30 November 2021 Newsletter

Annual Welcome Event December 7

Save the date for the 3rd Welcome party for Snowbirds and Expats in Progreso, on December 7th!
The Coordination of International Affairs of the Governor’s Office, in collaboration with the Secretariat of Tourism and the City Hall of Progreso, welcomes you to Yucatan! This is an event created especially for you, where you will meet other Snowbirds and Expats, enjoy traditional music and dance presentations as well as delicious food. There also will be information booths about leisure and medical tourism, altruistic activities and more.  We hope you’ll be able to join us!
Sanitary protocols will be in place.

New US Consulate Staff in Merida

Dorothy Ngutter assumed duties as Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Merida in August 2021.  A career Foreign Service Officer, she most recently served as the Director of the International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Section at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan managing border security and justice sector programs.  Dorothy has also served as Deputy Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Mission to NATO in Belgium, and Consular and Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Mali.

In Washington, she worked as a special assistant to former Under Secretary for Political Affairs Ambassador William J. Burns, as the Peru Desk Officer in the Office of Andean Affairs, and as a Watch Officer in the State Department’s Operations Center responsible for briefing and alerting then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other senior officials on breaking foreign affairs matters.  In other domestic assignments, Dorothy was a Diplomat-in-Residence responsible for outreach and recruitment of diverse candidates from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.  Prior to that she represented the Department of State as a National Security Affairs Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Dorothy joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 2002, after completing the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship. She holds a Master of Arts in Law & Diplomacy (MALD) from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Communication Studies from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She has studied Turkish, Spanish, and French.

Assuming responsibilities as the new American Citizen Services Chief is Donna Huss. She is the point of contact for US Citizens visiting or living in Yucatan who require assistance from the US Consulate. She will be working hard to keep us up to date on the rules and regulations regarding travel and the ever-changing needs of our citizens. You can contact Donna at 999-316-7168, visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ConsuladoEstadosUnidosMerida or Email askMeridaACS@state.gov .

Security Issues

Every year, the arrival of the snowbirds triggers a new round of breakins.  The law-breaking element knows that the foreigners bring their money and electronics with them and that they often forget about taking precautions from year to year.

This is a good time to download our Security Leaflet!  (That link will download a 280kb PDF file.)  This document prints on two sheets of standard paper, or just keep it on your PC, phone or tablet. The leaflet gives you tips on preventing crime, and information on what to do if you’re a victim.

Remember, for ALL emergencies,
CALL 911
from any US, Canadian or Mexican phone.

Progreso’s New Eco-Police

With the closing of the dumps, we certainly expect that the tourists and some locals will now look to dumping in the roadways and the entradas.  To minimize that happening, the size of the City of Progreso’s Ecology Police Force has been substantially increased.  You will see them traveling around the community on ATV’s with police lights. They have full Police authority and can write tickets for any offense.

As we transition thru this period of not having dumps, we will look to everyone to help with the enforcement.  If you see dumping, PLEASE report it.  If you are able to take pictures of the license plates of those dumping and the product they dump and advise Ecology, we can get some results. We recently had a report with all the above information and the individual responsible has been fined.   You can make a difference if you will advise Ecology.  Here is their number along with some other city government numbers that may be helpful.

  • Ecological Police:  999 277 2190
  • Municipal Police:  969 103 6286
  • Civil Protection:  969 103-7286
  • DIF:  969 103-6857
  • Health Department:  969 103-6807


The management and staff of the city water department SMAPAP have made a new commitment to restore reliable water service to everyone in the Progreso Municipality.  SMAPAP’s responsibility is to get water to your property line. Once on your property, your water service becomes your responsibility.  Here is the process if you do not have reliable water from the city to your property boundary.

Before contacting SMAPAP, remember that you cannot expect water pressure equal to your home country.  If it is flowing and slowly filling your cistern or getting water to your pressure pump, that is probably what you can expect.  Also, as we all know, when we have a large number of visitors, this will effect the flow.  It may help to pre-plan to get enough water to last a few days.  (If you have to fill your pool, do it sooner, not later.)  Be a bit patient as everyone is accessing the same water source.

  • When contacting SMAPAP, please have your Account Number.  They have GPS coordinates on most properties and it will allow them to find you. Your Account Number is on your SMAPAP bill, and probably also painted somewhere on the front wall of your house or property. (See photo above.)
  • Tell the agent the last time you had water; this will help them identify the issue.  For example, often when power fails, the restarted pumps can pump air into the lines, blocking the flow of water.
  • Do your best to provide them with accurate information. That means identifying if you are an isolated outage or if it is affecting your neighbors, a whole block of houses, etc. This is critical to helping them identify where the malfunction is.
  • Advise if you had any work done by a plumber to try to fix the issue.

If you see actual pipe breaks leaking water into the street, please report this immediately with City, Street, Cross Streets, House address (if available), and Entrada if available.


To report, access the Facebook website. Hours of operation are 9-3 PM daily. Saturday’s 8-1. Be patient on Weekends.  Make this URL a Favorite, or bookmark it in your browser:

Provide the information listed above; your Account number, dates, times, locations, any other details.

Passport card info

With the new requirement for foreigners on tourist visas to carry their passport with them at all times, we were curious about whether the US Passport Card would be a valid substitute.
We asked the Consulate and they responded.  The bottom line is that you must always carry the same document that you used to enter Mexico.  So:

  • If you entered the country using your passport (which you did if you came by air), then you must carry your passport.
  • If you entered the country by ground (e.g., drove in) AND you used your Passport Card at entry, then your Card should be sufficient.


From the Beach Area News team to all of our readers wherever you are, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!
Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, Dave Bloch

16 November 2021 Newsletter

(Did you get here from the Email Newsletter?  Scroll down for photos)

Welcome back to all our Winter visitors!

It has been 18+ months since we have seen many of you, and a lot has changed! The population and economy of the Progreso Municipality is growing at a rapid pace. Construction is everywhere and many improvements have been made. Issues such as water, trash, CFE, roads and more are being addressed by the local and state governments–but as always, patience is a virtue here in Mexico. We’ll run through all these things in a minute, but first:


State and Local government officials are hosting a welcome event for Expats & Snowbirds on December 7 from 4 pm to 7 pm at the Casa de la Cultura in Progreso (corner of Calle 25 and Calle 80). The program will feature regional dance and music as well as information about health tourism, leisure tourism and local activities. Come on down to reconnect with your old friends and make some new ones!


SO MUCH of what we want to tell you about makes more sense with pictures, on this page we have all the Email Newsletter text with many more photos and graphics.


Julian Zacarias Curi was re-elected as Mayor of Progreso for another 3-year term. He continues to drive improvements in the community. He wants to see the Municipality grow with opportunities for local Mexican citizens and expats alike.  Photos below!

You will instantly see the difference on your first visit to the Progreso Malecon! The entire length has been rebuilt and is now closed to traffic. Palapas and beach umbrella areas have all been upgraded. The new Geology Museum building is completed but not yet open; we are told a State official that the museum is due to open soon!  Also, the new cruise ship Welcome Center at the entrance to the pier is almost ready for use!

FAST Progreso: You may remember this service from 2019. We now have a full-time expat resident Sallie Again-Hirst in this position. FAST Progreso (Foreigners Assistance Services Team) is part of the Tourism Office within the municipal government established to provide information, news and help to the foreign community and visitors. You will also find FAST Progreso around on cruise ship days ensuring our visitors have a positive experience while in our port.

If you have issues pertaining to the Municipality about street lights, water, or anything you don’t know how to deal with–or you are just seeking information about the City–it’s the job of FAST Progreso to help. Sallie can take a report from you and pass it along to the proper department.  Please note that FAST cannot help with State or Federal matters such as immigration or CFE.

You can contact FAST on Facebook; just search for Fast Progreso or contact Sallie directly via WhatsApp at 999-255-6494 or email at: againhirstsallie@yahoo.com


Progreso’s Traditional Malecon is now free of motor vehicles (official and some delivery/service vehicles permitted).
The PROGRESO letters got an upgrade
The Progreso beach now has international BLUE FLAG status from the Foundation for Environmental Education.
The new Geology Museum on the Progreso Malecon will open soon!
A look inside the open space of the Geology Museum
Chicxulub Central Plaza
Chicxulub Central Plaza
Chicxulub Central Plaza
Chelem and Chuburna now have THREE Oxxo’s!
New Chelem Central Plaza
New Chelem Sports Field
NEW Trash process

The process for trash collection has changed. All dump locations including Chelem and Chicxulub have been closed. If you have paid Prolimpia, the local garbage service, trash will be picked up outside your home on a regular schedule, two days per week. You can find out from your neighbors when that schedule is. If you have not paid for garbage service, you need to go to the Prolimpia office in Plaza de Mar (the shopping center on Calle 27 between C.76 and 78 in Progreso) to establish service.

If you have yard waste, you must bag it and put it out. They will pick up 2 bags per service day. We ask everyone to PLEASE purchase a trash can with fitted lid to limit the exposure to the bags by the street dogs!

For the safety of their employees, Prolimpia requests: “Do not bag sharp items (glass, metal, among others); put them in a box and indicate their contents in a note. Don’t bag heavy items like rubble or other construction materials.”

If you have special items you need picked up, such as palm fronds or other items on the list below, send a picture of the items, with a detailed description of the location, on WhatsApp to 999-362-6077. A GPS location is always welcome! There is an additional cost for this special pickup.

SPECIAL PICKUP ITEMS: Construction materials, furniture, light bulbs, appliances, grass, Christmas trees, hoses, mattresses, toilets, rocks, tires, dirt, logs.

You can Download the Prolimpia Flyer with the pickup schedule, items list and phone numbers here! (338 kb file)


The Progreso municipality has established convenient locations to recycle your plastic, aluminum, cardboard and glass. Please save these items and take them to one of the locations. Help them keep the environment clean while contributing to the reuse of limited resources. You can drive your car to these locations to unload. Three of the four are staffed to help you unloading.

The locations are:
Chelem—Behind the Commasaria, between 20+21. M-F, 8-3, Saturday 8-12.
Progreso Cultural Center—Calle 80 x 25, across from the Market. 8-5, M-F
Chicxulub—Corner of Hwy 27 and Calle 19. M-F 10AM-5 PM.
Ecologia y Media Progreso—C 19 X 18 y 20 Colonia Nueva Yucalpeten, Open 24/7. Not monitored.

PHOTOS of the Recycling Centers


The municipality is working hard to improve conditions for everyone. That, of course, takes revenue! There is a major push to collect Federal Beach Tax, water (SMAPAP) fees, Prolimpia fees and state taxes. It is recommended you make every attempt to be up to date on all these fees to avoid penalties. (Remember that there are substantial discounts if you pay your PREDIAL–the property tax–early! INAPAM card holders also receive a discount.)


Use the link at left, or Search Facebook like this.

As of the middle of November, we have the lowest COVID-19 numbers of the year, and the federal government has designated Yucatan at “Green” status. To check the current COVID-19 status in Yucatan, visit the Yucatan state health department Facebook page. Use Google Chrome with translation turned on, and scroll until you see the Daily Coronavirus report.


Social Distancing is required with limitations by the size of the venue. Limit 8 People per table.
Masks are required to be worn in all public places at all times, except when eating or drinking.

As of mid-November 2021, visitors are not required to be tested for Covid-19 to enter Mexico. Both the US and Canada have separate requirements for reentering after visiting Mexico. Check with the official Websites of the US State Department or Government of Canada (or your country) to get their latest information.


If you are entering Mexico there are new regulations regarding the checking of your immigration status. If you are entering under the FMM tourist Visa, you must carry the bottom portion of this document and your passport with you at all times. (If you are temporary or Permanent resident, you must carry your resident card with you at all times. You do not need to carry your passport with you as long as you have your Mexican residency card.)
If you do not have these documents with you and are stopped by immigration, you can be jailed until you can produce the original documents. COPIES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Another important change is that Immigration will no longer automatically give you a 180-day visa when you arrive. You will be asked how long you are staying, and will be given that number of days. Check this article for more details:


A new Facebook group and Website, Yucatan Back Roads, was created by Beach Area News editors Speranza Avram and Dave Bloch to highlight interesting places to explore in the Yucatan. The group lets you share stories of your explorations of the small villages, cenotes and haciendas along the rural back roads of our state. Join the group on Facebook or visit the yucatanbackroads.com Website for more information!

Once again, welcome back!

Your Beach Area News team: Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, Dave Bloch
Copyright © 2021 Beach Area News, All rights reserved.

2 February 2021 Newsletter


Welcome to the first edition of Beach Area News for 2021!

We suspect that many of our readers who would usually be spending the winter months here on the north Yucatan coast are home “up north,” perhaps shoveling snow and dreaming about the warm sea breezes that they are missing.  There are many positive changes taking place in our communities so we thought we would use this year’s first edition of our newsletter to let you know about some of them.


In 2019, the City of Progreso created a “one-stop shop” for foreign residents and visitors to Progreso. It is called FAST Progreso – Foreigners Attention Services Team.  The goal of the program is to help expats and foreign visitors get answers to questions about city programs and services.

FAST Progreso has a new coordinator – long-time Progreso resident Sallie Again-hirst. Sallie is a retired public-service worker originally from the state of Missouri in the US. Her background includes working as a dispatcher for local law enforcement and most recently, nursing. Sallie has lived in Progreso for ten years and has been active in many local community projects. In this 2020 photo, Sallie received recognition for her community service from Progreso Mayor Julian Zacarias Curi.

Her job at FAST Progreso is to help find answers for the expat and visitor community. Her questions range from the mundane – how to pay local taxes – to the more complicated – “what to do about all the mosquitos?”  Whatever the question, she will try to find the answer. As Sallie explained to Beach Area News “I find that if I can stay ahead of whatever problems might arise, then I can post about them on the FAST Progreso Facebook page. So far, that seems to be working.”
Sallie says she loves her new job and is really understanding just how hard many city employees are working to improve the quality of life for all the residents of this port city.
You can contact FAST Progreso by visiting their Facebook page and sending Sallie a Message or through WhatsApp – 999-255-6494.

The Progreso Blue Flag Program

For much of last year, the beaches in Progreso were closed to the public. When they reopened again in November, we noticed a few things. First, they were so clean!  Second, new trash receptacles were located on the sand. And finally, a big new sign describing Progreso’s participation in the Blue Flag Program, an international recognition designed to help maintain environmental quality at beaches around the world, while also encouraging sustainable tourism. There are 66 beaches around Mexico that are participating in the Blue Flag Program, but Progreso is the only Blue Flag site in the State of Yucatan. To be added to the program and maintain certification, sites need to adhere to a long list of criteria. You can learn more about the Blue Flag Program here: https://www.blueflag.global/our-programme

And here are some photos of how great the beach in Progreso looks now!


Geology Museum in Progreso

A massive construction project is happening on the Malecon at the former site of the Parque de la Paz.  The Geology Museum is a federal project that, according to Progreso Hoy, will have “exhibition areas and various rooms, with green areas and open-air public spaces for the enjoyment of the inhabitants and visitors, and it will be a space where several of the activities that they got used to it in the malecón park.”  The museum will be a space “where the history of our port and our people will be told,” Progreso Mayor Julian Zacarias Curi told Progreso Hoy back in July.

Recycling is Here At Last!

Finally, residents in Progreso, Chelem and Chuburna can participate in recycling! In November of last year,  the City of Progreso opened up its first recycling facility at the Casa de Cultura in Progreso on the corner of Calle 25 and Calle 80. Open 9 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday, and 9 am – 2 pm on Saturday, the facility accepts glass, aluminum, cardboard and PET plastic (essentially, plastic drink bottles).

A second site, with a bit easier parking access, also opened in Yucalpeten, near the Fiscalia near the corner of Calle 29 and 37.

Residents of Chelem and Chuburna can recycle at the newly opened recycling center located at the site of the former dump.

The community of Chicxulub will receive a recycle drop-off location soon.

Soccer/Baseball Field 

For as far back as anyone can remember, the baseball and soccer field in Chelem was nothing but dust and dirt.  If you fell down fielding the ball, you ended up with plenty of scars.  If you dared to slide into a base, it could mean stitches.

That is about to end. The government is building a state of the art sports field for soccer and baseball in place of the old dirt lot, complete with professional grade Astroturf, professional lighting, viewing stands, and plenty of restrooms for all so they can enjoy the whole game. This is an outstanding development for children, parents and all to enjoy a night out with the family.

A similar, somewhat smaller facility is also being built in Chuburna.  What a great step forward for these two communities!


New travel restrictions announced by both the US and  Canada mean that (as of February 2, 2021) proof of a negative Covid-19 test is required to return to either country.  The good news is that there are many Covid-19 testing sites available throughout Progreso and Merida. It is important that anyone attempting to return to the US or Canada verify the type of test required (PCR or antigen) by both the country AND the specific airline that you will be flying. There is a list of approved Covid-19 testing sites on the Beach Area News website here (this link will download a PDF):


In addition, Merida International Airport also has a rapid Covid-19 testing site available. This site will perform the antigen test that is acceptable for entrance to the USA, deliver the results and provide a certificate in a maximum of 30-minutes; cost is about MX$700.  Note that you must present an airline ticket to use this service.

IMPORTANT: regardless of where you receive your test, be sure it includes the date and time of the test, and your name as it appears on your passport.

The State of Yucatan continues to do what it can to prevent the State from returning to a “red” condition, which is extreme lock-down. Carnaval has been cancelled this year and the Progreso Malecon beaches will be closed for two weeks beginning February 4. We have noted stepped up enforcement to prevent large parties from taking place in the beach area. There is no definitive word about a vaccine for Yucatan – only that vaccinations may be available in about three months. Meanwhile, we encourage everyone here in the beach communities to enjoy our fabulous winter weather from the comfort and safety of your own home.

Take care and stay healthy!  From your friends at Beach Area News:
Bob Rentz, Speranza Avram, Karen Cloutier, Dave Bloch