Grand Opening of La Memorable

Friday October 9, 2015 saw the grand opening La Memorable, a new food market located next to the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Located on the corner of 1st avenue and 26th, this is the third food market to open in Playa del Carmen and this night was dedicated to giving the residents of Playa a taste of what they have to offer. With a DJ and live band providing the soundtrack to an evening that gradually built in attendance, guests eventually filled the market and enjoyed the free samplings of wine and food. Juggling clowns and various street performers added to the entertainment ambience.

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Below you will see a photo gallery that not only captures the evening’s action but also also serves as an intro to the many shops that you will find when you arrive and explore for yourself.

 photo gonzales_zpsfaknbywg.jpg Upon first entering the food market you will come across the Gonzalez artisanal beer bar. There is only Mexican beer sold here, with seventeen on tap and 21 different bottled beers. The prices for beer begins at 35 pesos and goes up to 100 pesos.  If beer is not your drink of choice then there´s a full alcohol bar available as well. The bar´s location makes it an ideal place to sit and watch the people on the street but also is a good place to expand your palate of beers.
If you are a wine lover then head over to the Ensenada wine bar. It only features Mexican wines. and is the perfect place for business meetings or enjoying a drink after a day of work. Prices are very reasonable at about 90-140 pesos a glass, with bottles selling for between 300-1000. If you’re interested in something a little different, try picking up a bottle from the  Paladar De Mezcal store. There is not a lot of mezcal sold in Playa, so grab some for yourself or as a souvenir. They have a great selection that includes flavors such as mango and tamarind, and you can also order from their special cocktail menu.  photo DSC00371_zpsp6lwtdts.jpg

If you’re hungry and looking for something to eat head over to the Oye Carino seafood restaurant, a place where you can select your own fish for your meal or just have fish tacos. If you prefer a traditional  Mexican taqueria then head to the back of the market where you will find Taco Taco,  featuring a wide array of Mexican tacos.

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For dessert try the El Socio candy store, perfect for the kids and people with a sweet tooth, then wind things off with a trip to Sabor Illegal,  the place to go for specialty cigars from Cuba and all over.

 photo DSC00422_zpsewxlcwn1.jpgSee for yourself why this was a such big attraction to the residents of Playa. La Memorable is now open so drop by and enjoy for yourself!

Top Mexico Real Estate is your source for information about life and culture in Mexico. Let us show you what is like here, and what you will be enjoying when you begin your adventure as a property owner in the paradise of the Mayan Riviera.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Mexican Independence Day: Celebrating Like a True Mexican

We all know that part of being an expert expat is to engage in the country’s culture and traditions. Luckily, you’ve chosen a country that lacks nothing in those areas. Mexico is a country rich in culture, heritage, gastronomy and traditions, and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that September 15th is Mexican Independence Day celebration.

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Although Mexico is going through some political and economical rough patches, the spirit of the Mexicans is hard to shoot down. Many citizens will engage in el Grito in the traditional way (by watching the President give the speech on television), others will engage in the fun live with tequila in hand yelling the cry of independence from Spain.

Traditionally, Mexicans will prepare chiles en nogada, pozole and nopales, amongst other Mexican delicacies that will leave you drooling and wanting more. If you can’t wait to be a real Mexicano, here are some places where to celebrate Mexiacn Independence Day with your fellow Mexican friends…and make sure you clear your throat, because you’ll be screaming “Viva Mexico!” all night long.

Mexican Restaurants

Well, this was an obvious one! Traditional Mexican restaurants throughout the Riviera Maya are ready to serve some gourmet, top of the line, and absolutely delicious Mexican dishes to anyone visiting them. With the amount of restaurants available throughout Playa del Carmen, you are sure to find somewhere to try a delicious pozole accompanied by a tequila shot. You can either choose one of the many options down 5th Avenue (although you should probably have a reservation), or try your luck at the smaller, more local restaurants off the touristy path.

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Stroll through Playa’s Main Plaza

If you’re just out going for a walk, make sure you walk by the main square, Plaza 28 de Julio, where the City Hall is lit up in green, white and red, as well as decorated with sculptures made of lights. If you want to live the full experience, hang around. At 11 the Municipal President, Mauricio Gongora, will come out to the balcony and give the traditional Grito speech…after everyone screams “Viva Mexico!” three times, fireworks will go off, Gongora will ring a bell and everyone will celebrate in unison. To top it off, popular norteño band, Los Tigres del Norte, will be performing completely free! There will also be stalls with food and drinks to go around. Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with other,.

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Celebrate in Xoximilco (or any Xcaret park!)

Xcaret parks go all out when it’s about celebrating traditions (seriously, look into attending the park for Day of the Dead!). The Independence Day celebration is no exception to this rule, and Xoximilco, their newest park, is where the party will be. Tequila, beer, traditional Mexican food, mariachis, music, dancing, and El Grito…need I say more?

Bahía Principe Residential & Resort Celebration 

We’re sure Bahía Príncipe won’t be the only resort celebrating Independence Day, but it sure knows how to throw a party. The hotel is already quite traditional, built as a hacienda, and their full-day program involves exhibition, dances, performances, food, drinks, and the traditional Grito accompanied by a fireworks display. If you’re already a guest at the hotel, no need to go out to find anything else, you will find it all within!

12th Street

Mexicans love any good reason to celebrate, even if it’s on a Tuesday (Wednesday might be a slow business day). If you’re eager to keep drinking tequila, beer and other traditional Mexican drinks after giving el Grito, head over to 12th street and hop into any of the many clubs and bars available. They will be playing traditional Mexican music while all tourists and locals keep screaming the words we all love to hear.

If all else fails, you can always head over to Pozoles Doña Olga the next day (or any day of the year) for a delicious pozole made by true Mexican hands. Are you ready to give El Grito de Dolores? We sure are! Don’t forget to dress up in traditional Mexican colors and to be ready to see Mexicans celebrate like there is no tomorrow.

Top Mexico Real Estate is a proud American-owned real estate company, leader in its field in the Riviera Maya. If you are looking to become one true Mexican during these festive dates, make sure you check out our array of real estate options. If you have any questions, please contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives who will gladly guide you through the process of becoming a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

Viva Mexico: The Story Behind El Grito

Thanks to misplaced advertising and a lack of general knowledge, many people around the world believe that the Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on May 5th, or more commonly known as Cinco de Mayo. However, the battle for independence actually started on the 16th of September of 1810 and has been celebrated on that date ever since. It ended on September 27th of 1821, but El Grito is given on the 16th. Let’s rewind a couple of centuries and start at the beginning.

As many know, Mexico was under Spanish ruling for 300 years after Hernán Cortés and his men invaded the lands, ridding themselves of the ancient colonies and building cities that resembled Spain. For years and years, Indians, creoles and mestizos were regarded as nobodies and were never appointed to any important colonial positions, unable to do anything about their status.

After Spain was invaded by Napoleon, Mexicans found strength and belief in making themselves an independent land once again. Armies of Mexican rebels started to arm and rise against the Spanish government that had cast a shadow over their land for centuries.

Mestizos and Indians throughout the country planned conspiracies to bring down the Spanish government; one by one, however, were discovered and the leaders harshly punished. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a progressive priest, along with Royal Army officer Ignacio Allende, had planned to start the insurrection against Spain on October 2nd, 1810.

However, as Spanish officials started rounding up those who were to stand against them, Hidalgo heard they were soon coming for him. Instead of going into hiding or surrendering, he took to the town of Dolores on the morning of September 16th and announced that he was going to take up arms against Spain. He issued a famous speech that is still repeated today by every President, and it has come to be known as El Grito (the cry). It took very little convincing and soon he had an army with which to march into Mexico City.

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It was not long before he and his army found themselves at the doorstep of the city, but he mysteriously retreated and left the army in the hands of Allende. In 1811, they were both capture and killed. It looked as if hope had died with them, but the passion and anger within the armies that had risen was not over yet, and new leaders stood up in the fight for independence. José María Morelos fought until his death in 1815, and Vicente Guerrero took his place, continuing to fight until 1821.

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On September 27th, 1821, Agustín de Iturbide, a royal officer, granted the liberation of Mexico, thus signing over the independence. Funnily, in Mexico they celebrate the beginning, when Hidalgo rose, rather than the actual signing of independence.

Every year, Mexicans around the world gather in celebration to hear and give the cry, el Grito, in a very traditional manner. Everyone dresses in green, white and red, representing the colors of the flag. Amongst the typical dishes to be made and eaten are chiles en nogada and pozole, all accompanied by tequila and beers. Families and friends gather around the television on September 15th at 11pm precisely to hear the President in turn give El Grito.

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“¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron patria! ¡Viva Hidalgo! ¡Viva Morelos! ¡Viva Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez! ¡Viva Allende! ¡Viva Aldama y Matamoros! ¡Viva la Independencia Nacional! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!” goes the cry, followed the ringing of the bell to commemorate the day. Everyone repeats “viva” after each phrase.

Music, dancing, traditional food, and plenty of partying go around throughout the night. September 16th is celebrated with parades throughout the streets with the military, never allowing anyone to forget the lives lost for a free and sovereign state.

Viva Mexico!

Celebrating 22 years of Solidaridad!

July of 2015 is giving people from Solidaridad (one of the ten municipalities that make up the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, home to Playa del Carmen) many reasons to celebrate. Twenty-two years ago, on the 28th of July in 1993, the small entity of Solidaridad was founded by the decree of the State Congress. Today, it boasts with tourism, beautiful beaches, residents, and a lifestyle to envy! Just like any young child, Solidaridad has grown to become something amazing full of life, history, culture, art, gastronomy, and much more.

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In celebration of this 22nd anniversary, the Municipal President of Solidaridad, Mauricio Góngora Escalante, will officially inaugurate the long awaited City Theater. The theater will host an array of culture and artistic activities for its opening night and for the celebration of the 22nd year of Solidaridad.

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For the next couple of days, the municipality has put together a program that represents the growth and strength of Solidaridad, highlighting that the harmony and living of its citizens and authorities is steadily moving forward, creating a better environment.

The great celebration will bring families together; joyful for the celebration of the place they call home and for finally having the artistic stage that had been missing to make Playa del Carmen a fully cultural place. $650,000 USD was invested in the building of the City Theater, with an amazing display of activities and the presence of political figures.

From July 30th to August 2nd, residents and visitors of the municipality will enjoy a great variety of cultural activities. Amongst them, the Quintana Roo Symphony Orchestra, the hilarious Vagina Monologues, a great Ballet Gala with the State Dance Company, and the presentation of the play The Witch and the Witch Doctor which originally opened in the famous art and culture Cervantino Festival.

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The theater will become a permanent home to the hundreds of artists that already call Playa del Carmen “casa”, such as poets, actors, artists, musicians, and more. Although it is not a huge theater – only hosting 780 spectators – this space will provide Playa del Carmen with the opportunity to place itself on the artists’ map. Cancun is home to the Cancun Theater were plays from around Mexico, concerts, and big events were held.

Playa del Carmen is giving Cancun a run for its money thanks to the growing interest in this beautiful part of the Riviera Maya. Hopefully the Theater will become an important cultural reference for Quintana Roo and the Yucatan Peninsula.

Related: Cirque du Soleil Tumbles Into The Mayan Riviera

Mark your calendars, because this weekend will be busy with art, music, theater, and more! Raise your glasses for Solidaridad and the amazing growth it has witnessed in its short life.

Top Mexico Real Estate is a leading real estate website based in the Riviera Maya. Anyone wanting to relocate, permanently move or retire to Mexico can check out our thousands of properties listed throughout the country. Contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives who will gladly help you on your journey to become a homeowner in paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

4th of July in Playa del Carmen

Tomorrow is 4th of July… and for many of us we begin to feel a little homesick for Independence Day celebrations back home in good ol’ U.S.A.   Backyard BBQs, potluck parties and breathtaking displays of fireworks… Oh how I miss them!

This is Mexico… why would they celebrate the 4th of July in Playa del Carmen?

Well, this cosmopolitan beach town beckons to people from all over the world. In Playa del Carmen you will find Canadians, French, Germans, Chinese… the list goes on and on.  Consequently, we also have a large expat community from the United States.  With so many expats, there are sure to be great American hangouts celebrating the “red, white and blue” right?   Whether you are living in Playa del Carman or just on vacation here… you don’t want to miss out on this beloved holiday.

Related: Yucatan Peninsula: A Safe Haven for Visitors, Expats and Retirees

We have found some fun ways to celebrate Independence Day “beach style” here in Playa del Carmen.

Wah Wah Beach Bar is one of the most popular expat spots in Playa del Carmen. This beach club is located right on the beach and offers free beach chairs, a huge projection screen (where they show all the big games), wonderful food and drinks and great company. Wah Wah has decided to combined two great independence days… Canada (celebrated on July 1st) and the United states (celebrated on July 4th). Wah Wah throws this ultimate celebration, or as they call it, the “…biggest party south of the border”. The party will start at noon on July 4th and carry on into the night. There will be a delicious BBQ with traditional 4th of July treats and many drink specials such as 15 peso drafts, 2 for 1 margaritas and big liter house drinks for only 100 pesos. The live music starts at 7 p.m. filling the tropical night air the sounds of The Nasty Bastards and The Smokin’ Aces. The event is fun for the whole family so bring the kids along, there will be a big bouncy house and face painting!

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Additionally, Bad Boys beach bar is also having their annual 4th of July party this Saturday. Bad Boys is another favorite expat hangout for Americans here in Playa del Carmen. The festivities will start here at 3 p.m. with an appealing BBQ potluck style buffet featuring a whole roasted pig provided by your host. Accordingly, make your favorite 4th of July side dish or dessert to share and head over to the annual 4th of July celebration at Bad Boys. So have a couple of drinks, eat some BBQ and jam out to live music by Creizy Toy.

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Furthermore, most resorts will have some kind of 4th of July festivity; from BBQs to activity for the kids, from spectacular firework display to fun had by all.

Put on your “red, white and blue” and celebrate the 4th of July in Playa del Carmen.

Happy 4th of July Playa del Carmen!

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Celebrating Canada Day in Playa del Carmen

Yesterday was Canada Day and Canadian expats, tourists and non-Canadians alike gathered at the Blue Parrot beachfront bar to celebrate! For those non-Canadians thinking to themselves… What is Canada day? Well, Canada day is the national day of Canada, celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867 enactment of the British North America Act (today called the Constitution Act), which united three colonies, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the United Province of Canada into a single country called Canada.

So happy 148th birthday Canada!

You might be asking yourself, why celebrate Canada Day in Playa del Carmen?

The Playa Time wrote that, “Mexico is the second most popular destination for Canadians, attracting 25,000 snowbirds every year. Approximately two million Canadian tourists came to Mexico last year, and around 50,000 Canadian Mennonites live in Mexico out of which 25,000 have dual citizenship.”

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Playa del Carmen is home to people from all over the world and has a large Canadian expat community. From year round retires to those just wanting to escape the winter cold and enjoy some fun in the sun. But no matter how long one has been living in Playa del Carmen… you can’t take Canada out of a Canadian. Their Canadian pride runs through and through. This was evident by all the folks that came out yesterday to enjoy the festivities, have a taste of home and celebrate Canada Day in Playa del Carmen.

Related: Why Mexico Consistently Ranks One of the Top Destinations for Retirees

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The Canada Day celebration was sponsored by The Playa Times which is owned and operated by a Canadian citizen who wanted to bring this festivity to the local Canadian expat community. The guests enjoyed a barbecue cookout with Canadian specialties such as poutine (French fries smothered in a rich brown grave and topped with homemade cheese curds what took a whole day to perfect) and Canadian sausage… all which were enjoyed by the participants! Additionally, a live band was covering popular Canadian artists throughout the event along with carnival games and other activity to entertain the kids. Fun was definitely had by all.

 photo Canada Day 4_zpsffhgm0ru.jpgNot being from Canada myself, by the end of the party I was feeling the true Canadian spirit and felt truly welcomed into the Canadian family. I felt the urge to belt out a verse from, “O Canada! Our home and native land!”… but don’t worry I held myself back.

Related: Cancun Real Estate Celebrates July 4th & Canada Day

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So fear not, there is no need to miss out on native nationality celebrations in Playa del Carmen as there is a huge expat community. Yesterday many Canadian expats, Canadian tourists and non-Canadians alike gathered to celebrate the “Canuck” spirit in the Mexican Caribbean. Canada Day, what a wonderful holiday.

10 Interesting Facts About Whale Sharks

  1. Despite their name, the whale shark is neither a whale nor a mammal; it is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known fish species. The whale part of the name comes from its sheer size. The whale shark is an Ovoviviparous species, this means that it keeps its eggs inside her body and once they are mature; tiny whale sharks emerge alive from the mother’s body.

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  1. The whale shark has an extremely thick skin, in some cases up to four inches thick. In addition, their skin has a much darker tone than the rest of the fish with white patterns comprising dots, vertical and horizontal lines; making really interesting patterns.
  1. The whale sharks huge mouth can be as big as five feet long, but swimming alongside a whale shark is 100% safe as they have no interest in consuming humans. They also have a filtration system that does not allow the passage of anything bigger than small fish like sardines and their many rows of tiny teeth are located in the back of their mouth; so they can not really harm anyone.

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Source: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/gallery/descript/whaleshark/whaleshark.html

  1. These majestic animals have an advanced filtration system that allows them to eat without having to swim, compared to other animals that require them to move forward to push water inside their mouth. The whale shark is able to use their gills to pull water into their mouth, where it accumulates plankton, krill and other small seafood like sardines or anchovies.
  1. These fish live in tropical waters at an average 700 meters deep. They are generally solitary animals, but are grouped when they find an area rich in food.
  1. The whale shark is known to be the world’s largest fish, with verified specimens as long as 40 feet; that is as long as a trailer. There are many reported sightings of much bigger whale sharks, over 65 feet long; but they have not been documented and therefore are considered a myth.
  1. Despite its imposing size, whale sharks are completely harmless and peaceful creatures. Tourists can swim very close them, and in the past visitors were even allowed to even touch them but this is no longer permitted.

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  1. Summer is the best season to observe these magnificent creatures, especially the months from June to September. The Riviera Maya has many tour companies that organize whale shark tours, which includes everything you need to enjoy this experience.
  1. If you live in the Riviera Maya or are vacationing here, the best places to find whale sharks are in the area between Isla Mujeres, Contoy and Holbox Island.
  1. Each year an estimated 1,400 whale shark reach the coasts of the peninsula, and about 200 approach the islands of Holbox and Contoy in the state of Quintana Roo.

Swimming with the whale sharks is a once in a lifetime experience, remember this is a peaceful creature but there have been reports of them attacking boats; after being harassed. If you are going on a whale shark tour, respect the whale sharks and follow the indications given by your tour guide.

Would you like to partake in unique experiences like this all the time? Consider retiring or purchasing a vacation home in Mexico there are so many things to do here, you will never run out of once in a lifetime experiences.

From dreaming to owning your dream home in Mexico, Top Mexico Real Estate has a decade team of Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives with the experience in helping foreigners become homeowners in Mexico.

Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Behind the 9th Travesia Sagrada Maya (Sacred Mayan Journey)

For thousands of years, the ancient Mayans would pay respects and prayer to the goddess of fertility, Ixchel. Every year, they would take off from the Polé market (known today as Xcaret), and row all the way to Kuzamil (or the Island of Cozumel, as it’s known nowadays). Brave oarsmen and women would row in Mayan canoes facing the wild Caribbean ocean, risking their lives, to bring offerings to Ixchel and be granted favors in return.

As the years went by and the Mayan civilization slowly disappeared, many of its traditions disappeared with it. However, the Xcaret Park, which is located right where the market was, decided to continue commemorating the old traditions of the Mayans by reliving this sacred and spiritual ritual. For the past nine years, the Travesia Sagrada Maya (or Sacred Mayan Journey) has seen hundreds of modern oarsmen and women bravely cross the ocean and pay tribute to Ixchel and the old civilization we’ve all come to know and love.

(Related: Read more about the history of Travesia Sagrada Maya here.)

Of course, Top Mexico Real Estate did not want to miss out on the opportunity of being part of this, so they chose one brave participant from the Marketing office to take part in this journey. Julio Salinas, designer, took a step forward and volunteered himself for this spiritual pilgrimage that will change his life forever.

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“I decided to participate because I had the chance to see this great event in 2014, and I was motivated by the drive and emotion that the participants delivered that year, and the passion with which they were willing to relive the history and tradition”, shared Julio. And rightly so; training sessions have been ongoing for six months, where they have worked “resistance, concentration, swimming, sailing, and we went through different filters to prove that we were ready to achieve the goal”, he said.

Six months of physical and mental preparation – the journey can take five hours to complete, depending on the wind and ocean’s conditions of the day. The journey does not end in Cozumel. Here, they rest for the night after a spiritual welcome ceremony, and take off the following morning to return to Xcaret. Amongst the things that they have learned, Julio emphasizes on the importance of keeping these traditions alive. These are traditions that “have lost strength, language, and communication through time”.

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Teamwork is another key element in this journey. While spiritually the pilgrimage might be personal and unique to each individual, the physical journey to the island of Cozumel, and back, relies on teamwork. Ten oarsmen ride in each canoe, and they are unable to finish if anyone of the gives up. “The most important thing is to learn from your team and to support it. While we trained, motivation and communication became very important elements”.

While the tradition is very rooted to Mexico, it is not only a journey where Mexicans can participate. Over time, more and more foreigners have decided to be part of a tradition that was very important to the ancient Mayans. Many travelers or people who have moved to the Riviera Maya indefinitely from other countries want to be involved in everything to make them understand the history and culture of this beautiful country. Julio finds it especially joyful to see that foreigners are taking part. “It’s nice to see that not only Mexicans are interested in being part of the Journey, as many foreigners […] have joined this party full of tradition and history”.

You can be part of the oarsmen’s journey by joining them in the farewell ceremony on Friday 22nd of May, at 6am in Xcaret. If you are located in Cozumel, you can receive them around 1 or 2pm in Chankanaab Park and participate in the Sacred Mayan Journey Dances for the Lady of the Moon (Ixchel). You may also bid them farewell and a safe journey back to Polé the following morning (May 23rd) at 9am. For those located in Playa del Carmen, you can watch the sacred Mayan celebration and receive the brave oarsmen at Xcaret around 1pm, as well as enjoy all that the park has to offer.

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“The idea of completing the journey makes me feel great emotion and great satisfaction, because it’s been a long preparation”, Julio shares. As part of our team, it makes us feel great satisfaction, as well! Every participant of the Journey will return changed and with great spiritual stories to tell of their sacred pilgrimage to see Ixchel.

Top Mexico Real Estate is the leading real estate website in the Riviera Maya. If you are looking to be part of the land that has seen thousands of traditions born, and relived, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Top Buyer’s Representatives who will gladly help you in your personal journey to find the perfect paradise home.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Travesia Sagrada Maya: Celebrating Old Mayan Traditions

For thousands of years, the ancient Mayans went on a sacred pilgrimage to worship and pay respect to Ixchel. Also known as Ixchebelyax, she was the goddess of fertility, water, health, and vegetation. Fertility of the lands was one of the most sacred things for the Mayan civilization, as they lived off their lands both for trading and for survival. In the Travesia Sagrada Maya, an annual ritual where brave oarsmen and women crossed the ocean, they brought offerings to Ixchel in exchange for granting special favors for their lands and families.

The chosen people to embark on the journey were priests and elderly women. Children, young women, and other priests or men did not take part. Painted in black (for fasting), white, yellow, blue (for sacrifice), and red (for war), they got ready early morning as the sun barely rose. Their journey started in Polé main shipping port (which is what we know today as Xcaret).

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The word Polé derived from the Mayan word for merchandise (p’ol). The port was were the trade networking happened, making it one of the most important places for the Yucatan Mayan civilization. It was also used as a harbor to conquer inland and a starting point for the sea routes they developed.

From Polé, they would navigate for hours until reaching Kozumil (known today as the island of Cozumel). The journey itself was a transition for the oarsmen and eldery women involved. The ocean, just like the cenotes, was an entryway to Xibalba, or the underworld, which would represent a “transition to the beyond” for those sailing. The Caribbean Ocean’s importance went beyond that, as it was the greatest source of transportation and food for the ancient civilization.

The rituals had a specific structure which was not to be broken. Food deprivation, insomnia and sexual abstinence (in other words, fasting) were the sacrifices made in order to purify the soul. The priest or oracle at the time would determine the date and time the ritual would take place. He would also decide which members (other priests) would participate in this spiritual celebration.

The ceremony was celebrated with steam baths, alcoholic beverages (Balché and Chicha), prayers, perfuming with incense, devotion, music, singing, dancing, special food (corn, turkey, dog meat and cacao, mostly), and the sacrifice of a living being (whether it be animal or human), amongst other things. The sacrifice was of upmost importance, because this would link men with the divine gods, making the journey sacred.

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The canoes in which they rowed were filled with offerings for Ixchel. Offerings ranged from foods, plants, animals and humans. The importance of Ixchel was grand, as without fertility existed no agriculture, and agriculture was the base of a civilization that was wealthy and valuable.

For years after the Mayans slowly disappeared, their traditions went uncelebrated. However, nine years ago, Xcaret decided to relive the sacred Mayan journeys experience and the spirituality that was once so sacred to their ancestors. Aiming to create a link between the cultural identity and today’s inhabitants of the Yucatan Peninsula, they have reestablished the ancient practice of the Travesia Sagrada Maya or Sacred Mayan Journey.

Hundreds of brave oarsmen, from children to elderly, locals and foreigners, train for six long months, physically and mentally, in order to row for hours until reaching Cozumel. They will depart on Friday 22nd of May, at 6am, as the first rays of sun rise over the horizon and will arrive in Cozumel around 1 or 2pm. A sacred ceremony celebrating the Lady of the Moon (also Ixchel), will take place that night in Cozumel.

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Their early departure from Cozumel back to Xcaret will take place on Saturday 23rd of May, and Xcaret will be expecting their return at 1pm with a celebratory and spiritual ceremony to commemorate the oarsmen, the goddess Ixchel, and the ancient civilization that taught us this practice.

You can be a part of the celebration, as well, by being present at the farewell and welcoming (plus, you get to enjoy the park!). You can read all about the program and how to be a part of it here.

And to bid farewell and a safe journey to the participants who are devoting their strength, emotion, and spirit to what was once the most sacred journey of the Mayans, here is a poem written by C. Hawthorne Flaherty called “Diary of an Oarsman” (source).

“We row;

fire in our muscles,

salt in our eyes,

wind at our bow,

and sun on our skin.

 We burn and burn, until we have nothing more to burn.

We row and row until we can’t row any longer – then we row on.

We row and row beyond the vigor of our bodies until we row only with our hearts.

We row and row beyond the courage of our hearts until we row only with our souls.

We row and row beyond the spirit of our souls – beyond ourselves – until we row only with each other. 

Each and every stroke is one moment of choice – one choice after the other – we transcend the limits of what was impossible just one stroke before. 

You are not the Rutter-man for 13 hours of the journey.

You are not the Rutter-man for 156 hours of training.

You are the Rutter-man in moments.

You are the Rutter-man in the moments when you have lost sight of land and still you choose a course.

You are the Rutter-man when, despite absolute exhaustion, you hold the line against the current.

You are the Rutter-man when you have nothing left, but you still give. When you find laughter in tears, find joy in suffering, the will to persevere when others have lost heart. 

You aren’t the Rutter-man when you think you can’t do it; you are the Rutter-man when you do.”

Top Mexico Real Estate is a local American-owned real estate company, leader in its field in the Riviera Maya. If you are looking to retire or find a second home in paradise, feel free to contact one of our Top Buyer’s Representatives who will gladly help you, just like they have helped hundreds before, to find your very own slice of paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

The Fourth Annual Riviera Maya Film Festival

The fourth edition of the Riviera Maya Film Festival just wrapped up their event in Playa del Carmen, which was the host to the opening and closing ceremonies as well as several galas. The Riviera Maya Film Festival brings art, glamour and movie stars to this tropical paradise. This year Anton Yelchin, Ashley Green and Aaron Paul were in attendance. Over a hundred screening of national and International films were showed in the movie theaters, at the parks and on the gorgeous beaches in Playa del Carmen.

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The Riviera Maya Film Festival will continue its special touring program at in select city throughout the Riviera Maya from May 13th – June 6th. Here is a list of the venues and screens where you can enjoy the Film Festival.

Puerto Morelos May 13th -17th May

Location: Unico Beach Club
Address: Av. Javier Rojo Gomez SM2, Mz2, Lote 2 cp 77580

Wednesday May 13th
19:30   “Incomprendida” / “Misunderstood”  Dir. Asia Argento Time: 1hr. 43min.
21:30    “Los días no vuelven” / “Missed days” Dir. Raúl Cuesta (1hr. 14min.)

Thursday May 14th
19:30    “Ícaros” Dir. Pedro González Rubio (55min.)
21:00    “La Maldad” / “Evilness” Dir. Joshua Gil (1hr. 25 min.)

Friday May 15th
21:00    “Los muertos” / “The dead” Dir. Santiago Mohar Volkov (1hr. 28min.)

Saturday May 16th
19:30    “Alexfilm” Dir. Pablo Chavarría (1hr.)
21:00    “El regreso del muerto” / “The return of the dead man” Dir. Gustavo Gamou (1hr. 30min.)

Sunday May 17th
19:30    “La princesa de Francia” / “The princess of France” Dir. Matías Piñeiro (1hr. 7min.)
21:00    “Resultados” / “Results” Dir. Andrew Bujalski (1hr. 45min.)

Cancun May 20th -24th

Location: Park Los Palapas
Address: Calle Margaritas on the corner of Tulipanes in Centro

Wednesday May 20th
19:30    “Incomprendida” / “Misunderstood” Dir. Asia Argento (1hr. 43min.)
21:30    “Los días no vuelven” / “Missed days”  Dir Raúl Cuesta (1hr. 14min.)

Thursday May 21st
19:30    “Juanicas” Dir. Karina García Casanova (1hr. 18min.)
21:00    “Plan Sexenal” / “Sexennial plan” Dir Santiago Cendejas (1hr. 26min.)

Friday May 22nd
19:30    “Muchachas” Dir. Juliana Fanjul (1hr. 4min.)
21:00    “Memoria oculta” / “Hidden memory” Dir. Eva Villaseñor (1hr.)

Saturday May 23rd
19:30    “El señor de las tres caídas” / “Lord of the three falls” Dir. Roberto Olivares Ruiz (55min.)
21:00    “Noche de resurrecciones” / “Night of the resurrection” Dir Raúl Rico (1hr. 12min.)

Sunday May 24th
19:30    “A las escondidas” / “Hide and seek” Dir. Joanna Coates (1hr. 22min.)
21:10    “Resultados” / “Results” Dir. Andrew Bujalski (1hr. 45min.)

Isla Mujeres May 28th -30th

Location: Playa Posada del Mar
Address: Av Rueda Medina 15, Centro – Supmza. 001, 77400 Isla Mujeres, Q.R.

Thursday May 28th
19:30    ***TBD***

Friday May 29th
19:30     “El silencio de la princesa” / “The silence of the princess” Dir. Manuel Caribe (1hr. 24min.)

Saturday May 30th
19:30    “Elvira, te daría mi vida pero la estoy usando” / “Elvira, I would give you my life but I’m using it” Dir. Manolo Caro (1hr. 34min.)

Tulum June 4th – 6th

Location: Papaya Playa Project
Address: Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila km. 4.5

Thursday June 4th
19:30     “Incomprendida” / “Misunderstood” Dir. Asia Argento (1hr. 43min.)

Friday June 5th
19:30    “Resultados” / “Results” Dir. Andrew Bujalski (1hr. 45min.)

Saturday June 6th
19:30    “Elvira, te daría mi vida pero la estoy usando” / “Elvira, I would give you my life but I’m using it” Dir. Manolo Caro (1hr. 34min.)

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Screenings on the beach, and especially on the beaches of the Riviera Maya, have a special charm and a magic to them. Great artistic films, soft white sandy beaches filled with colorful beach chairs, the Caribbean breeze and a star filled sky makes for one unforgettable night.

The Riviera Maya Film Festival wants their guests to enjoy the best films from around the world, as well as the welcoming tropical landscape, creating an unforgettable experience.

For more information about the Riviera Maya Film Festival please click here.