Cozumel News May 7, 2017 Cozumel Banks & Money, Banks in Cozumel, Medical Emergencies in Cozumel for Residents & Tourists, Aurita’s Cozumel Corner, The Cozumel Men’s Breakfast Club, The Cozumel Women’s Breakfast Club, Cozumel SUMMER Worship Services in English, The Cozumel Sun Garage Sale, and more!
Cozumel Banks & Money
We have retirement incomes electronically deposited to a bank in the United States. This enables us to continue using the United States bank account to build credit, use Bill Pay in the United States, make internet purchases, etc.
We use the United States debit cards to withdraw cash to meet our cash expenses in Mexico, and make CASH deposits to a Mexican Bank.
We use the Mexican Bank, for the same reasons: Build credit, use Bill Pay to pay the Mexican Utilities, use debit cards to make purchases in stores and on-line.
This leaves us doing a lot of business at ATM machines. We try to use ATM machines located in banks or bank lobbies ONLY. If something goes wrong, you have the bank right there to fix the problem, a security camera on you and the machine, and many times a guard roaming around the premises.
I have occasionally used the Chedraui and Mega machines, both usually have security guards nearby. If something goes wrong with your transaction, you have to follow it up with the bank whose machine you used. I have never had a problem, but just in case, I use my bank, Bancomer.
I NEVER, ever, ever, use the street machines that belong to parties’ unknown, and are out in the open inviting you to get mugged. There is also the threat that someone has come along and placed a card reader on the machine that allows someone to steal all your card information.
A reader recently sent me the following message:
From: David <XXXXXXXXXXXXXX>
Subject: article for tourist
I would like to suggest that you write an article warning tourist not to use the ATM machine that are on the streets. I can prove that the one in front of the Villablanca is a fraud because I have a bank charge from the machine. It was the only machine I used my pin number on.
This e-mail was sent from a contact form on The Cozumel Sun News (https://www.thecozumelsun.com)
Tourists to Cozumel, all the local banks are within walking distance. Our main Park Benito Juarez across from the passenger Ferry has at-least three banks that I know of right in the middle of town square. If you are at the other end of town, there are bank machines in both Chedraui and Mega Stores.
So, the moral of this story is walk to the nearest bank or one of the two grocery stores on Melgar Avenue.
Banks in Cozumel
This section has a list of Mexico’s principal banks and a brief overview, based on current information we have about them. This information is provided by The Mexexperience: http://www.mexperience.com/living/banks-in-mexico.php
Banamex – Short for “Banco Nacional de Mexico”, Banamex is now owned by CitiBank, the US Banking giant. When the bank was purchased by Citi, it underwent a slight re-brand with a mix of the old Banamex logo and current CitiBank colors. Lines are often very long at Banamex branches, despite their electronic ticket/rota system. In October 2007, CitiBank announced that it was selling US Dollar denominated mortgages for property in Mexico, using its subsidiary, Banamex, to administer the product. Banamex has one of the largest branch networks in the country and is also an agent for Western Union money transfers. Web: www.banamex.com
BBVA Bancomer – BBVA is short for Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria that, as the name suggests, is a Spanish bank. BBVA bought Bancomer and re-branded the name to BBVA Bancomer replacing the look to match the parent bank’s corporate theme and colors. BBVA has a huge branch network with branches and ATMs at every main town and city throughout Mexico and is one of the banks in Mexico which is often seen reaching out to foreign clients through magazines targeted at foreigners, e.g. glossy real estate and in-flight magazines. Web: www.bancomer.com.mx
HSBC – The British banking giant, HSBC (Hong-Kong Shanghai Bank of Commerce) bought the Mexican bank formerly known as Bital. Bital’s image and reputation was so dated that the bank immediately re-branded every branch to its HSBC (“The world’s local bank”) brand. Bital’s service levels were always perceived as below par, although recently it seems that the bank has raised its game, perhaps through more training and management know-how. Lines at HSBC are usually shorter than those at Banamex and BBVA Bancomer — but longer than those at Banorte. HSBC claims to have the largest branch network of any bank in Mexico (inherited from Bital) and it was also the first bank in Mexico to open very extended hours (until 7pm at some branches) and was also the first to open its larger branches on Saturday mornings. Other banks have followed suit and extended opening hours that are a world-away from Mexican bank’s opening hours in the 80’s and early 90’s, when they closed their doors by 1pm. Longer opening hours have also helped to ease the waiting time in lines at banks in Mexico: before, when all banks closed by lunchtime, extremely long lines were part-and-parcel of the banking experience in Mexico. Thankfully, those days have passed. Web: www.hsbc.com.mx
Scotiabank – Previously known as Inverlat, the bank was bought out by the Canadian banking giant Scotiabank and promptly re-branded to the parent’s own image. Judging from reviews and internet bulletin boards, this seems to be a popular bank with foreigners. Scotiabank’s branches are well represented in all major towns and cities but the bank does not have the breadth and depth of branch network reach like Banamex, Bancomer and HSBC. Perhaps as a result of having fewer customers overall, the lines are not as long as those at Banamex and Bancomer. Web: www.scotiabank.com.mx
Banco Santander – This bank is partly owned by Santander, the Spanish banking giant, and Bank of America. Like Scotiabank, it does not have the branch network reach like that of the ‘big four’ although this can be an advantage if you live in a major town and don’t need frequent ATM access to your account in lots of different places. Smaller banks do tend also, to have shorter lines which makes day-to-day transactions less time consuming. Web: www.santander.com.mx
Banorte – Banorte is a wholly owned Mexican bank. It has a real branch network across the whole of Mexico and prides itself, through image and advertising, on being the only remaining bank that is wholly Mexican-owned. It does not seem to proactively advertise to the foreign / expatriate community as other banks do (especially BBVA and HSBC, who are often seen in magazines and newspapers for foreigners). The lines at Banorte always seem shorter than other banks. Web: www.banorte.com.mx
Banco Inbursa – Banco Inbursa is owned by Grupo Carso, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s principal investment vehicle. It has ATMs and branches at Sanborns and Sears stores and offers a range of of financial services including credit cards, car loans, insurance services, deposit accounts and AFOREs — all of which it promotes and sells through the retail outlets owned by the group. Web: www.inbursa.com.mx
Banco Azteca – Banco Azteca was Mexico’s first bank to be based in a retail setting, with branches at Elektra retail outlets. Its primary purpose is to offer credit to customers purchasing durable goods at its stores. Banco Azteca is also an agent for Western Union money transfer. Web: www.bancoazteca.com.mx
Wal-Mart de Mexico – Wal-Mart de Mexico received permission from the Mexican financial authorities to open its own bank in Mexico in October 2007. Wal-Mart now has bank branches at its stores nation-wide and offers its clients credit to buy goods at its stores. Web: www.wal-mart.com.mx
Nacional Monte de Piedad – Not, strictly speaking, a bank, Monte de Piedad (translated it means “Mount of Pity”) is Mexico’s largest pawn broker. With operations nation-wide, Monte de Piedad offers ready-cash in exchange for almost anything with intrinsic value. Gold and silver jewelry is the most commonly traded item. The organization is huge, and branch stores may be found in nearly every state in Mexico. With such a large informal economy, pawn broking is a sought-after service by people in need of cash, especially those who do not have access to mainstream banking and credit facilities. If the money is repaid within a certain time limit (plus the interest), customers may reclaim the goods; else the item or goods are sold-off at the branches which also act as shops. Loan amounts depend on the current value of the item(s) being pawned; interest charges are, not surprisingly, higher than those offered in the mainstream credit markets. Web: www.montepiedad.com.mx
Update: September 2016:Topic: Bank of American has agreement with a Scotia Bank If you have a Bank of America account you can now use Scotia bank ATM in Mexico. The only fee will be currency exchange 3% no other fees.
Medical Emergencies in Cozumel for Residents & Tourists
If you should need to call an ambulance for a medical emergency, be ready to let the ambulance driver know what hospital you wish to be transported to. Some hospitals are expensive if you do not have insurance coverage.
If you have a medical condition and your Spanish is not fluent, have a Spanish translation of the problem or problems handy to make it easier for you to communicate with the paramedics. Examples of things you might want to list are high blood pressure, heart condition, diabetic, allergies, and symptoms. There are many bilingual Doctors on the Island. However, be ready in the event your Doctor is not available.
Everyone vacationing should know if your insurance is accepted at any of the local hospitals. Some insurance companies supply their own emergency contact numbers to policy holders and will connect you to an English-speaking operator.
Ambulances are privately run, and get paid by taking you to certain clinics. Have a name of a hospital or clinic available and demand to be taken there.
Consider purchasing flight insurance. Changing a flight departure date due to illness or death can cost up to $400! Flight insurance can cover medical expenses not covered by your regular insurance company.
When you move to Mexico, you should acquaint yourself with the local medical and health facilities available in your area. Find out where your nearest hospitals and clinics are, as well doctors, dentists and opticians and keep their telephone contact numbers at hand.
You can find this information out from neighbors, friends, work colleagues or contact your local consulate who are able to give you a list of local health facilities in the city or town where you live. The Cozumel Sun has a listing of Service Providers for your convenience.
Have these instructions and numbers written on a card that you carry with you. In emergency situations you do not think clearly enough to remember who to call.
My non-Spanish speaking family members also carry an identification card with Name, address, phone numbers, and emergency contact information.
You can ask for the police, an ambulance or the fire brigade using 911.
What do you do to plan ahead for an emergency?
Mea Culpa! Please forgive the lack of timely weekly news! As you know, I traveled to Florida to take care of some important family matters. What I was not aware of when I made the plans was that none of the relatives that I stayed with had internet access! I can only hope that through my Facebook posts readers were able to enjoy some of the celebrations that have taken place.
There was no official “El Cedral” for the first time in Cozumel history. But, never the less, Cozumel still pulled out all the stops and combined El Cedral activities with a 500-year Celebration of the “Meeting of Two Cultures” (arrival of the Spaniards in Cozumel) and the first recorded Catholic Mass held in Mexico.
Citizens are still reporting increase in motor cycle thefts, assaults, and break-ins of both homes and businesses. These burglaries have included at least five Union Offices. On labor Day last Monday, union member joined citizens in a peaceful protest of the current Government for their alleged lack of action to remedy the situation.
The burglaries are still attributed to juvenile delinquents taking advantage of the lack of a Municipal Police presence in the neighborhoods. Neighbors have increasingly joined together to protect their property and have had success in capturing and turning in the culprits, only to have the police release them without prosecution.
The citizen complaints expand to the Attorney General’s Office refusal to prosecute offenders who return time and time again to commit the crimes. What citizens have reported first hand to me is that they have caught the thief in their home in the process of attempting to steal electronics, computer, cell, phone, motorcycle, car, the items vary with each person that I spoke to. They apprehend the thief, call the police and wait for their arrival (many times a very long wait). Since they stopped the theft from happening, it did not happen and they are released!
Citizens were furthere outraged that last week Municipal Police arrested two clowns that were performing for free to a crowd of 300 children and family members in Quintana Roo Park. Rather than fining them for not purchasing the appropriate permit to perform at the park and allowing them to continue entertaining the crowd, they arrested them in front of the children and took them off to jail. They are questioning the priority here.
The other side of the story is that the current Government is reaching out to the Citizens with town hall meetings held at different colonies each week. Department heads are present and citizens are asked to place their complaints and suggestions at these meetings. I will start attending as soon as I get transportation so that I can report first-hand what is taking place.
There is active recruitment out there for Police Officer candidates, so there is going to be an increase in Municipal Police in the future.
The Mayor has reported that she has been successful in chipping away at the massive deficit left by the previous administration.
They are attempting to keep the communication open through “Isla Cozumel” https://www.facebook.com/islacozumelmx/ live broadcasts and have put out a phone number and What’s App contact information. As I reported, one of the Mayor’s first moves was to refuse to pay the local media for press coverage. Since then, the only press outside of Isla Cozumel has been negative press.
For this week Wednesday May 10 and next week, May 17 we will be visiting Cozumel Islander on Xel-Hal (Calle 15) at Av 5 Bis behind Chedraui. Adey said she will set up the tables outside on the patio unless it is raining then we will be inside. She also said we can order off the regular menu too if we don’t want the breakfast specials.
Breakfast specials are $80 pesos and includes coffee and a small donut shaped cup cake. Two items missing from the photo with the specials is enchiladas and chilaquiles with either red or green sauce. Last week we also saw a second special breakfast menu. There are about 4 parking spots right in front as well as parking on the street.
Please note that they do not open until 9 am so don’t be too early.
Our group meets every Wednesday. In addition to meeting wonderful Ladies from all over the world, the breakfast club is an excellent source of information gathering and networking. Breakfasts are informative and FUN! All Women are welcome to join us, even if you are just visiting our beautiful Island. If you wish to be placed on the mailing list, contact: Betty Li at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cozumel Men’s Breakfast Club
The Cozumel Men’s breakfast Club has stopped meeting for the summer months. Many of the attendees travel to their native countries during this period. We will notify you when the Cozumel Men’s breakfast club resumes.
There are English language worship services in Cozumel. Cozumel has a variety of Churches representing almost all denominations. Many people choose to attend a Church of choice and follow the service in Spanish as best they can. This is a great way to practice your Spanish. The following is a list of worship services that are in the English Language (CHABAD Service is in Hebrew):
Church of Christ / Inglesia de Cristo
Calle 55 entre Adolfo Rosados Salas calle 3 sur
Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Tel: +52 01 987 564 0462 / Pedro Castenadas
Jesus Es Rey Bible Church
Corner of Ave. 95 y Calle 39
Services in English Sundays at 10 a.m.
Ola de Gracias Non-denominational Christian Church 30th Avenue Between Calles 29 & 27 next to the Jackpot Casino Sundays at 10 am Wednesdays at 7 pm the services Depending on Pastor either in Spanish translated into English or in English Translated into Spanish. Erik Lucy - English Pastor Castillo - Spanish Pastor Traconis - Blends both Languages
CHABAD of Cozumel
5th Avenue between Juarez and 1st
2nd Floor PLAZA DEL SOL close to the San Miguel Pier
Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
US Phone: +1 (305) 432-2406 or +1 (770) 666-5428
Mexico Cell Phone: +521 (987) 111-9715 or +521 (987) 117-9518
Kabbalat Shabbat Friday night: Sunset
The Cozumel Sun Garage Sale
The next Garage Sale will be the first weekend in May! Plenty of time for you to gather all the things that you no longer use! The Sun Garage Sale, formerly known as “The On-Going Garage Sale” was started as a means to collect gently used clothing and goods to be donated to the poor and/or sold at low cost to raise funds for our many projects in Las Fincas and our immediateneighborhood.
We have donated or sold the majority of the second hand clothing and articles we collected in 2016. Our garage sales will resume again next month, and need your donations. Please consider dropping off the items you no longer use or need at our home/store #1081 35 Avenida between Calles 17 & 15 Bis. You can also call at 987-118-4453 or 987-120-5902 to arrange a pick up at your home. All Clothing, Housewares, Furniture, Appliances, etc. will be greatly appreciated. Your donations or proceeds from your donations are guaranteed to go towards a family in need or to a good cause.
Papeleria Mama Lilly
School and Office supplies, copies, printing, laminating,
scanning, and binding. Gifts and Novelty Items. Computer Access,
Calls to Mexico, U.S, and Canada. We provide Facturas, and
deliver to your home, business, or office.
AFTER HOURS EMERGENCY SERVICE AVAILABLE!
We Speak English!
06:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
08:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Saturday
08:00 a.m. – 09:30 a.m. Sunday
11:00 a.m. – 09:00 p.m. Sunday
35 Avenida Sur Entre Calles 17 y 15 Bis
Colonia Independencia (Near the Independencia Sports Center)
May 15th – October 28th
June 1st – September 15th