Today one of the mainstays of Puerto Morelos, Casa Martin will close. Friday, January 18, 2019, is the last day of business for the little corner store.
Casa Martin has been a fixture in the community for over 37 years. If you do not know the store, it is located on the main town square just under the restaurant La Sirena, a stone’s throw from the pier and the famous leaning lighthouse.
The building is owned by Jesús “Pepe” Espinoza who came here with his family in 1981. For years Casa Martin was the largest mini super in the town.
Our best memory of the tienda was after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Puerto Morelos had no electricity and was almost cut off from the outside world, but Casa Martin still managed to open, with a big generator, and provide locals with groceries and best of all, much needed cold beer!
Another nice service was enabling locals to sell their wares in the store. Dieter’s bread for example, was a popular staple, you can now buy his bread directly from him by contacting him through his website.
But as the town has grown, more options for groceries have become available to the people of Puerto Morelos. The need for Casa Martin has diminished. This combined with the fact that the owner can be more profitable by renting out the space, led to its closure.
Looking for a super cheap way to get to Cancun? (The closest airport to Puerto Morelos) Swoop, has just taken off.
Swoop is the budget arm of Canadian airline West Jet. It is touted as an “ultra-low cost carrier”. And it is cheap! Today when we punched in a flight from Hamilton, Ontario to Cancun, it gave us a rate of $261.83 CDN ($197 USD) RETURN!
The catch is they are currently only flying from Hamilton to Cancun. The other catch is that you have to add some fees. It costs more to pick your seat, but this can be as low as $16 CDN ($12USD). They also charge $36.40 CDN ($27.44 USD) for a carry-on and another $36.40 CDN ($27.44 USD) for a checked bag.
Plus there is an optional extra $10.40 CDN ($7.84 USD) if you want a boarding card and an extra $10.00 CDN ($7.54 USD) for priority seating. But even after adding all this, we still managed to get a flight for $363.83 CDN ($274 USD) with a checked bag, return.
This week’s SHOUT OUT goes out to the oh, so tastymarquesita. You may have witnessed the long lines of people stretched out in front of one particular stand in Puerto Morelos. This stand sells the treat known as marquesitas. You can often find them by following your nose, as the wonderful aroma is enough to draw you to the little cart that sells them.
We are lucky enough to have one of the best marquesita stands we have ever tried right here in Puerto Morelos. Marquesita Inri (named after their son) is a family-run stand that is set up most nights in the square on the port side. There is frequently a long line, but you know it is well worth the wait if you have ever had one. (Plus you can sniff that marquesita scent for free while you wait.)
A marquesita (pronounced: mar-kay-cee-ta) is a traditional Yucatecan dessert, you will not find them in other parts of Mexico, or if you do, it will be a Yucatecan running the show.
The story goes that this delicious creation originated in Merida in the late 1930s, when an ice cream vendor, Vicente Mena, hoping to extend his season, made warm cones and sold them without ice cream, as a less chilly alternative for the winter months. He then tried filling them with ground beef, like a taco, but that didn’t work so well. Finally, in the 1940’s he landed on the right mix crispy sweet cone crepes stuffed with shredded Edam cheese.
There were two girls in particular that liked the new sweet/salty treats, they were the daughters of a wealthy marquis living in Merida. They loved the desserts so much, Vincente named them “marquesitas” after the two little ladies.
Today, marquesitas are individually and freshly made to order. Marquesita Inri begins with a sweet batter made with condensed milk that is poured onto a hot metal plate. The batter is spread out over the plate and sandwiched between a second plate. The crepe is then cooked over an open flame, rotated halfway through. Marquesita Inri then fills the crepe with toppings of your choice. Traditionally the crepe would be stuffed with salty Edam cheese, but you can also add cajeta (goat caramel sauce), strawberry, chocolate, cream cheese or Nutella sauces to make your own yummy creation. The marquesita is something you don’t want to miss when you visit Puerto Morelos.
Children look forward to this day more than Christmas as it is the time when they receive gifts. Until recently Christmas and Santa were not the time to exchange gifts, King’s Day was. Now some lucky children get gifts on both days.
The other tradition on King’s Day is you get to eat cake. These cakes are called Rosca de Reyes and are eaten to commemorate the arrival of the three Magi or Wise Men. These cakes are everywhere in Mexico, they are stacked eight feet high in some stores, they are that popular.
When you sit down to enjoy your Rosca de Reyes, you may bite down on something hard and plastic. Buried inside the cake are little figurines of the baby Jesus. If you are lucky enough to bite into your piece of cake and find one of the babies, you are “blessed” with the responsibility of hosting a dinner of tamales on February 2 for the Candlemas Day or Día de la Candelaria. This stretching the holidays even further!
So today we hope you get to eat cake! Happy Dia de Reyes!
Here are the cash exchange rates for January 4, 2019 at CI Banco in Puerto Morelos. I post these rates on occasion so that you can compare these rates with the rate your bank or the ATM may offer. To see where the rates have been in the last couple of years, search “exchange rates” on our page at InPuertoMorelos.com
Cash Exchange Rates
US Dollar $
Canadian Dollar $
Pound Sterling £
I was in the neighbourhood, so I checked G Capital in the AKI Plaza as well. Their buy rates were 18.60, 13.80, 21.00 & 24.30 respectively.
We here at InPuertoMorelos.com and Casa de los Viajeros wish each and every one of you the very best in the upcoming year. We hope we will see you here in Puerto Morelos in 2019! All the best for a healthy, happy and prosperous new year. Salud! Rob & Joanne