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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of February 23, 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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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: 28 Ships this Week
2/22 - Numbers remain high this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals reach 28 ships registered to dock for the fourth week of February 2015. This is 1 more than the number of ships last week and 8 more than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season." With High Season now upon us, an estimated 84,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ships leaving an estimated US$ 6.7 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." However it seems this year, Cozumel is enjoying a much welcome early beginning to high season!

This week Puerta Maya pier will be the big economic winner as 12 ships dock there, 9 will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 7 arrivals and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- ship arrivals.

This week begins with 6 ships docking on Monday, 6 on Tuesday, 3 ships Wednesday, 5 on Thursday, 6 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 2 ships in port and Sunday will see -0- ships in port.
Cozumel Enjoys Final Carnaval 2015 Celebration
Carnaval 2015 - Be Here!

Cozumel Carnaval 2015 officially came to a close this past week with the burning of Juan Carnaval on Wednesday night marking another successful year of an island tradition that has lasted more than 140 years (since 1874)!!

February 11 - 17, 2015

Once more, Cozumel’s Boardwalk was crowded with thousands of local Carnaval participants, as well as both national and foreign tourists. Over 72 floats and several dozen dance groups passed by for a memorable experience in the third and final parade on Tuesday night.

Wearing a spectacular red & black sequin formal coat and top hat costume, The new host for Carnaval 2015, Memo-Memo el Mero-Mero Carnavalero Sr. Memo Lara, opened the parade followed by the official Carnaval ballet. This paved the way for Queen Ana Pau and King Gabriel who gave their all on this last tour of more than five kilometers of Cozumel’s beachfront. Following them were all the remaining Kings and Queens including the Teens and Kids. Highlighting the presentation were the Special King Elias and Queen Gina. Their float included children with disabilities showing that Cozumel Carnaval is a party for all.

Characters such as Minions, Egyptian Pharoes, African Kings, the Frogs, Poker People, the Vasos as well as clowns, mermaids, Spiderman and others, were just some of the costumes seen in the Carnaval parades this year. Most restaurants located on the main Avenue with prime parade viewing spots were sold out. And almost everyone was recording this memorable event with cameras and videos.

Also participating in the parades was Cozumel’s Mayor Fredy Marrufo Martín who was joined by his wife Georgina Ruiz de Marrufo, as well as their twin sons Santiago and Gerardo, who danced and enjoyed family and traditional festivities. In addition, Saturday's parade featured Alejandra Guzman riding a Royal Float just prior to her concert performance later that evening at the masquerade competition and dance.

Check out the 2015 Carnaval Calander of Events for an idea of all the fun things that happened!

See the latest photos from ALL the Carnaval Events for 2015 plus over 10 years of Carnaval archives!

For minute to minute photo postings made during the events (fewer pics) visit our Cozumel Carnaval Facebook Page! Be sure to "LIKE" and FOLLOW our Cozumel Carnaval Facebook page, too!

NOTE: Since we were IN the parades again this year and I'm a bit behind, LOTS of photos still being uploaded ~ check back frequently to see if YOU made our photos!
Carnaval Parades Generated 8 Tons of Garbage Daily
Plastic, paper, aluminum, cardboard and food are part of the waste the General Service staff collected on Cozumel’s main Avenue Rafael E. Melgar following the conclusion of Carnival parades.

A group of 60 employees from the city collected about eight tons of waste per day which went directly to the landfill due to the lack of recycling protocol. Armed with brooms, shovels and wheelbarrows, workers collected what carnival-goers left along the four kilometer route from the Quintana Roo Park to the Airport Boulevard.

At the beginning of the week they were expecting about six tons of waste but that amount was exceeded by 25%, says one of the workers, who requested anonymity. An observation made by another worker stated that between 70 and 75% of the waste generated in the area is recyclable but had to go directly to the landfill.
London Promotes "Under the Waters in Cozumel" Exhibit
The “London Dive Show” LIDS celebrated the “Under the Waters of Cozumel” exhibition featuring nature photographer Yibran Aragon on February 14th and 15th in London ,England.

LIDS is the most important diving fair in the United Kingdom which is held at the Excel Convention Center with more than 300 exhibitors and a wide range of international speakers. Definitely Cozumel was an important part for the promotion of Mexico for people who visited the event.

The “Under the Waters of Cozumel" exhibition was presented for the first time on October 23, 2012 at Inter Lomas Plaza in the city of Mexico followed by a tour of different locations during the years 2013 and 2014. This year the effort was part of the celebration of the Year of Mexico and the United Kingdom. Twenty photographs depicted the richness of the Mesoamerican reefs of Cozumel Island. The idea was a strategic promotion through art in order to publicize the Festival of diving in Mexico’s "Cozumel Scuba Fest" which will celebrate its fourth edition in 2015 and is the meeting point of great divers to enjoy 4 days of diving conferences and networking events with Jean Michel Cousteau being the Ambassador of the event.

During the two days of LIDS, important contact was made with divers wishing to visit Mexico for a new diving experience, in addition, the interest of the diving centers of the United Kingdom joined in the sale and promotion of Cozumel Scuba Fest with great enthusiasm thanks to the Organizing Committee. Visitors were encouraged attend the Scuba Fest event in Cozumel from the 8th to 13th of December 2015.

The United Kingdom is one of the most important markets for Quintana Roo and the effort to promote Cozumel is very important, especially Cozumel’s Scuba Fest 2015.
Cozumel's Main Avenue Closed for Public Works
Cozumel’s main avenue Rafael E. Melgar will be closed for the construction of storm water drainage corresponding to the works in progress of the Central Parque Benito Juarez. Public works estimates that this task will be completed in approximately four weeks.

Circulation will be closed starting from Adolfo Rosado Salas. The South to North lane will be closed to vehicle traffic and two weeks later North to South. Work on the storm water drainage has an investment of 95 million pesos which will serve to direct rain precipitation water directly to the sea.

Avenida Rafael E. Melgar is the main artery of the city and the section in which the work will take place is between Avenida Juarez and First Street. Every day thousands of tourists from cruise ships as well as those who arrive by ferry from Playa del Carmen pass this area. The city will do the best they can to make this as small of an inconvenience as possible
New Ferry Company a Big Success
The new ferry boats connecting Cozumel with Playa Del Carmen have initiated activities and are sweeping the duopoly Molina-Ultramar. The ferry boats Mexico and Ultramar are coming out of the maritime terminal almost empty. Management reports that the boats are leaving with about 80 people aboard while the new Barcos Caribe ships depart filled up with more than 200 passengers.

According to information provided by service providers, regional tourism from the cities of Cancun, Carrillo Puerto and Chetumal will now generate important income when they ask about the traveling cost to visit Cozumel and can even buy diving tours, rent bikes or cars. This proves quite beneficial since we are in high season.

Within the first two days of activities of the Barcos Caribe, the supply and demand for travel to Cozumel has soared considerably mainly with tourists and even locals who travel to and from the island for work or personal reasons. This is generating a considerable economic benefit. According to the service providers and vendors of tours in the area, the sale of tours and tourist activities on the island of Cozumel has increased considerably, due to the entry of the new shipping company.
Diving With Bull Sharks in Playa Del Carmen
Diving with Bull sharks has become a potential weapon of tourism to the city of Playa Del Carmen to the extent of generating 2 million dollars annually according to calculations of Saving Our Sharks (SOS) environmentalists.

A Manual of good practices for diving with that species will be presented tentatively at the end of March and the creation of an exclusive area for that activity. Louis Lombardo Sifuentes, project coordinator of SOS, stressed that the Manual is the product of participation of biologists who are part of that organization and of the masters 'dive' to guide tourists who dive. “It is a conglomeration of everything that was proposed by those who are engaged in the activity which includes international experts, divers and biologists."

Basically the document advises what to do and what not to do when diving with the shark such as the distances that must be maintained, the behavior of tourists towards animals and protocols that divers should practice to develop a risk-free activity. The proposed diving area is located in Playa Del Carmen, 400 meters to the East from the point of the Avenue Constituyentes Pier. David Galeana Garcia, port captain pointed out that navigation cannot be prohibited in this area, so it is best is to put a buoy signal so that boat captains will take precautions.

To date, 23 sharks have sonic tags and two more with satellite tags. Signals transmitted show the presence of sharks from Cancun to Akumal.
Cozumel and Mahahual -Principal Cruise Ship Destinations
Cozumel and Mahahual were considered as the main destinations of Mexico cruises last year, and that’s because it has the necessary infrastructure to receive the floating hotels.

The general coordinator of Ports and Merchant Marine of the Secretariat of Communications and Transport, Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa, added that now the challenge is to create the conditions so that people can travel by boat at more reasonable prices.

In 2014, both piers of Quintana Roo captured 3.8 million tourists from cruise ships, which meant 70 percent of those who arrived in the country and that was achieved thanks to the fact that it boasts "superb" infrastructure of communications, hotels, services, transport, amenities, restaurants and shopping malls.
Quintata Roo Expects More Visitors to Ruin Sites in 2015
The archaeological sites of Quintana Roo will receive around 10% more visitors in 2015 compared with last year, according to estimates from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

In 2014, an average of one million 500 thousand people toured the archaeological sites. Around 60% were tourists from other countries, while the rest corresponded to national and local visitors. "The influx is going according to schedule. The overall increase of last year was 15% compared to 2013. Every year we grow by 8 to 10%", said Adriana Velázquez Morlet, delegate of the INAH in Quintana Roo. Mexicans receive free entrance to all archaeological sites on Sundays, while children, senior citizens and people with disabilities enter free of charge every day.

INAH will continue to carry out the necessary steps to perform maintenance and restoration of the 13 archaeological sites open to the public in Quintana Roo, as well as others that are kept closed, such as Ichkabal and Chakanbakán, both in the Southern part of the State. "We hope that we will not have to deal with budget cuts and that we can maintain the same budget ceiling which is about 25 million pesos," stressed the interviewee.

Mayan archaeological sites located in the southern part of the state are: Oxtankah, Dzibanche, Kohunlich, Kinichna and Chacchoben. In the municipality of Bacalar, work continues in the area known as Ichkabal, considered by archaeologists as one of the most important Mayan cities and whose exploration began only in 1995. The site is located about 40 kilometers from the municipality of Bacalar.
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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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