Monday, October 31, 2011

Gift Giving Etiquette in Mexico

What is the gift giving etiquette in Mexico?

  • If invited to a Mexican's house, bring a gift such as flowers or sweets.
  • Gift wrapping does not follow any particular protocol.
  • Do not give marigolds as they symbolize death.
  • Do not give red flowers as they have a negative connotation.
  • White flowers are a good gift as they are considered uplifting.
  • Gifts are opened immediately.
  • If you receive a gift, open it and react enthusiastically.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Video: Looking at Baja California as Retirement Destination in Mexico

This video on Baja California interviews a few retirees who consider this state as one of the best places to retire abroad. Mexico Today describes the beauty of Baja California for retirees with its safe communities, affordable real estate and the high quality of life for the cost.

Where to Retire in Mexico Quiz

Wondering where you should retire in Mexico? This quiz by Mexico Guru gives you insight into the best places to live based on your interests and personality.


Exploring Xcaret Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya and Cancun's top eco archaeological park where visitors can snorkel, swim with dolphins, and experience Mayan culture is Xcaret. Take a look at the video below for wildlife in the park.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recycling Remains a High Priority on Mexico's Agenda

Mexico's attitude towards recycling has given the people an influx of recyclable bags and new recycling policies that are benefiting the economy, the job sector, and the environment. Recycling is now an every day practice in Mexico. This is great news for retirees as it shows that Mexico is concerned with the environment its citizens live in and the future of the country.

Picture credit: TreeHugger

Video: Discover Puerto Vallarta for Retirement

Just hearing the following words in the the first 30 seconds of this video almost has me sold on Puerta Vallarta as a retirement community, "same latitude as Hawaii" and "300 days of sun per year." The video talks about the tropical climate and ambience of the city located right on the Banderas Bay.

Why Mexico is One of the Best Places for Retirement

You're looking to get more out of your money set aside for retirement, but aren't willing to sacrifice a good location and community. So why is Mexico one of the best places for retirement?

A survey conducted by the International Community Foundation questioned more than 840 U.S. retirees in coastal areas of Mexico who were over 50 years old. The survey found that:
• U.S. retirees chose Mexico for retirement due to its proximity to the United States and its affordability relative to other retirement destinations in the United States.
• U.S. retirees in Mexican coastal communities are relatively young and well-educated. Nearly 53 percent are under 65 years of age. Almost two-thirds have at least a college degree; another 28 percent attended at least one year of college.
• U.S. retirees residing in Mexico continue to maintain strong ties to the U.S. with 50 percent still considering the United States as their primary country of residence; almost 22 percent return to the U.S. on a monthly basis.
• Almost 44 percent of Americans residing in Mexican coastal communities were able to live comfortably on less than $1,000 USD a month for household expenses. This is significantly different from the U.S. where in California, a senior might need $21,000-27,000/year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Golfing in La Paz, Mexico

The Arthur Hills golf course at Paraiso Del Mar in La Paz, Mexico offers a gorgeous golfing locale for golfers. The golf course is part of an extensive resort and residential development and is stretched over a sandy part of the peninsula across from La Paz. The course is almost a two-hour drive from the golf-centric Cabo San Lucas. Take a look at these reviews of the Arthur Hills course.

Importing a Car to Mexico

How difficult or easy is it to import your car into Mexico if you’re thinking about moving to Mexico? Check out this article that outlines the process and procedures involved in importing your car from your native country into Mexico.


UFC Expects Big Success in Mexico

As I've said before, I'm starting to learn a bit about UFC. Here's a video of Mexico Today interviewing Dominic Cruz who is a Mexican-American UFC Champion. The video also features fighter Aaron Sosa and Reed Harris, UFC VP.

Cozumel Getaway

For those looking to getaway for a bit, Living Social has a 2-person getaway for Cozumel, Mexico. Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea right off of the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

AARP Writer Discusses Her First Steps to Retirement

AARP writer, Esmeralda Santiago, recounts her first steps to retirement and tells her story. Reading others' situations often helps me get perspective on the right steps to retirement, even if its not going to be exactly the same.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cost of Living in Mexico City's Different Neighborhoods

Picture from Solutions Abroad
Solutions Abroad has two charts which estimate apartment lease and house lease costs (in USD) for each Mexico City neighborhood (Anzures, Bosques de las Lomas, Condesa, Coyoacan, Del Valle, Herradura,
Interlomas, Lomas Chapultepec, Polanco, San Angel, San Jeronimo, Santa Fe, Tecamachalco). The low and high prices are laid out for a two or three bedroom apartment/house with or without furniture. This is a wonderful way to see average cost of living in Mexico City.

10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement

The Department of Labor has ten tips for retirement planning. The first one is:
Start saving, keep saving, and stick to your goals. If you are already saving, whether for retirement or another goal, keep going! You know that saving is a rewarding habit. If you’re not saving, it’s time to get started. Start small if you have to and try to increase the amount you save each month. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow (see the chart below). Make saving for retirement a priority. Devise a plan, stick to it, and set goals. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to start saving.

Mexico City's Underground Skyscraper Architecture Idea

This is an interesting concept by a Mexico City architecture firm, utilizing design for crowded cities. This design would be for Mexico City's main square, Zocalo. Read more about this underground skyscraper from Mexico Today.

Understanding Mexico - A Glimpse at the Past

Solutions Abroad gives us a glimpse at Mexico's past which can help people understand present day Mexico.
To understand Mexico you have to understand the city that gave the country its name. The former Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec empire, is in a basin (incorrectly referred to as a valley) whose human habitation goes back at least 1,400 years. Its founding on the site where the Aztecs found an eagle in combat with a snake is represented in the middle of Mexico's green, white and red flag. This foundation myth is also represented in many state and local logos of the United States, including the top left-hand corner of the Seal of the City of Los Angeles.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Playa del Carmen real estate

Playa del Carmen real estate provides some of the best investment opportunities for individuals thinking about retiring in Mexico. Playa del Carmen, located just south of Cancún on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, is one of the most charming fishing villages in all of Mexico and Playa del Carmen has countless condos for sale in this breathtaking area.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Lost and Found in Mexico" Documentary By Caren Cross

The praised documentary “Lost and Found in Mexico” by Caren Cross illustrates the lives of retirees who are flocking to Mexico every year. Whether individuals are searching for a change of pace, a change of culture, or a change of perception, Mexico has a lot to offer. Join Caren Cross as she revels in the historical and cultural beauty of Mexico.

Check out the trailer for “Lost and Found in Mexico” below.

Mexico Is the Best Place to Retire On a Budget

With the high cost of living in America along with high healthcare costs, many soon to be retirees don't have the option of early retirement and those retire at the retirement age end up having to live frugally to make ends meet. An attractive option for more retirees these days is moving abroad to retire and Expat Info Desk lists the 5 best countries for US citizens to retire on a budget.

Not surprisingly, the country that appears on the list is Mexico with its close proximity to the US, affordable and comprehensive healthcare, high value received for cost of living, and variety of climates to suit any retiree's taste. Expat Info Desk also lists the average cost for healthcare, the amount of money per month that allows retirees to live comfortably, so be sure to read their retiring in Mexico snapshot.

Quality of Healthcare Increasing in Mexico

The opening of two state-of-the-art hospitals in Mexico will help Mexico increase the quality of healthcare available to residents. Those who are both publically and privately insured by the Mexican healthcare system will receive access to care at the two modern hospitals, which are located in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico (an hour away from Guadalajara) and Colima, Nayarit, Mexico. The second hospital in Colima is projected to open up by the end of this year. Mexico Today provides more information on the services each of these hospitals will provide to patients and the contribution to Mexican healthcare.

A Glimpse of Mexican Culture - Family Values

If you retire abroad, you can only enrich your experience by learning some of the values of the country you'll be living in. Here is an intro to some Mexican family values:

  • The family is at the centre of the social structure.
  • Outside of the major cosmopolitan cities, families are still generally large.
  • The extended family is as important as the nuclear family since it provides a sense of stability.
  • Mexicans consider it their duty and responsibility to help family members. For example, the will help find employment or finance a house or other large purchase.
  • Most Mexican families are extremely traditional, with the father as the head, the authority figure and the decision-maker.
  • Mothers are greatly revered, but their role may be seen as secondary to that of their husband.

Cruise Line Returning to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta

Princess Cruises, which stopped its cruises to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta in the beginning of this year, has made the decision to reinstate its stops in those port cities in 2012. This is great news as those cities were perfectly safe to begin with. The VP of public relations at Princess Cruises, Julie Benson, stated, "We put back Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta on our schedule for the fall 2012-spring 2013 schedule as we would very much like to return to these ports, which have long been a part of our Mexico cruises."

Pictures from the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara

The 16th Pan American Games is hosted in Guadalajara, Mexico and Mexico Today has set up a photo gallery of the events happening there, Take a look at the different galleries that are set up from the inauguration ceremony to competition days.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Restaurant in Oaxaca: Mezzaluna

The downtown Oaxaca restaurant, Mezzaluna, now has another location in Alcalá, recently having opened its doors to customers last July 12. It's an italian-style restaurant that now incorporates large archways, a high ceiling and a grand staircase. Mezzaluna's new location is #206 Alcalá, in El Centro. The restaurant is open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. The original location is #113 Allende in El Centro and is open 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Mexico's Innovative Medicines

President Felipe Calderón explained that 80 percent of deaths in Mexico are caused by diseases such as diabetes, hepatitis, cancer, cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis.
That's why he signed a reform on Tuesday modifying the Regulations for Biotechnological Health Materials to increase the public’s access to innovative medicines.

The President explained that these drugs, unlike traditional ones, are not developed from chemicals but from proteins that come from living animals, which makes their production more costly. “The announcement released is of the utmost importance to the health of the national pharmaceutical industry and the Mexican economy,” the President said. “With this decree, we will build a competitive pharmaceutical industry which will put the most innovative medicines in the hands of Mexicans and the most marginalized people in society.”

The reform at hand will place Mexico in the vanguard of the medical world along with Canada, the United States, and the European Union. “We are embarking on a new medical era in Mexico,” he said.

BNET Webcast: Will You Be Prepared to Retire?

BNET's weekly Ask the Experts live webcast focuses on retirement this week by answering questions like:
  • Am I saving enough?
  • Where is the safest place to put my retirement savings?
  • When should I take social security?
  • 401(k)s
  • IRAs
You're welcome and encouraged to submit questions beforehand. Listen to the webcast for retirement advice at 2pm ET / 11am PT today

If you've missed the webcast, no worries, there's sure to be more webcasts on investing or retirement in the future.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mayan Archaeological Remains Boost Tourism in Mexico

As one of Mexico’s ancient civilisations, the Maya have often been recognized for their scientific and mathematical contributions. According to their complex calculations, the Maya predicted the world to end on December 21st, 2012. Although we can count on making it past that date, with the celebration of this highly unique calendar event, Mexico is hoping the occasion will boost tourism in Mexico by attracting those looking to visit Mayan archaeological remains.


Photo by Mike Rojas

Last Friday, Paola Espinosa, Mexico's Olympic diving medallist illuminated the cauldron that sent fireballs shooting toward the roof of the Omnilife Stadium for the dramatic lighting of the Pan American torch. Among the many prominent Mexican figures present at the event were Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Enriquetta Basilio, who lit the torch at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, local rock group Mana, Eugenia Leon and Colombia's Juanes. The opening games ceremony included traditional regional motifs, vibrant fireworks, lively musical acts as well as the audience's cleverly coordinated use of colored flashlights.

Chicago Tribune: Top Retirement Destinations

The Chicago Tribune recently came out with a list of Top 5 Retirement Destinations, Mexico being listed as #2. Even for those adults who are not looking into retirement quite yet, Mexico is a perfect location for expats due to its modern conveniences and lower cost of living. For those of you who, like me, are looking into retirement abroad, it's good to realize that moving to Mexico (and anywhere abroad) is much easier today due to the fact that the moving process is easier, it's easier to keep in touch as well as easier to find the goods and services you're most used to. Check out the full list of retirement havens.

How to Avoid Hidden Costs of Air Travel

Here's a video that will guide you on what costs to look out for when purchasing national or international airfare that will lower the price of your ticket, saving you lots!

"New York International Shipping"

This is another great web page for you to check out or pass along to a fellow soon-to-be retiree contemplating a move abroad. If you're looking into international movers that can fit the bill for your international moving company, this is a perfect resource, since they also have a great video that is educative and will inform anyone concerned with the topic. Hope you check it out and let me know what you think!

International Movers Web Page

I've been thinking that one of the most challenging parts of the process of moving to Mexico is actually transporting your belongings to another country. For that reason, I've been doing some research on international movers that can put you in good hands and offer a wide range of services and shipping methods that can make moving easier. Keep checking back for new posts on this subject! (I can't wait to find out more about what's the right way to go about an international move).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Museum of Popular Art in Mexico City

The Museum of Popular Art in Mexico City is one of the best of its kind in the country, bringing together folk art from all of Mexico’s 31 states. The Museo de Arte Popular
(MAP) is located downtown one block south of the Parque Alameda Central inside an Art Deco building that would look perfectly at home in Miami. This former police and fire station may seem like an unlikely spot for a museum but is actually a historic building in a wonderful location.

Archaeological Tours for Expats in Mexico

The ancient Mayan civilization existed from 250-900 AD and primarily in modern-day southern Mexico. The Mayans relied on a calendar that was said to begin more than 5,000 years ago and according to many scientists, the end of the calendar doesn’t represent the end of the world, but simply the start of a new cycle.

Mexican officials have stated they will be promoting the new campaign in billboard, newspaper and magazine ads in hopes of targeting travelers interested in exploring Mexican archaeology. ore on

American Describes Wonderful Vacation to Mexico

Describing the experience as one of the best vacations he's had in a long time, this American compares the beauty of Mexico's beaches to the likes of those in the Caribbean and Hawaii. A great, worth-while description of a five-day vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Mexico Today: What is Mexico Like for Baby Boomers?

The newly retiring population of the United States — a population of approximately 76 million people who are ready or nearly ready to retire — has begun to look South of the Border at options for a more cost-effective way to spend its golden years. Whether the choice is to live in a community with a large English-speaking population or to live in a community where the Spanish language predominates, many of the over-60 set are finding that Mexico is an excellent choice for retirement...more on Mexico

DoubleTree Announces Opening of First Mexican Hotel in Querétaro

DoubleTree is announcing its first Mexican hotel in Querétaro, Mexico. This is huge for the area due to the fact that the hotel is a new addition to the tourist infrastructure of Querétaro. The state of Querétaro in central Mexico offers many interesting cultural and natural attractions such as three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a Pueblo Magico, and the first vineyards in America at the location of Tequisquiapan...

Magazine for Expats: Mexi-Go!

Mexi-Go! magazine is a publication that promotes all things wonderful in Mexico. Mexi-Go! shares stories about Canadians and English-language expats who live and work in Mexico.

With articles on destinations, events, art, culture, food and much more, this is definitely worth checking out the next time you get the chance.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Spanish of the Yucatán: What is that?

In the years following the arrival of the Spanish in what is now called Mexico, the Yucatán Peninsula was populated by a very large group of people who spoke Maya and a significantly smaller number of Spanish speakers, descendants of the conquistadors who had arrived a generation before. The Spanish tried hard to maintain their pure bloodlines, but inevitably succumbed to the charms and the stubborn resilience of the Mayas. (Interesting historical note: the Mayas were the only indigenous people of Mexico who were never fully conquered.)

The Spa at 
Hacienda Xcanatun in Mérida

For a day of luxurious, sophisticated pampering, go to the Hacienda Xcanatun spa. Located in what was once one of the largest sisal (agave) plantations in Mexico, the hotel is a restored 18th century, 18-suite, luxury hotel, privately owned and managed by an entrepreneurial couple. The couple has roots not only in the Yucatán Peninsula but to the Mayan world. In this sense, the main goal of the spa is to make "stress and tension dissolve as energy centers around the body are unblocked in the Aura Cleansing and Chakra Alignment. All of these treatments work together with the 
fundamental precepts of Mayan beliefs: the search for harmony with nature and with the universe, are reiterated throughout the property in the vibrant gardens, the colonial architecture, and the design.

Hacienda Xcanatún in Mérida, Mexico

Local residents of the city of Mérida, consider 'Casa de Piedra' at the Hacienda Xcanatún as one of the must-shows for their visiting guests. Why? Well, the building, the history and the restaurant are all can make up a very special day.

The Hacienda Xcanatún hotel opened in 2000 as an exclusive small luxury hotel with 18 distinctive suites. Aside from its cultural and historical vibes, it is simply very beautiful. There are two unique and refreshing swimming pools with bar service, and local and exotic tropical flora in three acres of gardens, pools, and fountains. The hotel has earned innumerable awards which celebrate and praise its excellence.

Restaurant of the Month: Yucatán's Katun

For excellent regional cuisine in the Yucatán, Katun is the place to go. In terms of the ambiance, its an open, spacious dining room that sets the mood with background music that is just right -- and perfectly attune to the friendly, professional service. It's located in the Mérida hotel zone (Calle 60 between Colón and Cupules, close to Hyatt and Fiesta Americana hotels) and makes a mean Crema de Xcatic, a cream soup made with xcatic chiles.

Mexican Travel Destinations Experience Continued Popularity

Expedia bookings to Mexico have increased in recent years, indicating that Mexico is maintaining its position as a top vacation spot for visitors. The vice president of lodging supply of Latin America and Caribbean Expedia, Marco Tagliatti stated, “Mexico remains a favorite destination for our travelers worldwide, with over 1.5 million people booking travel to Mexico using Expedia websites in the last year.

One of the most notable trends in travel bookings to Mexico is an increase in interest in Mexico City. Some other popular Mexican travel destinations include Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Maya, and Mazatlan.

Zas! Zas! Zas! Zacatecas, Mexico

Zacatecas is the capital city of Zacatecas and a must see for anyone visiting Mexico. Once the largest silver mining producing city in the world, it produced one-third of all Mexico's silver during the peak of their mining era. Zacatecas is most famously known for its historical "Cerro de La Bufa" in the 'centro histórico' of the city, where there is a monument to Pancho Villa and an incredible view of the city. For Baroque-style architecture, The Catedral de Zacatecas is a magnificent piece of work, reminiscent of the European influences of the city.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Riviera Nayarit is a Canadian Favorite

Picture of a fresh water cenote in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula

Recently, Readers Digest Canada praised three Mexican travel destinations as top vacation spots for Canadian tourists. The publication claims that Baja California, Riviera Nayarit, and the Yucatan Peninsula are amongst the world’s most beautiful and culturally enriching Mexican travel destinations today...more on

Authentic Food in Mexico: Mexican Taquerías

Taqueria actually means taco shop, but there is much more to the name than one can imagine. Mexican Taquerias cater to extensive palettes with the freshest of Mexican cuisine. They make everything from smoked pork with tequila barbecue sauce to shrimp corn chowder and chicken tamales.

In Los Cabos, for instance, there are tons of taqueria shops...more on

European Charm of San Cristobal de las Casas

Located in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, San Cristobal de las Casas is located in a remote jungle setting that has an altitude of 6890 ft. Due to its high altitude, among other reasons, much of San Cristobal de las Casas' indigenous inhabitants have largely been unbothered and have been able to keep to their traditional ways. In this sense, it's full of culture that makes it very unique and a preferred colonial city among European visitors. Must see places include: San Cristobal's Cathedral, Tienda de los Artesanos de Chiapas, Ex-convento de Santo Domingo, and Templo de San Cristobal.

Tid-Bit of Yucatán's Mayan Cultural

Did you know that it was a punishment for a Maya to have his or her hair cut? Both men and women kept their thick, black hair long, although there were differences in the headdresses that were worn. According to an eminent Mayanist archaeologist, Dr. Sylvanus G. Morley, the Mayas displayed great magnificence in their headdresses. The frame was probably made from wicker or wood, shaped in the form of the head of a jaguar, bird, or serpent, or even the head of one of their gods.
In his book “La Civilización Maya”, Dr. Sylvanus G. Morley states that the men burned the top of the head in order to keep it free of hair. Then they braided the rest of the long hair and rolled the braid into a sort of crown, leaving a tail which fell down the back.

Mérida as one of the top ten colonial cities in Mexico

Mérida, the capital city of the Yucatan peninsula, is a must-see colonial city in Mexico, especially because of its large offer of Mayan culture. From Mayan ruins, to traditional Mayan dishes, indigenous fashion and Yucatecan dances and rituals, Mérida offers a host of things to do and see that will be an exciting way to learn about Mayan culture. Mérida has notable Spanish influence and is full of architectural and cultural gems. For instance, take a day trip to see the ruins at Chichen Itza & Uxmal and try the “salibutes” when you are in town. Besides discovering the ruins, the town and local fare, Mérida hosts a generous amount of free cultural events on a regular basis throughout the city. There’s also tourist information in the office on the main square.

UFC Champion Dominick Cruz Talks to Mexico Today

I've always been a fan of boxing and recently I've been learning about and watching more of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). The video above is an interview with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz , who is of Mexican heritage, explaining how he got to be where he is today. Above is a link to another article explaining his big win this past Saturday, September 30, 2011. I hope you enjoy it.