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More Cancun Airport News, Speeding up Passport Control

In a move to speed up lines in the immigration halls at Cancun, Los Cabos and Mexico City airports, electronic quick check in booths for the use of Global Entry (US passport holders), Nexus (Canadian travelers) and Viajero Confiable (Mexican citizens) cardholders will be installed this winter. They will become operational some time next year and will make passport control and entry into Mexico a quicker process for travelers who are enrolled in these pre-registration programs.

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Red Cross in Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos now has a small Red Cross Clinic at the service of residents and visitors alike. This will improve health care in the community and help reduce response times to emergencies.

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Beach Cleaning

In our May newsletter we reported on the unusual amounts of seaweed that are washing ashore on beaches throughout the Mexican Caribbean. This is still occurring and is not confined to the state of Quintana Roo. The Caribbean islands and the Gulf coast of the United States are having similar experiences.

Beach cleaning is being carried out on a daily basis in Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and other resort areas such as Akumal, Tulum and Mahahual. In the third week of July, the Federal Government authorized additional funds for Municipal governments to hire more people to clean the beaches and conservation groups, soldiers and people from all walks of life are also volunteering to help remove the seaweed that washes ashore.

As it is sea turtle nesting season seaweed is being removed manually on beaches where there are nests in situ. There are restrictions on heavy machinery that could damage nests and crush the eggs. Most of the hotels in Cancun participate in the turtle protection program and transport the eggs further up the beach to special enclosures or turtle nurseries, diggers are permitted during the morning and not at night when turtles are emerging to lay their eggs. In Puerto Morelos, diggers are also operating on beaches that are not turtle nesting sites.

Municipal authorities are working with local biologists on a cleaning and disposal plan for the seaweed. Once the salt has leached out it can be composted and used as a fertilizer. In Puerto Morelos, some of the seaweed removed from the beaches is being deposited in an old quarry and it will eventually be used in the parks and gardens. In other areas, the seaweed is being buried in the dunes and the soil formed will boost plant growth and help protect the shoreline from erosion.

Government officials are also in contact with experts from universities in the United States who are monitoring floating patches of seaweed and the ocean currents that transport them north through the Caribbean. As yet the origin of this year’s bloom is still unclear.

There are several theories about what is causing so much seaweed. Increasing sea temperatures due to climate change and excessive nutrients in the water from fertilizers and waste water may cause seaweed to proliferate. Other scientists believe that it may be one of the environmental impacts of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is important to note that the seaweed is completely harmless and it is also a haven for many creatures such as shells, tiny crabs, baby turtles and fish.

We will keep you posted on the seaweed and plans to clean the beaches.


Cancun seaweed

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Restoring the Puerto Morelos Wetlands

The State Government is preparing a project to restore the wetlands of Puerto Morelos. The first stage is an in-depth study of the ecosystem and its health, identifying problem areas. This analysis is likely to take between five to seven months and once complete will dictate the measures to be taken.

This period will be followed by the rescue period of five to seven years. Actions will include reforestation with mangrove plants and other wetland plants. Water channels may also be opened in areas of the wetland that are now completely dry or where there is little or no circulation. In other areas where roads are planned, alternative routes may have to be proposed.

Source: Novedades

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Cancun Maya Museum Hosts To’on Exhibition on the Maya of Today

The Cancun Maya Museum is hosting a seasonal exhibition of photos and videos on the Yucatan Maya of today, their lives, culture and traditions. Through videos, they tell their own stories, relate the history of their people, their beliefs and their legends.

Located opposite Captain’s Cove restaurant, the Cancun Maya Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Monday. Admission is $59 pesos per person, which includes the tour of the museum, seasonal exhibitions such as this one and a visit to the adjacent San Miguelito archaeological site.

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Cancun Airport Expansion

Good news for Cancun visitors, the renovation of Terminal 3 at Cancun International Airport will be completed this year and work will begin on a fourth terminal.

Terminal 4 is scheduled to be finished by 2017 and will boost the airport’s passenger handling capacity to 25 million people per year. In 2014, 17.4 million international and domestic passengers used the airport, a 9.35 percent increase on 2013.

In other airport news, the Mexican Immigration Institute has announced that it will be adding more personnel and booths to the Immigration Area at Cancun and Mexico City airports in order to speed up the entry process for arriving passengers. To date, no time frame has been given for this upgrade.

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Flight News

Mexican carrier Interjet is offering two new daily flights from Cancun to Havana and Miami. Avianca will start flying from Lima, Peru to Cancun on July 26. In October, Sun Country Airlines will begin flying from Fort Myers, Spirit will cover the Houston –Cancun route and on December 18, Delta will launch a Seattle-Cancun service. Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines will also be adding Cancun to their flight network in 2016.

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Blue Flag for Cancun’s Beaches

Six of Cancun’s beautiful white beaches received Blue Flag certification in early July in recognition of the cleanliness of the sand, the quality and transparency of the water and the facilities offered for beachgoers. The international blue flag is now flying at Playa Delfines, Playa Ballenas, Playa Marlin, Chac Mool, Las Perlas and Playa El Niño. Elsewhere in the state, a popular bathing spot in Bacalar and Playa Posada del Mar on Isla Mujeres were also awarded Blue Flag status.
In terms of Blue Flags Cancun is the undisputed leader in Mexico and more Mexican Caribbean beaches, including Puerto Morelos, are preparing for the rigorous inspection process in 2016.

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Tourist Numbers on the Rise

In the first quarter of the year, Cancun welcomed 1,624,270 visitors, 5.8 percent up on the same period in 2014.
The countries showing the most significant growth rates in terms of numbers of visitors were:

Argentina 15%
Brazil 9%
Mexico 8%
Colombia 7%
United States 4%
Canada 3%
United Kingdom 3%
Chile 1%
Costa Rica 1%

Tourism earnings also rose and overall, the state of Quintana Roo received 3,740,497 visitors, a 5.9 per cent rise on 2014. The Mexican Tourism Board is also reporting that 10,482,000 international visitors traveled to Mexico during the first three months of the year.
In other news, the American Society of Travel Agencies (ASTA) announced that Cancun is one of the top four travel destination for US tourists this year, along with London, Rome and Paris.



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Museum of Prehistory Opens in Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos Cenote in the district of Tulum will have a new attraction for visitors this month, the Museum of Prehistory. The Museum will have exhibits of fossils found during dives in the cenotes and underground rivers in the Tulum area and replicas of some of the most famous finds such as the Woman of Naharon, a skeleton of a woman who died more than 10,000 years ago and was one of the earliest inhabitants of the Yucatan Peninsula. There is also a history of three decades of dive and archaeological explorations in the area.

Admission: $50 pesos per person


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Flamingo Conservation Group wins Mexican Ecology Award

Yucatan conservation group Niños y Crias A.C., has won the National Award for Ecological Merit 2015 for its 16 years of work with flamingos in Río Lagartos and Celestun.

Niños y Crias studies the flamingo colonies, monitors the health of the wetlands and works with coastal communities, giving environmental education seminars and organizing clean ups to remove garbage that may harm the birds and other species.

Thanks to its efforts and those of biosphere reserve staff, other conservation partners and the communities themselves, they have seen the flamingo population in the Yucatan rise from 4,500 to 22,000 in 2014.

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Amazing Mayan Discoveries in Tonina

Archaeologists studying the ancient Mayan city of Tonina near Ocosingo in Chiapas have released their latest findings. The city is twice as large as originally thought and they have identified several districts outside the royal palaces and priests quarters, including residential neighborhoods and administrative buildings. More than 300 hieroglyphic inscriptions have also been recovered and will help cast more light on the city’s history and its relations with rival cities in northern Chiapas, Campeche and Guatemala.

They also discovered that the Acropolis, a sprawling complex of temples on a hillside is actually much taller than originally thought. The hill is not a natural earth mound but is in fact a 240-foot-high pyramid with stone steps leading from the base to the summit. Later Tonina rulers chose to build over the structure, believing that they were consolidating their power by doing so.

This discovery now makes the Acropolis one of the tallest ancient buildings in the Americas.