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!

It’s Whale Shark Season!

Foto: internetFoto: Internet

The whale sharks have returned once again to Quintana Roo. Whale shark season runs from June to September, until the time has come for them to move to their next destination.

In the meantime, you have the chance to live one of the most stunning experiences in life, swimming next to them and being able to see them in their natural environment.

Whale sharks are the largest fish on the planet and with a life span of 70 – 100 years they can reach up to 40 feet long (12 meters) and weigh an average of 5 tons, though larger and heavier have been spotted.

Surprisingly for such a large mammal their mouths are filters feeders, meaning that they cannot bite or chew so their diet consists mostly of plankton which makes them completely harmless to humans.

Related: 10 Interesting Facts About Whale Sharks

In the Yucatan Peninsula you can take advantage of this annual gathering of the whale sharks at Holbox or at Isla Mujeres.

With a past record breaking number of 400 whale sharks arriving off the Yucatan Coast at one time, it’s one of the largest known gathering of whale sharks on record. You are almost guaranteed not to be disappointed.

The Island of Holbox is located on the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and is separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon.

This Island is well known for its fishing and rural qualities but every year for the few months the whale sharks appear the little fishing village is bursting with people wanting to welcome the whale sharks back.

It is good to consider that with the new toll way to Merida, you can get to Holbox in 1 hour and 30 minutes, for 90 pesos each way.

Related: 10 Things to Do in Merida

Foto: Internet

Isla Mujeres (Spanish for Island of Women) is approx. 13 kilometers off the Yucatan Peninsula coast with easy access to the Island from Cancun, which makes this island a great day trip for tourists.

Isla Mujeres is usually a quiet place, but with the whale sharks yearly visit this little island of under 13,000 inhabitants is booming during their short visit.

You can find many tour operators located around the tourist areas both in Holbox and Isla Mujeres (or even on-line).

They usually offer boat trips out to spot these amazing creatures or even to take you swimming with the whale sharks, the experienced tour guides and divers have been doing these tours for many years and will be able to give you the best advice when swimming with the largest fish on the earth.

Be sure to shop around to get the best price and value for your money!

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We make it happen!

Questionnaire TMRE

The Riviera Maya Film Festival is Bilingual!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the festival!

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

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We make it happen!

Weekend Getaway: Punta Laguna

It’s that time of the week again when you’re packing up for a new adventure in the gorgeous Riviera Maya. You’re probably wondering what to do or where to go. Luckily for you, the beautiful state of Quintana Roo and its surrounding states offer an array of beautiful hidden gems, offering millions of options to explore. This weekend we’re headed to Punta Laguna. Ready? Let’s get going!

How to get there

Punta Laguna is located inland from Tulum, approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes by car from Playa del Carmen, or just 1 hour from Tulum Downtown. The best way to reach Punta Laguna is by car, as there is no public transport or buses heading that way. The only other way is by taking a prepaid tour that offers transportation.

If you’re coming from Playa del Carmen you need to drive south on the 307 Highway until you reach Tulum. Once you’re entering Tulum, keep an eye out for signs signaling the exit towards Cobá on your right. Take the Cobá highway and drive until reaching a roundabout with several exits. You will take the exit that reads Punta Laguna; it’s a rather small sign, but easy to find. Drive through this almost abandoned highway for approximately 20 minutes. You will find Punta Laguna on your left. There is a parking lot on site.
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Where to stay

At the reserve you can rent a Mayan hut for two people for $300 mxn ($18 usd). Take into account that this is a natural reserve and Mayan villagers run the area, which means not to expect any luxury. The other option is camping, for which they offer eco-bathroom facilities.

Punta Laguna is best as a one-day trip. If you want to make this a weekend trip, your best shot is to stay the night in Tulum. You will find many different types of accommodation from luxury hotels to eco-friendly cabins and even hostels in Tulum. If you’re staying there for the weekend, you will only need to drive for an hour to reach Punta Laguna.

What to do

Punta Laguna is a natural reserve, home to spider monkeys, howler monkeys and pumas. It is also home to approximately 30 Mayan families who share over five thousand hectares. If you’ve decided to visit Punta Laguna there is only one thing to do: take a tour.

The villagers of Punta Laguna are the perfect example of how they can live off tourism while protecting their natural and cultural heritage. The tour costs approximately $300 mxn ($18 usd) per person and it is worth every penny invested. The reserve opens at 8 am, and that is the best time to arrive, as prepaid and organized tours start arriving at 10 am. Additionally, at that time the monkeys are migrating towards their feeding areas and it is much easier to spot them.

Your guided tour will last for about an hour, and you will get close and personal with the region’s nature and wildlife. If you’re an early bird and you’ve hired a guided tour, chances are you will spot both howler and spider monkeys in the wild migration. They will not interact with you, but they commonly stop and stare. You will be walking through the lush jungle in small paths, so watch out for the flora and fauna as there are some amazing things around.

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You will then be guided towards the beautiful and peaceful lagoon where you will be able to hear the birds chirping and the howler monkeys howling in the distance. You will get to row your own boat across the lagoon, as well as swim in it – its water is quite refreshing after strolling through the humid jungle.

After crossing the lagoon you will zipline with beautiful views of the jungle and finish the tour with a Mayan ceremony and swimming in an amazing cenote that is home to some old Mayan skulls that are found at the very bottom.

Shopping and eating

Punta Laguna does not really offer any shopping facilities, as it is a natural reserve. It is probable that the Mayan population that lives there sells handmade arts and crafts.

For shopping and lunch it is better to head back out to Cobá, 20 minutes from the reserve, where there is plenty of shopping and eating options. If you’re not keen on stopping by in Cobá, your best bet would be heading back into Tulum where you can shop in Downtown and go to one of the many quaint restaurants on offer.

Recommendations

Punta Laguna is a natural reserve and only accommodates nature lovers who do not mind walking through the jungle, keeping an eye out for wildlife and letting mosquitos feast on them. Here are some recommendations to take into account:

-Bring comfortable clothes and shoes. Flip-flops are not appropriate for walking through the jungle. Either tennis shoes or sandals are a better option.

-Bring biodegradable sunscreen and apply it 30 minutes before jumping into the lagoon. Don’t forget to bring your swimming suit, towel and a change of clothes.

-Arrive early! Tours start arriving at 10 am, and you want to beat the multitudes that tend to scare the monkeys away.

-Bring a camera. Chances are you will spot monkeys and you might catch a glance at other wildlife (like coatis!), so bring your camera and be prepared at all times. Wildlife doesn’t pose.

-Bring an open mind and a positive attitude. Walking through the humid jungle while mosquitos are flying around you can frustrate people. This is where these Mayan people live and you must respect their habitat and their way of living.
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Hopefully these tips will allow you to have an adventure of a lifetime in this off-the-beaten-path paradise. There are always new places to explore in the Riviera Maya, so check back next weekend for a new getaway destination!

Read about a weekend getaway to Akumal or a weekend getaway at Bacalar here.

Top Mexico Real Estate is an American-owned real estate company catering to American and Canadian people wanting to make the move to the Riviera Maya. If you want to invest in paradise, our Top Buyer Representatives will gladly help you in the search for the perfect location and the perfect home.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

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

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

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

Hyatt Playa del Carmen
+52 984 875 1234 ext 5077
http://playadelcarmen.grand.hyatt.com/ photo cdp_7994rs_zpscg3dbz5i.jpg

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

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

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

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

Carboncitos
4th St. & 5th Ave.
Reservations: info@carboncitosplaya.com.mx
+52  (984) 873-1382

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

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

Thanksgiving in the Riviera Maya: make your own traditional dinner

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

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

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

Day of the Dead: sharing in honor of those gone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

Calle Corazon: Out With the Old, In With the New

The Summer of 2015 saw the arrival of a new addition to downtown Playa del Carmen´s 5th Avenue shopping experience. Located on 14th Avenue, halfway from the reigning mall Quinta Alegria on Constituyentes and Juarez Avenue, you will find Calle Corazon. It is a work in progress which is slowly rolling out a vast array of internationally renowned shops.

Some of the names include Steve Maddison, Hollister, Swarovski, Michael Kors, Puma and the highly anticipated H&M store, which is among the first to open. With professional footballer-turned-model David Beckam featured as one of H&M´s models it´s likely to draw many people to their fashionable yet afffordable catalogue of men and women´s clothing.

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This is a project that has been two years in the making. The opening was preceded by the closure of a street on October of 2013 that gave that area of Playa del Carmen a touch of uniqueness. Its´ chic palapas made way for the new and ambitious project,  causing local playenses to say goodbye to a beloved street. For many years the small and romantically lit street offered a unique place for strolling, but the old has given way to the new. The opening heralds a new, modern place that is sure to attract thousands of tourists.

Calle Corazon also plans to build a hotel featuring 90 rooms, a restaurant, pool, roof top garden, bar and a gym. You can see that this is a big and ambitious project that offers new spaces for the immense tourist population that passes through Playa del Carmen every year. The hotel will surely be a great addition to an already busy 5th Avenue.

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According to the president of the Business Coordinating Council in the Riviera Maya the Calle Corazon project ¨will always be important because it speaks of the success of the Riviera Maya”.

This new project is bringing new and exciting opportunities to a growing city that many expats have come to call home. The new plaza will bring lots of new job opportunities for both local and foreigners and create a new open space for travelers and residents to shop, hang out, or simply pass the time.

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Top Mexico Real Estate is your source for information about life and culture in Mexico. Let us show you what is like here, and what you will be enjoying when you begin your adventure as a property owner in the paradise of the Mayan Riviera.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

 

Things to Do in Playa Del Carmen on a Rainy Day

Like every good tropical region, the Riviera Maya has one long rainy season. It starts in June and runs all the way through October. However, this does not mean that every day is a rainy day! While most days you will be able to enjoy the beautiful, paradise beaches, outdoor activities, site seeing, and much more, you should also plan (and pack) for occasional rainy days.

Most people come to the Riviera Maya because it’s a fully outdoor holiday, but there is plenty to do and enjoy while it’s raining outside. And worry not, because rain tends to fall strongly for an hour or two and then stop completely, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the beach, 5th Avenue, or anything else. Just carry a poncho (or umbrella) with you!

Here are some fun things to do in Playa Del Carmen on a rainy day:

Go to the Movies
Believe it or not, most movies screened in Mexico are in their original version and subtitled. Only children’s movies are dubbed. You have plenty of films to watch in either of the two movie theaters found in Playa del Carmen: Cinemex in Centro Maya, or Cinepolis in Plaza las Americas.

Go Shopping
Since you’re already in Centro Maya or Plaza las Americas, you might as well go shopping. Both malls are not as big as you are used to back home, but they have plenty of shopping and food available. Another option is visiting the new Quinta Alegria plaza located on 5th Avenue. This plaza is open but offers shelter from the rain to walk around.

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Have a Long Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner
It doesn’t matter what time it starts raining at…visiting a restaurant and enjoying a long and relaxing meal is a great option while the rain falls. You could visit any one of the many restaurants on 5th Avenue, or somewhere off the beaten path, and try some delicious Mexican, Italian, French, gourmet, street, or even German food!

Go Dancing!
12th street is waiting for you, regardless of rain. If it’s raining at nighttime (or party time), don’t stay in just because of the weather. Once you reach 12th street you will find plenty of choices between bars and clubs to dance the rain (and night) away!

Go on a Tour
Visiting cenotes, going on ATVs, or visiting Río Secreto and Xplor are great options for when it’s raining. You’ll be getting wet anyway. Rio Secreto is a beautiful underground river and cenote, perfect for any weather. Xplor is Experiencias Xcaret’s adventure park – zipline, swim through rivers, and have fun…rain or not! Most ATV tours include visiting a cenote and riding through fun filled and muddy paths!

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Discover a Café 
Playa del Carmen is full of uniquely designed, delicious coffee and teashops. Find one that you like and spend a rainy afternoon reading a book and enjoying a Mexican brewed coffee or tea. You can also find cookies, breads, cakes, and other sweet things to enjoy with the drink of your choice.

Get a Massage
You know you’ve been thinking about it since you arrived in Playa del Carmen. You’re on vacation and you deserve a massage. So what better time to get one than when it’s raining outside? The sound of the rain and the relaxing music at the spa will surely allow you to let it all go, relax, and enjoy. Playa del Carmen is full of spas waiting for you…get off 5th Avenue and find one that is not as expensive and that will leave you feeling more relaxed!

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Stay In 
Seldom do you get to enjoy a day of relaxation in the hotel. Pamper yourself, order room service, turn the TV on and watch a movie. You may not be getting the full Playa del Carmen experience through it, but you will definitely feel ready for your next adventure day in paradise!

There is no reason to feel frustrated because your holidays are “ruined” by the rain! Never forget that Playa del Carmen is much more than paradise beaches, and that there are plenty things to do in Playa Del Carmen on a rainy day.

Top Mexico Real Estate is an American-owned, locally based real estate company, leader in the Riviera Maya. If you are thinking of retiring or relocating to paradise, feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives who will happily guide you on your path to becoming a homeowner in Mexico.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

10 Interesting Facts About Whale Sharks

  1. Despite their name, the whale shark is neither a whale nor a mammal; it is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known fish species. The whale part of the name comes from its sheer size. The whale shark is an Ovoviviparous species, this means that it keeps its eggs inside her body and once they are mature; tiny whale sharks emerge alive from the mother’s body.

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  1. The whale shark has an extremely thick skin, in some cases up to four inches thick. In addition, their skin has a much darker tone than the rest of the fish with white patterns comprising dots, vertical and horizontal lines; making really interesting patterns.
  1. The whale sharks huge mouth can be as big as five feet long, but swimming alongside a whale shark is 100% safe as they have no interest in consuming humans. They also have a filtration system that does not allow the passage of anything bigger than small fish like sardines and their many rows of tiny teeth are located in the back of their mouth; so they can not really harm anyone.

 photo whalesharkteeth_zps9pmy2akf.jpg Whale Shark Teeth
Source: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/gallery/descript/whaleshark/whaleshark.html

  1. These majestic animals have an advanced filtration system that allows them to eat without having to swim, compared to other animals that require them to move forward to push water inside their mouth. The whale shark is able to use their gills to pull water into their mouth, where it accumulates plankton, krill and other small seafood like sardines or anchovies.
  1. These fish live in tropical waters at an average 700 meters deep. They are generally solitary animals, but are grouped when they find an area rich in food.
  1. The whale shark is known to be the world’s largest fish, with verified specimens as long as 40 feet; that is as long as a trailer. There are many reported sightings of much bigger whale sharks, over 65 feet long; but they have not been documented and therefore are considered a myth.
  1. Despite its imposing size, whale sharks are completely harmless and peaceful creatures. Tourists can swim very close them, and in the past visitors were even allowed to even touch them but this is no longer permitted.

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  1. Summer is the best season to observe these magnificent creatures, especially the months from June to September. The Riviera Maya has many tour companies that organize whale shark tours, which includes everything you need to enjoy this experience.
  1. If you live in the Riviera Maya or are vacationing here, the best places to find whale sharks are in the area between Isla Mujeres, Contoy and Holbox Island.
  1. Each year an estimated 1,400 whale shark reach the coasts of the peninsula, and about 200 approach the islands of Holbox and Contoy in the state of Quintana Roo.

Swimming with the whale sharks is a once in a lifetime experience, remember this is a peaceful creature but there have been reports of them attacking boats; after being harassed. If you are going on a whale shark tour, respect the whale sharks and follow the indications given by your tour guide.

Would you like to partake in unique experiences like this all the time? Consider retiring or purchasing a vacation home in Mexico there are so many things to do here, you will never run out of once in a lifetime experiences.

From dreaming to owning your dream home in Mexico, Top Mexico Real Estate has a decade team of Top Mexico Buyers’ Representatives with the experience in helping foreigners become homeowners in Mexico.

Top Mexico Real Estate…

We Make It Happen!

10 Things to Do in Merida

If you want to visit a place with charm, history and culture; Merida should be on your list! Founded in 1542 by Francisco de Montejo and Leon, Merida has a rich heritage that combines elements of the Mayan and Spanish traditions.

Everywhere around the Yucatan, you will find that the Maya culture is present. You will see it in the traditions, history and even how the Yucatecans speak Spanish; while the Spanish influence can be traced to language and religion. The mix of these two, make for today’s Yucatecan culture.

The Yucatan people have a distinctive culture, in many ways different to the rest of Mexico and this is due greatly to the isolation in which they lived for centuries; as communication routes with the rest of the country were almost inexistent.

If you want to know more about this beautiful city, here is a list of 10 things to do in Merida.

  1. Enjoy a cold Agua de Chaya or other cold drink in one of the cafes across the street from the Zocalo or main Plaza. What better way to learn more about the Yucatan people, than observing the busy life in the downtown area?
  1. While in downtown, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Montejo Palace, a museum located in one of the corners of the main plaza. This XVI century building was property of the Montejo family and is the only building in the Peninsula built in a Renaissance style.

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  1. The production of Sisal in the XIX and XX century made a few local families extremely wealthy, it was said that Merida had the most millionaires in all of the Americas. Most of that wealth is gone now, as Sisal was replaced with cheaper synthetic materials; but a stroll along the magnificent Paseo de Montejo will take you back to the golden era of the Yucatan.
  1. While on Paseo Montejo, you need to visit to Palacio Canton, built in the early 20th Century for the Governor’s family; with elements imported from different parts of Europe. This museum has a vast collection of Mayan Artifacts, and it is itself a historical piece that will let you experience the beauty of the Belle Epoque.
  1. If you feel like a tour but don’t fancy the walk, you can hire a Calandria to take you through the main streets of Merida. The slow paced horse carriage will let you appreciate the beauty of the city, and the magnificent colonial buildings and churches.

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  1. Have a nice Yucatecan lunch; there are plenty of new dishes to try. A mix of Mayan, Spanish, Lebanese and Dutch influences; Yucatecan food is a completely different to Mexican food! The isolation of the Yucatan Peninsula influenced their cuisine, as they had to cook from a limited list of ingredients.
  1. Eating a Marquesita is another culinary experience that you can only have in the Yucatan. This delicacy is a mix of a Crepe and a Wafer, can be filled with savory ingredients like Dutch Edam cheese, cream cheese and ham or sweet fillings like dulce de leche, perserves, banana, condensed milk or nutella.
  1. Buy a Guayabera, despite the controversy on the origin of this garment, the Yucatan has a claim on this popular shirt and many specialized shops where you can find the best Guayaberas in Mexico.
  1. Visit the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya and learn everything you have to know about this mystical culture. There are videos, interactive material and many Mayan artifacts that follow the history of this ethnic group starting from the beginning of time until today.

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  1. Visit a Hacienda and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of its surroundings. Most of these old buildings are used as hotels or restaurants, but their splendor can take your breath away.

These are only a few of the things you can do while visiting or living in Merida, there is so many things to do that it is impossible to write them all in an article. If you think we are missing something, please let us know!

Top Mexico Real Estate is a local company specialized in helping foreigners acquire property in Mexico. If you are looking to live or retire to the Yucatan Peninsula, please browse through our Merida real estate properties or contact one of our agents; we are here to help!

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