USA / CAN 512-879-6546

MX 01800-1222-TOP


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This fabulous 1,496 sq. ft. 3 bedroom / 3.5 bath condo in Playacar’s exclusive La Rioja complex displays high-end living at an affordable price. Playacar Phase II is part of a prestigious gated community that hosts such amenities as a signature golf course, tree-lined brick paved streets and many community conveniences.

Watch a video showcasing the property here.

This well-appointed fully furnished condo shows and feels like a home. The tile floors, granite counter tops, and neutral colored walls say a lot for its well-maintained interior. The bedrooms offer plenty of room, en-suite bathrooms with lots of counter space, and beautiful wooden doors that open up into spacious closets. All the rooms have specific color-coordinated décor, flat screen TVs, and newer furniture. One of the spacious bedrooms has a sitting area for enjoying a private lazy morning in paradise.

Top listing

The galley styled kitchen brings convenience, modern style and up-to-date stainless steel appliances to its forefront. The wrap around granite counter tops plays host to the sleek looking cabinets that offer plenty of space for all your necessary wares. The stainless steel freestyle funnel-shaped hood vent adds a marvelous touch to the kitchen’s coordinating design.

There is no lack of comfort and eye-catching appeal when you first enter the living and dining areas. The condo’s ambiance is accented perfectly with contemporary design and colors. The fashionable chair, sofa and related tables all blend perfectly with the wall décor. If not mistaken, it looks to have a professional touch to it.

This particular property has a feature not found in most. Just out the back sliders is another 1,442 sq. ft. of a room where you can plant a garden, have a dog and/or landscape it to your specific taste. You could also extend your patio to have more room when entertaining family and friends.

The complex has a very favorable community area that boasts two pools with many elaborate features, a fully equipped gym and an exotic tropical surrounding that offers a subtle atmosphere. If you what to spend a day at the beach, Playacar borders some of the Riviera’s most astonishing beaches and the gorgeous Caribbean blended turquoise waters, which you can access easily through The Reef beach club and use the designated accesses. Downtown Playa del Carmen is only minutes away as well.

For under $200,000, it would be hard to find anything that will compare to this featured property in an area that is highly sought after. Especially a condo that exhibits so many extraordinary features, and just minutes away from Playa del Carmen’s entertainment district.

See listing

And remember… we make it happen!

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Day trips and getaways nearby Playa del Carmen

Xpuha Beach(Click to watch the Video)

Living in and around Playa del Carmen offers so many exciting places to visit. An excursion to a nearby attraction or park can make for a perfect day trip, but there are plenty of well-known and less familiar destinations that can satisfy a well-deserved weekend getaway. Living in Playa del Carmen, we enjoy the beautiful beaches, the world famous 5th Avenida – a.k.a. La Quinta, and all the daily entertainment offered. But another benefit of living here is that there are so many exciting things to see and do. Get out a map of the area and run your finger around till a destination tickles your curiosity. Then add it to your agenda for a day trip or overnight stay!

One of the favorite day trips among locals is to Xpu Ha Beach – pronounced ish poo ha. This is a great place where you can go for the day and have fun in the sun, meet new people and enjoy on-the-beach food and drink. There are several cantinas and beach bars to choose from. You can pick a spot that has your perfect set-up which could be lounge chairs, palapas with tables and chairs, or an open air patio.

You can relax and dine on great food, sip a refreshing beverage, take a plunge in the perfect tempered Caribbean water all while enjoying casual conversation with your partner or friends. Xpu Ha offers massages on the beach and water activities like diving, snorkeling and fishing. If you feel really adventurous, take a few kitesurfing lessons and try your hand at the latest craze. When it’s time to say “adios” and call it a day, home is only a twenty to twenty-five minute ride away. You can’t ask for a more exciting day than that!

If you are thinking more along the lines of experiencing an attraction that involves personal interaction, then Puerto Aventuras might be more of what you are looking for! It is just a short fifteen-minute ride by either taxi or colectivo from Playa del Carmen. Puerto Aventuras’ aquatic entertainment offers fun for everyone in the family! You can swim with dolphins or slap high fives with a seal. Puerto Aventuras can provide your day trip with a variety of fabulous cuisines and refreshing beverages as well. Several of these eateries provide views of the daily shows going on all around you. No worries about the time of day when those hunger pains begin, most of the restaurants serve all day and well into the evening.

Puerto aventuras

Puerto Aventuras is surrounded by beautiful water which provides a perfect opportunity to do such activities like paddle boarding, fishing and snorkeling tours. And yes, they also have a wonderful beach with several bars & grills that will cater to your every need. The town center has a Cedam Museum that tells about the area’s nautical history and significances. There are a variety of boutique shops where you can browse for that perfect gift or you might want to hit a few balls around the nine-hole executive golf course that intertwines throughout the community.

Puerto Aventuras can be a great place for a weekend getaway. There are a variety of beachfront hotels, condos and homes to select from. If you choose to spend a long day or an extended weekend, you can’t go wrong.

If an island getaway is more your style, then Cozumel can offer endless enjoyment. The ferry port is located just south of Playa’s Parque Fundadores. It takes approximately 30 minutes to ferry over to the land of swallows. Cozumel is just close enough to make it a perfect day trip and far enough away for a great getaway. With The Great Maya Reef running the length of the Riviera Maya coast, Cozumel is considered one of the best places in the Caribbean to dive and snorkel. There are several locations like the Hotel Barracuda and the Money Bar that offer their guest’s great walkout snorkeling right from the shore.

Cozumel offers plenty of day tours that include snorkeling/diving, fishing excursions and the San Gervasio ruins in the jungle to mention a few. You might even want to rent a jeep and explore the island’s many virgin beaches and rustic bars & grills that surprisingly pop-up right out of nowhere. You can also visit the Punta Sur Eco Park with its unspoiled beaches and historical Faro Celarain lighthouse and museum. Just a little further down the road is the popular St. Maarten beach which is a local’s favorite.

You can always stay closer to town and enjoy the many shops that flow along the palm tree lined streets. There are many plazas and open air markets that are tucked away up and down Av. Rafael E. Melgar. Finding a restaurant or bar & grill won’t ever be a problem. Cozumel has many award winning eateries. There are various atmospheres that have a romantic, traditional and casual dress settings. This makes it easy for any occasion and/or celebration.

Puerto Morelos

If you want to plan a quick getaway to this enchanting island, there are numerous hotels and resorts up and down the western facing shore. Watching the sunset from your balcony that overlooks the Caribbean Sea is simply breathtaking. Pack an overnight bag, clear your mind of any issues, and set out for a fun-filled couple of days.

There is a quiet little community about 30 minutes north of Playa del Carmen that offers true Mexican tranquility. Puerto Morelos is still a sleepy little fishing town that starts its morning very early and shuts down soon after the sun sets over its turquoise horizon. This quaint little pueblo makes for a great day trip but is also ideal for an overnight stay. Spending time in Puerto Morelos feels like a family affair in a familiar township, and the locals are among the friendliest you will find.

The Malecon is much smaller than most but provides as a starting point for most of the tour boats. Puerto Morelos has an extended shallow shelf leading out to open waters, which makes for some great snorkeling. There are also fishing excursions and other water sports that can be enjoyed as well. There is quite an assortment of local bar & grills in both directions from midtown. Taking a stroll along the beach with its soft white sand and calm water that hugs its shore makes for a very pleasurable experience. You can spend a quiet and relaxing getaway in Puerto Morelos for less money than its neighboring towns, and the nightlife can consist of a moonlit walk on the beach while listening to the oceans subtle beat. You could also sit on a park bench where the stars shine down and the cool evening breeze swirls around you.

There are plenty of local hotels or condos scattered throughout town and on the beach. There are also a few larger resorts. But if you are planning a quick getaway, try to stay in town at one of the local establishments to really get the feel of what Puerto Morelos is all about.

In summary, there are so many places that can be reached within fifteen to thirty minutes from Playa del Carmen. Theme parks like Xcaret, Xel Ha, Rio Secreto and Xplor can make for a fun filled day. Exploring hidden Cenotes or taking a buggy or bike excursion through the jungle can be adventurous as well. There are way too many places to mention when deciding on taking a day trip.

If you are looking at more of a getaway destination, then think about places like Tulum, Akumal, Cancun or Isla Mujeres to mention just a few. If you feel like venturing out a little further, consider Merida and Campeche on the Gulf side of the Yucatan Peninsula. These fabulous cities are just hours away and offer a different taste of what Mexico is.

Being close to so many towns and cities adds to the benefits of living in Mexico. The possibilities could be endless when you decide to retire to one of Mexico’s most desirable destinations. You will be the envy of your peers.

See you in paradise!

And remember… We make it happen!

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Media Myths about Mexico



Every once and then there’s an outburst of information in the media reporting bad news about Mexico. But what you read and see in the media sources regarding Mexico is not always bringing you the full and complete story. Anthony Scopel, who is a noted traveler and current resident of Playa del Carmen, disputes the multiple news outlets claiming that “Mexico is a very dangerous place to visit”. He says it is simply not true and states, “Don’t believe everything you hear”.

If you decide to cross over into Mexico or back to the United States through Tijuana are other less desirable towns, yes it could be a little risky depending on the time of day or night. There are other border towns that are also considered unsafe as well. Towns like El Paso, Calexico, Laredo and Ciudad Juarez are all part of the drug cartel’s shipping lanes, but then, these towns are not likely going to be destinations that you would consider retiring to.

However, these cities are part of Mexico and are portrayed as how all of Mexico is, and that is the furthest thing from the truth. When telling friends and family you are thinking about retiring to Mexico, they will probably try to talk you out of it for what they see as safety reasons alone. Encourage them to do research regarding retirement opportunities and ideal spots to enjoy life as it was meant to be. International Living’s 2017 reports show that Mexico in one of the most desirable places amongst U.S. expats to retire to. In fact, One Million Americans Can’t All Be Wrong! is how one report reads.

As Anthony puts it, “I have spent time in many places that are much more dangerous than Mexico… This doesn’t mean that those places should be avoided or tabooed, but why isn’t the media also dispersing bad press regarding these less popular expat destinations is a question I think deserves an immediate answer”.

Is it because Mexico is a country that shares borders with the U.S.? Could it involve political issues? Whatever the reason is, blatant information needs to be substantiated through research and then compared to similar geographical areas. People put too much stock into what the local media professes to be factual.

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and especially the town of Playa del Carmen is one of the safest places to consider for retirement. The people are very warm and inviting. There is a well-organized police force that is very visible but blends in very well. Rumors that circulate about Federals and police preying on foreigners is the furthest from the truth, explains Anthony. He goes on by saying there is even a department called Policia Turistica – Tourist Police, which are assigned to especially serve the visiting tourist.

The taxis and their drivers are easy to negotiate with and can be found everywhere. There is an efficient public transportation system available for in town and minibusses that can be used to take you to neighboring cities. Both systems are reliable and affordable. If you are more of a walker or cyclist, the streets are very safe and are filled with helpful people including expats and retirees. There is a very little street crime in Playa. When maneuvering around on the side streets at night, just use caution and travel in pairs or small groups. If you are a first-time traveler to the area, stay on or close to the main streets until you get your bearings. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions. The locals are more than happy to help you find your way around and many speak English. Also, Playa del Carmen, along with other nearby towns are filled with retirees that are out and about doing their everyday business.

Things to Keep in Mind

When watching the news or reading the paper, keep a few things in mind. How many people were robbed or taken advantage of within a hundred miles of your home? When was the last time you remember hearing about a shooting in a movie theater, school or church? Does any of this sound familiar? Did you know that the United States is on a list of the “Top 10 Places to Visit in the World”? Let’s say you were living in another country and thinking about traveling abroad. When watching the news regarding the violence in the United States, would this be a place you would want to bring your family to? I am thinking the answer would probably be ‘no’.

We know that not all of the United States is like that. But the news doesn’t mention such pertinent facts. The media thrives on negativity, which in turn draws viewership and more advertisers. The same thing goes when the media sources pickup on cartel shootouts. They neglect to tell you that they are fighting with other rival gangs; the cartel isn’t looking for Americans, Canadians or any other nationality.

The point here is that there is really no 100 percent crime-free safe haven place to visit. If you are looking for trouble and are inviting it by acting disrespectful and/or provoking senseless disruption in public, chances are you will have your share of problems. Anthony suggests that if you are still unsure about your plans to visit Mexico and more specifically Playa del Carmen, get on the internet and google a few travel sites. Real estate blogs and websites like Top Mexico Real Estate are an ideal source for local information, with numerous stories telling why expat and retirees chose Playa del Carmen as their final destination.

Don’t let the media scare you away from visiting Mexico or the Riviera Maya. Once you see for yourself what everyone here is raving about, you won’t want to leave. There’s a beautiful beach with a shady umbrella and a refreshing margarita waiting for you. Enjoy life south of the border!

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Building your home in Mexico

Build Home

Why would anyone want to build their retirement or vacation home in Mexico, and specifically in the Riviera Maya? This is an easy question to answer. The weather is ideal, the beaches are gorgeous, and the cost of living is far less the most anywhere in North America.

But before you start thinking about building, have you selected an area where you feel comfortable? This should be discussed before you ever consider settling down in a foreign country. Spend time in the area you want to build in, know the people and their daily habits. Be aware of the infrastructure around you which includes water supplies, electricity, and other vital support mechanisms. Are there enough stores, shops and services offered? These are just a few of the preparations needed to start your project.

If you answered yes to the questions above, then here are some tips for building your home in Mexico. They are very important steps that will help you plan for a successful project.

Buy locally. Ask your realtor for a few references and then do your research. Most reputable Mexico construction companies offer English speaking project managers who will help guide you along. Another big advantage to hiring a local firm is they will know how to process the necessary paperwork before, during and after the project.

They can also help you select an architect that will not only listen to what your design plans are but give valuable advice on special provisions that are needed for the location you have selected. The contractor most likely has worked with the architectural firm and both will have a cohesive working relationship. This is not to say that you won’t have any say-so in the design, but not knowing the lay of the land could create problems down the road. There are also workarounds that can be suggested as well.

Home Build

As a second step in this tip, make sure to ask for references and check them. References are fairly easy to obtain, but the real challenge is working them and getting accurate information and feedback. Sometimes visiting with references face to face is the best way to know if they are legitimate.

Always get an estimate. I don’t think I have to mention this next suggestion but like every high dollar service or project, always get an estimate or what is called a presupuesto. You should always ask the construction company for a workup, and don’t be afraid to interview them and ask the tough questions. Get multiple estimates – presupuestos, even if they charge a nominal fee. It is well worth the money spent to eliminate headaches during and after the project. Again, your realtor should be able to give you a couple of contractor’s names. You can also ask a few of the people who have already experienced the trial and tribulations of building for references.

Follow all of Mexico’s required laws. This includes labor, government policies, and any other provisions set forth by the local municipality. Know all the pertaining laws and abide by them to the letter. You can approach this by first doing your research online. Then it would be advisable to have an English speaking lawyer who works with foreigners building in Mexico. Go around to some expats and/or part-time residents who can give you some names of reputable lawyers in your area. Your contractor should be able to help you with this.

Put everything in writing. Anything that you decide on and/or move forward with should always be in writing and, preferably, notarized by a lawyer. Make sure there are provisions mentioned for cost over-runs, labors being paid including Mexico’s IMSS – Social Security, any unforeseen liabilities of any kind, and incentives and/or other specifics you see vital to keeping this project on track. Make sure all terms of the contract are listed and “all” parties involved a sign and get a copy. Always have two or more sets of eyes reviewing documents at all times. Before starting the physical work or groundbreaking, have copies of all the needed building permits in hand. Your project manager and a lawyer can help you with this.

Set up a bank trust. After you agree on an architect and construction firm, consult your lawyer on setting up a Bank Trust or a Mexican Corporation. To own in Mexico, you must have one of these accounts set up. The lawyer can also help you establish where and when you pay your taxes, utility bills and/or insurance if you elect to have a policy – recommended. Mexico’s laws are different from every other country and can sometimes pose difficulties if you don’t completely understand them. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Home Build

Always stay informed. Don’t be afraid of having the contractor be accountable for the job you hired them to do. Keep a close eye on the progress and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is also advised to visit the site often if possible, but don’t get under foot, let the workers do their job. If there is a problem, go directly to the supervisor/project manager.

Have fun. This is maybe the most important. Make this a fun project. Yes, it will be stressful at times, but if you are having fun and keep your excitement level up, this will be an adventure of a lifetime. After everything is said and done, you will have a piece of paradise to spend the rest of your life in.

One final note to the wise: Make a checklist. You could possibly have several lists. Write everything down before you actually start the journey towards having a beautiful home in Mexico. Then make a final checklist before going into the final leg of your project. You can add and delete to this itinerary at any time. Review it often to make sure that all your bases are covered. Remember, “Not planning, is planning to fail”.

If you’re interested in building a home in Mexico, sign up for our next webinar and learn how to go from planning to enjoying your home in 8 easy steps!

At TOP Mexico Real Estate… We Make it Happen!

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Live it Tour Testimonial by Annette & Peter

When we say that our Live it Tour is the Best Experience Buying Property in the Riviera Maya, we know that our service and team are up for the challenge.

When you book a Live it Tour, you’re booking some time for yourself and for focusing 100% on the search of your dream home in the Riviera Maya. No distractions, no touristy stuff. All your time will be used visiting neighborhoods and properties, learning about the purchasing process in Mexico and getting familiar with the area.

Here we’re sharing a testimonial sent by Annette & Peter after they spent some days in a Live it Tour with us; now you can have a glimpse of how it is to spend time in the Caribbean looking for the perfect home.

Keep reading to learn more about their experience with the Live it Tour!

Happy couple


We wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our Live it Tour and in particular, how much we appreciated all the guidance and help that Hazel and Eduardo gave us. Honestly, our original plan was to take the tour and then head home to “digest” everything we had learned before deciding on exactly if, what and where to purchase a property. We hadn’t visited the Riviera Maya in over 20 years, and although we’d read about what it is like today, we were really unsure if it was somewhere we’d like to live. Also, having dealt with some less than honest real estate agents in the past, we were extremely wary about dealing with agents who were complete strangers working in a strange country. 

Something just “clicked” when we met Hazel and Eduardo. Shortly after meeting them it almost felt like we had known each other for years. After visiting just a couple of properties, they seemed to know which properties and areas best suited our lifestyle. We could tell that they had our best interests at heart and were not just trying to make a sale.

We felt so confident after having spent just a few hours with them that at the hotel that evening, our conversation went from “if” we would buy, to “where” we would buy.  The second morning, when we met Hazel and Eduardo, they knew exactly in which areas, and on which specific properties we should concentrate on. We really appreciated that we didn’t have to spend the short amount of time we had traveling all over visiting properties that we had no interest in.

So far, the entire purchase process has been quite easy, understandable and no more stressful than any of the past transactions we’ve done at home in Canada or in the United States. We realize that we’ve thrown a few curves along the way, and that our sometimes crazy schedule can make things difficult. It’s been great having Hazel and Eduardo at our backs answering all of our questions about the properties, the purchase process, life in Mexico, and even great places to eat (Eduardo knows the best restaurants!).

Again, we want to thank the Top Mexico team, Moises our driver, and in particular our new friends, Hazel and Eduardo, for getting us started on what promises to be an amazing new chapter in our lives.

Annette & Peter

Don’t wait any longer! If you’re also on the search for a home in the Riviera Maya, book a Live it Tour to have a great experience in your search for the perfect property, with the backup of expert Buyer’s Representatives who will help you select and evaluate different properties and neighborhoods, so you can make the best decision. No commitment required!

At TOP Mexico Real Estate… We Make it Happen!

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Reg 17 Sm. 5 Mz. 2 Lt. 2 Calle 85 Sur
entre Av. Arco Vial Col. Ejido Sur
Playa del Carmen, QROO, Mexico  

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