"On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."

This beloved traditional holiday song is the inspiration for our seasonal blog series, "12 Days/12 Ways", a promotional effort of goodwill we started last year to draw attention to 12 not-for-profit groups or charitable organizations in Playa del Carmen and along the Riviera Maya. So many people from around the world travel to the Riviera Maya during the holiday season. Many reach out to us via regional message boards and Facebook looking for a way to give back to the less fortunate residents in our local communities. 12 Days/12 Ways was started to help these generous, kind-hearted visitors find legitimate and worthy charitable organizations to support, addressing their particular needs for this holiday season.

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, the BuyPlaya Blog, better known as "Life's a Beach", will spotlight a charitable organization or giving opportunity. Some may already be familiar to locals and frequent travelers to this area. Others, perhaps those most in need of recognition and support, may be new to our readers. It is our hope to do this every year, with updated information and wish lists.

The "12 Day/12 Ways" list has not yet been completed for 2011. If you have a favorite charity that you feel belongs on this list, collect all of the information you can and I will be happy to consider your group for inclusion.



PEACE Isla MujeresPEACE Isla Mujeres is an initiative of PEACE, a nonprofit community organization based in Punta de Mita, Mexico. PEACE is a recognized 501(c)(3) in the United States and a recognized A.C. in Mexico. PEACE Isla Mujeres is a nonprofit organization created to improve the community of Isla Mujeres through Protection and Education re: Animals, Culture & the Environment. A focus is placed on educational opportunities, youth development, environmental responsibility, animal care and protection and economic empowerment. PEACE strives to improve the community of Isla Mujeres through :

educational opportunities
youth development
environmental responsibility
animal care and protection
economic empowerment

PEACE Isla MujeresPEACE Isla Mujeres began with a small group of volunteers interested in the growth, future and integrity of social projects on the island. After a few informal conversations around kitchen tables, weekly meetings open to the community were established and together with the collaboration of PEACE Mexico A.C., a newly hired executive director and a gang of volunteers and community organizations, a new community-based nonprofit was formed.

PEACE Isla Mujeres consists of both locals and foreigners who care greatly for Isla Mujeres. The following goals have been established for this new community-wide nonprofit:

1. Support for existing non-profit/community groups that have a proven track record of response to community needs

2. Support for short-term, one-time, and/or emergency response projects

3. Support for new nonprofit/community initiatives with development and direction

These goals are achieved through community support, grant endowment, fundraising for local efforts, emergency response, consultation and networking.

PEACE Isla Mujeres operates as a community foundation and disperses funds primarily through a structured granting process. PEACE Isla Mujeres is not directly affiliated with any existing Isla organization, but acts as an umbrella organization to help raise more resources in general for Isla and then responsibly distribute the money and resources through granting processes. In this way, PEACE is able to provide more support to those who need it and foster new initiatives that will greatly benefit the entire Isla community.

Since its inception PEACE Isla Mujeres has awarded over $500,000 mn to community programs on the island!

How can you help?

PEACE Isla MujeresDonate Funds!
PEACE Isla Mujeres is always in need of donations. If you would like to donate we are officially a nonprofit and you will receive a tax deductible receipt. Many companies are now giving matching grants to their employee's charity of choice. Ask your employer about making a matching grant to PEACE Isla Mujeres.

Donate Toys!
Currently there is a toy drive being held for the holidays to provide the less fortunate children on the island with a toy of their very own for Christmas. If you are coming to Isla Mujeres, please consider packing a few Barbie Dolls or Hot Wheels in your suitcase!

Donate Supplies!
Affiliated organizations are always in need of useful supplies. Below is a list of supplies requested by several community organizations including The Little Yellow Schoolhouse and La Gloria English School. A wishlist of items is below and a full list including much needed items for local veterinarians, Isla Animals and The Red Cross can be found here.

All material/games need to be in Spanish. Materials for older children (8+) are a priority.

Toner for a photocopy machine - PC 940 CANON
Ink cartridges for a printer- HP 56 and 57
Didactic games for children over 8 years old
Three dimensional puzzles of different shapes
Materials to identify body parts (in Spanish and not puzzles)
Games for memory; auditory and tactile (but not cards)
Materials/manipulatives to use for separation, classification, and matching (but not cards)
Materials for Spanish vocabulary (not cards)
Materials where the objective is to search for the hidden objects in a figure
Cassette tapes of musical instruments, transportation, animals, etc.
Toys with Spanish sounds
Acrylic paint
Oil paint
Children's scissors
Paint boxes
Colored pencils
Colored printer paper
Games that focus on special dates in Mexico

For a new life-skills area, the school is in need of the following kitchen items:

Plastic place settings (non-disposable)
pots and pans
toaster oven

Contribute to the ReSale Shop!
Gently worn closed and used items are gladly welcomed for resale at the PEACE Isla Mujeres resale boutique. 100% of the funds raised go to help support community programs and purchase badly needed supplies and equipment.

PEACE Isla MujeresBuy the PEACE Cookbook!
Now available for just $25 usd or $350 mn - the second edition of "Cocina Isleña" is a fantastic BILINGUAL (Spanish-English) cookbook offering nearly 200 recipes from local and international residents and restaurants of Isla Mujeres.  The collection was created with the flavor and available ingredients of Isla Mujeres in mind – and comes complete with stories to go with many of the recipes, tips on using and purchasing local produce, measuring/heat conversions, and more! Shipping to the US is available. 

PEACE Isla Mujeres


PEACE Isla Mujeres welcomes volunteers. Whether you live on the island or are coming to the island for vacation, PEACE Isla Mujeres will help you find a volunteer opportunity. There are many wonderful community groups who would welcome your participation. Whether you have just an hour to give or a half day or a few days, there is always a way to help out.

Volunteer Vacations are also arranged in cooperation with Destination: PEACE. During a Destination:PEACE Volunteer Vacation, guests will experience another culture while making a difference in the lives of others: children, women, families, animals and the environment. Volunteers help raise awareness, reinforce a sense of world community and bring hope to the people and animals affiliated with PEACE Isla Mujeres. Each five-day vacation combines volunteerism with the practice of yoga, introduces participants to authentic Mexican cuisine, and enables them to explore the region and experience cultural or adventure activities.


PEACE Isla Mujeres 

For more information:
+52 1 99 82 243 323 (Outside of Mexico)
99 82 243 323 (Mexico)
651 222 9482 (US)