The Riviera Maya Film Festival is Bilingual!

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Living in Mexico can be a challenge if you don’t speak the language, and this can have an impact in your entertainment options. Even in a town like Playa del Carmen, which has a big expat community and where, in general, it is very easy to move around and communicate in English, most of the times the entertainment and cultural events are targeted towards the local community, leaving you with few options to attend.

An exception for this is the Riviera Maya Film Festival 2016. We have been attending some of the screenings and it’s been very refreshing to see that the movies in Spanish include subtitles in English, while those films in a language different to English or Spanish include subtitles in both languages, making it easy for the expat community to be part of this festival and enjoy the events.

Take a look at the program and feel free to attend these events, knowing that you’ll be able to enjoy the movies.

In Playa del Carmen the events are being held in the Teatro de la Ciudad, Cinemex (movie complex in Centro Maya shopping mall), and some at the beach. There are also events scheduled in Tulum, Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres. If you’re interested in knowing more about the Riviera Maya Film Festival 2016, you can see the full program here.

Besides the availability of English subtitles and the variety of venues and schedules, there’s another very interesting detail about the RMFF: all the events are for free! So all you need to do is to get there on time to be able to get a seat.

Please be aware that both the opening and closing ceremonies are really popular. There’s a red carpet and many guests, usually actors, actresses and directors, both Mexican and non-Mexican attend these ceremonies. If you choose to attend any of these events, consider that even getting there early doesn’t guarantee being able to access the venue. So, unless you have a special pass, we would recommend you not to attend these ceremonies, and just enjoy the regular program.

Check the Riviera Maya Film Festival website to see the details, movie synopsis and much more.

Enjoy the festival!

Now if you want to learn more about property in the Riviera Maya or any of the TOP MEXICO REAL ESTATE properties we have listed anywhere throughout Mexico, please feel free to contact any of our Top Mexico Buyer’s Representatives and we will be glad to help you find your very own piece of paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We make it happen!

Thanksgiving in the Riviera Maya: 3 Great Ideas for a Wonderful Dinner

If you happen to be in the Riviera Maya during the holidays and are planning on having a nice thanksgiving celebration you have different choices available. Mexico is the number one destination for North American  tourists and the hospitality business is always looking to accommodate to the needs and tastes of our visitors.Whether you want to have dinner in a nice restaurant, use a catering service or prepare your dinner yourself there are plenty of options to choose from. Below are some of our recommendations.

Thanksgiving in the Riviera Maya: Five Star Dinner in a Resort

Hyatt Playa del Carmen
+52 984 875 1234 ext 5077 photo cdp_7994rs_zpscg3dbz5i.jpg

Start the holidays with the right food, enjoy a delicious dinner in the recently opened Hyatt Hotel in the Riviera Maya. This hotel is located in the heart of Playa del Carmen at the corner of the famous 5th avenue and 26th street.

Their traditional Thanksgiving dinner will be held on the 26th of November from 6:00 – 10:00 PM in “La Cocina Restaurant”. The cost per person is going to be $650 MXN Pesos (about 40 USD).

Enjoy your Thanksgiving in Paradise, and make sure to visit the shopping area within the hotel and have a look at their 150mts stretch of beach. Wow!

Thanksgiving in the Riviera Maya: Enjoy Traditions in a Local Restaurant

4th St. & 5th Ave.
+52  (984) 873-1382

 photo menu1_zpsfjc2ufrt.jpgIf you are not fond of crowds and want to have a formal dinner then a Thanksgiving feast at Carboncitos is a good idea. This restaurant is part of El Cielo Hotel in Playa del Carmen and has been been awarded the TripAdvisor Excellence award for 5 years in a row. It´s a quaint option for those looking for privacy and superb service.

This Thanksgiving they will have a seated three course dinner beginning at 5 p.m and ending at 11 p.m. Keep in mind that this is a popular place and last year they ran out of food in a couple of hours, so reservations are encouraged.

Thanksgiving in the Riviera Maya: make your own traditional dinner

The Riviera Maya has a huge expat community and you will likely find most of the ingredients for your dinner in any local supermarket. Soriana and Chedraui have a big selection of imported items and ideally you start start buying up ingredients with plenty of time. Keep in mind that the chances of finding a turkey, green beans, potatoes, and other fresh ingredients are high. If you are looking for a particular brand of stuffing, canned pumpkin or other specific imported goods you might not be as successful. Keep an open mind and enjoy everything the Riviera Maya has to offer.

You can also add your own twist and add new traditions to your family dinner, after all there is a huge offer of tropical fruits and Mexican delicacies, so use your creativity. Let us know if you are planning to visit one of our suggested restaurants or you have somewhere different in mind. We would love to know!

If you like this post, please follow our blog. If you are looking for the ideal property to retire in Mexico please visit our sponsor’s website. Top Mexico Real Estate is a local American-owned company, with a decade experience helping foreigners become homeowners in Mexico.

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival: Jazz Things Up!

The 13th edition of the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival is back this November 26th to the 28th in Playa del Carmen at the famous Mamitas Beach Club. Are you ready to have your senses flooded with the soothing and rhythmic vibes of jazz music? There’s nothing quite like mixing amazing instrumental talent, powerful voices and the gorgeous Caribbean ocean and, like in previous years, the event is completely free!.

Since 2002 this event has touched the lives of locals and tourists alike with their star line-ups, their great atmosphere and the mixture of different jazz rhythms. Since its invention, jazz has been the music of the people, and one that – through beat, rhythm and creativity – everyone has come to love. The festival´s sound mixes other genres such as hip hop, blues, r&b, soul and the occasional cumbia session to create a vibrant and diverse representation of the genre.

Herbie Hancock and John Scofield are among the top grossing artists to have graced the stages of the festival in previous years. Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as Celso Piña, have also been special guests in the festival, allowing music-loving audiences to drown in a sea of great music in great company. This year the artists are on par with these giants of the different genres.

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The three-day festival will see the grandness of Shela E., Zappa Plays Zappa and Gino Vanelli and many others whos fame and ear for music is sure to attract hundreds upon hundreds of music lovers to the beautiful beach in the company of their friends and family.

Because it’s free and likely to be busy here are some recommendations to take into consideration when attending the festival:

Get there early

Although the festival doesn’t attract quite as much people as Arena or the BPM, it attracts crowds of hundreds of people ready to enjoy a night out listening to the fine tunes of jazz. It’s highly recommended that you arrive early in order to find a nice place on the beach to sit and enjoy the music. Additionally, if you’re driving, be aware that you will most likely not find any parking nearby Mamitas Beach Club, so be prepared to park further away.

Bring a light sweater and a towel

The festival offers no seats or anything. The stage is mounted on the beach and the sand is your chair. Come prepared with a towel or anything similar to put down on the beach and sit on. Additionally, even though the Riviera Maya is known for its eternal summer-like weather, it’s wintertime and nights can be chilly. Bring a light sweater or a wrap, as sitting still on the beach at night with the breeze from the ocean can make the weather a little cool.

Bring food, snacks and wine

The beach is public and you are allowed to bring as anything you like. There is quite nothing as chill as enjoying a nice glass of wine to the sound of music. Although food and drinks are sold at Mamitas Beach Club, and some people go around selling food and drinks, it’s best to bring it from home in order to save money. Pack yourself a nice picnic basket with snacks or food and a bottle of wine – or if you prefer, beer. There is nothing like a beautiful evening with friends, family or that special person, in the form of a picnic.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride

Music takes you to different places, and jazz is no exception. So sit back, relax and enjoy the concert. Take it easy and enjoy the night with the people you love. Usually during the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival people are just chilling, not intensely jumping around and creating tight crowds. Luckily, jazz gives space for sitting and relaxing, which is what most people do.

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World-class drummers, distinctive voices, family legacy superstars, and much more are waiting for you at the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival this year. Don’t miss out on this amazing (and free) experience that provides the perfect place for a relaxing weekend with your friends. You can follow the hashtags #RMJazz and #RMJazz2015 on Twitter and Instagram during the festival to learn about everything that is happening.

Top Mexico Real Estate is the number one website for real estate in the Riviera Maya, catering to American and Canadian people looking to relocate, vacation or retire in the beautiful Caribbean coast of Mexico. If you’re looking to rent or purchase a property, contact one of our Top Buyer Representatives for further information about everything we offer. We are also your top news outlet for cultural events throughout the Riviera Maya, such as the RMJF.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Day of the Dead: sharing in honor of those gone

Mexican culture is colorful, lively and very unique. It doesn’t matter how grim or sad a holiday may seem, Mexicans will find a way of making it come to life– literally and metaphorically – in ways only their imagination allows. Day of the Dead is no exception to this, as the holiday is celebrated throughout the country. Although it sounds as if it should be a day of sadness, it is in fact a joyous day. It´s filled with music, food, friends, family, and remembering those who have gone.

A lot of time is invested in this November holiday as it features elaborate make up of catrinas, setting up altars, baking delicious meals, decorating with cempasuchil flowers, and dressing up the graves at the cemeteries,  The holiday is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, the first being dedicated to remembering children and infants and the latter for honoring the deceased adults. However, with the integration of Halloween the celebrations tend to start a few days earlier in certain parts of the country.

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The holiday is meant for those who have gone, so there is no indulging in what you like but rather in what they enjoyed. Altars are set up with a photo of the deceased person and decorated with cempasuchil flowers, while the deceased’s favorite food and drinks are placed on it as an offering. It is believed that on this day the dead come back to the world of the living to spend time with their loved ones. For this reason, all of their favorite things are placed on the altar to welcome them back.

Graveyards are a special place during this time of year, but visits to the graves are not as you would imagine. Instead, you will find families gathering around the tombs of their loved ones with flowers, offerings and even picnics. Throughout the night they will share their favorite stories of the person they are honoring and remember them. Mariachis are often found roaming throughout the graves singing the deceased’s favorite songs and bringing the cemeteries – quite literally- to life.

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Of course, with every holiday comes tales and legends, and this is also the case with the Day of the Dead. Some believe that not creating an altar for a deceased family member can have deathly consequences. According to legend, or as it is known in Spanish las malas lenguas, if a spirit comes back to see it has been forgotten they can be angered. This is especially true if they see the big and elaborate altars left for other spirits. Those who forget it will be struck with illness and maybe even become dead soon after. Some people celebrate the holiday out of fear rather than tradition, love and commitment. But hey, these are just stories.

And let’s not forget about food! Day of the Dead is full of some delicious treats such as pan de muerto and sugar skulls. It is tradition to buy sugar skulls with the name of a person and offer it as a gift to friends and family members. These skulls are usually decorated with catrina-like make up and have a sticker on the forehead with a name. The sugar skull is given as a gift. This is not to mean that you are suggesting death to the person you give it to, but rather as a statement of love. It says that if they were ever to be gone you would remember them on this day.

The other traditional food is the pan de muerto, which is a bun with decorations that resemble bones on top. It is a traditional sweet roll baked throughout the country and shared by family members by the grave or at home.

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Throughout the country you will find parades, parties, festivities and many things to celebrate this amazing tradition that has been around for centuries. Foreigners are welcomed with open arms to join the celebrations as Mexican culture dictates that teaching and sharing traditions with outsiders is good. Ask around your community and join the many events throughout. There is often theater, music, parks, pub-crawls and more.

Now you know how this beautiful tradition is celebrated and what to expect, so get out there and be a part of it. Nobody says that only Mexican souls come back. Erect an altar for your loved ones who have gone and they will surely appreciate it.

 photo 10384583_10152548898892648_7336645153002255580_n_zpsgg4qaw2z.jpgDo you want to be a part of this festive and lively culture that we all admire? Then maybe it’s time to consider moving to Mexico. Top Mexico Real Estate caters to American and Canadian expats looking for a forever home in Mexico. Browse through our thousands of properties and get in touch with one of our Top Buyer Representatives who will guide you through the process of becoming a homeowner in paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Small Town Values in the Riviera Maya Are Still Alive…For Now!

After living in the Riviera Maya for quite some time now, I have made a clear observation about the value of hard work and the appreciation for small business in the area.

I remember a time when….

Coming from the United States, I remember a time when you can still go to a local family owned hardware store.  I remember family owned video rental stores and small movie theaters where you can enter for 2 dollars.

But over time the Home Depots, Walmarts and Redbox’s of the world came wiping out family owned business. And in some cases, like Redbox (a vending machine for DVD rentals) which are eliminating the need for stores and employees all together.

Small Business is Still Strong in Mexico

What I always thought was wonderful about Mexico is that these small family run businesses are still alive bringing a little bit of that wholesome feeling back to your heart.  You build relationships with store owners who have been their running businesses for years.  It is always nice to know when someone knows your name and you know theirs!

While we welcome some conveniences or “one stop shopping” so to speak, there is still charm and value in small business in the Riviera Maya.  Most times they offer a service above the rest with integrity, honesty and hard work. They offer a personal experience; one that is appreciated and missed on many levels in the United States.

Unfortunately our children might never know what that is like.  But here in Mexico there is still a chance to learn those old small town values.

In Mexico hard work is valued

One thing that is true about Mexico is there is a genuine value for hard work!  Lazy is not often found here, even in this beautiful beach paradise where life tends to be a little more laid back.

And additionally, I believe that sometimes people even work without certain technologies and conveniences, not because they do not exist, but because many of those technologies may eliminate the need for certain jobs, which are needed to support families, pay rent and buy food.

Some people believe that Mexico is a country without technology or enhancements.  That is quite the contrary actually. You can find all the same modern technologies as in the United States.  But I think the use of those things really comes down to actual necessity and values combined.

Will we slowly start to see small business in the Riviera Maya area disappear?

However, as demand for American convenience is growing in the Riviera Maya, due increased relocation and tourism form Americans and Canadians, large chains are slowly moving in.  Ironically, the very same Americans who crave these convenience are also a bit sad about the loss of small town charm that seems to be very slowly slipping away.

Will all this change and movement create the same purge of small business that we have seen sweep the United States?  We hope not, and we still have faith that the Mexican culture and values will remain solid to stimulate the local economy in the Riviera Maya region.

Check out our free EBook for more information on the best benefits of living in Mexico!

Celebrating the Life of Music in Playa del Carmen-Saint Cecilia’s Day

In honor of Saint Cecilia’s Day we would like to honor all of the musician’s here in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.  Music is a traditional form of expression and culture in Mexico as it is in most places.  It fills our hearts, it helps us be happy, helps us cry, helps us to feel deeper, stronger and more motivated.

We love to hear music in the streets and on the Playa del Carmen beaches.  If you are around town, and you love the music, be sure to help support the local musicians who bring music into our hearts every day and to this beautiful beach town of Playa del Carmen!

Pass the mashed potatoes! A Real Thanksgiving in Playa del Carmen!

November has come yet again and you know what that means! The Holidays!  One minute its July and you are enjoying long summer days and then all of a sudden you are organizing your holiday to do list!

If you are living in Playa del Carmen during the holiday season, you might find yourself wondering, “What will I do for the holidays?”

Let’s start with Part 1!  The Thanksgiving Feast!
For some of you, it may be the first year you are in Playa del Carmen for Thanksgiving and for others you may have already started new Playa del Carmen Thanksgiving traditions; whether it is to go to your favorite restaurant or cook your own delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

But if you aren’t sure what to do this coming Thanksgiving, we at Top Mexico Real Estate have a few suggestions for you!


Let someone else do the cooking while I catch some sun and sip my margarita!
If you are looking for someone to do the cooking for you, there are some great restaurant options in Playa; some even right on the beach!  What better way to spend Thanksgiving than to eat your Turkey with your feet in the sand!  Wah Wah beach bar is throwing their Annual Thanksgiving All you can eat Bash and the price for this all you can eat extravaganza is shocking!  For just 150 pesos you can stuff yourself like a turkey for 3 hours straight! Not a bad deal huh?

Wah Wah will be serving traditional Thanksgiving favorites, starting with the turkey all the way down to that homemade pumpkin pie!

If you are looking for something with a little less sand and a little more formal atmosphere, restaurants like Auja Maya are serving up your Thanksgiving favorites “sit down dinner style”.  Reservations are encouraged to insure your table.

Be on the lookout for other restaurants and beach clubs soon to announce their Thanksgiving offerings.

A home cooked meal under your own roof!

For those of you who love Thanksgiving under your own roof you can certainly make a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner in your Playa del Carmen home.  Playa is well equipped for these kinds of occasions.  Walmart, Sam’s Club, Mega and other major grocers will be selling turkeys (fresh and frozen).  Even if you don’t have the whole entire family here to entertain there is no doubt you will have friends that wouldn’t mind the invite. Create new traditions, try new recipes and start the holiday season off with your own taste.

A little help with the pie please!
If you want to have your Thanksgiving at home but could use some help to do the baking, there are some great solutions!  Places like Café Martin surely wouldn’t mind whipping up a few Pumpkin Pies to sweeten your occasion!

Just remember in Playa del Carmen you are never really far from home!  If you live in Playa or are considering living here, you can always take comfort in knowing you still have the same conveniences and services as back in the United States and Canada.

Celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day on September 15th!

Viva Mexico!!!  These are the words that you will hear shouted in every town square, every home, and nearly every establishment in Mexico when the clock strikes midnight on the start of September 16th! Mexican Independence Day is an important holiday full of pride and enthusiasm for the Mexican people!

Most of the celebrations will start the day before on the “eve” of Independence Day which is September 15th!  Just like July fourth,in the United States, it is usually taken as a long weekend and results in lots of travel to main touristic points in Mexico.


Celebrating in Playa!

If you are in Playa del Carmen or any other area in Mexico during this time period you will see a high increase in Mexican tourism during these days and it is no doubt that the beaches will be packed!  Many people take advantage of the long weekends to go out and celebrate.

Here in Playa, there will be a gathering the night of September 15th at the “Municipal Palace” which is the town square or town hall.  In addition, Playa del Carmen’s nightlife establishments will be packed full of people and energy!

Whether you are in the town square or in one of the nightlife hot spots you will be directed to all the screens which will show the President at the Zocalo or town square of Mexico City.  At exactly twelve o’clock the president comes out to ring the liberty bell and Shouts “Viva Mexico” and “Viva la Independencia” Which means “Live Mexico” or “Live Independence”.
After each shout the people repeat after him, “Viva Mexico”, Viva la Independencia”!  If you are standing outside of your home in Playa del Carmen you will likely be able to hear this shouting very loud and all over town!

It is normal to start the celebration the 15th of September throughout the day eating and drinking and having parades. Other traditional ways to kick off Independence Day are rodeos and bullfights!  It is normal to have a traditional Mexican dinner the night before.  A very important Mexican dish called “Pozole” is usually cooked and served in homes.


It’s a celebration for everyone!
If you are visiting Playa during this time and are not already invited for a traditional Mexican dinner, try preparing your own Mexican feast or go out for dinner! Many places will be offering Independence Day specials!

After dinner, go out for some cocktails, be social with your friends and wait for the President at Midnight!


A day of rest

September 16th is a rest day for most people and used to spend the day with family or just hanging out or in some cases surviving the hangover from the night before!  You will likely see the beaches of Playa del Carmen packed!

We hope that our expat community will embrace our tradition and join in on the festive atmosphere!  For more information about holidays and celebrations in Mexico click here!

-By Bea Lozano
Livin' Playa video interview

You Won’t Find This in the US! The Etiquette of Petty Thieves in Mexico

I’m always telling people that crime and safety, generally speaking, are not worse problems in Mexico than in the United States and most other countries – especially in the tourist areas.  Yet, it’s only fair (and helpful to any newcomers) to acknowledge that petty theft is in fact one of the few crimes that is worse in Mexico, and that people need to take some common-sense precautions to avoid it.

Basically, what it boils down to is don’t put your wallet in your back pocket, and don’t carry items of considerable value in plain sight.

However, this is not the point of today’s post.  The point is that in Mexico, in many cases, even petty thieves have a kind of an “etiquette” of how to treat the people they are robbing.

Consider this story that a friend of mine told me.

This (Mexican) friend of mine was in the old colonial downtown of Mexico City. (Mexico City is actually relatively low in crime, even compared to large U.S. cities, and  always listed on the “green light” list of safe places to travel in Mexico – but, again, that’s a side point.)

He and a group of his friends started off a friendly chat with some strangers.  At some point in the conversation, these strangers informed them that they were going to rob them! (You know, a nice friendly part of every daily conversation …) They were also informed that they had others waiting around the corners to get them if they tried to run away.  If they just cooperated and gave up their valuables, they would walk away safely.  Generally, in Mexico, cooperation is the best approach to take if you do find yourself the victim of petty theft, so these guys opened up their wallets, handed over their cash, their cell phones, etc.
hey got to this friend of mine. He didn’t have a cent on him.  The thieves took a look in his wallet to confirm that he was as cash-less as he claimed to be.  Satisfied that this guy really had nothing to rob, and didn’t even have a few pesos for lunch, he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a subway ticket.

“There you go, brother,” he said handing him the ticket, “now you can get home for lunch.”

The thieves made off with the valuables, and these guys were free to go home – without any cash, of course!

But imagine that; a thief feels sorry for you and gives you a subway ticket to get home!

I’ve heard other similar stories where a petty thief is convinced that their “victim” has less than they do, so they actually give that person something! It sounds ironic, but now and then, it does happen.

Now, I have to point out that someone who looks like a foreigner (most expats) will usually have trouble convincing a thief that he is needier than the thief.  Also, these stories are most certainly the exception rather than the rule.  But the point is, that as far as I have heard, this would simply never happen in the U.S., not even if the thief thought the victim was worse off.

Mexican petty thieves are not someone you want to bump into, but they do have their etiquette.


-by Thomas Lloyd
First Time Mexico Real Estate Buyer – 7 Steps