Monday, February 28, 2011

History of the Mexican Wrestling Mask

One thing that is iconic of many little souvenir stores in top tourist destinations of Mexico like Cancún and Playa del Carmel are the many bold and vibrant “Lucha Libre” adornments on display, or more commonly known as the Mexican wrestling mask.

Listed as one of the most popular souvenirs one must purchase while on vacation here, they may seem to you and I like little more than mere novelties to wear for fun as a good laugh and an opportunity for some priceless photographic memories, but in reality, they are in fact very much part of Mexican history and pop culture dating all the way back to early the 1900’s.

Here’s a brief history for you –

In the early 1900’s, Mexico was in the middle of a Revolution against the current dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz.  As with many times of war, the public looked for diversions to distract them from the every day realities of the fighting around them.  Two Italian businessmen, Giovanni Reselevich and Antonio Fournier began promoting fights, in which opponents fought each other hand to hand, without weapons or protection.  These fights were known as Lucha Libre, or ‘free fight’, and were notorious for their lack of regulations and violence inflicted upon the luchadores, or fighters. Some may draw comparisons with the early days of cage fighting which has now become the international sensation of the UFC.

The use of Lucha Libre masks had been a part of Lucha Libre since its inception, however, it wasn’t popularized until the introduction of Santo, El Enmascarado de Plata, or “Saint, the Silver Masked Man”.  El Santo made his debut in the summer of 1942, and quickly captured the public’s fascination with his fighting ability and mysterious secret identity.

El Santo moved quickly to build his name. He switched from being a bad guy to being one of the científicos, the “babyfaces” or good guys, who were naturally more popular. He cultivated his reputation out of the ring and became known for being polite, generous, honest, and kind to children. And most important: he never removed his mask. Rene Cardona, the late film director who made dozens of Santo movies, said: “He was Santo because he never showed his face. He would leave the set with his mask still on. In the studio commissary he ate wearing a mask with a hole for his chin so he could move his jaw.” When a film crew traveled to Miami for a shoot, Santo flew on a different plane so nobody on the production would see his face when he removed his mask for customs. In his films he even wore his mask when sleeping and also in his more romantic scenes.

Through wrestling, and also films and comic books, Santo became the first Latin American superhero, popular in places as far away as Lebanon. His mask was the equivalent of Superman’s “S”—instantly and universally recognizable. Journalists assured fans that despite his fame, when he walked the streets without his mask he blended with the crowd, just a humble member of Mexico City’s millions. 

In the wake of Santo’s success, Lucha Libre began to become more distinctly Mexican. An innovation in the 1940s was the mask-versus-mask match. The promoters saw that the audience loved the mystery of masks; how better to excite them than with a glimpse of what lay below? The rules are simple: the loser of the bout is stripped of his mask and can never wear one again. His face is exposed to the multitudes, and his real name is published throughout the country. The unmasking is a moment of the highest drama; a mythic figure is about to plunge back down to the ranks of the all-too-human. From now on, no matter how threatening and defiant the wrestler is, the audience will always have something on him: his true identity. He is an object of ridicule and almost of pity. Wrestlers agree to mask-versus-mask matches because to lose means a big payday. They can lose their mask only once in a career, so they can demand up to a year’s salary for one night’s work.

Lucha Libre is now Mexico’s second most popular spectator sport after soccer. Any night of the week, it can be seen in any one of at least 10 arenas across Mexico City, some holding more than 15,000 fans. It has spawned a whole genre of cartoonish adventure movies, dozens of wrestling magazines, and the most-watched weekly sports shows. So next time you look at a Mexican wrestling mask and contemplate purchasing one, you now know that you aren’t just buying a humorous souvenir, but an actual piece of the Mexican culture.

Scare Tactics: continuing to raise revenue for the Media

 The safety of living and vacationing in Mexico as of late has been under attack by a media sensation that is largely successful by playing on people’s fears rather than examining the actual facts of the matter concerning crime-rates and the recent waves of violence in Mexico. The truth of the matter is, media companies make money by creating a hype storm and one of the best ways to do that is through through scaring people with unnecessary concerns so they are enthralled by the danger, completely ignoring the fact that most of Mexico is very safe with crime-rates comparable, and often lower, than our own.

Let’s take moment here to do what the media chooses not to – examine the facts a little more closely.

·         Unfortunately the US is still currently ranked the #5th most dangerous country in the world to live based on intentional murder rates, ranking above Mexico.

·         Statistics show that the most deadly violence is happening in northern Mexico close to the U.S. border where smuggling occurs, and in the states where marijuana and heroin are produced, many thousands of miles away from anywhere you are likely to visit on a holiday. Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros are the specific towns travel warnings have been issued for...have you heard of them? Most people haven't it seems, this is because they are not normally very popular choices as tourist destinations.

·         Almost all the recorded violence has been dealings involving organized crime, cartel-on-cartel; these are not just murders happening between random individuals for whatever motive involving whatever reason. These are specific targeted killings in areas very far away from tourism based areas - so unless you are in fact a Mexican citizen involved with such organized crime, selling or smuggling drugs etc, then the calculated chance of being injured, let alone killed, in such violence is extremely low.

·         The murder rate of Mexico in 2009 was still lower than it was a decade before, long before the Mexican government began a crackdown against the cartels, which being said is a very good thing for North Americans and our own drug control issues.

        The state with the lowest murder rate is Yucatán, the Gulf of Mexico state known for its beaches, Mayan ruins and being Mexico’s most popular tourist destination. Its murder rate of 2 per 100,000 was comparable to Wyoming and Montana and has a homicide rate 14 times lower than Orlando, 10 times lower than Miami, 9 times lower than West Palm Beach, 6 times lower than Tampa and lower than that of Honolulu.

        If you examine Washington, D.C.'s murder rate; it is found to be nearly quadruple that of the Mexican capital, Mexico City. Washington's murder rate was 31.4 per 100,000 people in 2008; Mexico City's rate in 2009 was 8.

It's all a matter of keeping things in perspective and making an an educated, informed decision. Sure there are places that are less safe than others in Mexico, just like anywhere else in the world. Thus the reason why the U.S. State Department has issued these alerts for specific areas and not targeted at the whole of Mexico, since for the most part it is very safe for foreigners regardless of the happenings in some of the less desirable areas.

What is a little amusing however is how many of the 1 million US citizens now living or retired on Mexicos paradisaical coasts wont protest the media’s over-sensationalistic portrait of their new-found home, claiming in jest they want to keep their little piece of heaven all to themselves

So then, let’s put the hype and the scare-tactics to rest, lets understand it is the media’s job not only to report the news but also to raise revenue, something that they have had much success by using peoples fear as a generator, for example; the Y2K scare...if anyone even remembers that anymore.

"If you look at history, today we have fewer murders, both in raw numbers and rates," said Mario Arroyo, a researcher with the Citizens' Institute for Crime Studies, a Mexico City think tank. These are the facts people, it’s true that Mexico is still a safe place to live and vacation.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Healthy Tacos at Los Aguachiles in Playa del Carmen.

When one thinks about health food, something friendly to the heart and wasteline, tacos really don't spring to mind. When was the last time your cardiologist put you on an "all taco diet"? Exactly. Mounds of meat cooked in lard or deep fried shrimp piled on a torilla don't exactly fit the bill for most healthy eating plans. Well, maybe our doctors need to make a visit to Los Aguachiles for a plateful of delicious seafood tacos or a heaping bowl of ceviche.  

Rather than the deep fried versions (let's be honest...they're really yummy) made famous in Playa del Carmen by Dr. Taco and El Oasis among others, these tacos are all made with fresh ingredients that have either been sauteed in olive oil or "cooked" ceviche style in fresh lime juice. Each taco is served piled high with grated cucumber, pickled onion, cilantro and purple cabbage.

The restaurant offers your choice of corn or flour totillas as well as crispy tostadas and bib lettuce. That's right, for those of you watching excess carbs, all this tasty goodness can be wrapped up in giant lettuce leaves. Completely guilt free tacos!! For those of you less concerned about your figure, there are a selection of delicious salsas, several of which are mayonnaise based, with which to adorn your taco. Choose from creamy cilantro, chipotle, jalepeno, strawberry-,habanero or tamarindo.

Normally, I lean toward flour tortillas with my tacos, (that's gringo style) but the corn tortillas here are like none I have ever had. They are obviously home made and served just slightly fried, crunchy and yet soft at the same time! The tostada shells are good but fairly pedestrian, so make sure you order at least one thing from the Taco menu. I highly recommend you try them. Los Aguachiles has a liquor license so feel free to wash down your tacos with an ice cold cerveza.

Los Aguachiles is located on the corner of Avenida 25 and Calle 34 in Playa del Carmen.

By Michele Kinnon 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Brought to you by
  • The arrival of Canadian tourists to Mexico increased by 19.4 percent in 2010
  • Canada remains the second largest source of tourists to our country
To increase tourist arrivals to our country and Canada to publicize the promotion of Mexico projects in that country, the Director General of the Council of the Mexico Tourism Board (MTB), Rodolfo López Negrete, made a working trip to Canada where he will meet with airline executives and tour operators.

Canada is the second largest source of tourists to Mexico for a market which is key to increasing the flow of pedestrians and economic benefit, said Rodolfo López Negrete.

During 2010, more than 1.4 million tourists visited the country from Mexico, representing an increase of 19.4 percent over the previous year.

In the framework of a working visit to the city of Toronto, to continue the intensive campaign to promote Mexico as a tourist destination in this market, Lopez Negrete said they reflect the country's potential in this sector, growth obtained shows the interest of Canadian tourists in supply and unique travel experience offered by our destinations.

In just six years we have doubled the value of the market, thanks to coordinated efforts with our trading partners, a significant increase in investment and implementation of a marketing campaign unprecedented for the consumer end, said Deputy general director of the CPTM.

In addition, air connectivity is a key element in developing this important market. Currently, Air Canadaoperates a total of 65 flights weekly from eight different markets to five destinations of our country, while Sunwing makes 77 flights a week from 14 markets to six destinations. For its part Transat and Westjet operates 61 weekly flights to 51 markets from nine to five destinations, respectively.

During this tour, Rodolfo Lopez Negrete will meet with key representatives of the industry in that country, among which are 2000 and Sunwing Travel Group Travel.

He explained that in addition to continuing the campaign "Mexico, the place you thought you knew" strategic lines have been drawn which will ensure an increase of 15 percent in international tourist arrivals to our country, and address critical areas of opportunity to achieve the stated objectives, among them: the consolidation of Mexico marks and trademarks of destinations, diversify markets and achieve growth in priority segments.

In this regard, the official said that while ambitious goals have been raised, they are quite affordable if implemented the right strategy. Mexico has the necessary attributes and competitive advantages for positioning within the top five tourist destinations in number of visitors and revenue, he said.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Visit Mexico

Visiting a different country should be more than just a vacation. Visiting Mexico is not about choosing the best locations but about deciding the kind of experience you would like to add to your life. Think of wandering through lush forests with pristine waterfalls and exotic flowers or discovering small towns with meandering streets facing the mountains. Imagine walking into the jungle to find a pyramid by the sea or attending a concert of a symphony orchestra in an emblematic building of one of the biggest cities in the globe. It only takes a few hours to render yourself to unknown pleasures and enter a totally new dimension of experiences. In the Mexico you still haven’t seen there is a whole new world of possibilities to explore and adventure is yet to come.
This is the vacation I wanted to stay home. This is the thing I said wasn't for me. This is the girl I was not supposed to meet. This is the life I would be missing.

Once an important site of worship for the Mayas, Tulum still keeps some of its splendor, and the beauty of its temples by the blue sea will dazzle you. All along the wonderful coastline of the Mayan Riviera, places like Milamores Beach will make you feel as if there is no other place to go —white sand and an unbeatable landscape where you can either ski on water or just relax until sunset comes and wait for an excelent  dinner under the stars. Then take the road to the Cenote Dos Ojos and plunge into its magical waters guided by a professional diver. You may want to stay there forever. 

Tulum, Quintana Roo
One of the main archeological sites of the country, this Mayan walled city is a must when you visit the Riviera. Walking through its streets it is possible to imagine ancient times in this part of the globe when the Mayan culture reached its peak. This is one of the best examples of the praised Mayan architecture.

 Milamores Beach, Quintana Roo

The Mayan Riviera is all spectacular beaches and amazing views of the Caribbean Sea. In Milamores you can find all kinds of activities, from water–skiing, snorkeling or skydiving to yoga or massages if you are feeling more like relaxing. The food is also excellent and a nice cocktail to accompany good reading is always available.

 Cenote Dos Ojos, Quintana Roo

Cenotes are transparent pools connected to subterranean water bodies. The Cenote Dos Ojos in the Riviera Maya is part of a cave system of at least 60 km and has surprisingly warm waters, which makes it perfect for snorkeling and diving. Customized tours are easy to find in Playa del Carmen or Tulum.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rafa Marquez and the New Red Bulls swim with dolphins in Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen .- Before traveling to Guadalajara and on the eve of his birthday, the Mexican defender and his current team, the New York Red Bulls hosted children with disabilities in Delphinus Riviera Maya.

As part of its activities in Quintana Roo, the New York Red Bulls and Rafa Marquez showed great heart and live with children with disabilities in Delphinus Riviera Maya.

Mexican defender Rafa Marquez and players of the New York Red Bulls, who made a season on the Riviera Maya, paused on his tough tactics and athletic preparation ahead of a series of meetings with Mexican teams and before the start of Championship Major League Soccer in the United States for an exciting and fun adventure with disabled children and dolphins who also showed them his football skills to "dominate" the ball and throw passes in the famous dolphin Delphinus Riviera Maya.

Besides the "4" (Rafa Marquez) of the New York Red Bulls, Jan Gunnar Solli (Norway), Irving Garcia (USA), Marcos Paullo (Brazil), Corey Hertzog (USA) and Luke Rodgers (England) attended this friendly appointment to make the dreams of children with motor disabilities who attend the Children's Rehabilitation Centre Municipal de Benito Juárez (Cancún).

Rafael Marquez, captain of the Mexican squad in the last world championship, held "It is very important to give back all the love that part has always given me my people and contribute in some way in the happiness and recovery of these guys is incredible" .

The first match of all New York was in Cancun on Wednesday and tied goalless. Rafael Marquez turned 32 last Sunday.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How to Own Property in Yucatán

As an expatriate interested in buying property in Yucatán, it is easy to find yourself in a position where you don’t know what you don’t know. Mexico’s rules about foreign possession of real estate have their roots in the Mexican Revolution, but have been updated to accommodate the modern investor and modern-day Mexico.
The Mexican government considers the issue of foreigners owning Mexican land a matter of security. They have created two legal structures regarding foreign property ownership: The “Restricted Zone” and The “Non- Restricted Zone”.
The Restricted Zone comprises properties located within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of the coast or 100 kilometers from any border with another country (Mexico borders the United States, Guatemala and Belize). In this zone, a foreigner (anyone without a Mexican passport) is not allowed to own land or property according to Mexican Law.
The Non-Restricted Zone is anywhere outside the Restricted Zone. Foreigners can legally own property in this area, but still must meet some requirements. The buyer is required to prove that they are legally in Mexico and must inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores, known as SRE) that they have completed the purchase.
In order to encourage foreign investment in accordance with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Mexican Congress modified investment laws creating a new structure that allows foreigners to invest in Mexican real estate: The fideicomiso (pronounced FEE-day-coh-MEE-soh, which is Spanish for “bank trust”).
Of course, the Yucatán coast and most of Merida are in the Restricted Zone, and the fideicomisois the only way to purchase and enjoy a property in these areas. In Mexico, only financial institutions can act as trustees, and this is how the structure works:
There are basically three parties involved:
Fideicomitente is the seller. They grant the real estate involved and relinquish the rights that go along with the property.
Fiduciario is the trustee. A Mexican bank serves as the trustee, working in good faith for the buyer and his/her/their interests. The bank purchases and owns the property on behalf of the beneficiario.
Beneficiario or beneficiary is you or any foreigner who enters into the fideicomiso to purchase real estate.
Because a foreign buyer is not legally entitled to own property outright within the restricted zone, the trustee (bank) buys and creates a trust to hold title to the property. The bank holds the title, but by law it can only act under instructions of the beneficiary of the trust. The beneficiary has the same rights to lease, sell, improve and mortgage the land or otherwise uses the property as he/she wants, just like any Mexican property owner.
The bank charges a fee for establishing and maintaining the trust, which varies from one institution to another. The charge is usually in pesos and usually costs somewhere between $400-600 USD, paid yearly. The charge to administer the trust can be changed annually, but in our experience, it has not changed more than a few dollars either way in the last few years.
The trust retains ownership of the property up to a maximum of 50 years. After 50 years, the trust may be extended for another 50 years. This process can repeat indefinitely if the property is used for residential purposes, but the fideicomiso must be rewritten for each 50 year period.
The trust may be terminated by transferring the rights to another foreigner. This transfer is legally considered a sale, and therefore is subject to Mexican tax laws. To sell a property that is held in a fideicomiso to a Mexican citizen, the trust may be terminated and the citizen can purchase the property “fee simple” (property is held directly by the citizen).
Understanding the details of this process can be difficult if you are experiencing it for the first time, or if your Spanish is limited or if you have any complications. YES can help you by managing the paperwork , introducing you to the proper people at the local banks, working with you to shepherd the process through the banks, and/or working with you to expedite the documentation and bureaucratic process.

For More Information on Living or Purchasing Real Estate in Mexico (CLICK HERE)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mexico Welcomes New Flights

Virgin America, United Airlines and Volaris among carriers enhancing airlift from the U.S. to Mexico

By Mark Rogers / Travelagewest

VH1 host Jim Shearer hosts “Top 20 Video Countdown” and commemorates Virgin America’s inaugural flight to Cancun.

Last month, Virgin America launched nonstop flights to Cancun International Airport (CUN) from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and direct flights to CUN from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The launch marks the third international destination for the three-year-old carrier and its 14th destination in North America.

For the airline’s virgin voyage to Cancun, Virgin America teamed up with VH1 to host the first-ever mile-high episode of VH1’s “Top 20 Video Countdown” onboard its inaugural flight. Guests on the first Cancun-bound commercial flight were treated like pop stars, while real-life pop stars the Goo Goo Dolls sat in first class with host Jim Shearer and talked about their latest album “Something for the Rest of Us.” As part of its ongoing partnership with VH1, Virgin America will name one of its new aircraft “Air VH1” later this year.

“As an airline known for bringing some fun back to flying, it is only fitting that we are teaming up with VH1 to kick off our Cancun route in high style,” said David Cush, president and CEO of Virgin America. “We think flyers deserve to start their Mexican getaways as soon as they board their flight and, with the best in entertainment, beautiful cabins and outstanding service, we think travelers will agree that Virgin America is the perfect way to jump-start their Mexican vacation a few hours early.” 

Virgin America’s low fares to Cancun start from just $139, with restrictions taxes and fees applying. The carrier flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, Calif.; New York; Washington, D.C.: Seattle; Las Vegas; Boston; Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Toronto, Canada; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Los Cabos; and Cancun. 

Two Carriers Set to Kick Off New Guadalajara Routes

United Airlines has announced daily nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Guadalajara, Mexico (GDL), beginning May 3, subject to Mexican government approval. This service will be operated by Continental Airlines. Flight CO672 will depart Los Angeles at 8:20 a.m. daily, arriving in Guadalajara at 1:15 p.m. The return flight (CO673) departs Guadalajara at 2:10 p.m. daily, arriving in Los Angeles at 3:30 p.m. The Los Angeles-Guadalajara service will be operated with a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with seating for 160 customers (16 in first class and 144 in economy). Continental currently serves Guadalajara 38 times weekly from its hub in Houston. 

On March 30, Mexican low-cost airline Volaris will launch daily service between Guadalajara and Las Vegas. Volaris’ schedule on the route calls for its flight to depart Guadalajara’s Don Miguel Hidalgo and Costilla International Airport (GDL) at 1 p.m. and to land at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) at 2:20 p.m. local time. The return flight will depart LAS at 3:50 p.m. and arrive at GDL at 9 p.m. local time. Volaris already offers services from Guadalajara, Tijuana and Toluca, Mexico, to Oakland, Los Angeles and San Jose, Calif., as well as Chicago. In addition, Volaris extends its reach with its code share partner, Southwest Airlines.

Lower Fees Mean Lower Costs

The San Francisco Examiner reports that the San Francisco Airport Commission approved a measure to cut operating fees for carriers flying back and forth among the U.S. and Canada and Mexico. With cheaper operating fees, the airport commission hopes to attract more competition by offering cheaper operating fees, thus lowering airline fees for passengers traveling to cities in Mexico and Canada.

The Return of Mexicana

Back in August, Nuevo Grupo Aeronautico, S.A. de C.V. (Grupo Mexicana) filed for bankruptcy, forcing its three airlines, Mexicana Airlines, MexicanaClick and MexicanaLink to suspend operation until further notice. It appears that Mexicana Airlines is prepared to fly once again. In a report from International Living, Mexicana hopes to gradually ramp up service, with a goal of sending 28 planes skyward by April. Mexicana will start by flying six planes that will cover eight routes: Cancun, Chicago, Guadalajara, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Antonio, Texas.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Now you can get you tax refund in México. Tax Back star operating in Mexico City and surrounding areas in Mexico, including the Riviera Maya. You can get back you taxes in the Airport of Cancun in the Terminal 2 and 3.

Remember you need to make sure to buy at Shop at TaxBack affiliated. You can identify them by the TaxBack Logo at the door, or ask the attendant if they are affiliated.

Make sure you ask for invoice (Factura) to recover the tax.

These Articles are not subject to Tax Reimbursement.

  • Consumptions and Services ( Hotel, Restaurants, Taxis, Airplane tickets, etc)
  • Food
  • Books
  • Medicines
  • Opened Liquor bottles.
TaxBack is required by law to deduct a 35% tax refund processing fee from your total tax refund.

But remember to bring photocopies of:
  • Passport
  • Immigration Form (FMM)
  • Boarding Pass
  • Invoices (Facturas)
  • Credit card vouchers.
Come to Mexico, shop, and enjoy swift and efficient tax refunds directly into your account.

For more information

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Mayan Number System

Their base-20 system included a zero, making it possible to carry out long counts and complex calculations.

The first findings or writings about the Mayan number system date back to the fourth century A.D. Evidence shows that the Mayan culture of Yucatan and Central America were extremely advanced not only in mathematics, but were believed to be geniuses when it came to time and calendars, astronomy, architecture, and commerce. It is believed that the Mayan culture was obsessed by time and numbers which studies have concluded based on drawings found on historical monuments. The Mayans were a thousand years in advance to Europe when it came to mathematics.

The Mayans used a vigesimal (base twenty) system of numeration with positional notation instead of the base ten decimal system used in today's standards. The Mayans used a system of dots and bars for counting. A dot (pebble) stood for one and a bar (stick or rod) stood for five. Depending on what level in the column the dots and lines were in would determine how many times it would need to be multiplied by twenty to give the right number. The Mayans wrote their numbers vertically instead of horizontally with the lowest denominations at the bottom, increasing as we move to the top.

The Mayans were the first to conceive a systematic use of a symbol for zero in the place-value system. They used this symbol long before others in different latitudes and more than a millennium before the concept ever arrived in Europe. The Mayan zero symbol was used to indicate the absence of any units of the various orders of the modified base-twenty system. This avoids confusing one place with another. Today we take for granted the existence of a symbol for zero but at the time this was certainly ingenious for the concept of zero to be understood. This concept happened only two or three times in the entire history of humanity!

The great advantage of the positional system is that you need only a limited number of symbols (the Mayans only had two, plus their symbol for zero) and you can represent any whole number, however big.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why Buying Real Estate in Playa del Carmen is a Good Investment

This city is booming and has been registered as the fastest growing community in all of Latin America. What is bringing the growth in this region? The main factor is coming from the increase in tourism, the increase in hotel rooms being constructed and thus increases in employment. Playa del Carmen is a unique market given it is located right next to the Caribbean Ocean.
People can walk to all major attractions of the city. Walk to the beach, walk to 5th avenue, walk to the hospital, grocery stores, clinics. The tourists love this area first of all due to the beaches and the ocean. But also because of the wonderful nightlife and activities found along the world famous 5th avenue. With approximately 4 miles of pedestrian walkways, full of small cafes, international restaurants, and boutique shops, visitors have days of leisurely activities of shopping or just sitting to people watch.

The Playa del Carmen real estate market is also influenced to a large extent by the attractiveness of its beaches. Some of the country’s and the world’s most beautiful beaches are located here in this beach side community. The city has uniquely developed alongside the Mexican
Caribbean Sandy beachfronts. This has allowed for views onto the turquoise waters from various blocks back into the city giving the uniqueness and lure for people. And finally the other important influence that brings people to Playa are the people themselves. Being on the eastern side of Mexico, and with its natural beauties, many Canadians, Americans, Europeans, and people from South America have chosen this community as their second or primary dwelling. With these new year round residences, it is very common to hear Italian, French, English accents, and American English spoken all with a one block stroll on the beach. This cosmopolitan community, the beaches, the population growth have all been important factors making the Playa del Carmen real estate market one of the strongest in all of Latin America.
Playa del Carmen is located in the middle of the Riviera Maya region on the Mexican Caribbean sea. South of Cancun approximately 40 miles and north of Tulum approximately 30 miles. Playa del Carmen was a small fishing village less than 15 years ago. This was the ferry dock for people passing through from Cancun to get to Cozumel. Soon though, people began noticing the wonderful beaches in Playa del Carmen and liked the idea of not having the crowds of its northern neighbor of Cancun. It is mentioned that the European backpackers were the first to start setting up little shops on 5th avenue, and today it has grown to include over 16 blocks full of cafes, restaurants, and boutique stores.
The nearest international airport exists 40 minutes away at the Cancun Airport. Shuttle buses, transport buses and taxis are constantly traveling back and forth between Playa del Carmen and this international terminal. Within the city limits, a small airport exists for taxi services between Cozumel and Cancun and for tourist flights.
Along with the beaches, Playa del Carmen has many additional sports and activities that can be enjoyed and talked about in recent blogs. Scuba diving on the second largest reef system of the world is at the footsteps of the people living or visiting this seaside community. Do you want to explore more of the underwater world? Explore the vast and incredible waters of the cenotes and the cave systems of the Yucatan peninsula. It is claimed to have one of the largest underground water system of the world. Golfing? The entire region of the Riviera Maya is now dubbed the Latin American golf capital. With approximately 6 new golf courses along its shorelines, one of which is now the host of the first PGA golf tournament to be held in Latin America. Sailing, fishing, biking, kayaking, all are favorite pastimes living in this zone which can be enjoyed all year long. Contact us for more information on these subjects.
Buying real estate in Playa del Carmen can afford a lifestyle which is a mixture of fraternity life and vacation time.

Playa del Carmen enjoys warm weather all year round. From February to May the average temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. While the nights are cool, sweaters and jackets normally aren’t needed. Summertime in Playa del Carmen, from June to August can be very warm. Hats and cotton clothing are the normal dress. The temperature for these months is generally around 84 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is also the rainy season. Most rain falls in the afternoon in the form of a short but heavy thunderstorm. The winter months in Playa, September to January, are a little cooler, but not by much. The temperature usually sits around 77 degrees Fahrenheit and there may be a little rainfall during the night.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

1st Wine Festival Mexican Riviera Maya March 9th - 12th 2011

More than 80 wine labels, expert presentations, tastings and pairings will be presented at exclusive hotels and restaurants in Can Cun-Tulum corridor.Expected to be an event of great impact in the country since the presentation was attended by over 1000 people and different wine house St. Thomas, Monte Xanic, Casa Pedro Domecq and Casa Madero who offered a tasting of more than 20 labels of their best wines accompanied by an excellent combination of sandwiches offered by La Cava de Xcaret, were the delight of those present.

During the festival, homes wine available to the audience about 80 different labels of their wines with a series of conferences, lectures, tastings and pairings designed and conducted by the winemakers and wine houses and Hugo Acosta Laura Zamora to name a few.The restaurants "ambassadors" who are members of the festival, will house the home of wine and food pairing with chefs made exclusive but open to all at affordable prices for the entire community, "said Menu exclusively for Mr. Francis Brown CEO Xcaret Park.

Martin Ruiz Cuevas vice president of the Hotel Association of the Riviera Maya said "it is important that the Mexican wine staying in our hotels and restaurants to be part of the culture and thus support the home production of wine in Mexico. This will be done in parallel in the 163 hotels that are grouped together in our partnership and integrate this effort with training, with knowledge and commercial link with the houses that we visit today, wine is a new culture and have to support it. "
This type of event is important for Mexico after oil since the second income is tourism and this is part of the cuisine.

On the other hand, he representatives of the various wine houses commented that a festival like this can help raise different problems: "One of the things we face is malinchismo unfortunately when we do promotion, in restaurants, Mexican wine, prefer in his letters Chilean wines, French, Argentine and not looking for a domestic wine. What we're trying to do is to have a menu of Mexican wine in restaurants in this country, "said marketing director Claudia Bernal St. Thomas home. The idea of such events is to bring the wine to people and try to demystify it as issues related to prices, because even though prices are low or high, there is a very good relationship between price and quality.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Top 5 Adventures in the Riviera Maya and Cancun (Must Do's)

Swimming with Whale Sharks
This was definitely number one in my books last year, my whale shark adventure was “off the hook” as the kids say (do they still say that?) On a perfect day in July, some friends and I headed out to the area between Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy to meet the biggest animals in the sea. Surrounded by about 200 of these incredible creatures, everywhere we turned we came face to face with gentle domino giants, it seemed too good to be true, a surreal moment in time. There are very few places in the world where the whale sharks congregate with regularity and in such large numbers, the annual appearance near Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula make this a “must do” experience for anyone travelling to this region between May and September.

Visiting the Mayan Ruins
Of course everyone knows Chichen Itza, one of the “new” seven wonders of
the world, its importance in history and its incredible architecture make it a vital part of a visit to the Yucatan. I was thrilled to be able to bring my young son for the first time (he loved shocking the tour guide with a few phrases in Maya). I visited the Tulum Ruins a couple of times this year too, the beautiful site set on a cliff on the Caribbean Sea always brings me peace. If I must pick a fave for 2010, I’ll have to go with Coba. It was my first time there and it really knocked my socks off! Climbing the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan and seeing the world spread out below was an unforgettable

Scuba diving with Dolphins
This year I had the opportunity to visit the island, explore Chankanaab Park and don the tank and mask for a unique underwater experience. I’ve swam with dolphins many times, I always enjoy the experience but this was extra special. Playing with “Titan” the dolphin in his undersea home was an honour and a privilege, seeing him dance, gettting a kiss and hearing him sing put a smile on my face for days.

Eco-Parks in Cancun and the Riviera Maya
Ok, I am cheating again, going to put a few items under one heading (this whole top 5 thing is too hard!). There are several “eco-adventure” parks in the Riviera Maya, places to enjoy nature, discover history and culture and get an adrenaline fix all in one day. Xplor Park is one of the newest in the region and this year my co-workers and I had an absolute blast zooming down the zip lines, discovering the underground rivers and cruising through the jungles and caves in the amphibious vehicles. To fulfill my need for snorkeling (yes, it is a need), Xel Ha fit the bill, a luscious lagoon teeming with undersea life. I made the trip to Xcaret a few times this year, always fantastic, the highlight being the “Festival de Vida y Muerte” (”Festival of Life and Death”) celebrating the Day of the Dead.

Cenotes and more Cenotes The limestone “sinkholes” (isn’t “cenote” a much nicer word?) of the Riviera Maya call to me almost every weekend. When I ask my son what he would like to do, “Cenote!!!!” is generally his first answer (followed closely by “Beach!” or “Zip lines!”). Set in the jungle, cenotes can be dry but are usually filled with crystal clear waters, perfect for a refreshing swim on a hot day. Some are “open” cenotes while others are only found by entering a small hole in the earth, descending to the underground world and discovering stalactites and stalagmites that are millions of years old. I’ve lost track of how many cenotes we visited this year, we loved Gran Cenote, Cenote Cristallino, and Cenote Azul among others, I absolutely recommend a cenote experience to visitors.

Friday, February 4, 2011

17 Souvenirs You Must Buy in Mexico

Shopping Bargains In México

The very word "souvenir" evokes visions of cheesy trinkets destined to fall apart before you get them home. The Spanish word, recuerdo, is an improvement. It translates to "reminder" -- what a souvenir ought to be. The best are specific to the place you visited and, ideally, made by local people.
The best bargains are likely to be found at roadside stalls and in rustic markets that dazzle the senses with sights, sounds, and smells. Every town (and most neighborhoods) has at least one indoor market, as well as a fresh-air component on the street.

The best source for authentic Cuban cigars is to purchase them at Walmart tobacco shop or La Casa del Habano on 5th Avenida and Calle 26 and 28. Both very reputable places known for carrying authentic Cuban cigars. To be absolutely sure for your protection the Cuban government now places a holograph on genuine boxes (on 3 and 5 packs) of cuban cigars.
Unfortunately its illegal for US citizens to bring Cuban cigars into the US or even buy them in Mexico.  We do not condone the illegal importing of citizens carry cigars back in their luggage.  That being said, about 1 in 8 people are randomly picked to have their luggage inspected, so the odds are in your favor.  Have also heard of shipping unlabeled cigars back home via UPS.  Can be pricey and a good chance is that if you ship labeled cigars the will be confiscated.
Tequila is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented and distilled sap of the blue agave plant. Tequila, the first distilled spirit on the North American continent, is only produced in certain regions of Mexico. For many years, México's fiery liquor was largely confined to margaritas and shooters at the bar. Today's fine tequilas are highly coveted by collectors worldwide—for both the smooth aromatic liquor and the handcrafted decorative bottle. While some of the unusual packaging holds tequila without pedigree, many are premium brands, selling at the top end of the market.
Coffee Culture in Mexico
Coffee was primarily planted in Mexico in the 18th century from Jamaica. The Mexican Coffees are typically simple and are most often than not used as a base for blending. Originated from central to southern regions of the country, the most famous coffee market names consist of Coatepec, Oaxaca Pluma, Chiapas, Veracruz and Tapachula. This differs due to the vastness of the plantations in Mexico. In addition, some of the best coffees of Mexican products are produced in small-scaled Mexican organic coffee farms. Being one of the largest producers of certified organic coffees in the gourmet market, they make certain that their coffees are definitely worth exploring based on the inimitable characteristics they represent and their competitive price.
Shopping for Silver in Mexico 
While Taxco alone has some 200 shops selling silver, the shiny metal is ubiquitous throughout the country. Quality-conscious buyers look for the .925 stamp indicating that an item is sterling. Lower-priced articles are made from plated or alpaca alloy silver.
Shopping for Textiles in Mexico
Traditional embroidered garments include sashes, shawls, blouses, and dresses. Complete an outfit with a leather bag, belt, and huarache sandals. To decorate a home, consider shopping for brightly colored hand-woven rugs and blankets.
For the best quality and prices on leather goods, head for cattle country. After embroidery, leatherwork is Valladolid's most important craft. Inexpensive sandals, belts, purses and wallets are sold in the Mercado de Artesanias, or you can poke into workshops around town.
Hot Selling Jellyfish Lamps
The Jellyfish lamps are light shades made out of natural materials from the region of the Yucatan peninsula. Regional gourds (Langerina Sicecaria) and local jicaras(Crescentia cujete) are combined with seeds, shells and other natural materials to make beatiful lamps. The designs are inspired by the local nature, and combined with the colored hand-blown glass and stain glass that reflect the designs and colors on the wall, remind you of those warm amazing days you spent in the magical city of Playa del Carmen.
Sold in much of Mexico but originating in coastal areas, especially along the Caribbean, coral jewelry is a specialty in Cozumel. But no matter how tempting, and no matter how many government permits sellers wave at you, don't buy black coral -- it's endangered and subject to confiscation by customs (need we say the same goes for tortoiseshell?).
Mexico's diverse geology produces many types of clay; the most common is red clay. For a rarer souvenir, look for barro negro, the distinctive pearly-black pottery from Oaxaca that is made into everything from children's whistles to small bowls and dishes to large, elaborate urns. The village of San Bartolo Coyotepec is famous for its black clay, made as the ancient Zapotecs did.

Toys for macho macho men
They're not for everyone, but lucha libre fans can get authentic masks for less than the imports sold here. They're easiest to find at the arenas if you attend a match. Hand-rolled Cuban cigars are widely available in Mexico, especially in southern states. (So are cheap local knock-offs, so know your source.) Just remember, we did not advise you to smuggle one past customs agents.
What child wouldn't love a birthday piñata? In Mexico, piñatas are believed to have originated among the Aztecs, Mayans, and other native peoples of Mexico, who made clay pots in the shape of their gods. The pots were meant to be broken forcefully with poles and sticks, so the contents spilled to signify abundance or favors from the gods. The Mayans played a game where the central player’s eyes were covered with a cloth while he tried to hit the pot that was suspended by a string. Nowadays, piñatas have been adopted in many parts of the world and have become a more common sight at parties and celebrations, especially in México, Central America and the Southern United States, mostly due to the close influence from Mexican culture, celebrations, especially in México, Central America and the Southern United States, mostly due to the close influence from Mexican culture.

The gold standard is criollo chocolate, grown today mostly in Chiapas and Tabasco states but used all over Mexico. "Mexican chocolate" is synonymous with Oaxaca's version, typically ground with sugar, cinnamon and almonds. A molinillo, the rattle-shaped tool used to whip hot chocolate, also makes a unique and useful souvenir.
Cajeta also known as Delce de Leche
Cajeta is a common and delicious Mexican sweet. Goat or cow's milk is cooked very slowly with sugar to create a beautifully complex, thick syrup, much like caramel. Flavorings, such as vanilla or liquor such as rum, are often added to add even more depth.
Cajeta can be used in many ways. You can spread it on a piece of toast or on crisp, simple cookies. If you allow it to get very thick, you can use it as a filling for sandwich-style cookies. You can serve it on crepes, it is also perfect over ice cream, as a topping for a simple pound cake, with fruits, over baked apples - in other words, wherever you would enjoy a toothsome caramel flavor.
Mexican Vanilla
Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid. The Totonacs of Veracruz, Mexico are credited as its first cultivators. The Totonacs considered vanilla a sacred herb and used it in ritual offerings, as a perfume and for medicine, but rarely as a flavoring. By the early 1400s, the Aztecs added to the mystique of vanilla by combining it with chocolate. 
Vanilla is the second most expensive spice (after saffron) due to the extensive labor required to grow, harvest, and cure the vanilla beans.
Shelf life for either version is the same... indefinite.  As long as you store it out of the sun, away from the heat, and not in your fridge.  Enjoy! Vanilla is Mexico’s gift to the world! 
Mexican salsas
salsa . (Latin salsa, salted.) fem. Composition or mixture of several edible substances, diluted, made to dress or season food.
Salsa is a very significant expression of culture. Since the dawn of time, we’ve been making efforts to improve our condition on this Earth; culture is one of the most extraordinary results of this age-old endeavor. In the same way we seek to dignify and elevate things from their rustic and wild status, to the limits set by our own imagination and resources. We cannot deny the fact that a good steak, properly grilled, has its virtues. But a well prepared sauce, with all those ingredients and hidden secrets, patiently and cleverly accumulated through generations, ennobles and redeems meats and fishes that otherwise would be almost completely worthless.
Pico de gallo 
Pico de gallo translates from Spanish as the phrase "rooster’s beak." Actually, it has little to do with a rooster, but can make an excellent accompaniment to grilled chicken. Pico de gallo is a traditional Mexican fresh relish, that pairs well with numerous Mexican and Tex-Mex foods.
The principal ingredients of pico de gallo are tomato, onions and peppers, usually fairly hot ones like jalapeños. Additional ingredients can include lime juice, cilantro, bell peppers, avocado, or garlic. Some regions of Mexico also call a fruit salad tossed with lime and sprinkled with chili powder, pico de gallo. The more traditional pico de gallo may then be called salsa mexicana. The colors of pico de gallo do delightfully resemble the red, white and green of the Mexican flag.
Grown in the Yucatan of Mexico, Costa Rica and Texas, the habanero pepper has been around for 85 years. According to the Mojave Pepper Farm, "habanero" means "from Havana."
According to Specialty Produce, the heat from habaneros and other chilis stimulates metabolism. You burn 45 calories for three hours when 6 grams of chilis are eaten. So take caution when cooking with habaneros.

Mexico Shopping Tips 

  • Stores are open 9:30 am to 8 pm, Monday through Saturday. But go early to street markets, which close around 2 or 3 pm. Sunday shopping is generally limited to tourist areas and malls. 
  • Independent sellers deal in cash; large ones take well-known credit cards. Some may charge a percentage for the convenience of using plastic, so use cash to save on purchases. Also, ask if VAT tax has been added to your bill. If so, save receipts to get money back when you leave. 

Whether you plan ahead and bring an extra piece of luggage or pick up one south of the border, you’re likely to come home from Mexico with an armful of souvenirs — as well as a heart full of memories.