Music with a Cause: Island Time Music Fest 2019

Isla Mujeres is about to throw one amazing party. In 2019 they will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Island Time Music Fest, which is back with an amazing line up. Taking place from February 18th to the 23rd of 2019, the island will light up with artists from Nashville, who will liven the island with their music. The festival goes hand in hand with the annual fishing tournament, but most importantly, it brings the joy of music and mixes it with a great cause: the children of Isla Mujeres.

Raising Funds for Children

Island Time Music Fest

Photo from www.islandtimemusicfest.com

Who said good times and goodwill did not mix? The Island Time Music Fest is actually a branch of the Fishing Tournament, where both music lovers and fishing aficionados are able to interact with musicians in Isla Mujeres in a very intimate scenario. In the meantime, they are raising funds for the children of the island, more specifically for the Little Yellow Schoolhouse and its local, special needs children.

The festival was launched when the need for special needs children became evident in the island. Over 10 years, they have raised enough money to expand the school, hire full-time teachers and enroll over 50 students.

Island Time Music Fest 2019 Line Up

island time music fest

This year, attendees will be able to discover the story behind many popular hit songs by the stellar line up. You can expect to see:

  • Maggie Rose
  • Love and Theft
  • Natalie Stovall
  • Nick Norman
  • Lewis Brice
  • Joal Rush
  • Them Vibes
  • Rob Hatch

These renowned musicians will entertain the island over five days, while fishermen visit neighboring waters for the perfect catch – and, of course, the big prize. So, whether you’re a music fan, a fishing enthusiast, both or neither, we highly recommend you visit Isla Mujeres during this time. Not only will you be able to enjoy the Island Time Mustic Fest and all its activities, but you will also get to experience the beautiful and paradisiac island that Isla Mujeres is.

It’s Time to Consider the Riviera Maya

And, if you’re still on the decision-making phase of your retirement in Mexico, you might want to consider investing in the Riviera Maya. You can swift through our thousands of listings in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum. Retiring in the Riviera Maya allows you to be a short ride away from some paradisiac hidden gems. So, stop dreaming and start searching for your perfect retirement home.

The Riviera Maya Jazz Festival is Back with an Amazing Line Up

It’s been 15 years since we were first introduced to what would become a benchmark festival in the Riviera Maya. With its 16th edition, the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival keeps proving that hosting a free event for locals, expats and tourists is both rentable, profitable, and most importantly, fun. This year, they’re bringing a stellar line up, much like what they’ve brought before, and promise three nights of amazing music and coexistence.

These Stars Shine Brighter Than the Sky

This year’s line up will feature the following jazz musicians:

  • Bobby McFerrin
  • Lalah Hathaway
  • Pepe Hernández
  • Paco Rosas & PK Band
  • Cristina Morrison
  • Norah Jones
  • Drew Tucker and The New Standard
  • Bebel Gilberto
  • Lori Williams and Bob Baldwin
  • Kike Pat – Un Maya en el Jazz

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

Dario Flota Ocampo, the director of the Tourism Promotion Council for Quintana Roo, spoke highly about the quality of the artists. The event will take place from November 30th to December 2nd and will be hosted, as always, at Mamitas Beach Club.

The array of artists will delight attendees with a wide selection of sounds, such as Bebel Gilberto’s Brazilian sounds taken from bossa nova and turned into electronic. Another nice surprise will be Kike Pat, who takes from his Mayan roots and is perhaps one of Quintana Roo’s most prominent musicians.

Norah Jones

Norah Jones, of course, is one of the biggest names who will be on stage. With 9 Grammys under her belt, she will showcase her incredible versatility and amazing voice by closing the second day.

Be a Part of the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

With such amazing line ups in the past years (including artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock, Celso Piña and John Scofield), it is obvious that everyone wants to be present for this amazing musical party. Jazz, of course, is the music of the people and throughout the years, many have come to enjoy its rhythmic vibes. Because the festival is free (and honestly one of the best events in the region), it is important to take some recommendations into consideration:

Get there early

The beach is everyone’s and – as they say – first come, first served. Hundreds upon hundreds of locals, expats and tourists attend the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. So, get there early to pick a nice spot on the beach to sit, lay down a cloth and have yourself a little picnic. You may also want to either take a taxi or be patient with parking. It might be hard to park due to the amount of people.

Be prepared for “the cold”

Of course, the Riviera Maya is known for its year-round summer weather; however, the wind can get chilly during winter – especially at night time. So, make sure you come prepared with a light sweater. Sitting still by the ocean can definitely get you shivering.

Make your own picnic

While there are vendors roaming around the beach offering food and drinks (and you have the Mamitas Beach Club restaurant at hand), you might want to pack some stuff and make a picnic. Sitting by the sea and listening to amazing jazz musicians make for a great date or night out with friends. So, pack up some wine and a few snacks to enjoy in their company.

Relax and enjoy

If there is one thing jazz has taught is to go with the flow. No scripts, no guidelines, just feeling. Sit back, relax and enjoy these amazing versatile artists. Make sure to use the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival official hashtag #JazzInParadise to find all the official news, photos and videos of the event.

Celebrating Day of the Dead and Halloween in Playa del Carmen

Halloween is around the corner, and while Mexico is big on celebrating Day of the Dead instead, locals rarely pass up an opportunity to celebrate something. So, you will be spoiled for choices on what to do during this holiday. Don’t be fooled, however. While locals will celebrate Halloween, most activities are a mix of three different holidays in the span of a four-day period. These are Halloween, Day of the Dead and Hanal Pixan. The latter is a Mayan tradition that, similar to Day of the Dead, celebrates death and afterlife. So, get your costumes and face paint ready.

Fifth Avenue

Perhaps the most popular thing to do during Halloween in Playa del Carmen is walk down the world-famous Fifth Avenue. You will see many people – mainly children – come out at around 8pm with a bag ready to collect candy. You can either participate by taking your family trick or treating on Fifth Avenue or stand there and hand out candy to the children that pass by. When the parade of candy-collecting children finishes before midnight, the adults start their own party. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your pets. Dressing them up for photo ops is a must.

Every bar and club in the area – as well as the street itself – get busy with dressed-up adults. Most bars or clubs have some sort of costume contest or dance-offs. The streets also get filled with adults carrying the party out from the clubs. While it gets quite crowded, it’s always just in good fun and you get to see how creative locals, tourists and expats can be when it comes to dressing up!

If you’re lucky, you can also catch some sort of Catrina-inspired parade. Top Mexico Real Estate started the tradition of the Catrina Fest a few years ago and the legacy has carried on with other companies and locals paying tribute to this Mexican zinc etching from 1913.

Celebrating Day of the Dead

You might also want to take a look at the different options offered that steer away from the traditional Halloween celebration. Xcaret Group offers different festivals in its parks. If you enjoy live music, an open bar and some Mexican specialties, you can go to the Catrina Party at Xoximilco. This Day of the Dead event takes place from October 2nd to November 4th at this traditionally Mexican park. You can celebrate here on the typical trajineras (boats) with tons of Mexican food and tequila drinks.

Xcaret also hosts the Festival de Vida y Muerte, which takes places from October 30th to November 2nd. The event features different dances, concerts, shows, theater, puppets, festooned altars and plenty of delicious traditional food. This festival has been happening for 12 years. It is perhaps one of the most popular events in the Riviera Maya to celebrate both Halloween and Day of the Dead.

Alternative Celebrations

Many hotels and restaurants host dinner parties for these holidays, offering more traditionally-driven dishes. However, if you’re looking for real class you might want to check out The Thompson Hotel’s 5-course dinner. The meal includes wine pairing and is a concoction by acclaimed chefs Daniel Nates, Pedro Abascal and Dani Manzano.

Another alternative is taking a tour to a Mayan village to celebrate Hanal Pixan. This tour provides a closer and more authentic look at the culture of death and afterlife. You can participate in such tours on the date of the celebration (November 2nd). You will engage in traditional Mayan culture which also helps preserve the environment and the local economy of the visited village.

Whichever way you decide to celebrate is up to you. But we can assure you that the mix of American, Mexican and traditional Mayan cultures will fascinate you.

What Should You Do if You Lose Your Passport in Mexico?

While unfortunate, it is a reality that thousands of Americans lose their passport every year. When it comes to matters of security and personal safety, passport loss is a hot button. Although it is barely 2% of American passports in circulation that are lost, it is still a considerable amount. Losing anything of value is never easy to deal with. If you lose your passport in Mexico, it is necessary to contact the right people so nobody can use your personal information. Identity theft is a pressing issue around the world, so make sure you act quickly as soon as you realize it is missing.

Report Your Lost Passport Right Away

Merida US Consulate

Photo: sipse.com

When you know for certain that your passport is missing, you should report it right away. You will have to report it to different sources such as the local police and the U.S. State Department – or your home country department. They will issue a new passport for you. When filing a report with the local police in Mexico, it is in your best interest to bring along a friend or someone who speaks fluent Spanish if you don’t. Many Mexican officials speak some basic English, but they won’t be able to fully explain the situation to you.

At the police station you will sign many documents to report the lost or stolen passport. You will need to get a duplicate copy of them all as you might need them further down the road. You can always also contact the consulate in order to figure out the best way to go about this process. The most important thing is to keep calm. A stolen or lost passport is an annoyance, but not something you cannot deal with timely. Once your report has been registered, you will need to apply for a new one.

Emergency Passports Issued

This process can take anywhere between 10 to 15 days for an emergency replacement. If you have upcoming travel plans, you need to take this process into consideration. In some cases – and very unique emergency situations – the consulate can provide you with a new passport quicker than the stipulated times. However, you will need to schedule an appointment for this as there are no walk-ins allowed.

Should you ever lose your passport, there is no need to panic or worry. Both the police department in Mexico and the U.S. Consulates will provide you with support through the process. The best thing to do is to act right away. The sooner you do it, the faster you will receive your emergency passport to carry on with your travel plans. Following the necessary steps will make the process easier.

Be Smart, Keep Documents Safe

However, we highly recommend avoiding all of it completely by always keeping your important documents in a safe place – like home. If you live in Mexico, you should walk around with your temporary or permanent resident ID instead. If you are visiting – and thinking of purchasing a home here – we recommend you keep your passport always in a pocket with a zipper that is hard to reach for pick-pocketers.

Weekend Getaway: Caye Caulker

It’s time to pack your passport and head away to Belize for a weekend. Not anywhere in Belize, however, but in the gorgeous Caribbean island of Caye Caulker. The friendly locals at Caye Caulker Village will welcome you with open arms. And you will be able to visit the thick foliage that is home to many wildlife. Oh, and don’t forget the gorgeous diving sites that the Marine Reserve offers. Start packing, because we’re heading off to this dreamy weekend getaway!

How to Get to Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker Plane

While Playa del Carmen and Tulum are a dream come true, you surely want to take a look at the surrounding places. Getting to Caye Caulker depends greatly on your budget and time restrictions. Since you’re in Mexico, you need to make your way down to Chetumal, the capital city of Quintana Roo. From Chetumal you have the option to take a ferry boat straight to Caye Caulker which takes about 2 hours plus the time spent in customs.

Another option is to take an ADO bus to Belize City or – more expensively – fly there from Cancun International Airport and take a water taxi from there. It takes about 30 minutes from the port to Caye Caulker and costs about $25 USD.

Take into consideration that there are not many running boats or buses between all these stops, so make sure you measure your time wisely. If you’re driving, the best thing is to drive to Chetumal and park your car safely, and then take the boat straight to Caye Caulker.

Immigration

Given that you are entering a foreign country from Mexico, you will need to pay an entry fee and present your passport. Your passport must be valid for 3 months from the date of entry and you must usually present an onward or return ticket (whether it is for the boat, plane or bus). Most nationalities will receive a 30-day visa upon entry.

Where to Stay

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is a very small and beautiful island. Only the southern part is habitable, where it is known as the Village. The northern part of the island is home to lush mangroves and wildlife, as well as a forest reserve. Options for accommodation vary from boutique hotels to vacation rentals and everything in between. If you’re visiting during high season we highly recommend you book in advance. Otherwise, you can take a look around at the options once you are there.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly options you want to stay in near Front Street up to the Split. However, if you want a quieter and more upscale rental, then you need to head to Gringo Heights, where many slightly more expensive vacation rentals lay. These are mainly owned by expats or snowbirds that flock down to escape the harsh winters of the north. Much like Holbox Island in the northern tip of Quintana Roo, Caye Caulker is quite walkable, so you needn’t worry about not staying right by the sea.

You will find accommodation between $25 and $105 USD per night, depending on the area, the season and the occupancy.

What to do in Caye Caulker

Let’s get to the fun stuff! With a no shirt, no shoes, no problem approach to life, you will find that there are many things to do in this lovely island. The lack of cars is reminiscent of olden times where everything was tranquility. In fact, you’ll even see dogs napping mid street without a worry in the world.

The Split

While many people visit Caye Caulker for its pristine beaches, you should also take the following into consideration. Visit the forest reserve. The northern part of the island swims with wildlife such as birds, crocodiles, turtles, crabs, lizards and even snakes. If you’re feeling adventurous you might want to take on the kayaking challenge. However, you might also want to go down the calming ocean or walk through the crocodile habitat (don’t worry – it’s safe!).

Another popular activity is scuba diving. Being along the second biggest reef in the world, Caye Caulker’s marine life is no disappointment. You will see colorful fish, sea turtles, corals and much more. If you visit in the right season (April through September), you might even be lucky to spot a manatee. This is particular to the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary.

While you’re in Caye Caulker you don’t want to miss the Split. This channel, as its name suggests, literally splits the island into two. It is a great place for spending the day eating, drinking and sunbathing. It is, without a doubt, the best place for swimming and paddling. And if you’re feeling more cultural, there are two catholic churches well worth visiting in the city center. These serve mass for the Spanish-speaking residents.

Shopping and Eating

Caye Caulker

It is no surprise, of course, that the eating culture in Caye Caulker relies heavily on seafood. Enjoy its array of ocean-inspired meals, such as lobster, conch, fish, octopus, and much more. For those looking for a more street-based meal, you will find a wide selection of food carts around the island offering delicacies.

When it comes to shopping it is fair to say that this isn’t Fifth Avenue. However, you will find a handful of small shops popping around the island offering souvenirs, t-shirts, jewelry, paintings and other curiosities.

Recommendations

Getting to Caye Caulker is not quite an easy task. Make sure you measure your times carefully as to not miss any of your buses or boats. You may find yourself stranded in Chetumal or Belize City if you don’t plan to the minute.

The island is really small, so walking around gets you everywhere. However, there are golf carts and bikes for rent. If you do decide to rent either, make sure you drive slowly and respect pedestrians.

Health care in Caye Caulker is basic. If you need greater medical attention your best bet is to head back to San Pedro or Belize City. For longer stays, make sure you bring a basic medical kit for headaches, stomach aches, allergies and others.

Belize’s official language is English, but they do speak Creole, which they use most commonly amongst each other. You will also find that almost half of the population speaks Spanish, as well.

Bring cash with you. Whether you’re bringing US dollars or Belize dollars, it will be rare for an establishment there to accept credit cards – even accommodations. US dollars are an unofficial second currency in Caye Caulker and Belize in general, so you may pay with those. However, expect your change to be in Belize dollars mostly.

Above All…Enjoy!

Now let go of all your stress, relax and enjoy this wonderful weekend getaway! Enjoy the friendliness of our Belize neighbors and the exquisite cuisine they offer. This trip is for you to forget about all your worries and simply enjoy.

When the weekend is over, head back to your gorgeous home in Playa del Carmen or Tulum and start planning your next weekend getaway to a paradise destination in Mexico!

Expats Rank Mexico 1st Place for Personal Happiness

Expats in Mexico are the happiest people in the world, according to a recent InterNations survey. They surveyed over 18,000 expats from 163 countries, taking into consideration different factors of moving and living abroad. Mexico ranked first – out of 68 countries – for personal happiness. It ranked second for leisure, ease of settling in and cost of living. Thanks to the investments being made in safety and quality of life in the Yucatan Peninsula, many foreigners continue choosing it as their perfect retirement destination. Others find it to be ideal as a snowbird destination.

Perfect Retirement: Settling in is Easy in Mexico

Retiring to Mexico

According to other studies, 39% of expats living in Mexico are, in fact, retirees. Out of all expats in Mexico 20% have said that they moved down here for the weather and quality of life. No wonder it ranked second for leisure, ease of settling in and cost of living. 85% of the expats mentioned that settling down in Mexico was really easy. They mentioned the ease with which the local culture has made them feel at home. In fact, if you compare cities such as Sarasota to Playa del Carmen you will notice that it is over 50% more affordable to live in Mexico than it is to retire in the United States.

Another aspect of the survey that made Mexico stand out was the friendliness of the Mexican people. 64% of those surveyed said that Mexicans are some of the friendliest people they’ve encountered. Because of this, it ranks first in friendliness. Over half of them reported that the local’s attitude towards foreigners is very friendly, which is why making friends in Mexico is easy. And the language barrier is no problem. In fact, 96% of them reported that they already speak Spanish to some level.

Expats are Happy with the Financial Benefits of Living in Mexico

But it is probably the financial benefits of moving to Mexico that is the driving force of retirees wanting to move down here. The survey revealed Mexico to be second in cost of living and third in the personal finance index. Actually, 17% of expats in Mexico reported that they have more money than they need.

Overall, Mexico remains a top-of-mind retirement destination for many reasons. But personal happiness is perhaps the most important one. That is why 88% of expats surveyed said they were quite satisfied with their lives in Mexico placing it in fourth place in the overall ranking. And the truth is, that purchasing a retirement home in Mexico is really simple. With so many Mexico real estate options available, it also comes as no surprise that people are choosing this beautiful place to spend their winters and benefit from their home the rest of the year.

Merida’s Art Scene Getting Worldwide Recognition

Merida’s art scene is ever-growing and is starting to get worldwide recognition. With the help of government-funded programs and an influx of international talent coming to the area, the Yucatan capital is posturing itself to be a favorable destination for the creative arts. The Pinacoteca del Estado de Yucatan (Yucatan Painting Gallery), which is a part of the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan (Yucatan’s Autonomus University), operates a small ground floor gallery in the downtown area. It holds an artistic reverence that attracts art connoisseurs from around the world. Moreover, there are numerous art museums showcasing Mexican and other world-renowned artists’ extraordinary work. Merida’s art scene is, in fact, stealing the spotlight.

Merida’s Art Scene Deserves Recognition

Art Exhibition

The historical setting of Merida, year-round warm weather and cultural influences are an ideal platform for adventure-seeking artists. Because of this, art galleries like The Bernardini Gallery are starting to migrate towards Merida’s art scene. Not only is there plenty of local talent contributing to Merida’s growing market, but artists from as far away as Cuba and New York are taking notice as well.

Popular Art Museums in Merida

The Museum of Popular Art resides in the historic district of Merida. It is the perfect place for displaying a variety of art that comes in many shapes and forms. The following venues are an attributing factor to the rising popularity in Merida’s art scene.

Galerie Merida

Galerie Merida’s building projects an architectural theme that radiates colonial descent and provides an ambiance with its higher ceilings and traditional tile. The gallery holds an abundance of contemporary and fine artwork by some of the region’s most noted artists. The gallery also has an outdoor section that exhibits some magnificent sculptures.

Museo de la Canción

Museo de la Canción portrays the art of Yucatecan music and how it has influenced many national and international cultures. Even though the museum signage and information are mostly in Spanish, it still offers a visual remembrance of times past. They say music makes the world go around!

Palacio del Gobierno

Palacio de Gobierno Merida

Palacio del Gobierno (Governor’s Palace) is a turn-of-the-century government building where the walls illustrate the history of the Mayan people and their cultural beliefs. The murals were painted by the famous Fernando Castro Pacheco who still resides in Merida and paints in his own distinctive way.

Museo Contemporaneo Ateneo de Yucatan

The Museo Contemporaneo Ateneo de Yucatan (also known as MACAY) has a multitude of halls displaying a variety of fine art. It is located in a government-owned building in central downtown Merida that dates back to the 1500s. There are exhibits that display work from several well-known local artists. It also offers a bit of an educational tour that walks you through the world’s history of art.

Amaro Restaurant Gallery

Amaro Restaurant Gallery is in a peaceful courtyard where the walls are filled with fabulous art. Enjoy a refreshing beverage and local cuisine while viewing some magnificent art pieces. Who said art galleries had to be indoors?

Other places that are worth a mention are Centro Cultural de Merida Olimpo, located across Plaza Grande, and the Merida City Museum. The latter is housed in the old post office building. Both these venues display ancient artwork from the Mayan era, as well as the Spanish conquistadores.

Merida: Perfect for artists, expats and retirees

Merida’s art scene is quickly developing. Because of this, the city is becoming an important icon in today’s world of art. Practicing, up-and-coming, and well-known artists are flocking to the region to explore different art avenues. They look to expand their creativity, find alternative inspiration and possibly devise a new era with their given talents. In turn, this creates a unique and artistic experience to anyone visiting, living or retiring to Merida or anywhere nearby (such as the Riviera Maya). It opens up plenty of cultural activities for those that enjoy bathing in art and discovering new artists around. Visit Merida and explore the finer threads of life that bring joy to all your senses.

Safety in the Yucatan Peninsula to Receive a $70-Million-Peso Investment

Although international media often portrays Mexico as a highly dangerous country, this is not the case in many of its beautiful states. We wouldn’t recommend wondering into places such as Guerrero, Michoacán or the northern border. But other destinations like Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum are quite safe. In fact, it is so safe that many expats have chosen these major cities as their forever homes. Safety in Mexico has long been an issue. However, the government has put forward efforts constantly to keep tourist destinations as safe as possible. There is no need to worry for your safety in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Safety in the Yucatan Peninsula Comes First

Merida Mexico

Just recently, the Fund for Strengthening of Performance in Public Security Matters announced that they will be giving just over $70 million Mexican pesos worth of public security to the Yucatan Peninsula. They will be investing around $14 million of these in Merida alone. The four main municipalities in the state of Yucatan will receive just over $120,000 for security measures. This includes Merida, Progreso, Tizimin and Valladolid. The capital will be put forth for possessions to strengthen the presentation of the municipalities and the state of the public security.

Authorites are required to make the millions of annual tourists feel safe and protected in the tourist areas. This is because Mexico has experienced higher crime rates in certain areas, mainly amongst opposing drug cartels. Safety in the Yucatan Peninsula has risen concerns about whether traveling to the country is a good idea or not. However, tourist destinations are far from being dangerous.

Over the past 10 years only four major kidnappings have occurred in the state. Mexico certainly has some red-alert states. We cannot deny that. But in general, Mexico is quite a safe country in comparison to major cities in the United States or Europe. The efforts that the government is putting in to keep safety in the Yucatan Peninsula at bay are major. This is mainly due to its tourism-driven economy. That is why it comes as no surprise that places such as Merida, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum keep growing in tourism (a 4.3% in Quintana Roo, according to SEDETUR), and in real estate sales.

The Yucatan Peninsula is Still the Perfect Getaway

Safety in the Yucatan Peninsula

The southeastern region of the country continues to paint an image of relaxation, rejuvenation and of self-discovery. Here, you can find your dream home in the tranquility of the Mayan jungle, steps away from the turquoise Caribbean waters without ever having to second-guess yourself or your surroundings. The Yucatan Peninsula continues to grow and continues to put forth the life you’ve always dreamed of.

 

Weekend Getaway: Holbox Island

This upcoming weekend, we’re escaping the hustle and bustle of Playa del Carmen and Cancun and visiting a small island on the Gulf of Mexico. Holbox Island is located just at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, surrounded by beautiful blue waters. With a no-cars-allowed policy and offering golf carts to move around, this beautiful and magical island make for a perfect weekend getaway. Are you ready? Let’s get moving!

How to Get to Holbox

How to get to Holbox

Holbox is an island located in the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, technically belonging to the state of Quintana Roo. However, due to its northern location, it is no longer the Caribbean, but rather the Gulf of Mexico. To get to Holbox is quite easy if you have a car. From Playa del Carmen you must take the new Merida highway, which will cost you $107 Mexican pesos. Follow the signs that say Chiquila – you’ll be driving straight. It will take approximately two and a half hours to reach the port of Chiquila.

Once in Chiquila, you will find many parking options. Most of them will charge a $100 Mexican pesos fee to keep your car for 24 hours. Once you’ve parked, you will need to walk towards the ferry. This will take you a couple of minutes. You can expect to pay $300 mxn for the round-trip ticket. The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes each way. Ferries run every half an hour from 6am to 9:30pm.

Where to Stay

Holbox is a very small island offering different boutique-style hotels. You can find from small one-room spaces listed on Airbnb to slightly larger, more luxurious hotels. You will not find big-brand names nor all-inclusive resorts on the island. Homeowners often rent out properties here for days, weeks or even months, for anyone wanting to go for more than a weekend getaway. The island is quite small, which means that a centrally-located accommodations are only 3 blocks from the ferry and 3 blocks from the beach on the other side. There are certain more laidback and less-populated areas in the island, also lined with more luxurious hotels.

If you’re staying at a central location, you can quickly reach other areas by renting a golf cart or taking a golf cart cab for $40 mxn. It takes minutes to get from one point to another. Staying at the central areas is better for those looking to be within walking distance to the main square and the main street with shops, restaurants and bars.

What to Do in Holbox

Holbox

There are many things to do in this charming island. From visiting the endless sand banks near Mantarraya to walking by the little shops and restaurants, the options are many. During the summer season, you can take beautiful and natural tours to see the migrating whale sharks who swim by the island. These gentle giants of the ocean are a sight not to be missed, slowly gliding through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and making their way down to the Caribbean.

During the day, you can visit one of the many sand banks where you can walk for miles in shallow clear waters. You can visit the Mantarraya beach restaurant to enjoy hammocks in the ocean under letters that spell out Holbox. We highly recommend you also check out the bioluminescence tours, where microorganisms in the ocean react to movement by lighting up. This is done at night and costs approximately $250 mxn per person. Bathe in the warm waters while tiny plankton light up creating amazing starred-like shapes in the ocean.

There are also other tours you can take to snorkel in certain parts around the island. As soon as you get off the ferry, many vendors will approach you offering accommodation, taxis and tours. However, the best thing to do in Holbox is lay your towel down and sunbathe.

Shopping and Eating

Holbox

Because Holbox is such a small island, there are not many options for shopping or eating. There is a main street lined with delicious little restaurants ready to serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner at very accessible prices. If you head onto the other side of the island where the sand banks are, you will find an array of beach restaurants offering fresh fish and other local delicacies.

For shopping, the main street is where you will find the most shops. There are many locally-sourced shops selling souvenirs and other cute crafts perfect to take home as a reminder of your weekend getaway. Most things in Holbox are quite affordable in comparison to big restaurants in Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Although some range slightly higher. Make sure you visit Mantarraya Restaurant for a delicious fresh mixed ceviche to share.

Recommendations

Holbox requires driving and a ferry. So, if you’re visiting from Cancun or Playa del Carmen you should definitely head out early in order to be able to enjoy the day at the beach. We recommend you get on the road around 9 or 10am to be reaching the island around 1pm. That way you can enjoy the afternoon and the next morning there.

Bring cash with you. Not many places on the island accept credit or debit cards. Although there are some ATMs (such as Banamex) on the island, it is best to have cash with you. Bring Mexican pesos to avoid high exchange rates and prices. Plan your activities in advance – especially if you’re taking tours. That way you know how long it will take you to go from one place to the other to not miss out on anything you want to do.

Holbox

To move around, rent a golf cart. You can rent one for 24 hours for $1,500 mxn. You can use this to explore places on the island you would otherwise need to pay a cab to see. Renting a golf cart will give you the freedom to move around and go wherever you wish at your own time.

Most importantly, bring an open mind and be ready to live experiences you can only imagine. Enjoy the laidback lifestyle of the island, the clear waters and the shining sun. There really isn’t another island quite like Holbox.

Where to Buy Groceries and Necessities in Playa del Carmen

One of the first annoyances many expats and retirees face when settling for their new life in Playa del Carmen is finding where to buy things. When relocating to these new places it is important to do some previous research on where all the necessities are located in reference to where you will be living. If you are making the Riviera Maya your forever home, you will surely be in need to find certain things along the line – more than just groceries. From grocery stores to malls to car dealerships, you will find it all in the region. Even more mundane things such as going to the cinema or knowing where to buy fruits and vegetables is important. Here is a list of where to buy things throughout Playa del Carmen.

Grocery Shopping

A routinely activity, grocery shopping is very easy in Playa del Carmen. There are many large supermarket chains throughout – both national and international – where you will find locally-sourced and imported goods. La Mega and Walmart are great for quick shopping. You can find anything from alcohol to groceries, clothing, souvenirs and electronics. Although you might be familiar with Walmart, this is focused on a Mexican market and not always carries the same products you are used to back home.

Here is a list of the largest and most popular grocery shops:

La Mega

Walmart

Chedraui

Soriana

Super Aki

Aurrera

Medical Centers and Hospitals

It’s important to know where to get medical attention, whether it’s for a quick check-up or an emergency. As expats and retirees, we highly recommend you always go to a private clinic or hospital for any medical needs. As to where to buy medications and other things, there are many pharmacies throughout the area, as well as inside large hospitals.

Hospitals and Clinics

Hospiten Hospital

CostaMed

Playa International Clinic

Hospital San Carlos

Consultorio Clinic

Cruz Roja (Red Cross)

Pharmacies

Similares

Farmacias del Ahorro

YZA

Car Dealerships

If you’re thinking of bringing your car down to Mexico, you should definitely check whether the brand you’re driving is available in Playa del Carmen, or at least Cancun. That way, if you need to put it in for a check-up or need to replace any parts, you will be able to visit the dealership. For those who want to purchase a car in Playa del Carmen, it is also best to know what dealerships are available and what cars they carry – it often varies from other countries.

Here are the most popular dealerships in Playa del Carmen:

Volkswagen

Nissan Playa del Carmen

Toyota Riviera Maya

Ford Riviera Maya

KIA Playacar

Shopping and Entertainment

Expats are often looking where to buy clothes, sports accessories, perfumes and lotions and other things. There are plenty of shopping centers with great local, national and international stores, as well as plenty of entertainment options. You will find movie theaters, cafés, shops, supermarkets, furniture stores and big stores like Sears.

Cinepolis

Centro Maya

Quinta Alegria Shopping Mall

Paseo del Carmen

Plaza Playacar

Calle Corazon

Plaza Las Americas

US Consular Agency, Playa del Carmen

For any needs about visa requirements, passports or any other assistance you may require while living in Playa del Carmen you will need to visit or call the US Consular Agency located in Plaza Progreso on the Federal Highway 307, local 33.

Everything is different in Playa del Carmen than it would be back home. That is why knowing where to buy things or find the help you need is important. As you settle into your new life, you will slowly start finding quirky and odd stores throughout the many neighborhoods. You will find restaurants, cafés, shops, bars, and more that you will start to frequent.

If you’re just beginning to consider your retirement to paradise, make sure you check out the hundreds of listings we have for you. And if you’re ready to start seeing properties, give us a call. We’re here to help you!