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News from Alma Libre Bookstore - Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Year 09 Issue #2 - January 2011

Alma Libre Vacation Rentals


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In this issue:

News From Puerto Morelos

Happy New Year / Feliz Año!

Welcome to 2011. Puerto Morelos celebrated the season with music, food, festivals and fireworks. All that was missing was a big dump of snow...and we were not missing that one bit!

We certainly hope that one of your New Year's resolutions involved avoiding winter and coming down and seeing us in Puerto Morelos! We're ready!

Bookstore Hours - We're open 7 days a week and longer hours!

We're not quite open 24 hours, but we are 7 days a week with the same hours. 10:00am to 3:00pm and 6:00pm to 9:00pm every day. Even Sunday! Please note, we are closed daily between 3 & 6. Even we need a siesta!

Special Book Orders

We have finally found a supplier who can do the impossible, get books to us reliably in Puerto Morelos. We can now order most any title and receive it at the bookstore in about two weeks at a surprisingly low cost.

We are ordering new books for the store about once a month and we can bring in books for you too! Depending on the number of books you order, shipping and duty will be between $3 and $5 US per book. This is much quicker and cheaper than any other source we have found, including Amazon.
Our next order will be in early February. To order, just contact us to make sure we are able to get the book. We require a deposit on all orders. Facil!


Alma Libre Bookstore/Puerto Morelos Annual Survey (7th Annual!)

Time again for our annual Puerto Morelos survey, where we try to find out what you like best about Puerto Morelos. Your favourite places to eat, hang out or have fun.

The purpose of the survey is to find out what your fellow newsletter readers love most about Puerto Morelos. Perhaps you have been missing something, and you can use the survey results to plan your next trip. The most popular question we ask is for your favourite restaurant. We're expecting this one to be extra popular this year. For a reminder of all the restaurants in Puerto Morelos, see our complete restaurant list. (opens in a new window)

We've made it easier to fill out our survey this year, it appears in a separate box below. Use the scroll bar on the right to see all the questions. Click finished when you are done, then you can go on with the newsletter...we'll wait for you....

*Note: If you are unable to scroll the survey and see all the questions, sometimes happens to Firefox users, click the link below and the survey will open in a new window.

Click Here to open the survey in a new window.

Please only fill out one survey per person. "Stuffing the ballot box" will not be tolerated and those responses will be deleted. Survey will close on February 14, 2011.

To get you in the mood, here are some of the results of last year's survey:

Favourite things to do in Puerto Morelos: Here's a partial list in alphabetical order: be on the water, beach, bicycle, browse the bookstore, chat, chill, daytrip, dive, drink, eat, fish, hammock, hang out, nothing, people watch, read a book, relax, shop, snorkel, stroll, swim, veg, walk.

Favourite Restaurants: Hola Asia was number one again last year followed by Pelicanos, David Lau's and a tie: El Pirata and Cantina Habanero.

Favourite Place to get a drink: Top three were Cantina Habanero, Pelicanos, and Ojo de Agua.

Favourite Shop: Alma Libre Bookstore (whew!) also the Sunday Jungle Market, the Mayan Handicraft Centre and Mauricio's Hammock Shop.


Get to know the Colonia

Puerto Morelos is made up of two parts. You probably know the "Puerto" side well, but there is another town to explore on the other side of the highway. The Colonia is two kilometres and a world away. The Colonia has its own town square, churches, stores and restaurants. Its real name is la Colonia Zetina Gasca, but most people refer to it simply as "the Colonia."

We've found several grocery stores with superior selection and prices. There are now (at least) three very good produce markets with fresh fruit and vegetables. Chulim is probably the easiest to find, we especially enjoy their fresh-squeezed juices. At just ten pesos a litre, why squeeze your own? Their fresh, cold orange juice is a delight.

You will find at least three DVD rental places too. The best we found was at the east end of Villas Morelos. Most DVD movies have several languages to choose from, so anyone can rent.

Check out the huge impressive dome they are building on the Catholic church. Services continue as the building is finished.

There are lots of hardware stores with pretty much anything you might need, but the stock is mostly behind the counter. You will need to know how to ask for the part in Espanol or be able to do a convincing charade of what you need. (I have imitated taking a shower, opening a door, and sanding something down so far just this season!)

The focus of our recent exploring has been the restaurants of the Colonia. Our best find so far is an unusual place called "La Papa y Cafe". We started hearing about this place last year, but we couldn't wrap our minds around it. Their specialty is potato dishes...hard to describe, but basically whipped potatoes with a choice of fillings. Our favourite is arrachera, so we get a personal size bowl of whipped potatoes with chunks of arrachera inside, covered with cheese and baked in the oven. It is drizzled with a nice chipotle sauce and served piping hot. They also have more traditional Mexican fare like arrachera steak, burritos and huaraches. On Sundays they serve breakfast too. The restaurant is well run, absolutely spotless and the owner speaks English. Try it!

We've also ordered from Pizza Del Carmen a pile of times, especially on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday when pizzas are two for one. We've heard good reviews for Eli's tacos on the east side of the highway, but have yet to find it open. Good reviews for the lamb place on the west side too and for the seafood place at the far south end of Avenida Torres. A good place to have a drink is the charming and no longer aptly-named Las Micheladas del Semaforo which is right behind the overpass (which took away their namesake traffic light).

Getting to the Colonia is easy. You can take a collectivo for 5 pesos or a taxi for 20. A good place to start is at the Pemex. Walk straight west down the main road between the gas station and the pharmacy. You will pass a cantina of dubious reputation on your left and Pizza del Carmen just a little further. Eventually you will come to the big wide road with a wide divider up the middle. This extra wide road used to have heavy-duty electricity lines on it which they have since removed. You will see the produce market Chulim at this intersection. (fresh juice is in the white cooler) Continue west and you will pass a good hardware store on your left and the town's library on your right. Further down you will pass a grocery store and La Papa y Cafe restaurant we mentioned earlier on your right. When you hit Villas Morelos, turn right at the Extra and you will pass several more businesses including a hardware store, a bakery and DVD rentals. Return the same way and zig zag around. You cannot go wrong. The Colonia looks a little scruffy in places, but it is very safe and pretty difficult to get lost in. Stop for a drink at the aforementioned stop light bar and take a taxi home with your fresh produce and groceries. Go to the Colonia and report back to us! We'd love to hear your favourite places.

Taxi Rates

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

Gone Fishin'

For those who are about to fish, we salute you...and here's something to make your life easier. Our friend Kathy at Diving Dog Tours gave us this handy schedule to share with you of the Gran Slam del Caribe fishing tournaments. For more information and how you get yourself into the running, visit the Gran Slam del Caribe website. In the meantime, this handy calendar online, will tell you when to drop your line...or something like that. Note that there will be at least one more local fishing tournament, the Marine Day Fishing Tournament May 27-29.

Music in the Park

This popular annual event is back for 2011, but it has got a lot bigger. It is now two, three day events. The first will be January 27, 28 and 29 and the second will be February 3, 4 & 5. It all happens from 7:00pm until 10:00pm in the town square.

In addition to the music, there will be an exhibition featuring local sculptors, painters and artisans.

Don't miss this special event...we won't, we have great seats in the bookstore! Click here to see the event's poster. (requires Adobe Acrobat)

Seeing Spots?

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!


Plug the Bookstore on Trip Advisor

Our town and bookstore have been discovered by a lot of visitors to TripAdvisor.com. We lurk at the site ourselves and try to help visitors discover Puerto Morelos and correct some of the crazy misinformation that often comes up on the site. If you like Alma Libre Bookstore, please write a review for us on Trip Advisor. Any review will move us up in the "Puerto Morelos Things To Do" list, and a positive review might help bring more folks into the bookstore!

Visit our profile and give us your honest review here or use the box to the left. We appreciate your support!

Many thanks to those of you that have already wrote us glowing reviews. Thanks to you our stock has risen!


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 is on again. 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. You can take a special collectivo to the Jungle Market on Sunday at 10:00 am from the Hotel Posada Amor just south of the square. It will take you directly to the Jungle Market and back again. (Please note, this is a new location for the collectivo)

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.

Money Matters

New anti-money laundering laws here in Mexico require exchange houses to record your passport number to exchange US cash for pesos. You will need a copy of your passport to exchange cash at any exchange place in Mexico.

Also large businesses like Walmart and Costco are unable to accept more than $100 US in cash per transaction.

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 in the 7-11 by the gas station. There are also three 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.

Facebook & Twitter

Are you on Facebook? If so, look for our Facebook groups. Friends of Puerto Morelos & Alma Libre Bookstore. You can also buck up your friends list by making Alma Libre Bookstore your friend.

You can also like Alma Libre Bookstore.

The groups have grown very quickly! Friends of Puerto Morelos just passed 830 members! If you are on Facebook, please join our groups. We'll use them to keep you up to date with town news between newsletters. Check out the group for new photos of Puerto Morelos, taken by fellow visitors!

And if that is not enough for you...you can also follow us on Twitter. This is our twitter home page. You can follow us throughout the day.


Home and Condo Rentals

It’s not too late to make plans for this winter! We still have some homes and condo rentals available for winter. It you have never stayed in a private home or condo, you are in for a wonderful experience. You have all the comforts of home on your vacation. All you have to do is bring your clothes and toothbrush! Everything else is included from towels and linens to hammocks and blenders.

Many ex-pats have built their dream homes here in PM and are willing to rent it to you! Renting a place makes you feel more like a local and offers the convenience of cooking for yourself and much more privacy.

Regular Beach Readers know that we feature some of these properties on our website. There are a gazillion property rental sites out there, but our site is unique because these are properties we know, owned and run by people we know and trust. We like to think we take the guesswork and risk out of renting.

We're always adding new properties to the site and new photos too!

Check out our new, easier to navigate rentals page here.

One bedroom or two? Your choice!

This giant suite can be rented as a one bedroom/one bath with a fold out couch, or as a two bedroom two bath. Each bedroom has it's own outside door to allow entry or exit without disturbing others.
It has a full kitchen with pots and pans, dishes and cutlery, plus appliances like coffee maker, toaster and juicer. Dinking water is included as well as cable TV and wireless internet. The suite features a huge terrace with table and chairs and comfy hammocks. All this from $650 a week in season, $450 starting in May!
Click here for more information and pictures!

Huge, Bright, Breezy One Bedroom

A big one bedroom, two bath with a loft. The loft has a fold out couch and curtains for privacy. The couch in the living room also folds out into a bed.
Off the bedroom and the living room is a HUGE balcony with table and chairs for four and a comfy hammock.
Of course there is a full kitchen with pots and pans, dishes and cutlery, plus appliances like coffee maker, toaster and juicer. Dinking water is included as well as cable TV and wireless internet. $675 a week in season, $499 starting in May!
Click here for more information and pictures!

Watch a short HD video on this apartment

Your place, steps from the best beach in town!

Economical one bedroom one bath on two levels from $399 a week

Comes with a full kitchen, full bath, enormous bedroom and balcony

Click here to download a printable info sheet on the above three apartments

*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!

Check out our new, easier to navigate rentals page here.

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 nine years of living here.

Here are a few places we are featuring:

Price Reduced! Now $240,000

2 bedroom / 2bath oceanfront condo on quiet beach

This one has just come onto the market. It's on the beach and is being sold fully furnished, ready for your next vacation or to generate rental income. The ground floor suite is steps away from the ocean or the condo's swimming pool.

It features all the comforts, including high-speed internet, cable TV and a fully equipped kitchen.

Have a closer look

3 bedroom / 3.5 bath - 3 story townhome

Now fully furnished & price reduced

Fully detached home is part of an established, well managed townhome community. (total 12 units) with swimming pool.

The pictures don't show it, but this place is fully furnished with everything including appliances and pots and pans. Bring your toothbrush, everything else is included.

This well-built 270 m2 = 2,700 square feet home has three stories and a large sundeck

Click here for a closer look


Find more places on the PoMo real estate section of our website: http://www.almalibrebooks.com/realestate.htm

Wallpaperfree Free Gift From Alma Libre Updated for January & February

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 January & February calendars built right in. This month's wallpaper is a view of a sailboat just off our beach. We'll have new wallpaper at the end of the month.

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:

1280 x 1024 1024 x 768  800 x 600 1600 x 900  CLICK HERE FOR WALLPAPER INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS


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News Briefs

Watch your speed going into Cancun. The speed limit changes several times, notably around Petempich and the Moon Palace. We thought these speed zones were temporary for the climate conference, but they are still up. Another speed zone, down to 50 km/h is being vigorously enforced by Cancun police on the outskirts of the city. We saw more than a dozen Transitos with one radar gun on a recent trip.

Restaurant News: A couple of new places have sprung up just in time for the season to begin, both in hotels. The Iguana is in Villas Latinas and Posada El Moro has opened its restaurant again. Not sure if either of these are permanent or just for the season.

Two new places are opening in the old Don Pepe's space. One has already opened, it's called La Fuente del Sabor (The fountain of flavour). Menu includes tacos, lime soup and fajitas. The other side, the larger part looks like it is going to be a sports bar. We hear it is being opened by a member of the family that runs the successful La Petita restaurant group. The name of the place is El Salón de La Fama. (The Hall of Fame)

Pizza and Love has closed.

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.

Chef Dieter is busy baking bread for you this season. Look for 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!

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. The next opportunity to attend this season is February 26-March 5. Check out this web page for more info, and check out Sonja's excellent book at our bookstore.

Ask a Realtor: Owning a property in Mexico is not difficult, but it is likely a different process than in your home country. Amber at Mayan Riviera Properties is hosting her "Ask a Realtor" workshops again this year, every Tuesday at 5:00 PM. She has a short, informal presentation and then will answer your questions at the Mayan Riviera Properties office on the east side of the square.

Give Peace a Chance: Local legend Goyo Morgan is staging another Walk For Peace on Saturday January 22. Meet at the fishing pier at 8:00 am and you will walk 6 kilometres (Just under 4 miles). The walk is in silence, there is a rest break every 1.5 kilometres. In the evening starting at 6 there will be a Night of Peace with music in the central square.

The Mayakoba Golf Classic is celebrating its 5th anniversary by staging the World's Largest Golf Lesson to break the Guinness World Record. Join them this Sunday January 23 at El Camaleón Golf Course and be part of the story with Golf FORE Everyone and the Mayakoba Golf Classic, Mexico’s Only PGA TOUR Event.
The record breaking attempt will begin promptly at 1:30 PM and is FREE OF CHARGE. Children younger than 12 years of age will not be able to participate in the record attempt but are welcome to observe. There will be FREE transportation from Cancun (departing at 12:15 pm from Sport City) and Playa del Carmen (departing at 12:45 pm from Boxito and Federal Highway). Might be a good chance to see this world-class course. For more information call (984) 877-2380

SwimFans: The fifth annual swimming tournament "Ruta de los Arrecifes" will be held in Puerto Morelos on February 26. Swimmers will swim a 2.5 or 5 kilometre route from the main pier north. Swimmers of all ages compete in this event. Come cheer them on starting at 8:00 am.

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 could have saved 25% if you had paid in December. The discount is now 15% and will drop another 5% in February. They have erected some "guilt inducing" billboards around town showing smiling children in school uniforms. They seem to say: "pay your taxes or we won't educate these kids." It's easy to pay at the city office or you can stand in long lines in Cancun.

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 of a tour or trip 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!

This Newsletter is being sent to you on a new server. It charges us for each individual email that it sends out, so if you are receiving this email more than once, please unsubscribe the extra addresses. Because it charges us for each email, it is very careful to ensure all the addresses are valid. If it has trouble getting the email to you, it will delete your name and never send you another email. If you were receiving our email, but now you are not, try signing up again using the form on our web page. This "double-opt-in" system is much more accurate and should ensure you continue to receive this newsletter. You can try adding our email address to your contact list too, so that your spam blocker doesn't delete us. Gracias!

Don't hate us, we've added Google Ads to the newsletter in an attempt to cover some of its costs. We have no control over the ads that pop up, Google decides that, and we are in no position to tell them what to do! Please let us know though if anything odd shows up. Please note, these ads don't begin to cover our costs for this newsletter. If you like this newsletter, please support it by buying books at Alma Libre. Gracias!

Current Exchange Rates (At the exchange in Puerto Morelos)
USA Dollar 11.45
CDN Dollar 11.10 (this is a very poor exchange for the Loonie. Best to use the ATM to get closer to the real rate, which is around 12.00)

This Just In! Books & Products at Alma Libre

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...

The Painted Fish and other Mayan Feasts

This book written by Sonja Lillvik, who founded the Cuzan Guest House in Punta Allen is memoir of a life in the land of the Maya told with food! This is a gorgeous book with more than 100 recipes (perfected in the Mayan Riviera and tested up north) and lots of glossy pictures of food and fun.

This book has rapidly become our bestselling local book. Every time we have brought copies in, they have gone out just as fast! We are happy to have some in stock now, but don't wait!

Yucatecan Cuisine from Hacienda Teya

The cuisine of the Yucatan is a fusion of the ancient foods of the indigenous Maya and European culinary tradition. Now the chef of the elegant Hacienda Teya restaurant in Merida shares his secrets in this book. Recipes include lime soup, poc-chuc and panuchos. Also includes desserts (flan and more) and sauces & relishes. An excellent gift or keepsake. Only available in Mexico, and at a very low price!

Casa Yucatan

A beautiful book showcasing the unique architectural style of the Yucatan...or to put it in another way, "A dazzling photographic journey, Casa Yucatan focuses on architectural elements, water spaces, and open-air living in houses both colonial and contemporary, including haciendas and coastal retreats. The Yucatan has undergone a remarkable restoration renaissance of late: ancient pyramids now share the dense jungle landscape with revived haciendas, and colonial homes boasting high-beamed ceilings and cool tile floors posture amidst elegant plazas and renovated nineteenth-century mansions."


Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish by Margarita Madrigal

The truth is, there is no easy way to learn Spanish or any other language. It takes study and practice. There are ways to make learning Spanish more pleasant however, and this is the best book we've found. The Madrigal's method allows the reader to learn Spanish through this unique and proven method, which completely eliminates rote memorization and boring drills. Features illustrations by Andy Warhol. We know a lot of people who learned to speak Spanish well using this book.

Cashing In on A Second Home in Mexico - Tom Kelly

Perhaps you would like to adopt Mexico as your second home. There are many advantages, but of course there are many rules and pitfalls too. This book explains the process of finding and buying a home in Mexico. It covers important topics like how your Mexican investment property will affect your taxes in your home country and other issues you should be aware of. This book could save you loads of money and worry. I wish they had this book available when I bought here!

Lonely Planet Mexican Spanish Phrasebook - a little espanol goes a long way in Mexico, and this simple phrasebook will help you get more out of your vacation. This pocket size guide contains useful and practical phrases as well as a two-way dictionary and food glossary. (What did we just eat?)

The "dating" section is particularly funny!

Latin Style - We are very excited to have this new decorating book in our shop. It's big and glossy and features lots of pictures to inspire you to bring Latin style into your home. Juan Carlos Arcila-Duque is a Columbian born interior designer with notable clients throughout the world. He has designed everything from private residences to trendsetting restaurants. This book also includes a Latin music CD! "This is a charming book full of color, and the quirky style of what the author calls "Latin Style". This is much more than just a decorating book. The author chooses pictures that give you a sense of what it would be like to experience Latin style." - Amazon Reviewer

Secrets of the Talking Jaguar is the story of the author's physical and spiritual journey from the south-western US to the highlands of Central America. There he becomes apprenticed to a local shaman who teaches Pretchel much about indigenous Mayan life and about life in general.

"This eloquent and expressive work. . .is highly recommended."—Library Journal

"Told with great honesty, insight, and generosity, Prechtel’s chronicle offers modern readers a privileged and rare glimpse into the complex and spiritually rich life of a contemporary Mayan village."
—Rocky Mountain News

Spanish Language Learning Software- Now available for the Mac! - Since moving to Mexico, Joanne and I have struggled with our Spanish, especially those nasty verbs. Now our friend Jacky has invented a fun way to learn your verbs. Her Amigos Spanish program has full conjugation for 700 verbs and helps you learn with tests and puzzles. The program is totally customizable, allowing you to focus on the verbs you need to know. Plus it's fun, so you will stick with it and learn those verbs. To expand your vocabulary, try Amigos Spanish Puzzles a program featuring word games with English clues and Spanish answers (or vice versa). The program comes loaded with 2500 words, and you can even add your own words if you like! Both programs are available on CD at Alma Libre Bookstore or download it at Amigos Spanish.

SPECIAL OFFER for Alma Libre Bookstore Customers

Cenotes of the Riviera Maya is the best book ever written about the cenotes in our area. Beautifully photographed, it could easily be called a coffee table book, but it is also has all the practical information you need to explore the cenotes whether you are swimming or diving. Many have drooled over this book, but the hefty (500 peso) price tag kept some people away. Now author Steve Gerrard has authorized us to lower the price. At 300 pesos, this book is an incredible bargain and it has been flying off our shelves...in fact we ran out for a while around Christmas, but we're stocked again.


If you drive in our area, you need a map! We have excellent and detailed maps of the Yucatan, the country of Mexico, Cancun city, Merida as well as Belize, Guatemala, Cuba and Central America. We also have souvenir-quality maps you can hang on the wall.

Maps are usually difficult to find in Mexico, but only if you are looking in the wrong place! Plot a course to the bookstore...if you get lost...ask for directions...


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.


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Photos of the Month

The Malecon by the square is a great place to sit and enjoy the ocean breeze, listen to the waves lapping against the fishing boats and think about how much easier winter is to take here in PoMo!

It may have been inspired by Dali, Gaudí or by a bad night at the bar, but this structure in Puerto Morelos must be seen to be believed. It has been going up... slowly for the last several years. You may be able to stay here one day, it's going to be a guest house/hotelito.

Our friend from Toronto got this photograph of the church steeple in Playa del Carmen. Inspiring! (Photo by Murray Wren) Lunar Eclipse: We got a very good view of the recent lunar eclipse in Puerto Morelos. We had a clear night. I was without my tripod and it was way past my bedtime, but I managed to squeeze off these shots.

In Memory

Ed Hoffman: Very sad to report the passing of a town icon. Cantina Habanero's owner Ed Hoffman passed away suddenly on January 15 after a short illness. Everybody knew Ed and Ed knew everybody. Friendly, opinionated and fun, Ed was the face and creative force behind one of PoMo's most beloved restaurants. The success of Cantina Habanero was no accident. He worked very hard building his restaurant and was always adding to it or tweaking it to improve it. He genuinely cared about his customers (friends) and wanted everyone to love his food and his place. He adored his town and promoted it tirelessly.

We will miss Ed, as will the whole community.

A memorial fund has been established for Ed's young family (wife Naty and children Jessily and Jeremy). To contribute, go to this web page.

Cantina Habanero will continue running.



Photo of Alma Libre Bookstore in Puerto MorelosJust a reminder that we are open 7 days a week for the season. Our hours are 10:00am to 3:00pm and 6:00pm to 9:00pm EVERY DAY of the week. (Including Sunday) We are closed between 3:00pm and 6:00pm for siesta.

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!

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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 #2. January 2011

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Text & Photos ©2002-2011 Alma Libre Bookstore. Please do not use our content on your website without our specific permission.

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