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Fall2015 mexi-go.ca

T R AV E L L I F E S T Y L E

R E A L E S TAT E

RETIREMENT

Yucatan EXPATS Mayan RUins Restoring Merida Hot Properties Stingless honeybees San Miguel de Allende building Off the grid


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With approximately 360 days of sunshine each year, Los Cabos, Mexico is where Canadians come to vacation, invest and retire. Discover some of the most coveted real estate in the world. PROPERTIES FROM $275,000 TO $15 MILLION USD | SNELLREALESTATE.COM

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MEXI-GO!

Fall 2015

Find more articles, past editions of Mexi-Go! and information about our events and partners at www.mexi-go.ca

MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2015

IN the pages of Mexi-Go!

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Embracing Colour Everywhere you look colour!

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Medical Tourism From elective to life saving, Mexico delivers

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Mayan Adventures Six ruins to plan your adventure around

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Sustainable Building From shipping containers to luxe Vallarta villa

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Sayulita Festival Film, music, tequila and surf for 4 days of fun

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San Miguel #1 The city that charms everyone

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Beekeeping The lost art of Mayan bee keeping

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Hot Properties Homes for sale in Mexico that offer great value

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Income Tax Primer Prepare before you buy pay less when you sell

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TOmatlan Jalisco The up and coming coastline

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Mi Casa Tu Casa Centro Merida homes gets traditional renovation

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Expat Answers Yucatan expats give you the what's what

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Where to Stay Yucatan luxury hotels impress

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Buying the Beach What to know when buying in Mexico's restricted zone

Off the Grid Building an off-the-grid home in the jungles of Tulum

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Property Compare A look at what $200,000 to half a mil will get you in Canada vs. Mexico


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mexi-Go! contributors

You're Invited! Take the first step to learning about retirement & real estate opportunities in Mexico.

Madeline milne

Greg Gunter

april Larkin

Editor-in-Chief, Art Director

Contributor

Contributor

Three years of living in Mexico full-time, Madeline has traveled extensively around the country and shares her passion for the rich diversity of culture and nature of her adopted country. Continually fielding questions from friends and family about travel and life in Mexico, Madeline is launching a new website, that offers weekly wisdom on life in Mexico. Have questions for Madeline? Send her an email and she'll be happy to share her experiences with you.

American expat Gregory Gunter built a Spanish Colonial home and settled full-time in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in 2009. Greg is an architect and M.B.A., novelist and journalist, and a Diamond Society Top Producer with Coldwell Banker SMART as The Dream Pro, “San Miguel’s Dream Home Expert!”

Retired from a major airline after 28 years of traveling and seeing the world, April now calls Canada home six months of the year and Tulum, Mexico home the other six months.

www.madelinemilne.com

Join Mexi-Go! at our upcoming events where we will discuss life in Mexico, buying real estate, healthcare, visa's and more! MEXI-GO! EXPO - Register for your free tickets TORONTO - October 31- November 1 Enercare Centre - Hall A - 100 Princes' Blvd, Toronto, Ontario

Her and her husband plan on retiring full-time in the next few years to their newly built offthe-grid home in the jungles of Tulum, Quintana Roo.

retirement and real estate Seminars

A best-selling author on Amazon, April plans to write a book soon on her experiences of retirement living in Mexico.

Kitchener-Waterloo NOV 5

Ontario Toronto NOv 2 London nov 4 ALBERTA Calgary

nov 9

red deer

nov 10

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lethbridge

nov 13

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MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2015

All events are free of charge and open to the public. We will not sell your information nor try to sell you timeshare. This is an informational seminar with the opportunity to book real estate vacations to experience the property at your leisure before your purchase.

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Gabriel Jones

CINDY BOUCHARD

joel hansen

Contributor

Contributor

Contributor

The decision to move to Mexico remains one of the wisest we ever made. Happier, healthier, and each day an adventure, we bought a home that we could only dream of in our former lives in Vancouver, Canada. Stay tuned for future articles about the buying, building, and business of running vacation rentals but for now I urge you to explore Mexico to find your place in the sun!

Cindy Bouchard, an interior designer and expat Canadian runs a Boutique Hotel, Villa Amor del Mar, in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. She and her husband Chris are living and lovin’ in Vallarta– Nayarit. If you want more info on La Cruz or desire… a very special vacation, contact cindy@VillaAmordelMar.com

Living in Mexico for the past four years has provided Joel with the opportunity to golf badly and surf even worse, but he gets to do it all in Mexico and hasn't had to shovel snow since. When he turned 40 he decided he needed a muscle car. He found a 1974 Chevy Nova in Michoacan and now has the Green Angels on speed dial.

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ABOUT us

Editor-in-Chief Madeline Milne

Catherine Nash | Riviera Maya catherine@mexi-go.ca Joel Hansen | Vice President joel@mexi-go.ca MARKETING AND PR Jeff Castañeda jeff@mexi-go.ca CONTACT US! CANADA 949-478-0021 4704 Sooke Rd, Victoria BC V9C 4B9 MEXICO 322-222-0182 337 Calle San Salvador, Col.5 de deciembre, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco info@mexi-go.ca www.mexi-go.ca www.mexi-goexpo.com www.mexi-govacations.com Facebook: Mexi-GoProperties Twitter: @mexigoproperty

The stingless Mayan honey bee

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few years ago I traveled to the Yucatan for two weeks. I stayed at Hacienda Misne in Merida (so amazing) and every day I would head out with a guide to explore haciendas converted into these simply, stunning boutique hotels. We would stop at tcenotes for a cooling dip in sacred waters and we'd visit these ancient Mayan ruins, elaborately planned and built - majestic in scale - and then destroyed, often by ravaging Spanish invaders. The stones then used to build churches in the place of the temples. I just didn't know. I had never seen these things before and I was still new to the wonders of this country, having spent most of my time exploring the beach bars in Baja California Sur. It was an education in history, culture, food, art, indigenous peoples, the Spanish conquistadors, the ruling class and the workings of the hacienda and the elaborate beauty that was everywhere for my eyes to feast upon. Now, years later, I live in an equally beautiful and cultural (but different) city on the Pacific Coast. When I have a chance, as I did with this issue, to reflect on my far too short travels in the Yucatan, I start planning my next trip all over again - ultimately imagining that I'll one day own a home in Centro Merida with beautiful pasta tiles. Of course, the next place I visit in this magical country (Chiapas) I'll likely fall in love all over again; I'm fickle that way, with a very big heart. For now, I am blessed to be able to call Puerto Vallarta home and to continue to seek-out new, exciting destinations and opportunities to share with you, our valued readers. This fall we celebrated five years of publishing Mexi-Go! We couldn't have done it without your support. Thank you. Safe travels, Madeline Milne

Mexi-Go! is published by Canadian Marketing Strategies S de RL de CV Copyright (2015)

FALL 2015 COVER IMAGE Casa Lecanda Boutique Hotel Casa Lecanda is a small luxury boutique hotel located within the historical center of Mérida, Yucatán. A completely restored (in 2009) traditional Yucatecan home, the hotel has been designed to retain the original Meridian style with points of European luxury so prevalent in the golden age of Merida’s Sisal barons. Painstaking attention to detail, architecture, and landscaping provides guests with a uniquely local experience and a sanctuary within the city; a refuge of serenity, privacy and relaxation. www.casalecanda.com

MEXI-GO.CA TRAVEL REAL ESTATE LIFESTYLE RETIREMENT

Contributors April Larkin Cindy Bouchard Charles Tibshirani Emily Murray Gabe Jones Greg Gunter Helene Tavernier Joel Hansen Madeline Milne Mandy Allfrey Orlando Gotay Sara Jacobs Shirley Patterson Advertising AND SALES Rosie Barba | Sales Director rosie@mexi-go.ca

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Learn more at the Mexi-Go! Expo in Toronto, Ontario Oct 31-Nov 1, 2015 www.mexi-goexpo.com

Mexi-Go! Retirement Seminars www.mexi-goexpo.com for dates, locations and free registration.

Learn more about: investment in the hottest vacation and real estate markets, how to make the move to Mexico, immigration rules, how to safely invest in Mexico and much more. Register online to attend at www.mexi-goexpo.com

This fall join Mexi-Go! in: Toronto KitchenerWaterloo London Calgary Canmore Lethbridge Red Deer


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mexi-Go! DIGITAL online resource for mexico information

mexi-go! Digital www.mexi-go.ca

Your Mexican destination for Canadian information on travel, real estate, retirement and lifestyle. Mexi-go.ca combines everything you have come to expect from the magazine – great writing, immersing stories, gorgeous photography – with regular updates on Mexican travel, real estate, retirement and lifestyle from the experts you trust. Our website is a resource for anyone who loves Mexico. Whether you’re planning your next vacation, dreaming of a tropical retirement or looking for tips and tricks to smooth your process of relocating, here is some of what you’ll find online:

Real Estate Listings,

featuring beautiful photography, video, well-crafted property descriptions and contact information that leads you directly to reputable real estate agents that have partnered with Mexi-Go!

Vacation Rental Listings,

featuring the same level of photography and valuable information, Mexi-Go! rental bookings are managed by our in-house professional staff so you can be assured that what you are booking is the real thing.

Past issues of Mexi-Go! Magazine and plenty of other great articles that don’t make it into the magazine but are shared online. Our blog updates near daily with fresh stories on travel, real estate, updates to immigration policies and more.

Highlights from the site

Newsletters

are a great way to stay informed about Mexico and what Mexi-Go! is up to. You can sign up to receive the lifestyle newsletter or the real estate newsletter or both. Each are delivered monthly and we promise we won’t spam you.

MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2015

Partners and discounts, are always a great way to get more out of your time in Mexico. We have negotiated a number of great deals for our readers. Enjoy.

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Real Estate Vacations

are a unique way to explore a development before purchasing. Spend a week with one of our vetted development partners to experience the dream. Discounted far below market value, these vacations also offer great purchasing incentives to Mexi-Go! readers. So, wh at are y ou wa i t i ng f or ?

More than 300 of the best real estate listings in Mexico.

100's of articles on retirement, travel and life in Mexico.

We insist that the listings have excellent photography, accurate property descriptions and are represented by reputable real estate agents.

We live here. We travel this country and we share our first hand knowledge with you.

Real Estate and Travel deals Our partners recognize the importance of the Canadian traveler in Mexico and as such you are rewarded by being a part of our readership.


MEXICO IN THE NEWS

Fairmont Mayakoba adds residences

Tulum, Quintana Roo

Mayakoba, Quintana Roo

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airmont Hotels & Resorts has opened a new residential development, Fairmont Heritage Place, Mayakoba

28 new Pueblos Mágicos

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wenty-eight new towns were officially added to the list of Pueblos Mágicos, or “Magic Towns,” a designation reserved for cities, towns and villages with special symbolic features, legends and history, and opportunities in tourism. It is also intended to reduce the heavy reliance of the tourist industry on one of Mexico’s key attractions, sunshine

and beach destinations. Some of the stand-outs of the recent additions are Sayulita, Nayarit with is hippy-surfer vibe, Palenque, Chiapas recognized for its magnificent Mayan ruins, and the hobo-chic Tulum, Quintana Roo for its ruins, cenotes and Caribbean beaches. Visitmexico.com has all the information to explore these and all 111 Pueblo Magicos.

The completion of the first phase of the project includes the debut of six of 30 planned private residence club homes, which are located in a master-planned resort community. The new development is modeled as a fractional ownership opportunity. Designed by architectural firm SB-Architect and interior design firm, VR Design Group, the contemporary design is meant to emulate the locale’s natural surroundings and uses materials such as locally sourced

stone, traditional wood and green living walls in living and public spaces, Fairmont said in a release. All residences have private plunge pools, large in-suite bathrooms, full kitchens and open concept dining and living areas. Located within the Mayakoba resort development, the residences are set away from the beach to protect the integrity of the coastal mangroves, home to many indige-

nous species of fish, birds and mammals. Owners gain access to golf on Mayakoba’s 18-hole El Camaleón championship course, host of the only PGA TOUR event in Latin America and home to personalized instruction programs of the Jim McLean Golf School. Dining and spa privileges are also included at all of the hotels within the larger Mayakoba resort development, including the Fairmont Mayakoba.

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exico’s Pacific coast is in the news of late. That’s especially true of the Costalegre, the expanse of beaches, capes and bays between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta. Long the favorite of the private jet set, it’s about to become a bit more accessible -- in an exclusive way that is. A new Costalegre airport is in the works, making it much easier to reach the region. At the moment, visitors flying commercial must arrive either at Puerto Vallarta or Manzanillo. Neither is particularly convenient.  

Cuixmala, Jalisco

“If all goes well within two years the new airport will be up and running. The runway is already there and they’re working on the buildings. They will also be widening the road going in both directions,” explains Wayne Hudson.

It’s a smallish for the One&Only brand, in keeping with the lowdensity mandate.

Hudson is spokesperson for Cuixmala, the expansive resort that was once the home of British tycoon Sir James Goldsmith. Cuixmala lies in the middle of the Costalegre, and attracts a distinct crowd.

“Jalisco wants to develop this area with high quality and have its own airport far enough from the border to any other state. They’ve felt kind of cheated with the Puerto Vallarta Airport. So many people arrive there and go straight to Punta Mita and Sayulita in Nayarit. That doesn’t bring Jalisco any revenue,” said Hudson.

New properties in the works include a One&Only on the Costalegre. Santa Maria de Xala will be an hacienda-like setting on five miles of beach. Plans announced thus far call for 75 luxury villas and As far as he’s concerned, suites with private pools. Jalisco has the right idea. 

MEXI-GO.CA TRAVEL REAL ESTATE LIFESTYLE RETIREMENT

New airport and exclusive resorts to the Costalegre coastline

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good to know: colour in mexico cindy bouchard

Far left and below: With completely different colour schemes both Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende emphasize exterior elements and division of property with paint.

Left: A fabulous window intrigues in its simplicity; the combination of textures of stucco, topped with paint and, with no fancy ironwork or pots, enhanced only with flowers, they created an eye-catching display.

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Embracing Colour

MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2015

exico embraces colour, from the everyday street fashion to the fantastic costumes enjoyed at the many ceremonial functions. As we dine our eyes are as satisfied as our taste buds; our meals are abundant with colours of nature, brilliant green cilantro and avocado, ripe red tomatoes,

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buttery yellow corn and an array of chilies and sauces complete the art that our meal. It's simple, open your eyes, and you’ll see colour in Mexico; the flowers, the homes, the sky, the sea and all its inhabitants from vibrant fish to camouflaging iguanas. While you're

here, be sure to appreciate colour everywhere you go. I was one of those people who imagined that Mexico would be ‘less than’ in terms of architecture but had an about-face when I moved here and began to create spaces that would reflect the country that the vacationers were here to experience. My awareness came from the many artisans that make-do what they’re given to work with and often that’s not much. Artisans sprinkle and spray their talents on floors, walls and ceilings to embellish and impress. I’m as much intrigued by a white wall that pops with bits of red, purple and yellow as I am with a brilliant fuchsia wall as an accent. Colour defines, enhances, highlights and accentuates. A little paint goes a long way to making spaces seem larger or more intimate. Delighted by our excursions in México, we visited two cities in Guanajuato state

where colour defines each of them. Both were granted the Unesco designation as World Heritage sites. San Miguel de Allende, best known as a town of artists and writers is intrinsically artistic. Colonial style buildings enchant, using exterior colours enforced by local government that home and business owners must adhere too. The church, La Parroquia, in the main square is a gorgeous pink limestone that is divine and when lit up at night it glows. There is always a funky vibe in university towns of which Guanajuato obliges. The food is fabulous; the culture is… everywhere, and the col-

ours are vibrant in this, my fave city (so far) in my new homeland. Although hilly, this is paradise for those, who like me, delight in embracing the colour. The half hour hike to the top of the town rewards with its view, taking in the plethora of architectural styles, textures and shades that run the gamut, all harmonized by the rooftops. If you’re looking to emphasize an exterior, learn from the Mexican craftsmen. Notice how they use plaster or concrete; removing it to create a ‘frame’ around windows and doors; using various textures to define areas or building it up to add interest. Let go and let Mexico embrace your senses!


event of the season: festival sayulita gabriel jones

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estival Sayulita is once again set to take place in beautiful Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico - January 27-31. Now in its third year the festival continues to grow based on a winning combination of international film, music, surfing, and local agave spirits - all in a unique four day event! Host town Sayulita was the quintessential sleepy fishing village when it was “discovered” by surfers about 30 years ago. Since then it has been steadily gaining popularity and now caters to a wide range of (slightly) off the beaten path travelers who love it for its sun drenched beaches, lush green jungles, consistent surf and super friendly vibe.

While Sayulita can no longer can be described as Mexico’s best kept secret, Festival Sayulita is still relatively unknown and offers the opportunity to be a part of something special on an intimate level. Highlights of the event include nightly showings of award winning international films at unique venues around town including under the stars at the beautiful seven meter high beach screen. Film buffs and aspiring filmmakers are invited to meet and converse with many of the filmmakers and attend seminars on a wide range of topics like photography and animation. Sayulita draws lots of its positive energy from local

and visiting surfers and this event pays homage to Sayulita’s surf culture with a competition for kids. In addition to surf, Sayulita has become a mecca for yogis with morning yoga sessions planned as well as the “Stumble in the Jungle” 5k and 10k fun run. Whether you are participating or simply sunning on the beach as a spectator, the fresh ocean air is sure to inspire an appetite. Sayulita is home to a variety of world class street tacos and also an assortment of fantastic restaurants, many of which will be participating with the festival with special menus paired with tequilas, mezcals, and Mexican craft beer and

wine. These tastings sold out fast last year and are available with purchase of advance passes. The event culminates with an epic six-band concert at a beautiful outdoor venue showcasing some of Mexico’s best, new music. Perhaps the best thing about the festival is that proceeds go to creating a community center for Sayulita.

This center will promote creative, local endeavors and economic sustainability for locals. If you are planning on being in Sayulita or surrounding area this January or are looking for a destination for your winter escape, visit the Festival Sayulita website for more information and to purchase your passes. www.festivalsayulita.com


good to know: taxes By orlando gotay, tax attorney

An income tax primer for prospective home purchasers in Mexico Most articles prospective expats read are either about Mexican lifestyle, food, how to select real estate and similar topics. That’s the glossy aspect of coming to Mexico. Mexico tax compliance is another. Not as fun, but just as important. A little awareness on your part now could save countless headaches or disappointments later on.

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s anywhere, the purchase of a home is a major capital investment. We think we will own them forever, but life is much too fluid. Most of us sell the homes we buy. That’s why I invite you to think of tax aspects of selling the Mexico dream home you have bought or are planning on purchasing.

MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2015

You probably first came to Mexico on what some call a “tourist visa” or FMM form. While it allows U.S. and Canadian citizens the benefit of a stay of up to 180 days, the truth is an FMM allows little beyond being allowed in.

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A resident permit (either temporary ‘RT’ or permanent ‘RP’) will open the door to more substantial transactions in Mexico. One of the things that are generated automatically when you acquire resident status is a Unique Population Registry Code or CURP. Every Mexican National and resident gets one.

With a CURP, you can register with the Mexican Tax Service, the SAT, and you will be issued a Tax ID Number, an ‘RFC’. No doubt, you wonder, why in the world would I do that? Do you see a property that you love? To purchase it, you will need an RFC, a relatively recent requirement (2014). Many persons who purchased property before 2014 may not even know that they will also need to present an RFC to the Notario at the time of a real property transaction. Not having one may peg you as a nonresident. Will this property be your residence? Keep evidence it is. Items such as utility receipts, bank statements with the address, and similar documents will help establish this property was used as such. Those documents can also be in your name, your spouse, or parents, or children. Alas, the Notario decides if he or she accepts your

documents for what they stand. If you are a resident and the property qualifies as your residence, the first 700,000 UDIS (Mexican Investment Units, a unit established by the Bank of Mexico, today roughly equivalent to $216,500 US Dollars) are exempt from Mexican Income tax. The exemption is available to sellers only if no exemption was obtained within five years preceding the date of the sale. The five years will be counted day by day, and that may make a difference to some of you. Gross receipts from the sale of the home that are not exempt will be taxed progressively. There are a few deductions allowed against the sale price, prorated if an exemption is granted: 1. The cost of your home (actualized with a consumer price index type of calculation); 2. The cost of improve-

ments, enlargement and construction of additional features, all duly supported by official receipts “facturas”. 3. Notario fees, and those paid to intermediaries such as real estate professionals (remember to get those official “facturas” too). Uh, are those facturas in your name? Beyond the exemption, Mexico residents get taxed on a graduated scale. Nonresidents are taxed at a flat rate of 35%. The Notario will perform the tax calculation on the seller’s transaction. Taxes are withheld by the Notario on the day of closing. Those taxes may be creditable against income taxes back home. Keep evidence of payment! Proper planning for a real estate transaction begins well before it takes place. Document yourself, and enjoy the charms of your Mexico residence!

Orlando Gotay is a California licensed tax attorney (with a Master of Laws in Taxation) admitted to practice before the IRS, the U.S. Tax Court, and other taxing agencies. His love of things Mexican has led him to devote part of his practice to the tax matters of U.S. expats in Mexico. He can be reached at tax@orlandogotay.com.


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good to know: BUying Beach property MexLaw

How to Purchase Beach Property in Mexico Buy the beach front property, you know you want to. In Mexico, the rules are a little different than in Canada or the United States. Beach front property is purchased and held in trust, completely transferable through inheritance or sale. It's important that you understand the process and the players involved before signing anything. Restricted Zone Fideicomisos

Is it safe for a foreigner to purchase land in Mexico?

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MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2015

roperty that lies within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of the coastline or within 100 kilometers (62 miles) the borders of Mexico is in what is considered to be the Mexican Restricted Zone. In the past 30 years Mexican laws have changed and are more accommodating to foreigners, including citizens from the United States and all other countries, allowing them to buy, indirectly, the rights to hold and develop or make improvements, to occupy, sell or rent the property.

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How can I buy real estate within a Mexican Restricted zone if I am a foreigner? Legal ownership is possible by using one of two methods which is generally determined by the intended use of the land. For

residential

real

estate, a bank trust, known in Spanish as a fideicomiso, is the most common method. While the bank has technical “ownership”, for a 50 year term, it has no rights to the property, and is mandated that any dealings with the property are to be solely at the instruction by and for the benefit of the beneficiary which may be an individual or corporation. The fideicomiso allows a buyer to avoid inheritance taxes and to put the property in a will, as well as the obvious rights of real estate ownership including building or developing the property or selling the property. Foreigners are required to obtain a permit to own the land, as is the case with ‘direct deeds’, from the Secretary of the State, which is essentially an endorsement from the Mexican government of ownership of the property. As such, a fideicomiso affords foreigners the same rights and responsibilities full and direct ownership gives. Upon the sale of the property the buyer can assume the current fideicomiso or can take

out another one. For commercial real estate, a foreigner will generally form a Mexican corporation, also known as a Sociedad Anonima (SA) that buys the property, as the law permits a foreigner 100% ownership of a corporation. The property is deeded directly to the corporation and required to be used in a commercial capacity. There are annual corporate fees and tax reports to be filed by an accountant, but this approach avoids the initial costs of setting up and the annual fees, approximately US$300 to $500 per year, that are associated with a fideicomiso. Mexican Corporations

How do I create a Mexican Corporation Sociedad Anonima (SA)? Once you obtain a permit from The Department of Exterior Relations, whereby you register the name of the Mexican corporation, you then create the articles

of incorporation. This requires a “Notario” who is a keeper of the public record appointed by the state, licensed as an attorney who passed the Notario exam and is willing to forgo litigation. After the articles of incorporation are recorded in the public record, next is the process to obtain necessary permits Tax ID (RFC), any others.

How can I confirm that a seller has legal title to a property? A buyer should request a copy of the lien certificate or certificado de libertad de gravamen which will indicate the owner of record, including the surface area and classification of the type of property, the legal description and if there are any encumbrances filed against the property. A title search of the property should be performed and a copy of the title to the real estate should be requested of the seller. In Mexican transactions it is the responsibility of the Notario Publico to

perform the title search but the Notary generally examines the current deed and current lien certificate. Accordingly, it may be prudent to hire a Mexican attorney for a legal opinion on the status of title. Public Registry of Property & Notarios Publicos

What is the role of the Public Registry of Property? Public instruments in Mexico, such as deeds, can be researched at the local Public Registry of Property which is open to the public and exist in most cities and towns in Mexico. It is a government office where documents are registered allowing third parties to research land titles and liens on titles. Any Public Instrument is required to be finalized and signed by a Notario Publico. Public Instruments usually identify the property; include the entities involved in the transaction as well as the Notario, seller, buyer, and the bank if there is a fideicomiso.


estate transaction in the restricted zone: The real estate agent, the attorney representing the buyer, the seller and the Notary Public.

It is advisable to hire a Mexican attorney of your own, as opposed to that of the seller, to perform title searches, write contracts and review the conditions and terms of a sale. The attorney should also be able to provide a “cédula profesional”, a document that is a registered license to practice law in Mexico and will include a signature and photograph of the attorney.

Mexico involve the participation of a Notario Publico.

In standard transactions, the Notarios prepare deeds in accordance with the purchase-sale agreement. The buyer and seller get together with the Notario to formalize the transfer of property and authorize the signatures upon execution of the deed. Notario’s record the deed with the public registry of property where the property is located after the property has been transferred. A Notario’s duties before the closing include verification of title, searching public records for status of the title and for liens against the property and to examine the seller’s documents to ensure accuracy and legitimacy. They are also responsible to collect property taxes and government transfer taxes.

The process of buying real estate varies from case to case. Typically you will find a property you want to purchase and will verbally agree a price. The initial offer to purchase detail the costs, inclusions and exclusions, and any deadlines. A deposit is usually paid by the buyer and any penalties for cancellation are determined. If the property is inside the Mexican restricted zone, you will need to set up a bank trust / fideicomiso or form a Mexican corporation. If you are buying a condo or direct from a developer in a residential development it is important to have the Notario Publico ensure the developer’s permits are in order. You will obtain a copy of the Land / Property Deed from the seller, which will be evaluated and verified by the Notario Publico. You will need to provide official documents to the Notario Publico that can include a photo ID such as a passport, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and your tourist or other visa to verify that

you are in Mexico legally. The Notario Publico will require the seller to produce documents, including the original property deed, current tax records for the property, paid public utility bills as well as details of land-service fees with zero balance due. Payment of any capital gains taxes are made at the time when the deed is signed and is done at the Notario Publico’s office. The Notario Publico’s fees are paid at this time in addition to any other taxes associated with the purchase of the land.

agreement to be handled by the Notario which transfers the title to the buyer. This may come in different forms. The Civil Code defines an agreement as an accord between two or more persons to create, transfer, change or terminate obligations. The buyer’s attorney should write the promissory agreement, after a written offer has been accepted, because this is the most important document in the process determining the terms and conditions of the transaction.

What kind of Closing costs & down payments contracts and agreements are How much should involved in a Mex- I expect closing ican real estate costs to be? transaction? Common practice in In Mexico, real estate transactions usually have two contracts. First is an offer to purchase and a promissory agreement. These are preliminary agreements containing the basic transaction information, but not the document in which the property title is transferred to the buyer. The second contract is the

Mexico is that the seller pays capital gains tax and the real estate broker’s commission. The buyer is responsible for paying the transfer or acquisition tax and all other closing costs including the Notario’s fees.

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Contracts & steps Who is involved in What is the role involved real estate transof Public Notaries actions in Mexico? (Notarios Publicos)? How do I start the Typically, there are four Real estate transactions process of buyentities involved when and the legal conveyance ing real estate in consummating a real of any type of property in Mexico?

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Mexico: Land of Promise for Medical and Dental Shirley Patterson

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ow many times have we been put on a wait list for medical treatment in North America, especially Canada, or when there is an illness you go to emergency and wait for hours on end? You just cannot get a hospital bed when you need it. There are not enough hospital beds for the growing baby boomer populations as well as the aging seniors, who are waiting for long term care facilities. Well there is an alternative, go to Mexico, a place that will allow you the care you need, no wait lists, and qualified bilingual doctors that have the skills and time to take care of your health all within clean, modern hospitals. Mexico is a place where you can spend

time recovering from surgeries, illness and know that help is right there when you need it. It is a place for rejuvenation, transformation and wellness. Whether you are turning to Mexico for retirement, or assistant living, vacation or real estate investment there are great facilities to be found in the most popular areas of Mexico including Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Tulum, Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende and more. As the country moves forward there are increasingly more facilities of the highest standards being built throughout Mexico all providing medical and dental care as required.

Dentistry is another health issue, for so many people with the costs increasing on a consistent basis making it difficult to afford major procedures. Mexico has excellent dentists, and can provide implants, dental surgery, and crowns at a fraction of the costs that they are in North America. Mexico offers skilled bilingual professional doctors and dentists. Ex-pats, baby boomers, seniors, and tourists from around the globe all have the opportunity to experience complete rejuvenation and a sense of hope for any medical or dental problems they are experiencing.

MEXI-GO! Recommends Dr. Roberto Lara Certified orthopedic surgeon and member of the Mexican Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, Dr. Roberto is a professional, always seeking for the well-being of people in the most warm and friendly way. Exhibitor, professor, physician and developer, with more than 30 years of experience, his work has led to the development of the Cervical Spineblock Plate for cervical arthrodesis. Dr. Roberto Lara - Orthopedic Surgeon 1-(855)-421-8966 (toll free from Canada info@transformationmx.com www.transformationmx.com

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and sometimes even less. A heart-valve replacement that would cost $200,000 or more in the U.S., for example, can be less than $30,000. A knee replacement including six days of physical therapy, costs about one-fourth of what it would be in the United States. Cosmetic and plastic surgery savings are also substantial.

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MedToGo International Cosmetic Surgery MTGI© offers complete healthcare packages with up to 80% savings off the price of a comparable medical procedure in the U.S. – without compromising quality. The cost of surgery in Mexico can be one-fifth of what it is in the United States or Western Europe,

MedToGo International provides a team of U.S. physicians and coordinators who oversee a patient’s care and serve as their advocate while they are abroad. Safety and peace of mind are a top priority. Each patient is provided an English-speaking Medical Liaison to attend to them throughout their stay abroad. 1-866-MedToGo (1-866-633-8646) 480-785-2700 www.medtogo.com

Welcome to PV Smile- Dr. Rivas Looking for the best dentist in Puerto Vallarta? With so many to choose from, you need to make sure you don’t end up in the hands of a dentist that is simply adequate. You deserve excellence, assurance and genuine care. We offer the best quality restorative and cosmetic dentistry at an affordable price to hundreds of patients from Europe, Mexico, the US & Canada, all of them have become part of the PV Smile family. Dr. Rivas also combines the abilities of the dental surgeon & the restorative dentist, thus providing the most stunning smiles, the most profound attention to detail, and the most comprehensive quality service of any dentist in Puerto Vallarta! Dr. Noel Rivas D.D.S. - PV Smile (322) 224-8879 pvsmile@gmail.com www.pvsmile.com.mx


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life in san miguel de allende Gregory R. Gunter

San Miguel de Allende’s Los Arcángeles condo project takes advantage of sweeping city vistas.

San Miguel de Allende

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hich beach are you closest to?” proves the most common response when describing to foreigners the largest expat— Canadian and American—retirement destination in Mexico: San Miguel de Allende. After all, the marketing images of Mexico that one sees most often is of powder-sand beaches and surf.

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The reality? Mexico offers far more than just the coastal resort cities popular with college coeds on spring break looking for a week of tequila and sunshine.

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Take the Spanish Colonial village of San Miguel de Allende, for example. This central highlands city—perched at a high, dry altitude of 6,200 feet (1,900 meters)—offers a yearround, spring-like climate free of humidity and temperature extremes. Lush landscaping boasts constant blooming color, the rainy season is short and sweet, and the locals have never seen a snow shovel. But San Miguel offers so much more than a climatic paradise! An expat destination since the 1940’s, the city’s foreign resident population varies from

Condé Nast Traveler’s #1 City in the World! 5,000 to potentially 10,000 expats from over 25 countries. As a result, the city offers a lifestyle unparalleled in any other walkable Mexican city where residents never need a car to stroll from their home to dinner, the opera, a concert, or an art gallery opening. High season in San Miguel—typically mid-December through the end of May, when snow birds, many Canadian, swarm the city—offers more activities than a social calendar can pack. Numerous theater troupes offer weekly shows, several music festivals run many weeks each, and the Guanajuato International Film Festival draws global attendees, as does the San Miguel Writers’ Conference. And see the culinary sidebar for about the numerous food & wine festivals. Residents are quoted claiming San Miguel is “like summer camp for adults, but yearround!” Indeed, readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine voted this village the Number One City in the World in November 2013, just five years after the city was designated a UNESCO World

Maximize indoor-outdoor living with gracious courtyards.

Heritage Site, like Florence, Italy, a place where people live, work and play among 450 years of organically-gentrified history. As a result, many returning visitors opt to become resident homeowners, even if only six months of the year. Housing options abound, from simple homes in mixed neighbourhoods, to hillside mansions with eagle-eye views, to gated communities offering luxurious amenities in a secure environment. And while single-family housing prices in mixed neighbourhoods still gentrifying can potentially start as low as $250,000 USD, many home prices can climb close to the seven-figure range. To meet affordable housing demand, developers from as

far away as Mexico City and the U.S. have long since added San Miguel to their development radar, bringing huge investment backing to build secure, amenity-packed projects catering to an upscale, active-retirement lifestyle. Among the newest is the 44-unit hillside condo project, Los Arcángeles, built on the grounds of a 200-yearold hacienda. These city-view homes, a short five-minute stroll to the city center—named the Jardin, for its garden-like environment—start at only $235,000 USD and are proving as popular with half-year residents as full-time transplants, especially with an HOA fee of only $150 USD. Ancient palm trees tower above the swimming pool, adding a tropical flair to the community with-


A Growing Equestrian Center

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Mexico’s Culinary Capital

hile San Miguel de Allende has always boasted an extraordinary number of fine-dining restaurants, the gastronomic index has risen rapidly in the last two years, so much that Bravo TV’s Top Chef filmed here in 2015.

Longtime local dining stalwart The Restaurant—helmed by U.S. Chef Donnie Masterton, hosts the annual Sabores San Miguel food festival which in 2015 drew celebrity chefs from around the globe for a three-day dining extravaganza that foodies adored. And the Sabores festival is only one of at least three such international chef experiences held annually. The provenance of local chefs has grown substantially, as well. Trip Advisor #1 ranked Áperi restaurant boasts Milanese Chef

Matteo Salas, Paris-born Gabriel Ferrant helms newly opened Zumo, and internationally acclaimed Enrique Olvera brings his thumb print to Moxi while still helming Mexico City’s 17th best restaurant in the world. And what to pair with great food? Fine wine, of course! The Mexican government has dedicated San Miguel de Allende as the country’s second best known Ruta del Vino, or Wine Route. Each year, the month of August hosts weekly vendimia events at four of the region’s best known wineries, where attendees—surrounded by lavender and olive trees—would swear they’ve been transported to Provence or Tuscany. Enjoy your meals? Bring your fork and pull up a chair—San Miguel has your table waiting!

Continued from page 20 out the sweltering humidity and heat of a beach community. Also in Centro, an American development entity is building the 21-home luxury gated community, La Fuente. These custom-built homes—prices start at $595,000—boast luxurious interior finishes and features ranging from wet bars and elevator chases, to extravagant roof ter-

races offering views of several of the town’s 28 historic cathedrals. HOA fees of under $300 USD include hotel-style amenities, including concierge services. Statistics from the national Mexican real estate organization AMPI indicate 14 percent of home buyers in San Miguel hail from Canada. Come down for a visit and see why!

The state’s largest dressage-training horse ranch was snapped up last fall, and another international horse breeding and training ranch is on the market now, just minutes from the city center. The region’s focus on equestrian activities is so strong, the regional magazine Casta

Equina focuses solely on horse events. The nearby equestrian-focused community Otomi hosts multiple FEM (Mexican Equestrian Federation) regulated jumping events, while the Tuscany-meets-Mexico Santisima Trinidad community boasts a regulation-sized polo field with multiple polo events, including against U.S. teams. Dreamed of riding but don’t own a ranch? Boarding facilities like Granja las Animas—there are many nearby—indulge every horse lover’s dream. If your inner Horse Whisperer isn’t fulfilled, San Miguel awaits

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hether it’s watching polo or dressage, jumping competitions or just simple horseback riding, San Miguel de Allende has grown to the unofficial hub of equestrian activities for central Mexico.

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roadtrips: TOmatlan, jalisco madeline milne

Nature Lovers Escape: Fishing, hiking, beach combing, and more along Jalisco's up and coming southern coast.

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ristine beaches, small authentic towns, surfing, fishing, hiking, - an outdoor nature lovers paradise; all this located one and a half hours south of Puerto Vallarta in the municipality of Tomatlan. Located within the exclusive Costa Alegre coastline with its selection of some of the best hotels, resorts and estates in Mexico including my all-time favourite resort, Hotelito Desconocido, Tomatlan is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

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Divided by Highway 200, the coastal side is home to rugged beaches, that often have estuaries on one side and the pounding Pacific surf on the other, popular wth locals on the weekend for camping and surfing. Across the highway; vast orchards intersect with canals and rivers, heading back towards the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Invited by To m a t l a n Tourism to tour the area, we enjoyed a few nights in a cabin at the dam just east of the town of Tomatlan. The setting is rural, with small ranches/ pueblos working mango orchards but also banana, tomatoes and corn. Tomatlan is the kind of place you know you can get an excellent meal in; plenty of Birra (local beef or goat stew) and Comida Corrida (set menu) restaurants offering abuela’s (grandmothers) secret recipes. Market day would be the spot for fresh cheese and local produce. There have been many announcements lately about a new airport

opening and exclusive resorts developing the beachfront. On a previous visit, a California developer toured us through his beachfront property, Rancho De Las Olas, where the longterm plan is to build a condo-hotel on the beach and low rise condominiums and homes along the estuary. This multi-use development,

like many in the area, is taking advantage of the unspoiled beachfront and offer miles of secluded paradise for savvy investors. It is both beautiful and accessible and only a matter of time before this area opens up further to tourism. But, for now it is a quiet respite from the flash and glamour of nearby Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo.

Cajon de Peñas This trip we were heading off the beach to visit the dam and explore the area around Tomatlan. We hopped in our little car, a rental from National Car Rental at an affordable $30usd/day including the 100% no questions asked

coverage, which, if you’re driving the back roads of Mexico, is always a good idea. Especially since just past El Tuito the highway is under repair and parts of it were tricky to maneuver. If you go anytime soon, drive with caution, there are a couple bumps that could blow your tires. At the 130km marker, there is a left turn heading to la presa (the dam) and the pueblito of Cajon de Peñas. If you come upon an Oxxo/Pemex or signs to turn for the town of Tomatlan you’ve gone about 5kms too far. Following the road 18km straight back into the mountains you will find well-marked signs for the dam and a slight right-hand turn just past the Rancho Andrea Bass Fishing Eco-Resort will open up the lake in front of you. It is surreal in its stillness. Coming originally from the land of summer cabins and water ski-


Popular on weekends and during holidays, the beaches of Tomatlan remain nearly uninhabited and pristine year-round. Savvy developers are watching this area closely as the big boys start to break ground. Soon this will be one of those places that people will say, 'it was the {insert booming town here} of twenty years ago'.

ing, it always amazes me to see these perfect lakes so quiet. Dotted with tiny islands, it looks like a Japanese watercolour. A few minutes later you’ll be in the bustling metropolis of Cajon de Peñas, a Ranchito of about fifty homes. The local school has a total of nineteen children. About 40 years ago a 75 km stretch of a valley was flooded and a new landscape was created. Just past the town of Cajon de Peñas you can drive over the floodgates (?) of the dam. Interestingly, there was no one guarding it. It’s no Hoover Dam, but it’s impressive nonetheless. It is 7,000 acres and the largest reservoir in Jalisco and one of the biggest in Mexico. Located on the banks of the lake there are a few restaurants serving the fresh catch of the day, generally Tilapia, Langostina and shrimp. There are two basic grocery stores and a couple places with cabins for rent. We stayed at Rincon de la Ceiba in the centre

of town and it was well marked. The gardens are beautifully maintained; the eight cabins are well appointed, clean and comfortable. The service was friendly and accommodating and entirely in Spanish though they know some limited English. There is a small restaurant on-site offering simple yet delicious Mexican food and beverages. The highlight is the spectacular Ceiba tree watching over the banks of the lake. To be forewarned, there is no cell or internet service – and you’ll be glad for the break. Ceiba trees were revered by the ancient people of Mexico and used for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Covered in thick, imposing thorns, their limbs stretch into the sky and connect the thirteen levels of life (according to Mayan traditions). What was extra special about this little town were the people who make it their home. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, coming out to say hello and chat about their lives

along the lake. We were invited in for drinks and to stop by again the next day for a Mother’s Day get-together. Truly one of the most humble and welcoming places I have been in this country. THINGS TO DO FISHING AND HUNTING The lake is spectacular. The landscapes are striking; there is ample Big Mouth Bass (at last check the record was 13lbs) and Tilapia fishing to be had and apparently deer and raccoon hunting in the forests. We spotted eagles, ducks and vultures, and a quick small brown fox dashing along the beach. BIRDWATCHING Over 150 species of birds call this area home and (for my lepidopteristbutterfly hunting mother) despite the dry conditions, plenty of butterflies still fluttering by. BOATING We rented a small panga for a couple hours to tour (a small portion of) the lake, stopping at a few of the uninhabited islands. Our guide, Adan, is a

17-year-old with excellent local knowledge of plants and wildlife. He took us up into the forest to find a gum tree, which, when nicked with his knife, oozed a white milk that quickly formed into a gum with a slightly floral flavour that locals chew and make crafts out of. If you’ve ever been to Talpa de Allende, you’ll recognize the little trinkets they produce with this gum. If you are adventurous; a kayak, a fishing pole and a hammock would make a great overnight camping trip on one of the nearby islands. A couple islands even have palapas and small outdoor kitchens built on them. Stop at El Tuito for supplies or drive a little further along the highway to Tomatlan for a much bigger supply of goods including a camping store. If relaxation and a guaranteed dinner are more your speed, Rincon de la Ceiba is highly recommended. With the summer heat and humidity, this would be an excellent escape for a couple days or even longer.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS IN TOMATLAN Archaeology: No surprise considering the fertile lands and rivers in the area, these areas have been populated for the past 3000 years. Many archaeological findings can be explored including petroglyphs and cave paintings. The Beaches: The pristine beaches in the area are some of the most beautiful in the country. Many have excellent surf breaks - being the Pacific, it’s not for the novice, be sure to check with the locals before you hit the waves. You can swim at Chalacatepec and Peñitas. Costa Majahuas looks like a tropical paradise from the movies, with lush jungle estuary behind a sandbar. Though the waves are too strong for swimming, it is a popular spot with families for camping and fishing and is home to one of the most important turtle nurseries in all of the state. tomatlan.com rincondelaceiba.com


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real estate: sisal, yucatan Mandy Allfrey

Opportunity knocks at this charming Yucatan beach

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A visit in September 2015 led me to this one-of-akind beach town where the unspoiled beach is plentiful, and opportunity is abundant. Sisal, once the main port to the Yucatán for global goods and Spanish conquistadors, is now re-imagining its persistence as a gateway of possibilities to citizens of the globe. The port was once the world’s leader in henequen trade, and significantly impacted the

growth and sustainability of Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán state. There is an indescribable feeling in Sisal that comes from the depth of its historical contribution meshed with the beauty of the natural elements. Protected flamingo and mangrove sanctuaries limit its growth and will maintain the integrity of its ecological makeup. Sisal is a place where I envision owning a small cafe or beach bar, and it

appears early adopters of Sisal may add their special touch to this sacred land. This seaside community presents an opportunity to give back and make a difference in the locals that live here. With a new development opening its doors, Petén, the opportunity to own a piece of pristine beach front, has never looked better. This piece of family owned land is on target to remain a gathering place for

generations to come. Developed sustainably to share this beloved sea and tropical paradise, I stumbled onto the owner during a morning run on my visit. Sisal is an island of possibility where rediscovering, rekindling, reminiscing, and restarting blend naturally as a source for life. The bonus of the sunrise and sunset over the emerald green turned deep blue ocean waters complements

A 45 minute drive from Mérida, Sisal offers the best of both worlds white sand beach and ocean waters to connect the mind, body, and spirit, along with access to world-class restaurants and shopping in the city. My weekend visit filled me with smiles from local children, fresh ocean air, warm sand beneath my toes, and fried pulpo (octopus) ceviché. Local smiles are a dime a dozen. Sisal is not for everyone, and I think Ernest Hemingway may describe life here the best, “Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the Romance of the unusual.” petensisal.com

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each day while the sun rejuvenates spirits.

he Yucatán peninsula of Mexico is known across the globe for its ancient Maya history. The legend surrounding the small fishing village of Sisal, located on a northwestern beach of the Yucatán peninsula, remains rooted “where the impossible becomes possible”.

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Yucatan attracts well-heeled travelers

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here is undoubtedly a sense of old-world sophistication that follows you throughout the Yucatan, with its regal architecture, ancient haciendas and exclusive beach front enclaves. Art, cuisine and life in general embrace the bespoke. “Visitors to the Yucatan look for upscale services and one-of-a-kind vacations, they are one who values the history and culture of our destination, and one who is willing to spend more to get the most out of their experience here,” says Santiago B. Gonzalez Abreu, Yucatan’s director of tourism promotion.

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This bejeweled state with its grandeur, romance and sophistication offers more than meets the eye experiences from historical to cultural and just plain luxurious. Here are a few of our favourite places.

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places to stay: luxury hotels Sara jacobs

Hotel Casa Lecanda

Rosas & Xocolate

This charming, seven-unit boutique hotel occupying a traditional Yucatecan home was restored in 2009. Each patio, balcony or garden room features its own signature scent, available for purchase as a souvenir. Enjoy the tropical garden and swimming pool after a day of exploring the neighbourhood.

Very popular with the trendy, holding court on Merida’s elegant Paseo de Motejo, this ultra modern hotel boasts seventeen rooms housed in two restored mansions, painted hot pink. and It features a spa, fitness centre and excellent restaurant, where guests should sample rose and chocolate flavored drinks and desserts.

www.casalecanda.com

rosasandxocolate.com Hacienda Xcanatun This 18-unit property, set on the grounds of a restored, 9-acre hacienda first established in the 17th century, is home to renowned restaurant Casa de Piedra and a five-room spa presided over by a Mayan shaman. www.xcanatun.com

Hacienda San Antonio Millet A rural 17th century sisal hacienda still in use by its owners as a residence, there are twelve guestrooms set in the impressive main house, schoolhouse, pavilion and in the housekeeper’s quarters. Attractions include a chapel and gardens with deer and pheasants.

SAN JUAN CHURCH OF MERIDA This beautiful church named for San Juan Bautista and is located in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Merida. Located where once the road to Campeche began, this church was built in 1769. Arguably the most important historical park in the city, it was here that Vicente Maria Velasquez, a priest who grew up in the neighbourhood formed the SanJuanistas who later became pivotal in the Independence movement from Spain.

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sanantoniomillet.com

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exploring the yucatan: mayan ruins emily murray

Valledollid, Yucatan

Ek Balam

est to visit on whichever days you aren’t touring ruins, and the food is an experience too! Be sure to check out the famous ice cream, popular with both residents and visitors alike, it is second to none!

Simply Mayan

Plan this six-stop tour of the most popular and inspiring Mayan ruins in an easy trip through the Yucatan.

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ny true lover of Mexico knows what a treasure the Mayan Ruins are! There are so many different sites scattered throughout the country, each of varied size and significance, that it’s really difficult to choose which ones to visit. And totally impossible to visit them all in one vacation!

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But if you’re trying to plan a ruins-centric visit and overwhelmed at where to start, we’ve rounded up a list of ruins that we feel you can’t miss. And they are all conveniently located on the Yucatan Peninsula, making it much easier to manage, logistics-wise. We’ve even provided some options for where to stay, get-

ting around, and a few tour companies you might consider using. Why? Because we like you! So, where to stay while touring this magnificent land? If you’re a beach baby, we suggest keeping with the wild and untouched feel. Steer clear of busy Cancun in favour of beautiful Playa del Carmen or Porto Morelos. Both are popular coastal destinations with all the creature comforts you’re looking for, but without all the crowds and commercialism you’ll encounter in Cancun. For an inland home base which is centrally located to the sites on our list, check out Valledollid for its small town feel, rich history, and friendly people. In Valledollid there are great places of inter-

The “sophisticated city” mention goes to Merida, the capital of the Yucatan. Bigger than Valledolid, but also inland, Merida is central to all the sites on our list while also offering the multiple museums, cultural centers, art galleries, excellent shopping and top quality hotels you would expect of a state capital. Depending on how many days you have (we recommend at least a week), you might consider a stay inland for part of the trip, and a stay in one of the coastal towns for the other part. It is worth noting that Merida has an international airport (Manuel Crescencio Rejon), as does Cancun (Cancun), so flying into one area and out of another is an easy trick and might make a lot of sense for you. So now that you have some idea of the how and the where, let’s talk about the best part: what you can see in these amazing

places! Here we’ve put together 5 of the best ruins available for touring on the Yucatan peninsula, starting with Tulum, a straight shot down the gorgeous coastline from Playa del Carmen, and ending inland with Uxmal, about an hour outside of Merida. It is believed that there are over 70,000 Maya ruins, spread throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras, and most of those have yet to be discovered! It’s mind-boggling to think of all the treasures still hidden in dense jungle forests and buried deep in untouched hills. Somehow, it makes the ruins that have already been discovered, that much more special. If you’re a lover of the ancient Maya civilization and the wealth of knowledge they’ve bestowed upon the world, you already know it’s so important to care for these ancient and sacred places. It's important to listen closely to the stories they have to tell us, and to continue exploring to greater depths as more and more is revealed to us throughout time. Safe travels!


Chichen Itza: Equinox Chichen Itza: From Valladolid it’s about a 45 minute drive to Chichen Itza, one of the more popular Mayan ruins on the Yucatan peninsula. Back in its day it was one of the largest Maya cities, so there is plenty to explore here, and this is one reason that an estimated 1.2 million visitors make the pilgrimage to this site each year.

Chichen Itza

Twice yearly on each of the equinoxes, people flock to Chichen Itza to see the “serpent” come alive as the perfectly positioned sun casts shadows down the steps of the main pyramid. It is truly a sight to behold, and rare enough that it’s worth a visit, though the crowds might be a bit much to take so pack an extra bit of humour if you’re going to witness the serpent in real life.

Ek Balam

Ek Balam: Preserved history Ek Balam: 25 kilometers north of the city of Valladolid is where you’ll find Ek Balam, one of the most beautiful and well preserved Mayan ruins. Some parts are so well preserved that there is even still some color left in the stucco! And if you’re up for an adventure (and some exercise!), you can climb the very steep stairs of the main pyramid. This site tends to be a little less

traveled than nearby Chichen Itza, lending a more peaceful feel. The combination of less visitors and the well-preserved art and stucco make Ek Balam a great choice if you’re looking to step off the beaten path and give yourself a real Mayan jungle experience. There are 45 structures in total, including the Acropolis, with its amazing wall paintings.

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Photo: Chichen Itza Equinox - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

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Coba

Coba: Between two lagoons About a 40 minute drive from Tulum is where you’ll find Coba, situated around two lagoons and with a series of elevated roads which radiate from its center. Beautiful gardens weave throughout the grounds, and if you’d

Uxmal

rather not tour the ruins on foot, you have the option of renting a bicycle or hiring transportation to take you around. Here you can climb the 120 steps to the top of the Nohoch Mul pyramid, 137 feet in height, and

take in the amazing view from above! Similar to Tulum, Coba has a water element, and if you’ve packed your swimsuit you can explore the nearby cenotes, a short drive away.

Uxmal: Magical A very popular destination set on 150 acres of land, Uxmal can be found about 85 kilometers from the town of Merida. It is one of the best-restored and maintained archaeological parks, making it a real treat for the modern explorer.

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Here you’ll find several pyramids and monuments, the Governor’s Palace with its mosaic façade and 103 intricately carved stone masks.

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As with many of the gifts the Mayans left, in addition to being a sight to behold, this palace is thought to have astrological significance. It is built slightly askew of the buildings surrounding it, so that its central doorway is exactly in alignment with planet Venus.


Tulum

Tulum: Beach Front Located on the Riviera Maya, Tulum perches high atop the rocky coastline and offers some of the most gorgeous views you’ll find. It is not the biggest ruin, or even the most archeologically significant, but what makes it unique is its setting. It’s the only one with its own ocean beach, so be sure to pack a swimsuit when you visit! A dip in the pristine turquoise blue waters, in the shadow of this ancient fortress city, is certainly one for your bucket list. Tulum is small and visitors often combine a visit here with a trip to Coba in the same day.

Getting There

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ransportation options are almost as plentiful as the ruins themselves, so you’re in good hands! What’s your energy and adventure level? How much time to do you have? How much money? Answers to these questions are the keys to choosing what’s right for you.

ADO www.ado.com.mx offers comfortable, air conditioned bus service on first class coaches to almost any destination you might want to visit. A bus is a great option because it’s cheaper than a taxi, and doesn’t leave you with a vehicle to park in the lot and worry about while you’re away. (It is worth mentioning that many experts warn against driving to and parking at ruins sites because petty theft is quite prevalent.)

Another option is to take a guided tour, and there are many to choose from at myriad different price points. Choose private, group, all-inclusive or a more ala carte option, and customize your experience in every way you like. Try mayans-explorers.com, playadelcarmentours.com or www.viator.com for a few different options and price points on tours.

Dzibilchaltún - Temple of 7 Dolls This site is located very close to the town of Merida so it’s easily combined with one of your other day trips, and receives an honorable mention because of the Temple of 7 Dolls, so

named because when archeologists began excavating this site, buried beneath one of the pyramids were 7 small effigies of varying sizes. It was such an interesting find, and yet still a mys-

tery as to what exactly significance they hold. This site also has a cenote you can have a dip in, so bring your swimsuit and enjoy a refreshing swim before moving on to your day’s next big adventure.

If you’ve got several days and a desire to see more of Mexico, consider a new twist on the chartered bus: Libertad Travel. Libertad Travel offers long distance bus transportation, taking you from A-B, but with stops along the way. So you can stretch your legs, explore and have fun as you go! Want to fly into Mexico City and bus to Cancun before your ruins tour, taking lots of tours and seeing lots of sights along the way? Libertad is for you! libertadtravel.com

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Renting a car can be a budget buster but is of course an option. This mode of transportation is going to give you maximum freedom of movement, which might be very important to you. If the freedom to come and go as you please is very important, renting a car might be the option to go with. There are Hertz locations all over Mexico. hertzmexico.com

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exploring the yucatan: honeybees emily murray

The (Almost Lost) Art of Mayan Beekeeping Yucatán as an offering in planting ceremonies and to ward off trickster spirits who might try to damage field crops.

One of the things we love the most about Mexico is the depth of history and culture that it offers. Each region provides its small piece of the big puzzle that is this great land and discovering each is like seeing a whole new world unto itself.

From their genetic makeup to the way they live, the bees the Mayans kept (scientific name: Meliponin) are different from the bees we are familiar with. There are about 800 species of these stingless bees native to this region, and they significantly differ from the European (Africanized) bees.

Colorful paintings, beautiful artifacts, ancient references both mysterious and informative, the Maya civilization left us many gifts that we are still unwrapping even today, hundreds of years later. Pyramids, murals, even a complete writing system, were left for future generations to learn and grow. The Madrid Codex, one of the last remaining written teachings, is a wealth of knowledge and understanding; it addresses a whole host of topics, not the least of which is beekeeping, the Mayan way.

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This tradition has been passed down from generation to generation though sadly now it is a dying art. The deforestation of the bees’ natural habitat, the introduction of European (Africanized) bees, and the need for the heirs of this legacy to survive in this modern world, seem to be a few of the driving forces behind its decline.

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The bee has a strong presence in Mayan lore. Ah-Muzen Kab, the Bee King, is a significant part of traditional religious ceremonies and represents a link to the mysterious spirit world. It is also clear that the Mayan people were very much aware of the healing properties of their honey, properties that have since been scientifically proven, making the bees even more revered and magical. The bees were placed on a metaphorical

pedestal, bestowed with the name Xunan Kab, “Royal Lady Bees”, and given the queenly existence you might expect from such a name. In many ways, they became like pets, with families carrying on their genetic lines through the generations. These nearly extinct bees would gather nectar from the pollen of a local plant and a local tree which contained ergoline compounds that produced a psychotropic effect in the resulting elixir. Balche’ was used ceremonially, to prepare individuals for certain religious rites and indeed to bestow god-like powers on the drinker. Trances induced by the beverage would provide a glimpse into a sacred, invisible world. Balche is still used by the Maya in

For starters, Meliponin bees do bite if they must protect their colony, but they are not aggressive and have no stingers. They have beautiful green eyes. They are found in the wild and make their colonies in felled tree trunks, rock crevices, and even underground tunnels. Though they produce far less volume, their honey has antibiotic and healing properties that far exceed the mass-producing European bees. Where a colony of stingless Meliponin bees might produce just a few pounds of honey each year, a colony of the more aggressive honey bees quickly produces over 200, so it’s sadly evident that the more lucrative option is keeping non-native bees. In favour of higher production, the Africanized bee has been introduced to the region and this way begun diluting the gene pool by cross breeding. There may well come a time in the not-too-distant future when a true Meliponin bee will be a thing of the past, which is a sad prospect to be sure. Unfortunately, there are other ways the Mayan beekeeping tradition is suffering. Beekeeping itself is such an involved prac-


Meliponin Bee Houses, Photo by Gabriela Rocha

Though they produce far less volume, their honey has antibiotic and healing properties that far exceed the mass-producing European bees.

Besides, the Yucatan has been heavily logged over the years. This has essentially removed the natural habitat of the bees, and it’s clear that if something is not done to protect them it’s only a matter of time before this ancient practice as we know it is lost entirely. Moreover, the deck certainly does seem stacked against them. However, take heart! There are rays of hope. Some things are being done to protect these particular bees and this critical tradition. For example, small fair trade practices on the Yucatan peninsula have cropped up, offering supplemental income to the collectives of women and of families who par-

ticipate, and keeping the art of Meliponin beekeeping alive. And they’re on the cutting edge in another way too: beekeeping is traditionally left only to the men to handle, so not only are these people making their own way, holding on to a centuries-old practice, they’re challenging the idea that the exact methods must be staunchly held. This might well be the thing that ultimately saves the Mayan beekeeping tradition, or at least preserves it in a way that it’s still recognizable, instead of letting it die out entirely in favour of mass-production and urban sprawl.

a beautiful dovetail between the traditional and the modern,a lot like the changing face of beekeeping itself.

A simple internet search for “fair trade honey Yucatan Peninsula” will teach you more, and start you on your way to supporting these Fair Trade Certified organizations. Help keep this ancient tradition alive and treat yourself to a delicious and nutritious sweetener while you are at it! Guillermo and Julian, Wholesome, and NewHope360 are a few of the brands coming out of the Yucatan Peninsula that you can feel good about supporting. Wholesome Organic Raw Honey is even available right on Amazon.ca, which is

Though the future of this tradition might seem a little on the bleak side, it is important to remember that these are the heirs of the intelligent and resourceful Mayan people we are talking about! Inside each of them beats the heart of a warrior and a saviour. Maybe this time the teaching is how to be our advocate, and to preserve what’s ours;strongly, harmoniously, and with purpose, a lot like the very existence of the beautiful and gentle green-eyed bees themselves.

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tice that it is more of a lifestyle. Moreover, if it is a lifestyle that doesn’t pay the bills, it is of course not all that attractive to the modern heirs of this tradition. David Roubik, an entomologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, put it this way: “For many the colonies are an heirloom, like their father’s stamp collection, and they don’t feel a burning desire to carry on the tradition”. Though it is a hard realization to come to, it is hard to argue with making a good living.

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Mi Casa, Tu Casa Casa Aguacate, Merida Yucatan

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This beautifully renovated century-old Merida home maintains its colonial charm and original pasta tiles.

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Casa Aguacate merida, yucatan

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ith a desire to branch out and explore new places, Helene, and Thomas, started to look on the Internet for a place to call home. Originally from Europe and having never been to Mexico, they soon fell in love with the idea of Merida, and its rich cultural heritage, vibrant expat life, beautiful architecture and the opportunity to do something new. It took only two months for them to sell everything, including their successful restaurant, and move across the Atlantic Ocean, sight unseen.

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Before

They searched for the next three months to find their dream home. When they saw it, they knew immediately. It was in the perfect location in the historic downtown, had high ceilings, a jungle backyard with an avocado tree and gorgeous original pasta tile floors. “It was very colourful, says Helene when asked to describe first seeing the home, “ it totally matched our idea of a Mexican house!”

Unassuming from the front, it took vision and an appreciation for the beautiful craftsmanship hidden under the dirt and terrible paint to find this hidden gem in Merida's historic centro district.

And so the adventure began. It took one year to remodel Casa Aguacate – from design to permits to final decoration. They had to go through INAH for special permission because the house is more than 120 years old and part of the protected historic district of the city.

Named Casa Aguacate after the backyard avocado tree, this restored 19th century home is now available for vacation rentals.

For years, Thomas had worked in his father's building company and was soon

forced to forget everything he thought he knew. In these colonial homes, the walls are not made of blocks but of masonry - big stones assembled with mortar. The tropical climate constraints were also an important consideration. Heat, humidity, and rain can take its toll. The pool was dug by hand! A feat in itself as the earth is hard and full of enormous stones. Through the entire process, they hired local Mexicans to ensure knowledgeable craftspeople handled each step of the remodeling process. The carpenter refurbished all the traditional cedar doors, and perhaps most impressively they maintained the original pasta tiles, just changing the damaged ones with the advice of Ignacio who runs the tile factory Mosaicos La Peninsular, renowned for its craftsmanship. Throughout it all the effort was to maintain the colonial spirit of the home while introducing today’s modern comforts. Completed and ready for guests Casa Aguacate has two master bedrooms with en-suites and a sofa bed in the living room to accommodate a fifth guest. The gourmet kitchen has gorgeous marble countertops and enough space to cook a feast. All the modern technologies can be found throughout


Pasta Tiles It is said that there are more cement tile floors in Merida than anywhere else in the world. These gorgeous floors are often made of what are usually called pasta tile, perhaps named after the paste used to made them. Assembled with molds, colourful pottery slip is added according to the designs, they are squeezed in a tile press and then set to dry for a couple weeks. Surprisingly these tiles are never baked or heated. The only thing hardening them is time and pressure. Many of the designs go back to pre-colonial times and were brought to Merida when the Spanish began colonizing. Much of the charm of the old houses comes from their tiled past. If you buy a home in Merida, or anywhere in Mexico for that matter, that has broken, missing or lord forbid, modern white tiles, you can replace them with the help of traditional tile factories.

including, cable, wi-fi, air conditioning and the lovely hand dug swimming pool in the back yard refreshes and invigorates after a day of exploring the city. Mérida is a beautiful town, rife with culture, museums, and concerts; they say every night there is a free concert in the city. With a long history of foreigners, it is a very friendly place especially for expats who want to make the effort to discover another way of life. It is not a resort town like Cancun; it is a city where people live a real Mexican life. There are many things to discover here and near; haciendas, cenotes, Mayan ruins, an excellent place for vacation or retirement.

Come for a week. Stay forever. Helene and Thomas welcome you to visit their home and stay for a while. Rates start at $1200usd/week. Find them on Facebook at Casa Aguacate Merida Yucatan.

Merida Mérida, the vibrant capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán, has a rich Mayan and colonial heritage. The city’s focal point is Plaza de la Independencia, bordered by the fortresslike Mérida Cathedral and white limestone Iglesia de la Tercera Orden, colonial-era churches built using relics from ancient Mayan temples. The Casa de Montejo, a 16th-century mansion, is a landmark of colonial architecture.


OFF THE GRID LIVING By April Larkin

Permaculture home design Living off 足grid in the jungles of Tulum

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ho in their wildest dreams would attempt this? Canadians from Alberta, of course. You can do it too.

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When we first started searching for the property, we travelled everywhere. The cost of living in Canada is increasing daily. We needed to find a retirement place where we could live comfortably on our pensions.

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We had heard about an eco-development located twelve kilometers from Tulum, in the Riviera Maya where you can find the most incredible beaches in the world. Never having visited before it was a wonderful adventure. As soon as we drove into the development we knew it was home. Each lot is five acres and there is abundant wildlife and birds; toucans were flying overhead with spider monkeys swinging in the jungle, native

flowering trees and Mayan honeybees happily pollinating. To preserve the natural jungle owners are only allowed to build on five-percent. You purchase through a bank trust and hold title. Your land is legal and can be sold at any time. Permaculture is a sustainable design science rooted in observation of nature. The Zapote logs that were used in the main structure of our home were harvested and dried before the full moon. All the rocks used to build the walls came from our land. With our architect and Permaculture teacher Carlos Alamillo, we designed and completed our home in three years. We are totally self-sufficient and have not harmed the delicate jungle environment. There are three areas needed for living off the grid in the jungle.

Solar Energy We wanted to know if needed we would have similar energy levels to back in Canada. We have three fridges, hair blowers and AC in two bedrooms. But we have designed our house to use Mother Nature, the Permaculture way. All the ceilings are fourteen feet high with ceiling fans. There are 10-foot screen doors to create cross-ventilation. We rarely use the air conditioning. Living in the jungle, the temperature is as much as degrees cooler. Open the doors at night and close during the day to control the interior temperatures. We use plenty of LED lighting and have an internet tower on our roof. Essentially all the conveniences of a modern home in Canada, but in the jungles of Tulum. We had a wish list that was about three


tulum, quintana roo

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times the amount we could afford. Our Energy designer, Tamara Lashbrook helped us develop our energy rated on usage. We now have eighteen solar panels with sixteen batteries. We never run out of power, but do have a backup generator just in case.

Living off grid means we are totally independent. We have a large solar system so we never run out of power, even during storms. We have rain water collection for bathing and watering and soon a reverse osmosis system for drinking water. We have such a huge respect for Mother Nature and living in her harmony.

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Septic Wetlands Our development requires you have a septic system that does not pollute the jungle. Either self-contained tanks that need to be pumped out or our type which is called Humidales. A system with low flush toilet (you can use toilet paper) which empties into a dry compost tank of wood chips and coconut fibre. It breaks down to a wonderful, rich black earth with no smell. The wet refuse drains go into a cement run with layers of rocks, wood, old plastic, covered with natural plants such as elephant ears, birds of paradise, banana trees which are planted in soil, topped with gravel. At the end of the run, a pipe that drains out almost pure water. Amazing. There is never any smell, and the plants get so huge; your very own tropical garden.

During the rainy months in Mexico, you can collect barrels of rainwater. The cisterns are made out of cement and re-bar. As long as there is no sunlight, and they are sealed properly, to keep the frogs or snakes out, the water stays cool, fresh and usable for any daily activities including bathing, watering, and if you have reverse osmosis, drinking. Mould will not grow without sunlight. We have two (10,000 gallon) tanks. They are located under the back deck with a pump system that allows all the rainwater to collect on the rooftop patio and be drained into the cisterns. When they are full, there is an overflow onto our fruit trees. We never run out of fresh rainwater, and if you use it for bathing, it makes your skin so soft. Living off the grid is a process but you can learn how to respect Mother Nature and still have all the luxuries of a sustainable life in Mexico.

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Rainwater Collection

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sustainable building By joel hansen

Sustainable Building in Puerto Vallarta From shipping container to luxe villa in the exclusive Amapas neighbourhood Puerto Vallarta architect and owner of Max T Living and Design Joe Sanchez believes sustainability is not just a buzzword, and it doesn’t have to come with a certificate. Sustainability can be achieved, can be affordable and can improve one’s quality of life. That’s Joe’s story and you can see it in all of Max T Living’s projects.

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oe's career began in Chicago with high rise design, but in recent years his projects have focused more and more in his hometown of Puerto Vallarta.

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For years Sanchez had been working on a development concept called M.E.S.H. or modular ecologically sustainable habitat, designed for offgrid coastal use. The concept called for standard 20 foot ISO shipping container and recycling it into a comfortable dwelling for up to four people. Complete with kitchen, bathroom, storage and even a small pool.

The product deals with several issues that are becoming essential to our continued way of life, most important is access to fresh water, and the second is affordable sustainable housing. The goal was to create a habitat that not only filters water but also captures and stores it. Rainwater is collected in drums that can also act as the habitats foundation. The fresh water pool is the main source of non-potable water, and is recycled and filtered with very basic but effective and affordable slow sand filters, and ultraviolet light.

The concept was solid, but Sanchez felt to achieve the level of success he envisioned, he would need to create a platform for his product. He shopped the idea around and found the perfect partner who believed in Joe’s passion and drive. Together they started Max T Living Systems through which Nemi Eco Villa was born. Sanchez reasoned he could perfect his concepts and the Villa would serve as a showcase for just what is possible with sustainable design. Nemi Eco Villa is set into the mountains above Puerto

Vallarta on a challenging build site and proves sustainability and luxury can co-exist and prove perfectly his concepts. We found a few minutes to sit down with Joe to discuss what Eco building means to him and how Mexico is doing when it comes to sustainability. What attracted you to incorporate sustainable building practices into your designs? I have always been fascinated with the idea of sustainability. It’s incredible to think how much we can actually provide for ourselves; from electricity to filtered water.

We are living in a time where we are seeing an expiration date on natural resources we have taken for granted. As an architect and designer, a large amount of what I do is problem solving, so it was a natural fit for me to begin developing concepts that incorporate sustainability with everyday living. As a Canadian, the environment and sustainable construction and design are a concept that most Canadians are familiar with, but how have your designs and concepts been received in Mexico? Initially, people could not understand the big picture of Nemi. It’s difficult to visualize a concept, especially one so unusual, which is why I knew it was important to see this through. It has been extremely well received. It can be very surprising to find out how many ways we can be sustainable and not feel


like we have given something up. What are the views of the Mexican government when it comes to sustainable building? Are they offering incentives or encouraging green building? Mexico is becoming more progressive with sustainability and putting some good laws on the books. As a builder, I know trees here in Puerto Vallarta are highly protected, and may only be cut with special permits, and even construction waste is regulated, so they certainly have respect for the environment and are instituting practices to protect it.

What are the most pressing challenges while building green in Mexico? Maybe one of the most difficult challenges the lack of sustainable providers. There is not a surplus of sustainable vendors, so a lot of collaboration and creativity needs to be involved when implementing certain ideas and concepts. What inspired you to build Nemi Eco Villa? The true inspiration to Nemi was my son. The world is changing so quickly, and I see a shift in what may truly be important when he is a young adult. We are

from Chicago, so we did not learn how to grow our own food, or manage our waste, but these are things that may be crucial for him one day, and I want to be able to teach him, and now our daughter, how to be self reliant. I know that at Nemi Eco Villa recycled shipping containers played a key role in your design. Are you satisfied with shipping containers as the “foundation” of your construction? Or are there other options and processes you are considering on future projects? Shipping containers can be a great resource for construction, and I am

People say that sustainable building costs more. How do you respond to that? Sometimes it does. Take for instance solar panels. They are costly and it takes years to get to the point where they have paid for themselves. But once they have, they are ultimately less expensive. Same thing with LED lighting, but we need to start looking at the long term and not the immediate. What would you recommend to a Canadian if they want to build green in Mexico - where should they begin? It’s important to remember it does not have to be all or nothing. The place to start is determining

what way sustainability can best work for you. Maybe a green roof where you can garden, or a grey water recycling system to avoid water waste. There are so many ways to be ‘green’ and we can help you define your needs, and create a sustainable living environment. Anything else you would like to add? Sustainable design has become hijacked by commercialism and the term “green design” has become synonymous with “high end”. Regulating industries have contributed to the high cost by establishing systems of profit for their accreditation as well as complicated the process of approval, to a point that the average consumer cannot afford nor has the capability to do this. Our goal at Max T Living Systems is to help make these concepts reality and make them accessible to everyone.

To contact Joe and his team or to book a stay at Nemi Eco Villa Visit: www.maxtliving.com www.nemiecovilla.com

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Fresh water pool with sand filters & UV LIGHT

extremely happy with how they work structurally and esthetically. This project truly started in the US, where shipping containers are plentiful due to imbalance of import/ export, where in Mexico, it’s not the case. So I have created a similar pre-fabricated structure from lightweight concrete that may work better in Mexico and other countries where containers aren’t the best option.

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real estate in mexico: hot properties madeline milne

Punta Esmeralda, Bay of Banderas, Nayarit

Hot deals on Mexico Vacation, Investment or Retirement Property

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ithout a comprehensive MLS system in Mexico, searching for your dream vacation-retirement-investment property can be a shot in the dark. At Mexi-Go! we work with brokers, agents and developers from around the country. Visit our website to see some great listings for sale (and for rent) or read on for some of the hottest opportunities we've spotted in the most reputable developments and the best communities in Mexico.

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Between the popular resort towns of Bucerias and La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in the Bay of Banderas, you'll find Punta Esmeralda development. Unit 202, in Palma, is the best price per sq.

ft. in the development! This turn-key home has been upgraded meticulously; from screens on all doors and windows, on-demand hot water, to beautiful furnishings, the highest quality window coverings - the list goes on and on. Punta Esmeralda is only 25 minutes North of Puerto Vallarta and is a dream beach-front development with a private restaurant and bar, 8 separate pools, outstanding gym and spa facilities, children’s play area, 24 hour security, incredible grounds that are impeccably maintained and an on-going maintenance program that ensures beauty and the highest quality for years to come. If you are looking for the best deal in Punta Esmeralda, then you have

Loreto, Baja CALIFORNIA Sur

found it. Listed with Todd Bates of RE/MAX Sites Marina. todd@remaxinpv.com ______ Fantastic waterfront two bedroom and one bath second level, furnished turn-key condominium located just steps from a sandy beach, in the town of Loreto, Baja Sur.   Just bring your fishing pole!  Generous courtyard running the width of the

condo facing the ocean to take advantage of the amazing view. Watch the sunrise over the water from your deck ... and entertain friends while watching the light from the sunset on the islands. Great location, with an easy walk to the marina, restaurants and shops. For less than $200,000, this would make a great condo vacation rental for additional income, and very low maintenance ... when you just lock up

and leave go! Worry free! Listed with Jill Jackson of Mision Loreto. Jill@misionloreto.com ______ Located in the Misiones Condo development, this Cabo Corridor penthouse is a great buy at only $299,000. Comparable ocean views to multi million condos in the area, but offered at a fraction of the price. This wonderful condo has 100 degree views of the ocean, from the


Listed with RE/MAX Cabo San Lucas MLS – 14-907. ______ If you dream of enjoying balmy spring-like weather in Mexico’s most active and largest expat community—also voted by Condé Nast Traveler as the #1 City in the World—then San Miguel de Allende fulfills every wish. And the hillside condominiums at Los Arcángeles, located a short five-minute stroll to the heart of this vibrant city, offer dynamic city vistas and all amenities— swimming pool, hot tub, club house, parking garage, gated security— with homes starting at $235,000. Listed with Greg Gunter at Coldwell Banker SMART. Greg@ColdwellBankerSMART.com

This is the best of pueblo living and beachfront bliss in the authentic town of Bucerias just north of Puerto Vallarta. This spacious three-bedroom condo with service quarters lives like a home. Named Danza del Sol, or Sundancer, it’s one of only ten exclusive condos located in a lovely low-rise building with gated grounds on miles of long sandy beach. With an elegant infinity pool and—uniquely—a private tennis court, it offers the ultimate ocean-side activities—beach walks, stand-up paddle boarding and kite surfing. Step out if its tranquil oasis immediately into the most popular neighbourhood where galleries, shops and restaurants abound. A super-sized terrace makes for wonderful indoor outdoor living and each bedroom has its own en-suite bathroom for $529,000.

Casa Danza del Sol, Bucerias, Nayarit

Misiones, Cabo Corridor, Baja California Sur

Listed with Victoria Pratt with Timothy Real Estate victoria@timothyrealestategroup.com ______ Los Arcangeles, SAn miguel de allende, guanajuato

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white water shorelines to the horizon, 40 kilometers over the Sea of Cortez. This 962 sq ft, one bedroom, one bathroom, sixth floor penthouse condo has been totally remodeled to 2014 style and standards featuring a kitchen island, granite counter tops, ceramic tile, rich stained cabinets and millworks, all new bathroom, smoothed walls, all new appliances including fridge, stove, dishwasher, washer/ dryer, mini split air conditioning and insta-pure water filtration system. Offered completely furnished. Located in full ownership, ocean side resort development only six kilometers from the Cabo San Lucas marina. Great vacation rental history.

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expat ANSWERS madeline milne

Telling it like it is Expats from around the Yucatan answered a survey that Mexi-Go! created to see what sort of issues did they face, did they rent or buy, what improvement have they had in their lives, what does a typical day look like, what would they change and many other questions about picking up and moving full-time to Mexico. Here are some of the responses.

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ebecca Tunstall is British, originally from London, UK and she moved to Playa Del Carmen, Q. Roo in March of 2005, returning home about once a year, when possible. How did you decide to move to Mexico?

I vacationed in Puerto Vallarta with my parents at the age of 14 and fell in love with the country. I always knew I wanted to live here, I visited Playa del Carmen when I was 18 and knew that was where I was supposed to be. Why did you buy property (vs. renting)

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After crunching numbers, it worked out better to pay a mortgage and have my own property than pay the same amount in rent. Also, as I have dogs, it made sense to buy

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rather than continually look for pet friendly properties. I came at a relatively young age and alone so just the move alone ensures that I became very responsible early on. I arrived without any Spanish and am now completely bilingual, which I think is a great life skill to have. Oh and patience, if there's one thing living in Mexico teaches you, it's to be patient. Why did you choose Playa? It was a toss up between here and Puerto Vallarta and as I had made one friend here during a previous vacation, that was what swung the vote. Playa del Carmen has a tendency to just draw people in. What’s a typical day look like for you?

This is Pepe from Playa Animal Rescue

A typical weekday involved me driving up to Cancun to work from 8-5 and arriving home to spend time with my boyfriend and my dogs. On the weekend we like to either just enjoy exploring all the new areas of Playa del Carmen or we jump in the car to discover new places in the surrounding areas. Do you do any charitable works? I am an advocate for the animal rescue centers here, in particular Playa Animal Rescue. In an ideal world I would have much more free time to volunteer there more often. ___________


changing countries is not a simple task. Literally years went into planning and executing the move. But I'm here in the sun with my own home and imported my car. I have everything I need plus a beautiful climate in which to enjoy my retirement. Would I do it all over again? Hell ya!” Welcome to Cancun Patrick! ___________

Wade Yarchan and his wife moved from Florida to Chuburna on the Yucatan coast for health reasons. They return to the States every few years. After planning for 2-3 years they began renting, but now have bought figuring it was a good investment. The initial challenges faced were lack of language and local knowledge, today is it trash and the large number of street dogs. They love living on the ocean and just slowing down their life in general. If they could go back in time and change a couple things it would be to pack more furniture and leave the car back home. Wade says that this is what Cancun was like in the 80’s. ___________ Patrick Clarke is a Canadian hailing from Toronto who now calls Cancun home. Having just moved in the summer of 2015 with his girlfriend, Patrick says they weighed their options between Mexico, Belize, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica and Mexico got the most check marks on the list they made. When asked about what concerns they have now, Patrick responds, “The fluctuating Peso is a concern as my mortgage is in USD but paid in Peso's. Crime is not an issue as I'm in a secure development and my travels out and about so far have been issue-free. Health care is something I've yet to join as I'm waiting for my residency visa. Human rights do seem to be an issue in other parts of Mexico but I'm hoping a strong, committed government will work on this problem.” A better grasp on Spanish should have been a priority, as Patrick and his girlfriend continue to struggle with the local language. Prompted to give some advice for those considering moving to Cancun, Patrick replied, “The planning and costs involved in

Margo says, “Now I have a better work/life balance. Living in Cancun has provided me with the highest quality of life I have ever had!” On a typical day Margo goes to work, the gym, or on her off days she stays at home and handles things there. Her home is in a convenient location, close to shopping and the bus, making it easy for her to get around. She wouldn’t change much but would like to see more paved roads and better infrastructure. ___________ Janet Lowe moved from Philadelphia to Playa del Carmen with her partner in 2007. How did they come to be in Playa? "My daughter lived in Guadalajara for two years while she was in college. I visited her there and fell in love with Mexico. The west coast is beautiful but rougher than the Caribbean. Once in Sayulita, I was caught in a rip tide and carried beyond the surfers. Much more peaceful here. I visited various parts of Mexico for several years but kept coming back to Playa del Carmen. In 2006, while on a two-week vacation, I saw a sign on a tree saying "Se Renta Casa" and went knocking on doors. The house was available right away but, I said I would like to rent it the following year. I stayed in touch with the owner, a Mexican woman who lived in the US, and returned the next year to rent her house. We stayed there for five years." When asked how her life has improved since moving to Playa, Janet says, “I walk much more, I do yoga daily, I have founded an organization that gives back to the local community, I have learned to speak Spanish and am comfortable speaking with my neighbours, I feel I am an integral part of this community.” What are some concerns you have with life in Mexico?

Access to fresh produce and seafood, along with an outdoor focused lifestyle increases ones health.

The lack of regard for the environment in Mexico is surprising. Such a beautiful country being ruined with unbridled construction and careless practices of waste management. Education also seems "low on the totem pole" as a national issue. There are not enough schools for all the Mexican children and public high school is expensive for working families. What are some final thoughts? A large part of my joy of being in Mexico is having Mexican friends and learning another culture's ways. I have learned to cook Mexican food by sitting at the elbow of my neighbours while they cook, asking questions and speaking Spanish. I have a very good Mexican friend who is the age of my own daughter and she keeps me aware of what young people are facing in Mexico. When asked would she change a thing, Janet says, “My partner and I arrived with two suitcases each and have built our life here. I would not change that.” ___________ Aleksander Tesluk is a Canadian, originally from Polands who now lives on the beach between Chelem and Chuburna, west of Progreso with his wife Marlyn. When asked how they came to decide to move to Mexico, Alex says, “We have traveled Mexico for over thirty years, also driving across country in a camper van for ten weeks. We have always said we would have a beach house in Mexico and eighteen years ago we fell in love with Merida. Now we get away from the busier tourist areas yet have a cosmopolitan city nearby with conveniences. When asked if they would have changed anything about the process, Alex only says that they wish they’d started ten years earlier.

MEXI-GO.CA TRAVEL REAL ESTATE LIFESTYLE RETIREMENT

The boardwalk in Progesso is a popular place for locals and tourists to walk.

Margo Guenther is from Washington state and moved on her own to Tulum in 2006. After she fell in love with Cancun during a vacation and she finally moved here 2 and a half years later.

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mexico vs. canada

When you compare dollar for dollar what you can purchase in Canada versus what you can buy in Mexico, it makes the decision to retire in Mexico, even part-time, a whole lot easier. Whether you are looking to make a lateral move or you want to downsize and extend your retirement dollars a little farther, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. We have found typical listings in Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia to compare with similar listings in the Mexico... In our opinion, there is no comparison! Viva Mexico! *These listings come directly from realtor.ca and are active as of September 1st, 2015

$200-300k San Miguel de Allende, Mexico www.mexi-go.ca/san-miguel-de-allende/ house/431 Within Centro’s 44-unit Los Arcángeles condominium project, the upper-level, one-bedroom plus studio San Rafael model proves the most popular, at an entry level price as astounding as the Centro views from this home. Boasting an ensuite mas-

VS.

ter with walk-in closet and opening to a spacious city-view terrace, it also offers a studio/media area, surrounded by low halfwalls, which could serve as yet another extra sleeping space with a convertible sofa. It is the fireplace-anchored living-and-dining great room, however, that impresses with vistas from every window, including Parroquia views! Agent- Gregory Gunter

$300-400k San Jose del Cabo, Mexico w w w. m e x i - g o.c a /s a n - j o s e - d e l - c a b o / house/932

Assiginack, Ontario Canada MLS Listing ID: 1032346 Look at this 920 sqft, two bedrooms and one bath throwback from 1962. This beauty also has a small room that could be used as “storage or for a child”.

MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2015

It is your choice and if not as storage or a child’s room maybe a creepy dungeon.

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The location is quiet and private, the name of the street is LONESOME PINE TRAIL (for real!). The lot also boasts fruit trees and has plenty of space for gardens. There are a drilled well and a composting toilet, and it is only a 15-minute drive to the ferry. If you are the type of person who rooted for the bad guy in Silence of the Lambs, this is the spot for you.

A stunning 1375 sq ft, one bedroom, one and a half bath, luxury condominium. Thirteen feet from the sand; stones throw to the crashing waves! You really can not get much closer to the ocean. This spacious unit offers granite countertops and travertine flooring and is impeccably furnished. The panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez are truly spectacular, from Palmilla Point and the Zippers Surf Break all the way to Punta Gorda. There is huge beach front terrace is over forty feet long to enjoy while watching the whales, the incredible Baja sunsets and full moons from your patio! Agent-Lucy Phillips

VS.

Benalto, Alberta Canada MLS Listing ID: CA0066045 They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But not this one, we can sum it up in two. Really gross. This crime scene comes with a well & septic, gas, electric and is partially fenced; yep, half a fence! The small mobile home, while livable, is considered of little or no value for financing purposes. The Realtor thinks you should live in that mobile home while you build your

dreams. Sounds awesome, right? Well, the mobile home has a fireplace in the living room but that’s it. No RPR, but sellers willing to provide Title Insurance, just in case you unearth a skeleton while building that dream home.


property compare: Mexico vs. Canada joel Hansen

$400-500k Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Vancouver, BC CANADA

www.mexi-go.ca/puerto-vallarta/house/483

MLS Listing ID V1132574

This spectacular Penthouse has been recently remodelled from the ground up. Masterfully crafted by interior designer Mike Hickman, the layout is comfortable for entertaining with friends and family yet glamorous with the use of granite, marble, and stainless. The well-executed lighting accentuates the stylish furnishings, the vaulted ceilings, and decoration.

For $450,000 you can buy a bunch of uptight rules, a hefty monthly strata fee and a tiny one bedroom condo in the heart of Kerrisdale.

The oversized wraparound terrace offers panoramic views of the city and the ocean, views that are enjoyed in the summer months by closing the glass sliding doors to create a fully air-conditioned environment. This property was featured on the cover of Vallarta Lifestyles magazine as a special publication in 2006. Don’t hesitate to come and see for yourself the new and improved version. Call for an appointment!

VS.

The Legend is a small boutique building located at 45th & W Boulevard. This unit includes an open floor plan with large bedroom. You get a walk through closet (or hallway with hangers) and a five piece bathroom. Features include SS appliances, hardwood floors, in-suite laundry, enclosed den, in-suite storage (Realtor speak for a closet), parking & bike storage. Walking distance to shops restaurants & transit. What about those rules we mentioned? Well, how about this - no rentals, one cat or one dog only allowed and don’t forget about the $300 bucks a month in maintenance fees.

MEXI-GO.CA TRAVEL REAL ESTATE LIFESTYLE RETIREMENT

Agent-Wayne Franklin

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Learn more!

Join Mexi-Go! this fall at one of our buying real estate in Mexico seminars.

SEMINARS! What is a Real Estate Vacation?

What sort of benefits do I get?

What better way to decide if a property is the right one for you than actually living in it for an extended period of time?

Each developer will provide you with different benefits if you choose to purchase their property. From discounted pricing, guaranteed rental pool, furniture packages and more we ensure you get the best deal for your property.

With a Real Estate Vacation we provide you with all the comforts of home. You commit to a property tour with a sales team member. Nothing pushy. We know you will come to a decision based on the quality of the property and your circumstances. It is our goal to make sure your educated and confident in your purchase.

How much does this cost? You pay for your flights and the vacation - often times significantly discounted and with great perks like use of the spa, golf and boat. If you purchase while on your Real Estate Vacation, your travel costs will be reimbursed*.

Is this a timeshare thing? No. Not at all. In fact all of the developments we represent are fractional or full-ownership only. All our partner properties are vetted and approved by Mexi-Go!

Sounds great! What's next? Register online at mexi-govacations.ca and we will keep you informed about new developments, excellent real estate opportunities and special incentives negotiated only for our subscribers!

Experience Mexico with Mexi-Go!

www.mexi-goexpo.com from

$259 a week LOS CABOS HUATULCO PLAYA DEL CARMEN

*Some conditions apply. See the individual Real Estate Vacation for specific details, terms and conditions. Subject to change without notice.


Mexico Real estate seminars Coming to Ontario & Alberta November 2-13, 2015

www.mexi-goexpo.com

ONTARIO

Toronto London Kitchener/Waterloo

Mon Nov 2 Wed Nov 4 Thurs Nov 5

ALBERTA Calgary Red Deer Canmore Lethbridge

Mon Nov 9 Tues Nov 10 Wed Nov 11 Fri Nov 13

Our knowledgeable, experienced staff will teach you how to safely and profitably invest in the finest beachfront, ocean view and mountain retreat developments in Mexico.

In-depth Mexico Real Estate Buyers’ Educational Course

• Puerto Aventuras • Playa del Carmen • Los Cabos

Property showcase

educating you about purchasing Mexico real estate

Discuss lifestyle options

healthcare, insurance and life in Mexico

showcasing real estate opportunities

www.mexi-goexpo.com *these events are not timeshare offerings


BEACHFRONT

penthouse

Casa Conchas Chinas

$1600/night

Two bedroom penthouse with all the modern conveniences to enjoy a relaxing stress free vacation. Located just a few minutes from Chahue Beach you are in walking distance from all the great shops, restaurants and amenities of this charming little beach town.

www.mexi-go.ca/puerto-vallarta/house/979

www.mexi-go.ca/huatulco/house/889

villa w views

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle condo

$275/night

$500/night

With not one, but two master bedrooms of this villa for rent that open to welcome gorgeous views of Bahia de Banderas and twinkle with Puerto Vallarta city lights at night, you will enjoy the beauty of both sunrise and sunset.

www.mexi-go.ca/la-cruz-de-huanacaxtle/house/774

www.mexi-go.ca/punta-esmeralda/house/768

walk-out golf

playa del carmen CONDO FALL ISSUE 2015

Punta Esmeralda villa

A chic corner unit two bedroom + multimedia studio offers some of the most spectacular views available of Banderas bay. Sleek, modernist design with just the right amount of contemporary luxury, this is a beachcomber’s sophisticated habitat.

affordable

MEXI-GO!

$154/night

A private, beachfront villa with pool located in a secure enclave together with two other fully detached residences, sleeps 14 with 6 baths. Set in the classically charming neighborhood of lower Conchas Chinas, just south of Puerto Vallarta.

sophisticated

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HUATULCO PENTHOUSE

$150/night

PUNTA mita golf condo

$375/night

Spacious one bedroom one bath apartment located just 5 minutes walk to Mamita’s beach, and a few steps from the famous Fifth Avenue, where you can find a great variety of coffee shops, bars, restaurants and entertainment places.

Artfully detailed condo that include two spacious master bedroom suites with large terraces, as well as a flex room with bunk beds, with a full bathroom. Sleeps eight. Overlooking a Jack Nicklaus Golf course. Pool, running track and more.

www.mexi-go.ca/playa-del-carmen/house/869

www.mexi-go.ca/punta-mita/house/884

For all your Mexico Vacation needs, visit www.mexi-go.ca Call 949-478-0021 (US and Canada) 322-222-0182


Mykonos Beachfront Luxury Condo 104C Absolutely stunning 1375 sf, 1 BR, 1.5 Ba, impeccably and fully furnished luxury condominium, 13 feet from the sand!!! Literally a stone’s throw to the crashing waves!! You cannot get much closer to the Ocean. Spectacular panoramic views of the Sea Of Cortez.

MLS# 15-1063

Cabo del Mar PENTHOUSE Condo #205

3 BR, 3 Ba, fully Furnished Penthouse. Great Views to the ocean & oasis. Gated development, offers a large sparkling pool, mature tropical landscape and a common palapa area with 2 BBQs & Gym. Walking distance to Historic San Jose restaurants/shopping. A few blocks to spectacular San Jose Beach. MLS# 15-1087

Casa Playa - El Centenario, La Paz

Misiones OCEANVIEW PENTHOUSE #4604

Casa Vista del Tule - PRIVATE POOL

Misiones del Cabo # 5106 - REDUCED

Perfectly located in a quiet family neighborhood with panoramic views of Chileno Bay. 3,200 sq ft, 3 BR, 4.5 BA, Split-level Home built in 2008 features unique, detailed architectural touches, Marble & Granite, terraces, large private garden with a Pool & Jacuzzi, and huge, secured parking area. MLS# 15-307

Casa Theresa, Cabo Bello - PRIVATE POOL A fabulous 2339 sq ft, 3BR, 3Ba, fully furnished home full of incredible upgrades. Features a private pool, beautiful gardens and palapa, circular staircase, granite. Huge rooftop terrace with beautiful views of the ocean and the sunsets over Cabo! Walk to spectacular safe swimming, snorkel cove. MLS# 15-1064

This 962 sq ft, 1 BR, 1 Ba, 6th Floor Penthouse Condo has massive views of the Ocean, from the White Water Shorelines to the Horizon, 25 miles over the Sea of Cortez. Totally Remodeled to 2014 Style and Standards. . Ocean side, Resort Development, 4 miles from the CSL Marina. Great Vacation Rental. MLS# 14-907

WOW! Completely Remodeled, 1450 sq ft, 2 BR, 2 Ba, Ground Floor Condo, steps to Pool and Swim Up Bar. Remodel includes: S/S Appliances, Flooring, Countertops and Splash, Bathrooms w/ New Cabinets and Plumbing Fixtures, Smoothed Walls. Custom Furnished. Garden & part Ocean Views from Expansive Decks. MLS# 14-960

Peninsula Condos - Best kept secret in Los Cabos

This gated development is centrally located within walking distance to downtown San Jose restaurants/shopping, and spectacular San Jose Beach. A wonderful community!! Featuring a large sparkling pool, mature tropical landscape, green belts, large palapa area with 2 BBQs. From $170K to $230K. MLS #: 15-1062, 15-1110, 15-1117

We have over 2,500 Los Cabos MLS Listings to offer our Buyer Clients.

www.RemaxCaboSanLucas.com Email: info@RemaxCaboSanLucas.com Tel: From Cabo (624) 144-4169 From U.S/Canada (619) 906-7505

MEXI-GO.CA TRAVEL REAL ESTATE LIFESTYLE RETIREMENT

1320 M2 Beachfront Estate on the Bay of La Paz completely Walled and Gated; one 2 BR, 2 BA Mainhouse with Appliances, Garage, Workshop and Covered Parking; 1 BR, 1 BA, fully self contained Guesthouse Casita, with Palapa Rooftop Deck; Pool along Beach, Views across white sandy beach. Seller Financing! MLS# 15-1383

Now Hiring Qualified Agents - Inquiries Strictly Confidential Contact: Broker@RemaxCaboSanLucas.com

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Your RE/MAX in Puerto Vallarta!

If you are thinking about purchasing in the Puerto Vallarta area, please allow your local RE/MAX to be your first call. Canadian owned and operated for 10 years, we understand the needs of the foreign buyer in Mexico and we assist in all areas of the process:

MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2015

Finding the right property, Ensuring you never over-pay, and Beginning the next phase in your life; The Best Part!

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Make your dream become reality with RE/ MAX in Puerto Vallarta.

www.remaxinpv.com 1 888 796 6606


Mexi-Go! Fall 2015  

This Fall issue of Mexi-Go! Magazine highlights life, travel and retirement in Mexico, with a particular focus on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexi-Go! Fall 2015  

This Fall issue of Mexi-Go! Magazine highlights life, travel and retirement in Mexico, with a particular focus on the Yucatan Peninsula.

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