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Real Estate | Living | Travel | Retirement ISSUE 4 VOL 2 June 2012 www.mexi-go.ca

Golf in Mexico Top spots Golf properties Lorena Ochoa Golfing 365 days a year

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Travel to Mexico! Retire in Mexico! L ive y o u r tro p i c al d ream ! September 7 th & 8 th | 10-6pm Va ncouver Convention Cent re Ac ross from the Jack Poole Pl a z a Join Mexi-Go! this September 7 & 8 th at the first Mexico only travel and business expo in Vancouver, BC. Held during MexicoFest, the Mexi-Go! Travel & Trade Expo features 2 days of educational seminars, cultural events, exhibitors and much more...

O pen to the p u b l i c ! Only $5/day admission with a percentage of proceeds donated to support the Lorena Ochoa Foundation to educate children in Mexico. Pre -Register online for your free two-day pass.

mexi-goexpo.com

SEMINARS - OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

In partnership with:

Living in Mexico, Retiring to Mexico, Visas, Opening a business in Mexico, Healthcare, Buying Real Estate, Travel Tips, Destination Weddings, Mexican Cooking Demonstrations, Travel deals, Prizes, Tequila, live music and more... all while you browse our exhibitors to learn more about what this amazing countr y holds for you!

MexicoFest

T R AV E L

RETIREMENT

INVESTMENT

R E A L E S TAT E


Editor-in-Chief

Madeline Milne

Editor

Moralea Milne

CREATIVE

Art Director

Madeline Milne

Brad Hopwood

Contributors

Joel Hansen

Madeline Milne

James Thorsell

Linda Neil

Madeline milne Editor-in-Chief, Art Director

MORALEA MILNE Editor

Rossana Ascencio Food Contributor

Madeline’s expertise in real

Moralea lives in Metchosin BC

Rossana has over ten years of ex-

estate marketing and passion

where she is an elected council-

perience promoting and actively

for life in Mexico is the founda-

lor, respected volunteer for

sharing the culinary traditions

Rosanna Ascencio

tion on which Mexi-Go! is built.

local environmental groups and

of Mexico. She has owned an

Michele Kinnon

Living full time in Mexico brings

frequent contributor to the local

award-winning restaurant, deliv-

experience and real life skills

paper. When the rain and wind

ers workshops, conferences,

Anita Draycott

to the creative process. When

get to be too much, Moralea

and cooking classes, is a regular

Victoria Pratt

she’s not exploring new parts of

heads to Mexico, where she

guest on radio and TV shows,

Mexico, you can find Madeline

finds pleasure in the unique flora

and she continues to conquer

Gabriel Jones

under her palapa, poolside, with

and fauna, the beaches and the

palates with her company,

Moralea Milne

a good book and her posse of

highlands and in the warmth and

Encanto Culinary services. What

Chihuahuas. She divides her time

comfort of the Mexican culture,

she enjoys most is sharing the

Photography

Barb Nettleton

between Vancouver, BC and

food and people.

cultural and culinary wealth of

Joel Hansen

Madeline Milne

Moralea Milne

her native country, Mexico.

Mexico.

Distribution

Maxwell Hansen-Milne

Advertising AND SALES Garth Watson | Sales Director garth@mexi-go.ca Gabriel Jones | Riviera Nayarit gabriel@mexi-go.ca Anita Draycott Contributor

James Thorsell Contributor

Joel Hansen Contributor

Anita has been a Toronto-

Jim started his work in

Living in Mexico has provided

based journalist, editor and

conservation as a ranger in Banff

Joel with the opportunity to

photographer for more than

National Park. Since then he has

golf badly and surf even worse,

twenty-five years. Her award-

travelled to almost 800 parks and

but he gets to do it all with his

winning travel articles regularly

reserves in over 100 countries.

family, while living in the country

appear in such publications

He spent four years working in

he loves. His ten year old son’s

as Zoomer, Doctor’s Review,

East Africa then twenty-two years

smug ability to learn Spanish

Sunwing in-flight magazine

working out of Geneva at the

has encouraged him to learn the

and Luxury Golf & Travel. Her

HQ of the International Union

language, and he continues to

column, Fairways to Heaven,

for Conservation of Nature. He

struggle towards that modest

appears bimonthly in www.

admits to playing the urban

goal.

travelindustrytoday.com.

sports of tennis and golf but still

A self-confessed golf addict, she

keeps a horse, a mountain bike

has chased dimpled white balls

and a canoe close by in his dual

over six continents.

homes of Banff and Ajijic.

4 Mexi-Go! June 2012

Sandra Reed | Yucatan & Riviera Maya sandra@mexi-go.ca Joel Hansen | Business Development joel@mexi-go.ca MARKETING AND PR Veronica Rivas

veronica@mexi-go.ca

CONTACT US! info@mexi-go.ca www.facebook.com/mexi-goproperties www.twitter.com/mexigoproperty www.twitter.com/mexigomag www.mexi-go.ca Mexi-Go! is published by Mexi-Go Properties Inc. Copyright (2012)


Upcoming Events! Across Mexico there are exciting cultural, travel, food and investment events that are worth a visit. Here are some of our top picks!

Fiestas de la Vendimia August 2-19,2012 The 22nd Annual Wine festival takes place in Ensenada, Baja For nearly three weeks every August, wine aficionados will attend wine tastings, savor gourmet meals and attend workshops and concerts. The two century long wine tradition of the region is the focus of this event. The Guadalupe Valley is just one of seven valleys between Ensenada and Tecate that are dedicated to the cultivation of grapes. The valleys produce 90% of all Mexican wines. It’s a time for celebration and‌ wine tasting!

Mariachi and Charreria festival Aug 29-sept 9, 2012 Serenading mariachis and charros (cowboys) scattered across Mexico and the world return to the motherland, Jalisco state, for the annual Guadalajara International Mariachi & Rodeo Festival. Admire their typical wide-brimmed hats and fine regalia at concerts, parades and contests. The National Charro Championship reveals Mexican cowboy skills such as cattle herding and astonishing lasso feats.

Discover CENTRAL MEXICO Affordable Luxury Homes | Tropical Gardens Perfect Climate | Romantic Village Charm Come Join 10,000 Canadians Who Make Ajijic Their Home Trudie Nelson - Your Canadian Realtor

Trudieannenelson@yahoo.ca www.eagerrealty.com

Mexi-GO! Travel & Trade Expo | September 7-8, 2012 Co-produced with the Mexico Tourism Board and ProMexico, this event will bring the best of Mexico to Canada in a two-day event at the Vancouver Convention Centre. A perfect opportunity to learn more about travel destinations, business opportunities, real estate, culture, food and music. More information and details at www.mexi-goexpo.com

Cervantino International Festival October 3-21, 2012 Often claimed as the most important cultural event in Mexico, the Cervantino International Festival in Guanajuato features avantgarde artistic performances and exhibitions of fine, classic and modern art. Countries from around the world are represented, with over two thousand national and international artists. You will find classical music and electronic rhythms, along with folkloric and contemporary dance, as well as plays and multimedia shows. Cinema, visual arts, workshops and activities for the kids can also be enjoyed throughout the festival. www.guanajuato.travel/Cervantino

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Real estate

TRAVEL

Gourmet Golf Punta Mita Golf and Gourmet event brings all your favourites under one luxurious beach umbrella.

16 Educating your children in Mexico III Michele Kinnon discusses learning a new language in her four-part series on educating children in Mexico.

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21 21 Los Guachimontones Not known for its pyramids, Jalisco actually has an impressive number of archeological sites including the 2500 year-old Guachimontones Pyramids.

Living

RETIREMENT

24 The Nature of Mexico With its many landscapes, Mexico has some of the richest diversity of flora and fauna in the world.

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24

Bucerias: A Canadian Enclave This beachfront village, just north of Puerto Vallarta attracts Canadians year-round.


34

Real estate

TRAVEL

Natural Sanctuary Perhaps one of the best eco-hotels in Mexico, Hotelito manages to marry luxury and no electricity into a sensational vacation.

40 Interview with Lorena Ochoa Mexico’s golf darling and one of the top golfers in the world, Lorena Ochoa shares some insight with us.

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34 42 Mexi-Golf! Join golf and travel writer Anita Draycott as she reviews her top golf picks for playing in Mexico.

living

retirement

46 Fore! Sale From the very expensive to the very affordable, Mexico has plenty of golf properties available for sale.

52 Three days a week

40

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It’s a tough life but apparently someone has to do it. Join these avid golfers in a look at the challenges they face trying to play three days a week.


Mexi-Go! Magazine is available online, all day, everyday. Now publishied online every month, you can enjoy Mexi-Go! Magazine more often! Join us at mexi-go.ca for even more information about Canadians in Mexico, travel destinations, great hotels, activities, festivals and more.

Sign up online for our monthly newsletter and have Mexi-Go! delivered to your inbox each month - free of charge!

MEXI-GO! ONLINE MAGAZINE @ www.mexi-go.ca www.mexi-go.ca 9


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 it’s been? Share your wisdom with us! By all means - send us an email - we’d love to hear from you! Magazine@Mexi-Go.ca

Hola! FORE! Golf is often touted as Canadian’s favourite pastime - more than hockey, downhill skiing and lacrosse. There are an average of 80,000,000 rounds of golf played every year in Canada and over $1.7 billion spent on golf vacations. We may watch more hockey and pine for a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, but it’s golf that gets us outdoors and whacking the ball across the fairway.

Mexico boasts some of the world’s most prestigious golf courses and some of the world’s best golfers. With well over one hundred courses around this country, there is something for everyone; desert, ocean, mountain, designer, executive, exclusive and casual. Top designers such as Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf and Robert Trent Jones Jr. have created many of these world class courses.

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Right now, you’re not likely thinking about escaping the cold and heading south to Mexico, but I bet many of you are polishing your clubs and getting ready for a summer on the green. Soon enough the cold winds will blow and your thoughts will turn to your winter travel options. For many, this will involve planning your next golf vacation.

Consider this, the Third Annual Punta Mita Gourmet and Golf Classic will provide the dedicated golfers in your family with ample course challenges while the rest of the brood indulges in a little rest and relaxation. Enjoy the spa and gourmet food and wines in some of the most exclusive resorts on the Pacific. With packages at both the Four Seasons Punta Mita and the St. Regis Punta Mita, everyone is going to go home thoroughly pampered and pleased.

COMING SOON! This June/July we will relaunch our real estate listing and rentals site with information on travel, real estate and living in Mexico. Stay tuned!

Summers in Canada are the best! Enjoy your time outdoors, and when the cool winds start to blow, consider that every year Mexico becomes a more popular vacation destination for over 1.6 million Canadians. Start planning your winter holidays now and you will be able to look forward to a warm and fun-filled respite this coming winter.

www.mexi-go.ca

Safe travels, Madeline editor@mexi-go.ca

TRAVEL & TRADE EXPO

SUBSCRIBE TODAY Love the feel of paper in your hands? The ease of reading a magazine on your deck? Then subscribe to Mexi-Go! Magazine today and enjoy the real thing!

$19.95 / 4 issues

10 Mexi-Go! June 2012

September 7&8 Vancouver BC Join us in Vancouver this fall for a 2 day expo that brings you information on Mexico for travel, for retirement and for investment. More information at: www.mexi-goexpo.com


A Passion for Butterflies

O

ne of the most pleasant aspects of retirement is finding you now have the leisure to explore and enjoy new interests. The last few years I have been visiting Mexico more and more often. One of my children has settled there, friends are vacationing and buying property in different areas of Mexico and I find the culture, climate and biodiversity both intriguing and relaxing. One of the passions I indulge on every possible occasion (along with chocolate…) is the thrilling hunt to find moth and butterfly species; whether new, or familiar favourites, they all bring delight! Mexico has a huge diversity of butterflies, at least 1,750 species can be found there. From the lowlands to the mountaintops, from the plains to the mangroves, there are always some butterflies on the prowl. Of course you will find more species at certain times of the year, when nectar-laden flowers reach peak abundance. Butterflies are not only beautiful flying jewels (the iridescent blues of a Two-barred Flasher or the complex and vibrant patterning of a Tanmark will take your breath away), but they also exhibit fascinating strategies for survival. Hairstreaks have a threadlike tail that can be mistaken for the butterfly’s antennae. A hungry bird will often notice the tail first and take a bite, which, if luck is with the butterfly, will only damage the wings. I’ve seen countless butterflies with bits and pieces missing, but they are still able to pursue their primary focus, to find a mate. The large “eyes” that can be found on Buckeyes and Owlets (and many moths) are another example of false targets.

Artilce and photos by Moralea Milne

Some butterflies use colouration as camouflage, the green of a Malachite can be difficult to find amid the lush subtropical forest it inhabits, while the shape and subtle shades of a Leafwing make it almost indistinguishable from a dead leaf. Caterpillars of Viceroy and Swallowtail butterflies resemble bird droppings at some point in their development. Mimicry is another form of protection. Sporting similar colours to a Monarch, which is poisonous, can deceive a predator into thinking that you, too, are not worth the risk of indigestion. Did you know that butterflies will sip from almost any flower that supplies nectar, but their caterpillar young feed only on very specific plants? Many people are delighted by butterflies and grow flowers that attract them into their gardens. However, if you don’t know which foods nourish the caterpillars (passionflowers for Zebra Heliconians and Gulf Fritillaries), you might inadvertently be removing and killing their juvenile stage. Learning the life histories of any species gives me a greater understanding of their needs and the importance of preserving their habitat. Protecting natural habitat insures that food plants for all stages of their butterfly lives are available and we can continue to be enchanted at their flamboyant or cryptic forms far into the future. If you’re interested in identifying Mexican butterflies, there is a great field guide available for sale online: A Swift Guide to Butterflies of Mexico and Central America by Jeffrey Glassberg at sunstreakbooks.com They also offer guided butterfly tours; the next one is to Palenque, Chiapas from August 4 –13, 2012. sunstreaktours.com

www.mexi-go.ca 11


Gourmet Golf Punta Mita Gourmet and Golf II By Madeline Milne Photos by Joel Hansen Imagine this: Vueve Cliquot champagne, a personal butler, a selection of international world class chefs cooking each meal, spa treatments, breezy day beds along a pristine white sand beach, championship golf, wines from Argentina and a (nearly) all-night tequila bar… now imagine you get to do and have all this uninterrupted for four days and three nights in one of Mexico’s most exclusive tropical resorts. The Punta Mita Gourmet and Golf Classic is enthusiastically embraced by the locals and international visitors and is open to golfers and non-golfers alike. Many couples come with one spending the day on the course and the other laying poolside. As we pulled up to the St. Regis Punta Mita five-star diamond resort, we knew we were in for luxury pampering in this tropical paradise. The resort is slightly reminiscent of a Tuscany villa but set overlooking a pristine, white sand bay with a shoal of small islands providing a calm break from the endless Pacific Ocean. Immediately welcomed with a choice of a margarita or a flute of Vueve Cliquot, we sipped the champagne and began to shake off the dust and settle into a life of leisure. The Punta Mita Gourmet and Golf Classic is everything you love under one beach umbrella in a four-day event that brings together the best in food, wine and golf and then takes it to the next level by providing five-diamond luxury accommodations in one of Mexico’s most exclusive settings. You have the option to lay your head at the prestigious Four Seasons or the luxurious St. Regis Resort. For the golfer there are two days of world-class golf played on the famed Pacifico and Bahia courses, both designed by the esteemed Jack Nicklaus. For the gourmet there are over twenty-one local and international world-class chefs flown in for your dining pleasure. Nearly every meal during the event is uniquely prepared and complemented with wines primarily from Argentina but also Mexico and other countries of Latin America. As a golfer you don’t mind the early mornings. The 9am tee time for two-person best ball doesn’t leave much time to enjoy the daily buffet breakfast but all is forgiven with mimosas, pastries and Nespresso cof-

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fee on the course. Many of the event sponsors also had sponsored holes along the course displaying a much-needed fix of Glenmorangie Whisky, Belvedere Vodka, Corona and Minerva, an excellent micro brew from Guadalajara. For the non-golfer, time is not your enemy. A late rise, leisurely oceanfront buffet breakfast and a day spent lounging poolside, at the spa or exploring the beach makes each day more languid than the next. Your toughest decisions are where to make lunch and dinner reservations and which spa treatment to enjoy first. The golf tournament is spread over two days with each team having a chance to play on both the Bahia and Pacifico courses. The shotgun start to the Team Scramble Tournament kicked off the first day of the Punta Mita Cup. Aside from the many sponsored holes and delicious snacks prepared along the way, there were four chances to win an Audi. Unfortunately close was not good enough for the hole-in-one chance and no one drove away with a new sports car this weekend. After a long morning of doing deliciously nothing and excited about a meal reminiscent of back home, we joined Canadian Executive Chef, Bernard Casavant at the Sea Breeze Restaurant for his Wine Country Cuisine themed lunch. Chef Bernard hails from Wild Apple at Manteo Resort in Kelowna BC. The meal was prepared perfectly, served impeccably and complemented with generous pours of wines from Hispacun and more champagne.


St. Regis Punta Mita, Mexico

That evening we enjoyed an Australian themed meal from Chef Andrew Ormsby who was trained in Australia but now calls Dallas home. His dinner was well presented and stayed on course with a Victorian Kangaroo pie, served with a Portobello Mushroom and Shiraz reduction. The lamb was grilled to perfection, with my husband asking for a second helping. The featured wines were from ‘down under’ Mexico – as in Argentina. Saturday was more golf and more poolside lounging with a little bit of spa time thrown in for variation. That evening found us enjoying the festivities at the Travel & Leisure Gala Dinner at the Four Seasons Resort where many of the invited chefs created wonderful small plates, including freshly caught tuna sashimi, Mexican tortas of pulled pork and the crowd favourite - grilled octopus. There were guest winemakers, mescal, Minerva beer and Don Fuliano tequila to wash it all down. Not one to let a party die, we headed back to the St. Regis for a late night, enjoying the quality tequilas of Don Julio at the aptly named, Don Julio Bar. The next morning, with the aid of a couple Tylenols, we enjoyed a stunning buffet breakfast that offered everything from baron of beef to massive grilled prawns, a pasta bar, an omelette bar, a fruit bar and deserts that would make you cry. As a lover of the breakfast buffet, I now know to save myself for this meal next year.

Speaking of next year, the third annual Punta Mita Gourmet and Golf classic has been announced for April 25-28, 2013. For the golfer that has been longing to play Pacifico and Bahia, this event offers everything you need to add a check mark on your Punta Mita bucket list. The location, the courses, the food and wine and the level of service you will enjoy is unsurpassed and the sticker price for this event is not as steep as you’d imagine. Important to note that residents of Punta Mita and surrounding areas can enjoy packages that include the dining and the golf options without the cost of accommodations. For about $1400usd/person you will enjoy: Three nights accommodation including daily breakfast. Participation in 36 holes of The Punta Mita Golf Cup, or alternatively, two sixty minute massages per stay for the non golfers.

Participation in all event activities with renowned Chefs, Sommeliers and Tequila Masters Give aways & amenities during the event

puntamitagourmetgolf.com

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St. Regis Punta Mita offers five-star spa treaments

In the Midst of a Spa Boom Mexico is rumoured to have more spas than any other country, from hole-in-the-walls to the most exclusive resort spas imaginable. You can experience it all in Mexico.

E

very day more travelers leave behind their routines to soak up the warm Mexican sun and escape the stress of big city life. Outpacing this growth are the number of spas opening their doors to meet the demands of visitors seeking alternative solutions to looking and feeling their best. Often voted in the top ten for best spas and resorts in the world, Mexico offers travelers and residents alike a wealth of options, but it is pertinent to remember that not all spas are created equal. “Due to unprecedented demand for spa treatments of all kinds, we find ourselves in the midst of a spa bubble. North Americans have recently caught on to what other countries have been doing for years, indulging in a two-week vacation to pamper themselves and heal from inside out,” said Paulene McNair, a registered nurse and Toronto native. But how does one decide on the right spa? And what is the difference between the several types of spas there are to choose from, ranging from a day spa to the medical spa? Spas in Mexico not only offer the typical services of face masks, massages and manicures but also New Age and folklore remedies including aromatherapy and herbal baths, used by the Mayans, as well as advanced medical services such as biocell treatments. “Health spa is an outdated term. In response to growing demand, there are now destination spas, resort spas, day spas, holistic spas, wellness spas, medi-spas, and medical spas,” said Sharon Sedgwick, long time spa consultant and current owner of Spa Itza in Playa del Carmen. “Medi-spas and Medical Spas have licensed physicians to undertake procedures whereas a wellness spa is in the German tradition of spas,” she explained. There is a very thin line separating the various spas and types of services offered. “They all offer unique services and receive clients who swear by the treatments. But this is simply to pinpoint a potentially dangerous

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“In response to growing demand, there are now destination spas, resort spas, day spas, holistic spas, wellness spas, medi-spas, and medical spas,” ~ Sharon Sedgwick, spa consultant and owner of Spa Itza in Playa del carmen.

trend with demands for quality spa treatments – is there a parallel supply of qualified, experienced practitioners to provide these therapies?” McNair inquired. Needless to say, spa hunters must know about the treatments in which they are interested and recognize who are licensed practitioners capable of providing the correct services. The other possibility is being duped out of your money or worse, receiving a potentially harmful treatment from an unqualified practitioner. Spa consumers should take more precautions when receiving medical and experimental treatments at spas. Services like botox, intravenous vitamins and bio-cell treatments are more frequently offered in medispas or medical spas but could be provided in any type of spa adopting a new and catchy title. The jargon describing the different types of treatment can be confusing yet denote different levels of care. For example, a cosmetology refers to the use of creams and products such as a hydrating mask to enhance the exterior beauty of skin. A cosmeceutical, on the other hand, are medicines that contain active pharmaceutical ingredients (API’s) that should be prescribed by licensed physicians. While the former primarily involves the outer layers of skin, the latter impacts the deeper layers. There are many therapies and medicines available in Mexico that either have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration or are not practiced on a widespread basis. One such treatment offered at Mexican spas (for a much cheaper price than in the United States) is mesotherapy. This involves micro injections of conventional or homeopathic medicines into the middle layers of the skin to treat a variety of conditions. Some caveats when undertaking this treatment are to ensure that the physician inform you of all the drugs and medical technology which have been approved by the FDA. Also the practitioner should have proper accreditation. Lastly, you should choose a physician that you feel you can trust. Dr. Carlos Baldwin, who practices mesotherapy and bio-cell techniques, explained the new paradigm in patient-physician relations that he practices: “The patient has to commit to you, the doctor, to be a partner in a life-long project.” Baldwin, who is a general practitioner, and member of the Mexican Society of Aesthetic Medicine and the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, stresses the shift in mentality from fix-it to preventative medicine. Travelers to Mexico can come to relax for a few weeks and enjoy economical spa treatments or even start off a new health trajectory. The important thing is to understand the treatments offered and to trust those offering them.

Resorts & Spas in Mexico Capella Pedegral (Los Cabos; www.capellacabo.com) and its sister resort Capella Ixtapa, tied for the #1 spa in the 2012 Reader’s Poll of Conde Nast Traveler for Mexico and Central America. Both spas received perfect scores for treatments, staff, and facility categories, repeating their 2011 achievements. Hotel Ixtapan Spa & Golf Resort (Ixtapan; www.hotelixtapan. com): In operation since 1939, this classic, traditional spa resort has beautiful grounds, excellent golf and great food. It’s also close to the region’s renowned thermal baths. Mandara Spa at the One & Only Palmilla Resort (Los Cabos; www.palmilla.oneandonlyresorts.com) is a 22,000 square foot spa that spans six buildings. It’s nestled in the Baja landscape and offers treatments that combine Mexican, Asian and global healing rituals. Head here for rejuvenating facials, customized body wraps and deeply relaxing massages. Spa Cielo (Los Cabos; www.spa-cielo.com) is a true medical spa, that blends art and science to make patients look & feel better than they ever thought possible, using lasers, microdemabrasion, fillers and other non-invasive techniques. Rancho La Puerta (Baja Norte; www.rancholapuerta.com): One of Mexico’s best-known spas, Rancho La Puerta is a spa-vacation original, having opened its doors in 1940. A steady stream of guests return for the constantly expanding facilities, spa services, and outdoor opportunities. Misión Del Sol Resort & Spa (Cuernavaca; www.misiondelsol. com): This may be Mexico’s finest spa resort, with every architectural detail designed to soothe body and pamper your senses - from meditation rooms and reflexology showers to magnets under your mattress. This full-service spa, with delicious vegetarian cuisine, is a heavenly base for personal renewal. Paradise Village (Nuevo Vallarta; www.paradisevillage.com): Actively promoting the beneficial properties of indigenous Mexican spa therapies and natural treatments in an affordable but professional spa make this one of the top all-around spas in Mexico, plus there’s golf for the non-spa enthusiast. Le Méridien Cancún Resort & Spa (Cancún; www.meridiencancun.com.mx): The Spa del Mar is a state-of-the-art, 1,400-sq.-m (15,069-sq.-ft.) facility bordering the brilliant Caribbean. It has the most complete spa in the area, with inhalation rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, cold plunges, Swiss showers, a cascading waterfall whirlpool, and fourteen treatment rooms. The Tides Riviera Maya (north of Playa del Carmen; www.tidesrivieramaya.com): Private, this small, secluded resort offers extraordinary personal service -- some villas come with a butler on call -- and spa treatments. Rooms are spread throughout the jungle, and there’s a beautiful seaside pool and restaurant.

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Educating your Children in Mexico Part 3 BY Michele Kinnon

timidating and frustrating for new parents who do not yet speak the language. Despite this significant barrier, make the effort to attend all meetings and events planned at the school. Chances are, you will find fellow Canadian or other expat families to connect with who can help you understand and navigate your way through the first few months. They will be able to introduce you to other parents, thus helping you build a social network in your new hometown. Be sure your school provides you with a contact list for all the class parents. Remember, your child’s homework assignments will be in Spanish. Until you have a firm grasp of the language you will need to reach out to other parents for help! Get social. Social media that is. Mexico is very savvy when it comes to social networking and this can be a great tool for you as you start your new life in Mexico. Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn … everyone seems to be connecting online both personally and professionally.

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ou have chosen a school and your children are enrolled. Now what? How do you best support their efforts? If your children are very young and you plan on living in Mexico for a few years or longer, they will have no trouble at all picking up Spanish and making friends. While you are struggling to conjugate verbs and roll your ‘r’s, your children will be speaking fluently in no time. Your role in this process is to make the transition as smooth as possible for your children.

Hablas espanol? Chances are that you, like your offspring, are just beginning to learn Spanish. As fun as it may seem, resist the temptation to try out your new Spanish with them in the home. Unless your Spanish is perfect, they will be better off listening to and imitating native Spanish speakers at school. Your best efforts will be spent maintaining you mother language. While it is a priority that your young students become fluent in the language of their new home country it is equally important that they remain proficient in their own native tongue. Through the school administration and parent groups you can also seek out fellow French or English speaking families with whom to connect and reinforce your children’s native language skills outside of the classroom. Older children will have some catching up to do and may find it more difficult to acquire new language skills. Some children are particularly resistant to speaking Spanish long after they have begun to understand the language. Be patient and don’t push. Make sure the school you choose has accommodations in place to “regularize” foreign students either in the classroom setting or after school. If no such groups are available at the school, they will surely be able to recommend a tutor to work with your child to learn the language and complete homework assignments. Get involved at your children’s school. Regardless of how much English is spoken at the school, all group meetings and conferences will most likely be held in Spanish. This can be very in-

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Facebook in particular may be an excellent platform to connect with people not only here in your new home but also with friends and family back home. At the very least, Facebook can help you identify the parents of your child’s friends and classmates. You are going to be meeting a lot of new people and you will need all the help you can get to keep them all straight. Many schools have created groups on Facebook that are used to efficiently disseminate notices and important grade specific information to families and tutors. Parent and administrators


utilize these groups to keep everyone up to date on upcoming meetings, evaluations, sporting events and festivals, both in and out of school. Families can use these groups to get to know one another and strengthen the sense of school community. If your children are the appropriate age, they may find Facebook is a great way to solidify new friendships and seek out help for their homework assignments. Children planning to return to their home country will be able to keep up with their friends back home, making the transition back into their old life in Canada much easier. Maintain some consistency. As we have mentioned, very young children moving to Mexico with their families will have no trouble adjusting to their new life and a new language. Older children, with established friends and favorite activities, will need more of your support and guidance as they rebuild their life in a new place. Every effort should be made to ensure that they continue to pursue the activities that they enjoyed back home in Canada. If your daughter loves horses, find a nearby stable and sign her up in a group lesson. If your son plays the violin, find a teacher as quickly as possible and continue his training. If your children are into hockey…well, that requires a bit more creativity. Look into other team sports like soccer or even American football. Many metropolitan areas have sports facilities with tracks for cyclists and in-line skaters. Keep an open mind and encourage your children to do so as well. They might not find exactly what they are hoping for but perhaps they will develop another interest along the way. However you choose to educate you children in Mexico, keep in mind that you can always change your mind. You may decide to

home-school at first and then transition into a regular school setting. You may discover that your child cannot flourish in a regular classroom yet excels in an online education program. After a year or two in your new location, a new school may open up that you feel surpasses all the options you had previously considered. You may find that no one school fits the unique needs of each of your children and end up enrolling them in different schools! Realistically, there is no one educational model that is right for all students. We can only hope to find the best fit for each of our children. Children are wonderful, resilient creatures and given the right tools and a loving support system will thrive in almost any situation. In the end, it shouldn’t be the soccer stadium, the library or the computer science lab that sells you on a school. It should be the sense of school community and how welcome you feel by the administrators, the teachers and the other families. If your child is unhappy and feels unwelcome, all the technology and athletic facilities in the world won’t make them a successful student. Chose a school that feels right to you and your child, even if it is missing some of the bells and whistles you were hoping for and you will increase your chances for a smooth transition into your new home in Mexico. ABOUT Michele KINNON Michele moved to Playa del Carmen in 2004 with her husband Rob and their young children. She writes a local interest blog about living in Playa del Carmen, raising and educating children in Mexico, regional community concerns and issues, and Playa del Carmen real estate opportunities.

www.LifesaBeachBlog.com

MORE MEXICO DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR Enjoy your copy of Mexi-Go! Magazine delivered directly to your door 4x’s a year! For only $19.95 a year we will send you a copy of Mexi-Go! Visit us online to subscribe today. www.mexi-go.ca Open to Canadian addresses only.Please add shipping and taxes.

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Elana enjoying the tropical life in Nuevo Vallarta!

The entrepreneur life By Darren Ballegeer

E

ntrepreneurship is the best passport to living abroad, at least for people who still have the need or desire to work. My wife Elena and I have lived as business owners in several countries and it has been our business independence that has enabled a lifestyle of great freedom. We can run our businesses from wherever we are in the world, though we don’t move as often as you might imagine.

I left my home country (Canada) in 1999 for a job in California’s Silicon Valley and I started my first business a few years later. Elena and I are now living in Mexico, which has been a wonderful home base for running our businesses while pursuing new projects. Mexico has been a great solution for us because it is close to our clients in the U.S., the cost of living is relatively low, and there are many business opportunities to pursue here in a strong economy with a rapidly growing middle class. And flights to Europe or Asia are just as easy from here when we have the opportunity to do more lifestyle research. Though we work full time, we take every opportunity to explore Mexico. We have been enchanted by rural mountain towns like Mascota and

Mexi-Go! Magazine

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www.mexi-go.ca 18 Mexi-Go! June 2012

Talpa, and remote beach towns like Mayto and Tehuamixtle. We have savored the superior street food of Mexico City and enjoyed beers and tequila in the city’s historic cantinas. We’ve danced in the streets and nightclubs of Puerto Vallarta and beach towns like Bucerias. We’ve watched the surfers and hippie lifestylers in Sayulita and San Pancho. We’ve gone swimming with dolphins, rescued sea turtles, fed wild crocodiles, and snorkeled with stinging jellyfish. Since we have done much of our exploring here while working, it’s fortunate that Mexico has widespread internet access, even in many small towns. Surprisingly, great internet access was not the reality during our three month trip in Southern Europe last year. Internet access is especially vital for us because we produce and host an internet radio show, Expat Entrepreneurs, on the Overseas Radio Network (www.overseasradio. com). Among the many expat entrepreneurs we have had as guests on the show is Madeline Milne, Editor-in-Chief of Mexi-Go! magazine. She will be on our show again on June 28th, 2012 to discuss life and business in Mexico, as well as the Mexi-Go! Travel & Trade Expo in Vancouver this September. Please check the Overseas Radio website for show details.

Darren and his wife Elena have been living the expat entrepreneur lifestyle since 2003 and they have managed their businesses from several countries in North America and Europe. Through their main business, Vision Marketing (www.visionmarcom.com), Darren and Elena help businesses increase sales while minimizing marketing costs. They have worked with Apple, Chevron, Merck, Coldwell Banker and many small businesses. They are also co-owners of Visión Hispana Newspaper (www. VisionHispanaUSA.com), and they host the Expat Entrepreneurs show on the Overseas Radio Network (www.overseasradio.com)

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The Bank Trust for ownership of real property in Mexico Written by Linda Neil, www.lindaneil.com

WHAT is The Fideicomiso? Article 27 of the Constitution of the Republic of Mexico prohibits foreign ownership of property located within thirty miles of any coastline or sixty miles of either border. This is referred to as the restricted zone. In 1973, recognizing that many Canadians and Americans would enjoy having the rights of ownership, and bring needed dollars to the country, President Echeverria approved the bank trust, fideicomiso, form of ownership, which is available to non-Mexicans. This regulation was further expanded in the Foreign Investment Law of 1989. Properties located within the prohibited zone, which includes the entire Baja Peninsula, may be acquired by a foreigner through a Mexican bank trust naming the buyer of the property as the beneficiary of the trust. Naked title is placed in the name of the bank

selected by the buyer, as his trustee. The bank administers the property according to the instructions of the buyer/beneficiary. The buyer/beneficiary has full ownership rights: he may build on the property, tear down existing buildings, modify them, rent, lease or sell at anytime conforming only to the general laws of the country established for all persons. The term of the trust is fifty years and can be renewed for additional fifty year periods, after which it must be transferred to “one entitled to hold property� in Mexico. In other words, title to the property may rest in one beneficiary indefinitely, provided that it is renewed within the terms established by the law. The procedure for establishing the fideicomiso, the bank trust, is as follows – a permit must be obtained from the Secretary of Foreign Relations which includes a description of the property to be placed in trust, the use for which it is intended and personal data on each of the beneficiaries. Once granted, the bank draws up the trust document which is recorded in the municipality where the property is located. The costs for the permit to establish and register the bank trust are currently about $2,000 (US) and annual administration fees are generally $350 to $700 (US) per annum. There are additional closing costs associated with the purchase of property in Mexico. It is wise to request a written estimate prior to beginning the transfer process.

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BUSINESS TIPS

Mexico, Brics and Beyond Consulting firms and financial institutions have researched and categorized the economies they think will lead global development in the decades to come. by María Cristina Rosas *

BRICS have been hogging the conversation in international diplomatic and financial circles for almost a decade now. But just what are they all about? The term-an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa– was coined in 2001 by Jim O’Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs. In his report, “Building Better Global Economic BRICS,” O’Neill projected that by 2050, Brazil, Russia, India and China, South Africa wasn’t initially included– would be international actors. The idea, he says, came to him in the wake of 9/11, which revealed the vulnerablity of the US. The tragic events of that day drove home the fact that global challenges cannot be met without the cooperation of other countries. In another study, “Dreaming with BRICS: The Path to 2050”, published in 2003, Goldman Sachs reaffirmed its projections that Brazil, Russia, India and China will be the powerhouses of the global economy by 2050. To silence critics of such long term forecasts, the study clearly states that these estimates are based on the premise that the countries in question will maintain rates of economic development similar to those they have been posting to date, but that failure to implement policies to support growth could result in a completely different scenario. Neither Mexico nor South Korea were considered in Goldman Sachs’ analysis because they were more developed than Brazil, Russia, India and China. However, in 2005, the firm compiled a category called Next 11 or N-11, which includes another clutch of developing nations –Bangladesh, South Korea, Egypt, the Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey and Vietnam– that could potentially play a major role in the global economy in coming years, albeit to a lesser extent than BRIC countries – except for Mexico and South Korea. From a country-brand viewpoint, Mexico clearly stands to benefit from the kind of attention corporations, mutual funds and the media have been paying BRIC nations. In the event Mexico chooses to join or actively promote a BRIC-like group, a great deal of thought needs to go into which of these is likely to best represent its interests, aspirations and/or image as a country. In November 2010, BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria-a multinational Spanish banking group) published a study on emerging and growth-leading economies, otherwise referred to as the EAGLE group. Large emerging economies, along with ones like Mexico and Brazil, offer countless investment opportunities. In the end, it is their performance that could prove

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crucial to beating the global financial crisis, while contributing to increased competitiveness, innovation and economic stability worldwide. Unlike BRIC, which focuses on a very small group of countries, the EAGLE approach does not limit the identification of attractive opportunities for BBVA customers. Only countries whose contribution to global economic growth are projected to surpass that of developed nations in the next ten years, will be admitted to the EAGLE erie, which, according to BBVA, includes the four original BRIC countries plus Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, South Korea, Egypt and Taiwan. Since 9/11, and especially since the outbreak of the recent international financial crisis, countries are running out of gas. Like its European allies, Washington has not been able to reactivate its domestic economy, much less the global market. Lasting solutions appear to be out of reach and unemployment has hit unprecedented levels in several EU countries. Hence the focus on so-called emerging economies –BRIC and EAGLE broods that are going from strength to strength and that are performing well under adverse circumstances. Large corporations, international consulting firms and financial and credit institutions are seeking new destinations with a brighter outlook than their more developed competitors. The British weekly “The Economist” and other influential international publications, organizations and institutions have repeatedly touted China and India as the future engines of the global economy. These large emerging economies, along with ones like Mexico and Brazil, offer countless investment opportunities. In the end, their performance could prove crucial in defeating the crisis, while contributing to increased competitiveness, innovation and economic stability worldwide. Along with its EAGLE partners, Mexico belongs to a rising generation of countries with broad-based markets and a young workforce with innovative capacities. It is these attributes, plus its strategic geographical location and ever-expanding infrastructure that have attracted the attention of BBVA and other consulting firms at a time when the fate of the global economy rests on nestling economies such as these.

Article reprinted with permission from Negocios ProMéxico, September 2011

*Professor and researcher in the Political and Social Sciences Faculty, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).


The curse of Los Guachimontones Photos and article by Joel Hansen

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ot to be denied, rising early and rousing my ten-year-old son and amateur archaeologist, we headed north from Ajijic towards Guadalajara, then west to the lakefront town of Teuchitlán, which was in the midst of a fiesta judging by all the streamers and the carnival rides in the plaza. Los Guachimontones sits about a kilometer outside of the town plaza. As we drove up to the parking lot we passed a tour bus struggling to make its way down the curving, narrow road. I was concerned about the site being overflowing with visitors but knew there was hope that we would finally see these 3500 year old pyramids. We found a few cars in the lot, and after purchasing a bottle of water for the twenty minute hike to the site, we started on our way. As we climbed up the paved path we met a couple from Guadalajara struggling to ride their bicycles while simultaneously trying to enjoy a can of Estrella and take a photo of themselves overlooking the panoramic view. My son offered to snap the picture for them and they were happy to tell us that this was their tenth visit to Los Guachimontones, and they

Los Guachimontones (wha-tchi-mon-tones) and I have a bit of a checkered past. I have attempted to visit them on at least a half dozen other occasions before I finally found success. Sometimes while in Guadalajara for business, I would simply run out of time to see them. Once I tried to see them only to have the transmission on my relatively new and ‘reliable’ car breakdown. Then during Semana Santa, bound and determined, I left Puerto Vallarta with more then twelve hours to make the four-hour journey, only to arrive at the gates well past closing and no amount of pleading or offering of “donations” was going to get me past the gatekeepers. This is more a statement on the craziness of choosing to drive anywhere in Mexico during holy week than it is of the policies of the UNESCO heritage site, but none the less, I felt like my attempts to visit Los Guachimontones were being thwarted by powers beyond my control.

often come just to have a picnic among the ruins. Leaving the happy couple we made our way to the first small pyramid which is unprepossessing and little more than a burial mound and I could see that Max was disappointed. However that quickly changed when we caught our first glimpse of the sixty-foot main pyramid and the rest of the “town”. Entering the site we came to the ball field that at one time was the largest in Mesoamerica at 110 meters in length. The game, similar to the Aztec game of Ullamaliztli, was played with a heavy round stone covered in natural rubber which players could hit with their hips. All the male skeletons found at the Teuchitlán site have broken hips. The game was played from sun up to sun down and often used as a way to settle political disputes. At the end of the day, the captain of the winning team would receive the great honor of losing his life as a sacrificial offering. Leaving the court with the thought that maybe second best was ok, we caught sight of the main pyramid.

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The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt stretches from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean coast of southern Mexico. It is composed of more than twenty volcanoes, some of which are among Mexico’s highest peaks. These impressive formations would have undoubtedly influenced the indigenous people in the region around Guachimontones.

Photos page 21 Guachimontones in the rainy season. This Page: Tequila Volcano Valley. Right Page Top: Guachimontones. The lush farming puebla of Teuchitlán. Ball court. An archeologist’s rendition of what life at Los Guachimontones would have looked like.

We walked in a clock-wise motion around the main pyramid and down the boulevards, until we had circled the entire site. I began to notice Max pushing and prodding on various rocks, so I asked what he was doing. “Looking for hidden passageways obviously” was his sarcastic answer, indicating that I was an idiot for not thinking of it first.

Despite the sophistication of the tombs and figures, the area was still widely considered a cultural backwater compared to Mexico’s Central Valley and the Yucatán. In archaeological terms, the tombs existed in a vacuum. Virtually nothing was known about the people who made them. “We planned to spend a summer, or at most two,” Phil says of their initial project in the valley. That changed when they discovered remnants of large, round buildings scattered throughout the region. Nothing like them had ever been seen before in Mexico--or anywhere else. During their first field season in 1970, the Weigands examined aerial photos of the valley. “We found hundreds of buildings shaped like concentric circles, mostly around the volcano,” Phil says. “They were everywhere!”

The Guachimontones site was only really discovered by the archaeology community recently and the story of how Phil Weigand and his wife, art historian Celia García de Weigand made the ruins of Guachimontones their life work is legendary. In 1963, Celia and Phil were on vacation in the Tequila Valley near the small town of Teuchitlán. During the trip, she discovered a number of large obsidian blades at the bottom of a natural swimming hole, (obsidian was highly valued in pre-metal cultures for its ability to hold razor-sharp edges). The find intrigued Phil, then an archaeology field assistant in Zacatecas. Together the couple located a huge obsidian workshop, where millions of blades and sharp pieces of rock were piled up to three feet deep across two acres at the foot of the extinct Tequila volcano.

A 217-acre site above the town of Teuchitlán called Los Guachimontones was especially interesting. After struggling up the side of the volcano, Phil recalls, “We finally reached a circular compound whose beauty, symmetry, and monumentality far exceeded the expectations we had formed from the aerial photographs.” Huge circular structures covered with vegetation sat on a natural platform overlooking a wide, lush valley. Though local farmers knew the site, it was virtually unknown to the outside world, archaeologists included.

Archaeologists already knew of the region’s ancient shaft tombs. Dating to the first centuries A.D., these tombs had small burial chambers at the bottom of vertical cuts up to sixty feet deep. Many had already been plundered of their valuables, including nearly life-size seated figures, at the beginning of the twentieth century.

What they had found was a ceremonial center, the heart of what the Weigands named the Teuchitlán tradition. This complex society, responsible for the area’s shaft tombs, reached its peak between 200 B.C. and A.D. 350, when more than 50,000 people may have

22 Mexi-Go! June 2012

The Weigands had discovered a new civilization, one to which they would devote the next thirty years of their lives.


lived within fifteen miles of the Tequila volcano. At its height, the Teuchitlán tradition was the cultural center of West Mexico, with unique, complex architecture and a trade network that stretched from Guatemala to Arizona. Max and I spent a number of hours exploring the ruins, and in that time we rarely spoke, only to answer his questions, “What God did they worship here?” “Mainly a god named Ehecatl” “Were there lots of bloody sacrifice like with the Aztecs?” “Not really, Ehecatl was a peaceful god, mostly they burned corn to him” I could tell that this answer didn’t satiate his video game induced ADD, so I told him about the Voladores and how each one of the round pyramids once had a pole in the center of it and the “birdmen” would tie themselves to these poles and fly around in honor of Ehecatl the god of wind. We had seen the birdmen of Veracruz ceremony before and the thought of a man flying around the top of the sixty-foot pyramid seemed to appease his need for action and the lack of sacrifices. On our return to the car we reflected on the fact that we had the site almost exclusively to ourselves and that I had finally made it to Los Guachimontones without incident.... or so I thought. Returning to the town of Teuchitlán for a much-deserved Tecate (and limonada for the boy) we watched the final of the Euro champions’ league in a packed cantina of mostly Chelsea fans. When it was discovered that I was cheering for Bayern Munich, the good natured teasing began....of course the curse wouldn’t have been complete without my team losing heartbreakingly in penalty shots and the entire bar exploding in celebration with many jubilant smirks directed towards me.

TRAVELLING TO LOS GUACHIMONTONES Going to Guachimontones, you can feel like you’re really discovering something, not just following a well-worn tourist route. By car, it is only 45 minutes west from Guadalajara. It is also easily accessible by bus although it will take twice as long, as the bus makes frequent stops. Drive out of the city along Avenida Vallarta and take the Tepic-Guadalajara highway (Hwy 15). Take the left hand turn towards the town of Tala on Revolución (Hwy 4) and drive until you see signs for the Guachimontones. Turn right and drive to Teuchitlán. Los Guachimontones are above the town. There is decent signage and ever helpful residents to direct you if you get turned around. There are also tours from downtown Guadalajara that will handle all the driving, translating and more for about $40 usd per person. www.ambientetequilero.com/tequila_valley_tour.html

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Iguana photo by Barb Nettleton


The

Nature of

Mexico Article and photos by James Thorsell


LAKE CHAPALA WETLANDS (Photo by Moralea Milne) More than Beaches It often comes as a surprise to many visitors that Mexico has much to offer to those interested in nature - oriented activities. In fact, Mexico’s natural heritage has long been overlooked by those who focus their visits on the many cultural attractions and coastal resorts for which the country is justifiably famous. As a former park naturalist and planner by profession, I’ve discovered the more natural side of this diverse country.

Arid Deserts to Humid Tropical Forests Consider the fact that Mexico has the second highest number of ecosystems in the world (next to China) and the fourth highest number of species of flora and fauna (after Brazil, Indonesia, and Columbia). This rich biodiversity is the result of two main factors: The first is Mexico’s complex topography with elevations ranging from sea level to 18,850 feet at the summit of Pico de Orizaba (the highest mountain in the continental USA is 14,500 feet). Wide variations in climate and rainfall are one result. Secondly, the geography of Mexico combines a blend of both temperate and tropical zones which support an exceptionally wide variety of habitat types from arid deserts in the north to tropical forests in the south and even boreal forests near the summits of the higher volcanic peaks. And then there are the marine environments including part of the second largest barrier reef in the world (after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef), which it shares with its neighbour to the south, Belize.

Whales to Butterflies With this mix of varying topography, climate and natural habitats one would expect a wide diversity of species. Indeed, Mexico records over 30,000 species of flowering plants (including an impressive 112 species of oak, 26 species of pine and 50 acacias), the second highest number of mammals in the world (470 species), the highest diversity of reptiles and amphibians in the world (970 species), over 1,000 species of birds and 1,750 species of butterflies, 10% of the world’s butterflies.

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Mexico also hosts substantial numbers of migratory species including fish, turtles, birds, bats, whales and butterflies. The most notable are the one billion monarch butterflies whose north/south migratory routes have their southern terminus in over-wintering colonies in the high forests of Michoacan State. At the other extreme are the growing numbers of whales (mostly Gray, Humpback, Minke and Bryde’s) found along the Pacific coast for part of the year. Of particular conservation importance are Mexico’s wetland habitats. The most important of these is the Usumacinta Delta in the states of Tabasco and Campeche which supports huge numbers of resident and migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Mangrove swamps are another especially valuable habitat (to nature lovers anyway!) and their extent in Mexico is the fifth largest in the world.

Does Anybody Care? Worldwide, natural habitats and species are being lost at a rapid rate and Mexico is no exception. Indeed, an estimated 92% of the country’s forest cover is gone and 77% of what’s left is threatened. Overgrazing in and over-harvesting of the pine/oak forest zone has resulted in major erosion, habitat loss and landscape degradation. Mexico’s record in conservation goes back to the late 1800’s when hunting regulations were introduced and the first protected areas were established. In recent years there has been a major expansion in the protected area system which has now reached 25 million hectares, a five-fold expansion since 1980. 180 parks and reserves, including four natural world heritage sites, now cover about 12% of the country. Considerable efforts by national and state governments are being augmented by international and local conservation NGO’s as well as substantial financial inputs from the World Bank’s Global Environmental Facility. Though much of Mexico’s nature has been lost, much remains and is being carefully preserved. Front: Iguana wants a kiss. This page top to bottom: Lake Chapala wetlands, Snowy Egret, Humpback Whale, Horseback riding, Birdwatching, Iguana Right page: Monarchs in Michoacan.


Personal Highs What have been my most memorable experiences after my ten winters of experiencing the Nature of Mexico? Gray whale watching in the El Vizcaino world heritage site in the Baja Peninsula; Scuba diving in the coral reefs of the barrier reef off the Yucatan Peninsula; Taking part in a census of caimans in the Sian Ka’an world heritage site in Quintano Roo; Sea kayaking around the desert island of Espirito Santos in the Sea of Cortes; Hiking up to the monarch butterfly reserves in Michoacan in peak over-wintering season (March); Riding horses in the pine forests of Jalisco’s Sierra del Tigre and up to the El Triunfo biosphere reserve in Chiapas to see the last remnants of cloud forests and the Resplendent Quetzal; and Bird-watching trips around Lake Chapala and the nearby mountains of Sierra Manantlan Biosphere Reserve and Volcan Colima National Park . And yes, I will admit to occasional trips to the beach - especially in the Puerto Vallarta region (where the local bird checklist boasts 317 species!).

THE MONARCH EXPERIENCE From southern Canada it takes four successive generations of Monarch butterflies to complete the migratory cycle through to the high forests of Michoacan State in central Mexico. How the surviving generations find their way is one of the great mysteries of nature. Arriving in mid-November every year, up to one billion Monarchs arrive and cover the trees in a blanket of orange and black. During the cooler winter months the insects tend to mostly cling to the tree branches but on sunny days and in the last month before they leave in mid-April, they swarm in a colorful and magical mass through the air. To view this natural spectacle visitors need to hike or ride horses two-three km up to the high ridges of the biosphere reserve (2400 M /8000 feet). Tours and guides are found in the local villages of Zitacuaro and Anganguelo or more distantly from the cities of Morelia and Ajijic.

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A C nadian Enclave Bucerias, Bahia de Banderas, Nayarit, Mexico

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ocated about twenty minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Bucerias is the second largest town (after Vallarta) on Bahia de Banderas. It runs along the northern bend of the Bay between La Cruz Huanxactle and Nuevo Vallarta.

Founded in the 1930’s, Bucerias is home to some 17,000 residents. Most noticeable is the large number of long-term foreign residents from Canada & the US. A quick study of licence plates will show you people from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and points east have all made the move to Bucerias. Some days every person you meet on the street will be from Canada. A mention of Flin Flon, Red Deer or Kamloops doesn’t raise eyebrows but rather has you asking if they know your cousin’s wife’s brother, Bill. The town’s name is derived from Buceo which means ‘diving’ as the original inhabitants were oyster fishermen who dove for their catch. You can still watch the divers each morning along the beach with their inner tube floaties and white buckets in hand. Fresh oysters are served daily at many of the local seafood stands. Payo Mariscos in the plaza is a favourite with locals and comes highly recommended, though watch out for the chili sauce – it’s hotter than you can imagine. Bucerias is a typical sleepy Mexican village with the traditional plaza and church and a thriving Mexican community that is very comfortable with the foreigners who have moved in. For eight kilometers along the clean sandy beach you will find almost no one to interrupt your relaxation. There are few vendors and those that are around seem to be less ‘pushy’ than the ones in Puerto Vallarta or Cabo San Lucas. There is only one all-inclusive resort along the beach at the far south end of town with the rest of the beachfront real estate mostly made up of large homes and about a half-dozen high-rise condominium buildings. The Golden-zone, as it is called, has excellent upscale dining, shopping and gorgeous vacation homes. Most Tuesday evenings in the plaza will find you amid a roaring group of hockey enthusiasts. A lack of ice is no deterrent as men and women stick handle their way around the “rink”. Sticks are supplied by the local Pizza-

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Sports Bar, Yo-Yo Mo’s. After the settling of scores everyone retires to the bar for cold cervesas and the best pizza in town. Thursday evenings are slightly more high-brow with the famous art walk, where art lovers are invited to visit the galleries along the main strip as they serve cocktails and snacks. Be sure to stop at Casabor for their famous Tequila Punch and then visit Sandrina’s both for wonderful food and excellent shopping! Bonus: Sandrina’s is owned by a Victoria, BC native.

releases that are open to the public for a small donation. If you spot a turtle coming ashore or find a nest, it is important to mark off the area and alert the authorities. The local police who cruise the beach on ATV’s can be of assistance, as can most locals.

There are many other activities around Bucerias to enjoy, such as championship golf, horseback riding, birdwatching, ATV tours, snorkeling, diving, sailing, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, wind surfing, kite Left page top to bottom: Beachbars offer beach chairs and cool refreshsurfing, beachcombing etc. There ment along with excellent seafood, Hockey night in Mexico, Sandrinas are a plethora of philanthropic offers excellent Mediterranean food and gorgeous selection of Mexican opportunities as well, with the local Each fall through to March, the crafts, Sunsets never fail to impress in Bucerias. This Page: A near empty orphanage, animal rescue, sea turtle Humpback whales migrate south beach for eight kms conservation and more. Investours to Banderas Bay and it’s common (www.investours.org/), a local tour to witness spectacular displays of company, provides a unique experience, with street-tours of Bucerias that breaching whales from your beach chair. There are plenty of charter boats introduce you to the Mexican community and use a portion of your admisin the area that can take you on whale watching tours, most with the guarsion fee to support local vendors through no-interest loans. antee that you will see whales or your money back – clearly indicative that Bucerias is a laid-back and casual town with excellent seafood, clean, safe you’ll cross paths with whales during the peak months. beaches and amenities that cater to a down-to-earth market of budget Sea turtles come ashore June through December to lay eggs. There are conscious Canadians who appreciate the open spaces and quiet evenings many conservation efforts in place to protect the turtles which were almost so removed from the all-inclusive resorts of Nuevo Vallarta or the night hunted to extinction, it is illegal in Mexico to kill sea turtles. Many in the forclubs of Puerto Vallarta. It feels like a small town in Canada, just with better mer turtle harvesting communities turned to conservation and eco-tourism weather, colder beer and less time commitments. in the face of these relatively new laws. Just south of Bucerias, on the beaches of Nuevo Vallarta, there is a turtle nursery that has near daily turtle

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Villa Encanto

Bucerias, Riviera Nayarit


Inspired by my mother’s effusive praise of this charming pueblo, I first visited Bucerias in 1997. She had ‘discovered’ this tranquil enclave by staying at a beachfront villa the year before, an enviable vacation experience in those times. Now, beguiled into a ‘must-see’ day trip from Puerto Vallarta, we stood marveling at the spectacular yet completely unpopulated beach centered in a vista that swept from La Cruz to Cabo Corrientes.


N

ot far from where Mom had hung her sombrero, we parked in front of a large stone-walled estate with a huge bell hanging from an arch over the entry. The mystery of what might be behind those walls was fortuitously revealed when we discovered, upon trying to depart, that the shifter of our VW bug had disconnected. Our first panicky thoughts turned to calling the rental agency for rescue. A lone horseback rider appeared on what seemed to be the “main drag” but, when asked in broken Spanish how we could make a phone call, he waved his hand over the empty street - obviously bereft of phone booths - and clopped off. Spirits sinking, I ventured to ring the bell, praying there was life behind the wrought iron gate. A guest finally opened the door and I was congenially shown the phone; I felt my luck improving. That was my introduction to Villa Encanto. The scene had all but faded until I was recently invited back to that home—now operating as a realtor in this no longer sleepy town—to consult on listing the property. While appraising the home, my thoughts rewound fifteen years and I recounted our tale of adversity to the owner. This precipitated a silent, thoughtful study of each other, provoking the mutual realization that it was he, then a paying guest, who had opened the gate in 1997! Having fallen in love with it over many cherished holidays, the erstwhile guest and his family eventually bought the home. On the Costa Vallarta, equidistant from Puerto Vallarta and Punta de Mita, Villa Encanto is one of the original vacation villas that lured people to the town of Bucerias and the North Bay. It is quintessential Mexico— swinging in a hammock, drifting from pool to playa, imbibing sounds of Mariachi troubadours. While ensconced within its stone walls with grand arches framing the sunset over the sea, the pulse of an authentic

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and artsy pueblo is just a step outside its gates. Popular Avenida Lazaro Cardenas provides a mosaic of casual and fine restaurants, taquerias, palapa bars, food markets and galleries featuring local and visiting artisans. Bucerias has become a haven for North Americans seeking the Vallarta of twenty or thirty years ago; the town now enjoys all the modern conveniences to provide easy living in abiding rustic ambience. Villa Encanto celebrates traditional historic flavor in its preserved architecture and Mexican style. A successful vacation rental property, it has provided a multi-generational family retreat for its owners and the many visitors they’ve hosted. On a privileged corner lot of almost a halfacre, hammocks swing along sixty-five feet of beachfront. The estate is comprised of a main house with five suite-sized bedrooms, each with private bathroom, and an enormous media and games room. A guest kitchen and eighteen person dining table form the heart of the main villa, adjoining a professional staff kitchen, which can handle weddings and special occasions. A two-bedroom guesthouse, with shared kitchen, sits opposite a Junior Olympic-sized pool, surrounded by ample patios. Horses can still be heard each afternoon, clopping homeward after a day of touring visitors along the beaches though now, the caballeros have their own cell phones.

For information on this and other Costa Vallarta properties, contact: Victoria Pratt, Realtor Pacific Boutique Properties Tel: +52 329 298 2522 Cel: +521 322 779 9283 vp@pacificboutiqueproperties.com


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4 Tempted but looking for something a little more modest?

2

3

1. Punta Esmeralda Oceanview Condo - US$379,000 Bucerias / La Cruz 2 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms Furnished • In Oceanfront Resort Attractive horizontal layout with a curved terrace and wide ocean views from most interior living areas. 2. Casa Carola Bucerias US$349,000 Bucerias Furnished • Three blocks to beach An impeccably maintained and warmly decorated home with a large pool and mature gardens located in the Golden Zone of Bucerias.

3. Moona Condominium US$274,000 Bucerias 2 bedrooms / 2 bathrooms Furnished • Two blocks to beach Decorated in eclectic Mexican/ Contemporary style, its third floor corner location provides plenty of natural light and a partial ocean view with sunsets. 4. Casa Playita Beachfront Estate - US$1,588,000 Bucerias 7 bedrooms / 7 bathrooms Pueblo location •Multiple units Comprised of two casitas, a bungalow, a main home, pool and lush gardens with sixty feet of sandy beachfront

pacificboutiqueproperties.com

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Natural Sanctuary


Hotelito desconocido mexico


Hotelito Desconocido Sanctuary Reserve and Spa By Madeline Milne

H

otelito Desconocido provides an experience like no other, combining the spice of “roughing it’ with the full bodied seasoning of luxury. It’s not a place for technology addicts or those who enjoy the incessant bass of the all-inclusive, or those who are afraid of bird songs or the gentle shuffle of turtles in the sand. It is a place so unique that it could well be the greatest destination on earth. Hotelito, (precious little known hotel) as it is charmingly called, is set on sixty kilometers of pristine UNESCO protected bird and turtle sanctuary, located about two hours south of Puerto Vallarta in the exclusive Costalgre region. It offers twenty-seven private palafittes with intricately woven thatched roofs, all themed around the Mexican lottoria cards (similar to Bingo but with more personality) and set back on the estuary. Each is built on stilts to lessen the impact on the land and without electric lights to disturb the night sky. As evening rises an attendant lights a pathway of candles from your cabana to the hotel lobby and El Diablo (the Devil lotteria card) restaurant. Once your eyes adjust you’ll wonder why you don’t live like this every day.


The spa offers exclusive thalassotherapy treatments based on the theory that exposure to sea air and immersion in warm seawater, mud, clay, and protein-rich algae helps restore the body’s natural chemical balance and, once balanced, you can soak in the special saline pools. The apothecary wall in the spa is filled with potions and creams and houses gorgeous antiques. Many of the furnishings are from the owners’ private collection and others are crafted on site by the local towns people. Most of the food is grown in the resort’s organic farm and there are plans to be fully sustainable in the near future. Half the fun of the beachclub is getting there. Hail a passing row boat or charter one of your own. The beachclub is on the Pacific ocean and offers uninterrupted pristine white sandy beach for miles in each direction. If the ocean is not for you, and it may not be as the waves and currents can be strong here, there is an Olympic-sized oceanfront infinity pool that offers submersed hammocks and an embedded hot tub. Your biggest challenge may well be how to move from the pool hammock to the hot tub and back to your hammock without spilling your freshly squeezed lime margarita. The days are peaceful, filled with beachcombing, a soak in the pool, a row or bike ride around the grounds and deliciously organic, freshly prepared meals. The evenings are set to the sparkle of the stars and candlelit paths lead you back to nature. Hotelito captures the essence of the land, respects the natural, and embraces the colour and craft of Mexico, while managing to infuse luxury and quality into everything it does. It’s inspiring.

The Spread: The oceanfront pool offers the ultimate in kick-back luxury. Left Page: Row, row your boat gently to the beachclub. La Rana Lotteria card. This Page, Top left: Nothing between you and the ocean. Top Right: The living room of the Presidential Palafitte (where you can spend the night in Pancho Villa’s bed), Centre Left: Mr.& Mrs. Catrin, Bottom left: The saline pools at the Spa.

hotelito.com

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El Jaguar Playing El Jaguar, a Jack Nicklaus’ masterpiece, is a unique experience found within the city limits of Merida, at the prestigious Yucatan Country Club. Opened in December 2008, it is home to Latin America’s first Jack Nicklaus Academy of Golf. Designed around four lakes and six natural cenotes with water as crystal clear as the Caribbean, it is the only course in the world where there are genuine archaeological remains of the Mayan culture. The professional par 72 course consists of 18 holes with a distance of 7,282 yards of play. The many water hazards of El Jaguar will challenge the strategy and abilities of players of all levels and ages. A pro shop, delicatessen, two lounges and a bar offer golfers the best in amenities. www.yucatancountry.com Travel to Merida While there are no direct flights to Merida from Western Canada, you can fly into Cancun and take a hopper flight or rent a car or alternatively there are direct flights out of many US cities. Once in Merida, a stunning colonial city more than 550 years old, there are plenty of gorgeous hotels and B&B’s to choose from. We highly recommend Hacienda Misne (www.haciendamisne.com.mx) for an authentic old-world Hacienda experience.

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Mexi-Go: Tell me about your decision to leave competitive golf and your life these days.

Interview with Lorena Ochoa Mexico’s golf dynamo chats about life after the tour, being a mom, her academy and philanthropic works By Anita Draycott Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa led the pack in Women’s World Golf Rankings up until she surprised the golf world with the announcement of her retirement on April 23, 2010, after marrying Aeromexico executive, Andres Conesa. Ochoa explained that she wanted to get out of competitive golf in order to devote time to her new husband and start a family. True to her words, she delivered Pedro Conesa Ochoa, a bouncing baby boy on December 8, 2011. In a country where golf is played by only the wealthy, she still enjoys “rock star” status from her loyal fans in all echelons—from politicians to taxi drivers. In 2001, President Vicente Fox presented her with Mexico’s highest athletic accolade, the National Sports Award. But fame never went to Ochoa’s head. She remains approachable and stays close to her roots. Back in her days on tour she would cook breakfast for the maintenance staff. Mexi-Go! caught up with the dynamic thirty-year old in between practice sessions at the Bosque Real Country Club, near Mexico City. If you could hear the noise in the background, it would be the babbling baby Pedro.

OCHOA: It was not a rash decision. I knew two years before I retired that it was the right thing to do. I had discussed my plans with my husband, family and coach, Rafael. It was the natural thing for me to do. I am enjoying my new life. I still practice golf but not as much as I used to. Now I have more time to relax and sleep. Pedro keeps me busy; sometimes he watches me practice on the driving range.  Every other weekend we have Andres’ children: Andres, 16; Isabel, 13; Marines 9. They aren’t really interested in golf but we play tennis and soccer. It’s fun. How and when did you get involved in golf?  I started when I was five years old, thanks to my dad. Our house was beside the Guadalajara Country Club so it was easy for me to play after school. I have always been competitive so I began entering tournaments when I was six. Tell me about your long relationship with your coach. Rafael Alarcón is an important part of my career and success. He has

been with me since the beginning. Now, we still work together and make visits to the Turtle Dunes Academy in Acapulco. I miss not seeing him on a daily basis but we’re both happy. He can rest a bit more. And so can I! When I’m in Guadalajara we try to have lunch and catch up. What are your favourite golf courses? There are many wonderful courses throughout Mexico. Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita have great golf, so does the Cancun and Playa del Carmen area. My favourite is the Guadalajara Country Club in my hometown, where I’ve always played. Tell me about the Lorena Ochoa Foundation. Mexico is very important for me and I feel proud to represent my country. Being an example for children in Mexico is a huge responsibility and I try to do my best. I would like to influence kids to believe in themselves and their dreams and for that reason I started my Lorena Ochoa Foundation. The main objective is to give an education to underprivileged kids at La Barranca

a place to visit... a place to call home.

Hotel Villa Amor Sayulita 40 Mexi-Go! June 2012

MX (011-52) 329-291-3010 CAN&US +1 (602) 748-4144 reservations@HotelVillaAmorSayulita.com www.HotelVillaAmorSayulita.com


elementary school in Guadalajara, my hometown. We currently have 350 kids enrolled from grades one to nine.  It’s a great program and the families get involved. For example, the moms do the cooking. I really consider education a key to success. Tell me about growing up in Guadalajara. Where did you like to hang out?  Growing up there was fantastic. I love waterskiing on Lake Chapala, fishing at our beach house or going for a hike in the mountains near Tapalpa. Other golfers such as Annika Sorenstam and Greg Norman have become very entrepreneurial with careers in clothing and golf course design, even wine. Do you have such plans? I will continue to be very active in promoting golf in my country. I will devote more time and energy to my Foundation and Academies. I understand that duffers like myself can now learn to play golf the Ochoa way? Yes. The Ochoa Golf Academy by Rafael Alarcón (the name of my personal coach) is a golf school

where children and adults can learn, using my own techniques, with specially trained coaches. The flagship academy is at Turtle Dunes at the Fairmont Princess in Acapulco. Do you have any fond memories of Canada?  Canada is a really nice country with beautiful scenery. There are lots of Canadians living around Guadalajara. I have a great memory of winning the CN Canadian Women’s Open at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton, which was my next tournament after my victory at the British Open in 2007. I loved skiing with friends in Whistler. What are your plans for the immediate future? I intend to stay very active. I would like to put my name on some golf course designs. I have a book coming out this summer on my years in the LPGA. No. I won’t tell you the title; it’s a surprise. I’d like to have a least one more child as company for Pedro. A sister would be nice.  

Quick Shots Favourite food? Torta. It’s a huge two-handed Mexican sandwich filled with meat and smothered in salsa. And chocolate is a joy. Person (dead or alive) you most admire? I don’t have one. I think you can learn from all sorts of people. Proudest moment. When Pedro was born. One regret? One shouldn’t regret things but instead learn from them. We can always do better but I am happy with my achievements. I’ve tried hard and played hard. Favourite place? At my home in Guadalajara. Indulgence or weakness? We all have them but I’m not going to tell. Your dream foursome (including you)? A quality day with my family: my sister, my dad and my husband. Your best golf shot ever? I don’t remember one in particular, but it was a great feeling walking off the 18th hole at the Women’s British Open in 2007.

Ochoa’s Guadalajara Golf Trail Mexico’s second largest city has plenty of excellent golf facilities where you can play in the softspike steps of Ochoa. Guadalajara Country Club Ochoa’s home turf is ranked as one of the best private clubs in Mexico. Non-members may play at certain times, but don’t hold your breath. www.gcc.com.mex El Rio Country Club Located about an hour from Guadalajara this challenging Jack Nicklaus Signature course takes maximum advantage of steep valleys and canyons. After your round, head to the nearby town of Tequila for a tour and tasting of Mexico’s national tipple. www.elrio.com.mx Where to Stay Villa Ganz, a colonial mansion and member of Mexico Boutique Hotels, was once the home of Lorena’s grandparents. There are ten suites furnished with fine antiques and a private garden with outdoor fireplace. mexicoboutiquehotels.com/villaganz

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Mexi-Golf!

Looking to score some golfers’ gold amigos? Put these five Mexican resort courses on your hit list and bragging rights will follow Photography and written by Anita Draycott

7th and 15th play right to the edge of the Caribbean Sea. Beyond the greens lie one of the world’s largest coral reefs and the island of Cozumel. El Camaleon proudly bears six Audubon International certifications for environmental stewardship and awareness. El Camaleon, Mayakoba, Mayan Riviera When the mighty Mayan civilization collapsed around the 15th century, the stretch of beach and jungle now known as the Mayan Riviera was virtually unknown. Today it’s Mexico’s top tourist destination. El Camaleon (The Chameleon) at Mayakoba, near Playa del Carmen, should be on every avid golfer’s hit list. El Camaleon hosts the Mayakoba Classic, the only PGA event held in Mexico (2013 dates are February 21 to 24). El Camaleon was also the first course in Mexico to be designed by Greg Norman. Like the lizard for which it’s named, the 18hole, 7,000-yard tract changes and blends with an environment that winds under a mangrove canopy, along banks of turquoise lagoons, past natural cenotes (limestone sinkholes unique to the Yucatan Peninsula) to within a pitching wedge of the rolling surf. The Greg Norman Signature design cleverly incorporates one of those cenotes into the middle of the first fairway. While each hole is memorable, the par-3’s deserve raves. The

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Should your game need a swing doctor, El Camaleon also boasts Mexico’s only Jim McLean Golf Academy with state-of-the-art teaching tools. Historically, golf has been pretty much a rich person’s sport in Mexico. However, the folks at the Fairmont Mayakoba are trying to change that by introducing Golf Para Todos. The day I visited almost 1,000 locals of all ages attended a free afternoon clinic on the driving range. There were prizes, games and free refreshments. And, who knows, maybe the next Lorena Ochoa was amongst the enthusiastic crowd? El Cameleon is part of the Mayakoba Resort that includes Fairmont, Banyan Tree and Rosewood hotels. The eco-sensitive complex is located on nine kilometers of freshwater lagoons leading to a pristine beach on the Caribbean Sea. Guests are transported through the resorts via custom-built mahogany gondolas, one of the reasons the project has been dubbed, “the Venice of the Yucatan.” www.mayakoba.com

Los Cabos, Baja The towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo act as bookends for the thirty-three kilometer corridor of hotels and golf courses known as Los Cabos on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. Hollywood stars such as Bing Crosby and John Wayne, lured by the legendary sport fishing, put Los Cabos on the tourist map in the 1950s. And while fishing still draws, Los Cabos has also become one of the world’s top golf destinations. Several top-notch facilities created by acclaimed designers dot the strip. My favourite is The Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, opened in 1994. Jack Nicklaus, intent on creating “the Pebble Beach of the Baja,” on what he described as “the best piece of golf property I’ve even seen,” clearly succeeded—in spades! 
 The 7,047-yard, par-72 layout boasts seven fairways that nudge the jagged coastline of the azure Sea of Cortez. It’s one of the few layouts on the planet to embrace ocean, mountain and desert. Many species of cacti and desert flora, stunning taffy-coloured outcrops

and the surging surf vie for your attention. After you putt out on number 9, the halfway house serves up complimentary fish, beef and shrimp tacos. Now, fortified with a snack and a cold one, you’re ready to take on the back nine. 
 From the highest point of the course on the 15th, the par-5 plunges more than 100 feet down the side of a mountain to the Sea of Cortez. Number 16, a dramatic par-4, tumbles further downhill to a green teetering over the coast. There’s not a weak hole to be found on the Ocean Course, which builds to a crescendo at what Nicklaus calls “the three best finishing holes in golf.” The 500 Greatest Golf Holes book describes hole 17 as “an intoxicating combination of beauty and strategy that demands performance and judgment.” And a camera! Par this baby and just try to wipe that smile off your face. The dogleg leftto-right 18th traces the curve of the rocky shoreline to a green prettily perched over the frothing surf. It’s a dazzling climax to an unforgettable round. www.cabodelsol.com


Litibu, Riviera Nayarit There’s been a ‘shark’ sighting on the Riviera Nayarit. Litibu, a Greg Norman-designed course and part of the newest of the Mexican government’s Fonatur projects (the first was Cancun), means “song of the birds” in the language of the local Huichol Indians. With luck you’ll be able to chirp about a few birdies on this spectacularly challenging tract that meanders over jungle, mountain and oceanside fairways.

So far, the only completed hotel at Litibu is the Tranquila Breath Taking Resort & Spa, adjacent to the golf course. Breathtaking it certainly is— especially the 525-foot long infinity pool that overlooks a spectacular pristine beach. www.latranquila.com.mx

Norman’s architectural masterpiece is a welcome addition to this gorgeous Pacific Nayarit Coast, about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. Litibu is located about ten minutes from Punta Mita, where the Punta Mita Golf Club boasts two Jack Nicklaus Signature courses: Pacifico and the newer Bahia. Now with three stellar courses, this region qualifies as a “bucket list” golf destination. From the tips, Litibu measures 7,022 yards. Number one is a narrow palm-lined par-4 to a green protected by water—an indication that Norman’s challenge will be no walk in the park. Norman’s par-3’s here are outstanding. Surf’s up on the fourth, a downhill poke to a postage stamp green with a gorgeous view of the point at the end of the Bay of Banderas called Punta Mita. Another memorable par-3 is the eighth where you must plop your ball on an almostisland green. On the back nine Norman takes you on merry romp toward the undulating foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Sixteen and seventeen are uphill battles fraught with plenty of bunkers. The stunning grand finale, number 18, brings you to an elevated green with views of the Pacific frothing below.

Pacifico, Punta Mita The Pacifico Course at Punta Mita boasts 19 holes and the world’s only natural island green. To play this signature Tail of the Whale hole (3B) you must carry your drive (175 to 195 yards, depending on tee blocks) across the Pacific Ocean. In low tide, if you haven’t made an offering to Neptune, walk over the rocky ocean-floor pathway to putt. At high tide, a staff member will shuttle you to the green in an amphibious golf cart. Less adventuresome swingers can opt to play the alternate landlocked 3A. Eight holes border the pounding surf and every fairway has an ocean view.

bougainvillea. Jack’s neighbouring Bahia Course may be less of an oceanside beauty queen but the severely contoured greens will challenge your putting acumen. Both tracts are in such impeccable condition, you’d swear they trim the fairways and greens with manicure scissors and sift the sand. Just when you’re feeling a bit parched, staff on carts pass by to hand out lemon-scented iced towels and chilled bottles of water. I got the impression they’d tie my shoes and hit the ball if I asked. The locker rooms have every conceivable amenity from bathrobes to mouthwash to talcum powder. www.puntamita.com

The Jack Nicklaus design takes full advantage of vistas of the surrounding Sierra Madre Mountains, white coral sand beaches and a tropical landscape of palms and

Turtle Dunes Country Club, Acapulco Mexico’s newest course, Turtle Dunes at Princess Diamante, opened in February 2011. Set amongst sand dunes between the soaring Sierra Madre Mountains and the roaring Pacific Ocean, the 7,200-yard layout features expansive water features and towering parota trees framing several fairways. Designed by golf architect Tripp Davis, Turtle Dunes, Mexico’s first dunes course, is available only to members and guests of The Fairmont’s sister resorts: The Acapulco Princess and Pierre Marques. Number three, called Quagmire, introduces players to “The Tarzan Swing,” (holes three, four and five). Davis carved them through the native jungle that once served as the

set for the original Tarzan movie. Number five, called Twist and Turn, is one of several examples of David Love III’s philosophy that every great golf course should feature a drivable par-4. Long hitters might make it in one but good luck on the cleverly contoured green. Troon Golf, the world’s leading luxury brand golf management company known for outstanding service and meticulous maintenance, operates Turtle Dunes so be prepared for your to be expectations exceeded. Turtle Dunes, also home to the flagship Lorena Ochoa Golf Academy, offers students both indoor and outdoor instructions based on the teaching philosophies of Rafael Alarcon, who was Ochoa’s lifelong coach. That old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” proves

true when you see yourself swinging on the state-of-the-art video analysis equipment. Both Ochoa and Alarcon regularly conduct clinics for members, juniors and hotel guests. When it comes to après golf and nightlife, Acapulco reigns supreme. Discos such Enigma and Baby’O rock from midnight ‘til dawn. Should you feel the need for some pampering the next day, the Acapulco Princess’s Willow Stream Spa prescribes just what the doctor ordered: The Golf Performance Massage stretches the key muscles we use during a round. It’s not a bad remedy for a late night of gyrating on the dance floor either. www.turtledunescc.com www.fairmont.com/acapulco www.ochoagolfacademy.com

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Fairway

to the S tars

Tee off from your doorstep in Marina Vallarta

Written and interior photograhy By Gabriel Jones

M

arina Vallarta is a picturesque neighborhood located on the north end of Puerto Vallarta, a five minute drive from the international airport, within walking distance to the beaches of the Bay of Banderas and situated at the beautiful Puerto Vallarta Marina.

Offering great waterfront strolling, excellent Mexican and international dining, cozy pubs and lounges and an exceptional golf course, Marina Vallarta is one of Puerto Vallarta’s most desirable neighborhoods. It has long been a popular destination, for not only boaters and golfers, but for snowbirds of many persuasions looking to combine city living with resort amenities and seclusion. The beautiful malecon is home to a great array of shopping opportunities, restaurants and art galleries and the landmark attraction, El Faro, a 110-foot high lighthouse that offers one of the best sunset viewing locations in town.

There are a wide variety of real estate options available in Marina Vallarta, whether you are seeking a vacation or investment property or a full-time or part-time home for retirement. Some of the best can be found at “Fairway to the Stars” - a thirty unit luxury project backing onto the 18th hole of the beautiful Marina Vallarta Golf Course. It is located in one of the most tranquil areas of the already quiet Marina Vallarta. This high quality project was developed by acclaimed builder Steven S. Miller. His resume includes a thirty year career of building experience in America and many awards including the prestigious “Distinguished Builder Award”. His commitment to quality craftsmanship is evident in every aspect of the development and insures lasting value and return on investment.

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marina vista | fairway to the stars

Comprised of two five-story buildings, Fairway to the Stars offers two different styles of units. Each are two floors with three bedrooms and three baths. Ground floor units are approximately 2,500 sq. ft. and include their own private swimming pool while the top floor residences are 3,000 sq. ft. The development is gated, and while security is assured, it is also understated. The common areas include an inner courtyard with fountains and beautiful bronze sculptures crafted by Octavio Gonzales, the same artist who designed the exceptional whale sculpture at the entrance to Marina Vallarta. Amenities include a large common area, with adult and children’s pools, outdoor seating with a split bar under a large palapa, a gymnasium, extensively landscaped green areas and secure underground parking with oversized stalls big enough for both car and golf cart. The quality of each unit is evident, beginning with the solid wood front door, finished with stained glass and the top of the line double pane Euro windows and sliding doors imported from Germany. The open concept main floor flows from front door into living and dining room and allows for great light and views of the green fairway, lined with palm trees. You will be impressed with the gorgeous marble floors and counter tops,

and executive class appliances and bath fixtures. Perfect for hosting friends and family, each bedroom (one down, two up) features an adjoining full bathroom. Upstairs you will find the second guest bedroom and a large master with walk in closet, master bath with an elevated Jacuzzi tub, which along with the spacious balcony, offers golf course and mountain views. All suites feature a handy main floor storage room, perfect for your golf clubs. The price for these units has been dramatically reduced and the motivated seller is offering a special price of $389k, with 0% financing for five years with 50% down. If you are considering vacation or retirement property in Mexico and want to live in a wonderful neighborhood that combines a marina and golf lifestyle, then Fairway to the Stars should be on the top of your wish list.

fairwaytothestars.com

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FORE! SALE

The ultimate golf travel souvenir There are lots of reasons to move to sunny, vibrant, Mexico, especially during the cold Canadian winter, but particularly if you love golf. Mexico offers the opportunity to perfect your swing or just enjoy the post game camaraderie on year round courses that range from the exclusive to the inclusive. Which would you like to be gripping next winter, a snow shovel or a golf club? You might just find that the following offers suit you to a “tee�!


LOS CABOS Querencia Private golf community | La Casa de oso Querencia is often touted as one of Mexico’s best courses, the Fazio designed golf course and luxurious Clubhouse facilities are nestled on rolling hillsides and wide plateaus, overlooking miles of coastline and the nearby village of San Jose del Cabo. Casa de la Osa is a grande home that, for the discerning buyer, offers nearly every luxury and amenity available. With eight bedrooms, lavish formal and informal living and entertaining spaces and a two bedroom apartment, this home is perfect to house your visiting friends and family or entertaining your golf buddies after a round or two. From golf weekends to corporate retreats this home offers true luxury. Furnished to reflect an executive lifestyle, there are craft and custom finishes that are unique to this home, in every room and passageway. The open plan professional kitchen with wine storage, pantry and bar lends itself to post golf gatherings. Los Cabos, with its 364 days of sunshine is the perfect place to bring the indoor living experience outdoors. The broad covered terraces and the open verandas extend the indoors to the outside where a bar, pavilion and cliff’s-edge infinity pool with grotto, await to provide relaxation after an inspiring day golfing. sirloscabos.com

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PLAYA DEL CARMEN Mayakoba resort | Rosewood Mayakobá Appearing to float along the water’s edge, this ultra contemporary one-bedroom suite gracefully extends over the resort waterways and features a lagoon-side terrace with plunge pool, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors-to capture the essence of the surroundings, bathroom with outdoor garden shower and views of the mangrove forests. Situated along a mile-long arc of white sand on the Riviera Maya, Rosewood Mayakoba is the heart of a 1,600-acre luxury resort enclave located thirty minutes south of Cancun and north of the charming seaside village of Playa del Carmen Imagine a home where you will feel the cool embrace of the jungle and the warm caress of the Caribbean. Play golf on a championship course and relax in the island spa. Drink at a private beach club and dine in one of Rosewood Mayakobá’s signature restaurants. Expectations are exceeded. The level of service provided by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts elevates Rosewood Mayakobá into the upper echelon of destinations for sophisticated travelers and second-home owners worldwide. Every need is anticipated. Every whim can be accommodated. From valet service to beachside showers to laundry, cooking, housekeeping and boat charters, nothing is overlooked. www.topmexicorealestate.com

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PUERTO VALLARTA

LAKE CHAPALA

El Tigre Club de GOlf | artesanias

Chapala Country Club | Vista Del Lago

Situated in the”El Tigre” Resort in Nuevo Vallarta, on one of the top– rated championship golf courses in Mexico, Artesanias condominiums recreate the traditional essence of Mexico with its authentic charm, yet provide all the modern conveniences.

Lake Chapala boasts some of the best climate in the world and a large Canadian expatriate community that has embraced the area. There are plenty of world-class golf courses nearby but the Chapala Country Club offers a friendly atmosphere for pennies of what you would pay in Canada. Many of the locals are known to play three to five times a week.

Ownership includes full access to the world–class facilities of El Tigre, including the Sports and Recreation Club with tennis, racketball, Olympic–sized swimming pool, yoga and a full children‘s indoor playground, pool and games pavilion, and full access to the beach club. A perfect location for those families that want to golf and to enjoy the resort amenities of Nuevo Vallarta. Only a few minutes from the international airport, Artesanias offers easy, comfortable access and a nearmaintenance free golf lifestyle. For more information contact www.tropicasa.com

50 Mexi-Go! June 2012

Located in the Vista del Lago development on the second fairway of the Chapala Country Club with spectacular views across the lake, Casa Poirier had a total makeover in 2005. The main house and two full casitas are set on a beautifully landscaped property with mature gardens, ample lawn (to practice your putting), fruit trees and veggie patch. When you’re not on the course, you can watch your fellow golfers from your kitchen window. A large terrazzo (patio) spans the entire living room and master bedroom. Downstairs are two cabins for guests, rentals or when the kids come to visit. For more information on Vista del Lago properties contact John Cearnal at www.casaajijic.com


Vista del Lago in Chapala offers views across Lake Chapala. Homes start under $100,000 in this gated community centred around a charming 18 hole course.

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www.mexi-go.ca 51


Three days a week

For Canadians in Lake Chapala, perfect weather, great local courses and friendships keep them on the course all year-round. Article and Photos by Joel Hansen

G

olf was over for another day and the dice had come out. Shaking the cup and slamming them on the table, everyone gathered around to calculate the score. “Pair of nines!” comes the groan, over the hoots and cheers. It was about an hour after we had finished another “Afternoon Group” at the Chapala Country Club. Golf scores had been calculated, near birdies bragged about, skins paid out, and the group who plays the Stableford system had their ongoing scores entered into the book, which dates back over three years.

John is a local realtor who specializes in the golf properties surrounding the Chapala Country Club. He is also the Chapala Country Club champ from 2006 to 2010; a fact I discovered on my own – honestly, he didn’t tell me. John has many loves in his life but nearly topping his list, just below his lovely wife, is golf. With barely restrained enthusiasm; John invited us to attend the Guadalajara Country Club’s Seniors’ Golf Tournament. For the past thirty-six years this very exclusive private club has invited the public to the tournament, giving non-members full access to the facilities, including the spa, lounges and locker rooms.

“This afternoon group has been going on since well before I moved here,” points out John Cearnal, who moved to Chapala in 2005. John is one of the organizers of Robbie and Turbo the Men’s Afternoon Group that meets Robbie was the first. In 2006, after spendevery Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for This page: With its long history, the Guadalajara ing three days in Chapala, he and his wife their noon tee off. The number of players Country Club has seen the city build up around it. Marilyn bought a house. He returned to fluctuates between a low of fourteen in the Canadians, Turbo and Suzie, at the Seniors Tour Romania (where he was working) and told summer to twenty-four in the winter seaOpening Night Cocktail Event everyone “I did it, now it’s your turn.” At son. They welcome new members, but of the time, Canadians, Robbie and Turbo worked with Atomic Energy course you have to be able to handle plenty of good-natured ribbing, of Canada, and for the previous twelve years they had been traveling some low stakes gambling, a cold cerveza or two, and play somewhat the globe together, (accompanied by their wives) building reactors in decent golf.

52 Mexi-Go! June 2012


This page: The greens at the Guadalajara Country Club. The Equestrian Centre. Olympic sized pool.

China, Korea and Romania. As retirement came into the picture they began looking for their next step. I sat down with these two Canadians at the opening cocktail party for the Seniors’ Tournament and asked them how they all ended up in Mexico. “After spending all those years working together, why would I want to retire back to Ontario, buy a cottage in Peterbourgh, walk over to my new neighbor, say Hi, I am Jim Park. Wanna play golf? - only to be told, Sorry bud, I have a foursome already”, Turbo explained, as he stopped to wave down a waiter “tequila and sangria, por favor.” “After Robbie got back from buying his home in Chapala, I wasn’t able to get away, so my wife Suzie went to Chapala on her own, called me, and said I love it here, let’s buy! And she did. Just like Robbie, we bought right on the Chapala Country Club”, he said with a laugh.

“It’s like this” says Turbo, “we both play three times a week, our wives play a couple of times a week, our monthly fees are about $150 Cdn, we pay eighty cents for a liter of gas, and $180 a year in property tax and the climate is nearly perfect. Since we retired from Atomic Energy, our friends Larry, Donnie, Puppy, Kluse and Paul have moved down here, and we still think…oh, who else will come?” “ I bet the Burns, Roy, Doug, the Leaches, probably Kennie,” lists Robbie on his fingers. Turbo laughs again, “See we got it made down here, now try this tequila, I forget this one’s name but you’re going to love it”

Look! You Canadians are everywhere!

I asked them which is their favorite course and without hesitation they both list the Chapala Club. They have traveled Mexico and played other courses, marshaling at the Lorena Ochoa tournament in Guadalajara and at a nationwide event in Morelia, but it’s the Chapala Club that sustains their golf addiction, offering everything they need, including friends, the Afternoon Group and a challenging course.

Guadalajara Country Club

The Guadalajara Country Club was established 101 years ago and was designed by the famous Texan, John Bredemus. It opened for play in 1942 at its current location, which at the time sat on the outskirts of Guadalajara. Those outskirts have since become downtown Zapopan, which is the heart of the financial sector and home to some of the most valuable real estate in Guadalajara. The Country Club covers over thirty-five acres and in addition to the golf course, boasts a world class tennis club, an Olympic pool and fitness area and a beautiful club house with an 8000 sq ft covered veranda which overlooks the green on the 18th hole. It also has an acclaimed equestrian center, with stables for eighty horses and hosted

www.mexi-go.ca 53


This page: The Jacarandas trees in full bloom. (Photo supplied by Yvonne Altenderfer) John and Robbie winding down from another day of golf. A sand bunker, nicely raked. Wayne overlooking the 18th hole at the Guadalajara Country Club.

the recent Pan-Am equestrian events. It has over 1200 members, and because of its location in the heart of the city, its renowned veranda serves as a social hub for many of Guadalajara’s rich and famous. “This was actually part of the road that led into Guadalajara.” I am touring the Club with Victor, who has been the Director of Golf for the past seven years, and we are traveling a stretch of cobblestone path along the 17th fairway. The course is in impeccable shape. Victor takes me to the 14th hole, his favorite, a long par four, that runs along the edge of the property, where the old world ends and the gleaming towers of HSBC and Santander rise over the stone walls and the towering oaks and pines. “Look! You Canadians are everywhere”, pointing out six Canada Geese in the pond on the 13th. We pass the 10th tee, near the house that was Lorena Ochoa’s childhood home and arrive at the state of the art training facilities that have been built under the driving range, so as not to disturb the natural space of the course.

Wayne and Darlene “It’s beyond anything we ever could have imagined,” explains another Canadian, Wayne Gibson. This was his ninth time at the Guadalajara Club’s Seniors’ Event and each time he comes, he is still just as impressed with the course and the club. “They make you feel so welcome here, the club doesn’t need to open up to the public like this,

54 Mexi-Go! June 2012

but they do, and they give you access to everything”. Darlene is recovering from foot surgery, so she isn’t playing in the women’s scramble this year, however that hasn’t stopped her from taking advantage of all the club’s non-golf amenities, like the spa and dining on the deck. The Gibson’s bought in Chapala eight years ago and have been full time residents for the past three. “We love it here. It’s a fantastic lifestyle, and it’s so easy to enjoy yourself and meet people, because you know they are like-minded, looking to live their lives to the fullest.” They discovered Chapala twelve years ago after visiting some friends and almost bought that same weekend. Since moving here full time, Chapala has become their jump off point for destinations like Greece, Las Vegas, and of course, the rest of Mexico. They have no concerns with leaving their home for extended periods of time while they travel, and take the same precautions they would if they still lived in Canada. Wayne shares a story with me about why Mexico is so special to both him and Darlene. A couple of years ago, while in Canada, Darlene was diagnosed with Cancer. They were told that follow up appointments would take eight months, so they flew to Mexico on a Thursday, saw their local doctor, and the following Thursday, Darlene was in a cancer clinic undergoing testing, where (later that afternoon), she was told that she had been misdiagnosed and didn’t have cancer at all. It was life changing, instead of waiting eight anxious months for treatment to begin they felt


an incredible weight lift from them, and they determined to enjoy every day forward. Back in Chapala after a day on the course, as the dice rattled on the far end of the table, I sat with Jesse, my cart mate for the day, an eighty-one year-old from Mexico City, who has lived between Guadalajara and Chapala for the last fifty-seven years. He has been attending the Seniors’ Tournament for the past twenty-six years and is the current president of the event. He still golfs two or three times a week and when I asked him which is his favorite course in Mexico, he paused and gave a thoughtful answer, “Well, to be honest, I haven’t been to all of them, but the Guadalajara Club is pretty special, and Tamarindo (in Coastalgre) is one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

condition (after years of rockpicking to be sure!) Probably most eye-catching are the majestic Jacaranda trees that bloom with startling purplish blue flowers – a colour that is not replicated in Canada. As a newcomer to the “Afternoon Group” and best known as the guy who has to pay for the most drinks and lost skins, I enjoy my afternoons listening to the stories from my fellow Canadians who have joined the Country Club de Chapala. There are tales about the Canadian airforce hero who made hundreds of jumps and a PanAm games gold medal winner, to name a couple.

“There is always space in a group for you”, John from Winnipeg told me. When he was looking for a place to retire he tried Palm Springs and Arizona first. He went to the local golf course and had to stand on the When someone from the other putting green for over an hour, end of the table asked how waiting to fit into a Group B. his round had gone today, he When he arrived in Chapala, looked at me and said with a This page: A rainbow after a rare rainy spell at the Chapala Country he went to the proshop and smile, “Playing with Joel, I saw Club. (Photo supplied by Yvonne Altenderfer ) Dotos (dice) anyone? within a few minutes someone parts of this course that I have was shaking his hand and inviting never seen in over twenty years of him into a group. “And that’s how I knew this would be home”, he playing here”. said with a smile, as the dice slammed down again and the cheers The Chapala Club is a special place; there are not many places like it continued. in the world. It has its roots back in the 60’s, the membership is about The 2013 Seniors Tournament runs February 13th to 17th at seventy percent foreigner and the members have established an eduthe Guadalajara Country Club Visit www.gcc1.com.mx cation fund for the employees’ children. The 222 members of the club, and the forty-three homes around the course create the community For more information on the Chapala Country Club please that Turbo and Robbie were looking for when they moved here. It’s visit www.ccchapala.com hard to imagine that in the early days, the club asked its members to pick up rocks as they played, as now the course is kept in excellent

www.mexi-go.ca 55


VISTA DEL LAGO | LAKE CHAPALA PROPERTIES

Easy Accessibility on one level Casa LEACH

3 bed | 3 bath | 4,498 sf $395,000 usd

Built in 2007 for handicap accessibility on both levels and tastefully furnished this custom built home that has it all. Walled for privacy and security with parking for 3 cars and convenient elevator to the main floor. Large terrazza offers 180+ degree unobstructed view of both Scorpion and Mezcala Islands. Bonus! A one bedroom casita on the lower level with its own courtyard and lake view. For more information and To see video tours CLICK HERE: www.accesslakechapala.com/2011/11/09/casa-leach/

www.casasajijic.com

Ten minutes east of town, Vista del Lago is home to the Chapala Country Club with a challenging nine-hole golf course overlooking the lake. Beautiful private homes surround the course. Conveniently located with easy access to Chapala and all the amenities of a large Mexican town, this community is made up of mainly expat Americans and Canadians many of whom live year round in this paradise. With near perfect weather, excellent golf and stunning lake and mountain views Vista del Lago offers many types of homes and lots to fit any budget. As a long time resident of Vista del Lago and an avid golfer, John can help you with any of your Lake Chapala questions. Call or email him today! Check out www.casasajijic.com

John Cearnal Hernandez Realty Group Ajijic, Jalisco Mexico Toll Free: (817)350-4325 Local: (376) 763-5304 harlanwood@aol.com

Under $100k Single level home with 2 Casitas

READY TO RENOVATE INTO YOUR DREAM HOME

CASA POIRIER

on the 3rd hole

4 bed | 5 bath | 6,338 sf $399,000 usd

2 bed | 2 bath | 1,592 sf $99,000 usd

Located on the second fairway with spectacular views this renovated house includes 2 casitas set on a beautifully maintained property. Enjoy your large terrazzo that spans entire living room and master bedroom. Downstairs are 2 one bedroom casitas. Time for a round of golf? Your new homes includes a golf cart and golf course access!

A Little Slice of Heaven. Located on the 3rd green at Chapala Country Club. This 2 bedroom, 2 bath is its own little oasis. Living room has gas fireplace and covered patio covers full length of the house. House is being sold furnished and is move-in ready. Although this is an older and smaller property in Vista del Lago with a little TLC and a few upgrades it’s a great value.

For more information and To see a video tour click here: www.accesslakechapala.com/2011/11/09/casa-poirier/

For more information and photos CLICK HERE: http://chapalamls.com MLS ID No. RC1CJ521

SOLD Under $100k All the amenities for a fraction of the cost!

A little TLC and this home is a winner!

CASA MADILL

GREAT DEAL!

3 bed | 3.5 bath | 4,971 sf $299,900 usd

5000 sq. ft. home with panoramic views of Lake Chapala and the mountains from the vast covered terrace. This home offers generous living and entertaining areas with open concept living and dining room along with separate office/den. Lots of features in this home including: Walk-in closets, fireplace, salt water pool with swim-up bar, new windows and doors, 2 car garage and access to the second fairway. For more information and To see more photos CLICK HERE: http://youtube/Psdwtxuv9lQ

1 bed | 1 bath | 1,377 sf $97,800usd

One Bedroom, one bath, partially furnished, near the entrance inside of Vista Del Lago. Wow! You even have your own swimming pool. Large covered patio with mountain views. Enjoy golf course living from under $100,000.00 USD. The house is currently rented. For more information and To see more photos CLICK HERE: http://chapalamls.com MLS ID No. RC1CJ656

www.mexi-go.ca


Trudie Nelson your Canadian realtor!

Mexican real estate for Canadian buyers

BRIGHT and SPACIOUS

Friendly gated community

Villa el toro

$525,000 usd

La Floresta, Ajijic,

3 bed | 3 bath | 4455sf

Casa lolA

$379,000 usd

Riviera Alta, Ajijic

3 bed | 2.5 bath | 2518sf

Enter the courtyard and flow thru grand entry with domed ceiling. Flow out to huge covered terrace with view to pool & garden fountains. All rooms flow off terrace. Glamorous master suite separate private from guest suites. Gourmet kitchen with custom cabinets. All move in condition. Spacious 2 car garage

Enter the domed foyer with views across the lake. Open concept home with living, dining and den with 11’ ceilings. Open to terrace and the low maintenance garden with charming fountain. Chef’s dream kitchen features new high-end stainless steel appliances. Recently updated bathrooms. For comfort and privacy the master suite is separate from the guest suite.

For more information and To see more photos: www.ajijicvillagehomes.com

For more information and To see more photos: www.ajijicvillagehomes.com

AJIJIC VILLAGE on LAKE CHAPALA www.ajijicvillagehomes.com AFFORDABLE LUXURY HOMES 10,000 CANADIANS MAKE AJIJIC MEXICO THEIR HOME. You can too!

Los Sabinos, Ajijic

$285,000 usd

3 bed | 2 bath | 2234sf

Lock and go! Knowing it will all be perfect upon your return. Modern open floor plan dramatic domed ceiling, large living and dining area flow to covered terrace, perfect for entertaining. Kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances. Master with en-suite bath, private guest bedroom and separate study. Amazing club house facilities include huge pool & Jacuzzi. Stress free living.

TRUDIE NELSON Your Canadian Realtor trudieannenelson@yahoo.ca www.eagerrealty.com

For more information and To see more photos: www.ajijicvillagehomes.com

Romantic village hacienda

Luxury New Home $499,000 usd

Villa mirador

$750,000 usd

3 bed | 5.5 bath | 9888sf

La Floresta, Ajijic

3 bed | 3.5 bath | 5682sf

Villa nicolas bravo Ajijic Village

Chic Gated community Casa DionNe

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 the tropical garden and opulent pool and fountain. Incredible space complete with BBQ area. Two master suites on ground floor are very private. Open plan home with large kitchen that flows through to dining and living room.

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: www.ajijicvillagehomes.com

For more information and To see more photos: www.ajijicvillagehomes.com

www.mexi-go.ca


Artfully uniting extraordinary homes with extraordinary lives

Spectacular Cabo Views Cabo San Lucas

en las Casitas de las Flores Casita Azul, Careyes

Maraluna Residential. Located 10 minutes from downtown Cabo, with spectacular views of Land’s End and the Sea of Cortez. Three and Four bedroom with ensuite, upgraded finishings, rooftop terraces, starting at $300,000 usd pre-construction prices.

Casita Azul is a unique opportunity, located in the middle of the bay in the exclusive Costa Careyes. This unique property is designed for outdoor living with exceptional terraces to appreciate views of the Pacific Ocean.

Starting at USD $300,000

Price USD$3,800,000 Contact: gdlinfo@sirguadalajara.com US +52 (33) 3627-6437 www.sirguadalajara.com

The house has 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, infinity pool, tropical garden and all the amenities needed to enjoy a space of this level of luxury satisfactory.

Contact: lcinfo@sirmexico.com US+ 205-277-6454 +52 (624) 172-6555

Endless views SAN JOSE DEL CABO

four floors of ocean view ICEBOX HILL, MAZATLAN

Alegranza. Ground floor, exceptionally beautiful new 3 bedroom/3 bath condo. Expansive views of the Sea of Cortez, fully furnished. Upgraded with private gateway to pool area. Two garden spaces, fully fenced for your pet.

Enjoy entertaining with three bedrooms, three full baths, and custom gourmet kitchen. Built in 2008, on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean this home was designed by a California architect, but is distinctly Mexican in character. deceptively modest from the front, the ocean side reveals four levels, each with a spacious terrace and magnificent views, and the lower one includes a lap pool. Luxury details throughout include travertine marble; quarry stone, stainless steel railings. bronze glazing and more.

Price USD $675,000 Contact: lcinfo@sirmexico.com US+ 205-277-6454 +52 (624) 172-6555

Price USD$ 530,000 Contact: gdlinfo@sirguadalajara.com US +52 (33) 3627-6437 www.sirguadalajara.com

Luxury home sites LOS Cabos

quinta serena Tepoztlán, Morelos

Club Polo Cabo. Located just 7 minutes north of the sparkling Bay of San Lucas, this luxury Polo Country Club now under development delivers the polo lifestyle to Cabo’s already luxurious ambience. Four polo fields, home sites starting at $69,000 usd.

A beautiful contemporary Mexican country house with the perfect balance between the traditional and the comforts of a modern life style. Quinta Serena has 3 spacious bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, spa with temazcal, a beautiful and extensive wine cellar and a lovely swimming pool among the gardens of the residence. Located a few steps from the riverbed, it has a beautiful view of the valley, and the mountains surrounding the village.

Contact: lcinfo@sirmexico.com US+ 205-277-6454 +52 (624) 172-6555

Price MXN$ 7,734,000 Contact: gdlinfo@sirguadalajara.com US +52 (33) 3627-6437 www.sirguadalajara.com

s i r m e x i c o.com

|

info@sirmexico.com

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


RON MORGAN P R O P E R T I E S

D R A S T I C A L LY R E D U C E D

US $395,000

US $760,000

US $595,000

US $629,000

US $389,000

REAL ESTATE SPECIALISTS

PRICE REDUCED

RON MORGAN PROPERTIES

US $299,000


www.mexi-goexpo.com

TRAVEL & TRADE EXPO CONNECTING MEXICO TO CANADA

September 7TH & 8TH, 2012 Vancouver Convention Centre

Live Your Tropical Dream!

Travel to Mexico! Retire to Mexico!

Join us at the Mexi-Go! Travel &Trade Expo for 2 days of educational seminars on living in Mexico, retiring to Mexico, opening a business in Mexico and much more! Enjoy exclusive travel deals, great prizes, food, tequila, mariachi, traditional dancers while you browse our exhibitors to learn more about what this amazing country holds for you!

Admission: $5 with $1 donated to the Lorena Ochoa Foundation. Register online for your free two-day pass.

In Partnership With:

MexicoFest

TRAVEL INVESTMENT RETIREMENT REAL ESTATE

Aguachile de Cameron Chef rossana ascencio Ingredients 2 lb Prawns – of your choice - cleaned, deveined, butterflied

Sandi Allin Briscoe

1 medium red onion – halved and thinly sliced 1 cucumber – sliced lengthwise, and then in half moon slices 1 tbsp dried Piquin chile, or Chiltepin chile 1 Serrano chile – veins & seeds removed, thinly sliced

RETIRE IN PARADISE! CLIMATE IS PERFECT | LOW COST OF LIVING GOLF 12 MONTHS OF THE YEAR JOIN THE OVER 10,000 CANADIANS ALREADY HERE!

SANDI ALLIN BRISCOE

1 CHOICE HOMES LAKESIDE SALLIN@LAGUNA.COM.MX ST

MAKE ME YOUR LAKE CHAPALA CONNECTION! WWW.AJIJICCHAPALA.COM.MX

2.5 cups lime juice 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce ½ tsp black peppercorns Coarsely chopped cilantro, to garnish, Salt to taste Fresh tostadas or crackers Method: 1. In a Molcajete (mortar & pestle) or a spice grinder, grind the Piquin chile and the black pepper to a fine powder. Reserve 2. Place the cleaned prawns in a bowl, cover with the lime juice and Worcestershire. Refrigerate covered for 20 minutes (they should start changing colour to a pinkish hue) 3. Add the ground chile and black pepper and the sliced serranos, stirring well. Return to fridge for 10 more minutes

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4. Place the cucumber half moons around the edge of each plate (individual plates or serving platters) 5. Remove the prawns from the fridge, adjust seasoning. Place inside the cucumber edge, garnish with the red onion slices and cilantro. 6. Serve with tostadas or crackers TOSTADAS: Corn tortillas, fried “flat” to be served “open faced” - Heat up vegetable oil, enough to cover tortillas. Fry them until golden brown, careful not to burn or allow them to “balloon”. Use tongs to flip them. Reserve over paper towels to remove excess oil. **There are different versions of Aguachiles, some incorporate a variety of seafood, including fish, scallops and octopus. It’s quite similar to a ceviche, what makes it different is the addition of freshly ground Piquin chiles and the presentation on the plate.


Margarita de Pepino Courtesy of Sauza Tequila

Ingredients: Hornitos Plata Tequila [2 parts] Triple Sec [1 part] Sliced cucumber (without seeds) [1/2 piece] Lime Juice [2 parts] Slice of kiwi [2 pieces] Green grapes [6 pieces] Plain ‘lima’ juice (sweet lime) [4 parts] Agave honey [3 parts] Mint leaves [ 7 pieces] Ice cubes [8-10] Fine salt [to taste] Garnish Thin slice of cucumber [2 pieces] Mint leaves [2 pieces] Hibiscus leaves [2 pieces] Procedure Blend all the ingredients (in blender) for 20 seconds Presentation Frost the margarita glass rim with whole grain salt and pour the mixture into the glass. Garnish the edge with fine cucumber slice and insert a mint leave. To finish, add one dried hibiscus leaf. Add plenty of ice

Salud!

www.mexi-go.ca 61


CASA MARGARITA DEL CIELO

Rental or sale, sayulita

CASA CHACHACHA

RENTAL OR SALE, sayulita

4 Bedroom, 4½ bath, pool, a.c., internet, ocean view

3 Bedroom, 3 bath, pool, internet, dvd, ocean view

RENT from $3,200 usd/wk Enquire for SALE price

RENT from $2,000 usd/wk Enquire for SALE price

Contact: rentals@avalosrealty.com

Contact: rentals@avalosrealty.com

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

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

CASA AGUA AZUL

RENTAL OR SALE, sayulita

CASITA ENCANTADORA RENTAL, sayulita

3 Bedroom, 2 bath, near beach, pool, a.c., internet

2 Bedroom, 2 bath, shared pool, a.c., dvd, sat. tv, internet, secure

RENT from $1,500 usd/wk Enquire for SALE price

RENT from $800 usd/wk

Contact: rentals@avalosrealty.com

Contact: rentals@avalosrealty.com

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

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

CASA DESTINO

RENTAL, sayulita

CASA REDONDA Rental or sale, sayulita

2 Bedroom, 2 bath, pool, dvd, internet

2 Bedroom, 2½ bath, splash pool, a.c., dvd, partial views

RENT from $900 usd/week

RENT from $1,000 usd/wk Enquire for SALE price

Contact: rentals@avalosrealty.com

Contact: rentals@avalosrealty.com

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

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


What are you waiting for?

mexi-go.ca www.mexi-go.ca 63


R E A L E S TAT E

LIFESTYLE

RETIREMENT

TRAVEL

Connecting Canadians to

Mexico

Your best source for Canadian information in Mexico Subscription and online magazine available now. w w w. m e x i - g o . c a

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Mexi-Go! Golf in Mexico  

The summer 2012 issue of Mexi-go! Magazine focuses of some of Canadians favourite pastimes in Mexico include Golf, birding, relaxing beachsi...

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