News from Alma Libre Books & Gifts - Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Year 13 Issue #01 -
December 2014

Alma Libre Vacation Rentals

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News From Puerto Morelos

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Here we are again, back for year number 13, another Beach Reads - Alma Libre Books & Gifts / Puerto Morelos newsletter.

Your favourite town enjoyed a quiet summer this year. It was warm, with not too much rain and no big storms.

As usual a lot of new places sprung up and some others changed or closed. More details about all that in our News Briefs section below.

We spent the summer as we usually do, working and traveling. We wanted to have a memorable trip this year as it was a landmark birthday for us ... yes 21 years old we are ... would you believe 30? In any case, we went all the way to Asia, visiting cities in Russia, Japan, South Korea and China. No, we did not drive this time; we took a ship from Vancouver and spent a total of six week seeing Asia by boat, train, bus, plane and car. All this was on top of our usual drive from Calgary to Puerto Morelos.

Highlights included The Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Terra Cotta Warriors, and The Bund in China. We saw the incredible city of Tokyo in Japan and Seoul in South Korea. In Russia we visited a land-locked city which was an important Soviet submarine base in the cold war. We found Russia fascinating. The people were beautiful ... but smiling is not a big priority. We have more about our trip later in the newsletter if you are interested.

Needless to say, we are delighted to be back in our part of paradise, breathing the fresh air (Beijing had chunky air to say the least) and seeing all the smiles we enjoy for free here.

We did spend a lot of our precious vacation time sourcing more unique items for the bookstore. We will have even more food and gift items this year; as well we collected a lot of new and used books from all over Canada and the US.

I hope you find this issue informative and amusing. You will find this edition overflowing with news, gossip, rumours and the usual filler. Please enjoy the issue and forward it to anyone you think needs a little PoMo in their lives. If you enjoy the newsletter, and we hear all the time that many of you do, please support it by making a purchase Alma Libre Bookstore and Gifts.

Places to stay in Puerto Morelos

Two words nicely sum up what you should do if you want to stay in an apartment, condo or house in Puerto Morelos: Book early!

We have been flooded with email from around the world this fall with folks hoping to stay for Christmas or in January or February. I am still getting Christmas emails daily!

Many of the most popular properties book at least a year in advance, with many guests booking the same block of time year after year.

To avoid disappointment, book early or try to travel outside of our most popular times. November is a good month to come and is usually quite easy to book, as are the first two weeks of December, and the week right after the New Year. The last two weeks of January/February and into March book many months in advance, but availability gets much easier after Easter. April/May and the summer is a good time to come and you will have your choice of places.

Peso Plunge

Your visit to Puerto Morelos just got a whole lot cheaper. As the price of oil has fallen and Europe and China continue to slow their growth, the Mexican peso has fallen. Last year at this time it was hovering around 12.5 to 13 pesos to the US dollar. Now it has fallen as low as 15.

With any currency devaluation, there are always winners and losers. Losers tend to be anyone who wants to buy imported goods, as they are now more expensive. Winners are visitors and residents with dollars to spend.

Here is an example. That $400 peso meal you had last December would have cost you $31.00 US. This year the same $400 peso meal is $27.00 US. Many visitors still think of the peso/dollar exchange as 10 to 1, so that would be $40 US, so you can see that line of thinking is way out of date. If you think every $100 pesos is about $8 US, you will be in the ballpark. If you go to the Oanda website you can print off a traveler's cheat sheet that will help you convert pesos to any currency.

The peso has also fallen compared to the Canadian dollar and other currencies, though not as dramatically. The Canadian dollar has done some recent plunging of its own, but you will still find it goes much further here than in the great white north. Canadians, be sure to spend pesos, not US dollars or you will be nailed for exchange twice.

Salsa And Sun

Joanne has started a blog that celebrates the special Mexico that we have discovered living, working and traveling here.

Lots of photos, and the fact that Joanne shares her coveted, deceptively simple salsa recipe is worth the trip alone! Also check out the route we take each year to get to and from Mexico, with costs. Find it at

Puerto Morelos Interactive Map

We've improved the interactive map on our Alma Libre Bookstore website with the addition of dozens of new places and by making the map 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.

To see the map, go to our Puerto Morelos page. The map is at the bottom of the page.

Here is a smaller version, without all the features.

Taxi Rates

Taxi rates have changed a little. Basic fare is now 25 pesos, up from 20. Know your taxi fare before you get in the cab. See the new taxi fares on the big sign at the square or see them 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.

The taxi union has also started doing tours to popular sites for a flat rate.

Bookstore Hours - We're open 7 days a week: NEW hours!

We're not quite open 24 hours, but we are open 7 days a week with new hours: 10:00 - 6:00 every day, even Sunday! Come see us before the end of the month!

Special Book Orders

We can order pretty much any book for you. Our next special order will be in January. Our prices are low, usually two dollars over the list price to cover all the duties, taxes and shipping.

Jungle Market / Jungle Spa

The Jungle Market will be back again this season.

Sandra and the girls have come up with a completely new dance show, which celebrates Mayan culture and other cultures across North America. Sandra says she wants to bring all the cultures together. I have not seen the show yet, but I can guarantee it will be entertaining and a lot of fun. It's an experience you can find nowhere else on the Mayan Riviera.

There is plenty to see and do and some unique shopping, but be sure to come hungry, as the food is the real star of the show.

The Market starts December 28 and will run Sundays through the season.

The Jungle Spa is a real PoMo success story. Visitors to Puerto Morelos and the giant, nearby all-inclusive hotels get a taste of real Mexico while getting the best massage of their life.

The spa is 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, including 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 have special massages for young adults. How about a 60 minute four hand massage? You will leave a different person!

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 and quick 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 costs $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 Jungle Market, you are directly supporting Mayan families! This is a very worthwhile venture and we hope you will support it.

Home and Condo Rentals

Think Spring

If you have not booked a home, condo or apartment in Puerto Morelos yet, you had best get on it!

As mentioned above, prime time books early.

If 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. Just 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 to you! Renting a place makes you feel more like a local and offers the convenience of cooking for yourself and gives you 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 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 including a coffee maker, toaster and juicer. Drinking water is included as well as cable TV with Blu-ray and high-speed wireless internet. The suite features a huge terrace with table and chairs and comfy hammocks. All this from $750 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 including a coffee maker, toaster and juicer. Drinking water is included as well as cable TV with Blu-ray and wireless internet. $750 a week in season, $499 starting in May!

Click here for more information and pictures!

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. We've just upgraded the couch, TV and Internet access in this suite.


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 2016. I have been handling emails every day from people who waited too long to book February this year!*

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

Owners! Contact us to get your FREE listing on our website.

Ads by Google:

News Briefs

The big news in town in the summer and fall was definitely the opening of the Chedraui grocery store. This is the first "real" supermarket PoMo has ever seen and it has been embraced by the community. This new store means that local people and visitors will not need to go to Cancun or Playa for some of their grocery needs.

Some folks are worried that the opening of the supermarket will hurt our local independent businesses. While it is true it will affect us all, even some of our coffee and food sales at the bookstore, overall this is a good news story. Most of us who live here will continue to make our daily purchases like produce and meat at the small independent stores we have always bought from. The grocery store just means we will not have to leave town to get other essentials like dry goods and personal care items.

The store is large, but not as big as a Cancun store and they employ a good number of Puerto Morelos citizens. The store has everything you would expect to find in a grocery store, including a small bakery, butcher, deli, wine & beer and dry goods.

Most of us will buy much less at the large stores we had to frequent in the big cities in favour of Chedraui, but we will continue to support the small stores. We urge that you do the same. At Alma Libre we will keep a close eye on their prices and we will be competitive on any similar items they carry so you can continue to buy from us.

PLUS, we know that Chedraui is not going to go to the time, expense and effort to publish a town newsletter like this one ... and even if they did, the jokes would be terrible.

A new bank, CI Banco will open soon at the same location. We are all looking forward to that though the location looks rather small.

Restaurant News:

Always lots of changes on the Puerto Morelos dining front.

The biggest change I noticed was a complete reboot of La Terazza, which used to feature many vegetarian and Indian options, is now a taco restaurant under the same ownership. It is called Gusanito (or Gusano) de Maguey and they offer tacos, hamburgers, pasta and pizza. (Gusano de Maguey is the worm you sometimes find in Mezcal bottles)

Just a little south of there you will find Clandestyno Italian restaurant. They feature grilled fish & lobster, hand-made pasta, salads and more. This is the space that was "Mexico de mis Recuerdos" last year and "Blackout" and "Taco Avenue" before that.

A little further south on the same street just past the Mayan Handicraft Centre is Los Tres Marinos which features seafood.

A new restaurant with an old name opened on Rojo Gomez just north of the square. Lau's Express has Chinese food which you can enjoy at the restaurant or delivered. Open 2:00 - 10:00. Early reviews are good.

The restaurant and bar in Hacienda Morelos has reopened. They have resurrected the old name, El Coyote Apache. They are offering breakfast, lunch and dinner to the guests of the hotel and the general public. Menu is Mexican. It is a beautiful space, with a wonderful ocean view and an amazing antique bar that was imported directly from Guadalajara.

A couple of new beach bars have opened. Dia y Noche is right on the beach, just south of Ojo de Agua. It's open 9-5 daily. Also on the beach, a little further north (away from the square) is My Paradise Beach Club. It's in a lovely palapa building and is open daily.

I found another fish restaurant open on Ninos Heroes. It is called Las Pescadillas de Puerto and they have fish and shrimp tacos. It is a tiny place, right next to Siempre Sano vegetarian restaurant. Have not heard any reviews yet, but as I am a connoisseur of shrimp tacos, they will see me soon!

Happy to report that Spaghettino has re-opened for the season. When they briefly took their sign down for a renovation, there was a measurable wave of panic that went through the town. Now all is well again.

Not sure if we have mentioned it before, but it deserves a mention in any case. There is a new cafe at the Casa Cultura. It is called (accurately) Cafe del Manglar and it features coffee, desserts and smoothies.

Late last season Chulim produce store on Ninos Heroes moved almost directly across the street to a space formerly occupied by the restaurant Carbonero. Chulim is the best place for fresh produce and a variety of fresh squeezed, ice cold juices.

A first for our town, we have a real Mexican sweet shop. La Dulceria del Puerto has built its own space on Rojo Gomez, just north of the old Don Pepe's/Salon de Fama restaurant. Mexicans love their sweets, so this place will be welcomed by visitors and locals.

Speaking of Salon de Fama, it is closed. The space has been repainted, so we are thinking something else is poised to move in.

Also closed is restaurant Choza del Chaman. It has been replaced by the restaurant with the best name in town, Chicken Itza, which has a Mexican menu and naturally, chicken. It moved from its old location on Ninos Heroes.

A couple of small, new restaurants have opened outside the Chedraui including a pizza place owned by the same man who is the man behind the oven at "My Little Italy". There is also a Chinese food place.

A cantina called Don Mexcal has opened in the old Chianti Allegro restaurant location.

La Sirena now has cold beer on tap!

Al Chimichurri has a new menu, but all our favourites are still on it. Whew!

We've updated our Puerto Morelos restaurant guide with most of these changes. Read it and print it on our website under the Puerto Morelos section.

More PoMo News:

The Art Tour is back this season. Read about it in our last issue and contact Nadja at to book.

A new nail salon has opened on Rojo Gomez near the laundromat. It is called Salon del Puerto.

Having conquered Vegas, Cirque du Soleil has set its sights on the Riviera Maya. As we reported in this newsletter earlier, they have opened a completely new show called JOYÀ. A new 600 seat facility was built specifically for them. You can see the show on its own from $65US or have dinner from $165US. Early reviews say the dinner is outstanding and the show is good, if a little shorter than most Cirque shows. Shows are staged at the Grand Mayan resort, just down the road from Puerto Morelos.

If you were here in November you could have attended the Puerto Morelos Beer Festival. It was a really big deal, attracting hundreds of folks from Cancun. Patrons could taste food from the local restaurants and sample craft beers. The only complaint I heard was that it was so popular, they ran out of everything. Hopefully this will become an annual event.

Be sure to try some Noche Buena beer if you are here during the Christmas season. It is a special beer only brewed at this time of year. Have a couple and it will be a good night.

Santa Claus is coming to Puerto Morelos! On Saturday, December 20th at 1:00pm Santa will ride his sleigh, okay maybe it won't be a sleigh, through town handing out candy to the children. The route will take him from the main town square to the Colonia including Villas I, Villas la Playa and Villas II. It should be a jolly time!

Saw blues legend Cooker John in Puerto Morelos this week. Good news is that he is in no rush to go back north, so you will be able to hear him play many times during the season. He will be playing Sabor de Mexico, La Sirena and other locations.

Update: Help Needed - Many of you know Mauricio, the hammock maker, from the Mayan Handicraft centre. Earlier this year, Mauricio's 16-year-old son Oscar suddenly needed to be rushed to hospital with kidney failure.

After many weeks Oscar and Mauricio had surgery with Mauricio acting as a kidney donor.  They are both recovering; Mauricio is back at work at the hammock store.

While all this was going on, Mauricio's other son Jeremy also had kidney failure, he needs a transplant as well. They are testing a potential donor right now.

All this is very expensive and beyond the means of the family. They are asking for financial support. Donations can be made at the hammock store in the Mayan Handicraft centre or you may continue to support the family business by buying a hammock. If you have a PayPal account, you can send money directly to Mauricio's account by using this email address: If you use your PayPal balance, the fee is negligible. There is a Facebook page with more information here.

Events Calendar: There is a lot going on in Puerto Morelos, and trust me, it is impossible to keep track of all the events. (Didn't we used to be called Muerto Morelos?) The uber-organized Amber from Mayan Riviera Properties has created an "all in one" events calendar for the town, and she has allowed us to share it with you from our Alma Libre website. Have a look at all that is going on, and add your own event!

A little espanol goes a long way in PoMo and locals Marilu and Victor can help you discover the language of Mexico. They will come to you and will work with students at any level. They are currently even trying to teach a couple of dim bulbs who work at the bookstore. Buena suerte to them with that! Please contact us and we will pass on their contact info.

Bank Machines: In the past we have had problems in town with bank machines being compromised with "skimmers" being attached to the card reader. We have had fewer problems recently.

Before using a machine, have a good look at it to make sure nothing is unusual. Especially check the card slot and the key pad. Is anything loose? Has anything been added to the machine, like a camera? If it all checks out, cover your PIN carefully. Thieves need the card info and your PIN to compromise your card. The HSBC machine outside the grocery store on the square seems particularly easy to compromise, so I would avoid it.

The Banco Norte machine in the OXXO on the square is good, but may not work with Canadian cards. The Santander machine by the police station has been compromised a few times. I do not know anything about the bank machine in the other OXXO. It does not seem to be affiliated with a large bank, so I assume its fees are higher.

If you are particularly concerned about your card being skimmed, there is a new private machine in the Aquanauts tour boutique on the square just east of the bookstore. The fee will be a little higher, but the machine is carefully watched by staff.

As soon as you get home, change your PIN.

You will pay a fee to use the bank machine, likely from your bank and the Mexican bank, but you will get a much better exchange rate from the machine than you would at a cambio house, so that compensates for the fee.

Remember when using the machine to "think in pesos". Don't withdraw $200 pesos thinking you are taking out $200 dollars. There are limits on the machines but you should be able to withdraw $5000 to $6000 pesos at a time.

In an emergency, you can use the other machines by the mall, but the fees will be much higher and the withdrawal limits much lower. One of the machines dispenses US dollars, but I cannot imagine why anyone would use $USD as you will get nailed twice on exchange. There are also some bank-affiliated machines in the Colonia.

Road Warriors: Time for my "once-an-issue-whine" about the roads in Puerto Morelos. I have less to complain about this year for sure. The road between our town and the Crococun road is pristine after last year's flooding. They also fixed the massive lake that sometimes popped up behind the church.

The red-haired step-child of the streets seems to be Avenue Ninos Heroes near the cultural centre. The damage done there after the rains of two summers ago remains. It is far beyond a patch job, and the strategy of ignoring it has not helped much. We hope some money will be available in the new year to fix it properly.

What news did I miss? Please drop me a line and let me know.

If you understood anything we wrote in this issue so far, credit is due to our editor Susan Lawson of Calgary. Susan is way over-qualified as an editor for this rag, we're just lucky she loves the town so much. She is responsible for any proper spelling or good grammar that somehow got into this newsletter. She is not responsible for the bad jokes. That is my fault alone.

Current Exchange Rates (At the exchange in Puerto Morelos - December 2014)
USA Dollar 13.50
CDN Dollar 11.70

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...

Cookbooks: There is no better souvenir of Mexico than a cookbook. We have a wider selection than ever this year at the bookstore, including these ones that are written in Spanish. Great gift for a local person or someone learning espanol.

Learn Spanish: This edgy CD teaches the Spanish phrases you really want to know.

"Hide This CD" is an hour-long language-learning program presented by young, native speakers; translations and language and culture tips are included.

Topics covered include cool greetings and goodbyes, traveling by public transportation, finding a hotel, ordering food, partying with the locals, dating, shopping trends, internet cafes and more.

Everything you need for a fun time in PoMo.

Explore With Dora: Learn a little Spanish while having fun with Dora the Explorer. We have a large variety of Dora books this year. Fun for you and the kids!
The Well-Filled Tortilla: Like a blank canvas but much tastier, the tortilla is the perfect start to any meal.

There is an art to tortillas and this cookbook has dozens of zesty and unexpected concoctions that turn the ordinary into the irresistible.

Featuring everything from Fiesta Ground Beef, Chicken Mole, Spicy Shrimp Salad, Green Olive Cilantro Salsa Ancho Chili Sauce, Pear Lime Salsa, and much more.

The Well Filled Tortilla features over 200 recipes.

Mexico - Michael Coe: Michael D. Coe’s Mexico has long been recognized as the most readable and authoritative introduction to the region’s ancient civilizations. This book covers the entire history of Mexico before the Spanish arrived, from the Olmecs to the Aztecs.

This is a fascinating read with lots of photos and illustrations. We have this book at a special low price.

Coe also wrote The Maya and Breaking the Maya Code which we also have in stock at the 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 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.

Secrets of the Talking Jaguar is the story of Martin Prechtel'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."

Crocodile Goes Out

A wonderful way to introduce children to the facinating world of the Maya. This book is tri-lingual, with English, Spanish and Maya glyphs.

The book tells the story of the Maya calendar.

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, Puerto Morelos and new Mayan Adventure maps.


Gourmet Sea Salt: Made in central Mexico, these gourmet sea salts are available in four very Mexican flavours: Cilantro, Vanilla, Chipotle and Habanero.

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.

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. We are approaching 1000 likes.

The groups have grown very quickly! Friends of Puerto Morelos just passed 3160 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.

Photos of the Month

Sandy Christmas - A sand artist, Jose Gonzalez decided to make Puerto Morelos his canvas for the last couple of weeks. After creating an ocean-themed sculpture, he set his sights on Christmas and is creating this Nativity scene, still under construction obviously. We assume the baby Jesus will appear by December 24. - Photo courtesy of the Casa Cultura

Santa in Paradise - Saw Santa's sleigh parked in Cancun on a recent visit. I can only assume he was doing a few shots to steel himself for the busy night later this month. Everything Christmas-related looks better to me with palm trees in the background.

 Colonial Christmas - Valladolid, a city in the state of Yucatan just a couple of hours drive from Puerto Morelos is one of our favourite places to go. They take great pride in their town square, which they have given the full Navidad treatment to celebrate the season.

Love It Two Times - Caught this full double rainbow over Puerto Morelos on a recent December afternoon.

Our Travels

Those who know us know that we like to travel...a lot. There is a big world out there and we want to see as much of it as possible. We have travelled extensively in Mexico and the US, places that we can reach with a vehicle, but we have been sadly lacking in overseas travel in the last few years.

We decided to remedy that this year with a trip to Asia. Since we couldn't drive, we literally took a slow boat to China. In September we boarded a Celebrity cruise ship which slowly made its way across the Pacific landing first in a land-locked town which supported a very important Soviet submarine station back in the cold war days. Now they "welcome" tourists as only Russians can. Not a smiley bunch, but the visit was a thrill. The square featured a statue of Lenin.

We sailed on to several ports in Japan, where we were overwhelmed by the kindness of the Japanese people and tired out by the sheer number of Japanese temples. We also visited two ports in South Korea, including Seoul, which is a vibrant and very successful city.


We then got off the ship in China and explored for two weeks. China is a vast country with many sites, so we travelled by train, plane, automobile and ship. It was fascinating. Seeing the Great Wall, the Terra Cotta Warriors and Tiananmen Square were highlights, but the country itself is challenging. Obviously, the number of people everywhere was overwhelming. There was a crush of humanity a lot of the time. The other big challenge was the air. We saw blue sky only once in two weeks. In Beijing the air was so bad, you could taste it. They measure the air quality on a scale of 0-300. On the day we left Beijing it was over 500. They need a new scale.

We did most of the trip on our own, but we had private guides in all the cities we visited in China. If you go, I highly recommend this approach. It is not expensive and saves you a lot of time and frustration.

After all this we drove down to Puerto Morelos as usual. For details on the drive north and south, check out Joanne's Salsa & Sun Blog. She has detailed our trip north through Mexico down to the last peso, and covered some of the sights we saw on the way.

We lost two great ladies in Puerto Morelos over the summer. Martha Richard-Uscanga passed away August 5 following complications after surgery for cancer. Martha was well known in town as the co-owner of Marand Travel with her husband Andres Uscanga. She lived in Puerto Morelos since 1992. Martha was originally from Quebec, but moved to Mexico in 1980. She will be missed.
Mary Navorro passed away in October. She was probably best known in town as the "La Suegra" of the restaurant "La Suegra de John Gray" which operated on the beach for several years. In recent years she was catering for Villas Shanti. Valorie from John Gray's Kitchen says she was one of the sweetest people you could ever meet and that she had wonderful stories.

Google Ads:


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 6:00pm  EVERY DAY of the week. (Including Sunday)

Our hours are always posted on the front page of our website at

We take trades every day, so our selection is constantly changing. If you are planning a trip down, please leave your e-reader at home and plan to buy all your reading material at Alma Libre. We've 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 Our store hours are always on the home page.

If you do not wish to receive this newsletter, please  Click Here To Unsubscribe

This is Year #13, Issue #1. December 2014.

To subscribe or make comments or suggestions or advertise your local event, please Contact Us

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. Please do not copy our content for your site without our permission.

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Text & Photos ©2002-2014 Alma Libre Bookstore. Please do not use our content on your website without our specific permission.