Looking for the perfect retirement spot, think Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a very popular retirement destination for foreigners, with a booming growth in specialized retirement communities. This makes Puerto Vallarta one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico.

Puerta Vallarta Beach

If you are looking for the perfect balance between colonial charm and beautiful beaches, Puerta Vallarta real estate is the place for you! Puerto Vallarta and Hawaii share the same latitude, meaning you can enjoying perfect weather with an average temperature of 84° F; at a fraction of the price for real estate.

With an estimated population of 350,000 inhabitants, Puerto Vallarta has a modern urban infrastructure with paved streets, water treatment and distribution plants, power plants, electrical wiring and a newly expanded airport. There are also marine terminals, hospitals, universities and all the amenities of a big city without losing its colonial charm.

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What is it like to retire in Puerto Vallarta?
There is a growing community of expats and retirees, mainly Americans and Canadians. If you do not speak Spanish, a big part of the population, especially young people; can communicate with you in English.

The safety of the population is one of the main concerns of the city, which works really hard on keeping crime at bay. Also, the value of real estate has increased 300% since 2000, making it an excellent long-term investment.

If you live in Vallarta you do not need to deprive yourself of anything, you can have your high speed Internet, cable television and all the major American publications. There is also a wide array of big department stores, specialized shops like office depot or home depot and fast food chains.

Puerto Vallarta is also known for the quality of its medical services, the cost for specialized treatments, including cosmetic surgery; is really affordable. Puerto Vallarta offers qualified professional doctors.

What to do in Puerto Vallarta?
If you are an active individual, Puerto Vallarta offers golf courses, sports fishing and watersports for everybody. Retirement communities also have top notch walking paths, pools and even sports centers.

If you are more into relaxation, there are cinemas, theaters and restaurants. If you love to learn, there is a wide range of educational and cultural activities: languages, flamenco, tango, salsa, and yoga, various styles of martial arts, gardening, cooking, music and visual arts.

You can also volunteer to one of many nonprofit organizations, such as: defense and health care to women, child care, environmental protection and advocacy for the rights of animals.

If you are looking for the perfect balance between colonial charm, beautiful beaches and gorgeous weather, Puerta Vallarta is the place for you!

Now if you have any question of this or any of the TOP MEXICO REAL ESTATE properties we have listed in Playa Del Carmen, The Riviera Maya or anywhere throughout Mexico, please feel free to contact any of our TOP MEXICO EXPERT SALES TEAM 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!

Churches, Pyramids, Volcanoes and Pure Colonial Charm: Cholula

Churches, Pyramids, Volcanoes and Pure Colonial Charm: Cholula
Just this week I posted a picture of one of Mexico’s most famous volcanoes – Itzaccihuatl, the one that looks like a sleeping woman.  Now, this volcano is right next to another one, Popocatepetl, which recently had a small eruption.  Some photographer captured a picture of a church on a hilltop with the erupting volcano behind it; the picture is so beautiful that I decided to make it my computer wallpaper.

Here’s the funny thing; I didn’t realize until today that I’ve actually visited this site!

This discovery has brought to mind another great place to visit in central Mexico – the town of Cholula.

Where is it?

Cholula is a town which has been swallowed up by metropolitan area of the larger (colonial) city of Puebla.  It would be misleading to say “suburb” since it’s much more like a town and not at all like the modern idea of a suburb.  This means it’s about 2 hours away from Mexico City, just on the other side of the famous volcanoes I’ve mentioned.

The colonial beauty

Like the city of Puebla, Cholula is full of pure colonial charm, with many churches and buildings with colonial architecture; the town is simply a lovely place to walk around and enjoy the scenery.  There are also good restaurants.

Mystery and Magic

While there are many sites worth seeing and writing about in Cholula, I want to focus specifically on the one I mentioned at the top – the church, called Nuestra Senora de los Remedios, on the hilltop with the view of the volcano (more correctly volcanoes, since besides those two, you can see 2 others further in the distance.)

First of all, it’s worth noting that it’s actually not on a hilltop.  If you look at any picture of the church and “hill,” you will notice that the sides are very straight and almost flat; what appears to be a hill at a first glance is actually a pyramid that has been overgrown.  The church was built on top of the pyramid!
The pyramid was from a more ancient civilization in the area, and was actually abandoned around the 12th century; by the time the Spanish arrived and built the church, the pyramid was long out of use and overgrown.

In recent decades, the bottom part of the pyramid was excavated, allowing you to see the bottom steps, and revealing a large network of secret tunnels in the bottom part of the pyramid!  The top has not been excavated because of the church on top, which is also a treasure!

The Church

After you check out the fascinating pyramid, you can make your way up the “hillside” to the church (walking only, 48 steps, 850 ft upward!).
First of all, the views of the volcanoes are stunning! You can look out over the green, patchwork countryside with the majestic volcanoes towering in the distance.

The views of the city of Puebla are also amazing. (Here’s a challenge; count how many churches you can see.  If you can visit all of them, you’ll know the entire city, and have seen some of the most beautiful architecture to be found!)

The church itself is spectacular.  The orange painting outside with white trim and elegant domes and arches is true to the best of colonial style.  In the interior, the painting, gold work, images, statues and structure are all very original and very beautiful.  It’s a place where you can just stand in silence, absorbing it!
It’s easy to see why the church, like the pyramid in ancient times before it, is one of the region’s most important pilgrimage sites.

If you are traveling in central Mexico, I would definitely recommend a trip to Puebla and the town of Cholula!  Among the many sights you will see in your life, few will be as specular is this one.

-by Bea Lozano
Mexico Closing Costs Kit

Travel Tips – The Charm and Beauty of Mexico City

When I tell people that Mexico City is a great place to travel to, they usually give me a funny look – like they think it’s a joke, just waiting for me to start laughing.


“Isn’t that a big, ugly city, full of smog, litter, traffic, graffiti, poverty and crime?” is what runs through most people’s minds. “It’s not safe, is it?”


Mexicans as much as anyone else have a very negative image of the city (compare to how most Americans feel about New York, or Canadians about Toronto.) But contrary to what people think, it really is a good place to travel.


You’ll notice that this page speaks highly of its travel potential.  This travel site ranks it as Mexico’s #1 place to travel to, safely.


Balanced View

I love Mexico City.  That’s where I’m from.  But I think there’s more to it than that.  At the same time, I want to be honest; some of the ugliest places I’ve seen in any city are in that city. Yet, blocks away there are some of the most beautiful and interesting places you’ll find anywhere – even compared to Europe.  These are some of the reasons I recommend the city.


Colonial Charm – The old downtown of Mexico City (“Centro Historico”) with its splendid old churches and blocks upon blocks of beautiful Mexican architecture has been very well preserved and I would say it holds out well against any other colonial city, and even the charming European cities everyone goes on about.


Unique Culture – Walking around downtown Mexico City, you really feel something different. While the city is busy, it’s also relaxed and enjoys life. There are men playing guitar in the parks, and bands with young and old people dancing on the weekends.  The huge city square has been home to some of the most massive outdoor concerts of all styles.  And then there’s Garibaldi Square with its mariachis …


History, Museums, Art – If you love fine culture and learning about history, you will love Mexico City.  It has an excellent Museum of Anthropology, and the Bellas Artes fine art museum, among many, many similar  items.  There are also many religious sites, like the famous Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.


Parks and Canals
– Inside and just outside of the city there are parks of all sizes, ranging from fairly pure nature and authentic Mexican countryside to very elegantly landscaped urban “park-ettes” ideal for sitting down with an ice cream. One of the most famous parks (Chapultapec) has a castle in the middle of it. There are also the famous canals of Xolchimilco in the south of the city where long boats offer both quiet, relaxing rides, and “parties on the go.”


Food – In Mexico City, you can find food from any part of Mexico; but as all people from the city point out, it has its own unique style.  There are also the city’s favorites, like tacos “al pastor” which offer meat similar to that found on doner kebabs.


Low Cost of Everything!! People who live in the city will tell you that part of its charm is that you can go out with only a dollar in your pocket (just enough for the subway and bus) and still fully enjoy an active day out in the city.  Street music, art displays, shows and much more are open for the public.  Museums and galleries are free on certain days. While you’ll want to enjoy the finer points of the city, you’ll find that your expenses in the city tend to be low – even compared to tourist locations in Mexico!


The Weather
– I always tell people that weather in Mexico City is nearly perfect.  Imagine something like late summer, but all year round.  The days are sunny and warm (not hot!) and the nights cool off nicely.  The rainy season can bring heavy downpours, but even these usually last for only an hour or so, and clear up quickly.


So, in conclusion, I wouldn’t recommend Mexico City as a place for expats to live (although it is in fact home to many who happily live there.)  But I would most certainly recommend a visit.  Plan your trip, investigate the  main attractions (there are many – you’ll have to pick and choose!) and stick to the tourist areas.  You’ll probably wonder why you never got to know this incredible city!


-by Bea Lozano

A Romantic Gondola Ride through the Canals of … Cancun?

Now imagine relaxing in a gondola, with a drink in your hand, music in the air, with not a worry in the world.  Where would you imagine you are?  Probably not Cancun … but something like this could be reality here some time soon.


I just read that Xcaret, the company that already has 2 amazing culture and nature-focused theme parks in the area, is planning to create a replica of Mexico City’s Xolchimilco in Cancun over the next few years.


But wait a minute – what’s Xolchimilco?

If you’re not familiar with Mexico City, you may not know about the beautiful canals in a very quaint and traditional group of villages nestled in the south of the city.


Back when I lived in Mexico City, it was one of my favorite outings, both to take friends and family who were visiting and just for  a relaxing weekend afternoon.


You might know that back a long time ago, Mexico City was in the middle of a lake. As the city grew and the lake was filled in, canals were left connecting various parts of the city.  Most are now gone, but the most connecting canals have survived are in Xolchimilco, which was only recently swallowed by the ever-growing city.


The wide canals, the greenery and colorful flowers surrounding them and the villages they go through offer a charming escape, a place where you really don’t realize you’re in the city.



Like in Venice, you can hire gondola-like – but far more colorful and cheerful – boats, called “trajineras,” which are pushed along by the driver.  Other boats go by selling drinks and food. There are mariachis.


Not all is romance …

On the other hand, there’s a very non-romantic side to the canals of Xolchimilco.   Just imagine enjoying a fine summer afternoon, with boat after boat going by selling beer and other drinks – and not a care in the world!  For this very reason, many of the locals have come to call the trajineras “trajinebrias“- “ebrio” is one of the words for “drunk.”


The boats are also larger than the gondolas and you can fit a little party onto them.


It’s pretty common that someone has a drink or two too many and takes a tumble into the water …


While the result is usually a good laugh – especially for those who didn’t fall in – the water doesn’t flow much and its not the nicest experience!



Romantic or party?  You can choose.  There’s enough space in the canals so all can enjoy alike!


New Canals Cancun?

One of the advantages to the replica to be built in Cancun is that I’m sure they will take waterflow into account. Combining the best beaches to be found with a beautiful resort city and a very charming and unique cultural feature from Mexico’s central heartland.


And besides that, it’ll be less than an hour away from home for me.


I don’t think it get’s much better than this!


-by Thomas Lloyd


Mexico Insurance Kit

Visit the Beautiful Silver Town of Taxco in Central Mexico

Mexico Discovery TripsNestled in the rugged hills of central Mexico is the silver mining town of Taxco. Little white homes and shops line steeply sloped streets; the entire town is on a hillside.  Standing above the town is the classic old church, which looks taller than it actually is since it’s located uphill from most of the town.


I simply love walking around the town.  It feels like you’re stepping into a different time.


The Silver

Than there is the silver.  Taxco has remained true to its mining town heritage with silver shops on every corner, selling necklaces, rings, figures, engravings and much more.  The pure silver is of high quality and prices are low.


Whether you a silver fanatic or not, I’m sure you’ll find a few knickknacks to take home.  I always do.


As you can see in the picture below, the shops selling silver are much more in an informal “market” style than an elegant jewelry shop.  For me, this is part of the charm.


How to Get There

Most retirees tend to settle in the popular beachfront locations in Mexico, or in the two interior towns of Chapala or San Miguel del Allende.  But getting to a place like Taxco is not so difficult.


Very cheap plane tickets can be found to Mexico City from the places like Cancun – often under $100 USD round trip.  If you fly to the nearby city of Toluca, you’re even closer to Taxco (as well as the quaint lakefront town of Valle de Bravo) and you will skip out on Mexico City’s traffic.


The bus ride is about 2 hours from Toluca.  Mexico City should only be about 20 minutes more by distance, but traffic could add another hour.


Now, this sounds like a lot of travel just to get to a little silver town, even though it is picturesque and quaint; however, there are a number of beautiful little gems hidden in these hills, and it’s worth a discovery trip of a few days – or even a week or two – in this part of central Mexico.


More Pictures

This is a beautiful view of the town at sunset:

Here you can see how the houses and shops line the steep streets:

Thi is the picturesque town square, right in front of the church, as is always the case in Mexico:

I hope that you have the pleasure to visit Taxco one day in your Mexico retirement!


-by Bea Lozano

My real estate - Mexico real estate buyers tools

Have You Ever Seen a Bull Fight? Or Maybe a Cock Fight?

Today, just for fun, I did a Google image search for “Mexico.”  The first 10 pictures or so are maps, and then the pictures of Mexico’s distinct cultural traits begin to come up – typical food, traditional clothes, festivals, beaches, Mayan pyramids, etc.


Two pictures turned up that reminded me of another side of Mexico that tourists seldom see – the bull fights and the cock fights.


The Bull Fights

I don’t think this practice is wide spread, but Mexico City actually has the world’s largest bullfighting stadium with spectacles every day.  I believe the practice has been maintained solely because of its uniqueness and its history.


I’ve seen a bullfight or two, just to satisfy my curiosity.  I can’t say it’s my cup of tea!


The Cock Fights

This a common pastime in Mexico’s countryside; it is considered an especially “macho” or manly activity.  From what I’ve heard, it’s very violent and bloody.


The Moral Question

Of course, these spectacles have huge moral questions behind them and are a nightmare for animal rights.


On one hand, I can fully understand why a tourist or expat traveling to parts of the country where these are practiced would want to see them – they’re just so unique and, for some people, captivating.

On the other hand, it’s good to be conscientious of not putting money into irresponsible practices.  In the end each person has to decide on their own conscience.

Yet, approve or disapprove, these practices are well-ingrained features of Mexican culture, especially of the tougher, working class “macho” culture.  And, for better or for worse, they’re probably here to stay – at  within our own lifetimes and well beyond.


LAST MINUTE UPDATE: I just found out that Quintana Roo, the state where we live, has passed an animal protection act! It probably won’t affect the bullfights or cockfights since those take place mostly in other parts of the country, but it’s progress!  I’ll write more about it next week.


-by Bea Lozano


Mexico Insurance Kit

The Village of Tepoztlan – Part 1: UFOs, Witches and Convents

Living in MexicoJust yesterday, I arrived here in Cuernavaca (a beautiful colonial city about 1 hour south of Mexico City). While the trip is for the swearing-in ceremony for the 2013 board of directors of AMPI (the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals), being back here in central Mexico reminds me of some of my favorite places that I used to visit.


Living in MexicoOne of those places is the village of Tepoztlan, about 30 minutes east of Cuernavaca, or about 45 minutes south of Mexico City.  This village is nestled in the rugged hills that separate the capital from the state of Morelos, where both Cuernavaca and Tepoztlan are located.


The Mysterious Pyramid on the Hillside

Tepoztlan has been named one of Mexico’s official “Magic Towns” (I believe there are about 30-35 of them these days.)

living in Mexico

The people of the village really seem to feel there is something magic about the hill just at the edge of town with the ruins of an ancient pyramid on top of it;

UFO sightings abound, and many people who live at the base of the hill report hearing strange noises or even seeing unusual characters lurking about at night.


One friend said it is the place where “UFOs and witches live in happy harmony.”


Living in Mexico

Coming back to reality, there is something magical about climbing up the narrow stairs which wind their way up the hillside through a narrow gully to the old pyramid; from there the view of the village and surrounding hills is absolutely breathtaking!


The Convent

There also definitely is something magical (in another sense of the word) about visiting and walking through the streets of this village.

Living in Mexico

The town center is defined by a beautiful old convent which is now a museum; it is worth visiting both for the historical information about the village and area, and to see the grand stone architecture; in recent years, some original frescos on the walls have been uncovered that are also an interesting glimpse of the past.


Living in MexicoThe church itself, which is attached to the convent, is a beautifully maintained colonial church, complete with original decoration, which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Tomorrow I will share a bit more about the town itself.


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