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Cruise Travel – Volunteering in Costa Maya, Mexico with Together for Good

An aspect of travel that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside is giving back to communities I visit. I’ve written about my wonderful friend, Nancy Schretter, many times and how her idea with TogetherforGood.org has brought joy and much needed items to communities all over the globe. Here is a video recap of our port stop in Costa Maya, Mexico on the Norwegian Spirit, our giving back cruise.

The Costa Maya region was flattened by Hurricane Dean in 2007 and has slowly been rebuilding. Uai Nat Ze is a non-profit organization that has been serving the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico since Hurrican Dean hit the region. The Foundation supports community outreach programs and youth initiatives to assist those in need. If you’re interested in volunteering in Costa Maya, contact the Uai Nat Ze Foundation for help and ideas. School supplies are needed for kindergartens in Mahahual and Cancun.

Needed Items include: pencils, pencil sharpeners, crayons, colored markers, colored pencils, paper, children’s scissors, glue sticks, erasers, paper, construction paper, backpacks, activity books, educational toys and games, puzzles, sports equipment, arts & crafts supplies, band-aids, children’s tylenol, children’s vitamins, and other supplies. It’s very easy to include a backpack of school supplies to bring ashore during your port stop.

Also, beach clean-up opportunities may be available in this area. Because of the tidal currents, large quantities of plastic garbage wash up in this area. Approximately 85 percent of the litter that washes ashore comes from countries other than Mexico. For current information on needs in the area, contact Kevin at Uai Nat Ze at kevin@uainatze.org or visit the Uai Nat Ze website at www.uainatze.org.

High School in Mexico
The local high school

While you’re in the area, be sure to stop at the restaurant 100% Agave for authentic area cuisine. During our visit there, Kevin, his friend Nick, and local representative Cesar introduced us to this lovely open-air dining spot. It is very rustic and absolutely fabulous. The owner gave me a lesson on Tequila tasting the correct way.

The beaches and area are beautiful and inspiring. At the time of our visit, there were no hi-rise buildings to be found along the shoreline. If I had the money, I’d invest in beachside property and build an eco-friendly seaside home in this area. It’s just that beautiful.

Special thanks to NCL for hosting us during our cruise. Also, thanks to the community of Mahahual for their welcome and hospitality.

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  1. I was there recently and was appalled by the volume of trash on the beaches. Shoes, bottles, everything imaginable in plastic, and ll of it printed in English, so it was obvious it wasn’t Mexico’s trash. I made repeated inquiries and no one seems to know for sure exactly where it comes from, but the owner of the inn where I stayed in Xcalak (a bit further south than Majahual) said he recently picked up a hardhat on the beach that had the words “Panama Canal” printed across it. Best indications I got were that the debris comes from Central and South American countries, rather than the cruise ships, which I suspect often get wrongfully accused of dumping. The regs are pretty strict for the cruise industry these days, so it more likely it comes from countries who are dumping. Really sad.

  2. My son and I are cruising in less than 2 months and will be helping out Uai Nat Ze while in port at Costa Maya. We’re very excited!

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