Mexi-Go! Winter Magazine 2014

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Winter 2014


Hiking Through History Yucatan Beaches: The Good Life! Tsitsiki: the Piñas of Michoacán Loreto, Baja CALIFORNIA Butterflies of Mexico beautiful bays of Huatulco Dream Homes of Mexico Exploring Six Magical Towns Funky Hideouts and Luxury Hotels mexico's gifts to the world



Features Real estate



Diversity and Abundance: Butterflies of Mexico By Moralea Milne Mexico enjoys one of the richest eco-systems in the world for butterflies.


Exploring Six Magical Towns By Antonio Vรกzquez Pueblo Magicos across Mexico offer slices of historical, cultural and natural life removed from big resorts.




Where to Stay - Funky Hideouts and Luxury Hotels


As diverse as the country, these places to stay offer the savvy traveler something different.



Yucatan Beaches: The good Life By Jessica Winkler Visit five of the most popular beachtowns in the Yucatan to experience what makes each on unique.


Hiking Through History



By Wendy Rains This easy day-hike in outside Todo Santos, Baja brings you face to face with ancient cave paintings.



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Maple Syrup in the Jungle By Tamara Jacobi Following their dreams, this Canadian family builds an eco-lodge in the jungles of Riviera Nayarit.


Dream Homes of Mexico Whether it's an investment or a life long dream, Mexico continues to offer excellent real estate opportunities.


Madeline milne Editor-in-Chief, Art Director


Jessica Winkler Contributor

wendy rains Contributor

Tamara Jacobi Contributor

Nearing three years of living in

Moralea lives in Metchosin,

A professional kiteboarder &

Wendy enjoys multiple careers

Tamara is the owner/man-

Mexico full-time, Madeline has

BC where she is an elected

entrepreneur Jessica has trav-

as an International Architec-

ager of the Tailwind Jungle

traveled extensively around

councillor, respected volun-

eled the world extensively in

tural Designer, Artist, Author,

Lodge north of San Pancho in

the country and shares her

teer for local environmental

search of adventure. In 2011

Columnist, Travel Journalist,

Nayarit. She is also a certified

passion for the rich diversity

groups and frequent contrib-

she started a kiteboarding

Magazine Publisher, Editor,

nutrition coach and founder

of culture and nature that her

utor to the local paper. When

school in Progreso, Yucatan

and Radio Show Host.


of Jungle Girl Health. When

adopted country has to of-

the rain and wind get to be

with her partner Nick Hall

nearly 12 years Wendy has

she’s not in the jungle she’s

fer. Based in Puerto Vallarta,

too much, Moralea heads to

called Kite Beach Yucatan.

been living in Todos Santos,

guiding sea kayaking and SUP

Madeline loves the proximity

Mexico, where she finds plea-

Baja Sur, Mexico. She current-


to the beach and mountains

sure in the unique flora and

for the best of both worlds.

fauna, the beaches and the

When she’s not exploring new

highlands and in the warmth

parts of Mexico, you can find

and comfort of the Mexican

Madeline under her palapa,

culture, food and people.

In 2012 Jessica secured a 3rd place win at the World Kite Speed Championships and a 1st place win in 2013 at the Mexican Freestyle Nationals.

glish radio programs in South-

ern Baja on Cabo San Lucas’s only radio station.

poolside, with a good book

ly hosts one of only two En-


winter ISSUE 2014

and her posse of Chihuahuas.

Gabriel Jones Contributor

Judi Shaw Contributor

Marianne Menditto Contributor

As Director of Sales for Mexi-

Judi Shaw, owner of Living


Go! I regularly travel Mexico.

Riviera Maya Real Estate in

from a diverse background

This edition took me to Huat-

Playa del Carmen is a fellow

in the arts & trades. Living in

ulco on the Pacific coast and

Canadian. Judi moved in

Mexico since 1999 with archi-

the Riviera Maya on the Ca-

2003 to Playa del Carmen,

tect/builder Tom Swanson,

ribbean and each destination

and has never looked back.

her specialty is designing &

was amazing in its own way.

She has helped many happy

overseeing the tile installa-

My adventures were made

investors jump from Canada

tions. Their other passion,

better by the great people I

across the US to Riviera

Galeria Colibri, has sent them

have met along the way many

Maya. Nearly 40% of prop-

all over México, searching for

of whom will be in Canada

erties sold this year in Playa

treasures and adventures.

promoting their businesses at

and area are Canadians.

the upcoming Mexi-Go! Expo in Calgary on March 15th. I hope to see you there.




MExi-Go! ONLINE For up-to-date information that matters for Canadians traveling, investing or retiring in Mexico has everything you need. Properties for sale Properties for rent Partnerships with vetted companies for all your Mexico needs. Don’t miss the articles on travel, real estate, investment, government and more on our site

“Six markets to watch: Mexico,”

Foreign Affairs, January/February 2014 Once hidden behind high tariffs, quotas, subsidies, and hundreds of stateowned enterprises, Mexico’s economy is now one of the most open in the world.

Las Alemandas Hotel Costalegre, Jalisco, Mexico Photo: Madeline Milne

“Has Mexico's moment finally arrived?”

The Guardian, 09/01/14 Mexico begins the new year bathed in predictions that its "moment" has finally arrived thanks, primarily, to a frenzy of reforms since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in December 2012.

Editor-in-Chief Editor

Madeline Milne Annie Holtby

Art Director Madeline Milne Designer Oskar Stark Contributors Joel Hansen Gabe Jones Moralea Milne Jessican Winkler Marianne Menditto Miguel Fernandez Wendy Rains Judi Shaw Tamara Jacobi Distribution Maxwell Hansen-Milne Advertising AND SALES Gabriel Jones | Sales Director Joel Hansen | Business Development MARKETING AND PR Veronica Rivas Jeff Castañeda

When I first moved here things were still done with a wink and a handshake but, that is quickly changing and as agencies, governments and businesses modernize and become accountable, as the tax dollars collected are distributed, as the visa applications are processed, this country moves toward a secure future with sound government and a healthy, educated population. The potential that we see in Mexico is mirrored strongly in the banking communities, the manufacturing, mining and energy industries. Major players are taking notice of Mexico and the changes that are happening. Depending on your goals, don’t let this opportunity turn into an “if only” situation. If you’ve dreamed of living in a tropical paradise, Mexico welcomes you with open arms. It remains one of the easiest countries in the world to become a resident of. But it’s not only about taxes, government and big business. There are positive environmental and social initiatives happen-

ing, the influence of globalism dictates that Mexico protect many of its natural wonders, like the Sierra Gordo Biosphere, home to 100’s of protected species and the Macaw parrot or the legalization of gay marriage. Healthcare, social security and education are all being renewed and updated within this new modern paradigm. There remain challenges, of course. The disappearance of the Monarch butterfly is especially disheartening. What is especially exciting is to be in the middle of this change; to experience the growth of this nation and to realize the many possibilities that are here for those with an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of adventure. Don't wait much longer; join us for a visit and realize your dreams of life in paradise. Safe travels, Madeline

March 15th, 2014 - Calgary, AB Deerfoor Inn and Casino from 10:00 - 4:00pm



March 15th, 2014


Special appreciation to ProMexico for their generous contribution. Mexi-Go! is published by Canadian Marketing Strategies S de RL de CV Copyright (2014)







SEMINARS, INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, RETIREMENT PROPERTIES Seminars on buying real estate in Mexico & various travel destinations Join Mexi-Go! for a full day of information on real estate investment

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Learn more about: purchasing real estate, the hottest markets, how to make the move to Mexico, new immigration rules and how to safely invest in Mexico. Register online for your chance to win a 7-night stay at Villa Amor, Sayulita's most luxurious villas along with other great prizes!

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Learn more at the Calgary, AB Mexi-Go! Expo March 15th

Mexi-Go! Expo


- Papaya

March 15th, 2014 - Calgary, AB Deerfoor Inn and Casino from 9:00 - 5:00pm

Learn more about: purchasing real estate, the hottest vacation and real estate markets, how to make the move to Mexico, new immigration rules, how to safely invest in Mexico and much more. Register online for your chance to win a 7-night stay at Villa Amor, Sayulita's most luxurious villas along with other great prizes!


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Real Estate Vacations Every place you travel to shines with potential; how do you choose you retirement destination? Try out a week or more at each of our pre-screened developments and experience for yourself how the property fits your retirement or vacation property goals.

Events Every month in Mexico has a myriad of festivals and holidays. The end of winter and spring brings many tourists to Mexico where they enjoy music, culinary, sports and nature events along with the very busy Semana Santa (Easter Break) and the spring solstice. When planning your next vacation to Mexico consider these exciting fiestas in your plans.

Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival Zihuatanejo, March 2 to 9 The annual guitar festival is in the charming town of Zihuatenejo, neighbouring the resort area of Ixtapa. Locals and tourists come together to enjoy guitar music. Concerts are held on the beach as well as in restaurants and bars throughout the town. Proceeds from the festival go towards supporting arts and educational projects in the community.

Vallarta Bird Festival Puerto Vallarta, March 6 to 9 Don’t forget your binoculars! Hosted by the Vallarta Bird Conservancy, the festival will kick off at the wonderful Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Some of the activities offered during the festival include birding and nature walks with expert guides in unique habitats and lectures from local and international authorities on birding related topics.

Spring Equinox Various, March 21 Many of the archaeological sites in Mexico celebrate the spring equinox. Locals and tourists alike will gather at the sites for rituals, singing and connecting with the energy of the pyramids.

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Punta Mita, April 3 to 6, 2014 This four-day event brings together culinary excellence and championship golf. The event will feature gourmet meals and cooking courses taught by distinguished chefs, a series of wine and tequila tastings, festive gatherings at the luxurious St. Regis Punta Mita Resort and Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, and “The Punta Mita Cup,” a two-day golf tournament on Jack Nicklaus’ two signature courses Punta Mita Bahia and Pacifico.

International Motorcycle Week Mazatlan, Sinaloa, April 23 to 27 The largest malecon in Latin American will host the largest motorcycle parade with over 400,000 spectators. Bikers and spectators from across the United States and Mexico converge in Mazatlán for this annual event. The magnum event is the Great Parade, a colorful procession of international motorcycle clubs cruising twenty-five kilometers along Mazatlán’s oceanfront boardwalk.

Chichen Itza, Quintana Roo

Holy Week - Semana Santa

The Mayan archaeological site of Chichen Itza is the most popular spot in Mexico to celebrate the spring equinox. Every year on the equinoxes, the light of the sun makes a play of light and shadow which makes it look like a serpent is slithering along the steps of the pyramid.

Nationwide, April 12 to 27, 2014

Teotihuacan, DF


Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf Classic

It was estimated about more than a million people visited the site during the weekend on which the equinox fell, many dressed all in white with red scarves or other accessories. They climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun where they perform rituals and stretch out their arms to receive the special energy they believe is present on that day.

Guadalajara International Film Festival Guadalajara, Jalisco, March 21 to 29 Guadalajara hosts the oldest and most important film festival in Mexico, offering the best selection of Mexican and Latin American films of the year. The festival features a variety of films including feature-length films, shorts, documentaries and children’s films.

Festivities take place during the week leading up to Easter, but many people have the following week off as well, stretching it out to a two-week holiday. For many Mexicans this is a favourite time to hit the beach. Beach towns across Mexico are very busy at this time of year. If you haven’t made reservations yet, it may well be too late.

Festival International 5 de Mayo Puebla, April 16 to May 5 Promoting Puebla’s artistic and socio-cultural heritage, while commemorating two important dates - April 16th, the date of Puebla’s foundation, and May 5th the Battle of Puebla. This festival offers a variety of activities such as concerts, dining, theater and more, with both national and international guest performers.



Books Bring Droves to Guadalajara

From November 30 through December 8, the editorial world’s second-largest event drew 600 authors, 20,000 publishers from 42 countries and over 700,000 visitors. French poet Yves Bonnefoy was awarded the FIL Romance-Language Literature Prize in the presence of writers like Alessandro Baricco, Camilla Läckberg, Etgar Keret, Gonçalo Tavares, Colm Tóibín, Jöel Dicker, Dani Umpi, Paula Parisot, Aleš Šteger, Use Lahoz, Rosa Montero, Javier Cercas, Nicholas Sparks, Ildefonso Falcones, Forrest Gander and Leonardo Padura, to name just a few.


San Miguel Voted Top City in the World San Miguel de Allende won Top City in the World at the 26th Readers’ Choice Awards organized by the prestigious travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler. This romantic, colonial city in the state of Guanajuato received the votes of 1.3 million Condé Nast Traveler readers worldwide, ranking it over contenders like Barcelona, Sydney and Cape Town. Located in Mexico’s Bajío region, northeast of Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende is a popular tourist destination and has one of the largest foreign communities of any city in Mexico. Americans and Canadians in particular are drawn by its striking colonial architecture, great atmosphere and cultural and artistic traditions. Once famous for its lucrative gold and silver mines, San Miguel de Allende was the first municipality to declare independence from Spanish rule in 1810. In 2008, it was named a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site and in recent years it has blossomed from a quiet colonial outpost to a bustling cosmopolitan city with 160,500 inhabitants, while managing to preserve its small town charm.


March 15th, 2014




Nobel laureates Ada Yonath, Shimon Peres and Mario Vargas Llosa were among the authors, thinkers and politicians in attendance at the 27th Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL).




Seminar series OPEN TO THE PUBLIC 10- 4PM

SEMINARS, INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, RETIREMENT PROPERTIES Seminars on buying real estate in Mexico & various travel destinations Join Mexi-Go! for a full day of information on real estate investment

The Bridlewood room

10:00 Nellie Hutchison (Loreto Bay Homes) The Past and Future of Loreto Bay ht 10:30 Carlos Cruz Rivero- (Papaya byW Sabatico) in a 7 nig a t S ry y O Playa Del Carmen and why you should L live here. uxu EXP xi-GoS!ay 11:00 Miguel Angel Lemus (Lemmus - ulita h MeEstate) witReal in r o m At Villa A The value of working with AMPI and the Realtor Referral dise paraPlan There's a M-exico 11:30 Victoria Pratt (Pacific Boutique Properties) th! for youu in March 15 e yoMexico A primer for Canadians buying Real EstateSein 12:00 Derick Kachuik (Olympia Trust Company) purchases TManaging R AV E L currency R E T I Rexposure E M E N T in foreign L I V I Nproperty G REA L E S TAT E 12:30 Christopher Gill (Bahia Principe) Discover Tulum and the Rivera Maya 1:00 Mexican Consulate - Changes to Mexican immigration laws and how they affect snowbirds 1:30 Gabriel Jones (Mexi-Go!) Take a Real Estate Vacation 2:00 Jorge Garcia (Ventanas Residences) – Living in Cabo San Lucas 2:30 Sarah Elengorn (The Park) – Why you should live in Puerto Vallarta 3:00 Jorge Miranda (SMPS Legal) - How to safely invest in Mexican Real Estate and a legal framework up-date 3:30 Brent May (Own Mexico) - How my wife and I moved from Calgary to Mexico and how you can too. 4:00 Judi Shaw (Living Riviera Maya Real Estate) Living in Riviera Maya



winter ISSUE 2014



The Sierra Gorda, Mexico’s Newest Biosphere Martha Isabel Ruiz, director of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, received the 2013 Champions of the Earth award in the “Inspiration and Action” category. Organized by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Champions of the Earth recognizes men and women whose actions and leadership in the spheres of politics, science, business and civil society have had a positive impact on the environment. Thanks to Ruiz, the Sierra Gorda —an ecologically diverse region in Central Mexico that extends into the states of Querétaro, Hidalgo and San Luis Potosí— now enjoys special Biosphere Reserve status. The innovative public-private environmental management system implemented by Ruiz and her team incorporates a range of ecotourism, conservation and income-generating projects that not only benefit hundreds of impoverished families in rural parts of the region but also guarantee the future of over 380,000 hectares of woodland and other ecosystems.





March 15th, 2014




SEMINARS, INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, RETIREMENT PROPERTIES Seminars on buying real estate in Mexico & various travel destinations Join Mexi-Go! for a full day of information on real estate investment

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By Sandra Cesca

Tropical Plants of Puerto Vallarta Originally a small fishing village in the 1800’s, Vallarta has grown through many stages over the past 200 years to become one of the most visited tropical beach destinations in the world. One of the best ways for a visitor or even a new resident to learn about a city or town is to immerse themselves in it through walking. Puerto Vallarta lends itself well to this form of explorations it is small enough for guided or leisurely strolls. The cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, colourful and varied shops and markets and most important, the friendly local merchants and families, allow anyone to enjoy this adventure... this stepping back in time... to slow down, relax and learn about the lives and loves of this culture. Along these paths you will find many tropical plants and trees that grow in this lush climate. Here are a few that you will find along your way.


Euphorbia pulcherrima Here’s one we all know. Also called Christmas Flower, this ancient ornamental perennial can reach up to twelve feet when grown in the wild. The actual flower is the yellow center while the red “petals” are really leaves. This native Mexican plant was used by the Aztecs to produce red dye and as an antipyretic medication. It is mildly toxic due to the latex sap which can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals.

Noche Buena (Spanish)



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Datura candida


Angel’s Trumpets, Thorn Apple. A genus with nine species of night-blooming fragrant flowering plants closely related to Brugmansias and commonly known as daturas. Brugmansias are woody trees or shrubs with pendulous flowers and spineless fruit. Daturas are herbaceous bushes with non-pendulous flowers and spiny fruit. Flowers are yellow, white, purple, orange, and pink. Plants contain important medicinal alkaloids such as scopolamine which render them very toxic. Some indigenous cultures use as a hallucinogenic narcotic to communicate with their ancestors. Floripondia (Spanish)

Heliconia Lobster Claw Heliconia stricta

The Heliconia family has almost 200 species native to the rainforests of the tropical Americas. Related to bananas, this herbaceous ornamental includes varieties Firebird, False Bird-of-Paradise and Parrot Heliconia which looks like the bright plumage of parrots. Flowers can be hues of reds, oranges, yellows, and greens and are pollinated primarily by hummingbirds.

Heliconia (Spanish)

San Diego

Tijuana El Paso

San Anto

Monterrey Mazatlan

Cabo San Lucas

Pacific Ocean

Puerto Vallarta

Guadalajara Mexico City Acapulco

These plants are some of over 200 found in Sandra’s new colorcoded guidebook, Tropical Plant Walks of Puerto Vallarta. It can be found for sale at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens’ gift shop Information on Sandra’s many walking tours can be found at:

San Diego

Tijuana El Paso

San Antonio

Bosque de Maple A serendipitous moment leads to a rare and exciting discovery.


Pacific Ocean

Tropic of Cancer


Cabo San Lucas Puerto Vallarta

Guadalajara Mexico City Acapulco


forest anywhere within Mexico. Back to our hotel room and with the help of my dear friend Google, we learned there is indeed such a thing.

One of the great lessons of life is to be open to the possibilities that any moment can bring. When my daughter and I set out from Puerto Vallarta, we had planned for a mini-jaunt through Jalisco, heading to the charming old mining town of San Sebastián, with plans to visit Mascota to view the petroglyphs and cave paintings, then on to the pyramids of Guachimontones. Despite a late start (though only two of us, the analogy of herding cats is apt), we arrived in San Sebastián and promptly fell head over heels for the narrow streets with the one story, immaculate, white trimmed in red buildings, cheek by jowl with the stately pine forest, and even more for the first class Italian pastry chef’s delectable goodies. He creates the flakiest puff pastry bits of deliciousness that rival any patisserie on the streets of Paris. Not an hour drive from Vallarta, it is worth the effort to experience the charms of this former mining town. Already behind schedule we left for Mascota, driving through an exuberant landscape and thriving agricultural area. A walk around the town square after a more than adequate dinner found us in a farmacia, in a quest for coconut oil. An enthusiastic staff brought out every variation of cream and oil that you can imagine. We succumbed to their infectious sales pitch and purchased a number of bottles and vials of exotic cure-alls. And here is where the hand of fate and an open mind allowed us to transcend our previous agenda. Everywhere we go, men want to make conversation with my daughter and this time was no exception. During the course of this innocent flirtation, my daughter admitted that we are Canadian. This opened a floodgate of information on a area, relatively close by, that is known as Bosque de Maple (pronounced mop lay) or Maple Forest. The naturalist in me was intrigued and just a tiny bit disbelieving that there was a maple

What do tree ferns and sugar maples have in common? Well, not too much in the usual course of events. Sugar maples live in the cold north, they produce delicious maple syrup, as Canadian a product as CBC’s Saturday Night Hockey. Tree ferns are plants that have been around since the Pleistocene era, when dinosaurs roamed the earth. And yet, in an impossibly difficult to access and unique area of Jalisco, they come together in one of the rarest ecosystems on earth. According to the limited information I could find online, this incredibly unique ecosystem might have been functioning as a unit for a much as two million years, when climatic changes allowed northern species to move south and tropical species to move north. The cool moist climate and soil regimes of certain ravines in mountain cloud forests have allowed these ancient plant associations to survive. Yet it encompasses only a small area of about two hectares at this site, one of five equally small sites throughout Mexico and Guatemala. Thirteen species of plants at the Talpa de Allende forest are considered threatened or endangered and the sugar maple (Acer saccharum subsp. skutchii) is considered endangered by Mexican Endangered Species Act. It has been postulated that this site might function as refugia for the primitive flora of the late Tertiary era. The road is challenging for the faint of heart (sheer drop-offs on both sides of a one lane road...) and should probably be accessed only in the dry season, with an appropriate rugged vehicle. Please remember, if you do visit this amazing ecological treasure, “leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, and kill nothing but time”. After enduring for two million years, it is humans who are the biggest threat to its survival. References: unrestricted/Vargas-Rodriguez_thesis.pdf



By Moralea Milne



By Moralea Milne Photos Moralea Milne

Diversity and Abundance:

Butterflies of Mexico Nothing ignites my passion more than butterflies and moths, those winged miracles of beauty and complexity that are found throughout the world. Mexico is especially blessed with a diversity and abundance, home to approximately 1750 species of butterflies alone. One of the greatest and most miraculous migrations on earth is the story of the Monarchs and their journey from their Mexican winter home to their third generation arrival and procreation in Canada. These Canadian born and breed monarchs emerge from their cocoons in late summer or early fall and begin their 4800 km trip to their forest hibernation site in Michoacan, where they overwinter before their flight into the southern states, to mate and die. The next generation will fly to the mid-states, laying their eggs and creating the generation who will complete the trip to Canada.


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How does that Canadian cohort know to migrate south, to follow routes that will take them to the same small forested area of one region of Mexico, even to particular trees? It is one of life’s mysteries that has captured the imagination of countless individuals and scientists. The monarchs have seen a number of challenges to their survival in the past, especially from logging in and around their hibernation site.


However this past year (2013) has seen a dramatic 43% decrease in the number of monarchs arriving in Mexico. Biologist Karen Oberhauser of the University of Minnesota has pinpointed the increased use of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides in the United States and Canada as a culprit. The Monarchs use only milkweed as the host plant on which to lay their eggs and feed their caterpillars. The increased use of Roundup in particular has had a devastating impact on milkweed populations, without milkweed, there can be no Monarchs. Besides the popular Monarchs, there are few other common butterflies that you could soon come to know and appreciate.

Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia) Fritillaries are in the large family known as brush-footed butterflies or Nymphalidae. Generally these are medium to large butterflies (Mexican fritillaries are 6.5-7.5 cm), most with a pair of small or reduced forelegs (appearing like they have only four legs instead of six). A great number of Nymphalidae are brightly coloured and often hold their wings flat when resting, providing an excellent photographic opportunity. Frequently the underwings are dull or cryptically coloured and patterned. Caterpillars are hairy or spiky and in the case of the Mexican Fritillary, they have two projections from just behind their head, looking much like antennae. Caterpillars are red (usually a sign to predators that they are toxic), with black spines and white longitudinal lines edged in black. Mexican Fritillaries are found throughout Mexico at any time of the year, flying swiftly and erratically over low vegetation, nectaring on lantana and verbena as well as sipping at the occasional dung pile. Passionflower and morning glory families are host plants on which the single eggs are laid, and upon which the caterpillars feed. It is thought that ingesting the cyanogenic glycosides (cyanide compounds) that are contained in the passionflower plants protect the larva from some terrestrial predators, such as the Anolis lizards. There are number of fritillary species that you can find around Puerto Vallarta, this one has the fewest markings on the top side of the hind wings.

Some larvae have an association with ants, being tended by them, on plants, or in the ant nests, even vocalizing with the ants. Apparently up to 98% of the world’s threatened butterflies belong to the Lycaenidae family. The Ceraunus Blues are some of the smallest butterflies I have ever seen at 3/4 to 1 1/8 in (2-3 cm). They are easy to miss as they fly low over the ground, although they are widespread and common. It has taken many photographs to get these shots, they are so small and often moving, alighting for only a few moments, that it is hard to get them focused in the viewfinder. I have seen them during every visit to Mexico, no matter the time of year or location.

Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus) Ceraunus Blues are members of the gossamer-winged butterfly family (Lycaenidae), which include the Blues, Coppers, Hairstreaks and Harvesters. Adults are usually under five cm and can be brightly coloured.

The light blue eggs are laid singly on the host flower buds on members of the pea family, including indigo, and partridge pea. Like other “Blues” the caterpillars are described as ‘slug-like’, these are small, oval-shaped, with a flattened underside and variably green to pinkish red. The males have stunning violet blue uppersides, which you do not often get to see; they generally alight and quickly close their wings, showing only the grey underside, with dashes and spots. Females are a dark grey on their topside with blue only at the wing bases. You will need to get right down there at ground level to appreciate these minute gossamer-winged beauties.

Cloudless sulphurs are beautiful, yellow, large butterflies (wingspan over 3 in or 7.5 cm) butterflies that can be found throughout Mexico, at almost any time. The eggs are laid on plants in the Pea family, Senna genus, of which there are hundreds of species, including those known as Cassia; most plants have yellow, pea-like flowers. Young caterpillars are green with a yellow stripe on each side of the length of their bodies. More mature caterpillars are yellow/orange with horizontal, thin, dark bands. During the day, they hide in a “tent” made of their host plant leaves webbed together with silk. The adult butterflies prefer to nectar on long tubular flowers such as hibiscus. If you notice that many of the postings repeat a common theme of “found throughout Mexico or over a wide range, throughout the year” that is because I am a novice and it is far easier to spy and photograph the more common species. To a Canadian like me, just starting the exploration of Mexican butterflies, they are all unique and beautiful. I hope you will find this journey as fascinating and exhilarating as I do.


Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)



By Antonio Vázquez Negocios, ProMexico

Mexican INGREDIENTS Influencing International Palates

Thousands of years ago, the land that is today Mexico produced foodstuffs that were to cross the ocean centuries later and end up on dinner tables the world over. Imagine a pizza without tomato sauce or a chilidog without chili. And where, oh where, would we be without chocolate? Along with avocado, corn, beans, agave and chia seeds, these are a mere sampling of the ingredients that form the backbone of Mexican cooking and that have added oomph to international cuisines. For over four centuries, Mexico has been sharing its produce with the rest of the world. The following are seven foods that have traveled exceptionally well and that we have chosen as examples of how Mexico has influenced palates all over the globe.

Green Butter


Under that dark, wrinkled skin is a yellowy greenish pulp with a unique flavor and soft, buttery texture. The avocado is a fruit native to Mexico but one that has been consumed worldwide for some 500 years. A member of the flowering plant family Lauraceae, its name comes from the Náhuatl ahuácatl, which means “testicle.” The Spaniards referred to it as the “pear of the Indies” but its scientific name is Persea americana.

Recipe makes 4 servings 3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed 1 lime, juiced 1 tsp salt 1/2 cup diced onion 3 tbs chopped cilantro 2 roma tomatoes, diced 1 tsp minced garlic

Avocados contain large amounts of oleic acid, a “good” fat that helps reduce cholesterol levels in humans. There are 500 varieties of this fruit in Mexico, some of which can be eaten skin and all. As a spread on bread, crackers or tortillas or a welcome addition to any salad, all it takes is a little imagination to turn an avocado into a culinary event. Guacamole is perhaps the most well-known avocado- based Mexican dish. Simply mash it in a bowl with some diced tomato and onion and add chili, salt and a splash of lime juice to taste.

Mexico’s Gift to the World Would a hamburger taste the same without that mandatory slice of tomato and squirt of tomato ketchup? There can be no question that tomato has been one of Mexico’s most valuable contributions to international gastronomy. The Spanish may have conquered Mexico but the Aztec conquered Europe with the tomato or xitomatl, which literally means “fruit with navel.” The Italian for tomato is pomodoro or “golden apple.” This is because the first tomatoes grown here were yellow and if it weren’t for Mexico, this country would be short of its classic pomodoro sauce. In Mexico, tomatoes are eaten in salsas, soups and salads. An authentic Mexican preparation is a salsa known as pico de gallo, which is basically a mixture of diced tomato, onion and cilantro, with some chili thrown in for good measure.

Directions In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavour.

Pico de Gallo Recipe makes 3 cups 6 roma tomatoes, diced 1/2 red onion, minced 3 tbs chopped cilantro 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced 1/2 lime, juiced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 pinch garlic powder 1 pinch ground cumin salt and ground black pepper to taste Directions 1.Stir the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Refrigerate at least 3 hrs before serving.

A Succulent Elixir Few plants are as mystical as the agave. Named after the Greek goddess Agave, who was a maenad or female follower of Dionysus, the God of Wine and Merrymaking, the agave plant is an unmistakable symbol of Mexico. Its broad, fleshy stalks, or pencas, are used to produce mezcal, tequila and pulque, alcoholic beverages that are appreciated all over the world, so much so that in 2012, Mexico exported 165.7 million liters of tequila, 65% of that year’s total production. The agave plant grows in several semiarid regions of Mexico but Jalisco is the state with the highest tequila output. Plantations of blue, tequila-producing agave are concentrated in the Valles region and stretch for 35,000 hectares, taking in the municipalities of Tequila, Magdalena, El Arenal, Amatitán and Teuchitlán. In 2006, this “agave landscape” in Jalisco was declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) World Heritage Site. But this noble plant has more than one trick up its spiny stem. It is also a source of fibers like henequen and istle, used to make hammocks, ropes, paper and even drums.

A Mighty Seed They say good things come in small packages and in the case of chia, the adage most definitely holds true: this minuscule seed is literally bursting with nutrients. The Aztec would grind chia seeds to make atole and obtain a type of oil called chiématl, both of which were offered up as gifts to Chicometóatl, the Corn Goddess. Chia is still used today as a food supplement and is often added to lemonade for a nutritious, thirst quenching drink when it’s hot out. In Michoacán, the seeds are used to make chapatas, small tamales that are presented as offerings to the dead. And in the state of Guerrero, artisans use oils extracted from chia seeds to paint with. Chia production has increased in Mexico in recent years, ever since scientists discovered how rich it is in fiber, antioxidants, calcium, proteins and Omega 3 fatty acids.

The humble bean, known simply as the frijol in Mexico, was a basic foodstuff in Pre- Colombian Mesoamerican cultures like the Aztec, who demanded it as a tribute of the peoples they conquered. There are some 500 types of beans currently produced in Mexico but the most popular are bayos and negros –common and black beans, respectively. Refried with chorizo or served with rice, beans are a comfort food that finds its way into countless Mexican dishes and broths. The good news is they’re low in fat, have no cholesterol and are recommended for diabetics because their complex carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly than those found in sugar, honey and other sweeteners.

Prickling the Senses Poblano, jalapeño, chipotle, pasilla, chilaca, habanero, de árbol, cascabel, piquín, tabasco, serrano, ancho, verde, guajillo… There are over 140 varieties of chili pepper in Mexico, all of which will make your eyes water, your lips burn, your nose drip and your forehead glisten with beads of sweat –to a greater or lesser extent depending on the amount of capsaicin they contain. This hot, spicy fruit is a member of the Solanacea family and is a basic ingredient in Mexican cuisine, forming part of the staple diet of our ancestors, along with corn and beans. The name is derived from the Náhuatl chilli, meaning “hot,” although the Spaniards called them “peppers” because this was the closest food they could liken them to. In the fifteenth century, the conquistadors introduced them to Europe and Asia, where new varieties of one of the world’s most widely consumed condiments were subsequently produced to prod and prickle the senses.


The Humble Bean


Negocios, ProMexico


6 Magical Towns

San Diego

Tijuana El Paso

We bring you a small sampling of towns that have preserved their character and customs over the centuries and that continue to captivate Mexicans and foreigners alike with their hospitality and picturesqueness.

San Antonio

Monterrey Mazatlan

Cabo San Lucas

Pacific Ocean

Puerto Vallarta

3 6


Yucatan Peninsula

Tropic of Cancer

Cancun Merida



5 Mexico City Acapulco



Magical Towns is the collective name the Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) has given to the hundreds of towns whose architecture, customs and culture have remained intact over the centuries and that have witnessed landmark events in Mexico’s history. As you walk down their quaint streets and admire their arts and crafts, or maybe stop for a tasty cup of coffee and some local fare, it’s easy to understand why these towns are famous beyond Mexico’s borders. Best of all, most are less than 200 kilometers –a two hour drive– from a major tourism destination!

Cosmopolitan Mysticism San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas Colorful, mystical and cosmopolitan are the three words that best sum up San Cristóbal de las Casas, the third most important municipality in the southeastern state of Chiapas in terms of revenue. Perched high up in the mountains, you can never be sure what the weather’s going to be like in San Cristóbal. The city was founded in 1528 and was one of the first Spanish settlements in America. Its architecture is a mix of Spanish and indigenous styles: narrow pedestrian streets lined with brightly coloured houses with red tiled roofs. Among its most striking buildings is the Church of Santo Domingo, carved in the Spanish

Surreal Landscapes


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Visiting Xilitla is like walking straight into a Dalí painting. Hemmed in by lush vegetation, mountains and majestic waterfalls, this town in the Huasteca Mountains in the state of San Luis Potosí is home to stately residences and oddities like Las Pozas. Created by the eccentric English millionaire Sir Edward James in 1949, Las Pozas is a gothic-inspired dream world of stairs and passageways that lead nowhere, fountains and inverted columns. There are 36 structures in all covering

1 neo-baroque style by the hands of Tzotzil, Tzeltal and Lacandon natives during colonial times. Cold cuts and hams are the specialty here, washed down with corn atole, tascalate, pozol (both made from cacao) or posh, a potent alcoholic drink made from sugar cane and corn. But given its popularity among foreign tourists, San Cristóbal de las Casas also has a decent selection of restaurants serving up international fare. There is an abundance of amber mines in the region so if you’re looking for a souvenir, how about an exclusive hand crafted piece of amber jewelry?

2 an area of some 36 square hectares, the most famous of which are “The Stairway to Heaven”, “The Path of the Seven Snakes”, “The Bedroom with a Whale-shaped Ceiling” and “The Structure Called Cinema”. Xilitla, which means “Place of Snails” in Náhuatl, is also famous for its temascales, a type of pre-Hispanic steam bath. The fantasy ends with some zacahuiles (corn tamales up to two meters long, filled with chili, pork or chicken) and a cup of locally grown coffee.

Learn more about travel in Mexico at


By Antonio Vázquez

Where Time Stood Still Seven Shades of Blue San Sebastián del Oeste, JALISCO

Bacalar, Quintana Roo

To the west of Jalisco, almost on the edge of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, is San Sebastián del Oeste, a small town that grazes the clouds and where time appears to have come to a standstill. The main square features a garden and a bandstand surrounded by trees and moss-covered walls. In the distance, the trickling of a stream under a stone bridge echoes the tone of the rest of the region, strung together by abandoned mines and ghost towns. One of the town’s main attractions is its cemetery, perched on top of a volcano with gravestones sculpted out of local quarry stone.

Ideal for nature lovers, the main attraction in Bacalar is its enormous lake, whose calm waters and fine white sand make for the perfect picture postcard. Said to have seven shades of blue, this breathtaking lake connects with the Blue Cenote, a series of archaeological sites and the hotel, golfing and ecotourism facilities that have sprung up around the Bay of Chetumal.

Watching the sun set over San Sebastián from Cerro de la Bufa is an unforgettable experience. Other places of interest include Hacienda Esperanza de la Galera and its bountiful fruit trees, Quinta Mary, which produces organic coffee, and Hacienda Jalisco, a museum and hotel that gets by without electricity.

In Maya, Bacalar means “surrounded by reeds” and even before the arrival of the Spanish the town was an important trading post in the Yucatán Peninsula and a gateway to Central America. In Colonial times, it was constantly besieged by pirates and plundered for its dyewood, which the English used to dye textiles. Local handicrafts include wood carvings, hand dyed huipiles, palm baskets and hammocks, while Bacalar’s proximity to Belize has had a notable influence on its cuisine: rice, bean and coconut oil-based dishes are generally served as an accompaniment to a variety of fish and seafood.

A plate of corn smut and onion, and a peach or guava dessert washed down with chocorraíz (made of chocolate and a tequila-like beverage known as raicilla) make a fitting end to a day in San Sebastián del Oeste.



A White Wonder Comala, COLIMA In Náhuatl, Comala means “Land of Comales”, those round griddles used in Mexico to make and heat tortillas. This Magical Town in the western state of Colima borders the Fuego and Nevado de Colima volcanoes to the north, the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve to the west and the Valley of Colima to the south. To the east is Las Huertas de Comala, one of four natural areas protected by presidential decree. Since 1962, all the houses and public buildings in Comala have been painted white, earning it the moniker the “White Village of America”. The town is also associated with the classic Mexican novel Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo. Around the main square are numerous bars where you can sample authentic regional specialties like sopes, enchiladas, tacos dorados and tacos de barbacoa, as well as traditional beverages like tuba (made from coconut palm) and locally grown coffee.

Extreme Exclusivity Valle de Bravo, State of Mexico


An hour and a half from Mexico City lies Valle de Bravo, a Magical Town whose exclusive ecotourism and golfing facilities have earned it quite a bit of prestige. There is an enormous lake where you can sail, waterski, kayak or fish, and the weather is nearly always cool. Paragliding, hang gliding and trike buggies are popular sports and an extreme way to get a privileged view of the town with its steep streets, the lake and surrounding forest. Burnt sienna roof tiles add warmth to the picturesque white stucco houses with their wrought iron railings, while the main square has a bandstand with wood columns and benches where you can sit and watch life pass you by, ice cream in hand. One of Valle’s most striking historic buildings is the Church of San Francisco de Asís, which boasts a wooden sculpture of St. Francis dating from the seventeenth century. The town also has a large handicrafts market specializing mainly in ceramics and textiles. As far as food goes, the choice is ample: rainbow trout, turkey with mole, artichokes with beef and pitroast lamb are just a few of the local delicacies.




Forward by Madeline Milne Reviews by Joel Hansen, Gabriel Jones and Madeline Milne

Experience Mexico to its Fullest Mexico remains Canada's second most popular travel destination after the United States. Over 1.6 million trips are taken yearly by Canadians to Mexico and this number has increased steadily for the past decade. In fact, it has more than doubled in the past eight years.


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Travel around this country and you will find a Canadian in nearly every town, every resort and every sports bar. Canadians make up almost 20% of the total travelers that come to Mexico each year to enjoy the sun, sand and surf along with the colonial towns, the sierras, the cosmopolitan cities, the ancient ruins, the diversity and the culture.


Travelers enjoy exploring archaeological ruins that are 3,500 years old, they hike through cloud forests, they watch feats of skill at the local charro rings. Travelers to Mexico lay first on their backs and then on their stomachs to perfect the ultimate tan. They surf, stand-up paddle board, windsurf and boogie board. They dive and snorkel through the second largest reef in the world, they interact with dolphins, manta-rays, whale sharks and sea turtles. If they are really lucky they may spot a jaguar or a howler monkey. Fingers crossed that there is still time to witness the spectacle that is the annual Monarch butterfly migration. This country of such diversity and cultural depth offers travelers, Canadian and otherwise, experiences that are unique and memorable. Through it all they must find a place to lay their head each night. In the spirit of adventure and unique, memorable experiences the hotels featured here offer their guests something more than frozen margaritas and sun-facing loungers, though of course they have those too.

Old Mazatlan Inn Mazatlan

Colonial Inn with Great Location The Old Mazatlan Inn is an amazing place to stay (and to own.) Located on the hill overlooking downtown, an easy five minute walk to Old Town, and only a block to the beach, The Old Mazatlan Inn is unique in that it is one of the few great places to stay in Mazatlan that isn’t located in the (kinda run down) Golden Zone. Old Town has so much to offer; great restaurants and bars, the colonial architecture and of course the famous theater. You can walk the historic streets with the locals and avoid all of the tourist trappings of the Golden Zone. The hotel is a historic building that has been completely renovated. (They were just putting the finishing touches on an elevator when I visited). Part of the unique charm of the OMI is that each unit is actually a condo that you can purchase. Completely decked out with all the amenities you could possibly need including, a full kitchen, television, desk, chairs, air conditioning and patios with spectacular views of downtown and the ocean. The decor and design of the units are traditional Mexican with great attention paid to maintain the charm during renovations. The outside space features a small sunny pool and an outdoor kitchen area for BBQs. A bonus is the rooftop deck with spectacular 360-degree view of Mazatlan and the Pacific ocean. If you check reviews on the web you will notice that most of them mention someone named O’Neil. With good reason! O'Neil McGean is hands down one of the most gracious, and helpful hosts I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is a wealth of information, helped organize my transportation and made great suggestions on things to do and see in Mazatlan. He is the epitome of an Innkeeper and is truly one of the reasons that The Old Mazatlan Inn is so special. The Old Mazatlan Inn is a great place to stay and an even better place to own. So pick up the phone and call O’Neil, I know he will take care of you.

Pepe’s Hideaway

Acanto Hotel and Residences


Playa del Carmen

Funky Celebrity Hideout

Stylish and Sexy

I arrived in Mazanillo at the same time as Hurricane Erick. I was there to stay at Pepe’s Hideaway, a cluster of seven bungalows perched on the high on the cliffs splitting Mazanillo and Santiago Bays. Checking my directions I pointed my car towards La Punta, the gated residential community nestled on the tip of Santiago peninsula that juts into the Pacific.

Acanto embodies the very spirit of Playa del Carmen by combining sexy, stylish design with an ideal location that allows for effortless transitions from beach to resort to nightlife. This topnotch hotel is situated on a quiet pedestrian-only street one block from the ocean and one block from the infamous 5th Avenue - home to fantastic shopping, people watching and many of Playa’s best restaurants. Feeling famished after a long day of beaching? Check out “Plank” one of Playa’s best new restaurants, conveniently right across the street. Like many of the best parts of Playa, Acanto’s style is Mexican with European accents. The hotel’s hacienda entrance opens to a lush tropical courtyard with a warm Mediterranean feel. Attention to details like seductive, ambient music and soft candle light set the scene, making Acanto the “romantic, intimate and charming boutique hotel,” that Frommer's Travel Guide describes. Three storeys of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom suites overlook the courtyard and all access the beautiful rooftop patio with the Caribbean blue ocean views we all came to see. The suites meet every travellers needs with full kitchens and living rooms, marble floors and bathrooms, granite counter tops, air conditioning, ceiling fans, Plasma TV’s and balconies or terraces. Great service is what truly sets a hotel apart and the staff are friendly and professional - a big reason Acanto earned Trip Adviser’s Award of Excellence three years in a row.

It is in this exclusive neighbourhood, which is considered one of the most successful, planned luxury developments in Mexico, a community that Barbra Streisand and others celebrity’s call home while on holiday, that you will find Pepe’s Hideaway. The bungalow was perched 100ft above the ocean and the sea was indeed angry as I witnessed first hand the power and fury of Mother Nature that evening. The ocean crashed on the rocks below, the wind howled, rain pounded the roof and the windows and the sky lit up with lightning as Erick did his best to dislodge the bungalow from its footings. Greeted by the most spectacular sunrise the next morning and Erick was gone, having left hardly a trace in his wake. There was already a coffee service laid out on the patio and an invitation to breakfast in the common area. Pepe, fixture and owner with a devilish twinkle in his eye, joined me for breakfast and we would dine together again a couple of time during my stay. As I was leaving, I thanked Pepe. He smiled and said he had done nothing special, it was how all guests are treated when they stay with him. That what defines Pepe’s Hideaway the experience of staying with friends that you will continue to visit for years to come. Pepe’s is unlike any place I have stayed in Mexico, it is an all-inclusive resort, but is personalized to your tastes; there are no buffets or screaming kids. The menu is prepared each day after the chefs visit the local market to pick the freshest ingredients. Because there are only seven bungalows the staff is able to completely take care of all your needs, and despite the rustic setting and construction of the bungalows, each unit is well equipped with a comfortable bed, stocked fridge and a luxury bathroom. Double doors open up to a patio with a hammock and sitting area that is perfect for sunset watching. You will be invited to join Pepe for dinner (and a scotch) where he will entertain you with his stories from over 40 years of Mexico living. Ask Pepe if they are serving the lobster, it is an inside joke that he will love to explain.


Where to stay




Hotel B



All We Need is Love, Love! Trendy with an Old Soul On the north side of Banderas Bay just thirty minutes from Puerto Vallarta, is a town renowned for its great live music scene and its bustling marina. In recent years, a number of well-known musicians have called La Cruz de Huanacaxtle home, making for some great entertainment at local restaurants and bars. On any given evening, as you sit on your balcony- watching the sunset, while keeping an eye out for breaching Humpback whales- strains of saxophone or acoustic guitar will drift by, creating one of those perfect "Corona beer-commercial" tropical holiday moments.


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For Chris and Cindy Bouchard, owners of Villa Amor del Mar, it was love at first sight. La Cruz would be the place to fulfill their dreams. Originally from British Columbia, the designer/project manager duo have transformed this large private beachfront villa into a charming boutique inn. With elements of whimsy and traditional Mexican crafts throughout, each of the five guest rooms and the separate two-bedroom casa is a unique fusion of style and comfort. Guests enjoy private oceanfront patios and luxurious touches including in-suite continental breakfasts and cozy robes for lazy mornings. And the beds.... those oh-so-comfy beds!


With something for everyone, this perfect-for-couples inn gives you the chance to unwind and experience the best of Mexico. Pull out a good book and enjoy the infinity salt water pool or grab a surf board and test your luck on the rollers out front. Not up for surfing? There are kayaks and stand-up paddle boards as well. Or grab your sandals and do a little beachcombing along the 8kms of pristine beach. With the new marina just a few meters down the beach, excursions are but a minute away.-take a cruise, go whale watching, scuba diving or fishing, or book a tee time at one of the three courses that are within 15 minutes from Villa Amor del Mar. Just the place for a very special getaway.

The term ‘boutique hotel’ gets thrown around a lot, but Hotel B embodies the term. “It was conceived as an evolving space enriched with the creativity of every visitor. A boutique hotel in Cozumel to experience art; a blank canvas that invites artists, artisans and travelers to enhance their creative side and leave a brushstroke on their way”. The visionary behind Hotel B is owner Beatriz Tinajero, a smiling, bundle of energy who works tirelessly to ensure that your stay is perfect. For many years the hotel had been in Beatriz’s family and was in a state of serious neglect, but that all changed when Beatriz got her hands on it. She completely renovated the hotel that was built in the 1960’s in the Miami Modernist or MiMo style and gave each room its own unique theme. She invited artists from across Mexico to come to the hotel and host seminars and workshops where guests are encouraged to participate and work with the artist. While I was there I had the opportunity to work with Angelico Jimenez Hernandez who was the resident artist. Senor Hernandez, is from Arrazola, Oaxaca and is a master of the “Alebrije” or ‘animal fantastico’ style. For 3 days I joined him each morning, working and being taught side-by-side by this humble master. When I asked him who his influences were and who had taught him to carve, he sat back on his stool, looked out over the infinity pool which over-looked the flawless green/blue Caribbean, casually brushed some wood chips from his lap and told me simply that, “god gives you a gift and we need to practice to be the best in our work to honour that gift.” Then he bent back over his carving. At the end of my third day I was happy to have produced something that could be considered a “carving” and while not exactly art, the chance to spend time with Senor Hernandez brought me the most joy. Staying with Hotel B is a truly unique experience. From the outside looking in, it is a fresh contemporary space, with creative gastronomy, world class snorkeling on the reef located directly in front of the hotel and the overall chic feeling of a hotel that is truly “cool” and popular. But if you look a little closer you realize it is juxtaposed with an old world artist from Oaxaca in his worn coveralls and easy, encouraging smile and this is what gives Hotel B Cozumel its heart. Hotel B offer Yoga retreats, tequila and mezcal tastings, cooking classes and of course all of the art in the hotel is for sale. They will help you with booking everything from a scooter to explore the island to a diving trip to explore the ocean.

Without a Travel Agent… * …You’re on your own .

When it comes to trip and travel planning, you have the perfect companion: an ACTA travel agent. Here’s what you can expect and enjoy: 1. Expert Advice

You've Googled "Mexico vacation", and come up with 17.8 million responses. What next? A travel agent has been there, knows someone who has or has a network of contacts that can be accessed for on-the-ground up-to-date information that answers all your questions on destinations, transportation, documentation, immunizations, travel insurance, etc. Your Internet Interpreter and most reliable travel search engine is an ACTA travel agent.

2. Personal Attention

Your trip will be tailored to your needs and interests – whether you’re looking for adventure travel, on a business trip with changing itinerary or on a family trip with special needs for toddlers to grandparents. We create an experience just for you! You have an advocate that you can call on for help before or during your travels – in case of change of plans, emergencies, cancelled flights or the unexpected. We’re there when you need us.

4. Convenience and Time Savings

You can surf the Internet all night or you can make one call to your ACTA travel agent. Let someone else do the work for you and find the best value for your travel dollar – for air tickets to car rentals, lodgings to activities.

5. Trust

We’re not an anonymous Web site. We’ll never “freeze” and leave you wondering if your payment went through. ACTA travel agents abide by a strict Code of Ethics and are dedicated to their clients’ best interests. We make your travel dreams come true! Find an ACTA travel agent in your area. Visit


3. Peace of Mind

Association of Canadian Travel Agencies Association canadienne des agences de voyages

25 *Registered Mark of American Society of Travel Agents, Inc. (ASTA), used under license


by Tom Swanson and Marianne Menditto


the Piñas of Michoacán One of our favourite forms of folk art comes from a tiny village in the mountains of Michoacán, so small that it is not on any of the road maps. Located on the north slope of a pine-covered mountain that rises to nearly 3,000 meters, San José de Gracia shares this slope with the famous artesania villages of Patambán and Ocumicho, the latter, famous for the wild and mythical caricatures molded of clay and finished with brightly colored paints. Still, San José holds its own. The history of glazed ceramics goes back to the colonial times. Bishop Quiroga, fondly known to the locals as Tata Vasco, or grandfather Vasco, brought the art of glazing pottery from the old world in the early 1500’s. Tzintzuntzán, the ancient capital of the Purepecha culture, was the original ceramics center, which spread throughout Michoacán. The Sierra Volcanica, famous as the home of the Monarch butterflies, is still today the home of the Purepecha people. The Purepecha language is still the primary language taught in the school in San José, Spanish being second. That is the way in many of the villages scattered through these mountains, tradition and culture never having changed much since before the conquest. In the early 1970’s, a potter named Hilario Alejos moved to San José from Carapán, further up the valley of ‘Onces Pueblos’, where his mother, famous for her ‘Piñas’ had taught him the art. She was selling her work in Guadalajara and Morelia to use for ‘poncheras’, or punch bowls, to serve the popular ‘tepache’, a fermented pineapple beverage. The traditional style often had a row of hooks

below the rim of the pot, from which hung a set of small cups. Taking advantage of the available clay, the Alejos family and soon their neighbors, were carrying on in her tradition. The Hernandez Cerrano and Alejos families have been creating ‘piñas’ here for 40 years now. They have recently opened a co-operative, named ‘Tsitsiki’, or Flower of the Forest, behind the school where their art can be viewed and purchased. The Hernandez Cerrano family was instrumental in obtaining the official ‘Denomination of Origin’ status for the Michoacan piña makers. This group copyright is granted by the Mexican federal government to protect against piracy, the artistic and intellectual properties of the original artists & producers of Mexican products considered to be ‘artisanal’ Clay is mined for the making of the ceramic pots from a deposit on the mountainside near the village. It is then washed clean in the creek that runs close behind the house. Most of the design work is molded separately from the pots themselves, and applied to the surface while still wet. Sometimes a small mold will be fashioned and used to create a repeated decoration, but for the most part, everything is done by hand, to enable the potter to know that the clay has the proper moisture content and consistency to mold the main pot body.


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



Hotel Villa Amor Sayulita

MX (011-52) 329-291-3010 CAN&US +1 (602) 748-4144

Monterrey When the pots have been constructed, they are placed in the sun to dry and harden. Once hardened and completely dry, depending on the design, some of the areas on the pots are coated with a thin layer of white clay found in the bottom of Laguna Cuitzéo a land-locked lake 100 kms to the east. This provides an underpainting that glows through the glaze. Then, once again they are thoroughly dried in the sun.

Cabo San Lucas

Pacific Ocean

Mazatlan Guadalajara Mexico City Acapulco

Now they are ready for the first firing, done in an open pit off of the kitchen. The pots are placed on special clay pedestals in the center on the pit. A fire of oak and pine is built up around the pots and kept blazing for over six hours, depending on the size and number of pots being fired.

Simply, these pieces are display pieces, not dinnerware and not toys. In recent years, a rich blue and a chocolate brown have been added to the spec-

trum. Both of these colors are lead-free. This new variety and the ever present quality and constant innovation by the Hernandez family members, bring them many awards. First and second place ribbons adorn many of the larger pots on display, won in prestigious State and National competitions. Collectors and gallery owners from all over the world venture into these mountains in search of their art and thankfully, they keep the tradition alive. Three generations are now active in their production, much of which is done in the open courtyard behind the display room. In the back, under a shed roof, is the main kiln. It looks much like an old well. But, alas, times are changing. Berry farms and herb and spice hothouses are filling the valley floor. Jobs in agriculture may not pay that well, but the work is steady. More and more, the young people are drawn away from tradition to the world of television and smart phones. We hope the work at the co-op will continue. This is a truly unique and beautiful art form. It would be sad to see it perish.


After cooling in the open air, the pots are ready for the glaze, which is often simply drizzled over the pots surface, then fired once more. This accounts for the unique blending effect on the pots with multiple colors. The two original colors used for the glazes, the green and the yellow, contain lead. Though the pots are not toxic unless heated (or if someone were to actually eat a pot), attempts were made by U.S.potter societies to introduce non-toxic glazes to San José. The results were, at best, less than satisfying as far as the greens and yellows are concerned. The unique richness, depth and brilliance of the traditional glazes proved impossible to even come close to. The Hernandez Cerrano family and the other families who still create this art form, went back to their original methods.


By Sandra Cesca

Biosphere National Reserve Celestun, Yucatan

Yucatan: The good life

5 beachtowns you can call home By Jessica Winkler

If you are looking for a warm and tourist free place to retire or visit long term, the coastal region of the Yucatan is for you! The Yucatan is situated north west of the Mayan Riviera on a flat limestone shelf littered with cenotes (sinkholes). The only sources of fresh water aside from rain are these sometimes cavernous holes plunging deep into the earth. For centuries, Mayans have used cenotes for swimming, bathing and drinking. Today, locals and tourists enjoy the cool refreshing water for snorkeling and diving. Among the 6000 cenotes are various archaeological sites. The most famous is Chichen Itza. It’s quite busy with tourists but you can easily find more tranquil sites nearer the city of Merida.



Merida is a typical large city. It offers all the comforts of home such as Costco, Walmart and Starbucks which can be comforting when making your home abroad. You will also find an international airport and a well organized public transit making the nearby beach towns accessible and comfortable. Many of the villages can be reached within 1 1/2 hours via well marked and well maintained highways. Featured below are five towns - each with a unique personality that makes them stand out and all of them offering a relaxed warm vibe.

Progreso Progreso is the closest beach town to Merida and on Mexican holidays the area is packed with locals. Canadian ex-pats also flock to the area mainly between January and March, filling up the empty beach front homes. If you want to travel during these months you will need to book ahead with a company such as Flamingo Real Estate. The large community of full and part time ex-pats (mainly retirees) creates a lively social vibe. There are no shortages of fund raisers, fashion shows or parties to attend making Progreso & area a good choice for settling abroad. Beach front property is still widely available along the 180km coastline at affordable prices for pensioners. Cost of living rivals the cheapest in the country and many people find a second zest for life living here. New business and housing renovations are constantly improving the area for locals and tourists. Although the area is primarily Mexican, tourists or friends of ex-pats visit. Progreso has a cruise ship port bringing in one -three ships a week. During these times, the Malecon turns into a bustle of activity with vendors selling hand made goods, ladies offering massages and the beach lined with palapa roofed restaurants. Progreso is a cultural “real life� destination with a splash of tourism.


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Nature lovers flock to Celestun for its beautiful beaches and abundant wildlife. You will find yourself surrounded by eco-friendly hotels and fresh seafood restaurants. Life here provides a simple, relaxed and healthy alternative to the bustling cities of Canada. Walk barefoot along the turquoise waters and enjoy a leisurely lunch under a palapa roofed restaurant before enjoying Celestun’s various activities. A main attraction is the Biosphere National Reserve. This combination of fresh and salt water from the Gulf creates a healthy habitat for birds, turtles, crocodiles, iguanas and snakes. The bordering mangrove forest provides shelter for shrimp and blue crab larvae, perfect for the pink flamingo. Bird-watchers love spending time here as more than 400 different bird species have been identified. Many different companies offer eco tours that allow you to engage with the wildlife safely. If you are looking for Hotels close to the reserve, Hotel Xixim offers yoga and wellness retreats as well as proximity.

Telchac Puerto Telchac is situated about 30 minutes from the town of Progreso. It’s a beautiful scenic drive between the mansions lining the beach and the lagoons filled with migrating flamingos. Just before you reach this quaint fishing village, visit the Mayan ruin of Xcambo which is free of charge and easy to explore. This was the main Mayan fishing town for supplying fish to the bigger ancient towns of Dzibilchaltun and Chichen Itza. Telchac is now home to many ex-pats and travelers looking for a quiet, laid back location. There are plenty of beach front hotels, B&B’s or short term beach rentals to choose from but you will need a vehicle because public transit only runs until 8pm. Typically, you will find cheaper rental rates and delicious fresh food here as Merida residents stick to towns closer, such as Progreso or Chixlube. In the summer, however, it is a different story. The wealthy choose to build their modern luxurious beach homes here, giving the area a more affluent feel compared to other fishing villages in the Yucatan.


Beautiful, clean and shallow beaches make Telchac a great place for swimming, kite boarding, windsurfing or Hobie Cat sailing as well as one of the fastest developing area in the region.

In the mid 1800’s, Sisal was Merida’s main port. The agave sisal fibre was the main export for the Yucatan, providing over 80% of the world’s supply. Sisal fibre is used in making rope, twine and sand bags that were used in both world wars. Eventually the Spaniards moved the main port to the town of Progreso and Sisal became a sleepy fishing village. Recently, a new highway was built half way to Sisal that makes the drive quick and easy. The Mexican government is dedicated to improving tourism and wildlife conservation. Its efforts in tourism include building a marsh walk through the Palmar State Reserve, diving, hunting and bird watching. With tourism on the rise, many restaurants and hotels are offering top quality food, service and competitive prices. Once you experience the magic of Sisal, you will never want to leave!

Holbox Even though Holbox is not an easily accessible coastal town, it’s not to be missed. It’s one of the few places in the world you can swim with whale sharks. From May through September, hundreds of the largest fish on earth (and gentle and peaceful) come to feed on plankton. Tours can be booked from Cancun as well as in Holbox. The town is a sweet little place where people go about their business by golf cart or bicycle. Streets are made of sand and there is no need to hurry as the island is only 40 miles long and 2 miles wide. Tourists easily and comfortably explore many of the nearby islands by hiring a boat. For about $60 you can snorkel, fish or find your own private beach. Plenty of eco style hotels are to be found as well as friendly cuisine for all palates. Since Holbox is a favourite destination for divers and kite boarders visiting the Mayan Riviera, it is quite developed for a small fishing village. Local residents and ex-pats in Holbox welcome the growth but work hard to preserve its grass roots charm.


Similar to Telchac, development in Sisal is on the rise. Discover the affordable beach front villas in a Riviera-like setting. White sand beaches and clear blue water make this place one of the best kept secrets in Mexico. Find water front lots for sale under $50K from new developments such as Ensisal!


By Wendy Rains Photos Anibel Lopez

Hiking Through History

A Baja Excursion to view rock art of the semi-nomadic Pericu and Guaycura people

I’ve always had a secret desire to be an anthropologist or archaeologist, spending time in exotic places on a dig. So I jumped at the chance to join Sergio Jauregui of Todos Santos Eco Adventures on a walk through history to explore the rock paintings, or pictographs, left behind 1000’s of years ago by the now-extinct Guaycura and Pericu Indian tribes who once lived and thrived in Baja California Sur.


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A local anthropologist Anibel Lopez, who just recently published a book on his rock art findings in Baja California Sur (BCS), led the day hike, sharing with us one of his favourite sites on a lovely old working ranch along the former Camino de las Misiones.


Anibel was born and raised in Baja Sur, son of a family who had the concession to farm scallops in Bahia Concepcion near Loreto and as a young boy he would accompany his dad on long road trips. His father was a natural history buff and brought Anibel to a canyon filled with petroglyphs made by the Guaycura Indians. He became fascinated with their history and fantasized about who these semi-nomadic people were and how they lived. Anibel has spent countless hours, days, weeks and months documenting over three hundred sites in Baja California Sur, most of them found in or around mountain ranges near Rancherias, or temporary Indian settlements that were visited on a seasonal or ceremonial schedule. He has cultivated personal relationships with the rancheros whose lands have held the mysteries of these past settlers for so many years. It is not unusual for Aníbal to spend three to six days on a ranch hunting for a single site that a rancher remembers seeing as a boy. The Jesuit missionaries were the first ones to discover the pictographs, but didn’t really put much importance on them. In spite of the missionaries’ negative feelings and lack of respect for the local tribes people, (having described them as lazy, stupid, awkward, rude, unclean, and ungrateful, among other things), these local people had to have been quite resourceful and inventive in order to have lived in such harsh terrain and difficult conditions with extreme climate changes.

According to Hamuri Fujita, head of the Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) in BCS, “The lack of housing sites and archaeological materials at these sites leads us to think that the people who made these rock art paintings moved easily between the Sierras and the coast, often or seasonally, depending on the ceremonies or festivities planned. Clearly these pre-Hispanic peoples had to be adept at living in both coastal and mountainous environments. They must have had strong skill sets for both places.” What we learned from Sergio’s colorful stories was the Baja California Sur Indians were skilled raft makers and sailors, and traveled easily between the mainland and the islands, carrying people and information. Their great fishing and turtle hunting prowess was well-documented by observers throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. It was fascinating to learn that new archaeological evidence indicates that Pericú skulls strongly resemble those of aborigines native to Polynesia and Asia. Many researchers now believe that the Pericú reached Baja California Sur by navigating from island to island in their canoes. It’s theorized that perhaps some of the pictographs depicting planets, lines and circles, may have been their navigational “charts” to find their way back to where they came from. Who knows, but this intriguing theory was quite believable while standing in front of what certainly appeared to me to be

"...the people who made these rock art paintings moved easily between the Sierras and the coast..."

a map. These and many other powerful images of fish and sea turtles found in the mountains, far from the sea, captivate the imagination. I highly recommend this excursion for amateur anthropologists of all ages to experience the mysteries of these extinct peoples of the past, up close and personal, a very rare and unique opportunity to step away from your normal everyday life and step onto the very land of a world that came before. Length: About 90 minutes of moderate walking on well worn, but rock strewn paths on uneven terrain, with gentle up and downhill gradients. Cost: $75 US per person, includes round trip transportation from Todos Santos, Anthropologist-led walk and discussion, contribution to the Anthropologist’s work to promote future preservation, and a donation to the ranch owner. These locations are not open to the general public. You must be accompanied by an authorized guide.

Contact: Sergio Jauregui Todos Santos: 52 (612) 145-0189


Level of difficulty: Low/Medium



Photography Madeline Milne

San Diego


El P


Cabo San Lucas

Pacific Ocean

Loreto, Baja California Historic Seaside Village

Loreto, nestled between the Gulf of California and the “La Giganta” Mountain Range, is a small community where large local families thrive and pass on the traditions of good-old Mexican living. With summer temperatures soaring well over 30c and high humidity, Loreto is a sizzling little paradise that provides you with the perfect excuse to take to the waters every single day.

ISLA CORONADO North east of Loreto, less than a half hour ride in a panga. A relatively small island with a spectacular hidden crescent beach at the south-west end. Paradise!


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The sea creatures here are fascinating; on any given day, you can catch a sight of starfish, sea urchins, fan coral, killer whales and dolphins. This is an oasis for marine life, and the sweetest escape for those who love sportfishing, kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving. The offshore islands of Isla Coronado, Isla Carmen, and Isla Danzante each offer hidden coves, rugged cliffs and some spectacular white sandy beaches.


Away from the sea, you can delve into the past by hiking into the mountains and discovering cave paintings and hidden colonial missions. You can also find lots of things to do in town. There are seven historic buildings from the 18th to 20th century for you to explore. The most noted of them all—the Mission of Our Lady Loreto—is a postcard monument that stands to the test of time. Right beside the Mission of Our Lady Loreto is The Jesuit Missions Museum (“Museo de las Misions Jesuiticas”). You’ll be able to find the most intriguing religious art and old-world memorabilia here.

Loreto has kilometers of sandy beaches, north and south of town. Offshore, two nearby islands offer spectacular white sand beaches in protected emerald coves!


One cannot leave Loreto without sampling the local cuisine; it is a wonderful marriage between northern cooking style and old missionary recipes. The result? Tangy and spicy ceviche, freshly prepared mahi-mahi, and “almejas,” or clams with a heavenly flavour. Looking for charm and a comfortable pillow, the Posada de Las Flores is a beautiful hotel just down from the Mision and a short distance to the beach. Close to everything its a great place to call home.

Due west (and a tad south) from downtown Loreto. About 35 minutes by boat. On the north shore, a great white sand beach tucked away in a protected cove! Puerto Balandra is a hidden piece of paradise and the perfect place to get dropped off and just hang all day. Swimming, snorkeling, fishing, exploring the sand dunes... this protected beach is a true escape!

Puerto Vallarta



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Maple Syrup in the Jungle By Tamara Jacobi “The Jungle Girl”



e have been described as the “Swiss Family Robinson” of the Mexican Pacific with only one glaring difference . . . we have maple syrup running through our veins. We’re proud to be Canadian! How did our crazy Canadian family come to live in the jungle and run an eco-lodge?


One thing was crystal clear - life on the ocean is much better when you have the wind at your back. Thus, the name “Tailwind” Jungle Lodge was born.

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Tijuana El Paso


Cabo San Lucas

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Puerto Vallarta

As I gaze out over the expanse of wild jungle and ocean, I recall our ground breaking ceremony nearly a decade ago. With the ink still San Antonio fresh on the deed, our family excitedly gathered at the highest point of our 5 acres of pristine Monterrey jungle. My dad stuck a shovel in the Yucatan ground as my mom sprinkled tequila on a palm Peninsula Tropic of frond for good luck. Our tropical adventure Cancer Cancun Merida had begun.


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Today, our jungle home has become the TailJungle Lodge: a small eco-lodge, yoga Oaxaca retreat center and adventure business. We are delighted to host adventurous guests from all over the world. Though we still return to our beloved Canada for summer, we now have roots firmly planted on the Pacific coastline just north of San Pancho, Mexico. We have traded in our snow shovels and hockey sticks for machetes and surf boards. Goodbye toques, hello flip flops!


Mexico City wind

I suppose that our story truly begins in the 60s with my father, “El Tigre,” the surf bum. Though lucky enough to grow up on the spectacular Lake Memphremagog in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, my dad craved waves and palm trees. Not surprisingly, he pointed his motorcycle south and soon found himself riding the perfect waves of the “Mexican Malibu” on Punta de Mita, just north of Puerto Vallarta. El Tigre’s love affair with Mexico was insatiable. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, we’d head to Puerto Escondido, Puerto Peñasco, Acapulco and, of course, to El Tigre’s beloved Bahia de Banderas. My parents home schooled my brother and me for several years in the welcoming town of Bucerias, just north of Puerto Vallarta. Not surprisingly, the heavenly beaches and charming culture of Mexico are forever engrained in my childhood memories. My father’s passion for Mexico was contagious. During my final semester of college, I wrote a business plan for my family’s dream business: an ecolodge and adventure tour company in Mexico. We had often daydreamed sharing our love of Mexico with other adventurous travelers. We had the land, but needed a plan. On graduation day, I formally pitched the business plan to my family. The decision to adopt it was unanimous. We were off to the jungle to test our hand at entrepreneurship!

Before diving into our eco-lodge adventure, my father had other Mexico plans. I barely had time to take off my cap and gown before El Tigre, my brother (also a surf bum) and I headed to the Baja to launch our sea kayaks from the town of San Felipe. Thus began the 900 mile paddling expedition down the Sea of Cortez. Insane? Perhaps. When El Tigre declared that he wanted to spend his 60th birthday kayaking along a wild stretch of Mexican coastline, my brother and I were intrigued and willing. After nearly 2 months of rigorous paddling (self-supported) and camping on isolated beaches, our journey ended in the lovely city of La Paz. Salty, bleached out and buff, we boarded the ferry to Mazatlan. Our long days on the ocean, and nights of campfires and stargazing had given us ample time to refine our eco-lodge vision. One thing was crystal clear - life on the ocean is much better when you have the wind at your back. Thus, the name “Tailwind” Jungle Lodge was born. And so it began. We meticulously collected local rocks, wood, shells- any materials we deemed useful. Slowly, our eco-designs and the Tailwind Jungle Lodge took shape. Rain water catchment and grey water recycling systems were established, magnificent (and heavy!) strangler fig posts were salvaged after the high winds of a tropical storm, and we did our best to minimize our impact as we perched our structures on the jungle hill side, giving each building a tree house ‘feel.’ We officially opened for guests in 2007 and in 2009 we proudly became the first certified sustainable eco-lodge in Mexico (certification by Sustainable

We have hosted a variety educational events and workshops in the jungle. We are also thrilled with the recent establishment of a local community center, EntreAmigos, a nonprofit that is devoted to the well-being and sustainability of San Pancho. Today, the Tailwind Jungle Lodge is thriving as we host a variety of unique guests; from honeymooners and families to Yoga and Pilates retreaters. We’ve even had guests perform aerials in silks hung from the trees (former Cirque de Soleil performers)! The jungle offers something for everyone -- we offer a collection of 6 unique casitas, palapas and bungalows that together can accommodate up to 16 people. Our guests also enjoy a beautiful cove of white sand, only a 5 minute walk down a delightful jungle trail. Looking for a sophisticated jungle experience? The Casita Pumita offers dramatic ocean/ jungle views, romantic rooftop decks and a luxurious canopied bed. Want something more rustic and natural? The Bungalow Parota is a wooden platform perched in the trees, adorned with a fully furnished canvas safari tent, outdoor shower, composting toilet and, of course, a hammock strung up between two palm trees.

Jungle living wouldn’t be complete without the delights of the ocean. The Pacific is the icing on our already sweet jungle cake. We’re always eager to show our guests the secrets of this amazing coastline. Not surprisingly, kayaking is our specialty and a favourite of our guests as well. Whales, rays, pelicans, flying fish, dolphins and secret beaches offer endless opportunity for adventure and exploration. Stand up paddle surfing has also become one of our favourite activities. When the swell is up, we load the SUP boards onto our Jeep Wrangler and head to our local surf break to ride blissful waves (none other than the Mexican Malibu, the very spot where El Tigre first surfed 45 years ago). Many lifelong friendships stem from frolicking with our guests in the Mexican Pacific waves. We’ve even managed to teach grandkids and their grandparents to SUP surf waves together! Though the word “bliss” is frequently used in our vocabulary, I have to admit that tropical living is not always rainbows and butterflies. Indeed, building and operating an eco-lodge is the epitome of a labor of love. Mother Nature puts us in our place regularly. Blood, sweat and tears have been shed and yet my family and I agree that it’s absolutely worth it. The challenge has made us stronger and has bonded us to this wild place. We simply can’t imagine our lives anywhere else. Jungle living has given us health, inspiration, adventure, and the opportunity to share this lifestyle with our guests- today and into the distant future. I suppose that the maple syrup in our veins has become diluted by coconut water and tequila. We’re proud to be crazy Canadians living the jungle life and we look forward to sharing our jungle home with you.


Travel International). In 2012 we built a spectacular yoga platform overlooking the ocean and hosted our first yoga retreats and teacher trainings. Poco a poco, our jungle dream had come true. Natural living is the name of the game here--from natural building materials and wildlife, to margaritas made with all natural ingredients (lime, tequila, agave nectar and club soda . . . voila!). Our love of natural living and sustainability also inspired us to support and encourage sustainable practices in our beloved community of San Pancho.


Dream Homes of Mexico Satisfy your dream of a tropical vacation or retirement home in Mexico. Browse these pages and the listings you`ll find at for the perfect home today. for information on real estate, retirement, investment and travel

By Gabriel Jones

Beautiful Bays of Huatulco Oaxaca, Mexico Unspoiled shoreline and planned development make this popular destination one of the best retirement and vacation home markets in Mexico. Exceptionally long and cold winters and direct flights from major Canadian cities means that this piece of paradise is gaining popularity with those in the know. San Diego

Tijuana El Paso

Brent and Erin were high school sweethearts whose love affair with Mexico started shortly after they graduated. In early 1995 they set off for a road trip to Mexico that would be the first of many winters away from Canada in search of adventure and surf. They continued this tradition for the next 13 years, each time pushing a little deeper into Mexico and each time, staying a little longer. Six years ago, they discovered Huatulco on the Oaxaca coast and shortly after decided to pack up their Canadian lives and make the fulltime move. When it came time for me to visit Huatulco, Brent was the first person I called. Huatulco (pronounced “wa-tool-co”) is located on the southwest coast of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca (wah-ha-ka), best known for its aromatic coffee and rustic cuisine of rich moles and smoky mezcals. Huatulco’s coastline stretches 35km and is home to thirty-six beaches along with nine bays and numerous smaller coves. Boasting a consistently temperate climate (340 days of sunshine per year, average temp of 28°) and a lush tropical setting nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the green foothills of the Sierra Madres, Huatulco has become known as a world-class tourist destination. Now, increasingly, it is also a place for Canadians to spend their winters or retire full-time.

San Antonio


Pacific Ocean

Puerto Vallarta

Yucatan Peninsula

Tropic of Cancer


Cabo San Lucas

Cancun Merida

Guadalajara Mexico City Acapulco


ALONG COMES FONATUR Thirty years ago, the Mexican government selected this (then) relatively unknown and unpopulated area to be a Fonatur master planned destination. Fonatur is a government organization designed to create infrastructure and encourage foreign investment in tourism. Destinations selected are often in need of economic growth to support their populations while also being naturally appealing to the tourist market. With Fonaturs involvement Huatulco soon became home to 6 major all-inclusive hotels catering to Mexican and international travelers and employing thousands. Housing for the hotel workers was also constructed by Fonatur and over time towns like Santa Cruz, Chahue, Tan-


A recent trip to Huatulco made it one of my favourite places in Mexico. I had first met my tour guide Brent May and his partner Erin in Canada last September when they attended our Mexi-Go! Expo in Vancouver to promote their real estate business, Own Mexico. Brent had called me prior to the event and we quickly established we had a few things in common. We are both Canadians living in Mexico, both originally from Saskatchewan, and we both focus on helping other Canadians realize their dreams and make the move to Mexico.



golunda and La Crucecita, which were designed with colonial style but with modern amenities took shape. Santa María is 16 kms inland and home to almost 40,000 citizens, many of whom work in tourism and hospitality for these big hotels. Unlike some of Fonatur’s other projects, most notably Cancun and Cabo, Huatulco’s growth has been purposefully moderate. Great lengths have been taken to enforce low density building and to preserve the region. Twothirds of the area are protected as ecological reserves and parks including the sprawling Huatulco National Park which is home to 700 species and has been listed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

AWARD WINNING environmental development In 2005, Huatulco was awarded the Green Globe International Certification as a sustainable tourist area. From 2009 to 2011 Huatulco received EarthCheck Gold Certification for its positive moves toward waste reduction, energy efficiency, management of water and wastewater, environmental policy legislation and the integration of local people in conservation practices. Huatulco is the only destination in the Americas to achieve this distinction and one of only three in the world. They are also working towards a carbon neutral certification and amazingly 100% of Huatulco’s electricity is clean, coming from the nearby wind electricity plant, La Ventosa. All of these same qualities have made Huatulco a popular tourist destination and are now making it one of Mexico’s best new real estate markets. “Canadians love Huatulco because of its infrastructure, climate, great food and friendly locals, and because it offers some of the best real estate values in all of Mexico. It helps also that this Fonatur area is registered privatized land making purchases totally secure,” explained Brent as he toured me down the coast in his pickup (still displaying Alberta plates).


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In their former lives in Calgary, Brent worked in construction and has also been investing in real estate from a young age (two great qualities in a realtor), while Erin had a career in the energy sector. After making the move to Mexico they started working with a few specific developers and learned the market by first selling new condos and pre-construction homes. Our tour of the Huatulco coast included stops at various vistas overlooking bay after gorgeous bay and at each stop Brent would also tell me a little about the beaches and the nearby developments. The impressive coastline hosts a variety of developments and real estate opportunities. Here is a quick reference to some of the bays and the best developments:

BAHIA SANTA CRUZ: Huatulco’s most central bay is called Bahia Santa Cruz just south of the picturesque town of La Crucecita and home to a large

pier where cruise ships dock. Overlooking the beautiful bay of Santa Cruz is Oceanside at Cruz del Mar. This gated community offers spectacular views of the bay and the marina, and has walking access as to the Santa Cruz beach club and town below. This development is one of Huatulco’s most successful developments with 42 units sold and occupied. Now, in its final phase, Oceanside is now offering its final 9 units, three of which have sprawling roof top patios. Completion is slated for Dec 1st, 2014. Units ranging $359,000 $559,000 and listed in Canadian dollars! Centrally located between Santa Cruz and Bahia Chahue is Mansions Cruz del Mar. Designed as 50+ community, it features a wealth of amenities, spacious units and stunning valley and mountain views with great sunsets. It is a short walk to the town of La Crucecita and several great beaches and its next phase will feature water views to the east and Bahia Chahue. Units ranging from $157,000 - $379,000 USD.

BAHIA CHAHUE: Bahia Chahue is home to a marina for large and small yachts along with spectacular white sand beaches. The town of Chahue belongs to the bay of the same name and has received an environmental award with Blue Flag Certification. It is home to several beautiful parks and a mix of residential and businesses catering to clients of the nearby high end hotels. This means great dining, shopping, and spas by day and a lively nightlife with discos and lounges after dark. Chahue is also home to Mixie Condos offering modern loft-style condos. Mixie's amenities include pool and gym for an urban experience minutes from the beach. Units ranging from $104,000 - $282,000 USD. BAHIA ARROCITO: Between Chahue and Tangolunda is Playa Arrocito which features a reef and is tranquil enough to allow for great snorkeling. Bahia Arrocito is home to the opulent Cosmo Residences featuring 2,3 and 4 bedroom oceanfront condos and a great selection of amenities including two restaurants, spa, gym, botanical gardens, five pools, an owner’s yacht and direct access to the beach. Units ranging from $335,000 – $1.5million USD.

Reasons to invest in Huatulco now with the highest density of hotels, Tangolunda Bay even has a few shopping malls and a 18 hole golf course. It is also home to five more beaches.

Bahia de Conejos: Our last stop was the quaint town of La Bocana, east of Bahia de Conejos. It is home to simple beach front restaurants and a surf shop renting boards. I was late for a meeting and we had to turn back but I have regretted not having stopped for a beer and watching the surf for bit. Returning to that beach, having that beer, and shopping for some real estate are all on my list on my next visit Huatulco.

1. Billions of dollars worth of existing infrastructure 2. Low real estate prices 3. …still under the radar for many but the word is spreading and Huatulco won’t be Mexico’s best kept secret for long 4. Huatulco is currently a 6 hour mountain drive from capital Oaxaca City (pop. 1,000,000) but a new high way is almost complete that will cut the drive down to 3 hours. 5. While its airport is currently services by several Mexican carriers and a number of charters from the US, Canada, and Europe Huatulco the airport recently expanded and more flights and carriers. 6. A new trend of eco-investing


BAHIA TANGOLUNDA: The most developed



Flock together with other Canadians who are heading to the Riviera Maya for real estate and lifestyle. With the deep freeze that arrives to Canada each winter, we are seeing more Canadians buying vacation properties and retirement homes here. Previous to 2003, I had never heard of nor, visited a small place called Playa del Carmen, Mexico. After 17 years in Whistler, British Columbia, an opportunity to move to Riviera Maya in 2003 was offered to me. Supposedly it was only for a 6 month real estate sales launch with Intrawest Resorts. That was 10 years ago and I have been here ever since. I loved it then and I still love it today.

Living in Riviera Maya By Judi Shaw Some quick facts:



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One hundred and twenty kilometers of beautiful white sand beaches, dotted with eclectic beachy communities and full service cities, including: Playa del Carmen, the fishing town of Puerto Morelos, up and coming beach town of Tulum, Akumal and its turtle sanctuary, the boaty-marina community of Puerto Aventuras, and some smaller residential off the beaten path, off grid communities. Tropical climate with average yearly temperature of 28 Celsius. Average number of days of sunshine per year – 200 days per year. Every day is a beach day even when it rains.


Fast, direct airlift from every major city in North America, every day to Cancun, as well as many, direct flights from major European cities. Cancun airport is the seventh busiest airport in all of Latin America.


Playa del Carmen, the heart of the Riviera Maya is a vibrant beach city, paralleled against white sand beaches for miles and miles, blue Caribbean water. Check out the hip and happening beach clubs with music and food and nightlife, or walk in solitude at your favorite spot. The pedestrian-only Fifth Avenue of Playa del Carmen, has a wide variety of shops and open air restaurants, coffee shops and outdoor social lifestyle.

5. 6.

Major banking and financial institutions all with services available in English.


Golf! Golf! Golf!- Nick Price, Jack Nicholson, Robert Trent Jones and Greg Norman designed golf courses. There are 18 courses all within 1.5 hours of each other.


Scuba diving, snorkeling. The Meso America reef parallels the coast line from Puerto Morelos to Honduras and is the world’s second largest reef after the Great Barrier Reef.


Cost of living is substantially lower compared to Canada and the United States.

World class hospitals and health care with English speaking doctors highly trained in all specialties.

10. Cost of gas is about 90 cents/litre. Bananas are .65 cents/kilo. Beer is between 2 - 4 dollars a bottle, depending on where you drink it. Tacos are 50 cent each.

How do you like it so far?

Are you a foodie? The restaurants are very high quality and a wide variety of flavours and countries are here. From typical Mexican food such as the iconic taco stand to Mayan cuisine, you can also enjoy authentic Italian handmade pasta, French restaurants with real French chef’s, German schnitzel and beer house, East Indian curry restaurant, Falafel house- from no stars to fivestars it’s all here. Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya is truly an international destination with friends and colleagues and amazing food, from all over the world. I live and work and socialize with Mexican, Columbian, British, and American, Canadian, and Argentinian to name a few nationalities, It is a great life and a great place to buy real estate. In my ten years here I have worked with buyers from Canada (about 55% of my buyers are Canadian), USA, Mexico, Israel, Serbia, Hungary, England, China, South Africa. If you are considering buying in Riviera Maya Mexico as a second home or to retire full-time, there are some important considerations about the buying process. What the rules are when buying as a foreigner? The purchase process is quite similar to Canada with a few differences, discussed here. Any foreigner who owns land within 100 km of the border or 50 km of the beach has to have the title of the property in a bank trust (a fideicomiso). The owner of the property becomes the beneficiary of the trust. It sounds daunting and different however it is just a matter of price and process. The “owner” of the property in a bank trust, (beneficiary of the trust) has the right to use, mortgage, encumber, build on, lease, sell, or pass to named people in a will, without restrictions. It is 100% ownership, not a lease, contrary to what many may have heard. Setting up a bank trust is handled by one of our lawyers for you so it does not really “feel” different. The trust bank charges an annual fee to hold the deed. It ranges from $500usd to $1200 per year, depending on the bank. The use of a Notario is required in all real estate transactions. A Notario in Mexico is the highest and final authority on creation of new deeds, and the conveyance of deeds and rights of trusts between owners. A Notario in Mexico is first a lawyer many years, who has taken extra courses and exams and is then appointed for life by the governor of the state. With those basics in mind, to get a property at the best price and terms that fit your requirements in a safe and educational and enjoyable way, here is a basic path.

As a previously licensed realtor in Whistler BC, it was at first hard for me to get used to the fact that there are no licensing requirements for real estate professionals. Most real estate people enter the field here with no prior experience and have no formal training in the role of a realtor with respect to fiduciary duty and full transparency in transactions. Now I can see that most of my colleagues are honest, hard working agents who offer good service and honest transactions. However most agents are independent and are not accountable to a broker, like in Canada. The internet is full of old listings, or inaccurate information that can be misleading because there is no true third party, impartial MLS that lists all current listings and tracks the days on market and sold price. It is wise to have a few questions in mind to select the right realtor for your personality and interests, the same as you would do at home.

Going forward:

Identify properties with through phone calls and emails and web searches with your realtor of choice. One agent, a good one, will offer to show you all listings that fit your requirements including those of another agency. No need to work with multiple agents.

• •

Learn (more) about purchase process in Mexico. Take a trip to look and offer on properties of your choice. The usual buying trip is 3-5 days. Many people start their search online 30- 60- 90 days in advance. Some take one or two trips to finalize the decision, some are very fast and clear with very specific parameters that only a

few properties will fit.

Offer. Just like at home. Name price, terms, conditions, dates.

Reservation/or earnest money deposit, held in escrow, third party trust account. No one touches it until close.

Building inspection (if you want, not required). Check all documents such as homeowners meeting minutes and rental history, income vs expense report, or building restrictions if buying land to build on.

Purchase contract. Prepared uniquely and individually for each transaction. This takes about 2- 3 days to write after the offer is accepted. Once signed, it is now binding for the buyer and the seller.

Close 4- 6 weeks later at the Notario’s office. This is when you sign the fidiecomiso. This is when the property title is conveyed to the new owner. A property is always sold free and clear of liens and encumbrances. This is when money is disbursed to the seller. So your money is secure and not disbursed from escrow until close.

If you want to purchase in pre-construction then you follow the above steps. Once you


Choose a qualified realtor to work with. Why ?



By Miguel Fernandez Beach front properties are a huge draw for investors and renters alike. It’s probably one of the top reasons that people move to and visit Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit. Seeing that the Bay of Banderas is amazingly diverse, and HUGE, your beachfront property options offer something to satisfy any lifestyle. From the surfers, who wants to spend their days swinging in a hammock between forays on a surfboard to billionaires who wants a safe, and secluded retreat from the madness of the business world—you can find it here in Vallarta.

Buying Beachfront in Vallarta Downtown Puerto Vallarta

South Shore of Puerto Vallarta

Playa los Muertos and Playa Olas Altas

Playa Conchas Chinas

Playa Los Muertos and Playa Olas Altas, located in front of the Romantic Zone in Colonia Emiliano Zapata, are all about action. There are always a lot of people enjoying sand and surf during the high season (December- April), and restaurants and businesses abound. Though, surprisingly, the low season (May-November) can feel tranquil and even private. Los Muertos and Olas Altas are the perfect spot for taking your daily morning walk or run, and having a leisurely breakfast, lunch or cocktail in the afternoon.

Just south of town is the gorgeous hillside above the bay known as Conchas Chinas. The beaches here are rocky and very scenic. With beautiful tide pools, and a variety of currents. Much of the actual coastline is populated with hotels and resorts, but there are a plethora villas, and condos, as well.

An amazing location for people watching, and enjoying the flavor of Mexico: Mariachis, beach vendors (I have a friend who visits every year and only shops for gifts on the beach), fresh sliced mangos, barbequed shrimp on a skewer, a foot massage, parasailing—you can get whatever you want and never leave the comfort of you beach chair and your cocktail. As real estate investments go, a condo on Playa Los Muertos or Playa Olas Altas is an excellent one. Resale is a breeze, and if you want to rent it out, it will rarely sit empty.


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Playa Camarones


Playa Camarones is located at the foot of Colonia 5 de Diciembre, and is comparatively quiet. Fewer restaurants and vendors, though there are a couple of favorite spots. El Barracuda is a great brunch and cocktail hour restaurant. Here you can still be in town, but there is not the high level of activity that you have on Playa los Muertos and Playa Olas Altas. Playa Camarones is conveniently situated near shopping, and buses, so you can easily get to other parts of town. More street parking options are available, which means that owning a car is much less of a headache. The beach is very pretty and open, though, for swimming it is a little more treacherous, with some odd tides. This is where the lifeguards train, so that might give you some idea recommended swimming level. Property investment in this area is also great—with a number of smaller, seasonal units available. Here, too, you will have a brisk rental business, with a lot of repeat clients, as many visitors want the convenience of being in town, but also want a more quiet beachfront experience.

The views here are unbeatable! Much more quiet, and mellow than being in town, with some pretty restaurants, such as the ever popular Lindo Mar Resort, which is always packed for their massive Sunday buffet brunch. The highway is busy, so owning a property next to it can be loud. Though, a property up the hill, or facing the ocean, will be much quieter. Investing here can be pricey, as many of the properties are more luxury oriented. Also, expect to do a fair amount of hiking up and down hills and stairs. You will probably also want a car, if you live in Conchas Chinas, as there are very few local services. If you plan on renting your property, expect a decent amount of interest, since many people know and love the area.

Playa Punta Negra A personal favorite—the swimming here is excellent—with a nice cove making the tides less forceful than some of the other Bay of Banderas beaches. There are some very beautiful condos available in Punta Negra. With superb views, parking, and a great feeling of getting away from it all. You’re farther out of town, though, so car ownership is pretty much

a necessity. That, or you can rely on the local buses and taxis, as there are no services at all in this area. An investment here is great, since it’s still close to town, but the vacation rental market is a little sluggish, seeing that transportation is an issue.

Playa Garza Blanca

Mismaloya and Beyond Playa Mismaloya This underappreciated jewel in the crown of the Bay of Banderas, is a little farther south on Highway 200 from Vallarta, by about 20 minutes. Living out here has a dreamlike quality. A great beach, nestled in a calm cove; gorgeous views all around with the Sierra Madres as a backdrop, and beautiful Los Arcos floating out in the Bay. You can almost imagine that you’re basking in Sorrento on the Amalfi coast of Italy. People who live down here, are passionate, and will tell you about the great little eateries; the zoo, (where you can feed the hippo and giraffe!) and the quaint and friendly town. You don’t have all of the action and nightlife of Puerto Vallarta, but this is the perfect paradise getaway. Reasonably priced condos are available directly above the beach, and, for the more intrepid, there are extraordinary villas and condos just up the hill on Lomas De Mismaloya, with mind-blowing views. Vacation rentals are not as brisk out this way, but the people who know it, LOVE it!

Boca de Tomatlan There are houses and villas around Boca, but this area is mostly known for boat and water taxi arrival and embarkation to Yelapa and other spots not easily accessible via car. Some interesting villas dot the hillside, but most tend to be more rustic. Also, a few vacation rentals and B&Bs can be found, which are fun and offbeat. Beach restaurants offer some interesting people watching, and you’re also at the mouth of the Rio Horcones, with some lovely hiking opportunities in the area.

Yelapa, Las Animas, Quimixto, and Caletas For utter and complete seclusion, Yelapa, and the surrounding little villages are an excellent choice. No traffic, a slower pace and lush vegetation everywhere you turn. Just hang your hammock and dream the island dream. Internet and some modern amenities are available, but you’re definitely choosing a more rugged lifestyle. Supplies are all brought by water taxi, so you need to coordinate your week around periodic boat trips back and forth to civilization. Lots of artists, musicians, and spiritual folk choose Yelapa, making the locals far from boring. These areas are ejidal (part of the indigenous concession) meaning that technically you cannot own the land, though you can apply for a long-term lease. Properties range from a luxurious resort to simple casitas.

Hotel Zone and the Marina Playa Tranquila, Playa Las Glorias, Playa de Oro, Playa Los Tules These are the beaches that line the coast of the Bay of Banderas between downtown and the Marina Vallarta. This stretch is more hotel and resort oriented. Properties are primarily condos, or fractional ownership arrangements. That being said, these beachfront spots are particularly terrific for investment purposes, as vacation rentals tend to be very brisk, since the sand and surf is right at your doorstep and you are minutes away from downtown and the airport. Many families and high-season visitors love the feel of a resort area and these beaches really fit the bill. Playa Tranquila is in front of the Sheraton Buganvilias Hotel, and lives up to its name. Softer surf, and more sedate. Playa Las Glorias does not have easy street access, so it tends to be frequented primarily by the visitors and owners at the hotels and resorts. Family oriented with good swimming in the Bay. Very much the resort feel—all-inclusive hotels abound. Plaza Pelicanos and Plaza Las Glorias are nearby, with easy access to transportation and shopping. Playa Los Tules and Playa de Oro are wide and accommodating beaches that lie at the foot of the Holiday Inn and the Peninsula condo complex. Easy public access via a well used road running along the Rio Pitillal. Because of this, you have some more activity from local residents, and the wildlife around here is varied and exciting. In addition, a fair amount of horseback riding can be found along the beach. Playa el Salado at the Marina, is very condo resort and hotel oriented, but due to this, these beaches are very well maintained. Quite sedate during the low season, but busy during the high-season with snowbirds and vacationers. The proximity to the Marina is terrific, for boat rentals, shopping and dining. Some excellent restaurants are in the area, ranging from high-end, such as the Sonora Prime Grill to yummy salads and paninis at one of my favorites, Barra Light. The Marina has a completely different feel, with a golf course, immaculately maintained gardens and homes, good shopping— a very San Diego, California-like atmosphere.


Pretty white sand beaches, and a luxurious residential club with full ownership and fractional ownership options. This is an exquisite resort, which is very private and highly secure, for owners and travelers who want to enjoy a feeling of safety. The area is also surrounded by vast jungles, with great hiking, for taking a break from the beach. Five star dining, impeccable service, and all the amenities you can imagine, which means you never need to leave the resort area. Though, you are still only about 15 minutes from Puerto Vallarta.


RIVIERA Nayarit The state bordering Jalisco to the North. While most of these areas are accessible via public transportation, having a car is really a MUST, for shopping and getting around.

Nuevo Vallarta: Playa Flamingo These are clean and mellow tide beaches. Highly secured by the hotels and resorts that run the length of Nuevo Vallarta. So, if you’re looking for a location without public access, this is it. Many people prefer this area because of the modern and luxurious feel, and there are numerous beachfront condos available. The developments include a lot of amenities and range from full to fractional ownership properties. Because of the proximity to the airport, and the resort ambiance, many vacationers look for rentals here, making it a good place to invest if you want to cover the costs of your property maintenance fees, and upkeep.

Playa Bucerias Friendly and very relaxed, with lots of beach space, good restaurants and bars, and a quaint Mexican village. About 17,000 residents, in Bucerias, mostly Mexican, but a good number of expats, too. A very welcoming feel—many people adore living here. Beautiful condos, and villa properties are available on this 5-mile stretch of beach. Prices range from high to low, but you can find some good deals. It’s a little more off the beaten path, so the vacation renters that you get will most likely already be familiar with this charming area.

La Cruz: Playa la Manzanilla and Playa Destiladeras


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Situated about mid way between Bucerias and Punta de Mita, and is a 30 minute ride into downtown Puerto Vallarta. This is a quiet community, surrounded by pretty beaches, and with its own marina to dock your boat, making it a great option for sailors.


Bustling is not a word frequently used for La Cruz. So, if you’re looking for tranquillity, you’ve scored big time! There are some gorgeous developments in this area. Alamar Resort, for example, offers beautiful ocean and jungle views, with an elegant beach club. Too, there are a lot of other options for purchase here in La Cruz from simple casitas to luxury villas. Nice beaches, good restaurants and an excellent Farmers’ Market on Sundays during the high-season. Vacation rentals can be a challenge, though, as there’s not a lot to do here other than to kick-back and relax, since it’s a little far from the action. But sometimes some peace and quiet is just what the doctor ordered.

Punta de Mita: Playa el Anclote Playa Anclote is a perfect spot for spending the day—or the rest of your life, if you’re lucky! The

beach is protected from some of the stronger ocean currents by a peninsula of land hugging the area. Here you can while away the hours at one of the many palapa style restaurants eating perfectly prepared seafood, sipping a drink and utterly and completely forgetting about your worries back home. The children have a gentle beach to swim in, which is always a plus for mom and dad. Punta de Mita has several personalities. One is that of a sleepy fishing village, with easy and less expensive access to boat rental to take advantage of a day on the bay. The other is that of a super elegant and luxurious resort. This is where the rich and famous (or the rich and discreet) come to play and get away from it all. Fabulous condos and villas abound. And, we just heard that Bill Gates bought the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort out this way, to give you an idea of what to expect. Great golfing, exquisite architecture, any amenity that you can imagine— it’s all here in Punta de Mita.

Litibu Heading north from Punta de Mita is the exclusive resort area of Litibu. Gorgeous golfing, perfect beaches, with some stronger tides, as you are now directly on the ocean and not protected by the Bay of Banderas, there is a lot of surfing in the area. Also, some very eco-friendly property ownership options are available, which are nestled in the beautiful jungle. You can purchase your own lot at Rancho Litibu and build the house of your dreams.

Punta Sayulita and Sayulita Punta Sayulita is up from Litibu and is located at the very point on the ocean that leads into the Bay of Sayulita. Another beautiful jungle hideaway, with some spectacular lots and development properties available for purchase and construction. We can’t say anything about Sayulita that hasn’t already been said. A beautiful and totally unique spot on the Riviera Nayarit. Here you can surf, shop, eat, and flashback to 60’s. A little piece of Santa Cruz, California tucked away on the west coast of Mexico. The properties here range from simple open-air casitas to luxury villas. Pretty much anything goes on this beach. A great spot for people watching and for letting your freak flag fly!





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By John K. Glaab

The Real Estate Fideicomiso Will Continue In Mexico Amendment to Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution has been rejected In May of 2013, the Mexican Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) approved legislation which would have amended the Mexican Constitution to permit foreigners to purchase property outright in Mexico’s Restricted Zone which is100 kilometers from the borders of the United States, Belize and Guatemala and 50 kilometers from the coastlines of Mexico. Effectively, this would have meant doing away with the Mexican bank trust, known as the fideicomiso. This initiative has been rejected, according to a report from the Secretary of Government. (SEGOB) Rejection of the proposed amendment is the result of not continuing with the amendment procedure within the time frame permitted under Article 89 number 2. Section III of the Rules of the Chamber of Deputies. The result is that foreigners purchasing property in the Restricted Zone must continue to obtain titles using the bank trust system, the fideicomiso, initiated in 1972.

About the author: John Glaab is Vice President of International Marketing at Mexico’s The Settlement Company® and a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS).

We love Mexico! Grand prize winners of the September 2013 Vancouver, BC Mexi-Go! Expo, Karen and Gord Perrin, had only great things to say about their time in Huatulco. "Our trip was absolutely lovely! Celeste in Huatulco was so peacefully quiet! Definitely a place to go if you just want complete relaxation! Thank you again Mexi-Go for this awesome prize win!!" Join Mexi-Go! in Calgary, March 15th for your chance to win a seven-night stay at the luxuriously romantic Villa Amor, Sayulita.

Come LIVE Your Dream ... in Magical San Miguel

David MacLean Sales Representative

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Join Mexi-Go! in Calgary on March 15th

PRIZES! SEMINARS! What is a Real Estate Vacation?

What sort of benefits do I get?

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

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

With a real estate vacation we provide you with all the comforts of home in a seven or ten day stay. You commit to a property tour with a sales team member. Nothing pushy. We know you will come to a decision based on the quality of the property and your circumstances. It is our goal to make sure you have the most enjoyable real estate process possible.

Is this a timeshare thing? No. Not at all. In fact most of the developments we represent are fractional or full-ownership only. If you are interested in timeshare options we can make those available to you but, all our properties are vetted and are approved by Mexi-Go!

Sounds great! How do

How much does this cost? I become a member? Membership is free. You pay for your flights and the discounted vacation - often times significantly discounted. If you purchase while on your Real Estate Vacation, your travel costs will be reimbursed*.

Register online at and we will keep you informed about new developments, excellent real estate opportunities and special incentives negotiated only for our membership!

Experience Mexico with Mexi-Go! from

$499 a week LOS CABOS HUATULCO PLAYA DEL CARMEN Puerto Vallarta *Some conditions apply. See the individual Real Estate Vacation for specific details, terms and conditions. Subject to change without notice.