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

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.

 photo whale shark 10_zpsfctvww8z.jpg

  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

  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.

 photo whale sharks swim_zpspjtn1ixd.jpg

  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!

The Miracle of Life: Akumal Sea Turtle Nesting Season

The miracle of life is an amazing thing. For millions of years life on our planet has been the sole pillar of everything we know and love. It all really comes down to creating life, and keeping it that way for millions upon millions of years to come. And to be able to witness the miracle of life – be it human or otherwise – is a unique experience that not very many people get to live in their lifetime.

Amongst the many amazing species that call the Riviera Maya home is the sea turtle. In the world, there are eight existing sea turtle species – and most of them are critically endangered. Of these eight species, seven of them live and nest in Mexican beaches. We are a privileged country! And out of those, four nest in the gorgeous, pristine beaches of Quintana Roo.

However, due to heavy tourist congestion, sea turtles start migrating south to find isolated beaches that less humans transit through. And if that seems impossible, they settle for those where there are sea turtle protection programs that (try to) control the traffic of people. One of those places, and the most popular for both swimming with these majestic animals and witnessing sea turtle nesting season, is Akumal.

 photo Baby Turtles_zpshqo9wfpy.jpg

Akumal means “Place of the Turtles” in Mayan (‘Ak’ means turtle; ‘Umal’ means place). The name is, of course, justified, as this is not only one of the most important nesting beaches in the region, but it is also one of the biggest natural homes to juvenile sea turtles in the area. This tranquil bay area – very popular amongst tourists – is home to approximately 40 juvenile sea turtles. This is their natural habitat, as it is a popular feeding area for them due to the amounts of sea grass that the bay possesses.

While these juvenile turtles come and go on a daily basis, the phenomenon known as “sea turtle season” refers strictly to the nesting season, which takes place between May and September every year. Now, this season is not a general rule for all eight species, but to the three that nest in Akumal: caretta caretta (loggerhead), chelonia mydas (green turtle), and the occasional eretmochelys imbricata (hawksbill turtle) – hey, now you know three scientific names to impress your friends!

Life Cycle

The most common species to nest in the region are the loggerhead and the green sea turtles, with record over 900 nests in 2013 (in Akumal) throughout the whole season, for both species. However, there are also leatherbacks and hawksbill nests found throughout the state. The life cycle of a sea turtle is fairly simple:

 photo turtle-nest-model_zpszyubiplf.jpg

  • Mating – adult female sea turtles come out to the beach to nest between May and September. They can lay anywhere between 80 and 120 eggs, depending on species.
  • Incubation – this period lasts approximately 45 to 55 days.
  • Hatching – after the incubation period, hatchlings pop out of their shells and make their way out to the ocean*.
  • The Lost Years – the first three years of a sea turtle are referred to as “the lost years” because they migrate to different feeding areas and are hard to keep track of.
  • Juvenile Years – for the next 15 years they migrate around the world to feeding areas until they reach adulthood.
  • Adulthood – this is when they reach their breeding age, which goes from 15 to 50 years old.
  • Mating – adult male turtles court females in order for the cycle to continue.
  • Lifespan – sea turtles can live up to 100 years old, depending on species.

*Unfortunately, only one out of 1,000 hatchlings makes it to adulthood for different reasons:

  • Natural reasons – during incubation, raccoons and crabs dig the nests and feed on the eggs. After hatching, seagulls target turtles, as they are soft-shelled and easy to digest. Through their first years, sharks and whales can eat them, too.
  • Human Interaction – ocean pollution, garbage, obstacles on the beaches, accidental fishing, ‘hit and run’ (when boats hit turtles), and more, are the major cause of death in sea turtles.

How You Can Help and Experience Nesting Season

There are many ways to get involved in the conservation process:

  • Volunteering – sea turtle camps rely 100% on volunteer work. Here they teach you the proper way to patrol and monitor sea turtles throughout nesting season (working with both adults and hatchlings). Volunteer work costs both financially and physically, but it is worth experiencing.
  • Eco-touring – the beaches on which these turtles nest are open to the public (places such as Xpu-Ha close the access at night, but you can stay at a hotel there), so the best way to help with conservation is by education yourself as to what you can and cannot do on the beach (such as leaving garbage or obstacles for the turtles). You can contact a sea turtle camp and find out if they offer educational night walks where you get to witness the nesting process, or if they will have hatchling releases for you to see. Donating to these programs is a huge contribution, as they are NGOs and do not profit from their work.

While Akumal is certainly not the only nesting beach in the Riviera Maya, it is the most popular one – specially because there are juvenile sea turtles swimming in the bay every day of the year. It’s their home, after all. However, you can witness the nesting season at other beaches such as Xpu-Ha, Xcacel, Sian Ka’an, Tulum and Cancun.

 photo Turtles_zpsudtglns9.jpg

Don’t miss the opportunity of experiencing this unique and life-changing event. Sea turtles are beautiful creatures and they depend on you to continue gracing the oceans we all visit the Riviera Maya for.

If you wish their home will someday be your home, please feel free to contact one of our Top Mexico Buyer’s Representatives who will gladly help you in the process of relocating and finding your dream home in paradise.

And remember, here at Top Mexico Real Estate

We Make It Happen!

Wildlife Wednesday: A Pelican feeling the morning breeze


This magnificent bird was caught by Shane Wilcox while doing a morning walk on the beach in Playa del Carmen; and found out that this pelican was enjoying the sunrise as much as he did! This picture was a late contestant of our Dream a Little Dream of Mexico photo contest! The whole 13 winners will be announced November  1st  in our Facebook Page.


Livin' Playa video interview

Wildlife Wednesday – Top Mexico Real Estate’s “Dream a Little Dream of Mexico” Photo Contest Grand prize Winner!

Meet the famous monkey who gave everyone a run for their money in our “Dream a Little Dream of Mexico” Photo Contest!  He entered in the last few weeks of the contest and got an incredible amount of attention.  Congratulations to Kat Mendoza for winning the grand prize and for being so enthusiastic about the contest!  All of us at Top Mexico Real Estate would like to say thank you to all who participated and voted!

-By Bea Lozano
Livin' Playa video interview

Rio Lagartos is the Yucatan Peninsula’s Flamingo Paradise

Of all the cool places to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula – and there are many! – this one is near the top of the list.  Rio Lagartos is a biosphere reserve at the north end of the Peninsula, sort of between Cancun and Merida, but north of the highway that connects these two cities.

Like the other biosphere reserves on the Peninsula – especially the impressive Sian Kaan – Rio Lagartos offers a huge biodiversity, and many activities like bird-watching, fishing, boating, hiking and nature tours.  There are also cenotes, the awe-inspiring pools created by the area’s sink holes.

But the most impressive part of Rio Lagartos is the flamingos.

The reserve is home to about 40,000 flamingos that have both their nesting grounds and year-round habitat here.

You can take a boat tour through various water water ways to arrive to the estuary where the flamingos are found.  The sight is simply amazing:

Also, take a look at some of the nature:

Be sure to get the official tour with qualified guides; there are “unofficial” tours which are entirely safe, but you may not get to see the best places.

At the point where the biosphere reserve meets the beach there is also a traditional fisherman’s village.  The village is relaxing and quaint, and a good place to have lunch or dinner.

Another amazing part about Rio Lagartos is that you can actually live here in a luxury eco home if you like!  There are eco-lots with various options for home construction available just outside of the village.

Whether it’s a weekend getaway, a vacation, or for your new dream home, I suggest that you give Rio Lagartos a try!


-by Bea Lozano


Staying Aware of Our Friendly Sea Turtles

Akumal Bay is one of the nicest destinations in the Riviera Maya. It has amazing stretch of beach, nice scenery and calm water for happy swimmers but it is also a unique place where you can enjoy making some new underwater friends. Akumal is mostly known for swimming and sharing the sea with the sea turtles. It is truly a very nice experience and many flock from all over to meet these cute creatures.


But in order to provide this experience for everyone we must be very conscious about preserving the life and the population of the turtles. There are many efforts taken daily to ensure that while we enjoy swimming and time on the beach that we do it respectfully and without disrupting then natural habitat of the sea turtles. Many are asked to vacate the beaches after a certain time in the evening so that the sea turtles have freedom in their environment.



Especially at this time of the year when it’s time to lay and protect the eggs. There are many volunteers heading out in the evening to carefully identify the nests and help our sea friends by marking off where the nests are so that beachgoers can be sure respect those protect those areas. After all Akumal is everyone’s beach including the turtles.



Now, according to this article a special group that is heading up sea turtle recovery in the pacific is making large efforts to try and include all states to raise awareness and protection. It is for sure that those in Akumal will be happy to participate in these efforts and preserve a wonderful community for these amazing creatures.



Remember that here in the Riviera Maya we have entered the territory of many wondrous creatures and for the most part they have been happy to share with us. So with that in mind we must always consider them as our neighbors and friends and treat them as such.






by Bea Lozano
 Mexico Real Estate e-book

This is the Place to Enjoy Nature Near Tulum!

While many people have heard of the bigger theme parks near Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Xcaret, Xplor and Xel-Ha, fewer people know about some of the smaller gems nearby. Kantun-Chi is one of these places.


Kantun-Chi is a lower-key nature park, with focus on tours and diving in the underground caves, a small zoo, and a few cenotes to snorkel and dive in. I can tell you, the last time I spent a full day there, it was one of the most relaxing I can ever remember having – and here in Playa there are plenty of relaxing days.


A highlight of the park is that they have an a full underground tour where the caves are lit up with colored lights giving a very surreal effect:


Here are some more pictures of the park:


If one day you just want an active but quiet and relaxing day, where you don’t feel you have to hurry to finish all the activities, this park is the place to go.


-by Bea Lozano



Want to See Mexico’s Wildlife Upclose? Go to Xcaret (Part 3)

Places to see for Mexico retirementMexico is a country rich in wildlife and nature.  As with so many other attractive aspects of things to see and experience in Mexico, Xcaret offers  a very good taste of the kinds of colorful birds, wild cats and nature you will find – at least for the Yucatan Peninsula.


For the intro to Xcaret, click here.  For a gallery of photos on the architecture and art, click here.


Today I’m going to share  a series of pictures on wildlife and nature. I’m trying something new and sharing it as a slideshow.  It will automatically go through all the pictures, but if you move the cursor over the pictures, you will see buttons for back, forward and pause so you can have some control.

In the slide show, you will see jaguars, panthers, flamingos, birds of various kinds, bird eggs, and another animal called a tapir, I believe.  There are also some nature shots:


beatlo's Wildlife - Xcaret album on Photobucket

(If you can’t see the slideshow, click here.)


by Thomas Lloyd


Mexico Real Estate Testimonials

Would You Swim with Whale Sharks? I Did and I Loved It! Part 2

On Friday I shared a story about seeing whale sharks in Holbox last summer. (See Would You Swim with Whale Sharks? I Did and I Loved It! Part 1.)


Another trip we took snorkeling with whale sharks was out of Cancun. We drove ourselves to Punta Sam, but there are trips that pick you up from Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Tulum, etc. From there we were put into our boat groups, again, about 8-10 per boat, introduced to our English speaking guide and set off in search of the whale sharks.


After about 45mins, they had been spotted and we were all rushing to get our life jackets, fins, snorkels and masks on and dive right in. Being experienced we jumped in first, giving the others a chance to observe from the boat and show them that to do. I mean, you cant just float around in the water, you need to try to swim along side these amazing animals, and they are fast. But if you can’t swim well, don’t worry there are plenty around to look at and even just watching from the boat is a fantastic experience.


Food in MexicoOn our way back to mainland, the boats stopped just off the coast of Isla Mujeres. While the captains made lunch, ceviche (a Mexican dish of fish, shrimp, octopus and other seafood, marinated in lime, served with tortilla chips) we jumped in the water again to have another snorkel around.


After lunch and a few beers – included in the trip – we headed back to Playa. Each tour group is given a photographer, so we got to check out all the photos they took of the day in and out of the water.

Swimming with any animal is an amazing experience, but with the whale sharks, it’s a time I will never forget. It’s one of my favorite memories. Memories I’m holding onto until July when I get to go again!; Mexico’s Leading Network of Specialists for Finding and Purchasing Mexican Properties Safely


Mexico Insurance Kit