25 May 2009

Akumal 50th Anniversary Celebration - Dive Festival

Details of the First Pablo Bush Dive Festival

The Treasure Hunt! “Treasurers” will be dropped at various dive sites, and divers will search for them. Divers must register for a fee of $20, which includes a t-shirt and free drink at the Lol Ha Beach Bar (on the beach of Akumal Bay). The Akumal Dive Center is the host dive shop for the treasure hunt. To reserve dive times or get more information about diving in Akumal, visit the Akumal Dive Shop or Akumal Dive Center
The treasure hunt registration fee does not cover any dive costs. Register for the treasure hunt at the Akumal Dive Center or Akumal Dive Shop.

At the “Matanceros Expedition“ celebration (5:30 – 11:00 p.m., also at the Beach Bar) the names of the divers with the treasurers will be drawn from a hat and the diver will choose a real treasure (BC, mask, fins, and other prizes for example) as the diver’s name is chosen.

Fish identification class. Free at the CEA Center. Open to anyone who wants to sharpen their ability to identify fish in Akumal Bay and nearby reefs.

Dive buddy dash. Rule #1 in diving: Take care of your buddy. In this dry land event, divers will carry their buddies 50 feet. The winning diver and buddy win free drinks. Only diver (with a C card) can carry a buddy, who doesn’t have to be a diver – we suggest a lightweight lady.

Who’s the oldest diver? Youngest? Et cetera. Any diver can bring a C card to prove that they’re the oldest diver at the Matanceros Expedition celebration. We’ll find the youngest diver, too. Bring along the oldest piece of dive equipment and win a prize. Divers making their first open water dive during the festival get a prize.

9:00 am - Registration
12:00 pm - Fish ID presentation
1:00 pm - Diver treasure hunt
3:00 pm - Diver treasure hunt
5:30 pm - Matanceros Expedition celebration
6:00 pm - Diver dash
7:00 pm - Diver awards/drawings

Akumal Direct Reservations

20 May 2009


PUBLIC RELEASE, May 15th. 2009

The State Governor, Lic. Félix A. González Canto, confirmed that with the withdrawal of travel restrictions by the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Israel, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador, the recovery of tourism in the destinations of Quintana Roo will be immediate.

In the last few days more than 90 thousand tourists have arrived in Quintana Roo, showing their preference for traveling to tourist destinations in the Mexican Caribbean. It is anticipated that with the new reservations that are currently being generated, tourist activity in the state is clearly in a period of recovery.

The State Ministry of Tourism (Sedetur) announced that activities in the Mexican Caribbean’s tourist destinations have intensified, and that they will play host during the next few days to the 3rd edition of the Sacred Mayan Journey, the 4th International Open Water Swimming Marathon, Cancun – Isla Mujeres, the National Fishing Tournament in Cozumel and the XX Sport Fishing Tournament in Puerto Morelos, events in which participation is expected by a large number of sports enthusiasts, journalists and attendees from Mexico and abroad.

The state secretariat pointed out that The Sacred Mayan Journey, to be held from the 21st to the 23rd of May, promises to be the most spectacular ever, with the participation of 30 canoes, each eight metres in length, with crews of six to eight rowers, who will cross, during a period of almost 7 hours, the 28 kilometres of the Cozumel Channel, from Xcaret to the Island of Swallows, and the next day cross back to Playa del Carmen.

The Sacred Mayan Journey is a recreation of the ancient ritual pilgrimage to “Polé” - now Xcaret - made by the peoples who inhabited the Yucatan Peninsula, with the intention of setting sail to “Cuzamil” (Cozumel) to worship the Goddess Ix Chel
(Goddess of Fertility) and consult her oracle, the only one that existed in the entire region.

Similarly there is great expectation surrounding the XX Sport Fishing Tournament in Puerto Morelos, organized from the 29th of May to the 1st of June, a traditional sporting celebration which brings together more than 100 vessels and 500 fishing enthusiasts. The winners will receive attractive prizes, which include complimentary stays in renowned hotels of the Mexican Caribbean.

At 50 years since its foundation, the pioneers and founders of Akumal will celebrate this extraordinary occasion with diverse activities. The festivities will begin on Friday the 29th of May with various photographic exhibitions and the “premiere” of a video entitled “Akumal half a century ago”. The festivity will continue on Saturday the 30th with the “Night of the Matancero Expedition”, starting at 6.30 pm, and on Sunday the 31st of May with an underwater treasure hunt at the reef.

Finally, for the 30th of May, with the slogan “Put your Heart into Swimming”, the 4th International Open Water Swimming Marathon, Cancun – Isla Mujeres, a magnificent event endorsed by the Mexican Swimming Federation which promotes this sport, will take place, supporting charitable causes in a family atmosphere of goodwill.

The State Ministry of Tourism reiterated that the Mexican Caribbean is an ideal place for holding aquatic events and a perfect location for deep sea diving, swimming and snorkeling enthusiasts, who this very year will be able to enjoy the first stage of the Cancun Underwater Sculpture Museum, an ambitious project which plans to submerge 200 sculptures that will serve as new reefs and refuges for multicolored fish.

18 May 2009

CDC Travel Health Warning for Novel H1N1 Flu in Mexico Removed

This information is current as of today, May 18, 2009 at 16:39 EDT
At this time, CDC has removed its recommendation that U.S. travelers avoid travel to Mexico.
CDC continues to recommend that travelers visiting Mexico take steps to protect themselves from getting novel H1N1 flu. CDC recommends that travelers at high risk for complications from any form of influenza discuss with their physicians the risks and benefits of travel in the context of their planned itinerary to Mexico, and may want to consider postponing travel. Travelers at high risk for complications include:
· Children less than 5 years old
· Persons aged 65 years or older
· Children and adolescents (less than 18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
· Pregnant women
· Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic, hematological, neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders
· Adults and children who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV)
· Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities

If you travel to an area that has reported cases of novel H1N1 flu stay informed and continue to check updates from these sources:
o Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
o Secretaria de Salud / Secretary of Health, Mexico - Web page in Spanish
o World Health Organization Influenza A (H1N1) website
o Pan American Health Organization

Be aware that Mexico is checking all exiting airline passengers for signs of novel H1N1 flu. Exit screening may cause significant delays at airports.

04 May 2009

World Health Organization, Influenza A(H1N1)

Listen to today's audio of the Influenza A(H1N1) World Health Organization press briefing. [mp3 50 Mb] with Dr Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General ai, Health Security and Environment.

For the most current and updated information please visit the WHO website at www.who.int/en/

01 May 2009

One Journalist’s View of Mexico

One Journalist’s View of Mexico

By Linda Ellerbee

Sometimes I’ve been called a maverick because I don’t always agree with my colleagues, but then, only dead fish swim with the stream all the time. The stream here is Mexico.

You would have to be living on another planet to avoid hearing how dangerous Mexico has become, and, yes, it’s true drug wars have escalated violence in Mexico, causing collateral damage, a phrase I hate. Collateral damage is a cheap way of saying that innocent people, some of them tourists, have been robbed, hurt or killed. But that’s not the whole story. Neither is this. This is my story.

I’m a journalist who lives in New York City, but has spent considerable time in Mexico, specifically Puerto Vallarta, for the last four years. I’m in Vallarta now. And despite what I’m getting from the U.S. media, the 24-hour news networks in particular, I feel as safe here as I do at home in New York, possibly safer. I walk the streets of my Vallarta neighborhood alone day or night. And I don’t live in a gated community, or any other All-Gringo neighborhood. I live in Mexico. Among Mexicans. I go where I want (which does not happen to include bars where prostitution and drugs are the basic products), and take no more precautions than I would at home in New
York; which is to say I don’t wave money around, I don’t act the Ugly American, I do keep my eyes open, I’m aware of my surroundings, and I try not to behave like a fool.

I’ve not always been successful at that last one. One evening a friend left the house I was renting in Vallarta at that time, and, unbeknownst to me, did not slam the automatically-locking door on her way out. Sure enough, less than an hour later a stranger did come into my house. A burglar? Robber? Kidnapper? Killer? Drug lord?

No, it was a local police officer, the “beat cop” for our neighborhood, who, on seeing my unlatched door, entered to make sure everything (including me) was okay. He insisted on walking with me around the house, opening closets, looking behind doors and, yes, even under beds, to be certain no one else had wandered in, and that nothing was missing. He was polite, smart and kind, but before he left, he lectured me on having not checked to see that my friend had locked the door behind her. In other words, he told me to use my common sense.

Do bad things happen here? Of course they do. Bad things happen everywhere, but the murder rate here is much lower than, say, New Orleans, and if there are bars on many of the ground floor windows of houses here, well, the same is true where I live, in Greenwich Village, which is considered a swell neighborhood — house prices start at about $4 million (including the bars on the ground floor windows)..

There are good reasons thousands of people from the United States are moving to Mexico every month, and it’s not just the lower cost of living, a hefty tax break and less snow to shovel. Mexico is a beautiful country, a Special place. The climate varies, but is plentifully mild, the culture is ancient and revered, the young are loved unconditionally, the old are respected, and I have yet to hear anyone mention Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or Madonna’s attempt to adopt a second African child, even though, with such a late start, she cannot possibly begin to keep up with Angelina Jolie.

And then there are the people. Generalization is risky, but— in general — Mexicans are warm, friendly, generous and welcoming. If you smile at them, they smile back. If you greet a passing stranger on the street, they greet you back. If you try to speak even a little Spanish, they tend to treat you as though you were fluent. Or at least not an idiot. I have had taxi drivers track me down after leaving my wallet or cell phone in their cab. I have had someone run out of a store to catch me because I have overpaid by twenty cents. I have been introduced to and come to love a people who celebrate a day dedicated to the dead as a recognition of the cycles of birth and death and birth — and the 15th birthday of a girl, an important rite in becoming a woman — with the same joy.

Too much of the noise you’re hearing about how dangerous it is to come to Mexico is just that — noise. But the media love noise, and too many journalists currently making it don’t live here. Some have never even been here. They just like to be photographed at night, standing near a spotlighted border crossing, pointing across the line to some imaginary country from hell. It looks good on TV.

The U.S. media tend to lump all of Mexico into one big bad bowl. Talking about drug violence in Mexico without naming a state or city where this is taking place is rather like looking at the horror of Katrina and saying, “Damn. Did you know the U.S. is under water?” or reporting on the shootings at Columbine or the Bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City by saying that kids all over the U.S. are shooting their classmates and all the grownups are blowing up buildings. The recent rise in violence in Mexico has mostly occurred in a few states, and especially along the border. It is real, but it does not describe an entire country.

It would be nice if we could put what’s going on in Mexico in perspective, geographically and emotionally. It would be nice if we could remember that, as has been noted more than once, these drug wars wouldn’t be going on if people in the United States didn’t want the drugs, or if other people in the United States weren’t selling Mexican drug lords the guns. Most of all, it would be nice if more people in the United States actually came to this part of America (Mexico is also America, you will recall) to see for themselves what a fine place Mexico really is, and how good a vacation (or a life) here can be.

So come on down and get to know your southern neighbors. I think you’ll like it here. Especially the people.


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