Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Reef Beach

Beach #14 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: The Reef Beach

Many of the amazing resorts along the Riviera Maya have beautiful and breathtaking beaches. Unfortunately, although the beaches are public, accesses tend to be private, so it is hard to reach them unless you are a guest of the hotel. However, many of these big resorts want to give everyone – not just their guests – the beach resort experience they can offer.

That is why you will find day passes and night passes at most big resorts down the coast of the beautiful Mexican Caribbean. And The Reef Playacar is no exception. The Playacar neighborhood is located in the south end of Playa del Carmen and hosts some of the most beautiful beaches you can find in the Riviera Maya.

Because Playacar is a private community, you need to address that you are visiting The Reef Resort and that you are going for a Day Pass so they let you through. The Day Pass has a cost of $53 USD per person and gives you full access to the hotel’s facilities – including, but not limited to – the pool and beach club. Meals and drinks are included throughout the day (9am to 6pm). If you are looking to enjoy an experience worth hundreds of dollars for a much lower price, then The Reef Playacar Day Pass is the resort to go to.

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The Reef Beach: Getting There

As mentioned above, the Reef Beach is located within the private community of Playacar, which is located in the south end of Playa del Carmen. There are two entrances to Playacar; one on the Federal Highway 309, the other one is on 10th Avenue.

Driving: To reach the 10th Avenue entrance from Cancun, you need to take the Federal Highway 309 towards Playa del Carmen. Upon arriving in Playa del Carmen, you will pass the overpass bridge until reaching a stoplight where you will see Centro Maya to the right, and Sam’s Club to the left. At the stoplight make a U-turn and drive to the outside lanes. Take a right at the Holiday Inn hotel (Diagonal Aeropuerto Street) and drive down that road all the way until the end, where you will reach 10th Avenue South. Take a right; that is the entrance to Playacar. Once you have gone through security, drive straight for about 4 minutes and find The Reef Resort on your left.

If you want to reach the entrance on Federal Highway, drive past the stoplight and take the next U-turn. Incorporate into the outside lanes. You will find the entrance right before the Hospiten hospital.

Taking a Taxi: A taxi from Cancun will charge you around $800 mxn to drive you to Playacar, but there are other options to reaching the Reef Resort. If you are staying in another hotel in Playa del Carmen, they will charge you between $30 and $80 mxn – depending where you are at.

Public transportation:

Colectivos: If you are coming from the north, you need to take a colectivo heading to Tulum and have it drop you off at Centro Maya. Carefully cross the federal highway to the entrance of Playacar. If you are coming from the south, a colectivo towards Playa del Carmen will drop you right near Hospiten. There is no public transport within Playacar, so if you are taking a colectivo you will need to either walk, or take a taxi to reach your destination.

Buses:  There are no buses that drive you to Playacar, so this time, taking a bus will not be an option. The easiest way to reach is by taxi.

The Reef Beach: Things To Do

As with every big resort, The Reef Playacar, has an array of family-fun activities to offer. With your day pass you are allowed to make use of all the hotel’s facilities and activities (some with extra cost).

  • Swim in their amazing pools and enjoy the meals and drinks included the wonderful service.
  • Lay on the beach beds with a beer in hand enjoying the wonderful blue ocean.
  • Rent one of the activities offered such as kayaking, snorkeling, and more.
  • Walk around the hotel looking for their many activities: restaurants, aquatic sports, entertainment, pools, relaxing, and so on.
  • Enjoy a wonderful meal on the beach, or by the pool, already included in your day pass.
  • Once it is 6pm and you are ready to leave the hotel, you can enjoy Playacar’s shopping malls with souvenirs and cafés.

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The Reef Beach: Recommendations

You will be in one of the high-end tourist destinations of Playa del Carmen. Things within Playacar (specially the resorts) are expensive. There isn’t a lack of services; you will find everything you need both inside and outside the resort. However, here are some recommendations:

  • Everywhere you go, always take money. Whether you are inside the hotel wanting to rent out an extra activity, or walking around Playacar wanting to take home a souvenir, you will need the extra cash.
  • Bring sunscreen! If you forget to bring sunscreen you will find yourself needing to purchase one within the hotel. That will not be cheap.
  • Although there are many activities to do within the hotel, bring a book, iPod, kindle, or whatnot. Laying by the pool for a couple of hours may result boring if you don’t have anything to entertain you.
  • Enjoy the food and drinks included in your day pass. You are paying $53 USD per person, make the most of it.

The most important thing, like we always say, is having fun and enjoying your day at the beach. The Riviera Maya is bathed with many beautiful white sand beaches, each special on its own – so go ahead and make the most of your day at the Reef Beach! And if you love it so much, you can always come back and make a reservation for a romantic dinner on the beach!

Keep up to date with the best beaches in paradise by following our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya countdown every Friday! If you are in search for the perfect beach to spend the day at, make sure you check out our options. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

Top Mexico Real Estate is the number one website in real estate in the Riviera Maya and throughout Mexico. We help foreigners find the home of their dreams in the Mexican Caribbean. If you are looking to invest in a vacation, retirement, or full-time property, check out the options we have for you by browsing through our website or contacting one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives. They will gladly walk you through the purchasing process and help you become a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen

Experiencias Xcaret: 6 Experiences, 6 Times the Fun

If you’ve ever been to or heard of the Riviera Maya, you have probably heard about Xcaret. It is one of the biggest ecofriendly touristic and natural parks in the area, attracting thousands upon thousands of tourists per year. Although some may consider it pricy, it is worth every penny you invest. The Xcaret family has expanded over the past 20 years and now has a total of six parks ranging from eco-natural parks, to adventure parks, to culture parks. There is something for everyone! Check out the list of Xcaret parks and their highlights:

  • Xcaret

Priced at approximately $129 USD (for the full package, including transportation), Xcaret is one of the most popular destinations in the Riviera Maya. The park offers a full days’ worth of fun water activities, learning opportunities, culinary experiences, and much more. You can swim down the underground rivers, visit the butterfly pavilion, visit the newborn macaws, the jaguar island (where you can spot jaguars and panthers), or just walk around the park exploring every corner of it. Churches, haciendas, restaurants, observation towers, archeological sites, and much more, make up the 200 acre space. Don’t forget to stay until the end to enjoy the amazing Mexico Espectacular show featuring live music, traditional folkloric dances and a journey through Mexico’s history.

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  • Xel Ha

The aquatic-themed park is located approximately 120km south of Cancun. Also priced at $129 USD, this park offers less activities than Xcaret, but more food and drinks! With an unlimited buffet, beverages, and national open bar, you will enjoy a – literally- full day. You can swim down the river and into the cove while snorkeling and observing the beautiful life. Xel Ha, after all, claims being the biggest natural aquarium in the Riviera Maya. Amongst the many activities, you can also purchase swimming with dolphins, Sea Trek, amongst other fun extra activities.

  • Xplor

Although the park uses the natural surroundings, caves, underground rivers, and jungle, it is much more focused on adrenaline and adventure. The $149 USD per person entry fee includes an unlimited buffet, zip line circuits, river rafting circuits, circuits for amphibious vehicles, and two river circuits to snorkel in. The four activities take all day to go through, so it is recommended to bring comfortable shoes and be ready for a lot of walking and, especially, fun! They have recently opened Xplor Fuego, which is essentially the same thing except at night. Everything is illuminated with fire, making it a whole different experience for only $99 USD.

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  • Xichen

Chichen Itza isn’t a park, under the strict description or general idea of what a park is; however, Experiencias Xcaret now offers tours to Chichen Itza as part of the many activities tourists can do while visiting the Riviera Maya. The archeological site tour is 12 hours long, but is as luxurious as it gets. Besides having an experienced – and bilingual – guide with you throughout the tour, and having the opportunity to visit the beautiful ancient Mayan civilization, the luxury tour includes a light gourmet breakfast, drinks, a visit to the wonderful Valladolid City, a cenote, lunch buffet, and a unique experience that will leave you longing to visit all the other archeological sites in the region.

  • Xenotes

Everyone tells you that you must visit at least one cenote when visiting paradise. But it’s so hard to choose just one from all the many options out there, and even more, what type of cenote should you visit? The Xenotes tour offers a nature-filled day at four cenotes (of different types). The price is $119 USD and you get snacks, coffee, breakfast breads, a glam picnic, rappel, kayak, zip lining, and snorkel. Just like Chichen Itza, it isn’t a park in itself, but rather an adventure offered by the same company that has given millions of people memories for life.

  • Xoximilco

This glammed up version of the original Xochimilco is located just a few minutes south of Cancún. Trajineras (traditional Aztec boats) are pushed with long sticks by experts down beautifully landscaped canals while guests enjoy a night to remember. Each trajinera can carry up to 22 people; whether you are here with many friends, or about to make new friends, you will have an experience of a lifetime. The $119 ticket includes a cruise through the canals at night, a three-course Mexican meal with an open bar of tequila, beer, fresh water and soft drink, all while being accompanied by different traditional ensembles playing music through the cruise.

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We recommend that you visit Experiencias Xcaret website for further information about each amazing adventure that will leave you wanting more. Whichever park you choose to visit – or if you choose to visit more – you will find yourself diving into a world of adventure, nature, adrenaline, and excitement. These parks are made to be enjoyed with friends and family. Start booking your holidays and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Now, if you have any questions about any of the Xcaret experiences, about living in Mexico, buying property, or are interested in one of the many real estate options we have listed on our website, feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives who will gladly assist you on your journey to becoming a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Growing Organic Herbs in the Riviera Maya

Living in Mexico offers many benefits. One of the benefit is the beautiful environment that is perfect for grow an organic herb garden right in your own home. Adding fresh herbs to your meals is an easy and effective way to improve the taste of your food and its nutritional value without adding more calories. With so many different flavors, it is easy to use herbs to bring your favorite recipes to a new level. However, you might find that local shops carry a limited variety of fresh or dried herbs.

If you love fresh organic herbs, it is easy to grow them in the Riviera Maya. Even in a limited space such a terrace or a windowsill. Something to keep in mind is that soil is very scarce all over the Yucatan Peninsula. If you start digging a garden in your yard you will probably find yourself hitting a huge limestone slab.

Your organic garden will have to be planted in pots, a flower bed or using the traditional raised bed methods used by the Mayans: the Canché. Here is a list of herbs that can be grown in the Riviera Maya.

Growing Organic Herbs in the Riviera Maya:  Basil (Albahaca)

Basil, commonly referred to as the queen of herbs is an anti-inflammatory thanks to its components such as oils, citrus and natural compounds. It is commonly used in pastas, soups, or teas. It would also make a great edition to many of your favorite dishes.

Basil should be planted in moist soil, and keep damp without waterlogging the plant. Keep it in an area with full sun or partial sun.

Growing Organic Herbs in the Riviera Maya: Oregano (Oregano)

Traditionally, it is used to flavor pizzas and pastas, but oregano can also be combined with stewed potatoes, grilled meats or vegetables.

The Riviera Maya climate is very suitable for this plant, which only needs sunlight to develop. There is also a local version of Oregano, used only for medicinal purposes (Lantana_camara) to cure digestive ailments.

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Growing Organic Herbs in the Riviera Maya: Cilantro (Cilantro)

Cilantro is a Mexican food staple! Adding a little cilantro to your traditional Mexican meals is an effective way to improve your foods flavor. You can add cilantro to any sauce recipe you want to prepare. It is also great in vinaigrettes and dressings, or simply add a sprig of cilantro to add a touch of flavor to a dish.

Cilantro needs to be planted indoors, as it needs slightly cooler temperatures. Make sure the plant gets plenty of light, maybe place it by a window. The plant needs regular watering’s but avoid over-irrigation as it can cause the roots rot and die.

Growing Organic Herbs in the Riviera Maya: Ginger (Jengibre)

Ginger is known as a powerful digestive and anti-microbial grass that also helps maintain a correct and balanced metabolism.  It is possible to grow ginger in the Riviera Maya, both in the ground or in a plant pot.

To keep a healthy ginger plant, you will need to keep the soil moist and place in an area with plenty of light. To use your ginger, you need to let your plant grow for about a year and then dig and cut the roots.

Growing Organic Herbs in the Riviera Maya: Mint (Menta/Yerbabuena)

The properties of mint go beyond simply making your own delicious mojitos or enhancing the flavor of your food. Mint is used as an aid for digestion, a remedy for colic and other symptoms associated with poor digestion.  Often taken for the same plant, there are actually two different species from the same family: the only difference is that mint has a green stem and that yerbabuena has a red stem.

To have plenty of fresh yerbabuena, your plant needs to be in an area with plenty of indirect light and watered daily but avoid waterlogging as it will kill your plant.

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Growing Organic Herbs in the Riviera Maya: Rosemary (Romero)

Rosemary is not only delicious, but it also has antioxidant properties that help balance the body’s defenses. Rosemary is an easy plant to grow, as it will take almost any kind of soil and it’s rarely attacked by insects or diseases.

Rosemary requires plenty of sun with little exposure to wind. Make sure to keep the soil with minimum moisture without getting dry, the key for watering your rosemary is moderation.

Growing organic herbs in your home is easy and convenient. If you want to learn more about growing herbs and vegetables or purchasing organic herbs, there is a local NGO offering workshops in the Riviera Maya area.

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Top Mexico Real Estate is an American owned local company. We have helped many foreigners become homeowners in Mexico in a safe legal manner. Feel free to browse our beautiful properties in the most popular areas of Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

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Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Akumal Beach

Beach #15 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: Akumal Beach

Most beaches are just that: beaches. Beautiful white sand, gorgeous blue waters…everything you want a beach to be. But sometimes, beaches come with amazing surprises. Akumal Beach is #15 on our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya, and for good reason! Akumal (which means Place of the Turtles in Mayan) is home to juvenile and adult sea turtles. Not only that, but it’s a beautiful and tranquil bay, as well.

Akumal is a bay surrounded by coral reef, which stops the break. This makes the water seem pool-like, calm and wave-less. The deepest parts are approximately 6 meters and it hosts all types of life; from corals, to fish, to seahorses, rays, and turtles, Akumal is a large, natural aquarium!

Located south of Playa del Carmen, and north of Tulum, it is easily accessible and a beautiful place to spend the day, or weekend, at. Akumal beach offers all types of activities, from snorkeling to diving, and has an array of delicious restaurants, as well. A day at Akumal Beach will never be boring. And, if you visit during the right season, you may also encounter nesting sea turtles and hatchling releases from the Akumal Ecological Center (CEA).

Akumal Beach is unique in that ecology, nature and tourism go hand in hand. The town’s people and the Ecological Center work together with snorkeling guides and tourists in order to preserve the bay in all its glory for the juvenile sea turtles that call this place home. Donations can be made to help with the efforts.

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Akumal Beach: Getting There

Akumal is divided into Pueblo (town) and Beach. It is very easy to reach Akumal from any point of the Riviera Maya, as it is located 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, and 20 minutes north of Tulum.

Driving: If you have a car (rented, or otherwise), all you need to do is get onto the Federal Highway 309 and drive south (coming from Playa del Carmen), or north (coming from Tulum), until you reach Akumal. It is very well signaled. If you are coming from the north, it is right past Sirenis; if you are coming from the south, you need to pass the Bahia Principe resort. Akumal Pueblo is on the west side of the highway and is mainly where the workers live; you want to go to Akumal Beach which is where all the tourist attraction is.

Taking a Taxi: A taxi will charge you over $300 MXN to drive you to Akumal. A taxi from the airport will cost $900 MXN, or more. However, if this is the alternative you want to take, just mention to the driver that you want to go to Akumal Beach and they will drive you all the way down to where the main access is.

Public transportation:

Colectivos: Colectivos are readily available on the highway. However, you can also take one from the van central on 15th Avenue with 2nd Street in Playa del Carmen. Hop on the one heading towards Tulum and ask to be dropped off in Akumal. Cross the overpass bridge and walk approximately 5 minutes until you reach the beach. Coming from Tulum, you will need to take a van headed towards Playa del Carmen. You will already be dropped off on the east side of the highway, so there is no need to cross the overpass bridge. The colectivo should cost no more than $3 USD per person.

Buses:  You can take the Mayab buses at the ADO terminal, heading towards the south. These buses make stops as they drive down the highway, so just make sure you ask the driver to point out the stop at Akumal.

Akumal Beach: Things To Do

Akumal offers an array of fun activities for the whole family, mostly nature related. Here is a list of things you can do while visiting Akumal Beach:

  • Snorkel with sea turtles – this is the main attraction in Akumal. Just remember to respect nature by not touching or harassing the turtles, and by not stepping on the corals. You will not only see turtles, but you will probably also see rays, all types of fish (even barracuda!), and the diversity of its corals.
  • Go diving – there are two dive shops in Akumal ready to take you out on amazing dives just past the reef where you can encounter adult sea turtles and many other species.
  • Visit Yal Ku Lagoon. Located approximately 10 minutes from Akumal Bay, this lagoon is a mix of fresh and salt water, giving life to beautiful marine life.
  • Go fishing, catch your fish, and have it cooked at La Cueva del Pescador restaurant.
  • Eat at one of the many delicious and fresh restaurants – most of them offer catch of the day – and enjoy great Mexican and international cuisine.
  • Rent a kayak and paddle throughout the bay.
  • If visiting during nesting season, walk on the beach looking out for nests (do not touch them, of course).
  • Visit the Ecological Center for information about marine life and the possibility of taking a night tour to see nesting sea turtles (during season May through September).

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Akumal Beach: Recommendations

Akumal is a small fishing town, however, they don’t lack any services. You can find everything from restaurants, to medical clinics (if necessary), convenience stores, shops, bars, and more. Nonetheless, it’s always best to take some things into consideration:

  • Bring money – Akumal is an expensive place. Food, tours, and souvenirs are all pricey so it’s best that you are ready to spend.
  • Use biodegradable sunblock and put it on 30 minutes before going into the water – as mentioned before, Akumal is an ecological town working on saving the marine ecosystems. Sunblock bleaches corals and kills fish, so be considerate when using it.
  • Make sure you listen to your guide, or locals, about how to treat marine life (no touching, harassing, or stepping on things).
  • Although Akumal looks like a pool, it is still the ocean, so rent out life jackets before going in for a swim – better be safe than sorry!
  • Be careful when snorkeling and do not to touch anything – corals are home to sea urchins, and they hurt.
  • Akumal does not have beach clubs and does not rent out beach beds (unless you’re a guest at one of the hotels), so make sure you bring towels and shade.

Remember to have fun and enjoy the beautiful and natural marine life that calls Akumal home! This beach is one of the most popular destinations when visiting the Riviera Maya; it is beautiful, calm, and does perfectly well as a day’s getaway destination.

You can continue learning about the best beaches in the region by following our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya countdown every Friday! If you are looking for the perfect beach, make sure you check out our options. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

Top Mexico Real Estate is the leading website in real estate in the Riviera Maya and throughout Mexico. We help foreigners find their dream homes in paradise. If you are looking to invest in a vacation, retirement, or full-time property in the Riviera Maya, feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyer’s Representatives. They will happily guide you through the process of becoming a homeowner in Mexico!

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Top 10 Reasons to Retire in Mexico

Ah, retirement! It’s creeping up on you faster than you thought and it’s about time you start thinking of what you want to do upon retirement. Will you just enjoy a quiet retirement at home, enjoy your children (if any) and kick back relaxing day after day? Or will you put your money to good use investing in the perfect full-time or part-time retirement home? Would you rather stay in the USA, Canada – or whichever country you are from? Or would you prefer investing in a slice of paradise in the Riviera Maya or anywhere throughout Mexico?

Whichever your preference is, hear us out! Mexico is a top retirement destination for Americans and Canadians alike. There are thousands of reasons why people choose to invest their hard-earned money in the perfect retirement home in a tropical paradise like Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

Here are the top 10 reasons why you should at least consider retirement in Mexico:

  • Low Cost of Living

The low cost of living in Mexico not only means your savings will last longer, it means you will be able to afford the “luxury” life only millionaires can enjoy up north. Because services and goods (and even medical attention – read point 4) are considerably cheaper you will find that what you paid to eat for a week in the USA might render 15 days’ worth of food in Mexico. However, the key to successful saving is to avoid big brand names that mainly come from America. Remember, imported goods tend to be priced higher.

But the low cost of living doesn’t only reflect in food. Services such as transportation, medicines, beauty salons, hospitals, cinema, shopping, and more, are also meaningfully cheaper.

  • Higher Life Quality

It may sound cliché, but living in Mexico really ups your lifestyle. The low cost of living means you will be able to hire house help daily, which will give you more free time for yourself. Walks on the beach (or park), yoga, time to sit down and enjoy a book by the beach, waking up slightly later and going to bed earlier. Everything you do will help you increase your life quality.

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  • Real Estate in Mexico

Buying property in Mexico is easy, safe, and very common. Costs will vary depending on which part of Mexico you are looking to invest in and what type of property you want, but they are also significantly lower than in other parts of the world. Also, foreigners are allowed to own property in Mexico and have beneficiaries, making it an easy process for anyone wanting to own real estate here.

  • Healthcare and Medical Services

Mexico has increasingly become a popular medical hotspot for its high quality services at a much lower price. From dental procedures to surgeries and treatments, many people from the USA flock down to Mexico for medical attention. Hospitals and medicines are cheaper than in the north and the quality of the service is equal or better. Many doctors, dentists, surgeons, and others, received part of their training in the United States so they are well trained. Costs for simple procedures can be half the price that you would normally pay back home. And the ultimate plus of medical care in Mexico (specifically the Riviera Maya) is recovering by the beach!

  • Culture, Tradition, Diversity and History

Mexico is a rich cultural country. From Mayan, Aztec, Olmec (and other) heritages, to deeply rooted religious traditions, this country is sure to offer a variety of traditional festivals and cultural events. Mexico has over 40,000 archeological sites – including a Wonder of the World; it also has 9 out of the 11 ecosystems that exist around the world: desserts, mountains, beaches, forests, jungles, and more. The history, the culture and tradition, and the diversity of Mexico, makes it a magical place for expats to explore and enjoy their retirement in.

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  • Accessibility

Let’s be honest, even if you are retiring to a foreign country, you want to be close to home. Mexico is the USA’s next door neighbor. Flights are readily available on a daily basis, and the costs of travelling are rather accessible. Direct flights from the USA and Canada are common and only a few short hours from your new home. Going back home to visit friends and family, or having them come down to visit you, is something that goes from “I wish they could…” to a “they actually can”.

  • Gastronomy

There is a serious addiction to Mexican food in the North. Every block or two there is a “Mexican” restaurant, and most of the population is guilty of trying it…and loving it. But real Mexican food is much better (and possibly cheaper) than what you can find back home. Mexican gastronomy is considered a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. So, go figure! From street food to more elaborate dishes, nothing you try will disappoint.

  • Safety

News media reports are often exporting drug cartel related violent crimes in Mexico. However, far from what is being showed around the world, Mexico is a very safe place. It is no different walking down the street in Denver than it is in Mexico City – or anywhere for that matter. While there is a drug war going on, innocent people are not targeted, and most importantly, foreigners are not being targeted. Many places where expats retire to are some of the safest areas in the country. Law enforcement is present, especially in tourist destinations such as the Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, and San Miguel de Allende. While taking precautions is always recommended, you don’t need to live in fear of something happening to you.

  • Weather

The last few years have brought some heavy snowfalls in the North, and Mexico lacks these. Depending on where you want to retire, you will get different weather. But supposing most people want to retire by the beach, you will find the weather is spring-like year-round, only getting really hot during the summer. The Riviera Maya gets average low temperatures of 20°C (68F) and high temperatures of 34°C (93F).

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  • Other Expats

You are far from being the first expat wanting to retire in this beautiful country. Throughout Mexico you will find many expat communities backing each other up on the amazing journey of migrating and retiring in Mexico. The Riviera Maya hosts one of the biggest expat communities, and you will never be alone. Forums and websites, as well as expert agents, will be happily helping you out on your journey.

Stop thinking what life would be like in Mexico and start living it! Maybe it’s time you join the expat retiree communities of this beautiful country.

Now, if you have any questions about living in Mexico, buying property, or are interested in one of the many real estate options we have listed on our website, feel free to contact one of our TOP MEXICO BUYER’S REPRESENTATIVES who will gladly assist you on your journey to retiring in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Where to Eat When Celebrating Holy Week & Easter in Playa del Carmen

Holy Week, according to Christianity, commemorates the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is celebrated every year between March and April, depending on the year. The Holy Week takes off with Palm Sunday, which represents the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem. Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday follow Palm Sunday, eventually arriving to Holy Thursday. Thursday’s mass gives opening to the following three days, known as Easter Triduum, which is made up of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday (or Resurrection Sunday).

According to Roman Catholic religion, Jesus was sacrificed on Good Friday; Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday represent his resurrection. While in big cities around Mexico, and the world, you may encounter religious processions, and even see people committing to sacrifices (such as actually carrying a cross on their back, beating themselves with whips, or simply walking barefoot), the biggest sacrifice most people will make is the abstinence from meat.

Holy Week and Easter Sunday are fasting days. Traditionally, fasting meant that you would sacrifice to only one meal per day on Holy Thursday and Good Friday; abstinence from meat (red and white) is the most common sacrifice people make these days. Hence, fish and vegetables become the main ingredients during this time.

If you are looking to keep true to this sacrifice, check out the Top 5 Seafood Restaurants where you can enjoy delicious meat-free meals during Holy Week and Easter:

  • Los Aguachiles

Where: 5th Avenue with Constituyentes Avenue, Downtown, Playa del Carmen; or 34th Street with 25th Avenue

Price range: $$

What you can eat: An aguachile is a chili-spiked ceviche in Mexico, and this restaurants lacks none of it! You can expect to eat tacos, tostadas, ceviches, cocktails and more. Everything comes accompanied by delicious home-made salsas.

Website: www.losaguachiles.mx

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  • Blue Lobster

Where: 12th Street between 1st and 5th Avenue, Downtown, Playa del Carmen

Price range: $$ – $$$

What you can eat: Blue Lobster Seafood Restaurant offers all types of seafood and fish, from soups to salads, to appetizers, to risotto, fish fillets, fish pastas, and much more. You can also order their famous lobsters (they’re called Blue Lobster for a reason) and enjoy a delicious meat-free meal.

Website: www.bluelobster.com.mx

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  • La Fisheria

Where: 5th Avenue between 22nd and 24rd Streets, Downtown, Playa del Carmen

Price range: $$$

What you can eat: This restaurant is owned by famous Mexican Chef Aquiles Chavez and specializes only in seafood. You can expect to eat nothing less than delicious food here. You can eat the catch of the day, grilled octopus, ceviche, fish tacos, and even shrimp pizza. There are many options for those seafood lovers out there.

Website: www.lafisheriaplaya.com.mx

  • El Muelle

Where: 5th Avenue with 32nd Street, Downtown, Playa del Carmen

Price range: $$-$$$

What you can eat: On their website they say that their chef, Charles Parkes, is a fresh produce lover. They are a 100% seafood restaurant, hence their “from the ocean to your table” concept. You can expect to eat seafood cocktails, tuna carpaccio, ceviches, pasta with seafood or their amazing grilled seafood.

Website: www.elmuelledeplaya.com

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  • La Cueva del Chango

Where: 38th Street between 5th Avenue and the ocean, Playa del Carmen

Price range: $$

What you can eat: Although this restaurant is not 100% seafood, they do serve some delicious “out of the ocean” food. For lunch you can expect to eat fish salad, fish sandwiches, shrimp Scampi, fish fillet with garlic, and more. For dinner you could have shrimp, tuna, or fish fillet, all marinated differently and accompanied by different fittings.

Website: www.lacuevadelchango.com

So, now you know where you can eat this Holy Week and Easter Sunday without breaking the sacrifices one is supposed to make! Or you can just go to any of the above-mentioned restaurants – or any of the other hundreds of delicious seafood restaurants in Playa del Carmen – any day of the year and enjoy some great Mexican seafood gastronomy.

This year, Holy Week will take place from Sunday, March 29 and will conclude on Saturday, April 14th, which is the Saturday before Easter Sunday.

Top Mexico Real Estate has helped thousands of foreigners become homeowners in the Playa del Carmen and throughout Mexico! If you plan on retiring in Mexico, or are looking for a vacation real estate property, please feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives who will gladly help you through the process of purchasing property in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Sirenis Beach

Beach #16 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: Sirenis Beach

People often forget that the Riviera Maya stretches beyond Cancun and Playa del Carmen. To the south, you can find many beautiful beaches, often barely populated, that are the definition of a gem. White sand, turquoise waters, and the privacy that everyone loves.

That is why the beautiful beach of Sirenis (a residential complex, and 5-star resort in Akumal) takes up the 16th place on our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya.

Although every beach in Mexican territory (and the world) is public, many lack public accesses. This is the case of Sirenis, and the beach is mainly used by its residents and hotel guests. However, the hotel Grand Sirenis Resort Riviera Maya offers “outsiders” day passes so that they too can enjoy the experience of the resort and the gorgeous beach that stretches right in front.

If you want to visit the Grand Sirenis beach, you need to access it through the hotel, hence needing to buy the Day Pass. Up until April of 2015, you can buy the day pass for $700 MXN per person, however, this price will go up after this promotion is over. Children enjoy 50% off in the day pass.

The day pass will give you the full experience of being a guest at the hotel. You will be able to access all the facilities within, do one free hour of snorkel, or rent any of the other activities such as kayaking; you will be able to enjoy their pools, their slow river, and more. You can buy the Day Pass directly at reception.

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Sirenis Beach: Getting There

Getting to Sirenis is rather easy. It is located just north of Akumal (Sirenis is actually considered part of Akumal) and south of the Palladium Hotel.

Driving: Get onto the Federal Highway 309 and drive south towards Akumal. Before reaching Akumal you will find the Palladium Hotel on your left; it’s time to slow down as a few kilometers ahead you will find Sirenis to your left. It’s easy to spot! If you reach Akumal, you’ve gone too far. Make a U-turn and drive into the main entrance of Sirenis. At the main gate, just say you are going to the Grand Sirenis hotel and they will let you through.

Taking a Taxi: A taxi may be expensive if you are coming from Playa del Carmen or Cancun. However, if you are willing to pay $300+ MXN, then all you have to do is ask them to take you to Sirenis Beach, and they gladly will. Although most taxi drivers know their way around every beach, make sure you also know how he needs to get there (which is the same as driving), in case the taxi driver is unfamiliar with the beach.

Public transportation:

Colectivos: Colectivos, or collective vans, are easily available on the highway. If you are coming from Cancun, first you will need to take one to Playa del Carmen, which will drop you off at the van central. You will then need to take one heading to Tulum and ask to be dropped off at Sirenis. Because you will be on the wrong side of the highway, make sure you either walk to the nearest bridge, or cross very carefully. A van from Playa del Carmen to Sirenis should not charge you more than $35 MXN or around $3 USD, per person.

Buses: ADO buses will not take you to Sirenis as they have set, default routes, and mainly go between big cities. However, there is a service called the Mayab bus (which you can get at the ADO terminals), which make stops as they drive down the highway. You would need to ask the driver to drop you off at Akumal (its nearest stop), and you can then cross the highway and grab a colectivo north and get off at Sirenis (the next stop), or take a taxi from Akumal.

Sirenis Beach: Things to Do

Once you have decided to purchase the Day Pass at Grand Sirenis, there is an array of activities you can enjoy there:

  • You can eat at one of their many restaurants (make sure you ask at Reception if meal are included in the Day Pass)
  • You can enjoy the palapas and beach beds
  • You get one hour of free snorkeling
  • You can head to the dive shop and go on a diving adventure
  • You can rent one of the following activities: kayak, water polo, bingo, beach volley, bike tour, archery, and more.
  • You can relax at one of their three amazing pools
  • After tiring yourself all day with so many activities, you can also just relax and float around the lazy river.

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Sirenis Beach: Recommendations

Although you will be in a resort, there are always some previous recommendations that you should take into consideration:

  • Bring money! You need to pay for the Day Pass, and not all activities are included – you don’t miss out on anything because you forgot your wallet at home.
  • Bring sunscreen! You will be doing activities and relaxing by the beach and the pools all day – nobody wants nasty sunburns.
  • Ask everything you need to know BEFORE buying your Day Pass! Meals may or not may be included depending on the day pass you purchase– same goes for drinks – so make sure you know what all is included before you pay $700 (or more) MXN.
  • Get there early! Call a day prior to your visit to ask at what time the Day Pass become effective, and until what time you can stay at the hotel. In case you don’t want to leave, you can always just end up booking a night there and waking up to the beautiful Sirenis Beach once more.
  • Last, but not least, have fun! Day Passes give you the unique experience of enjoying a resort vacation in a day – and they are a lot of fun! So leave all the stress back home and enjoy the day with your family.

Sounds like the perfect day at Sirenis Beach, right? We’re already looking forward to our day off, for our day pass!

You can continue learning about the best beaches in this beautiful region by following our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya countdown every Friday! If you are looking for the perfect beach, make sure you check out our options. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

Top Mexico Real Estate is the number one expert in real estate in Mexico! We help foreigners become homeowners in paradise! If you plan on moving, retiring, or buying a vacation home in Mexico, please feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives. We will gladly take you through the purchasing process of becoming a homeowner in paradise!

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Top 5 Places to Get Dessert in Playa del Carmen

Sometimes, after a big meal, you want to walk around until you come across the perfect place for dessert. Some other times, you just really want to skip the meal and go straight to dessert; and that is perfectly fine because, let’s face it, dessert is delicious! Whether it be a slice of cake, a muffin or cupcake, pie, or even just ice cream (which is welcome all day in Playa del Carmen with the sun); finding a place that sells the exact thing that you are carving feels like a dream come true.

But we want to make your treasure hunt a little bit easier with the following cheat sheet. We have chosen our Top 5 Places to Get Dessert at in Playa del Carmen – so you can either choose straight from our list, or walk around Playa until you find the one that you love. Either choice is fine, after all, it’s dessert we’re talking about and there are no enemies in that.

  • Chez Céline

A classic. Chez Céline is the Casanova of dessert land. This French café and restaurant specializes in making all your dessert fantasies come true without even knowing. Everything is prepared there and you can choose from bite-size to full, big pies or cakes (and you don’t have to tell them you’re not actually sharing that pie for 10). From lemon, strawberry or chocolate tarts to delicious sweet crepes you are in for a treat! They even have a dessert called “melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate cake” (which is gluten free)…so, imagine that!

Where you can find them: 5th Avenue with 34th street

Website: www.chezceline.com.mx

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  • La Pasteleteria

Originally only a bakery, this slice of dessert heaven has now expanded into a café and restaurant. So you can expect to eat a delicious meal followed by an amazing dessert experience. They make everything themselves and sell from cakes to tarts to pies to fudge. During season, you can find “pan de muerto” (Day of the Dead bread), or “Rosca de Reyes” (Three King’s cake). But throughout the year your mouth can have an explosion of cheesecake, four milks cake, tiramisu, corn tart, carrot cake, and much more.

Where you can find them: Plaza Xaman-Ha, on Federal Highway (across from Centro Maya, right by the Hospiten hospital)

Website: www.pasteleria.com.mx

  • Café Antoinette

Another French patisserie that slips by; no surprise here, the French excel at desserts (and wine!). This café is by the same chefs that delight us at Chez Celine, so it’s kind of cheating, but it’s a separate concept and just as delicious. You can find muffins, caramelized vanilla and rum desserts, French macaroons, croissants, cinnamon rolls, and much more. The delicious café is present in two spots in Cancun and two in Playa del Carmen.

Where you can find them: right off 5th Avenue going down to the Cozumel Ferry

Website: www.cafe-antoinette.com

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  • Aldos Gelato

Ice cream is dessert, too! The Riviera Maya is a hot place, and ice cream is always welcome, whether it be for dessert or just to cool down. You can already imagine that they sell all types of Italian gelatos; but did you know they’re all made by their own team and all under great quality control? They are constantly surprising clients with monthly promotions, new products and flavors to die for. Banana split, Oreo World, Dulce Vita, popsicles, ice cream and brownie, alfajores (which is a delicious Argentinian dessert), and much more!

Where to find them: They have four branches spread throughout 5th Avenue, so you’re sure to spot them!

Website: www.aldosgelato.com

  • Ah Cacao

Ah Cacao is our second (after La Pasteleteria) 100% Mexican bakery and café on the list. Not only is it Mexican-owned, but every product that they sell, from coffee to cookies, is made with Mexican products. Everything comes from cacao, coffee and vanilla, resulting in delicious mixtures of flavors. Their popular dishes include cappuccinos, brownies, ice cream, lattes, and even frozen spicy Mayan chocolate! If you love it so much, you can buy their products (chocolate bars, cacao seeds, cacao powder, and vanilla extract, amongst others) at any of their branches or ally stores.

Where you can find them: 5th Avenue with Constituyentes Avenue; 5th Avenue with 30th street; or 5th Avenue between 38th and 40th Streets.

Website: www.ahcacao.com

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Well, there you go! If you’re not drooling after reading this, you may not be a dessert person. Please enjoy all these dessert places and let us know which your favorite ones are!

Top Mexico Real Estate has a home for anyone looking to vacation or retire in Playa del Carmen, and throughout Mexico. If you are looking for a real estate property here, please feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives that will help you through the process of purchasing your perfect, paradise property in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Playa Paraiso

Beach #17 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: Playa Paraíso

We don’t get tired of mentioning it: the Riviera Maya is blessed with hundreds of beautiful beaches, all of white sand and clear blue waters filled with the most diverse and beautiful underwater life one could ever imagine. Amongst those hundreds of beaches you can find throughout this gorgeous paradise is Playa Paraiso.

Not to be confused with Tulum’s Playa Paraíso (which, to be fair, is also part of the Riviera Maya), this beach is located a short five minute drive south of Puerto Morelos, or a ten minute drive north of Playa del Carmen. Although the beach has a public access – like every beach in the area – it is only surrounded by hotels such as Iberostar Paraiso and the Grand Mayan Palace.

Like most secluded and not widely known beaches, Playa Paraiso keeps true to its name: paradise. Being “far” from the popular beaches of Playa del Carmen, it has little to offer in the sense of entertainment, food or drinks; but the view, the tranquility and the beauty make up for everything else it lacks.

If you want to get away from the crowds (although the hotel guests will be sharing the beach with you), from the hustle and bustle of the busy cities and from the “buy this, eat here, drink with us” atmosphere, then you’ve picked the right beach!

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Playa Paraíso: Getting There

Getting to Playa Paraíso is really easy, as it is located between the two main cities of Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen.

Driving: If you are driving from Cancun, you need to take the highway 309 south towards Playa del Carmen. Approximately 33 km south of Cancun, right after passing over the Puerto Morelos overpass bridge, you will find the Iberostar and Grand Mayan Palace hotels. The public access is located right by the hotels. If you are coming from Playa del Carmen, you need to drive north towards Puerto Morelos until you reach the mentioned hotels.

Taking a Taxi: Taxis may be somewhat expensive depending on where you are coming from, but they are an easy way to make sure you get to the right place. Just call a cab from wherever you are and ask them to drive you to the public access of Playa Paraíso (make sure you specify which one so you don’t end up in Tulum!).

Public transportation:

Colectivos: Collective vans are easily accessible on the highway, or at their starting points in Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen. If you are in Cancun, you need to hop on a van heading towards Playa del Carmen and ask to get off at Playa Paraíso. If you are coming from Playa, then hop on a van that is headed towards Cancun and do the same thing. Vans charge 35 pesos or less, depending on where you hop on.

Buses: Public buses that stop throughout the highway are accessible from the ADO terminals. They are called Mayabs and drive from Cancun towards south Quintana Roo, and back, making predetermined stops, sort of like colectivos. You may ask at the ADO bus terminal if they stop anywhere near Playa Paraíso or the above mentioned hotels.

Playa Paraíso: Things To Do

Please remember that this beach is secluded and is accessed mainly by the resorts’ guests. This means that there are no restaurants, bars, beach clubs or anything that you may go to. The hotels do not allow “outsiders” to use their facilities, but you may rent the watersport equipment.

  • You can enjoy a nice, long walk down the beach.
  • Water activities are popular on all beaches; you will probably be able to rent kayaks, or go on a fishing, snorkeling or diving tour.
  • You may go snorkeling or swimming in the ocean on your own, as well.

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Playa Paraíso: Recommendations

As mentioned before, there is nothing else on this beach other than the hotel facilities, so here are some recommendations to take into consideration:

  • Because you will be unable to rent out palapas, umbrellas or beach beds, we recommend you bring a chair and your own umbrellas for personal use.
  • Bring your own towels because – unless you bring your own chairs – you will be sitting or lying down on the sand all day.
  • Make a quick stop at a convenience store beforehand and stock up on water, sodas, snacks, or anything else you like to enjoy when spending the day at the beach.
  • Remember that there is little to do, so bring a book, iPad, mp3 player, or the likes, to keep yourself entertained while sunbathing.
  • Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen.

So there you go, it sounds like a perfect day in paradise, doesn’t it?

Learn about all the different beaches in paradise by following our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya countdown every Friday! If you are looking for the perfect beach, make sure you check out our options. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

Top Mexico Real Estate specializes in helping foreigners become homeowners in the Riviera Maya! If you plan on vacationing often or retiring in the Riviera Maya, contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives. We will be happy to walk you through the process of becoming a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Alfonso Arau’s Next Film Will Be Filmed in the Beautiful Riviera Maya

Alfonso Arau’s new feature film, Legend of Latin Lovers, is set to be filmed in the Riviera Maya starting in the summer of this year. The film is a coproduction between Mexico and the United States and will place the Riviera Maya in the eyes of thousands of movie buffs around the world.

The film is a comedy depicting what it is like to fall in love, a very universal matter; it will show a “Latin lover” who pretends to conquer but ends up being conquered. Arau was attracted to the project because of how universal it is and because of the typical assumption that Latinos are very Casanova, when tourists can be like that, as well. The project is due to show the beautiful Riviera Maya because, as Arau puts it, “it is a place that God made for vacationing”.

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Legend of Latin Lovers, which will be produced by Steve Barnett, will show scenery such as Party Center, in Cancun, the hotel zone, ecological and natural parks, and even the cenote route in Puerto Morelos. But the question in everyone’s mind is how this project will benefit the destination?

While the film is most certainly not the first one to be filmed in our beautiful paradise, Rocío Mena Réndiz, president of the Caribbean Public Relations Association, is happy that they chose the Riviera Maya because the film will be distributed around the world giving people the expectation to travel and visit Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum in the future, generating greater tourism in the area.

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The film will also help promote the good image of the Riviera Maya around the world, according to Ximena de Córdova Cole, director of the Cancun Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

Alfonso Arau is a Mexican director with a long career in film. He has directed actors such as Keanue Reeves and Anthony Quinn (A Walk in the Clouds, 1995) or Martin Short and Steve Martin (Three Amigos, 1986), amongst many other famous Mexican actors and actresses. Other successful films of him include Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate, 1992) and La Trampa de la Luz (2010), his most recent film as director. Throughout his career, he has directed, written, produced and even acted in several projects. In 2004, Arau was honored for his work in cinema at the Santa Fe Film Festival and has even won an Ariel Award (Mexican awards that honor TV and film personalities). He is also a well-known actor in Mexico for his roles in shorts, TV and movies.

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As for the cast, nothing has been revealed yet, because making a film is a long process. From the idea, to the script, to the pre-production and casting, a film can take three months or 15 years to actually be filmed. This is why he is thankful for Steve Barnett’s help. He has produced movies such as 300, Legendary and Knucklehead, giving him more than enough experience in the field. Arau is certain that Barnett’s help will allow the movie to travel the world.

Mexico is finally resetting their mark in the international film industry. After a tough time struggling with good Mexican cinema, we are finally seeing films made in Mexico, or by Mexicans, travel the world and be recognized. Even directors, or actors, who have migrated to the USA to stand out are being recognized such as Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñarritú.

Set to be filmed in the summer of 2015, there are huge expectations for this romantic comedy in its co-production. While it will bring attention to the destination, it will most importantly draw attention to the talent that Mexico has produced in the film industry.

Keep checking back, we will write another blog once more information is released about the locations, the dates, and the cast!

Top Mexico Real Estate has a home for anyone looking to vacation or retire in the Riviera Maya, and throughout Mexico. If you are looking for your dream home, please contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives who will gladly walk with you through the process of becoming a homeowner in paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!