Mexico is seen as a heavenly country by many people. Its turquoise sea, white sandy beaches, and year-round sunshine largely contribute to such a flattering title. Lately, Americans have been leaving their homes and making the move to Playa del Carmen. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Living in Playa del Carmen
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
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
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
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.
Winter is Coming: Escape the Cold in Mexico’s Riviera Maya
Snowbird is a common term heard in North America. It describes those who enjoy traveling to warmer climates during the winter months. And, seriously, who can blame them? While most of their counterparts in Canada and the United States are spending most of the time indoors, having to stomp through cold rain and snow just to get groceries, snowbirds are cozy warm next to the Caribbean Sea. From warmer weather to annual festivals, there are innumerable reasons why anyone might want to migrate south this winter.
Run from the Snow
While there are pockets of the United States that remain on the warm side during the winter months, most of the rest of Canadians and Americans are pulling out their parkas and galoshes. This year, Edmonton (the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta) had its first snow day on September 12th! That is a full ten days before summer even officially ended. While most of the rest of Canada and the US weren’t quite so unlucky, the winter weather will come for them eventually, as well. But, why wait for winter to come, if you can escape it beforehand?
Snow and cold is a worry far from anybody’s mind in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico. Even in its coldest month of January, temperatures average in the mid-20s Celsius / high-70s Fahrenheit. Although hurricane season lasts from May to November in the Riviera Maya, the depth of winter is safe from storms. It truly is an ideal time of year to warm up next to the Caribbean Sea.
Culture for Days
Another great reason for why any snowbird prefers to spend time in Mexico during the winter months is for the incredible culture. Día de la Revolución on November 20th is a day to mark the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. Visitors to the country can be on the outlook for parades or other street festivals taking place to mark this important day in Mexican history. On the light-hearted side, Día de los Inocentes is on December 28th. This is Mexico’s rendition of April Fools’ Day. Be careful, you might fall victim to fake headlines that newspapers often partake in to celebrate.
Of course, there is also Christmas and New Year’s Day. So, rest assured that you will not miss out on any personal traditions either. You also have the opportunity to add new traditions to your mix. For example, while many Americans or Canadians steal kisses or clink classes at the stroke of midnight, Mexicans look to las doce uvas de la suerte. They eat 12 grapes with each chime of the clock’s bell to bring good luck and prosperity for each month of the new year.
Snowbird Paradise Wonderland
Yet another reason to consider the Riviera Maya if you’re a snowbird is the affordable real estate options. There are thousands of properties out there that are perfect for snowbirds. During the winter months you can occupy them, but the rest of the year you are free to rent them out as vacation rentals, and profit from your property. There are options in Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun and even Merida. If you’re looking to run from the freezing winters of the north, you might as well make the most of it by investing in the region. And, who knows? You might just find your forever home here.
Between the beautiful weather and exciting holidays during the winter months of Mexico, it is no secret why the Riviera Maya is an ideal destination for anyone interested in migrating south for the winter. Moreover, it has incredible food and culture year-round, and friendly locals who are always eager to welcome snowbirds into their country.
Where to Buy Groceries and Necessities in Playa del Carmen
One of the first annoyances many expats and retirees face when settling for their new life in Playa del Carmen is finding where to buy things. When relocating to these new places it is important to do some previous research on where all the necessities are located in reference to where you will be living. If you are making the Riviera Maya your forever home, you will surely be in need to find certain things along the line – more than just groceries. From grocery stores to malls to car dealerships, you will find it all in the region. Even more mundane things such as going to the cinema or knowing where to buy fruits and vegetables is important. Here is a list of where to buy things throughout Playa del Carmen.
A routinely activity, grocery shopping is very easy in Playa del Carmen. There are many large supermarket chains throughout – both national and international – where you will find locally-sourced and imported goods. La Mega and Walmart are great for quick shopping. You can find anything from alcohol to groceries, clothing, souvenirs and electronics. Although you might be familiar with Walmart, this is focused on a Mexican market and not always carries the same products you are used to back home.
Here is a list of the largest and most popular grocery shops:
Medical Centers and Hospitals
It’s important to know where to get medical attention, whether it’s for a quick check-up or an emergency. As expats and retirees, we highly recommend you always go to a private clinic or hospital for any medical needs. As to where to buy medications and other things, there are many pharmacies throughout the area, as well as inside large hospitals.
Hospitals and Clinics
Playa International Clinic
Hospital San Carlos
Cruz Roja (Red Cross)
Farmacias del Ahorro
If you’re thinking of bringing your car down to Mexico, you should definitely check whether the brand you’re driving is available in Playa del Carmen, or at least Cancun. That way, if you need to put it in for a check-up or need to replace any parts, you will be able to visit the dealership. For those who want to purchase a car in Playa del Carmen, it is also best to know what dealerships are available and what cars they carry – it often varies from other countries.
Here are the most popular dealerships in Playa del Carmen:
Nissan Playa del Carmen
Toyota Riviera Maya
Ford Riviera Maya
Shopping and Entertainment
Expats are often looking where to buy clothes, sports accessories, perfumes and lotions and other things. There are plenty of shopping centers with great local, national and international stores, as well as plenty of entertainment options. You will find movie theaters, cafés, shops, supermarkets, furniture stores and big stores like Sears.
Quinta Alegria Shopping Mall
Paseo del Carmen
Plaza Las Americas
US Consular Agency, Playa del Carmen
For any needs about visa requirements, passports or any other assistance you may require while living in Playa del Carmen you will need to visit or call the US Consular Agency located in Plaza Progreso on the Federal Highway 307, local 33.
Everything is different in Playa del Carmen than it would be back home. That is why knowing where to buy things or find the help you need is important. As you settle into your new life, you will slowly start finding quirky and odd stores throughout the many neighborhoods. You will find restaurants, cafés, shops, bars, and more that you will start to frequent.
If you’re just beginning to consider your retirement to paradise, make sure you check out the hundreds of listings we have for you. And if you’re ready to start seeing properties, give us a call. We’re here to help you!
Xcaret Announces Two New Parks in the Riviera Maya
Xcaret Park is perhaps one of the Riviera Maya’s most sought-after tourist attractions. It offers a wide selection of activities that are impossible to see in just one day. From swimming in the ocean, to visiting the massive aquarium, and checking out the butterfly den and seeing the jaguars and panthers, it has everything for a fun day-trip for the family. It is the size of over 40 football fields and has all types of water activities on offer. However, its most popular attraction is the Mexico Espectacular show they put on at the end of the day.
The owners of Xcaret, however, have not just stopped at that. In total, they have opened six parks and one archeological tour. They are Xcaret, Xel Ha, Xplor (and Xplor Fuego), Xichen, Xenotes, Xoximilco, and Xenses. At the moment, their seventh park, Xavage by Xcaret, is under construction and is due to open in December 2018. For three years in a row now, Xcaret has received the Best International Theme Park Award by American travel companies, making it one of the most important Mexican-owned companies in the world.
A New World of Adventures
The new park, according to Experiencias Xcaret General Director, Miguel Quintana Pali, is a whole lot of new extreme. It will be located right next to Xoximilco near the Cancun International Airport. The 25-million USD investment is going towards the implementation of a mountain and a fast white-water river to make the park one of the most exciting to experience.
Another Addition for Xperiencias Xcaret
Moreover, the group is now preparing to add yet another park to their portfolio. Authorities have recently approved a full-blown water park called Suut Há Water Park by Experiencias Xcaret. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources permitted the construction for the park in March of the upcoming year. Their goal for the water park features a 40-meter high slide, many swimming pools, canals, and lush green areas with a capacity of over two hectares.
The water park will be located near their Xplor Park in Playa del Carmen and is set to cost approximately 1 billion Mexican pesos. It will create close to 200 new jobs. The Riviera Maya offers plenty of activities to enjoy their natural resources. But missing out on any one of the Xcaret adventure parks is a mistake. Especially for those that live in the Riviera Maya!
If you want to make this paradise your retirement home, reach out to us today. We’ve got experts waiting to help you find your dream home.
Mexican Food – A Unique and Tasty Experience
Finding someone – anyone, who doesn’t like Mexican food is a rather difficult task. One of Mexico’s biggest contributions to the world is its culinary delights! Everyone in North America knows how delicious Mexican food is. Can you think of very many places that you have visited where you can’t get Mexican food? And we are not talking Taco Bell. Mexican food isn’t just tacos, burritos and tamales. It also includes fully prepared dishes that use fresh fish, pork and chicken as the main ingredient/course.
“Tastes great and is good for you!”
Mexico is noted on CNN’s Top 10 World-Best-Food list. CNN Travel boast that they “Celebrate the best cultural foods and lambaste the others”. Mexico’s unique cuisine is not only tasty, but quite healthy as well. By using such ingredients as peppers, avocados, limes and plenty of beans provide you with an abundance of antioxidants, proteins and other nourishing vitamins and minerals. It “Tastes great and is good for you!” What more do you need?
Anyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to try ‘real’ authentic Mexican dishes are missing out. You won’t get them from corporate chains or fast food joints. You need to search out places that are not so popular or not-so fancy looking buildings. Although, the best option is to visit Mexico itself. Mexican families who own or operate restaurants are the ones who usually prepare the most unique and authentic Mexican food.
Delicious dishes some people haven’t tried
CNN Travel site rated Tacos – soft shell, and Fajitas – mixed meats, being among India’s Masala Dosa (crepes), the UK’s Fish & Chips and Pecking Duck from China as some of the best foods in the world. However, Mexico has many prepared foods that most people have never tried let alone heard of. Such dishes as:
- Chilaquiles – a breakfast dish that consist of fried corn tortillas, chili peppers, eggs and chicken served with a cheese and sour cream topping.
- Pozole is a soup that is served with a broth that has chicken, hominy and plenty of herbs and spices. It is topped with radishes, onion, lime and chili.
- Chile en Nogada is one of Mexico’s most patriotic dishes that displays the colors of Mexico’s flag. It is a Poblano pepper stuffed with a variety of ingredients that is well known to the region.
- Enchiladas are one of the favorite dishes for visitors to Mexico. They are corn tortillas stuffed with your choice of meats, beans, rice and vegetables top with a green or red sauce and cheese.
- Mole (pronounced Mol-eh’), is a sauce that is made up of approximately 20 ingredients that include Mole Poblano chili. It is a deep brown in color and is poured over a variety of prepared foods.
The above are only a few popular dishes that are “Must try” cuisines. The more common Mexican foods we are familiar with are tamales, tostados and guacamole. Mexico uses all the food groups to create their delicious dishes. In addition, poultry, pork and seafood seem to be the most popular choices.
Some history about Mexican food
Mexico’s world renowned cookeries started out over 7,000 years ago. Several Mesoamerican communities – tribes such as the Mayans, Olmec, Huastec, Zapotec and Purepecha to mention a few – are responsible for these now favorite cuisines. The Aztec Empire brought all these multi-ethnic societies together along with their culinary creations. Even though wheat and rice where introduced to Mexico’s culture, corn and chili peppers stayed as the main ingredients.
Enjoying authentic Mexican food either abroad or in your home town, its a unique and tasty experience. Every cuisine has a complimentary cordial that accents the experience. Mexico also has several adult beverages that are very popular and that’s cerveza – beer, and tequila. Add all these elements together, along with the colorful ambience that the Mexico’s culture brings and you have a perfect dining experience. “Disfruta!” (Enjoy).
Why People Love Living in Playa del Carmen
There are so many things we could include in this article. We will do our best to include as much as we can, but you most likely do not have hours upon hours to read about everything that we love about living in Playa del Carmen. So let us keep this short and sweet. We will include the main attributes as to why people love to live in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Below we have listed the top five things that we love best about living here.
- The location (beach + convenience)
- The people
- The safety
- The food
- The culture
Let’s start off with the number one reason as to why we love living in the beautiful Playa del Carmen, and that would be the location. Here you can find everything you would ever need in the proximity of 45 minutes. An international airport is only 30 minutes away. Some of the best beaches in the world, such as Tulum, are only 45 minutes away. If you would like to go on a tour to one of the eco parks, it is within 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen. If you are looking for grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Cell phone stores, malls, and Starbucks, Playa del Carmen is home to all those places.
Secondly, it would of course be the people. They are some of the friendliest, most helpful people here living in Playa del Carmen. Not to mention people of every nationality. It is such a multi-cultural beach town, where you will find people of your own culture and meet new people too! No matter where you go, if you have troubles or need help with anything you can ask a fellow local and they will be happy to help you out.
Number three is a huge advantage to this town, and a very important reason as to why people choose living in Playa del Carmen. When you think of living somewhere, you do not want to be afraid of your safety. We know things happen everywhere in the world and you always have to be cautious, Playa del Carmen is a safe town. There are policemen located all over the city to protect everyone who lives and visits Playa del Carmen. So there is no need to feel unsafe living in Mexico. Just ask the other Americans and Canadians and other nationalities that live here.
Number four is most likely why the expats choose to live here for so long. The food in Playa del Carmen is FANTASTIC. Not only the Mexican food is delicious, but also the Italian community is huge here. We recommend you trying out all the delicious Italian restaurants on Fifth Avenue, but there are many wonderful and cheaper restaurants on 10th Avenue. You will not be disappointed in the gastronomy here in Playa del Carmen, especially if you are a true foodie.
Last but not least is the culture. If you have been to Mexico before and stayed in an all-inclusive resort, you have experienced about 10% of the culture. If you went into town for a day, you have experience 20% of the culture. You need to move to Playa del Carmen to experience 100% of the culture here. With Mexican shows at night, friendly locals roaming the streets, comedy nights, local talent acts in the middle of the streets, along with musicians who sing to you while you are enjoying some wine. No matter where you go you will be surrounded with beautiful people who love you! The energy is high, and that comes with a high quality of life. So we suggest you pack your bags and move down to paradise.
Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Mexico V
This will be the final article in a series of “Things you need to know before moving to Mexico: Adjusting to your new lifestyle”
In this segment we will be talking about adjusting to a new lifestyle after moving to Mexico. Saying goodbye to your old life and hello to a new chapter can sometimes take a little time. After finding a new home and settling in, getting familiar with your surroundings and meeting new people can be a bit frightening.
In the beginning, taking baby steps leads to long and very rewarding strides. Don’t be afraid to go out during the day and explore your new neighborhood. Try shopping at a few local markets for your fruits and vegetables. If you live in town, there are a variety of grocery stores to choose from and yes, there is a Walmart. Shopping is actually a great resource to find other expats roaming the aisles. Don’t be afraid to go up and nonchalantly introduce yourself as being new to the community.
When cruising up and down the streets of Playa del Carmen, walk into places like salons or barber shops and get a feel for the stylist. Check out several medical and dental offices and speak with the physician and dentist. It is always a good idea to establish a local doctor. Ask about their fee schedules and hours. Doing this is the norm in Mexico and is expected. Especially in a place like Playa, where there is an extremely large expat community that also had to adapt to a new lifestyle.
Some of the most likely places to meet people are the local cafes, restaurants and bar & grills. Even if you don’t indulge in adult spirits, just order up your favorite beverage and strike up a conversation with other North Americans. We have found that these types of establishments are an easy way to develop friends and/or casual acquaintances. You can also get online and find out where many of the North Americans or expats frequent. Another good way to get to know people is by joining a church. There are several around Playa del Carmen that worship in English.
If you participated with an organization like the Kiwanis, Rotary or other international clubs back in the states, then there are probably extensions of them here in Mexico as well. The ‘Seaside Rotary Club’ is a very active association and could be another way of meeting other transplants. Meeting people is the quickest way to get acclimated to the area and have it start to feel like you are part of the community. You might want to consider joining an expat lunch or dinner club. Go online and search social media sites like Facebook or Twitter for more information.
Getting to know the town of Playa del Carmen and its people really isn’t any different than doing the same thing back in the United States. The Mexican people are very friendly and willing to help in any way they can. It will be a little awkward in the beginning. You might at one time or another second guess your reasons for moving abroad. But when things do start to fall in place and you adapt to your new surroundings, you will wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. Choosing a new lifestyle is always a good idea!
Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Mexico IV
“Settling in and finding your perfect home in Mexico”
After moving to Mexico and starting your new life, getting settled in will take a few weeks or possibly months. Looking for your first real home in Mexico will require you to search out an area that you feel works best for you and any accompanying companions. Talk with your Top Mexico realtor regarding your wants and needs. They will show you properties that will fit within your criteria.
It is very easy to get lost in the moment, especially in an unfamiliar environment and culture. Steady yourself and try to understand that selecting a home in a foreign country is much different than in the United States. It is highly advisable to spend a month or two renting in an area that you could be considering. Get to know what is available in the neighborhood. Establish communication with a few of the locals and most of all, make sure it fits your lifestyle.
After getting comfortable with your surroundings and you are ready to take the next step, here are several basic options to consider when purchasing a home in Mexico:
- Discuss what your likes and dislikes are with your agent regarding your current neighborhood. They may have similar communities that could fill any voids you may have.
- You need to decide if a stand-alone home or condo best suits your needs. Take into consideration if you have pets, children and/or how much attention you want to give to yard care and/or pool.
- Be specific on your desired layout including number of bedrooms, baths and overall floor plan.
- Do you want to be close to everything? Do you enjoy your privacy? How close to the beach or jungle do you want to be?
- Tell your agent what your budget is and if there is any flexibility to it. Don’t forget to add any HOA fees if looking at complexes or gated communities.
Playa del Carmen has plenty of surrounding communities and neighboring towns that have lots of new developments. Buying new construction does have its benefits. You can select your own colors, fixtures and in some cases, make minor changes to the floor plan. Preconstruction sales can also offer discounts that can equate to more bang for your buck. Your agent should have insight regarding new construction going on or planned in your desired area.
If you like a particular area and there really isn’t any current developments happening, there might be some new – unsold homes/condos not listed yet. Sometimes there are some finished properties that the sale(s) have fallen through and will be back on the market. Developers want to quickly unload them so they can move on to other projects. Again, your real estate agent can help you locate these types of homes/condos.
There are always plenty of well-built and establish homes/condos throughout the area. If you are somewhat open on a style and floor plan, there is a wide variety of inventory to choose from. Most of them come furnished, updated and turnkey. All you have to do is add bits and pieces of your own personality and ‘voilà’, you have a home! Buying in an established community can offer mature landscape, plenty of added amenities, and neighbors who can lend a helping hand getting you settled into your new neighborhood. This is a good recommendation when moving to Mexico.
No matter if you choose a home or condo, it will be the beginning of your new life. The tropical weather, beautiful Caribbean water brushing against white sand beaches, the swaying palms, and a lower cost of living will pamper anyone’s dream of utopia. You are almost there. Reach out and grab ahold of a piece of paradise. You will not regret moving to Mexico!
John´s Testimonial: Las Olas, Playa del Carmen
John is the latest person to purchase a property with Top Mexico and is the new owner of a a condo in Las Olas, located in downtown Playa del Carmen. We asked him to tell us his story about how Top Mexico was able to make it happen.
John began looking for property in this area and came across the Top Mexico Real Estate´s website. After sending an inquiry he was contacted by agent Adrian Gibson and they began discussing back and forth about the possibilities available down in Playa. So 6 months later he was down in Playa to meet with Adrian and after getting to know each other briefly he decided to stay with Top Mexico Real Estate in order to find his home.
When he and his wife first came down to begin the property search they not only met with the agent but also the closing coordinator and were taken to a law firm that would represent them. Top Mexico Real Estate answered all of their questions and told them the positives and negatives concerned with owning a property in Playa del Carmen.
Please click on the video above to hear John tell you himself, and when you are done, why not contact one of our representatives here at Top Mexico as well? We would be happy to answer all of your questions regarding property in the Riviera Maya.