Progreso Beach and the mafia behind the Palapas

Photo: La Verdad

In an extensive investigation conducted by the editorial staff of “La Verdad Noticias” a scandal of great magnitude that threatens the good name of Progreso’s port and its mayor, Julian Zacarias Curi has come up.

The investigation reveals that the food service in the palapas located on the Malecon of Progreso in Yucatan, offers the menu of food and beverages with altered prices, up to one hundred percent, with the knowledge and consent of the owners of the restaurants and the indifference of the authorities, throwing overboard the institutional efforts to consolidate Progreso as a viable option for tourists and as a safe (and honest) beach destination in Yucatan.

Due to the absence of Progreso´s director of Tourism as well as representatives of the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (PROFECO) this group of at least 50 people who, under the condition of false waiter staff, devote themselves to hook people and offer them the use of palapas, umbrellas and loungers located on the beach with altered prices in food and beverages.

The high season of vacationers who attend Puerto Progreso every year is about to begin with the celebration of the carnival, which this season could attract more than 150 thousand people. However, in Progreso, not all efforts to consolidate the port as a beach destination are going in the same direction, since the behavior of this group of fake waiter staff harms potential vacationers.

Progreso palapas

Sonia Marín and her family arrived from Veracruz to spend the weekend at the port, instead of having a great time, they had to deal with this mafia that threatens to spread along the Yucatan coast: the food and drink tricksters who operate in view and complacency of some restaurateurs, and local authorities.

“We saw a restaurant called the ‘Pulpo Loco’ where they offered all kinds of typical seafood dishes so we went to sit on a palapa in front of the beach. A waiter in a visible state of intoxication, brought us a menu with the name of the restaurant on it, which offered shrimp, fried fish, salads and ceviches, “explained Mrs. Marín. “After ordering the food and tasting the different dishes, we asked for the bill. When tried to pay with a credit card the waiter told us that there was an extra charge of 5 percent on the food and beverage consumption, in addition a 15 percent tip for the waiter”.

Due to the extra charge for the credit card payment, one of the attendees got up to look for an ATM and make a withdrawal. While walking back, the person saw the establishment´s menu displayed on the door and noticed a huge difference in prices. In the bill from the waiter, prices were one hundred percent higher. When they confronted the manager of the restaurant, he explained that the dishes came from his restaurant, but the waiter was not a fixed employee of the business. “They buy the food from us and resell it to people who are on the beach at other prices, the same goes for soft drinks, beers, coconuts or wine.

La Verdad Noticias investigated deeper into the subject and found out that at least half of the restaurants in front of the malecon do not have fixed contracted waiters, becoming part of this scam by selling the food and beverages to the false waiters so they can resell at much higher prices to the tourists.

Personnel from the seafood restaurant Costa Azul, confirmed this situation. “They have their price, for example here we sell a cocktail in $ 130 pesos or a ceviche in $ 150 pesos. Those same dishes they resell for $ 250 pesos. In a day of high affluence on the beach,  each “fake waiter” take home,  without paying rent, taxes or invest, between 2,000 and 2,500 pesos”. Explained Mario Miguel Can.

It is worth mentioning that from the early morning hours when tourists arrive, you can spot this fake waiters in small groups of three or four aggressively addressing tourists, offering palapas, food and drinks; they do not wear uniforms or aprons of any establishment and they carry the menus that show tourists amongst their clothes.

If this has happened to you, please come forward, send a Facebook message to:

  • Progreso´s major Julian Zacarias Curi @JulianZacariasC
  • PROFECO @ProfecoOficial
  • The president of the National Chamber of the Industry of Restaurants and Seasoned Food in Yucatan (CANIRAC) Alejandra Pacheco Montero @caniracyucatan

 

The Yucatan Times
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