Friday, April 29, 2011

Landmark Corneal Transplants in Merida

The Hospital Augustine O'Horan, located in Merida witnessed a historic event for the facility. Performed recently were the first two corneal transplants to take place in the hosptial, of which experts believe marks a new phase for the donation and transplantation of organs in the body within the region.

Corneal transplantation, also known as corneal grafting, is a surgical procedure where a damaged or diseased cornea is replaced by donated corneal tissue (the graft) in its entirety (penetrating keratoplasty) or in part (lamellar keratoplasty). The graft has been removed from a recently deceased individual with no known diseases or other factors that may affect the viability of the donated tissue or the health of the recipient. The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil and anterior chamber. The surgical procedure is performed by ophthalmologists, medical doctors who specialize in eyes, and is often done on an outpatient basis.

The interventions were conducted in the newly opened Ambulatory Surgery Units, located next to the main entrance of the hospital. According to staff within the hospital the first transplant was successfully performed Monday afternoon on an older adult and according to reports, Sunday from 2:30 pm marked the time surgery began on the second, the recipient being a young adult. Experts expect a full recovery in both cases.

The family of the donor can live comforted knowing that two people have regained the joy of sight as a result of their goodwill and generosity. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Panama? Ecuador? Not if it's LIFESTYLE you're after...

More than ever people are looking for ways to live better, retire early and in a location they consider “paradise”. Unfortunately due to the economic situation as of late this, for many people, has become unattainable in the US.

This explains the large influx of ex-pats purchasing land and houses in South and Central America in order to retire well on far less money it would cost to do so back home. But of all the locations throughout the tropical America’s, there is only one true choice for someone wishing to obtain this dream...Mexico. That is, if lifestyle is your biggest concern.

Unlike many other locations similar to Mexico (which is very interactive with the US), none are quite as well established and developed to deal with Americans and Canadians easily becoming full-time residents. Places like Playa del Carmen and others in the Riveria Maya (a hugely popular ex-pat destination) have all the amenities that a person would expect in the US; McDonalds, Starbucks, Burger King, Wal-Mart, a new world-class hospital, English cinemas, English speaking lawyers/attorneys/notaries, familiar bank names, boutique shopping, sports bars, nightclubs, readily available internet/cable, phone networks, car dealerships and much, much more. 

In short, you have all the luxuries and desires of home right in your hands but with a much lower cost of living, year-round perfect weather, the most popular and stunningly white beaches in world accompanied by crystal clear blue essence what most believe to be the incarnation of “paradise on earth.

Not to mention, many if not most of the locals speak English, at the very least enough for you to not actually need to know any Spanish to be able to get what you want, although learning Spanish can be quite alot of fun. English is generally accepted as the second language of those Mexican nationals residing there.

Along with this, house and land prices are firstly, not only cheaper than beach-front in the US or Canada, but you also get ALOT more for your dollar. The quality of house you can purchase or have custom-built is far superior to a similarly priced product in the US and you have access to reputable and proven developers and construction companies.

Although let’s be real, due to the superior development of these popular destinations in Mexico for ex-pats, there are other places in the world that may be a little cheaper...and this is where people make mistakes.

For example, Panama. While although has been some significant development over the last 10 years it is still far from anything Mexico has become. Most of the lots and houses advertised are in “no-where-land” which is excellent if you really truly want to get away from it all, but that’s about it. Chances are you’ll be driving along dirt roads to get there, miles and miles away from anything familiar or the beach, no access to everyday amenities as aforementioned and essentially...sacrificing the true reason to move to such a location in the first place, being primarily quality of life.

If you are simply looking for cheap property far away from civilization, an acre in rural Montana or Wyoming will suffice just as well as some vague location in Ecuador, although the ease of living in Montana or Wyoming would be far easier than in these locations where very little to no English is spoken and also vacant of all the luxuries one has become accustomed to and wouldn’t want to live without.

If you’re hell bent on living in such a location despite the obvious downfalls, be sure to book your flights ahead of time, unlike airports like Cancun, they don’t have flights leaving for Miami, Houston, Phoenix or Vancouver several times a day. In fact, Miami is the ONLY place these airports will be able to take you, and you’d best hope there even is a flight at all on the day you are required to leave. Be prepared to be as far away from any resemblance of cosmopolitan life as you could imagine once you find your cheap land, without any hope for a future buyer.

If you get the chance to talk to people who actually have your best interests in mind rather than salesman simply trying to hock off cheap real-estate, Mexico will time and time again be referred as the far better and fiscally wiser choice. 

And as safety concerns for Americans and Canadians in Mexico are generally back to “Mexico is still safe” mentality after most negative press has finally been dismissed by factual data rather than sensationalist media reporting, there truly is no reason to choose any other place but Mexico if paradise is truly what you’re after. In fact, according to official data, you have less than 1 in 11 million* chance to be killed in Mexico (a far greater chance of being eaten by a flesh-eating bacteria in the US however), and are 16 times more likely to die if you stay in US.

For a little more, you get alot more in Mexico. The secret is out however and the number of ex-pats and tourist flooding to such areas for 2011 are at record highs and show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. As the region continues to grow, prices will certainly continue to rise and who knows how long Mexico will be still be affordable to those wanting to retire for much less? If you’re thinking that the exuberant lifestyle of living by the beach is for you, now is certainly the time to act.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Airport Receives Bidders

Yesterday, 26th of April 2011, The Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT) began receiving technical proposals for the tender of the new Riviera Maya airport, to be built 65km from the Cozumel airport and 102km from the Cancun airport.

The two groups to present their offers are the Tradeco Construction Company and the duo formed by Grupo Mexico and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP). Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (Asur) will not participate as they have previously been disqualified by the Federal Competition Commission (Cofeco).

When built, the new airport will be located at a distance of 15.8 miles from the coast in a straight line to Punta Chains, in the main town of Tulum, near the archaeological site of Coba with an estimated construction cost of around 300 million dollars. 

Out with the Hilton, in with the Iberostar

According to sources, due to disagreements between then owners of the hotel property, The Hilton is set to abandon Cancun in the near future, so what does this mean for the future of the location?

Well as it stands currently, many have pointed the finger at the Iberostar chain as the best placed to take over the management of the establishment as although Iberostar has eight locations throughout the state, one in Cozumel and seven in the Riviera Maya, they currently have none in Cancun and taking on this newly available space would provide access to the hugely popular hotel zone.

But let’s not forget the other aspects that make it even more attractive to the Iberostar giant. This is the only lodging in Cancun that has its own golf course, known as the Ruins of the King. The property is also the favorite in the city for meetings and congresses, and has 334 meters square of space across two rooms, one of which overlooks the ocean and adjacent meeting rooms that have to be converted into 16 Boardrooms.

The hotel, 5 star, is located near mile 17 of Kukulcan Boulevard is flanked by the Great Parnasus hotel and at the other end of Dolphin Beach and has 426 rooms. Originally a Westin, it was sold to Hilton to settle debts. Built around 1992-1993, it began operations that same year with the name of Caesar Park Cancun Beach & Golf and was designed and operated by Aoki Corporation, which owns Westin Japanese company. After five years he sold it to Hilton Hotel Corporation and as of November 18, 1999 it changed its name to Hilton Cancun Beach Camp; Golf. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Tourism Train to connect Cancun/Riviera Maya

The Secretary of Tourism, Juan Carlos Gonzalez announced recently that there is to be a new tourism train in the works that will act as a huge boost to tourism in the region. The train will carry passengers between Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and even further south to the Costa Maya near the Belize border.

The new train means improved ease of access to everything the region has to offer. Whether it be fishing, Mayan ruins, water parks, diving or hitting Cancun for a day of world-class shopping, the train provides simple, inexpensive and direct connection to get there. This is especially true for those ex-pats now living in Playa del Carmen, as it the central destination between these locations.

In turn, the train means a huge benefit to the real estate market in the Riviera Maya as areas that may have seems a tad isolated are now very much connected to the central hubs and the largest concentration of tourist destinations opening up many more options for investors. Juan Carlos Gonzalez, also called on investors to find opportunities to participate in growing tourism throughout the region as further construction continues for new access roads, a second international airport (Tulum) and new highway access out of Playa del Carmen, further proof of its being Latin America’s fastest growing location.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scalpel Tourism

It’s called scalpel tourism, not the nicest sounding name ever, but is the term coined for tourism that is directly related to undergoing a medical procedure in a country that is not your own. According to data from the Global Congress of Health and Medical Tourism World, which will hold its fourth edition in October 2011 in the city Chicago, this tourist sector is one of the most successful and rapidly growing global items with many tourist destinations in the world directing their efforts to promote this medical form of tourism.

In layman’s terms scalpel tourism is essentially: taking a vacation, getting your operation done, taking some time to heal and returning home a new you.

Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism estimates that Mexico has been the beneficiary of over $304 million dollars in the state of Quintana Roo alone for the year of 2010, which according to a Deloitte survey of medical tourism will have increased by more than 14 times in seven years (2007-2014) up to 750,000 patients.

Data taken from the State Committee for Development and Promotion of Medical Tourism and Health in the state shows approximately 450,000 U.S. and Canadian tourists visited in 2010 in order to some procedure or another performed, leaving an estimated economic benefit of approximately $90 million.

Internationally, Mexico ranks as one of the favorites in dental and plastic surgery, bariatric (obesity treatment) and orthopedic procedures, vision and weight loss. Domestically, Mexico has fierce competition for this market also, especially when it comes to surgical procedures, the states Quintana Roo, Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Sonora, Guanajuato, Jalisco and Baja California all battling to attract scalpel tourists with highly qualified practitioners.

In this regard Eduardo Paniagua, president of the Association of Travel Agencies in Quintana Roo Internet, explained that Cancun offers services "unsurpassed for other destinations," with not only the low cost of surgeries but sun, ocean, beach and numerous various activities that serve a selling point for having surgery done in the area and adds to the overall purchasing power.

"There are many examples low cost of procedures, but a very significant one is the placement of a gastric band. In the United States it can cost you up to $40,000, whereas in Cancun package (accommodation and intervention included) costs about eight thousand dollars which makes it available to almost anyone.” he said.

For his part, the new mayor of Cozumel, Aurelio Joaquin Gonzalez said he recognizes that medical tourism is a very powerful growth option concerning the sector and will be working hard to potentiate medical tourism in the future.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easy for Foreigners to Own in Mexico

Can I own property in Mexico?

The answer to this question is a resounding YES! The Mexican Government has made it very easy for a non-Mexican citizen to own land in Mexico with the same rights and entitlements you would have buying property in the US or Canada.


The Mexican Constitution was drafted and passed into law in 1917. In the Constitution, there is a provision that creates an area known as the Restricted Zone. The Zone is 100 km (62 miles) from the borders and 50 km (or 31 miles) from the coasts. In this Restricted Zone, only Mexicans could own land. After so many years of being a possession of someone else, this provision was done for their own protection and, at the time, it made sense.  

However, in the 1960’s the Mexican Government realized that there was a lot more money outside of Mexico than inside. In 1970, in an effort to create foreign investment, a Bill was passed into law which created a legal and viable opportunity. The Bill stated that a trust, called a Fideicomiso could be set up, with the foreigner as the sole and exclusive beneficiary. Since a Mexican bank must administer the trust, it satisfies the requirements to purchase land in the restricted zone. The beneficiary (foreigner) could control the land. Because of the 1970 Bill, major foreign investment flowed into Mexico.  Not only Cancun, but also Cozumel, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa, and Cabo-San Lucas exploded.

The Process

Option .1 - Trust

One option is using the Trust system. The way it works is for each property you own, you needed a separate trust. The cost for each trust is about 1% to 1.5% (based on the purchase price of the land). In addition, there is an annual "administration" fee to the Bank of $600-700, for doing nothing more than holding the deed on your behalf. When the time comes to sell the land the bank must be solicited for the trust which can delay the sale up to 6 months. 

The massive bonus with using this trust system is that as of recently the Mexican Government has passed new legislation that allows you a Capital Gains exemption, allowing you keep all the profits made on any property which you sell without being taxed on it.

Option .2 - Corporation

A second option is also available and involves creating a Corporation. In 1994 the newest Bill was passed pertaining to the Restricted Zone. This law states that a Mexican Corporation, which can be wholly owned by foreigners, can be a legal Mexican entity. Now you can own a corporation and hold all its assets. This Bill provided for a linear form of property ownership within the once restricted zone and gives you the right to rent it, improve it, sell it, pass it on to heirs, etc. Your corporation holds the deed, which means you have possession of the deed. 


The government has made it very easy for foreigners to own land in Mexico. So much so, that in 1998, the revenues from the industry of foreign investment & tourism surpassed the revenues from the oil & gas industry. It should be noted that in Mexico the government owns the monopoly, PEMEX, which controls all oil & natural gas in Mexico.  The revenue it collects is from the DIRECT sale to the public. However, the taxes from the industry of foreign investment and tourism exceed those of oil & natural gas. Foreign investment & tourism - is now their cash cow and the Mexican government welcomes your participation.

For more information please feel free to contact American Development Company and let our veteran team of Americans and Canadians give you all the information you need to consider purchasing property in Mexico.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Water Treatment Rated Second Best in the World

The Water Treatment Plant in Atotonilco, Mexico today won second place in the category of major public-private projects on water, the Water Summit held in Berlin, Germany.

With a cost of a little less than US$1 billion dollars, the treatment plant will handle two simultaneous processes: cleaning rain water and the treatment of sewage. It will process 35 thousand liters of water per second from the Valley of Mexico, of that amount, 23 thousand liters per second is sewage and 12 thousand liters per second will be rainwater. The project will also be self-sustaining as it will be able to generate 70% of the electricity required for it to operate with the recovery of methane gas containing sewage sludge being used to produce electricity.

According to information from Notimex, the award is received the Ambassador of Mexico in Germany, Francisco Gonzalez, the deputy director general of Drainage and Water Supply Conagua, José Ramón Ardavín and Aboumrad Alejandro González, director general of the Mexican company IDEAL.

The company is leading the consortium of Mexican and foreign companies engaged in the project, with the contract between the Mexican government and the consortium of companies having a duration of 25 years. After the ceremony, the deputy director general of Drainage and Water Supply of the National Water Commission (Conagua), José Ramón Ardavín, told Notimex that 'it is a recognition that what we are doing, we take the right path."

“The issue of wastewater has been one of the cornerstones of this administration and a very ambitious goal of the president, Felipe Calderón," he said, “ the Atotonilco plant will be one of the largest in the world and is being done in one step. In other parts of the world have built similar plants but in stages over the years. The Atotonilco (plant) will be ready by the end of 2012. "

Ardavín also noted that there was another project in works using the same pattern of public-private financing of Conagua in Guadalajara for the treatment of waste-water. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Cruises to Mexico

The Ministry of Tourism says it plans implement new public policies to further strengthen the performance of the cruises liners to Mexico, and will work in conjunction with major tourist destinations that receive cruise ships in order to increase not only the arrivals of cruise ships, but more fully capitalize on the economic benefit.

For over 40 years Mexico has had a very strong relationship with cruise carriers and the Tourism Secretary has endorsed the Federal Government's commitment to strengthen this sector. As it stands, Mexico has the second largest tourist sector in this regard in the world.


The Tourism Ministry will work to strengthen the cruise industry by focusing on things such as: information and communication, exploring greater opportunity for carriers, known travel blogs and satisfaction polls, and an analysis of building homeports in Mexico, among others.

At the meeting held concerning the consolidation of the industry, the 13 CEOs and directors of shipping companies around the world that were summoned agreed that Mexico has been and will continue to be an excellent business partner in tourism.

The representatives of shippers considered proposals and are to report their responses to the Tourism Ministry and the secretaries of state tourism to destinations which are cruises. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Cozumel Dock

An investment of approximately US$15 million has been made in building the new ship loading dock on the island of Cozumel. Although this is good news the situation is a little bitter-sweet.

Due to delays, the old terminal, near the cruise dock SSA Mexico, remains a primary point of arrival and departure of the company's ferries Ferries del Caribe (Transcaribe) that connects to Punta Venado in the mainland of the entity as, according to sources inside the port authorities on the Isla de las Golondrinas, the Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT) has not yet authorized the new docks operation despite its availability.

The construction project was initially a p
ort terminal at a cost of approximately US$13 million with a delay thus far of one and a half months. When the SCT does authorize its operation, waiting times are still expected as the federal agency then has to be notified of the existence of a new dock, it’s location and it’s characteristics as to decide the usage capabilities of the dock. 

The current loading dock serves as the gateway to all supplies, materials, fuel and food that is consumed in the island town of Cozumel, which is separated from the peninsula by a strip of sea 18 kilometres wide.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

France-Cancun Direct Flights in Response to Demand

Starting October 21st of 2011 Air France will begin operations for direct flights from Paris to Cancun. The CEO of the the airline in Mexico, Jérome Salemi, says the company will supply both to and from flights 3 times per week, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

In regards to Air France’s newfound interest in Cancun, the representative of the company says the investment to connect Paris and Cancun in such a way is an excellent opportunity for growth of operations in this location, including the Riviera Maya. And is a great development for not only French tourists but all Europeans with access to Mexico via the route, further opening up the huge range of unique attractions Mexico has to offer to the world.

With Mexico being one of the world’s top destinations to vacation and its popularity continuing to grow rapidly, it seems only perfect timing that Air France would want to get on board with the boom the Riviera Maya and surrounding areas have become, the development confirms the interest of European travelers visiting tourist destinations in Quintana Roo, which is a benchmark globally for Mexico.

According to Air France, within the first 10 days of opening ticket sales for the new air routes, over 5000 seats have already been sold, with over 80% of these customers having already secured their passage to Mexico being from France and other European countries.

For its part, the state secretary of Tourism, Juan Carlos González Hernández, emphasized the importance of this flight, which will contribute to efforts to diversify tourist markets of Cancun and the Riviera Maya and maintain the state as the main tourist destination in Mexico and Latin America.

In addition, González Hernández also reiterated the Ministry of Tourism’s commitment to promote projects that contribute to economic development and tourism of the state and encourage the arrival of new investment to the sector.