Cancun and the Riviera Maya are the number one international destinations for Americans for Valentine’s Day. That’s a fact. Its white-sand beaches, stunning sunsets, and exciting activities, make the Riviera Maya an ideal location for a romantic getaway. Continue reading
Retirement is different for each person. Some people seek retirement to simply sit out on a porch, overlooking the ocean and relax for good. Others are out to find adventures that they couldn’t quite have while working the 9 to 5 job. Continue reading
Meteorologists warned locals and tourists in the state of Quintana Roo of an upcoming heat wave in the next few days that will be breaking records. The Solidaridad Civil Protection warned of roaring temperatures that will reach 38°C (100°F) but have a thermal sensation of 47°C (116°F). According to the director of meteorology in Solidaridad, “the heat wave is due to the inclination of the earth that causes solar radiation to arrive perpendicularly and is a period of time, which is fixed from July 15 to August 24, but in itself, does not have an exact date for it to start or end.” Moreover, humidity will also be at its highest, and the rainfall at its lowest. With news of the rising heat, many people may wonder how to prepare accordingly to avoid heat stroke, sun burn or anything more serious.
Drink Plenty of Water
Obvious, we know, but many people like to hydrate with beer. And while it’s definitely a nice and refreshing drink, water helps you replenish all you sweat from the heat. If you’re leaving your house make sure you bring bottled water with you everywhere, and replenish when you’re at a restaurant, bar or beach club. Caffeine and alcohol, while enjoyable, can contribute to dehydration. So, try to steer clear from them.
While we’re on the subject of staying hydrated, there are foods that will help you replenish and re-energize your body. While others contribute to the loss of water. With the heat, you need to eat moisturizing foods such as cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, and others. Of course, you can’t deny yourself other delicacies, just make sure you’re consuming these, as well. Also try eating in smaller portions throughout the day. Large meals can raise your metabolism, which in turn increases your body heat. The less you eat during one sitting, the less heat you’ll create.
One Word: Air Conditioning
Another obvious one, perhaps, but try to avoid walking out on Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen at midday, for example. Try to stay in closed places where you can cool off and if you really want to take a stroll make it short, through the shade and stop at stores, bars or restaurants to cool off from time to time. And while your electricity bill might go up slightly over the summer months, it’s best to stay cool at home, as well.
You might want to stay away from darker colors while you’re putting up with this summer heat! Black fabric transmits heat to the skin, rising your temperature. Light colored clothing with lighter fabrics will be your best friend during this heat wave. The best color to wear is white, of course, as it rejects heat and helps you keep cool.
Take Advantage of Paradise
Hey, you’re in the Riviera Maya! Go cool off in the gorgeous turquoise waters and enjoy the beauty of the area. Be careful, however, and make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen to avoid sun burns and skin cancer. Make sure it’s biodegradable and apply it 30 minutes before you plan on swimming. Rash guards and hats are also your best friends when taking a dip in the ocean.
Avoid the Outdoors During Peak Hours
Doctors highly recommend avoiding being under the sun between 12 and 4pm as these are know as the peak sun hours. Especially when the sun is scorching hot and there are heat waves it is more important to avoid being out at this time. If you can’t avoid being under the sun then, make sure you’re wearing plenty of sun screen and alternating between sun and shade to avoid skin problems.
Keep Your Pets Safe
Avoid tragedies by keeping your pets constantly hydrated and only taking them out for walks really early in the morning or after dark. The heat of the streets and sidewalks can hurt their paws and exercising them during peak heat times can give them heat stroke as well. Give them enough cool water or cold treats (like frozen peanut butter and banana).
You Can Beat the Heat Wave
By following the previous advice and keeping yourself cool at all times, you’ll be able to take this heat wave like a breeze. Most importantly, however, you need to know the signs and ask for help when you start feeling dehydrated. Headaches, muscle pain, cramps, exhaustion and thirst are just some signs of heat stroke. Ask for medical assistance and head over to a cool and shaded place as soon as possible. Make sure you are given cold water both on your body and to drink. If there are any other major signs, call 911.
It feels like it was just yesterday that we were celebrating the beginning of a new year. The truth is, the year has gone by really quickly, and summer is rolling around faster than we imagined. Although Playa del Carmen and the surrounding Riviera Maya offer summer-like weather year-long, there are a few summer activities that can only be enjoyed in, well…summer. Whether you’re a permanent retiree in the gorgeous Caribbean city or a once-in-a-while visitor, these are some things you definitely need to get around doing this season.
Swim with Whale Sharks
Whale shark season comes around once a year during the summer. These gigantic, but gentle, animals are a sight to be seen. The season kicks off at the end of May and ends at the end of August. But the best month to go see them is July. They come by as part of their migration route and you can see thousands of them swimming calmly together. Many tours take you to see them. Make sure you follow rules accordingly. Although these animals feed off plankton, they are as big as a school bus, so make sure to keep your distance.
Volunteer with Turtle Nesting
Sea turtles are an endangered species, which is why in the Riviera Maya we are strong believers in conserving them. Many conservation groups and organizations work hard to monitor the nesting season, making sure as many hatchlings as possible make it out to sea and giving them a greater chance of survival. You can always volunteer to help during the season, which starts in mid-June and runs until November. NGOs are always looking for extra hands to mark the nests, release the hatchlings, and help with other duties. It’s an experience that will transform your life for good.
We all know that the Riviera Maya is heaven on earth, but there is an actual place called heaven. Cozumel is a wonderful and beautiful place for nature lovers. El Cielo is just off the coast of the island and it is only accessible by boat. This means you can spend the day cruising through the clear blue waters gliding above the sea. Founders named it El Cielo due to the amount of starfish sitting on the ocena floor. Moreover, plenty of stingrays, fish and sea turtles love the calm waters of this heavenly place. Take a family tour and enjoy the unimaginable wonders of Cozumel.
Visit Holbox Island
This gorgeous island off the coast of Quintana Roo is definitely a must-see place. The best part is its laidback charm and slow-paced life. Even more so than Tulum! During the summer season, when the whale sharks are the word of mouth, there are other slightly less known tours that include the gentle giants, but don’t end there. While cruising to find the whale sharks you’ll be able to spot dolphins, turtles and flying fish. However, after swimming and eating delicious ceviche, you’ll be able to see hundreds of flamingos.
it’s summer, so Relax and Unwind
If all of the above seem like too much work, then you can always pick the obvious option: lounging at a beach club with a drink in hand. We get it, waking up at 5am to go on a tour to see giant sharks is not for everyone (although definitely worth it). So, if you’re not heading off on one of the abovementioned adventures, hit up your favorite beach club early in the morning, get a bucket of beer and kick off the day with a sun-kissed nap. There is something for everyone in this slice of heaven.
It might be time to consider retiring in paradise if these are activities you could enjoy. There are plenty of things to visit throughout Quintana Roo and the Riviera Maya, as well as the whole Yucatan Peninsula, so retiring here means not a day of boredom and always a day of awe. Start checking out the best retirement properties in Playa del Carmen, we’ve got you covered.
The second in a series of topics: “Making sure all your paperwork is in order”.
When retiring to Mexico, it’s highly suggested to have all your affairs in order and that includes paperwork. We aren’t just talking about passports, immigration papers and other legal border crossing documents. The postal service in Mexico is much different than it is in the United States. There are really no mailboxes or daily postal service. The post office is usually located in town and will accept letters and packages that need to be sent. Plan on the items being mailed reaching their destination in three to five weeks. Courier services such as UPS and Federal Express are your best bet for sending and receiving packages or other needed correspondences.
Of course you will need immigration Visas, resident permit(s), work permits – if applicable, and other documentation which you should have researched ahead of time. It is a very good idea to still have an address in the US where miscellaneous mailings from your financial institution(s), tax purposes, applicable insurance companies or other necessary correspondences can be delivered. We would suggest that you forward your mail to an immediate family member with the same last name. You just never know what might show up in the mailbox.
Call you credit card company(s) and give them the new address where you will be receiving any paper documents. You can pretty much do everything online that involves any of your accounts. With some companies like banking institutions and your cellphone provider, you can actually have a ‘Live text chat’ with a representative online. Arrange to receive paperless invoices and/or statements with the companies you deal with frequently. This is especially advised for all your financial institutions. Receive any monthly statements via your email. You can pay bills, receive direct deposits, and transfer money from one account and/or bank to another if set up ahead of time.
If you keep any policies regarding health, vehicle and/or property insurances, make sure the companies know that you are out of the country. Tell them you need to receive statements, policy changes and new cards via your email. It is always recommended to take several copies of all your important documents with you. In the same token, also have “original copies” put away somewhere that can be easily accessed in an emergency and sent to you upon request.
Other possible paperwork needed would be pet certificates, children’s birth certificates, and any United States bank issued letters and/or information that will help you open a new account(s) with a Mexico bank as well. When dealing with so many on-line accounts, always have your passwords with you and tucked away in a safe place. Getting locked out of accounts when you are living abroad can sometimes create a problem when recovering and/or resetting passwords.
Once you make sure all your paperwork and important documents are in order, this will make your transition into living in Mexico more easy. Also, knowing your documentation is straight will let you have a relaxing retirement in Mexico! Don’t forget to read our first series of topics “Preparing yourself physically and mentally”.
Halloween is almost here! Once a North American tradition, Halloween is growing increasingly popular in Mexico. If you live or are visiting Playa del Carmen, you can join the people that goes out on this night and enjoy an amazing blend of traditions in Playa del Carmen.
In Mexico, there has been a long tradition of celebrating the Day of the Dead. This day commemorates the people that has left before us, and people make shrines to celebrate the memories of loved ones that are no longer with us.
However, many also join and celebrate the fun of trick or treating… and it is common to celebrate both. If you are in the area, you cannot miss celebrating Halloween Playa style! Get that costume ready and join the crowds trick and treating on 5th avenue.
Celebrating Halloween in Playa del Carmen: Things to do
1. Trick or treating
Every year, hundreds of visitors and locals go on 5th Avenue wearing costumes, dressed as Catrina Skeletons or even as an Xtabay. Playa del Carmen is the ideal place to see traditions merge and become something different, come and see and enjoy the party.
Don’t forget to bring enough candy to share with the hundreds of local and visiting children, trick or treating on 5th Avenue.
2. Have an authentic Day of the Dead experience
If you want to learn more about the Mexican tradition of Day of the Dead, Xcaret has an amazing festival every year. The festival has theater, music, performances and art… and everything is about the Mexican traditions to celebrate the day of the dead.
You can purchase your tickets and receive more information here. If you are planning to visit Xcaret, your ticket includes the pass for the Day of the Dead celebration.
3. See the Mayan Day of the Dead celebrations
Celebrating the dead is a Mexican celebration with deep roots in the native cultures of Mexico, but the Mayans have their own way to commemorate the dead: Hanal Pixan. If you want to learn more about this amazing tradition in an authentic Mayan Village, Alltournative organizes a tour every year, which takes visitors to an authentic Mayan village and allows you to participate in the Day of the Dead traditions. The tour that includes:
- Round trip transportation
- A guided visit through the process of decoration of shrines and the celebration of Hanal Pixan
- Traditional Mayan food
If you want to learn more about this exciting adventure, please click here!
4. Go party!
After all the fun and adventures, you can also do what people love to do in Playa: Party! You can organize your own bar crawl, or visit one of the local clubs and enjoy the special events organized for the day.
You cannot miss the fun on 12th Street with all the clubs and the best place to see and be seen in Playa del Carmen.
Playa del Carmen is a community with a rich culture, people from all over the world come to reside here and brings with them their own traditions. The merge of different cultures allows for a diverse and vibrant community, willing to enjoy and share with people from other places.
There are many options to enjoy an amazing Halloween and Day of the Dead, feel part of this amazing culture or feel at home with your own celebrations. Playa del Carmen is an amazing place to live and at Top Mexico Real Estate, we specialize in helping foreigners find their home in Mexico.
We would love to hear about your plans for Halloween, or if we are missing an awesome event… Please let us know!
Living in Mexico is an amazing opportunity for retirees, since a modest pension in your country of origin can stretch much more if you decide to move south of the border. As the dollar keeps strong against the peso, more and more people are looking to settle and enjoy retirement in this beautiful country.
There are over a million North American retirees living in Mexico full time, and an estimated 50,000 snowbirds that spend part of the year in the country. These numbers keep rising, as the pension system is failing and health insurance prices skyrocket.
The Riviera Maya and Playa del Carmen are popular destinations for retirees from all over the world. Some of the reasons that make it such a popular destination are the closeness to North America and the available direct flights to Cancun from almost every main airport.
Once that you have settled in your new life, there are a couple of things that can make your life much easier. Keep in mind that transitioning to your new life is always to have challenges, but a positive attitude and a good sense of humor is the best tool to deal with them.
1. Get your INAPAM card
If you are a permanent resident in Mexico, you can get your INAPAM Card and get discounts in services, property taxes, museums and cultural events. Your INAPAM card also will allow you to get discounts on buses and airlines tickets; just keep in mind that the number of discounted tickets is limited, so it is important to buy them in advance.
To get your INAPAM Card as a foreigner you will need to present:
- Either your Migratory Form (FM2, FM3), Carta de Naturalización, Temporary Resident Permit or your passport to verify your identity and age.
- A bill not older than three months of water, electricity or landline (TELMEX, AXTEL, TELNOR, IZZI, ETC) with your name and Mexican address.
- 2 “Infantil” size photos.
The modules available in the Riviera Maya are open from 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 PM and their locations are listed below.
Address: Av. Jesús Martínez Ross # 001, Isla Mujeres, Q. Roo
Phone Number: 01 998 274 04 22
Benito Juárez (CANCUN)
Address: Región 94 Mz.76 Lt.3, C.P.77500, Benito Juarez, Q. Roo
Phone Number: 01 998 888 89 21 y 888 89 22
Address: Calle 50 Bis between 3 and 5 Sur, col. Adolfo López Mateos, Cozumel, Q. Roo
Phone Number: 01 987 872 56 61
Solidaridad (Playa del Carmen & Puerto Aventuras)
Address: Av. 40 Corner with calle 28, Gonzalo Guerrero, Playa del Carmen, Solidaridad, Q. Roo
Phone Number: 01 984 127 99 12
Address: Calle Alfa Sur between avenida Tulum and Sol Poniente, Centro, Tulum, Q. Roo
Phone Number: 01 983 130 40 55 y 103 22 23
2. Enjoy your local status
Being a local has its perks, most attractions and archeological sites have special prices for locals. It is important to have a photo ID such as your driver license or Migratory Card. If you are resident of Playa del Carmen, there are special discounts at local beach clubs such as Lido, Senzi or Piola; ask for your local discount!
3. Meet your crowd
Living as an expat is much more doable if you make friends, not only you get a support system but also benefit from their experience living in Mexico. There are many activities that can allow you to meet new friends: The Rotary Club, helping in Animal associations such as Coco’s Cat Rescue, joining local Thanksgiving dinners, etc.
So, what do you think? Can you share with us what would be your lifesaver as a retiree living in the Mayan Riviera? We would love to hear your thoughts and comments! Let’s Retire in Mexico looks to share relevant information with retirees living in Mexico, either full time or part time.
Campeche is one of those places you might never consider visiting, when thinking of a short trip from the Riviera Maya. However, it is such a charming and romantic destination, you’ll never regret taking the time to go!
This beautiful port city was founded in 1540 and was the most important port of the Peninsula during colonial times, similar in importance to Havana and Cartagena. The area developed to be an important city, and the locals built elegant mansions, impressive churches and the traditional barrios grew around the main square.
During Colonial times, Campeche was a producer of precious woods, natural dyes and the main port for the neighboring Yucatan State. This made it an ideal target for pirates, so the city had to build a wall and fortresses all around in order to protect the population from the constant attacks.
Campeche offers it visitors a beautiful mix of Ancient Mayan cities, nice colonial cobbled roads, and the view of the sea along the malecon (esplanade). There is also a good mix of the old and the new, as you can walk along downtown and feel like you are living in colonial times, and then visit the modern shopping mall or the convention center and enjoy modern amenities.
Campeche is full of charm, with its magnificent colonial mansions, narrow streets and the presence of the colonial life all around the city. Walk along the malecon, visit the forts and the remains of the original wall that surrounded the city, or visit the museum of Colonial times; we are sure you will be amazed.
Campeche has magnificent colonial sights, Edzna is near the city and was an important ceremonial center, with an active trade with other Mayan regions. Calakmul is a large archeological site, located in a National park of the same name, and it also has a museum displaying both the nature and the archeology of the site.
There are many museums in the city and surrounding areas occupying the former bastions of the wall that surrounded the city, so you can pick your favorites or visit every one. The Virgen de la Soledad Bastion has an interesting Mayan Architecture collection, and the San Carlos Bastion holds an interesting history collection.
There is also the San Jose Museum showcasing the pirates, weapons and boats that used to attack the city, as well as other artifacts from colonial times.
Traditional barrios & their churches
Campeche grew during the Spanish rule and formed different neighborhoods, each barrio has a main plaza and a church; and the houses would be built around these plazas. There are five traditional barrios in Campeche: San Francisco, Guadalupe, San Roman, Santa Ana y Santa Lucia.
Each of the churches in Campeche are worth a visit, but the San Francisco Church is the place where the first mass in the continent was held.
Haciendas were the heart of the colonial economy, as Campeche was an important producer of natural dyes, cotton products, honey, wax and salt. Over time Campeche developed big farms, and started producing dry meat, leather goods as well as sisal, the fiber that made the Peninsula one of the wealthiest areas in the world.
There are haciendas all over Campeche, some of them have become hotels, while others are used as tourist attractions. Do not miss Hacienda Blanca Flor now converted into a hotel, and located just in the outskirts of Campeche, the Hacienda Santa Cruz is also well preserved and has an active production of palm that is used to make hats.
Campeche is one of the best destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula, one of those under the radar places that will make you fall in love. It is located about 5 hours away from Cancun, and even less if you depart from other cities in the Riviera Maya.
To get there, you can go via Merida, with possible interesting stops in Valladolid, Chichen Itza, Izamal and obviously Merida. There is also the option to go down the coast and stop in Mahahual and Bacalar, and then cross the Peninsula with a stop in the archeological site of Uxmal.
Do not miss out on this amazing city and its surrounding areas, bring comfortable shoes, your camera and time to enjoy every attraction. Winter is the best month to visit, as the days are cool and there is a constant cold wind from the sea, so the long walks are more tolerable.
Let’s Retire in Mexico aims to be the best source of information about living in Mexico, please let us know if we are missing an important attraction or if you would like to know more about Campeche.
It’s that time of year when the snowbirds start to prepare for their return to Playa del Carmen once again. Leaving behind the cold winds, rain and snow and migrate south to the sunny beaches of Playa del Carmen for much fun and well deserved relaxation.
Since your visit last year Playa del Carmen has had some changes to the Fifth Avenue. You will be glad to know that more stores have been added to the La Quinta Alegria Shopping Plaza, and there are several others due to open shortly. Unfortunately, the Body Shop has closed and remains empty right now but we are excited to see what will open next.
If you remember, last year there was a large construction site just a few steps away from the La Quinta Alegria mall, where the famous Calle Corazon used to be. Now there is a modern five story plaza called “Calle Corazon Mall”, where you will find well known retail stores like H&M -which opened one of the largest fashion shops on Fifth Avenue, plus sunglasses, cosmetics and a new Starbucks, and there will be much more to come. Above the shopping area is the upscale Thompson Hotel with 2 rooftop restaurants that are open to the public, the Cinco and Catch Restaurant, here you can enjoy a fabulous meal and some of the best views of the city.
Hopefully some things in Playa del Carmen will not change as we as locals and snow birds enjoy the simpler things too and a big hit with both is Kava Kasa. You will be happy to know that they still have a great yoga lineup and their weekly local market has not changed, you will find your fresh produce there every Tuesday morning. Kava Kasa posts their monthly yoga schedule on their Kava Kasa Facebook page and any other changes that may happen.
You will be happy to know that your favorite bars have not changed and still have their amazing lineups to keep your evenings full of entertainment and happy hours.
If this is your first year coming to Playa del Carmen as a Snowbird, there is a great online community of Expats that are always happy to assist you whether you just can’t find the right ingredient or if you are looking for fun night out.
One of the forums that is very useful is Playa Info, where you can find general information posted from where to find pink lemonade to a lists of the best happy hours in town.
Another very helpful community is the Facebook group Expats & Locals in Playa del Carmen, in this community they cover everything you need to know for daily living in Playa del Carmen and are eager to meet new people, they even arrange nights out which is a great way to meet new people and expand your social group.
Welcome Snowbirds Old and New!
Here at Top Mexico Real Estate we have been hosting monthly webinars helping expats on the do´s and don´ts on purchasing property in Mexico, and also covering the basics of what to expect when moving and living in Mexico.
This year so far we have held 5 webinars hosted by our CEO Thomas Lloyd, and we received much positive feedback. We have covered many different topics including Purchasing Property in Mexico, Mexico’s Property Law, and most recently we had a guest to talk about the experience of an expat living and working in Tulum.
During the webinars there is a Q&A section and we encourage our audience to email in questions for Thomas or our guest speaker to answer, but as these webinars are held live there is only a certain amount of time allocated for it, and unfortunately not all questions can be answered.
Taking this into account we have decided for our 6th webinar, ‘Expats in Mexico: You Asked, We Answer’, to be dedicated to answering all the unanswered questions plus any new questions we receive from you. This webinar will be held on September 29th at 12pm CST.
All topics will be covered:
- Real Estate and Investing
- Visa and Immigration
- Working in Mexico
- Weather and Lifestyle
During the webinar there will be a raffle for a chance to win a 7 day Live It Tour, a real estate tour designed to help our clients to decide on what property best suits them by giving them the chance to compare many different types of properties and experience firsthand what a condo hotel is really like. Plus, they meet with a lawyer to explain the purchasing process and to answer all of their legal questions on real estate and immigration laws.
The winner will be drawn live at the end of the webinar and the prize includes all-inclusive accommodation for 2 people, transportation to and from the airport, personalized real estate tour itinerary, and to be teamed up with one of Buyers Representatives.
Join Thomas Lloyd and this month’s guest speaker Sherri Dixon, who have both experienced moving, working and living in Mexico for this special Q&A webinar. Feel free to reserve your seat and submit any questions you have!
Save the date – Thursday, September 29th at noon CST.