Friday, October 9, 2015

Isla is Booming!

2015 concrete docks, bigger boats, new signs
Our little paradise here on Isla Mujeres is rapidly changing.  We think it’s great.  The focus has been gradually shifting from a sleepy fishing village to a tourist-based economy with more amenities available for everyone.

Fortunately our Presidente Agapito Magaña was way ahead of the curve on this.  A great many of the projects he has introduced have the tourism industry front and foremost, from having our beaches designated as the coveted Blue Flag status, to getting Isla Mujeres chosen as a Pueblo Mágico destination in Mexico.
Of course it doesn’t hurt that Isla has been frequently mentioned in the news:

Old ferry terminal - 2007 Lawrie waiting for friends to arrive

Trip Advisor - Top Beaches in Mexico
NBC News – Best Islands to Live On
Travel & Leisure - World’s Best Islands
Islands – Best Islands for Retiring Early

And as you explore the island on a golf cart you can’t help but notice the construction of new homes, condos, and resorts, including in-filling of vacant lots in the local neighbourhoods.  

2015 Street side entrance to the new terminal
On our street, in the last seven years, there have been twelve new houses built plus several other existing home have undergone major renovations.  Chris Shannon, Managing Director of Mundaca Real Estate, (Isla’s biggest real estate company) told us that it is hard to keep up with the requests to show property.  Their sales team is busy, and it’s a good busy!

At Punta Sam the continental part of Isla Mujeres, a larger car ferry terminal is under construction.  We haven’t heard what the projected completion date is, but it looks like the project is well under way.  Hopefully the new facility will have a better system for selling tickets to drivers.  

It is always amusing if not a bit unnerving to wait, and wait, and wait until mere minutes before sailing time to see if you are actually going to be able to get your vehicle on the ferry.  It’s all part of the adventure of living here.

Feb 2015 - starting to remove tower (right)
At the south end of the island, Punta Sur, the large observation tower that was built shortly before, and severely damaged by, Hurricane Wilma in 2005 was finally demolished and removed in February of this year.  The newspaper report said that there were 100 tons (metric tons probably) of metal to be removed.  The demolition company cut the tower into several slightly more manageable chunks and lowered them to the ground.  

At the present time there are four modern homes/townhouses being built in the same area.  The removal of that towering menace is certainly a relief to everyone living within its considerable reach had it broken off and crashed to the ground.

Oct 2015 Four new homes being built at Punta Sur
Another new project this year was the completion of a new fire hall, next door to the renovated police station and across the street from the soccer fields.  Now the new fire truck has a home out of the weather, and hopefully will last longer than the last vehicle.  The previous vehicle disintegrated into a heap of rust.  As we have often mentioned living on an island surrounded by warm salty water, creates a huge corrosion and rust problem for anything electronic or mechanical, although for humans, it’s a perfect environment. 

New fire hall and new truck

We know some of you will lament the changes to Isla, remembering the sand covered streets, the small tiendas (shops), and the slower pace, but change happens and we can’t go back.  We wouldn’t want to.  We love our large well-stocked grocery store, the new hospital, a second gas station, the larger passenger ferry terminal, reliable electricity, paved streets and sidewalks.  And the internet – well, it works, most of the time. 

The island people have not changed.  They are still the most welcoming and friendly folks you would ever meet, but now they have more employment opportunities to provide for their families.

Isla is changing, and getting better every day.  Enjoy!

Hasta Luego
Lawrie & Lynda

Discovered by the world as a wedding destination

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