Snowbirds are Returning to Playa del Carmen

It’s that time of year when the snowbirds start to prepare for their return to Playa del Carmen once again. Leaving behind the cold winds, rain and snow and migrate south to the sunny beaches of Playa del Carmen for much fun and well deserved relaxation.

Since your visit last year Playa del Carmen has had some changes to the Fifth Avenue. You will be glad to know that more stores have been added to the La Quinta Alegria Shopping Plaza, and there are several others due to open shortly. Unfortunately, the Body Shop has closed and remains empty right now but we are excited to see what will open next.

If you remember, last year there was a large construction site just a few steps away from the La Quinta Alegria mall, where the famous Calle Corazon used to be. Now there is a modern five story plaza called “Calle Corazon Mall”, where you will find well known retail stores like H&M -which opened one of the largest fashion shops on Fifth Avenue, plus sunglasses, cosmetics and a new Starbucks, and there will be much more to come. Above the shopping area is the upscale Thompson Hotel with 2 rooftop restaurants that are open to the public, the Cinco and Catch Restaurant, here you can enjoy a fabulous meal and some of the best views of the city.

Hopefully some things in Playa del Carmen will not change as we as locals and snow birds enjoy the simpler things too and a big hit with both is Kava Kasa. You will be happy to know that they still have a great yoga lineup and their weekly local market has not changed, you will find your fresh produce there every Tuesday morning. Kava Kasa posts their monthly yoga schedule on their Kava Kasa Facebook page and any other changes that may happen.

You will be happy to know that your favorite bars have not changed and still have their amazing lineups to keep your evenings full of entertainment and happy hours.

If this is your first year coming to Playa del Carmen as a Snowbird, there is a great online community of Expats that are always happy to assist you whether you just can’t find the right ingredient or if you are looking for fun night out.

One of the forums that is very useful is Playa Info, where you can find general information posted from where to find pink lemonade to a lists of the best happy hours in town.

Another very helpful community is the Facebook group Expats & Locals in Playa del Carmen, in this community they cover everything you need to know for daily living in Playa del Carmen and are eager to meet new people, they even arrange nights out which is a great way to meet new people and expand your social group.

Welcome Snowbirds Old and New!

Upcoming Webinar – Expats in Mexico: You Asked, We Answer!

Here at Top Mexico Real Estate we have been hosting monthly webinars helping expats on the do´s and don´ts on purchasing property in Mexico, and also covering the basics of what to expect when moving and living in Mexico.

This year so far we have held 5 webinars hosted by our CEO Thomas Lloyd, and we received much positive feedback. We have covered many different topics including Purchasing Property in Mexico, Mexico’s Property Law, and most recently we had a guest to talk about the experience of an expat living and working in Tulum.

During the webinars there is a Q&A section and we encourage our audience to email in questions for Thomas or our guest speaker to answer, but as these webinars are held live there is only a certain amount of time allocated for it, and unfortunately not all questions can be answered.

Taking this into account we have decided for our 6th webinar, ‘Expats in Mexico: You Asked, We Answer’, to be dedicated to answering all the unanswered questions plus any new questions we receive from you.  This webinar will be held on September 29th at 12pm CST.

All topics will be covered:

  • Real Estate and Investing
  • Visa and Immigration
  • Working in Mexico
  • Weather and Lifestyle

During the webinar there will be a raffle for a chance to win a 7 day Live It Tour, a real estate tour designed to help our clients to decide on what property best suits them by giving them the chance to compare many different types of properties and experience firsthand what a condo hotel is really like. Plus, they meet with a lawyer to explain the purchasing process and to answer all of their legal questions on real estate and immigration laws.

The winner will be drawn live at the end of the webinar and the prize includes all-inclusive accommodation for 2 people, transportation to and from the airport, personalized real estate tour itinerary, and to be teamed up with one of Buyers Representatives.

Join Thomas Lloyd and this month’s guest speaker Sherri Dixon, who have both experienced moving, working and living in Mexico for this special Q&A webinar. Feel free to reserve your seat and submit any questions you have!

Save the date – Thursday, September 29th at noon CST.

Ideas for Rainy Days

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing…– Billy Connelly

As we all know Playa del Carmen is known for its beautiful white beaches and sunny days. But with the recent storms and with the promise of more upcoming rain a question arises: what is there to do in Playa del Carmen when you can’t be outside? Surprisingly Playa del Carmen still has a lot to offer.

Here in Playa del Carmen there is a number of malls that may not be as big as you are used to in the United States or Canada but are great for an enjoyable way to pass a rainy day.

One of the main malls is Plaza Las Americas, located north of Playa del Carmen has many department stores, a grocery store, Sears and even a Sally’s. For entertainment Plaza Las Americas has a 12 theater cinema with many movies in English to choose from and a small casino and video arcade.

Closer to the center of Playa del Carmen on the highway towards Tulum you will find the Centro Maya mall, this mall is quite small but it does have Mexican known stores, a grocery store and a cinema next to the food court that shows movies in both English and Spanish.

If you are feeling brave and think you can make it shop to shop through the showers the Fifth Avenue has 2 malls, the newest is La Quinta. This 3 level modern mall (partially outdoor) has many well-known shops that include American Eagle, Forever 21, Victoria Secret and brand sport shops plus more.

The second shopping area on the Fifth Avenue, Paseo del Carmen is at the entrance of Playacar Phase 1, the south end of the Fifth Avenue. At this open air mall all of the department stores are next to each other if do need to make a mad dash between showers to get to the next store. This quaint shopping area carries on the cobblestone pavement and is the home to many stores for all ages such as Zara, Diesel, Ultrafemme, jewelry stores and even a Harley Davidson shop.

If you are not in the mood for shopping and the storm has settled why not head to beach with your favorite Starbucks coffee for some easy exercise to listen to the roaring waves come in. While you out for your leisurely stroll you will see many surfers on the beach. As you know this is a highly unusual sighting for Playa del Carmen and this is the only time you will see people surfing since the water is normally calm, but on these rare occasions when the heavy rain comes it also brings these huge amazing waves that surfers cannot help to take advantage of.

In the end we are very lucky here in Playa del Carmen, we have more sun than we do rain so another option is to simply take advantage of this weather. Stay home guilt free with your feet up and catch up on your favorite TV show, start or finish that book you’ve been meaning to read and listen to the rain against your window enjoying a hot cup of coffee or bowl of soup.

Enjoy your time off!

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…

we make it happen!

Neighborhoods of Playa del Carmen – Little Italy

As many of you know the expats of Playa del Carmen are not only made up of Americans and Canadians, but a large number of Europeans have also relocated to Playa del Carmen. So it is no wonder that Playa del Carmen has its very own area called Little Italy.

Little Italy has truly an ideal location, located in the heart of Playa del Carmen and is walking distance to the beach and the 5th Avenue, the main tourist area. In this part of town you can find a few homes but it’s mainly condos and the real estate options start from as little as 90,000 USD and up to 700,000 USD.

As Little Italy is one of the oldest areas in Playa del Carmen you will find large mature trees scattered through the area as it is illegal to cut down trees in Mexico without permission from the government, which results in much appreciated shade and tree lined streets.

Going by the name of this area you can expect to find some amazing Italian restaurants, such as Piola on Avenue 38 North, with seating options either inside or out that offers a range of brick-oven pizzas, salads, pasta dishes and vegan options, but is mostly known here in Playa del Carmen for their basil margaritas, a definite must try. With so many different restaurants, cafes and bars in this area you will be really spoilt for choice.

The white sandy beach is only a few minutes away with many beach clubs and bars lining the beach, happy to serve you a refreshing cerveza or a cocktail of your choosing. Further along the beach, approx. a 10 minute stroll away, you will find the popular Canibal Royale Beach Club and in the other direction the famous Mamitas Beach Club and Zenzi, which the locals and visitors highly recommend. But don’t be shy! There is many more bars and beach clubs serving different dishes and with their daily promotions you will have many options to choose from.

There are large supermarkets not far from Little Italy such as Walmart, Mega and with Sam’s Club and City Club you will easily be able to cover your household needs.

Remember that there are small fruit and veg markets in the area too, with DAC being the largest and more popular due to its large range of fresh produce but also sells cheese, dried herbs and spices and a selection of tinned / jarred foods that is not very common to find in Playa del Carmen. DAC is open daily and located on Avenue 30, one block north from Constituyentes Ave.

For organic produce, handmade goods and gluten free baked goods, there are two markets that come to Playa del Carmen once a week. Both are organized by KaVaKasa, one takes place right in their HQ and the other one in Les Alizes Condos, on CTM Ave.

Whether you are looking for a calm stroll on the beach, a romantic evening out or just a simple trip to the market, if Little Italy does not have it you are guaranteed that it is close by!

If you’d like more information about Playa del Carmen or are interested in purchasing property here, we invite you to visit our main website where you can search further. Please get in touch with one of our agents who will gladly assist you in any questions you might have.

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…

we make it happen!

Maya Theme Park in Cancun to Open in 2017

Museo Maya Cancun

A new theme park will soon be added to Cancun next year, dedicated to exploring the world of the Mayans. The ‘Parque Maya’ is a private investment planned to be ready for winter of 2017 with the intention of promoting cultural tourism in the city. Cancun and the Riviera Maya have already had tremendous success with the Xcaret adventure parks, which were named among the world’s best theme parks earlier this year and recently saw the opening of Xenses, a new park on the same grounds, but this new park will be dedicated to promote the cultural tourism in the area.

August 15 will see the laying of the first stone, while work will be expected to take 12 months in order to bring this project to life. “The concept behind it is of the Mayan universe” said Francisco Córdova Lira, an investor of the Park. “We already have all the permissions and licenses to carry out the Park.” He stated that they are currently in the phase of accreditation for a bank loan, although some investments have already been made.

The plan for the park is to have three zones that are united together, including El Rey, archeological ruins that few currently visit but will now be promoted, and the Mayan Museum which opened to the public in 2012. The Park will be located facing the Museum and is designed for visiting families to learn about the Mayan culture and also have fun at the same time. There will be zip lines, rope bridges, along with replicas of relics and Mayan architecture. They will be distributed among the three worlds that make up the Mayan universe.

Getting to this point has come at an investment of approximately 50 million pesos. The development project was submitted twice to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), but due to the lack of appropriate permissions it was put on hold, but will now see the beginning of the construction.

The investors believe that the concept will appeal to tourists, since the Cancun hotel zone will be providing more places of recreation and culture. Given the tremendous success that Xcaret and other adventure park have had in recent years, along with the continued boom in tourism for Cancun and the Riviera Maya in general, the opening is likely to be a big success.

If you’d like more information about Playa del Carmen or are interested in purchasing property here, we invite you to visit our main website where you can search further. Please get in touch with one of our agents who will gladly assist you in any questions you might have.

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…

we make it happen!

Xenses Park in Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Welcome to Xenses

Last month the Xenses Park in Mexico’s Riviera Maya opened to the public, becoming the sixth adventure park to open inside the Xcaret development grounds. Recently I wrote about how Xcaret in Cancun and the Riviera Maya were recognized as the best international theme park and the best water park, winning the 2016 Travvy Award held in New York City.  This new addition is a 23-hectare property and was made possible with an investment of $25.5 million.

Getting to Xenses is easy. It’s approx 15 minutes by car from the entrance of Playacar Phase II’s across from Centro Maya. You can also take the bike path which runs along the east side of the highway all the way to the inside of the park. Keep an eye for some of the local wildlife like the iguanas, who will quickly run under the pavement when they see you coming.

Once inside of Xenses you will find a variety of things to do, including zip lines and slides, a river of mud and a waterfall. One of the more intriguing things you will find is a bizarre looking village where everything looks off. The houses seem like they are completely crooked and the road appears to incline but in reality it is flat. The optical illusion that it creates is so believable that you will likely struggle to walk properly as your sense of balance is upset.

The timing for this new park couldn’t be better, as this year is the 25th anniversary of Experiences Xcaret. According to the Riviera Maya News the concept is to “offer a range of new experiences for visitors.” For those of you who have never been to Xcaret or to the Rivera Maya this is a great way to explore the environment of the peninsula in a manner which is challenging and fun.

Xenses Park can be found between Xplor and Xcaret and is currently operating from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Because it’s has just opened you can take advantage of there being less visitors, making your waiting times short. Admission for adults is $59, children under 5 years get in free and those aged 5 to 11 get in for half price.

To quote the developers: “Upon leaving Xenses, all your senses will be awakened. You will distinguish in more detail the world around you. You will be a Xensei.”

If you’d like more information about living in Playa del Carmen or are interested in purchasing property here, we invite you to visit our main website where you can search further. Please get in touch with one of our agents who will gladly assist you in any questions you might have.

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…

we make it happen!

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It’s Whale Shark Season!

Foto: internetFoto: Internet

The whale sharks have returned once again to Quintana Roo. Whale shark season runs from June to September, until the time has come for them to move to their next destination.

In the meantime, you have the chance to live one of the most stunning experiences in life, swimming next to them and being able to see them in their natural environment.

Whale sharks are the largest fish on the planet and with a life span of 70 – 100 years they can reach up to 40 feet long (12 meters) and weigh an average of 5 tons, though larger and heavier have been spotted.

Surprisingly for such a large mammal their mouths are filters feeders, meaning that they cannot bite or chew so their diet consists mostly of plankton which makes them completely harmless to humans.

Related: 10 Interesting Facts About Whale Sharks

In the Yucatan Peninsula you can take advantage of this annual gathering of the whale sharks at Holbox or at Isla Mujeres.

With a past record breaking number of 400 whale sharks arriving off the Yucatan Coast at one time, it’s one of the largest known gathering of whale sharks on record. You are almost guaranteed not to be disappointed.

The Island of Holbox is located on the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and is separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon.

This Island is well known for its fishing and rural qualities but every year for the few months the whale sharks appear the little fishing village is bursting with people wanting to welcome the whale sharks back.

It is good to consider that with the new toll way to Merida, you can get to Holbox in 1 hour and 30 minutes, for 90 pesos each way.

Related: 10 Things to Do in Merida

Foto: Internet

Isla Mujeres (Spanish for Island of Women) is approx. 13 kilometers off the Yucatan Peninsula coast with easy access to the Island from Cancun, which makes this island a great day trip for tourists.

Isla Mujeres is usually a quiet place, but with the whale sharks yearly visit this little island of under 13,000 inhabitants is booming during their short visit.

You can find many tour operators located around the tourist areas both in Holbox and Isla Mujeres (or even on-line).

They usually offer boat trips out to spot these amazing creatures or even to take you swimming with the whale sharks, the experienced tour guides and divers have been doing these tours for many years and will be able to give you the best advice when swimming with the largest fish on the earth.

Be sure to shop around to get the best price and value for your money!

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We make it happen!

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Neighborhoods of Playa del Carmen – Zona Diamante

El Camaleon

Playa del Carmen is growing at an amazing rate. In 10 short years it has transformed from a small fishing village into a bustling city, with a growth driven by all the locals and expats returning and relocating to the area.

This is why I have decided that every few weeks I will choose a Playa del Carmen neighborhood and let you know what you can expect living in that area.

For our first neighborhood I have chosen the Zona Diamante, which is spread between the Grand Coral Resort and the Selvamar Residences, with easy access to the Cancun – Playa del Carmen highway.

It’s located just 15 minutes away from downtown Playa del Carmen, and is a fast growing area made up of several gated communities with condos, family homes and a condo hotel.

Prices in this area start under 100,000 USD, making this area perfect for all stages of life, whether you are looking for a starter home or the perfect place to retire.

Grand Coral

Grand Coral

If you are looking for an investment property, Zona Diamante can fit those needs also. The Fives Luxury Condo Hotel is located right on the Xcalacoco beach, and is a great option for investment, especially if you’re looking to avoid all the hassle of managing a property yourself.

The Fives will look after all of the maintenance of your investment property and even find tenants to rent it.

Xcalacoco beach, which had been previously named as #5 in the top 25 beaches in the Riviera Maya, is the closest to all the communities located in the Zona Diamante.

It is still partly untouched, but offers a wide range of activities. Those who crave adventure can try their hand at jet-skiing, parasailing or even the ever popular jet powered hover boards.

For something slightly more relaxing, Xcalacoco beach offers scheduled fishing trips with seasoned fishermen who will take you to the best fishing spots, depending on the season.

If these activities are not for you, there is always the option for a relaxing massage on the beach where you can listen to the ocean rolling up and feel all the tension ease away. Or you can just sit back and enjoy a refreshing cocktail (or 2) at one of the beach clubs.

If you don’t feel like driving or taxiing into downtown Playa del Carmen to have a few sociable beverages or to enjoy a meal, Zona Diamante can accommodate you.

You can try one of the laid back restaurants and bars on Xcalacoco beach like Coco Cabanas which offers both European and Mexican cuisines and is well known for their pizzeria.

Another choice is the Petite Lafitte, which is a quaint bungalow resort that offers a range of seafood dishes.

The open front bar & grill allows you to sit back and enjoy your cocktail and meal while soaking in the sun, sand and sea.

Petite Lafite

For a more special evening out in Zona Diamante there is Le Reve Hotel & Spa, which is a beachfront boutique hotel that offers a gourmet menu and wine from their own cellar.

The menu includes a selection of cut meats, poultry and fish, along with freshly caught lobster from the Caribbean Sea.

When you have had enough of lounging around on the beach and at the beach clubs and are looking for a change you can visit the famous Nick Price Golf Club, located just 5 minutes away in the Grand Coral Resort, or try out the Mayakoba Golf Club, the El Camaleon, which was designed by golfing great Greg Norman.

Related: Snowbirds Beware: Mexico has Perfect Year Round Golf

It hosts many golf tournaments big and best known for the OHL Classic yearly tournament.  It doesn’t matter if you are not a golf pro or have never even swung a golf club, because the Mayakoba has a state of the art Jim McLean Golf School.

With private lessons on offer your golf skills will improve in no time.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We make it happen!

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Tulum Wins More Accolades for Its World Class Beach

Playa Paraíso Tulum

Tulum Wins More Accolades for Its World Class Beach

The whole of the Riviera Maya has been receiving accolades all year round, and the city of Tulum is no exception, having picked up some of its own in 2016. We recently reported on how TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, had named Tulum as one of its top destinations on the rise. Now one of its beaches is making itself known on the website, with Playa Paraiso getting some much deserved respect.

Paraiso (Spanish for Paradise) has great location, just north of the Tulum ruins.

It has its own boutique hotel and an excellent beach club that has sun beds, umbrellas, lounge chairs, tables and palm trees for grabbing some shade. T

here is a cost for the use their beds and chairs, but it is certainly possible to negotiate for a discount if you are up for the challenge.

The beach opens at 8am and closes at 11pm, with a restaurant on-site that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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

Tulum is located 80 miles south of Cancun, with Playa del Carmen to the north and the Sian-Ka’an Biosphere Reserve- a natural biosphere reserve that is home to over 300 types of birds and 100 mammal species- to the south.

It was once a walled city, one of the last to be built by the Mayans, and its’ archaeological sites are well preserved. The main archeological site of Tulum is built on a cliff that overlooks the Caribbean Ocean.

Tulum is a small eco-friendly town that epitomizes the term bohemian. It draws many travelers who seek out its hippie, low tech lifestyle, and it’s no wonder that TripAdvisor would be impressed by its stunning blue waters and cool white sand.

It is one of those places in this part of the world that must be experienced for oneself in order to appreciate it fully, so make sure to pay it a visit and see what makes Paraiso Beach and Tulum so special.

If you are looking to explore this area, why not join us for one of Top Mexico’s Live it Tours? It’s a great way to get to know the area and enjoy a nice vacation at the same time.

To book yourself in for the next tour and see the Top Mexico Real Estate properties we have listed in Tulum please contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives. We will be happy to assist you and help you find your very own piece of paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

Live it Tour

The Riviera Maya Film Festival is Bilingual!

 photo RMFF-2015-29_zpsfzpnjyfo.jpg

Living in Mexico can be a challenge if you don’t speak the language, and this can have an impact in your entertainment options. Even in a town like Playa del Carmen, which has a big expat community and where, in general, it is very easy to move around and communicate in English, most of the times the entertainment and cultural events are targeted towards the local community, leaving you with few options to attend.

An exception for this is the Riviera Maya Film Festival 2016. We have been attending some of the screenings and it’s been very refreshing to see that the movies in Spanish include subtitles in English, while those films in a language different to English or Spanish include subtitles in both languages, making it easy for the expat community to be part of this festival and enjoy the events.

Take a look at the program and feel free to attend these events, knowing that you’ll be able to enjoy the movies.

In Playa del Carmen the events are being held in the Teatro de la Ciudad, Cinemex (movie complex in Centro Maya shopping mall), and some at the beach. There are also events scheduled in Tulum, Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres. If you’re interested in knowing more about the Riviera Maya Film Festival 2016, you can see the full program here.

Besides the availability of English subtitles and the variety of venues and schedules, there’s another very interesting detail about the RMFF: all the events are for free! So all you need to do is to get there on time to be able to get a seat.

Please be aware that both the opening and closing ceremonies are really popular. There’s a red carpet and many guests, usually actors, actresses and directors, both Mexican and non-Mexican attend these ceremonies. If you choose to attend any of these events, consider that even getting there early doesn’t guarantee being able to access the venue. So, unless you have a special pass, we would recommend you not to attend these ceremonies, and just enjoy the regular program.

Check the Riviera Maya Film Festival website to see the details, movie synopsis and much more.

Enjoy the festival!

Now if you want to learn more about property in the Riviera Maya or any of the TOP MEXICO REAL ESTATE properties we have listed anywhere throughout Mexico, please feel free to contact any of our Top Mexico Buyer’s Representatives and we will be glad to help you find your very own piece of paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We make it happen!