Cinco de Mayo: Mexico, France, and Smart Marketing

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The obscure reality behind Cinco de Mayo might shock you. Yes, you, with the fake mustache, sombrero and poncho. With a Coronita beer in hand, and…wait, is that a tortilla chip with guacamole, too?

We all love excuses to celebrate, have a few drinks, and throw parties…so why not Cinco de Mayo? Quick question, though, do you know why we (Americans) celebrate this holiday? Are you aware of the actual event that took place on this date?

Before we get into the Cinco de Mayo, let’s clear one thing up. It is not, I repeat, it is not Mexico’s Independence Day. Although Americans would very much love celebrating Mexico’s freedom from Spain (because we love celebrating everything), that actually took place in September, 1810, and it’s not something that is celebrated much in the USA except for the Mexican-American communities.

Alright, now, back to Cinco de Mayo.

Well, it was on May 5th, 1862, when the very small Mexican army, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, won a battle in the state of Puebla against the great French army (considered the best world-wide at the time). An unlikely win that certainly deserved to be celebrated throughout the country… even if it was just one battle.

So how come Americans are so enthusiastic about celebrating said date when in reality…it had nothing to do with us?

Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla de Puebla

France took over Mexico as an aftermath of the Mexico-American war and the Reform war – both taking place in the mid-1800s. After Mexico was nearly bankrupt, then President Benito Juarez, advised France, Spain and Britain that they would not be paying foreign debts for the following two years as a result of, well, not having any money. Soon, all three countries sailed to Mexico asking to be paid what they were owed. Mexico succeeded in negotiations with Spain and Britain, who took back to their countries satisfied with the new arrangements. However, France was having none of this, and decided it was a good time to establish an empire in Mexico.

For a long time, Mexico was overtaken (very easily) by the French army. It wasn’t until the French reached the state of Puebla that they encountered an army that was very against being invaded (once more) and stood their ground. The battle took place between 6,000 French men and 2,000 Mexican men. It wasn’t military strategy, but courage, that helped Mexico win this battle on May 5th. This established a sense of patriotism and pride throughout the country which was very much needed at the time.

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A few battles later, the French overtook Mexico and established Napoleon III as the new Emperor of Mexico. The United States had been fighting the Civil War, and as soon as it was over, looked over and helped Mexico free itself of the three-year French empire. France was kicked out of Mexico, and Benito Juarez took presidency again in Mexico City in 1967. Hoorah!

News of the great success of the battle of Puebla traveled quickly, eventually reaching Mexican workers living in the USA. It was in Columbia where Mexican miners fired their rifles and chanted songs in celebration about the win over the French army. This is the first ever recorded celebration of Cinco de Mayo in the USA. However, it was mainly ignored elsewhere.

Cinco de Mayo: Fast-Forward to the 1940s.

Chicanos, a widely known community of Mexican-Americans confused about their real identities and nationalities, soon started celebrating Cinco de Mayo, priding themselves in being a part of a country whose significantly smaller army crushed the strongest army at the time. This also boosted the Chicano movement in the USA. However, it wasn’t for another 30 years that Cinco de Mayo became the mainstream celebration we know today. And it was all thanks to marketing.

Cinco de Mayo: The Battle of the Beers (1980s)

Since the 1950s, everything has been about marketing strategies. If you don’t market, you don’t sell. Grupo Modelo, owner of Corona beer, had successful sales all throughout Mexico and was looking to break into international markets. In 1979, it made its way into the USA but flopped with its sales. Rival breweries laughed at its attempts to win over the market. So, Modelo decided to hit where it always work: national pride. Targeting ethnic groups, they decided to exploit the meaning of Mexican pride by promoting their beer through significant Mexican events. In the mid-1980s, it hit the jackpot by increasing its sales and eventually landing in 4th place world-wide, in the beer industry. They rolled out slogans such as “the Drinko for Cinco”, inviting mainly younger audiences – and mainly not Mexican – to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by drinking and partying.

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After seeing their success, other breweries started imitating Modelo’s marketing strategies. Once that Cinco de Mayo had been established as a holiday amongst younger generations of both white and Latin communities, marketing became easier for beers, followed eventually by guacamole, chips, tequila, and more.

Here we are, 30 years later, still celebrating a battle that may have been overly insignificant in Napoleon III’s invasion of Mexico. We celebrate something that not even Mexicans celebrate, because beer companies told us to. Because proud Mexican-Americans wanted to sing and dance traditional songs as a celebration of their army.

So, pop those beer bottles open and bring out the guacamole, because today is Cinco de Mayo and we are in the mood to celebrate!

Top Mexico Real Estate is an American-owned company based in the Riviera Maya. We are the leading real estate experts in the region. If you are looking to relocate or retire to Mexico, feel free to contact one of our Top Buyer’s Representatives, who will gladly help you find the home of your dreams (the perfect place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!). Happy Cinco de Mayo!

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

New Mall Making Holiday Shopping in Playa del Carmen a success!

Just in time for the holiday season, we are finally seeing Playa del Carmen’s newest and most anxiously awaited project now completed and ready for the high season and Christmas shopping in Playa del Carmen!  If you haven’t already guessed, I’m talking about the new Quinta Alegria Mall, located directly on the 5th Avenue in the heart of Playa del Carmen!

For many months we have heard countless rumors about what stores we would see welcomed to Playa del Carmen.  There were many hopes of an H&M and Victoria Secrets, as well as a Cheesecake factory and other beloved American Brands.

While some of these rumors did not prove to be true we still have a final result that is pleasing to many expats who live in Playa as well as favored shopping options for tourists!

So what can you expect to see added to your selection for shopping in Playa del Carmen this holiday season?

  • Sanbourns! Mexico’s well known and loved department store and restaurant selling everything from books, to sunglasses, to perfumes and makeup, to DVD’s and electronics!
  • Victoria Secret Beauty! The VC name is making a mark in Playa for loved fragrances, makeup and accessories!  Sorry ladies, this VC is mainly for accessories!
  • Levis! Perfectly fitting for some cooler Playa nights ahead with their nice selection of denim jeans
  • Columbia! Well-loved brand for outdoor active wear and apparel
  • The Body Shop! We’ve seen it in Cancun but now you can find the best of your favorite lotions, shower gels, hand soaps, sprays and mineral make up items here in Playa!
  • Forever 21! Most anticipated opening among the female crowd in Playa del Carmen.  This Forever 21 has two entire floors reserved for clothing and accessories for women!
  • Bebe! High end clothing store for women well known in the United States

Along with some of these great new additions you will also find some repeats such as the Nike store, Marti Sporting Goods, Mister Tennis, Oakley, Watch my Watch, Sunglass Hut, La Europea, Harley Davidson and Starbucks and more!

The mall itself is a beautiful and attractive addition to the 5th avenue with a very appealing open air design!  If you have been able to walk by these days you will see the beautiful Christmas tree lit up and plenty of pretty white lights inside making it a pleasant new landmark in Playa del Carmen!

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping in Playa del Carmen this season!

A Special Christmas in Playa del Carmen …for Everyone!

What are your plans for Christmas in Playa del Carmen?  If you are still stumped on what to do or are looking for a great dinner we’ve got a few suggestions with help and courtesy of “In the Roo”.

Playa del Carmen is filling up with Christmas Cheer!  This weekend we will start to see a huge increase in tourism from Americans and Canadians who will be spending the Christmas holiday with us here in Playa del Carmen!

Many people are asking where they can go to spend the holiday and enjoy a great meal and a fun filled night!

Here are a few restaurants suggestions offering special dinners and celebrations on the eve of Christmas in Playa del Carmen:

  • Fusion– Offering a special menu, dinner and entertainment right on the beach
  • [Cocotte] Cita-Offering a special Christmas menu
  • Ipanema’s Brazillian Steakhouse– Offering Turkey, Fish and Christmas apple salad
  • Las Delicias– Offering a 3 course turkey dinner
  • Palm Playa– Offering a Christmas turkey dinner
  • Tropical– Offering a special menu
  • Zenzi-Offering a 5 course turkey dinner on the beach underneath the starts (24th and 25th)
  • Aldea Corazon– Offering 4 course dinner and live music
  • La Casa del Agua– Offering a 3 course turkey dinner (24th and 25th)
  • Madre Tierra– Offering a special Christmas menu
  • Lol Ha– Offering a special Christmas menu
  • Ziggys– Offering a special Christmas menu
  • Fridas– Offering a special Christmas menu
  • Indigo Beach– Offering a 3 course Christmas menu (24th and 25th)
  • Reina Roja– Offering special Christmas selections
  • Segafredo-Offering a special Christmas menu
  • Wah Wah Beach Bar– Traditional Christmas dinner being served buffet style on the beach. All you can eat. Live music and entertainment (December 25th only)

If you don’t see your favorite spot on the list, be sure to check with them!  Most restaurants will be hosting a little something special to help you make a memorable Christmas in Playa del Carmen! Make sure to book your reservations early!

Feliz Navidad and Merry Christmas to all!

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in Playa del Carmen!

We are one week away from one of the most loved, wonderful time of the year!
It can also be a bit of a stressful time!  For this reason many people will escape the logistics of the holidays and head down to spend Christmas in Playa del Carmen!

The newspapers reported a 98% occupancy rate in the Riviera Maya starting December 20th which means an extraordinary amount of Americans and Canadians will be decking the halls down south this Christmas.

Take Christmas with you wherever you go!

Although a vacation seems lovely we still crave that holiday feeling!  So where do you find it?  Well, where do you truly find anything?  In your heart!  You can bring Christmas anywhere you go!

Being away from home doesn’t have to mean you give up the holidays all together!  You can still make a special Christmas in Playa del Carmen!

If you are living in Playa del Carmen or are renting a vacation home, decorating is made completely easy!  Most retail and grocery stores are selling all kind of Christmas décor, lights, wreaths, trees, poinsettias; everything you need to create your home into a winter wonderland!

Yes you can find real Christmas trees in Playa!

Contrary to what one may think, real Christmas trees can be found in Playa!  Most major grocery stores like Mega or Walmart as well as other major shopping centers like Sams Club do have fresh smelling pine trees for sale!  You don’t have to miss out on that Christmassy smell just because you are in in Caribbean!

What I love about Christmas in Playa del Carmen is that I get to enjoy the beautiful Playa summer weather outdoors but when I step inside my home, I get that warm Christmas feeling just the way I would back in Indiana!  You still get the feeling to bundle up, snuggle in with your family and drink hot chocolate!

Christmas all around town

If you get the chance to walk around town you will find the Christmas spirit nearly everywhere; lit up trees and lights shining, bringing all the charm and feeling of Christmas into your heart!

Eat Drink and Be Merry in Playa del Carmen

If you are traveling and aren’t willing to cook on Christmas you will not have to sacrifice a delicious and traditional Christmas dinner.  Many restaurants, on and off the 5th Avenue, will have special Christmas dinner menus and are completely willing to help to make your Christmas in Playa a special one!

You can even order an entire Christmas feast to be cooked, prepared and delivered to your home eliminating all the mess. Check the local grocery stores, department stores like Sanbourns, and local restaurants and bakeries for their special Christmas dinner packages!

Are you that last minute shopper?

We are all guilty of it!  We have an entire 364 days before Christmas yet, that large population of us will wait until December 23rd and 24th to search for last minute gifts!  If you are in Playa del Carmen for the holiday season, you couldn’t be in a better place to have this problem!

Playa del Carmen is filled with all kinds of shopping options to meet your every need. You can find clothing, accessories, sportswear, shoe stores, electronics, books, games, etc.!

The Quinta Alegria mall has opened up quite a few new selections for shopping lovers right on 5th ave.  You can also check out Liverpool on highway 307 for or Sears located in Plaza Las Americas!

I wish everyone a fun, enjoyable and relaxing Christmas season this year in 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.

Falling in love with Fall in Playa del Carmen

This past weekend marked a new season of Fall all around the world!  For many the fall/autumn is associated with a slight chill in the air, changing colored leaves on the trees, pumpkin spiced coffee, comfy light jackets and the smell of apple pie!  Although many people are sad to see the summer come to an end, most will welcome fall with open arms!

This is a feeling that often gets missed if you are living in Playa del Carmen or other areas of the Caribbean!  Let’s face it; September doesn’t exactly scream autumn here, at least not in the way we are used to it!  But like anywhere else in the world the season does bring its own feeling no matter where you are!  There are plenty of ways to get you into that fall feeling!

Fill your senses!
Fragrances of cinnamon, apple or pumpkin can bring the life of fall right into your home!  Light a candle or use a fall scented air freshener!

Eat and drink your fall favorites! Don’t stop just because the weather is warm!  Go ahead and bake that pumpkin pie! Or choose your favorite fall flavored latte in your favorite coffee shop!  Fall is a feeling and it doesn’t have to be dictated by weather!

Decorate your home with fall colors and décor! In most stores you will find plenty of fall decorations!  The weather does not stop the retail industry from making these things available to you! Dressing your home in fall colors can bring the sweet autumn feeling right into your heart!

You can taste, smell and look at fall every day inside your house!

Get into the spirit with holidays!

Start creating your Halloween costume and get excited for your Thanksgiving dinner!  Getting excited for these fall holidays can put you right into that cozy comforting autumn mood.

Escape the Caribbean!

If you are truly itching for a taste of real fall then you might want to plan your vacations home during this time period.  Or if you have never traveled through Central Mexico it can be a perfect time of year to see the beauty of Mexico City, Guanajuato or San Miguel!  Taking a week or so in a cooler climate can do just the trick!

Natural changes the fall equinox brings to The Riviera Maya!
While it may still be quite warm in the Riviera Maya during the fall season, the weather and the amount of sunlight does start to change.  You may, every now and then, experience an evening or morning that becomes a little chilly!  If you love the fall take advantage of those moments!  Grab a sweater and go for a walk!  Take in the chill!  This is your time to drink a hot beverage and smell the cool air!  Fall is not non-existent here, it’s just sporadic!  So take advantage of the days that do come!

Each season brings new changes enter our lives. All of us here at Top Mexico Real Estate want to wish everyone a happy fall season in Paradise!

-By Thomas Lloyd
My real estate - Mexico real estate buyers tools

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

Happy Mother’s Day – Mexican Style!

Now, just so you know, Mother’s Day is celebrated in Mexico on May 10, regardless of the day of the week. But, to share a taste of Mother’s Day in the true Mexican style with you, here’s a bit of mariachi – a special Mother’s Day song:

(If you can’t see the video, click here to see it in our blog.)

I hope you enjoyed! And a happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, from Bea and me!

-by Thomas Lloyd

Now, just so you know, Mother’s Day is celebrated in Mexico on May 10, regardless of the day of the week. But, to share a taste of Mother’s Day in the true Mexican style with you, here’s a bit of mariachi – a special Mother’s Day song:

I hope you enjoyed! And a happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, from Bea and me!

-by Thomas Lloyd

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