In this issue:
Hola! We're Back!
At long last we are back in Puerto Morelos and the Bookstore is open! We had quite a summer with a month of driving to Canada through the historic centre of Mexico, a few months of work there and then a long drive back, with a thirty day break in Argentina and Chile. We spent many days on the road and we're delighted to be back in our town. More details on our travels later in this newsletter.
It was a quiet summer in PoMo. There were no major storms. People that visited our town in the summer found quiet beaches, excellent diving and snorkeling and low prices. (Summer is a great time to visit Puerto Morelos)
At the bookstore we have thousands of new books on the shelf hundreds more waiting in boxes. We will be ordering books throughout the year, so we can do special orders for locals and keep our shelves fresh all season.
Everyone in your town is excited about the upcoming season and we are looking forward to seeing you here!
Check out our accommodations on our rental page. We are taking bookings for next winter already! (February and Christmas always book early)
As always, there have been a few changes in town, places open and close, see NEWS BRIEFS later in this newsletter.
Good news is that "The Girls", Daphne & Miki are back too. They had a busy summer up in Canada but are now enjoying life in Puerto Morelos.
To all, Feliz Navidad and we hope to see you in 2011...if not sooner!
This is newsletter is number 9-01, which means this newsletter is in its ninth year! For nine long years we have been giving you all the news and views of Puerto Morelos with a bit of humour and reasonably good spelling. We archive our old newsletters right back to issue one, so take a stroll through our past on our newsletter web page.
If you enjoy the newsletter, and according to the emails we get, many of you do, all we ask is that you support the town by buying a meal, a drink, a hammock or some other treasure and a book or two at Alma Libre Bookstore.
When we started all this back in 2002, there was very little information available on the town of Puerto Morelos, and what was available was out of date and sometimes insulting! We thought such a special spot on the Mayan Riviera deserved a little more attention, and if more travelers knew about it, they would include the PoMo in their vacations.
People are coming and more websites have sprung up with information about Puerto Morelos. Guide books like Lonely Planet, Frommer's, Rough Guide, Moon and Fodor's all sing the praises of our little town by the sea.
I know there is a temptation to try to keep Puerto Morelos a secret, but doing that will not help all the people in the town who rely on tourism to feed their families! So please tell everyone you know about Puerto Morelos and send them a copy of this newsletter...okay just tell the nice people you know!
Our friend Eric "The Retired Shrimp-Taco King of Puerto Morelos" closed his restaurant a few years back in order to go back to his first love, providing tours for visitors. He has started his own tour company called Ecab Explorer. His company is an excellent alternative to the large tour companies with their big buses and predictable tours...which always seem to end up in a bad souvenir store. Ecab Explorer works only with small groups. These are special tours with unusual itineraries created by Eric himself, inspired by many years of exploring our area. Tours are available to Coba, Ek Balam and Chichen Itza. He also has adventure tours with snorkeling, cenotes, ATV jungle tours and zip-lines. Tours are available in English, French and Spanish. No shrimp taco tours yet, but we're working on it. Check out Ecab Explorer online here.
The taxistas have done a nice service for the town. They have posted all their rates on a great big sign beside the taxi stand in the square. This is a great move and should help to eliminate any misunderstandings. Check the sign, confirm the rate with the driver and there will be no surprises. Here are some highlights (fares from the square).
20 pesos - The highway, Villas Morelos, Amar Inn, PlayaSol, Casa de los Viajeros, Villa Shanti
40 pesos - Ceiba, Rancho Sak-Ol
45 pesos - UNAM
50 pesos - Jungle Market/Spa, Villas Morelos II, Crococun, Botanical Garden
130 pesos - Playa Secreto
150 pesos - Cental Vallarta
300 pesos - Airport
600 pesos - Xel-Ha
2000 pesos - Merdia/Chetumal
We've changed our pricing system on used books at Alma Libre Bookstore. Instead of penciling in the price on the first page of the book, we've switched to a "dot system". Each used book will have a brightly coloured dot on the spine. The dot represents the price of the book, we have price guides all over the store. The dot system allows us to keep up with the fluctuating peso. We used the opportunity to lower our prices on hundreds of books all over the store. Check us out!
Bookstore Hours - We're open 7 days a week!
Once again Alma Libre Bookstore is open seven days a week. Monday through Saturday we are open 10am to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm. Sunday we are open 4pm-9pm. Hope to see you at the bookstore this season!
Jungle Market / Jungle Spa
Big things are happening in the Jungle again this year. Sandra and the Jungle Spa women have been rubbing visitors the right way all summer long. They are coaxing all-inclusive visitors out of their plush prisons to enjoy a taste of Mexico and life in the jungle.
The new palapa they have been saving money for all year is now completed, so they can handle more guests in more comfort. The palapa is in a peaceful spot surrounded by nature.
The famous Jungle Market will begin again December 26 at 10:00 am. There is a new show with lots of dancers and costumes. Show begins at 11:30. The market features items that are specially made by local families. You can't get these things anywhere else! Be sure to come to the market hungry, because the food is always the highlight.
The Jungle Spa has been so popular, they have expanded the days that it is open and are requesting that people make appointments either by telephone or email. This will ensure you don't waste any time waiting for your treatment.
To make an appointment, contact Sandra at (998) 208 9148 or Cell 044 998 180-5424 or by email through her website. Appointments are available Tuesday-Saturday and limited appointments may be available on Sunday. The spa is closed on Monday.
Many treatments are available, from manicures and pedicures to a luxurious aloe vera and banana leaf wrap and massage! (or a chocolate massage...does it get any better??) For men, there is the "Mayan Macho" massage. You've never had a massage like this!
Spa prices are much lower than you will find at your resort and proceeds go directly to the Mayan families that work at the spa and Jungle Market.
It's easy to get out to the jungle by car, taxi or collectivo. It's on Calle Dos (kie-yay dose) in the Zona Urbana, which is right behind the Colonia. Here's a map you can print out. Taxi to the jungle from the town square is 50 pesos. A taxi from nearby hotels is 150 pesos or $12 US each way. Tell driver you want to go to: Jungle Spa - Sandra (important to mention her name) Zona Urbana.
Remember, when you pamper yourself at the Jungle Spa or buy a unique gift
at the Mayan Market, you are directly supporting Mayan families! This is a very
worthwhile venture and we hope you will support it.
Just a reminder to visitors that there is no place to cash traveler's cheques in Puerto Morelos. The easiest way to get pesos is at the HSBC ATM (ABM) beside the supermarket on the square. If it is out of money, there is another machine at the intersection of the road to Puerto Morelos and the federal highway and another HSBC machine in the 7-11 by the gas station. There are also two ATMs in town that are not affiliated with banks. Two are at the mall across the square from the bookstore and another is at OXXO. Since these are not affiliated with a bank, the fees are much higher than the HSBC machine.
If you wish to cash a traveler's cheque, you can do it at the airport or in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. You will need your passport to cash a cheque.
Home and Condo Rentals
*By the way, it is not too early to start thinking about 2011. We are already booking next Christmas and February, March 2012. Don't miss out!
Owners! Contact us to get your FREE listing on our website.
Home and Condo Sales
If you have ever thought about owning a piece of paradise, this may be your opportunity. Some prices have actually come down, something we have not seen in eight years of living here.
Here are a few places we are featuring:
Find more places on the PoMo real estate section of our website: http://www.almalibrebooks.com/realestate.htm
Free Gift From Alma Libre Updated for December & January
For those of you still stuck up North, bring a small piece of Puerto Morelos to your home or office with our new Puerto Morelos Wallpaper. Beautiful of course, and practical too with December & January calendars built right in. .
We'll have new pictures available for download every month! Wallpaper is also available on our website at www.almalibrebooks.com.
Pick your wallpaper size:
Restaurant News: JJ’s Kitchen has opened on Avenue Rojo Gomez. It has mostly Mexican fare and is owned by the same people who brought you Cantina Habanero. Specialties include hard shell tacos, burritos and burgers.
A new place La Choza del Chaman has opened where Juicy Rosie's was located on Rojo Gomez just north of the square. The new place is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has a wide menu. It also has a gallery.
The internet cafe on Rojo Gomez (that used to be the French Kiss) is now a
Cockteleria called Cockteleria El Marino. I haven't seen the menu, but let's assume it's seafood.
A new fish restaurant has opened on Ninos Heroes, across from the new Ministerio
It's called Cruzita. I have not been able to figure out their hours.
It appears that Casa Del Sol (on the beach) we told you about in our last edition has
We've updated our voluminous restaurant guide on our website. We now have 39 places on it and we'll add more as we check out more places in the Colonia. Check out our restaurant list, and download yourself a printable copy.
A new fashion boutique has opened just south of the square on Rojo Gomez. They sell jewellery too. It's owned by the same woman who owned the big jewellery store in a similar location several years ago. They also sell cigars!
Chef Dieter is getting ready for Christmas. As usual, he has prepared German Christmas Stollen and German Christmas Cookies. He's also baking fresh made Pretzels and Baguettes. In January you will be able to find his fresh Lye Pastry products at the Supermarket Casa Martin. You can also try the Pretzel Sandwich at the “NY- Kitchen Express” Deli at Bonampak at the Plaza Peninsula in Cancun. Check out his website for more products. We're big fans of Dieter's baking!
Hotel Inglaterra has undergone yet another major renovation. It appears like the work is almost done and now the hotel looks like a castle!
The Little Mexican Cooking School is offering classes once again this season. Classes run Tuesdays & Thursdays in Puerto Morelos. You should book ahead as class sizes are limited. Contact them through their website. Classes will run until the end of July 2012.
Catch it, Cook it, Eat it! - Local author Sonja Lillvik is offering a
unique opportunity to learn Mayan cooking in one of the most beautiful places in
Mexico. She is holding a unique workshop/retreat in the Sian Ka’an and Punta
Allen. During the week you will become familiar with the lobster fishing of
Punta Allen, and prepare and develop recipes for lobster, fish, and meat caught
locally. There are two opportunities this season to attend, January 15-22 and
February 26-March 5.
this web page for more info, and check out Sonja's excellent book at our
This is my favourite time of year. Not for all that Christmas nonsense, but because Noche Buena beer is only available this time of year. Noche Buena (good night) is a dark, flavourful cervesa (a bock) made especially for the Christmas season. Run out and buy it now before they take it away again in January.
A new Playboy Club opened in Cancun last week. It's located at the north end of the hotel zone at kilometre 3.5. It has slots, blackjack, roulette and craps. You have to buy a "membership" to enter and gamble, it's a one time fee. Drinks are not free and are pricey. The grand opening was very flashy and included a litter of bunnies and Carmen Electra. No Hef. No bunnies were have believed to have made it to the bookstore. I'm not a gambler and I don't really care about any of this, but it gave me an excuse to put this photo in the newsletter. Hooray!
Gone Fishin': Diving Dog Tours has grown again. Owner Kathy now has a fleet available for all your fishing needs, everything from high-end yachts to professional fishing boats to pangas. Parties of up to 8 fishers can be accommodated. Check out her fleet and new website.
Local Homeowners are reminded that you can save big if you pay your property taxes early. You can save 25% if you pay in December. After that, the discount is reduced. I paid mine recently and was also given a raffle ticket to win...something. The real thing I won was not having to stand in line with the last-minute crowd.
Bunch O' Booths: A lot of booths have sprung up around the square. Most of these booths are selling snorkel and fishing trips. Some are selling tours. Some are selling time-share or vacation clubs. Make sure you know the difference when you are talking to the person at these booths. If the price seems too good to be true, there may be strings attached. Check out our Puerto Morelos Services page for good local businesses that will show you the sights right!
As we reported before, The Miami Herald Cancun Edition is no more. Look for a copy of the USA Today Cancun Edition at your hotel or convenience store. It's being put together by the same local staff. Check out the weekend edition for "Footprints" a special section devoted to the best in our area.
Did I miss any local news? Let me know!
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Current Exchange Rates (At the exchange in Puerto
Read all about it!
We love to keep you up to date with the town, but it's books that pay the bills. Have a look at some titles at Alma Libre bookstore...
Postcards! We've added a lot of new postcards to our collection, including more underwater shots by "Dive Diva." We have the largest selection of Puerto Morelos postcards, and they are all exclusive to Alma Libre. We know because we make 'em! We also have blank greeting cards to cover any occasion you may wish to celebrate while you are in paradise.
Gift Certificates! A nice gift idea for someone who lives here is an Alma Libre Gift certificate. Available in any amount and can be used for new or used merchandise. We can accept payments from up north via Paypal.
As usual, we put the miles on this summer. After we closed the bookstore in early May, we started the long drive back to Calgary. There is no point in trying to hurry a drive across the continent, so we took our time and drove through Central Mexico. Our trip started in one of our favourite places on earth, Palenque, Chiapas. This is a marvelous ruin located in the REAL jungle. We're talking monkeys in the trees, parrots and toucans flying overhead and vines that Tarzan could swing on. From there we drove to Puebla, Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and Dolores Hidalgo. These are all beautiful Colonial cities, and very important in the Mexican Revolution 200 years ago. If you have never been to Central Mexico, you really have not been. The history, architecture, culture, art and the food will astound you.
From there we drove straight north through San Luis Potosi and Saltillo before crossing the border at Eagles Pass, Texas. We left old Mexico for New Mexico, travelling through Carlsbad (amazing), Roswell, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. After that we were in familiar territory, Denver, Billings, Great Falls and back to Calgary.
Our stay in Calgary always starts with a couple of weeks in Banff working the Banff World Television Festival. If you have not been, Banff is a postcard community nestled in the Rocky Mountains. We spend our time working and gaping at the incredible beauty of the area.
After a few months working in Calgary, we were ready to hit the road, and hit it we did. After driving to Houston, we flew to Buenos Aires, Argentina. What an incredible city! Museums, architecture, history, art, beautiful people and beef...lots and lots of beef. We heard tales of Argentine beef and we were not disappointed (and we grew up in Alberta and spend lots of time in Texas. This is amazing beef). Add some of the finest and least expensive wine in the world and you have Argentina. We spent many hours just wandering the streets of Buenos Aires, stopping on occasion for Cafe con Leche at one of the many elegant cafes.
From there we took a luxury bus (sleepers, hot meal, wifi and champagne) to Mendoza, which is the capital of the Argentine wine industry and their famous Malbec grapes.
Another bus took us over the Andes to Santiago, Chile. A big city with grand old buildings surrounded by the snow-capped Andes Mountains, Santiago has history, art and a proud friendly population. Santiago is made up of neighbourhoods, each with its own style and cuisine. They also have some of the finest wine in the world.
We spent another week in Buenos Aires and then it was back to Houston and behind the wheel for the long drive to Puerto Morelos. We are delighted to be back in PoMo, but South America has definitely not seen the last of us!
Just a note that our drive out and into Mexico was uneventful, even by the infamous border towns. Despite what you hear, thousands and thousands of people cross that border every day and have no problems. We used our usual strategy of driving on or about the speed limit, keeping our distance expectations realistic and driving only during daylight hours. A minor problem we did have, a broken spring part on the trailer, was solved with the kindness and unique creative ingenuity of Mexican craftsmen.
In Memory of our friend and first Spanish teacher, Rosario. Rosario passed away earlier this month at the age of 85. She taught most every foreigner in town how to speak the language with her skill, wit and incredible patience. She was also a gifted artist and taught many how to paint. We will miss her and our thoughts are with her family.
Just a reminder that we are open 7 days a week for the season. Our hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm and 6:00pm to 9:00pm. We are closed between 3:00pm and 6:00pm for siesta. Sunday we are open 4:00pm to 9:00pm.
Our hours are always posted on the front page of our website at www.almalibrebooks.com.
We take trades every day, so our selection is constantly changing. If you are planning a trip down, why not bring some recent bestsellers to trade and check out our store, or plan to buy all your reading material at Alma Libre. We got you covered!
We look forward to seeing you in Puerto Morelos!
Beach Reads is the official newsletter of Alma Libre Bookstore in Puerto Morelos Mexico. It is mailed directly to your mailbox if you request it. Beach Reads is published on a sporadic, seemingly random basis...but it is supposed to be approximately monthly during the season at Puerto Morelos. The season is November until after Easter. We do our best to publish it regularly...but we are easily distracted...
Our website is located at www.almalibrebooks.com Our store hours are always on the home page.
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This is Year #9, Issue #1. December 2010
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