Winter is Coming: Escape the Cold in Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Snowbird is a common term heard in North America. It describes those who enjoy traveling to warmer climates during the winter months. And, seriously, who can blame them? While most of their counterparts in Canada and the United States are spending most of the time indoors, having to stomp through cold rain and snow just to get groceries, snowbirds are cozy warm next to the Caribbean Sea. From warmer weather to annual festivals, there are innumerable reasons why anyone might want to migrate south this winter.

Run from the Snow

Snow

While there are pockets of the United States that remain on the warm side during the winter months, most of the rest of Canadians and Americans are pulling out their parkas and galoshes. This year, Edmonton (the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta) had its first snow day on September 12th! That is a full ten days before summer even officially ended. While most of the rest of Canada and the US weren’t quite so unlucky, the winter weather will come for them eventually, as well. But, why wait for winter to come, if you can escape it beforehand?

Snow and cold is a worry far from anybody’s mind in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico. Even in its coldest month of January, temperatures average in the mid-20s Celsius / high-70s Fahrenheit. Although hurricane season lasts from May to November in the Riviera Maya, the depth of winter is safe from storms. It truly is an ideal time of year to warm up next to the Caribbean Sea.

Culture for Days

Santa Claus Snowbird

Another great reason for why any snowbird prefers to spend time in Mexico during the winter months is for the incredible culture. Día de la Revolución on November 20th is a day to mark the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. Visitors to the country can be on the outlook for parades or other street festivals taking place to mark this important day in Mexican history. On the light-hearted side, Día de los Inocentes is on December 28th. This is Mexico’s rendition of April Fools’ Day. Be careful, you might fall victim to fake headlines that newspapers often partake in to celebrate.

Of course, there is also Christmas and New Year’s Day. So, rest assured that you will not miss out on any personal traditions either. You also have the opportunity to add new traditions to your mix. For example, while many Americans or Canadians steal kisses or clink classes at the stroke of midnight, Mexicans look to las doce uvas de la suerte. They eat 12 grapes with each chime of the clock’s bell to bring good luck and prosperity for each month of the new year.

Snowbird Paradise Wonderland

Beach

Yet another reason to consider the Riviera Maya if you’re a snowbird is the affordable real estate options. There are thousands of properties out there that are perfect for snowbirds. During the winter months you can occupy them, but the rest of the year you are free to rent them out as vacation rentals, and profit from your property. There are options in Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun and even Merida. If you’re looking to run from the freezing winters of the north, you might as well make the most of it by investing in the region. And, who knows? You might just find your forever home here.

Between the beautiful weather and exciting holidays during the winter months of Mexico, it is no secret why the Riviera Maya is an ideal destination for anyone interested in migrating south for the winter. Moreover, it has incredible food and culture year-round, and friendly locals who are always eager to welcome snowbirds into their country.

 

Why You Should be Betting on Green Energy in Your Home

For a few years now, Mexico has been betting on green energy and sustainable construction. In fact, it has become so trending, that developers in Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Merida are more and more careful about the impact their projects are creating. Today, anyone looking for a dream home in paradise, is looking to purchase a home with little impact on the beautiful environment. Communities such as Luum Zama in Tulum or Nah Ha in Playa del Carmen are preserving between 50 and 60% of the green areas. Moreover, designers such as Artigas Arquitectos – the brains behind Puerta Azul Tulum – are making sure their developments are self-maintaining and based off natural materials.

Green Energy for Mexico

Solar Panels

Now that both homeowners and developers are starting to think green is the perfect time to make your home as green as possible, as well. It has been reported that about 88 billion dollars will be invested in clean energy generation in Mexico over the next few years. Out of this, 68% will be invested in Yucatan for wind and solar energy. This reflects in all types of industries, of course, but homeowner can do their part, as well.

Installing green technology at home reduces the impact of your carbon foot print. It also helps the country become a quick zero net energy country. By adding solar panels to your home, you can help reduce energy consumption, eventually bringing it down to zero. Solar energy is one of the most important sources for clean generation…and it’s so easy to be a part of it. In fact, you can also use the sun as a water-heating system.

When you start seeing the reduced costs on your CFE bill, you will be happy you made the initial investment. But the main reason why you should be betting on green technologies for your home is the value it gives your home down the road. Today, a green home is worth a lot. Efforts are being made worldwide for people to start becoming as sustainable as possible. Even if it is as simple as recycling their garbage.

More Than Savings

Retire

But building green goes beyond just reducing your costs (which are significant, as you will see). It is also about having fresh air at home, keeping a good temperature (and avoiding mold from humidity) and enjoying accommodating homes.

The cost savings that installing green energy represents are significant. You can reduce your monthly electricity bill (for a couple) down by $200 USD by installing green energy. This represents $2,400 annually. As fuel prices continue to increase, so do electricity expenses. Getting ahead of the game is a great idea. When you consider the savings made to your home, you can see how the value of it increases. An eco-friendly home with solar panels, and water-saving or water-recycling systems are more attractive to future buyers (in case of selling or inheriting). Sustainable materials, low environmental impact and reduced energy costs are a big yes in many people’s home wish lists today.

The Riviera Maya is a Green Paradise

Expats Retire Mexico

You’re in the Riviera Maya. You are enjoying your retirement and low cost of living. But you still want to continue reducing expenses and impact on the environment. So, go green. Besides, green homes truly improve health. You’re living in the Riviera Maya for a reason. So, make the most of it by breathing non-polluted air at home. And if you’re just beginning your search for that perfect retirement-friendly home, while still looking to impact the environment positively, check out our listings and start thinking of how to improve them upon purchase.

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…we make it happen!

Top 5 Reasons to Retire to Mexico

About half of all Americans and Canadians are experiencing stress about being able to retire comfortably. But the good news is that while those fears may be well-founded for those who decide to stay home, others who are interested in moving may find a better option to the south. The International Living Global Retirement Index recently released their rankings on the best places to retire, and Mexico was ranked as the penultimate destination. From the quality of life to the culture to the climate, there are innumerable reasons why retiring to the Mayan Riviera is an excellent option. Here are the top five reasons why you should retire to Mexico.

Cost of Living

Dinner

Many retirees are living on a fixed income which is often a challenge to get by on in our increasingly expensive world. However, in Mexico, a couple can easily live on as little as $1,500USD per month, including housing and healthcare. A couple can easily grab a round-trip taxi, a fancy dinner and do some shopping for less than $20USD. Moreover, there is no need to be thrifty.

Lifestyle

Thanks to such a low cost of living, individuals with what might seem like a low income can still live a full and active life when they retire to Mexico. Exploring ancient Mayan ruins or deserted beaches might be a great option for the more physically able. Or for those who prefer to stay city-side there is no shortage of restaurants or amenities. Moreover, there are hundreds of inexpensive flights available to destinations all over the Americas.

Climate

Tulum

With a mean annual temperature of 75-77 °F (24-25 °C), the Mayan Riviera is an ideal destination for anybody looking to escape the cold and dreary weathers we experience in most of the rest of North America. Cooling down is never a problem. Between the pristine beaches along the coast, beautiful cenotes located all around the area, or the full amenity pools open to guests at countless resorts and beach-side clubs, there is no excuse.

Healthcare

For those who are over 60 and are legal residents of Mexico, the public healthcare system is completely free! And for those who are taking advantage of an early retirement, public healthcare can be acquired for a mere few hundred dollars a year. Even private health insurance can be purchased for less than half the cost of US prices. Besides, medical tourism in the Riviera Maya has become increasingly popular due to the state-of-art technologies and professionals. This is one of the top reasons why Americans and Canadians decide to retire to Mexico.

Culture

Day of the Dead

From Day of the Dead to Mexican Independence Day, there is no shortage of celebrations and events to take part in to celebrate the incredible history of the country. On days without national celebrations, you can still take part in any number of activities. These range from shopping, fishing, sunbathing, diving, biking, mountain climbing, parasailing, collecting crafts, going to concerts, or fine dining. The list is endless!

Retire to Mexico Today!

So, start planning your very-well reserved retirement in the most beautiful part of Mexico – the Riviera Maya! Thousands of Americans and Canadians have already decided to retire to Mexico, living an affordable, comfortable and enticing life. There are also thousands of retirement-friendly communities, properties and options. And they’re just a phone call away.

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…we make it happen!

What is Day of the Dead and How is it Celebrated in Mexico?

Day of the Dead – or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish – is celebrated every year on November 2nd across Mexico and other Latin American countries. The annual event is not so much about mourning the loss of loved ones, but rather a celebration of their lives. Many festivities take place during this time throughout Mexico. Amongst popular activities are giving away skull candy (there is a meaning to this, of course), making altars for the dead and spend the day with family. People in Mexico teach their children about the circle of life, making sure there is no fear of death.

Stand the test of time

Day of the Dead altar

The Day of the Dead celebrations have evolved over time. Historically, the festivity is older than Halloween itself and goes back to Mesoamerican times. Spanish conquerors thought the celebration was macabre, to say the least, but it proved to be such an important holiday that it stood the test of time. Today, the celebration engulfs three full days, marrying it with the Americanized version of Halloween.

October 31st – All Hollow’s Eve (Halloween)

November 1st – All Saint’s Day (celebration of children that have passed)

November 2nd – Day of the Dead (celebration of all that have passed)

On November 2nd, many families visit cemeteries, which are usually managed by local churches. Each family is responsible for upkeeping gravesites and bringing fresh flowers, candles or whatever else they want to set up on the grave. During Day of the Dead, many families gather around the graves, bringing the favorite food and drinks of the deceased as a way to help them follow the way back home. Mexicans believe that on this day, the gates of the underworld open to allow saints a day back with their families.

Cempasuchil

You will find many altars across Mexico celebrating old souls. Oftentimes, families hire mariachi musicians to play upbeat tunes to lighten the mood while they remember their friends and family. Across the country, many events take place. Such is the case of the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City. Thousands of people gather dressed up as catrinas and skulls. Oh, and don’t forget the(marigold). This flower is representative of the holiday and is used in costumes, graves and altars.

Day of the Dead in the Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya, of course, celebrates this holiday greatly. Many children get the day off school to spend the time with their families. The most popular event is the Festival of Life and Death at Xcaret. Celebrated over a span of four days, the event educates guests about the festivity, its meaning and everything that it conveys (food, drinks, family). In fact, they host a small market within Xcaret where you can see locals cooking traditional Yucatan meals. In fact, the festival is Mexican extravaganza at its finest with many dances, parades and cultural activities throughout.

Retire in Playa del Carmen

For other simpler festivities you can visit the world-famous Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen. Or check out Downtown Cancun to see an array of people strolling in their catrina make up and dresses. On October 31st you can also go hand out candy to children. They will come up to you excited to show off their Halloween costumes and receive candy in exchange. You can sit and relax at one of the many bars or restaurants and people-watch.

The whole Riviera Maya shines with the spirit of Day of the Dead. Decorations hang from windows, walls and stand proud on lawns. You do not want to miss this festival when visiting this paradise corner of the world. And if you really want to immerse in Mexican culture, you might think about retiring in Mexico.

The Best Retirement Communities in the Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya is known to be one of the most popular places in the world for retirees. In fact, in Mexico it only comes second to the San Miguel de Allende expat community. The bright sunshine, consistent warm weather and affordability make it a top destination for retirement. Without missing a beat, developers have started to create retirement-friendly communities throughout the Riviera Maya. They offer great quality of life, culture and friendliness. Moreover, hospitals and clinics offer some top technology medical facilities and treatment. These are the best retirement-friendly communities today.

Playa del Carmen: Retirement in the Heart of the Riviera Maya

Retirement in Playa del Carmen

Many retirees choose Playa del Carmen due to the proximity to the Cancun International Airport. It is also the heart of the Riviera Maya and has access to the main cities and attractions. But mostly it is the services of a big city while still being a small town that attract those who want to retire.

Moreover, the real estate market in Playa del Carmen is very affordable. In comparison to the United States, living in Playa del Carmen can also be over 50% cheaper. Playa del Carmen is home to big supermarkets such as Walmart and has international shops, bars and restaurants like Starbucks, H&M, Apple, and others.

Tulum: Sustainable Retirement by the Sea

Tulum is a great beach town with everything one could possibly need. Although it is slightly further from the Cancun International Airport, it has easy accessibility through the Federal Highway 307. Tulum’s exponential growth has led it to become a sustainable community with many real estate developments taking into consideration the damage to the environment and tackling the issue.

In Tulum you will find high-end developments that mix a natural and tranquil lifestyle with luxury living. Accommodation and cost of living is affordable altogether. Tulum is also growing when it comes to medical attention, having opened clinics and hospitals recently. It is also home to select and premium supermarkets, as well as boutique shops, 5-star restaurants and, of course, the most beautiful beaches in the Mexican Caribbean.

Tulum

Tulum has garnered international attention due to its winning beaches and amazing amenities. It is the perfect retirement destination for those who wish to spend their golden years chilling by the clear-blue sea.

Puerto Morelos: A Yet to Be Discovered Retirement Gem

Just 20 minutes south of Cancun you will find Puerto Morelos. It is quickly attracting more and more attention to visitors to the region, with many visiting it for a day at the beach. Its large California-style beaches are laidback and tend to be emptier than other regions in the Riviera Maya. It has a small population of approximately 9,000 and it offers great real estate infrastructure for anyone looking to retire to a still hidden gem.

It is a more laidback version of Playa del Carmen, and much smaller than Cancun. Retirees looking for something tropical are keeping an eye out for this small fishing town. Puerto Morelos is small enough that it feels like private, yet it has main access to the Federal Highway 307 and a large supermarket for every need.

Cozumel: Dreamy Island Retirement

Taking the Caribbean experience one step further is retiring to an actual island. Cozumel is just a 30-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen and it has infrastructure that requires you never actually leave the island. It is great for retirement because you get A-class beaches, plenty of tourism, delicious seafood and it has everything one might need such as clinics and doctors, large supermarkets and plenty of shops.

Cozumel

It is quite fast and affordable to commute to the mainland, however, should you need to do so. Those who retire to Cozumel are often big on fishing and scuba diving – two things the island offers better than most other regions in the Riviera Maya.

Real estate in Cozumel is very affordable, as well. Because it is mainly a tourist destination and not so much a permanent living destination for foreigners, real estate prices are kept at very competitive prices. And if you’re a snowbird, you surely will rent out your property for vacations.

Chetumal: Border Retirement in South Quintana Roo

Last but not least is Chetumal. This isn’t actually in the Riviera Maya, but rather the Costa Maya which starts at the south of Tulum and ends at the border with Belize. Just at the border lays Chetumal, the capital city of the state of Quintana Roo. While it is located a four-hour drive from the Cancun International Airport, it has become a hotspot for foreign retirees.

The city is very quiet and its proximity to Belize has made it popular amongst retirees that are often searching for scuba diving and fishing opportunities beyond the Mexican border. Chetumal has grown in retirement opportunities due to its excellent medical treatment facilities. Because it is a city it has plenty of supermarkets, banks, and activities to engage in.

When you think of retirement in the Riviera Maya, you should think of endless opportunities and a comfortable lifestyle. There are thousands of available real estate projects throughout. Check them out and start planning your paradise retirement today.

Benefits of Living in Mexico

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!