17 September 2007

Highway Construction on 307

I have been in the Akumal area for the last couple of weeks and wanted to drop a note to let everyone who will be arriving in the next few weeks knows about the construction on Hwy 307 in front of Akumal, Jade Bay, and South Akumal. Having a 4 lane highway is very nice but until it is finished things are changing every day.

To enter North Akumal you will drive past the pueblo entrance and use the retorno right after the second tope (speed bump). This has been completed and will not be changing in the immediate future.

Akumal Beach Resort entrance is blocked off today. You can take the access road which runs on the east side (beach side) of the highway from the entrance at north Akumal. I am sure this will be changing in the next week.

Jade Bay is also only accessible from the access road.

At this time there are no signs of Akumal Sur. The entrance is located 1.7 kilometers south of the north Akumal entrance. There is a large billboard for Bahia Principe on the west side. There is also construction on the west side of the road right now.

I hope this helps! Please feel free to email us if you need more information at info@akumaldirect.com. Have a great vacation! Leslie

05 September 2007

The animals of Dean

My feet are back in the US, and we covered a lot of ground. My hat changed and I accompanied the Disaster Services Team of the Humane Society and Humane Society Int’l, we went to assess the situation of Dean’s path and its effects not only on the animals but on human health as well.

We spent some time in the town of Limones before heading to Xcalak and Mahahual. The road between them had been passable for a few days but had downed trees and electric poles. Xcalak had minimal damages, nothing compared to the destruction Mahahual endured. The evidence of the path was visible miles out; it makes you realize the severity of the surge. Crocodiles have been displaced as the water pulled them from the bay. Structures are gone or badly damaged and a good amount of the coral reef is on the beaches, horrifically loaded with trash.

It doesn’t resemble what we know of the town, but it is amazing how far they’ve come in just 2 weeks. The governor had finally arrived (on Sunday) bringing trucks and military to help clear the road. People are tired but they are positive and have pulled together as a community. They are living in tents and under lean-to’s and it was common to see their dog hanging around as well. The help coming in the way of food and supplies always warms my heart. We were able to bring over 1250 lbs of food down to the distribution center set up in Mahahual. Thank you Scott & Gary for helping us get it there!

For those of you who don’t know me, we do spay/neuter clinics here in Quintana Roo. Sterilizing is the only long term solution to an animal overpopulation problem. With the amount of animals roaming and surviving, populations will flourish and there is already evidence of packing in Mahahual. Understanding this is a human risk issue, I did get to experience one such meeting. It was a happy gathering as lone dogs realized others were out there, they found friends to frolic with!

HSI is hoping to secure funding for a 4 year program to include the communities of Limones, Mahahual and Xcalak. Our plan is to have a clinic sometime in Nov/Dec, help is always welcome in the ways of volunteers, supplies, food, accommodation, and of course contacts. We will have local vets attending and the municipality has already proven supportive of such programs.

We set up base in Chetumal, where there was more evidence in some places than others that Dean strolled in. One such place not so fortunate is what’s known as the Chetumal Zoo. We were thrilled to hear that they are more of a refuge, or sanctuary because their animals are rescued. I love to hear that! There is a lot of damage to their outdoor enclosures and all of the residents have been in their feeding and holding facilities. Large cats, primates and others wandering in their small cement cages has prompted HSI to secure immediate funding.


From Chetumal, we crossed the border to Belize City and a few area towns affected. We visited the Belize Humane Society and Animal Shelter, and a typical scene we see all too often. Limited resources, a surplus of dogs, minimal homes to be found and disease spreads quickly. Shelters need to have an adoption program for them to function, and HSI hopes to help them institute that. We will also help with putting together a spay/neuter campaign, I do love Belize!

Included in the assessment was the Sian Ka’an Biosphere and down to the quaint little fishing village of Punta Allen. We weren’t sure the road was going to be open so we ventured down finding it to take us the normal 1 ½ hours from Tulum. The road was washed in places but passable with care. The one sight that amazed us, after seeing the surge as far up as Akumal; the stretch of road that has natural mangroves looked virtually untouched. Leave it alone and it will survive, it was a very sad realization seeing what we’ve seen the last 4 days. Punta Allen was cleaning up the usual sand and debris, but it looked good overall. We did our first s/n clinic there last year and will plan on getting back again soon.

I took a lot of photos, not only of the properties. I’m sad to say they will have to wait another few days until I can get them from my “field” friends – I’ve had my camera taken, well, my sisters camera which is even worse!! I will share them soon.


04 September 2007

Life after Dean

I've just returned from Akumal and my trip south to Mahahual. Its amazing to see how much was accomplished in just 1 week. Pools are cleaned and filled, gardens cleared of debris and tourists moving in. The road in front of La Buena Vida/Vista del Mar continues to improve but this is where the waves washed through. The rest of the Akumal road is as it usually is in the rainy season, pretty bumpy.

La Buena Vida is ahead of schedule and they opened last Thursday night. They have a new menu, new staff and an overall new feel. This combined with its usual charm has Akumal a bit more lively these days.

All of the properties are opened, except Akumal Beach Resort which will open September 15th. It was nice to see the amount of cleanup work they are doing, and the beach looks untouched.

All restaurants are open as are all local businesses. The beaches took on the power of Dean gracefully, and once again persevered. We've gotten up, brushed off the sand as we gear up for high season. We were fortunate, but in the storms path, others were not.

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