Monday, January 23, 2023

Isla Mujeres News & Events Monday, January 23


 Hello again!

    I'm back...with the Carnaval schedule, recent news, photos, history & more! The MVC ads are gone because we're retiring from renting, with a big "Thank you!!" to the great guests who've stayed with us over these many years. I've continued posting news, events & history on FB during my blogging break, and I apologize for being unable to keep up with this page. Thank-you for your continued readership, and "Welcome" to any new visitors!


Carnaval begins on February 4th with coronations, and ends on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 21. The theme is "Soy Caribe"-"I'm Caribbean".
SAT. Feb 4 at 5:30p--Coronation of the Kings & Queens who are children, 'minis', and special at the Open Air Theater in La Gloria.
SAT. Feb. 4 at 8p--Coronation of the youth Kings & Queens at the Kiosk in Salina Chica.
THURS. Feb. 9 at 7p--Coronation of the Kings & Queens who are senior citizens at the Cachibol court of the Senior Center (in La Gloria).
SAT. Feb. 11 at 7:30p--Mask Night--An Event for a Cause. Coronation of the Queen of the Señoras at the Calipso Events Room.
SUN. Feb. 12 at 7:30--Coronation of the Queen of Diversity at the Calipso Events Room.
FRI. Feb. 17 at 7:30--Coronation Gala--Coronation of the Kings & Queens of the Isla Mujeres Carnaval 2023 with a performance by King and Queen entertainers Lorena Herrera & Carlos Arenas and a performance by DJ Shei on the Municipal Esplanade (Town Square).
SAT. Feb 18 at 7:30--Night of Fantasy--Comedy show with Tila Maria Sesto and the Carnaval Grand Dance with live music by Junior Klan on the Municipal Esplanade.
SUN. Feb. 19 at 7:30--Night of Joy--Performance by Nani Namu & Her Stars and Dancing to live music by Alex Mont & Merengossa on the Municipal Esplanade.
MON. Feb. 20 at 7:30--Night of Tregueñas--Comedy Show by Chino Fernandez and Dancing to live music by Jemanuel and Los Panas on the Municipal Esplanade. 
Wed, Jan  18....
Isla Mujeres received more than THREE MILLION TOURISTS in 2022, according to Mayor Atenea Gomez Ricalde who added, "and this year we're going for more!".
She said, "We're ready to show the world our beautiful beaches during FITUR 2023", which is an important international tourism convention held annually in Madrid, that starts tomorrow. In these pictures, she's sifting sand with the ZOFEMAT crew, who clean the beaches each morning.

 Tue, Jan 17....

The fares have increased for the Ultramar passenger ferry. A tourist round trip increased from 462 pesos to 540 pesos, and costs the same from Puerto Juarez or the Hotel Zone. The Island residents round-trip rate went from 91 to 100 pesos and state residents now pay 200 pesos for a round-trip. (100 pesos is about $5.50usd. 540 pesos is about $30usd...using an exchange rate of 18.) **For the tourist rates, there's also an additional municipal sanitation tax charged. I've forgotten the exact amount, but I think it's twenty-something pesos per person.

 Sun, Jan 15.....


A new national law went into effect today, imposing more restrictions on smoking in public places and prohibiting the display or advertising of cigarettes for sale. Throughout Mexico, smoking is now prohibited in outdoor areas such as beaches, parks, and spaces where there is "collective gathering" or where minors are present. 
The law prohibits "carrying out any form of advertising, promotion or sponsorship of products made with tobacco". Merchants must store cigarettes where consumers cannot see or access them. A list of tobacco products with prices will be displayed, without logos, stamps or branding. The law includes sanctions for advertising tobacco products on social media, by influencers, on streaming services or via subliminal advertising.
Restaurateurs and small businesses are expressing concerns about potential economic losses. When Mexico imposed indoor smoking restrictions in 2009, many bars & restaurants remodeled to provide exclusive areas for smoking. This new law requires designated smoking areas to be outdoors where any service or consumption of food, drinks or entertainment is prohibited. The area must be physically separate, consist of less than 10% of the property, and have entrance signs prohibiting minors & warning about danger of exposure in the area.
Authorities say these changes are intended to protect the populace from exposure to tobacco smoke in all workplaces, public gathering places, public transportation, and in schools. Signs are required indicating these are smoke-free spaces.
The law specifies that smoking is prohibited on "patios, terraces, balconies, amusement parks, playgrounds and places where children hang out or congregate, urban parks, sports parks, beaches, centers for shows & entertainment, sports courts (canchas), stadiums, arenas, malls, markets, hotels, hospitals, clinics, churches, places of food or beverage service and transportation stops."
The sign says "Our sand isn't an ashtray"
 Also last Sunday.....

#1-The baseball team Langosteros de Isla Mujeres were crowned the champions of the Prospectos League of Quintana Roo. They visited the Mayor with the trophy and she expressed her support for the sport and pledged to work hand-in-hand with its promoters.
#2-Today at 5p there will be women's softball at the children's field, Ariel 'Picho' Magana, when the Isleñas take on the Cancun Linces (Lynxes). 
#3-Save your plastic caps! On Monday, Jan. 30th you can exchange them for toys at the Young Entrepreneurs Fair at the La Gloria Bicentennial Dome at 5p.
 Saturday, Jan 14....
#1-Today, the weekly Saturday cleanup took place in colonia Caridad del Cobre where municipal employees, volunteers and neighbors painted curbs, collected trash, swept, and removed junk.
#2-Yesterday, islanders showed their solidarity by participating in the charity event "Latin Rhythms for a Cause", filling the Town Square with energy, for the benefit of Daniela Diaz, who is undergoing cancer treatments. There were classes in Zumba, Salsa, Latin Rhythms, and Cardio. 
#3-The municipal government has been improving outdoor lighting around the island. Municipal officials conducted a supervisory tour in the colonias of La Gloria and El Cañotal, where progress has reached 90%. Overall, they have installed 211 LED lights, 17 posts, 6 transformers, six meters, and 5620 meters of 'neutranel' (neutral) cable, which are expected to reduce energy consumption. 
#4-The Mayor brought coffee and pastries to show her appreciation for the ZOFEMAT crew who clean the beaches every morning, adding that they also 'keep her informed of the island news'. 
#5-The Mayor joined the Governor and state representatives at a civil ceremony in Chetumal, commemorating the 48th anniversary of the promulgation of Quintana Roo's Constitution. The Governor was also promoting the New Agreement for the Welfare and Development of Quintana Roo.
#6-You're invited to participate in the municipal Christmas Tree Recycling Program on Mondays thru Feb. 13th, 10a-3p, to Hacienda Mundaca, to the Dept. of Ecology & the Environment.
#7-The Mayor announced that the fishermen who received support thru the Temporary Employment Program will continue working with the ZOFEMAT crew, cleaning beaches. Their consistent efforts were greatly appreciated during the most difficult parts of the Sargasso season.
#8- Tomorrow, the Isla Mujeres women's team, Las Islenas, will play the Cancun Linces (Lynxes) at 5p at the children's baseball field, "Ariel Piche Magana".
#9-Residents can take advantage up a 15% discount on their property taxes throughout January and a 10% discount on their trash payment thru the end of March. Qualifying seniors and those with disabilities can receive a 50% property tax discount.
#10-Registration is open for classes in Customer Service at the Community Center in La Gloria on Monday thru Friday, 9a-8p. It's a 40 hour course costing 360 pesos, held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9a-2p.
#11-Residents can register for free Cataract Surgery thru January 27th at the municipal Health Department in the Community Center in La Gloria, 9a-4p.





 Isla Mujeres History....

Isla Mujeres in the early 70's.
#1-Hotel Rocamar
#2-Boat tour at North Beach
#3-View of North Beach from Zazil Ha Hotel (now Mia Reef).
#4 & 5-Road to Garrafon Park
Photos by Gabriel Cano Gongora, posted by Temo Zurita on Recuerdos de Isla Mujeres.




Isla Mujeres History....
Attaining International Attention: Tourists "Discover" Isla Mujeres 
With a quiet lagoon on one side and the crashing Caribbean surf on the other, the hotel now known as "Mia Reef" sits on the rocky islet "Yunque" ("Anvil") off the northern tip of Isla Mujeres, where it played an early role in the development of tourism in this region.
In May, 1964, Mexico's President flew to the island to inaugurate the Hotel Zazil Há, considered the first grand hotel of the Mexican Caribbean. (This was before Cancun had an airport, and Isla's runway was improved for his plane's arrival.) The hotel consisted of 32 rooms, with 40 more located in double cabins. 
Guests were shuttled from the ferry dock in a mule-drawn train car. (Photos #2 & 3)
The Zazil Há was ahead of its time, before this region was taken seriously as a tourism destination by the travel industry. In the 1960's, Cancun was uninhabited except for a few caretakers working on coconut farms owned by residents of Isla Mujeres.
Zazil Há was built by Jose de Jesus Lima Gutierrez (RIP), who was a pioneer in the development of regional tourism. He organized the island's boatmen and divers into cooperatives, and created the first Travel Agency in the area, with offices in Merida and Mexico City. He established an airline with two planes, one with ten seats & a bathroom, and the other with six seats.
The next two photos are from this period, and the magazine ad (from 1965-66) says there's still time to invest in a lot on Isla Mujeres, where you'll find the prettiest beaches in América, for 25 pesos a square meter with views of the sea and lagoon, near Garrafon park.
Between 1960 and 1970, the island's population more than doubled, growing from 1071 residents to 2600+. Isla Mujeres had a total of 139 hotel rooms by 1970, with 8100 foreign tourists visiting annually. (Now there's more than that daily, sometime twice that amount.)
After nine years of hard work, Don Jose Lima had to give up his hotel in 1973 to the National Financiera. He played a fundamental political and entrepreneurial role in the development of tourism on the island and in the region, but he was a visionary. His family has benefited from his foresight and he continued to live next-door in his home "Casa de las Piedras" until he passed away at age 97 in 2009. He is fondly remembered as a community leader who worked tirelessly for the development of Isla's infrastructure and schools. (The former hospital was named for him.) He's internationally known for attracting Regattas to the isle (for about half a century), as well as for hosting Jacques Cousteau during his high-profile film-making visits.
In 1974, Cancun's first hotels, built by the government, opened and Quintana Roo became a state. Cancun's International Airport opened in 1975, private developers started building hotels on the mainland, and tourism intensified. The Cave of the Sleeping Sharks, near the island, was featured in National Geographic in 1975, and Jacques Cousteau's popular TV program dedicated an episode to it. (The cave shattered the scientific notion that sharks die if they stop moving, in addition to bringing international attention to the isle and its beauty.)
The last pair of photos show the start of Zazil Há's renovation, which the caption said was started May, 1976, and the companion photo is from December '76 or January '77, when it had acquired its triangular side. Both were taken by Architect Jose Antonio Lopez Aguado, who supervised the work. The resort has had a variety of names, including Zazil Ha Bojorquez, El Presidente Caribe, and the Avalon.
Here's an excerpt from a 1981 travel article which described the hotel Zazil Ha Bojorquez as "forlornly awaiting rehabilitation", after being knocked out of service by a hurricane the previous year. It promotes Isla Mujeres as a more laid-back, less expensive alternative to Cozumel and Cancun, a reputation that remains to this day:
"What sets Isla Mujeres apart from the better known and more fashionable Cancun and Cozumel islands is the generally lower price structure and a more casual atmosphere. This was pointed out to us by a young woman from Alaska who was staying at our hotel and remarked that she and a friend 'felt we were getting ripped off in Cozumel and Cancun.'
'We couldn't get a meal there for less than $30,' she said, 'and drinks were $4 each.' With her superior Spanish she had helped us get our room changed and recommended some good restaurants, an example of how easily friendships develop on the island.
"The most expensive hotel accommodations (at the Posada del Mar) run $44 a night for two people with Continental breakfast. A lobster dinner, the most expensive item on the menu at Ciro's Lobster House, costs $25 for two. The least expensive accommodations are offered by the Coco Beach Hostel where tent spaces and hammocks are rented for $2.50 a night. The fee includes use of showers and a checking service. At sidewalk cafes, $5 buys a meal of soup, fish fillet or turtle, venison, chicken, pork or beef, tortillas, a soft drink and flan custard."  LINK to 1982 article.




 Punta Sur 1970 by Tony Garcia.....

And back to the news.....Thurs, Jan 12... 

Yesterday, magistrates of Mexico's Supreme Court (SCJN) approved the entry of Uber into operation in Quintana Roo, for both passengers and food. The decision said that Uber should not be subject to the laws which regulate public service vehicles such as taxis, which require operators to have a concession granted by the state government.
The taxi drivers have been arguing that Uber represents unfair competition, because cabbies must meet various requirements and pay considerable fees. According to Uno TV, there are only 141,000 registered license plate concessions, and they claim a taxi license permit can be sold on Mercado Libre for up to 45,000 pesos, with a cost of 11,447 pesos for the transfer free. 
Police authorities are maintaining vigilance in response to threats that taxistas may stage blockades. Taxi unions have resisted the entry of Uber passenger service in Quintana Roo for over a decade. A taxi union lawyer claimed that the Uber company will still need to request authorizations to operate. The Secretary General of FUTV (United Front of Volante Drivers) of Quintana Roo said that more strikes or blockades won't be carried out, noting that the rights of the citizens must be respected, but there have been drivers threatening to disrupt traffic.
There are many positive responses to the news on social media from residents of Quintana Roo.
 Weekly update on Thurs, Jan 12.....
#1) Mayor Atenea Gomez Ricalde announced that during the December holiday season, 428,000 national and foreign tourists visited our municipality, bringing economic benefit to the island, as well as Costa Mujeres. 
#2) She thanked the ZOFEMAT workers for keeping the beaches clean and attractive, and she delivered more equipment to them. She noted that from Dec. 16, 2022 to Jan. 8, 2023, hotel occupancy was at 95%, hosting 83,375 tourists, who were all attracted to our beautiful beaches. 
#3) She said that during the December holiday season, the amount of garbage increased by 40%, and the Public Services workers collected 1800 tons of trash. They did not let down their guard and provided collection services without interruption, keeping the island clean and beautiful. 
#4). The Mayor requested a visit from the Director General of the State Mobility Institute, Rodrigo Alcazar, and they took a tour together, discussing the image and mobility issues of the downtown area. They want to work out a technical proposal to address the traffic problems, as well as civilian construction. The Mayor said that this year her government will continue to transform Isla Mujeres with great projects that will benefit island families, in coordination with the Governor and state officials. 
#5) The Traffic Police were instructed by the Mayor to be very attentive on Monday to the children returning to school, to ensure they arrived and departed safely without traffic problems. 
#6) You're invited to watch the Isla Mujeres women's team, Las Islenas, play the Cancun Linces (Lynxes) on Sunday at 5p at the children's baseball field, "Ariel Piche Magana".


 Jan. 10th....
This is a Brown Pelican, and the Mayor notes that 300 species of birds can be seen in Isla Mujeres in the course of a year. It's National Bird Day, which originated in the US in 2002. 
The Mexican government says that Mexico has more species of birds than the US & Canada combined, noting that around 11,000 species of birds inhabit the world. Mexico is in the top ten countries in terms of biodiversity, and the Yucatan Peninsula is a special region because of the biodiversity of its various ecosystems. Mexico's birdwatchers, amateur and professional, have noted 543 species of birds on the peninsula, which is about half of the birds found in Mexico. (Source:
World Migratory Bird Day will be observed in October in Mexico and Central & South America (and in May in the US & Canada).

Jan. 5th...
Recycling Contest!
There are two contests, one for island residents and the other for those who live in the Continental Zone of Isla Mujeres. Participants in one cannot participate in the other.
Families can opt to register to recycle ONE of the two choices, "PET" or "cartón". (Plastic bottles are made of PET and cartón is cardboard, and may include paper.)
The recycled materials must be clean and compact. They will be weighed and registered, and a receipt will be given at each donation.
Each family must make a video that is one to three minutes long, which explains the dynamics of separating the material they have chosen from the two options, and how each member of their team has gotten involved. Each video must be uploaded to Facebook with a description that includes the family's last name, the names of the participating family members, their chosen material (PET or cartón), the contest they're in (Island or Continental Zone), and they must tag the Mayor's Facebook page, Atenea Gómez Ricalde. Governmental workers are excluded, as are non-residents of the Isla Mujeres municipality.
On the island, registration began yesterday and continues thru Jan. 11th at the Palacio Municipal (town hall), the Community Center (La Gloria), and the Department of Ecology & the Environment (Hacienda Mundaca). Required documents include a utility bill less than 3 months old from an Isla Mujeres residence, an ID (voter card or driver's license) of a parent or guardian from Isla Mujeres, and the completed registration form.
Recycled materials should be delivered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10a-3p, to the municipal plant nursery at Hacienda Mundaca from Jan. 9th to Feb. 3rd.
The judges will consist of environmental specialists and there will be three winners in the Island contest and three winners in the Continental Zone contest. For the island, the selection will be made Feb. 24 at noon on the Municipal Esplanade (Town Square). The list of winning families will be published on the official Facebook pages of the Mayor and the Municipality (H. Ayuntamiento de Isla Mujeres).
The contest begins Mon, Jan. 9 and ends Fri, Feb. 3, 2023.

Jan. 2.... For the first time in the history of Quintana Roo, owners of private vehicles will receive free (liability) insurance when they exchange their plates from January to March 2023. The insurance will take effect when the taxpayer concludes his 2023 paperwork at the SATQ offices. They will receive a brochure explaining the terms and conditions. (License plates are exchanged every three years, with registration renewal & this is an exchange year.)
Jan. 1....
 2023's first rays of sunshine touching Mexico at Punta Sur.

 Dec. 30....The Governor announced that the Cancun airport is becoming the first in Mexico to use electronic passport processing. There are 14 automated stations already in operation in Terminal 3. The process takes about 30 seconds for visitors with passports from the US, Canada or Mexico. **Note...These are only for tourists, not residents.

LINK to Mexico National Weather Service (Spanish)
 LINK to satellite images for the Mexico National Weather Service
 LINK to GOES East Band 16 GIF (animation)
LINK to a private weather station on Isla MujeresLINK to US National Hurricane Center 

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