted 7/19/11
We are not sure what is going on with this but Cozumel has been selected by the Scientific Committee on Luxury Tourism to receive a certificate as "Destination Luxury Line". Cozumel reportedly won this honor for its online reputation and relevance of high standards of service (what the what?). The mayor and guests can go to Europe and receive the award in person at an "elegant ceremony in Switzerland." Frankly this award sounds like something a hotel should get, not a city. Perhaps it is just a ploy to get winners to fly to some city in Switzerland and spend lots of dollars hanging out at a pricey hotel and receiving some bogus award. Maybe Cozumel could start giving out these prizes could only help island tourism.

The Governor of Quintana Roo has declared that Cozumel is still the safest place to be in all Mexico. That in spite of the island recently experiencing it's 10th drug related murder in 3 years. The Governor congratulated the Cozumel police as well as the military for working together to keep the island peaceful. Along a similar topic we are now reading that as many as 15 police officers may have been involved in the cow shooting incident from a week ago.

Apparently Cozumel health inspectors are no longer checking out island food stands, and eateries for sanitary conditions. In fact, it sounds like inspectors have not been working since June of last year and there are no plans to put them back to work anytime soon. When a particularly unsafe condition is reported then someone must be notified in the State Secretary of Health's office on the mainland and maybe they will send someone to check it out or maybe they won't. In the meantime everyone is advised to be wary when purchasing items at tortilla factories and bakeries. Without naming names, the article notes that some island hotels have water purification plants that are not working as well as they should. Sounds like the typical tourist beware situation to us.

posted 7/14/11
Reportedly, 6 of Cozumel's finest were dismissed from the police force when blood tests found the officers had been using drugs. The mayor of the island takes a zero tolerance attitude toward drug use by cops and wanted the officers fired asap. We do not know if these were the same 6 cops who shot the cow or not. So far no blame has been laid for that escapade.

The latest turtle report is out and the upside is that 985 nests have been located and tagged on the East Side of Cozumel. Officials say each nest has 100+ eggs. The downside is that several packs of feral dogs have been seen on those beaches and they do destroy the nests. They have also been known to attack the turtles as they come ashore to lay eggs. Officials blame the dog packs on Cozumeleños who abandon their former pets on the East Side of the island. As of this writing they have not come up with a plan to get rid of the wild dogs.

We have been corrected in our translation of the article about Cozumel streets changing directions. The streets will only have more stop signs added to slow traffic down, not be made one way as we had originally understood the article to read. Sometimes the translations we get leave much to be desired.

posted 7/12/11
Cozumel officials have decided to tinker with the traffic flow on the island. We think they do this from time to time just to keep drivers on their toes. So from now until the 15th of July they will be changing the direction of travel on several city streets. As if driving on Cozumel weren't confusing enough for tourists, streets that were one way East to West will now be one way from West to East! Streets affected are Calle 8 and 6 north and Calle 5 and 7 south. Officials are warning drivers to make note of the changes and advising them to not have any accidents. We guess there will be lots of signage marking the road changes or maybe there won't be any. Our take on this is just to be careful wherever you drive on Cozumel.

posted 7/6/11
Prices for everything seem to be on the rise on Cozumel. But now we have a report that several Cozumel cops have come up with a way to save money and feed themselves at the same time. Reportedly, at least 6 police officers discovered a lone cow grazing along the side of the road. One of the officers shot it in the head and they all left the scene. They returned some time later to load the deceased beast in the trunk of a patrol car and haul it to an island butcher shop. We hope this does not become a trend!

Interjet flights to Cozumel from Mexico City have become such a success that the airline has decided to increase the number of weekly flights for the summer holiday season. Starting July 17 Interjet flights, with a capacity of 150 persons per plane, will begin operating 7 days a week to the island. Apparently the summer holiday season is quite short as the number of flights will revert back to 4 a week on August 8th.

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posted 7/5/11
Statue of the Virgin de Chankanaab
The famous golden statue of the Virgen of Chankanaab has been stolen by criminals unknown. The statue was last seen anchored to it's base in 8 feet of water in the popular snorkel area at Chankanaab Park. The statue weighs about 20 pounds and is around 27 inches tall. It is made of tin-coated bronze but it looks like gold! Reportedly, the statue was removed with a hacksaw and the crooks probably used scuba gear in the commission of the crime. At this time the statue has not been located.

We are reading that the Fiesta American Hotel on Cozumel is up for sale. The property has 224 rooms and features a beach area, ocean views and has a good following among divers. It is reportedly running about 60% occupancy (we think that report may be a little high though). Opened in the early nineties, the hotel was once the farthest hotel to the south on the island. Grupo Posadas, who owns the FA, is facing a heavy debt load and needs cash fast. The selling price was not disclosed in the article but we are fairly certain it will be a bit out of our price range.

posted 7/2/11
Here are some hight-lights from the past week on the island:
Sam's Club has opened and from what we hear it has been packed with shoppers. The word is that it is smaller than the Playa Sam's and so has less stuff and what stuff it does have is not always competitively you still have to shop around for the best deal. There is good buzz though on the Sam's Cheese department. Peeps gotta have cheese!
Officials are reporting that there have been many Lion Fish sold to US restaurants. They are not saying how many that is exactly but at least it encourages fisherman to catch the predator fish in hopes that they can be sold for a profit.
We are reading about a number of government facilities on the island having utility services cut off due to lack of payment. The island fire department has had it's telephone disconnected, instructors and students of the State Institute of Adult Education (IEEA) were evicted after the state failed to pay the rent, and the city morgue had it's power shut off. Supposedly only some of the bodies in storage thawed out before power was restored and the phone has been turned back on at the fire department.

If you are on Cozumel this Monday you might make plans to attend the island's USA style 4th of July celebration in the town square. The events start at 5pm and include music, food fun and fireworks! We say "check it out!"

posted 6/28/11
If you have ever wanted to get married underwater (and who hasn't thought about it once or twice) and get a mention in the Guiness Book of Records, then make plans to join in what sponsors are hoping will be the largest mass underwater wedding ever. The submerged service will be held July 17th near Punta Venado on the mainland and there are hopes that 300 couples will get want to get hitched under the sea. To qualify as a record for the Guiness Book then brides and grooms need to stay submerged to a depth of 7 meters for 25 minutes and can't leave till the judge finishes the ceremony. Let us know if you are interested and we can hook you up!

There have been 57 complaints of abuse against the Cozumel Police so far this year. In an effort to prove that the cops are really good guys they are thinking about videotaping all future arrests. The driver of the police truck would be given a camera and in addition to driving he would also be the cameraman at each arrest. Maybe the cops can produce half hour shows from the weekly crop of arrests...kind of like the Bad Boys of Cozumel.

posted 6/27/11
Transcaribe Ferry docks at Caletita
After much prodding, Transcaribe, the car ferry company, has finally moved it's boats to the new car ferry pier. Although signs advising of the location change were posted many travelers showed up at the old pier and had to dash to the new location or miss the boat. For now there are no stop lights on Melgar so workers have to stop traffic manually while trucks and cars cross to get to the dock. There had been some debate about keeping the old Transcaribe dock available as a back up, just in case, but those plans have been forgotten and the old location will become shops and restaurants for use by the cruise lines.

posted 6/24/11
A dedication ceremony for the new Car Ferry Pier at Caletita is set for this Saturday. The Governor of the State is going to be on hand to symbolically dedicate the pier, which has officially been open since March. The only thing that may be lacking in the ceremony is a Car Ferry Boat actually using the pier! In case you missed our latest post Transcaribe, owned by Molina/Aviomar, has refused to move their operation to the new pier. Officials say if the Transcaribe boat does not show up "then too bad!" They will just look for another ferry company to take over the route! We think it is highly unlikely that another company will go up against Molina/Aviomar after they ran off the competition some years ago. If Molina/Aviomar decides to move to the new pier then they will and if they don't want to move then they will stay where they as usual on Cozumel!

posted 6/21/11
Park Bench
The newly remodeled walk and bike trails to the north hotel zone on Cozumel are a nice addition to the island. With the lighting and decorative benches they are a natural draw for tourists and locals alike. However some enterprising locals decided that the benches, made of wood and steel, could be sold for a nice profit and so they stole a couple and sold them. Officials located both benches, a few weeks later, at an island estate. We think the buyer of the benches did not know they were stolen. We have no idea what he paid for the benches but officials say they are worth about 7500 pesos each.

Transcaribe Car Ferry
The new Car Ferry Pier at Caletita was ready to begin operations on Monday. The only problem is that the Car Ferry Company, Transcaribe, has decided to stay in the old location for who knows how long. The word is that the new ferry pier is now big enough to host 2 ferry boats at once and that just might encourage another company to want a piece of the ferry action on Cozumel. The excuse Transcaribe is using to not make the move is that it is too dangerous to use the new pier because if the ferry boat lost power to all four of it's engines at the last second and had to throw out an anchor then it could destroy the CFE power lines to the island that run just under the pier. Of course if they lost power in the location they are currently in then they could crash into a cruise liner! Three years ago when the project was started Transcaribe made no mention of this being a hazard. So, if anyone has a car ferry boat that is not doing anything then there is a shiny new dock just waiting for it on Cozumel.

posted 6/16/11
Cozumel airplane theme park New Sam's Club on Cozumel
We aways like to get island updates directly from the locals and it's really great when they can include a photo or two. Here are a couple of shots from Coz-I-Can David showing the amazing progress workers have made on the airplane theme park and Sam's Club. We are not sure of the opening date of the plane park, but Sam's is supposed to be open the middle of July at the latest. That will not be soon enough for the residents who live near the Sam's construction site. The constant noise, dust and general mess of the construction has reportedly really upset most of the areas residents. FYI: all Sam's Club membership cards are good at the new Cozumel Sam's.

There may be a shake up in pricing for Whale Shark tours out of Isla Mujeres. The rate of $125 per person had been set years ago and agreed to by all Isla tour operators (is that illegal?). But declining tourism and hungry tour companies are causing some whale shark operators to drop their rates to get any business at all. Now there may be tiers of service with cheaper tours going for about $65 and only offering a boat but no food or drink.

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posted 6/14/11
chuga-chuga truck sprays for mosquitos
Big rains on the island have brought out the mosquitoes and officials are asking locals make every effort to reduce standing water that can become a mosquito breeding ground. We are reading that the anti-mosquito spray trucks are making the rounds in town too, so when you hear that chuga-chuga motor on the sprayer crank up on the street make sure to close the window or make a run to the upwind side of the street to get out of the spray.

One of our favorite beaches to hang out on the East Side is Playa San Martin. It's a big wide beach with nice wave action, some shady palapas, lots of locals and most importantly...Life Guards! And the Life Guards there are earning their pesos this year as Play San Martin has been named one of the most dangerous beaches on Cozumel. Already in 2011 some 12 people have been rescued by the Salvavidas at San martin and at last report no one had drowned. Life Guards at San Martin have all the tools of the trade such as buoys, first aid kits, oxygen, stretchers, among other things, plus they have a sporty ATV to patrol the entire beach area. They reportedly have to contend with rude drunks, but that is just one of the few downsides of working on a beach in paradise!

An island judge who works at the Civil Registry is advising Cozumeleños to choose their children's names with care in hopes of avoiding trouble as the kids grow older. He says that three out of 10 parents coming to register the birth of a child, try to give their kids names with out meanings. They pick out names of countries, names of cartoon characters or even super heroes! Of course even though a good solid name is chosen today it does not mean that the kid can't pick up a derogatory nickname later in life, but a parent can only do so much.

posted 6/10/11
Domestic flights to Cozumel on Mexican carrier Interjet are scheduled to begin the end of June. Flights to and from Cozumel are currently set to fly 4 times a week, but those in the tourist trade are hoping more flights will be added soon. Due to a half price special, the first 4 flights to the island are sold out, but round trip tickets to Mexico City will normally run about 3500 pesos, mas o menos. Island hotels are looking forward to hosting more guests and hope for at least a 20% increase in business. Our hope is that interest in flying to Cozumel won't get so bad that flights start to get canceled as has happened in the past.

posted 6/2/11
confiscated fans
Life is back to normal at the Cozumel jail, well at least as normal as jail life can be. The 43 fans taken in the raid days ago have finally been returned to the convicts. The new commander of the city jail said that the city donated 8 more fans to the cons as a sort of apology for taking their fans in the first place! Word is that the other electronics will only be returned if proof of ownership can be verified.

Turtle season began early on Cozumel and already at least one of the 45 identified nests has hatched. Of the 137 eggs in the nest 111 fully developed and the hundred+ hatchlings scurried toward their new lives in the sea. The Director of Ecology is reminding locals and tourists to not disturb the nests and to not bring dogs onto Cozumel's beaches. He also reminded islanders that turtles are an endangered species and supposed to be off the menu as a food group. Unfortunately, we are reading that some of the Cozumeleños who live in the town of Cedral still enjoy the taste of turtle.

posted 5/24/11
Things may be heating up at the Cozumel jail. The fans and TV' s that were confiscated 2 weeks ago (apparently illegally) have still not been returned to the inmates. Speaking on the condition that their names not be used, several police officers are concerned that with the hot weather and the overcrowding in the jail then it is only a matter of time before a full scale riot breaks out!

It turns out that Cozumel's parking meters may not be such a good deal for the city after all. We are reading that Cozumel only gets 33% of the take from the meters while the owners of the concession, Olympus Meters, gets 66%. Reportedly, it is expensive to park using the meters and so most people avoid them. If the city decides to cancel their deal with the meter company then they will have to pony up some 9 million pesos to get out of the contract. That contract is set to run for the next 15 years!

Do you know what this is?
A fisherman from the little port of Chiquilá, near Isla Mujeres, has made a mysterious discovery deep below the surface of the sea. Instead of a fish, Jose Cardenas Dominguez landed a skull...a skull that no one seems to be able to identify. The front of the skull has two ears and two eyes, but then has four more holes and what seems be a horn in the middle of the skull. Villagers hope the skull will be identified soon, but meanwhile some of the fisherman are concerned that the head may be EVIL!

posted 5/20/11
Trump Resort to be built north of Mezcalitos
Donald Trump Jr., and his family, visited Cozumel this past week and it sounds like Deja Vu all over again. Supposedly Li'l Donald was just on holiday, but he did get a courtesy call by the mayor of the island, Aurelio Joaquin. The new mayor has made it known in the off island press that he is in favor of the revival of the old plans to build a resort on the East Side of the island, north of Mezcalito's. So if Li'l Donald wants to build a $60 million mega resort with 1000 rooms, 2 golf courses and a marina, then the mayor is on board. The mayor's comments have already galvanized opposition forces to the constuction in Cozumel's supposedly federally protected areas. Cozumel's environmental watchdog group, CITYMAR, issued a statement basically saying that they were ready to stage protests against this illegal development just like they did 4 years ago.

Cozumel's 40th Annual Fishing Rodeo was held this past weekend and from indications in the press it turned into a real fishing fiasco. One hundred seventy five boats competed and over 500 lbs. of fish were caught, but the trouble occurred after the supposed winners were announced. It turned out that due to a typographical error, the 2nd place boat really finished 3rd and the 3rd place boat really finished in 2nd place. Big prizes, like pick up trucks and motorcycles, had to be exchanged. Supposedly good sportsmanship prevailed, but the island press thinks this may be the last fishing tourney on the island because of the mess up. Whatever the case, we do hope the next fishing tournament is a "catch and release" type event and not the catch and kill operation it has been for the last 40 years.

Cozumel police officer
While Cozumel is known as one of the safest places to live in all of Mexico, it may not be known as one of the least if the police force is any indication. According to island press, of the 437 Cozumel Cops, only 25% have received a high school education. Federal Regulations require all newly hired policemen to have graduated high school at the very least. There does not seem to be any rush to smarten up the police force either. The non-grads have until 2013 to matriculate high school or else be laid off.

posted 5/18/11
Prisoners in the Cozumel jail began complaining their rights had been violated after the military seized anything that looked like contraband in Saturday's raid. We mentioned that TV sets, boom boxes, fans and various electronic gear had been found in jail cells and taken by the military. Well now it turns out that prisoners in Mexican jails CAN have that stuff and indeed their rights HAD been violated. The error was made in that all electronic equipment just had to be approved before it can be given to the prisoners...not smuggled in as was often the case. Of course the military just assumed that anything that looked like contraband WAS contraband, so most of the fault belonged to them. We are reading that jailees can get their stuff back if they can just prove they had it before the raid.

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posted 5/16/11
Ambulance Drivers for the several hospitals on Cozumel are a fiercely competitive group. Each driver wants to be the first on the scene of an accident or injury and scoop up the victims for swift delivery to their respective hospital. We guess they get paid by the number of persons delivered, not the hours worked. This weekend the drivers need for speed to a wreck resulted in 2 ambulance drivers running into each other. At least 3 medics were injured, as well as a Canadian tourist. The driver of one of the at fault ambulances fled the scene...supposedly to rescue someone else. This is the second time in just over a month that speeding ambulance drivers have caused an accident. We are reading that there is no authority on the island that can bring order to this ambulance chaos. If that's the case then our best advice is if you see an ambulance just get out of the way!

Residents of the Cozumel jail are upset over a surprise raid this weekend. Apparently lots of contraband was seized and most of it was for the enjoyment of the convicts. At least one 19 inch TV, boom boxes, fans, video games, electronic devices and even a crude still were confiscated. Authorities have not said if any weapons were found. One popular method of smuggling articles to prisoners was inside children's clothing when the family came to visit. It had been suspected that the head of the jail and several guards were on the take, but who will get the ultimate blame for making life easy at Cozumel's Convict Hotel remains to be seen.

posted 5/11/11
a little mordida
The results of a study conducted by The National Index of Corruption and Good Government 2010, has concluded that bribery in Mexico is at an all time high. The average bribe is now about $14 usd, up from $11.80 in 2007. Mexicans are used to paying "mordida" to get anything done in a timely manner. Things like: getting power hooked up to a house, getting a government job, getting a scholarship and the old standby....avoiding a speeding ticket. The survey looked at 35 proceedings and services and concluded that 21 had gotten more corrupt over the past 3 years and 14 had gotten less corrupt. The bulk of bribery occurs at the state level and the worst is the "little bite" that doctors can put on patients to offer priority service. The upside is that it has gotten cheaper to pay off the electric guy to hook up your house to the grid!
Cozumel industrialist and architect, Juan Gonzalez is tired of all the new island hotels being built south of town. He wants to see a new boutique hotel near the Cozumel Country Club. His dream hotel would have just 120 rooms and totally cater to golfers. We kind of think that the Melia, El Cozumeleno and Play Azul Hotels cater to golfers now, but we guess there is always room for another hotel in the area. FYI hotel occupancy on the island has dropped below 60% post Easter. The word is that the island is entering "Slow Season."

posted 5/5/11
The shark attacks in Cancun some months ago have lead to a backlash by hotel operators and area fishermen. Taking matters into their own hands fishermen out of Cancun and Puerto Morelos decided to exterminate the bull shark from coastal waters. The first day they killed 70 sharks. The fishermen thought that if shark attacks continued then tourists would not come to the area. What they failed to realize was that many tourists come to see the bull sharks. Additionally, sharks are one of the most important links in the chain that keeps the Eco-system of the reefs in balance. Officials say the chance of a shark attack on a swimmer is 1 in 400 million. We have not heard if the shark harvest is continuing or not.

posted 4/29/11
Every time an old Cozumel Mayor leaves office the new Mayor starts looking for missing money and monkey shines that may have been committed by the old guard. In that regard at least 2 lawsuits have been filed against the old Mayor, Juan Carlos. It seems the old Mayor failed to take bids on several large construction projects...$23 million pesos worth...but just assigned the work to friends and family. Another investigation is being run to determine if Juan Carlos is also a partner, or owner, in the company that manages the popular new parking meters on the island.

Speaking of those parking meters -- the rate to use them is the highest on Cozumel...16 pesos per hour. No one wants to pay that, so the cheaper parking lots are full and streets surrounding the square that still offer free parking are jammed. The company that installed the meters predicted a monthly take of $150,000 pesos, but that amount is closer to $40,000 pesos. The upside is that now tourists can always find a place to park on Melgar...just pay those pesos...and more Cozumeleños are actually having to walk to work instead of parking right in front of their shop on Melgar. A little exercise can be a good thing.

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posted 4/26/11
El Cedral Festival
One of the best "county fairs" we know of starts on Cozumel this Thursday. The Festival of Cedral is one of our favorite things to do on the island and it has something for everyone. Great food, bull fights, wide open horse races, live music and lots of pageantry make the event unique in all Mexico. Things start April 28th at 2pm, but the real fun is over the weekend when the bull fights are featured. The festivities end May 3rd with the traditional "Dance of the Boars Head", followed by lots of late night drinking...of course the drinking goes on all the time. Traffic can get bad near Cedral, and parking tight, so if you plan to go take one of the cheap shuttles departing regularly from the Chedraui. Check out a slide show of a past Festival

Das Boot
There still seems to be much confusion over the use of parking meters on Cozumel. Not all signage on the use of the meters is in Spanish and English, so American tourists are kind of scratching their heads over how to use these things. The meters line both sides of Melgar down to Margaritaville, and if you park too long your car gets the "boot". At that point you have to hike up to a mile to the town square to get the boot removed, as well as pay the fine. Some civic leaders are not sure whether this will help the image of the city or not.

Teen drinking is still in the news on Cozumel. Two monster blow out drunk fests have been raided by the cops in the last 2 weeks and dozens of underage drinkers taken into custody. The latest party was held at the Fishing Co-op on Ave 5 Sur, near the cemetery. Twenty three kids were rounded up by police, with others fleeing over the fences. Beer was being stored in the Coop's refrigerators, but we do not know whether Co-op fish was being served or not. So far Fishing Co-op officials have not commented on how the kids got the run of the facility. Police are asking that citizens dial 066 to report any future drunken parties.

posted 4/20/11
Port of Progresso fantasy
Cozumel MAY have competition as the top cruise destination in Mexico. The city of Progresso, in the Yucatan, is trying to get it's ducks in a row to become a Home Port and major cruise ship destination. Officials there are projecting an influx of over 500 cruises a year and more than 3 million tourists. Those numbers sound similar to the business that Cozumel does. Officials say they plan to build a casino in the new marine terminal, as well as have a breeding ground for white sharks and dolphins. In our opinion Progresso is not nearly as nice a port as Cozumel, but it does have close proximity to some of the largest and best known ruins in the country. Merida is a pretty neat city too. Of course all this is still a fantasy and, as we have learned over the years, may never happen at all.

There has been much debate of late about rental car insurance in Mexico. It seems that injured Mexican Nationals can sue for loss of wages, something that rental car insurance policies do not cover. The driver of the car would have to pay whatever amount was settled on, in cash, before that driver could leave the country. Many tourists are electing to not rent a car but just use taxis and shuttles to see the island. The US Consulate on Cozumel waded in on the discussion and pretty much agreed that US citizens involved in serious accidents will need good insurance and may need a lawyer. The best advice the Consulate had was to ask to see the rental car agency's 3rd party insurance policy, (they are required by law to have this insurance) and see what is covered and what is not. If they refuse to show you this policy then renters should take their business elsewhere.

posted 4/12/11
We are reading that with the Horse Drawn Carriage Operators apparently getting a 6 month extension to work that they now feel like they are untouchable and can do whatever they want on the island. So much for caring for the animals as one was sighted with foam on it's mouth and sides. So much for only allowing 4 persons per carriage as one was reported carrying 8 passengers this week. Horses have also been noted to be in some distress due to dehydration.

We are hearing from the street that the Sam's Club project on the island is in jeopardy of being cancelled, or at least moved to a new location. The current spot, located inland on Calle 11, has been found to have as many as 5 cenotes on it and federal law does not allow cenotes to be tampered with or filled in. The stores were, optimistically, scheduled to open in June, but now who knows. We will advise when we hear more, but in the meantime word is that the Chedraui is loaded with new products, so check it out!

posted 4/7/11
pay parking tickets here
Now we have word that the parking meters along Melgar ARE up and running. Parking tickets can be paid at the newly constructed collection booth by Las Palmas restaurant. At last count 9 parking tickets had been issued. If the parking ticket is paid within 5 days then there is a 50% discount. We are also reading that parking meters will NOT be used along a 3 block stretch on 10th Ave. Apparently the State Congress got involved and issued a ruling that Cozumeleños needed a nice place to park for free. As a consequence more cars and motos are jammed along 10th street and the parking lots there have fewer customers.

tree lined town square?
A law suit seeking some 21 million pesos in past due fees has been filed against the City of Cozumel. The suit was filed by the construction company that remolded the streets, expanded sidewalks, placed lighting and installed new benches in and around the town square. The project was called "Recovery of the Historical Center, Traditional & Picturesque in Cozumel." This is a bill that should have been paid in 2008. Now the new Mayor of the island will get to deal with this mess.

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posted 4/5/11
Cozumel's Horse Drawn Carriages are back on the island's paved streets and it looks like they will be there for at least 6 more months. It turns out the mayor did not have the final word about ending the horse carriages, which have been operating for 17 years on the island. The carriage operators made an end run to the state congress to get an amendment pushed through allowing carriages to work on Cozumel. We think that until that amendment is defeated or passed then the Horse Drawn Carriages can keeping working on the island's paved streets.

The new parking meters on Cozumel are still not being used. Supposedly, a booth to pay fines was to have been built in the square, but that hasn't happened. Supposedly, "boots" to immobilize cars and make the drivers pay a fine were to have been ordered and on the island, but no one seems to know anything about that. There is now much confusion as to whether the meters will ever be used at all.

New Sam's neighborhood?
We have heard rumors in the past about a Sam's Club coming to Cozumel, but this latest rumor appears to have some truth in it. In February the Walmart Group received permission to build a Sam's Club and Aurrerá Warehouse on the island. The current word is that the stores will be built far inland on Calle 11 between Ave 75 and way out of the usual tourist areas. However, plans are still being evaluated and as noted in our previous articles: nothing is ever certain on Cozumel.

posted 4/1/11
Cozumel's Mayor has taken a stance on the issue of the Horse Drawn Carriages and says they will NOT work after April 4th. He said that the only way for the carriage folk to get any kind of work extension is to hammer it out with the new Mayor and City Council. So that will be his final word on the matter...for now!

Road Closed
An apparently illegal road closure south of town had the switch board at City Hall lit up. While the folks at City Hall knew a Sheraton Hotel was going to be built in the area south of Playa Corona (no one else knew this) they did not know that construction has already begun and the road was being closed. No one asked to close the ocean front highway...they just blocked it up. Hopefully the 220 room Sheraton property will be a nice addition for the island and not block up any more island trails in the future.

posted 3/29/11
Cozumel: ban drawn carriages
The last day for the Horse Drawn Carriages of Cozumel to trot the paved streets of the island was to have been April 4. But the powerful Horse Drawn Carriage Union has struck a deal with city hall and horses will keep working in town for at least 6 more months! The carriage operators hope to prove that their horses are the best cared for animals in the country...getting lots of feed and plenty of rest between shifts. The horses reportedly receive top notch medical care too! The operators say that after 6 months if there are still doubts about the health and care of the horses then they will gladly cease operating without a fuss. At this point we are pretty certain that the Horse Drawn Carriages will remain a fixture on the island for many years to come.

parking meter on Cozumel
Parking meters on Cozumel were to have begun operating some weeks ago and while they were functioning and open for business, no one was using them. The city says that the trial period ends April 1st and the meters will be taking pesos from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday thru Saturday. Parking Sundays and holidays will be free. Instructions for the meters are in Spanish and English, but basically you would park your car, walk down the street to the meter station, put in your pesos, take a ticket, walk back to your car and leave the ticket displayed prominently on your vehicle (hope no one removes your ticket and puts it on their car). If the police write you a ticket for parking too long, then head over to Las Palmas restaurant where you can find the booth to pay your fine. Sounds good to us!

posted 3/23/11
Cozumel: Old parade float
Carnaval has come and gone on Cozumel but the memories still linger on...memories in the form of old parade floats that are parked on streets around town. The director of Public Security says the floats are a hazard to drivers and need to be moved. Hazards they may be, but we always liked to see a colorful float parked on a dusty island street. Over time we watched the float weather and just melt away. The float served as a reminder that Carnaval will be back sooner then you think.

Cozumel: Airplane Library
The newest park on Cozumel is slowly taking shape. The center piece will be a library housed in the fuselage of a Boeing 727-200 aircraft. Inside the grounded plane will be computers, games and play areas. The library is taking longer than expected because it was harder to ship an airplane fuselage across Mexico than originally thought. Even now the plane is only 25% assembled. Word is that, when completed, this will be the most modern and attractive library in the entire state of Q. Roo.

posted 3/15/11
One of our fave Cozumel Island eateries, Olive, has had it's palapa roof burned off. The fire department got the fire out in 20 minutes. The cause of the fire is not known but vandals are suspected. Fire bugs seem to love to set those palapas was just 2 years, or so, ago that they torched the old La Choza in a similar manner. No word yet if Olive is open for business, but it may be al fresco dining for awhile.

We have just read that it will be 2 or 3 more months before the Wyndham Resort on Cozumel gets a clean bill of health. Apparently more tests are needed to make sure that Legionaries Disease is no longer present in the air conditioning and water systems.

Transcaribe, the car ferry, is raising rates for the first time since 2008. As of tomorrow rates go up 15% for all vehicles. The rate for a battered old pickup jumps from 928 pesos to about 1068 pesos. The lone exception to the increase is the good old family car and all its passengers. That rate stays at the low discount special of 380 pesos for the car and 60 pesos per passenger. Did someone say "Road Trip?"

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posted 3/13/11
The early hurricane forecast for 2011 is out and the National Weather Service is predicting 17 tropical storms and hurricanes to form in the Atlantic Basin. Only 5 of those are expected to be category 3 or better. This years hurricane names...Adrian, Beatriz, Calvin, Dora, Eugene, Fernanda, Greg, Hilary, Irwin, Jova, Kenneth, Lidia, Max, Norma, Otis, Pilar and Ramon.

We noted the other day that 88 kilos of marijuana had been seized in a drug raid on Cozumel. Apparently the amount of marijuana seized changed depending on which police agency had the product at the time. The very first report came out that 100 kilos had been confiscated. A while later that amount had dropped to 98 keys and now it is reported as 88 kilos. Hopefully this was just a clerical error and not someone having a case of the sticky fingers.

posted 3/10/11

Cozumel Police had a good Carnaval week. Out of the thousands who attended the festivities no one was injured and they only arrested 363 citizens for drinking and fighting. This year police set up controlled access points to the town square and other entertainment venues. By searching people for weapons they were able to keep gangs out and the fights to a minimum.

Post Carnaval the cops busted an individual with 200 pounds of pot in his house. Sounds like the Cozumel Cops are having a pretty good year so far.

El Presidente execs have finally signed the papers to allow work on the new marina project at Caleta to continue.

The final report on whether there is still active Legionnaires Disease at the Wyndham Hotel on Cozumel is not in yet. Some weeks ago water was tested at 50 sites on the property and the hotel is hoping for a clean bill of health. The Secretary of Health for the State of Q.R. says not to worry though because most visitors to the Wyndham are young and healthy. Only old people with poor immune systems are at risk. Good to know.

posted 3/7/11
One of the island newspapers is investigating the illegal activities committed by jewlery stores Diamonds International (DI) and Tanzanite International (TI). Besides the quantity of fake gems being sold on a daily basis, the paper asserts that these business pay next to nothing in federal and local taxes. The companies use credit card sales to make it appear that the item was purchased in another country, not Mexico, so no sales tax gets paid back to Mexico or Cozumel. The paper interviewed employees of DI who refused to give their names for fear of reprisal, but they made it clear that fraud is being committed on the order of a million dollars a day. DI and TI because of their activities, have gotten reputations on the Internet of being the real pirates of Cozumel. And as we have mentioned in the past, the cruise lines still funnel unsuspecting tourists directly to the jewelery lambs to the slaughter!

posted 3/6/11
The Mayor of Cozumel announced that this past Friday El Presidente Hotel officials would finally sign over the land so that the long delayed New Caleta Marina could be finished. This is a multi-million peso project involving a spacious new marina, condos and tourist type developments designed to bring high dollar visitors to the island. It should have been finished over a year ago. Well, Friday came and went and the El Pres executives never showed up to sign. So the mostly completed project returns to its state of limbo. Maybe the El Pres execs will sign in a few weeks or maybe they will never sign. Such is life on the Island of Swallows.

Cozumel: Club 21 island casino
We hear on the streets that the long shuttered island casino, Club 21, has finally overcome much legal wrangling and opened its doors. The club features all electronic games like Texas Hold'Em, Black Jack and Roulette. The hours are 11am to 3am, 7 days a week. Currently no alcohol is being served but the club hopes to be giving away booze soon, we guess because a drinking customer is a gambling customer. The casino is located on Calle 7 Sur between Ave 10 and 15. Check it out and let us know what you think.

posted 3/1/11
As of March 1st new federal laws go into effect that make the lowly mangrove tree a protected species in Mexico. It has been known for years that these plants play valuable roles in the protection of Mexico's coastlines from hurricanes and provide vital nutrients to Cozumel's reef system. It has always been illegal to cut down mangrove swamps but this law makes it even more illegal. We have heard that there have been incidents of last minute destruction of large areas of mangroves near the Tormentos area of Cozumel to beat the law, and of course the law is not retroactive so no penalties will apply to any devastation that occurred prior to today. The law also upsets hotel and condo developers throughout the Mayan Riviera as no longer can they bulldoze a vast chunk of coastline and put up a parking lot!

posted 2/28/11
Cozumel: soon to be stolen moto
We always advise visitors to Cozumel to NOT rent the motorcycles. Traffic can be crazy at times and the streets can be confusing. Not to mention that everyone on the moto wants to play tourist and look at everything. It's tough to concentrate on driving when the island is so pretty. Well now there is another reason to avoid motorcycles...They get stolen all the time! Some 3 a day are being lifted right off city streets. It has gotten so bad that Officials don't know what to do except caution people to park the bikes in a lighted, safe place and maybe chain it up. Thieves are using master keys to unlock the bikes and drive them off, usually to island chop shops where they will be stripped down for parts.

posted 2/27/11
Cozumel's first fishing tournament of the season is set for the weekend of March 13. The event is called the "Fishing Tournament Sol Stereo" and the first prize will be a late model car of some sort. So far 2 boats have signed up for the tourney, but competitors from Playa, Tulum, Mahahual, Cancun and Puerto Morelos are expected to jump on board.

Cozumel: Nah Ha parking lot
We are excited by the news that the new sidewalks running from town all the way up to the end of the North Hotel Zone are almost finished. We have always thought that something needed to be done to repair the broken and missing sidewalks, and fill in the rutted and muddy potholes, that for years have served as litte more than a racoon trail through this area. It was safer to walk in the road and dodge the speeding cabs that fly along the highway then it was to try and follow the sidewalk remains. Now bikers and joggers will have a much nicer and safer space to travel in, and it will make the hike into town just that much more pleasant.

posted 2/26/11
Cozumel's municipal tourism director, Juan Carlos Puga Alcerreca, says the hotel industry on the island is stagnating. It has been over 20 years since any new hotels were built on Cozumel and it is time for the old ways to change and for the industry to "Go Green". He feels with the world wide interest in Eco Tourism then a new hotel should be built on the island that would cater to this demand. While Ventanas Al Mar on the East Side is certainly a green hotel, what Juan Carlos would like to see is more of a luxury hotel for the well heeled tourist. We are not sure where he would like to have this hotel built, but he's just saying it would be pretty cool if the island had a new hotel like this.

posted 2/20/11
Cozumel: windsurfers
An International group of windsurfers are just finishing up a weekend of competition today on Cozumel. About 60 windsurfers from 9 countries competed in the North American Windsurfing Championships being held on the island. Winners from this event will go on to the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara. More events like this are just what the island needs.

Whenever things get tough with the Cozumel economy then that is when the wizards and charlatans seem to come out. And when the wizards come out then island officials issue their now yearly warning to citizens to be careful when dealing with soothsayers and fortune tellers. The island does have a history of persons being cheated by fortune tellers so citizens are warned not to give them lots of pesos or valuable jewels. If you are taken to the cleaners by one of these fortune tellers then be sure and notify the authorities asap!

posted 2/19/11
Cozumel: fireworks
In a effort to prevent another fireworks fiasco, Cozumel's Carnaval Parade Committee has banned any and all fireworks from floats in this year's parade. You may remember last year when a float carrying some Cozumel Politicos set off fireworks that burned the palapa awning off of Senor Frog's on Melgar. No one was injured, but the parade was delayed more than an hour as the Fire Department struggled through the crowd to get to the scene. This year all Carnaval floats will be searched one hour prior to each parade and any having pyrotechnics will not be allowed to participate in the festivities.

posted 2/18/11
Cozumel: parking meter
New parking meters are springing up all along Ave Melgar and they are supposed to be sucking up 12 pesos an hour as of the first of March. At one time, the city had estimates of making a plethora of pesos each month off the meters. Now reality and talks with the providers of the meters have reduced the city's take substantially. Annual revenues were projected to be around 1,347,000 pesos. That number will be reduced by 74% due to maintenance of the equipment...pricey maintenance! The city is also supposed to purchase what sounds like an old style NYC "boot" to lock parking scofflaws in place until a 280 peso fine is paid. We are not sure why they don't just tow off violators as in the past, especially since they already have the tow truck, but that is not our call.

posted 2/16/11
Cozumel: Plaza Del Sol
Cozumel's White Elephant on the square, the Plaza Del Sol, has some new buzz. This project has been losing money for the city since it was built. There are few tenants and of those few many are way behind on their rents. Now the mayor says there is new interest by a couple of companies with plans for the plaza. One company wants to open a shopping area on the top floor and the other is interested in opening a casino for tourists. No agreements have been signed, but if this casino thing is true then hopefully it will have better luck than the last island casino, Club 21, which never did really open for business.

posted 2/15/11
Cozumel: tourist train
From our "What's New on Cozumel Department" we hear that the island now has a Tourist Train. The miniature replica of a real US type train is designed to carry 20 kids and adults. The conductor, Pavia Luis Mendoza, explained that the train is only for tourists. He did not tell us where the train goes or how much it will cost to ride.

Also new, the island now has it's 4th Pemex Gas Station. It is located out in the hood where Ave 11 intersects 135. This is a new Cozumel Subdivision and is long way off the usual tourist radar.

Cancun Spring Breakers
As goes Cancun's Spring Break so goes Cozumel's, we guess. Back in the good old days some 100,000 American and Canadian students swarmed the warm beaches and all night bars of Cancun. It was pretty much anything goes and pretty much anything did. Now those students no longer swarm and carouse. Hotels don't want their rooms smashed by drunken partiers, and the fear of crime in the streets is keeping Spring Breakers closer to home. The number of students heading to this part of Mexico have dropped by at least 40%, a trend that may be very hard to reverse.

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posted 2/10/11
The Cozumel City Council has weighed in on the matter of vultures at the airport. They have decided to post signs around the airport reminding people not to litter or dump garbage in the area. It is hoped that if the piles of trash goes away then the vultures will go back to the tasty treats at the City Dump and stop bothering the airplanes at the airport. Sounds like problem solved to us.

With the demise of the horse drawn carriages of Cozumel just weeks away, carriage owners are complaining that 30-40 families in the carriage business will be out of work and out of money. The city is looking at other work options like having the carriages provide service on the dusty streets of El Cedral and the Punta Sur lighthouse area, now known as "Celarain Faro." Those don't sound like big money making locations to us though. More so than the people, there is a real concern as to what will happen to the horses if they are no longer allowed to work at all on the island.

The only 2 riders on a moto law did not last long. As we thought, too many people need a motorcycle to haul the entire family around, and just up and buying a second or 3rd moto was not a viable option. While the law is still on the books it is being ignored by Cozumeleños and no longer enforced by the police.

posted 2/7/11
The latest impediment to tourism on the island might be Cozumel's vultures. For years the vultures lived happily at the dump on the East Side of the island, but now they have decided to hang out at the airport and have taken an interest in airplanes. Over the past 30 months there have been five incidents involving civilian and military flights and vultures. While no crashes have occurred, or lives lost, damage has been done. In 2010 a Frontier Airline flight had to make an emergency return to the airport with an engine damaged by bird impact. Airport Officials commented that they hope the City will take an active interest in doing something about the birds because a plane crash would not be good for the island's image. We can only agree with that.

posted 2/6/11
Cozumel: horse drawn carriage
It looks like the days of the horse drawn carriages of Cozumel are finally coming to an end. Cozumel has been in violation of federal law regarding the banning of carriages since last March, and rather than face contempt fines and sanctions the Mayor finally has put an end to horse drawn vehicles...well maybe by the end of his term in April. The mayor says they will have 2 more months to take care of business and then they are finished. He hopes carriage owners can come up with other ways to earn a living without the use of horses, but so far the carriage operators have not responded to what appears to be their final days.

There is lots going on at the Cozumel Wyndham Resort and Spa and not much of it good. Firstly, they have had this years long outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease. They are still waiting for secretive test results that may determine if that problem has been cleaned up. The latest though was the physical removal of all security and management personal at the property by the resort's new owners. A group of armed men in black shirts stormed the resort and tossed out everyone but the waiters and housekeepers. They had the support of a warrant and police presence, but still guests at the property were a little off put to say the least. We hope the new managers at least offered an apology to all the guests who witnessed the craziness.

We did not know this, but it is illegal for Cozumel cab drivers to try to sell Island Tours to tourists. It seems the Taxi Union does not have a license to sell this service in the streets. We are pretty sure though that tourists can approach a cabbie and ask about an island tour, but the cabbie can't approach the tourist first. Sounds like a Cozumel Catch 22.

Cozumel: sharks won't bite
You may have read about the shark attack Monday in Cancun. A Canadian tourist was just 35 meters from shore when she was seriously mauled by a shark. The news we hear today is that she is in stable condition. The President of the Commission on Safety and Accident Prevention reports that Cozumel has never had a shark attack and its waters are completely safe from sharks. He says that all the dangerous sharks dive too deep to bother divers, but even if sharks do threaten then just blow bubbles from your dive gear at them and they will swim away....Really??

Cozumel: electric meters
We mentioned yesterday that 2 of Cozumel's biggest parks may be getting Wi-Fi Internet, but it sounds like park goers may be surfing the web in the dark. The city owes truck loads of pesos to CFE, the Electric Company, and if they don't pay it soon the lighting in 7 parks and lots of street lights may get switched off. The mayor of the island is pretty upset by this since he had energy efficient light bulbs installed all over the island, also at great cost. The lights were supposed to reduce costs by 50%. Instead power consumption for public lighting stayed the same or even went UP! The mayor says let this be a warning to other municipalities to not let CFE lull them into installing energy efficient lighting only to find out the electric bill is just as excessive as it was with the old lights.

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posted 1/31/11
We have been hearing reports that much of the jewelry sold by Cozumel jewelry stores is fake, but now we get some good news ...sort of. One island jewelry store, Ixtabay located on Melgar at the Hotel Barracuda, was the scene of theft by shoplifting last week. The shoplifter, and an accomplish, made off with about 20 pieces of jewelery one day and then came back for more the next day where they were caught in the act. The would be shoplifter used to be a tax inspector for the city of Cozumel, and our take on this is that a tax inspector would know where the good stuff can be found. So check out Ixtabay and see if their stuff is the real deal.

We have just read about a new project on the list of last minute things to do by the current administration. The latest is a scheme to turn the town square and the park at the Palacio into Internet Hot Spots. The city plans on spending 50,000 pesos to have Telmex set up Wi-Fi in the 2 parks. The service will be free to all and the goal is to encourage Cozumeleños to come to the parks...not for any exercise but to browse the web on their laptops. We like this idea of free Internet and maybe it will encourage islanders to at least walk to the park before they sit down and surf the day away.

posted 1/30/11
Sometimes a community decides it has had enough and that sounds like what happened early Saturday morning in the Flamingo II neighborhood on Cozumel. One of those gangs of youth we have mentioned got involved in a rock and bottle throwing battle with a group of bar flies at Flamingos Bar. Someone pulled some machetes, the cops were called and the kids all fled. Two of the minors were arrested and several windows on 2 houses were broken. No one was reported injured. Maybe this will encourage people to go to bed earlier and not stay out drinking till all hours...but probably not.

Cozumel: next possible beach front park
We had heard rumors that a new public park next to El Cantil was on the books, and indeed that seems to be the case. However, it looks like the current administration is out of the time and money to make the project happen. Hopefully the next mayor can carry the torch and give this area next to the Palacio a much needed public beach.

posted 1/28/11
Cozumel: Melia swim up bar
We are reading what seem to be lots of complaints by tourists about how cold the island's hotel swimming pools can be. We know from experience that even though it gets warm during the day one or 2 cool nights can chill a swimming pool down...a lot. If you add a little cool rain to that mix than a pool can be down right uncomfortable. We do not know of any island swimming pools that are heated, but there might be one or two. So if sitting in front of the hotels swim-up bar is the number one item on your vacation agenda you might want to reconsider Cozumel and head further south of the Equator for your winter holiday.

One of Cozumel's passenger ferry companies has lowered its rates by a whopping 5 pesos per person. Ultramar surprised passengers yesterday when it dropped it's rates from 161 pesos per adult to 156 pesos. While this is good news for anyone using the ferry it is still a long way from where the rates need to be to encourage tourists to just hop the ferry and come to Cozumel for the day. So far no word yet on whether Mexico Boats will match this rate or not.

posted 1/26/11
Cozumel: Gang sign
Cozumel police are reporting that they have identified at least 13 gangs on the island. Gang members, aged 13 to 17, gather in groups in many of the island neighborhoods to drink, smoke, plan crimes and inhale solvents. The gangs have names like "Los Gatos," "The Fishes," "The Diablo" and "Calle 13." Now that police have located these gangs they think they can clean them up through beefed up patrols and surveillance. Of note is that none of the gangs operate in any of the tourist neighborhoods.

Several Cozumel stores have requested, and gotten, the OK to sell booze for more hours of the day. To get this permission the store just needs to pay some pesos to City Hall. Now, late night drinkers can buy liquor until midnight during the week and until 6pm on Sunday. While some people see this as encouraging drinking on the island, City Hall Officials say it is up to individuals to be responsible for their own if you can't handle your hooch then don't drink! The extension of hours to sell booze is expected to last at least until April when the next mayor is sworn in.

posted 1/24/11
The US has issued its now yearly travel warning advising Spring Breakers to avoid travel to Mexico. The U.S. government's warning is directed specifically at Acapulco, Mazatlan, and Cancun, due to recent acts of violence related to organized crime. Cozumel was not mentioned as a place in Mexico to avoid. Mexico's department of Tourism has a new take on this is just a scare tactic to keep hoards of Spring Breakers in the States so tourist areas there can reap the financial benefits. In a related story we have heard there are travel restrictions affecting branches of the US military. US Marine and Air Force personnel now are required to have advance approval from commanding officers for any travel to Mexico, including a cruise. While there have been drug related deaths on Cozumel the incidents are no where near those that have occurred in Cancun, and to date no tourists have been affected.

Cozumel: Mezcalitos
We now read that the road to Punta Molas north of Mezacalitos will not be cleared. Apparently the road was to have been improved so that sand could be removed easier from this area for Cozumel hotel beaches. What we are reading today is that there is no written approval to remove this sand so there is no reason to improve the road. We will probably read something contrary about this in the near future, so stay tuned.

posted 1/23/11
Lots of tourists love the Lobster House on Cozumel, but their clientèle may have taken a turn for the worst. The other night a 7 foot crocodile wandered into the back of the restaurant looking for a snack. Fortunately he did not find anyone to snack on, but was collared by the kitchen staff. The Fire Department sped to the scene and took the croc away for release into the wild at a future date. While this is only the 3rd croc to be captured this year, at least 80 of the snappers where rounded up in 2010.

Cozumel: Lionfish
Word on the street is that Cozumel's Marine Park Director has threatened dive operators with expulsion from the park unless ALL RULES ARE FOLLOWED. We are pretty sure that this is directed at not allowing the use of spears or harpoons to kill Lionfish. This may just be the new director of the Marine Park trying to make a name for himself, and if so he will go down in history as the jefe who allowed Lionfish to take over the reefs of Cozumel!

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posted 1/21/11
Cozumel: no horse drawn carriages allowed
A federal law was passed almost 10 months ago that effectively outlawed all horse-drawn carriages on any paved road, anywhere in Mexico. This law also applies to Cozumel, but still the horse and carriage union continues business as usual. Cozumel had 180 days to get the horses off the street and because they have not the city is in contempt, but this being Mexico we are not sure what that means if anything. The only comment from the city about this has been that the law was being looked into so it could be enforced with out harming anyone. Meanwhile the horses keep plugging along.

posted 1/20/11
Cozumel: No tourists shopping
The latest great idea to boost tourism on Cozumel has been floated by the general secretary of the Workers Union of Hotels, Restaurants and Shops. His plan is to get rid of all the All Inclusive hotels on the island. Well, not get rid of them, just have them not be AI anymore. Then more tourists would eat in downtown restaurants and as a bonus get to see more of the island. His thinking is that the mainland has the really big AIs so Cozumel needs to do something different and have zero All Inclusive hotels. We have to say this is the most original hotel altering idea we have heard in years and we like it a lot!

posted 1/19/11
Cozumel: Naked Beach north of Mezcalitos
We are reading that plans may be in the works to improve the road running north of Mezcalitos to Punta Molas. This dirt road has been in a state of disrepair since Hurricane Wilma and is now pretty much used only by the military and hard core dirt bikers. It has long been a source of mystery and fascination for tourists who want to explore all of the island and see stuff rarely seen before. But if you take a rental car on the road you are no longer covered by insurance and that keeps most people away. We explored it decades ago and the road was a mess even then. We still remember the wide, pristine beaches and tiny little coves with no one in sight...all just made for romance! So our thinking is that some improvement will be nice but not too much...We don't want just anyone to make the journey!

Cozumel: albino turtle
Two rare albino turtles were discovered during this years record breaking turtle nesting season. Finding even one live albino is rare since they are usually born with some type of birth defect that prevents them from living very long. Both turtles were in good condition and were released into the sea. No one could remember ever having seen a white albino adult turtle on the island.

Cozumel: Cruise Ships
The Secretary of Tourism for the state of Q. Roo reported that Cozumel received more than 2.9 million passengers in 2010. She said that this makes 2010 the best year for cruising in 6 years, and makes Cozumel the leader in cruise ship arrivals worldwide.

posted 1/16/11
Cozumel: Nah Ha Condos
The president of the Mexican realtor's association (AMPI) has "high expectations" that 2011 will be better than 2010 as far as new construction, selling houses and condos goes. We think he made similar predictions that 2010 was going to be a banner year too but that was not the case. In fact last year was terrible for the real estate market in the Mayan Riviera. Similarly, Trip Advisor is predicting that 2011 will be great for the vacation rental market. It's survey found out that 40% more people "want to go on vacation" than did last year. Now they just have to find the money to be able to afford that vacation in the first place.

posted 1/13/11
The Centers for Disease Control issued a news brief regarding an outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease at the Regency Club Vacation Resort and Wyndham Cozumel Resort & Spa (formerly Reef Club Cozumel). This warning pertains only to the above mentioned hotels, not to Cozumel as a whole. There is no generally elevated risk of Legionnaire's Disease in Cozumel, the Yucatan Peninsula, or other parts of Mexico. Since May 2008, there have been a total of nine confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease among tourists from the United States and the Netherlands who have stayed at this resort. Based on findings from a public health investigation in April 2010, disinfection of the resort’s shared potable water system was recommended. Although measures were taken at the resort to disinfect the water system, in December 2010, CDC was notified of the ninth case associated with the resort, suggesting that there is an ongoing source of exposure. This is certainly no epidemic, but vacationers at the Regency Club Vacation Resort and Wyndham Cozumel Resort should take note.

We have word that 25 parking meters should be up and running on Cozumel by mid February. The first meters will installed on Avenida Melgar, 10th, Juarez and Calle 1 Sur. Each meter can handle up to 250 vehicles at a time. The cost will be 12 pesos per hour and we do not know if you can just park and feed the meter all day or not. We are anxious to see how taxi drivers will handle the meter madness!

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posted 1/8/11
It took 4 days, but the other passenger ferry service on Cozumel has upped its rates too. In another unannounced surprise Ultramar has priced its tickets at 161 pesos one way. Just so they can't be accused of undercutting the competition that is 1 peso more than Mexico Boats charge! A shame too because islanders were already starting to boycott Mexico Boats, and now there is no one left to boycott! This latest increase took place Friday morning and was after the manager of the company said there were no plans to raise prices. One island resident said, "We seem to be prisoners of our own island with the prices we now have to pay to get out. Now to get a single ticket we have to pay the equivalent of two days of work...!" No Bueno!

posted 1/7/11
Cozumel: citizens march in protest
Fifteen hundred Cozumelenos marched in protest of the latest price increase by one of Cozumel's ferry companies, Mexico Boats. Even the Mayor participated in the parade up Melgar, and voiced his complaints to the Captain of the Port. Taxi Drivers sported signs stating "Dude...Cozumel, Enough. Do not use Mexico boats." A general boycott of the company was called for but that will be hard for many people to stick too. The way the schedules run for service from Playa to Cozumel people will either have to travel earlier on the ferry or wait an hour or more for the lower priced ferry to cross. People may already be moving to use the car ferry though as this week some 100 cars had to wait hours for the next boat because the car ferries have been running full to overflowing.

posted 1/5/11
They are calling the 14% price increase in passenger ferry tickets "the straw that broke the camel's back," and the citizenry is up in arms over the move. The Mayor has called for an investigation as to why no one let him know this was going to happen. We have heard that a protest march on city hall is planned for today, but we doubt that will have much impact. The owner of Mexico Boats, Aviomar, pretty much does what it wants and has always gotten away with it. If this price increase sticks then day trippers coming from Playa to Cozumel may be a thing of the past.

posted 1/4/11
In a surprise New Years move one of the 2 passenger ferry companies, Mexico Boats, has jacked up the cost of a boat ride by 20 pesos. The round trip ticket now costs 320 pesos per person. This ferry boat ride was already the most expensive trip in Mexico and now just more so. We can see that this firstly, will just keep tourists away from the island, and secondly it will drive more tourists to use the Car Ferry, Transcaribe, where passengers are only 60 pesos each. As of Monday Cozumel's other passenger ferry company, Ultramar, had not raised its rates, but we are pretty sure they will match the new higher fare in the coming days...they always do.

We have just read that prostitution on Cozumel is "under control." We are not sure what that means exactly, but the director of Public Security and Traffic, Eduardo Gutierrez Sanchez reported that due to constant surveillance all is quiet on the prostitution front. He did add that if anyone sees prostitution break out anywhere on the island to call the authorities immediately!

posted 1/1/11
We are still hearing bad things about Caribbean Dream Jewelers on Cozumel. Reportedly, most of the gold jewelery they sell is not real gold, even though the manager of Caribbean Dream says it is. There have been issues with this store in the past, and it is still on the recommended shopping list for some of the cruise lines. If you have purchased anything from this store then you might want to have it appraised by a jeweler you trust. If it is found to be fake your best best is to contact PROFECO in Mexico and see about getting your many back. Or at least raise a stink on the Internet and help make sure no one else gets ripped off.

posted 12/31/10
Cozumel: El Cantil loots sand from East Side beach
The Mexican Navy has jumped on board the latest sand looting incident by El Cantil condos. The commander of the naval sector on Cozumel, Admiral Carlos Monforte, says anyone caught taking sand from anywhere on the island without authorization will be detained immediately. He said that the sand is a natural resource and must be protected. Anyone trying to take this resource with out proper documentation will be arrested and charged with a federal crime. We applaud the commander's attitude and can only add..."Go Navy!"

The East Side of Cozumel might be busy come dawn tomorrow. This is where the first sunrise of 2011 will shine on Mexico and we guess folks want to get started on a good suntan early next year. Officials say that security will be tight with 2 check points on the Transvaal Highway to keep booze and drunks out of the area. Some 30 police officers will be patrolling the beaches. Sounds like a cool way to get 2011 off to a good start!

Cozumel: Turtles on Cozumel's East Side beach
Cozumel's most successful turtle hatching season ever ended on a high note. The last nest of the season hatched on Wednesday at Playa San Martin, and 110 turtles raced to the sea. The season officially ended over a month ago and this is the latest recorded hatching on record for the island. Department of Ecology officials say some 4600 nests hatched, which is also a new turtle record for Cozumel.

posted 12/30/10
Supposedly the city is moving ahead with its plan to line Avenue Melgar with parking meters. With peso signs dancing in city managers heads they envision 350,000 in monthly income from the meters. Officials say meters will open up parking spots for tourists, since locals won't be able to hog a parking spot all day like they do now. The one road block to the meters is coming from the powerful Taxi Union. City Officials say cab drivers will have to pay to park in the street too, but cabbies so "no way!" Quite frankly we think the cabbies will just hog the parking spaces like they usually do and not much will change on the downtown parking scene.

posted 12/28/10
This past weeks theft of sand by El Cantil condos has entered the denial stage. The company that reportedly provided the dump trucks to haul the sand has stated that since there are no photos of any of their trucks actually transporting the sand then "they didn't do it." Speculation is one thing, but having proof that 15 dump trucks made 40 trips between the East Side beach and El Cantil, and that the drivers were paid 500 pesos each to work that night, is something else entirely.

posted 12/27/10
Word on the street has it that the Cozumel Marine Park has changed its stance on Lionfish. The highly successful program of spearing and killing the predator is reportedly taking a toll on the reefs so the new policy is "capture if you can" without damaging the reef. There is already much debate as to whether spearing the fish will do more damage then trying to get so close to a Lionfish that you can net it and in so doing risk scraping against the reef itself. We had heard that a boat full of divers were bringing in as many as 50 of these fish per dive trip, but we predict those numbers will drop if the capture only rule prevails. The other plus for killing the fish is that when it's dead Lionfish becomes chum for the other fish on the reef. We don't know what the Marine Park will do with all the live ones.

posted 12/23/10
The head of one of Cozumel's environmental watchdog groups, CITYMAR, is calling for an investigation into this weeks sand looting by El Cantil condos. He is demanding that the mayor get involved and determine who is to blame for this travesty. We now hear that 2 city officials approved the devastation of the sand dunes located near Coconuts. Police officers even kept lookout to make sure the late night sand removal was not interfered with. We have not heard if El Cantil will be made to put the sand back or not.

posted 12/22/10
Cozumel: El Cantil loots sand from East Side beach
Beach sand is like gold on Cozumel and everyone wants it. Hotels and condo developments want lots of sand to spread over their iron shore or man made beaches. But legally they can't take it from other Cozumel beaches and haul it to their properties. Unless they have connections, and apparently El Cantil condos has connections. Under cover of darkness, 15 dump trucks loaded with plundered East Side beach sand were unloaded at El Cantil, and workers have been busy spreading the sand over the property's beach. We are reading that the Deputy Director of Public Safety on the island authorized the nocturnal operation, but he was not available for comment. We hope is this not the start of the Great Sand Grab of 2011 on Cozumel.

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posted 12/21/10
Cozumel pirate statue of Johnny Depp
The Pirate statue on the East Side is becoming a killer. In just one month there have been 4 accidents and at least 2 people have died after smashing into the controversial statue located at the ocean end of the Transvaal highway next to Mezcalitos. City Officials have been asked to do something to give drivers a heads up that the road is ending and there is a giant statue just ahead but so far nada has been done. There are no speed bumps, no lights and no real signs, unless you count the stop sign. Of course even before the Pirate statue was built people failed to stop at the intersection and just kept driving into the ocean. Now they at least have something to run into.

Cozumel moto-family gets a ticket
Tickets are being written and fines are finally being applied to motos with more than 2 people on them. The fine for a typical moto-family of 4 can run up to 200 pesos per offense. The motos will not be impounded as they were during the helmet law enforcement days. We still think this will be a hard law enforce unless the city gives motorcycles away to needy families.

posted 12/19/10
Cozumel shopping
We just read about a new tax refund program that is being offered only at the Cozumel airport. The program is called Tax Back Mexico and is designed to encourage tourists to spend lots of money. Taking advantage of program sounds like a piece of cake. First the tourist asks for a Tax Back receipt at the store and they give him one, but only if the store is participating in the program. Then he takes that receipt along with a copy of his passport, copy of his boarding pass and a copy of his tourist card (FMT) to the office at the airport. If he has spent at least 1200 pesos at that store, and has all his copies, he can apply for a tax refund that should be wired to him in 45 days. We wonder how much he will be charged to use the copy machine at the airport?

posted 12/18/10
We are reading reports that the worst group of drivers on Cozumel are the Taxi Drivers. There are at least 50 reported traffic accidents a month and 10 of those are caused by, or involve, Taxistas. The most popular cause of accidents among the cabbies are tailgating, speeding and failure to stop at a controlled intersection. Officials say that cab drivers could use more driver education. Things like how to use a rear view mirror, looking both ways and using turn signals would be good refresher courses for Taxi Drivers. We know we really appreciate it when our cabby keeps his eyes on the road and not on his latest text message.

posted 12/17/10
Cozumel Caletita cenote
The year is winding down and there are a couple of major projects still unfinished on Cozumel. The new marina and condo development at Caleta is still being stalled by the El Presidente Hotel and no one has reported exactly why. This new marina was to have opened months ago and because of the delays there is some concern that the federal funding for the project will be lost if the delay continues. The other major project on hold for many months is the new car ferry pier at Caletita. No one has been able to come up with a solution of how to overcome a large cenote which sits where the road needs to go. It can't be filled and paved over, and a bridge over it is apparently too pricey. Cozumel truck parking lot So everything just sits. The pier is complete. The massive truck parking lot, complete with office buildings is empty and waiting. Both of these projects cost lots of pesos and it would be a shame if they are never finished since both of them could be very good for Cozumel.

posted 12/15/10
We did not know this but apparently it is against the law for just anyone to clean up a trashy lot on Cozumel. Only the owner of the land can have trash removed from the property. We think the landowners can be fined, but that can be very problematic as many of the owners live far from Cozumel. The other problem is figuring out who owns the land in the first place. Even when the City knows the owner and starts applying fines not much usually happens and the notice of fine posted on the property usually ends up as more trash in the vacant lot.

posted 12/14/10
It was pretty windy on the island yesterday. Apparently windy enough to cause the ship "Don Martin" to run aground near shore. When another vessel tried to pull the "Don Martin" back to sea its tow cable got entangled in the propeller and both vessels got stuck. The "Don Martin" is the vessel that hauls recyclable waste and seems to have difficulties in Cozumel waters. Last January the vessel actually sank near shore. The Port Captain is investigating the matter.

The Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe was celebrated on Cozumel this past Saturday and we have reports that there were no problems...well except for the brawl! From the way this reads about 32 students, who were marching in the parade, decided to get rowdy and started fighting in the road near Punta Sur. We are still not sure how Cozumel cops collared 32 of them and got them to jail but that was where they were picked up by their parents.

posted 12/13/10
Cozumel mangrove plants
Cozumel's Department of Ecology is becoming a haven for Red Mangrove Trees. Seeds are being collected and some 1200 plants are growing in little boxes. The goal, according to Director Rafael Chacón Díaz, is to have seedlings on hand to replace any trees that are damaged either in storms or through deforestation by man. Mangroves are important to the island as they provide nutrients to the underwater reef system as well as act as a storm buffer to protect the coastline. So far this year all of the mangrove damage has been through over development of the island's coastlines. We think that the Department of Ecology could use lots of help from citizens in saving this very necessary Cozumel resource.

posted 12/12/10
Cozumel Oasis failed
We have heard on the street that one of the largest condo construction projects on Cozumel has failed. The American builder of the Cozumel Oasis has forfeited the project back to the Mexican landowner and the units sold so far are in limbo. Several purchasers have taken possession of their units and even moved in, but none has clear title. Power and water have been cut off to the building for the past 3 months, possibly in an attempt to get the occupants to abandon their units and allow the Mexican landowner to take control of a valuable property with many improvements. The few occupants say they will not leave so we are unsure how this will end. It does point out the dangers of buying into an unfinished development anywhere in Mexico. While the builder may be reputable, things can sometimes go wrong. This is not the first construction project on Cozumel to end poorly for early buyers and it certainly will not be the last. Our advice is to wait till all of a housing project is complete and you can actually take clear title to the unit before you leap in and buy.

posted 12/10/10
We think that more information will be forthcoming regarding the illegal sale of the newborn infant we mentioned yesterday. While the family that tried to sell the infant claim they did not know that it was illegal to sell a baby, the nurses who assisted in the sale DID know. These types of sales may have been going on for some time and authorities will need to look at the people involved more closely. Incidentally, the family may face as many as 24 years in prison for their indiscretion.

Some 250 Cozumelenos who bought vehicles from the impound yard on the island are facing what may be an insurmountable problem. It seems that the original owners of these cars did not pay their taxes as they should have, and now the new buyers are being confronted with past due tax bills the previous owners ran up. Till those arrears are paid new tags can't be issued to the cars. In fact when the cars are inspected during a traffic stop they get cited as being illegal since the old owner's name is still listed as the legal owner. The short of it is that these cars should never have been sold until this issue had been taken care of. The city may be facing lawsuits over this matter. Sounds like a good old Catch 22 to us.

posted 12/9/10
Cozumel shop
At least 8 stores on Cozumel have been sanctioned by PROFECO, Mexico's BBB. Most of the issues were that the stores were selling bogus items, but the big deal is that the stores did not have price tags displayed on their merchandise. The old no price tag ploy is a favorite in Mexico, since it gives the shopkeeper the option to raise or lower the price depending on how much he thinks the buyer can afford. Shops sanctioned include El Mariachi Loco, Destiny International and Diamonds International.

We know times are tough but one Cozumel family took things to an extreme when they tried to sell their newborn son for about 3000 pesos. When arrested, the husband, wife and grandmother said they sold the child because they did not have the resources to take care of him. They also did not know that child selling was illegal! While the family are the only 3 people facing charges, apparently there were several hospital nurses also involved in the attempted sale. The child was recovered in Playa Del Caarmen and is now being cared for by authorities.

posted 12/8/10
Rescuers have given up the search for a missing diver who did not make it back to the dive boat this past Sunday. Photographer Eduardo Burillo Rodriguez, an employee of Dressel Divers, disappeared during a dive at Palancar Reef. His job was to take underwater photographs of the tourists. The Navy had been searching for him for 72 hours and after that time ended the search.

posted 12/6/10
Cozumel gangs
We have found most vacant lots on Cozumel look like vacant lots anywhere in the world: Overgrown and littered with the flotsam and jetsam of life. Well now we are reading that Cozumel's vacant lots may be havens for criminals were they can hideout from the law and plot devious crimes. Some of the devious crimes we are reading about involve criminals snatching laundry right off of clotheslines and selling the clothes in island bazaars. We think that the real goal here is to get land owners to clean up their property, but if crime goes down too then so much the better.

posted 12/5/10
One of Cozumel's most popular dive sites is in trouble. Paradise Reef is one of the closest and most accessible snorkel and dive sites off the island. It is popular because it features a large variety of fish and colorful coral. According to the director of the National Marine Park, Ricardo Gómez Lozano, Paradise Reef is declining. "There is now more algae, more sand, more dead coral and coral bleaching." He says it is time to develop a plan to restore this and other reefs in the area to their natural state. Let us know if you come up with any ideas because the Park Director did not mention any.

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posted 12/4/10
Thoughts and Rumors: Cozumel needs to have 3 more events during low season just like the IronMan. This event is a huge boost to the economy with hotels, rental car agencies, restaurants and the tourism industry reporting increased business. It gets the island pretty excited too.
The Rumor we hear is that Sam's Club is coming to Cozumel in 2011. We hear this every few years and will wait till we see it to get too excited. It would be nice though.

posted 12/2/10
Cancun Beaches
News coming out of the climate talks being held in the Mayan Riviera is that Cancun beaches are in serious trouble. In spite of a $70 million dollar make over just months ago, the beaches are still losing sand at an alarming rate. What makes all this worse is that the folly of building a tourist destination atop shifting sand dunes on a narrow peninsula has been known for years. The former head of Mexico's environmental agency, Exequiel Ezcurra, said "Everybody knew this was going to happen. This had been predicted for 40 years." Unfortunately Cancun beaches are Mexico's biggest draw for tourism, and that means sand from Cozumel's North Sand Bank is one of the best places to dredge up all the sand that tourist attracting Cancun beaches could need for the next 10 years. In the long term this does not bode well for Cozumel.

posted 12/1/10
Cozumel Carnaval
In case you have not seen the dates then note that Carnaval on Cozumel is set for March 2 - 9 of 2011. The big parades on the island will take place the nights of Saturday, Sunday, Monday and then the biggie on Fat Tuesday. Personally we enjoy the more relaxed, but still very festive, atmosphere of the first parade night. The crowds are smaller too. This year with Carnaval coming in March, when many schools are out for Spring Break, the island could be extra busy! This is one of our favorite times to be on the island, so come on down and check it out.

posted 11/30/10
The Cozumel 2010 IronMan is over and reports are that it was again a big success. We are reading though, just as we did last year, that Cozumel may not play host to this event next year. The IronMan committee had asked Cozumel officials to repair some roads and that work had not been done. Specifically they wanted the East Side road widened, as it is too narrow in spots. They also wanted streets in town to be widened to make them safer for cyclists. The city had agreed to make all these changes but had not done so. Now it remains to be seen if IronMan officials will look for a new location to host the event next year. Our bet though is all this worry will be for naught and the IronMan will again be held on the island of swallows.

Today marks the end of hurricane season in the North Atlantic. While it has been one of the most active seasons on record, it was most uneventful on Cozumel. We like that. Now we get to start worrying about next year.

posted 11/26/10
Cozumel officials are doing last minute island beautification for the IronMan being run this Sunday. Several vendors of tourist trinkets on the East Side of the island have been closed down and their stands removed from the area. The event will be broadcast on ESPN TV and officials say they want viewers to see East Side beaches "without all that crap" cluttering up the view. Restaurants on the East Side have been asked not to erect signs that block the road or the view. All the vendors will be returned to their original locations on Monday so they can get back to cluttering up the view as usual!

posted 11/25/10
Cozumel Iron Man 2009
Cozumel is crawling with Iron Men and Women as the island is gearing up for the big event on Sunday. Twenty five hundred athletes from over 56 countries will be on hand for the 2nd Cozumel IronMan triathlon. Things kick off Sunday at 6:40 for the swim portion of the race at Chankanaab Park and don't end till 17 hours later. Athletes will travel 226 kilometers during the race. If you are arriving or departing the island on Sunday be aware that there will be lots of road closures and traffic delays. We heard that last year some travelers missed their flights due to road closures that lasted for hours, so plan accordingly.

posted 11/24/10
Cozumel drug buy
We have come across some news that not all Cozumel pharmacies are sticking to the new law regarding not selling antibiotics without a prescription. Tourists, at least, have been able to buy the drugs at certain locations and not at others. The pharmacies nearest to the tourist zones seem the most willing to violate the law and sell antibiotics. Beware though that prices can be higher than in the past.

The island's first ever Tequila Expo is over and word is that the tequila distributors were not happy. Firstly, bad weather caused the entire event to move inside to the too small Convention Center. Then, because the Convention Center was already booked for another event the Expo had to end early and sales were not bueno. We take it as a good sign that the Expo will not come back to Cozumel next year.

posted 11/21/10
2 on a moto
The new 2 people on a moto law we mentioned some weeks ago was supposed to have been enforced a month ago, then 2 weeks ago and now we find out it still is not being enforced. The Director of Public Security says that Cozumel cops will really really begin writing tickets for some amount this Monday. Or maybe not, and this law will just kind of go away and be lost forever in the minutia of the Mexican legal system.

posted 11/20/10
Pancho's Bachyard
We had a wonderful trip to Cozumel and in spite of all the work we had to do and the socializing, we managed to try some new restaurants on the least new for us. Some of our old fave's are gone and they will be missed. Others are just moving and who knows when they will reopen. In an effort to keep up with changes we have updated our Restaurant section. Check it out when you find the time for a tasty read!

We love the little gift shops around the island that, in an effort to make a sale, try to get the customer drunk on a shot or 3 of tequila. We thought it was a Mexican tradition and one we happily took part in. Now we find out that, at least on Cozumel, it is illegal to give booze away. We guess that applies only in places that do not have a liquor license, but who can be sure, as several shops have been fined for handing out free tequila. We applaud the attitude of small Mexican businesses though, especially in these tough times. Anything to help make a peso is good.

posted 11/17/10
Cozumel plays host to the island's first Tequila Expo tomorrow. Reportedly, 40 of the countries best tequila producers are going to be in attendance. The press is reporting that most of the events will be held in the park in front of the Palacio. We just want to know where the free tastings will be held!

If you have always dreamed of visiting Cuba then a trip to Cozumel may just be the first step toward that dream. As of Monday there is now an 7 night cruise, departing Cozumel and sailing to that forbidden island. The ship, Gemini, can only carry 819 passengers and 470 crew members so it is very small as far as cruise ships go. Most of the passengers are from Spain. The Gemini will sail each week from Havana and make a journey of eight days with ports including Cozumel, the Cayman Islands and Cuba's Isla Paraiso. It will finish its route back in the Cuban capital. The cruise line, Happy Cruises, plans on continuing the route into the first half of 2011.

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posted 11/11/10
horse drawn carriage
We have been suggesting for some time that the horse drawn carriages on Cozumel need to be replaced with some other mode of transport. Cancun and even Cuba are using forms of pedicabs instead of animals to move people around town. We have just read that there is a law that prohibits the passage of animal drawn vehicles on paved roads. This is not a new law, but Cozumel can sometimes be like the Wild West...some laws are slow to take hold and actually be enforced.

posted 11/7/10
moto family
We had read sometime ago that Cozumel's Moto Families, more than 2 persons on a scooter, would no longer be allowed to drive the island. On our latest trip to the isla it looked like business as usual though, with entire families, with and with out helmets, cruising the streets. Now we read that the law will really go into effect this Monday, and fines of 450 pesos will be levied on scooters with more than 2 persons. We still think this law will be hard fought by the local Cozumelenos who usually only have the one scooter to get the entire family around town.

posted 11/6/10
Club 21
We were hoping to visit the island's only casino, Club 21, during our recent trip to Cozumel, but were disappointed to find it closed with no sign of life. A recent newspaper article mentions that the club may be in it's death throes, as under cover of darkness investors went to the club and removed all of the gaming equipment. An indication, the article says, that they have given up hope of ever opening the casino.

We mentioned some months ago that a new ferry company was coming to Cozumel and was going to begin service this month. The ferry company was going to offer cheaper service for all, and in so doing boost island tourism. Now we have news that the new company, Island of Peace, will not begin service until next year...sometime! Turns out the boats have not been purchased and the permits for service and docking have not been secured. Hopefully this is just a delay in the process and not an indication that funds are already running out.

posted 11/1/10
We hope our regular readers will forgive us this lapse of Cozumel news. We are currently on the island and just keeping up with the social scene, and routine maintenance on the condo seems to fill the days. Here is a quick rundown of island news, most of which seems to involve restaurants in some way. Our latest new fave has been Pizza Rolandi, right next to Margaritaville. The food is still a work in progress, but the service is great and the view is to die for. Happy Hour Sangria is a bargain! We had one of the best meals this trip at Olive, inland on Ave 5 Sur and Calle 5. Spinach fettuccine with shrimp was hit. On the flip side, Guidos prices have gone loco and it is now the most expensive pasta joint on the island!

dead people
Day of the Dead stuff is happening on Cozumel. We happened to be strolling through the Palacio Plaza and got to see the judging of this years displays. Everyone was having a wonderful time and in the excitement of the moment actually thought we were official photographers. This kind of stuff is what keeps us coming back to the island. The Humane Society had their Halloween Bash and early word is that it was a big success.

posted 10/18/10
Parking has always been a tough ticket on Cozumel's East side, especially on Sunday when it seems like the entire population of the island heads to those great sandy beaches to spend the day. Now it sounds like good parking places will be even harder to find as more souvenir stands are filling those prime parking spots. The new souvenir shacks are reportedly political favors granted to locals for support in this past election, so the stands are probably there to stay. The island certainly needs more of these shops selling cheap Mexican blankets, shells, carved turtles, $2 T-shirts and shot glasses. We just wonder if potential visitors will be able to find a parking spot so they can go shopping at these new island trinket outposts!

tiny little turtles
This turtle season on Cozumel has exceeded all records for the number of nests with 4300 reported so far. The office of Environment and Ecology is also reporting some 150,000 turtles released. This sounds like a lot to us and should also be a record. Because this season has been so strong the word is that turtle hatching's will continue into January, so more tourists should be able to experience turtle releases. The one dark side to this story, that has been reported, is that some island politico's still enjoy the occasional turtle for supper. After all, they say, "It's only one turtle...what can be the harm?"

posted 10/14/10
cozumel dolphins moved cozumel dolphins moved
The captive dolphins of Cozumel did not have a good Hurricane Paula experience. They got to spend 24 hours in chlorinated city swimming pools. Whenever the island comes under a hurricane warning Dolphinarium and Dolphin Discovery move their animals to safer environs. That usually means a chlorinated hotel swimming pool. Cozumel's environmental watchdog, CITYMAR, is preparing a complaint against the 2 dolphin operators, basically stating that the dolphins are not moved in a safe manner. CITYMAR says it is surprising that the dolphins are such big revenue producers and yet their owners have not built a safe haven for them to use during a hurricane. Attempts were made to move the 18 dolphins in secret and avoid all the hubbub in the press, but entrepid reporters got wind of the move and had a field day.

posted 10/13/10
hurricane paula track
Hurricane Paula passed Cozumel in the night and that was about it. No damage, very little wind and rain. As a precaution, the airport closed last night and should fully reopen on Thursday. The people ferry ferries are already back in service. By Friday or Saturday cruise ships should be returning to Cozumel waters and the island will be back to slow business as usual.

Cozumel small tour boat operators are getting pretty upset with the Port Captain on the island. The Port Captain is the hombre who decides, on a daily basis, if the waters around the island are safe for small boat traffic. If the waters are too rough and windy then fishing, dive and snorkel tours get canceled and money is lost. What's upsetting tour operators is that the Port Captain likes to sleep late and doesn't make the go or no go decision till 10am. By that time many dives boats have been at sea for 3 hours and have to head back to port or face fines. At other times the Port Captain just decides to close the port when there is no windy weather, or he may be just as likely to open the port in the middle of a howling Norte. Bottom line is that many operators would like to see a new Port Capt. on the island.

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posted 10/12/10
hurricane paula track
The big news on the island is Hurricane Paula and how close this category 2 storm will come to Cozumel. Currently our "worry factor" is low, as the eye is very small, but we are taking precautions and buttoning things up just is case. Our friends are stockpiling liquor and ice as well as a little food. They are hoping that the electricity will not be cut off at all, and that there will not need to enforce any dry laws after the storm. We recall Hurricane Dean from a few years back...lots of buildup and then ppphhhttttt, nothing. We hope Paula is a similar non-event, but will keep you advised.

posted 10/7/10
Sometimes newer is not always better as recipients of CFE's new electric meters are finding out. The new meters are digital with LCD screens, and replace the old school meters with all the little moving clocks on the front. The new meters are reportedly much more sensitive then the old ones, and record every little twitch in the electric lines. One well known coffee shop in downtown, and new meter recipient, saw it's bill jump from 20,000 pesos to a crushing 40,000 pesos in one billing period, and that was without adding appliances or changing how the business had been run. Hopefully this was just an error in reading the new meters, but if not then this is the type of thing that will put lots of island businesses out of business!

posted 10/5/10
In an effort to boost flagging tourism, Cozumel officials are going after "Sports Tourism" as the hot new thing. By the year 2020 sports tourism is expected to the the fastest growing of all the travel markets, and Cozumel is ideally suited to fit this bill. Tourism officials feel that by focusing on divers and all things diving then business will only get better on Cozumel. Firstly, divers spend way more than other types of tourists. Secondly, they usually bring a companion who also spends money. And thirdly, if tourists don't want to dive then there are loads of other challenging sports tourism activities abounding on the island. Things like para-sailing, jet skis and snorkeling jump to mind. Other exciting things offered by the island are fine restaurants, clubs and even a museum to tempt the sports minded traveler. Not to be party poopers, but isn't this what Cozumel has been promoting for years?.

If Sports Tourism is not your cup of tea then maybe you just need to GET NAKED! More mainland hotels are jumping on the adults only theme and making clothing optional. This next High Season, Cancun hotels Golden Parnassus, Temptations, Desireé and Club Med will be trolling for more naked adults. While in the Riviera Maya, guests at Hidden Beach, Blue Bay Gateway and Caribbean Reef Club Spa will be baring all to worship the god of the total tan. Known as the Mercado al Desnudo, or "Bare Market," U.S. Nudists number from 15 million to 20 million people and spend way more then the average tourist, even more than divers. Statistics show that nudists spend between $3,000 and $6,000 per week. Maybe Cozumel should concentrate on the Nude Diving Market if officials really want to boost island tourism!

posted 10/3/10
PROFECO, Mexico's Better Business Bureau, has released it's list of the top 3 businesses on Cozumel that receive the most complaints. The third most complained about business is the ELEKTRA department store on the island. Number 2 is the real estate business and the number 1 most complained about business is cell phone providers. We really hate these kinds of articles because they do not go into any detail about what the complaints are. The article does note that 90% of customer complaints are resolved in favor of the consumer, usually by repairing or replacing the item purchased. So that is one good thing at least. The bad thing is that it usually takes 45 days to resolve the complaint.

Low Season on Cozumel has led to layoffs in the restaurant, hotel and tourism trades. Officials now fear that some of those newly unemployed Cozumelenos may be turning to other, not so legal, professions. The rate of burglaries on the island has almost doubled in the past month. There were 24 reported break-ins in August, but September saw that number jump to 40! We hope this is just a temporary thing, but are concerned that the only way to reverse this trend is for the island economy to improve and that means more tourists coming to Cozumel.

posted 10/1/10
Cozumel seems to be buzzing, and not from lots of island goings on, but from bees. The Cozumel Fire Department hombres have reportedly been called out to handle 19 bee incidents in 2 days. The bees may be leaving their usual island trees and bushes for more upscale locations, with the roof of the Cozumel Palace hotel being one of the latest hive spots. Firemen used 120 litros of water to roust the rooftop invaders, and no one was reported injured in any of these bee events. It is hoped that damper weather will reduce the number of bee sightings on the island.

fallen horse
Mistreatment of the horses that pull those Cozumel carriages is back in the news. There are 36 horses in use and 5 operators of carriages. The owners seem to only care about making money today, not what may happen to the animals tomorrow. The horses are still standing long hours in the hot sun without water and pulling large overweight tourists on long scenic trips. They still wear horseshoes that slip on city streets, and do not get the required break between shifts. Even though there have been some fines against the owners, there is not much in the way of enforcement going on and the owners just fall back into the same mistreatment routine. Social network behemoth, Facebook is having some effect in spreading the word about horse mistreatment on the island. Lots of the info is in Spanish, but you can follow along with the story at No Calesas En Cozumel.

posted 9/30/10
No rental car agency on Cozumel has ever been shut down for fraud, but it sounds like some should be. Rental car scams are still making the news on Cozumel. Complaints are coming in at the rate of 5 a day (10 per day in High Season). The number one complaint by tourists is high repair fees for minor or invented damage. Another big issue, reported by the Public Security Directorate (PSD), is rental car agencies failing to explain to renters exactly what is covered by the insurance policy. Car insurance is a big source of income to rental agencies (as much as $40 per day) and one that is very confusing to renters. Reportedly, tourists are disappointed by the car rental agencies for cheating on repairs and lack of clarity regarding insurance. Usually the tourist pays for the damage, but is left with a bad image of Cozumel.

posted 9/29/10
We all remember those magical moments on Cozumel when a moto-family went zipping by....Mom, Dad, a couple of little kids and a baby, all just barely hanging on and looking like it was the most natural thing in the world. Well those days of 4 or 5 on a motorcycle may be gone. As of today, the law allows only 2 riders at a time on a moto. Since for many Cozumel families the motorcycle is the only form of transport, we anticipate a lot of resistance to the law, and there will be lots of tickets written attempting to enforce it. We have not yet been able to determine if the fine will be per person or per moto.

posted 9/27/10
Hyperbaric chamber
Cozumel Divers might be comforted by the fact that the Hyperbaric chamber on the island is ready for use 24 hours a day in cases of decompression sickness, but the reality is that very few divers ever need to use this life saving device. In fact, the chamber is used some 10-15 times a day for a variety of other illnesses. Common daily uses of the Hyperbaric chamber are in cases of stroke, diabetes, burns, wounds and skin grafts. And doctors say you do not have to be Michael Jackson to use the chamber. There is an affordable payment plan available to all Cozumelenos in need.

posted 9/25/10
We mentioned some time ago that the sand added to the beaches of Playa Del Carmen was washing away, and we had just assumed it was washing out to sea. Apparently much of it is piling up around the ferry pier and is becoming a hazard to shipping. On several occasions ferries have scrapped the new sand bank and the impact has been felt by the passengers. The worry is that a boat will run aground during low tide and get stuck or that the impact will occur while people are trying to rush the line to get to off the boat and cause injuries as passengers go tumbling everywhere. Word is that another dredging operation will need to take place to clear the area around the ferry pier.

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posted 9/19/10
Deep Water Horizon Fire
It seems everyone wants a piece of British Petroleum's Oil Spill Money, and Mexico is no exception. Quintana Roo has joined a lawsuit filed in San Antonio, Texas, asking for a big wad of pesos from BP for damages to Mexican waters. We are not sure what the damage is, but the lawsuit says there is a lot of it. Let us know if you come across any oily beaches in the Cozumel area.

drunk guy arrested
It sounds like Mexican Independence day was a big success on Cozumel. Lots of dancing, food and the usual vast amounts of drinking. That drinking lead to fighting and rowdy behavior, and that led to arrests....lots of arrests. After the jail had been stuffed to overflowing with 125 drunks, the authorities decided that maybe it would be a good idea to stop the sale of alcohol. So at 4am they shut down the beer stands. Sounds like next year they will need to stop booze sales earlier in the night or enlarge the jail.

posted 9/12/10
Mexico celebrates it's 200th birthday this week, and Cozumel will join in the fun. Events on the island have been going on for awhile now, but the big show is the night of September 15th when the Grito of Independence is held at the Palaccio. The music, food and fun are scheduled to start at 8pm, and the big fireworks show should happen around 11, but when it actually happens is anyone's guess. You can count on a long night of merriment and parties though, so plan on getting little sleep and having lots of fun!

posted 9/4/10
Cozumel has been having a "cash for guns" program for a month now and it sounds like they may have already collected all the guns on the island. So far only 7 weapons have been cashed in. Officials say that Cozumelenos may fear being investigated if they turn in a gun, but possibly most islanders just don't have guns anymore and the criminals want to keep their firepower for a special occasion.

posted 9/3/10
cozumel police dogs
Cozumel police now have 2 canine units to sniff out drugs and guns. Police demonstrated the dogs abilities to find contraband at one of the island elementary schools. Reportedly, the students enjoyed the show immensely when the dogs had trouble finding anything. Even when a gun was hidden under a bucket 10 feet away, one of the dogs could not locate it. Reportedly, these dogs have assisted in 6 arrests since August 24, but we are not sure how they assisted. Maybe they just ran around and barked a lot.

Mexico has taken another hit to tourism. This time from several European nations who have issued travel warnings to their citizens visiting Mexico. Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, France and Germany have noted that the most dangerous areas in Mexico include Michoacan, Baja California, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Durango, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Chiapas, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Tampico, Tijuana, Cuernavaca, Acapulco, and Mexico City. So far Quintana Roo is not on the list, but there is worry with the latest outbreak of violence in Cancun that it may not be long before the QR makes the Hit Parade with a bullet!

posted 8/26/10
Lion Fish
The Lion Fish issue is front and center this week at a conference in Cancun. One of the big worries is that as Lion Fish take over they can devour some 50 species of fish in an area. The end result for Cozumel will be that divers will only have one type of fish to look at, and it is a dangerous fish at that. With only one type of dangerous fish on Cozumel reefs then the dive industry will suffer, much as it has in the Bahamas. One bright spot coming out of the Cancun conference is a Lion Fish Cookbook featuring 45 tasty recipes. The Lion Fish Veracruz sounds particularly yummy!

posted 8/15/10
So far this year on Cozumel 119 people have been arrested for possession of drugs. Sixteen of those arrested have been minors. Marijuana and cocaine are the most popular drugs. The majority of arrests have come in the island colonies of San Miguel I and II. These neighborhoods are located between 65th and 30th and south of Ave 23. The military is viewing this as Drug Central and are running more surveillance and patrols through the area. You might try to avoid this part of town, especially at night.

police sleep on the roof
We are not sure if Cozumel is out of beds for it's police officers or these guys just like sleeping on the roof. In any event, the picture has created a stir as the new chief of police was not aware that officers were snoozing the night away on the roof of the Public Ministry of the civil courts. The Chief has ordered this looked into and necessary sleeping quarters found for all the officers who need them.

posted 8/14/10
We did not know this, but Cozumel has a yearly exchange of firearms when anyone with a gun can cash it in no questions asked. This years big event is called "Gift of Firearms 2010," and gun bearers can make anywhere from 500 to several thousand pesos per weapon. We had always thought that only the military could have guns, or hunters could have them but only if they were registered, but it sounds like everyone in the island is packing. We were also surprised at the types of weapons on the exchange list: rifles, shotguns, pistols, sub-machine guns and grenades among other weapons. No mention was made of how successful past gun exchanges have been.

posted 8/9/10
We reported some time ago that as of a certain date persons wanting to buy antibiotics would need to have a doctors prescription. That date is now August 25th and as of that day, we guess, tourists can't just wander into an island drug store and load up on their favorite cipros or cillins anymore. All this is, supposedly, to keep people from self-medicating and thus reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics. Many Cozumelenos see this as greedy doctors wanting to make more money.

posted 8/8/10
Another drug related killing has occurred on Cozumel, and this one was witnessed by a woman who the killers let go. Her two male companions were not so lucky, and they were shot execution style. The shootings took place in one of the neighborhoods far from the tourist areas, but they still worry us. Supposedly, Cozumel was ranked as one of the safest places in Mexico but that title may now be in doubt, as there have been 9 drug related killings in the last 2 years.

There has been some talk about what to do with Lion Fish, other then just kill them. It looks like island fisherman are pressing to have the voracious Lion Fish become a menu item in island restaurants. We have heard that the fish can be quite tasty, and since there are so many of the Lion Fish around the island, the price has got to be low for Lion Fish platters and tacos. The only proviso with catching Lion Fish is that the number caught will need to be reported to the authorities who track that sort of thing.

posted 8/3/10
More Cozumel tourists, either staying on the island or just visiting for the day, are avoiding the traditional tourist trap shopping and spending their pesos at the plain old grocery stores. For years both Chedraui and Mega have carried cheapo shot glasses, T-shirts, dolphin adorned ashtrays, cigarettes, well priced booze, and loads of junk that tourists just love. Now the little downtown shops are suffering in sales, as everyone has discovered the joys of shopping and saving in the "Big Box Stores." Small time merchants are complaining that they should not have allowed the large grocery stores to be built on the main drag where they are easy for tourists to find. Why shop for souvenirs out in the heat, and hassle over the price, when you can buy stuff hassle free in cool and comfortable surroundings?

posted: 7/30/10
We have heard on the street that some folks who used American Express cards at Mega are having other charges made by strangers at that store, as well as other places in Mexico. If you have used AMEX on Cozumel in the past few months it might be a good idea to check your past statements.

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posted: 7/28/10
turtle release
Sometime after August 3rd, baby turtles will be released on the East Side of the island by the Department of Ecology. We witnessed one of these events last year and they are a lot of fun, especially for the kids involved. If you want to find out more about the turtle release program drop by the Dept. of Ecology at 65th and 11th from 9 am to 3 pm, or call 872-5792. It would be best if you know some Spanish.

posted: 7/27/10
a bridge shall span this cenote
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, SEMARNAT, has finally weighed in on what to do about the cenote blocking the road to the new car ferry pier on Cozumel. SEMARNAT is the same group that allowed the destructive sand dredging from Cozumel's North Sand Bank, and their word is final. They have decreed that Cozumel shall build a bridge over the cenote and nothing shall touch this waterhole. The media has flip-flopped on the issue, and now the once sacred and untouchable cenote has now become nothing more than "a breeding ground for toads and dengue carrying mosquitoes." We think the new disapproval stems from the projected cost to tax payers of the bridge, some 8 million pesos. Pesos that could be better spent on other island projects.

posted: 7/26/10
lion fish
An Isla Mujeres fisherman has become the first victim of a Lion Fish attack near that island. The fisherman was 6K off shore when he was stung, and was raced to the hospital by his friends. He was treated for severe pain and observed for several hours before he was released in good condition. The article noted that there has not been enough effort to rid the waters around Isla of Lion Fish, and that Cozumel was doing the best job by far of capturing and killing the invading fish.

posted: 7/25/10
The latest report of attempted rental car fraud comes from Island Choppers, located on Juarez between 10th and 15th Avenue. When a family of Colombians returned their rental vehicle, damage was found on the car. When the renters pointed out that the damage had been noted on their rental agreement the agent said "too bad, you owe 2500 pesos." The renters said no way, and even though they were about to miss their ferry, drove to the police station and got the cops involved. At that point the rep from Island Choppers backed down and agreed that nothing more was owed. Sometimes you just have to stand your ground and say "NO" to highway robbery!

posted: 7/24/10
Mosquito Blue hotel
You would think that journalists would know better than to believe everything they read, but apparently not. A group of reporters from Guadalajara booked a week stay at the very trendy Mosquito Blue Hotel and Spa in Playa Del Carmen. They believed the website when it promised "the perfect oasis" and they ponied up several thousand dollars based on website hooks like: Mosquito Blue redefines luxury and pampering with special touches that are the hallmark...for this unique Mexico resort. Reality did not agree with internet hype and when the reporters found the floor of their room crawling with mold, broken doors and windows, dirty bathrooms, and faulty air conditioning they wanted their money back. When that failed, they complained to the Department of Tourism demanding that hotels be punished for false advertising and creating a poor image of the area. False advertisers beware!

posted: 7/18/10
stray dogs
Unfortunately, the Cozumel City Dump is still a drop off point for anyone wanting to get rid of a dog. This is not a good thing, as these strays are wandering the East Side beaches and have the potential to destroy turtle nests and disrupt turtle egg laying operations. The Animal Control Center has started rounding up these no longer loved family members, capturing 12 in the past week. There is not a happy ending for these abandoned doggies.

Officials are reporting that 862 turtle nests have been located on the East Side so far this year. They say that 1600 baby turtles have already hatched. The article notes that those baby turtles will be released sometime in August. Officials request that East Side visitors not mess with those stakes that mark the nests and to let someone know if they see baby turtles making a run to the water.

posted: 7/18/10
horseless buggy
From our "Why don't they do this on Cozumel?" department comes a nifty idea from Cancun...Pedicabs! Horseless carriages for 2 that are pulled by bicycle power. The cabs cost around 6000 pesos and are very Eco friendly, which we like. They would also be cheaper to operate than the maligned horse and buggy rides currently on the island, and may encourage operators to give up the use of horses altogether. Sounds like a win-win to us!

divers near shore
Cozumel Reefs National Park (PNAC) is celebrating its 14th year in operation. The park is visited by some 400,000 divers a year and is home to 289 species of fish. The PNAC is also responsible for ecosystems above the water such as tropical forests, coastal scrub and mangroves. The park is 11 thousand 987 hectares large and runs from south of the International Piers around the south end of the island and a ways up the East coast. Check it out your next trip to Cozumel.

posted: 7/17/10
club 21 closed
It looks like the life of island casino, Club 21, will be a contentious one. The casino had just opened and has now been closed following a late night inspection by City Officials. They found violations a plenty, including lack of signage marking evacuation routes, employees who did not know how to use first aid kits and electrical cables arranged in a disorderly manner. Even though there were no signs to point the way out, casino patrons seemed to find the door easily enough when officials started unplugging the slot machines.

Word on the street is to avoid the HSBC ATM machine at the Mega Grocery store on Cozumel. It seems that it will not pay off in pesos but will deduct money from your bank account. Don't let bank issues ruin your Cozumel holiday.

posted: 7/16/10
Passion Island Bay
We mentioned some time ago that the owners of Passion Island are 3 years behind on fees owed the city. It seems there is a charge to use the federal zone, the area that extends a distance from the water's edge inland, and that fee of 3 million pesos has not been paid. The city has begun the legal process to seize Passion Island from the owner/operators. We doubt anything will happen for a long time though as the Mexican Court System also operates on "Manana Time!"

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posted: 7/15/10
club 21
Cozumel's first casino, Club 21, held it's grand opening over the weekend, and according to reports, the invitation only event was a huge success. In spite of that success, the current mayor of the island does not want this business in island neighborhoods and has thrown up obstacles to stop the project. The most recent is the threat that the casino will be subject to more taxes and fees. But for now it seems those obstacles have been over come and Club 21 is here to stay. Word on the street is that they have the loosest slots on the island!

AJ the Mayor
A new mayor of Cozumel has been elected and is just waiting to be sworn in to take office. Mayor elect, Joaquin Gonzalez Aurelio, is gearing his administration towards attracting more tourism and generating more jobs for Cozumeleños. He says he will also focus on issues raised by his constituency: education, public safety, health and sports. This sounds like the usual political fare to us. The real issue is will he allow Club 21 to stay in it's current location on 7th avenue or make them move it to another more tourist friendly spot?

posted: 7/11/10
We have heard disturbing news about some of the car rental agencies on Cozumel. It seems they are requiring that the renter take out full coverage insurance and then not buying that insurance from the provider. The payment for insurance coverage, a substantial amount that easily doubles the cost of the rent car, just goes into the owners pocket. That leaves the renter stuck with the bill should there be an accident. One recent case involved a lady severely injured and hospitalized who, after thinking she was paying for insurance, found out she had to cover ALL costs out of her own pocket! Until this shakes out maybe the best thing to do is use a reputable national rental chain when you rent a car on Cozumel.

The word is that tourist complaints, about buying fake jewelery and over priced timeshares on Cozumel, are down for the year. PROFECO, kind of like Mexico's Better Business Bureau, is were everyone, including foreigners, goes to complain about deals gone bad in Mexico. PROFECO reports that while much time may go by before a claim is settled, all claims by foreigners are settled in their favor. That is a surprise to us but good news indeed!

posted: 7/9/10
sad dog
So far this year there have been 7 dog attacks of Cozumeleños. Most of the victims have been under age children. Officials blame the dog's owners for not giving the animals the attention they need...regular walks at least 3 times a week...and owners should not treat their pets mean. The article notes that 463 stray dogs have been captured on the streets this year and of those 406 have been euthanized. Bottom line is more walks, less strays and happier pets.

posted: 7/5/10
Cozumel Ironman
Just an early heads up that Cozumel will play host to the Ironman Event for the second year in a row. The mega race will be held on Sunday, November 28, 2010. So far over 1800 participants have signed up and paid the $550 non-refundable fee to compete in the swimming, bicycling and running events. Sponsors anticipate some 5000 plus athletes and supporters will visit Cozumel during this event. Last year's participants gave Cozumel very high marks as one of the best Ironman locations ever.

posted: 7/3/10
Cozumel's new car ferry pier at Caletita is essentially finished. There is now a parking lot for cars and trucks, complete with restaurants and waiting areas for passengers, on 30th. Avenue 30 is going to get very busy with traffic as all vehicles will queue up there before boarding the ferry. The only thing that is causing a delay is the large sink hole that is blocking the new road to the pier, and that is causing some considerable head scratching. By law the cenote can't just be filled in. And the city does not own the land so can't just build around it. A bridge has been considered and apparently rejected for now. The city is open to any an all suggestions regarding what to do about this natural impasse.

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posted: 7/2/10
Chen Rio
Islands Magazine has picked Cozumel as one of the best islands in the world to live on. We already knew that, and finally Islands Mag has jumped on board our Cozumel bandwagon! The criterion for selection was based on such factors as real estate values, ease of immigration, expat communities, and quality of island life. Cozumel was ranked 16th on the list, while Hawaii's Big Island took the top spot.

posted: 6/30/10
One of Cozumel's City Council members has taken on the role of school yard bully and has been censured by the Town Council. Manuel Barrientos Gurrigutia has started at least 3 fights in City Hall, the last of which involved throwing things, and was witnessed by several citizens including a young athlete. The fights are mostly with other councilmen. The Mayor has apologized for the brawling and said that this is not the way city officials should behave. For the remainder of his term Manuel will not be allowed to brawl in City Hall, and must move his office to another, as of yet unnamed, location.

If you will be on Cozumel this July 4th weekend keep in mind that alcohol sales will be curtailed on Sunday. This occurs whenever a big election is happening on the island, and is an effort to keep the citizens sober and focused on the exciting world of politics (see preceding article). The ban will begin at 12 am Sunday and run to 12 pm Sunday. As far as we know, only packaged liquor sales will be effected. Hotels and restaurants catering to tourists will be providing the usual island libations.

posted: 6/28/10
Cozumel shopping brochure
The cruise industry, and Cozumel's life blood, is continuing to generate bad press on the island. The latest affront comes in the form of a brochure that encourages cruisers to not waste their precious time on Cozumel shopping, but to "Make Memories" instead. Then do all the shopping on board ship where they will receive a no hassle money back guarantee for everything they buy. Maybe cruisers could just forget about shopping entirely and buy stuff on sale at their neighborhood department store...they get the same money back guarantee there too.

For passengers arriving on Cozumel by ferry from Playa they may soon be disembarking via runways to the second floor of the new ferry building...maybe. It seems the new, and pricey, ramps were built 3 feet higher than the ships they will service and are just not safe to use. Of course with the oceans reportedly rising, then given enough time, things could eventually work themselves out and the ramps would be good to go.

posted: 6/25/10
A program Called "Clean Cozumel" has been in operation for a year now, and it is responsible for having swept up 250 abandoned cars from city streets. Once a car is determined to be abandoned then it is towed to the impound lot. If the owner even wants the rusty scrap of metal back then he needs to pay 700 pesos for it. We like this idea of getting these eye sores off the streets, and imagine that at some point the bulk of these vehicles will be sold for scrap.

Two of Cozumel's Finest were injured by rubber bullets while the boys were playing at cops and robbers. One officer was shot several times in the shoulder and another was bleeding from head wounds. We did not even know that Cozumel Cops had rubber bullets to play with, but hope the next time they practice with them they wear protective head and eye gear.

posted: 6/23/10
Counterfeit 200 and 500 peso bills are making the rounds on Cozumel. You might pay attention to the source you get pesos from, but beyond that if you get stuck with bogus bills you are pretty much out of luck as far as getting your money back.

casa de cambio
Pullmantur Cruises has concluded its first season of using Cozumel as a Mini-Home Port. Pullmantur was reportedly so successful that they will conduct the same cruise next season. Cozumel did not fare as well and that prompted some to ask "Is that all there is?" Most tour providers were not even aware the ship was on the island since they got no business from it. Cancun received the lion share of hotel stays since all flights went in to CUN and not CZM. Cozumeleños would like to see more of a commitment from Pullmantur to train locals for jobs with the cruise line and bring cruisers to the island for a longer period of time so restaurants, taxistas and shops can receive some economic benefit too.

posted: 6/22/10
Cozumel Police Officers are seeing more kids riding motorcycles, and in this case that is not a good thing. More and more kids on Cozumel are driving the family scooter without a license, but with permission from Mom and Dad to take the moto for a spin. This year there have been 497 accidents on Cozumel and 34% of them have been caused by motorcycle drivers acting irresponsibly or reckless...Sounds like typical teens to us.

casa de cambio
As of this week banks on Cozumel are supposed to be converting US Dollars into pesos again. Banks were ordered some time ago to stop taking dollars in an effort to curb money laundering, but that also impacted negatively on the tourist trade...who wants to lose money using one of the Casas de Cambio in the street when they should be able to get a much better rate at the local bank. To make a transaction at a bank you will need your passport. Good luck and let us know how how it goes.

posted: 6/18/10
turtle nesting
We are 30 days into turtle nesting season on Cozumel and 110 nests have been located on the East Side so far. The Director of Ecology says that every night, 3 or 4 turtles arrive on the beach and lay between 90 and 120 eggs per nest. He anticipates greater numbers of turtles arriving in the next few days. Volunteers are patrolling the beaches nightly to mark nests and protect the turtles from predators. We are assuming that the East Side road will be closed to citizens after sundown, unless they are involved with helping in the turtle preservation program.

no transsexuals
No transsexuals will be allowed to participate in a Gay Beauty Pageant this Friday on Cozumel. Gay Contestants only will be judged for singing, modeling and costume design. Proceeds from the event will go to DIF, a program to help pregnant teens and children with cancer on Cozumel. What with the Hotel Fontan going "Gay and Lesbian" there does seem to be a certain pinkish tint to the island these days.

posted: 6/17/10
broken coral
More news has come out about the devastation at Cozumel's North Sand Bank. The dredging, that ended in February, sucked up way more sand than the law allowed. In fact, in some areas, they dredged over 3 meters down to bare rock and doing so removed a layer of micro algae that served as food for the endangered pink conch. Biologists say it will take 10 years for the area to recover to its pre-dredging status. We are surprised that it has taken 4 months for any report about the area to come out.

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posted: 6/16/10
hurricane shutters
If you had been on Ave Melgar Monday night you may have thought a hurricane was coming, as several merchants raced to install their hurricane shutters. Turns out it was just for practice so new and old employees could get the hang of hanging the mostly wooden shutters. Remember, there were no hurricane threats last year, but lots of storm activity is forecast for this season. Hopefully the shutters will not be needed again, but practice makes perfect.

posted: 6/14/10
Just when we thought no one cared anymore, along comes a story about the devastation on Cozumel's North Sand Bank. Reportedly the remains of the sand bank are now a bleak reminder of its past splendor before the dredging. The area is littered with the remains of conch shells, and broken coral. We have heard, but not confirmed, that the eagle rays have not returned to the area. Hopefully the video and pictures (which we are waiting to see) will prevent further dredging from taking place in this protected and environmentally sensitive area.

posted: 6/13/10
illegal long line
Lot's of illegal stuff has been going on in Cozumel's Marine Park, apparently because Park Rangers have only been concerned with collecting a fee per tourist in the park and not really patrolling for trouble. In addition to the illegal underwater cemetery we mentioned, now we have word of poaching and illegal fishing activities. Long lines with dozens of hooks have been found attached to buoys and unmarked boats have been seen illegally fishing in the Marine Park in broad daylight...these poachers have no fear of the law. Park officials are appealing to Cozumel fishermen to stop fishing where it is against federal law!

posted: 6/9/10
One of our favorite little restaurants on the square has been closed, reportedly for not paying taxes. Mozaicoz reportedly owes some 150,000 pesos in back taxes and the restaurant will stay shuttered until the owners come to an agreement with City Hall. Workers at the restaurant are bummed at losing their jobs, especially during another slow season.

palancar reef
We did not know this, but apparently Palancar Reef has become a sort of memorial for deceased divers who have loved Cozumel and wanted some memory of them to remain with the island. Metal crosses, plaques and water proof photos are just some of the mementos left behind. All that is about to end though as divers have now begun to nail plaques into the living coral. This is not a good thing as the coral will die. The management of the Marine Park says "no mas" and to stop it now! We wonder if they will have some sort of security watching the area for violators.

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Cozumel Trip October 2009

posted: 11/8/09
Our Jet Blue flight from Orlando to Cancun was great. We arrived in Terminal crowd. There were thermal scanners set up at Immigration, and everyone HAD to fill out a could write anything on it, but you had to write something down. One lady failed to hand in a form, and she was stopped until she had completed one.

The ticket counter for the bus to Playa is now outside, right where the buses depart at Terminal 2 (the old terminal). The entire east end of Terminal 2 is now sealed off to entry (exit only), and there are no vendors there anymore. We were also accosted to buy a timeshare, take a taxi, or book a shuttle a minimum of 10 times (far more than in the past), which may be a sign of slow times.

The bus departed at 3:39 pm and only had about 7 people on board. We were not sure if they had added a bus or not, but we were very happy with the quick connection.

The new highway through/over Puerto Morelos is going to be nice when completed. You will be able to pass over PM and not slow down at all. As for now, you still have to take the side road.

We had about an hour to wait for the next ferry at Playa, so we enjoyed Happy Hour Negra Modelo and Limonada on the beach. The 6pm Mexico Boat was packed and slow leaving the pier. The new ferry pier on Cozumel was nice, and Glo said they had the "best bathrooms ever" - still clean and new with toilet seats intact!

A taxi whisked us to the condo and only over-charged us 10 pesos. Our penthouse was spotlessly clean as always, and one of our Cozumel amigos had left us a bag of limes at the door...It was Margarita Time!

We did dinner at Thai Noodle Bar just 2 blocks from our place. The food was better than we remembered, and they had taken the prices back to their original lower ones. The small bowl was $6 and the large was $9. Ernesto was a great host as always.

Saturday we picked up the rental car from Avis (we got a free upgrade to an automatic) and then went to meet Mom at the Coz airport. This was her second visit in 7 years. Big delay in the airport, as one, solitary guy was off-loading 5 pieces of luggage at a time and then running around to x-ray them in the scanner...only in Mexico!

We grabbed a bite at Pancho's Backyard. We had never been there for lunch (usually a big cruiser hang then) and it was really good. The Chicken Nachos were named by us the new "best on the island."

We settled Mom in at the Melia and then made the Mega run...$80 for a week's worth of breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and lots of Marg fixings!

We were surprised to find that the internet often worked at the Melia this trip. Also we were delighted to find that the beach at the Melia was wider than we have seen it in the last 9 years! Also there were no submerged rocks any more - it is only a sandy entrance into the water! The water was a mixed bag of clear and cloudy, and still affected by the silt from the northern mangrove swamp. Word was that the Melia was only 20% occupied.

Over at the El Cozumeleno, they are building a sand bag wall to save their beach. The water entrance is far more rocky than we remember it, too.

Dinner that night was at Kinta. We were able to get an indoor table, but some folks were turned away...advice is to make a reservation! We got a couple of the snapper dishes and were disappointed. While the sauce was great, the fish was on the mushy side. Glory's veggie "Chiladas" were great, and she said it was one of her best meals on the island!

Now things kind of run together, as they so often do with any Cozumel visit. We did a few projects at our condo. Glory traded out massages with Sally. We sat in the sun a few days and did a lot of reading and eating. We did a great East Side tour, though. Senor Iguana's for lunch. It was our first time to try this spot, and we did miss having our toes in the sand, a la Mezcalito's (we ate inside the restaurant to save Mom the steep climb down the stairs to the beach). Burgers, while smallish, were fine...50 pesos. They did a very nice salad for Glory. Watch the bill, though....they are still tacking on the IVA tax. The waiter immediately removed it when I pointed out the error! The place was very busy with cruisers, and if they all paid the tax (and I'm sure they did) then Sr Iguana's did a nice job of adding to their bottom line!

From there we drove down to the beach with the Arches. Glory started chatting with a black coral salesman and of course he made us a deal! Black Coral for everyone for Christmas this year! We finished out our crawl at Palancar Beach. The waiters were happy to see us, in spite of our only ordering drinks. The Palancar peacocks performed very colorful mating rituals for us!

We ended the afternoon watching a fantastic sunset from the now closed Pyrates Bar. Note that if you open a car door or window at sunset you will be swarmed by mosquitoes!


La Choza for lobster...210 pesos per meal and it was pretty good. Veggie fajitas were spot on, as usual. Not a big crowd in the house.

Casa Denis, where we met up with Scuba Tony, Encarna, and the gang from Casa Amor. My Pork Pibil was pretty salty, veggie fajitas were greasy, and the chicken was on the dry side. The only thing to say about the free margs was that they were free. The restaurant was busy.

Mission Grill on 30th...We went on a very hot night. The grilled mero was excellent and well priced at 80 pesos. Everything else was perfect. Big surprise was the great Marg...tres fuerte! A good showing of locals in the house.

Sorrisi for pizza and salads. The pizza was great and the evening would have been perfect, except the waiter who wanted to bring us a bottle of water (charge) instead of a glass of water (no charge). The restaurant was pretty empty while we were there. The Gelato shop across the street is spacious and open and the gelato is tasty...we hit it three nights in a row. Currently you can dine al fresco at the Gelato Shop and order off the Sorrisi menu. Their waiters will walk the food across the street. You can NOT currently order gelato to be delivered to your table in Sorrisi...go figure!

We liked it so much we went back to the Thai Noodle House. Another big crowd with Tommy and Sarah from Villas Zaz Tun and John and Jackie from Casa Amor. Coz I Can David sat in as well. If you have a crowd you might want to make reservations here, as this is a very small venue.

Our last night we took Mom to another of her favorite spots, Pancho's Backyard. She thinks this is one of the most colorful restaurants on the is good, too! Glory loves the Banana and Walnut-Stuffed Chili Rellenos. The shrimp and fish were very well prepared. Note: you cannot smoke at indoor tables at La Choza or Mission Grill (open-air restaurants), but there is not a problem smoking at Pancho's. As soon as I pulled out a cigar the waiter was there to light it up for me! Also you get a 20% discount on meals at Pancho's if you are local.

An odd thing occurred with our Avis rental car. Half way through the week we got a call from Avis telling us they needed to come pick up our car for critical servicing for our safety. They could not be more specific, but did offer us any car in their fleet. As long as it was automatic, anything was fine with us. The replacement was a big red Dodge with a full tank of gas. There was no mention made, or charge for, the half tank of gas we had already used in the car we turned in. We never did find out why they needed the first car back in such a rush. Maybe this was some kind of customer reward program.

Side notes...they were taking "empty" water bottles away from passengers as they boarded flights out of Cancun. They took Mom's knitting needles as she departed Cozumel. Maybe Mexican TSA knows something American TSA does not! While you cannot go to Cozumel banks and get pesos for dollars, you can get pesos at Playa Banks...go figure!

posted: 6/7/10
no sand
A couple of items we have been wondering about lately....How much damage, if any, was done to the North Sand Bank of Cozumel during all the sand dredging? This was supposedly a big deal and irreparable harm was to have been done to the pink conch that spawned in that area. But now that all the dredging is over we have heard no reports about the status of the sand bank or the conch.

The other "big deal" was the supposed registration of all cell phones in Mexico. We have read that it was a fiasco with some 17 million Mexicans refusing to register their phones. But lately we can find nothing on the topic and are not sure if phones that did not get registered are working or not.

posted: 6/4/10
hotel fontan
We have word that the Hotel Fontan on Cozumel is going Gay and Lesbian...well maybe not totally but they are going to actively promote to that market. Hotel Fontan, located in the North Hotel Zone, will be the first island hotel to openly cater to gays and lesbians. Tourists of this sexual preference, translated from the Spanish, are known as the "Pink Market." If the Fontan scores big with this promotion then we wonder if the whole island will go PINK!

If you are ever injured on Cozumel, and need an ambulance, then be sure and call the Red Cross (Cruz Roja). They are the only ones who provide free ambulance service 24 hours a day to Cozumeleños. That may soon change as the Red Cross is rapidly running out of funding and is considering dropping ambulance service at night to save money. We hope the Red Cross can find the pesos to keep their doors open and services running.

posted: 6/3/10
Cozumel has been begging to get a new ferry service for years, and supposedly a new company is coming later this year...maybe...but in the meantime Isla Mujeres, of all places, has a new ferry service starting this month. The new service will handle cars and people and feature internet service, air-conditioned rooms and VIP areas. Now why can't this ferry start working the Playa to Cozumel route instead?

We read an article about the museum in Merida thinking it might also apply to the Cozumel Museo, but the Cozumel museum does not have completely similar problems. While Cozumel does lack parking at their museum they do not have issues with people in the state of drunkenness staggering around the area! At least not that we have heard.

posted: 5/30/10
We often get asked if it is safe to drink the water in Cozumel and we laugh and say of course least not out of the tap. In fact most Mexicans do not drink tap water either, as most city systems provide water of the non-potable variety. We did not know that Mexicans drink more bottled water than any other country. They drink an average of 61.8 gallons per person each year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp., and more than twice as much as in the United States. Of course most of the water consumed is from plastic bottles and in Mexico only one-eighth of the 21 million plastic water bottles get recycled.

posted: 5/29/10
Cozumel may be at a crossroads, as far as tourism goes, as administrators consider whether or not to allow the first ever casino to open on the island. Reportedly, the casino would have only electronic games, be very exclusive, have a dress code and oh yes, it would be in a residential neighborhood! The location may be the deciding factor against the casino, but with the still police chief of the island as one of the prime investors we are fairly certain that it will open. One other concern expressed is that if gambling does come to Cozumel then the island will need rehab centers for those Cozumeleños who suddenly develop gambling addictions. Sounds like lots of job potential all around.
posted: 5/27/10
We have news out of Isla Holbox that the whale shark is in short supply so far this season. Tour providers on the island have not sighted a whale shark in the area since May 15 and tourists taking the tours have been most disappointed in the lack of the behemoths, especially since they are out at least $50 per person. There is some concern that the oil spill in the Gulf may be keeping the whales away. Operators hope the whale sharks return asap!

As if Cancun did not have enough trouble with shrinking beaches and growing crime, now it turns out that the ex-Mayor of Cancun has been arrested and charged with drug trafficking, money laundering and other racketeering charges. The Mayor was arrested in the midst of a political campaign where he is running for Governor of the State of Quintana Roo. Officials said they could not immediately recall another case in which a gubernatorial candidate had been arrested on drug charges. "This takes us all by surprise, it is unprecedented," said current Quintana Roo Gov. Felix Gonzalez Cantu.

posted: 5/24/10
For our dedicated readers who have noticed a marked lack of island news lately it has been because we have been conducting the Census here in the States. Quite an adventure and a real test of our Spanish language skills! For those of you who missed the census in the USA you can experience it on Cozumel starting June 1. They do the "Censo" every 5 years in Mexico, and it looks like they try to count everyone too. Reportedly, the census takers on the island will be trilingual, speaking Spanish, English and Mayan. So hoist your Sol and be counted.

pato y adrian
We have gotten word that island tour guide, restaurateur, kite boarder extraordinaire, bon vi vant and generally everyone's best friend, Adrian, has resigned his position as Director of Ecology on Cozumel. We can only say What took him so long? Now we can all see more of Adrian at Especias as well as conducting his most popular island tours. Welcome back Adrian from the political abyss!

The Police Chief of Cozumel is being investigated for a variety of charges brought by city officials. The most serious of which are corruption and mismanagement. No proof has been presented, but the results of the investigation are supposed to be presented in a week. We hope this turns out to be much ado about nothing, especially as the Chief is one of the major partners in a new gambling casino opening on the island, and gambling and corruption certainly do not mix.

cancun beach
Cancun beaches are still washing away, and it sounds like no one knows what to do. There have not really been any severe storms since the beach renewal project was finished, and already more than half of the beach sand has gone back into the ocean...pretty much as predicted. Persons in charge are looking at dredging up more sand, but Cozumel sand may get passed by this time as it costs more to haul it from the island to Cancun than to just loot the nearby sand at Isla Mujeres.

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posted: 5/9/10
Reports are in on the initial impact of Pullman Tours using Cozumel as a Home Port for it's Caribbean cruise. The results are not what the island hoped for, but what many had expected, and that is not much positive impact at all. Airline flights from Spain bring cruisers into Cancun, so most of the benefit goes there. No new jobs have been created on Cozumel and the cruisers are, as usual, not buying much on the island.

For those of you who love Barracuda for dinner, and we certainly do, you might avoid it for a few months. This is the time of year the water heats up and the fish can be infected with toxins that cause "ciguatera poisoning." The symptoms include gastrointestinal and neurological effects, and in some cases can last for years. Come September though barracuda is back on the menu.

posted: 5/6/10
The island press is calling it the "Brawl at Cedral" and the name certainly seems to fit. Reportedly, 2 gangs of hooligans gathered behind the bull ring at 2:30 in the afternoon to settle some differences. Once the hurling of rocks, sticks and bottles began families fled into the bush to protect their children. The fracas got so out of control that the police had to use tear gas to break it up. Fifty six people were arrested, the majority of whom were 14 to 17 years old! Only minor injuries have been reported.

posted: 5/3/10
Sounds like it was business as usual during the weekend festivities at Cedral. Some 40 people were arrested for fighting and being drunk in the dusty streets of the little community. Some were arrested for being drunk and sleeping in the streets...sounds low key to us. The drunkees were fined 450 pesos or offered the option of 36 hours of jail time. It is always good to have options!

In other drinking news, officials are worried that the main drag along the waterfront in town is becoming a public bar with lots of beer drinking lay-abouts giving tourists the wrong impression of the island. Police have the option of asking the borrachos to move along to a back street or arresting them at once. Another option might be to ship them off to Cedral for 36 hours and keep all the lovers of fine beers in one location.

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posted: 4/25/10
cedral festival
The Festival at Cedral begins on April 29th and runs till May 3rd. After Carnaval, this is one of our favorite events on Cozumel. If you have never been it's like a dusty county fair, with horse races, bull fights, livestock judging, lots of food and of course beer. The highlight is the last night with longtime Cozumeleños wearing traditional dress and dancing in the main pavilion. We say check it out and be sure to take your camera.

car towed
You may remember that some time ago Cozumel started have family Sunday's along Melgar. They closed the street to traffic and people just strolled the drag and had fun. We wondered then what they did to the cars still parked on Melgar when they closed the avenue Sunday morning. Well, word on the street is that they simply tow the cars around the block and park them somewhere else. We are not sure if there is a charge for this service or not, but if you are missing a vehicle on Sunday morning chances are it's not too far away.

posted: 4/23/10
News Flash: A couple of beggars have been sighted working the Mercado on Cozumel. They are bothering people while they are eating lunch and asking them for money. When offered food they refuse it. The newspaper article notes that someone should do something about the beggars. Sounds like a slow news day on Cozumel.

east side viewing station
In spite of all the negative press, the viewing platforms on the East Side have opened. The stations are located on the beaches of Chumul, Chen Rio and San Martín. There will reportedly be umbrellas and lockers available. We still wonder if this will be income producing for the city or just for someone connected to the city.

In typical Mexican fashion, Cozumel's 3rd ferry company is on hold. The new passenger ferry line was to have opened this month, but the start date has now been pushed back to October at the earliest. Cozumel's mayor, who is an investor in the company, decided it would be best to not rent boats and start business now, but to wait until the company can buy its own boats. We hate to see this new venture delayed as the island desperately needs a cheaper ferry service. We hope this is not an indication that the new company is short of funds this early in the game because only deep pockets will prevail against the current ferry duopoly.

posted: 4/18/10
crazy awnings
We like the awnings they put in at the new Palacio Park...very modern and cool looking...but we worried about how they would handle high winds. We had not thought much about how they would do in High Water though. The island has been getting lots of rain in the past few days and that water has been accumulating in the water proof fabric of one of the shade sail type awnings. Reports are that the weight of the water was threatening to pull down the steel cables and there was the potential of injury to passersby. The fire department was called out to handle the problem and it sounds like they were able to get the water out with no injury to anyone. The report went on to add that the shade sails will be taken down during high winds and hurricanes. How do you say "guys who take down the shade sails" in Spanish?

Cancun beach
Cancun beaches are back in the news this week. The high winds and rain have hastened their erosion. The head of the State Secretariat of Tourism (SEDETUR), said all this erosion was expected, so not to worry. Of course there was also supposed to be some sort of maintenance program going on the prevent what we see here. We wonder if adding ladders to the beach would be part of the maintenance program?

posted: 4/11/10
car ferry pier
The construction of the new car ferry pier at Caletita has been delayed for at least another month and is now set to maybe open in May. We noted some time ago that a bridge must be constructed over exposed cenotes and so far that has not happened. We have not heard that anyone even has a plan to build this bridge yet, which is estimated to cost from one to two million pesos.

city hall
It looks like no place is safe from the "lovers of others people's things" on Cozumel. A wave of robberies has been breaking out all over the island, and the latest took place in City Hall Saturday night. One of the offices was broken into and 500 pesos worth of stationary and computer hardware was taken. For those of you who don't know, City Hall, or the Palacio, is just a few feet from the police station which has officers coming and going at all hours.One newspaper article noted that perhaps the police had been sleeping at the time of the robbery.

posted: 4/8/10
The underwater sculptures found off of Calica have been declared fakes. Seems they were put there by the fine folks at Xcaret Park for just no reason at all. We wonder what other Mayan reproductions they have scattered around Quintana Roo!

Plans to remodel the downtown park on Cozumel, Benito Juarez, were released last week and have been given a hearty thumbs down by everyone who has looked at them. First of all we are not sure why the mayor wants to fix something that is not broken, but it sounds like he does not like grass and trees, as most of it would be ripped up to make way for nice, hard concrete. We think there is more than enough concrete on Cozumel and that trees are a good thing!

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posted: 4/4/10
underwater sculptures
Strange Mayan sculptures have been found underwater off shore from Calica. The 2 sculptures look Prehispanic and at this time it is unknown if they are replicas or the real deal. Divers located them at a depth of 8 meters. At the very least they do look interesting.

drug buy
A new drug law took effect as of April 1st that prevents the sale of antibiotics in Mexico with out a doctor's prescription. The law is to keep people from self medicating, and so far it has been nothing but confusing. We have heard that pharmacies are conducting business as usual, but that could change. If this law does take effect there will be just one less reason for Cruisers to get off the boat since they will not be able to buy Mexican antibiotics at discount prices anymore.

posted: 3/30/10
fortune teller
The business of fortune telling is doing very well on Cozumel. One island prognosticator, Marisol, trimmed a Cozumeleño to the tune of 200,000 pesos using a classic confidence game, and got away with all the loot. Authorities warn people to use caution when handing money over to oracles, spiritualists, card readers, mystics or soothsayers. We would also add timeshare salesmen to that list!

posted: 3/29/10
temple at Coba
Word on the street is that the main temple at Coba will be closing soon to climbing. We hate to hear this, but are not surprised, as all other major temples in the area can't be climbed anymore. We think that Uxmal may have climbable temples and most of the lesser ruins in the Yucatan still allow tourists to tromp all over them. Check 'em out while you still can.

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posted: 3/28/10
For those of us who like to hang out in Cozumel's Cantinas we may start seeing lots of gun toting, uniformed hombres checking things out. It seems the Military has begun moving into island bars and cantinas looking for drugs and weapons in a effort to keep the island safe. Several locals are off put by this as the masked soldiers are reportedly treating everyone like criminals. This indeed may be the case as the press were not invited to any of the bar raids.

We have a report that the municipality where Chichen Itza is located is now selling beer at a stand near the the main temple, and actually on the site. Sales of alcohol are prohibited by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), but not by the municipality, so the stand stays open for now. This is the first and only beer stand at any archeological site in Mexico. That may change if business turns brisk and beer becomes the real money maker that it is everywhere else in Mexico. Heck, the INAH may want a piece of the action too.

posted: 3/24/10
"Clean Up Mexico" on Cozumel sounds like it was a success. Some 240 volunteer sweepers and cleaners hit the streets and scooped up 30 tons of garbage. At this rate of trash collection Cozumel may need another landfill sooner rather than later!

The Lionfish population in the waters of Cozumel is still on the rise with no end in sight, while over in Tulum we read reports that the Lionfish population seems to be reduced. The only explanation forthcoming is that the waters have gotten colder and the weather more severe than normal. We think it's more likely that no one in Tulum is actively hunting the species on a regular basis or keeping track of them for that matter.

posted: 3/21/10
The latest turf war on Cozumel has broken out at the airport, where timeshare salesman ran amok this past week. Apparently there are 2 groups of trickster timeshare salesman trolling the airport, one faction from Cozumel and one from the mainland. Just as tourists were exiting security a shouting match erupted between the 2 groups. We guess they were arguing over just who got the plumpest tourist, but who knows. Bottom line is to just avoid timeshare salesmen in any case, but if you see an angry group of them then run for the exits!

Next year's Cozumel Ironman may not happen as planned, unless some big bucks get ponied up. Cozumel is currently past due on 4 million pesos owed to the Ironman committee and the money needs to be found fast or the Ironman may be no mas on the isla. Cozumel's Director of Tourism says the committee wants the event to be held on the island, but money talks and the Ironman may walk, to Cabo, Puerto Valarta or Mazatlan, unless the funds are paid soon.
posted: 3/18/10
We read lots of island newspapers and usually come across a photo of a moto wreck, or 2, each day but this weekend took the cake. There was much moto excitement this weekend with 13 vehicle accidents and 5 motorcycle skids that did not hurt anyone seriously, or do any damage except to the bike. As usual alcohol was the reason for most of the madness! We always tell our island guests and friends to not rent a motorcycle and if they do please be very cautious. Always good advice in any country.

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posted: 3/15/10
poor tourists
Cozumel taxi drivers were the first to notice it. Shop keepers then got wind of the problem. Research has determined that tourists arriving by cruise ship are poor...or maybe just broke...but whatever, they do not want to spend a lot of money on the island. Cab drivers can only watch in dismay as cruisers bypass the cab stand and set out on foot the 4.5 miles into town from Puerta Maya. Shop keepers can barely keep the tears out of their eyes as cruisers wander into the shop, look around, ask what they can have for free and then depart with out spending a peso. Who knows when business will pick up again, but it's like we say..."things are tough all over."

posted: 3/14/10
Work continues on what now appear to be at least 3 Viewing-Stations on the East Side. So far about 50, turtle-blocking posts have been set into the beaches of Chumul, Chen Rio and San Martin. There are also supporting structures that appear to be small palapas next to the larger structures. Sounds like restaurants to us! We love the comment that maybe the next hurricane or severe storm will destroy them and return the beaches to their natural for endangered turtles once again!

Word on the street is that Caribbean Dream Jewelry Store is a place to be avoided if you are shopping for real gems and gold. If you want fake stuff at high prices then check 'em out.

posted: 3/13/10
people ferry
It seems that customer relations mean very little to Cozumel's 2 ferry companies. Early Friday morning, without warning, they cancelled the 5am ferry to Playa, and so ruined many passengers day. While a NEW schedule has been posted, keep in mind that this is Mexico and things can change very quickly and usually without warning!

cruise ship
Cozumel is gearing up to be Home Port starting next Saturday, March 20, when Pullmantur's Pacific Dream begins it's weekly voyages. Amid the excitement of Cozumel playing host to this cruise, comes more sobering comments that this will not really benefit the island at all. Since all food and supplies that are consumed on the island have to arrive on ferries, Cozumel has no real infrastructure to supply a cruise ship in a cost efficient manner. All of the provisions for the ship will most likely be provided in Progresso. The other thought is that at least in the near term, there will be no real creation of jobs on the island. Finally it is thought that most foreign passengers will fly into Cancun and be transported directly to the ship, missing any chance to spend time on the real Cozumel.

posted: 3/12/10
veiwing station
Someone's idea to build "Viewing-Stations" on the East Side of Cozumel, has created a stir in the press and we love a good stir! Viewing-Stations sounded fine in concept, as long as they were being built above the road, but it looks like the new plan is to just build them on the beach where they will actually be lower than the road! Already being called "visual pollution", these structures are also being built in prime turtle nesting locations, and that means blocking turtles from taking care of egg laying business. The press is saying that what is needed along East Side beaches are restrooms, trash cans, and adequate parking, not structures that serve no purpose. It is best to leave beautiful places alone and allow them to just be special...not try to make them better by building tasteless structures on them.

posted: 3/8/10
melgar stroll
Reportedly, "A Sunday for All" was a big success yesterday. One lane of Melgar was closed, starting at 9am, allowing families and vendors to stroll the street safe from speeding vehicles. There has long been talk of making Melgar pedestrian only, like 5th Ave in Playa, but this Sundays event is the closest it has ever come. We guess this will continue every Sunday until further notice.

We are hearing all sorts of rumors about Caleta, the marina south of town next to the El Presidente Hotel. The whole area is being remodeled at great expense, and only a handful of the owners of the 220 boats that use the marina have signed a new agreement to lease space. If all the owners don't sign then there is some vague Plan B to turn the area into a Swim with the Dolphins park. That could all be moot anyway, as now we hear a tale that the El Pres will take over the marina, kick everyone out, expand the hotel to encompass the marina and only park high end yachts there. It's always something on the island!

posted: 3/7/10
It was not enough that the mayor of Cozumel is thinking of imposing a curfew for minors on the island. Now island officials are stepping up surveillance at schools, looking for vandals and kids involved in gang activities. Police officers will now be just dropping in at schools and making spot checks of students, looking for drugs, weapons and other illegal substances.

posted: 3/6/10
Cozumel's Port Captain is calling for Norte season to end in about 2 weeks. That is good news indeed as the island has experienced some of the coldest, windiest weather in years this winter...and the port has been closed to small craft too many times to count. It just so happens that the end of Norte season coincides with the first day of Spring. So does the Port Captain KNOW the season is ending, or is he just looking at the calendar?

Plans for the 3rd ferry company on Cozumel seem to be coming together in almost record time. The word is that, while 3 boats are being built, the new company, "Island of Peace," will lease 3 ships just to get up and running by the end of April. The new low rate that will be matched, or bettered, by the other 2 ferry companies, is 50 pesos each way. The City will reportedly own 5% of the new company. We can only hope this all comes off as planned, as it will boost tourism to the island as well as break up the outrageously high prices being charged by the current ferry duopoly.

posted: 3/4/10
fat cops
A new federal report just out has found that Cancun Cops are short and fat! This comes mainly from hours of sitting around in patrol cars doing well as a yummy diet consisting mostly of tacos, cakes and junk food. We would bet that quantities of beer are also involved. We are assured by Cozumel's chief of police that all of the island's officers are in tip top fatties here thank you very much!

fat chicks
And speaking of Fat...Cozumel still ranks Number 1 in the state as far as having an overweight population. A private initiative has been launched on the island aimed at overweight women 25 years and older. Called "Renew Thyself", it consists of a month-long regime of sports activities and diet. The goal is to teach women good nutrition and how to prepare balanced meals for the family. Prizes consisting of a shopping spree, a gym membership, spa makeover and a dental cleaning will be awarded to Cozumel's Biggest Losers!

posted: 3/2/10
lion fish
Cozumel's first ever Lion Fish Tournament was a big success with a total of 279 fish being removed from island waters. The winner for the most fish captured, Gilmer Azueta Nunez, caught 115 fish and also scored the largest Lion Fish caught at 32.5 inches. Event sponsors say the response was so good they plan to hold another tournament in a few months.

Cozumel has become one of only a few cities in Mexico to have more than one airport. The new runway, located 12K south of town, is geared toward serving the private pilot crowd from the US. Reportedly, there will be no customs officer at the airport, but there will be a Federal Police officer paid for by the Mexican owner of the property.

posted: 2/28/10
We had no idea that Cozumel Priests had so much power. The story kinda goes that Padre Castillo Castillo called the cops when his handy man, Yam Uc, refused to do some masonry work, saying it was too much for one man to do. Yam Uc then began shouting obscenities at the Padre. Yam Uc was arrested, found to be sober and fined 250 pesos for swearing at a priest. What about just 10 Hail Marys and 4 Our Fathers?

The Cozumel City Council plans to file a protest with the Cruise Association of Florida (FCCA) over the pamphlets we mentioned a few days ago. Unfortunately, this directing cruisers to only certain stores that give a kickback to the cruise line, has been going on forever and is not likely to stop now.

We have heard on the streets that cold and windy weather canceled yesterday's planned Lion Fishing Tournament at Punta Longosta. Hopes are that the toruney may happen today as the winds have dropped.

posted: 2/27/10
We had always thought of Passion Island as a little part of Cozumel, and one of those places that cruisers went for beach and booze packages. Now we have found out that someone owns the concession to use the island and they need to pay federal taxes for the use of the beach. Some 2 million pesos are past due and the concession owners now have 45 days to pay it or negotiate a new rate. We always wonder how debts get this out of control? How long has the island's manager been not paying? Will the island be seized for non-payment and condos built? We will try to keep an eye on this little island oddity!

Video cameras are reportedly being installed at key spots around Cozumel for 24x7 recording of island shenanigans...also to prevent crime. The first cameras are going in around Punta Longosta mall. The mayor hopes these cameras will keep the island even safer than it already is. We think that it's just another case of Big Hermano watching.

posted: 2/26/10
shopping guide
The latest affront to Cozumel comes from the cruise industry, where a booklet warning cruisers of the dangers to be found on the island has been seized. Apparently, cruise ship guides hand these out to tourists before they arrive on the island and "steer" them to certain shops and restaurants. The stores pay big kickbacks to the cruise lines for being on the list of approved places to shop. The booklet warns of the "criminal element" on the island that preys on the tourists. It also advises: Do not stray away from the main tourist areas, do not wear any jewelry that might attract attention, be careful to secure belongings in pockets, purses and handbags and do not carry valuables with you such as cameras or credit cards. If the island is this dangerous then why did they come on the cruise in the first place?

posted: 2/24/10
Every one seems to want to move into town these days...including the island's raccoon population. One of these little guys was rumored to be living in one of the inland neighborhoods. The Ecology Department investigated and rescued the dwarf raccoon from a life of living on the mean streets of Cozumel. He was returned to the wild near Passion Island...where he will probably do better. In other wild life action, a pelican was reported to have eaten the tail of a stingray...we think he was taken care of too, the pelican not the singray. Way to go Eco Guys!

Cozumel's Director of Tourism has solved the problem of low/slow tourism on the island. He says that more Spring Breakers are the key to the islands future! The current crop of island tourists are way too old and a younger more late night crowd is needed. Why didn't someone think of this before...wait they already have...they call it Cancun!

posted: 2/23/10
We now have learned that there are 3 exposed cenotes along the road to Caletita that will have to have bridges built over them. We are still puzzled as to how these were not discovered during the required environmental check of the land, as this is such a low lying area the water table would naturally be closer to the surface. So for now the road work remains suspended until a work around plan can be devised. However, the work on the actual car ferry pier continues.

Some 5 months ago a bevy of illegal one armed bandits were rounded up on Cozumel. Well they are back again! Authorities slapped the clausarado sticker on 20 of them but reportedly just left them in the shops they were found in. Because of the sticker no one can play the slot machines or move them...the sticker rules! Shop owners argue that they have no idea who put them in their stores, except that it is some mysterious individual from off island. This has got to be one of our fave excuses for anything!

posted: 2/22/10
Phone lines to police and emergency services across Q. Roo were jammed last night when a fiery object was seen to blaze across the sky, followed by a loud explosion. The sound and light show was even seen on Cozumel where it was thought to be a plane crash, a transformer exploding or some act of terrorism. Turns out it was just the space shuttle Endeavor streaking in for a landing in Florida. There has not been such a spectacular aerial show over Mexico as this since the shuttle Atlantis in 2001, and that time the military was called out over concern that it was a plane crash.

posted: 2/21/10
eco mobile
Fixing the cenote/sink hole at Caletita has turned into a big deal. As we mentioned, you can't just pack it with slag and hope for the best. The city does not have access to the adjacent land and can't build the road around, so the best plan so far is to build a bridge over it. Even that is loaded with problems as the bridge will have to support the weight of very heavy trucks and lots of them. This may turn into one of those cans of worms that should never have been gotten into in the first place.

Cozumel is still one of the safest places to be in Mexico! The official report is that Cozumel has the lowest crime rate in Quintana Roo with only 2%. Cancun, on the other hand, has the highest crime rate in the state with 60%. The most popular crimes on Cozumel are theft, in all its many forms, wrongful damage, accidents and fights. Accidents and fights occur every day, but are most popular on the weekend when the consumption of alcohol can almost become an Olympic Sport!

posted: 2/20/10
Cozumel will be hosting the first ever Lion Fish Tournament Feb 28th. The event will be open to certified divers and will feature cash prizes for the most lion fish caught and the largest lion fish caught. It sounds like all the "fishing" will be in the area north of the Punta Longosta pier. Divers will not be allowed to use traps, will not be given any implements to catch the fish and will not be allowed to catch other fish. All injuries are the responsibility of the diver and the marine parks department is not to blame for any mishaps. The largest prize, $8000 pesos, goes to the team, or individual, catching the most lion fish. Another $4000 to the individual catching the largest fish. There are also assorted runner up prizes including a lovely gift basket from PAMA, a watch and dinners at Kinta and Olive.

eco mobile
The Director of Ecology, Adrian Angulo Romero, has scored a new, official jeep known as the "Green Patrol". The jeep will be cruising the island making sure that the natural resources of Cozumel are being preserved. It looks like it also has cool emergency flashing lights so the crew of the "Green Patrol" can speed safely to any ecological emergency!

posted: 2/19/10
Cozumel's Director of Tourism says everything is a go to set up a tourist complaint booth somewhere downtown. He would like to see it in the Plaza of the Sun, but that is not firm. His plan is that staff members would all be bilingual, and any tourist who had a complaint about anything could drop in and get help...instantly! Even Cruisers would be able to lodge a complaint and then follow up via internet. Our take on this is "it's about time!"

plaza peeps
Benito Juarez Park has long been the social center of the city...especially on Sunday when families congregate to listen to the music, lovers stroll looking for a dark corner and kids just run amok. In an effort to expand the space and make it even more family friendly the city is planning close the north bound lane of Melgar on Sunday evening, from 8pm to 1am, and make it pedestrian only. The start date for this is reportedly Feb. 28th, so watch out for traffic jams in the area. We are not sure if the cars that are parked in the street, at the soon coming new parking meters, will be forced to move, towed away or just left to add ambiance to the scene.

posted: 2/18/10
Cozumel cops were busy during the last 12 hours of Carnaval, arresting almost 100 persons. As usual booze, in varying quantities, was the cause of most of those arrests. There were a total of 218 persons arrested during the 4 parade nights of Carnaval. Here are some of our faves:

  • 6 for obstructing the work of the police
  • 5 drunk and urinating in the street
  • 3 for drinking alcoholic beverages where prohibited
  • 2 for drunk and impertinent
  • 1 for inhaling illegal substances
  • 1 for driving while intoxicated
  • 1 for masturbating
  • 3 for committing the crime of assault
  • 1 for the crime against public health for possession of marijuana

environmental damage
Work on the road connecting the new car ferry pier at Caletita to 30th street has been suspended. A few days ago, heavy equipment punched through the rock and into the underground aquifer. The construction company thought it best to fill in the hole with rubble, but that is a no-no! If you plug up an underground river then it will just flow someplace else and that may not be a good thing. So now this becomes an environmental issue and matters must be examined, blame laid and fines levied. No word on when construction will resume.
posted: 2/17/10
Sr. Frogs fire
The last parade of Carnaval on Cozumel resulted in a hot time at Sr. Frogs on Melgar. Fireworks from one of the floats (reportedly one carrying Cozumel politicos) ignited the grass front of Sr. Frogs and caused a spectacular blaze. Parade goers had to flee as the burning palapa grass fell onto the sidewalk. Reportedly, no one was injured but the parade was halted for nearly an hour till fire fighting equipment could get to the scene. This fire video is pretty cool so Check it out!

playa beach
And so it begins....Less than a month has gone by since the Playa Beach Recovery ended, and already more than half the beach has vanished! The hardest hit area is north of the ferry pier. The workers at the Porto Real Hotel are concerned that within a few days they will have no beach left to set up chaises and umbrellas for the tourists. The beach is reportedly losing 2-3 meters of sand a day!

posted: 2/16/10
The crew of the ship involved in the death by para-sail have been charged with manslaughter. This incident has prompted a call for inspections of all sea going services that cater to tourists. Details are still being worked out, but initially the captain of each vessel will be responsible for checking out his own ship and the condition of all equipment. As to para-sailing, all rigging will need to be replaced every 2 years, or sooner if it shows wear. The end result will be official inspections and permits that will all cost money, but hopefully save lives and prevent negative press. We are kind of surprised that this type of inspection was not already SOP.

fire truck
In a hands across the sea gesture, the island of Cozumel has donated a fire truck to Isla Mujeres. Just last week 15 homes went up in flames on Isla and citizens could only stand by and watch them burn to the ground...there was no fire fighting equipment on the island! During an emotional presentation ceremony, the mayor of Isla said that this will be the first time that a fire truck siren has been heard on the island.

posted: 2/15/10
Cozumel Police were fairly happy following the first night of Carnaval. Only 60 persons were arrested Saturday night and the most common reason was "drunken brawls!" Twenty of those arrested were minors, 4 were elderly women and the rest were men. We have no idea what the old ladies were doing to get in trouble. Actually those totals are not very good as only 90 persons were arrested for drunk driving in all of January .

We had no idea, but are not surprised, that a flotilla of hookers are trolling for tourists at Puerta Maya pier. There are at least 2 competing groups working the area. Since prostitution is not officially condoned, police do make the occasional arrest or break up the odd claiming match between working girls when they both make a grab for the same Juan!

posted: 2/14/10
We have never experienced it, but Carnaval time on Cozumel is also "War of the Eggs" time. Kids run amok throwing eggs on everyone...especially each other! About 60 high school kids were arrested last week after neighbors called the cops on them, but not before hundreds of eggs were thrown and quite the mess was made. The upside to the melee was that more than a dozen intact eggs were confiscated and they will be used to feed Cozumeleños currently in jail. We think the original egg war tradition called for the use of eggs filled with confettie, but for some reason real fresh eggs have become much more popular.

posted: 2/12/10
Carnaval Parade
Carnaval on Cozumel is heating up with the first Grand Parade Saturday, Feb 13th. The parade is scheduled to began at 6pm at 17th and Melgar, and make its usual way north along the water and then back. This year the best spot to view it may be from the new park in front of the Palacio. We like this location as you get to see all of the parade and then head off to dinner and beat the post parade rush. This year there are parades scheduled only Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday nights, with Fat Tuesday being the Mother of All Parade Nights. Cozumeleños love a good party so the after parade music, dancing and drinking will probably go on till dawn! For more times and events check out the Official Carnaval Website.

posted: 2/11/10
plaza del sol
Plaza Del Sol, the biggest White Elephant on Cozumel, is up for sale. This is the newly rebuilt building at the back of the plaza that has very few tenants and is losing money on a daily basis. There is lots more to the story than that, but it is all very confusing and would be long in the telling. Suffice it to say that the latest plan is to sell each of the 2 levels of the building for 80,000 pesos a level. This would all go to paying down the city's debt and Cozumel has lots of debt!

jug 'o fish
How much is a dead Lion Fish worth? Well, we came across a vague story about some "foundation" willing to pay up to 1000 pesos for each fish. Really?? That works out to about $70usd each and if the story is true we can just imagine the mad scramble to hunt the elusive Lion Fish. There really could be GOLD in them thar waters!

pot fire
More that 160 pounds of pot went up in flames yesterday! The burning was a joint effort by the Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen armed forces. The marijuana was all that was left of what had been seized during 2009. We had word that the smoker was very well attended. We did hear a rumor that after the pot was consumed, a nearby taco cart had its best sales day ever, but who is to say if that was true or not?

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posted: 2/10/10
taylor lautner
We told you some time ago about the buzz to make the action film, Cancun, in Cancun with Taylor Lautner, star of Twilight. The film is going to have a corrupt mayor, gun toting gang members, viscous drug lords, Cuban smugglers, action heroes and the kidnapping of college coeds! Sounds good to us. Well, Cancun businessmen are already up in arms and want to put a stop to the making of the film. They are concerned that the film would affect the good image of Cancun and damage international tourism. They say they will do whatever it takes to stop the film from being made. Summit Films says that the movie is fiction, not based on actual cases and "any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental."

posted: 2/9/10
rusty bikes
The Cozumel impound yard is awash in a sea of rusting bikes. So many bikes that there is some disagreement on exactly how many there really are...between 550 and 675! The bikes end up in the yard because the owners committed traffic violations or the bikes had just been abandoned. Cozumeleños had until the end of January to retrieve their impounded bike but most apparently did not...either because the fine was more than the bike was worth, or because they did not have proof of ownership. Proof of ownership can be tough to prove in any country. We have always wondered why these bikes are not just put up for sale...after that the rusted hulks could be sold for scrap.

With law suits for violations of environmental law still pending, the beaches of Playa Del Carmen are mostly reopened. That means the dredging of the Cozumel Sand Bank is near its end. We have heard reports that reef damage has occurred in Cancun and Playa...but we kind of figured that would happen no matter what. We have also heard from locals that most of the sharks that lived in the waters around Playa have departed for less tumultuous seas. Those dive ops who specialized in "Swim with the Sharks" dives may have to turn to the now sand covered reefs as the only diving left. We have no word yet of how the sea turtles held up during the dredging miasma.

posted: 2/6/10
playa beach playa beach
We just received some photos of the beach repair in Playa Del Carmen. These were taken yesterday and show the area just to the south of the ferry pier. Looks like a lot of sand has been added to that beach! Thanks to David, our ace reporter and photog, for the update.

posted: 2/5/10
This weeks death by para-sailing will probably go down as an accident caused by negligence. Reports are that the deceased was very intoxicated at the time of the the crew of the boat is to blame for allowing him to para-sail drunk. Also, the fall was from over 250 feet...way higher then initially reported. The captain and crewman of the boat are currently facing manslaughter charges. No matter how this shakes out we guarantee that Cozumel's para-sail business will take a hit.

parking meter
Coming soon to a downtown Cozumel street....Parking Meters! The plan is to install the meters along Melgar from the airport road to the stop light at 11th. Some will also run along part of 5th ave. The company to do the install will be named by the end of the month. No one knows if the meters will take coins or a credit card and no one knows what they will charge. But the city is excited as they can finally start making money off street parking. And, if your meter expires then they send for the wrecker to haul your car to the impound and that is at least a 400 peso hit!

posted: 2/4/10
A tourist off the Carnival Inspiration was killed yesterday in a para-sailing accident. Joseph Job, age 40, fell from a height of about 20 meters into the water near the Aqua Safari pier. There may have been a problem with faulty equipment, as he reportedly slipped from the safety harness. The captain of the para-sail boat El Coyote was arrested until cause can be determined.

We have reported that Cozumel is looking for a 3rd ferry company to break the duopoly held by the Mexico and Ultramar ferries. Even though not much has happened, there is already lots of sword rattling going on. The existing companies are threatening to leave the newly remolded, downtown pier and take their business to Punta Longosta, where they can dock for free. They are also threatening a wonderful price war, dropping the ticket price to 25 pesos per crossing! That could be a very good thing! However once they send the upstart ferry company packing then they would, of course, jack those prices up again! Good luck to the new company who ever you are!

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posted: 2/3/10
Island Water Department workers had an exciting morning when they found a 6 foot plus crocodile in the waste treatment plant. They captured the reptile and nicknamed him "Tripod" since he only had 3 legs. He will be released into a more suitable environment. Between 2008 and 2009 the Department of Ecology has captured 79 crocodiles. In addition to waste treatment plants, crocs are also known to frequent construction sites, hotel pools or any place they can get warm.

The Yucatan is experiencing it's worst outbreak of Dengue fever in decades. In the first 3 weeks of the year, there have been 112 cases reported...49 of which are the serious bleeding type. During the same time period last year only 29 cases were reported. Most effected are young people, and for some reason men are more susceptible than women.

posted: 2/2/10
pink flamingo
Cozumel is making a bid to bird watchers, hoping to extend the tourist base of the island. Officials say that the ecosystem of Cozumel is one of the least "disturbed" in the Caribbean. At certain times of the year flamingos, herons and other migratory birds pay the island a visit. The birding is particularly good at Punta Celerain (formerly Punta Sur) where tours are conducted. Only 10 persons at a time are allowed on the up close and personal bird tours. Visitors also get to also study crocodiles in their natural environment....we guess the crocs are studying the tourists too!

The latest Lion Fish count stands at 1500 confirmed killed and possibly another 600 unconfirmed caught. As noted we have no idea if the catching of the Lion Fish is having any impact on the species or not.

posted: 1/31/10
Mexican scientists have declared Cozumel, and indeed all of the Yucatan, to be an earthquake free zone. Certainly good news, as lots of hotels and condos are many stories tall. Of course, the island still has those pesky hurricanes to worry about...but at least you can see them coming.

posted: 1/29/10
As mentioned yesterday, the private yacht Octopus has a submarine on board. Paul and Bill wanted to use it in Cozumel's Marine Park and asked for permission some time ago. They even offered to donate a boat to the Park. The millionaires' request was turned down and no reason was given. Cozumeleños worry that this may send the wrong signal to other rich folk who want to come to the island and throw money around. If the richest of the rich can't have their way then they may just take their toys and go elsewhere.

posted: 1/28/10
Cozumel's new emergency phone center has been opened over a month and it seems just everyone wants to try it out. Oh, they don't have an emergency but just want to see if anyone answers, or just call and tell a joke, or just hang up. The center, C-4, is receiving 140 calls a day and more than 50% of them are prank calls. Officials are asking parents to keep their kids on a leash and not allow them to make calls to the center just for fun. If you want to make a real emergency call than try dialing 911. If that doesn't work use the old 066. We also hear that some of the cellphone calls are accidentally being routed to the Playa Del Carmen emergency's always something!

Maybe if some of those kids making prank calls would get out of the house and play there would not be so many overweight people on the island. A survey by one of the hospitals has found that 80% of Cozumeleños are fat! The usual culprit for obesity is junk food. The rest of the bad news is that Mexico ranks Numero Uno world wide in childhood obesity, and that's never a good thing to be number one in!

We have been hearing for days that the 8th largest yacht in the world, Octopus, was coming to Cozumel, and today it has finally arrived. The ship is owned by millionaire Paul Allen. Paul's buddy millionaire, Bill Gates, may be on board too. The ship has all the usual luxuries...pool, spa, gym, but also features a submarine equipped to support ten people for up to two weeks underwater. There is also a deep diving underwater robot that can go where humans cannot. Perhaps Paul could loan out his submersible to help clean up the 20 tons of garbage recently spilled in Cozumel's harbor.

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posted: 1/27/10
We now have reports that the sinking of the trash barge, Don Martin, last Friday, has done more environmental damage than initially thought. Oil was spilled and some 20 tons of garbage is still on the sea bed. Ecomar, the owners of the ship, have made no efforts to clean up the submerged trash. The Director of Ecology, Adrian Romero, is trying to get local divers to help recover what waste they can before it spreads.

Cozumel's Red Cross is reportedly struggling since they moved to a newer, larger location farther from El Centro. Officials say fewer people are using the services than before the move. The Red Cross is struggling to pay the monthly utilities, salaries and even buy gas for the ambulances. Just another sign of the times perhaps.

One of our favorite Playa furniture stores, Azcue, is in financial trouble and will probably be forced to close it's doors. Customers have not received furniture ordered since November and can't even get their money back. Azcue is being non-responsive. PROFECO, Mexico's powerful BBB, has stepped in to see what's what.

posted: 1/25/10
Looks like another remodel of Benito Juarez Park is gonna happen...maybe. The initial goal is to improve visibility and comfort when folks come to enjoy a show in the square. The down side to this plan sounds like they will be removing the planters on the square and if those old planters go then the few trees left may also go away, since who can see anything with those pesky trees in the way? We would hate to see that since we love green spaces and trees. Unfortunately, Cozumeleños seem to love concrete and lots of it.

posted: 1/24/10
We have news that the latest hot item to steal on Cozumel is water meters. Thefts are being reported all over the island. Thieves are using pick axes to pull the meter and as much copper tubing out of the wall as they can. Apparently, the water department (CAPA) can not keep up with replacing stolen meters and the wait has been up to 2 weeks to get the water turned back on. To add insult to injury, the homeowner has to pay $90 to buy a new plastic meter and then pay a plumber to install it. We had no idea!

Lion Fish
Over 2,000 Lion Fish have been reported captured or killed in Cozumel waters. No one knows if that is good or not, since there is no way to determine just how many Lion Fish there actually are around the island. Other sources report that a Lion Fish Black Market has sprung up. They are selling like fish cakes at 200 to 600 pesos the fish. We guess that is one way to get the fish off the reefs and off the island, but what happens when these little fishies out grow their new aquarium, or the owner gets tired of them. Down the drain they go and don't "all drains lead to the ocean?"

posted: 1/23/10
trash barge
There has been lots of action in the Cozumel Harbor these days. The latest is the near sinking of a barge hauling recyclable waste. Apparently a bilge pump went out, the barge flooded and spilled a ton of trash. Lots of it just floated ashore but some sank. The latest word is that no oil or chemicals were spilled but divers will need to check out the area for sunken trash.

Tourists in Playa are having fun exploring the new beach...which has been closed during the remodeling. Once the ladders are added so tourists can climb down to the water then it looks like the beach will be pretty much back to normal...Yikes! Playa fishermen are demanding 100,000 pesos because the beach is still not suitable for handling their boats.

posted: 1/20/10
The beach has been repaired in Playa from the ferry pier north to the Porto Real hotel. Playa fisherman returned their boats to the bay yesterday and they are not happy. Apparently the work took longer then they were told, so they lost income. But mostly they are upset because the beach has been made larger then they had requested. Apparently 50 meters of beach is just too big for that little bay. Now the work will move to the Playacar beach south of the ferry pier where very little beach is left and a too big beach will be a good thing.

The population of Cozumel is growing...up 2,500 persons from 2008 to an infrastructure testing 83,000 persons. There are 42 thousand men and 41 thousand women. The bulk of the population (64,000) are under 40 years old. As far as we can tell this census does not include expats...and that could change everything.

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posted: 1/19/10
raw sewage
Ya gotta love the Cozumel Island Water Department (CAPA). They go to fix some sort of water issue in front of the military garrison across the street for Las Casitas public beach and make it worse. Now they have released sewage which is running down the street and across to the beach. The stinky sewage has been flowing for 10 days! Unfortunately, Las Casitas is one of the closest beaches to town and loved by many Cozumeleño families. With this new wave of pollution, these families will have to go farther from home to enjoy a day of good clean fun!

Cozumel's program to turn old Christmas trees into mulch is not going so well. Of the 3,000 trees sold on the island less than 150 have been recycled. That means the rest have probably been dumped in the street or in someone's vacant lot. Cancun is fining Christmas tree litterers 500 pesos for dumping their old holiday spirit on to their neighbors. So far Cozumel is not fining these scofflaws, but just encouraging them to do the right thing and recycle.

posted: 1/17/10
We love this latest island rumor as reported by the media....Barack Obama is planning to make a stopover on Cozumel when he goes to visit Haiti. While the Cozumel airport has indeed become a jumping off spot for Mexican aid going to and from Haiti, we sincerely doubt that President Obama would fly west to Cozumel and then head back east to Haiti. Of course, if he were flying Delta Airlines he would be forced to make that kind of crazy connection, but we think Air Force One can fly a more direct route!

posted: 1/15/10
Cozumel may see a little benefit yet from Pullmantur Cruises, even though they will Home Port in Progresso. The company will offer cruise associated tours of the Yucatan that will either begin or end in Cozumel. Passengers may be given the option to take an overland tour of say, Chichen Itza and Uxmal, and then join the cruise ship when it makes port in Cozumel. Guess if Cozumel can't have the whole pie then a little slice will have to do.

The first thefts and poaches of the year have been recorded on Cozumel. Two persons were arrested for the theft of copper, supposedly from a hotel on the North End of the island. Last year 15 islanders were charged with copper theft. Also 4 poachers were arrested with over 60 pounds of tasty Conch. As the Conch is an endangered species this is by far the most serious of the two crimes . Of course we hear that Cozumel conch are just piling up on the beaches of Play Del Carmen these days!

posted: 1/13/10
Cruise ship
Cozumel just can't seem to get a break. High hopes of becoming a Mini-Home Port have been dashed, as Pullmantur Cruise Lines just announced that it will not make Cozumel it's home in March. The island lost out to Progresso of all places. Pullmantur officials stated it was cheaper and logistically a better move to go with Progresso. We guess all those over nights cruisers will be staying in Merida hotels and touring more of the Yucatan. The Cozumel press is calling this the "first bad economic news of the year".

Dead Conch
Cozumel sand has started piling up on Playa beaches and hundreds of dead Pink Conch are going along with each load. This comes as no surprise to us, as without any monitoring of the work then of course the conch would be sucked up by the dredges. We are pretty sure that if the Pink Conch of Cozumel were endangered before, then they will almost be extinct after the beach recovery project is complete.

Playa boat
Also in Playa, fisherman are pulling their boats from the water of the bay to make room for the dredges to work. They are now worried that the new beach will be too big and too steep for easy boat handling. Instead of 50 meters wide they only want it to be 35 meters. Predictions are that no matter what size they make the beach it will, within 2 years, give back most of the sand and need to be rebuilt again.
posted: 1/11/10
Playa sand
The first load of Cozumel sand was dumped on Playa beaches over the weekend. Only high winds and rough surf prevented the operation of Beach Recovery from getting fully underway there. Some 15,000 cubic meters of sand have been dumped so far and authorities say they are using anti-dispersal nets to keep fine particles of sand from spreading. When all is said and done, about 4.2 kilometers of Playa beaches will have been widened to approximately 50 meters.

Coba temple
Rates for visiting the ruins of San Gervasio, and all ruins in Qunitana Roo, will stay the same for 2010. The only increase will be the fee for bringing a video camera, which will jump from 35 to 41 pesos. On Sundays Mexican Nationals can visit the site for free. Non Mexican tourists will still have to pay full price to see the ruins.

posted: 1/9/10
Zamna arrives
The Zamna returned to Cozumel yesterday amid much hoopla and fanfare. The hand made vessel sailed from the island August 26 and journeyed to Miami, New York and the European continent to bring it's message of peace to the world. We are not sure what will happen to the vessel now, but it would make a nice beginning as Cozumel's first floating museum.

Wilma over Cozumel
Early forecasts are out for the 2010 hurricane season. Prognosticators have decided that the "El Niño" effect will go away and the Atlantic will become warmer. The result will be a slightly more active season than normal with 11 named tropical storms and 6 hurricanes. Didn't they say the same thing about 2009?

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posted: 1/8/10
There are a surprising number of houses made of sticks on Cozumel. Stick walls, tar paper roofs, and dirt floors. Maybe electricity...maybe not...and probably an open fire. These are the types of homes that the Department of Civil Protection are looking at this weekend, as chilly temperatures may force inhabitants to seek warmer shelters. Chilly on the island, we guess, is below 55o. The Ebenezer church on 30th is designated to become a shelter if conditions worsen. The Department of Civil Protection has some 800 blankets and mattresses for use by any displaced citizens.

posted: 1/7/10
We are hearing reports from the street that Cozumel airport security is back to hand searching all luggage prior to check in. Additionally, they have added the body "pat down" to the boarding routine. We were glad when they stopped the full luggage search, as lots of foul smelling clothing is usually jammed inside those overstuffed suitcases...especially after a week of diving and snorkeling. We are not happy to see it's return, but guess that is now the price of security these days.

The cold front that has the States shuddering is also effecting Cozumel. Highs in the 60's and lows in the 50's are forecast for the isla over the next few days. Most hotels and condos do not have heaters so you might pack a blanket or 2 and an extra pair of socks may be in order.

posted: 1/6/10
Agape IV grounded
Woes continue for the plucky Agape IV, the boat that was almost involved in a collision with the Carnival Imagination. High winds and rough surf caused the hapless craft to slip it's moorings and run aground in the Cozumel harbor on Tuesday. The only reason the ship came to Cozumel in the first place was to get gas. Considering how much fun they have had this trip they may bypass Cozumel should they need gas in the future!

family in the cart
Good news from Isla Mujeres is that the Golf Cart Consortium there is planning to maintain 2009 rental rates for the always in demand least for the next 2 months. The rates will hold at 180 pesos per hour, 500 pesos per day and 600 pesos for 24 hours of island cruising fun!

posted: 1/5/10
trees in the street
It is estimated that 3,000 cut Christmas trees were sold on Cozumel. Now that the season is over there is the issue of what to do with those dead trees. Apparently, back in the day, it was an easy matter to just throw them in the street, where they would block traffic, or just pitch them in any convenient vacant lot. Now though, the Director of Ecology, Adrian Angulo, is asking Cozumeleños to bring those trees to the recycling area to be converted into compost. The recycling area is located near the island slaughter house way back in the hood. Another important tip from Adrian is to make sure to remove all the ornaments before recycling the trees.

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posted: 1/4/10
Fishing boats
Fuel prices are going up in Mexico, so prepare for sticker shock on your next trip. Already providers of nautical services in Cancun are raising rates for any sea going activity that involves a motor. Prices are up 15% for everything from para-sailing to scuba diving. We guess 2009 prices will still be in effect for snorkeling from shore and kite motors. So 2010 has just begun and already there is much anticipation that this year won't be much better than 2009.

sand moving equipment
The heavy lifting equipment used for the beach recovery has started arriving in Playa Del Carmen. Guess that means Cozumel sand is about to be poured on the shrunken beaches there. Attempting to interpret the articles, it looks like the first work will be south of the ferry pier, but it could just as easily be north of the ferry pier. No start date has been announced, but if you are in the Playa area anytime after January 8th you could find parts of the beach closed for repairs!

posted: 1/3/10
near boat collision
It must have sounded like a call to battle stations and "all hands on deck" in the Cozumel Harbor Saturday, as the Carnival Imagination sounded horns and sirens to warn off a private boat directly in it's path. The 3,000 passenger vessel was making way to Punta Longosta pier, when a Florida registered yacht, the Agape IV, steered into it's path, and would not get out of the way. Despite all the noise, the Imagination finally had to make a dead stop to avoid a collision. At press time it was not known whether the Agape and her crew had been arrested or not.

We have come across some disturbing news regarding Animal Control on Cozumel. The Island Press is reporting that 1100 animals were euthanized in 2009. The official figures state that only about 50 dogs were sterilized last year by Cozumeleños. Officials say that for every 100 stray animals captured by Animal Control, only 5 are reclaimed and 95 are put down! If these numbers are correct then maybe Cozumeleños should not be allowed to have pets.

posted: 12/29/09
Moto wreck
"Want to rent a motorcycle while you are on Cozumel?" We advise against it, but if you must rent, then just make sure you actually know how to operate the dang thing! A 53 year old woman checked into her hotel, rented a moto and immediately plowed into a curb at high speed. Even though she was wearing a helmet, she still suffered facial lacerations and a fractured knee...basically ending her holiday. The guys at the rental agency, reportedly, did nothing to help her and her family had to summon help.

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posted: 12/28/09
Glass Bottom boat tours have always looked to us like the lazy man's way to experience Cozumel's underwater wonders. You sit in the shade, drink beers, stay dry and still see lots of fish. Fun indeed, until the boat sinks! The ship's passengers were a family of 5 from Ontario and all were wearing life jackets. The unnamed vessel sank close to the Punta Longosta Pier but, because of rough seas, it still took the navy 30 minutes to rescue the passengers and 2 crewman. Two of the tourists were hospitalized for "nervous breakdown."

The latest research has found that 49% of cruise ship tourists coming to Cozumel are in the middle and lower middle incomes levels...making less than $50,000. This answers the age old question "why aren't more tourists buying diamonds and jewelry?" They can barely afford the cruise much less a diamond broach. Cozumel needs to pay more attention to a mere 5% of cruise ship tourists who are making over $200,000. Who knows what the other 46% of those cruise tourists are making...the research didn't say.

posted: 12/23/09
Flash...News Alert...Sand Dredging on the North Bank of Cozumel has impacted the fishing in that area! Cozumel fisherman are already reporting a marked decrease in the quantity of fish caught and are blaming it on the 24x7 dredging going on. that is a surprise! Citymar officials, who have always been against this project, are hearing reports from fisherman that some of them were given boats and motors by the Governor of the State to support the dredging...but with the fishing so bad they now wish they had not taken the loot! As a side note, we hear predictions that the new Cozumel sand on Cancun beaches will be washed away within 2 years...just like the last time.

There was a big burglary at the island's house of chicken. Some 1400 pesos were reported stolen....along with 30 pieces of frozen chicken. Peeps gotta eat!

posted: 12/21/09
Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner of "New Moon" fame, may soon be coming to Cancun for more than just R&R. Lautner's production company has optioned to make the action movie "Cancun" and film it, of course, in Cancun. The story follows an out-of-place college kid who travels with a girl to Cancun on holiday. While there, the girl and her friends are taken hostage by a drug cartel and he is forced to save them. The story is designed to take advantage of Lautner's martial arts skills which were showcased recently on "Saturday Night Live." The Cozumel tourist board needs to figure out a way to score some shoot days out of this...maybe the sex scenes could be done on the island and all the drugs and violence could stay in Cancun.

Merida cross dressers
We just loved this picture of captured holiday criminals in Merida. We especially like the guy on the right...thinking of what he could steal for his mom or girlfriend. Surely that dress is way to small for him!

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posted: 12/19/09
Cozumel is becoming more accessible and also more forgiving for the holidays. Two additional daily ferry crossing have been added to and from Cozumel. The Chief of Police has announced that, as of today, cars can park on Melgar from south to north after 5pm. This is to allow folks to park while they do their holiday shopping in town. The surprise news (at least to us) from the Chief is that on December 24 and 31 prisoners will get out of jail so they can spend the holidays with their families. We hope they remember to go back to the lock up after the holiday festivities are over.

posted: 12/18/09
If we read this correctly, then a new high tech security center on Cozumel will be a huge benefit to tourists as well as Cozumeleños. The newly opened "C-4" serves as a one call does it all operation. Operators can send the fire department, ambulance or police as needed. Making this huge with the tourists is that now you dial 911, just like in the States, instead of the old 066. Our question is, will the person who answers the phone be able to speak English?

workers strike
We reported some days ago that there was trouble at the new Car Ferry Pier project. Workers had not been paid and had blockaded the site preventing any work from being done. Now the old construction company has been fired, and a new one hired, but troubles still persist. The bottom line is that the old workers still have not been paid, so they have locked the entire project down into strike mode. Some 200 of them marched to City Hall to demand help from the mayor. Also of note is that due to the change in construction companies, costs for the pier will go up some 30% and now the project is going to drag on at least till the end of March, 2010.

posted: 12/17/09
The holidays are fast upon us, and Cozumel students are looking forward to next Tuesday and their Christmas break. A total of 22,000 students will enjoy the holiday from school which runs until January 6th. City employees are happy too, as they have already received 1/2 of their Holiday Bonus. The balance will be paid in January. Make note that pretty much all city and government offices will close next week and not reopen until next year.
posted: 12/16/09
Protest Rally
Yesterday's Sand Dredging Protest march was attended by some 80-100 persons. The organizers of the protest, Citymar, stated that many Cozumeleños do not participate because, rightly or wrongly, they fear repercussions from local authorities. The march began an hour late (no surprise there because all things start late on Cozumel) and this was the 3rd such protest staged on the island. In any event, the ragtag band of protesters made their way peacefully to City Hall and found that there were no officials there to meet them...end of protest.

Conch under glass
Researchers from France and Mexico are working on a project to study and protect the endangered Pink Conch. Reportedly, they have placed some 60 microchips on 60 of the snails. The sensors monitor respiration and temperature, and hopefully will allow the researchers to determine the best conditions to optimize conch health and prolong their survival. The bulk of the study is being conducted in Xel-Ha park.

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posted: 12/15/09
No Sand Dredging
A Sand Dredging Protest March is planned for today on Cozumel. The protesters hope to gather at 5pm under the big flag and then "peacefully" move toward city hall. The protest hopes to determine just who, exactly, is monitoring the dredging of the sand. They also hope to make sure all the dredging is done according to law and all protections are in place all the time. They want to establish a committee to watch the dredging, but not hinder it. We say "Good Luck," but fear the damage to the sand bank has already been done.

Cozumel's Museum and Parks Foundation is on the ropes. With park attendance down 20% for 2009, the Foundation is looking for government funding just the pay the holiday bonuses to employees. Like everyone else on the island, they are hoping for a much better year in 2010. They have big plans to make money by having evening shows at Chankanaab Park. Beyond that, they hope to make a few repairs and remodel, but only if they find the funding.

Marijuana is back in the news, as some 30 kilos of weed were recovered this weekend from East side beaches. As usual, no one has a clue where this stuff came from, and the owners have not come forward to claim the pot.

posted: 12/14/09
Cancun beach girls
Cozumel needs to get busy on the tourist promotion circuit. Reportedly, the Yahoo search engine has placed Cancun as the 3rd best tourist destination internationally behind Las Vegas and Miami. Cancun may only rank higher as the beach recovery project there winds down. As this high season begins some 3.5 miles of Cancun beaches will have been poured using Cozumel and Isla Mujeres sand. This will benefit 17 hotels, 10 ocean front condos, a shopping mall and 3 public beaches. Cozumel is no longer in line to receive any of this sand.

posted: 12/13/09
We remember the days of the downtown area remodel...sidewalks ripped up, streets shut down, shop owners complaining about loss of business, traffic a mess and, of course, no parking. Then it was all done and looked great...but still no parking. The police tow truck was like a "shark," scooping up any and every vehicle parked for longer than 2 minutes. Even we fell victim to the poorly marked "no parking" spaces. You either had to jam into a parking lot or you got towed. Well, now all that has changed. The "Shark" is no longer a constant sight on the streets, and it's back to the wild west of parking. As one paper stated "it's anarchy now!" The yellow "no parking" curbs are merely decoration and bikes, cars and motos are vying for every available inch of parking space...while parking lots sit empty.

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posted: 12/10/09
We have successfully paid our Cozumel taxes and gotten the 20% early payer discount. The good news is that the property tax stayed the same. The bad news is that our garbage tax went up by 200 pesos, and is now 1/3 more than the property tax. As property owners, we also have to pay some coin to the bank that holds our condo in trust. For the last 2 years we have been able to do that by Credit Card so we get miles and a much better exchange rate than paying by a USD check. We actually saved over $100 paying via CC. Some things are truly easy in paradise!

posted: 12/9/09
CFE has finally come forward with clarification of the power outages occurring around Cozumel. The fault is not with The Electric Company (of course not) but with the citizens. Apparently, there are lots of Ben Franklin wannabe's on Cozumel, flying their kites into power lines! The other big cause of thrown over power lines! So from now on, no flying of kites near electric lines, and keep your shoes on your feet.

While not exactly Cozumel related, it does point out what can happen when greed and overzealous construction run unchecked. Reportedly, a Mega Project in Puerto Cancun, known as "a city within a paradise," has suddenly slashed the prices of their luxury $600,000 condos by 50%. The goal is to sell them all FAST before the Feds shut the project down. It seems that, in a effort to save 10 million dollars, builders failed to construct 10 miles of sewer line. The result? A stinky mess and some 3000 families exposed to raw sewage on a daily basis. Reportedly things will only get worse!

posted: 12/8/09
Buy stuff here
PROFECO, the Mexican Consumer Protection arm of Government, has come out with holiday shopping tips for all Cozumeleños, and us too. Make sure that the items you buy come with a warranty that allows you to return the item to the seller...not ship it back to the manufacturer. Also, make sure you get a receipt. Only buy high ticket items at reputable shops that will give you a sales receipt, and if you are in doubt of the return policy then get it in writing. Shopping is Mexico is like bungee jumping, you just hang on and hope for the best!

Pemex station
We got good news and bad news for the coming year. The good news is that propane prices will not go up and will remain at 10.10 pesos per liter. So the cost of filling a small grill tank will stay at 101 pesos. The bad news is that Pemex is promising a price increase for 2010. Unfortunately, they are not telling anyone how much that increase will be!

posted: 12/7/09
We guess Environmentalists will never give up the battle to stop the sand dredging. Well, maybe when all the work is done they might...but not now! Environmentalists are saying that no one is verifying the amount of sand being removed from Cozumel's North Bank. And still no one knows if the dredges are using mesh screens to protect reefs and sea life from the sand. It seems there is a lot that is not known about the dredging as it enters it's second week of around the clock work. The Governor of the State of Q. Roo announced that the dredging will soon begin on Cozumel! We wonder where he is getting his news?

Some 2 years ago when we lived on Cozumel, we were delighted to find that fresh tortillas were selling for about 5 pesos per kilo...that's less than 2 cents a pound. We used to watch workers sit on the curb in front of our condo and devour a kilo or 2, and a jumbo Coke, for breakfast. Since that time, the Mexican Government has stopped subsidizing corn and prices have gone only up. Today the cost of a kilo of tortillas is about 14 pesos. Our curb side workers are looking a little thinner than in months past.

posted: 12/6/09
Virgin of Gaudalupe run in Valladolid
The The Festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe began December 1st, and continues to the 12th. This is one of the holiest of holidays for Catholics in Mexico. If you are on Cozumel, you may experience a traffic jam or 2, as worshipers carry a statue of the Virgin through the streets. The festival culminates with disciples making a walk or run around the entire island. Many individuals make this pilgrimage barefoot as a sign of penance.

Also being celebrated at this time of year, is the Harvest Ceremony of the Honey Bee. This is a Mayan celebration and happens each year near Tulum. The festival's purpose is to bless the bees and encourage a bountiful honey harvest. The Xunaan Bees have no stinger and were domesticated centuries ago by the Maya. Honey was important as a sweetening agent as well as medicine. The bee's wax was used for lighting. The Mayan Riviera is an important Honey producing region in Mexico so we hope the festival has it's desired effect.

posted: 12/5/09
Complaints against CFE (The Electric Company) are piling up, as Cozumeleños are reporting seemingly daily interruptions of service. Along with power outages come power surges and reports of ruined and damaged electronic devices. One citizen noted that that the quality of service has become "increasingly dismal." We enjoyed the comparison that complaints against the electric company are now almost as high as the rates!

Just when we thought the news in Mexico could not get worse then along comes a horrifying report on the quality of liquor served in the Mayan Riviera. It has been reported that 40% of the bottles of booze served at 5 Star, All Inclusive resorts in Q. Roo have been adulterated either with cheaper spirits or just plain watered down! The most popular spirits to cheapen down are tequila, rum, cognac and whiskey. Maybe we will just have to stick with drinking beer.

posted: 12/4/09
It sometimes seems to us that Mexicans like things loud...bars, gas trucks, restaurants, motos and repair shops can fill the air with their cacophony. We had heard rumors that there were legal limits on noise pollution, but today read in a Cancun paper that those limits are enforced by the Department of Ecology....go figure! The noise level permitted from a fixed source is 68db from 6am to 10pm. That is about as loud as normal conversation or piano practice...No Way! And after 10pm things are supposed to get even quieter! We need to give our Director of Ecology buddy, Adrian Angulo, a call and see how loud things can legally get on the island.

Speaking of Adrian, he is trying to significantly increase the fines for littering on Cozumel. The current city fine for littering on a public beach is only 100-200 pesos. His goal is not to collect fines, but to keep the island neat and clean. To that end, we would love to see more public trash cans on beaches and side streets as well as the main tourist areas. Enforcement of fines might further dissuade the dumping of trash in vacant lots and green areas around the island. Go Adrian!

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posted: 12/3/09
sailboat rescue
A newlywed couple...lost at sea...adrift in a damaged sail boat. Things looked bad, and then someone on shore dialed 066 (Mexico's 911) and the Mexican Navy leaped into action! The couple from Texas, Francis Honey and Elizabeth Tays, were rescued Wednesday morning about 20 kilometers from Puerto Morelos. The sailboat was towed to PM. That is pretty much all the info reported. We have no idea where they got the boat, how long they were adrift or why they just didn't raise the laundry and sail back to port. But we do like a happy ending!

posted: 12/2/09
It's December on Cozumel, and one of our favorite times to be on the island. The festivals, children singing in the streets, the lights and, oh yes...more time to buy liquor! It seems that every December, sellers of spirits simply have to ask at city hall and they get to stay open and sell booze for an extra 2 hours a day...from 9am to 11pm! There are 200 stores on the island that legally sell alcohol and they will be making sure that all enjoy the true Spirits of Christmas!

truckers blockade
The Truck Drivers Union on Cozumel is in full battle mode. For the past several days they have blockaded the company that is building the new car ferry pier, and not allowed their heavy equipment to move. The Truckers Union says they are owed nearly 1 million pesos and thus far have not been paid a penny for their work. They want to collect what they are owed before the long Holiday break. Everyone likes a little cash for Christmas!

You have to give them an "A" for effort. The anti-sand dredgers now say that the ships doing the sand dredging are illegal because they are not flying Mexican Flags! Now if no one sells the dredging company any Mexican flags then we guess the beach recovery project is finally over!

posted: 12/1/09
The Mayor of Cozumel has called up the Mexican Navy to make sure no one interferes with the giant dredge sucking up Cozumel's North Sand Bank. He said that while there are not any threats, it is important that people who want to protest in the area be very careful because they could get into big trouble. He also noted that since all the permits to dredge have been approved than there is not anything anyone can do about it.

posted: 11/30/09
Cozumel Ironman
By all accounts, the first Cozumel Ironman was a huge success...lots of tourists spending lots of money. Hopefully some of those tourists will return to visit the island during less hectic times. But not everyone was overwhelmed with Ironman fever. Reportedly, several vacationers had to spend another day in paradise when they discovered that roads were closed for the Ironman and cops were not about to let anyone pass for any reason, even when there were no competitors in sight. In some areas they were not allowed to even walk around barricades to get to taxi cabs!

Island newspapers now have their own photographic evidence that dredges are working illegally in the North Sand Bank of Cozumel. The pictures show that precautions to protect the reefs are not being taken by the dredges. No surprise here. As of this moment, it looks like the dredging activity has slowed. Hopefully, this latest intervention will stop it completely.

posted: 11/29/09
Today the Mexican Press has finally discovered that there is sand dredging going on at Cozumel. We had been reporting this since Wednesday and had assumed that this was that was confirmed. The island had not been notified the dredging had started on the North Bank. There was also supposed to be no dredging taking place at night and it turns out the dredging was to have happened 11 miles from the coast....not 3! These illegalities may result in an injunction against the this point who knows, but at least the press is finally on the scent!

A side bar to the Cozumel sand is that now the Mayor has decided that he, and the island, do not want to buy any of this sand for Cozumel beaches. He would rather spend the money instead on other stuff. The Mayor's pet project of remodeling the town center comes to mind. The Mayor says that all the sand for Cozumel's West Side Beaches will come from the East Side Beaches! Kind of like robbing Pedro to pay Paolo.

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posted: 11/27/09
The Mexican press still has not gotten wind of the dredges that are operating in the North Sand Bank of Cozumel. The 2 ships, Kaishuu and Volvox Terranova, are working 24 hours a day and making about 3-4 trips each between the Cozumel sand bank and Cancun. As there have been no media reports, we can only guess that there has been no oversight of the dredging operation either.

We have always known that electric rates are high on Cozumel but now we have found out how high. It seems the rates are 5 times higher in Q. Roo than in the Yucatan and Cozumel has the highest rates of any city in Q.Roo! There is now legislation in Congress to lower those rates back to parity with the rest of Mexico. Electric rates on Cozumel have risen some 221 percent in the last decade. And we thought it was supposed to be cheap living in Paradise!

Yearly property taxes can be paid on Cozumel starting December 1. The city is offering a discount of 20% for those who pay up before the end of the year. If you pay in January then the discount is only 15%. Seniors get a 50% discount! One of the perks of growing old we guess! You can also, reportedly, pay with a credit card. We suggest American Express, if the city will take it, as they do not charge any international fees and you get a great exchange rate.

posted: 11/25/09
Cancun Beaches
We have been following the activities of the Dredger Kaishuu on Satellite, and according to it's track today then Sand Dredging has already begun on Cozumel! The sand is being taken back to Cancun beaches. Nothing has been announced to the media, and perhaps this is part of the plan to avoid the protests that have been threatened by Cozumeleños opposed to the devastation of this sand bank and the sea life it serves as home too. All the dredging was to have been carefully monitored by environmental groups. It now looks like that is not going to happen either. You can watch the ships via satellite at Marine
Cozumel Restaurant
2010 is not looking good for the restaurant business on Cozumel...or at least for those wanting to eat at a restaurant. A big tax increase takes effect next year, and dinners are looking at "substantially higher bills" at all island eateries. Add this to price increases for food in general, and some establishments may be forced to close as tourists stop eating out as much.

posted: 11/24/09
The holidays are fast approaching, and on Cozumel that means it's Bonus Time for employees. All Mexicans who work in any business or trade are entitled to a bonus of 15 days salary for each full year worked. That can be a substantial amount in some cases. We have heard rumors that some municipalities in the Yucatan will not be able to pay government workers their bonuses this year, and hope that will not be the case on Cozumel too. Guess we will find out come Dec 20th, the last day of the year that the bonus can be paid.

We had always suspected that Cozumel's street musicians only work for tips, or are hired by a restaurant to play for an hour or so. But, we did not know that there are officially only 10 groups of street musicians registered on Cozumel. On some nights it looks like there are dozens of performers belting out ballads up and down the street. To be registered, the musicians must pay 30 pesos to be in the Musicians Union. We do not have a clue what happens if they attempt to sing for their supper without joining the union.

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posted: 11/23/09
Coming to Cozumel on a Carnival Cruise and want to save a lot of money? Then don't tell any of the island tour operators that you are on a Carnival Cruise! Carnival is attempting to squeeze more money from the island by forcing passengers to book on-shore tours through Carnival only. They are not allowing the passenger to book directly with the local tour operators. Carnival takes a 60% cut of all tour action, so the money can be substantial. If the passenger tries to go around Carnival, and the on-shore tour operator finds out, then they have to send the passenger back to the ship to book, or risk losing affiliation with Carnival...and a lot of jobs and money! Our advice...just say you didn't come off any of the Carnival ships, but are enjoying your Cozumel holiday at Caribe Sunset!

Don't play "Cops and Robbers" in Mexico with toy guns, unless you want to spend some jail time. According to Playa Police, six 30 somethings were doing just that over the weekend and, their toy guns looked a little too real. They, and their weapons, were hustled off to the lock up. Another item we were not aware apparently need a permit to play Cops and Robbers in Mexico! Now were do you get that one of those?

posted: 11/22/09
We always note, with amusement, the articles in Cozumel papers proclaiming that "next week" there will be 10,000 or 30,000 cruise ship passengers on the island, and stating how much money those cruisers will spend. Then the ships depart and here comes the story that sales fell far below what had been expected, and very few passengers even came to the town center. We could see the handwriting on the wall back when Carnival opened it's piers to the south of town, at Puerta Maya, and most ships stopped docking at Punta Longosta. There is perfectly good "safe shopping and dining" at Puerta Maya so there is no real incentive for cruisers to go elsewhere, especially when it's at least a $14 cab ride to town and back! And, why would anyone want to come over from the mainland, and spend $28 round trip on the ferry to buy the same T-shirts and shot glasses that are available in Playa. So between the taxi and the ferry prices not many tourists come to town anymore. We like the peace and quiet of the park much better now!

The Battle of the Lion-fish is being fought throughout the Mayan Riviera but now we hear that Playa Del Carmen divers are admitting defeat! Officials stated that they fear the spread of the lion-fish has exceeded their ability to control it and threatens to undermine the ecological balance of the reef system! They said that it can be hard to beat an enemy when divers only look for it on a few reefs, but the lion-fish can go anywhere and now seems to be everywhere!

posted: 11/20/09
Benito Juarez Park
Mayors of Cozumel love to leave legacies to the island and we have seen that those legacies can cost a lot of money! The Current Mayor wants to completely remodel the town square, also known as Benito Juarez Park. He thinks this new look will give incentive to businesses there...we are not sure what kind of incentive, but at least they will have a new look. We do remember that the Palace of the Sun, remodeled under the last regime, now sits mostly empty and has been hailed as the Largest White Elephant on the island! We hope things work out better this time around, if Benito Juarez Park does get a face lift and the Mayor gets his legacy.

posted: 11/19/09
sand removal Cancun
The court battle to halt the Sand Dredging on Cozumel has failed, and all seems to be in order for the Dredge to begin work on the North Bank of the island in the next week or so. Environmentalists are fuming over this latest turn of events and one of them stated, "Mexico is one of the most corrupt countries, here none of the three levels of government respects the law." Now we hear that another dredge is coming over from Dubai to speed up the sand removal process. There is also a rumor from the streets, that Cozumel's Director of Ecology has been asked to remove all the Pink Conch from the North Sand Bank and relocate it in the safety of the Marine Park! Why not just have a big Conch Fest and allow locals to harvest all they want now before it all gets killed by the Dreaded Dredges!

Horrible Jeep wreck
There was a horrific car accident yesterday at the San Gervasio intersection. Two jeeps carrying some 9 tourists collided and 2 persons were killed. While this was bad enough, what really disturbed us was that reportedly there was trouble identifying the victims because their personal effects had been stolen, either by first responders or by persons arriving at the scene prior to the police or ambulances!

posted: 11/18/09
The Cozumel Iron Man is fast approaching and Cozumel Officials are worrying. Not about all the visitors to the island, but about scammers selling fake jewelry to all the visitors! Back in the day, there used to be up to 10 complaints a week about bogus baubles, but now, with tourism at an all time low, there are only 5 complaints a month. That could change next week when some 5,000 tourists flood the island. Officials do not want them to go home with fake gems and a bad taste for Cozumel. The sale of fake bling on the island seems to happen so frequently that it would seem to us to make more sense to actually close the shops that continue selling fakes...not just fine them. Another thing we would like to see are the names of those shops that are not on the up and up.

  • The cost of dying on Cozumel is about 13,000 pesos...that includes the coffin.

  • The fine for drunk driving on Cozumel is 1200 pesos. Offenders also get from 6-12 hours in jail, for the first offense.

  • Eight of Cozumel's fleet of 12 trash trucks have been repaired and are back on the job.

posted: 11/17/09

View Larger Map
Google Maps has now come to Cozumel! This is great fun as it allows you to take a virtual driving tour of the island. The Google Mapping crew drove what looks like every paved street on the island and you can see a 360o view from every where you want to stop and look around. Since you can only go where the Google Boys got to drive you can not stroll into the square. What you can do is drive the wrong way on one way streets and not worry about motos or topes!

posted: 11/16/09
Geezer Patrol
We have just found out about a new group of old people who are helping to keep the island safe. We like to think of them as the "Abuelo Brigade" grandparents who do crossing guard duty at elementary schools on Cozumel. There are some 82 "officers" all over 60, who work up to 4 hours daily. These officers also provide a secure location for youngsters to wait for their parents to come pick them up.

Since when can you not have booze aboard a boat in Cozumel with children present? Since Saturday apparently. Someone complained that a group of 40 juveniles were going on a sunset tour on a Manta Sports sail boat and alcohol was going to be served...We are not sure if any adults were also on the trip or not. Rather than facing a fine or penalty for possibly serving booze to under age kids, the boat's crew just left the beer onshore and sailed off into the sunset.

posted: 11/14/09
We keep hearing that the island is almost broke, and then along comes another way for the city to spend money. Word is they are committed to spend some 4 million pesos on a playground in one of the colonies. This is to be a library and play land made from an old Boeing 727 Jet! We guess kids would play on the outside of the plane and study and use computers inside the plane. There is even supposed to be a cafeteria inside. We love this idea, and wish we had had a plane/library to hang out in when we were growing up!

posted: 11/13/09
cruiser ship passengers
According to the FCCA Cruise Association, Cozumel ranks second in the amount of money tourists spend when they are in a port. They say that yearly, passengers spend over $255 million on Cozumel and there are over 7 thousand jobs aimed directly at cruisers. The US Virgin Islands were number one in income collected, but they are a group of 3 islands...How do you compare the one port of Cozumel to the 3 ports of the Virgin Islands? Even comparing 3 ports to 1, Cozumel took first place in the number of ships stopping in for a visit...over 1,000 a year.

Now from London, where the Mayor is promoting Cozumel, we hear word of yet another water themed tourist park. This one would include an underwater restaurant that looks like a whale! This is a great idea as it would not block the views of the ocean from shore...being underwater and all. Maybe it will inspire a whole community of underwater condos and living quarters! Would the city then have to provide a fleet of Garbage Boats to handle the trash?

posted: 11/12/09
garbage trucks
Apparently the broken garbage trucks we mentioned on 11/06, have not been repaired and, reportedly, even more of them are now broken. One just broke it's rear axle night before last. So out of a fleet of 12, only 3 are working and trying to service all of Cozumel's 23 colonies. It will take an estimated $500,000 to repair the entire fleet. Something tells us that garbage is going to continue piling up in a bad way!

skin diver
When times get hard, and folks are out of work, they start complaining about people who do have work. There are now accusations against the Department of Immigration accusing employees of taking bribes to allow foreigners to work, mainly in the dive trade, while other skilled Cozumleños go without. Supposedly, an unnamed, all inclusive hotel on Cozumel's south shore has been bringing in young people, and employing them illegally. By law, there have to be 8 Mexican Nationals hired for every 1 foreigner employed. We doubt very much that anything will come of these complaints...Money always talks!
posted: 11/11/09
We guess the island police must be having a slow time of it. They have decided to run more check points to get a closer look at the 37,600 vehicles on Cozumel...6% of which still owe back taxes. On our island trips we have never even seen these check points...only the ones looking for the drunks!

Some weeks ago we began wondering just how many OXXO stores (7-11 type with 7/11 prices) there were on Cozumel. They seem to be springing up everywhere...and indeed they are. On our latest visit if there was not an OXXO already on a block, then one was coming soon! There may be a method to their madness and it seems to be booze. While all other island stores must stop selling liquor at a predetermined time, OXXO's, for some reason, do not! So come 3am and you have a mighty thirst, drop into your neighborhood OXXO and see if you can score a pricey 6 pack of Sol or bottle of tequila...let us know how it goes.

posted: 11/10/09
Because of Hurricane Ida, many cruise ships delayed arrivals to Cozumel so they could avoid the bad weather. That means that Friday will be the make up day with some 7 cruise ships stopping at Cozumel! The floating hotels start arriving at 7 am and do not all depart till 6pm. This could be the best day for business in months for those islanders in the tourist trades, but also a day you might want to avoid the crowds of cruisers shopping downtown.

We hate to see this kind of stuff, but vandals have damaged many of the fiberglass animals in the playground at the new park in front of City Hall. So far the Lion, Zebra and Elephant have all taken beatings. Supposedly they will be repaired. Surprising about all this vandalism is that this is a very well lighted park less than 50 yards from the police station!

We always knew that Cozumel was a sunny island, but now it has been confirmed as the first place in Mexico that the rays of the rising sun touch! Probably the Mayans knew this too and this was why San Gervasio was such an important site to them.

posted: 11/9/09
The passing of Hurricane Ida has left it's mark on Cancun beaches, where the Beach Recovery has just started. In some parts of the beach 20+ meters of new sand was stripped away by the high surf and winds. The Governor of the State says the high surf only served as to accelerate the Beach Recovery process, not remove any sand. Watch out for that first step down to the water...Yikes!

Island buzz is that some unknown person, or persons, has approached City Hall requesting permits to build a Nickelodeon themed Water Park on Cozumel. The "plan" would be to build on land in the south of the island. The park would have slides, wave pool and who knows what else...all with Nickelodeon Characters frolicking about. We look forward to this happening very soon.

posted: 11/8/09
Even though Hurricane Ida was not predicted to, nor did it, strike Cozumel, plans were made as if it were. Car and people ferries suspended operations on Saturday until at least Monday. The mayor imposed the dreaded Dry Law, usually saved till after a hurricane hits. There was to have been no booze sold on the island from 11pm Saturday night until further notice. The reasoning here is that money should be spent to obtain food and supplies for families rather than squandered on booze. Reportedly the Cozumel and Cancun airports are maintaining business as usual. Some 21 tourists cut short their holiday and flew home from Cancun. The majority of tourists stayed put and did not overly concern themselves with the weather.
posted: 11/6/09
Garbage collection on Cozumel has been on a reduced schedule for some time. Now, the inland neighborhoods are seeing a further pile up of trash. Two of the islands trash trucks are broken and the repair man is supposedly on the way. A spokesman for the Department of Public Service is asking the community to be patient in regards to trash not being picked up. There are also difficulties picking up garbage when it is raining as hard as it has been on the island.

Apparently, Mexicans living in the Yucatan know what to do with their garbage...throw it in a cenote! There are supposedly some 3,000 cenotes in the Yucatan of which 900 have been located and identified. Thirty of those have been tested for pollution and 4 have turned up very polluted...mostly with fecal matter. During inspections of the cenotes, teams removed stoves, tires, tanks, bottles and car batteries, along with miscellaneous flotsam and jetsam that is not naturally found in a cenote.

posted: 11/5/09
He's flipping like a hot tortilla...The Mayor of Cozumel has now reversed his Anti-sand dredging stance and has suddenly become Pro-sand dredging! The Mayor visited Cancun to witness first hand the beach recovery project and was so impressed that he now wants a team of dredging guys to come to Cozumel and convince everyone that sand dredging is the best! He said that this Friday he will tell the people of Cozumel "what is going to happen, because they are going to do this project on Cozumel and there is no turning back." He says the new start day for the work on Cozumel will be November 19th of this year.

Cozumel schools seem to be on rain delay. Reportedly there has been tons of rain and flooding all over the island. We know from experience that when rain happens work kind of stops...who wants to get wet? Because of the constant rain all day Wednesday, many students of different grade levels found it difficult to attend their classes, so about 20% chose not to try and wade the watery streets. At least there are not too many SNOW DAYS to further slow down the island!

posted: 11/4/09
Protesters of Sand Dredging near Isla Mujeres have canceled today's big Anti Dredging Rally. They have decided that legally, little or nothing can be done, and they can not fight the wealthy and powerful in Mexico. Besides, the sand is needed on the beaches, and that will bring more tourism and tourism is a good thing! The Governor of the state, having the final word on the matter, has pointed out that the dredging will not do any harm to the reefs or fishing in the area. Good to know!

Some of Cozumel's dive operations have decided that Lion Fish are good for the island! They add a pretty touch to the reefs and are great photo ops for tourists! "Whoa and No," says an officer for the National Park system. These fish are bad for the island and must be eradicated. To those ends, a team of 20 out of work divers will be hired short term to act as sort of a Search and Destroy Squad to rid the waters of Cozumel of the voracious Lion Fish!

posted: 11/3/09
Sand Dredging began this weekend at a sand bar 8 miles from Isla Mujeres. The sand is being spread on Cancun beaches, and the work is surprising tourists who had no idea all this mess was going on. isla mujeres sand protest Isla Mujeres fishermen have made an attempt at protesting the removal of the sand, only to be warned off by whistle blasts from the Dredge "Taishuu". A more concerted protest involving 30 fishing boats is set for Wednesday. This may be a preview of protests to come should the courts overturn their current decision to not allow sand to be removed from the North Bank of Cozumel.

There have been 2 incidents of "Telephone Extortion" on Cozumel in the last few days. This is a popular from of fund raising in parts of Mexico and involves a call to, usually, some wealthy individual threatening bodily harm, either to them or a family member, unless a pre-ransom is paid. Both victims got the police involved and events played out with no injuries to any party.

posted: 11/2/09
We have returned from our too brief visit to the island and here are some of our observations from this trip:

  • Everyone at the Cancun airport seems much more aggressive in trying to sell you a service or a timeshare.
  • The buses to and from Playa were very empty.

  • We were amazed to find the Beach at the Melia larger than ever...way more sand. It looked like the beach just north of the hotel had shifted to the south.

  • Albertos Beach Bar was still closed but the road looks like it is under repair.
  • Senor Iguanas on the East Side is still illegally charging tax on food.
  • You cannot change USD to pesos at Cozumel Banks, but you can in Playa Banks!
  • The telephone pole in front of Caribe Sunset has been repaired.
  • The mosquitos were terrible this trip...the worst we have seen!
More News tomorrow!
posted: 10/21/09
Lobster-men of Cozumel have, apparently, had a good year of catching, but a bad year of selling, the tasty crustaceans! The storage facilities for lobster are filled with over 2 tons and there is room for no more. The lobster-men say they either have to start selling more lobster...difficult to do with tourism as low as it is...or just stop catching lobster. They are trying to maintain the price at around 350 pesos per kilo, but they worry that prices will start to fall because of the lobster glut. The upside for the tourist, of course, is more restaurants having Lobster Specials on the menu!

posted: 10/20/09
The Sand Dredging Project is now on "Manana Time!" President Calderon decided to cancel his tour of the sand operation in Cancun since the windy weather made the ocean too rough to work in...the courts have failed to rule on whether the sand can be removed from Cozumel or not and, who cares about those reasons since the dredge failed to show up anyway! Worker Bees say it will all happen..."Manana"...and our favorite bar on Cozumel also serves FREE MARGARITAS...MANANA!

posted: 10/19/09
Sunday's Norte on Cozumel was the first of the season and maybe the earliest in history. Because of the winds and rough seas, the port was closed to small boat traffic, so fishing, diving and snorkeling charters did not go out. If tradition holds and old wives tales are true, then this would mark the end of the 2009 Hurricane Season in the Atlantic. We will still keep watch on the weather, but nonetheless this has been one of the quietest hurricane seasons ever. May they all be like this!

Reportedly, herds of "wild" cats are plaguing the island. The number of stray cats now is estimated to exceed the number of stray dogs by 50%. The city uses 6 traps to capture the felines and we trust they are the "no kill" kind. Officials are asking Cozumelenos to care for their pets and not just turn them loose when they get tired of them. Also of note is that stray cats are the number one killer of birds on Cozumel...not boa constrictors, as we once had thought. On the upside, there are no reports of any cats attacking the citizenry!

posted: 10/18/09
The story that is not going to go away is the Sand Dredging set to start Monday or Tuesday. A network of huge pipes crowds the beaches of Cancun just waiting for the dredge to show up and start sucking up sand. But where will that sand be sucked up from? That, of course, is the 64,000 peso question. One group says Cozumel is still going to be the sand bank selected for destruction. Environmentalists say "No way," and they are willing to give their lives to prevent the sand removal from Cozumel. Whatever happens the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, is scheduled be on hand Tuesday when the sand finally flies!

The 2 companies that provide ferry service to Cozumel have finally come under scrutiny by the Federal Commission of Economic Competition in Mexico. The companies, Mexico Boats and Ultramar, have been accused of price fixing for years. Once upon a time these companies were actually in a price war with each other, with rates as low as 20 pesos each way. Now, however, they have agreed on a rate of 140 pesos each way, making the Playa Del Carmen--Cozumel trip the most expensive boat ride in all of Mexico. If these companies are found guilty of any violations, then penalties could include fines, as well as the lose of their license to be a ferry company. We will watch this with interest.

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posted: 10/17/09
A big push for Security on Cozumel has been underway. Military and police have been making random checks of bars, cars and just about anyone who looks suspicious. So far the results have been pretty positive with a only couple of knives and a multi-blade screwdriver being found on a few bar patrons. Several waitresses were also arrested for not having papers allowing them to work. Sounds like things are still pretty safe on Cozumel.

Bono and the U-2 Crew have been sighted at a resort on the Mayan Riviera. The band decided to cancel their holiday to Baja and come east to avoid Hurricane Rick. The staff at their resort is keeping us up to date on the U-2sters and are tellng us that the black T shirt is the band's preferred wardrobe choice . It seems that even for a day on the beach, the black T is a "must wear" matter how sweat soaked it gets!

Wonders and wild stories never cease on Cozumel...The latest is a proposal by the Mayor to run a Cable Car type ride over to Passion Island. The ride would glide tourists high above the endangered marshes, and allow them to view the wildlife below in it's natural habitat. The Mayor says this would boost tourism and add more jobs for Cozumelenos. Hey...This sounds way better than the Ice Mountain Plan!

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posted: 10/16/09
Cozumel's 3rd ferry company may get a little closer to reality next week when Cozumel's Mayor, and the company's chief investor, registers for the permissions to operate a passenger ferry in Q. Roo. The Mayor commented that the new boats may not be as nice as Ultramar and Mexico's, but they would make up for shabby in speed, service and price. The key is price, with rates of 50 to 75 pesos per trip being mentioned, instead of the current rate of 140 each way. The Mayor is also offering a piece of the action to anyone who wants to pony up about $1000 to invest in the ferry company. That sounds like a good deal to us, especially if investors get to ride FREE!

Sometimes we just don't know where this stuff comes from, but we have just heard that a wedding chapel is/was in the works to be built at Las Casitas Beach by the airport. The thinking is that Cozumel needs a beautiful location to encourage more tourists to get married on the island. This is also an historical location where the first Catholic Mass was held on Cozumel. Sounds ideal, but the airport authorities have put the project on hold till they can determine if the chapel will be in the airport's flight path. Maybe getting married even near the flight path is not such a good idea!

posted: 10/15/09
Scuba Tony, Dive Guru and Motorcycle Mad Man, is on the Cozumel bound leg of his grueling 16,000 mile trip to ban the use of a cell phones while driving. We hear that he has had a great adventure with wonderful public response for his cause. According to our estimations though, he has had to rebuild or replace almost all of his bike due to wear and tear.

Cozumel newspapers are a lot like those in the states...if they can't get a shocking headline out of a story then they just let it fade away. These are some stories that have fallen off the back pages:
  • What has become of the pollution at Calitita? The last we heard they were sending down a tiny submarine to investigate.
  • How have the new drug laws affected Cozumel?
  • Has Alberto's Beach Bar reopened?
  • What about the airport and golf course in the's that going?
  • Did the Ironman advance team ever pay a visit to the island?
  • Has the dump fire finally been put to bed? (We hear not yet)
  • Is there still a Furor at Fury Catamarans?
  • Whatever happened to the Cozumel police who had to take lie-detector tests? Did they all pass?
  • Did the telephone company ever repair the damaged phone pole in front of our condo?
Inquiring minds want to know!

posted: 10/14/09
Have you ever been on Cozumel when the Crabs Come Out? If so, then you have seen literally hundreds of crunchy Blue Crabs crossing the road in the north hotel zone, at Chen Rio and near Cedral. The "crunchy" part is the noise they make when you run over them...and there are so many you can't help but squash a few. We have often wondered how tasty a steaming mess of these guys would be. But Adrian Angulo Romero, Director of Ecology, Professional Crocodile Wrestler and now Defender of the Crabs, is advising us not to boil up his crab buddies and is asking motorists to slow down and not crunch these crustaceans. Turns out that Cozumel Blue Crabs are another one of the many endangered species on the island. So no Crab Soup for you!

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posted: 10/13/09

We would think that Adrian Angulo would have his plate full as Cozumel's new Director of Ecology, but Nooooo! He is way too hands on to just sit behind a desk and push papers. Now he has taken up crocodile wrestling! The Giant Croc was spotted at the beach club Nachi Cocom, and the Cozumel Fire Department and Adrian sped to the scene. There, they wrestled the 6 foot, 400 pound monster into a pickup truck for relocating to his new home at the north end of the island. Adrian said that the croc was in excellent health and thinks he may add Crocodile Wrestling to his responsibilities as Director of Ecology! Love those Snappers!

posted: 10/12/09
Like junk yard dogs, the media is still gnawing the bone of Sand Removal from the East Coast. Apparently there are some irregularities in how the City handled the work. The location, stated in the paperwork for sand removal, is supposed to be 2K north of Mezcalitos...not 300 meters where the work was actually done. The City is also responsible for replanting vegetation over any area that is disturbed, and they can only use manual labor in the project, not heavy equipment. We are sure they will get it right eventually!

What if you sunk some boats to make an artificial reef and dive site and didn't let anyone know? Apparently, in 2006, a couple of boats were sunk 363 meters off the beach at Las Casitas. They were part of an effort to encourage divers to explore sites other than just those in the Marine Park. Now, no one is sure if anyone visits these wrecks at all or even what condition they are in. Check them out and let us know!

posted: 10/11/09
Permissions for the City to remove sand from East Side beaches are in hand and the Mayor intends to use them. Cozumel is still in need of sand for it's beaches and parks, and with the halt of the huge Sand Dredging project, the City will look to the East for that sand. According to the paperwork, no environmental studies need to be done and there is no expiration date regarding the sand removal. We also think the City wants to increase the amount of sand removed well beyond 1800 cubic meters. The upside of this is that at some point we will be able to see some of the East Coast Beaches without having to drive to the East Coast!

Electric Rates in Mexico have always been high, but now they are going even higher. Rate increases and subsidy cuts began Oct. 1, and rates will keep inching up over the next year. Playa Del Carmen and Tulum have kicked off Q. Roo protests by turning off lights for 1 hour in homes, restaurants and offices and relying on old fashioned candle power for light. A Mexico wide Blackout of Protest is also in the works. We are looking forward to these protests coming to our favorite island soon.

  • Police handed out 894 tickets for the month of September. Not having a drivers license topped the infraction list, followed by not respecting stop signs, illegal parking and drunk driving.

  • empty chaise lounges
  • Cruise ships arrivals to Cozumel are down 15% for the year.

  • Motorcycle thefts are on the rise.

posted: 10/10/09
The City continues to affirm that the paperwork allowing them to remove sand from the protected areas of the East Coast does exist. They swear they have it somewhere and that they have had it since 2006. They also say that the paperwork allows them to remove as much as 1800 cubic meters of sand. And while they do remember the paperwork they have long since forgotten exactly how much sand has been removed from the beach or even if they had removed ANY sand at all. It seems no one was keeping a record of that little tidbit!

Theft of copper (mostly wire) on Cozumel is down for 2009. This is surprising since the economy is so bad one would think coppernappers would be as busy as last year when they looted block long sections of copper cable seemingly with impunity! Maybe this crime is down because the punishment is so severe...with prison sentences ranging from 6 months to 12 years! Makes us think twice.

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posted: 10/9/09
City Hall officials confirmed yesterday that they had found the paperwork that allows them to remove sand from East Side Beaches. The paperwork is not actually on the island, but it will be in hand soon. Apparently they are allowed to remove 1800 cubic meters of sand, but, as we understand this, they are NOT allowed to use heavy machinery to do the work. Looks like there will be some openings for sand diggers.

We have actual reports that the city dump is still burning. Maybe one of the reasons is that a piece of heavy equipment needed to dig a bigger dump hole is broken. So no new hole than you gotta make room in the old one and a good way to do that is burn everything you can!

posted: 10/8/09
Today's news from City Hall is that all the sand removed from the beach north of Mezcalitos has been returned to the beach. And until all the fingers are done being pointed, the military will bar access to the area. What has concerned the island press is that on one hand the City is supposedly opposing the sand dredging on one part of the island while approving it on another part of the island. Making this even more confusing is that the law states that it is illegal to remove sand or modify sand dunes in this area. Whole lot of head scratching going on here!

posted: 10/7/09
Alberto's Beach bar and restaurant was closed Monday by city officials for dozens of health violations. This is the little beach club across from the entrance to El Cedral that people either love or hate depending on whether they feel they were over charged or not! Among the reasons for closing were dumping garbage around the property, faulty electric wiring, burning trash and not having an up to code septic system. But the Big Reason for shutting Alberto's down was just not having a license to do business! Word on the street is that Albert is trying to overcome these difficulties and reopen soon.

Island newspapers are going crazy over the city apparently authorizing the removal of sand from the beach north of Mezcalitos. The Mexican Military halted 14 dump trucks loaded with sand and heading to town. The were stopped because if the sand was taken illegally then this was a violation of Federal Law. After many hours and much confusion, the trucks were released, although the real story has yet to be determined. City officials say the sand is going to city parks. The truck drivers say all the sand, and lots more to boot, is going to the El Presidente Hotel! Cozumel's New Director of Ecology, Adrian, should have a grand time sorting out this latest sand issue.

posted: 10/6/09
Police report that about 20% of all drivers they stop on Cozumel have been drinking. So using our deductive reasoning, what that means is that at least 20% of Cozumel drivers are drinking all the time....we suspect more are drinking rather than less! Our best advice is "Watch Out For the Other Guy!" The fine for drinking and driving is less than $130usd.

posted: 10/5/09
Hotel keepers in Cancun have been advised that the halt of the sand dredging will be reversed and the project will move forward. It probably will, but hopefully on a different sand bank other than Cozumel's. In a continuing effort to keep the island aware of the issue, a group of about 40 Cozumelenos staged a Yoga and Meditation Sit In on a tiny island at the south edge of the Sand Bank. They waded and swam to this barren isla where they hoped to send "Good Vibrations" to the earth and the island and make sure that Cozumel would remain an Island of Peace forever!

The Director of Ecology has placed 5 containers on the island for the recycling of small batteries. They are located in each of the big super markets and at the Palacio. Currently only about 10% of the batteries thrown away each month get to these recycle bins, so that leaves almost 4000 pounds of batteries getting dumped into the landfill. Reportedly even one little watch battery can contaminate over 100,000 gallons of water. All the better reason to keep batteries away from Cozumel's underground water supply!

posted: 10/4/09
While there may be gambling somewhere in Mexico there is definitely NOT any on Cozumel! One Armed Banditos or "mini-casinos" had recently sprung up on the isla and were conveniently located at 37 Mom and Pop shops around town. The Feds decided they were illegal and, finding these stationary banditos very easy to catch, scooped them all up. They also "apprehended" another 100 machines in Cancun. The future looks bleak for the one armed ones as they will soon become more fodder for the landfill!

One of our good Cozumel friends, Adrian of Especias fame, has been appointed Director of Ecology by the Mayor. Adrian has just kicked off a plastics recycling project so now he has the chance to do even more good things for Cozumel. We do hope though that he still has time to play gracious host at Especias, man the "caja" on Sunday's at Casa Denis, run his Kite Board business, conduct the occasional island tour and who know what else! We congratulate Adrian on his new venture into the fun world of politics!

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posted: 10/3/09
In an amazing last minute effort, Environmentalists have gotten a halt to the Cozumel Sand Extraction, and all because of the little Pink Conch. Since the conch is endangered, at least for 3 more years, it seems the government just can't go around tearing up it's breeding ground based on a study by The Electric Company....see how confusing this is? Anyway, the Government has 3 days to reply to the temporary halting, but already officials have...surprise, surprise...located other non-Cozumel sand banks they can dredge up instead!

More fun at the largest "White Elephant" on Cozumel, the Sun Palace, where some 40 tenants are refusing to pay their rent. The city has initiated legal proceedings to either get the money or get the deadbeats outta there. Some of the tenants are over a year in arrears.

posted: 10/2/09
Get ready to party for a cause, Saturday, Oct 3rd at Bandana Beach. A Rock and Blues Bash, set to benefit the Cozumel Chrysalis Group, gets underway at 6pm with food, booze and music by Blues Parrot. The evening features a Raffle with a Bandana Boat full of really great prizes. Tickets are $100 pesos in advance and $120 at the door. Let us know if you want to go and we can arrange for tickets. The Chrysalis Group's mission is to help students on the island with their costs of education. We wish we could be at this extravaganza!

Mum is the word on who is at fault for Wednesday's collision of the 2 cruise ships. When in port, the Captains of the Mexican Pilot Boats are in complete charge of getting the cruise ships to the dock and moving them out again. However, no ships should be moved when high winds are in the area and the Cozumel Port Captain is in charge of letting the pilot boats know about severe weather. So far all the nautical folk have been avoiding speaking to the local press. We do have confirmation that neither ship stayed overnight at Cozumel after the incident.

More dredging madness!...NOW the sand dredge has been sighted in Manzanillo and is NOW scheduled to be in the Cancun area around October 16, give or take a week or 2! The beach rebuilding (if it ever happens) is scheduled to take either 30 or 70 or 151 days depending on who you talk to and lots of other stuff that no one has any control over.

posted: 10/1/09
Things got a little exciting Wednesday when the first ever collision occurred between 2 cruise ships on Cozumel. The "Carnival Legend" was pulling away from it's pier when, reportedly, storm winds pushed the boat into the "Enchantment of the Seas" which was parked at the Puerto Maya pier. Passengers were boarding the Enchantment at the time and were evacuated to the Mall area for safety. We have no reports of injuries and the damages to both ships were reported as minor. Just for the sake of confusion, one report states that both ships sailed off for their next ports o' call, and another says that the "Enchantment of the Seas" stayed overnight on Cozumel to check the damages. Sometimes we just scratch our heads and wonder what really happened?

Employees seem to be Furious at "Fury Catamarans". They staged a demonstration at the Fury offices yesterday demanding things like shorter work days and insurance. The owner of the company reportedly says he will just close the doors unless some sort of compromise can be reached. We hope things can be worked out in an equitable manner that keeps everyone happy.

If you have ever walked into a shop on Cozumel and wondered "how much something costs" then join the club. It turns out that merchants are required to have prices visible on the items they sell. PROFECO(the Federal Bureau of Consumer Interests) is the agency that enforces this regulation, as well as getting involved when a tourist feels like they have been cheated by a merchant. It seems Profeco is making a push for "Day of the Dead" to make sure merchants are selling "treats" to consumers and not just "tricks"!

posted: 9/30/09
You may remember we mentioned that Cozumel was looking for a 3rd ferry company that would charge lower rates than the current duo of money grabbing robbers. You may also remember that the Mayor of Cozumel said he had found some investors to do the deal. Well it looks like one of those "investors" is the Mayor himself, Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who, along with his cousin, The Governor of Quintana Roo, Gonzalez Canto, will make up a pretty formidable team to go the distance with the Ultramar and Mexico Ferry boats. But if that were not enough, another cousin is also the Director of Ports of Quintana Roo, which gives the new company certainty that they will always find a port in any storm, and a 3rd ferry business will certainly create a shit storm of competition!

In other ferry news, work is going slowly on the new Car Ferry Pier at "Caletita". The bulk of the pier structure is being constructed at Puerto Morelos, and will then be set in place at Caletita before the end of the year. We hope the prefab pier holds up better than the one that Carnival Cruise Lines built years ago and had totally destroyed by Hurricane Wilma.

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posted: 9/29/09
If you have ever been up to Passion Island, then you have probably seen the many raccoons hanging out by the parking lot. They love tourists, but they really love the food tourists bring! Leave a bag of chips in an opened car and the coons will move right in and chow down. We are now advised by the Director of Ecology to "Not Feed the Raccoons". These little critters don't get the proper nutrients from "people food". By eating their normal diet they serve as spreaders of seeds to other parts of the island....It is their job!

People are always asking us what the drinking age is in Mexico and we have no idea. The Cozumel police do know however, and they closed 2 bars and took more than a dozen under age drinkers into custody last weekend. The Room Service Bar on Melgar and Pirates on the old Chankanab Highway were closed when the tipsy tots were discovered inside. Fines could range from 25,000 to 100,000 pesos.

posted: 9/28/09
Work just started last week on paving the East Coast Highway and there has already been a disaster! A truck hauling heavy equipment accidentally gouged through more than 3 kilometers of the newly paved road and 4 of the old road. Apparently the damage is fairly extensive. It is hoped that this does not delay the completion of the paving project which needs to be done prior to November 28th and the Ironman Race.

posted: 9/27/09
Sometimes Cozumel just churns out the rumors. Like the "rumor" that the sand dredging was getting ready to, almost, any day now, going to start. The latest story is that "it will begin in 15 days or sometime in October." This is the project that was originally going to begin the end of last January! Maybe we should just put this the the same category as the never ending dump fire....the never starting sand dredging!

The last frontier of peace and quiet...the East Side...has seen a rise in the number of unlicensed Beach Salesmen. Those guys who invade your space trying to sell real silver jewelry, or little puppets, or carved shells or packs of Chiclets. The city is fine with that as long as they all get licensed and pay taxes. We think that the whole point of going to the East Side in the first place was to avoid paying taxes.

posted: 9/26/09
Things are tough on Cozumel now with the economy down, lack of tourism, fear of drug violence and Swine Flu...What should people do? Where should they look for help? Well, it's times like these that many Cozumelenos turn to the powers of "Witches and Fortune Tellers" to provide guidance. Island officials say that's fine, but they only want Fortune Tellers to charge a fair price for their services and not defraud anyone! Apparently there have been issues with fraud in the past. The good news so far is that there have been no complaints of overcharging by any of the island's witches or seers! What is the going rate for a good witch these days?

posted: 9/25/09
If any of you are going to be on Cozumel Oct 4th, be sure and drop by Los Cinco Soles early in the day. That is when they are having their once a year Incredible Sale. This is the kind of special deal that you will speak of for years to come. Actually, we have never been to the sale but like Cinco Soles and Pancho's Backyard a lot...always something interesting in the store. So check it out and let us know what you think!

We just found this photo interesting because this is something we fear we will do whenever we travel along the East Side Road just looking at the fantastic scenery! We have to force ourselves to concentrate on driving and not playing tourist! Of course this could have been just a bad parking job...not! The damage was estimated at 20,000 pesos and YES alcohol was involved!

posted: 9/24/09
The Mayor of Cozumel has announced that as of next week the island will be doing things to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu. He said they will be doing these things in a discrete way to avoid upsetting tourists. Aside from this photo of a citizen discreetly swearing to a guard on the ferry pier that he is NOT sick, we have no idea what will be done to prevent the flu from reaching the island!

We were just wondering what the count was on the number of Lion Fish captured when it came out in today's paper....170 have been reported thus far. The fish are being sent to a lab in Chetumal for study and to determine what they eat. We are not sure how this will help get rid of the Lion Fish since word from the rest of the world is that they pretty much eat anything!

Fun Fact...there are 49,517 cars, buses and motos registered on the island. Of that number, 27,000 are motorcycles. Also noteworthy is that 20% of those vehicles have not had the taxes paid for 2009.

posted: 9/23/09
The beaches of Tulum (not Cozumel or Cancun) have been voted the "Best Beaches of Central and North America" by Travel Agencies around the world. Tulum does have some great beaches with plenty of sand still on them. They also have NO giant hotel or condo construction on those beaches. Maybe other parts of Mexico could learn from this and not over build on or near the beaches if THEY want to win prizes in the future.

Speaking of sandy beaches...While a start date for the dredging on Cozumel has still not been determined, people on the island are being mobilized to prevent the process from ever happening. The president of the Civil Association, Sky, Earth and Sea (Citymar) says that as soon as the date is known then groups of individuals will take what action is necessary to stop the dredging.

posted: 9/22/09
Work on the East Coast Highway began on Monday. This is another of those projects that has been on the books for some time and only now with the Ironman event fast approaching has progress begun to fix this 14K stretch of road. An Ironman inspection committee, along with ESPN reps is scheduled to check out the island next week. Cozumel hopes to host this event for at least 5 years. More than 2000 Iron Men and Iron Women are expected for the event scheduled the end of November. If you head over to the Wild Side of the island, keep in mind that you could face construction related travel delays till the end of November.

Monday saw the start of the Dog and Cat Sterilization Program on Cozumel. The Humane Society is also involved in this FREE program and they hope to "fix" some 2000 island pets during this service.

In spite of a daily drenching of rain on the island, we have reports that the Dump Fire is still burning...hummm! All indications are that the fire was intentionally set. This may be the fire that just never quite goes out!

posted: 9/21/09
The number of turtles returning to Cozumel are down for this season. According to officials in the Department of Ecology and Environment, last season had over 3,000 nests. For 2009 the count is only at 1,475, and the laying season is coming to a close. Apparently there is some turtle mystery having to do with odd and even years. In even years there are lots of nests and in odd years not so many. This years count is still more reduced than expected...even for an odd year!

posted: 9/19/09
Maybe our previous "conspiracy theory" that the dump fires were set on purpose wasn't so wacky after all. Apparently Cozumel's City Dump is stuffed like a Mexican VW with 20 Payasos crammed inside. Because of this Trashy State of Affairs the city could be sanctioned by the Feds at anytime. With 130 tons of fresh trash being added to the dump on a daily basis, then starting the occasional fire to reduce the bulk makes sense. Of course if the fires are intentionally set, then that is illegal, too!

According to Carnival Cruise Lines, Cozumel is one of the safest places in the world to visit. Even the recent drug killings have not put a damper on that attitude. Cruise officials say since the crimes were not tourist-related, then passenger safety on the island is not a real concern. What is a concern, however, is fake and poor-quality jewelry being sold on Cozumel! These are the real crimes, as far as Carnival is concerned, and if the island's jewelry stores get reputations as a bunch of crooks then there goes the tourist biz!

posted: 9/18/09
  • The second fire in less than a month broke out at the Cozumel City Dump Wednesday night and this one sounded like a doozy. It took firemen 14 hours to control the blaze and dense smoke was reported in parts of town. Some of the citizenry were getting concerned that the fire had actually reached the city limits. No one was injured fighting the blaze, and only the dump was involved, but 2 fireman suffered from smoke inhalation. They commented that as part of the job they inhale a lot of smoke so this was no big deal. No cause for the fire has been determined but we wonder if they were just burning up some of the 14 tons of trash collected from the day before.

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    posted: 9/17/09
  • If the amount of garbage collected is any indicator then Mexican Independence was a huge success on Cozumel. Between the night of "El Grito" fireworks display and the parades the next day, workers collected 14 TONS OF GARBAGE! Now we do not know how this compares to other years but we do hope these guys at least got paid for their sweeping efforts. Related to that we still have not heard if city employees have had their payday or not.

  • In the "what can you do" department it seems a truck smashed down a telephone pole right in front of our condo on Cozumel. The driver then tried to flee the scene and the island. Fortunately our good neighbors got his description..."Big Orange Semi"...and he was caught and charged 7000 pesos for damages! He then continued on with his deliveries of fruits and veggies to other cities and towns throughout out for those Big Orange Semis.

  • posted: 9/16/09
  • In the "what were they thinking" category first prize goes to the City of Cozumel. City administrators were busy patting each other on the back about only spending 500 thousand pesos on last nights Independence Day celebration...reportedly only half of what they spent last year. But then the other zapato seems there was no money left to pay city employees yesterday. In fact as of Wednesday morning they still had not been paid! Hopefully they will find some pesos somewhere.

  • Recent Surprise inspections of 10 boats that provide services to tourists turned up 10 violators. Five of those operators were fined and the others merely cited. All of the operators have 15 days to fix the violations. Since things like this can effect tourism on the island, none of the operators or the infractions were named in the article. What is disconcerting is that 100% of the boats inspected had violations!

  • posted: 9/15/09
  • We have confirmation that a big load of fireworks are actually on the island...So get ready for the Mexican Independence Day show and El Grito shout-out tonight at the Palacio. The crowds usually come for the fireworks show and depart shortly thereafter.

  • For those who own property on Cozumel we have word that tax rates will be going up this year. At this time the increase in predial is only expected to be from 1.5 to not bad at all. We are surprised it's not lots more considering how broke the city keeps saying it is.

  • posted: 9/14/09
  • Maybe Cozumel will get a new tourist attraction after all. We are now hearing about a scheme to add an underwater museum of submerged archeological monuments just offshore from the Cozumel Museum. The company who owns the technology can create any size or shape of object and when submerged, over time, it will become a cool looking ruin covered with coral. Fish and divers will both get a kick out of the exhibit. IF this happens Cozumel's would be the first museum in Latin America to have exhibits above and below the water.

  • posted: 9/13/09
  • An investigation into how the mad bomber smuggled his juice cans on to a Cancun flight last week as really turned up nothing in the way of security flaws. None-the-less the Cancun airport will tighten security and add at least 2 more layers of inspections to go through before boarding. Sniffer dogs, spot ID checks and possible strip searches are all mentioned. Maybe we should all just arrive at the airport in our swimwear and make inspections all the easier!

  • A correction on the Dog and Cat Sterilization Program: Pet owners must make appointments and the animals will be taken via pickup to a central location for the procedure. This is now scheduled to start Sept 21. We like this program!

  • CFE crews are set to finish burying the electric cables along Melgar today.
  • A Mexican was arrested in Tulum with 39 illegal turtle eggs....not good!
  • The Zamna Boat of Peace arrived safely in NYC for the 9/11 events.
  • Playa Del Carmen has become a hot bed for counterfeit pesos...beware!

  • posted: 9/11/09
  • We guess by now everyone has heard about the hijacking of the Aero Mex flight from Cancun to Mexico City and the happy ending of that event. The Jefe of the Cozumel airport assures us that he counts on the quality of his security people to make sure that no hijackings occur on any flights from the island. That may be a tough promise when all it takes to commandeer a plane are a couple of Jumex juice cans full of sand and some wire. Also of note is that since the hijacked flight was a domestic one there was no final hand search of carry-on luggage before the hijacker boarded.

  • A roving operating room will soon be making the rounds of the island neighborhoods and offering FREE sterilization of cats and dogs. This service is hoped to be up and running within the next 2 weeks. While little "Rover" or "Snowball" is getting the snip, their owners will be watching videos about how to better care for the pets. This program is being sponsored by the International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW) in coordination with the Director of Ecology.

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    posted: 9/10/09
  • Cozumel has supposedly never had a reported case of rabies. That is good news for pet lovers. However there are lots of stray and wild animals on the island and any one of them could be carrying rabies. So island vets encourage pet owners to continue getting rabies vaccinations. And if you don't want to take your pet to the vet then they WILL make house-calls!

  • The President of Mexico has put forth a cost cutting proposal to get rid of 3 cabinet positions including the Secretary of Tourism. Their duties would be combined in to one position. The Mayor of Cozumel, Juan Carlos, is pretty upset by this and looks at it as a step backwards for Cozumel. His take is that tourism is the lifeblood of Mexico and if you stop promoting it no one will come. Our take is that may not be the case especially for Cozumel which seems to be 90% dependent on the cruise industry! Those cruise lines have a big stake in the island and are not going to stop coming no matter if there is promotion or not. The island is so well known as a scuba diver's mecca that divers will not go away either. Sounds like much ado about nothing to us.

  • posted: 9/9/09
  • For those persons lucky enough to be on Cozumel the night of September 15th, get ready to party down! That is "El Grito" night and it is when Mexican Independence Day is actually celebrated. Usually the festivities are held in the park in front of the Palacio with music, food and lots of drinking. Fireworks highlight the evening....along with the "Viva Mexico" yell. Last year the fireworks were not as good as past years and with the crappy shape of Cozumel's economy they will probably not be any big deal again. But we still love 'em so brave the crowds and check it out!

  • posted: 9/8/09
  • Drug and polygraph testing for police officers has begun on Cozumel. About 110 officers are on the block for testing. Results will not be known for several days. Officers failing the tests will be dismissed from the force.

  • Things on the island could always be worse...merchants in Playa are complaining that drugs have become so prevalent on 5th Ave. that it's like someone is handing out chewing gum! They complain that NONE of the police agencies are doing anything to stop the sale of drugs. Cocaine and Crack seem to be the "chewing gum" of choice.

  • posted: 9/7/09
  • Folks who do their banking at the HSBC located at Calle 11 and 30th will have to go elsewhere for a while. The bank caught fire about 11pm last night. Apparently the fire broke out in an employee break room that was also used to store customer documents. The extent of the loses will be assessed today.

  • A 50 year old American tourist fell off the back of one of the passenger ferries as it was docking and was killed. This happened last week at the new Cozumel pier. An investigation has determined that no one was at fault. We have never heard of this happening before on Cozumel but just a reminder that accidents can happen anywhere.

  • posted: 9/6/09
  • Island students are back in school and already they seem to be doing what today's students do best....drink! Cozumel police got a hot tip that a group of kids had put together a party to celebrate "Mexican Night." It turned out that for 120 pesos kids could drink the Mexican night away. Anyway....the cops busted up the party. The only report we have of arrests were 2 coolers full of beer. Don't Mexican police like beer too?

  • posted: 9/5/09
  • Our Fave Restauranteur and all about bon vivant on Cozumel, Adrian, has begun a project to help save the island. Trash is piling up and space in the landfill is dwindling, so Adrian wants to help recycle plastics. Some of his tips include:
  • "Use less plastic while on the island. Talk to your hotel managers and ask what are they doing with the waste disposal.
  • Suggest your tour operators stop the use of plastic bottles and use a better option like 2 litter coke bottles instead of 500ml ones and water from a 20lt container instead of little bottles.
  • Spread the word to other sites and other friends, its not only here in Cozumel its world wide."
  • For more info contact Adrian at or call his cell at 987-876-1558

  • Ugly power cables that line Melgar along the city water front are FINALLY about to go underground. This project has been on the books it seems like for years and work started this weekend. The project will hopefully be finished in time for the September 16 celebration of Mexican Independence Day. If not the work may just drag on through High Season!

  • posted: 9/4/09
  • The big buzz on the island today involves the arrest of Cozumel's ex-police chief, Salvador Rocha Vargas, and 3 other government officials. All are charged with being involved with organized crime...that means drugs and drug cartels. Vargas is head of Public Security for the State of Q. Roo. Others arrested include the chief of Police in Cancun, the head of the Cancun Tourist Police and an agent of the Office of the Judge Advocate General. These are huge arrests as they point out just how deeply organized crime has penetrated into Mexico's power structure. Best line of the day was “No longer is it possible to continue trusting the security authorities” that's scary!

  • Reacting to these arrests, the mayor of Cozumel will have other NOT ARRESTED representatives of Public Security for the State, conduct drug and lie detector tests on Cozumel's police force. We wonder who tests the guy running the lie detector?

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    posted: 9/3/09
  • The Mayor of Cozumel has announced that he has found a group of unnamed investors to start a 3rd passenger ferry company. Currently the 2 Companies that serve Cozumel and Playa are charging 140 pesos per trip. Officials call these rates a "holdup". The Mayor pointed out that for a 3rd ferry company to succeed in this weakening economy the citizenry of Cozumel will need to support them. The last company that charged rates well below the competition went out of business quickly. This is not something that will happen overnight....if at all. Any new venture will have to have deep pockets and be prepared to lose money for a long time. That is not usually the Mexican philosophy.

  • The parks of Chankanab, San Gervasio and Punta Sur will be closed Sundays for the next 2 months at least. This is being done because of a lack of tourists and is strictly to save money. These parks were also closed during the Swine Flu days for the same reason.

  • posted: 9/2/09
  • The Peso is plunging against the US Dollar, so good news for tourists converting dollars to pesos. For the month of August the peso is down 1.9% to the current exchange rate of 13.64. This means savings of over 30% when you spend pesos. We like those numbers!

  • Video cameras have finally been installed on Cozumel's passenger ferry pier. Some 13 cameras are scheduled to be installed at various points around town. At least now authorities can see the criminals coming and going, on and off the island. We hope this will act as a deterrent to crime. If not then at least they will have pictures of the villains and can make nice wanted posters!

  • posted: 9/1/09
  • Cozumel has just entered it's "Off Season" and if business had been bad before, now it is going to get much worse. The Jefe of the Airport Shuttle Drivers says that in 21 years he has not seen it get this bad this fast. There are only 5 days of flight activity scheduled for this week. Even during the Swine Flu there were still daily flights. Already the 40 guys who drive the airport shuttles are complaining and asking for leaves of absence to look for other work! No one seems to know what that "other work" will be.

  • The bad news continues too in Cancun and the Mayan Riviera where word is that already 8 hotels are being closed for "remodeling" which is another way of saying "lack of tourists"! Some 8,000 workers will be laid off. These hotels were experiencing near 20% occupancy. For a hotel to break even that number needs to be at 50%.

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    posted: 8/31/09
    • Cozumel may not have an Ice Mountain yet but it does have a new Burger King complete with a state of the art Drive-Through! This makes the 3rd BK on the island but this one is all the rage because of the Drive-Through. The BK has been open for some time but the Grand Opening and ribbon cutting was held last week. The Governor of Quintana Roo was on hand and an island priest blessed the property. We love a good blessed burger! The BK is also blessed with air conditioning which many of our local friends can't get enough of during this hot Cozumel summer.

    • News out of Miami is that the Zamna, Boat of Peace, has arrived in that city and all is well. The ship is scheduled to be in NYC for the September 11th ceremonies.

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      posted: 8/29/09
    • We were sitting around the other day trying to decide what would make the island a better place when low and behold it hit us...An Ice Mountain! Perfect! The solution to all of the islands problems! Well we did not come up with that ourselves but that was one of the suggestions when cruise ship passengers were polled as to what they would like to see on Cozumel. Apparently Jamaica has built an ice skating rink and it is going gang busters, so why not a big ole snow covered mountain on Cozumel for slaloming down and having snow ball fights on the beach! Well the frozen gauntlet has been thrown down...we will let you know if anyone bothers to pick it up!

    • The police and military are stepping up efforts to keep drugs and firearms off the island. Reportedly everyone arriving via passenger ferry will have their luggage searched. There will also be armed security on all of the boats. More roving check points and searches of vehicles will occur on the island. Cars arriving by ferry will be subject to search...especially cars with extra tinted windows. This is all being done to keep the island safe and peaceful. We applaud this effort and only hope it is not too little too late!

    • posted: 8/28/09
    • A closed door meeting yesterday on Cozumel did nothing to change anyone's mind about the Sand Removal Project. Even though the usual data was displayed showing why the sand should not be taken from the island, the plan is still going forward. The latest measure to stop the project is to hand out bumper stickers of protest, but only to people who will display them on their cars. We love a good bumper sticker protest!

    • First it was kilos of cocaine, now it's boat loads of Cubans washing up on East Side Beaches! Authorities suspect that some 4-5 Cubans came ashore in a small boat Wednesday night. Apparently hombres who drive the garbage trucks witnessed the fugitives being picked up in a red jeep and disappearing into the night. We are not sure how anyone knew they were Cubans though...unless they left their cigars and Havana Club in the bottom of the boat.

    • Back to Top
      posted: 8/27/09
    • Palace of the Sun becomes Palace of the Bums! That's our take on Cozumel's downtown Mercado and White Elephant on the square. Most of these shops are not occupied and the upstairs is a ghost town. There are lots of deserted corners that allow people to use the Palace as a toilet or just make mischief. Some of the empty shops have been broken in to and occupied as places for poor folks to spend the evening. Locks are being changed in a effort to prevent this.

    • Cozumel Sand Dredging Report: The heavy equipment has been delayed. The newest start date is sometime between the 6th and 12th of September...!

    • posted: 8/26/09
    • We have long known that most trash that washes on to East Side beaches is not from Cozumel. We suspected mainly cruise ships were the culprits. But trash forensics have determined that the bulk of the garbage comes from other countries with most of the plastics coming from Haiti, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago.

      A group of Europeans touring the island noted that while the beaches of the East are some of the most beautiful they are also the most trashy. The "basura" is a hindrance to sea turtles laying eggs on the beaches. It is also dangerous to people strolling the sandy shores. But our favorite take on the trash is that Cozumelenos just do not care about how the island looks!

    • We just found out that Mexico has a Space Program (AEXA) and that Quintana Roo is going to become the Cape Canaveral of the Mexican Space Industry. They hope to have the center for rocket, space and tourism up and running in 5 years. This reminds us of our favorite Mexican/American Astronaut, Jose Jimenez, going into space!

    • posted: 8/24/09
    • The Zamna inspired fishing tournament went on this weekend without the Boat of Peace on the island. Forty three boats from Cozumel and the mainland participated. The boat Cha Cha Cha was the winner of the $43,000 peso cash prize. Fisherman Victor Candle caught the 16.5 pound Wahoo.

      Word is the Zmana will arrive on Cozumel sometime today after 3pm.

    • Thus far the only reports we have of Mexico's new drug laws are out of Tijuana. "It's not like you can shoot up on the street or smoke a joint on the corner. If they catch you, you're still going to the police station," said the president of the Tijuana Merchants Association.

      While users caught may GO to the police station they will probably NOT STAY there. They will be told about treatment centers and released. The permitted amounts you can possess include 5 grams of marijuana and 500 milligrams of cocaine and up to 40 milligrams of methamphetamine and 50 milligrams of heroin.

      So far no Amsterdam style hash houses are planned.

      posted: 8/23/09
    • The Boat of Peace, Zamna, has been delayed because of weather and is now scheduled to arrive in Cozumel Monday or Tuesday...maybe! Lots of activities are planned around the Zamna's visit, including a fishing tournament and bike race. The handmade sailing ship may just be on "Manana Time". We will let you know if it ever arrives.

    • Extortion via cellphone has been going on for some time throughout Mexico. Now Cozumel Police Officials are receiving threatening calls to them and their families. This may be because of the ongoing investigation into the quadruple murders or for something else entirely. Security of officials has been beefed up.

    • posted: 8/22/09
    • Our Good Island Buddy, Scuba Tony, is off on his motorcycle, riding for a cause. He will be riding some 16,000 miles in an effort to spread the word about the hazards of using a cellphone while driving. We hope he has a safe and eventful trip....Scuba always says he loves a little "adversity" in his life and riding solo through the Canadian wilderness may just provide a glimpse!

      If you want to follow Scuba's adventures just click on "Links we Love" and then click on "Scuba Tony". Go to his "Blog" to read his daily postings. You can also ride along with Tony via GPS.

    • Meanwhile, back on the island, we have snakes in the hen house! A Cozumeleno went out to feed his chickens yesterday and found a large Boa constrictor had moved in and was having chicken for lunch. The snake was captured although we are not sure what will happen to it.

      Boas are not native to the island. They were released into the wild following the making of a low budget snake movie decades ago. Since Cozumel provides no natural predators for boa constrictors there are now lots of them hanging out in the jungle areas of the island.'s a jungle out there!

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      posted: 8/21/09
    • Mexican President Felipe Calderon has signed into law a bill that legalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, LSD, methamphetamines and heroin, setting limits for what constitutes "personal use" this case about 4 joints.

      The goal here is to allow police to spend more time arresting dealers and not users. We will let you know how this new approach to drugs plays out.

    • We read with interest an interview with an ex-mayor of Cozumel. He pointed out that some 10 years ago when he ran things there was not this kind of delinquency and murder on the island we are seeing now. There were no drugs and no crime! The police had "iron control" on the island.

      He noted that because Cozumel is an island many people assumed that crime just could not happen here. It was just too small and everyone knew everyone. But too much has been taken for granted. He fears those day of peace are now gone from the island for good.

      His solution for today's troubled times....Video monitoring at all island access points.

      posted: 8/19/09
    • ZAMNA, the Cozumel Boat of Peace, is scheduled to anchor in Cozumel tomorrow or Friday. The wooden hulled trimaran is going on a 15,000 mile journey to promote the island of Cozumel as a safe tourist destination. The adventure will take some 5 months and visit 16 ports in the US and Europe.

      On board, in addition to the crew, will be one Cozumel boy who will be the Island's Goodwill Ambassador. The boat will be open for tours while anchored on the island.

      We wish the ZAMNA well and hope that hurricane season does not adversely affect the voyage.

      posted: 8/18/09
    • Drug Murders have finally come to Cozumel in a most gruesome fashion. Four men were found murdered Monday and stuffed in a car on Calle 12 N. between 20 and 25. Two were reportedly taxi drivers, one worked in a dive shop and the 4th was a bricklayer.

      Island hearsay has it that the 4 were trying to muscle in on the Cozumel drug business. We have out doubts about that but will keep you posted.

    • There are some 180 restaurants on Cozumel. According to our sources only 4 of them are recommended by cruise ships as SAFE places to eat! Cruise officials reportedly tell passengers that in most other restaurants they are likely to be robbed or served tainted food and water.

      Contact us for our guesses as to which 4 dining establishments give the biggest Kickbacks to the Cruise Lines!

      posted: 8/17/09
    • The director of Cozumel's National Park reported the sighting of some 20-30 False Killer Whales (Pseudorca Crassidens) in the waters off the Island. Divers in the boat were advised to NOT go into the water with this species, as not much is known about them. What is known is that fishermen are not fond of the animal as they love to eat Tuna right off the fishing line!

    • Tourists who frequented a certain jewelry store on Cozumel have been reporting fraudulent credit card use after making purchases in the shop. An investigation was conducted and it turns out a 28 year old employee had been copying CC info. Seems the going rate for stolen Credit Card information is $10 to $15 per card and she could steal as many as 5 a day. As is so often the case with this type of island news, the name of the jewelery store was not mentioned. Heaven forbid that one of the overpriced Island Jewelry Stores could get a bad reputation!

    • posted: 8/15/09
    • Killer Bees are on the attack again. This time on Ave 45 in Cozumel. The only vicitm of the swarm was taken to the hospital and is expected to be fine. The streets in the area were closed and Fireman hosed the hive down with 2000 liters of soapy water. We always wondered how they took care of those pesky bees!

    • posted: 8/14/09
    • At the 11th hour it seems a group of Environmentalists have entered the Sand Extraction Fray. The on again-off again sand dig from Cozumel's North Shore has now been declared illegal by various groups and they say if the sand is going to be removed than Federal Laws will have to be changed. It will therefore be much easier for Cancun to go get it's own sand from areas much closer to Cancun Beaches! We have our doubts about the sands ever shifting at this point!

    • Current Lion Fish Status....120 captured or killed. It a WAR out there!

    • Cozumel Police Become Scofflaws! More than 30 officers parked illegally yesterday on Melgar so they could attend a meeting at the Museum. Local Citizens raised such a ruckus and protest that all of them had to leave the meeting and go remove their vehicles to more distant parking areas. We love these tales where Big Government gets defeated by the Little Guy!

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      posted: 8/13/09
    • We have noticed with sadness the gradual demise of the Mom and Pop neighborhood "Tienda" on Cozumel. These are the little shops that seem to spring from the very front of someone's home. They can sell everything from Corn Flakes to cola, tomato sauce to motor oil and some even have fresh daily made sandwiches. They are jammed with stuff, open air and have great smells and usually tiny people working there. The colas seem the coldest because the store is usually so hot!

      By our count there are at least 5 new OXXO's scattered about town. These are basically Mexican 7/11's. They are fully air conditioned and just sell more of the same stuff at 7/11 like prices.

      To us their big, gaudy signs are just another reminder that not all change is good.

      posted: 8/8/09
    • While waiting for our rental car we chatted up the counter agent about what was what on Cozumel. He said that he warns all his customers that the Pemex Guys are the biggest crooks on the island. We were surprised that it was not the Taxistas...but no!

      He did not elaborate as to how they were running their gas scams but said to "watch out!" We did watch out and saw nothing suspicious, but left the gas station feeling that we had somehow been cheated! We just hate watching out for stuff!

      posted: 8/5/09
    • Just when you think you have heard everything along comes something new. It seems a woman was charged with being a Cozumel witch. She was caught throwing soil from a cemetary into a neighbors yard. She admitted that she wanted bad stuff to happen to the people who lived there.

      The Witchy Woman was arrested and fined 750 pesos....Gone are the days when a good dunking or a flaming stake was punishment for witchcraft. Dealing with the modern witch is much more civilized!

      posted: 8/4/09
    • The summer travel season is almost at an end and the car and passenger ferry companies serving Cozumel are already planning cuts. Not cuts in price but cuts in service! We will announce new times when they are posted but if you use the ferry much prepare to be inconvenienced.

    • posted: 8/3/09
    • You know it's hot on Cozumel when the authorities are advising people to drink plenty of water and use sun screen. Be warned!

    • As the ban on Conch continues the prices have skyrocketed for Conch Meat. Up over 200 percent at last report. Poachers are being caught several times a month.

    • posted: 8/2/09
    • Construction has started on the New Car Ferry Pier at Caletita Beach. Yes the currently polluted beach at the lighthouse. When finished all the ferry traffic will arrive on the island here and so all the 18 wheelers will be blocking traffic at this new location. That means another stop light on the island.

      A new road will be cut through the jungle back to 30th and all the trucks will head that way. The problem is that rights for the land have not yet been secured. Also the road will come out next to a school and now there is concern about safety for the students what with big rigs high balling it through the school yard. So far the answer to child safety will be more and bigger speed bumps or "topes".

      It's a shame that all of life's problems can't be solved with a bigger speed bump!

      posted: 7/31/09
    • In another Public Relations nightmare for Mexico, armed military stormed a beach at the Gran Caribe Real Hotel in Cancun and shut it down, the beach that is! They arrested 5 hotel employees for stealing sand from the ocean...a big no no in Mexico, and spreading it on the hotel's beach. Of course these employees were just carrying out jobs assigned them by the property management.

      Some 457 guests of the hotel will now be relocated to other Gran Real properties so they can have access to a beach.

      First it was drug violence and the Swine Flu. Now it's fussing over the sand on the beach. What will be next, controlling how much salt is used on the rim of a margarita glass?

      Whatever it is we are assured that the fun never stops in Mexico!

    • The New Yellow Mercado, or Palace of the Sun, on the square has been officialy declared a "White Elephant" by the current Cozumel administration. This was the largest remodeling project ever attempted on Cozumel and it is now the largest failure done by the old Mayor Gustavo regime. The building has been mostly empty of merchants since it was completed some years ago. High rents and lack of visibility have kept merchants away.

      In an effort to stop the red ink flowing the city will now move government offices "back" into the structure.

      We missed the old building with it's rats warren of merchants and shops. While we are sure it's looks scared lots of tourist away, those that ventured into it's narrow confines had wonderful stories to tell of bargains and purchases made. Sometimes change is not for the best!

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      posted: 7/30/09
    • We were just sitting around the other day wondering what was happening at the polluted beaches of Caletita and Las Casistas when we came across some news. The water department on Cozumel, CAPA, is planning on using technology to get to the root of the sewage problem. They will be launching a tiny little submarine with a camera to swim in the sewers and underground waterways to look for sewage leaks.

      We will keep you posted on the results, but for now can only wish "God Speed" to this tiny technology and it's subterranean search for sewage!

      posted: 7/29/09
    • We have been reading that Cancun Cabs are getting ready to start accepting Credit Cards! But there is some confusion about how the cabbies will get paid when all the CC monies go to the owner of the taxi first. Maybe they would be paid correctly....maybe not.

      This sounds like another bad idea as rates will go up just to pay the credit card juice and there is enough fraud in Mexico now regarding credit cards. We will just use pesos thank you very much.

      posted: 7/28/09
    • We are always looking for new restaurants on Cozumel and this trip we checked out Tres Marias way out on 65 just past the New Road. The only highlight of our visit there was taking the New Road. It's great by the way with no traffic and 4 wide open lanes. Jungle all the way!

      We kept comparing Marias to Otates and it definitely came up short....smaller portions, higher prices, no one there but us so no good people watching, no gringas even after taking our order for them, very high priced margaritas (60p) and the worst was we left still feeling hungry.

      The night ended on a happy note though as we stopped in at Sorissi and ordered a large pizza to go. Late night pizza is the best!

      posted: 7/27/09
    • We always take news from Cozumel with a grain of margarita salt and hate to report anything till it's a fact. Still the news just released that there might be a new beach on the island may warrant an early posting. The proposed "public beach" would be right across from the new park at the Palacio...on the north side of El Cantil.

      Locals have been climbing the low wall here for years to get to this last spot of open water so we say it's about time this were made a real beach...with sand and everything!

      This may also be a token gesture by the city to give back something to the island since they are still going ahead with the massive sand extraction project now set to begin September 1.

      Whatever the case, a beach right in town will be a most welcome addition to an island that is rapidly losing it's public access to the water. As usual though we will believe it when we see it!

      posted: 7/26/09
    • Mexicans can be a creative people. Take the case of our needing to get rusty, ruined patio furniture either repaired or replaced. A welder friend of ours said to just throw the chairs away as the metal could not be welded. Angel at the Automofles Shoppe on 30th had another plan and effected a repair using steel and some sort of weld. He even patched other rusty spots on the chairs. His first idea though was the best....just cut 2 inches off all the chair legs as well as the table! We passed on that but actually thought about it.

      Now we know that eventually these fixes will rust too but the important thing is we did not have to buy pricey new furniture....this trip! Delay, delay, delay is always our motto!

      posted: 7/25/09
    • Many of our friends on Cozumel like to Swim with the Whale Sharks. In our opinion the best way to do this is to take the bus to Cancun, grab a cab to Puerto Juarez and take the fast ferry to Isla Mujeres. The beauty of going to Isla Mujeres over Holbox is the amount of time you save in getting there and the opportunity to see these creatures in the clear, blue waters of the Carribean instead of the cloudy waters of the Gulf.

      There are over 20 tour operators on Isla and business is BAD! Only about 12 have any work. This means that deals are to be had. The base rate for a Whale Shark Tour is about $600 pesos so plan on doing some bargaining!

      You will also have lots more hotel and restaurant options on Isla over Holbox. We say "check it out!"

      posted: 7/24/09
    • Drugs are coming to Cozumel. Apparently a bag containing 2 kilos of cocaine and marijuana was left on the passenger ferry. Officials are reviewing the videotapes to see if they can find the owner and possibly return it to him or her.

      We have since learned that there is no video on the boat so the owner of the drugs will just have to come forward voluntarily!

      posted: 7/22/09
    • We had another great visit to Cozumel...never wanted to leave! New, found again restuarant was Otates. Gringas and the arrachera tacos were the best. Two of us ate for under $10...want a deal!

      We also discovered the joys of Sushi at Midori near the Mercado. This was our first time there and it is now an all time fave! Made to order Spicy Tuna Roll was Killer. The sashimi was the best we have ever tried! The place has AC too! We say "check it out" if you have not already!

      posted: 7/14/09
    • We are always having new adventures on Cozumel. The latest has been getting one of our electric floor fans repaired. Looks like it had been had plugged into a 220 volt outlet and that usually means one dead fan....but not on Cozumel. Industrious Cozumelenos will repair pretty much anything!

      We knew the fan would never work like it's old former self though when on arriving to check how the repair was going the little shop looked like a scene from Dr. Frankenstein's Laboratory...lights were dimming and sparks were flying off our fan circuit board...another bad sign for the life of a fan.

      Long story short a repair of sorts was made. Instead of a 3 speed fan with remote control on/off, we now have a 1 speed fan that has to plugged in to turn on! And we have another great story!

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      posted: 7/11/09
    • The Weekly Gato Negro Cantina Crawl was very well attended Friday. About 12 ExPats and locals bellied up to the plastic tables for cold beers, 25 peso mixed drinks and just a ton of free chicken wings and fried fish. The music was not too loud and the air seemed just a little cooler than ususal!

      Drop by the Gato Negro any Friday after 2:30 and hang with the expats. Located on 6th North between 20 and 25 It's a great way to meet people and solve all the problems that go with life on the island.

      posted: 7/9/09
    • Our old Buddy, Scuba Tony, has decided to do his part to rid Cozumel waters of the Voracious Lion Fish. After spotting one of the little Devils and have it elude him on one dive the next day he returns to the scene of the fish and finds it waiting in the same spot. A quick flick of the net and Scuba Tony scores his first Lion Fish.

      Our thanks and a big tip of the old Cozumel Sombrero to Scuba Tony for keeping these waters safe!

      posted: 7/8/09
    • Lobster Season has reportedly gotten off to a record start. Thus far 2.5 tons of the tasty crustacean have been harvested in Cozumel waters. This is fully a 40% increase over last season at this time. The down side for the Lobstermen is that prices have fallen by 40%! For those folks who love Lobster it's just another reason to get to Cozumel and Belly up to the Lobster Bar!

    • We dropped in to the New Prima's yesterday for Happy Hour... And while the beer was not the coldest, the gorgeous view from the outdoor patio makes up for it! We also tried the Fried Calamari, Something that for us is the benchmark of a good restaurant. The consensus was "the best ever!" Very fresh and not chewy at all. Priced at $80 pesos so very inline with what we pay other places.

      The rest of the menu looks very well priced too, with breakfast being the best deal. They serve a "divers breakfast" of 2 eggs, toast and coffee for $3.50 between 7 and 9 am! They also have a Plan Locale breakfast for $4.50. We say "Check it Out!"

      posted: 7/6/09
    • Cozumel has a 3 year moratorium on catching Pink Conch. The waters have been over fished. For many, Conch is a tasty delicacy and so poachers abound. Three poachers were arrested by the military as they were driving back from a day of conching at Passion Island. If you see conch being served at an island restaurant odds are that it is either poached or frozen. The one is illegal the other is not so tasty!

    • posted: 7/5/09
    • So our first day on the island we need to have the rear tire of our bike repaired. The hub needs all the ball bearings replaced. So we grab our trusty translator...Barefoot Sally, and head over to Bici Moto on 30th.

      Now Sally does not know how to say something technical like "ball bearings" but she can say "little balls." The bike repair hombres get the drift and say come back in 2 hours. Total charge for this....about $2.70 usd! If you need a bike fixed then get it to Cozumel!

      posted: 7/3/09
    • Just an update on the New La Choza. This has long been one of our favorite island eateries, but we have not been to the new location. Checked it out last pm and while we still like the Mayan Chic of the old place, the new Choza will grow on us. The food was better than we remembered and considering how dead the island is they were very busy!

    • The Car Ferry Company is offering their "Summer Special Family Car Rate" of $300 pesos per carload. The sale runs through August. So pack up the family wheels with everyone you can jam in and hit the Road or Ferry as it were.

    • The streets were packed the other night with pre-election mobs blocking traffic for what seemed like miles. Live music at the Palacio brought the masses out and they even stayed to listen to the speeches. All the fuss will be over Sunday.

      And by the way, liquor sales will now halt at 12 am Sunday and begin again at midnight Sunday night. The only places allowed to sell booze will be hotels and then only to guests who are dining there. Stock up today before the rush!

      posted: 7/1/09
    • We are in Mexico, so the usual "almost daily" update will be done on a catch-as-catch can basis. It's tough to post island news when you want to get out and experience it first hand. We will do what we can do!

    • We always warn visitors to Cozumel to check their check after dining out. Lots of places on the island like to tack on Tax to the bill. By law all taxes are included in the price of the food. Sr. Iguanas on the East Side has been caught and adminished by PROFECO, the admonishing arm of the law in Mexico, several times. If mysterious taxes turn up on your bill mention PROFECO to the waiter or just consider that those "taxes" will be the waiters tip.

      In any event let us know about this kind of thing.

    • Another of PROFECO's jobs is halting the sale of fake jewels on Cozumel to unsuspecting tourists. But it seems that PROFECO does not what to do it's job. They say they aren't experts in gemology and can't tell a ruby from a radish. "Well if they can't do their job then maybe it's time for them to looks at their job descriptions," say island officials. They add that this kind of thing is like a "cancer" to the island!

      As usual our philosophy is if you are going to buy jewels and silver on Cozumel know something about what it is you are buying. Heck, if the officials who are supposed to enforce the law can't tell the difference between real and fake what chance does the average tourist have!

      posted: 6/29/09
    • About 150 people turned out for the Gay Pride Parade in the center of Cancun this weekend. It almost turned into an ugly confrontation when the Gays and a Political Rally both tried to use one of the city parks at the same time. The PRI party invited the Gays to join them in peace and understanding. The Gays said their "pink vote" was not for sale! Sounds like A Fun Time was had by all!

    • Cancun was also the scene of a Killer Bee Attack on Sunday. Paramedics called to the location could not get out of the ambulance the swarm was so bad. People were just running away! Eventually the bees went off to do bee things and 10 people were treated and released. Three persons were taken to Hospital suffering from severe stings! Remember...if you see a swarm of bees call the Cozumel Fire Department.

    • We will be on the road for Cozumel and will probably not post more news until July 1st!

    • posted: 6/28/09
    • Please keep in mind that Mexico's new user friendly drug laws have not yet gone into effect. Many people we have spoken too on the island think this law has passed. Not the case! Three locals were arrested for smoking pot near the waterfront yesterday. We do not know if they were fined or not nor how long they were detained for.

      We will post the news when or if this becomes a law, but the word on the street is that this bill will not be signed law till after the July 4th weekend election.

      posted: 6/27/09
    • It appears that all School Graduation Ceremonies on Cozumel will be canceled. There are apparently large fees and charges associated with these Cermonies. Authorities feel that due to the depressed economy that it would be a burden to families having to fork over extra money at this time. There is no mention if Graduation Cermonies will be held at a later date.

    • A Mexican Couple was apprehended In flagrante delicto on Ave 45. The fine for "Doing It In The Road" on Cozumel is $450 pesos per person. It certainly would have been cheaper to "Get a Room"! Now how do you say that in Spanish?

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      posted: 6/26/09
    • Authorities are investigating the source of the pollution at Caletita Beach. There is a natural cavern venting cold water out on the north side of the little bay near the lighthouse. They suspect that is the outlet for the contamination but do not know how the sewage is getting into the underground water. At this point they do not plan on closing the beach. However if the pollution levels go over 500ppm they say they will close it to public use.

      Meanwhile authorities say they don't have a clue as to the source of pollution at Playa Las Casitas. We suggest they just drive past it....we have always smelled something foul in that area. FYI they have never closed a beach on the island because of pollution.

      We think all this is just a sign that Cozumel has finally become overbuilt. And there is no end in sight. We had heard that workers in the new Caleta Marina had already punched into the underground water table and allowed sea water in. Sewer lines start to leak and pretty much no one bothers to make repairs. The island has many wells and it would be easy to dump waste and sewage into one...where it would just be carried away and become "Someone Else's Problem".

      posted: 6/25/09
    • Two of Cozumel's beaches have made the list of the Top 100 Polluted Mexican Beaches. That is not a good list to be on! Coming in at 37 on the list is "Caletita" and "Las Casitas" takes the 68th spot. Both of these beaches are frequented by locals more than tourists. Playa Bonita on the East Side would have come in at 120 if the list had gone that high.

      The pollutant is sewage. These beaches are not polluted all the time....just some of the time.

      posted: 6/24/09
    • Airport Officials are reporting that the Cozumel Airport is Drug Free. By that they mean that no drug shipments have been found passing through the airport. Of course this could also just mean that no one has found any drugs yet or that no one is looking for any drugs or that everyone is on the take and they will never find any drugs!

    • posted: 6/23/09
    • Reality for Cozumelenos living on Credit beyond their means is finally catching up with them. That has brought out another unwelcome Life Form....the Bill Collector, but with a twist. These guys on the island don't chat politely with the dead beat in an office or call him on the phone (most people don't have a phone anyway). They stand in the street in front of his house and yell and scream. They pound on doors and let the neighbors know all the details. In short they try to embarrass the debtor into submission! If this works in Mexico it may be the wave of the future in the States....Diabolical!

    • posted: 6/22/09
    • Fifty two boats participated in the Annual Youth Fishing Tournament on Cozumel this past weekend. Some 250 children armed with life jackets and coolers of drinks, fished the day away. Awards were made in the categories of Trolling and Bottom Fishing. The winning fish was a 30 pound Dorado.

    • News Flash from Mexico City....Weather Watchers are expecting a "Category 3 type Hurricane" along the Mayan Riviera this September. They have advised that damages would only be slight. We wish the weather men in the US of A could be this certain of the future!

    • Requirements may have changed for bringing pets into Cozumel. We have reports that the US Vet must now issue a certificate stating that the animal has tested "negative for worms". Keep in mind that this rule may or may not be enforced depending on who you talk to and what time of day it is!

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      posted: 6/21/09
    • Cozumel has been named "Isla of Peace" by the United Nations. The Island gets a nice banner to display and the distinction of being a safe place to vacation and to live. Cozumel is one of the few places in Mexico that has not seen any violence since Mayan times!

    • posted: 6/20/09
    • Hotels on Cozumel are nearing 50% occupancy. That is good. For a hotel to make money it needs to be at least 50% full. The feeling though is that this may be the best the hotel industry will do this summer as tourism is just not comng back as planned.

    • TIDBITS:
    • Bowling is rumored to be a big hit with the Local Crowd.

      Cozumel Mini Golf has reopened at last.

      The Plaza of the Sun on the Square may be up for business there either.

    • So much for our report that fruit and veggie prices had exploded on Cozumel. We now have word that the Price of Limes....always a leading economic indicator for at an eye popping low of about 20 cents for 2 pounds! All we can say is "Pass the Tequila!"

    • posted: 6/19/09
    • More warnings of jewelry stores on Cozumel selling fake merchandise. The powers that be, of course, want to stop this as it gives the island another Black Eye. This type of thing has been occurring for years though. Stores can sell so many fake items that even When they are caught and fined they still come out ahead.

      If you buy something that you think might be a bogus item just take it back to the shop and complain. The store will take it back without an issue....happy that you did not notify the authorities!

      On the upside things could be worse....Imagine how bad it would be if Taxi Drivers (not the most honest in dealing with tourists in the best of times) started selling jewelry...Yikes!

    • The Mayor of Cozumel has begun lobbying for hotel development on the Wild Side of the Island. This would be a continuation of the failed Donald Trump Project north of Mezcalitos. The Mayor has hopes of diversifying tourism and weening the island away from dependency on the Cruise Business. His plan is not on so grand a scale as The Donald' Marina or airport. The scheme is to locate "Punta Arrecifes" somewhere along the East Coast Road.

      Sounds like it will still depend on Tourism though!

    • In more East Side News...a warning has been issued to travelers using the road there. Apparently it is crumbling in spots and a danger to the unwary driver. Much of the road South of Coconuts has pretty much been in a sad state since Hurricane Wilma.

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      posted: 6/18/09
    • The New Marina at Caleta south of town may not open at all. Now that the project is 80% complete it seems that El Presidente Hotel is wanting some huge concessions for the use of their land. Things like having to pay no taxes at all for 12 years....and free land in another state of Mexico. How often have we said...."It's always something!"

    • The excitement of looking for drugs in Playa Del Carmen has apparently carried over to Cozumel. The military now has Hummers driving around town looking for drugs and drug dealers. There was supposedly a large military presence at the airport yesterday for just that purpose. We are still waiting for the passing of Mexico's new and improved (and more user friendly) drug laws.

    • A new program of music and fun will begin soon on Cozumel. In an effort to bring tourists into town, there will be live music and who knows what else in the Square every Tuedsay and Thursday from 7:30 to 10:30 pm. Known as "Noche Bohemias" (Bohemian Nights), the plan is hoped to revitalize the downtown area and make it seem like the Sunday Festival 3 nights a week.

      We are reminded that a similar program of roving musicians and art displays has been tried in the past. It did not last long. We hope music in one specific location will be more successful.

      posted: 6/17/09
    • Wrecks on Cozumel...there can easily be more than 1 a day! Mexicans can get a DL wihout too much effort and many drive without one. Taxis and Police seem to be always running into stuff. The best advice when driving on the island is "watch out for the other guy" and avoid motor scooters!

    • posted: 6/15/09
    • Chankanab Park is reducing it's admission rate....but only for Mexican Nationals. If business has been bad, one would think they would reduce the rate for everyone and really increase the crowds! The New Mexi-Nat Rate is now $150 pesos and kids are $75 pesos. The rate for Non-Mexicans will stay at $220 pesos.

    • This past weekend Tourists on Playa Del Carmen's famed 5th Ave got to see Mexico's Drug laws in action. Some 40 heavily armed commandos blocked off the street for about an hour. They arrested 5 suspected drug dealers and confiscated a variety of drugs.

    • posted: 6/14/09
    • Seen any Bees on the isla? If so call the fire department. They are the Bee Hombres and responsible for corralling the little stingers. About 20 hives a month are taken care of. No one has ever been stung to death on Cozumel.

    • Authorities on Cozumel are working hard to close some 16 small shops that sell booze with out a license. These Houses of Hooch face fines as well as jeering and finger pointing by their neighbors. They also are closed till fines are paid. Thus far only about 5 have been shut down.

    • More news on the Sand Extraction: With this project ready to start any day about 20 Cozumelenos say they would rather die than see sand removed from the Island's shores. Accordingly they are prepared to throw themselves in front of the dredging equipment. We hope it does not come to this!

    • posted: 6/12/09
    • Yesterday out of work Cozumelenos received the second government cash handout. These payments amount to $2360 pesos per person, per month for 2 months. 6100 layed off restaurant, hotel and nautical workers will receive the payments.

    • posted: 6/11/09
    • The Cancun tourist industry is celebrating as a winner has been announced to do The Cozumel Sand Dredging. Work on this massive removal of sand from the north end of the island is now set to commence around July 15 and conclude in December.

      Meanwhile, on Cozumel the public is still attempting to halt this project....mainly with a petition. The last ditch hope is to only allow this dredging project to happen one time and then in the future they would have to go elsewhere for sand.

    • Tourism is at such an all time low in Cancun that boat owners are having to sell off their fleet at rock bottom prices. Some reports state that fully half of the boats used for toursim in Cancun are for sale. We have not heard about anything like this on the island but as Cancun Toursim goes so goes the Isla.

    posted: 6/8/09
  • Cozumel has about 32 persons that make their living from Black Coral. Legally they can harvest 100 pounds a month to carve, polish and sell in shops. With business being so bad they are not even pulling that much from the ocean. It sounds like a good time to make some deals on Black Coral items.

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    posted: 6/2/09
  • There is always something new to find on the beach. Sixty pounds of Cocaine washed up on a Cozumel beach just the other day. Fortunately the military was there to take control of the situation and wisk the illegal drugs away for safe keeping! Note: Mexico has not yet passed their new drug laws.

  • Ferry prices from Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen are at 140 pesos per trip (280 rt) for all time high! The mayor of the island is in discussion with the 2 competing ferry companies to reduce those rates as well as increase service. Ferries are now running every 2 hours instead of hourly. The Ferry companies enjoy the profits too much and it is doubtful the mayor will be successful in his cost cutting venture.

  • posted: 5/31/09
  • For those of you who prefer to go on vacation to the beach and do more than just swim we have another option. The Ego Gym has just opened up around the corner from Caribe Sunset and Casa Amor. It is on Calle 11 at Ave 5 Sur. We have not checked it out ourselves but then we don't make a habit of frequenting weighty establishments!

  • As of June 1 all US citizens will be required to have passports to return to the States. Don't make the mistake of waiting till the last minute to make sure your passport is still good. We have played that game before and it is not fun!

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    posted: 5/27/09
  • Now with tourism starting to pick up there is a worry that unscrupulous salesmen of tours and services will try to make back their losses quickly. That means over pricing unsuspecting tourists! We hate that! If you do not feel the price of something is fair...bargain for a lower one, or just walk away.

    Also please check your bill at all restaurants ...especially those on the East Side. There should be NO separate charge for tax...all tax is included in the price of food in Mexico. If you are charged a tax then point it out to the water. If he says something like that is for the kitchen help or refuses to remove it than let him know that will be his tip then too. Remember just because you are on holiday does not mean you have to be taken advantage of!

    posted: 5/21/09
  • To help you navigate the streets of the island we have added a new Cozumel Map to our website. Note that Caribe Sunset is marked "L". We plan on updating this on a regular basis as we add rental properties and find favorite restaurants.

    To zoom in on the map right click on your mouse and select "view photo" or just push "ctrl" and "+".

    posted: 4/22/09
  • We advise all our friends and guests to Not Rent Motorscooters, but if you must be sure you stay aware of the numerous speed bumps or "topes" that are everywhere. They can spring up almost overnight as this is a cheap way to get drivers to slow down.

    Keep in mind that for just a little more money you can rent a car with lots more saftey than a little under powered Cozumel moto.

    There is also a helmet law on the island and it is strictly enforced!
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    posted: 4/19/09

  • Dine like a local at one of the many island restaruants serving "Comida Corrida". Look at this like an old time "Blue Plate Special" for lunch with 2 to five menu options served Monday through Friday. We like this because one choice is usually vegetarian. The meal comes with a drink, soup and entree often with rice and a it can be pretty substantial. Prices start at 50 pesos and go up to about 60...a very good deal. Check out La Choza on 10th and Villas Caribe on 11th, but there are lots of these little eateries all over the island.

    posted: 4/17/09
  • Be sure and stay on Cozumel at least one Sunday night. The town square by the Ferry Pier comes alive with music and merriment as the locals come out to party. Arrive around 7pm and just listen to the Latin tunes or even do a little dancing yourself. There is always Great people watching too! The party goes on till around 10ish and then moves off into the clubs. So plan on grabbing dinner and a show Sundays on the Isla!

  • posted: 4/14/09
  • Probably the biggest question we get regarding our rental properties is "How far away is the Beach?" That tells us that some folks are not really familiar with Cozumel and it's 2 sides. Not every island in the world is one big beach. Cozumel is many beaches....some wild and natural and some small and man made.

    The wild ones on the East Side can run for miles. Since there is no electricity and only a hand full of beach bars that can make for an incredibly relaxing day of surf, sun and sand.

    The West side beaches are normally built up sand over rock....But what makes that special is that you can step into turquiose waters that are literally 10 feet deep and full of sea life. Clear, calm water and lots of fish can also make for a relaxing day of diving or snorkeling right from the shore. Of course with either spot you can just sit and stare at Paradise!

    So decide how you want to spend your day. Ask us and we can send you to some of our favorite spots around the island!

    posted: 4/13/09
  • Hang with locals every Friday at Sunset. La Palapita Bar, south of town at Papa Hogs, is the usual hang for Expats everyday, but Friday is the busiest. The staff is great and the beers are cold. Every so often someone gets the nerve up to go night snorkeling! Check it out and feel like a local!

  • posted: 4/12/09
  • Cozumel Taxis have always had 2 rates. One for locals and one for tourists. All their rates are printed on an Offical Rate Card that they are required by law to have in the cab. If the driver says he does not have a rate card you can report him to his brother cabbies. In any event, be sure to negotiate the rate before you get in a cab....not after!

  • The Club Med 2, a 5 masted old style crusie ship will be in Port a couple of Sundays in April. It carries less than 600 crew and passengers. The ship will also be making stops in Belize, Honduras, Havana, Progresso and more. The cruises last from 8 - 14 nights.

  • posted: 4/11/09
  • The Festival of El Cedral is scheuduled for April 26 - May 3. This is a really a Mexican County Fair, with horse races and bull and lots of beer! The last day is the best with the boars head and ribbon dances being favorites with the locals. We like this almost as much as Carnaval.

  • The schedule calls for 23 cruise ships in Cozumel's Port for the week of April 13-19.

  • The New Park in front of the Palacio is now fully open. Animals for kids to climb on and fountains to splash in. This is on Melgar at the corner with the stop light.

  • Just for the Easter week....All passengers ride free on the Transcaribe Car Ferry. This is a savings of 60 pesos pp each way. Locals are reported to packing people in cars like Sardines!

  • posted: 4/10/09
  • Cozumel's 2 competing passenger ferry companies have added additional trips per day for the Easter Holidays. The CURRENT rate is 140 pesos each way per adult. Times are subjest to change on an hourly basis.

  • If you need the perscription cream Metrogel Save big buying it on Cozumel. The 30g tube runs 170 pesos (less than $15). In the States it costs around $100.

  • Sunday is the day with the fewest cruise ships on Cozumel. It is also the day when the beaches on the East Side are the most crowded with locals.

  • Beautiful Cozumel Holiday Rentals for every interest.