Apr 2, 2013

March 2013 - Catemaco

March rates # 3 to visit, and # 1 to live in Catemaco,  Except for this year because of an extraordinary wave of cold spells with nasty cloudy days.


The big event this month was an early Semana Santa which pumped some much needed tourist pesos into the economy. Although government agencies fell all over themselves proclaiming the quantity of tourists, I did not notice any particular increase from last year.

Hoteliers were in clover, trying to get as close to 1500 pesos per night for a family of 6. A sporting event in San Andrés also helped the week before Semana Santa and jampacked the entire zone.


The road to the beaches is under repair, but many miles still suck. I snuck into Montepío and La Barra but found nothing remarkable.


The brujo event  on the first of March was the usual farce with imported Indians  and a dozen expensive palm huts, that were mostly unoccupied. The event was saved by by the first replay in years of an authentic Midnight Mass by a collection of brujos in the hills of Catemaco. 
Semana Santa brought an amusement fair to the outskirts of Catemaco and drew no crows. Despite the Fliers from Papantla, a free dance concert and some other events, I think that venue  has had its day and I wonder whether the next mayor will return the mess to the inner city.


March fooled me this year. I would say half of it was not to my liking, cold and nasty. But as usual, some days were just absolutely gorgeous, clear and sunny with mild temperatures


No news that I noticed. EXCEPT - rentals for boat rides increased 45% to a minimum of 650 pesos per boat. Single fares are 100 pesos. Catemaco is basically a resort for low income people, and I think that increase will not help increase tourism.


The owners of Tepetapan opened a "Cevicheria & Beer" joint on the Malecón. It's attractively done and is worth a visit. 
In honor of Semana Santa many hotels opened their dormant dining rooms. I expect them to disappear as soon as the spring doldrums hit.

The Italians of La Ostería fame opend their huge second floor rock cantina on the Malecón. Food service is promised. Nice place to watch the lake in the late afternoon.
Cundo, a local collector of antiquities opened a cantina just off the Malecon stuffed with historic photos of Catemaco and has automatically become a "must" visit. Next to the Hotel del Lago.

No significant crime as usual, except someone stole one of my 500 peso cactuses, and I have no idea how they did it.

I'll repeat the quote from last month: "Elections are in July and the dozen wannabees are making so much noise in the press that it is hard to find nuggets of good news" Scuttlebutt says a former two time mayor and state deputy is the frontrunner. He is primarily famous for stealing Catemaco blind.

A grader has been at work and improved some of the roads to the ecotourism hill communities. April is a great month to visit them.