Heads in the sand and empty pockets

April 11th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, Hotel groups, News, Sustainable tourism

Much ducking and weaving, much passing of the buck in evidence today as most of the local newspapers on sale in Cancún carried a story on the post-Wilma squabbling between hotel reps and insurers. I covered some of the background in January.

Insurance salesmen would probably squeeze their way into the top five in most polls of the least respected, least trusted professions – certainly where I come from. They are the perennial bad guys.

Now, I am not about to leap to their defence, but, all the same, while hoteliers may baulk as premiums skyrocket and insurers drag their feet to settle their dues, I believe they should share the blame as the cycle of build and…

That crazy ocean itch

April 10th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under News

Now is the time of year weeny stinging organisms begin to bloom in these waters, resulting in what locals call "aguas malas"; literally, ‘bad waters’.

Tulum; April 9th - photo: Chantelle TuckerThe larval form of the thimble jellyfish, or "dedalillo", is the culprit. Direct contact with skin – particularly in the friction areas of a swimsuit or bathing cap, or in body creases – can trigger the discharge of nematocysts, or ‘arrow cells’. The releasing toxins may cause skin affections, a little local pain and itching.

Around the Caribbean, the common wisdom specifically warns against ocean swimming between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day yearly, but the problem ‘window’ is often longer.

Lifeguards will usually know when the little buggers are most prevalent.…

Holy Passion

April 10th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún

After the season of fasting and penitence, for many in Mexico, Easter is a time for processions, altars, flagellations and realistic reenactments of the crucifixion.

Unrepentants flock to the beaches over Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Christmas, something I remember well when I lived on the Pacific coast of Michoacán.

Cancún will fill up this week, particularly from Thursday to Sunday. Many will bus in from neighbouring states, filling hotel rooms and the cinder-block rooms of friends and relatives in equal measure.

All in all, it’s an especially bankable time for taquerias and coctelerías and smaller restaurants in el centro.

Hotel occupancy and business fall off quickly the day after Easter, the end of high season.

Enchanted Isle

April 9th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Isla Mujeres, News

Photo: Maria de las MercedesThere’s no question Tammy Chase is enchanted by Isla Mujeres.

Meanwhile, Maria de las Mercedes took the photo on the right… and some others of the books, beads and batiks at  "Cosmic Cosas".

The used bookstore and internet café established by Molly Fisher and Genevieve Pritchard is a popular Avenida Matamoros hang-out on Isla Mujeres.

In brief…

April 7th -  Never again will there be a Hurricane Wilma – nor Katrina, Dennis, Rita nor Stan.

The five hurricane names from last year’s devastating storms have now been officially "retired" by the ‘hurricane committee’ of the World Meteorological Organisation, and will not reappear on the list of potential storm names that is otherwise recycled every six years - NOAA

In brief…

Neil MacLean has blogged afterwilma on his Travel PR blog. Cheers, Neil.

Splash!

April 5th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Photos, Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, March 26th - photo: Chantelle Tucker Come on in the water’s lovely…

Chantelle Tucker captured the turquoise-blue Caribbean Sea at Playa del Carmen on March 26th.

View the complete photo set on Flickr.

Reminded me of the crystal clear breaking wave captured by Alejandro Mejía Greene in Cancún last month. 

What a difference a day makes…

April 5th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

Beach recovery, Le Blanc, April 5th - photo: Jim Wehrle24 hours later… Le Blanc now has a beach.

These guys sure work fast.

This stretch of the beach was wiped out by Hurricane Wilma. You can see what little remained in this photo taken just last week by Nancy McElroy, who is, alas, now back home in Michigan.

View a slideshow of Jim Wehrle’s before and after photos from April 4th and 5th.

Cancún beach recovery enters home straight

April 4th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún

Beach recovery in front of Le Blanc, April 4th - photo: Jim WehrleThe beach recovery operation has now reached the Le Blanc Spa Resort.

Approx. 1 – 1.5 km left to go (view a map).

Thanks to Jim Wehrle, who took this photo early this morning from the Royal Sunset. View a larger version.

The Three Amigos

March 30th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under News

Despite feeling slightly uncomfortable about posting this so soon after my last (deeply troubling) post, I just couldn’t pass up on this one.

World Hum’s "Theodore Fez" dishes out style advice to the Fox/Bush/Harper three-way Cancún summit.

Ellen and Jim Fields say more on their Working Gringos blog.

The mystery of Room 4134

March 30th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under News

Kimberly Kim and Cheryl Everall, the two unlikely suspects in the murder of two of their fellow Canadians on the Riviera Maya have appealed to Prime Minister Harper to speak on their behalf with President Fox, reports the Toronto Star.

Front page of The Windsor Star, March 1st, 2006Domenico and Annunziata Ianiero were found in their hotel room with their throats cut on February 2oth.

Right: the front page of the Windsor Star for March 1st.

Newspaper editorials in Canada have slammed Mexican justice (a bit of an oxymoron) and even urged Canadian travellers to consider avoiding the country.

That would be sad… and serious for Mexico; the country is the No.3 destination (after the US and UK) for tourists from Canada. Canadians…

Tropical fruit cocktail

March 30th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Hotel groups, Photos, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya

Franchise operation 100% Natural has a foothold on Fifth Avenue ("Quinta Avenida"), the main drag in Playa del Carmen (between Calle 10 & 12). It serves up veggie pastas & soups, and fresh fish, meat and poultry, which you can eat in their tropical courtyard garden.

Playa del Carmen, March 22nd - photo: Andy BuddChantelle Tucker (a regular in my posts here) shares out all the wholesome goodness in this set of photos.

Just south of Playa is Ikal del Mar, with thirty beautiful, thatched villas, scattered throughout its lush grounds (the hotel prides itself on the fact that no trees were cut down during its construction).

Brighton-based Andy Budd was a guest earlier this month. Andy’s…

Domestic tourism props up Cancún in wake of Wilma

March 29th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, News, Riviera Maya

As Cancún continues to rebuild and reinvent itself, a new study sheds some interesting light on how the hurricane’s impact has been felt in the resort.

Overall, the number of tourists staying in Cancún has fallen by 10 per cent since the October storm. But it could have been so much worse.

Playa del Carmen, March 2006  photo: Chantelle TuckerAn article [Spanish] in today’s La Jornada reports that researchers at La Salle University’s Institute of Tourism Research [website not available until April 3rd] in Cancún have identified that Mexicans themselves flooded in to nullify the slump in US visitors, whose numbers peeled back to a third of what they were before Wilma struck.

In the twelve months to January this year, domestic tourism…

In brief…

Bush joining spring breakers in CancúnChicago Tribune

Cancún in security lockdown for Bush visitReuters

Credit where credit’s due…

March 29th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, News

Cancún’s rapid recovey from Hurricane Wilma is being held up as a role model for other destinations to follow.

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organisation (WTO), Francesco Frangialli said yesterday: "…the speed and efficiency shown in the recuperation of Cancún should be used as a blueprint for other countries facing similar threats."

Monsieur Frangialli is now in Acapulco for the annual “Tianguis Turístico” jamboree.

I would have to agree with the WTO’s assessment. Are you listening Mr Bush?

Getting Cancún ready for future battles

March 28th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún, News, Weather

I think it was Theodore Roosevelt who said "Nine-tenths of wisdom is being wise in time."

Storm coming - photo: Daniel PembrokeFive months on from Wilma, I’ve detected signs that some people are beginning to wonder what may be in store this year. The hurricane season starts in June, which somehow suddenly now seems just around the corner.

Right on cue, Sean Mattson poses some questions about hurricane preparedness in Cancún in an article for the San Antonio Express. He remarks on how insurers have announced higher premiums and are now more demanding of construction quality. You may recall that I wrote about it in January.

As they say in the Caribbean…

"June too soon, July stand by,