The Easiest Way to Start a Collective Compost

Making Collective Compost

In this post, we ponder the reasons for making compost, the taboos around it, the types of compost, how they are made and what materials they carry. We review examples of collective composts and how the community can put it in practice, generating neighbor participation, and where everyone can enjoy the benefits.  Continue reading

The Best Trees to Plant in the Riviera Maya

Once you own the property of your dreams in the Riviera Maya, there are other aspects to consider such as: the best trees to plant to make your garden a spectacular space.

Something special about the Riviera Maya is the beautiful weather year round. Also, having a beautiful garden to entertain or to hang your hammock and enjoy a nap is very important. Most developers in the Riviera destroy the jungle before building; nonetheless this shouldn’t stop you from having a beautiful tropical garden in your backyard.

It is important to consider the available space, as trees will grow and may affect the construction. There are plenty of trees that will grow in the poor soil of the Yucatan Peninsula, but we decided to focus in trees that are adequate for urban spaces, with reduced space.

If you are looking for amazing ornate trees to plant in the Yucatan Peninsula, have a look at these:

AKTIS

(Thevetia gaumeri helms)

This is a small tree, its maximum height is 16 feet and it has plenty of foliage to provide shade. It has beautiful bell shaped yellow flowers.

Trees Riviera Maya

BALCHE

(Lonchocarpus longistylus)

This is the Mayans sacred tree, and an endemic species of the Yucatan Peninsula. The tree can grow up to 30 feet, and has beautiful purple flowers. The bark is used by the Mayans to prepare a fermented beverage with the same name.

Trees Riviera Maya

FLOR DE MAYO

(Plumeria rubra)

This tree has a maximum height of 26 feet, and an interesting and unique look. The flowers can be many colors and have a beautiful parfum that will linger in your garden.

Trees Riviera Maya

Any kind of citrus tree

The Yucatan Peninsula is a great place to grow citrus. There are many kinds of oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes that will thrive with little care. The most traditional citrus in the Yucatan is the Naranja Agria, which is used to cook traditional regional dishes such as: Cochinita Pibil and Lechon al horno, it is also ideal to prepare margaritas as it is naturally sour.

Citrus aurantium can only grow up to 26 feet high, with dark shiny leaves and small white flowers that have a beautiful fragrance.

Trees Riviera Maya

There are so many trees that can grow in the Riviera Maya, we would never finish this list. But we encourage you to learn more about native trees and chose the one that fits your space, taste and budget.

Choosing the right tree can increase the value of your property and provide shadow, oxygen and beauty for many years to come. If you want to learn more about trees that will grow in the Yucatan Peninsula, have a look at this page.

 

 

Ideas for Rainy Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your time off!

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…

we make it happen!

Xenses Park in Mexico’s Riviera Maya

Welcome to Xenses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…

we make it happen!

TOP MEXICO REAL ESTATE

It’s Whale Shark Season!

Foto: internetFoto: Internet

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

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

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

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

Related: 10 Interesting Facts About Whale Sharks

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

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

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

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

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

Related: 10 Things to Do in Merida

Foto: Internet

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

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

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

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

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

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We make it happen!

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Tulum Wins More Accolades for Its World Class Beach

Playa Paraíso Tulum

Tulum Wins More Accolades for Its World Class Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

Live it Tour

Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Xcacel Beach

Beach #1 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: Xcacel Beach

This is one of our staff’s favorite beaches, and number #1 in our list of Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya. Xcacel is a popular beach among locals, but a hard to find gem for tourists and people that are unfamiliar with the area.

If you are looking for a party beach full of comforts, forget about Xcacel Beach! This place is far away from the crowds. Instead you will find sand, sun and coconut trees in one of the most secluded beaches in the Mayan Riviera.

Xcacel Beach is a nature reserve protected by the federal government because it is one of the most important turtle nesting sites in Mexico. The reserve was established in 1998, with the objective of preserving the nesting areas of the loggerhead and green turtle.

This reserve covers about 90 acres of pristine jungle, mangrove, cenotes and coral reefs, and it is one of the few beaches in the Riviera without major constructions. Immerse yourself in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, sunbath on the soft white sands and enjoy the sound of the waves and the breeze swaying the coconut trees.

 photo Xcalcel Beach_zpsfamo97g3.jpg Xcacel Beach: Getting There

Getting to Xcacel Beachcan be a little bit tricky as it is not signaled on the road. It is located between Pueblo Chemuyil and Xel-Ha. There is one small sign, so keep your eyes open for a dirt road going to the beach.

If you are coming from Cancun, take the 307 federal highway and start looking for the sign by the road on the left hand side, you need to make a u-turn and drive back a few feet to get to the entrance of Xcacel Beach.

Xcacel Beach: Recommendations

If you go to Xcacel Beach, it is important to take your own drink and food, as well as chairs, umbrella, icebox or whatever you need. This secluded beach is quite basic and it only has a few toilets and showers available. There are no shops nearby, so it is important to plan ahead of time.

 photo Xcalcel Beach 2_zpsqlzqrcbs.jpg

Xcalcel Beach: Things To Do

There are plenty of things to do such as sunbathing, look for turtles or snorkeling in the nearby reef. Go for a short walk in the jungle and find a cenote with pristine waters or just enjoy nature and the view. We are sure it is going to become one of your favorite places!!

It is important to get there early, since the closing time is strictly enforced at 4:00 p.m. to make sure the turtles feel safe to make their nests on the beach. There is also a voluntary donation of 10-20 pesos per person, this money is used to keep the place running.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and have fun at Xcacel Beach!!

We hope you enjoy your visit to Xcacel Beach. If you missed any beaches along the way on the Top 25 beaches in the Riviera Maya countdown please feel free to go back through all the blogs! If you are in search for the perfect beach to spend the day at, make sure you check out all on the Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya list, which includes videos, photos and maps for each beach. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

Finding Xcacel Beach might be more difficult than finding the house of your dreams in the Riviera Maya! If you are looking for a home in Mexico, contact our professional Real Estate Agents or visit our website and browse thousands of beautiful properties in the best areas of Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

Hurricane Season in the Riviera Maya: How to Prepare Yourself

Living in the Riviera Maya means that every year we have to get through the hurricane season. Luckily, despite the scary name the possibility of a hurricane hitting the Mexican Caribbean shores is very low. There is only a small chance you will ever experience a hurricane and even if you do; chances are it is going to be just a lot of rain with high winds.

 photo hurricane season_zpsvlbj2adg.jpg

It has been a decade since the last destructive hurricane (Wilma) hit Cancun and some areas in the Riviera Maya. The main problems caused by Wilma were the reestablishment of power lines as well as water services, there was also a gasoline and food shortage in the area.

Being prepared is essential when dealing with the challenges of hurricane season. Making sure you prepare ahead of time will save you time, money and stress. It is also important to prepare a plan to guarantee everyone’s safety.

Hurricane Season: How to Be Prepared

FOOD:
Always make sure to have enough non-perishable food and a good supply of clean water. Check labels and expiration dates to make sure everything is edible, store all of these items in a safe dry area, preferably in a high cabinet.

Some foods to consider are:

Cans: Tuna, sardines, beans, deviled ham, condensed milk, fruits and vegetables, etc.
Jars: Jam, peanut butter, nutella, spaghetti sauce, etc.
Dry food: Seeds, peanuts, pasta, rice, oatmeal, cereals, bread, cookies and crackers.
Boxes: Ultra pasteurized milk, tomato sauce, cream, etc.

WATER:
For disaster preparedness you should store at least a gallon a day per person for a 3 day period. In Mexico this can be easily solved by calling your drinking water company and order enough 20 liters containers for your family, we’d recommend storing a 10 to 14 day supply in a safe place. For domestic purposes, it is a good idea to have a second tinaco installed at home, or replace the one you have for a bigger size.

 photo Hurrricane Kit_zpspisbvn7o.jpg

FIRST AID KIT AND PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION:
Make sure to have a properly stocked First Aid Kit, you can find ready to buy kits in places like Sam’s or you can make your own.
Here are some things that you must include in your kit:

  • Sterile gauze
  • Medical Tape
  • Band-Aids
  • Elastic bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Soap
  • Antibiotic cream (triple antibiotic ointment)
  • Antiseptic solution (as hydrogen peroxide/alcohol)
  • Hydrocortisone cream (1%)
  • Paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.
  • Tweezers
  • Sharp scissors
  • Calamine lotion
  • Alcohol swabs
  • A thermometer
  • Plastic gloves (at least 2 pairs)

Also make sure you have a sufficient reserve of medications prescribed to you and your family. After a hurricane medicines might be scarce, as businesses can be closed or the medicines can be damaged.

PROPANE AND GASOLINE
It is important to have a safe way to cook your meals, most houses in Mexico have a propane stove so filling your tank before hurricane seasons is a good idea. If you have smaller tanks, having a spare is also good, as long as it is safely put away or secured before hurricane season.

Gas stations run out of gasoline quickly during a hurricane, make sure your car has a full tank before the hurricane hits the coast. I fill my tank as soon as an alert is issued; this not only insures that I have gas it also helps me avoided the long lines of people scrambling to get gasoline.

OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS TO CONSIDER:
These are items that need to be around your home in case of a hurricane:

  • Flashlights: preferably LED in case the power goes out for a short time.
  • Candles: decorative candles can last much longer.
  • Battery Powered Radio
  • Solar Garden Lights: can be recharged by day and use them inside the house overnight.
  • Chlorine: To disinfect water and eliminate germs if your houses floods.
  • Ziplock Bags: To store valuable items like important documents and photos.
  • Corded Phone
  • Cell phone and extra charged batteries.
  • DC adapter to AC
  • Wet wipes.
  • Many batteries of all sizes.
  • A flashlight for each family member, and battery backups.
  • Enough plastic bags for trash and other garbage.
  • Supply of toilet paper and other hygiene products that you need.

Give yourself plenty of time to get ready, technology nowadays will let you know with a week in advance when a hurricane is forming. In my experience getting ready at this time will give you plenty of time to get all the supplies you will need.

Luckily in all the time I have lived in the Peninsula, none of the warnings ended up in hurricanes; but it is always better to be prepared beforehand to avoid long lines and panic purchases.

Top Mexico Real Estate is an American owned real estate company serving foreigners looking to buy a property in Mexico. For over a decade, our team has helped thousands of clients to find and purchase the home of your dreams.

If you want to learn more about the real estate market in Mexico, please contact us!

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Chaya: The Mayan Superfood

Finding local organic vegetables in the Riviera Maya can be difficult, due to the lack of soil in the Riviera; most of the fruits and vegetables have to be brought from other places. Even healthy food like spinach can be contaminated with chemical or organic elements, and little is known about the effects that those chemicals can cause in our body, soil and water.

With proper planning and a compost bin, almost anybody can have an organic vegetable patch in the Riviera Maya. If you lack the space and the motivation to do so, maybe planting a traditional Chaya Plant is a great alternative to growing a whole garden. This plant has three times more nutrients than spinach and it is easy to find and grow everywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula.

 photo Chaya 1_zpsuaizrjum.jpg

Chaya: Characteristics and Nutrition Facts

The Chaya Plant, also known as Tree Spinach is a bush that can reach up to 10 feet in height. It has big green leaves and a fragile stem that can produce a sticky white liquid when it breaks. For centuries, people in the Yucatan Peninsula have been consuming this plant, as it is rich in nutrients, flavorful and easy to grow.

Nutritionists claim that the Chaya provides enormous benefits to the human body, it improves blood circulation, regulates blood sugar and blood pressure. It also aids digestion as it has a good amount of fiber. This nutrition powerhouse has other nutrients that are highly beneficial to our body as well.

The best part about Chaya is that because it is indigenous plant it is really easy to grow in the Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula. If you find a Chaya plant, take a stem and break it in to foot long pieces, stick them in the soil and voila; your tree spinach will grow at an amazing rate and will be producing nutrition packed leaves in no time.

 photo Chaya_zpsm7wlnuw4.jpg

Chaya: Benefits of Consuming the Mayan Spinach

The Chaya is a natural source of vitamin A, vitamin B, phosphorus, calcium, iron, protein and minerals. It also provides a boost of energy, and some people claim that it even has an anti-stress effect.

Some of the benefits of consuming Chaya are: improved blood circulation, a better digestion, and it is aids with cases of varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It also helps to lower cholesterol, reduce weight gain and to disinfect the lungs preventing coughs.

Eating Chaya can increase the calcium in bones, as the Chaya has more natural calcium than the traditional spinach. Chaya also has a massive amount of iron, which prevents anemia, improve memory and brain function. Some people believe it can help against arthritis and diabetes.

 photo Chaya 4_zpsuhqjpjff.jpg

Because this regional plant is easy to grow and maintain it is a great starter plant for your new home in Mexico. Providing many nutritional and healing benefits Chaya really is a Mayan superfood.

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.

 photo whale shark 10_zpsfctvww8z.jpg

  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.

 photo whalesharkteeth_zps9pmy2akf.jpg Whale Shark Teeth
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.

 photo whale sharks swim_zpspjtn1ixd.jpg

  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.

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