Page 1


Real Estate | Living | Investment | Retirement

Beaches! Canadians at the Beach Popular Playas Secret Shorelines Breezy Beachfront Buys Luxury Oceanfront Tacos on the Beach... and more beaches!

$50 Pesos | $4.95 Cad |

Marival Group has provided travelers with exceptional opportunities in one of Mexico´s best destinations. From the day you get to our resorts until after many years of cherished vacation moments with your loved ones, you will always find that we respect and value every customer. COME FOR A FEW DAYS, A WEEK, A MONTH OR FOR AS LONG AS YOU WISH AND SEE FOR YOURSELF WHY MARIVAL GROUP IS THE COMPANY TO INVEST WITH.

Come and experience the best of everything with an exclusive all inclusive.

For information call: 1877 682 5527 or visit us at

Learn the truth about life in Mexico from people who live there

Win a Mexican vacation 7 days all inclusive at Marival resorts for 2 adults and 2 children under 12!

Marival Residences & World Spa in Puerto Vallarta is an all inclusive luxury hotel and private residences with world class spa treatments, unlimited golf & unlimited tours. Indulge yourself! Enjoy this luxury getaway located in Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit. Discover the difference between All-inclusive and... All-Exclusive! Enjoy the deluxe comfort with special tours, international gourmet restaurants, VIP Beach Club much more! Truly everything is included*! Register online at or for your chance to win an exclusive holiday vacation for your family.

Visit or for more information *The prize will be draw on December 1st. Prize does not include flights or transfers. Dates are open but subject to availablity. Must be a resident of Canada, over the age of 35 to qualify. 5

Mexi Go!


Madeline Milne


Moralea Milne

Associate Editor Peg Steley Associate Editor Trudie Nelson


Art Director

Madeline Milne

Brad Hopwood


Moralea Milne

Madeline Milne

madeline milne Editor-in-Chief, Art Director


peg steley Associate Editor, Art and Culture

Madeline continues to work

Moralea lives in Metchosin

Serving on the Board of

with many of the worlds largest

BC where she is an elected

Directors of the Canadian Craft

real estate brands promoting

councillor, respected volunteer

Museum and her own non-profit

Trudie Nelson

quality communication. Mexi-

for local environmental groups

lifestyle, that of vagabond and

Michele Kinnon

Go! is a dream and passion of

and frequent contributor to

itinerant traveler, Peg divides

hers that has enabled her to

the local paper. When the rain

her time between Vancouver,

Linda Neil

live with her family full-time

and wind get to be too much,

Canada and Puerto Vallarta,

Peg Steley

in Mexico. When she’s not

Moralea heads to Mexico

Mexico. Peg is a modest

Steve Dryden

exploring new parts of Mexico

where she finds pleasure in

collector of Contemporary

you can find Madeline under

the unique flora and fauna, the

Art and a profligate collector

David McLean

her palapa, poolside with a

beaches and the highlands and

of “world objects” ranging

Gabriel Jones

good book and her posse of

in the warmth and comfort of

from Tibetan prayer wheels,

Chad Martin

chihuahuas. She divides her

the Mexican culture, food and

Chinese opium scales to

time between Vancouver and


the headdresses of Uzbeki horsemen. Her return luggage


is always full to the brim.

Advertising SALES Gabriel Jones (Mexico) Garth Watson (Mexico and Canada) Joel Hansen (Canada) MARKETING Marketing Manager, Eduardo Zepeda

trudie nelson Contributing Editor, Ajijic

Michele KINNON Writer, Educating your children in Mexico

Gabriel Jones Writer, Sayulita Love

Trudie Nelson is an interior

Michele Kinnon moved to

In March, Gabe and his wife,

designer who retired early and

Playa del Carmen in 2004 with

along with their dogs, left their

moved to Ajijic 17 years ago

her husband Rob and their

wonderful life in Vancouver

with her husband. She spent

young children. She writes

behind and made the leap of

some years in community work

a local interest blog, www.

faith a move to Sayulita. So far

in the village but missed the, about

his biggest complaint about

workplace, so started a second

living in Playa del Carmen, raising

life in Mexico is his sore cheeks

career in real estate sales, at

and educating children in Mexico,

from smiling too much.

which she excels.

regional community concerns and Public Relations, Veronica Rivas CONTACT US! In Canada & USA 1-888-798-MEXI In Mexico 01-800-681-9232

issues, and Playa del Carmen real estate opportunities.

6 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

CHAD MARTIN Writer, The Cozumel Market

Steve Dryden Writer, A growing business

Chad has lead the resort

In 2004, Steve purchased a small

market intelligence community

property in Mexico’s premier

with research and forecasting

wine country of Baja California

resulting in three unbeaten sales

where he planted a vineyard

records including: the Hard

of Nebbiolo vines and began

Rock Hotel in San Diego, Westin

his first attempts at creating

Verasa in Napa and ICON

a drinkable wine. Today, Mr.

Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta. His

Dryden is considered Mexico’s

market experience includes the

top wine writer in the English

United States, Mexico, Canada,

language. Over the last four

Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama,

years he has broadened his wine

Belize and the Caribbean

and culinary articles, covering

markets for such experienced

the wine regions from BC to

players as Starwood Capital,

BC (Baja California to British

Goldman Sachs, Smith Travel

Columbia) via his annual road

Research, and Intrawest.



WHY PAY CASH? 25% DOWN AVAILABLE Finding a home loan is easy. Finding a trusted advisor is not. We offer the financing options you want and the trusted professional services you need. Experience Counts. There IS a difference in loan officers. Linda Neil

david mclean

Writer, Income on Rentals

Writer,Keith Miller

With more than 33 years

David is a Toronto based real

of professional real estate

estate agent. Like many others,

experience in Mexico Linda is

David has fallen in love with

the founder of The Settlement

San Miguel de Allende, and he

Company, which specializes in

presently conducts real estate

real estate transfers, escrows

and cultural tours to the area.

and consultations. As Founding

For more info:

Member and past president

of AMPI-Los Cabos Linda Neil

(for San Miguel Tours)

provides experienced and

professional services across

(San Miguel Blog)


We have heard rumors of hard times and recession. We have chosen not to participate and our business is booming. #1 in Mexico since 2004

Doug Jones, President (NMLS Lic#139824)

918-398-9588 (Canada/US) 555-350-6331 (Mexico) 044-322-135-5822 (PV cell) 01 212 706 332 (UK) 617-600-9675 (FAX) The Trusted Name in Mexico Home Loans since 2004

"The Mexico Mortgage Man"

features Real estate

investment 12 Educating your kids in Mexico As if moving isn’t stressful enough, how to navigate the Mexican school system. By Michele Kinnon

20 Oceanfront Paradise



Explore these three oceanfront luxury homes in Mexico. By Madeline Milne

26 Canadians In Cabo Meet two intrepid Canadians with a successful B&B and vacation rental business in Los Cabos. By Madeline Milne



30 Sayulita Love This popular surf village on the pacific coast gets a closer look through the eyes of a local. By Gabriel Jones



42 The Weekender Beach Shack You are invited in to the lives of four couples who live and love Mexico. By Trudie Nelson

50 Puerto Escondido: More than just the world’s best surfing. Enjoy this small beachfront utopia. By Moralea Milne

8 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

contact us! Do you have comments? A story to share? Have you made the move to Mexico and want to let us know how great its been? Share your wisdom with us! By all means - send us an email - we’d love to hear from you!

Hola! It is amazing how time flies, regardless of whether you are having a good time or not. For the past 10 years it has been a dream of mine to move from Canada and settle somewhere warm and tropical. Initially my husband and I thought about Thailand but with the arrival of our son our plans were waylaid. About two years ago, when the world economy was in the toilet and my real estate marketing job became redundant, I started to reconsider our international plans. But how do you pick up your family and move to another country? Using the expertise of other family members who had successfully made the move to China, India and Australia I knew it could be done. And done it is. It’s been about six weeks, ten by the time you read this, and we are happily ensconced in Bucerias, Mexico where it is definitely warm and tropical. It’s been a process, but we’re still in the honeymoon stage and everything seems to be going as smooth as can be expected. What is so exciting about this is just how many other families there are down here full time. Many are young families like ours and others are people who have found the means to retire in their 50’s and 60’s. Everyone has a story and most want to share it with you. Within the pages of this issue and our upcoming issues you’ll meet Canadians who live in Mexico and are making new and wonderful lives for themselves. So, tear a page from their book and take the steps you need to make the move to Mexico. Don’t let 10 more years pass you by.

safe travels, Madeline

Mexican Chihuahua puppies make the move much easier!

arding! snowbo , Nayarit. o t g n i ta Mita t best th The nex to surf in Pun g Learnin

rfect day!

other picture pe

on an As the sun sets

10 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011



in Rinco

n de Gua


Don’t mess with my Margarita! By Peg Steley Photo: Allyson Williams

When I think about my annual escape to Mexico, my mouth begins to tingle with anticipation, my mind wanders to tranquil settings, golden sunsets suspended over restless waters, waves lapping, balmy breezes wafting. I am dressed in lilac and orange silk and as I hasten over the warm sand to one of my favourite spots – there is only one thing on my mind – “un Margarita fresco por favor” I’Il say with a smile but a sense of urgency. “Con sel, en las rocas” I add just to be sure.....for there can be no wish-washy, ersatz substitute for perfection. I may compromise on a few things in life – BUT NOT MY MARGARITAS! A dictionary definition of a Margarita is “a cocktail made of tequila, lime juice and an orangeflavoured liqueur, usually served in a salt-rimmed glass”. That’s it folks. If you find that a little rigid, within this definition there is ample opportunity for experimentation – the precise ratio of ingredients, the type of tequila, the type of orange-flavoured liqueur and the shape of the glass may all vary, Key limes or Persian limes, salt or no salt; these all provide for expressions of personal style. Alright I will allow the addition of ice – it does, after all, provide a delightful cooling sensation in the mouth and a pretty tinkling sound in the glass – but it had better tinkle - Outside of this, DON’T MESS WITH MY MARGARITA. Given such a simple, straight-forward definition you would think it would be easy, but I find all sorts of deviants and provocateurs in flagrant violation of the rules. Please note that the definition refers to “juice” – not a “pre-fabricated mix of high fructose corn syrup, yellow dye and preservatives” – a mawkish melodrama of misguided ingredients. Anyone serving a Marg with a “mix” should be flogged with a cherry stem or stoned with olive pits. How hard is it to squeeze a lime? Nor does the definition refer to “sugar” or “sugar syrup”, the sweetness of the orange liqueur provides enough sweetness without the need to add more. If you find a Margarita too strong, wait till your rocks melt. And remember please, anything whizzed in a blender is not a cocktail, it’s a slushy!

The definition also refers to a Margarita being served in “a glass”. It does not refer to a swimming pool or small boat made “out of glass”. Size does matter, especially when it comes to Margaritas. As a frequent sampler, I prefer a standard old fashioned or cocktail glass, having noted that the quality of the concoction is usually inversely proportional to the size of the serving chalice. Beware of Margaritas served in vessels more suited to transportation. While the ingredients matter, I find the setting equally important. Favourite sipping spots in Puerto Vallarta include “people-watching” at La Palapa on the beach at Playa Los Muertos in the “Romantica Zona”, or watching the sunset and the waves lap at Lindo Mar, an idyllic 20 minute walk along the beach from town. My absolute favourite though, is at any one of the number of the pop-up restaurants along the sand, after the 2 hour hike from Boca De Tomatlan (20 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta by local bus) to Las Animas. The strenuous hike works up a mighty thirst and my sense of fair play tells me that I deserve a little extra indulgence, especially as I don’t have to drive home, just pile my body into a local panga (water taxi) which delivers me safely to my very own beach. Home is just a short stagger up the sand.

Viva La Margarita! Viva la Mexico! 11

All schools, public and private, must comply with a rigorous set of requirements in order to achieve and maintain their SEP accreditation. Regardless of which school you choose, it is important that it is recognized by SEP if your child intends to move on to university in Mexico. A diploma from a SEP accredited institution will also be looked upon favorably if your children return north to re-matriculate into the Canadian school system or to pursue their undergraduate work in university.

Educating your kids in Mexico By: Michele Kinnon

You are moving your family to Mexico. What an exciting time this is for you and your children! There are so many wonderful adventures ahead but also, more than a few challenges lie in wait. As you look ahead to your new life, there are many variables to consider, so many arrangements to make before you arrive. Housing and employment will place close to the top of the list. So too will education. How will you educate your children in Mexico? What are the schools like? What about the language? All of these questions weigh heavily on the mind of every parent as they prepare their family for a new life in a new country. The good news is, you are relocating to a country whose populace places a very high value on education. The Mexican government has established strict protocols to maintain a high standard of excellence in all of its educational institutions. Currently, Mexico scores very high for literacy among Latin American countries and is making great progress in math and sciences. In 2008, President Filipe Calderon made education a top priority announcing sweeping reforms to the current system. What is the education system like in Mexico? It comes as a surprise to many families relocating to Mexico that the system in education is not so unlike that in Canada or the United States. The Secretary of Public Education, commonly known as SEP, strictly regulates all schools in Mexico, both public and private. Like in Canada, public schools are funded by the government. Private and parochial schools are not. All children residing in Mexico are allowed to attend Mexican public schools but only children who can prove Mexican citizenship may attend free of charge. Foreign students must pay tuition and comply with a litany of requirements that can make enrollment a daunting process. Tuitions vary but you should expect to pay 2000 – 5000 pesos per month or more plus uniforms, books and other incidentals.

12 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

The school year runs from the third week of August through the end of June, often into the first week of July. For Canadian families who are accustomed to a long summer break, this can be quite an adjustment to make. Throughout the year there will be quite a few short one or two day breaks for religious celebrations or governmental holidays. There are also several significant holiday breaks, Christmas and Easter being the two longest. The Easter vacation, known as “semana santa” can actually span two weeks or more and seems to be the time most people travel to visit with family. A scholastic calendar is published every year by SEP so that you can make your travel plans ahead of time. What about the language? Among the many issues that concern families moving their children from Canada to Mexico, the one that seems to cause the most stress is language. Almost all private schools in Mexico have an English language program in place. Depending on the school and the demographic of its student body, the level of English language education may even approach what we would consider “bilingual”. Many private schools go so far as to market their curriculum as such. In many cases, the reality may not live up to your expectations. Some schools manage a very strong English program but truly bilingual schools are few and far between. Canadian families looking for schools that will support their French speaking offspring will find even fewer choices although French is offered as a second language in many of the better private schools. Editors note: Having just enrolled my own son in a private school in Mexico, I can attest to the frustration at the differences of the two systems, but I can also tell you that in 6 weeks my son now corrects my pronounciation. One of the things I had to consider was placing Max in the more ‘prestigious’ bilingual private school or into the smaller Spanish only private school. Initally, I assumed the more English the better. It will help with the transition I thought, but ultimately I realized that for my son being immersed 100% would be more effective. He’s not an attentive student and I knew if given the chance to slack off, he would, so we went with the all Spanish school. In place of bi-weekly English classes he now takes one-on-one coversational Spanish and is supplemented with tutoring after school as well. It’s a process and a challenging one at that but the benefits outweight the drama and one day your children will thank you for giving them such a generous and unique opportunity. MM

Join Michele Kinnon over the next couple issue of MexiGo! Magazine as she discusses how to access the school systems in Mexico for your children. If you have questions visit Michele’s blog at

Your total guide to Mexico. Smart. Simple. Informative. Live your dream online... Real E s tat e







mexico vs. canada

WHAT CAN I BUY IN MEXICO? When you compare dollar for dollar what you can have 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 move up to the oceanfront mansion, make a lateral move or downsize and extend your retirement dollars a little farther, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Here is a selection of listings from our website In our opinion, this just makes sense! Viva Mexico!


mazatlan condo 3000sf | 3 bedroom 2 bath

$ 284,900

Palmilla cabo 2500sf | 3 bedroom 3 bath

$ 3,495,000

Cuyutlan house 4 bedroom 3 bath

$ 250,000



playa del carmen 1600sf | 3 bedroom 2 bath

$ 289,000

San Miguel de allende 3228sf | 3 bedroom 3.5 bath


Puerto Vallarta 789 sf | 1 bedroom 1 bath

$ 279,000

Canadians: why ARE your compatriots snapping up Real Estate South of the [US] Border in Mexico? All real estate purchases in Mexico are transacted in US dollars. 5 years ago, a typical Canadian looking to buy a condo or home in Mexico, for about US$200K would have had to pay $300,000 CAD because of the exchange rate differential. Today, the market has fallen in price by about 30%. That same condo is now on the market for about US$140K - but that’s only $130 - $145 in Canadian dollars. So now a Canadian Buyer can buy the same condo for CAD$130,000. That’s a drop of 60% - and “that’s why Canadians are the big-buyers.” For C$130,000, you typically buy a 1BR - 900 sq. ft. Ocean view condo on a golf course, across the road from the ocean, in a gated community with property taxes of less than $200 a year! Sounds good doesn’t it?! WHY INVEST IN MEXICO? Mexico’s real economic future: Mexico is #1 in all Latin America for foreign investment, #4 in the world Mexico is #5 in the world for oil production and Mexico is #7 in the world for exportation Mexico is a country whose internal reserves actually exceed their external debt. Currently Mexico’s debt is US$34-billion, with reserves topping US$80-billion Mexico pays spectacular [relative] returns on investments, currently interest rates on Mexican government treasuries are 8.25%

14 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011 15

Rental Income

Everyday more and more foreigners, people from the U.S., Canada, Asia and Europe, have found Mexico to be an ideal location for healthy retirement. Others have come to Mexico as a result of job transfers. Others still, taking advantage of electronic and wireless communications, seek out delightful areas in which to live and work from their in-home offices and studios. Many newcomers prefer to rent or lease a house or an apartment while they shop for the ideal location and home for purchase. This increase in demand for housing has made the acquisition of rental properties an increasingly attractive investment. What better and more secure income can be found than a house or apartment complex which will produce rental income for many years? Especially when it is most likely increasing in value at the same time! Investors can pay all cash, use funds from IRA accounts or even, possibly, negotiate seller financing to establish solid long-tem gains. Rental contracts can be simple and should always contain an arbitration clause. Just as in a rental in the U.S. or Canada, a security deposit is a good idea. For the real estate investor who is thinking of acquiring properties for rental there are a couple of important considerations: one is the way to hold title and the other is how to declare and pay taxes on income.

Enjoying income from Rental Properties by Linda Neil

Many hotel-condominiumum residences, such as Marival Residences in Nuevo Vallarta offer benefits for full ownership and rental pool properties. Be sure to ask your real estate agent for more details. HOLDING TITLE: A Mexican Corporation can be established to hold title to all NON-residential property. This can mean apartments and houses which will be used entirely for rental and/or commercial purposes. The expense involved in accounting and maintaining a corporation is substantial, however and may be too expensive if the investor has only a few properties. For properties owned by the corporation an IVA tax of 15% of the value of the construction is charged at acquisition, in addition to the 2% acquisition tax. Corporate tax declarations must be filed monthly and estimated taxes paid monthly. Property taxes will be charged at a rate for commercial not residential

16 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

properties, as will utilities. Stock in the corporation, if sold or transferred, is subject to an income tax (ISR) similar to that paid by an individual on the gain on the sale of a house. The alternative to the Mexican corporation is that the buyer hold title in fee simple, or in trust (fideicomiso), if the property is located in the restricted zone. In fee simple, property will need to be registered with the Secretary of Foreign Relations but has no additional annual title fee. In the trust, the annual cost to hold title will be the trustee fees. Utilities and property taxes will generally be charged at a residential rate, rather than a commercial rate.

Annual maintenance, fees for accounting and legal services, as well as taxes, will generally be less for up to seven properties in fee simple where permitted, or in trust (fideicomiso) than the costs generated by the properties held by the Mexican corporation. PAYING TAXES: Mexico’s tax law is patterned after those of the United States and Canada and states that: “Physical persons (individuals) and legal persons (companies) who are residents of Mexico and who receive income in this country, are obligated to register with Hacienda, declare their income and pay their taxes, regardless of the source; and......... “Physical and legal persons who are residents in a

foreign country (outside Mexico) must declare their income and pay their taxes on all income generated in Mexico”......... If the properties are held in a Mexican corporation, the Mexican accountant will prepare the monthly declarations and estimated taxes will be paid. If in a bank trust, a Mexican accounting firm can perform all necessary tax and accounting services including the monthly filings, tax payments and can provide the foreign owner with accounting and documents for obtaining tax credits on U.S. or Canadian taxes. It has never been simpler to enjoy a return on investment, monthly income and pay taxes in accordance with the law.

The Cozumel Market By: Chad Martin

Have you given thought to buying real estate in Mexico but are not sure where to look? Many ex-pats flock to the east coast because of the beautiful aqua blue Caribbean ocean, the diviersity of the people and the many cultural and historical features of the area. Cozumel, Mexico is a destination seeing one of the strongest recoveries in Caribbean tourism. Overall, the destination has seen an increase in tourism arrivals by approximately 7.4% YTD compared to 2010. This recovery has put Cozumel in the top ten highest growth rates as a destination across the Caribbean. So what has led the tourism recovery? Cruise ships have increased 8.4% YTD and contributed the most tourist traffic compared to last year. We can definitely see a trend of larger tourism volume reported in Cozumel than the other Caribbean destinations except the Bahamas. (Exhibit II) The arrival increase is great support for the local Cozumel economy and is leading the way for Cozumel tourism recovery. Based on arrival information, we can determine the highest traffic months for tourism. January 2010 has the highest YTD growth increase of approximately 12% (Exhibit III). September as expected has the lowest tourism traffic. September is consistently a lower travel month with families not traveling because the kids are returning to school. After September, the visits steadily climb all the way through the winter months into March. If your motivation to purchase property in Cozumel is based on rental income offsetting your costs then you would see an increased opportunity during the higher traffic monthly. February and March was the peak arrival time during 2010. (Exhibit IV) Why Cozumel? Recent tourism growth is no surprise given the great opportunities for diving and snorkeling in the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park. The Cozumel reef system surrounds the majority of the island but the park is only designated on the south end. The Arrecifes is part of the second largest living reef in the world called the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Diving and snorkeling are part of the adventure tourism industry and our research database has shown that adventure tourism is an approximately $90 billion worldwide industry. Adventure tourism is a growing market and many of the activites can be found in Cozumel such as horseback riding, deep sea fishing, dolphin encounters etc. These activities will draw more tourism dollars as the market grows. Where are the Cozumel property opportunities? As most destination markets, sales pace has been reportedly slow but not slower than the rest of Central America. With the market being slower and prices reflecting this, there are some deals out there. One of the most intriguing opportunities we have found is at Residencias Reef. The master plan is south facing on the beach and the Arrecifes reef. New studio condos start at $200,000 USD and go up to $900,000 for a penthouse. The resale market offers deals with established rental income histories. Located on the north end of the hotel zone, Miramar is offering a one bedroom on the ocean with all the amenities. Cozumel real estate price points are remarkable compared to the average price points of Quintana Roo and the Cancun area. In that area, the average ocean front is $1,021,000 and ocean view is $418,000 across the 6 projects we surveyed. Access to Cozumel is more difficult than staying on the Mainland in Cancun, however the experience is breathtaking and prices might be just what you are looking for.

E360 is not paid or affiliated with any project located within Cozumel at the time this report was written and information on any of the projects mentioned is unbiased research. Please let us know if you would like to learn more about Mexico real estate market research and tourism trends by contacting E360 Global Research.

Obtaining Mexican Social Security Health Insurance By Robert Page and Curtis Page

Long-term foreigners living in Mexico have other considerations and better economic choices not commonly shared with the short-term travelers when it comes to health insurance. With the right research, health care is extremely affordable in Mexico with or without health insurance. Many comprehensive private insurance policies are very affordable. The Mexican government, through the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS for its Mexican initials), provides affordable health insurance for all residents of Mexico regardless of nationality.

There are varying opinions on the quality and user friendliness of the IMSS system. But the following interesting health-care statistics might help you decide what is best for you: Although less than 3 percent of the Mexican population possesses a private medical insurance policy, 52 percent of the country’s total medical expenditures are for private medical services. In fact, more than 25 percent of Mexicans with IMSS insurance pay for their medical expenditures out of pocket. As a general rule, Mexicans tend to prefer private health care to the state-run system. For long-term residents living on a limited budget IMSS is an excellent option to receive decent standard healthcare. There are many great private health care insurance options as well. How to Apply for IMSS IMSS insurance is available to all foreigners residing in Mexico, with exclusions or limitations based on pre-existing illness as detailed below. For some reason, however, the insurance can only be applied for during certain times of the year: January, July, August, and most of February. You pay the inexpensive annual fee (approximately US$250 per year) in one lump sum at the time of application. The application process may be daunting, so expect bureaucratic delays. To avoid any potential hassles, we recommend that you ask for an agent who will complete the legwork for you for about $50–75. Once approved, applicants are assigned a primary care physician who must certify the health of the individual via general examination. Your appointment also enters you into the IMSS database, which will enable you to receive care if you become ill in another part of the country. You will also be required to fill out a health questionnaire disclosing

18 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

Exclusion Criteria and Insurance Limitations As a foreigner applying for IMSS, you may not receive treatment for pre-existing illness for the term of your coverage. These exclusions do not include treatment for any other illness that is acquired during your stay in Mexico. Pre-existing illness is defined as: • Malignant tumors (cancer) • Chronic degenerative disease such as that which is seen with long-standing diabetes, liver disease (cirrhosis, hepatitis, etc.), kidney disease (renal failure or renal insufficiency), heart disease (previous heart attack, arrhythmia, or valvular disease), lung disease (chronic bronchitis, emphysema, etc.), neurologic disease (multiple), cerebrovascular disease (stroke or TIA), peripheral vascular disease, and many others. • Drug or alcohol dependency • Psychiatric illness • HIV positive status or history of AIDS • History of traumatic or muscular injury that continues to require treatment Further, you can not receive medical care benefits for the following conditions: • Benign breast tumors in the first six months after acceptance • Births in the first ten months after acceptance

In the first year after acceptance you also cannot receive the following surgical procedures: • Lithotripsy for kidney stones • Surgery for gynecologic conditions except for cancer • Surgery for vein disorders • Surgical procedures for the sinuses, nose, hemorrhoids, rectal fistulas, tonsils and adenoids, hernias (except for herniated spinal discs), and other operations that are also considered “elective,” or voluntary, rather than required In the first two years after acceptance you cannot receive surgery for orthopedic conditions. In addition, your IMSS insurance will not cover the following: Aesthetic or plastic surgery, eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, the surgical correction of astigmatism, lasik surgery or the equivalent, treatment of self-inflicted injury, preventive care, treatments for behavioral or psychiatric disturbances, dental care (except for extractions), or infertility treatments. Robert H. Page, MD and Curtis P. Page, MD are authors of the MEXICO: Health and Safety Travel Guide and the Healthy Traveler Regional Series. For more information visit 19


any pre-existing conditions. Your coverage will activate six to nine months after approval, but once accepted you will be covered for life, as long as you continue with your yearly premiums.

Oceanfront paradise Slip from your oceanfront infint y pool to your

awaiting yacht in these luxury beachfront homes.

20 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

Las quintas

Cancun, Quintana Roo

US$ 3,800,000

Las Quintas Beachfront Villa is a one of a kind, beachfront home located in one of the most exclusive, gated communities on the Caribbean Ocean. Every room in the house; living room, dining room, the spacious beachfront bedrooms and even the designer kitchen has exquisite views of the Bahia de Mujeres. This unique oceanfront property has more than 6,092 square feet of luxury living. It has its own dock. The house includes six bedrooms and baths and a spectacular social area surrounded by glass doors that integrate the living and dining rooms with the terrace and the pool when they are open. On the third level is the master suite which occupies the entire front of the property, and overlooks the beach. The suite is designed in white and the panoramic view of the ocean from this room is breathtaking. The villa’s own elevator provides easy access to all the three levels. for more information 21

Casa Hamsayeg Spectacular Morrocan style on the Manzanillo Coast

The Hamsayeg is an elegant, luxurious Moroccan style home located in Manzanillo, México. Its name is taken from a beautiful Persian word Hamsayeg which means, “to share the shade around a wall of love”. The property was inspired by the dream of the famous Mexican architect, Joaquin Torres Zapiain. Spectacular golden beaches, magnificent landscapes, breathtaking sunsets and sunny days are just a part of the reason to visit Mexico’s Manzanillo. Located in the state of Colima, Manzanillo is one of the most famous sea ports on the Mexican Pacific Coast. Because of its exquisite beaches, gentle waves and warm waters, plus its rapid expansion of new quality resorts, hotels and golf courses, Manzanillo is a favorite beach destination. The Hamsayeg has a distinctive style which is emphasized in the characteristic Moorish décor of the walls, detailed carved wood and other typical Moroccan features and finishes, mostly imported from India and Spain. The layout of the house consists of large open spaces with incredible ocean views in every direction. A door from the Palace of Rajasthan in India embellishes the magnificent entrance to the Hamsayeg. The door opens onto a foyer

22 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

overlooking double wooden staircases. Mudejar style arches surround the living room seven meter high ceilings. The magnificent dining room on the second floor is the perfect place to entertain important dignitaries. It is decorated in an Oriental style with dining room chairs carved out of bone, seating is for a generous twenty-eight. Spectacularly, from the gallery terrace on the third floor, the view to infinty can be enjoyed with luxurious, comfortable cushions. The terrace which is enclosed by giant cactus and lit with twinkling lanterns. The magnificent terraces off of the living rooms are bordered

by white bougainvilleas, lush palm trees and glorious uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean. Bedrooms are located below the Central Patio around the house. They are separated into six private Bungalows or Suites, each with its own terrace facing the ocean. An exquisite walking path surrounds the bungalows which is wide enough for the use of a golf cart to drive around the property. From the Master Bedroom Suite, the view of Manzanillo’s famous Santiago Bay is truly outstanding. A guest can enjoy a Jacuzzi either from the inside bathroom or on the outside terrace. An outside infinity pool surrounded by charming fountains and an informal dining area are marvelous features for entertaining. Two service quarters and a separate apartment for a caretaker are also included in this incredible house. Because the property is part of the La Punta Condominium development, it includes the amenities of a private beach and four tennis courts, the close proximity to three golf courses, a private plaza and beautifully landscaped streets with flowers.

CASA AZUL Huatulco, Oaxaca Casa Azul is a luxury villa located on a hillside overlooking the beach town of Huatulco, Oaxaca. The property is located in an easy walking distance to the Tejoncito beach. Breathtaking views create a sense of freedom, sourrounded by the natural beauty of the jungled hills. The villa has 9 bedrooms each with ensuites and terraces. The dining area is a charming a Palapawith plenty of space to entertain 30 of your closest friends. The pool has a beautiful water feature and is sourrounded by mature gardens and tropical flowers. Casa Azul is a retreat of the highest quality that offers secret hide-aways and stunning views. Embrace the privacy and seclusion from this spectacular home. $1,250,000 More information at

PRICE UPON REQUEST For more information visit 23

A growing business;

Written and Photography by Steve Dryden

The gourmet food and wine revolution of Northern Baja Ladies Who Lunch are a dynamic group of American, Mexican, Asian and Canadian women safely and securely living in the Ensenada region of Baja California Norte. Each month these vivacious women pick a date to meet and explore new and old culinary establishments in this charming seaport city, of ten bringing bottles of wine to share with one another. Desiring a fresh, fun dining experience these ladies have many dif ferent vineyards and restaurtants to choose from, as Ensenada has become “the Wine and Gourmet Cuisine Capital of Mexico” in recent years. With over forty top chefs, three culinary schools and fif ty plus wineries in the area, the possibilities are unlimited. One factor that has saved many local businesses during the downturn has been the local support from both Mexican and ex-pat residents. Many people here aren’t aware that thousands of foreigners now reside in and around the city of Ensenada. And, many of these folks love wine and gourmet cuisine. Mexico’s growing economy and expanding middle-class helps matters too. Not unlike the Okanagan or the Niagra regions of Canada, three key elements allowing Ensenada to emerge as the wine and food capital of Mexico are: proximity to Mexico’s premier wine region, an abundance of fresh, local food, and a large portfolio of artisan produc ts to supplement the evolution of the wine culture. When you fac tor in the number of talented chefs in the region, the many wine and food festivals, locally harvested or raised fish, shellfish and produce, it all adds up to a blessing for wine and culinary lovers. For example, a passionate chef in this city can drive out to the wine country in twenty minutes, meet with the vinters, taste the selec tions, and

24 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

decide which ones to marry with his menu. Where else in Mexico can you do this? Ensenada presents over sixty wine and culinary events each year. One event really confirms this city as the Wine and Gourmet Food Capital. Every August a group of devoted wine and food lovers called La Cofradia hosts a wine and food pairing competition inside the cruise ship terminal, along the shores of Ensenada Bay. Forty top chefs from Tijuana, Tecate, Mexicali, Rosarito and Ensenada are partnered with local wineries in a competition to see who can best pair gourmet cuisine with wine from Baja California. When you take into consideration that we now produce the best oysters in the world, have an abundance of fresh seafood in our bays and ocean, it’s no wonder that so many wine and gourmet food lovers are calling this town home. Ladies Who Lunch are an of fshoot of Mexico’s “silent revolution in creating a handful of world-class wines.” As wine regions emerge from creating marginal wines to drinkable ones, the wine culture soon follows and evolves alongside, providing culinary wonders and artisan produc ts, of ten generating more chefs and new restaurants in the region. Ensenada is a prime example of that phenomena. Ladies Who Lunch are a friendly group of educated and intelligent people who understand that you can live a “world class” life in Ensenada with great wine, gourmet cuisine and near-perfec t weather ~ for less than one half of the cost of any other similar city in the world. When it comes to wine, women, weather and gourmet cuisine, it looks like Ensenada has every thing! Don’t worry, sooner or later the men will figure it out too.

When considering the purchase of a vacation or retirement property and/or a part or full time move to a new country one question at the top of the list for pet owners is: Will this move work for my pets? The good news for those considering Mexico as a destination is that it is a comparatively easy country to transport your pet into and a wonderful place to continue to enjoy their companionship.

Man’s best amigo Bringing Pets to Mexico

Ours is a tale of two Chihuahuas who had lived their entire lives in often rainy Vancouver dreading the long stretches of large, head pelting raindrops and embarrassing jackets. These faithful hounds were master road trippers and had been on as many ski trips as they had days at the beach…but all of that was about to change. My wife and I had decided that we were going to take a year away from our lives in Canada and do something we had always dreamed of…live a simpler life in the sun and close to the ocean. We were moving to Mexico! We had flown with the dogs only once before (for a snowy Saskatoon Christmas) and without the aid of sedatives it was an agonizingly long flight for all involved. This time we were very motivated to look into different options to make the flight more comfortable. We also wanted to make sure we did everything required for our boys to be welcomed with open arms by Mexican immigration.

My wife, who has a background in nursing and works as a project manager, jumped into action compiling to-do list and gathering information about vaccinations and requirements for transporting animals across borders. I concentrated on brushing up on their obedience both on and off leash and of course, practicing Spanish on them. To enter Mexico with a cat or dog you will need to make sure that a variety of different shots and vaccines are up to date and that you have the documentation to prove this. Don’t assume because your pets shots are up to date by Canadian standards that you will be cleared elsewhere. One example of this is Canada recognizes a 3 year rabies vaccine while Mexico requires an annual shot. Be prepared to make at least two visits as some shots have to be administered several months prior to leaving while others along with a final check-up must take place closer to departure. We found the website a great source of information. They provided (for a small fee) printable bilingual forms for your vet to fill out and all the information required to make sure our Chihuahuas where ready for a smooth and healthy return to the motherland. At the risk of stating the obvious both of our Vancouver dogs love their new life in Mexico. We chose our casa carefully, picking one with a tall wall encircling the yard. Over time the dogs have earned our trust and now spend most days sitting happily on the front stoop soaking it all in. We are finding more time to spend with them walking on the beach, exploring the jungle, or sitting on the many dog friendly patios of Sayulita. Stay tuned for next edition and the inevitable next step in a pet owners life; Rescuing or adopting a dog in Mexico. By: Gabriel Jones

Sayulitanimals - Caring with Compassion Free Spay and Neuter *  Medical Aid for Street Animals  *  Adoption and Foster Assistance  *  Community Education Free spay and neuter program: 

Adoption and foster assistance:

Medical aid for street animals:

Appointments every Tuesday and Thursday and quarterly campaigns, All dogs and cats welcome, Cat traps available upon request

Daily web postings and office postings of unowned animals, connections with foster options, active searches for the perfect home

Medical assistance given to all unowned cats and dogs, if sick or injured they will be seen by a qualified veterinarian and placed in foster care until they recover

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” - Anne Frank Sayulitanimals is a non-profit organization run 100% by donations.  If you want to make a difference, donate today at Or contact us to see how you can help:  or 01 (329) 291 3974   Calle Manuel Plascencia #3, Sayulita, Nayarit 25

Canadians in Cabo

Casa Contenta B&B Owners Craig and Lori share their experiences in Mexico

Craig and Lori Harrison moved to Mexico approximately 14 years ago and have been living the reality in Cabo San Lucas ever since. With a gorgeous B&B and a house full of entertaining animals, Craig and Lori have crafted for themselves a profitable, comfortable life on the sothern most tip of Baja California Sur. Craig and Lori are an eclectic mix of South Africa and Canada, who have traveled extensively throughout the world since the late 1960’s. Lori is a born & bred Canadian-gal, who established herself as a clothier of some note in Vancouver, BC. Craig is a dashing CPA (CPA – Ernst), born & educated in South Africa, immigrating to Canada in his mid-20’s.  Gaining Canadian citizenship, Craig lived in Vancouver for 17 years, building one of Western Canada’s premier import wine businesses. After picking up the importation rights for Corona to Western Canada, they made their first investments in Cabo in the 1980’s in condos, for personal use and rental.   And that is when the “love-affair” with paradise began. Why did you consider Mexico? In that late 1990’s – after vacationing to and investing in Mexico for 15 years, and having traveled extensively for 30 years to Europe, all over the US, Asia and Africa, we decided to move to Cabo permanently, establishing both a vacation rental business and a B&B Vacation Villa.

26 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

In our Casa Contenta Bed & Breakfast / Vacation Villa, we have sought to bring together a compilation of “the very best” to pamper the heart and please the soul in our home. CRAIG HARRISON: “My extensive experience in the wine industry told me that the old adage ‘Life’s too short to drink cheap wine’ holds true in vacationing as well. Like a fine vintage claret, our Bed & Breakfast offers something unique for the discerning traveler, looking for quiet, relaxed luxury - far enough from the madding crowd, but sufficiently close to drop in and partake when the desire is there.” LORI HARRISON: “In my travels throughout the world, I have at times been fortunate enough to encounter a rare magical oasis. Since coming to live in Cabo San Lucas, this most beautiful and unique desert-ocean environ, my desire has been to recreate this type of experience for our guests.” Where did you do your research? Personally, and on the ground - having invested in Canada, Hawaii and Cabo for over 30 years, we knew that “one-day”, we would settle in Cabo San Lucas. What issues most concerned you about Mexico? Crime, economics and stability What confirmed your choice to make mexico your home? This is about the safest place, that I have ever vacationed in and now lived in - on earth. Don’t believe for one minute, the B.S that you hear, read and see on the North American media. We have near full-employment,

canadians in mexico

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, & magic in it.  Begin it now.”

electricity and all insurances, cars probably cost us about $3000 per virtually no crime, and other than recreational drugs for tourists [which month. the authorities take a dim view of], no drug-trading, no gangs . We Do you experience crime? Corruption? Fraud? leave cars and houses unlocked. Mexico is one of the top-preforming There is some [bureaucratic] corruption, but we seldom if ever have economies in the world in the last decade, a key partner under GATT experienced it first-hand, the authorities frown and FTA, a Member of the G20 [12th largest upon it, and are trying to clamp down on it.    economy in the world] and host of next years Crime, virtually none.   There is a pretty good G20 Heads of State. sense of rule of law here. What challenges have you faced B&B Villa, Cabo San Lucas Can you offer any advice to those since moving? thinking of moving? In the early days, getting the things we used Ranked #1 B&B on Trip Advisor “Come on down” - experience it. We own to take for granted “in civilization”. However, for Cabo San lucas rental condos and a B&B, come stay with since the opening of the movie theaters, Sleeps up to 12 people in 5 us, we’ll give you a deal. If you like it, buy Costco, Walmart, the Home and Office Depots, bedrooms plus casita something, the world is littered with people Starbucks, and 12 absolutely World Class Golf from $160 night who live their lives dreaming about doing Courses - we miss nothing, especially not the rain! Medical services were almost nonsomething, but out of fear, they never take that existent in the 1990’s but that has all changed first step, you’ll never know, if you don’t follow now with the huge influx of Canadian and USyour dreams or as Goethe mostly aptly said:  Retirees and “very affordable” American style Health Insurance plans “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has available here. genius, power, & magic in it. Begin it now.” What would you have changed in your process? We What are some great reasons for living in CABO? would’ve moved earlier, when we were younger, but have virtually no Weather is the best in the world. regrets. Crime, at least in Cabo, is so low, it’s laughable when compared with What are your average monthly expenses? any major North American City. There are no large expenses really, our 12,000 sq. ft villa is Economy [and jobs] is excellent, this is the “land of opportunity” for levied property taxes of less than $1000 per annum, we have a those wanting to establish a business, it’s “frontier” mentality, and comprehensive Medial Insurance Policy for both of us, for less than virtually “no bureaucracy” to deal with. $4,000 per annum, [$5M annual maximum claim], restaurants are likely Cost of Living is so low. the most expensive forays, to the very chic and ritzy establishments, Mexicans are about the friendliest, kindest local-people that we’ve of which there are many, but there also very-very affordable, excellent ever experienced in our travels.  quality food-options. Given our home is taken care of, maids, It’s proximity to the US and Canada make it a perfect “exotic” gardeners, car insurance, satellite TV, phone-internet etc., water, destination - yet easily accessible for family to visit from or to visit.

Casa Contenta 27

Cassandra Shaw looks like a happy person. She is an iconic figure around PV with a broad white smile beaming out of a suntanned face, her platinum hair cut short to frame her face. She is often seen engaging in a favourite Vallarta pastime – walking, rarely without her two little Chihuahua’s Leonardo and his daughter MJ Bean. “My love for Vallarta has always been huge and I never want to leave here – ever” she says, citing the combination of controlled growth with the continued small town feel among the things she loves the most. “Every morning my husband Mark and I walk the dogs along the Malecon. You see the mountains and waves and the pelicans and sometimes even a dolphin or whale swimming close to the shore.”


Canadian Artist in Puerto Vallarta by Peg Steley


With her home located close to her shop, for Shaw, “small town’ is defined by daily walks between home, shop and Tia Catrina, the cosy, neighbourhood restaurant she and her husband frequent. Hector, one of the owners, is often seen at the end of the old dock in the Romantic Zone patiently waiting for the boats to come in with fresh fish for his daily special. Sundays take them further afield. “I usually work long hours in the winter and try to take Sundays off completely.” She explains. “We walk through the park on the Rio Cuale Island to La Langostinos for a Bloody Mary then down to the beach to either Lido’s or The Swell Beach Bar for a lazy day on the beach. I always include a foot massage from one of the wonderful masseuse’s selling their services along the beach.”

few short blocks of Basillio Badillo, bordering the rather lyrically named “Romantic Zone” of the old town, are home to some of Puerto Vallarta’s most beautiful shops. One of them is the eponymous shop of jeweller Cassandra Shaw. I pass by several times a week on the way to my favourite coffee shop or to watch the sun set while sipping margaritas at La Palapa. I often pop in - just to I feel very safe in Puerto Vallarta” inhale. Beauty has a distinct aroma and Cassandra says Shaw. “We walk to restaurants Shaw’s has the added whiff of magic. Surrounded and home at night but use the same by the pretty little Mexican items in beachside precautions we would use in the market stalls, her pieces stand out as big and bold USA or Canada. and beautiful. Think “Resort takes New York”.

Like many of her fellow ex-patriots, her story is a serendipitous one. Her sister Candace paved the way, moving to Vallarta in 1983. After the birth of her niece Savannah, Shaw was making repeated visits, sometimes as often as four times a year. When the neighbourhood pub where she worked was sold she found herself footloose and seeking adventure. In 1999, she rented out her Vancouver home, packed her belongings into a few small suitcases and headed to Mexico on a one-way ticket to “roam around”. The gravitational force pulled her towards Vallarta where she found work at a high-end silver shop. Quickly becoming a partner, Shaw soon realized there was a gap in the market and a need for more unique and individualistic designs. She began to “re-design” existing pieces in an effort to achieve the look she was aiming for, before giving full reign to her creative talents by designing her own work. Her own original designs now account for approximately 60% of the items at Cassandra Shaw.

28 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

After the harried pace of life in many North American cities walking is one of the peaceful pleasures Vallarta has to offer. “I feel very safe in Puerto Vallarta” says Shaw. “We walk to restaurants and home at night but use the same precautions we would use in the USA or Canada, locking our doors, not walking in dark areas at night, not flaunting money etc.” “I have never been personally robbed or broken into in Mexico” she adds dryly, “but I have in Canada! 

When she moved to Vallarta her life’s goal was to become an artist. She is now a successful artist with a thriving business. “There were many challenges along the way, mainly because of different laws, systems, and language” she says. To anyone thinking of starting a business here a good lawyer and accountant are a complete necessity” she advises. Not content with jewellery, Shaw has more recently become an accomplished painter, turning the second floor of her building into a gallery to showcase her work. Not surprisingly her paintings are bright, colourful and exude a bold vitality. It is apparent that life in Puerto Vallarta has been good to Cassandra Shaw. It is obvious that she loves her work, and both she and her Mark are active in social circles and the philanthropic community, rounding out an inspired and purposeful life.

The newle yr joggers in enovated Malecon entices m downtown orning Puerto Va llarta.

atues ds of st n a s u o th s if not undred h e r a e Ther . he town arund t

Wish you were here! Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco

s Muertos beach Looking south along Lo towards Amapas .

Charro is an important community event for the people of Jalisco.

Puerto Vallarta By Sabrina Wang.

Long before it blossomed into an international sensation, Puerto Vallarta was a Mexican village that flourished on the harvests of the Ameca valley and the prosperity from the mining centers of the Sierra. Puerto Vallarta, this resort town with a sensual name that rolls off your tongue, is an old champion in the tourism business. Popular with domestic travellers and leisure-seeking nomads from abroad, this city can’t ever seem to build enough luxury hotels, condominiums, and rental apartments to contend with the US and Canadian retirees who migrate here in a steady stream. This place has that indescribable “X” factor packed in every nook and cranny of the city, from the lovely beaches to the grand theatre house, all the way to the refreshing scallop ceviche at a road-side stand and the tasty grilled marlin. Who says Puerto Vallarta is merely a beach town? It’s true that deepsea fishing, beachcombing and sailing are the city’s top attractions. Beyond that, Puerto Vallarta is a city of indigenous and modern arts, of cinemas and dance halls, restaurants and chic bars—it is an exciting mishmash of earthly delights. Every year, the Gourmet Festival and Wine Festival electrify the culinary crowd in Puerto Vallarta. Together with Restaurant Week, these culinary celebrations are praised by sophisticated palates and cheeseburger aficionados who come together under a singular name: Foodies. The Old Town Art Walk invites you to join art galleries for complimentary cocktails and chats over works produced by over 300 international artists. Do not miss this annual event, your eyes—and taste buds will thank you. 29

Sayulita Love By: Gabriel Jones Photos by: Donna Day and Gala Milne

Sayulita, the picturesque seaside fishing village turned surf town, offers the type of winter climate that sun-starved Canadians dream about. From October to May the town and its beaches are drenched in almost non-stop sunny days. Temperatures range from the mid 20s to mid 30s tempered by cool off shore breezes especially by night. Amazingly Sayulita averages more than 300 sunny days a year and after the last drops of the rainy season subside in late September it can go until the next spring without a single rainy day. Built around a central square or plaza and featuring cobblestone roads the town has a classic feel to it. Much of the beautiful residential architecture sits high above the town on surrounding hills and perched on sea side cliffs overlooking the ocean. These homes range from sprawling villas, mid-size casas, and smaller casitas. Sayulita also offers beautiful boutique hotels and even several hostels and campgrounds. The variety of

30 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

accommodation makes for a great mix of travelers both young and old, all sharing a common suntanned smile. Sayulita’s proximity to the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (a 40 min drive) makes it easily accessible, yet the town has managed to retain much of its small town charm. In Sayulita you won’t find any major chain hotels, restaurants or coffee shops. Instead what the town offers is a great variety of unique accommodations, independent eateries serving local produce and fresh seafood and cafes brewing amazing coffee, some of which is grown on neighboring mountainsides and roasted right here in town. Bring your appetite and your sense of adventure as Sayulita is home to a wonderful array of restaurants from street side taco stands to amazing casual fine dining with a view. The menus are mainly Mexican influenced but also include Italian, Asian, Vegetarian and Upper North American. 31

Test your palate on spicy salsas, try local delicacies and enjoy washing them down with cold beer, delicious cocktails, or even surprising Mexican wines (think BC Wines in the 90’s). Many rental homes are also equipped with great kitchens and the town is home to excellent butcher shops, fresh fish and produce markets. An afternoon shopping at the local markets followed by a home cooked meal will add to the experience and might be the best meal you have ever made. Despite the dry Winter season, Sayulita and surrounding areas stay surprisingly green as the jungle slowly sips from the massive water reserves of the rainy season. It is home to a stunning variety of flora and fauna. Fruit bearing trees like mango, lime, orange, and coconut trees line the streets and beautiful tropical flowers abound both wild and with the help of the towns many hard working gardeners. Breathtaking varieties of birds and butterflies add even more color to the already beautiful scenery. Animal lovers will enjoy spotting the town’s impressive Iguana population by day and appreciate the bug gobbling geckos by night. A trip to Sayulita would not be complete without a day spent on the ocean. Whether it is on a small fishing charter or a larger pleasure craft like the Chica Loca, a day at sea will be one of the highlights. The most common daytrip destination is to the nearby Las Marietas Islands, a protected nature reserve, home to the rare Blue Footed Booby and many other water birds. The clear waters are great for snorkeling and the island is home to more than 100 species of reef fish. While at sea it is not uncommon to see Humpback whales who spend winters in the waters around Sayulita birthing and raising their calves. If luck is on your side you may have sightings of curious dolphin pods and the sea turtles who make the local waters their home year round. Sayulita’s small bay is lined with a 3km stretch of beach. It is divided North and South by an arroyo or seasonal river which runs through the center of town & comes to a head in the middle of the beach. Each rainy season the banks of this arroyo swell with rain water from the surrounding hills and the river distributes tonnes of sediment into the ocean. This natural phenomenon provides Sayulita with one of its most prized qualities…a wonderfully consistent surf break which allows for surfing (left and right breaks) directly on the main beach.

the beaches of Sayulita Playa Centro is the main beach of Sayulita is just two blocks from the town square, the beach has gentle surf for swimming and is dotted with the wooden boats of local fishermen. Great for jogging, the beach can be walked in about 30 minutes.

Playa Carricitos. Great waves for bodysurfing along its shores. A windy beach, its better for waves and water sports than a relaxing day in the sun. Playa Carricitos is steep a 40-minute jungle walk from the plaza. Playa de Los a popular beach for families. The calm waters of provide a safe swimming cove bordered on either side by huge boulders. A short walk past the town’s graveyard brings you to this gem.

There are numerous smaller beaches along the coves heading south to Litibu and north to San Pancho. Ask the surf instructors on Playa Centro for some recommendations. Just remeber the Pacific Ocean can be dangerous with very strong under tows. Exercise caution.





16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 27

6-8 7-9 7-9 7-9 7-9 7-9 7-9 6-8 7-9 7-9


“Pajaro de Fuego”

“Casa Juanita” “Casa Juanita” “Casa Juanita”

“Villa L’Chaim”

“Villa del Mar”

“Cancion del Mar”

“Villas del Rio”

“Villa Dos Amigos”

“Casa de Ambros”

Established 2005 33

Sales, Vacation Rentals & Property

Located in the centre of town, we are the one stop shop for all your property needs in the Sayulita Bay area. Buying, selling, renting or maintaining your home, we are here to assist you. OUr TEAM | Your SUPPORT Reyna Garcia Owner/Sales Agent Joel Garcia Sales Agent Yvonne Madrid Huck Rental & Property Manager Thorne Huck Cristal Clear Pool Maintenance National: (011 52) 329 291-3058 US: (510) 292-4062 Sales US: (510) 991-6423 Rentals

34 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

Thanks to this easily accessible surf much of the town’s tourism grew around surfing and rightfully it is still king of Sayulita sports. There are several great surf shops in town where you can buy new and used boards and other surf related equipment and the beach is dotted with surf schools offering board rentals, lessons and even road trips to the harder to reach surf spots. This variety of different surf makes Sayulita a great location for surfers of all skill levels. I encourage every visitor to take a surf lesson while in Sayulita. Surfing is not easy but with some perseverance, the right wave conditions and a good instructor most people can catch a wave their first day and get a taste of one of the most exhilarating sensations in all of sports. Sayulita is also home to other great water sports like stand up paddle boarding, sea kayaking, and deep sea fishing. On land, catch some rays playing beach volleyball or head into the shade of the jungle for great hiking, mountain biking, ATV or even horseback riding. There are also world class yoga studios, amazing outdoor fitness classes, and an array of massage and physical therapy studios to help melt away the memory of your desk job or nurse some of your newly discovered muscles used in your newly discovered favourite sports. The town is also home to many artists and craftspeople creating everything from wooden carvings, woven textiles, ornate jewelry and beautiful paintings. Music lovers can appreciate music at several spots around town. Favourites include Camaron Beach Bar, Don Pedro’s for Salsa Night and Don Pato’s home to nightly live music with an open air roof top bar where you dance underneath the stars. All of these factors contribute to Sayulita being the destination it has become but the most common thing visitors praise about this town is perhaps the most simple and most important quality you could hope for…the friendliness of the people (both locals and fellow travelers) and the sense of community one feels when visiting.

At the source of this genuine hospitality is the Mexican people for whom it comes naturally. Be prepared to exchange smiles and “holas” with people from all walks of life who, for part of each year, share their sleepy little beach town turn with visitors from around the world. This welcoming nature is also woven into the fabric of the town’s citizens because so many work in tourism related jobs. The community is a melting pot of born and raised Sayuleros, Mexican nationals from other parts of this big country, and expats from Canada, the US and around the world. Whether they are your massage therapist, your bartender, your yoga or surf instructor or cooking tacos on the street, they all take pride in their town and a vested interest in making your stay an enjoyable one. The ability for a traveler to build relationships with the people of Sayulita and their fellow traveler even in a short one week vacation is one of my favourite things about this town and is really only limited to how open you are to the experience. Unlike resorts where you only see the staff while they are on duty or larger centers like Puerto Vallarta where it is easy to get lost in the shuffle of the big city, here you will quickly begin to recognize familiar faces. I suggest you try and take some time to learn their names and ask about their lives. You will learn that most Sayuleros (as well as your fellow visitors) are kindred spirits and here for the same reasons you are. They also love the sun and the easy pace of the surf town. Don`t be surprised if the guy from the hardware store is also a fishing guide, the girl from the gift shop is also a yoga instructor, or the guy who made you margaritas the night before is out catching waves alongside you the next morning. They all share Sayulita Love. About the photographer: Donna Day has been a photographer for over 20 years in NYC, Seattle and has lived and worked in Sayulita, Mexico since 2009. Her photo book, Sayulita can be seen online at http://

Inspired Living Sayulita Style A Lifestyle Investment

Beautiful custom home featuring over 9000 sq.ft. of indoor/outdoor living. The pristine natural setting boasts secluded beaches, sun drenched days and starry nights.

Live And Work In Paradise

Live Your Dream

Successfully operating as a seasonal B&B Nov-May. Continue the dream as proprietor of your own inn while maintaining a privileged lifestyle year round. • Beautiful stone terrace •18’x32’ Glass tile swimming pool • Granite counters, marble floors • 6 Bedroom suites each with private entrance, bath and terrace • 8 Baths with walk-in marble showers • Poolside wet bar with BBQ • 4 Kitchens and 2 Laundries

Offered at $1,350,000. Contact For details and additional photos visit

The Modern Day

sayulita tour de tacos

Tac o t h o l o n Some of Sayulita’s best flavours can be enjoyed at small street side restaurants and taco stands. Here are some of our favourite spots and a small sampling of what they do best. Tell them Mexi-Go! sent you! BEST Seafood: Miguel’s Real Fish Tacos

36 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

Half a block from the beach next to Sininen Surf shop. Look for the black cart with orange flames. Try grilled (or beer battered) Mahi mahi, shrimp or amazing smoked marlin. Great fresh seafood, fantastic sauces, ice cold cervezas* and Miguel’s winning smile makes this the

perfect beachside stand.

great pies and pastries.

BEST Beef: Tacos on the Street Moving to a new location at the base the bridge, North side next to Huilcol Center. Try their amazingly tender ribeye taco on hand made flour and corn tortillas and be sure to save room for their

BEST Pork: Tacos el Ivan This stand, just over the bridge on the south side serves Al Pastor style Pork which is marinated in dried chiles and then slowly cooked on a vertical rotisserie (think Donair). Thinly sliced and served on a small

tortilla with chopped onions, cilantro and a small slice of fresh pineapple, lime juice** and salsa. BEST Ceviche: Mariscos Purillo’s Look for this cute white restaurant with an orange sign on the north side of town. Experience their Camaron

(shrimp) Ceviche made with fresh shrimp marinated in lime and mixed with finely chopped serrano chile, cilantro, red onion, diced tomato and cucumber. Try it first as an appetizer and soon you will by it by the kilo. Great for bringing to picnics or potlucks.


Multicultural and Bilingual Education.

Costa Verde International School

Sayulita, Nayarit, MĂŠxico


Accredited by SEP with national and international teachers. Small groups and personalized attention. Environmental Education to bring awareness to our community. Green areas and open classrooms. Close to the beautiful beaches and jungle.


Tel. 329 291 3355, 329 291 3222


Riñcon de Guayabitos

Photography By: Madeline Milne and Allyson Williams

38 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

MEXICO’S SECRET VACATION GETAWAY In the Jaltemba Bay, nestled between the tropical vegetation of the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, hides the quiet seaside town of Rincon de Guayabitos. Named for the groves of guava trees that once lined the shore, the name translates to “corner of the little guava trees” and nowhere will visiting vacationers find a better value for a beach escape in authentic Mexico. 39

“For my husband and I, the Jaltemba Bay area is home, and as we often say “come, before the rest of the world finds out”.”


the 1970’s the Mexican government decided that Guayabitos was to become a resort and an area where foreigners could own property. Since then, many North Americans have discovered the affordable pleasures of Guayabitos and its handful of neighboring coastal towns and villages. Visitors often rent or even buy vacation homes here, but others will find the offering of B&B’s and small independent hotels and resorts in this area some 40 miles north of Puerto Vallarta International Airport equally appealing. For centuries the home of fishermen, farmers, owners of family-run restaurants and other businesses, Guayabitos, with a population of scarcely 2,000 permanent residents, is, for the visitor, an opportunity to immerse oneself in timeless Mexico before the rest of the world changes it.

There is only one main street, Avenida del Sol Nuevo, parallel to the beach stretching the entire length of Guayabitos. It divides the town into two areas: the Hotel and Commercial Zone on the south and the Residential Zone on the north. The Hotel and Commercial Zone is home to several mercados (grocery stores), pharmacies, boutiques offering Mexican handicrafts, clothing stores, discos and restaurants featuring Mexican and American cuisine.

40 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

Many of Guayabitos’ modestly priced hotels, bungalows and condos are located in this area. During the low season, August to November, hotels are only half full and nightly rates range from US$14 to US$50; weekly and monthly rooms are available. There are several trailer parks with boat launches. The atmosphere here is casual, relaxed and “beach-y.” The beach itself is the real protagonist of this destination. Stretching about 1 ½ miles wide, the spectacular flat beach consists of golden sand with calm blue waters. It is lined with palapa-covered restaurants and bustling with beach vendors in colorful canopied carts selling everything from coconut drinks to shrimp on a stick. In fact, the water is so calm that Guayabitos’ beach is referred to as “The Largest Swimming Pool in the World.” The beach is perfect for walking, swimming, people watching or to simply sit and run one’s toes through the sand under the warm sun. Farther down the beach there is an area that is good for bodysurfing and boogie boarding. Afternoon winds make for good sailing and windsurfing. The majority of restaurants in Guayabitos are family-run. The local cuisine is seafood and Mexican dishes. Around town one can find a few fruit stands and stalls with fresh fruits such as mangos, pineapples, papayas and melons. Vista Guayabitos is a must-try when visiting the area; the

restaurant sits atop one of the highest points in Guayabitos and offers a spectacular view of the entire Jaltemba Bay. At Tonita’s Restaurant, you’ll find Tonita and her family serving incredible Mexican dishes. La pina Loca, a popular local favorite, offers everything from tortilla soup and Enchiladas to Fajitas, coconut shrimp and locally caught seafood. At Salvador’s, established in 1980, visitors can dine on nightly dinner specials on the beachfront patio. If you are looking for something a little more casual, head down the main street to La Toscana, which offers tasty traditional Mexican fare with a warm smile; Pollo Alexandra known for its grilled marinated chicken; and George’s Tres Banderas Café to enjoy a sweet roll with a cappuccino or mango smoothie. There are many other small restaurants and stands where you can find fresh fruit and juices as well as tacos and tortas. Allyson Williams, co-founder of, started visiting the area 19 years ago with her husband David. “We decided to build a house in Guayabitos 8 years ago. It is now our primary home, although we do travel back to Minnesota on occasion. We get to wake up every morning to the sunrise over the mountains, and end the day with the sun setting over the bay.” “Here, we found the “real” Mexico. We fell in love with the friendly people, authentic food, idyllic weather and laid back lifestyle. It’s a place where we can hike through the mountains, kayak around the island or take a leisurely stroll down the beach. We can release sea turtles into the ocean, eat freshly caught fish and shrimp every day of the week and volunteer for a number of local causes. There’s a little bit of everything.” For the traveler who wants to do more than eat well and lie on the beach, Guayabitos and the surrounding region has a lot to see and do. The deep sea fishing for marlin, sailfish and tuna is excellent yearround. In the winter months the famous humpback whale migration provides ample opportunities for whale watching and three native species of endangered sea turtles – the Olive Ridley, the Leatherback and the Hawksbill – become the focus of hatchling releases. Birdwatching – Mexico is home to more species of birds than the U.S. and Canada combined – draws visitors from around the world while others come for horseback riding, hiking, cycling or trekking. The rugged Sierra Madre which protects the coastline provides plenty of opportunities for mountain adventures. Horseback riding trips are available through the tropical rainforest of Los Ayala, through the mountains or through the beach. And, on Monday mornings, the town’s “tianguis” or market brings out the entire population. Allyson says ““One of my favorite things to do is go to the Tianguis every Thursday in La Penita. I shop the ever-changing array of talavera pottery, Huichol beaded artwork, Oaxacan wool rugs, as well as the incredible selection of hand-made jewelry. It’s a very fun weekly activity and everyone goes.” Boat trips to Isla Coral, a small island visible from shore, go for just $5 per person. Glass bottom boats line the shore waiting to take people for a ride near this island where one can view marine life through the boat bottom and see frigate birds and terns nesting on the island.. There is a good spot offshore, Isla Cangrejo, accessible only by boat for people to snorkel or scuba dive. Other nearby beaches include Playa los Ayala and Playa del Beso on a tiny secluded cove reachable by a path over the hills. The often deserted beach at Punta Raza is

another favorite, along with the lesser known La Peñita de Jaltemba and Chacala. Art and culture lovers can visit the Altavista archeological site near Chacala with important petroglyphs. This area was home to the Tecoxquin culture and is now an important religious center for the indigenous Huichols. Sports enthusiasts will find jet skis, water skiing, tennis and its miniversion, pickle ball, all available as well as the Campo del Ensueño nine-hole golf course (though several signature championship courses are nearby in Punta Mita, Puerto Vallarta and other resort areas). Relax your tired muscles with yoga and massages on the beach. Rincon de Guayabitos is widely known as a safe, friendly and affordable beach vacation area. It is accessible by flights to Puerto Vallarta and Tepic, with public bus transportation and car rental available to reach Rincon de Guayabitos. For more information on Rincon de Guayabitos, see For more information on Riviera Nayarit visit: 41

The Weekender Beach Shack: Mexico Style

Contributing Editor: TRUDIE NELSON Trudie Nelson is an interior designer who retired early to live a fabulous life with her husband in Ajijic. She spent many years doing community service in the village but missed the workplace, so started a second sucessful career in real estate. Trudie can be contacted via her web site or through email at Copy Editor: SIMA NAYMARK Sima Naymark is a retired high school vice principal from Toronto, who has enjoyed her many visits to both Ajijic and Cuyutlan.

42 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011


Contributing Editor: Trudie Nelson Copy Writer: Sima Naymark Photos: Barb Nettleton


ot unlike those of us who escape to the ‘cottage’ every long weekend, so too do the retired and working expats in Mexico. As a matter of fact with the strength of the Canadian dollar and the low cost of living it’s possble to own multiple homes across Mexico to take advantage of the wealth of landscapes, weather zones and more. We recently travelled into the homes of four couples who are full-time residents of Ajijic, and chose Cuyutlan on Mexico’s Pacific coast for their weekend getaway. This tropical beach retreat is located  22 miles east of Manzanillo and 2 ½ hours by super toll roads from Ajijic-Guadalajara. It offers the best of summer year round. Set on the open ocean, Cuyutlan invites beach walks, bird watching, and turtle conservation. It’s simple, basic, funky, laid back, just the perfect place for casual beach living. 43

Bobbie and Philip Urban Glamour at the Beach

Bobbie and Philip claim that their happiest memories are from beach holidays. When they discovered the pristine coast of Cuyutlan and its affordable oceanfront property, they decided that it wasn’t too late to build their dream home. They are thrilled that Cuyutlan is not a rock and roll resort town. They appreciate the fact that, instead, it is an ecological treasure, a haven for migrating birds and a sanctuary for turtles. They love to walk barefoot on the beach, swim in their oceanfront pool, and dine on fresh seafood at beach restaurants. Although they at first worried about Cuyutlan’s isolation, they find that they are connected to the world with Shaw Satellite T.V. & WiFi & 3G internet, and Manzanillo’s International airport. They often entertain with dinner parties or simple pot-luck suppers, board games, or movie nights with fellow expats, who yearly grow in number. They feel very fortunate that they have the best of both worlds with their life at the beach and in Ajijic on Lake Chapala.

44 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

Jim and Willy Palapa Passion

Jim and Willy first discovered Cuyutlan nearly four years ago when friends from Ajijic recommended it as a perfect getaway, a beach town that had nothing. When they first visited, they understood what their friends were talking about. There is no traffic, no congestion, no air or noise pollution, just nature at its best! After nearly twenty years in Ajijic, they were not about to move full time to the beach, but they saw an opportunity to enrich their lives by creating a place by the sea. After much planning, they designed Real del Mar, using a palapa as the focal point. They wanted the house to be stylish, yet comfortable, where they could easily sit in a wet bathing suit or put their feet up. The couple feel that their home is a magical spot, a place to relax and be with good friends. 45

Stewart & Trudie Beach Chic

After eighteen years of residing in Ajijic, Stewart and Trudie decided it was time to recreate the Canadian cottage country weekends that they missed. They combed the Pacific coast until they discovered Cuyutlan. When they designed their place, their goal was a home less formal than their house in Ajijic. A life sized, hand-carved mermaid over the front door greats visitors, setting the tone. Once inside, a lush, tropical garden leads to a spacious, comfortable two story  beach house  with views of the ocean from every room. The couple relax, cook, swim, and read Ipads with 3G on the beach under the palapa, while watching migrating whales. It‘s Paradise!

46 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

Bart & Patti

Building their BEACH Dream

After living in Ajijic for six years, Patti and Bart looked for a vacation home that reminded them of their childhood summers at the lake. They felt very lucky to have discovered another oasis, just two and a half hours from their home in Ajijic. For them, the quiet fishing village is the perfect place to relax yet is less than an hour away from major shopping and entertainment in Manzanillo or Colima. They were also drawn to the area because beach lots are considerably more affordable than in other areas along the coast. In the spring they will begin building their vacation home. When they are in Cuyutlan, the day always begins with a walk on the beach, which they usually have to themselves. That’s followed by a swim in an infinity pool overlooking the Pacific. They look forward to their new life, full of interesting experiences and new adventures. Some call it “retirement”. Bart and Patti call it bliss! 47

Lessons From the Riveria Maya By: Jonathan Ellerby, Phd.

Early in 2011, I accepted the job as CEO of a new and unique residential development in the Mexican Caribbean. Despite my successful career as an author in Canada and the US, and a very ideal position as a program director at Canyon Ranch health resorts, I jumped at the chance to lead a community development that was about more than investment, retirement or vacation. The Tao Wellness Center and Inspired Living Community appeared to be my chance to make a creative and lasting difference in the lives of those who would become our village, and for those who come to visit. Tao is a place to find inspiration, health and a sense of connection. It’s my job to ensure that for everyone we connect with. As it turns out, the lessons were not mine to give, but to receive. Five months ago my wife, son and I packed up our life as we knew it in Tucson Arizona, and made the full-time move to a little town called “Akumal” in the Riviera Maya of Mexico (100 km south of Cancun). Everyone thought we were crazy! Why give up so much for a place that had so little. Was there a Whole Foods? A Home Depot? A Sam’s Club? What about weather and safety? The Riviera Maya is one of the safest regions in all of Latin America, and so we had no concerns about that, but what about boredom? Or shopping? Or being disconnected? In Akumal there is very little other than white sand beaches, sea turtles, lush jungle, the turquois ocean, tourists, some wonderful shops and restaurants and a handful of locals. It´s small. The home we rented didn’t have TV and we don’t have a lot of entertainment close by. It didn’t take long before we realized what had happened. It was a shock. Not the shock of what we lost, but the shock of what we gained. If you drive 15 or 25 minutes from our home, north or south, you can get to a town with plenty of restaurants, brand name stores and ample distraction. Drive a little further and you will find every brand name box store you could think of or want. But stay put and you will notice what we did. Something magical happens... A wise man once said, “you can never have enough of what you don’t need.” And so Akumal taught us a precious lesson: back home, whether it was Arizona, or Manitoba, where I am from, or New Mexico, where my wife is from, it seems there is always something missing and always something more to buy, renovate or aspire to. Life seemed like a cycle built more around shopping for seasonal decor, and home renovations and weekend errands than it was about what we loved most - time together, time in nature and a slow pace in which to appreciate life. Akumal gave us all this and more. As a wellness and spirituality author it’s hard to admit, but media and marketing were driving our lives more than we knew. It all became very clear during our first month in Akumal. We decided not to get the TV cable hooked up and instead took advantage of what was happening to us. We were simplifying! Instead of TV we go

48 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

for walks. Instead of buying toy after toy, we make things, paint and go exploring with our son. Date night isn’t just a rush to go wait in line at a noisy downtown restaurants, its dinner over looking the ocean at a seaside table, or an excursion to a historical or natural place of interest that we haven’t yet seen. It’s a honeymoon, again and again. Life has become more about our relationships and our inner sense of what we love and enjoy doing, and less about what our social circle or society presents and obliges. We let nature, and in particular the Caribbean Sea and soft, white beaches, tell us what is important. All the ingredients for a good life are there at the beach: limitless vitamin D, a place to release, play, relax and even exercise and seek adventure. The beach has become our metaphor for life. Most of the time its beautiful and as easy as we allow it to be. Sometimes its rough and stormy, but with time, the sun always returns. It is full of mystery - like the time we saw a baby octopus swim up to the shore - and yet, like life, the mystery and miracles are missed if you don’t take your time to watch and listen. The beach reminds us that we are all children inside, ready to splash and play in the sand. It reminds us that inner peace isn’t about what we become, but instead, it’s about what we let go of. The deep calm we feel looking out at the turquoise waters is more of a remembering than a discovery, and that feels affirming. It’s true we are less connected to news and media. And we love it. If having your head in the sand means spending too much time on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and not enough time fussing over politics and celebrities, then we are guilty. There is still time to connect with the information age, we have ipads and laptops and our friends have satellite TV. But we are careful and selective about when we tune in and what we tune in to. The gift of living near the ocean is that it’s an unavoidable reminder that life is precious, beautiful and powerful. It’s a reminder to keep what matters most at the center of all you do. We hope you will come visit us sometime at Tao Riviera Maya! For more informaiton on Tao visit 49

Puerto Escondido: More than just the world’s best surfing By: Moralea Milne Photos by: Chuck Ashton

50 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011 51

Following his heart and starting with a small piece of bare land in the early ‘90’s, Canadian Dan Clemans has crafted the quintessential Mexican hotel experience. Hotel Casa de Dan is an inviting and charming 15 suite hotel that is the “go-to” hotel for surfers and others who appreciate a tropical ambiance married to down-home Canadian friendliness. Many of the guests make themselves right at home in Dan’s kitchen, even though all the rooms come equipped with kitchens, bathrooms and most have private terraces. Don’t we all gravitate to a friendly kitchen? There’s free wifi, a long lap pool and a small restaurant that serves the best French toast in Mexico along with fresh blended Tropicale fruit drinks. You can contact Dan through Hotel Casa de Dan on facebook.

Into every life, a little rain must fall….but if you have wearied of the endless rain and grey skies, perhaps it is time to visit Puerto Escondido…. Surrounded by verdant tropical forests, blessed with endless white sand beaches and warm, sun-kissed ocean waters, Puerto Escondido will restore the body and soul of any rain-soaked Canadian traveler. Puerto Escondido, or “Hidden Port”, began as a sleepy Mexican fishing village along the Oaxacan Emerald Coast. Even into the 1970’s the town only had 400 inhabitants. Despite a growing numbers of tourists, the area still possesses a laid back charm and distinctly Mexican culture while offering every amenity to a discerning traveler.

52 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

There are many beaches and coves in the area but the one that attracts the most attention is Playa Zicatela, known as the Mexican Pipeline, to the south of the main part of town. Classed as one of the ten best surfing areas in the world, Playa Zicatela hosts international tournaments that attract the top echelon of surfers. When you tire of watching the awe inspiring twenty foot waves and the athletes who passionately engage in their sport, there are other sea-blue and aquamarine waters in protected bays, in which you can safely swim, snorkel or try your hand at novice surfing. If the sight of exuberant flowering plants, exotic birds and flying jewels stir your heart, there are many eco-adventures at your doorstep. Mexico is a hothouse of biodiversity and there are thousands of species of birds and of butterflies or “mariposas” in the Oaxaca region. Just down the road, the Colotepec River empties into the Pacific. Most of the year the river is shallow and slow-moving and

you can wander in through the stream course and catch glimpses of a fantastic display of birdlife and butterflies. A few kms north is the Laguna de Manialtepec, a lush oasis of wildlife; a mangrove lagoon teeming with birds, iguanas, butterflies, even crocodiles. You can easily arrange boat tours and kayak rentals from knowledgeable locals (Lalo tours) and satisfy your inner wild spirit. The local university (Universidad del Mar Campus Puerto Escondido) has placed a real focus on understanding and protecting local ecology and resources and have started a 17 ha interpretive conservation area, El Jardín Botánico. The free guided tours, led by well-informed English speaking students, explain the different plants and animals and their roles in the forests and benefits they can supply to local communities, outside of simple harvests. Well worth the visit.

! 11 0 . 2 en


ec h D ree w ay. f st

ni hts ht pe nig -nig O 2 7

a nd ive g ra ece okin G R o *


According to expat Calgarians Glenda and Lorne Marr, who had traveled throughout Mexico over a twelve year period, “You simply can’t beat the weather here.. and we don’t have hurricanes. We feel very safe and the people here are the most lovely you will ever meet”. They relocated to Puerto Escondido in 2009 and have since opened a ReMax franchise. Glenda enthuses “The mercado (market) is the best I have ever seen. Fresh vegetables, fruit, seafood and more arrive daily... and the prices are incredible. Weekends are especially fun as farmers come down from mountain areas and sell unique offerings that we don’t get during the regular week. I also love the fact that I can have amazing, tropical flowers in my house for only $5. dollars!!! Another great find is buying fresh fish right from the boats on the beach at Playa Principal. This is an early morning event but you can’t beat the selection, freshness and ridiculously low prices! Our favorite 53

restaurant is “Caracoles” which is owned by a couple from Oaxaca City. I took my husband there for his birthday dinner and we had a three course GOURMET meal, including dessert, a bottle of wine and they gave us a complimentary Mezcal.. and the bill was only $320 pesos.. that is only $26 dollars... just incredible!” Puerto Escondido has a thriving ex-pat community and it’s easy to get by if your Spanish is a little rusty or even non-existent. Everyone is gracious and friendly and patient and you soon learn the basics that will keep you well fed and get you from A to B. The magic and hospitality of Puerto Escondido and the people who call it home make leaving Mexico the most difficult part of your journey. Cary Mullen, a former two-time Canadian Olympian and Word Cup Downhill Champion and now a Calgary based developer decided it was time to live somewhere warm and embarked on a multi-year quest to find the perfect place to develop his ideal beachfront resort. He is now developing Vivo Resorts, Puerto Escondido’s first beachfront community with a full suite of resort amenities offering upscale beachfront condos and villas. The majority of Vivo owners are Canadian and includes other high profile athletes from alpine skiing and NHL fame. Mullen is quick to point out the benefits of Puerto Escondido over most other resort destinations in Mexico; there is a more authentic and culturally rich experience, a better climate, and many outdoor activities, either on the beach, the ocean, the lake or in the mountains. Puerto Escondido has a thriving community and a wealth of opportunities for people of all ages. From amazing local produce, to local businesses promoting environmental care ,to the many activities available for athletes of all skill levels, the vibe of Puerto Escondido is one of laid back good times; some might even say it’s a beachfront utopia.

54 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

PPuueerrttoo EEssccoonnddiiddoo,, O Mééxxiiccoo Oaaxxaaccaa M Authentic ∙ Exciting ∙ Affordable ∙ Beautiful

Discover our endless white sandy beaches & the famous Mexican pipeline in one destination


Real Estate & Vacation Rentals

Lorne & Glenda Marr CDN # (403) 668-0102

Credit: RPM Surfer

Retire to Mexico

Cut your monthly expenses by half or buy your oceanfront dream home for what a condo in Vancouver costs. Mexico gives you back your financial freedom.

Learn more at: 55

Keith Miller’s San Miguel: A Place To Call Home By David MacLean Canadian born painter Keith Miller came under San Miguel de Allende’s intoxicating spell early on. Hearing about San Miguel’s reputation as “an artist’s town,” he embarked on an investigative journey here in 1984. “I was very attracted to the fact that people came here to live, and to practice their art,” he said, describing his immediate affection for Mexico’s colonial jewel. But then San Miguel has had a long history of being “artist friendly.” American Stirling Dickinson adopted it in the 30s, founding an art institute, and U.S. vets were welcomed here after the Second World War to take free art classes. Asked if he was smitten with “San Miguel fever” Miller replied, “I guess I didn’t realize it at the time, but clearly the town stayed in my mind, and I decided I wanted to come back here for good.” The affable Miller returned in 1990 to put down roots. In those early days real estate could be had for a song, and Miller acquired

56 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

two houses. He eventually sold one, but still lives in the other, which also houses his studio. An artist who exhibits internationally, Miller is known for his stark and beautiful still life paintings. “I’m interested in natural things from the environment, in landscapes and botanical subjects” he explained. And San Miguel’s lush countryside provides no end of inspiration. “Here in San Miguel, the countryside comes right up to the town.” A seasoned world traveler, Miller could have settled anywhere, but he chose San Miguel. “It has a Spanish speaking culture, which I was drawn to,” he explained, “but it’s not completely foreign, as there’s a large English speaking community here.” Miller is referring to the fact that San Miguel is home to more than 10,000 expatriates. And as with many Canadians, the opportunity to escape the bitter winters was also motivation. “I knew that San Miguel had this amazing climate; it’s truly perfect here.” The town is also famous for the alluring, pastel coloured homes that line its cobblestoned streets. Mysterious beauties that conceal their secrets behind glorious, iron framed doors. “I love that idea,” said Miller, “that you can go into your house, many of which are behind high walls, and you can cocoon. As an artist, having that peace and quiet is ideal.” But Miller is conscious solitude here is but one option. “I live in the Centro (centre of town),” so it’s easy for friends to visit, and for people wanting to come by to see my paintings. And there are many galleries in town, where I show my work.” But then San Miguel is anything but retiring. “It’s a big party town,” he said. And the artist’s annual soiree for patrons and

friends assembles some of San Miguel’s A-Listers, such as The House Doctor’s Ann Maurice, whom I overheard at the party I attended discussing real estate with one of Miller’s colourful guests. Miller didn’t need any prompting in extolling the positive aspects of life in San Miguel, especially for anyone thinking about retiring here. “There’s very good health care services, and the cost of living is quite moderate, compared to retiring in Canada,” he said. And while the town feels peaceful and remote, it sits in close proximity to other main centres, and to several international airports. “Mexico City is not too far from here, which has lots of great museums and galleries,” he points out. Of course, the dominant story we hear in the media about Mexico is one that consistently references violence, which irks Miller. “To me it almost feels like they’re talking about another country, because it feels very safe and secure here. And that’s very annoying to me, that this kind of talk discourages visitors from coming here.” After having lived in San Miguel for over twenty years, Miller speaks excellent Spanish which he feels had made his life more enjoyable. “To have Spanish, you can have social connections and good friends in the Spanish community.” This last point seems a key one for Miller. “After all,” he

says, “it is their community, and we’ve just adopted it. But in reality,” he muses, “It’s really us who have been so graciously adopted by them.”

Top to Bottom: El Chorro, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, watercolor Amarylis, Calla Lilies, Hibiscus For more information visit:

Real Estate & Cultural Tours to San Miguel de Allende

an Expats Paradise

Next Tour Winter 2012

Come Live in the Colonial Paradise of San Miguel

If you’ve always dreamed of owning real estate and moving to beautiful and alluring Mexico, then this haven for artists and romantics alike is the locale you’ve been searching for. 57


Mexican real estate for Canadian buyers



Villa Ensueño Ajijic Village

$1,200,000 usd 3 bed | 5.5 bath | 6671sf

Enter to find a tranquil oasis surrounded by beautiful stone walls. Each room of the house flows out to L shaped covered terrace with views to tropical garden and opulent pool and fountain wall to back of pool. Incredible space complete with BBQ area for entertaining friends and family, 2 car garage. For more information and To see more photos:


CASA JACKIE Ajijic West Village

2 bed | 2 bath | 2152sf

Great Location west village, mature gardens, “decorator details”.Enter foyer flow thru great room to covered terrace to enjoy year round outdoors with view to private garden & patio. Nice kitchen with pass thru for casual entertaining. Large master suite & walk in closet. Private from guest suite. Sunny bright den. Walk to restaurants. Lowest monthly fees approx. $65 USD. Move in condition. For more information and To see more photos: AJ IJIC CENT R AL MEXIC O TR UDIE NELS O N Your Canadian Realtor

Ajijic Central Mexico Villa mirador Ajijic La Floresta

Retire to Lake Chapala

$750,000 usd

Experience a new culture

3 bed | 3.5 bath | 5682sf

Luxury new home private and secure. Designed to embrace the moderate climate with outdoor living. Walled gardens with a pool, bbq and outdoor kitchen. Great floor plan with all rooms flowing out to huge covered terrace.

Guest floor with kitchen. Tropical landscaping is easy to maintain. For more information and To see more photos:

SPACIOUS VILLAGE HOME Villa Niños Heroes Ajijic

Affordable and safe

BRIGHT SPACIOUS “ NEW HOME” $189,000 1 bed | 2 bath | 1743sf

Wonderful walled garden, newly renovated. Perfect for year round living or snow birds. Enter off quiet street to large living room with fireplace & view thru to garden. Flow thru new addition, high boveda ceilings and french doors. Sleep alcove/study for short term guests with private bath. Newly renovated kitchen. Bright master suite with large closet & new bath, all view to garden. Walled garden with mature mangoe tree view to mountains. Off street parking, but really no need for a car. Walk to restaurants plaza shopping & malecón.

Villa el toro Ajijic, La Floresta

$525,000 3 bed | 3 bath | 4455sf

Enter courtyard flow thru grand entry with domed ceiling flow out to huge covered terrace view to pool & garden fountains add to design look. All rooms flow off terrace glamorous master suite separate private from guest suites. Gourmet kitchen custom cabinets. All move in condition. 2 car garage. For more information and To see more photos:

58 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011


Established restaurant & home in charming Sayulita, Nayarit

Well established restaurant with loyal clientele located in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Puerto Vallarta area. Recognized for its traditional fishing village charm and great surfing, Sayulita is only 35 minutes from the International Airport. With over 75k annual income and 4,500 sq.ft of restaurant and living space, this is great opportunity to live your dream in Mexico! Asking $795,000 usd

Contact: Telephone: (800) 743-2616 (329) 291-3759 (Local)

Zihuatenejo, Guerrero “Zihua” is a traditional Mexican fishing village on the Pacific Ocean with beautiful beaches, great shopping and restaurants. IxtapaZihuatenejo International Airport is only 20 minutes from the Beach.

Residences Sotavento Playa la Ropa Beach New Sotavento cannot be overlooked! Views from every room, 5 star finishings, fully furnished, whole ownership condominiums will be ready Summer 2012. Complex is located on the beach, with restaurants, spa, pool, health club, rental management program & more. Offered from: $432,000

RE/MAX Select Properties

Casa Sarah Patron Saint of Sea Gypsies Stunning views, 4,000 sf home overlooks “Zihua” Bay. Built to international standards in secure Cerro del Vigia development, just 15 minutes from town. Palapa vaulted ceiling, infinity pool, open Mexican concept, exquisite furnishings, and pizza oven too. Luxury living at it’s best! Offered at $998,000 CDN

Iain & Laurie MacDonell

Hotel Villas Marimar Playa Madera Beach Well established 18 bedrooms and 26 bathroom Beachfront Hotel between Playa la Ropa and “Zihua” town, on Playa Madera Beach. Pool, Gardens, Restaurant, Parking, AC and Internet, financials available. Owner relocating.Offered at $2,600,000 US

Iain 604.328.3929 Laurie 604.313.2025 250-4255 Arbutus Street, Vancouver BC Not intended to solicit listings already under agreement.





2 Bedroom, 2 bath, ocean view, pool, in town

3 Bedroom, 3 bath, beach front, infinity pool, north end

RENT from $1,500 usd/week

RENT from $2,625 usd/week



52 (329) 291-3122, US (310) 341-3377

52 (329) 291-3122, US (310) 341-3377






5 Bedroom, 5 ½ bath, ocean view, infinity pool, full staff

2 Bedroom, 2 bath, ocean view, pool, in town

RENT from $3,500 usd/week

RENT from $1,000 usd/week



52 (329) 291-3122, US (310) 341-3377

52 (329) 291-3122, US (310) 341-3377






3 Bedroom, 3 bath, beach front, pool, north end

3 Bedroom, 3 ½ bath, ocean view, pool with cascade, rooftop terrace

RENT from $2,100 usd/week

RENT from $1,655 usd/week



52 (329) 291-3122, US (310) 341-3377

52 (329) 291-3122, US (310) 341-3377

60 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

ALSO FOR SALE $689,000usd

Artfully uniting extraordinary homes with extraordinary lives


Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico


Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico

The Hamsayeg is an elegant, luxurious Moroccan style home located in the exclusive condominium La Punta, in Manzanillo, Mexico. Bedrooms are located below the Central Patio around the house. They are separated into six private Bungalows or Suites, each with its own terrace facing the ocean. The Hamsayeg has a distinctive style which is emphasized in the characteristic Moorish dĂŠcor of the walls, detailed carved wood and other typically Moroccan features and finishes, mostly imported from India and Spain.

This magnificent Spanish Colonial Hacienda is located on the Tequila corridor. Remarkably, it has been fully restored to its former glory. The Hacienda is 12.5 miles from Guadalajara city. The construction is from the nineteenth century, in perfect condition, two stories. The main house has 10 bedrooms, each with their own en-suite bathrooms, game hall, office, chapel, grand terrace, 10 car garage, small house for employees, warehouses, fruit tree orchard, pool area with dressing room and a deep water well reserve.



Contact: US+ (866) 444-8403 +52 (33) 36276437

Contact: US+ (866) 444-8403 +52 (33) 36276437


San Jose del Cabo, BCS, Mexico


La Paz, BCS, Mexico

The 2-3 bedroom villa-styled condominium homes at Las Gardenias take full advantage of a location that offers breathtaking views of the emerald green golf course, the sparkling Sea of Cortez and the picturesque Baja landscape. Located adjacent to the eleventh fairway of the Robert Trent Jones II designed golf course, you will not find a more completely awe-inspiring setting for vacation, retirement or investment.

Singular Private Residences for a discriminating few. Positioned mere meters from the aqua waters of Bahia La Paz, Playa de La Paz Private Residences accord new meaning to the paradise lifestyle. Each 1 to 4 bedroom residence holds superb and plentiful details, unparalleled attention to truly grand waterside living, and the ultimate luxury of space, inside and out. Where balance and passion dwell.

From US$389,000

Priced from US$1,056,000



US+ 205-277-6454

US+ 205-277-6454 +52 (624) 172-6555

+52 (624) 172-6555



Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

This unusual property includes 82 feet of beachfront, 30,805 sq. ft. of land and 4,002 sq. ft. of construction, a charming beach house decorated in a rustic Mexican style. Villa Palmas has an outdoor swimming pool with one of the best views of the beach in the area. The house has one bedroom on the first floor and two spacious master bedrooms with a shared balcony on the second floor, plus another four bathrooms.

Gorgeous, luxurious development built with the highest standards. The two levels condominium has three bedrooms, four baths, and unusual 3.25 meter high ceilings. In addition, it has a spacious family room on the first floor with glass doors. When the doors are open, the room is a fabulous space that integrates the family room with the outdoor terrace and the Jacuzzi. US$1,450,000

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

US$2,500,000 Contact:


US+ (866) 386-5356 +52 (984) 803 3026

US+ (866) 386-5356 +52 (984) 803 3026

sirmexico.c om


Each Offi c e i s In d e p e n d e n t l y O w n e d a n d O p e r a t e d 61

62 Mexi-Go! Fall 2011

Photo: Moralea Milne, San Fransisco, Nayarit, Mexico 63

Fall 2011 Mexi-Go! Magazine  
Fall 2011 Mexi-Go! Magazine  

Mexi-Go! Magazine is a quarterly Canadian publication that promotes all the many wonderful people, places and things in Mexico.