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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Top Mexico Real Estate…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 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.

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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…

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

Beach #14 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: The Reef Beach

Many of the amazing resorts along the Riviera Maya have beautiful and breathtaking beaches. Unfortunately, although the beaches are public, accesses tend to be private, so it is hard to reach them unless you are a guest of the hotel. However, many of these big resorts want to give everyone – not just their guests – the beach resort experience they can offer.

That is why you will find day passes and night passes at most big resorts down the coast of the beautiful Mexican Caribbean. And The Reef Playacar is no exception. The Playacar neighborhood is located in the south end of Playa del Carmen and hosts some of the most beautiful beaches you can find in the Riviera Maya.

Because Playacar is a private community, you need to address that you are visiting The Reef Resort and that you are going for a Day Pass so they let you through. The Day Pass has a cost of $53 USD per person and gives you full access to the hotel’s facilities – including, but not limited to – the pool and beach club. Meals and drinks are included throughout the day (9am to 6pm). If you are looking to enjoy an experience worth hundreds of dollars for a much lower price, then The Reef Playacar Day Pass is the resort to go to.

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The Reef Beach: Getting There

As mentioned above, the Reef Beach is located within the private community of Playacar, which is located in the south end of Playa del Carmen. There are two entrances to Playacar; one on the Federal Highway 309, the other one is on 10th Avenue.

Driving: To reach the 10th Avenue entrance from Cancun, you need to take the Federal Highway 309 towards Playa del Carmen. Upon arriving in Playa del Carmen, you will pass the overpass bridge until reaching a stoplight where you will see Centro Maya to the right, and Sam’s Club to the left. At the stoplight make a U-turn and drive to the outside lanes. Take a right at the Holiday Inn hotel (Diagonal Aeropuerto Street) and drive down that road all the way until the end, where you will reach 10th Avenue South. Take a right; that is the entrance to Playacar. Once you have gone through security, drive straight for about 4 minutes and find The Reef Resort on your left.

If you want to reach the entrance on Federal Highway, drive past the stoplight and take the next U-turn. Incorporate into the outside lanes. You will find the entrance right before the Hospiten hospital.

Taking a Taxi: A taxi from Cancun will charge you around $800 mxn to drive you to Playacar, but there are other options to reaching the Reef Resort. If you are staying in another hotel in Playa del Carmen, they will charge you between $30 and $80 mxn – depending where you are at.

Public transportation:

Colectivos: If you are coming from the north, you need to take a colectivo heading to Tulum and have it drop you off at Centro Maya. Carefully cross the federal highway to the entrance of Playacar. If you are coming from the south, a colectivo towards Playa del Carmen will drop you right near Hospiten. There is no public transport within Playacar, so if you are taking a colectivo you will need to either walk, or take a taxi to reach your destination.

Buses:  There are no buses that drive you to Playacar, so this time, taking a bus will not be an option. The easiest way to reach is by taxi.

The Reef Beach: Things To Do

As with every big resort, The Reef Playacar, has an array of family-fun activities to offer. With your day pass you are allowed to make use of all the hotel’s facilities and activities (some with extra cost).

  • Swim in their amazing pools and enjoy the meals and drinks included the wonderful service.
  • Lay on the beach beds with a beer in hand enjoying the wonderful blue ocean.
  • Rent one of the activities offered such as kayaking, snorkeling, and more.
  • Walk around the hotel looking for their many activities: restaurants, aquatic sports, entertainment, pools, relaxing, and so on.
  • Enjoy a wonderful meal on the beach, or by the pool, already included in your day pass.
  • Once it is 6pm and you are ready to leave the hotel, you can enjoy Playacar’s shopping malls with souvenirs and cafés.

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The Reef Beach: Recommendations

You will be in one of the high-end tourist destinations of Playa del Carmen. Things within Playacar (specially the resorts) are expensive. There isn’t a lack of services; you will find everything you need both inside and outside the resort. However, here are some recommendations:

  • Everywhere you go, always take money. Whether you are inside the hotel wanting to rent out an extra activity, or walking around Playacar wanting to take home a souvenir, you will need the extra cash.
  • Bring sunscreen! If you forget to bring sunscreen you will find yourself needing to purchase one within the hotel. That will not be cheap.
  • Although there are many activities to do within the hotel, bring a book, iPod, kindle, or whatnot. Laying by the pool for a couple of hours may result boring if you don’t have anything to entertain you.
  • Enjoy the food and drinks included in your day pass. You are paying $53 USD per person, make the most of it.

The most important thing, like we always say, is having fun and enjoying your day at the beach. The Riviera Maya is bathed with many beautiful white sand beaches, each special on its own – so go ahead and make the most of your day at the Reef Beach! And if you love it so much, you can always come back and make a reservation for a romantic dinner on the beach!

Keep up to date with the best beaches in paradise by following our Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya countdown every Friday! If you are in search for the perfect beach to spend the day at, make sure you check out our options. We aim to provide you with the best information about living in the Riviera Maya!

Top Mexico Real Estate is the number one website in real estate in the Riviera Maya and throughout Mexico. We help foreigners find the home of their dreams in the Mexican Caribbean. If you are looking to invest in a vacation, retirement, or full-time property, check out the options we have for you by browsing through our website or contacting one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives. They will gladly walk you through the purchasing process and help you become a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen

Experiencias Xcaret: 6 Experiences, 6 Times the Fun

If you’ve ever been to or heard of the Riviera Maya, you have probably heard about Xcaret. It is one of the biggest ecofriendly touristic and natural parks in the area, attracting thousands upon thousands of tourists per year. Although some may consider it pricy, it is worth every penny you invest. The Xcaret family has expanded over the past 20 years and now has a total of six parks ranging from eco-natural parks, to adventure parks, to culture parks. There is something for everyone! Check out the list of Xcaret parks and their highlights:

  • Xcaret

Priced at approximately $129 USD (for the full package, including transportation), Xcaret is one of the most popular destinations in the Riviera Maya. The park offers a full days’ worth of fun water activities, learning opportunities, culinary experiences, and much more. You can swim down the underground rivers, visit the butterfly pavilion, visit the newborn macaws, the jaguar island (where you can spot jaguars and panthers), or just walk around the park exploring every corner of it. Churches, haciendas, restaurants, observation towers, archeological sites, and much more, make up the 200 acre space. Don’t forget to stay until the end to enjoy the amazing Mexico Espectacular show featuring live music, traditional folkloric dances and a journey through Mexico’s history.

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  • Xel Ha

The aquatic-themed park is located approximately 120km south of Cancun. Also priced at $129 USD, this park offers less activities than Xcaret, but more food and drinks! With an unlimited buffet, beverages, and national open bar, you will enjoy a – literally- full day. You can swim down the river and into the cove while snorkeling and observing the beautiful life. Xel Ha, after all, claims being the biggest natural aquarium in the Riviera Maya. Amongst the many activities, you can also purchase swimming with dolphins, Sea Trek, amongst other fun extra activities.

  • Xplor

Although the park uses the natural surroundings, caves, underground rivers, and jungle, it is much more focused on adrenaline and adventure. The $149 USD per person entry fee includes an unlimited buffet, zip line circuits, river rafting circuits, circuits for amphibious vehicles, and two river circuits to snorkel in. The four activities take all day to go through, so it is recommended to bring comfortable shoes and be ready for a lot of walking and, especially, fun! They have recently opened Xplor Fuego, which is essentially the same thing except at night. Everything is illuminated with fire, making it a whole different experience for only $99 USD.

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  • Xichen

Chichen Itza isn’t a park, under the strict description or general idea of what a park is; however, Experiencias Xcaret now offers tours to Chichen Itza as part of the many activities tourists can do while visiting the Riviera Maya. The archeological site tour is 12 hours long, but is as luxurious as it gets. Besides having an experienced – and bilingual – guide with you throughout the tour, and having the opportunity to visit the beautiful ancient Mayan civilization, the luxury tour includes a light gourmet breakfast, drinks, a visit to the wonderful Valladolid City, a cenote, lunch buffet, and a unique experience that will leave you longing to visit all the other archeological sites in the region.

  • Xenotes

Everyone tells you that you must visit at least one cenote when visiting paradise. But it’s so hard to choose just one from all the many options out there, and even more, what type of cenote should you visit? The Xenotes tour offers a nature-filled day at four cenotes (of different types). The price is $119 USD and you get snacks, coffee, breakfast breads, a glam picnic, rappel, kayak, zip lining, and snorkel. Just like Chichen Itza, it isn’t a park in itself, but rather an adventure offered by the same company that has given millions of people memories for life.

  • Xoximilco

This glammed up version of the original Xochimilco is located just a few minutes south of Cancún. Trajineras (traditional Aztec boats) are pushed with long sticks by experts down beautifully landscaped canals while guests enjoy a night to remember. Each trajinera can carry up to 22 people; whether you are here with many friends, or about to make new friends, you will have an experience of a lifetime. The $119 ticket includes a cruise through the canals at night, a three-course Mexican meal with an open bar of tequila, beer, fresh water and soft drink, all while being accompanied by different traditional ensembles playing music through the cruise.

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We recommend that you visit Experiencias Xcaret website for further information about each amazing adventure that will leave you wanting more. Whichever park you choose to visit – or if you choose to visit more – you will find yourself diving into a world of adventure, nature, adrenaline, and excitement. These parks are made to be enjoyed with friends and family. Start booking your holidays and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Now, if you have any questions about any of the Xcaret experiences, about living in Mexico, buying property, or are interested in one of the many real estate options we have listed on our website, feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives who will gladly assist you on your journey to becoming a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Tipping in Mexico: 5 Things You Need to Know!

Mexico is a beautiful country full of diverse landscapes, a rich cultural heritage and prideful people. One of the things that stand out to many visitors is the joy by which Mexicans live their day to day lives, always with a smile on their face. This is evident when it comes to the staff working in customer service. You will often receive excellent service in Mexico that exceeds your expectations and that is when the question arises…

When and how much should I tip in Mexico?

There are the traditional tips we all give to waiters, bartenders and hotel maids, but there are also many other situations unique to Mexico where a tips are welcome, and it’s important for travelers or foreigners living in Mexico to know about these customs.

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  1. Restaurants and Bars: If you eating at a taco cart where one person is serving, cooking and charging you for the food it is not necessary to tip. If you are dining at a small business and there is a person who brings food to your table and takes care of you, you should leave at least a10% tip based on consumption. If you are dining in a fine dining establishment the tip should be at least 15% and if you receive exceptional service you might want to leave a 20% tip. Many restaurants in Mexico pay their server’s minimum wage and the server share their tips with the other staff members such as the bartenders, kitchen and cleaning crew. Tipping really makes the difference for these people and their families.

2.    Gas Station Attendant: In Mexico, all gas stations have full service attendants, meaning you will never have to pump your own gas again. Many of the attendants work on a voluntary basis and they depend on your tips to survive. For a regular service of filling your car with gas and cleaning your windshield, you can tip 5 pesos, if you need additional services such as checking the oil or the air in your tires, or vacuuming out the inside of your car, a 15 – 20 pesos tip is adequate.

3.    Groceries Bagger: This is another example of voluntary work, where school child or elderly people bag your groceries. If you are buying just a few items it is normal to leave a couple pesos. If you’re doing your weekly shopping you should tip between 5 and 10 pesos and if you need help carrying stuff to your car or to load something, you should tip between 20 – 50 pesos; depending on the size and weight of items.

4.    Musicians: While this is not mandatory to tip musicians at a bar or restaurant, you can leave a tip to show them that you appreciate them and enjoyed their music! Again many of the musicians survive only on the tips they are given.

5.    Outstanding Job: If someone exceeds your expectations and they were particularly helpful or just made your day, it is important to recognize their service and offer a tip. Many times they will insists on not taking your money, you can always say: para tu refresco, which means for a soda, this usually shuts the discussion down and the person graciously accepts the money.

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Mexico is very different from other parts of the world and many foreigners are not aware of the costumes and ways here. We hope this has answered all of your tipping questions and helps you get around in Mexico.

Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya: A Day at Sian Ka’an Beach

Beach #25 on the Countdown to the Best Beach in the Riviera Maya: Sian Ka’an

The Sian Ka’an reserve is one of the most fascinating beaches in the Riviera Maya; it is located 86 miles south of Cancun and about 5 minutes away from Tulum. Sian Ka’an has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean (approximately 1.3 million acres).

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If you love nature, Sian Ka’an has a lot to offer; there are over one 1,400 species of plants, as well as more than 300 species of resident and migratory birds. There are also pumas, ocelots, jaguars, tapirs, howler and spider monkeys, white tail deer, wild boar white cheeks, manatees, dolphins, crocodiles, and several species of sea turtles that call Sian Ka’an their home.

Additionally, Sian Ka’an faces the Mesoamerican reef, home to hundreds of species of fish and other marine wildlife. If you like diving or snorkeling, you will discover an endless show of sponges, pink conch, starfish, sea urchins, and spiny lobsters, just to name a few. And if your thing is fishing, there are plenty of areas where you can throw out a line and see what bites.

Sian Ka’an Beach: Getting there

If you are coming from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, take Highway 307 South, towards Tulum. When you reach Tulum itself, you get to the first big intersection with traffic lights and the San Francisco de Asis supermarket. Here, you will turn left towards the Tulum beach hotel zone (follow the street sign that says Boca Paila).

At the end of this road, follow the road to your right. This is the Tulum coastal road and you will drive past lots of small hotels and cabins. You will then reach the Mayan Arch, the entrance to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. There will be guards there to greet you and collect the entrance fee.

Sian Ka’an Beach: Things to do

Driving into Sian Ka’an is an adventure itself. The road leading into Sian Ka’an is a dirt road. During the rainy season, it can get quite muddy. If you are renting a car, make sure to rent a Jeep or something similar; a smaller car might have trouble getting in and out.

If you don’t have a lot of time, make sure you visit the old wooden bridge. There are plenty of people around this area camping, fishing or just having a picnic. Also, there are several secluded beaches to visit in the surrounding area.

Another idea is to visit the Chunyaxche / Muyil channel. You can take a boat tour in the sinuous channels that run between the mangroves. In this tour you will be able to admire hundreds of birds, Mayan ruins surrounded by water, coastal lagoons, wetlands, and so much more. Make sure to reserve this tour in advance!

Sian Ka’an Beach: Recommendations

While you’re not traveling to a completely isolated area, it is a good idea to have precaution. Make sure your car is in good conditions, fill your gas tank (it is a 42km one-way drive and there are no gas stations in there). Make sure to bring a spare tire. Since the roads are dirt and rocks, it could come in handy (better be safe, than sorry!).

Even if you plan on just visiting for a few hours, you might find yourself wanting to stay longer. Take supplies with you such as drinking water and snacks or non-perishable food for when you get hungry or thirsty (it can get hot, you’ll be surrounded by jungle).

There are many mangroves in the area, with all sorts of insects who tend to be particularly vicious early in the morning and at dawn. Take biodegradable insect repellent with you. Keep a bottle of OFF! Or DDT based repellent in your car as some insects – such as gnats – are not bothered by the Citrnoella.

If you plan on staying on the beach all day, bring biodegradable sunscreen. Also, don’t forget to pack things for sunburns, scratches and bites…a lot can happen in the wilderness!

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In short, Sian Ka’an is like being in heaven for those who truly love to be in contact and at one with nature. It is a unique paradise!

Learn about the different beaches in the Riviera Maya, and count down with us every Friday at the Top 25 Beaches in the Riviera Maya.

If you are looking for a beautiful real estate property surrounded by nature in Sian Ka’an, Top Mexico Real Estate can help you find the house of your dreams!

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We make it happen!

A romantic getaway to Holbox Island!

A romantic getaway to Holbox Island: After all the Christmas festivities in Mexico, many people can feel pretty drained. Let me tell you, between kids activity’s, parties and having family in town, one could need a vacation from their vacation.

Living in the Mayan Riviera gives us a wide variety of romantic little known spots to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and our daily responsibilities: Tulum, Bacalar and Holbox, just to mention some!

We had been in Holbox many times, it’s a perfect relaxing, romance getaway!

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About Holbox:

Holbox is a small island located in the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Famous for being a whale shark sanctuary, this island is ideal for nature lovers and those looking for a tranquil setting to enjoy the beach.

Holbox is 26 miles long and about 1 mile wide, and it offers pristine beaches with white coral sand. The island is located within the Yum Balam Natural Reserve, as a result, the marine life of the island is diverse and abundant: from whale sharks, dolphins, lobsters as well as octopus, stingrays and sea turtles, just to name a few.

How to Get There:

To get to Holbox, first you need to get to the town of Chiquila. You can drive which will take about two hours from Cancun or you can take a 20 minute plane ride. Also, there is a new toll road from Playa del Carmen, but there is also public transportation available.

Once you reach the town of Chiquila, you need to find a safe parking spot for your car and then take a boat or ferry to Isla Holbox. A big boat will charge around 40 pesos per person for a 25 minutes trip to the island, if they are not available you can hire a local fisherman and pay about 250 pesos per boat (for 6 people and their bags).

Attractions:

Its shallow, turquoise waters allow people of all ages and abilities to swim at ease; ideal for snorkeling or paddle boarding. Holbox is also the ideal place to learn or practice kitesurfing, as there is always a strong breeze.

During the months of June to September, Holbox is host to the largest congregation of whale sharks: the largest known fish. These majestic creatures, which can grow up to 15 meters, come every year to feed on plankton. Because of its peaceful nature, you can swim alongside these gentle giants and observe them in their natural habitat. Swimming with whale sharks is an unforgettable experience.

Sport fishing and fly fishing is a popular activity, the ocean is full of fish such as: bonefish, barracuda, snapper, pompano and mackerel, among others. Bird watching is another popular activity, where you will be able to see: flamingos, white and brown pelicans, cormorants, reddish egrets, roseate spoonbills and herons.

There are plenty of other activities to enjoy in Holbox like horseback riding, diving, kayaking through the mangroves, kitesurf, or swim in Yalahau.

Romantic Getaways:

Here are two romantic getaway packages I found in Holbox:

Sweet Escape in Hotel Casa Las Tortugas

holboxcasalastortugas.com

Whether you are celebrating a wedding anniversary, a special birthday or an engagement, this Sweet Escape package is a perfect way to say ‘I love you’. This romantic retreat includes a surprise candle-lit dinner on the beach and some of their best spa treatments.

This Package includes:

  • Three nights in a Standard room
  • Half-board for two people (breakfast and lunch)
  • Spa package for two people (Honeymoon package)
  • Romantic dinner on the beach for two people

For only $1175 USD*

*Room upgrade on request.

*Transfer on request.

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Romantic Escape at Casa Sandra

casasandra.com

Casa Sandra is a very romantic and intimate home, conceived with art, music and coziness in mind, where every detail is created with love. This boutique hotel provides personalized service and a friendly atmosphere, allowing loved ones can connect more deeply.

This package includes:

  • Three nights’ accommodation with upgrades
  • Daily American breakfast (including one room service per stay)
  • Romantic amenities in your room
  • One hour massage per guest
  • Romantic dinner on the beach with personalized service, a bottle of wine and a special menu
  • Evening cocktails and seasonal fruit platter, one per stay
  • One hour daily golf cart rental
  • Early check-in and late check-out
  • Ground transfer and private plane, one-way each

For Only $2645 USD*

*10% Discount for locals with State issued ID

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If you are looking for an ideal romantic getaway, do not search any further than Holbox! Holbox is the ideal destination for of those looking to rekindle the spark or just recharge. Let the professionals pamper you and your significant other and enjoy everything Holbox has to offer.

Top Mexico Real Estate is your one and only stop for everything Riviera Maya, we thrive to offer our readers the best possible information. We have also helped thousands of clients find their dream home in Mexico. Live the life, Live in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We make it happen!