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

This beloved traditional holiday song is the inspiration for our Holiday Giving blog series, "12 Days/12 Ways", a promotional effort of goodwill we started in 2010 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 been completed for 2012. If you have a favorite charity that you feel belongs on our list for 2013, 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 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 MexicoPEACE 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:

  • Support for existing non-profit/community groups that have a proven track record of response to community need
  • Support for short-term, one-time, and/or emergency response projects 
  • 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.

PEACE Isla Mujeres is proud to be working in collaboration with many, including the following community groups: 

PEACE Isle MujeresAmigos de Isla Contoy, A.C. (www.islacontoy.org) is a non-profit group based in Cancun whose mission is "to promote the conservation of Isla Contoy and other natural regions in the Yucatan Peninsula through sustainable development in local communities." Amigos de Isla Contoy has been working directly on Isla Mujeres through implementing and running a recycling program, teaching environmental education and the construction of a new Environmental Education Community Center on the Island.

Amor a la Niñez, A.C. The Little Yellow School House (www.littleyellowschoolhouse.org) is a school on the Island for children with special social, physical and academic needs. Their mission is to promote and collaborate in the integral development of children with special needs with the end goal of improving their social, cultural and economic futures.

Isla Animals (www.islaanimals.org) is a small community group that cares for the unclaimed dog population on the Island. Isla Animals helps to coordinate spay, neuter and vaccinate campaigns, educates about proper animal care, tends to the health and protection of unwanted dogs, including housing dogs until they can be placed in a safe and permanent home.

PEACE Isla MujeresLa Clinica Veterinaria de Chipie & Dr. Delfino Guevara (vetclinicchipie@hotmail.com) provide for-profit veterinary services on the Island at a price that is reasonable and accessible to all and provides community education regarding animal control and proper animal care. 

La Gloria English School, A.C. (www.folges.org) is a US-nonprofit English Language School here on the island with a mission to give the residents of Isla Mujeres the opportunity to learn English regardless of their financial resources. 

Ron Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund (www.reelingforronnie.com) honors Ron's memory and his commitment to the island of Isla Mujeres and its people. On his behalf we want to assist, with financial help, in educating promising, dedicated students to further their education enabling them the opportunity to improve their life style. We feel this opportunity will not only benefit the students but also their families and in turn, the whole community.

Patrulla Verde (patrulla-verde@hotmail.com)is a grassroots, youth-focused ecology club whose mission is to contribute to a clean and healthy environment through education and community activities.

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

How can you help?

Donate Funds

PEACE Isla MujeresPEACE Isla Mujeres is always in need of donations. If you would like to donate we are officially a non-profit 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. If you are in the United States If you would like to send a check, please make checks payable to:
PEACE, Inc. and designate "PEACE Isla Mujeres" in the memo of your check. If you would like to donate to a specific organization, please indicate which one in the memo section of your check as well.

Checks can be mailed to:
c/o Alisha Quinn
PO Box 6161
Vail, CO 81658

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, Patrula Verde 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.

PEACE Isla MujeresAll 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
• Colored printer paper
• 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
• Glue
• Children’s scissors
• Paint boxes
• Pencils
• Colored pencils
• Erasers
• Rulers
• Markers
• Games that focus on special dates (Mexico), principally for children 8-12 years old 

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

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

Contribute to the Re-Sale 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 $300 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. For more information, contact


PEACE Isla Mujeres welcomes volunteers. Whether you live on the island, come every year or are getting ready for your first trip- there is a spot for you with PEACE Isla Mujeres. 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. Below is a list of several volunteer activities currently available. Fluency in Spanish is not necessary, unless noted*. Please contact volunteer@peace-islamujeres.org if you'd like more information on how you can help. Open community meetings are held every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in PEACE's new office space in the Plaza Isla Mujeres, behind Chili Loco’s on Hidalgo. Serious participants/volunteers are encouraged to attend.

Isla Animals:
• Assist in helping to care for an island dog; take a dog for a walk and/or give a dog a bath
• If here for at least a few days, you could be assigned one specific dog to walk and train during the duration of your trip
• If you are interested in photography, we are in need of photos of the dogs at Isla Animals and also around the island to help promote adoption

Island Veterinarians:
• Assist in helping to care for an island dog; take a dog for a walk &/or give a dog a bath
• Help to give injections
• Assist a veterinarian in surgery

La Gloria English School:
• Assist a teacher and help students with pronunciation in an English class for children, youth or adults (various hours)

Patrulla Verde:
• On Saturday mornings take part in a youth ecology club- assist with art projects, field trips, help on an island clean-up, etc. (*a basic level of Spanish is necessary)

Little Yellow School House:
• Assist the teacher in the classroom or assist with class preparation
(Late afternoons M-F; *a conversational level of Spanish is necessary)

Volunteer Vacations Isla MujeresVolunteer 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.

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