What Should You Do if You Lose Your Passport in Mexico?

While unfortunate, it is a reality that thousands of Americans lose their passport every year. When it comes to matters of security and personal safety, passport loss is a hot button. Although it is barely 2% of American passports in circulation that are lost, it is still a considerable amount. Losing anything of value is never easy to deal with. If you lose your passport in Mexico, it is necessary to contact the right people so nobody can use your personal information. Identity theft is a pressing issue around the world, so make sure you act quickly as soon as you realize it is missing.

Report Your Lost Passport Right Away

Merida US Consulate

Photo: sipse.com

When you know for certain that your passport is missing, you should report it right away. You will have to report it to different sources such as the local police and the U.S. State Department – or your home country department. They will issue a new passport for you. When filing a report with the local police in Mexico, it is in your best interest to bring along a friend or someone who speaks fluent Spanish if you don’t. Many Mexican officials speak some basic English, but they won’t be able to fully explain the situation to you.

At the police station you will sign many documents to report the lost or stolen passport. You will need to get a duplicate copy of them all as you might need them further down the road. You can always also contact the consulate in order to figure out the best way to go about this process. The most important thing is to keep calm. A stolen or lost passport is an annoyance, but not something you cannot deal with timely. Once your report has been registered, you will need to apply for a new one.

Emergency Passports Issued

This process can take anywhere between 10 to 15 days for an emergency replacement. If you have upcoming travel plans, you need to take this process into consideration. In some cases – and very unique emergency situations – the consulate can provide you with a new passport quicker than the stipulated times. However, you will need to schedule an appointment for this as there are no walk-ins allowed.

Should you ever lose your passport, there is no need to panic or worry. Both the police department in Mexico and the U.S. Consulates will provide you with support through the process. The best thing to do is to act right away. The sooner you do it, the faster you will receive your emergency passport to carry on with your travel plans. Following the necessary steps will make the process easier.

Be Smart, Keep Documents Safe

However, we highly recommend avoiding all of it completely by always keeping your important documents in a safe place – like home. If you live in Mexico, you should walk around with your temporary or permanent resident ID instead. If you are visiting – and thinking of purchasing a home here – we recommend you keep your passport always in a pocket with a zipper that is hard to reach for pick-pocketers.

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!

Living in Akumal Interview – LocoGringo’s Kay Walten!

We were honored to get the chance to sit down and chat with Kay Walten, the founder of the well-known website locogringo.com which is geared towards providing private vacation rentals and knowledge for travelers.  Kay Walten, originally from Buffalo, New York, has been living in Akumal and in the Riviera Maya for 21 years now which makes her a very reputable source for expat related information, and true advisor for travelers coming to the Riviera Maya.

Kay moved to the Riviera Maya in 1992 to explore the underground cenotes and caves. Kay and her now husband, Gary Walten, ran dive tours and eventually opened up a dive shop until starting Locogringo in 1996.

About Locogringo.com!

Locogringo.com provides vacation rentals by private owners wishing to rent out their home.  Through many years of service, Kay and her husband have become one of the most credible sources for vacation rentals and area advice.

Why is she so good at it?  Because she loves living in Akumal, and holds a dear passion for the Riviera Maya; which she has watched grow and expand over the last 21 years.  What was once an area with not so many people has become a world renowned vacation destination, retirement paradise and an investor’s dream.

American Conveniences!

Over the years the Riviera Maya has grown to satisfy many American style conveniences.  These days culture shock is not so deep in the Riviera Maya. Many people speak English; you can find familiar products or brands and even shop at the same stores you are used to shopping at!

Kays thoughts about safety in the Riviera Maya!

Kay would like to send the message that the Riviera Maya is safe!  After 20 years of living in Akumal Mexico, she has only experienced great things and friendly people. Kay Quotes “It’s really a joyful area to live in”.

How does Kay feel about buying property in the Riviera Maya?

As a home owner in Akumal, Kay feels that the real estate buying process in Mexico is getting easier and easier.  There are many people coming to retire and buy property!  The advice that she gives, is to work with a reputable realtor in Mexico, pay close attention to all the paperwork, and of course, to be smart and use common sense!

In this Top Mexico Real Estate video Kay tells us about life in the Riviera Maya and some of the wonderful experiences she has had living in Akumal all these years!  Watch the video for a full interview!

Keeping Kids in School; Playa del Carmen’s New School Year Starts

School started YESTERDAY in most areas of Playa del Carmen!  And with the help of the KKIS Project many deserving kids will be well equipped and ready to take on the new year!
Friday was a special day for us at Top Mexico as we were invited to help the KKIS Project put a lot of smiles on the faces of kids at Pelopidas School in the Guadaulpana neighborhood of Playa del Carmen in the morning.  As we have mentioned before, the KKIS Project works hard all year making various efforts to support keeping the kids of Playa del Carmen in school.
Their main effort his summer has been to collect school supplies and search sponsorships from people to help provide filled backpacks to the children in need before the start of school at the end of August.  Yesterday we visited one of the last schools on the list.  We loaded the back packs into the trucks and gathered into a room with 58 back packs and plenty of kids and parents.
One at a time the child’s name is called and the child or parent came to accept the back pack.  It was very touching because the kids showed so much appreciation in their face.  It was also very nice that each name that was called had a couple moments of fame as their photo was taken and everybody clapped.  It just made the experience so lovely for the kids!

Afterwards the KKIS project was thanked graciously by one of the parents who were speaking on behalf of all the families.  The kids even came around and hugged and thanked each one of the volunteers.
The efforts of KKIS are now coming to a close as the final deliveries are being made.  But they will not stop!  Come October they will continue their efforts with new projects all intended to help the kids in school and enjoy learning.

If you are looking for some way to give back to the community and get involved here in Playa the KKIS Project is a sure way to do it; and they are always happy to have more help!

-by Bea Lozano

Mexico Condo Hotel Kit

The Experience of a Lifetime – Taking the Bus in Mexico!

There are many things that we consider thrilling and exciting in this day and age, but did you ever think that taking a bus would be one of them. If you didn’t, then you have never taken a bus in Mexico.


The rules need not apply!


Buses make their own rules and take you along for the ride.


Here in Playa Del Carmen there are many advantages to public transportation. For instance, the bus will pick you up from any location; there is no need to walk to a bus stop. Just wave down a bus and he will happily stop to collect you. The same goes for drop offs. Just remember to shout the secret word ‘bajan!”(remember the “j” sounds like an “h”) and they will stop as soon as possible to let you off.


The buses here also don’t worry so much about capacity. A bus is considered full when the door will no longer close. So if you can squeeze yourself on, get on – because if you don’t, someone else will.


 Speed is another advantage. A bus is likely to get you where you are going faster than driving. That’s because they can go as fast as they like, which offers another advantage… free window air conditioning! The faster the go the cooler you feel.


On a serious note every bus here in Playa del Carmen has fantastic brakes – this is proven every time someone wants to get off. So make sure you hold on.


So, all in all taking the bus is a win, win situation. It’s cheap, you stay fresh (most of the time) and you can spend some time relaxing and listening to your favorite tunes. I see many tourists take the bus here, and they are always smiling. It’s an adventure the locals enjoy every day.


For the more serious of you out there, I’d stick to the bigger buses. But for those of you that want a bit more adventure, try the little bus… I dare you!!! Where else can you get a fun-filled ride for 5 pesos?


-by Thomas Lloyd

Mexico Closing Costs Kit

Hot, Hot, Hot in Playa del Carmen!

It’s started. Except for our brief rainy interlude, the temperature around here has started to rise again. And when it goes up it really goes up, making anywhere but somewhere the breeze is blowing uncomfortable. Here are some tips for staying cool in the summer in Playa del Carmen.


Living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Fresh fruit juice blends in Mexico are delicious and a great way to stay cool!

1- Try some refreshing new drinks!


Mexico is famous for fresh fruit juices and they are so easy to make at home – all you need is a blender, some ice, water, fresh fruit and some imagination. Things like watermelon, pineapple, and oranges blend best. There are some interesting fruits in Mexico that you can also try if you like – pitaya, guava, and tamarind. My favorite mix is really easy to make – mix some water, ice, and mint leaves in a blender, and presto!


2- Drink water!


It will keep you cool and staying hydrated is very important, especially if you tend to sweat.


3- Hit the beach!



It’s the best place to stay cool. And if you get too hot the ocean waves are right there to cool you down instantly. Try to find a spot under a palapa or you can rent some shade with an umbrella and beach chair or bed. There are some nice beach clubs around that offer great food and a wide variety of beverages, so you don’t have to lift a finger.


4- Jump in the pool!


Another great place to cool off – without having to worry about the waves knocking you over. Just remember your sunscreen because nothing burns more than sunburn.


Whenever you do begin life in paradise, these tips help you stay safe and sane the summer season.


-by Bea Lozano


Mexico Real Estate Investment Kit

You Want to Retire in Mexico, But She Doesn’t …

On Thursday, The Huffington Post has a great article about what to do if you are in love with Mexico and planning on retiring here, but your wife (or husband) does not.  Here’s an excerpt with the main points of advice:


1. Involve them in the planning.

This is a big decision. And it deserves careful thought and planning by all involved. Talk, talk and talk some more about it. Make sure you’re both as informed as possible and involved in the decisions about where to move, how to live, and so on. Spend time together and separately, perusing online forums and other resources. If your motivation is economic, make sure you both understand what’s going on with your financial situation.


2. Compromise with a “no strings attached” test drive.

Nothing is scarier than cutting the ties completely. If your partner is reluctant to do that, consider giving the new life a test drive. Before you sell your house or buy that one-way ticket, rent an apartment in the new locale for three months or more.


3. Don’t sugarcoat the challenges.

Discuss the difficulties you’ll face along the way, and work together on solutions. For instance, you may want to take some foreign language classes before your move. Try out voice- and video-over-internet (VOIP) technologies so you can easily stay in touch with family and friends. If you’re retiring, do some budget planning. There will still be unexpected challenges, but by working together, problem-solving can be part of the fun.


4. Help ease the transition.

Once you’ve moved, take an active approach to learning as much about your new community as you can. Be sure your partner has an opportunity to meet other expats and locals with similar interests. These days, you can do this in advance of your move through online blogs, forums, and websites. And keep busy — this is the perfect opportunity for you both to try something new. Fortunately, in most expat communities, you’ll find your new social life is more active — and more enjoyable — than ever.


5. Remember that attitude is everything. When challenges do arise, maintain your sense of humor and look on the bright side: this experience will likely strengthen your relationship. (And it will give you great stories to tell later.) So support one another and make a point to have as much fun as possible on this adventure.


The writer than goes on to address the question; after all that, what happens if he/she doesn’t fall “in love with Mexico? Well, don’t think of your move as a one-way ride or as the last move you’ll ever make — if it doesn’t work out, you can always move on or even go back home.”


I would just add that you can always do the snowbird plan (winters here – summers there) or move back and forth.  You’re retired after all!


-by Thomas Lloyd


Awa Condos Playa del Carmen

Living in Mexico Tip – Should I Eat in the Local Restaurants?

Living in Playa del Carmen
When it comes to food and traveling, the rule for tourists is pretty clear; stick to the restaurants in the resort/hotel or the bigger, nicer restaurants in the tourist areas.  No need to spoil the vacation because you got sick from eating in a sketchy little restaurant.  After all, even in the nicer places, prices are still excellent compared to back home!


However, once you actually settle down and begin living in Mexico as a retiree, either full time or part time on the longer term, it’s nice to try something different, something a bit more adventurous.  Most people know that you can find nice little gems in the local restaurants with excellent food and even lower prices.


The question is: How do you know which ones are good?  How do you know you won’t get sick?


While trial and error may not be the most appealing approach (and could leave you shut in your home when you should be out enjoying the beach), there are tips you can follow, such as the following:Living in Playa del Carmen

    • Ask other expats. Word spreads, and most expats have their regular hang-outs that usually NOT the main tourist spots.  In most communities where there are expats, a good portion of them will be adventurous; they’ll already have been out there and discovered which places have good food. Why reinvent the wheel?
    • Ask Mexicans. Once you get to know Mexican neighbors and you know their individual tastes, ask them for suggestions.  They’ll usually know a good number of local places and can even suggest less commonly known Mexican food.  Many Mexicans will even err on the side of caution when making recommendations to Americans and Canadians.
    • Look it up on the Internet.  While the smallest places won’t be online, sites like TripAdvisor or Foursquare include reports for surprisingly unknown places.  As I said, adventurers are everywhere, and these days most of them can post on the internet instantly.

Living in Playa del Carmen

  • Look at the crowd. In all likelihood, if a restaurant, cafe, bar or even taco stand is full of people every day, it’s probably safe.  If there are regular problems, word spreads quickly and people stop going.  This isn’t a guarantee, but if you’re just walking by on the street and you’re hungry for that taco, it can be one indication.



Of course, now and then a random adventure can be a fun way of being the first among the expat crowd to discover a great place for enchiladas; especially for new places that are just opening, sometimes it’s not a bad idea to give them a chance.  You might do best leaving the more adventurous undertakings for later on, once you know your community and have a better feel of how things work (or know at least basic Spanish.)


The bottom line is that you can try restaurants, cafes, etc., that are not on the main tourist strip, and do so pretty safely.


TOPMexicoRealEstate.com; Mexico’s Leading Network of Specialists for Finding and Purchasing Mexican Properties Safely

Mexico Real Estate Investment Kit