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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of February 1, 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.

We appreciate hearing from our readers and welcome your questions, suggestions and comments. Please send them to:

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: 26 Ships this Week
01/31 - Numbers stay high this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals show 26 ships registered to dock for the initial week of February 2016. This is 2 less than the number of ships last week and 6 more than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season" number. As the high season remains in full force, an estimated 78,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ships leaving an estimated US$ 6.2 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 10 ships docking there, 10 ships will also dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 6 arrivals and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- arrivals with passengers tendering in.

This week begins with 7 ships docking on Monday, 2 on Tuesday, 5 ships Wednesday, 4 on Thursday, 6 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 2 ships in port and Sunday will see -0- ships in port.

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Cozumel Carnaval 2016 Events Are Underway!
Carnaval 2016 - Be Here!
Cozumel Carnaval 2016 is OFFICIALLY underway this week!!

February 3 - 10, 2016

This past weekend of pre-Carnaval events ended with the election of the Carnaval Kings & Queens in the Kids, Teens and Sexual Diversity Categories. To kick off Cozumel Carnaval 2016, coronation of the Royal Court will take place this week, as well as all sorts of dance and costume contests which will be fun to watch for everyone! Saturday night and Sunday night the first parades shut down the beachfront street (Melgar) for hours as thousands of islanders and visitors come out to enjoy the festivities. Be sure and be one of them!! .

Check out the 2016 Carnaval Calander of Events ~ for an idea of all the fun things going on!

Say Goodbye to Free Cellphone Usage in Archaeological Sites
To enter a tourist location with a cell phone or mobile device is common these days. "Selfies" have become popular with tourists visiting the Caribbean Sea or the Archaeological monuments. However, to enter the ruin site of Tulum with your camera will cost money this year.

“The application of a charge for the use of mobile phones and tablets in addition to non-professional photography or video cameras in the interior of the walled enclosure generates controversy and discomfort among tourists, especially national visitors” said Julio Villagómez Villalobos, a representative of a group of tour guides which operate on the archaeological site of Tulum. The measure was already contemplated within the rates authorized by 2016, but its application has not had been given so far in Tulum. Villagómez Villalobos said that it is not the best decision to apply it because in this day and age, the technological device is the best tool of free publicity that we have.

The rate to be collected is 45 pesos which added to the cost of the 65 peso ticket is not wise for the economy of the domestic tourist travelling with limited funds. The application of the fee will be delayed but there is no chance that it will be suspended since the law has been published in the official journal of the Federation and approved by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. The interviewee felt that this measure might inhibit the entrance to the monument’s zone by national passers-by, in contrast to the foreign visitor that arrive.

So far the number of visitors in these early days of January has dropped in contrast to the 10,000 to 15,000 people who entered in the last days of December. Around 3,000 have entered so far in 2016 and of these, few hire the service of guided tours, but this figure remains within the normal range of tourist arrivals in this period.
Construction on Access Road to Passion Island Begins
“The project of construction of the road leading North to Passion Island has be carefully planned and will abide to all environmental regulations”, said Humberto Antonio Suárez Castillo, Director of Public Works of the City of Cozumel. The official said that the paving of the 4.5 km access road will begin the first week of February and will have an investment of 90 million pesos. He explained that this project, which aims to pave a dirt road up to the Northern end of the island, was developed in conjunction with representatives of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp) and therefore we can say that the environmental aspect is well taken care of.

The construction is comprised of 2 stages by the characteristics of the terrain, according to the regulations of the organization Protected Natural Area (PNA). The first stage goes from Golf /Country Club to the San Miguelito Cárcamo CAPA, where the city’s sewer water is processed. This comprises of about 2,000 linear meters where concrete will be placed hydraulically and will feature a bike lane and lighting with solar panels. Special water channels must be considered in this area for the fauna that live there and therefore cautious steps will be taken. The channels will also serve for water flow.

The second portion of the road will continue from CAPA to the pier at Bahia Ciega, adjacent to Passion Island. This portion of the pavement will have a type of concrete with specifications that allow leaks. "It is a permeable concrete and this section will not have lighting or a bicycle path" stated the Official.

The proposal was endorsed by Conanp and one of the important points is that the road will be 7 meters wide in its widest parts and about 4 or 5 meters in its narrowest parts.
Archaeology and Astronomy to Attract Cultural Tourism to Cozumel
Diversity of Archaeological sites, the role it played as Astronomical Observatory and Centre of Pilgrimage of the Mayan Culture, among other things will help to promote the arrival of cultural tourism to Cozumel. Also, today this municipality has one of the most modern planetariums in the country.

A statement from the local Council pointed out that Cozumel is a privileged place that deserves to be promoted and become known for their great contribution to the Mayan culture. Therefore, there is the interest to continue working on this issue with the support and monitoring of the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).

Local authorities and Archaeoastronomy professionals gathered in the nation's capital to give continuity to the work undertaken with UNESCO, which seeks to promote cultural tourism in the island. Cozumel was represented at the International meeting "Right to the Dark Skies" that took place in Mexico City last month. The Mayor of Cozumel was invited to the International meeting organized by UNESCO.
Cozumel's Lifeguard Huts Re-built
After several years in abandonment, finally the lifeguard huts of Cozumel began rehabilitation which should be completed by February 4, the “Day of the Lifeguard”.

Melissa Ivette Angulo Gámez, Director of Urban Development and Ecology of the City Council, spoke about this project that is already underway to dignify the spaces that water rescuers use during their working hours. The official said that if weather conditions allow it, three booths strategically placed in the busiest beaches will have been inaugurated this week. The Beach at San Martin has been given the most attention since it is the most popular and crowded public beach in the eastern part of Cozumel.

A Lifeguard on duty said that he was glad to see that attention was finally given to improve these areas and that the Lifeguards appreciate that. They claim that not only does it allow them to do their job more efficiently but it also improves the image of the destination to local, national and foreign visitors.

The Lifeguard Corps was created in 2005 and began with 22 Lifeguards.Today there are only 8 members because the wages and benefits offered by the hotels on the island have forced them to emigrate to improve their incomes and the standard of living for their families. The last time that their salaries were increased was in 2007 .The finances of the City Council have always been the main argument to not increase their salaries, which also causes little interest for any candidate to join their ranks.
No Reported Cases of Zika in Cozumel
Authorities of the Ministry of Health, as well as various doctors that are at the forefront of the medical institutions in Cozumel have agreed that there have been no cases of Zika , and that they are working together to act in the event that this illness should be detected.

In the General Hospital, the Mexican Social Security Institute, as well as the Institute of Social Security to the Service of the State Workers (ISSSTE), physicians agreed that there have been no cases of patients that may be infected with this ailment. Pointing out that as in the cases of classic dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever, this illness must be reported to the Secretariat of Health of Quintana Roo.

The Health Department in the municipality is always working with actions to combat the breeding grounds of mosquitoes, in addition, they are implementing actions with the "Healthy House" program, which urges officials to work with permissions to access to the courtyards of houses and thus eliminate the reservoirs of water where the transmitter mosquito could proliferate.

The most common symptom of the Zika virus infection is fever, which although in some cases it could not become extremely high. This could be accompanied by joint pain and possible red spots on the skin that may be slightly elevated and that does not itch. The rash usually starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body. Another common symptom in affected patients is ocular redness, or even conjunctivitis in both eyes, but without the presence of pus. Those infected could experience vomiting, abdominal pain, or diarrhea. The general symptoms described are muscle pain, generalized fatigue and headache, sometimes behind the eyes. So it is recommended that if anyone at home has these symptoms, they should see a doctor for immediate attention.
Continuing Topic of Horse Drawn Carriages and Drug Testing
The subject of horse drawn carriages continues to be in the news again in the island, due to negligence that continues in this activity coupled with some accidents that have taken place and over the detection of drug use to the operators of these concessions.

The four Coachmen who tested positive for drug use in anti-doping exams may not work until they have gone to a detoxification clinic. The city will not allow the tourists to be put at risk and it is necessary to uphold the image of the destination. The director of Municipal Government, Ricardo Lizama Escalante, pointed out that in the anti-doping tests applied to operators of horse drawn carriages, three came out positive for marijuana use while one more was positive for both marijuana and cocaine. This situation makes it clear that this type of addiction is prevalent among the drivers.

He said that among the Coachmen who tested positive, three drivers and a concession owner lost their permits to operate and cannot work until they comply with provisions of the regulations and the agreement for the operation of buggies. Lizama Escalante noted that the Committee on transportation has the right to demand that the sanctioned Coachmen attend detoxification sessions so they can return to work and that they do not represent a risk for tourists.

The official pointed out that more tests of anti-doping will be done to the rest of Coachmen in addition to the owners of the concessions. All must conform to these standards and if they test positive, they will also undergo Detox sessions to avoid mishaps with the horses that pull the carriages.
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May 5, 2015 (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 {LINK Department of State website
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