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Yucatan News: Ferry? Is the Ice Safe?

News Starting April 11, 2011

Planned Pethood to Keep Cat Spay / Neuter Costs LowLow Cost Cat Spay and Neuter in Merida, Yucatan

As a service to the community, Planned Pethood has just announced that they will be keeping their prices for spaying or neutering cats level at $300 pesos for females and $200 pesos for males. We think that’s a bargain in anybody’s book. If you know of any cat in need of being spayed or neutered, please bring them in or pass this information on to their owners.
Address: Calle 10 #344 x 3 y 3-C, Gonzalo Guerrero
Phone: 944-23190 or 24 hrs: 999-156-9806
Website: Planned Pethood Mexico 

Sanctuary Evolucion Update

Although the Beer, Bingo, Botanas and Boogie Benefit has been canceled, the two shelters in Merida, AFAD and Evolucion can still use your help. You can foster a dog, support the Evolucion Dog Food Club or the Paws on the Pavement walking group, or volunteer at AFAD. Contact YAPA by reaching Debbie Moore at debobway [at] gmail [dot] com

Edith Wilson is Coming to MeridaEdith Wilson in Merida

Remember that great story about Merida that was circulating the internet a few weeks ago? Apparently there’s a story behind it… and Edith Wilson, the writer of that story and public policy analyst, will be coming to Merida to talk about it. The woman who wrote the widely circulated Washington Post article called, A Letter from the Other Mexico: Mexico Behind the Drug Violence. ended up meeting the president of Mexico and many other interesting people because of that article. Ms. Wilson will do a presentation and take your questions at the downtown school, Tecnología Turística Total (TTT) (Calle 57 No. 492 Entre 56 & 58 Colonia Centro). The event begins at 8 pm on Wednesday, April 13. Please come out and support the efforts to put fair journalism back in place. For more Information, you can call 928-3515.

Excitement Builds as Easter Vacation Nears

Every teacher can tell you that it is virtually impossible to teach any child anything the week before they are to get out of class for a week or a month. We suspect that the upcoming two weeks of Semana Santa may be behind some of the activities for school children this week in Yucatan. Throughout the entire state, we have chess tournaments, boxing tournaments, an Inter-kinder soccer tournament, marching bands, and more. High school queens are being crowned and students are working on dengue fever prevention. In Tzucacab, student volunteers were trained to give rabies vaccinations and went door to door, ultimately vaccinating 90% of all the dogs and cats in their municipality. All that energy has to go somewhere and the State of Yucatan wisely spends it on activities that will help the children grow into productive citizens and ensure the future of the State. Everyone is proud of Yucatan’s children and all they do to make their state the best place on Earth to live.

Motul’s Community Development ProgramLuna Del Oriente furniture in Merida Yucatan

As we age and watch those who are going before us, it often occurs to us that, as they pass away, they take knowledge and viewpoints with them that are going to be lost to us forever. Not in Motul. This past week, The City Council of Motul approved $500 pesos per month for each of 185 senior citizens if they will agree to give talks about their life experiences and perform other social work activities, such as teaching crafts classes. Motul is also providing certified teachers as tutors for 480 students during their summer break (parts of July & August). The subjects in which they will receive tutoring include Math, English, Reading and Sports. They will also be providing parenting classes, with special emphasis on the teen years. Motul has a community development plan and they are leaping forward every single day. Our congratulations to everyone who is lucky enough to live in Motul.

Yes-But… Is the Ice Safe?

There is an old tourist story that the ice in your drink will give you Montezuma’s revenge. Well, not so in Merida. With the holidays and the heat of summer upon us, state inspectors have redoubled their efforts to monitor water quality and sanitary conditions in Merida’s ice plants. Lest anyone think they are not effective, they shut down 6 plants last year and stuck them with hefty fines. As a result, all they have found this year is one little crack in one cooler in one ice plant. Otherwise, water quality and sanitary conditions are just fine. This is great news for not only the people of Yucatan, but for our visitors as well. We hope everyone has a wonderful time this Spring!

Tabasco’s New Oil FieldYucatan Lots - beach lots at reasonable prices in the Yucatan Mexico

As everyone knows, Mexico has been putting forth an all out effort to find new supplies of domestic oil and gas for the past four years. This week, an experimental well in Tabasco exceeded all expectations when it began producing 3,700 barrels of oil per day and 8 million cubic feet of gas. The field is located about 6 miles from Comalcalco, which is about 45 miles northwest, toward the coast, from Villahermosa. The well began producing at 23,357 feet. According to PEMEX, approximately 5.7 billion gallons of crude have been discovered in the past 4 years and total reserves, as they stand now, are good for 31.1 years of production. This new field is great news for Mexico of course, but also for the economy in Tabasco because of the hundreds of direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs it will create. Tabasco tourism is already big business, so this will finish putting this little known state at the head of the line of “go to” places in Mexico.

More Breathalyzer Stops During Holidays

It has a big name – State Program for the Prevention of Accidents, administered by the Department of Public Safety Management, which is part of the Mexican Road Safety Initiative, which is under the National Center for the Prevention of Accidents (phew!). What that means is: Don’t drink and drive, Do wear your seat-belt, Do wear a helmet if you are on a motorcycle or scooter, and Don’t exceed the speed limit. In other words, the next two weeks of Semana Santa will be holiday weeks. Yucatan wants everyone to enjoy themselves and make it home safely.

Dengue Fever and "Patio Limpio" (Clean Patio)
Summer brings mosquitoes and the risk of dengue fever. To help alleviate this risk, the State has asked the people to please clear away anything in your yards that might provide a place for mosquitoes to breed. In outlying parts of the state, state workers will be going door to door and will be happy to take away anything that holds water and has the potential to breed mosquitos. This includes old buckets, old flower pots, and other debris. Good screens and a clean patio (Patio Limpo) will go a long way toward ensuring that the rates of dengue fever continue to fall in Yucatan.

News from Fresh Plaza (International Produce News)Yucatan Produces to be Exported

We found a wonderful website this week that gave us a bit of insight into what’s going on in the global fresh produce and banana industry. The following were the topics of two bulletins that have to do with our agricultural exports from the east coast of Mexico. It looks as though even international disasters cannot stop the forward movement of agriculture in Mexico.

  • In 2010, the Port of Progreso moved 54,000 containers overseas and expects to move 70,000 containers in 2011. Produce shipped to the U.S. and Europe included: habanero chili, grapefruit juice concentrate, tangerine, sweet orange and lemon.
  • Veracruz exports 20% of its lemons to Japan. Since the tsunami, trade in foods – especially in produce – has been stopped, but the U.S. is taking the lemons that would have gone to Japan and trade links are being developed with European companies as well.

Do Ants Get in Your Hummingbird Feeder? Try This.
While most of the migrating hummingbirds have headed north for the summer, there are still a few that stick around in Yucatan, so we thought we would give our readers a link to an article that has loads of simple tips for the care and feeding of hummingbirds, including a list of great flowers that attract them. The best tip on the page, for those of us who live in Yucatan, is to keep ants off of our hummingbird feeders by wrapping the feeder’s hanger in duct tape with the sticky side out. If you would like to read the entire article, you can find it here.

Ongoing Problem: Unlicensed B&B’s

Current estimates are that there are approximately 30 unlicensed B&B’s in the State of Yucatan. Many of these businesses were begun when foreigners remodeled large homes and thought it would be a good idea to just try out the concept of a B&B. However, this practice has now reached the point where it is unfair to the licensed B&B and hotel owners. Three percent of their tax burden is reserved, by the State, to pay for tourism promotion. This means that the unlicensed B&B owners are getting free advertising, worldwide, and wonderful local services for their guests – all on the pesos of those who follow the rules and pay their taxes. If you are coming to Yucatan and plan to stay in any of our wonderful B&B’s, please make certain that it is licensed. That will level the playing field and make for a better business environment for owners and a better vacation environment for all of our visitors. And if you have an unlicensed B&B, you might prepare for a visit.

Questionnaire for Possible Ferry

Fernando Pereira, the Commercial Manager of the Port of Progreso, is in charge of developing the ferry project and will be meeting with investors next week.  (Here’s an article explaining more about it from a Tampa newspaper.) He needs as much information as possible to present to the investors as there is renewed interest in starting this ferry as soon as possible. Fernando Pereira would like to have as much information about the potential users of the ferry as possible before attending the meeting this week. Please answer this questionnaire and then forward it to all your expat contacts who live anywhere in the Yucatan and any and all American and Canadian snowbirds you know.

You can reply by email to tamarainprogreso [at] gmail [dot] com and answer the following questions:
1.  How many people are in your "group"?
2.  How many months of the year do you live in the Yucatan?
3.  Will you use a ferry service if it is available from Tampa, FL to Progreso, Yucatan?
4.  If so, how many times a year would you use this service?
5.  Will you bring a vehicle on the ferry?
6.  If so, what kind of vehicle?  IE.  car, SUV, RV, motorcycle
7.  Are you interested in cargo shipment?
8.  Are you interested in pet service?
9.  Do you want your email address on a mailing list with news of the ferry service and other Progreso news?

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24 Responses to “Yucatan News: Ferry? Is the Ice Safe?”

  1. This would be very exciting. I would think that the cost would be far less than people having to find airfare. I have a son who does not or will not fly. Living on Isla Mujeres, I often look out over the Caribbean and make a wish that he could come here. Merida is such a huge historical place to visit. We could do that and show him the Yucatan on the way to and from. It would be another route in to Mexico that people could afford. I’m all for it.

  2. This may not be the right place to mention this, but what the heck?

    Would anyone from any of the pet spaying charities want to drop in on the sweet lady at Barro y Barro (in Col Felipe Carrillo Puerto) and offer to neuter her cats? She obviously loves the cats and they obviously love her, but there are just so many and more on the way. One pregnant female and at least a dozen little newborns in a corner – 2 or 3 litters worth! They’d all be happier if the cats were neutered and cat food money would go farther.

    There are so many, it would probably be difficult for her to afford, but I’d happily PayPal money or contribute somehow to stemming the tide.

  3. I am moving to Merida in May and looked for a service like this for months in hopes of finding something. In the process I found hundreds of people online looking for the same service…especially those living in the southeastern states of the U.S. It would allow them to be able to bring vehicles with them to that area of Mexico without having to drive through the entire country which is not only dangerous but would take considerably longer. If this service ends up getting started, I will definitely be going back to the states to bring my car. I think it’s a great idea!

  4. Ferry service.
    I answered the questionaire and my email to tamarainprogresso [at] gmail [dot] com was returned by postmaster. Coud you check if this is the correct email? I would love to add my imput the more positive comments the better chance there is for this service to take off.
    I think the ferry is a great since I drive from Louisiana round trip once a year and this route is getting scary.

  5. We are getting ready to move to Progreso and have been dreading the thought of the drive. We are hoping that you may also be able to bring pets, does anyone know? We are from New Orleans, and this would be blessing.

  6. It does sound exciting and we completed the survey. Does anyone know how long of a trip it would be and what the approximate cost might be?

  7. Wow!! have not been in your website in a long time!!! A ferry from Progreso to Florida?? I would be also interested from Florida to progreso, can you imagine!! no flying just driving!! love it! love it! love it!

  8. You might want to think twice about driving through NE Mexico.

  9. The previous ferry operation from Tampa area to Progreso was about three days long, if I remember correctly. It only operated for a few months. But there are quite a few more snow-birds and beach homeowners these days so maybe their ticket selling will be stronger this time?

  10. You might want to think twice about driving in Chiapas as well.

  11. Please do try again… you are spelling the email wrong. “Progreso” is spelled with only one “s”.

  12. To be honest, we were a bit worried before we set out. But we, and many others we have talked to, have driven through there with no incident recently.

  13. The Narcos are really only targeting other gangs, still.

    The incidents on the buses regarded a competing cartel that was said to be shipping members into the area to fight with the Zetas. With the Zetas’ zeal to prevent that, a lot of innocent people were kidnapped from buses and killed.

    But there was a target and that target was not vacationing or traveling Americans. It was members of other cartels. Unless you look like a member of another cartel, it is unlikely that there is a risk. Unless you drive a vehicle type that is desirable to Narcos, they don’t care about you. (vehicle types: large pick-ups, particularly 4-dr; large SUVs, particularly in dark colors and newer models).

    The whole countryside is not engaged in active warfare. But there are scary incidents that should cause people to take sensible precautions. Until the latest government warning, Brownsville/Matamoros was considered the safest or best travel route and border crossing. The government warning was issued following the bus kidnappings.

  14. I also was thrilled to hear that there may be a ferry from Florida to Yucatan. My husband and I are planning a trip or more down to see if living there is doable for us. As we have family in Alabama this would be fantastic. I too was not looking forward to driving everything around the long way.

  15. When you say drive through “there”, I am not sure if you are referring to NE Mexico or Chiapas. If it is NE Mexico, you are flying in the face of a US State Department warning, which is no small thing. I was born in Brownsville, Tx and my family has lived there for a 150 years. No one would even think about crossing the river for lunch today, much less drive through the state. Chiapas is obviously very dicey.

    What this all means is that Merida is becoming an island in every sense of the word. How long this will last is anybody’s guess…

  16. Regardless of your fears, many people drive through “there” (meaning Tamaulipas) and through the country all the time.

    The US State Department routinely issues “warnings” about foreign countries for things which happen every day in the USA without equivalent uproars.

    Mexico, for example, does not have children shooting children in schools. Foreign embassies have issued warnings about travel to Florida — yet millions of Americans continue to do so. Foreigners too.

    The US has many drug killings, but the national total is not reported every day. Actually, the national total of drug killings in the US is *never* reported. Yet it is for Mexico, leaving a false impression.

    As far as Chiapas, one guy got in one argument with a crowd of people. That does not mean the whole of the population is hostile. Thinking so is reasoning from the specific to the general, which is a fallacy of logic. In other words, faulty conclusion.

    The articles linked are isolated examples, not the experience of a majority or even a significant minority of the population. There are vicious killers in the USA also. There is a serial killer, NOW, in New York City. Should all tourism to NYC end?

  17. It’s terrible that some people are assaulted and robbed and generally terrorized by bandits and the like, but i have just driven without incident through the NE section of the country; we crossed at Reynosa and then came to the Yucatan through the highlands of Chiapas. We left the US early in the morning and were well out of Tamaulipas before dark. In the NE and in Chiapas, i try to stick with other vehicles. i’m very careful, but don’t want to get stuck on an island.

  18. Just checked my records again and noticed that we didn’t manage to leave the state of Tamaulipas the first night, but did make it far into the south, almost in Veracruz, before sundown. Sorry for misinformation.

  19. The trip by ferry to/from Tampa is 36 hours, a day and a night. And the ferry terminal in Tampa is well-located and easy to get to on the east side of the city. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed, and send in that survey.

  20. Lopo, 36 hours is a heaven-sent!

    My bus trip back to the states took 72 hours due to a problem with the engine.
    I dream of being back in the Yucatan every night but dare I take another couple of buses? I don’t think I can do another 3 day bus trip again for a while … I’m in Florida right now and would love a ferry ride back to my ‘real’ home rather than 3 days to and through Texas and 3 days to the Yucatan. Ay mama!

  21. I do so hope they start the ferry between Tampa and Yucatan… I have Friends there and would use the ferry to visit them…as well as they being able to visit us. I know they and friends are all hoping! Keeping my fingers crossed!!

  22. Is there any news on a ferry from Florida to Mexico? We live in hope!

  23. Kitty, no news yet. Believe me, we’ll let you know if we hear anything! :-)

  24. Living in Cancun since 1992. We were on that last ferry that left in 2003. It was a great send off. Prior to, and since, we have made the five day car trip to Tampa five times. Now we are back to flying. Should this ferry start again we will sure be on it. From the Port of Tampa to our Florida home is a 40-minute drive.


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