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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of July 27, 2015

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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Cozumel Arrivals: 14 Ships this Week
7/26 - Numbers remain very low this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals show 14 ships registered to dock for the fourth week of July 2015. This is 3 more than the number of ships last week and 6 less than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season." With low season underway, an estimated 42,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ships leaving an estimated US$ 3.4 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 the big economic winner as 9 ships dock there, only 3 ships will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 2 arrivals and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- arrivals with passengers tendering in.

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

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Norwegian Cruise Line Might Add Cuba as a Destination
There is a project in the works with the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) in order to establish a route for their cruises in December this year which covers the island of Cuba, Cozumel, and Jamaica. This is an attempt to jump ahead of the powerful shipping companies Carnival and Royal Caribbean, which will begin to take into account a stop in Cuba within its itineraries in the Caribbean planned for next year.

The information was revealed by Victor Vivas González, director of the Administration Port Integral de Quintana Roo (Apiqroo) in Cozumel. Although still tentative, it could possibly take affect at the end of year at the start of the high season. The shipping company visits Cozumel seven months of the year (from November to May), but so far no itineraries have been confirmed.

The preliminary idea is that a cruise ship with a capacity to transport 2,800 passengers out of the home port of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for one week a tour of the Caribbean, have as main points the island of Cuba where it would remain for two days, one visiting Havana and the other would be on the Isla de la Juventud then to Jamaica for one day, and then sail to Cozumel to then return to Florida. Officially only the large shipping companies Carnival and Royal Caribbean had announced the opening of operations of cruises to the island of Cuba by 2016.

For Vivas Gonzalez, in the Caribbean, there are several attractive destinations in terms of cruises as Roatan in Honduras, but Cozumel retains the leadership as a destination requested by the cruise ship passengers to purchase their travel packages, and considers that Cuba will not be a competition but that would contribute to having more choice for tourists, and according to studies of the shipping market, this is attractive to offer travelers.
"Elk Horn Coral" in Danger of Extinction
Considered one of the most important species for the sustainability of the reefs of the island, “Elk Horn Coral" (Acropora palmata) which is present in the National Marine Park is at risk of extinction. The Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) carries out constant monitoring to prevent the extraction by fisherman, divers, poachers or providers of tourist services.

According to the information provided by Roberto Luque Andrade of Conanp in Cozumel, "Elk Horn Coral" represents an important part of the reef, since it helps in the creation of structures stronger and more resistant to the power of the waves and represents a complex habitat for many marine organisms. Through photographs taken by a specialist of the marine park, Blanca Quiroga, Roberto Luque Andrade explained that the presence of the “Elk horn Coral" decreased drastically and has been declared an endangered species in recent years. Since its process of reproduction is very special (it only spawns one or two days a year) all Elk Horn Corals in the same site coincide in time for the release of gametes which generates a greater probability that exists between eggs of different individuals successful for fertilization. As mentioned, spawning takes place two or three days after the full moon of August, and about two hours after sunset. The study of the process of reproduction of this species has been of great interest to many scientists.

Finally, Roberto Luque said that research continues to strengthen cultivation techniques of these corals, which increase our knowledge about their development and the factors that affect it is beneficial in results aimed towards the conservation of the species which fortunately is still present in the "Reefs of Cozumel" and is constantly monitored to prevent their destruction.
Continual Beach Clean-up to Benefit Turtles
In order to maintain the beaches of Cozumel in perfect condition for visitors and more so for migrating turtles, the municipal government, through the Federal Maritime Zone (Zofemat) and the Directorate of Environment and Ecology, carried out an ongoing program of cleaning of beaches in the area east of Cozumel, where in the past two weeks volunteers collected approximately 20 tons of kelp and debris along the coast.

The director of the Zofemat, Julio Dzay Aguilar, unveiled that one of the priorities for the municipal President, Fredy Marrufo Martín, is the care for the environment, so according to this premise, an ongoing campaign is being conducted to remove all solid waste pollutants and kelp that saturates this season. He said that in these last two weeks of cleaning, 35 people participated including youth volunteers, public safety Cadets and units responsible for the campaign workers, who from early morning gathered on the beaches of the East coast of the island such as "Beach San Martín", "Chen Río" and "Playa Box", to remove debris. Of the debris they collected 20 thousand kilos of kelp, as well as half a ton of pollutants, objects that are mostly materials such as plastics, aluminum and glass in which they will all find a proper final destination.

In the case of the seaweed (kelp), this being an organic natural product, with the supervision of the staff of the Directorate of Environment and Ecology, will be buried on the coast in a remote location to not affect the process of spawning of sea turtles that arrive to the island during this nesting season as well as to avoid to damage the image of the beaches.
Officials Hope to Expand Tourism with Birdwatching
Officials of Cozumel intend to extend the tourism infrastructure of Cozumel in environmental issues and with the intention of capturing visitors from high purchasing power such as nature lovers. A training workshop took place with the aim to have staff with sufficient knowledge to make guided tours to the Cozumeleñan jungle in search of different species of birds which 17 of these are endemic to the island.

Cristopher González Baca, director of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp), pointed out that this sector has not been exploited despite the fact that in the world exist interested high net-worth people who travel in search of birds, forming personal journeys in search of different species to collect photos. This takes place mostly in Europe, Canada, and United States. Therefore authorities recently developed a three-day workshop called "Bird watching training" taught by Barbara Mac Kinnon. She was accompanied by a specialist from Quintana Roo in these issues, Alexander Dzib .

Some of the endemic bird species to Cozumel are the Cuitlacoche, the Great Curassow, the Birreo, the Emerald Hummingbird and the Mangrove Warbler to name a few, but emphasizing that there are around 17 endemic species which the Island features and can be seen in its jungles which so far is still uncharted territory for tourists.

Another statistic which has been detected is that people within the age range from 30 to 50 years that do not travel to the island specifically for bird watching, but travel with the aim of diving, might set aside at least one day for bird watching , but the most affluent are people who are 50 or older.

A bird watching festival will be held in October and the training course aims to enable this type of tourism, whether short or medium term, to have this variant of tourism to offer, not just Sun and beaches or sports, but also for the eco-friendly category.
Cozumel to be Promoted in a World Wide Magazine
As part of the action to promote tourism in Cozumel and the Riviera Maya, the natural beauties, attractions of the island and services will be promoted through the magazine "Crossing Media", which has more than 125,000 subscribers around the world.

The municipal director of tourism, Juan González Castelán, stressed that one of the actions of the municipal President, Fredy Marrufo Martín, is to make efforts to boost tourism on the island. "That is why we will work in conjunction with the government to position the island before the eyes of the world. This publication /magazine will have international media crossings with a complete guide of 30 pages dedicated to the tourist destination Cozumel", stated the official.

"Crossings Media" magazine reaches nearly 50,000 subscribers in Mexico, and in general more than 125,000 worldwide, which engages mainly in travelers accustomed to experience different tourist destinations. He also added that attraction boasts Cozumel in the case of tourist eco parks Chankanaab and Punta Sur, as well as the local gastronomy, tours of the Main Avenue, monuments and fountains. The archaeological site of San Gervasio, Mayan culture, nightlife and the main beaches will be promoted in the tourist guide with other sites and activities.
Yet Another Illegal Construction on the Eastern Beaches
Urban development inspectors suspended the construction of a booth of wood to be used for sale of handicrafts in the eastern area that was being built without proper permission. The owner said he had received verbal permission to build. Andres Pavon Ramirez, former Chief of Prosecutors and the Coordinator of that Department, Libertad Tzuc Rosado, who coincidentally is a person who has been operating a grocery store on her property for several years without operating licenses, supposedly gave permission to build.

The decision came to suspend this sales booth located a few meters from the beach Chen-Rio, and the reason being: “They do not have any approved planning permission, and we are investigating if there is a permission that has been granted by any other municipal department for the construction" Stated an official.

Meanwhile, David Luciano Macho, owner of the module, argued that for 15 years he has been working as a street vendor paying his permits to the municipality and that he was authorized to build the hut of wood, ensuring that the offices of “Commerce Urban Development" gave him the authorization ( which is a non-existent instance), but clarified the matter to comment that he was personally authorized by Pavon Ramirez and Tzuc Rosado and that they were the two who authorized to construct a booth to display his goods.

Denying that there has been by a written authorization, Luciano Macho said: “they told me that I had all the support of the municipality to sell my merchandise with the same of the license I have had for 15 years, along with the 548 pesos monthly payment".
Mayan Ruin in Cozumel in Danger of Collapse
One of the Mayan ruins in the North of the island, known as "The Royal Castle" is in danger of collapse and officials are asking for assistance to rescue the structure before it’s too late with the possibility of any pending hurricanes.

It seems that without authorization, one of the doors of the Mayan structure has been closed up with stones and cement. Now access has been totally closed to the Mayan structure. It remains unclear who was responsible for this attack and attempt at repairing one of the relics and archaeological roots that give identity to the island of Cozumel. It is worth mentioning that this ruin is not under the control of the Foundation of Parks and Museums.

Local Official, Efrain Flores Peraza, made a request to the appropriate authorities so that they may take on this issue and efforts can begin to maintain more security to be sure no one covers doors or alters the entire structure or function of this type of building, one of the most important ruins of the island of Cozumel. He asked people to join forces just in case authorities of INAH are not interested. Island officials state that: “we need to avoid groups on the island who will donate cement, get a bricklayer and repair that error on their own, which could be more harmful than beneficial.
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December 24, 2014 (Most Recent) Comprehensive Mexico Travel Warning
Because we are continually asked about travel safety in Mexico and Cozumel, INSIDER always maintains the most recent, complete version of the U.S. State Department Mexico Travel Warning HERE on our website for traveler convenience.

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

The Mexico Travel Warning dated December 24, 2014 from the Department of State can also be viewed in its entirety on the Department of State website.

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