Adopting a Green Lifestyle in Mexico

Over the past few years, environmental impact has become a more pressing issue. It has called for people to start making changes in their lives. Likewise, it has pushed real estate developers to consider sustainable construction to avoid damaging the planet further. In fact, Tulum was recently the first destination in Mexico to become a sustainable tourism zone. Each day, more and more people are adopting a green lifestyle to help the environment as much as possible. And it is as easy as making slight little changes at home. Because Tulum and Playa del Carmen are pushing to become sustainable communities, we urge expats, locals and retirees to start adopting a green lifestyle.

Although the Earth’s temperature has ebbed and flowed throughout the course of history, all current signs point to human activity causing a shift in its natural path. Global sea levels are rising and temperatures are surging. 15 out of the 16 hottest years on record have taken place since 2001. Fortunately, there are still opportunities for us to reverse this course. The introduction of new technologies and environmentally-friendly products have made it so that it’s more possible than ever to switch to a green lifestyle.

Simple Solutions to Help the Environment

Riding a bike

Going green nowadays does not mean going back to basics (or adopting a more bohemian or hippie lifestyle). You are not expected to live off the grid or move into a commune to lead an environmentally-friendly life. There are many ways to incorporate green practices into your everyday life. Some simple solutions are:

  • Wash your clothes with cold water;
  • Use drying racks or clotheslines instead of a dryer;
  • Take shorter showers;
  • Walk or bike instead of using a car.

Green Lifestyle in your Home

Green Energy Homes

However, you can also adapt your home for a green lifestyle to reduce energy usage. While many people still consider a green home to be too expensive, the reality is that certain things are affordable and even free (like recycling). Solar panels have become reasonably-priced over the past few years. In a sunny locale like the Riviera Maya, solar panels can be an extremely effective way to reduce your energy usage. Mexico’s primary electric company, Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), allows you to connect your home’s solar panels into a nation-wide grid in order to more effectively reduce your usage.

Energy-efficient appliances have the ability to reduce your environmental impact (and reduce your energy bill). Even if many of these are slightly more expensive, you will still end up ahead in the money you save on energy bills over time.

Now, if you’re going all out money-wise, adding water recycling systems can also be a huge saving. Mix this up with a green wall that will enhance your home, keep you healthier and, of course, save water.

You will not only be saving on your monthly bill with your energy-efficient home, but your home value will increase. You will intrigue buyers with a home outfitted with green technologies, should you ever want to sell your home.

Invest in Sustainable Real Estate

Nuuch Allure Tulum

If you’re just considering the possibility of purchasing real estate in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, you should consider investing in sustainable real estate. There are many options available throughout Playa del Carmen. However, Tulum is ahead of the game in sustainable development at the moment. Places such as the community of Luum Zama are committed to preserving the environment. That is why developments within this community are bound, by contract, to keeping 60% of their land untouched. Moreover, developments such as Nuuch Allure also offer the possibility of adding solar panels right from the start. You can also consider Puerta Azul Tulum. It is built with locally-sourced materials that make maintenance easier and more affordable, as well as less damaging.

Earth is humanity’s only home. It is important for all of us to do our part to keep our planet healthy. After all, who would like to live in the Riviera Maya if it didn’t have its bright-blue waters, fine white-sand beaches and lush tropical jungle? Consider some ways you can incorporate a green lifestyle to keep our planet beautiful for generations to come.

Why You Should be Betting on Green Energy in Your Home

For a few years now, Mexico has been betting on green energy and sustainable construction. In fact, it has become so trending, that developers in Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Merida are more and more careful about the impact their projects are creating. Today, anyone looking for a dream home in paradise, is looking to purchase a home with little impact on the beautiful environment. Communities such as Luum Zama in Tulum or Nah Ha in Playa del Carmen are preserving between 50 and 60% of the green areas. Moreover, designers such as Artigas Arquitectos – the brains behind Puerta Azul Tulum – are making sure their developments are self-maintaining and based off natural materials.

Green Energy for Mexico

Solar Panels

Now that both homeowners and developers are starting to think green is the perfect time to make your home as green as possible, as well. It has been reported that about 88 billion dollars will be invested in clean energy generation in Mexico over the next few years. Out of this, 68% will be invested in Yucatan for wind and solar energy. This reflects in all types of industries, of course, but homeowner can do their part, as well.

Installing green technology at home reduces the impact of your carbon foot print. It also helps the country become a quick zero net energy country. By adding solar panels to your home, you can help reduce energy consumption, eventually bringing it down to zero. Solar energy is one of the most important sources for clean generation…and it’s so easy to be a part of it. In fact, you can also use the sun as a water-heating system.

When you start seeing the reduced costs on your CFE bill, you will be happy you made the initial investment. But the main reason why you should be betting on green technologies for your home is the value it gives your home down the road. Today, a green home is worth a lot. Efforts are being made worldwide for people to start becoming as sustainable as possible. Even if it is as simple as recycling their garbage.

More Than Savings

Retire

But building green goes beyond just reducing your costs (which are significant, as you will see). It is also about having fresh air at home, keeping a good temperature (and avoiding mold from humidity) and enjoying accommodating homes.

The cost savings that installing green energy represents are significant. You can reduce your monthly electricity bill (for a couple) down by $200 USD by installing green energy. This represents $2,400 annually. As fuel prices continue to increase, so do electricity expenses. Getting ahead of the game is a great idea. When you consider the savings made to your home, you can see how the value of it increases. An eco-friendly home with solar panels, and water-saving or water-recycling systems are more attractive to future buyers (in case of selling or inheriting). Sustainable materials, low environmental impact and reduced energy costs are a big yes in many people’s home wish lists today.

The Riviera Maya is a Green Paradise

Expats Retire Mexico

You’re in the Riviera Maya. You are enjoying your retirement and low cost of living. But you still want to continue reducing expenses and impact on the environment. So, go green. Besides, green homes truly improve health. You’re living in the Riviera Maya for a reason. So, make the most of it by breathing non-polluted air at home. And if you’re just beginning your search for that perfect retirement-friendly home, while still looking to impact the environment positively, check out our listings and start thinking of how to improve them upon purchase.

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…we make it happen!

Thriving Ecotourism in The Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya is home to one of the fastest growing cities in Latin America: Playa del Carmen. It also hosts millions of international tourists each year, through its abundance of all-inclusive resorts, luxury hotels and strong vacation rental market. There is so much fun to be had in the bustling tourist scene of the Riviera Maya.

Is this all the Riviera Maya has to offer? Or is there another side to this place? Can you find peace and tranquility? Nature that is unobstructed by man? Beautiful places where one can experience and connect with nature? Well yes, you sure can!

The Riviera Maya literally has so much to offer, even a thriving ecotourism scene. Below is a list of the top 6 ecotourism destinations in the Riviera Maya!

  1. Akumal (Turtle Sanctuary)

This hidden treasure is apart of a small community just 39 km from Playa del Carmen, and 105 km from Cancun. Akumal Bay is home to an array of fish, coral, and sea turtles. It’s a true paradise that allows you to be one with nature and swim amongst the sea life.

They have protective measures in place to protect the marine wildlife, especially the sea turtles. Snorkeling tours are great to learn about the habitat and different species that live there. Or, you can bring your own gear and go out on your own. Make sure to wear a life jacket though, they are mandatory to protect the sea floor from diving destruction. An experience like this is truly special, you can learn about the habitat and connect with marine life.

  1. Cancun, MUSA (Museo Subacuático Del Arte)

Another beautiful eco marine zone is, “The Underwater Museum of Art” in Cancun. This place is a true spectacle of the interaction between environmental science and man-made sculptures. The whole museum shows how beautiful and powerful a marine biosystem is, by creating a complex reef structure with thriving marine life. Experience the beauty by glass bottom boat, snorkeling or scuba diving.

  1. Bacalar (Eco Friendly Escape)

The most secluded, non-touristy, eco friendly place is probably Bacalar, also known as “The 7 Color Lagoon.” You wont find all-inclusive giants here. Accommodations consist of eco friendly hotels and resorts. Many of them utilizing alternative energy sources. It’s a beautiful place to take a boat tour of the lagoon to see the colors, wildlife and thriving ecosystem. Or you can simply rent a kayak or paddle board to explore on your own.

  1. Cozumel (Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park)

This national park is located off the coast of Cozumel and is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is the second largest coral reef system in the world. The park is home to several species of sea life that are under some degree of protection. It’s an amazing place for avid divers and snorkelers. With the crystal-clear waters far away from shore or any man made structures, it makes for a wonderful and clean experience.

  1. Sian Ka’an Biosphere

This place is fully committed to protecting the area and its fragile ecosystems, being a World Heritage Site and the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. That being said, there are many environmentally friendly tours to bring people into this region’s spectacular wildlife and awe-inspiring Mayan ruins. Here you will be able to find snorkel tours, nature encounters, bird watching, Mayan ruins and fly fishing expeditions.

  1. Isla Holbox

Holbox Island has 21 miles of white sand beaches and is part of the Yum Balam Ecological Reserve. Its a quiet piece of paradise in the north of Quintana Roo and boasts natural beauty through its scenery and wildlife. Here you can experience an array of things, from swimming with whale sharks to bird watching, there is something for everyone.

There you have it, the top 6 ecotourism opportunities in the Riviera Maya. A destination as bustling and busy is this, still has plenty of relaxing and peaceful attractions for the eco-tourist enthusiast.

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!

 photo Holbox_zpsb0264893.jpg

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.

 photo CasalasTortugas_zps3fe27ebc.jpg

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

 photo CasaSandra_zps1ea07195.jpg

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!

Life around Xel-Ha Park – Being Part of an Eco-Friendly Community Pays Off!

It’s no secret that Riviera Maya is the closest thing to Paradise! There’s no doubt or question of that, and there’s also no room for doubt that we, as its inhabitants are the ones with the power to change it for better or for the worse. Having said that, I am very happy to say that I am particularly aware of the nature and special environment that my family and I live in and  do my best to keep my mind and actions as eco-friendly as possible.

I’ve never disguise my preference for this park (as well as all the other parks belonging to the Experiencias Xcaret group) for different reasons. I love the fact that you can spend all day enjoying the inlet with many water activities, eat delicious food, learn about the delicate eco-system existing within the area and snorkeling in the water’s larger natural aquarium.

Xel-Ha De Oro; environmental sustainability for visitors and the community!

Last Saturday was an exceptionally special day for Xel-Ha Park as well as the Tulum and Chemuyil community.

We were invited to the press conference in which the park was being awarded with the EarthCheck Gold Certification for its environmental policies and efforts in this natural reserve.  There we we also learned about the work that they have been doing with the neighborhood community of Chemuyil.

It is necessary and worth mentioning that Xel Ha first attained the EarthCheck Silver Certification in 2009, being the first park in the world to have ever to gotten this kind of recognition.  They have steadily maintained this status for 5 years which has driven them to achieve this new level of Gold Certification.

The most valuable asset to this event was not only the scenery (which of course is to die for) but the tour around the village of Chemuyil, to the parks recycling center and the plant nursery.

In Chemuyil, the outstanding efforts include a baseball field, a library and a clean façade program in which Xel-Ha gives away the painting materials and colors, and Chemuyil’s residents make a compromise to keeping their homes clean and spotless façades.

For me, the library was one of the biggest hits because as a result of the educational efforts, all of the community residents are alphabetized. Isn’t it wonderful?!

Keeping it clean and green!

The recycling center was a revelation to everyone on the tour because basically, about a 75% of the disposable waste generated within the park is actually recyclable (they call it “Valuable Material”). The entire Xel Ha family and the Chemuyil community are involved in these programs as well. At the plant nursery, about 50,000 plants are planted every month and then transported to different places around the country.

Maintaining this beautiful place is not a business, it is a true labor of love for the beauty and nature surrounding us. There are generations of families working at the park for more than 15 years now, from fathers to sons and nieces and nephews; everyone’s involved.

Why is this so cool?

Xel-Ha Park is located between two of the most tight and eco-friendly communities in Riviera Maya, which are Akumal to the north and Tulum to the southern end. Both are strong and its residents are pretty much hands-on with environmental issues, whether is with the different sea turtle conservation programs or community wellness centers.

So, if you happen to be living in Tulum and want to watch the programs and community efforts done by Xel-Ha nearby, just do your homework and research and get in touch with any of the non-profit organizations they support or look for others within the area. Let´s keep our home as the natural wonder that it is!

-By Bea Lozano

Xperience True Beauty and Nature at Xel-Ha

Xcaret Xperiences created fantastic opportunities for people from all over the world to come and experience nature and beauty at its best.  Recently we have highlighted Xplor and Xcaret but today I want to introduce to you the beautiful park that started it all – Xel Ha!

 

Where the jungle meets the ocean you can go take a full day of relaxation, swimming, snorkeling and eating! Xel-Ha is a nature park that is ecologically preserved and respected!  Your entrance is all inclusive and includes snorkel gear and unlimited food and drinks all day!  Yes, cocktails are included for those of you who like their does of tequila now and then!

Xel-Ha (Shell-Ha) is more of a relaxed environment where you will find hammocks throughout the park or chairs overlooking the water!  You will see that this particular eco-park focuses more on aquatics highlighting the natural wonder of the ocean and cenotes.

You can walk through some beautiful paths created throughout the jungle where you can see different animals and natural wildlife!  Don’t feel like walking?  That’s ok; pick up a bicycle and make your exploration on wheels.

Once you arrive to the lazy river you can grab a float and chill out until the river takes you to a beautiful centoe that eventually meets the ocean.  There you can swim, go cliff jumping, walk across the tight rope, or go zip lining!

There is a fun wobbly bridge where you can see the lagoon from one side while watching the breathtaking ocean waves roll in on the other side!

In between the swimming and site seeing you can grab a bite to eat in one of the buffets or just simply sit, relax, breath and take in all the beauty surrounding you!

 

Extra activities

While you can enjoy the park all day long with your original admission, there are some other add on options that might perk your interest as well!  Xel-Ha offers swim with the dolphins programs as well as the new Sea Trek adventure where you can get the best underwater experience!

 

You should remember a few things before you go!

Bring your water shoes!  You will be in and out of the water the entire time and walking through dirt paths and rocky areas!  Water shoes will make you the most comfortable for all activities throughout the day

Leave your sunblock at home unless is ecologically approved!  Many sunscreens have chemicals in it that can be harmful to natural wildlife and to the environment!  Xel-Ha respectively asks you to help them preserve nature!  They will be happy to provide you eco-friendly sunscreen if needed.

 

Xel-Ha is a well-known excursion for both tourists and those who live in the Riviera Maya.

 

-By Bea Lozano
 Mexico Real Estate e-book

Cenotes Are a Natural Wonder – So Let’s Protect Them!

If you’ve ever been to a cenote here in the Yucatan Peninsula, you won’t hesitate to call these beautiful, natural pools of water a natural wonder.  I have no idea if they have that distinction “officially,” but they sure should.

In case you don’t know about them, cenotes are naturally-occuring pools of water which form in sink-holes opening up to the water table; they connect to the area’s vast network of underground caves and rivers.  They are wonderful for snorkeling, swimming and even diving.

One point about cenotes that many people don’t know about is that they are also a sensitive eco-system; besides the plant and animal life within them, water from cenotes can also make its way to the Caribbean Sea and impact the equally sensitive coral reef ecosystem.
Many parks have rules posted, like no using sunscreen or insect repellant because these can harm the life inside the cenote.

Thankfully, the effort to protect these beautiful phenomena is going to the next level with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) now producing a document and education program to teach property owners what steps to take to protect themselves and the cenote’s ecosystem.

Here’s an excerpt from an article on INAH’s website:

“In order to strengthen the protection and conservation of the region’s cultural, archaeological, historical and paleontological heritage specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) created a statutory provision for the proper use of the cenotes, caves and underground of the Yucatan Peninsula.

“Archaeologist Antonio Huitron, director of INAH Site Operations, said the document will serve to educate the owners and users of caves and cenotes.  It will present the actions to be followed to safeguard and care for them, as well as legal restrictions from various levels of government.”

(Source, in Spanish)
The article also notes that there will be obligatory registration of cenotes so that they can be recorded in the Public Registry of Monuments and Archaeological Sites for protection.

While the article does not specify exactly which rules will be in the document and education program, let’s hope that the program helps to improve the protection of this natural wonder!

For more information on eco-friendly areas and activities click here!

-by Thomas Lloyd
Mexico Real Estate Testimonials

New, State-of-the-Art Planetarium to Open in Cancun


I love museums with ancient animals, scientific discoveries and stuff like that.  I also love planetariums – they’re just so amazing to see!

 

The good news is that Cancun will be getting a planetarium VERY soon, which will be great for anyone living in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Tulum – and even for those in Merida or Costa Maya.

 

Here are some details I found in a local Spanish news source:

  • It will be opening on July 19 (tomorrow!)
  • It will be called the Ka’Yok Scientific, Technological and Cultural Planetarium Complex of Cancun
  • “Ka’Yok” means “window to the universe” in Maya
  • The planetarium will be one of 10 most advanced in the world in terms of scientific and technological equipment
  • It will feature cutting-edge technological tools, interactive and multimedia, as well as a more advanced projection system to show images of stars on a perforated aluminum screen 12 meters in diameter
  • The observatory will be equipped with a 16-inch telescope, educational workshops, a museum on the Mayan science of space.
  • The complex was built in a record time of seven months with an investment of about 40 million pesos (about $3.2 million USD.)
  • The complex consists of the planetarium, the observatory, a water museum, an eco-technology park, an auditorium and botanical gardens.

 

This sounds like it will be quite the place to visit, with plenty to do both for families and for retired couples.  I can’t wait to make a trip out there.

 

– by Thomas Lloyd
Questionnaire

Let Earth Day Inspire You – Eco-Lifestyles in Mexico

Earth Day (today, April 22) is an inspiring day for many of us.  It reminds us that we need to take action to prevent pollution, live sustainably and protect wildlife and natural vegetation.  It also reminds us of the possibility of living in harmony with nature.

 

It’s one of those things many of us support and think about, but when it comes to taking action and making it happen, there’s always something in the way or a reason why we (apparently) can’t make the leap right now.  Sure, we all recycle, ride our bikes when we can and hope the government will cut back on pollution – and those things are great, but it would be nice to have the right chance to just go out and do it.

 

Retiring in Mexico

Here’s something that’s surprising for many people who haven’t lived in Mexico; it’s easier to live an environmental lifestyle here!

 

But you may ask yourself – why is living in Mexico better for an ecological lifestyle?  Consider these points:

 

Mexico has a huge variety of natural settings, wildlife and biodiversity.  In many parts of the country, there have simply never been the resources to develop these areas.  Fortunately, as resources have increased with recent economic growth, many large protected areas, such as Sian Kaan, have been created.

Retiring in Mexico

Ecological residential developments are becoming increasingly common. Because of the point mentioned above, more residential developments are being designed with sustainable principles. Many are even being designed in a fully sustainable design, integrating nature and offering an ecological lifestyle in very close contact with that nature.  (See, for example, Pueblo Sac-Be near Playa del Carmen.)

Eco-lifestyle is supported by a deep-rooted spirituality. Many people who want to live in harmony with nature also seek out the spiritual element of that lifestyle.  The strong roots of Mayan mysticism, combined with the recent influence of Tibetian monks and yoga, in the Yucatan Peninsula have created a place where spiritual health, environmental health and bodily health are one and the same.  (See, for example, Holistika, a new eco-village in Tulum.)

Retiring in Mexico

The cost of living is lower.  While an eco-lifestyle is more natural and closer to the basics, up north it tends to cost considerably more.  This is often one of the factors that prevents people from taking the dive.  In Mexico, the cost of living is considerably lower – even for natural products and lifestyle – leaving people more freedom to choose the lifestyle that is best.

 

So, don’t be content to put a poster up on your fridge for Earth Day.  Let this day inspire you to start something extraordinary!  You may not change the world today, but you can start the steps to change your own lifestyle drastically for the better, and inspire others to follow you.

 

-by Bea Lozano

 

Awa Condos Playa del Carmen