Snorkeling: Best Places to do it in the Riviera Maya

There are many thrilling activities to do when you’re in the Riviera Maya. One of the most interesting and refreshing is snorkeling! And there is no shortage of places for you to indulge.  Continue reading

Sargasso? Riviera Maya has much more for you!

Sargasso? The Riviera Maya has many more activities for you!

If you’ve visited the beaches in the Riviera Maya in the mornings, you’ve probably noticed the piles of sargasso littering the sand. This free-floating seaweed has been experiencing a boom in recent years due to warmer ocean waters caused by climate change.  Continue reading

Thriving Ecotourism in The Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya is home to one of the fastest growing cities in Latin America: Playa del Carmen. It also hosts millions of international tourists each year, through its abundance of all-inclusive resorts, luxury hotels and strong vacation rental market. There is so much fun to be had in the bustling tourist scene of the Riviera Maya.

Is this all the Riviera Maya has to offer? Or is there another side to this place? Can you find peace and tranquility? Nature that is unobstructed by man? Beautiful places where one can experience and connect with nature? Well yes, you sure can!

The Riviera Maya literally has so much to offer, even a thriving ecotourism scene. Below is a list of the top 6 ecotourism destinations in the Riviera Maya!

  1. Akumal (Turtle Sanctuary)

This hidden treasure is apart of a small community just 39 km from Playa del Carmen, and 105 km from Cancun. Akumal Bay is home to an array of fish, coral, and sea turtles. It’s a true paradise that allows you to be one with nature and swim amongst the sea life.

They have protective measures in place to protect the marine wildlife, especially the sea turtles. Snorkeling tours are great to learn about the habitat and different species that live there. Or, you can bring your own gear and go out on your own. Make sure to wear a life jacket though, they are mandatory to protect the sea floor from diving destruction. An experience like this is truly special, you can learn about the habitat and connect with marine life.

  1. Cancun, MUSA (Museo Subacuático Del Arte)

Another beautiful eco marine zone is, “The Underwater Museum of Art” in Cancun. This place is a true spectacle of the interaction between environmental science and man-made sculptures. The whole museum shows how beautiful and powerful a marine biosystem is, by creating a complex reef structure with thriving marine life. Experience the beauty by glass bottom boat, snorkeling or scuba diving.

  1. Bacalar (Eco Friendly Escape)

The most secluded, non-touristy, eco friendly place is probably Bacalar, also known as “The 7 Color Lagoon.” You wont find all-inclusive giants here. Accommodations consist of eco friendly hotels and resorts. Many of them utilizing alternative energy sources. It’s a beautiful place to take a boat tour of the lagoon to see the colors, wildlife and thriving ecosystem. Or you can simply rent a kayak or paddle board to explore on your own.

  1. Cozumel (Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park)

This national park is located off the coast of Cozumel and is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is the second largest coral reef system in the world. The park is home to several species of sea life that are under some degree of protection. It’s an amazing place for avid divers and snorkelers. With the crystal-clear waters far away from shore or any man made structures, it makes for a wonderful and clean experience.

  1. Sian Ka’an Biosphere

This place is fully committed to protecting the area and its fragile ecosystems, being a World Heritage Site and the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. That being said, there are many environmentally friendly tours to bring people into this region’s spectacular wildlife and awe-inspiring Mayan ruins. Here you will be able to find snorkel tours, nature encounters, bird watching, Mayan ruins and fly fishing expeditions.

  1. Isla Holbox

Holbox Island has 21 miles of white sand beaches and is part of the Yum Balam Ecological Reserve. Its a quiet piece of paradise in the north of Quintana Roo and boasts natural beauty through its scenery and wildlife. Here you can experience an array of things, from swimming with whale sharks to bird watching, there is something for everyone.

There you have it, the top 6 ecotourism opportunities in the Riviera Maya. A destination as bustling and busy is this, still has plenty of relaxing and peaceful attractions for the eco-tourist enthusiast.

Ideas for Rainy Days

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing…– Billy Connelly

As we all know Playa del Carmen is known for its beautiful white beaches and sunny days. But with the recent storms and with the promise of more upcoming rain a question arises: what is there to do in Playa del Carmen when you can’t be outside? Surprisingly Playa del Carmen still has a lot to offer.

Here in Playa del Carmen there is a number of malls that may not be as big as you are used to in the United States or Canada but are great for an enjoyable way to pass a rainy day.

One of the main malls is Plaza Las Americas, located north of Playa del Carmen has many department stores, a grocery store, Sears and even a Sally’s. For entertainment Plaza Las Americas has a 12 theater cinema with many movies in English to choose from and a small casino and video arcade.

Closer to the center of Playa del Carmen on the highway towards Tulum you will find the Centro Maya mall, this mall is quite small but it does have Mexican known stores, a grocery store and a cinema next to the food court that shows movies in both English and Spanish.

If you are feeling brave and think you can make it shop to shop through the showers the Fifth Avenue has 2 malls, the newest is La Quinta. This 3 level modern mall (partially outdoor) has many well-known shops that include American Eagle, Forever 21, Victoria Secret and brand sport shops plus more.

The second shopping area on the Fifth Avenue, Paseo del Carmen is at the entrance of Playacar Phase 1, the south end of the Fifth Avenue. At this open air mall all of the department stores are next to each other if do need to make a mad dash between showers to get to the next store. This quaint shopping area carries on the cobblestone pavement and is the home to many stores for all ages such as Zara, Diesel, Ultrafemme, jewelry stores and even a Harley Davidson shop.

If you are not in the mood for shopping and the storm has settled why not head to beach with your favorite Starbucks coffee for some easy exercise to listen to the roaring waves come in. While you out for your leisurely stroll you will see many surfers on the beach. As you know this is a highly unusual sighting for Playa del Carmen and this is the only time you will see people surfing since the water is normally calm, but on these rare occasions when the heavy rain comes it also brings these huge amazing waves that surfers cannot help to take advantage of.

In the end we are very lucky here in Playa del Carmen, we have more sun than we do rain so another option is to simply take advantage of this weather. Stay home guilt free with your feet up and catch up on your favorite TV show, start or finish that book you’ve been meaning to read and listen to the rain against your window enjoying a hot cup of coffee or bowl of soup.

Enjoy your time off!

And remember, at Top Mexico Real Estate…

we make it happen!

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

Parque Xenses: Dare your senses in this new theme park

xenses

Parque Xenses: Dare your senses in this new theme park

 

A great thing about Riviera Maya is the amount of activities you can do; from a walk on the beach to a visit in some awesome archaeological site, this zone has everything you need if natural entertainment it’s your main deal. Another good thing about being in touch with such a natural environment is the incredible fun parks that exists, all of them with tons of different experiences, some of them wild, and some of them more chilled… and yeah, Xenses, the new Park in town has just delivered the news of it’s opening in next June. Get to know what is going to offer.

First thing first, what is Xenses? Is a half-day park with more than 15 activities in scenarios that will challenge your mind. Land, air and water experiences designed to revive your senses and, like the Xenses truly says, “Awaken those you didn’t know you had”. For real. Besides, its half-day mode gives you ideal time to return and enjoy the attractions of Cancun and all Riviera Maya if you’re still in the mood for more action. Xenses will also create some sensorial experiences using a lot of natural elements such as water and the same vegetation that exist in the area, all along with visual effects that will come in handy.

Xenses will be located a few kilometers from Xcaret Park with an extension over 40 hectares and will be built into an area called Rancho Xcaret, but be ready, creators expect to have about 1,500 to 3,000 people per day in their facilities.

Now that you´re sync, here’s what you need in order to have an awesome experience: For any visit, wear a swimsuit, water shoes, comfortable clothing, an extra change of clothes and a towel, believe us, you’ll need it. Use sunscreen and insect repellent, you don’t want to see any surprises when you arrive home. Along with your entrance, you get access to lockers, showers and free parking.

Who can come in? Everyone. The park is designed as a family tour; from little kids to older people who want to feel amazing and new experiences. Xenses will be ready in full summer: June 13th . And if you’re eager to the opening, we highly recommend you to plan a trip and get your things ready for business.

If you are interested in exploring properties in the Riviera Maya contact a Top Mexico Buyers’ Representative today.

We Make It Happen!

Setting up a new business in Playa Del Carmen? Yes, you can!

10379948_592431304209880_272838202335585911_o

You just unpacked all your luggage and start redecorating your new home in Riviera Maya; you have been enjoying a life full of beautiful beaches and incredible landscapes in the Mexican Caribbean, but you also started thinking about setting up a new business in Playa del Carmen and tons of ideas have crossed your mind now that you’re living the dream by retiring into paradise. Can you make that happen? Sure, and here’s a few ideas from people we’ve known that have already taken this step.

Whether you’re willing to open a nice cafeteria, a boutique hotel or a cool restaurant, options could never end when you’re thinking about doing exactly what you love the most every single day; many Americans, Canadians and Europeans have started their own business doing just this and making a living out of it.

What are the chances? Here’s 3 real cases from people who are living the dream, become one now:

A cafeteria:

Great coffee in the mornings, great coffee at nights; Lesley and Jody are a couple of Canadian expats who found their home in Playa del Carmen years ago. Since then, they have established a new life and found their passion in cooking food and serving the community. They opened up a coffee shop with expats as their main public in mind, how? Serving food and creations often missed by American and Canadians who also live here. They also improve a delivery service to make the experience even better.

A boutique hotel:

Having a good time rest and a privileged service in Riviera Maya was the main purpose that made Richard Roberts to open his exclusive boutique hotel in Tulum. It’s just awesome how a good night rest and tasty breakfast can make people happy at the beginning of the day. How hard it is to establish a business like this? Not hard at all if that’s what you’ve always dreamed of. Time and effort are necessary, but making a lot of friends in the way while you’re living the dream it’s just one tiny part of the reward… and of course, being a few steps from the ocean could never get old. Don’t you think?

A restaurant:

The best food at the best place; Mary and Ken Anderson, originally from Ontario, decided to open up a little restaurant in Akumal at the same time they enjoy a relaxing beachfront lifestyle in Mexico. No matter how many hours does the restaurant demands, they’re already working in their dream business every single day… how many people can really say that? satisfaction it’s the key, not to mention that the beach is part of their daily basis.

So, are you in?

If you are interested in exploring properties in the Riviera Maya contact a Top Mexico Buyers’ Representative today.

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.
 photo images_zpsnlqz0v1e.jpg

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.

 photo 038_20111105_Mexico_Punta-Laguna_zps7nxcg3yf.jpg

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.
 photo 139565_zpsgs7rcxqj.jpg

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!

Rainy Day in Playa del Carmen Got You Down?

Rainy day in Playa del Carmen got you down? Are you setting in your Playa del Carmen condo starring out the window watching the rain come down wishing you could go to the beach? Fear not there are many things you could do in the rain. One of the most popular destinations for rainy days is an underground tour at Rio Secreto. This natural reserve is located 15 minutes south from downtown Playa del Carmen and it is a fantastic adventure for anyone wanting to learn more about the Mayan Riviera.

 photo boy-looking-out-window-in-the-rain_zpsizpguoi0.jpg

Rio secreto offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit one of the thousands of underground rivers that lay under the Yucatan Peninsula. What makes Rio Secreto different is the fact that the routes used for tours have semi-flooded caves, while the vast majority of the caves of the peninsula are flooded.

Exploring a semi-flooded cave means that you will not need to be a certified cave diver to see the stalactites and stalagmites, and discover the secrets of its petrified coral reef. You can walk and swim the underground river and discover more about the geological and cultural history of the Yucatan.

Rio Secreto is a place surrounded by jungle, as they pride themselves on being a natural reserve; the only in its kind in the Peninsula. Once you get to the entrance there will be a van to take you inside of the reserve, this is a 15 minutes ride on a bumpy road. A lot of people complain about the road, but opting for the dirt road allows rainwater to replenish the underground rivers, the only source of fresh water for Playa del Carmen.

 photo img079_zpsjcsf7p7e.jpg

Once you get to the base, you will be provided with a wetsuit, life jacket, helmet with a special lamp and water shoes. It is important to follow the guide’s instruction like, leave your belongings a locker, and make sure to visit the restroom and use the shower to wash any chemicals that might be on your body and in your hair.

There will be a short walk through the jungle where you will arrive at the caves entrance. Mayans consider caves and sinkholes to be a passage into the underground world or “Xibalba”, so a Mayan shaman performs a ceremony to cleanse the visitors before entering this place.

Inside you will be in a labyrinth full of geological formations, thousands of stalactites and stalagmites as well as pristine water. The cave is very fragile and it is important to keep your hands away from the formations, as any misstep can cause damage.

 photo rio-secreto_zpsg5uamajv.jpg

After about an hour and a half you emerge on the other side, tired and hungry. A buffet full of Mayan food is ready for you to enjoy.

So if you are starring out your Playa del Carmen condo window wondering what to do remember Rio secreto is a wonderful activity on rainy day! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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!