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paradise another day in




©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

paradise another day in

EDITOR - PUBLISHER Catherine Krantz COLUMNISTS - CONTRIBUTORS Eleanor Athens Anna Laird Barto Epitacio Agustin Galindo Ed Kunze Wibke Langhorst Jorge Navarro Nancy Seeley Priyanka Sharma Dyana Pari Verdoni Amber Workman DESIGN

Jorge Luis Delgado Tel. 554 65 25 Cel. 755104 50 57 WEB DESIGN & HOSTING Zihrena Sistems La Ropa, Zihuatanejo (755) 554 0719


elcome to Another Day in Paradise.

As we come to the end of 2006, we are reflecting on beginnings as well as endings. This month we look at the Mayans, an advanced civilization of people who were contemplating the stars when most other societies were still digging in the dirt. We feature the Popol Vuh, the Mayan book of creation (here’s a spoiler: The Mayans believed man was created from corn), and this psychedelic cosmic tale has left me wondering. I wonder if magic realism does not indeed have its origins in a much more distant past, I wonder if the beat writers, who did spend time in Mexico--especially William Burroughs, were not taking as much inspiration from Mexican culture as their own, and I wonder why we think this version of how it all began is any more ridiculous than any other?

Keeping in tune with the Maya, our Art feature this month is about Mexican pre-Hispanic art in all its glory. We also continue with all of our fabulous features on Mexican cuisine, places to eat, things to do, where to fish, where to shop and how to travel. Our expanded Z-Scene section throws in a good dose of fun and frolic; and we feature again our newest addition, the Real Estate Guide, chock-full of everything you need to know to buy, to sell or to dream about, property in paradise. Sometimes fantasy and reality overlap, and often it’s that blend of the super-real and the magical that defines the Mexican experience. Keep squinting through the mist, and you just might be able to find that place in the middle where all things are possible. Until next time,

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES, (755) 554 65 25 and (755) 544 8023 (spaces are limited, deadline for materials and payments is the 1st of the month previous) SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES, $35 US a year, mailed anywhere in Mexico, the US and Canada, $5 US more for everywhere else. Check out our web page for more info:



Photo by Catherine Krantz ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Guillermo Aldana

Photo by Nadine Markova

Photo by Guillermo Aldana

DECEMBER 2006 /47

6 History

The Mayans of Mexico 8 History

Mayan Mythology – The Mayan Creation Myth

Real Estate Guide 34 Architecture & Design

The Romance of a Mexican Garden 37 Real Estate News

Northern Mexican Cuisine

CS Financial now offering financing in Mexico

14 Food

38 Real Estate Law

Calle Adelita, a new taste sensation in Zihua

Buying in the Federal Zone

17 Z-Scene

Preparing for retirement

20 Shopping

Fashion in Ixtapa’s Plazas

42 Real Estate Listings For Sale, For Rent

22 Sports

46 Classifieds & Resources

10 Food

40 Real Estate Financing

Shore Fishing 26 Art & Entertainment

Pre-hispanic Art 28 Travel & Tips

Posadas under 500 pesos a night 30 Upcoming Events

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Pyramid Kukulkan Chichen Itza


he Mayans first appeared in Southern Mexico, Central and South America around 7000 BC and by 250 AD they had reached great heights as an intellectual, artistic, and cultural civilization. And during the years between 250 AD and 900 AD they made many advances in math, science, architecture, writing and astronomy that were not to be duplicated in other civilizations for hundreds of years. They formed complex hierarchies and societies and built intricate cities that had paved roads, bustling market places and as many as 75,000 residents. The Mayans were brilliant mathematicians and were one of only three peoples to discover the significance of “zero.” They created a complex counting system using only three symbols: a shell for zero, a dot for ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Guillermo Aldana

Courtesy: Mexico Tourism Board

By Catherine Krantz

Observatory at Chichen Itza

one, and a dash for five, and with it were able to count up into the thousands. The Mayan system of recording time, The Long Count, is considered the most accurate calendar of the ancient world. They were able to calculate the true length of the year as 365.2420 days and after over 1,000 years of study, the figure used today is 365.2422 days. The Mayans were highly advanced astronomers who were able to plot the movements of the Earth, sun, moon and planet Venus. From the Mayan observatory at Chichén Itzá, they were able to calculate Venus’ rotation around the sun to be 584 days, as seen from the Earth. And after hundreds of years of study, modern science was finally able to concur; it does indeed take 583.92 days. They developed an intricate pictograph style of writing that took archeologists hundreds of years to decipher, and with it were able to record their own history with precise day, month, and year dates. Of all the societies in the pre-Columbian Americas, only the Maya could write down and communicate anything they wanted in their own language, and therefore are the only pre-Columbian civilization of the western hemisphere with a written history.

Courtesy: Mexico Tourism Board

The Mayans flourished until around 800 AD when they started to decline and by 900 AD nearly all Mayan cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned. The Maya of Mexico in the Yucatan peninsula continued to thrive, however, until the time of the Spanish conquest. Where from the early 1500s and on into the 1800s, they along with the Aztecs, were conquered and nearly extinguished, thus ending the reign of the most brilliant civilization in pre-Columbian America. The modern Maya still live in the areas of their ancestors, in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize but this century has proven to be just as harsh as those past, with many of the six million remaining Mayans living in dire political and economic situations. Mayan activist Rigoberta Mench’u Tum won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for bringing the world’s attention to the plight of her people, and in many places their struggles continue.

Sunset Chichen Itza ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

By Amber Workman Christian teachings of the Spaniards or if Ximénez interpreted the text according to his Christian religious beliefs, it is interesting to note that in many ways the Popol Vuh resembles the Biblical Book of Genesis. Following is a brief overview of the first two parts of the Popol Vuh which tell the story of the creation myth of Man and the World.

Photo by Jorge Luis Delgado

The first section of the Popol Vuh begins by introducing the Heart of Heaven (the Creator), also known as Gucumatz or Hurricane, who existed before anything else. The Heart of Heaven by means of his Word creates the Earth, the water and mountains, and later deer, birds, and other animals. But the Heart of Heaven was not pleased with the animals because they did not speak or praise him, and for this reason he made the animals to eat other animals as their food.


he Popol Vuh is the name given to one of the Sacred Books of the Ancient Maya. Originally written in Quiché by one or several indigenous people shortly after the Spanish Conquest (sometime in the middle of the 16th century), it was later found by the Spanish priest Francisco Ximénez who translated it into Spanish. The manuscript relates the story of the creation of man, the adventures of the semi-gods Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué and, lastly, the origin and rise to power of the Quiché Maya, who dominated that region of the Maya Highlands until shortly before the Spanish Conquest. Although the Popol Vuh tells the story of the indigenous people of Guatemala, it is commonly studied as part of Pre-Colombian Mexican History and Literature, possibly because parts of it are conserved to this day among indigenous groups in southern areas such as Chiapas. The Popol Vuh is a worthwhile read because it gives insight into the ways that the Maya people believe that the world and human beings came into existence. Though it is unclear if the Mayans were influenced by the ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Next, the Heart of Heaven uses mud to create man. But this also fails since the mud was soft, shapeless, and could not withstand water. Also, mankind was dumb, without any brains. Later, he tries making men out of wood. But although these men are able to reproduce, they are incapable of feeling and understanding, and are unable to recognize their Creator. Now, the Heart of Heaven punishes mankind by destroying him through a great flood from which he is unable to escape. Finally, the men of wood are converted into long-tailed monkeys, which is the only remaining sign of them. Here, the Popol Vuh leaves the topic of the creation of human beings (this will later be perfected in the third section in which the first Quiché people are made out of corn), and shifts its focus to supernatural beings. The Lord of the Underworld known as Vucub Caquix, whose children are Zipacná and Cabracán, becomes overly proud of his riches, which angers the twin semi-god brothers Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué, who resolve to kill Vucub Caquix. When the evil god rips off one of Hunahpú´s arms, and then begins to suffer a toothache, the twins are able to recover the arm by having some old wise men replace Vucub Caquix´s teeth with kernels of white corn, remove part of his eyes, and take his precious adornments, which kills him. Something similar occurs with Zipacná, as he had killed “the 400 young men” who had previously tried to destroy him for becoming too powerful. The twins kill Zipacná by burying him in a cave and “the 400 young men” become the stars in the sky. Cabracán is the last to suffer excess pride and is killed when the twins feed him a bird that has been poisoned with special earth. With this concludes the first part of the Popol Vuh.

The second part of the Quiché manuscript begins the story of the immaculate conception of and adventures of the two twin semi-gods Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué. Before this, however, we learn that the twins are the sons of Hun Hunahpú who, along with his brother Vucub Hunahpú were once summoned by the Lords of the Underworld (Xibalbá) to play a ballgame with them. The brothers follow the path into the Underworld and are tricked into greeting false statues made to resemble the Lords of Xibalbá and to burn themselves by sitting on a bench made of molten rock. After failing other tests such as maintaining sticks of tobacco and resin burning an entire night, the brothers are sacrificed and buried. At the burial place, however, something strange occurs: a tree springs up and sprouts heads instead of fruit. Xquic, the daughter of one of the Lords of the Underworld, notices the tree, talks with it, and becomes impregnated when the skull of Hun Hunahpú spits in her hand. From this are born the Hero Twins Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué. One of Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué´s first tasks is to outsmart their half brothers Hun-Batz and HunChoven, who are envious and refuse to share food with their brothers. Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué do away with them by forcing the brothers to climb a tree in order to catch some birds, then changing them into monkeys. Later, the brothers must cultivate maize. They are successful in clearing the field, but are surprised to see that their work is undone overnight by a few wild animals that cause the plants to rise up once

again. The only animal they are able to catch doing this is the rat, who informs them that their true destiny is not to cultivate maize, but to play ball, as their father Hun Hunahpú once did. The brothers then locate the ball-playing equipment and practice their newfound vocation. From here, history repeats itself. The Lords of Xibalbá hear Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué playing ball and warn their grandmother of this by means of a flea. The Twins then send a mosquito to sting the Lords of the Underworld and in this way learn their real names. By doing so, when the Twins are summoned to the Underworld in order to play ball with the evil Lords, they are able to bypass the statues and greet the real Lords by their names. They are also able to avoid sitting on the boiling bench, and attach lightning bugs to the ends of the tobacco and ocote in order to create the illusion that they were burning all night long. The Lords of Xibalbá are impressed and put them to other tests, but in the House of Bats Hunahpú´s loses his head when it is cut off by the bat Camazotz. Later, however, the head is recovered during the ballgame with the Lords of the Underworld.

resurrected. The Twins sacrifice the evil Lords, but do not restore them to life, thus destroying them forever. Afterwards, Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué rise to the Heavens, where they become the Sun and the Moon. Today, the complete version of the Popol Vuh is an easily obtainable text available in many different languages and formats, including illustrated and children’s versions. In addition, Patricia Amlin´s award-winning video recording entitled “Popol Vuh: The Creation Myth of the Maya,” offers an entertaining animated version of the story.

When Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué are presented with a burning bonfire which they must jump over, they decide to sacrifice themselves by jumping into the fire instead. But, unlike their father, the Twins are resurrected and now appear to have greater powers than before. Knowing that the Twins are now able to kill animals and people and then to bring them back from the dead, the Lords of the Underworld ask for themselves to be sacrificed and





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By Priyanka Sharma


Photo by Guillermo Aldana

hinking of northern Mexico conjures up images of the wild west - of cowboys and charros, duels being fought over pretty señoritas, Hollywood westerns, as also of carne asada, flour tortillas, ranchos and musica norteña. On the darker side, the region is also synonymous with Tijuana drug cartels and the thousands who cross the border into the United States, swimming across the Rio Grande. Historically, geographically and culturally, northern Mexico is fairly distinct from other parts of Mexico, and the confluence of these factors has impacted the regional cuisine which is fairly distinct from what is eaten in other parts of the country. While some dishes from northern Mexico – such as burritos (warm flour tortillas stuffed with a variety of filling) and chimichangas (stuffed and fried flour tortilla packets) – are popular to the point of being ubiquitous in south western United States, the rich and fairly diverse norteña cuisine is little known even in central and southern Mexico.This article will take a look at the cuisines of the northern Mexican states of Chihuahua, Baja California, Sonora and Sinaloa.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Culture is a function of how local populations react to geography, nature and outside influences. Add to this the ingenuity of the human spirit, and you have a recipe for the understanding and unraveling of the distinctive features of local cuisines. The natural surroundings of each of the northern Mexican states is fairly distinct. Northern Mexico encompasses mountains and a desert as well as low lying coastal areas and rivers. Chihuahua, Mexico’s largest state contains a vast desert of the same name. The state is also home to the Sierra Madres mountain range. The Sonora Region is known for adventure travel and beautiful vistas, offering hunting parks, beaches and bays for water sports and fishing. Sinaloa lies along the Pacific coast of Mexico and its low-lying coastal areas are run through with rivers. Sinaloa is an important supplier of agricultural produce and is known as the “breadbasket of Mexico,” providing close to a third of Mexico’s total produce. Its harvests include corn, wheat, beans, sugar cane, tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes and melons, amongst many others.The state is also host to a large number of shrimp and fish farms along its coast. The state of Baja California boasts a large coastline and even larger numbers of tourists every year! Northern Mexican states share a lot in common as far cuisine goes. Generally speaking, flour tortillas are favored over corn ones, meats and asados (barbeque or grilling) are much more commonplace, and the beans of choice are pinto beans that are cooked in a variety of mouthwatering styles and served with almost every meal. Also dried chilies are generally used more than fresh ones, the salsas have less heat compared to those found in central and southern Mexico. Owing to the long coastline, fish and seafood is a salient feature of the regional cuisine and are utilized to make a variety of sumptuous dishes. Wine is gradually becoming a favored drink together with old favorites such as tequila and beer. However, despite these commonalities, there are special ingredients and dishes that make the food of each one of the four states unique. Cuisine of Baja California Norte Baja California – divided into Baja Norte and Baja Sur - is located in north-western Mexico and it is one of the most arid regions of the world featuring wild, solitary landscapes. Baja Norte’s attractions include tours of its wine country and colonial era mansions. The basic components of Baja Norte’s cuisine are the norteña influences that have combined themselves with the food introduced by the missionaries, the food eaten by the indigenous populations, and the large coastline with its abundance of fish and seafood. Baja Norte’s culinary tradition is intricately connected to its history, its development as well as the practical need to feed the hordes of tourists that come from different parts of the world. A typical everyday menu in these parts may consist of a seafood soup, arroz a la mexicana (Mexican red rice with carrots and peas) served with frijoles (beans) and flour tortillas. Many of the important culinary contributions of the area have resulted from international migration. One of Baja Norte’s most famous culinary contributions is the Caesar’s Salad that was created by César Cardini at a restaurant called “Fiore D’ Italia.” The culinary arts of the region are in a state of constant evolution which gives us a typically Baja culinary experience that constantly surprises. ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Guillermo Aldana

Photo by Carlos Sanchez

Cuisine of Baja California Sur Arguably, the Sea of Cortez is Baja Sur’s most unique and ecologically endowed region. Baja Sur is also home to the well known tourist areas of Los Cabos and Loreto. Historically the inhabitants of this region relied on hunting, fishing and crop rotation as a means of sustenance. With the arrival of the conquistadores, the gastronomical map of this region changed and new ingredients from Europe were introduced – among them wheat, olives and livestock including cows and pigs. New dishes, combining the local culinary tradition with the food of the missionaries and Jesuits, gradually appeared. Over the years, the local cuisine has come to rely heavily on products obtained from the sea – oysters, fish, snails etc. Other important components include traditional norteña ingredients such as dried meat and salt fish. Amongst the signature dishes of this region are the famous chocolate oysters roasted in their shells, tamales fajados (tied with strings or strips of corn husks), potatoes stuffed with lobster and seafood tacos. The dishes featuring shrimp and lobster are especially delicious. Regional economic development and the proliferation of tourism have resulted in a wider appreciation of various exotic world cuisines. Cuisine of Chihuahua In the land locked state of Chihuahua, deserts, canyons, waterfalls, clean air and spectacular views abound. Gastronomically speaking, however, apart from the omnipresent burritos, there is a general ignorance of the exquisite foods and culinary traditions of the northern states – such as char grilling using mesquites (local variety of wood). The ranch culture in Chihuahua developed after the conquest when the Spaniards imported livestock and found in Chihuahua the perfect spot for grazing. The local populations showed great ingenuity by devising means of prolonging the life of meat by the process of salting and drying meat into machaca. Chihuahua is also the largest producer of apples, peaches and walnuts in Mexico, and these are made into large quantities of Ate (pasty fruit preserves) at harvest

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

time so that the fruit may be enjoyed year round. An everyday meal in Chihuahua usually consists of carne asada (grilled meat), frijoles borrachos (beans served in broth) or frijoles maneados (beans mashed with cheese) and flour tortillas. Chihuahua cheeses are amongst the most famous in Mexico, and the signature Chihuahua dishes include machaca with eggs, and cheese fondue (queso fondido) flavored with chilies and chorizo (spicy sausage) and flavorful, high quality beef. Cuisine of Sonora Perhaps the principal contribution of the cuisine of Sonora is the selection of the products that were the result of the particular climatic and geographical realities of the region. The base of the cuisine of Sonora is to be found in meat, fish, wheat and maize. Beef is by far the most famous culinary product of Sonora, and it is cooked simply and served with few condiments so as to highlight its exquisite flavor. Flour tortillas are eaten with almost every meal and most sophisticated of these are the paper-thin sobaqueras. Some of the favorite Sonora dishes such as chimichangas were originally devised for the often difficult journeys that the missionaries undertook. A typical Sunday comida (lunch) in Sonora would well consist of arrachera (marinated skirt steak) served with frijoles, cheese, chimichangas and flour tortillas. Other favorites include chicken cooked in cheese broth, sautéed liver with onions, and menudo (a spicy soup made with tripe). Stews of various types and a large variety of fish are also an integral part of their culinary repertoire. Guacamole (mashed avocados seasoned with onions, tomatoes and chilies) is eaten in Sonora in generous quantities, and another favorite from the state is a brown sugar candy flavored cookie called Coyotas. Bacanora is the traditional alcoholic beverage of the state of Sonora. Cuisine of Sinaloa Sinaloa is the most important state in Mexico in terms of its agricultural contribution, and it also has a sizable fishing industry. It should therefore come

as no surprise that the cuisine of Sinaloa is amongst the most diverse and delicious in all of Mexico. The geographical location and the development of agriculture and fisheries have ensured the preparation of exquisitely satisfying dishes. The cuisine of Sinaloa shows a decided bias towards maritime products such as shrimps, lobsters, squids and crabs. In addition to seafood, salt water fish that are routinely found in the food of Sinaloa include trout, robalo (sea bass), lisa, marlin and sierra. The typical Sinaloa diet also includes a lot of meat dishes. It is still the custom of the country to go out to hunt pigeons, partridges, duck, and venison (deer meat). The meat is usually dried with the addition of lime before being grilled, sprinkled with salt and shredded onion, and enjoyed. Some famous dishes from Sinaloa include pescado ahumado (fish smoked in bay leaves), tamales de camaron (shrimp tamales), and empanadas de fruta (fruit turnovers). Sinaloa also boasts over 30 varieties of mangoes.The traditional alcoholic beverage is the damiana which is a fermented drink made from a plant with the same name. The now famous pastel de tres leches (literally cake with three milks, a moist cake that uses three kinds of milk products – evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream and is traditionally stuffed with peaches) also originated in Sinaloa. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Priyanka Sharma is a mother, trained social worker and a food and writing aficionado. She lives in Mexico City with her Economist husband and her two and a half year old daughter. She has worked in local and international NGOs in India and Mexico. Priyanka is currently working on a series of articles on regional cuisines from her native India. She is also taking an advanced Spanish language course at the UNAM. Her other interests are travel, cooking, reading and cinema. She can reached at

Mexican Cheeses Mexico produces a great variety of cheeses that are either fresh, soft, semi soft, semi firm or firm. The following are some that are most commonly used: Fresh Cheeses: Queso blanco, which is a creamy, white cheese made from skimmed cow’s milk with a fresh, distinctive lemon flavor. Queso fresco is a white cheese made by combining cow’s milk and goat’s milk. Queso panela is a soft, white cheese that absorbs other flavors easily, and is often cooked in sauces. Requesón: a runny cheese that is used to fill enchiladas and to make cheese spreads. It is sold most often wrapped in fresh corn husks.

Semi-Soft Cheeses: Queso asadero, is used primarily for melting cheese while making queso fundido, a dish that is usually eaten as a late-night supper. Queso chihuahua: is pale yellow and varies in taste from mild to a fairly sharp. It is used in a wide variety of dishes, and is especially good breading and frying. Queso jalapeño: A smooth, soft white cheese with small pieces of jalapeño chile in it. It is quite nice eaten on its own as a snack. Semi-Firm Cheeses: Queso manchego was introduced to Mexico from Spain and is a buttery yellow color. It is good for melting, or for serving with fruit or crackers.

Photo by Epitacio

Soft Cheeses: Queso añejo is an aged version of queso fresco and can be quite firm and salty as it ages. It is used primarily as a garnish, crumbled or grated over a variety of dishes. Queso Oaxaca, also known as quesillo, is by one of the most popular cheese for making quesadillas. It is a stretched curd cheese, kneaded and wound into balls. It is normally pulled apart into thin strings before using to fill tortillas or melted on cooked food.

Firm Cheeses: Queso añejo enchilado: This is usually an aged cheese with a spicy red chile coating. Queso cotija: takes it name from the town of Cotija in the state of Michoacan, where it originated. This is basically a sharp, crumbly goat cheese that is primarily served over beans and salads.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photos by Epitacio

By Wibke Langhorst


a Adelita was the title of one of the most famous corridos (folk songs) to come out of the Mexican Revolution. It is the story of a young woman in love with a sergeant, who traveled with him and his regiment. “La Adelita” came to be an archetype of a woman warrior in Mexico. Adelita was a soldadera, or woman soldier, who not only cooked and cared for the wounded but also actually fought in battles. In time the word adelita was used for all the soldaderas, who became a vital force in the war effort. For decades, people have come to Zihuatanejo for its tranquil blue waters and golden beaches, lured by the romantic visions of an ideal tropical paradise. But for every lover there comes the moment of truth when he realizes that he cannot live on love and air – however balmy and tropical - alone. When the stomach starts growling, even the most romantic soul has to go hunting for food. In the past, this meant either heading towards one of a myriad

of small beach shacks with almost identical and somewhat predictable menus, or ironing your good pants, spit-shining your shoes and preparing to take a substantial chunk out of your vacation budget to dine at one of Zihuatanejo’s high-end restaurants. The good news is that at least one small community in Zihuatanejo knows very well that, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Lacking the spectacular views or stunning architecture of other, much pricier establishments, the cafes and restaurants on Calle Adelita - a charming cobblestone cul-de-sac at the foot of Madera Hill and only steps from the centro and the Playa Principal - are actually focusing on serving great food. Smoke Signals It starts in the afternoon. First there is a small column of white smoke, then slowly the staccato sequence of little puffs turns into a fragrant stream of smoke signals, making mouths water for blocks around. It is hard to resist the call of this special mesquite wood fire, and of course, this is exactly


Rufo`s ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Rodolfo Perez’ intention. Two years ago, he installed his large, wood-burning grill underneath an enormous amate tree at the corner of Calle Adelita and Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, and began turning this quiet Colonia Madera street corner into a charming garden restaurant called “Rufo’s.” “I love plants,” he says, and it shows. Potted palms create cozy private corners, flower pots adorn the sidewalk and the terrace, and beautiful large trees provide shade for the handmade bamboo tables and chairs. Colorful paintings by local artists adorn the outside walls of a small casita and hang from trees and palm tree trunks. At night, whimsical Chinese lanterns dip the tables into a soft light like glowing paper moons. Originally from the Northern state of Chihuahua, Rodolfo creates his own style of fusion cuisine by adding some typical costeño, creole or even Mediterranean touches to his traditional northern Mexican recipes. His grilled pork chops are marinated in a red adobo sauce of different chilies, herbs and spices, and the special pork BBQ ribs are painted with a blend of a local-style salsa and a New Orleans-style creole sauce. Rufo’s also serves grilled fish filets with fruity olive oil and fine herbs. “The special wood we use, iguanero blanco, is very hard and gives our dishes a very special flavor,” Rodolfo says. This is why even something as comfortingly familiar as a juicy hamburger turns into a true delicacy at Rufo’s. The steaming flour tortillas served with most dishes are made from scratch and are good enough to be eaten with just a little bit of salsa or guacamole.

Straightforward and unpretentious, the food at “Rufo’s” is lipsmackingly delicious, and the quiet neighborhood corner invites diners to linger. As the paper moons are shining on a delicate mango sorbet with Grand Marnier and Flambéed Bananas, the crickets are chirping in the trees, and happy couples are strolling along Calle Adelita…life just does not get much better. Enjoy the journey! “Enjoy the journey!” is not exactly what you expect to hear when the chef puts down a plate of food in front you, but then, how many restaurants do you know that are called, literally, “Where are you from?” De Donde Eres is the newest addition to Calle Adelita. As befits a place with such an unusual name, the clientele of De Donde Eres is a colorful mix of locals, long-time Zihuatanejo aficionados and part-time residents as well as the occasional tourists from all parts of the world. Neighborhood regulars include Italians, Germans, Swiss, Britons, Americans, Canadians and Australians, and the restaurant’s owners, Italian-born Sabrina Tieghi and her Fijian husband, Shruneek Narayan, can see no better excuse for the global culinary excursions they offer their guests every night. The daily changing menu based on the freshest available ingredients and jotted down on an informal white board - consists of three different “world food” entrees that on occasion span the entire globe on one single night, plus a dessert that is usually very deliciously Italian. Sabrina, who will enthusiastically describe each menu item in such

a glowing, theatrical way as to cause a verifiably Pavlovian reaction in her dinner guests, is much too modest about her own sweet creations. “I am really not very good doing this – I can only think of making gelato, gelato, gelato,” she says, but boy, if it is not the best homemade gelato you will find anywhere and the perfect ending to her husband’s excitingly flavorful meals. Once in a while you will see Shruneek dash out of his kitchen in his black apron to catch a cooler breeze out on the street or to check his clients’ reaction to his creations. When asked how he, as a trained engineer, comes up with his amazing recipes every day, he looks at you earnestly and tells you, “I dream them.” That must be the difference, then, between De Donde Eres and the hundreds of other competing restaurants in town. Shruneek uses the same basic ingredients and fresh produce commonly found in Zihuatanejo’s markets and grocery stores, but turns them into delicious Thai or Indian curries, Asian stir-fries, or even Moroccan tagines. In his capable hands, a huachinango, arguably the most common fish served in Zihuatanejo, recently shed its mojo al ajo image and, paired with crisply fried herbs and aromatic spices, turned into the most incredibly delicious fish served in Mexico. Ever. Fish and Chips night at De Donde Eres has already become legend, and regulars have been known to cancel a date with a lovely new conquest in order not to miss it. To find De Donde Eres, look for a few sidewalk tables in front of an otherwise unassuming place.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Dinner is generally served on a walk-in basis, so show up early or be prepared to wait for a table to become available. Seating is limited, and the word is spreading fast, all around the globe…

La Gula

Slow Food on the Fast Track “Slow Food” it says, right there on the menu cover. In case you are not a foodie from California - or Italian - Slow Food is fast becoming the new hot trend in the culinary world. And no, it has nothing to do with aging waiters. What the international Slow Food Movement intends to do is to primarily put taste back at the heart of food, and that is precisely what José Luis Noriega and his wife, Rosalba Garcia, are doing at La Gula. What started out as a Madera neighborhood insider tip only three years ago has turned into a local favorite offering one of the most understated but innovative culinary experiences in Zihuatanejo. La Gula is not too easy to find - even when you are standing right in front of it – because only a menu on a rod-iron stand next to a narrow staircase will give away the entrance to this second-floor jewel. Once you walk up the steps to the tranquil, openair restaurant with its colorful wooden chairs and tables, the playful artwork, and the peaceful view over the roofs of the Calle Adelita neighborhood, the concept of slow food starts to make perfect sense. The attention that is given to detail is immediately apparent. A waiter appears next to your table with the menus and a refreshingly cold facial towel – a thoughtful gesture that is very much appreciated by most diners not used to tropical climates. The “heavenly” inspired menu with its headings ranging from “Saint Appetizer” to “Angelic Stewpot” (soups) to “Enjoy Being Sinful” (main courses) does the rest to put everybody in a relaxed mood. While you are waiting for your food, the waiter serves you an amuse-gueule that is not just beautiful to look at but bursting with flavor. The creative menu descriptions (“Sea Illusion,” “Angels on Horseback,” “Bird of Paradise”) promise enticing combinations of fruits, herbs and spices that take their inspirations from different cuisines all over the world. José Luis Noriega calls it his own “fusion” cuisine in which he experiments with unusual flavor combinations or new twists to traditional Mexican dishes. The “Creole Turnover,” for example, combines a crisp-fried homemade pasta dumpling filled with shrimps, vegetables and Oaxaca cheese with an intensely flavorful pineapple-ginger chutney. The Pesce Soleado is a mahi-mahi filet on a bed of banana, guava and avocado leaves that is covered with a dry mulatto sauce, mushrooms

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

De Donde Eres and red onions, and then wrapped and steamed in corn husks. The “Madera Mignon” is a Filet Mignon dipped in a coffee sauce and served with a potatofilled zucchini timbale. The flavor combinations work amazingly well, and the presentation of the plates is impeccable, so it is no great surprise to learn that José Luis has a lot of years of experience as a professional chef under his belt. In addition to working at the Krystal Hotel Group, he participated in a number of gastronomical competitions in Madrid, and spent some time recently with the prestigious Swiss Mövenpick Hotel and Restaurant group in Stuttgart, Germany. This European experience awakened his interest in the emerging Slow Food Movement that started in Italy. “In December of 2007, the founder of the Slow Food Movement is coming to Oaxaca, and we are planning to organize a great food event,” José Luis beams. “Food is becoming more and more important to today’s travelers, and I think it is time for Zihuatanejo to develop its own serious food scene.” At La Gula at least, the slow food revolution is well on its way. José Luis and Rosalba are reviewing and updating their menu every high season, and they are excited about Calle Adelita’s recent emergence as the rincón gastronómico – the culinary corner – of Zihuatanejo. “There is this great energy here,” José Luis says, “we are helping each other out and working together. It is fun to go out and eat at each other’s restaurants because each one serves different food.”

Rincón Gastronómico – Calle Adelita, Colonia Madera De Donde Eres, Global Cuisine Dinner served Monday to Saturday, from six pm to 10 pm. 044 (755) 104 4459 No credit cards accepted. Jugos de Isabel, Juice Stand La Casa Café, Coffee & Breakfasts Open Tuesday to Sunday, from eight am to two pm, with extended hours for sporting events. La Gula, Slow Food Dinners served Monday to Saturday, from five pm to 10:30 pm. (755) 554 8396 Visa and Mastercard. Rufo’s Grill, Mesquite Woodfire Grill Dinner served Monday to Saturday, from five pm to 11 pm. 044 (755) 108 3416 No credit cards accepted. Salvador’s, Authentic Mexican Fare and Ice Cold Beers Open Monday to Saturday, from nine am to eight pm.

Canada Amigos!: Canadians Judy Guerrero of Zihuatanejo’s El Tamarindo guest house, and sister Nancy Nikolai of British Columbia, Canada, with the other members of Canada Amigos, celebrating Canada Day with the Netza school, where they made a pancake breakfast for over 100 Netza kindergarteners with real Canadian maple syrup and then gave the kids a quick hockey lesson with donated gear, Viva Canada!

Bill Underwood and Judy Guerrero at the pancake breakfast

Netza School Director, Marina Sanchez, with kids

Netza Grade 2 singing the Paloma Song in Nahuatl, at Amuleto

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.


Photos by Epitacio

Art Exhibit,Villa de la Selva, Ixtapa

José Antonio Madrazo (2nd from right), Galart artist of the folk art exhibited at the Day of the Dead alter exhibition at Villa de la Selva in Ixtapa with sisters Pilar (far left) & Rocío (far right) and Oscar Fernández

Mujeres Nuevas Creaciones at Villa de la Selva

Luis López with fiancée

Gabriela Valdez, Diana Hulscher,Verónica Sosaya

Elena López Guizar, Tere & José Tajonar

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Family Diaz and Joel Lindouren

Linda Miller & Pancho “El Gas”

Costume Party Mandiles, Ixtapa

Mayren Navarrete artist from grupo “Arte en la Playa” at their art exhibition put together by Galart in conjuction with the Carla Rodríguez, Francisco Ochoa, Arturo & Imer Perezcano, Rocío Madrazo, Association of Dinosaurs costume party at Clemencia Igartua, Alex Ajuria and Dulce Dodoli, at “Mandiles” Mandiles in Ixtapa.

Sylvie Henry & Kombit resting before performing at Caprichos Day of the Dead Celebration

Day of the Dead, Caprichos, Zihuatanejo

Joaquin and Maru Caraza, owners of Caprichos Grill, and Carolina and Agustin Galindo of Galindo Abogados, enjoying the Afro-Carribbean Jazz fusion of Sylvie Henry & Kombit at Caprichos Day of the Dead Celebration

Caprichos Day of the Dead ofrenda ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photos by Catherine Krantz

By Catherine Krantz

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.


heck it out! If you don’t know where to look you just might miss it. Ixtapa has a veritable shopping city, located just off the main boulevard and sprawling off behind it. Driving along the Ixtapa Boulevard you will see a smattering of boutiques and small shops, but that is just the beginning. Wander behind the first row of glass-front shops and head back into the often maze-like pedestrian walkways beyond. Here you will find secondary plazas, with multiple spokes as well as large shopping centers tucked away in the back. You could spend an entire morning wandering the hundreds of shops on the pedestrian promenades in Ixtapa. And morning is the best time, often the shops shut down for lunch (2 pm – 4 pm) and many for longer periods in the afternoons, as most Ixtapa visitors are beating the heat down by pool or beach at those times of day. You can find all manner of fashion and accessories from international name brands to local and regional craftsmen, as well as tropical resort wear, beach gear and a wide array of swimsuits, and of course, IxtapaZihuatanejo souvenirs. Many shops are air-conditioned and the walk ways shaded, and along the way are strategically placed restaurants where you can stop for refreshment and respite. So grab your wallet and put on your walking shoes, with so many passages to explore you are bound to find something irresistible.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

By Ed Kunze

This is an often asked question. A lot of people, if they are not chartering a boat that day, like to hit the shoreline early in the morning, or late in the evening for some additional recreation. Shore fishing has a lot of advantages. You do not need a license to fish from shore. You can fish while the rest of the family enjoys the beach. And, you are not tired from a long day on the water, as you would be when on a boat. Also, unlike in a boat when the bite is not on, you have the option to put the gear away and do something else, or just kick back and relax. A typical e-mail reply, when people ask me about shore fishing, goes like this: “In the hotel zone of Ixtapa, and even around the bay in Zihuatanejo, the shore fishing is generally a hit or miss situation. If the bait is here, and the birds are crashing, it can be awesome. But, that does not happen very often in areas within walking distance of your hotel, or even by taking a short ride in a taxi.” The fact is, it does happen, but not usually within the confined limits of the average tourist. When I guide fly fishing clients for a beach trip, I expect a full day of travel. We load up in my Suburban, which is convenient because the nine and 10 foot fly rods fit inside, all rigged to go, and either head North or South. From prior days on the water, or by calling my captain friends, I usually know where the bait and birds are. If we head north, we may go 1.5 hours up to the Ranch or Saladita, or we may head 1.5 hours south to Puerto Vicente Guerrero. We then hit all the beaches in between, and may actually end up on a beach, crossing back through Zihuatanejo, in the exact opposite direction we started out for in the morning.

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Troncones is becoming a very popular spot for families to get away from the hotel scene. It is also a very popular surfing destination. With its intermittent sandy beaches, rocky points and rock outcroppings, it is a natural fish magnet. The only downfall, for fishermen that is, is the surf. As almost our beaches, we are directly facing the open Pacific. The surf, to reach the larger sized game fish, means long casts. Like in “real long.” A 50-yard cast will just reach the back of the waves on a normal day, and there are many days I am not sure a 100-yard cast would be sufficient to reach the breaking jacks or roosterfish. Playa Linda is near the Hotel Zone II of Ixtapa. Located south of Ixtapa proper by about 15 minutes, the beach is split by a breakwater and pier for the pangas to transport tourists to Ixtapa Island. Within a short walk, the hotels Melia Azul, Club Med, and Qualton, also have great beaches and rocky points nearby that can be very good for shore fishing. On any of these beaches, and off the rock jetty, when the pelicans and booby birds are diving on bait, it is an almost sure thing to hook up with several nice jack crevalle. Plus, Ixtapa Island and the other rock pinnacles act as a natural barrier, so the surf is not nearly as bad as at Troncones, Saladita, or the Ranch. Just remember, when fishing near people swimming, or near the hotels, it is best to allow them the right of way. Barra de Potosi is probably my favorite. The Barra is tucked neatly back into the corner of a major point,

Photos by Epitacio


s there any shore fishing in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo?

But, this type of fishing is not for the average person. First of all, you would need a rental car, and a decent knowledge of the area. Plus, you would not know the turnoffs for the best beach access, the highways, etc. However, some beaches almost always produce something. The Troncones area, Barra de Potosi, and Playa Linda always seem to have something happening on a daily basis, and it is just a matter of which hour.

and is also protected from high surf. The palapa roofed restaurants are great to sit back and have a cold one while waiting for some action to develop, or just to get out of the sun and relax. This is the place I go to when the family wants to go to the beach. The fishing is great for me, and they enjoy the mild ocean conditions for swimming. A full afternoon here, including a meal of fish tacos, quesadillas, guacamole, beans and rice and drinks for four people, is less than $30 dollars. For spin fishermen after jacks, roosters, and black skipjack tuna, a nine-foot rod and a light to medium action salt water reel, loaded with a minimum of 200 yards of 30 or 50 pound braided gelspun (braided) line is best. For lure selection, use anything bright and shiny you can cast a long way. Three to four inch long Hopkins spoons, Krocadiles, and similar lures work well. But, the number one lure of choice would be a ”six to eight” surface popper. The game fish really turn on to a popper crashing the surface. Fly fishermen should use eight to 10 weight rods for these larger fish, and again, at least 200 yards of backing. The flies should be no larger than the bait, but it is best to have a selection of flies from one” to four”. White, blue and white, green and white, and anything with a lot of flash will work. Another option, especially in areas of high surf, is to look for the holes the waves have cut out inside the surf line. You will be after small game fish of 1⁄2 to three pounds, so a six to seven weight fly rod, or a light spin outfit with four to eight pound test will be perfect. These holes can be located by finding a vertical cut in the sand, of about one or two feet, at the high tide line. Directly in front of the vertical cut will be a hole from three to six feet deep. Instead of standing in thigh deep water and casting out past the surf line, turn 90º degrees and cast parallel with the beach and into these holes. You will be surprised as to how much action you will get. A final option, for lots of action on smaller game fish, is to go to the Comercial Mexicana and buy a couple of dollars worth of California squid. A light spin outfit with eight to 10 pound test line, with a number six or eight hook is perfect for the small cut pieces of squid. It is also best to use a dropper loop or a three way swivel. On a short drop line, attach a spark plug, with the gap closed. You can get the used spark plugs from any local mechanic for next to nothing. Spark plugs make great weights, and when you get hung up in the rocks, there is no bite to the pocket book.You can expect to catch cabrilla, corbina, small jacks, perch, pargo, snappers, and a lot of others various species. Ed Kunze is Zihuatanejo’s IGFA Representative and a charter fishing boat captain. He lives in Ixtapa/ Zihuatanejo year round and can be reached at 5537141 or For more information on Captain Ed and his boats go to or ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Guillermo Aldana

By Anna Laird Barto


ou don’t have to be an anthropologist or an art expert to appreciate preHispanic art, all you need is an eye for beauty, according to Alicia Pesqueira de Esesarte, Director of the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art in Oaxaca. “It’s about the expression of beauty made by humans for humans,” she says. But pre-Hispanic works are largely unrecognized as art; rather they tend to be categorized as archeological relics. That’s why most of the preHispanic art treasures in Mexico are housed in

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Olmec head museums of history and anthropology, rather than gracing the walls of art galleries alongside modern greats like Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera. In fact, both of these famous artists drew inspiration from pre-Hispanic art and prized their personal collections. Tamayo (1899-1991) a Zapotec from Oaxaca, was adamant that his collection be preserved as art, not science. That’s why upon his death he donated it to National Institute of Fine Art instead of the National Institute of Anthropology. The result is the Rufino Tamayo Museum, the only place in Mexico where you can see pre-Hispanic works on display as art for art’s sake. That’s not to say that the anthropological collections lack artistic merit. To the contrary, the pre-Hispanic works on exhibition at the Museo Nacional de

Antropología in Mexico City can be viewed as an artistic as well as anthropological history of Mexico. This artistic history is much richer than the sensationalistic overview presented in schools. In addition to the instantly recognizable master pieces of the Maya and Aztec civilizations – fierce looking warriors and blood-thirsty, anthropomorphic gods - pre-Hispanic artists created works of great human sensibility. Some of the most significant humanistic pieces come not from celebrated city states like Teotihuacán or Chichen Itza, but from the civilizations of the west coast, from what is today Guerrero, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa. For the most part, these cultures remain an enigma. “To some extent this is due to geographic isolations,” Pesqueira explains, “but

The art of occidental Mexico mostly differs from that of other regions in its secular nature. Rather than depicting idealized images of priests and warriors, their sculpture shows real human beings engaged in everyday activities: washing clothes, playing ball, and informal gatherings. “The Aztecs were very influenced by the question of religion and warfare,” says Pesqueira. “But in the cultures of the west coast the form of life is much more human, less rigid.” But neither were the Aztec and Maya wholly concerned with warfare and human sacrifice. The Maya, for example, had a highly developed tradition of music, which is depicted in statuettes of musicians and fine crafted flutes of clay and conch shell. Aztec sculptors also achieved realistic detail in their human subjects. Like most of the great achievements of preColumbian art, these works were created while most of Europe was still populated by nomadic hunters. “In the entire pre-Columbian chronology, the age of splendor, the classic period, was the first thousand years of the Christian era,” says Pesqueira. “When the Spanish arrive in the fifteenth century they meet the Aztecs, a people who no longer had that splendor.”

The oldest pre-Columbian civilization, contrary to popular belief, was not that of the Olmecs, but rather the Zapotecs who ruled all of southern Mesoamerica from their capital, Monte Alban, on a hill overlooking modern day Oaxaca, between 500 BC and 750 AD. The Zapotec represent a link between the indigenous cultures of North and Central America. Their art has many elements in common with that of the Maya and Olmec, with whom they maintained trading relationships. Their sculpture demonstrates a similar preoccupation with spatial balance. In contemporary Mexican art, as in most aspects of modern Mexican life, the pre-Hispanic tradition endures, be it in a masked form. The pre-Hispanic influence manifests itself not only in the imagery of death and sacrifice, but in the Mexican addiction to color – the bright oranges, pinks and turquoises they paint their walls. The Maya invested these colors with symbolic meaning. For example, turquoise represented the harmonious meeting of heaven (blue) and earth (green). The mural painting made famous in the twentieth century by Diego Rivera and David Siqueiros are also the continuation of a pre-Hispanic tradition. So you may already be appreciating pre-Hispanic art without even realizing it! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anna Laird Barto is a writer, English teacher and work abroad advisor living in Oaxaca. She writes a regular blog about everyday life in Oaxaca at: http://www.developingwords/mexico/anna

Photo by Guillermo Aldana

mostly it is because they left no great ceremonial centers like Teotihuacán and Monte Albán.”

Ceremonial urn from Palenque

The Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art Morelos #503, Colonia Centro, Oaxaca City, Oax. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Sundays 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Closed Tuesdays. Tours are offered in English on Wednesdays and Fridays 5:00 PM. Museo Nacional de Antropología Paseo de Reforma at Calle Gandhi, Section 1, Bosque de Chapultapec, Mexico City, DF

Photo by Nadine Markova

Olmec head

Photo by Guillermo Aldana

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Pablo de Aguinaco

By Nancy Seeley


or someone who loves to travel but has a limited budget, Mexico offers a dazzling array of options for sleeping cheap while on the road. Despite steadily rising prices during the last decade, two people can still bed down almost anywhere in the country for $500 pesos – or considerably less – per night. When exploring a city new to us, we often use a guidebook like “Lonely Planet” or “Let’s Go Mexico” to make a reservation for the first night, but once we arrive, we hit the streets and go into detective mode, often scoring a place we like better for the rest of our visit. This way, you can bargain with the staff at the reception desk and ask for a discount (yes, skeptics, you CAN do this!), especially if you’re traveling in low season and plan to stay awhile. No matter how hard the guidebooks try, things change between research and publishing, and they can’t possibly list everything. Following are some of our favorites. Mexico City is filled with pricey accommodations, but two blocks from the Revolution Monument is the Hotel Oxford, where we paid less than $200 pesos for a spacious room with a king-sized bed a few months ago. We’ve been going there for years, so we usually book in advance to get one of the two rooms boasting balconies overlooking the tranquil park next door. Nearby Cuernavaca is home to the renowned “Las Mañanitas,” but for a fraction of the price, you can relax at Hotel Colonial, conveniently located ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

on a side street between two of the downtown’s busiest thoroughfares. The rooms aren’t huge, but that way it’s easier to watch cable TV from the bed, and there’s a pleasant outdoor courtyard if you need more space. After a day of climbing the steep, narrow, winding streets of Taxco while constantly on guard to avoid being wiped out by taxis doing the same thing, it’s a pleasure to unlock the door of a room at Posada San Javier. If you’re lucky, your view takes in the Parroquia de Santa Prisca. This rambling property enjoys a pristine setting even though it’s in the midst of the city, and it boasts a large enclosed garden surrounding a refreshing swimming pool. Rarely have I stayed in a Mexican hotel offering more outdoor nooks and crannies to escape with a good book for some privacy. You can get an apartment here too, but that will cost you more than $500 pesos a night. The last time we visited Queretaro, we happened upon the Posada Méson de Matamoros after spending one night in a larger establishment with less personality on the zócalo. Our cozy secondfloor room had a tiny balcony with pothos vines cascading down its wrought-iron railings, and the central courtyard created a friendly and sheltered ambiance. When we stay in artisan-rich Tonala, we make a beeline for the Hacienda del Sol, where promotional prices in September, 2006 were $290 pesos for a room with one double bed and $380 for a king. There are rustic Mexican accents decorating the rooms as well as the public areas, arts and crafts for sale in the commodious lobby, and a tequila gallery to boot.

Six kilometers away from Tonala is the more upscale community of Tlaquepaque. Although prices there are higher, you can still snag a comfortable room for two under $500 pesos a night at Posada de la Media Luna. The doorway from the street is very plain – nothing you’d look at twice – but once upstairs, you’re welcomed by yet another homey courtyard and a well-equipped communal kitchen. Although we haven’t tried it yet, next time we venture to downtown Guadalajara we’ll head for the Hotel Janeiro, only eight blocks from the city’s massive twin-spired cathedral. Someone gave us a flyer for this place recently advertising promotional rates around $200 pesos a night for “impeccably clean” double rooms. One of the things differentiating Mexican posadas and inexpensive hotels from their United States and Canadian counterparts is the wide variety between available rooms that cost exactly the same amount, and Morelia’s Hotel El Carmen illustrates this perfectly. On our first visit, we were delighted by our pleasant second story room with French doors overlooking a park, but the second time around we arrived later than expected and were shown to the last available accommodation: a postage stamp-sized cell so small you either had to stand on the bed or out in the hall to change clothes. And the $300pesos price tag was indeed identical for both! So, if you don’t like the first room you’re shown, don’t be afraid of asking to see another. Closer to home base in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is the laid-back oceanfront town of Pie de la Cuesta, about an hour this side of Acapulco. For total solitude and lots of time to devour the latest bestseller on a secluded beach, book a room at Ukae Kim. We

got there during low season and talked our way into a three-night deal for $300 pesos a night rather than the $400-pesos price tag posted on the list of “tarifas.” If you’re as lucky as we were, you can dine at the hotel’s onsite restaurant seated under the lone gazebo at the end of the pier while the surf pummels the shoreline at sunset. If you don’t want to tax your brain with too much Spanish, head for the heavily “gringo-ized” resort town of Rincon de Guayabitos an hour up the coast from Puerto Vallarta and hang your sombrero at As de Oros for a spell before high season gets well underway. We’ll be back again this year before December 15 and hope to find the pool area as deserted as it was last year. For $400 pesos a night, we got a suite with both a tiny balcony and a kitchen. On the way back to Zihua, get off the bus at Caleta de Campos north of Lazaro Cardenas and savor the local flavor at one of the two or three rustic hotels a block or two from the beach. Here you’ll NOT hear much (if any) English being spoken. Use the money you’ll save on accommodations for some on-thespot Spanish lessons! If you want the cheapest digs imaginable, grab your backpack and take the bus out to Barra de Potosi, south of Zihua on the way to Petatlan. Wander up

to some of the modest beachfront homes and strike a deal with the owners for a freebie hammock under the stars as long as you promise to buy your meals from them. You can scrub up in the ocean. In Tepoztlán, where you can climb a mountain to a pyramid an hour from Cuernavaca, we stayed at Hospedaje Mahe for $250 pesos. Our room was small, but it was spotless, and the place had an outdoor pool. Besides that, I was sicker than a dog when we got there, and the friendly proprietor stopped by frequently with Nyquil and herbal tea. In Tequisquiapan, an hour southeast of Queretaro, our room at the Posada San Francisco looked out over a huge garden and a swimming pool guarded by the statue of a nymph. And in neighboring San Juan del Rio, we found it’s worthwhile to check out a place that looks OK even if your guidebook gives it only one star and a so-so writeup. Our economical two-star hotel on the outskirts of town couldn’t hold a candle to the charming one-star posada we saw later smack dab in the middle of this tiny town. (A middle-aged memory lapse prevents me from sharing its name.)

second floor room was filled with Mexican touches and our balcony afforded a stunning view of the city by night. A new favorite is La Casita de Rosi, across from the Basilica, which features spacious seating areas and Rosi’s cooking. And we can’t forget Méson de San Antonio just down the block, a handful of suites situated around a lovely courtyard. It is undergoing a thorough renovation and now houses artist studios and a gallery. You might have to spend a little more here, but the same type of setup in the U.S. would be at least double the price. There are dozens (probably hundreds) of other posadas throughout Mexico, and you can find phone listings for many of them on the Internet, even though quite a few don’t have their own websites. For comprehensive listings of the country’s hotels from ultra-luxurious to backpacker specials, try and www.allmexicohot Both sites will ask you what city you’re interested in, and you can take it from there.

Then there’s Patzcuaro, where an increasing number of hostelries let you save pesos on sleeping to spend on crafts. An old favorite is Posada Mandala behind the Casa de Las Once Patios, where our

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

DEC 1: Cave Photo Exhibition, Race to the Center of the Earth Expedition, ZIH Galeria, Zihuatanejo, Gro. José Antonio Soriano and 40 international teammates will dive, rappel, and dodge razor-sharp karst in hopes of breaking into Cheve Cave, deep in Mexico’s Sierra de Juarez region in Oaxaca State. Previous exploration of the submerged cave passages in the Santo Domingo canyon area of Central Mexico indicated the potential for a world-record height difference between sink and resurgence. With this in mind, this team decided to utilize the latest technology in re-breathing equipment to eliminate the need for extensive cylinder re-filling and staging. Unfortunately, progress in the Cueva Cave resurgence was December 1, 2006 topped by boulders after 1.5 km, and although dives in the Sistema Huautla resurgence found a continuation, progress was curtailed at an airbell after 300 meters when time ran out. Several members of the team exhibited symptoms of the fungal infection histoplasmosis, whose spores thrive in bird droppings in the soil. Photographer José Antonio Soriano will be on hand at ZIH Galeria in Zihuatanejo to discuss the on-going expedition and will speak about the necessities to complete this adventure in which all we can participate. Zih Gallery, Juan N. Alvarez # 290, Centro Zihuatanejo, one block up from the pier, 7pm. Photos on display through December.

All month long DEC: “Hear From Mexico” - Online English Radio Program. Art and Culture from around México, current events and interesting guests are all a part of this weekly show broadcasted on the President of México’s Website. Every Tuesdays from 5pm –6pm and via podcasts. Cooking Classes with Chef Gabriela Braña, Ixtapa, Gro. Enjoy a morning cooking class with Mexican trained Chef, Gabriela Braña, known for her Asian – Mexican fusion and her lovely restaurant, Al Cilantro, located inside her B&B Tres Puertas in Ixtapa, here she focuses on authentic Mexican dishes. A 2-hr demonstration and lesson is followed by a sit down luncheon with wine to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Classes are held on Tuesdays, 10:30 – 2:30, and occasionally by special arrangement, contact Gabriela at 755-553-0610. ALL DEC: Campeche Historical Festival – Campeche, Campeche. All month the city of Champeche celebrates its Historical Festival that includes great concerts, popular arts, gastronomical expositions and more. DEC 1-15: Chiapas Fair, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. This is Chiapas most important fair. It will include bullfights, horse races, motocross, cockfighting, cultural and sporting events, crafts, agricultural exposition, cattle raising and more. DEC 2-3: Grand Pacific Marathon 2006 (Gran Maraton Pacifico 2006)--Mazatlan, Sinaloa. Runners from the world over participate ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

in this challenging race that takes place at the Pearl of the Pacific and featuring miles and miles of beautiful scenery. DEC 9, 10: Buddhism Seminar: An existential study of life, Ixtapa, Gro. Israel Lifshitz of Lhundup Lamrin Ling center for learning and practicing of Tibetan Buddhism in Morelia, comes back to Ixtapa to offer another 2-day seminar, this one titled: “UNA REVISION EXISTENCIAL DE NUESTRA VIDA (Part I)” / “An existential study of our life, Part I,” the weekend of December 9& 10. Seminars are usually offered in Spanish, if you do not speak Spanish and wish to attend contact Rocio Madrazo, for possible arrangements. Saturday Dec 9: 10am – 2pm & 4pm - 8:30pm, Sunday Dec 10: 10am – 3pm, at the conference room at Club de Golf Palma Real in Ixtapa, for further information contact Rocío Madrazo 755-554-7774 rociomadrazoeventos . To contact Israel Lifshitz directly for more information about his center in Morelia and his occasional bi-lingual and English language seminars offered there, email: DEC 12: Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Fiesta de la Virgin de Guadalupe)-Nationwide. The most important holiday in Mexico in which millions of pilgrims converge on the Mexico City Basilica of the country’s patron saint to pay tribute. The square in front of the Basilica is a stage for singing, dancing and celebration. DEC 16-23: Posada and Piñata Fair (Feria de la Posada y Piñata)--Alcoman, Estado de Mexico. An annual celebration near Mexico City of the Posadas procession. Among the piñatas on display are those made from clay, traditional models with seven points that symbolize the seven deadly sins, and

DEC 2-3: Festival Infantil de Surfing, Ixtapa, Gro. Children’s Surfing Tournament, Playa Linda 8am – 12pm. Open to all boys and Girls, in two categories ages 6-10 and ages 11-14. For more information contact Leonel Perez at Catcha la’ Ola Surf Shop in Ixtapa, Tel. (755) 553-1384 or Adrian Tellechea at Restaurant Bananas in Zihuatanejo, tel. (755) 102-7058. those made from cardboard with popular children’s designs.Workshops in piñata-making are also offered. DEC 16: MARTINI tasting Party at Rick’s Bar, central Zihuatanejo, Gro. Fund raiser for Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival 5 tastes for $100 pesos! (Full drinks 2 tickets!) Rick’s Bar, Av. Cuauhtemoc #5, Central Zihuatanejo Tel. 755-554-2535. See details on web site : DEC 16-24: Posadas--Nationwide. Processions recreating Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem, in which people holding candles go door to door to seek shelter. Festivities include piñatas, Christmas caroling and special foods and sweets. DEC 23: GalArt presents Patricia Webber, Zihuatanejo, Gro. Painting exhibition and Trova concert at La Barca Bar in Hotel Villa del Sol, Playa La Ropa. For more information contact Rocío Madrazo 755-554-7774 . DEC 23: Festival of the Radishes (Festival de los Rabanos)--Oaxaca, Oaxaca State. Local artisans and sculptors set up stalls around the main square to display their elaborate pieces of art--made entirely from radishes! The local crop is used for creating nativity scenes and famous Mexican figures. Balloons and birds crafted from local flowers add even more color. DEC 24: (Xmas Eve), Traditional Christmas Dinner at Rick’s Bar, Zihuatanejo, Gro. 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, menu to be announced, $250 pesos per person (Zihua Cruisers Club $200). Reservations

DEC 20: Zihuatanejo Yacht Club, 10 year Anniversary Celebration, Zihuatanejo, GRO. Come celebrate ten years of the Zihuatanejo Yacht Club, located at Casa Bahia Restaurant in Almacen on the road to Puerto Mio, 6pm – 10pm, with Live Music, complimentary cocktails and pooh-poohs, you don’t have to wear your boat shoes. Members and non-Members welcome, yacht not required (but dinghy dock disponible/available). The Commodore of the yacht club will be in attendance offering knottying tips. Come usher in the next decade with us, for more information, Casa Bahia 755-554-866 for dinner reservations. required. Sign up at Rick’s Bar, Av. Cuauhtemoc #5, Central Zihuatanejo Tel. 755-554-2535. DEC 24: Las Calendas--Oaxaca, Oaxaca State. The districts of Oaxaca City prepare floats and costumes for processions held throughout the city. The parades feature marmotas (translucent paper spheres lit from within and carried aloft on poles) and giant paper mache people whose arms flop around as the person hidden inside dances. DEC 28: Jewelry Fashion Show, Ixtapa, Gro. Jewelry fashion show from different national and international designers at Villa de la Selva Restaurant, Ixtapa. For further information contact Rocío Madrazo 554-7774 DEC 30: GalArt presents Arthur Koby, Zihuatanejo, Gro. Jewelry fashion show at Hotel Villa del Sol. For further information contact Rocío Madrazo 554-7774 JAN 31 - FEB 4: Zihua Sail Fest 2007, Zihuatanejo, Gro. Five days of fun and frolic to raise funds for Zihua schools. See web site for more details. FEB 14: Valentine’s Dinner/Dance, Zihuatanejo, Gro. Flowers, music and romance at Rick’s Topside Steak House. Dinner, wine, roses and fun $300 pesos (Zihua Cruisers Club $250). Rick’s Topside Steak House upstairs at Rick’s Bar, Av. Cuauhtemoc #5, Central Zihuatanejo Tel. 755554-2535. MAR 11 - MAR 18: 4th Annual Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival, Zihuatanejo, Gro. Live music from great international artists, see website for details ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Pablo de Aguinaco

By Elenor Athens

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.


he nightlife of a garden: tropical plants rustling, nocturnal creatures calling outside the walls. Candlelight patterns the walls and shines on glasses clinking, on laughing smiles. A fountain musics the dark against the sound of waves on sand far down in the moonlight bay. There is a romance in outdoor spaces where the nights stay warm, an invitation to remain outside as bright sunshine fades. During daylight hours, running water offers a promise of cool, a huge tree covers the tiled patio in leaf-pattern shade, and the courtyard is full of three generations tucking into comida, the midday meal. The children jump up to play in the fountain, and the jacaranda sifts lavender blossoms into everyone’s hair. Welcome to a Mexican garden. There are formal and informal iterations on the theme - boxwood parterres imported from Europe, and gardens that look like jungles, xeriscaped areas of agave and stone or verdant growth of canna, banana, hibiscus- but there are certain elements that make a Mexican garden instantly recognizable and attractive. Light is one of the most important features in any garden. Not only the night lighting, but the light of the garden itself, how the sun plays on leaves and comes through the branches. In tropical areas, where midday can be very hot, shade is an all-important landscaping device. A big tree provides an aesthetic and physical cool as you move into the dim light and hear a breeze. The lacy leaves of a mimosa, Brazilian pepper, or a jacaranda create soft shade with lots of movement. The jacaranda and mimosa have the added benefit of lovely flowers, where the pepper adds interest with clusters of small pink berries. Avocados offer a deeper shade and tropical effect with their large oval leaves, plus delicious fruit. The cypress, or ahuehuete, is the national tree of Mexico. In Santa Maria del Tule, Oaxaca, there is a grande fiesta of a tree celebration on October 7th in the shade of their giant, thousands-of-years-old cypress. Whether you choose a venerable cypress, a graceful mimosa, or another tree to shade your patio, it is important to remember the mature spread of the tree, as well as consider water and maintenance issues. Your choice will repay you with dappled light and cool breezes for years to

ŠAnother Day in Paradise Ž, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Bruce Herman

come. Shade in a Mexican garden needn’t always come from living plants. The palapa tradition reflects the desire for welcoming cool, as do Spanish arcades lined with potted palms and wicker chairs. But what of the hours after sunset? In the warm tropical night, firelight becomes characteristic of the Mexican garden. Whether from flickering candles or firepots, nothing makes tropical shadows move like flame. Wrought iron candelabra, hurricane lamps, torchieres, and wall sconces all offer appropriate fire displays. Chimineas, clay fireplaces derived from functional bread ovens, are a Mexican product. Lighting a flame against the night is both primeval and convivial, an act that ties you to a thousands’ year old civilization.

Shade and fire, running water, and local materials are all important to the vernacular. But the single vital characteristic of the Mexican garden is that it is a place for people. Celebration of family and friends is central to the culture, and everything from the town plazas to small rooftop terraces reflects this desire to be together. Plenty of seating, places to set drinks, tables to gather around. The life and breath of a Mexican garden is human at heart.

Photo by Epitacio

Fountains are characteristic of European gardens, either wall-mounted or the grand type that grace the center of town squares. The colonial tradition has become important to private Mexican gardens. Although the water might no longer be used for drinking, washing, or watering horses, the sight and sound of liquid flow is a welcome to hot and thirsty visitors. Cut from rough rock and covered in ferns, a corner standing fountain might evoke a jungle grotto. Wall fountains of tiered bowls or spitting gargoyles work well in passageways and inner courtyards, recalling Mediterranean influence. And a formal garden asks for a fountain in the classical tradition.

There is a range of architectural styles and materials that demonstrate the spirit of a Mexican garden, from simple adobe to elaborate wrought iron, Spanish style arcades to stucco boxes. Terra cotta pots or tiles, heavy wood beams, and volcanic rock all have their place in local tradition. Mexican gardens tend towards hardscaping, plenty of patio space and potted plants. The inner courtyard or walled garden recalls Moorish Spain, the oasis tradition representing Eden, a part of heaven on earth.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

By Jorge Navarro


ased in Beverly Hills, CA, CS Financial is an established mortgage banker having placed over $1.6 billion dollars in United States mortgages in 2005. One of the nations leading providers of residential and commercial mortgage debt, CS Financial’s wide ranging experience, the unprecedented growth of their target market - together with a solid business strategy, supports their contention that they will be the premier provider of construction and permanent debt to the Mexico residential market. The coveted coastline of Mexico, now available for foreign investment, is experiencing a dramatic growth in development, which has been described as a “real estate boom” by the San Diego Union-Tribune, and is expected to last well into the next decade. The boom has brought world-class resort hotels, Mexico’s famed architects, a community of high profile developers, and a massive outlay of infrastructure by the Mexican government. The real estate market has become prolific, with about 1.5 million Americans now owning property worth $5 trillion dollars in Mexico. In the past the barriers to foreigners owning property along the Mexican coastline included: Mexico’s political instability, the peso devaluation, capital gains/tax issues, concerns about corruption, title issues and the lack of verifiable sales data. The surge in the real estate market of late is due to the fact that these risks no longer exist or are mostly mitigated by the benefits of owning in Mexico including: previously unavailable secure ownership instruments, continued stability of the government, solid value for the dollar, availability of title insurance, lower cost of living, lower health care costs, familiar consumer amenities, proximity to the US, optimum weather, continued infrastructure improvements, quality of construction and the repatriation of Mexican American citizens, to name a few. CS Financial has established a business division dedicated to the Mexico market. Utilizing an aggressive approach the company has created a network of real estate agents, developers and builders who are currently directing their buyers to CSF for their mortgage needs. Through these associations and strong pre-opening marketing, CSF has positioned itself to be the source of construction and take out financing in the Mexican marketplace. The Mexican market has only recently seen US style and term mortgage lending. As an American you can now finance your property in Mexico through a traditional US mortgage. Construction loans, take out loans, 30, 20, 15 year amortization loans, fixed and adjustable rate mortgages, full documentation or Alternate documentation loans. Credit guidelines and loan terms for both the Construction Lending Program and the Permanent Lending Program are designed to interact with one another. Construction loans are credit underwritten to meet permanent financing guidelines, and thus provide the exit, or payoff strategy. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jorge Navarro is a Senior Loan Officer and Director of CS Financial Mexico and is now representing IxtapaZihuatanejo. You can contact him at his office: CS Financial, 9595 Wilshire Blvd. #801, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, by Tel in the US: (310) 777-3600, ext. 27, US Fax (310) 388-0136, US Toll Free 1-800-870-5187 or e-mail: You can visit the firm’s websites at or ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photos by Guillermo Aldana

By Agustin Galindo

What is it? What are my rights and obligations? How can I get it, and what are my benefits?

“En el mar la vida es mas sabrosa” / “Life is Better at the Beach” 1. What is a Federal Zone? The Maritime Terrain Federal Zone, commonly known as the “Federal Zone,” is considered as: a. In the case of a beach, it is the 20meter coastal strip of firm accessible and contiguous land to such beach. And in the case of a river, it is the 20-meter strip of the riverside starting from the delta, going 100 meters along the river. b. Regarding reefs and cays located in the Mexican seas, their total surface shall be considered the Federal Zone. c. As to lakes, lagoons, estuaries or natural deposits of sea water communicated directly or indirectly with the sea, the 20-meter strip of Federal Zone will start from the point where the biggest annual deposit of water or limit of the zone where the “Highest Tide” is found. Be aware that there are specific regulations for marinas, artificial marinas and farm estuaries, but I will not mention such regulations to keep this article as simple as possible. Based on the above stated, you can find Federal Zone in: • Beachfront properties (horizontal and inclined lands, as well as cliffs). • Lakesides. • Sides of estuaries, lakes or rivers. • Reefs and cays. Also, based on the above, please be careful not to “buy” a Federal Zone (which is equivalent to buying the Eiffel Tower, the Brooklyn bridge or waterfront property in Arizona!), and consider it as part of your property in the following cases:

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

• Property near to estuaries, lakes or rivers. • Property on cliffs. • Coasts with rocks and with no beach. In this regard, please be aware that the Federal Zone is considered as goods of common use of the Mexican Federal Government, with the understanding that a Federal Zone cannot be transferred, lost by possession, seized or subject to any kind of lawsuit as to its possession. In short, a Federal Zone cannot be transferred or acquired. 2. Which are the uses of the Federal Zone? The options to legally use of a Federal Zone are the following: 1 Protection 2 Ornament 3 General use (including a profitable activity such as a restaurant or a hotel) 3. How can I legally use the Federal Zone? Any resident (company or individual) in Mexico can use a Federal Zone through a concession granted by the Mexican government; in this particular case the corresponding authority is the Secretary of Environmental and Natural Resources. (SEMARNAT, for its acronyms in Spanish). Any foreigner owning a beachfront property through a Mexican corporation or through a bank trust can apply for a concession for use of the Federal Zone in favor of the Mexican corporation or trustee bank holding the property so as to use or exploit it. 4. Which is Concession?






The concession can be granted for up to 50 years in accordance with the applicable law; however the specific regulation for the Federal Zone provides a maximum term of 20 years. Once elapsed, and if certain conditions are fulfilled, the concession can be extended through prior request to the environmental authority. 5. Which are my rights by having a Federal Zone Concession? The concession over a Federal Zone does not give to the concessionary any ownership right, i.e., the concessionary can only use or exploit such Federal Zone in accordance with its concession title, but is not the owner in any manner. On the other hand, the concession rights for a Federal Zone can be assigned (transferred) with the authorization of the environmental authority. 6. How can I file an application for the Federal Zone Concession? The Federal Zone Concession can be granted by the Environmental authority by filing an application and the term for its resolution is: 1. 272 business days, generally; and 2. A specific term of 208 business days whenever the investment is valued 200,000 times the minimal wage in Mexico, (which is 45 pesos per day, times 200,000 i.e., approximately 9,000,000 pesos). 7. Which are my obligations by having a Federal Zone Concession? The obligations for a concessionary are the following:

• To use the concession pursuant to its terms and conditions. • To use the concession’s rights after the date of approval by the authority • To start an authorized construction within the term provided in the concession, and to inform its completion within the following three days. • To be liable for the damages caused by hidden defects of the construction or derived from repair or maintenance works. • To cover the expenses for the survey of the property that is the subject matter of the concession • To comply with the applicable law and regulations • To allow inspections by the authority • To build only the approved constructions • To evict and deliver the federal zone at the end of the term of the concession 8. Can I lose the Federal Zone Concession? a.Yes, the Federal Zone concession is terminated for the following reasons: • End of term of the concession. • Fulfillment of purpose of the concession, or impossibility to fulfill it.

• Death of concessionary. • Dissolution, winding up and bankruptcy of the concessionary corporation. • Loss of the property that is subject matter of the concession • Expressed waiver by the concessionary. b. Yes, the Federal zone concession is revoked for the following reasons • Sub-concession, lease, encumbrance or performance of any act or contract entitling a third party to the rights provided in the concession, or execution of actions, legal or factual, that may change the conditions of the concession. •To carry out any construction activity not provided by the concession, without the approval of the authority. • Failure to settle two continuous payments of governmental fees provided in the concession. • Performing or allowing the performance of criminal acts within the federal zone. • Opposition or obstruction by the concessionary, its relatives or employees to authority inspections. • Failure to fulfill the obligations provided by law and the title of the concession. • Violation or breach of the laws, regulations or the conditions provided in the concession by the concessionary.

9. Apart from the legal point of view, which are the benefits of having a Federal Zone? • More important than anything else: By having a Federal Zone, you can protect the area that adjoins your property for environmental purposes, therefore, you can save a small piece of our planet. • No merchant (motorcycles, horseback ridings, parachuting, jet skiing, massages, food vendors, etc.) can obtain a permit to run a business in the Federal Zone if a concession to use it has already been granted. • In a certain way, the value of your property can be increased, considering that you have a concession over the Federal Zone, not forgetting that you will not own the Federal Zone and that in order to transfer its rights, it shall be necessary to obtain a permit from the environmental authority. Nowadays, a lot of service providers offer their services for the obtention of a concession over a federal zone. There is a wide range of fees and time tables available, but please look for professional service providers who are able to explain to you in advance the following aspects: Requirements, costs to be incurred, timetables, restrictions, terms, etc., and also, it is important that you receive copies of all the documentation so adequate and regular follow-ups to your application can be made, until its final completion. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Agustin Galindo is an attorney at law and founder of Galindo Abogados, S.C. Fully bilingual, he specializes in real estate, tax, civil, and commercial matters including litigation. You can visit the firm’s website at: and you can contact him by e-mail at, or his office by telephone (755) 554-9915 and 755-554-9916.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Nadine Markova

By Dyana Pari Verdoni


n my experience assisting individuals and families in their retirement planing, I found that my clients are very enthusiastic to discuss the “sexy” side of finance and “hip” investments decisions that have turned to rags or riches. However, when probed about current savings in, let’s say, an employer sponsored tax deferred retirement savings plan, few understood the options. Add on a couple of questions about pending government retirement income benefits and our conversation has gone from the lively banter that keeps our eyes peeled to CNBC to the dry lecture about income taxation from our 11th grade Civics teacher. That’s right. No one wants to talk about the boring benefits that everyone has equal access to. However, I urge anyone planning for a retirement to reacquaint themselves with these important keystones of retirement income. I was surprised to read on the internet that almost 50 percent of retirees wish they had spent more time in their pre-retirement years learning and taking advantage of their employer-sponsored retirement plan. In most countries, you may choose to carve out a portion of your income today, place it in a “incubator” where it may grow (at least at the rate of inflation), and when you hit a retirement mark as defined by your employer and the government, you may access this account as a source of taxable income to fund your retirement needs. Since this type of account involves the government “giving up” taxes today, be sure to keep your eyes open

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

for any changes in legislation that may affect your opportunities in your employer’s plan. For example, in the United States, the federal law allowed for individuals over 50 years old to defer $20,000 in 2006. That is quite a significant amount to not pay taxes on today. If I were in the highest US tax bracket, my post tax take home amount from this money would only be $10,600! I would have to find a significantly lucrative (and very risky) post tax investment to get as good of a return in the first year! Although you will have to pay taxes on this pretax investment when it is withdrawn from a retirement “wrapper” account, at retirement you will potentially have more control over your tax rate as you may choose which stream of income to take from where and when. One interesting point, this tax law changed in 2001 and significantly increased that amount that individuals may contribute to a employer and as well as removed the percentage of income limitations. Prior to 2001 in the U.S., individuals could contribute 20% of earned income or $10,500 in an employer plan (401K). The government passed the Economic Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2001 and, among other things, significantly increased the amount that individuals may contributed to their 401K. Additionally, since older workers will have “less time” to save according to the new system, the law provides for “catch-up provisions” for those over 50.The Internal Revenue Service announced on October 18, 2006, that the limits for 2007 employer -sponsored elective deferrals will be $15,500 and

the catch-up provision will be $5000 [source: IRS Bulliten R-2006-162]. Thus, in a mere six years, the amount that an American Worker over 50 may save towards retirement and defer the taxes rose from $10,500 to $20,500. Wow. When the government allows us to elect to reduce our taxable income by $10,000 in such a short period of time - we should pay attention. As you can see, for the purpose of accumulating retirement assets, it is very important to become friendly with your Benefits Department. Additionally, understanding your investment options will be helpful for you to create your asset allocation. Another very important factor about your employer sponsored retirement plan is the distribution options. It is important to consider the options to receive income from your plan at the beginning stages of your retirement planning. It is especially true in the U.S. that employer-plans (401Ks) will vary greatly from one to another as far as pay-out options. Be sure to gather this information and understand how to choose your income options before you severe service with your employer. Another piece of our retirement income puzzle is the benefits that we will receive from the government. Although government sponsored retirement benefits vary from country to country, most are based on a mandatory contributory accounts that we must participate in during our working years, and they will offer us a stream of income from the point of initial withdrawal until we die. In many cases the amount of income will increase to remain consistant

with inflation. For example, the US Social Security income will increase for current participants by 4.4% in 2007. It is important to understand that your social security, like most pension plans, pays income in the form of an annuity.That means that the provider will guarantee you a certain amount of money every year from now until you pass away and this calculation is based on the amount of dollars that you have in the system in actuarial calculation based on your age. As a general rule, the U.S. Social Security System will pay you that same amount over your lifetime regardless of when you take your benefits. Early social security, which may be taken any time after age 62, will pay you smaller benefits over a longer period of time. If you wait for the “retirement age,” age 66 for those born between 1943 - 1954, you will receive greater monthly payments for a shorter period of time. Since these numbers are all based on actuarial calculations solely on the life span of the the median population, when to choose your social security is often a personal decision based on your income and health. Another option is to allow your benefits to continue for your spouse after you pass on. Although this option provides some piece of mind, it will reduce your annual income. Unlike your employer plan, there is no “human resources” to help you determine that best option for you and your family. Financial professionals are somewhat knowledgeable on the social security system, but I recommend that individuals do some research on their own. The US Social Security System Website is a fantastic resource for up -to date information and calculators and is located at The same parameters for retirement income also apply to private and state pension plans. It is important to examine all of the factors to determine which might be best for your and your family. Some financial professionals may recommend a strategy called pension maximization which involves the single life pension pay-out and utilizing the supplemental income to fund a life insurance policy to benefit the spouse. Planning for retirement is a wonderful adventure where we really get to take stock of the assets that we have accumulated and convert them into a stream of income to fund our dreams. Although we may be more enthusiastic to discuss a “hot stock pick” over coffee with our colleagues, two main sources of our retirement income are usually left out of lunch room conversations: employer -sponsored and government-sponsored benefits. However, both change legislatively and are essential to have on a retirement income radar screen. Finally, I simply can not leave two other “biggies” out of an article on retirement planning; they are healthcare and estate planning. Healthcare may be the most crippling financial demon of our retirement funds and estate planning, the greatest opportunity to save on taxes and maximize our legacy. In closing, please remember that your assets are just the vehicle to your retirement dream! Enjoy planning! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After many achievements as a Financial Consultant and Tax Shelter Specialist for one of the largest financial services companies in the world, Dyana Pari Verdoni now works with the Expat and Expat “to be” community in Mexico. She works with her clients to create a financial portfolio poised to meet their retirement and legacy planning dreams. Based in Mexico City, Dyana Pari Verdoni may be contacted via email at or phone 415-2873337 for additional information and client interviews.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

FOR SALE – Penthouse, 3 BDRM en suite 2-story condo with stunning view of La Ropa Beach and Zihuatanejo Bay. Satellite TV, telephone, washer/dryer, a/c & ceiling fans, fully furnished. Large pool, 24 hour security. 5 min. walk to beach. Excellent rental history. US$395,000 Judith Whitehead, Paradise Properties,, Tel. 52-(755) 554 6226, 52-(755)-557-0078,.

FOR SALE - Punta Peñasco Zihua Bay View Studio 80 sq mts, furnished w/Jacuzzi, pool in complex, $130,000 US. Also 1 lot with same view, 271 sq mts, Or DF Tel. 0155-528-24356

URUAPAN – QUINTA MAGNOLIA. A forest within the city. 3 suites, rental by day, week or month. tel. (01) (452) 523-8223


Casa Puesta del Sol at Barra de Potosí Bungalow and duplex accommodations located on a beautiful, quiet beach with safe swimming, kayaking, hiking and fishing. Established rental business with onsite caretakers. Website: e-mail:

FOR SALE - Airy and clean 2 bedroom condo in Las Bugambilias, on the Palma Real Golfcourse with nice view to the fairway. Well maintained gardens, pool, 24 hr. security. Listed at US$150,000 Judith Whitehead, Paradise Properties,, Tel. 52-(755) 554 6226, 52(755)-557-0078,.

Mexico Beach Property - Beachfront and beachview lots, homes, condominiums in Zihuatanejo and the surrounding beaches. Contact John Murphy at (755) 554-0719 or email: john@mexicobeachpro

Punta Ixtapa Condominium with private pool - This ground floor 3 bedroom 4 bath apartment is located in the most exclusive neighborhood in Ixtapa. 24 hour security, private club and beaches, $630,000. Contact John Murphy at (755) 554-0719

100 meters of beach frontage with over 1 acre of total land in La Saladita. This lot is suitable for investment, development or subdivision. Priced to sell at $400,000. Contact John Murphy at (755) 5540719 or email:

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

CASA BONITA, IXTAPA 230M2 construcción 4 recamaras, 3 baños, 1 estacionamiento, cuarto de lavado, vestidor, amueblado, a/c, salón de juegos, vigilancia, áreas verdes, alberca, cancha de tenis, terraza, elevador, vista al club de golf. Tel. 544 87 87 , 544 87 88 Cel. 755 102 8147 $230,000 USD

Lots For Sale – at $200 US/sq mt, all services, inside Punta Peñasco complex. Magnificent view of Zihua Bay, overlooking Playa La Ropa., tel. 0155 37-31-3345

FOR RENT – Punta Peñasco Zihua Bay Views Apts , 1 Bdrm bungalow, furnished, with kitchenette, and terrace and 1 furnished Studio w/Jacuzzi and pool, from 350-600US/week. Or Call locally Tel. 755-554-4225 or DF Tel. 0155-528-24356

BEACH FRONT CONDOMINIUM164M2 construcción, 2 recamaras, 2 baños, 1 estacionamiento, area de lavado, cocina integral, a/c, vigilancia, areas verdes, alberca, terraza, playa. Tel. 544 87 87 , Cel. 755 102 8147 Pre-sale $ 240,000 USD

Dazzling views of the beach, bay, & beyond! This 2 BR/2bath Playa La Ropa luxury condo at La Casa Que Ve Al Mar is magical. Infinity pools, A/C, security, fitness room,Wi-Fi, easy beach access, parking. Short or long term rentals.


Resort Ownership on Playa La Ropa Club Intrawest *1,2 & 3-bedroom Vacation Home *Sweeping ocean views *Spacious floor plans

Club Intrawest - Zihuatanejo *Private terraces with plunge pool *Zi - The Restaurant at Club Intrawest

Club Intrawest – Playa La Ropa, Zihuatanejo *Visit the Discovery Center. Open daily. *Variety of ownership opportunities available

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.


CASA DE LA SIRENA - Beachfront Vacation Rentals, Troncones, Mexico *Private villa with pool *2 story Bungalows *Mini Villas Open air kitchens/ living rooms, a/c, Pool w/swim up palapa bar, WiFi

Bernie’s Bed & Breakfast “Playa Calli” on the beach at Playa Blanca, For Rent. ECOLOGICALLY BUILT 5 BDRM Home with separate lounging, dining, kitchen area over looking fresh water pool, right on the beach in Playa Blanca (near Barra de Potosi.) For Rent, Rooms $110 USD per night.

Casa de Los Espejos – Club de Golf – Ixtapa. Vacation Home, perfect for large groups, family reunions: Accommodations for up to 18 persons, 6 Bedrooms with A/C and private bathrooms. Fully equipped kitchen, pool, daily maid service, rates by the day, week or month. Contact Yolanda Tel. # (755) 553-0082, (755) 554-0813, cell: (755) 558-5138

Zihuatanejo – Town Living with Style, Charming 1 BR + loft, 2 story home with garden. Centrally located, close to transportation and shopping. Fully furnished down to the computer. US $95,000. Judith Whitehead, Paradise Properties,, Tel. 52-(755) 554 6226, 52(755)-557-0078,.

Casa Frida- Unique home for sale Barra de Potosi – Custom built 4 bed 5 bath, 3 separate buildings.ain house with master bedroom, dining, living, kitchen and terrace with ocean view. Lush tropical garden with swimming pool, open aire kitchen and dining room and separate caretaker’s house. Can be used as a B&B or private residence. $350,000 US, Tel. 755-557-0049

Zihuatanejo Bay Views- Selected lots located above La Ropa Beach. All with unobstructed views of the Zihuatanejo Bay and Pacific Ocean. For information call (755) 553-3221, or cell 044 (755) 104-6220. or email

Panoramic beach & bay views, pools, Gym, 24 hour security and parking in “La Casa Que Ve Al Mar” overlooking La Ropa Beach. Gourmet kitchen, A/C, Satellite Plasma TVs, phones, marble & teak finishes. Rentals from $150.00/day and Special Rates available. Contact: Tel: US toll-free (866) 358-5268, or

ZIHUATANEJO OCEAN VIEW LOT 455m2 Superficie, vigilancia, areas verdes, cancha de tenis, casa club, uso de suelo habitacional, Tel. 544 87 87, Cel. 755 102 8147 $75,200

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

FOR SALE CALLE CALANDRIAS, IXTAPA 3 Bedrooms, 3 Bath., Liv. Rm., Dining, Kitchen, Studio, Pool 450 M2 Lot and 290 M2 Constrution $200,000 DÓLLARS. Lic. Alberto C. Estrella Aguilar Nicolás Bravo #39 Col. Centro Zihuatanejo, Gro. Tel: 755 55 3 81 83 Fax: 7 55 55 4 14 54

FOR SALE CAPIRE, EL RANCHO, 45 KM North of Ixtapa on the way to Lazaro Cardenas Lots 1,600 M2 20X80 USD $60,000.00 DOLLARS, Lic. Alberto C. Estrella Aguilar Nicolás Bravo #39 Col. Centro Zihuatanejo, Gro. Tel: 755 55 3 81 83 Fax: 7 55 55 4 14 54

365 Sunsets- Enjoy the sunset year round from the private terrace overlooking Ixtapa beach, Sierra Madres and Pacific Ocean. Three bedroom/ two bath with all modern conveniences. Priced to sell. Financing available to US citizens. For appointment call (755) 553-3221, or cell 044 (755) 104-6220 or email ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Information Resources for Foreign Travelers in Mexico - Passports Required to Re-Enter U.S. By Elizabeth Williams You’ve probably been reading about the change in the law about Passport requirements for entering the U.S. Nothing is signed yet, but the proposed change is quite likely and you should be prepared. All travelers will have to present a Passport to enter or re-enter the United States as of these dates: BY AIR ONLY: January 8, 2007 - Requirement applied to all air travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. BY LAND & SEA: June 6, 2009 – For people driving across the border and/or arriving by boat. Requirement extended to all land border and sea crossings to accommodate the large number of travelers (mainly in the Cruise ship industry), but this is subject change so if you are a frequent traveler who re-enters the US by land or sea, keep abreast of developments. You can get a Passport at the Consular Agency located in Ixtapa. It will take three to six weeks to arrive. It costs $97 dollars for a new or first passport, $67 for a renewal of an existing Passport (unless it was issued more than 15 yrs ago in which case it is considered a new one). You can pay in pesos, dollars or credit card, but not personal checks. You need to prove two things, Citizenship and Identification. The first, Citizenship, requires that you present one of the following: -Previous Passport (not mutilated, altered or damaged) -Birth Certificate issued by the City, County or State (not hospital). A certified birth certificate has a registrar’s raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrars signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar’s office, which must be within 1 year of your birth -Consular Report of Birth -Naturalization Certificate -Certificate of Citizenship To prove your Identification, the following will work: -Previous Passport (not mutilated, altered or damaged) -Naturalization Certificate -Current and Valid: Driver’s License -Government ID - City, State or Federal -Military ID - military and dependents. There are more details to be found at the following web page, if you have questions about the requirements for a passport. They offer alternatives if you don’t have exactly what appears on this list. And there is additional information about the new passport law at ©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Classifieds: ¡Learn Spanish! Centro de Idiomas Mesoamericano - David Román, M.A, (University of Georgia, UGA) Over 26 Years Teaching Spanish as a Second Language! Address: Edif. O Depto. 101,Villas del Pacífico (next to Bodega Aurrerà) Tel. (755)112 20 42 Cyber: Email: davidroman88@hotm Ixtapa Christian Fellowship. Non-denominational English language service every Sunday at 10am at Villas Paraiso in Ixtapa. Contact Ron 755-554-5919 or John & Joan at 755-553-1618 for more information. Zihuatanejo Christian Fellowship. Non-denominational English language service every Sunday morning in Zihuatanejo, look for the signs, stop by La Casa Cafe in La Madera or contact John 755-554-7178 for more information. Troncones Christian Fellowship. Non-denominational English language service every Sunday in Troncones. Contact Ron 755-554-5919 for more information. English Speakers Wanted – Language exchange with students learning English. Great way to learn or practice your Spanish with Basic and Intermediate level English students. Classes held from 7:30 am – 9pm, Mon-Fri, they would love for you to attend. Contact Centro de Informatica Administrativa Director Jorge Castellanos Tel. 554-3880. HELP WANTED - Receptionist for real estate office. Must speak and write English and Spanish fluently. Computer Savvy. Experienced. References Required. Call (755) Call 554 6226 or 554 0406 ADVERTISING SALES AGENTS, Another Day in Paradise magazine needs ad sales agents. Commision based pay, flexible hours, bilingual a plus. 755-544-8023,

Mexican Consulates in the US and Canada: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico: Immigration Mexico: Electronic Guide to Mexican Laws: Mexican Tourist Board: For the latest security and information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the American State Department’s Internet web site at http: // where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers from Mexico, a regular toll line at 001-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department’s travel registration website at For any emergencies involving American citizens, please contact the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy is located in Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, telephone from the United States: 011-52-55-50802000; telephone within Mexico City: 5080-2000; telephone long distance within Mexico 01-55-5080-2000. You may also contact the Embassy by e-mail at: The Embassy’s Internet address is Elizabeth Williams, US Consular Agent Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo US Consular Agency Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo: Hotel Fontan, Ixtapa. Tel: From U.S: 011 52 755 553 2100 (FAX 553 2772) From Mexico: 01 755 553 2100 Locally: 553 2100 Cell: Locally 044 755 557 1106 From U.S: 011 52 755 557 1106 eMail: lizwilliams@diplomats Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 1:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m. Closed for all Mexican and American Holidays: for information and resources.

©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

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©Another Day in Paradise ®, Mexico 1999. All Rights Reserved.

ADIP Dec 2006  

Since 1999, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico magazine in English about Mexico: Art, History, Culture, Food, Travel, Real Estate

ADIP Dec 2006  

Since 1999, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico magazine in English about Mexico: Art, History, Culture, Food, Travel, Real Estate