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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of December 5, 2016

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

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

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

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Cozumel Arrivals: 33 Ships this Week
12/04 - Numbers fly higher this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals show 33 ships registered to dock for this first week of December 2016. This is 5 more than the number of ships last week and 13 more than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season" number. As Winter arrives to bring us the holidays and HIGH Season for 2016, an estimated 82,500 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ships leaving an estimated US$ 6.6 million dollars behind in the local economy.

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

This week Puerta Maya pier will be host to 13 ships docking there, 10 ships will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 10 arrivals and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- arrivals with passengers tendering in.

This week begins with 5 ships docking on Monday, 7 on Tuesday, 5 ships Wednesday, 6 on Thursday, 5 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 4 ships in port and Sunday will see 1 ship in port.

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Ironman 2016
European triathletes dominated the Ironman Cozumel 2016 triathlon from beginning to end in its eighth edition. The absolute winner was Belgian, Frederik Van Lierde while the first female winner was Michelle Vesterby from Denmark.

Alan Michell Carrillo Ávila, the most outstanding triathlete from Cozumel, finished in the 15th overall position and was greeted with a cake to celebrate his birthday as he crossed the finish line as a gift for his participation in his first full Ironman. Carillo Ávila reached the finish line with a time of 08:54:46 where friends and relatives were already waiting for him with the cake.

More than 2,000 athletes took to the water for the swim at 07:15 AM Sunday morning, November 27th at the Marina Cozumel, south of the island and from there Van Lierde took the lead and never lost it. He remained in the lead through the stages of cycling and running. Van Lierde finished the competition with a time of 08:03:09 followed by Matt Russell of the United States with 08:04:24, then Chris Leiferman also of the US who reached the finish line with a time of 08:09:11.

2016 Ironman Winner Liza & Student AliAs for the women, Michell Vesterby, originally from Denmark finished the competition first with a time of 08:08:06. In second place came the North American Lauren Brando who registered a time of 09:12:43. Then another Dane, Camila Pedersen finished in third position with a time of 09:14:11.

Sherri's IslaMar Villas was pleased to once again play host to several Ironman competitors and their support teams this year including Lisa Rachetto who crossed the finish line in 10:00 hours to win her 3rd consecutive first place finish in her division of the Cozumel Ironman race. One of Liza's triathalon students placed 12th in her division as well. It's amazing and incredible to watch these athletes prepare and then perform during the race! Congratulations to ALL the participants for jobs well done!!
Luxury Ferry Comes to Cozumel-Playa Del Carmen
Last Wednesday, the new vessel of the company Ultramar arrived to the San Miguel passenger terminal to cover 10 round trips between Cozumel Island and Playa del Carmen, according to information provided by David Chulin Barrera, captain of the Boat.

The 48-meter catamaran with an 11-man crew, has 3 levels (two climate controlled), VIP areas, panoramic windows, play area for infants, TV screens, snack bar, complimentary electrical contacts, live music, underwater lighting and new generation ramps for express disembarkation, wider reclining leather seats, lounge rooms, boarding preference and carry on luggage without documentation. The solarium area, on the third level, has 254 seats. All 3 levels together have a total of 850 seats making it unique in its kind in Mexico. It is expected that in mid-2018 another boat with similar characteristics will be put into operation.

To board the ferry, the rates continue to be the same (300 pesos round trip), however people wishing to have access to the VIP area, must pay 220 pesos per person one way and 410 round trip. Children will have free access to the area as long as an adult pays the VIP fare.

The departure times can be consulted on the official website of Ultramar, in the section of Playa del Carmen-Cozumel.
Construction is Halted on the Road to Laguna Ciega
In addition to the environmental problems of the project to build the road to Laguna Ciega at the northern tip of Cozumel, there is a conflict between the construction company and the volqueteros union, who have not received payment for their services and because of that, the work has stopped.

The construction of this road, divided in three stages and promoted by the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Government of the State of Quintana Roo, has an estimated cost of 90 million pesos, a budget equivalent to the construction of the central park Benito Juárez. The members of the Volqueteros Syndicate, led by Claudio Góngora Coral, decided to suspend the transportation of the extracted material because the construction company Corporativo OCE del Sureste S.A. Of C.V. defaulted on payment. The works will not resume until the debt, whose amount was not disclosed, is covered. The building permit was signed by President Perla Cecilia Tun Pech, who despite not having the complete documentation of the project, endorsed it.

Guadalupe Álvarez Chulim de Azueta, President of the Environmental group Cielo, Tierra y Mar, who until now has been the visible face of the actions to respect the law, stated that there is no plan from the Mayor to stop the construction and much less to file a complaint to the environmental authorities that would mean stopping the work immediately.
Representatives of Four Local and State Organizations Denounced Environmental Crime
Representatives of four local and state environmental organizations met regarding the construction of the road to Laguna Ciega and denounced what at first sight looks like an environmental crime, omissions by officials and transgressions to the Environmental regulations.

The environmentalists measured the width of the road before starting the work promoted by the Secretariat of Infrastructure and Transport of the state of Quintana Roo, and it was barely 4 meters wide and at its maximum point, reached 16 meters. Guadalupe Álvarez Chulin de Azueta one of the Environmentalists who came to the tour revealed that he has already sent complaints to the Secretariat of Public Function while the representative of the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), David Linares Arredondo, will do the same to the Federal Environmental Authorities.

Since the pause of several days in the construction of the road due to the company's lack of payment, Dr. Germán Méndez Del Castillo, representative of the Cozumel Birding Club said that for 2 years they have been monitoring birds on the way to the Ciega Lagoon that leads to Passion Island and ensured that the Manifestation of Environmental Impact (MIA) of the road that is already built, used lists in which only 14 species of birds appear and not the 81 that have been registered in 24 months. The Doctor in Biotechnology stated that either the data was manipulated or the person who made the MIA knows nothing about this zone and Cozumel. Another example he gave is that the document refers to the existence in the area of the Lagartija Playera (Sceloporus cozumelae), endemic to Cozumel and that the specialist corrects that the name refers to the site in which the bird truly inhabits, the beaches. He cited the studies developed by the prestigious Dr. Alfredo David Cuarón Orozco on the endemic species that circulate in the area of the road and that in these studies it highlights the presence of the dwarf raccoon of which only 300 remain.

He said that when building the road is finished, the minimum speed at which the vehicles will circulate will be approximately 60 kilometers per hour, which will cause high mortality of wildlife such as the endemic raccoon of Cozumel. This goes without contemplating the contamination that is going to be generated by the increase of human presence in the area. He also said that the MIA indicates that underground passages will be placed for the local fauna but that they will only be placed in the last section of the road, already in the protected natural area, and not along the 4.5 kilometers that it has.

"We live on an island that depends on its natural resources and people come to see these resources ... people come to Cozumel for what is Cozumel. We are now creating a Disneyland with this type of project” stated the specialist.
Cozumel to Host the Annual Beer Festival
This year Cozumel will host the annual “Beer Festival” which will be held on December 16th and 17th and will offer more than 200 beers from different countries.

The event will have various activities, such as: conferences, contests, tasting, live music, workshops and microbrewers. The pre-sale cost is 100 pesos, which includes access to both days of the festival, a commemorative glass, a complimentary beer, express line and tickets and unlimited entries. On the day of the event, the price will be 130 pesos per day. For more information, visit their social networks, Facebook: SoyCerveza.

Last July, the main square in Puerto Morelos was the meeting point for those who like beer. “Each day, approximately 3,500 people, mainly locals, came to the event”, stated Raymundo Polanco Córdova, Director of Port Tourism Morelos. There were more than 150 different brands offered at the festival, in addition to 10 food stands and artisans who generated approximately a half million pesos.
Riviera Maya to Break Record of Number of Visitors
Manuel Paredes Mendoza, Director of the Hotel Association of the Riviera Maya, said that in 2016, the number of visitors arriving at the destination with 4.5 million visitors broke the previous record of about 4.3 million in 2015.

He indicated that the statistics are based on the reservations recorded in the books of the lodging centers that are in the region. Paredes Mendoza said that the increase in the number of visitors is greatly favored by the fact that in the Mayan Riviera, more hotel rooms have been opened in the last year as a result of remodeling in the lodging centers.

"From the second half of December we start with the massive arrivals and we will officially begin the high season and we could have occupations above 90%, but by the end of the year we will be at full capacity. The tourism that will have more presence in the region will be from North American." said Paredes Mendoza. But he does not rule out that there will also be a large number of Mexicans. He did not disclose percentage data.
Reef Restoration Program Begins
The federal government, through the National Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA) and the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp), undertook an ambitious reef restoration program in the state. The director of Inapesca, Pablo Arenas Fuentes, explained that through this project, the two objectives which are being pursued is the production of 260,000 coral colonies in 5 years to help re-populate the Mexican reef system from Isla Contoy to Tulum and grant an international certificate to the divers who help in this work.

Officials participated in a coral transplant in one of the Centro Regional de Investigación Pesquera (CRIP) laboratories. Arenas Fuentes explained that CRIP Puerto Morelos developed a coral nursery that maintains specimens in aquarium systems and at sea, in a project that will contribute to the restoration and rehabilitation of reef areas of the Mexican Caribbean. He said that the production of coral colonies, the development of restoration techniques, as well as the efficiency in planting organisms, will allow the recovery in the short and medium term of damaged reef areas. "A well maintained coral and mangrove barrier is the best natural defense against this type of eventualities that are still unpredictable, we need to keep them in good condition," he explained.

In his message before signing the agreement, he stressed that good corals are vital sources for the health of ecosystems in the Caribbean Sea, but they are also indispensable for the theme of adaptation to climate change and the issue of hurricanes. "That is why this project is important, because to the extent that our coasts are prepared for this type of events and adapted, we will be better able to resist a hurricane. The corals and the reef are a pride and privilege of Mexico that we must preserve" stated the official.
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April 15, 2016 (Most Recent) Comprehensive Mexico Travel Warning

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