Yucatan News: High Marks for Merida
News March 6, 2017
CNN Money International: Merida World’s Best Retirement City 2017
Merida boasts an impressive slate of accomplishments early in the year:
- Merida has been named the "Cultural Capital of the Americas" for the second time in the 21st century. Merida’s underrated artists, performers and craftspeople remain the best in the world.
- CNN Money International has just named Merida the world’s "No. 1 city for retirement in 2017." Runner-up cities included Panama City, Panama; Cuenca, Ecuador; Tamarindo, Costa Rica; Medellin, Colombia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Granada, Spain; San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua; Porto, Portugal, and Cospicua, Malta.
- Merida was designated "Best Gourmet Destination in Mexico" by the Food and Travel Readers Awards.
- Merida was designated the "No. 4 Best 2017 Tourist Destination in the World" by Lonely Planet.
- Merida was the only Mexican city to appear on a list of "Best 2017 Destinations to Visit" by the British newspaper, The Guardian.
Part of what makes Merida such an outstanding global retirement destination is the authenticity of its people. The Yucatecan way of life is not an act for tourists. It is a genuine and gracious lifestyle that values education, art, and competition “just for fun.” Perhaps the secret of Yucatan is that there is no secret.
Poverty Dropping in Mexico to Near U.S. and Canadian Levels
In 2015, the poverty rate in the United States was 14.3%. Canada doesn’t publish a poverty rate, but they do have what they call a low income level. It is currently estimated that 9% of Canadians live in poverty, but up to 20% live in stressful financial circumstances.
In 2010, the poverty rate in Mexico was 20.7%. By 2015, it dropped to 17.9% continuing a positive trend for Mexico in both education and economics.
Notice From the Chamber of Deputies and the Police
If a driver commits even a minor offense and is found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will incur a mandatory minimum of one to three years in prison, up to 300 days of pay as a fine and suspension or loss of license.
Now there is an equal penalty for committing even a minor driving offense while using any kind of radio communication equipment (i.e. cell phones), unless used with hands-free technology. Drinking and driving, coupled with cell phone use are the leading cause of 24,000 accidents among 15 to 19 year olds each year. Be careful out there, neighbors!
Exchange Rate: Dollar Falls Below 20 Pesos
According to Mexico’s Secretary of the Treasury, “Mexico’s economy has shown strength in the face of the challenges imposed by the outside world.” This came after talking with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce about the possible renegotiation of NAFTA. The exchange rate is predicted to continue equalizing, so take advantage of the strong dollar and stock up on necessities while these conditions last.
Watermelons Harvest in Oxkutzcab
Just because Oxkutzcab is the center of Yucatan’s citrus industry and hosts the Orange Festival every year doesn’t mean that oranges are all they grow there. Oxkutzcab watermelons are some of the best in the world and farmers bring up to 40 tons per day into the larger markets throughout the peninsula, both for local consumption and for export. This week, they published a guide to when to buy watermelons and how much you can expect to pay. There are two watermelon harvests in the Southern Cone of Yucatan, one in mid-to-late November and the other in April and May. (Remember: 1 kilo is 2.2 lbs. and 1 peso is currently 0.051 USD)
On November 20, watermelons were between 5 and 8 pesos per kilo in Oxkutzcab, but the harvest isn’t as big in the winter, so that’s about as good a price as you will get at that time of year. However, things do change a bit with bumper crops in the spring and summer. In April and May, if the weather has cooperated, you can get watermelons for between 3.50 and 4 pesos per kilo; but watch out for June. The rainy season is beginning, there’s not much left of the spring crop and what there is may be hard to get to. The price then goes up to 10 pesos per kilo. Another word to the wise: They keep the best watermelons (and the best prices) at the market in Oxkutzcab, so make a day of it and ride down in April or May. You’ll be glad you did.
Citrus Prices Looking Great for 2017
Lent always brings a rise in prices for citrus fruit, but this year is especially good for farmers. In Oxkutzcab, you can purchase citrus fruit by the 20 kilo box or by the piece. If you are going, now is the time because prices are expected to rise throughout Lent. Currently, prices are: Persian lemon: 330 pesos per box, sweet orange: 120 pesos per box, sour orange: 60 pesos per box, sour lime: and 1,500 pesos per box (due to scarcity). Prices have gone up at least 10% and are expected to rise even more.
Consume What Yucatan Produces Invited to Houston, Texas
On the second day of last week’s Expocampo Yucatan 2017, twenty local companies were invited to Houston, Texas, to promote the Consume What Yucatan Produces campaign at the Houston International Expo in late April. According to a representative of the Yucaexporta Office in Houston, this will be no small event because Yucatan’s companies will not be there to sell their wares to individual customers or to chain stores. Instead, they will be meeting with representatives and owners of international import/export companies. At this particular event, a wide variety of produce, animals, fish, and even medicinal plants will be introduced to large, international companies. The Yucaexporta Office is no small fish in the sea as well. More than 80% of Yucatan’s exports pass through that office. Their warehouses and services are supported by the Yucatan Produce Foundation.
First Jatropha Plantation Coming to Yucatan With Turf Feeding Systems
In May, 2008, http://www.yucatanliving.com/news/yucatan-news-san-felipe-biofuel-hurricanes Global Clean Energy Holdings purchased 5,000 acres of land that is unsuitable for other crops and planned to plant Jatropha curcas trees on it. By June, 2012, http://www.yucatanliving.com/news/yucatan-news-honey-and-handbags the experiment was a success and, with the help of Michigan Technological University, plans were made to move forward with 2,000 more hectares of Jatropha trees. There has been no information released about that project since June, 2012. Now, in 2017, there is a new project in the works. This one is called The Monica Project, which is a collaborative effort between Turf Feeding Systems and Zphere Works to design, construct and manage a 33,000 hectare sustainable high yield Jatropha plantation in Yucatan. Its actual purpose, aside from creating biofuel, is to restore degraded land and soil.
Dzilam de Bravo’s Well Known Crocodile Shot and Killed
The people of Dzilam de Bravo are upset that someone has shot a familiar crocodile who has never shown any aggression toward anyone in their town. In fact, this particular crocodile had become somewhat of a tourist attraction with a following of his own. The people of Dzilam de Bravo are very upset over the death of this beloved animal and have taken to social media to ask for additional vigilance throughout the port.
Elderly Turn to Recycling to Survive
Job opportunities are scarce for the elderly in Mexico, and certainly in other parts of the Americas as well. Some of the elderly in Yucatan have become what is politely called “recyclers.” In effect, they depend on dumpster diving to survive. They work in commercial squares, near restaurants, on beaches and the malecon, and now in streets. They are looking for plastic, aluminum, copper and other items to sell at junkyards. If you know of programs that may be helpful for these people, please let us know in the comments below.