Thursday, June 30, 2011

Comprehensive List of Fine Dining in Sayulita

On various occasions, I've written posts on the different places to go for meals in the quaint, idyllic town of Sayulita, Mexico. Rumaging across the Internet, I found this list of three great locations for fine dining in Sayulita. I hope you enjoy these suggestions and give me your feedback.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Top 10 Colonial Cities to Visit in Mexico

Mexico is probably the country in Latin America with the most beautiful colonial cities. I bet you'd like to know the 10 ten best colonial cities to visit in Mexico. According to International Living, San Miguel de Allende, or San Miguel for short, stands out as the number one city for its fun, dynamic ambiance, full of history and culture. See what other beautiful colonial cities made it on the list.

Learn from Mexican Chef Roberto Santibanez

I bet you've said to yourself a thousand times: "When I retire, I'll take up cooking again", dreaming of all of the fabulous dishes you were going to make, and the recognition you would garner from friends, family, and neighbors.

Now that you're retired and have all the time in the world, why not start? Here's an amazing, easy cookbook called “Truly Mexican” for finally making those authentic, delicious meals.

A native of Mexico City and chef at Brooklyn's Fonda, Santibanez focuses on teaching neophytes the essential building blocks of Mexican cuisine.

Check out the full details here.

The Flavors of Mexico Cooking Class: A Tour of Mexico Through the Tastebuds

These cooking classes are probably the best and most original you'll ever find.

With the name “The Flavors of Mexico”, Florelisa Hernandez, a local resident of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and founder of Crearte, materialized a new project early in 2011. The project, part of what the PV Mirror describes as 'a cultural venture that blends Gastronomy, History, Culture and Art' is what Ms. Hernandez says is the best way 'to experience Mexico through your taste buds!”

Florelisa is very passionate about Mexico, emphasizing, "If I had a chance to be born again, I am sure I would be Mexican, we are such a rich culture, interesting and intriguing, [...]"

The series, The Flavors of Mexico, refers to a bi/monthly cooking class in which each session covers the cuisine of a different state of the Mexican republic.

Fun 50's-Style Burger Drive-in on Mexico's Emerald Coast

Here's an inspiring story of a couple that changed everything in order to pursue their dream of retiring in Mexico. In a tiny town called Tecolutla, on Mexico's Emerald Coast, this American couple decided to not only revisit the 50's in the creation of an American-style drive-in but bring a taste of that charm to Mexico. The couple, Kai and Lois, turned their porch and yard into a hamburger stand, and from the beginning they're proud to say that they don't depend on tourist traffic to keep business alive. Another sign of their success, Lois Hendrikkson says, "Many local children insist on having their birthday parties here."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

PBS Documentary: "Mariachi High"

A new documentary to be aired on PBS this season will follow teen mariachi musicians in Rio Grande, Texas as they compete in national competitions.

“I hope viewers are truly compelled by these kids,” said co-director/producer of Mariachi High Ilana Trachtman. “They are smart, stable, strong-minded, dedicated and talented, and we never see Mexican-American [students] like them on television. I hope viewers are inspired by them, learn something new about this rich culture, and at the same time discover the beauty of mariachi music.”

To see the full article on this rich cultural show, click here.

Golf Resorts in Mexico: Playa del Carmen

In keeping with the theme golf today, as this article mentions, Playa del Carmen is the best place to go for rest, relaxation and golf, of course. Most visitors to Mexico have already heard of Playa del Carmen as the go-to place for golf. See why so many people continue flocking to what is considered Latin America's golf capital and how it's converting Playa del Carmen in a new hot spot for real estate and investment.

Rolex, Golf Digest Create Mobile Apps for 100 Greatest Golf Courses

Golf Digest has teamed up with Swiss watchmaker Rolex to unveil 3 new golf-centric mobile phone apps as the latest edition to the partnership's 100 Greatest Golf Courses franchise.

One of the best apps is the new 'Course Critic' app for the Android devices and iPhone, along with the '100 Greatest Plus' app for iPad. The release of the apps is timed with the U.S. Open, a tournament that Rolex has been a longtime sponsor.Read more about this fun innovation for golfers.

Golf in Riviera Nayarit: Among Best in World

Recently, El Tigre Golf & Country Club at Paradise Village, located in Nuevo Vallarta, was recognized as one of the best 1,000 golf courses in the world. This puts Riviera Nayarit's El Tigre Golf and Country Club in the running as one of the best and most challenging golf courses in the PGA category, on top of being among the courses with the best services.

After an extensive selection process considering a total of 35,000 courses around the world, Rolex, the luxury watchmaker heavily involved in the golf world, published its ranking of 1,000 golf courses around the world. Riviera Nayarit has six operational world-class golf courses and another three currently under development. Read more about Riviera Nayarit's wonderful golf courses here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tierra Viva: Best Salads in All of Sayulita

Tierra Viva is one of the most popular spots for dining in all of Sayulita. Known for its wonderfully creative and delicious salads, it also offers vegetable kebabs. It is what a lot of locals and expats know is more upscale dining at a fraction of what it would cost you in the U.S.

Read more:

El Iguana Azul in Sayulita, Mexico

Ever tried a shake named after Albert Einstein? Well, there's a first time for everything...Here, at El Iguana Azul, or The Blue Iguana, you can find lots of healthy snacks and meals, like this veggie shake. Vegetarian guests in town? A picky daughter or son? Here is the best place to go for healthy foods that everyone will enjoy for an average price of 10 bucks a person. Read a full review of the restaurant here.

Puerto Vallarta Opens Old Town Farmer's Market

One of the reasons why it's so wonderful to live in Mexico is because of the great variety and selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, goods and even nice antiques. It's known that every important city in the world has a farmer's market, full of edible souvenirs and fun sites and sounds. Check out the web page of the Old Town Farmer's Market in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Riviera Nayarit, it has everything you could dream of and all that a traditional farmer's market has to offer.

Be sure to check out this slide show of a walk through the farmer's market. (click on the picture to go to the next).

Exploring Mexico? How About Trying an RV Tour?

Can you imagine? Beautiful weather, beautiful beaches, delicious meals, all throughout Mexico and at your own whim? RV tours through Mexico are one of the best ways to travel in the country because they ensure that motorists are provided with all the necessary amenities for any adventure, giving them the capability to visit any of Mexico's beautiful destinations at their own will.

In an article by Clinton Hesler from Digital Recording, Hesler said, “The Mexicans are steadily improving their toll road system between cities,” resulting in safer travel and increased commerce. More efficient highways and bypass roads are also in the process of being built throughout the country.

Mexico Real Estate: 5 Most Important Changes in the Past 10 Years

For many Americans, the trip abroad to buy real estate in a foreign country was a time of nervousness and anxiety. Would the people speak English? How would we know if we were getting a good deal? Would they try to trick us, thinking we were just another pair of gringos?

The situation today is very different. Over the past decade, the Mexican real estate field has become better and better for expat buyers. It has become more professionalized, with the creation of the Mexican Association for Real Estate Professionals, more accesible, due to important improvements in the country's infraestructure and there are increasingly attractive ludic activities and services. A very different place to buy a home nowadays, see what 5 game-changing fixes the Mexican real estate field has made over the past decade.

Click here.

Live Webcam Shot of Sunny Mexico

Although it's the rainy season in Mexico, there's still plenty of sun to go around. Check out this fun webcam that will show you Puerto Vallarta, in the Jalisco region, in time elapse format.

Click here to see the sun, sand and beach.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Technology for Expats: The VOIP Phone

If you've ever thought about how to move to Mexico and what will come along with moving to the best country to retire in, I'm sure you've had a lot of questions. One of them that often pops up is how to stay in touch with loved ones while living abroad. You would probably learn these things from retirement communities in Mexico eventually, but it's good to have as clear an idea as possible on what living in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico would be like.

Welcome to this 101 session on Technology for Expats

The VOIP phone is a great system and a very clever service for those living abroad. A VOIP phone is essentially a normal telephone that can be easily used without any special devices, so long as you have a connection to the Internet. The ingenious part is this: the VOIP service that you choose will give you a local phone number with the area code of your choice so that friends and family can call you (the call is diverted from that phone to the Internet phone) with with no extra cost to either parties. A definite must-have for those living overseas.

If you have any fun tips for using a VOIP phone in Mexico, please write me below!

Princess Cruises Cancels Calls in Puerto Vallarta

Yesterday I was shocked to hear that Princess Cruises is canceling calls in Puerto Vallarta. This means that it will no longer stop in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, leaving millions of tourists without the Riviera experience.

I think that Puerto Vallarta is not only a perfectly safe destination, but one of the best places in Mexico to retire, and I'm concerned about the fact that Princess Cruises is disparaging Puerto Vallarta. Part of the problem is that in recent travel advisories, the U.S. State Department has been unclear about which regions present a risk to tourists in Mexico.

Mexico is a very large country and there are many great places in Mexico. I think that not traveling to Mexico because of violence at the border is like not going to L.A. after hearing of violence in New York City.

Puerto Vallarta is better than ever, it has fabulous food, wonderful weather and amazing cultural sights and events.

What are your positive experiences in Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit and Mexico? Are you happily involved with retirement communities in Mexico?

I'd love to hear about them in a guest blog!

Villages: How They Help People Age in Place

This interesting article highlights the importance that retirees give aging at home. It talks about the added benefits of having a support system that allows the elderly to stay at home for longer. Villages are referred to in the article with the traditional definition and sense of community and a new definition: membership organizations for older residents of a community that help each other stay in the homes they love for longer.

The earliest villages, like Beacon Hill, were founded in relatively affluent urban areas, though new villages are now sprouting in suburbs and smaller rural communities, and organizers are adapting Beacon Hill's model to fit economically and ethnically diverse communities. Each is united by a common goal: a determination to age in place.

Click here to read why as people get older, the percentage of people wanting to stay in their current residence increases.

More Vacationers Choose Mexico

Reading the Financial Times on Friday, I found an interesting article on tourism in Mexico. It talks about the latest official figures on travel to Mexico and how the number of foreign visitors rose 8.1% in April of this year, compared to the same month in 2010. The level of visitors is back up to 2008 levels, when the amount of travelers reached an astonishing 22.4 million.

Moreover, Mexico continues to be the most important destination for US citizens traveling abroad, representing 14.7 per cent of the total.

As the article says: "And, even if you don’t believe it, the world’s big hotel and tourism companies appear to: private investment in Mexico’s tourism sector grew to more than US$900m in the first three months of this year – an increase of 127 per cent compared with the same period last year."

Impressive figures that clearly express the surge in tourism to Mexico and interest from investors in this wonderful country.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

XVII Festival Gourmet International - Riviera Nayarit

Photo of Chef Thierry Blouet, Chef Heinz Reize, Chef Roland Menetrey of the Gourment Festival Committee

This November 10-20, 2011 you'll be able to get inspired by attending high-class culinary events in the settings of luxurious partner hotels at the XVII Festival Gourmet International. At the event, to be hosted and attended by passionate guests, you'll be able to enjoy a wide variety of restaurants and event locations in Riviera Nayarit. Over thirty guest chefs from around the world, all reknowned in the international gourmet scene, will be there to delight guests with innovative, imaginative and truly exclusive cuisine.

Click here to get the inside scoop on the event.

Nuevo Vallarta - Vallarta Yacht Club Event

This July 4th - July 8th join the Vallarta Yacht Club for a sort of "summer camp" that will show you the ways of the water in Riviera Nayarit, and will give you a big taste for the sun, sand and sea of the Riviera Nayarit region.

Click here to go to the events page of the Vallarta Yacht Club.

Events To Catch in Riviera Nayarit

This June 29th, 2011, there's a special annual celebration named "A battle of the Saints at Mexcaltitan". There will be a representation of a battle between San Pedro and San Pablo to see who will be the founding saint and the cornerstone of the Catholic Church.

This unique festival set in what is known as the 'Venice of Mexico' is very colorful. Shrimp-fishing characterizes this region, and the 'Saints' sail out very early, followed by a procession of parishioners from around the island to bless the waters so that the traps they’ve set get as close as possible to the three ton record per night that was set in the past.

Click on this link to get a better idea of what the festival is all about.

Mexcaltitan is located 21 miles northeast of Santiago Ixcuintla, approximately 1 hour from San Blas and 2 from Tepic.

Landscaping with Native Plants

Whether you have a charming backyard, a proper garden, or a small porch, this list of native plants is perfect for enjoying the outdoors as well as a great way to keep your community beautiful and show your knowledge of native plants.

Also, did you know that using native plants supports native birds and wildlife, conserves water, and requires very little upkeep to maintain gorgeous outdoor areas? Here are some suggestions...

The Coconut Palm: Shade to lie under, coconut water to drink, coconut meat to eat, and a perfect place to hang your hammock...

Plumeria Tree: Famed for its sweet fragrance and stunning beauty, the plumeria tree is a must in any local garden.

The Guamuchitl: The most beloved tree of our local wildlife. Put one of these in the corner of the yard, and you are guaranteed sightings of exotic birds, green iguanas and more as it fruits.

Click here for a better look at what these native plants have to offer and some interesting facts on the Ceiba flower, pictured above.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

72-Hour Sale Gives Big Discount on Travel to Riviera Nayarit

Funjet Vacation has just launched an exclusive 72-hour sale where travelers can get big deals on regular package prices - of up to 56% off for July departures exclusively at six resorts in Las Vegas, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Those lucky travelers will be able to grab a deal from as little as 349.99 per person for stays at resorts such as the Marival Resort & Suites in Mexico's Riviera Nayarit near Puerto Vallarta.

Bird Watching in San Blas, Nayarit

One of the things that the Despierta America (Good Morning America) news crews will definitely catch on their travels through Riviera Nayarit, are the over 250 species of birds there are in the Nayarit region. People from all over the world gather here to bird watch every year at what's considered by many, the best place in the entire world for bird watching.

Watch out for what is sure to be some amazing footage on Nayarit.

Sneak Peek at "La Tovara" Mangrove

If you're feeling adventurous and want to explore the beautiful Nayarit region, you can't miss what Punta de Mita has to offer. One of Mexico's largest mangrove forests lies only 2 hours north of Punta de Mita, in Riviera Nayarit, along the coastal highway. The mangrove trees and intertwining water ways expand over 800 square miles. This luscious natural environment is the habitat for fresh water turtles, crocodiles, and over 250 species of birds. Aside from bird watching, boat tours are available and they will guide you through a long stretch of natural mangroves to the fresh water spring. A relaxing must-see for nature lovers.

Click here to see what a Mangrove Boat Tour is like.

The Art of the Huichol Community

If you want to get a sneak peek at the Huichol art available in the Riviera Nayarit region, take a look at this online gallery. It has beautiful images of Huichol artwork, accompanied by an in- depth introduction on the culture and additional resources for those that want to learn more about the Huichol, a people known for living in "Responsible ecstasy".

Puerto Vallarta: One of the Safest Destinations for International Travelers

Lately there's been a lot of talk about security in Mexico. It turns out that even though many times people have the best intentions, not all arguments are based on fact.

I found this article online that is based on a Security Assessment Study that was conducted by Thomas Dale and Associates (TDA), a leading global investigative and security firm that lists Fortune 100 companies as some of its clients. The study found, through interviews and a thorough assessment on the ground, that Puerto Vallarta, Mexico continues to be one of the safest destinations for international travelers. The study was conducted from this past April 6 to April 13 and developed a report in relation to all aspects of security in Puerto Vallarta.

Click here to read the full story on the report.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Most Beautiful Destinations in North America

Would you like to see the most beautiful destinations in North America? High on the list of must-see destinations is Tulum, Mexico. Tulum is a Pre-Columbian Mayan city in the Yucatan Peninsula that offers a beautiful landscape and is becoming a new tourist destination with its mix of beach and culture. Lush natural vistas mixed with dramatic Mayan ruins create a one-of-a-kind location.

The best part is it's only a few hours away from Riviera Nayarit.Click here to see the rest of the pictures!

The Deepest Swimming Pool on Earth & This Blog Rules | Why go elsewhere? - StumbleUpon

The deepest swimming pool on Earth & This Blog Rules | Why go elsewhere? - StumbleUpon

I found this blog on the deepest swimming pool on earth...These pictures are amazing. They say that not only is the pool a place for people to practice scuba diving before taking the big plunge, but it's quickly becoming a tourist attraction. .Too bad Brussels doesn't have the culture and the sun to match :)

Check out this unlikely pool in Brussels.

Huichol Community in Nayarit

Part of the ancestral traditions that Despierta America will come across are those of the Huichol Community in Nayarit.

Their are communities of Huichol spread across various regions of Mexico, but the homeland of the Huichols is in Nayarit- and is remote. It is found mostly between the states of Jalisco and Nayarit in hard to reach parts of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Thanks to a certain level of isolation, the Huichol community has been able to keep their culture intact. It's said that as a result, their art, which is based on their religion, has been preserved to perfection.

Read this article to find out more on the Huichol people and what you can learn from this culture.

Despierta America Visits Riviera Nayarit

The Hispanic version of Good Morning America has arrived to Riviera Nayarit. From June 20 to June 26, Despierta America will be discovering 'Mexico's Pacific Treasure' or Riviera Nayarit, in search of the best stories of the region. The stories will be presented on the show and will include clips of an expedition in Riviera Nayarit to find the most exotic bird species in the mangroves of La Tovara. Among other things, Despierta America will also discover ancestral traditions of the Huichol community of Agua Milpa.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Dogs of Sunny Vallarta

Pets are great company and can become very dear to us - especially dogs. Have you ever been abroad or simply away on business or vacation and missed your dog to bits? Well, so have I and this blog illustrates perfectly what it's like. This post is written by a woman who visited Puerto Vallarta and missed her dog so much that she took some original pictures of "The Dogs of Sunny Puerto Vallarta". See what she has to say about Mexican dogs and laugh at what substitutes she comes up with!

Medical Care in Mexico: Interesting Special on CBS

It can be challenging to keep up with medical costs in your golden years. Watch this CBS special on medical care in Mexico with testimonials from expats on how it's better than the healthcare they could've received in the U.S.

No limits, no deductibles, no copays..."We like it!" says the wife of an American expat couple. She's talking about how she goes to the doctor and doesn't have to pay for her prescription at the pharmacy on her way out. It's just as good, sometimes better, than the medical care in the U.S... That's because facilities in Mexico have doctors that have been educated abroad: speaking perfect English, familiarized with the latest procedures and using up-to-date medical tools.

Le Cordon Bleu is Back to Riviera Nayarit

So it turns out that while looking for a more upscale place to dine out, I found this blog that mentions Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. The famous French culinary academy Le Cordon Bleu will be presenting the best of International Fusion Cuisine, this June 16th to 26th, with guest chefs Patrick Martin, Olivier Bué, Olivier Calvez y Miguel Quezada. The Riviera Nayarit is well known for it's delicious cuisine and its rich history of gastronomy.

During the 10 day festival, world reknown chefs will be creating a special menu at this restaurant called Piaf Restaurant, part of the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit hotel, that will be open to the public. The best part is cooking classes will also be offered!

Check out the original blog post to find out more.

Visit Mexico and Get Cheaper Health Care says Calderon

It's no secret that medical care is very expensive in the U.S. and that more and more, the medical tourism economy is booming, thanks to countries like Mexico. A preferred option for older generations due easy access from the States, Mexico offers over a thousand new clinics, built by the Mexican government, and has renovated approximately 2,000 others. With numbers like these, it's obvious that there is a lot of interest in lowering medical costs.

As President Calderon stated in an interview: ”Medical tourism is growing dramatically. A group of dentist offices has developed close to the Yuma, Arizona border in order to handle the large American clientele coming for medical care in Mexico."

See the full story here:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Video of San Blas, Nayarit

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the most lovely places to go to in Nayarit is San Blas...I wrote about literature and music inspired by El Muelle de San Blas or the San Blas Wharf in Nayarit and if you watch the video, you'll see what an amazingly tranquil, beautiful place it is.

If you've ever been to San Blas, what would you say was the best thing about it? The spot in town with the most charm? The nicest meal you had?

Post your useful comments below. I'd love to hear them!

Visitors Get Sand, Surf, Adventure and Culture in Nayarit

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stay in Nayarit on vacation?

As this article puts it, "new activities, culinary offerings and attractions are on tap for visitors headed for the Riviera Nayarit this summer", the resort area on the Pacific coast, close to Puerto Vallarta.

Eco-tours are offered in the forests and jungles of the Sierra Madre Mountains, 30 minutes northeast of the town of Nuevo Vallarta. Visitors scale a device called the Crazy Ladder, zoom on zip lines between suspended walkways and platforms high above the jungle floor and descend via rappels.

Beach lovers will find 192 miles of coastline and small towns from Nuevo Vallarta to Punta Mita, Sayulita and San Blas (will be posting a video in my next blog).

Riviera Nayarit offers a number of galleries, open-air markets and exhibits of traditional Huichol art. The Huichol, the native tribe of Nayarit and one of the few remaining tribes in Mexico that have retained much of their original culture, inhabits central western Mexico, mainly in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit.

If you're in Nayarit, or have been to Nayarit, what are a few activities or sights, you'd recommend to visitors there now?

I hope you'll share your experiences here!

Sweeping View of San Pancho

I've been wanting to give those of you that follow my blog a good look at part of Riviera Nayarit, and I found this video of San Francisco, also affectionately called San Pancho, which I talked about in a post a couple of weeks ago. Watch this video to get a good idea of what one of the most tranquil but interesting towns in Nayarit is like. I think the video is sponsored by a touring company, so if you're in the area they could be a good tour provider.

20 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Retirement Abroad

I came across this great article full of more questions than you could ever think of to ask about retirement abroad. There are some very valid questions in this article like Number 9) "Can I still receive my Social Security payments?" and other funny questions like Number 14) "Is there a Burger King?"

See the answers here.

What are some questions you have on retirement abroad and retirement in Mexico? Ask me and I'll definitely try to give you the answer or point you to it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Virtual Mexico: Driving Distance Map

Got the urge to move around in Mexico?

Try this neat map that will give you the driving distance in miles and kilometers between different cities in Mexico.

Click here to use the map and plan your next trip.

6 Steps to the Perfect Complaint

AARP Travel expert Peter Greenberg fills us in on his travel secrets quite frequently, but it's not so common for us to hear the steps on how to make a complaint from a travel expert. Many times, taking the right courses of action is the key to getting a problem fixed.

See this article for how to complain in a way that will get any problem taken care of.

How Travel Can Improve Your Life

They say that travel can make you younger, smarter and even sexier (in an interesting sort of way) no matter what the age. Read this interesting article on how you can keep looking and feeling your best through travel.

Travel Etiquette 101

Have you ever been to a foreign country where you were new not only to the language, but to the culture as well?

When we travel abroad, especially to the East, it's easy to find ourselves stuck not knowing right from wrong in terms of etiquette.

Have you ever found yourself wondering what's polite and what's not? This is an article that I've always wanted to see on etiquette in a variety of countries around the world.

Dream Vacation Planner

Try this vacation planner to find wonderful vacation plans and find out what would best describe your dream vacation. Whether it be for a fun family-oriented trip, a romantic getaway or something for the adventurer in your life, this Frommer's Dream Trip Recommeder has a pick just for you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Swimming with The Whale Shark

Watch this cool video of visitors of Isla Mujeres swimming with whale sharks (as big as a city bus) and see the beautiful natural life of Isla Mujeres.

The 4th Annual Whale Shark Festival on Isla Mujeres

Hi there! So searching for fun, new things for my followers to do in Nayarit, Mexico this summer, I came across the 4th Annual Whale Shark Festival on Isla Mujeres. Taking place this July 15th through July 17th in Quintana Roo, Mexico, this festival is both a fun and meaningful showcase of Isla Mujeres. The island is beautiful and culturally rich, and has the need to raise awareness about it's fragile marine ecosystem. Click on the official webpage to see more about this very special festival.

American Eagle Airlines Flies to Mazatlan and Morelia

Great News. Now we have more options for airports to fly into when visiting Nayarit or the Puerto Vallarta area. Just released last week, American Eagle Airlines announced that now it will fly into the cities of Mazatlan and Morelia

View the map of North American service here.

How to Plant Tomatoes

I was interested in growing fresh vegetables myself and I found this great article on how to plant tomatoes. Tomatoes are a vegetable that thrive in warm weather and they give off a large yield, so it's always rewarding. It's also a fun, easy way to start planting vegetables because you don't even need a garden - you can start from seeds in plantable pots or use a ledge or the railing of a balconette.

I definitely recommend trying it, home-grown tomatoes taste delicious and are a great way to start a garden! Click here to find out more about tomatoes.

New FDA Rules for Sunscreen

I have very light skin and am always careful to put lots of sunscreen on, especially when on vacation. Looking through the AARP website, I just found out that the FDA has passed new rules for SPF so consumers will be able to "see more realistic SPF ratings".

Now sunscreens that test SPF 15 or higher will be able to claim they help prevent sunburn and protect against skin damage, while those sunscreens with a SPF of 15 or below will only be able to claim that they help prevent sunburn.

The article also says that the FDA will ban sunscreen manufacturers from claiming their products are waterproof and sweatproof — because none of them really are. Also, they won't be able to call sunscreens “sunblocks” anymore, since it's an exaggeration of what sunscreen can do.

Get all the details on which sunscreens will be good for you, here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mexico City Upgrades

Mexico City's hotel have recently received a facelift of sorts.

IN 2011 we've seen a variety of new property upgrades and renovations that include W Hotels and the Hilton chain. See which hotels would interest you on a trip to Mexico City and find out more about all of the amazing cultural and historical attractions Mexico has to offer.

Guanajuato, An Alternative to San Miguel de Allende

If you plan to spend time in Mexico and want to look beyond San Miguel de Allende, consider renting a property in Guanajuato, the state capital.

The capital of the state with the same name, Guanajuato was named a World Heritage site in 1988 and has a vibrant feel. The state is located in the North-Central Mexico.
Guanajuato is located between the arid north of the country and the lusher south, and it is part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, the Mexican Plateau and the Sierra Madre Oriental. It was initially settled by the Spanish in the 1520s due to mineral deposits found around the capital city of Guanajuato.

With all of the riches this city has to offer, what's the best part? Guanajuato rentals generally cost you less in San Miguel.

Read this article published in International Living about the beautiful city of Guanajuato.

AARP Cruise to Caribbean and Mexico

If you're looking to put a little bit of spice into your vacation life, try an AARP cruise through the Caribbean and Mexico. The seven-night cruise starting March 12, 2011 will be aboard the Norwegian Pearl and is set to include on-board programs exclusively for AARP attendees on topics ranging from health and wellness to creativity, personal discovery and renewal. Learn more about it on AARP's website.

What Will Air Travel Look Like in 2050?

In this article by the Guardian, you'll see Airbus' concept cabin for 2050. It's said in the article that this type of air travel will be exclusively for the rich. What do you think?
Read the brief article and take the poll.

Retirees Head to Mexico for Sun (and Health Care)

Some retired Americans say that the cost of living is just too expensive in the States. Especially for those that live in bigger cities, the cost of living -- and health care -- can break retirees budgets. So what are many people doing to avoid such high priced living and health care? Flock to Mexico.

Watch this video about how many smart retired Americans are going to Mexico to receive treatments and undergo procedures and surgeries with the same level of medical sophistication, for less money.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Beautiful Weather of Puerto Vallarta

Did you know that Puerto Vallarta has well over 300 days of sunshine per year? Like most tropical climates, there is a dry season and a rainy season. The dry season, which coincides with the high season for tourism, lasts from November until May. The weather during this time is about as close to perfect as you can get; clear blue skies, warm days, cool breezy nights, and little to no rainfall are the norms. Click here to get average temperatures for all seasons and even what the temperature is like right now in Puerto Vallarta.

Youth Soccer Club in Puerto Vallarta

Gilberto Briseño started a youth soccer club in Puerto Vallarta last year. Now in it's second year, and only after the children's first season playing together, the teams advanced all the way to the quarter finals in the Torneo Municipal, the city-wide finals.

"These types of tournaments help us to improve on so many levels,” Gilberto explains. “It’s a real eye-opener for our kids who have never been outside of Puerto Vallarta to play against teams from other places in Mexico, as well as the U.S.”

“Every time I ask the kids what their goals are they always reply [that they want to] win the championship and to one day be a professional player,” Gilberto laughs. “But even if they do not go further with soccer careers, I believe they are learning discipline and sportsmanship, conduct that will help them in school and work.”

You can read more about the soccer team here.

Don Pedro's: Sayulita's Laid Back Luxe

If you want a local spot to go for a beautiful meal by the beach, go to Don Pedro's in Sayulita. The restaurant bar that also is a hotel, offers a wide variety of food to suit all tastes. Go to the website to see what Don Pedro's offers. Also, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how Don Pedro's gives back to the community of Sayulita. The restaurant, owned by two Americans, is the largest employer in Sayulita and employs at least one member of every family in Sayulita.

Different Tours of Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a place of amazing natural beauty. Take advantage of its wonderful location between the lush, green Sierra Madre mountain range and the Pacific Ocean by choosing one of a large variety of tours available.

Those who like to spend time on the water can swim with sea lions and dolphins or take a boat ride to watch the humpback whales. You can also go scuba diving and see giant manta rays, go sailing, or catch a marlin on a fishing tour. Those who are more interested in the mountains can fly through the jungle on a canopy tour, hike the Sierra Madre mountains, go mule or horseback riding.

Great Book for Inspiration: Retirement Tales

Retirement Tales: Two Gringos Living in Mexico by Charlie Montemayor

Join Charlie Montemayor and his wife Carole in his Retirement Tales - Two Gringos Living in Mexico. Charlie and Carole moved to Guanajuato, Mexico in 1995. From the time they start to pack for their move to Mexico, until the present, Charlie makes it a point to send stories to family and friends in the States through a newsletter that chronicles their adventures. The family and friends start passing the newsletters around to share the interesting and funny anecdotes with friends and soon the newsletters become something that all of the readers treasure.

Retirement Tales- Two Gringos Living in Mexico is a collection of the best of the articles from their newsletter. Not only is the book amusing, but it provides practical information on living in Mexico, the experience of building a house in Guanajuato, living costs and government regulations, things you need to know, all done with insightful wisdom about the country, and a friendly view of our neighbour to the south. This book is deemed instructive, interesting, and hilarious.

7 Ways to Keep Retirement Exciting

Here is an interesting article on how the new set of baby boomers are enjoying their retirement. A few ideas are continuing your education and learning a new trade. Over a quarter (26 percent) of affluent baby boomers plan to go back to school in retirement. Many colleges provide discounted or even free tuition to residents above certain ages.

Click here for the full list of ideas that will keep your retirement exciting.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mexico is Our India For Medical Tourism...

and is also a top destination for American retirees.

Follow Irene Little, a top figure in un-biased news for expats and retirees interested in medical tourism or retiring abroad. In this article, on her Travel 4 Health webpage, she writes about how the quality in medical insitutions is the same as American or Indian medical centers, only more affordable. Also, for those choosing to go abroad for treatment, Mexico can make your dollars go further since it's closer to home. Oh, and don't miss her radio cast on the blue link under the photo.

Live Shot of Sayulita from Sayulita Surf Shop Web Cam

Catch a live shot of Sayulita's beach here!

Click here to see a shot of the beach in Sayulita

Why is Medical Tourism Gaining So Much Support?

The current in medical tourism is due to the following factors:

(1) Rising health care costs. Rising health care costs in developed countries especially the US are forcing their citizens to seek affordable health care elsewhere. Charges for common procedures such as heart bypass can be $11,000 in Thailand compared to $130,000 in the United States. Knee replacement can cost $40,000 compared to $13,000 in Singapore.

(2) Cross-border medical training. More and more doctors from developing countries have studied and specialized abroad. Mexico, for example, has many doctors trained in the US who speak excellent English and fully understand the medical needs of medical tourists from Western countries. The same is true for India in relation to the US and Australia in relation to Thailand.

(4) Accreditation. To overcome the scepticism of patients, many medical tourism facilities apply for accreditation. Several American organizations conduct inspections, evaluations of and grant accreditation to medical facilities outside the US. One of these is the Joint Commission International (JCI). More encompassing is accreditation by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare which is the umbrella organization for accreditation agencies in many countries including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and Ireland.

Do You Know What the IAMAT Is?

An essential resource for any retiree thinking of traveling more extensively or moving to a foreign country, shares all the secrets for a healthy, happy travel experience.

Do You Know What the IAMAT Is?

An essential resource for any retiree thinking of traveling more extensively or moving to a foreign country, the IAMAT website shares all the secrets for a healthy, happy travel experience.

History Lesson on the Aztecs

It's well-known that Mexico is rich in history and culture. How much do you know about Mexico's origins? Watch this video of the Aztecs and get inspired to learn more about Mexico's history.

The Cost of Private and Public Health Care in Mexico

Over the past few decades, Mexico has been making a very strong effort to modernize its healthcare system, with a combined effort from the government and private investment, both national and international. A growing number of Mexico’s top-rate hospitals are gaining international accreditation. While the results have provide Americans and Canadians enjoying Mexico retirement with a very high quality of equipment and service, and non-existent waiting lines, prices in Mexico remain considerably lower than those of the U.S.

A number of American retirees also choose to take advantage of Mexico’s public insurance system, which has it’s own hospitals, with some experts estimating that the numbers run into the thousands. The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) offers a health care plan with no limits, no deductibles, free medicines (and even vitamins if the doctor feels they’re necessary), tests, X-rays, eyeglasses, even dental work for a single annual fee of about $250.

Click here to find out more.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nayarit's Regional Museum in Tepic

Tepic, the capital of the state of Nayarit, has a variety of interesting museums to visit, such as Nayarit's Regional Museum. The Regional Museum resides in a palatial 18th-century neoclassical house with a lovely courtyard. It also presents changing exhibitions that are the honored host to pre-Hispanic objects, such as ancient pottery and tomb artifacts. The museum also displays colonial painting and artifacts of the Huichol culture.

The Real Deal on Retirement Abroad

Recently published on Smart, this article on Expat Daily News will give you wonderful insight into things to think about when planning to retire, especially if it's abroad. Find out more about what you need to know if you're looking to retire abroad to make your savings go farther.

Hostal Lolita: Charming New Hotel Opens for Budget Conscience Travelers

From El Sayulero

More and more budget conscious travellers are choosing friendly and affordable accomodations in hostels that have recently opened in Sayulita, Mexico. Hostal Lolita located on the south side of town just one block from the main bus stop offers guests comfortable beds, cheerful decoration throughout, bathroom and shower facilities all at a reasonable price and in an ideal location (two blocks from the beach) for only $15 USD per night.

Hostels, originally very popular in Europe, are now found all over the world. Sayulita, Mexico is no exception. At Hostal Lolita you'll be able to enjoy plenty of outdoor space: patios and terraces and lounging areas. Coming soon to the newly renovated and newly opened hostel will be a vegetarian restaurant located upstairs which will be open to guests and the public.

Where to Find Vegetarian Food in Nayarit? Quetzalcoatl, Claro.

For a variety of vegetarian Mexican cuisine and at affordable prices, you can go to Quetzalcoatl, a local Nayarit restaurant. Pronounced Ket-Zal-Coa-Til, it's rumored this local vegetarian restaurant is where you'll have the best veggie burger in town.

Get to Know Tepic, Capital of Nayarit

There are lots of things to do in the region of Nayarit, like go to El Museo de los Cuatro Pueblos. This Museum of the Four Peoples displays contemporary popular arts of Nayarit’s Huichol, Cora, Nahua and Tepehuano peoples, including some of the best examples of local artistry, like clothing, yarn art, weaving, musical instruments, ceramics and beadwork.

Restaurant Cafeteria Las Diligencias in Tepic

Restaurant and Cafeteria Las Diligencias: It's said that there’s no better place than this to experience a true Mexican morning of conversation and coffee. If you want to get an early start to your vacation day, but still need a moment to plan with the help of your guide, this is a pleasant spot for just that. Often times, the locals will sit around the restaurant, ordering snacks, chatting for hours on end or playing cards.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Common Sense Tips for Traveling Abroad

Whenever traveling it's good to keep in mind that we are in an unfamiliar place and should take extra precautions. If you're thinking of checking out your future retirement spot with a vacation, here are are a few good measures, based on common sense. They will come especially in handy for foreign countries that require a little extra attention and care, but can also be applied to trips in the States.

-Avoid revealing large sums of cash in public places. This can be applied to any city in the world really.

-Don't wear clothing items that scream “tourist.” Also, looking upwards and side to side the entire time you're walking is also a instant give-away that you're just visiting.

-Use small bills whenever possible to pay for purchases, especially with vendors in the street. It's probable that they may not have enough change if you pay with a very large bill, which can create an uncomfortable situation.

-When in a crowd, pay attention to the people around you. No matter where you travel, the people that look distracted are the ones that pickpockets go for first.

-It's never a bad idea to leave important documents, unneeded credit cards, and cash in the hotel safe.

-Be watchful of your belongings and keep bags and especially any electronic devices close to you.

Now, Shorter Time Frame for Permanent Residence in Mexico

Check out this detailed and explicative post from the Expat Daily News blog that gives an update on what documents you need if you're planning a move to Mexico. Also, check out what changes for those of you already enjoying the good life in Mexico.

Sininen and Lunazul

If you're wondering what to do with the grandkids on a beautiful day in Nayarit, take them to explore the best two surf shops in Sayulita: Sininen and Lunazul. In my post with a link to a live web cam shot of Sayulita's beach, you'll see the beach from Lunazul's surf shop.

Sininen and Lunazul, are both located by the main town beach, and offer shortboards, longboards, and stand-up paddleboards for sale as well as for rent by the hour, day, or week. Even if your grand children are expert surfers, it'd be a better idea to stop at one of these surf shops to rent a board and gear, since it can cost up to 75$ each way to bring a surfboard on the plane with you.

Culture Stop: Muelle de San Blas in Nayarit, Mexico

One of the biggest hits from globally recognized Mexican music group, Mana, is about a love story that takes place in El Muelle de San Blas (San Blas Wharf), once a prominent wharf in Nayarit.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow originally from Portland, Maine, wrote a poem about it called 'The Bells of San Blas', recalling the end of an era of Spanish colonization and the promise of the Nayarit region. There is a plaque on the nearby church with one of the verses:

They are a voice of the Past,
Of an age that is fading fast,
Of a power austere and grand;
When the flag of Spain unfurled
Its folds o’er this western world,
And the Priest was lord of the land.

The chapel that once looked down
On the little seaport town
Has crumbled into the dust;
And on oaken beams below
The bells swing to and fro,
And are green with mould and rust.

O Bells of San Blas, in vain
Ye call back the Past again!
The Past is deaf to your prayer;
Out of the shadows of night
The world rolls into light;
It is daybreak everywhere...

What other pieces of film, literature or music do you know that San Blas Wharf or the region of Nayarit have influenced?

Ken Brandon: A Retired American Living in Sayulita

There are many people that have retired abroad in Mexico. If you'd like to get familiar with the American community in Sayulita, here's an interview with an artist from Seattle, Washington that has been living in Mexico for over 20 years now. First in Chihuahua and later in San Miguel de Allende, he used to visit Sayulita every once in a while, until he fell in love with the little town and decided to move there in 2003. Read his interesting, inspiring story here.

Banderas Bay: A Place to Explore

Banderas Bay is one of the prettiest bays in the world. At the mouth of Banderas Bay is a peninsula called Punta de Mita, located in the state of Nayarit. Its beach, Anclote, is a great place to have lunch while watching whales and the boats entering and leaving Banderas Bay. If you want to see these friendly giants up close you can enjoy them on Anclote or visit popular Marieta islands. The Marieta islands are surrounded by coral reefs, and are both a natural and government-protected sanctuary for birds and turtles and a great place to snorkel. Punta de Mita is also home to a modern 1,500-acre golf resort and residential development called Punta Mita, with some of the world’s best hotels, including the Four Seasons and La Solana Rosewood.

Day Trip! Little San Francisco

Affectionately nicknamed 'San Pancho', San Francisco, a small town about an hour along HWY200 north of Puerto Vallarta, is a charming coastal town settled between the Pacific ocean and the mountain range. It has beautiful, clear beaches, jungles and is also, much like it's American version, a cultural hub. Overall, it's a must see!

Read the entire description of this unique town here.

Riviera Nayarit: One of the Best Places for Bird Watching Worldwide

If you enjoy bird watching, they say you have to go to Riviera Nayarit. Steve Howell, an ornithologist with over 30 years of experience guiding bird watching tours and author on the subject, swears that Riviera Nayarit is the best place in the world for bird watching.

To find out about the annual International Migratory Bird Festival in San Blas Nayarit click here. Be sure to check out what the festival entails and be on the lookout for the dates of the 2012 edition of the festival.

Heavenly Massage at Paraiso Massage in Sayulita

If you did take me up on the Sayulita Sea Camp for the kids, I have one word for what to do with your freetime: Massage.
There is a place in Sayulita called Paraiso Massage that would be the perfect way to start your day. Meredith, the masseuse and a U.S. licensed massage therapist, "has a unique gift allowing her to intuit each clients health needs in regards to massage. Her massage style blends a combination of deep tissue and swedish while using a firm but nurturing touch to integrate the whole body." Find out more about the health benefits of a massage and what therapeutic services Paraiso Massage offers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sayulita Sea Camp for Kids

Looking at the Sayulita Life Community Website, I found this great Sayulita Sea Camp that offers day camps for children 'focused on education and exploration of the marine environment of Sayulita, Mexico'.

Each day at the camp has a different theme, including sandy shore, rocky shore, open ocean, whales and dolphins, turtles and more.

The website explains that the camp brings "elements of games, arts and crafts, bi-lingual language and science together with a hands-on approach, the goal is to excite kids about the ocean and the animals within and how to protect this underwater world."

An fun, educational experience for kids that will free up parents and grandparents so they can explore what Sayulita has to offer for adults (next blog).

Fishing Tours, Snorkeling and Surfing Tours in Sayulita

"Capitan Pablo" as some locals refer to him, or Paul Southworth, has a passion for fishing. For the last ten years he's been providing fishing and surfing tours as well as snorkeling trips to visitors, locals and anyone that wants Paul to share some of his knowledge of the Pacific.

Waking up to emerald green waters everyday, it's no wonder he is a passionate about living in Sayulita, where he moved to from Oregon 16 years ago. Click here for more information on his tours and a slideshow of all the fun he (and his guests) have had.

Rollie's: A Neighborhood Place in Sayulita

You know what they say, "When in Rome, do as the Romans"...

So head to Rollie's! (Rollie and his wife, Jeanne, pictured above.)

Rollie's is where all of the locals go in Sayulita and is known for its friendly service (its a rule that "no one go hungry") while offering the best breakfast in town.

Here's what the website says:

"The restaurant is located just south of the square on the back road out of town towards Punta de Mita. If for some reason your eyes fail to miss the giant yellow sign, your sense of smell will easily guide you to source of the aromas of bacon, eggs, and coffee."

In this charming, laid back 'diner' opened by expats, you can feel free to speak English while enjoying your meal to familiar music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. It's said that at Rollie's you simply “feel the love.”