season has whipped by again this year and soon we will be putting the
bookstore away for another summer.Our
final day will be Monday April 30.
We plan to
travel back to Calgary (via Central Mexico), do some work in our old business
(television production) and buy as many books as we can for next season.
We will open
with fresh stock in November and do it all again next winter.
It's been a
challenging season here in PoMo. Most businesses we surveyed, including our own,
suffered some loss of business due to the world economy and some people's
misplaced fear of travelling to Mexico. (Puerto Morelos and the Riviera Maya remains a safe place to be.)
Our bookstore is
affected by the rise of usage of electronic
books. To that end, we are expanding our selection beyond books. Be sure to
check us out even if you have a Kindle. We also have many books that are only
available in Mexico and will never be available electronically.
Many thanks to
our clients and friends for
your support this year. We receive a pile of compliments every day for our
website, the questions we answer daily in the store and our cheesy newsletter,
but it is the sale of the books that actually keeps the whole thing running.
We thank you for your support and patronage. We will miss our bookstore every
day we're away and we look forward to seeing you next season. Gracias!!
to "The Girls", Daphne & Miki whose friendship, kindness and expertise we could
simply not do without. Mil Gracias amigas!
Summer in PoMo
Semana Santa (Easter) is over, Puerto Morelos slips into a lower gear. After May
1, the price of accommodations in Puerto Morelos drops significantly.
Summer is a great time to do anything on or in the sea here. Fishing is the best
of the year. Snorkelers and divers will enjoy calm, warm water teeming with a
wide array of aquatic wonders. Underwater visibility is spectacular.
Whale sharks will make their annual appearance nearby.
The town is less busy, the beach is quiet. Days are sunny and breezy. It's a
nice time to be here.
Our rental places have good availability in the summer and our prices drop as
low as $399/week. We have other places to stay on our rentals web page. You can
be on the beach or off...you will always be close to the water.
Low prices, no crowds and the beautiful Caribbean: Why not make the trip?
Please send our newsletter and the bookstore
website to your friends and family. PoMo can use some more friends!
Back in 2001 a plucky young couple from Calgary decided they would like to
change their lives and live in Mexico. They had done about five years of
research before making their decision and in March of 2002 they bought a
bookstore in Puerto Morelos.
Flash ahead 10 years and we're still here. We've seen a lot in a decade and have
faced some serious challenges, especially a lady named Wilma.
When I look back though, I am amazed at how little has changed. Our town has
grown some, but has still kept its laid back rustic charm.
When we moved here there was one big resort within walking distance of the
square. Now there are at least nine and yet the town remains mostly
undiscovered. We've got a lot more good restaurants and some new attractions,
but the spirit of PoMo lives on. Our lighthouse still leans, our people are
still kind and friendly and our roads are still in desperate need of repair.
We've aged a bit I guess, but we still enjoy the bookstore and our town. We
still close the shop each summer and go back to Calgary and work in our old jobs
and our Spanish is still painful to listen to.
As we look ahead to the next ten years, I think it will be more of the same. We
can't imagine living anywhere else and we're confident that Puerto Morleos will
remain the same charming, friendly village it is today. Maybe our Spanish will
get better. I hope it will...that would be bueno. (is that right?)
Bookstore closes for the season
in Puerto Morelos. All the roads in town are being torn up to bury sewer pipe.
All homes in the main part of town will be connected to the new service and a
plant will be built near the Federal dock to handle the stuff.
It will be mandatory to connect to the new service. There is a fund to help
families pay for the necessary construction/destruction to connect to the pipe.
It will not be cheap or easy for people to connect in many cases.
The picture to the right is Avenue
Niños Héroes beside the Federal land. A moment of silence please for the asphalt we were so excited about
just one year ago when it was brand new. (sigh)
The bike path into town is now pretty much complete, though crews have found it
irresistible to tear it up a few times in a few locations. The path is made of
concrete that does not retain water, so it will remain dry even after a big
Construction also continues on the square. A new information centre will be
going in which will be staffed by people trying to help visitors, not sell them
something. New bathrooms are going in too, though construction on them seems to
The raised wooden walkways leading to the beach on the north end of town are
done and look very nice.
If you want to get
international news coverage, just involve naked people in the story. Little PoMo
got mentioned by Fox News in the United States because of the local community
reaction to the Desire hotel taking over Ceiba del Mar. Other news outlets
around the world quickly picked up the story.
takeover occurred at the end of March. The Ceiba signs came down and the pants
quickly followed. Our own weekly stroll down the beach definitely took a different
turn, walking within a few feet of people wearing the complete Desire "uniform"
from head to toe. It was a little shocking to say the least.
Desire also put
up giant signs on each end of their property, warning beach walkers of the
nudity ahead and advising them to not wander past the hotel if they didn't want
to see it.
This effectively shut off the beach and our town to people from the north end of
town. Not fair!
The law of the land clearly states that nudity on the beach is not legal and
there were reports of people doing more on the beach than just catching
some rays. That too is illegal.
For these reasons a petition was presented to the local government asking them
to require Desire to follow the law.
The Mayor has had a couple of meetings with Desire management. If he is unable
to persuade Desire to require their guests to abide by the law, local community
protests will follow.
We are all hopeful a compromise can be reached. Most PoMo residents are very welcoming
and inclusive of all visitors to our area, and that includes guests of Desire.
We hope that all visitors will leave their hotel for a while and come see a
little of Mexico. We really don't care how people chose to vacation, or what
they do behind closed doors, but we want everyone to feel comfortable walking
our beach. The beaches in Mexico belong to all people, and we want to keep it
Puerto Morelos Interactive Map
We've improved the interactive map on our Alma
Libre Bookstore website. We've added dozens of new places and the map is easier
to use. Select the location you want on the right side and the map will show you
where it is. There is also a search box. I've included locations in Cancun too,
like Costco and Walmart.
Here is a smaller version, without all the
Some taxi rates have gone up. See the new taxi fares on the big sign at the
square or see
it here. Make sure to agree with the driver on the fare before you go. You don't have to
tip, but we always do if they get us to our destination alive and well.
After a whole lot of research
we decided to carry some
special gourmet and food items in the store. You'll find Mexican
grown organic coffee, hot chocolate, vanilla,
Mayan honey, and a selection of locally made hot sauces and
We also now stock the popular Chimay hot
Folks north of the border clamour for this stuff. Chimay makes the
hottest habanero known to man, and they also make flavourful sauces
for more sensitive palates. Chimay Salsa Habanera comes in four
flavours, colors and levels of spiciness to suit your palate: Negra
la menos picante (black, the least spicy), verde la poco picante
(green, a little spicy), roja la muy picante (red, very spicy),
amarilla la extra picante (yellow, extra spicy).
Our most popular sauce is a mini four-pack in a woven basket for
just 75 pesos. A perfect gift for the foodie in your life, or a great
souvenir of your Mexican vacation.
We need to clear out our stock of organic
Blason Mexican-grown coffee. Available while supplies last for 75 pesos per 340g bag. (Regular 90
We sold loads of this coffee over the season,
it was very popular, but it appears we over-ordered a little this last time.
Whatever we don't sell, we'll have to drink
ourselves and too much caffeine is not good for a bookstore owner from Puerto
Morelos. (Really takes away that whole "laid-back" thing.
New Bookstore Hours
- We're not quite open 24 hours, but
we are open 7 days a week with new hours. 11:00am to 8:00pm every day. Even Sunday!
Please note that we are
scheduled to be closed daily between 2:30 & 3:30, though will
often find us in.
hoping that by closing for fewer hours in the afternoon we won't miss
as many day trippers into PoMo from Cancun and Playa. Come see us!
Special Book Orders
We have finally found a supplier who can do the impossible. That is get
books to us reliably in Puerto Morelos. We can now order almost any
title and receive it at the bookstore in about a week 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.
There is no sales tax or any other fees. This is much quicker and
cheaper than any other source we have found, including Amazon.
Our next order will be November. To order, just contact us to
make sure we are able to get the book you want.
Jungle Market / Jungle Spa
It was another successful season in the jungle and
the weekly Jungle Market has now is closed for the summer, The market will
return in December.
Jungle Spa has been so popular, they have expanded their open days 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
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! They even offer special massages for young adults.
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 still 50 pesos. 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.
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.
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 Santander ATM
in front of the police station or the HSBC ATM beside the supermarket on
the square. If they are 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 Santander and HSBC machines.
Home and Condo Rentals
lf you are stuck up north, why not give yourself a spring fling? We still
have openings in April and our prices drop dramatically in May.
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 (if you wish) 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
This large 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 its 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. Drinking water is included as well as
cable TV and high-speed wireless internet. The suite features a huge terrace with
table and chairs and comfy hammocks. All this from $695 a week in season, $450
starting in May! Click here for more
information and pictures!
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. Drinking water is included as
well as cable TV and wireless internet. $695 a week in season, $499
starting in May!
Bookstore Cameo -
Alma Libre Bookstore became a little more famous this month. Our bookstore was
briefly (and I mean briefly) featured in a music video by La Oreja de Van
Gogh (The ear of Van Gogh). They are a popular band from Spain who chose to
shoot their latest video in and around Puerto Morelos. The video shows the band
having fun in PoMo, visiting the beach, some cenotes and chilling at a nice
house in town. It also shows them parading past our bookstore (above). They
shot some scenes inside the bookstore, but those pics apparently ended up on the
cutting room floor. After the shooting was over, the band returned to the
bookstore on their own and checked out the stacks.
Here is a
link to the video. We appear at the 1:44 mark. Don't blink or you will miss
Puerto Morelos will also be heavily featured in the popular HGTV show "House
Hunters International". Crews were here in mid April and shot three
episodes showcasing local properties. It also used local people including "realtor to
the stars" Amber Pierce-Schulz. Local Steve Lew took care of the TV stars hair.
No word on the air dates yet, but we'll keep you posted. If you haven't seen the
here is a link to an episode they did in Merida a while back.
will put her "star status" aside to host a FREE workshop on Tuesday April 24
about tax Obligations for U.S. Citizens who live, work, and/or bank in Mexico.
The workshop will be given by a CPA who specializes in international clients.
The seminar will begin at 5:00 and will cover a variety of tax related issues
You must RSVP to attend, please see this web page.
A new citizens group is starting up in Puerto Morelos. The Puerto Morelos CCC
(Comite de Communication Civil/Civic Communication Committee)
to keep PoMo residents and visitors updated and informed about our town. The
group is made up of local residents and visitors, Mexican and foreign who share
a vision of a better Puerto Morelos, preserving our unique charm and laid-back
style. The group has a website
and a Facebook page. You
can keep up to date and ask questions on either site.
Learn Spanish in Three Days - That's the promise of a new company in our
area. They say that by using a unique learning method that does not require
memorization you will quickly pick up the language. They say the course will
teach you to easily understand the parallels in the English and Spanish
languages. Once you unlock these simple rules you will find you already know
over 4000 Spanish words! To learn more,
visit their website.
It took a while, but we successfully obtained our
FM3 visas so we can stay
another year in Mexico. We tried the Playa office this year. It is easier to park
there and they have a nice big waiting room, which came in handy, because we
waited a lot. There is also a lawyer's office right outside the door and a man
who can help with photocopies and photographs. The process is supposed to change
again next year. It is supposed to be easier. We will wait and see.
Home Manager - If you need someone to take care of your house, pay bills,
organize work or meet your renters, we know just the person. Our manager has
been working with us for a year now and we are delighted with her. She can
handle a few more clients. Email us and we will put you in contact with her.
Fishing Tournament - At the end of the day, we are a fishing town.
Fishers like to tell stories, but they really like to fish competitively. Our
town has at least two fishing tournaments annually and they are a big deal. The
"Don Andres Garcia Lavin" tournament will be held during May 25-27. Cost to
enter a boat is $2000 pesos, and there is more than $500,000 pesos in prizes up
for grabs. There are loads of activities for landlubbers too. While the fishers
are fishing, kids can play beach volleyball, football, swim or enter a bikini
contest! More details can be found on this
Today is World Book Day! Now how to celebrate..?
For those who like to work out on vacation there is a good option here in town.
El Gym Del Puerto is the new name for the gym in the Pescadors, just east
of the highway. The gym is under new management too and is offering a good deal
for visitors, a one week membership for $100 pesos. If you are here for longer
you can buy a month for $300 pesos.
Play Ball! - Los boys of Summer are back! Los Tigres de Quintana Roo will
be playing again in Cancun. It's pretty good quality ball, the seats are
inexpensive and the food is fantastic. Seats start at just 20 pesos, the best
seats in the house are only around 100. They have a
website, click "calendario" to see their
Congratulations to our friend Jean Prévost who got married
to Sonia Morin here in Puerto Morelos on April 16. You may know Jean as the keyboardist for the Men In Blues.
They had a ceremony in Canada back in February, but wanted to have another
celebration in Jean's second home. The ceremony was held in the lovely backyard
of Kimberly Fleitz, who also officiated. The ceremony featured the golden voice
of Jean's brother Charles Prévost, who sings the national anthems at
Montreal Canadien's home games! The speeches at the reception were some of the
best and most moving I have ever heard. Félicitations to the happy couple! (By
the way, the bride fell in love with PoMo too, so Jean will have no problem
persuading her to come back to town again)
Free WiFi: It's getting even easier to stay connected in Puerto Morelos.
Many of the restaurants and our bookstore will give you free access with a
purchase, and Cablemas is now offering a free signal. Look for it around the
town square. Planet Cafe beside OXXO has computers with high-speed connections.
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
Morelos Services page for good local businesses that will show you the
As we reported before,
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.
What did I miss? Let me
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
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
The real rate is closer to 13.00. You will get a better rate
from the ATM.
This Just In!
Books & Products at Alma Libre
We love keeping you up to date with our town, but it's the
books that keep us going. We're finding all sorts of new stuff this year;
these are a few of our favourites...
Just arrived! Unique Expressions of
Mexico, a beautiful booked commissioned by Xcaret to capture the
colours, traditions and celebrations of Mexico. Great book at a great
price, just 200 pesos.
Plants In The Mayan Culture, this
gorgeous book features traditional remedies, food and art of our area.
The book is locally produced, well researched and packed with
photographs. We've been looking for a book like this for years, and
we're delighted to have it now. Don't miss it, you will not find it any
The Maya - Michael Coe
perennial bestseller in the bookstore, this reader-friendly book is an
excellent choice for those who want to learn about the Maya. Written by
Michael Coe, recognized the world over as THE expert on the Maya, this
book answers all your questions and then some. The best part about this
book is that it is constantly updated, this volume is the eighth
We also have Coe's "Mexico from the Olmecs to the Aztecs"
in the store right now.
-A clear and intelligent description of the
development and organization of Maya civilization. -- Natural History
-[Coe] has shown an outstanding ability in selecting and organizing his
material. A pleasure to read. -- Antiquity
The Painted Fish and other Mayan Feasts
This book written by Sonja Lillvik, who
founded theCuzan Guest
Housein 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.
Amphibians and Reptiles - We share
peninsula with many creatures. We've always had good books
on the mammals, birds and fish of our area and now we have a good one on
the Amphibians and Reptiles.
This one volume is in both English and
Spanish and features photos and descriptions of everything that crawls,
slithers and hops in our town.
Locally published - Only available at
Alma Libre Bookstore
Secrets of the Talking Jaguar is the
story of the author’s physical and spiritual journey from the
Southwestern 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.
We sold out of these last year in
hardcover, this year we were lucky enough to get some soft cover
editions. If you missed this book last year, don’t miss it this time.
Reader's Review: "Reading this book
is a fascinating and up to now unavailable look at a culture that sees
itself as an integral, unseparable part of nature and the universe."
Frida and Diego - These two iconic
Mexican artists had a tumultuous relationship played out in front of the
world. This book captures their story and best of all, it is stuffed
with their art.
This is a very
special book, and a must for anyone who loves Mexican art.
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.
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.
We also carry the famous "Map Chick" Riviera Maya maps, which answer the
question, "where does that road off the main highway go?"
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
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.
The groups have grown very quickly! Friends of Puerto
Morelos just passed 950 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!
I'm On A Boat - Caught these little guys
sunning themselves on a lazy Sunday afternoon in PoMo. Do you think
they are discussing where to fly next?
Middle of the Road - I like that the road engineers who
built this new road near the old Ceiba del Mar preserved these trees
and made the road go around them, instead of over them.
Big Catch - Just to get you geared up for the fishing
season, check out this enormous swordfish caught off Puerto Morelos
by a fisherman using a hand line! Wow! (Ask Joanne to tell you about
the Tiger Shark
she caught on her first fishing trip...with a hand line...and a
little help) Photo by Jorge Leal.
Game Over -
We saw a picture of the happy couple earlier in this newsletter, but
I wanted to share this one too. This was the t-shirt Jean changed
into after the reception. Classic Jean wit!
a reminder that we are open 7 days a week for the season. Our hours are
11:00am to 2:30pm & 3:30pm to 8:00pm EVERY DAY of the week. (Including Sunday) We are
closed between 2:30pm and 3:30 for siesta, though sometimes you may find us
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!
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...
To subscribe or make comments or suggestions or advertise your local event,
Retransmission & Redistribution of this newsletter without express written
consent is just fine by us! Send this newsletter to a friend! (or get them to
sign up for their own copy) If you like the newsletter, please support it by
buying a book at Alma Libre Bookstore.