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FALL 2013 MEXI-GO.CA

TRAVEL

LIFESTYLE

REAL ESTATE

RETIREMENT fall 2013

OAXACA SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE SAYULITA CABO SAN LUCAS PLAYA DEL CARMEN LA PAZ CHIAPIS kindness of strangers private financing traditional weavings Frida and Diego Cajeta Crepes HISTORIC Haciendas FILM FESTIVALS Building a New Life gated communities dream homes Changes to the Fideicomiso Rules Comparing Canadian and Mexican real Estate


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Features Real estate

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lifestyle

Frida y Diego By Erin Staley Mexican twentieth cenury artists and international icons Frida Khalo and Diego Riviera

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It’s a Family Affair By Moralea Milne

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Traditional rug weavers in Oaxaca incorporate the whole family and the whole community to make these works of art

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Sayulita - Sun, Surf and So Much More

retirement

By Gabriel Jones

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A sufer’s mecca, Sayulita beckons the laid back traveler to experience the flavours, sights and sounds of this popular destination

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Exploring Banderas Bay By Madeline Milne

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Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit are destinations rich in nature, culture and adventure

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Mother and Daughter: Journey into the Heart of Oaxaca

MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2013

By Moralea Milne

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Six days of shopping, eating, absorbing, climbing pyramids, exploring villages, markets, visiting ancient colonial churches and stopping to smell the flowers.


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Features Real estate

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lifestyle

Postcards from Chiapis By Anita Draycott Anita explores the traditionally Mayan state of Chiapis. A mixture of modern and colonialism with a strong dash of traditional Mayan culture.

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Building a New Life in Colonial San Miguel

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By David MacLean Canadians, David and Bonnie were three days into a month long vacation when they bought their retirement property in San Miguel de Allende and started building their dream home.

retirement

travel

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Nine Practical Tips for Retiring to Playa Del Carmen By Thomas Lloyd Being prepared, particularly when picking up and moving to Mexico will save you plenty of frustration and money.

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Kindness of Strangers By Hana Kram Not yet thirty, set on a path for success, this author learns life isn’t all BMW’s and fancy shoes.

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Real Estate: Haciendas, Gated Communities and more. From changes in the new real estate laws to a selection of some of Mexico’s finest destination real estate, Mexi-Go! brings you all the info you need to make your next purchase.


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Contributors

Madeline milne Editor-in-Chief, Art Director

MORALEA MILNE Editor

ERIN Staley Contributor

joel Hansen Contributor

Gabriel Jones Contributor

Madeline’s expertise in mar-

Moralea lives in Metchosin,

Erin Staley is a literal chore-

Living in Mexico has provid-

Growing up, my father ran a

keting and passion for life in

BC where she is an elected

ographer, having taken her

ed Joel with the opportunity

movie theatre and I watched

Mexico is the foundation on

councillor, respected volun-

award-wining dance compo-

to golf badly and surf even

many movies that transport-

which Mexi-Go! is built. Living

teer for local environmental

sition from the stage to the

worse, but he gets to do

ed me to far away places.

page. Now based in Mexico,

it all with his family, while liv-

Two years ago my wife and I

she captures the passion

ing in the country he loves.

fulfilled a lifelong dream to

full time in Mexico brings expe- groups and frequent contribrience and real life skills to the utor to the local paper. When creative process. When she’s

the rain and wind get to be

of innovative businesses,

His eleven year old son’s

live on a beach. This Jan-

not exploring new parts of

too much, Moralea heads to

translating it into expressive

smug ability to learn Spanish

uary, Sayulita will host its’

Mexico, you can find Madeline

Mexico, where she finds plea-

content – copy with punch.

has encouraged him to learn

inaugural film festival and

under her palapa, poolside,

sure in the unique flora and

Her energetic approach can

the language, and he contin-

where we will watch movies

be found in website content,

ues to struggle towards that

in the Mexican moonlight…

online and print magazines,

modest goal.

Come visit!

with a good book and her pos- fauna, the beaches and the se of Chihuahuas. She divides highlands and in the warmth her time between Vancouver,

and comfort of the Mexican

workshops, and professionally

BC and Mexico.

culture, food and people.

contracted non-fiction books.

MEXI-GO!

FALL ISSUE 2013

www.erin-staley.com

Anita Draycott Contributor

David McLean Contributor

Marianne Menditto Contributor

Anita Draycott has been a

David’s fascination with

Marianne Menditto draws

Toronto-based journalist,

San Miguel began in 2010.

from a diverse background

editor and photographer for

Since then, he has spent a

in the arts & trades. Living in

more than 25 years. She is

significant amount of time

Mexico since 1999 with archi-

passionate about Mexico. Her

interviewing expats, artists,

tect/builder Tom Swanson,

award-winning travel articles

and business people who

her specialty is designing &

Properties for sale

regularly appear in such pub-

live and work in San Miguel.

overseeing the tile installa-

lications as Zoomer, Doctor’s

These video can be found on

tions. Their other passion,

Properties for rent

Review, Sunwing in-flight

his website. Moving to San

Galeria Colibri, has sent them

magazine and Luxury Golf &

Miguel, he will be associated

all over México, searching for

Travel. Her columns appear

with Realty San Miguel in the

treasures and adventures.

bi-monthly in www.travelindus- fall of 2013. Prior to working in real estate, David enjoyed trytoday.com. success as an actor and stand-up comedian. LivingInSanMiguel.com

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colibridesigns.com

MExi-Go! ONLINE For up-to-date information that matters for Canadians traveling, investing or retiring in Mexico www.mexi-go.ca has everything you need.

Partnerships with vetted companies for all your Mexico needs. Don’t miss the articles on travel, real estate, investment, government and more on our blog.mexi-go.ca site


HOLA!

Advertising AND SALES Gabriel Jones | Sales Director gabriel@mexi-go.ca Joel Hansen | Business Development joel@mexi-go.ca MARKETING AND PR Veronica Rivas veronica@mexi-go.ca Jeff Castañeda jeff@mexi-go.ca ASSISTANT TO THE EDITOR Alejandra Peña alejandra @mexi-go.ca

Mexico continues to be Canadian’s favourite tropical destination, with near record number of people heading south to such great beach locations as Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Playa del Carmen and Mazatlan, with some venturing to the many wondrous off-the-beach destinations, such as Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende and San Cristobel in Chiapis. All superb places to discover the rich culture and colonial charms of Mexico. Mexico continues to inspire me. I had the pleasure of visiting the state of Puebla and the town of Cholula, the home of Tlachihualtepetl, arguably the world’s largest pyramid, on the top of which I found the beautiful 16th century Santuario de la Virgen de los Remedios (Sanctuary of the Virgin of Remedies), all of which is watched over by the imposing (and still active) Popocatépetl volcano. Short of a turquoise sea, this is a near perfect representation of Mexico, with a thriving modern city, an ancient pyramid, a colonial church, and the natural beauty of this country. Plus there was snow on Popocatépetl - the icing on the cake. In addition to Puebla, I travelled through Oaxaca in a too-short, six day trip with my mother and fellow Editor of Mexi-Go!, where we sampled grasshoppers and worms, shopped until my luggage could hold no more, and toured many beautiful, ancient and cultural places, all of which you can read about on page 22. On a trip to the Baja, I had the chance to stay at the historic resort of Rancho Las Cruces (pg. 21). I have explored most of Banderas Bay in the past year while living here, some of which I share with you on page 18. But enough about me, we have a great magazine to inspire you, an upcoming Expo in Vancouver (Sept 14&15) and another in Calgary (January 2014). As well, check out our website, which has many choices of properties for sale, or for rent, a foundation on which to build your dreams. All that’s left is for you to buy a ticket and come visit! Safe travels, Madeline Milne www.mexi-go.ca

Mexi-Go! Expo Schedule

Saturday Open

Sunday Open

10:00am - 6:00pm

10:00am - 5:00pm

11:00am - Travel

11:00 am - Real Estate

1:00pm - Real Estate

12:00pm - Destinations

2:00pm - Tequila Talk

1:00pm - Speakers

4:00pm - Speakers

2:00pm - Tequila Talk

Tequila Bar: 2pm - 6pm

Tequila Bar: 1pm - 5pm

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

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Editor-in-Chief Madeline Milne Editor Moralea Milne Art Director Madeline Milne Designer Brad Hopwood Designer Oskar Stark Contributors Gary R. Beck Erin Staley Joel Hansen Gabe Jones Hana Kram Anita Draycott Thomas Lloyd David McLean Marianne Menditto Miguel Fernandez Distribution Maxwell Hansen-Milne

You don’t want to miss the exciting Tequila Fair, with tastings and talks on the many joys of Tequila. The Expo admission is by donation; we will use the proceeds to support Mexican child-based charities. If you are in Vancouver or nearby, please join us. www.mexi-goexpo.com

$19.95 / 4 issues www.mexi-go.ca

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www.mexi-go.ca

Here we are again! Heading to Vancouver, BC, to host the 2nd annual Mexi-Go! Expo, Sept-14&15 at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown. We have a great line up of exhibitors this year, including returning real estate agent Victoria Pratt and San Miguel de Allende Tourism, among many others. This year will feature seminars on both tourism and real estate for the general public, as well as ones geared to professionals.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER www.mexi-goexpo.com

CONTACT US! info@mexi-go.ca www.facebook.com/mexi-goproperties www.twitter.com/mexigoproperty www.twitter.com/mexigomag www.mexi-go.ca www.mexi-goexpo.com www.mexi-govacations.ca Mexi-Go! is published by Canadian Marketing Strategies S de RL de CV Copyright (2013)

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LIFESTYLE CULTURE

By Erin Staley

Twentieth Century Artists and International Icons: Considered to be two of Mexico’s most beloved artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera had a deep admiration for their homeland, a mutual respect for one another’s talents, and a love-hate relationship that would rival any Hollywood drama. To appreciate their work is to take a closer look at the tragedy and controversy, passion and conviction that filled their lives.

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FALL ISSUE 2013

Born in 1886 in Guanajuato, Diego Rivera quickly discovered art’s allure as a youth. He advanced his skills at the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts and later immersed himself in Europe’s thriving art scene. While he was drawn to the prevailing styles of the time, the Mexican Revolution (1914-15) and Russian Revolution (1917) altered Diego’s focus. He turned an artistic spotlight on the oppression of Mexico’s indigenous people and peasantry, believing frescoes would become the people’s art. Upon returning to his native land in 1921, Diego is quoted as saying:

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“My homecoming produced an esthetic exhilaration which it is impossible to describe. It was as if I were being born anew, born into a new world. All the colors I saw appeared to be heightened; they were clearer, richer, finer, and more full of light. The dark tones had a depth they had never had in Europe. I was in the very center of the plastic world, where forms and colors existed in absolute purity. In everything I saw a potential masterpiece — the crowds, the markets, the festivals, the marching battalions, the working men in the shops

Frida y Diego

and fields — in every glowing face I had the conviction that if I lived a hundred lives I could not exhaust even a fraction of this store of buoyant beauty.” A member of the Mexican Communist Party, Diego combined his revolutionary and socialistic ideals in his frescoes. He had already begun to establish himself as the father of mural and modern political art in Mexico by the time he crossed paths with Frida Kahlo in 1921. Frida, born in Coyocoán in 1907, was afflicted with polio as a young child. This left her with one leg considerably smaller than the other. However, Frida’s permanent limp didn’t stop her from pursuing a career in the medical field. By the time she enrolled in the renowned National Preparatory School, she stood out in the crowd as an intelligent and precocious young lady. Frida, known for her fervor, joined a socialist-nationalist political group called the “Cachuchas,” a group who was as devoted to literature as they were to mischief. It was during this time that Diego was commissioned to paint “Creation” in the lecture hall of the National Preparatory School. Despite Diego’s reputation for being a


“It was as if I were being born anew, born into a new world.” DIEGO RIVIERA

at the Crossroads” in the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center, Diego included a portrait of Russian Communist leader, Vladimir Lenin. Although the Rockefellers protested, Rivera refused to remove the portrait. His work was immediately stopped, and the mural was eventually destroyed.

Diego’s professional endeavors – and desire to promote the Mexican Renaissance – took the couple to Europe and to the United States. Diego often painted rich, vibrant murals overflowing with symbolism. Much to the dismay of his benefactors, these works contained elements of Diego’s political ideals. When Nelson Rockefeller commissioned him to create “Man

Despite their tumultuous “art imitates life” relationship, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s shared passion for each other and for their beloved Mexico sustained them until their deaths – Frida’s in 1954 and Diego’s in 1957. Not only are they revered by generations of proud countrymen, but they have become two of the most prolific international icons of the twentieth century.

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Stormy and passionate, Frida and Diego’s on-again, off-again romance was nothing short of a modern-day drama. Frida once said, “I suffered two grave accidents in my life. One in which a streetcar knocked me down ... The other accident is Diego.”

Eventually, Frida and Diego returned to Mexico. Commissioned work, social gatherings, political functions, and art exhibitions filled their days. But whatever the challenge, the two respected one another’s talents. Frida championed Diego’s vivid murals of Mexican farmers and laborers as well as political notables. In turn, Diego encouraged Frida’s blend of Mexican culture, Mesoamerican mythology, folk art, and surrealism. Frida drew, sketched, and painted over two hundred pieces in her lifetime; fifty-five of these were self-portraits. She painted her reality, often borrowing the essential elements of 19th century “Ex-Voto” style – a tragic scene, an inscription, and a saint or martyr. In 1953 Frida attended her only solo exhibition. A local critic wrote, “It is impossible to separate the life and work of this extraordinary person. Her paintings are her biography.”

In 1925 tragedy struck eighteen-year-old Frida. A streetcar accident left her spine, collarbone, and ribs fractured, and she sustained additional injuries to her shoulder, pelvis, and feet. Bedridden and in excruciating pain, Frida found relief in painting. After a long recovery, she jumped into politics by joining the Young Communist League and the Mexican Communist Party. Through these circles, Frida and Diego crossed paths once again in 1928. Impressed by her work and jovial spirit, Diego began courting Frida. The two were married the following year.

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womanizer and his being nearly twenty years her senior, Frida was mesmerized by “El Maestro”. She would watch him paint for hours, believing one day she would bare him a child. However, their time had not yet come.

Homesick and depressed over multiple miscarriages and Diego’s infidelity, Frida threw herself into her artwork and what was considered unconventional behavior at the time. She drank, smoked, hosted wild parties, and engaged in torrid affairs with both men and women. She draped herself in the colorful skirts, shawls, and exotic jewelry of traditional Mexican cultures. Attractive and talented, Frida’s persona was magnetic.

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CULTURE LIFESTYLE

By Marianne Menditto

The Tradition of Mexican Textiles

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FALL ISSUE 2013

Mexican handmade textiles are a perfect example of what constitutes ‘folk art’...made by everyday people, for everyday use, crafted & embellished with love & pride. Decorative inspiration is drawn from the artisan’s surroundings, tribal legends, and customs.

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There is a weaving tradition going back many centuries in every indigenous group in México using many types of loom. But textile art is not only about weaving. Embroidery with cotton or silk threads is a big part of the decorative process. The tying of shawl fringes is another specialized skill that can even incorporate beads and feathers. Rugs, hand towels, pillows, tablecloths, napkins, tortilla & bread warmers, table-runners, wall-hangings, blouses, shawls, ponchos, aprons, blankets, the list goes on & on... In the case of Zapotec rugs, every material used is made by the artisans. Families work together, each member learning a new step of the process as they grow up. The weavers of Teótitlan del Valle & Santa Ana del Valle,

Oaxaca are considered among the best in the world. Fortunately, the Zapotec weavers are quite a success story, so this art-form is not in danger of disappearing any time soon, as are some of the other folk arts of México. Hand-made clothing is an especially vulnerable branch of the textile craft, as the global economy offers cheaper options to clothe a family. Social pressures, desires of the younger generations to modernize, to no longer be identified as ‘Indian’ and therefore on the bottom of the social ladder, also contribute to the loss of heritage skills. Several organizations around México are attempting to preserve precious examples and patterns by recording methods, materials & languages. They do important work by educating collectors & artists from other cultures with tours of the indigenous villages. As the world becomes a smaller place, let us hope that humanity will learn to treasure its irreplaceable diversity.


By Moralea Milne

It’s a Family Affair: Traditional rug weaving in Oaxaca

Cochineal is an insect that is found on prickly-pear cactus which, when harvested and dried, produces a grey substance that is ground to create a rich red colour, the basis of many colour combinations. Add a little acid, such as the juice of a lime, and you have a lighter red, add baking soda, which is alkaline, and you have purple, add the blue created from indigo leaves and you have brown. By using the yellow dye from marigold (cempasuchil) flowers, the brown shades created from pecan bark or walnut husks, and black from the acacia (huisache) pods, you develop a palette that compliments any design.

Rug making is a family affair with children starting to learn the business from age seven through the construction of simple, small, geometric patterned samplers. As their competence increases, they are given larger and more difficult projects to complete. Only the most skilled masters work on the large, complex designs, which require a fierce concentration to maintain the pattern. A 2 m by 2 m carpet will take three months to complete, use kilos of yarn and quantities of expensive natural dyes. The craftsmanship, quality, and superb use of design and colour make these rugs popular throughout North America, with large markets in New York City. I've bought many of these rugs which always seem to find homes as gifts to my family and friends. Fortunately, that makes further trips to Oaxaca "necisito" as the Mexicans say

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From sheep to carpet is a long and labourious process, starting with the sheep! At one time, families were able to produce most of their own wool, nowadays at least half the wool is purchased. Newly shorn wool does not hold much resemblance to the finished product, it goes through a number of steps to become the yarn used in weaving. Using traditional methods, it is cleaned by scrubbing with the roots of the amole plant, a native species of yucca, that produces quantities of cleansing lather. After several rinses, the wool is ready for carding, which further removes bits and pieces and aligns the wool fibres so that they can be spun. After spinning, the wool is ready for dying, using a variety of natural ingredients.

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The artisan village of Teotitlan del Valle, located thirty km from the city of Oaxaca, is renowned for their long tradition of handcrafting high quality, woven wool rugs. Drawing on the ancient cultural history of the Central Valley area of Oaxaca, the weavers have traditionally used the geometric motifs that are found as reliefs on the preHispanic ruins at Mitla. Lately they have expanded their repertoire by incorporating circular, organic shapes, so that rugs are now produced that feature designs from nature including birds and butterflies, the tree of life, historic murals, and reproductions of famous art.

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Are you considering a trip? Do you travel on business? Are you dreaming of distant lands and a change of scenery? A Travel Agent who belongs to the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA) is an expert in the details and will get you where you need to go the way you want to get there. An ACTA Travel Agent abides by a strict code of ethics and is a true expert. Before your departure, during your trip, and upon your return, ACTA Agents are attentive professionals who are at your service. They are available to answer your questions or help out if you encounter problems or difficulties. With an ACTA Travel Agent, you get personalized service with the resources and advice you need through all stages of your trip planning. Even when you are on the other side of the world, your agent is ready to help. An ACTA Travel Agent places the world within your reach! Through recognized training, expertise and experience, an ACTA Travel Agent can provide essential information and useful advice on the various travels that may interest you. Whether it’s a customized request or involves a large group on a tropical vacation, a cruise, a short or long trip, an organized tour or an exotic destination, they have the knowledge to offer you a wide range of options and prices. An ACTA Travel Agent can make travel dreams come true! By discussing your wildest dreams and specific expectations, an ACTA travel professional will propose destinations and personalized opportunities. You’ll travel in the best possible conditions. To that end, your agents will shop around for you. Then they get back to you with various suggestions for destinations, accommodation and transportation, and they provide all the relevant literature to help you make up your mind. More often than not, the places they propose will be familiar because they’ll have been there themselves. With an ACTA Travel Agent, your dreams will become a reality. For the ACTA Travel Agent closest to you, visit ACTA.ca and search our member directory @ www.acta.ca/travel-directory

By Gabriel Jones

Festival Sayulita: Film, Tequila, Music and Surf It has been said many times, many ways, Sayulita is a magical place…so what do you add to a town that has just about everything? That question was answered with the announcement of Sayulita’s inaugural “Festival Sayulita”, which will take place January 16-18, 2014. Festival Sayulita is an international film festival for lovers not only of cinema, but also of the four things Sayulita does always does very well: Tequila, Food, Music and Surf.

www.festivalsayulita.com

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The value of using an ACTA Travel Agent for your travel planning


Photos by Riley Hunter (sayulitalife.com)

During the festival, creative and provocative films will be shown in interesting and intimate venues around town, including beautiful beach front restaurants, and an amphitheater under the stars. Films from around the world will be screened and will fall into at least one of the following categories: Action Sports; Documentary; Short Feature; Animated & Stop Motion, and Alternative. Aspiring film makers and film buffs can rub shoulders with established professionals who will be in attendance, offering lectures, but also watching movies, sipping tequila and falling off surf boards like the rest of us. Check out the excellent event website for the list of ever-growing selected films.

Whether you are an experienced surfer or a first timer looking to take a lesson, Sayulita has a wave for you. Home to a great surf culture and some of Mexico’s best surfers and stand up paddle boarders, Sayulita offers sweet spectating on the main beach; one-on-one lessons on the beginner beach, and a great selection of rental boards to match all skill levels and conditions. Excitement is already building in Sayulita and an initial offering of VIP passes sold out in record time. If you are thinking about a trip to Mexico this winter consider Sayulita in January and be part of what could be the next Sundance of the South, and will most certainly be an amazing experience.

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Sayulita is home to a diverse music scene that includes Latin jazz, rock, reggae, ska and electronic. During the high season of November-April, the constant flow of travelers celebrating their hard earned vacations, makes every night feel like Saturday night. Expect the atmosphere in town during the Festival to be electric, so pack your dancing shoes and be ready to stay up late.

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Sayulita is located a short drive from the town of Tequila, which is the birthplace of, arguably, Mexico’s most famous export. Tequila is the national drink of Mexico and is in the blood of Sayulita’s citizens and visitors alike (some more than others). It’s only fitting that Festival Sayulita will be a celebration of this most magical spirit. Several excellent distilleries including industry leader Sauza, who are makers of many great tequilas and also offer one of the best tequila tours at Casa Sauza, have signed on as sponsors. The Festival will include a master tasting with all the participating distilleries and a series of tequila and food pairings with individual brands working with some of Sayulita’s best restaurants.

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Travel

Photos by Mark Charlton

Sayulita - Sun, Surf and so much more! By Gabriel Jones Sayulita might not be Mexico’s best kept secret for much longer…While still known first for its surf break right on its main beach, this once sleepy village is now at the top of the list for more travelers seeking a (slightly) off the beaten path Mexican vacation.

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Blessed with fantastic climate, Sayulita is bathed in 300+ days of sun per year, tempered with cool offshore breezes. It is accessible; located a beautiful forty minute drive north from Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Despite the proximity to a big city it has managed to maintain a small town feel, avoiding fast food chains, big box stores, and massive hotel developments.

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Sayulita has become a mecca for yoga, offering a variety of retreats and several great studios with daily drop-in classes. It is home to nature trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, many of which lead to deserted beaches for outdoor adventurers. From roadside taco stands to casual fine dining with a view, Sayulita offers excellent Mexican and international options for adventurers of the culinary kind. While you can still find a tacky tourist t-shirt if you look hard enough, many shops specialize in local one-of-a-kind art, jewelry, and designer clothing, making Sayulita a shoppers’ delight. Perhaps its greatest quality is the welcoming nature of the town. Its citizens are a great mix of Mexican nationals some whom were born and raised here, and

others who have migrated from larger cities for a simpler life on the beach, and a vibrant international (expat) community from all walks of life. This diverse mix of full-time residents gives Sayulita a great sense of community and makes it one of the friendliest places you could ever visit. In no particular order here are a few things that will make your stay in Sayulita even better:

Experience Agave (in all its wonderful forms) – Whether it is in a cocktail as a margarita or sipped straight from a tall shot glass like the nationals do, Sayulita has your tequila tasting covered. If you want to explore even deeper, try tequila’s country cousins: smoky mezcal and the mysterious local derivative, Raicillia. For my favorite margarita in town visit Monchis on the plaza and if you are serious about expanding


Photos by Riley Hunter (sayulitalife.com)

Relax & Rejuvenate – Sayulita is home to an varied selection of naturopathic healers and massage therapists…options include Swedish, Thai, Rolfing (amazing), Raki, and Acupuncture and will help you make the most of your relaxation and send you home feeling refreshed. Whale Watching –

Get ready to “Hola!” – If you want to improve your Spanish, taking some lessons before or during your visit and practicing while in Mexico is the best way to learn. Many private lessons are available or contact the Costa Verde International School for classes.

Cooking Classes – Whether you want to work on your basics, like salsas and guacamoles or learn recipes from ceviche to mole, Sayulita is home to many great chefs who want to share their secrets with you. For more information about the Farmer’s Market and cooking classes: sayulitamarket@yahoo.com Bird Watching – The state of Nayarit and the Sayulita/San Pancho area are home to one of the highest concentrations of migratory and local birds in Mexico…more than 546 species and over 50% of the total species in Mexico call Nayarit home. Whether you want to spend a day watching pelicans

fishing on the main beach and Frigate birds soaring overhead, or enjoy green parrots darting from tree to tree in town, or head into the jungle to seek a rare bird, Sayulita will make a bird watcher out of you. For guided tours and more information visit: birdingsanpancho.com Farmer’s Market – The Mercado del Pueblo combines fresh organic produce and food from local vendors and is a meeting place for Sayulita’s sustainable community. Great food, music and people watching every Friday from 10 am-1pm November to April at Las Casa de Cultura.

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Stay Hydrated - Drink plenty of fluids; fresh squeezed juices; agua frescas like kiwi & chia, cucumber & mint or basil & pineapple; coconut water (served in shell) or sip on much improved Mexican wine (Monte Xanic is a good one). You can also find great Mexican micro brewed beer at Sayulita Public House, which is home to the Sayulita’s best beer list.

During the winter months thousands of Humpback whales migrate from northern waters to nearby Bay of Banderas to mate and birth their young. Sometimes they can even be seen from the beaches of Sayulita, but to get a closer look, take a boat trip to the Bay or Las Marietas Islands (also home to Blue-footed Boobies, Bottlenose Dolphins, and a wide variety of reef fish). Goosebumps and great photo-ops are guaranteed from Dec-April. Hire a local fishing boat from Sayulita or take a larger craft from a nearby marina in La Cruz.

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your agave palate visit El Mezcalito - home to an amazing selection of regional agave spirits. Salud!

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Puerto Vallarta is located in the middle of Banderas Bay, one of the largest bays in Mexico at nearly 100km in length. It is bounded in the north by Punta de Mita and in the south by Cabo Corrientes. It straddles the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, divided along the Ameca River. The Bay is home to many wonderful communities and an abundance of natural wonders. In the winter and spring seasons you can witness the awe inspiring beauty of the humpback whales as they calve in the warm waters of the bay, in the summer you can experience the majesty of the sea turtles hatching and returning to their watery world. The fall brings renewed vigour to the mountains and rivers with the fresh rains and revived vegetation. No matter when you visit, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit will share their wonders with you.

Explore Banderas Bay

Puerto VallartA and Riviera Nayarit ARE destinationS rich with nature, culture and adventure.

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Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens – This internationally acclaimed botanical garden has a wonderful selection of orchids, an excellent restaurant, spa and a great gift shop, situated above a beautiful crook in the river, just south of the impressive Le Kliff Restaurant on your way to El Tuito. $60 pesos gets you in to a full day of natural beauty. Bring bug spray and your swim suit.

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Shopping in the Zona Romantica – this charming neighbourhood is also called Old Town and is a popular residential area for expats and Mexican families. Along the main streets you will find shops galore, filled with wonderful authentic crafts, clothing, jewelry, excellent

restaurants, spas, theaters and more. Vibrant and friendly, this area offers an excellent day or two (or a lifetime) of exploring. Close to the popular Los Muertos beach, consider ending your day with a sunset margarita or two at any of the many beachfront restaurants. Sunsets on the Malecon - Sitting on the edge of the Pacific Ocean never fails to give us a sunset each night. Grab a seat at any of the number of excellent bars and restaurants along the malecon, order your favourite cocktail and let it all slip away. Once the sun has set, the malecon comes alive with families out for a stroll, plenty of live entertainment and

later in the night, the nightclubs beckon. Flea Markets – Haggle your way through the Rio Cuale Flea Market looking for souvenirs – some tacky and some beautiful. From blankets to wrestling masks, cheap sunglasses to hand tooled leather purses or ornately decorated pottery you will be sure to find the perfect gift for those you left back home. Be sure to visit the large two-story Mercado off the bridge excellent authentic Mexican food can be found on the second floor. Fresh Seafood – The Bay is generous and each day we enjoy plentiful fish and seafood. Head to Bucerias where there

are a number of excellent seafood restaurants on the beach serving the day’s catch. The beach in Bucerias is a pristine eight kms long and an excellent beach to practice standup paddle boarding. During whale season it’s not unusual to see whales breaching and putting on a show just off the beach. Fresh oysters, a shrimp cocktail or grilled red snapper are some of our favourites. Sayulita – A short forty-five minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, Sayulita is the surfer’s mecca of Riviera Nayarit. A funky town with a wonderful protected beach, this laid-back town has a hippie vibe


Photos and article by: Madeline Milne

Galleries – It is said there are more galleries per capita in Puerto Vallarta than any other place in Mexico. Many of these galleries are along the side streets that run through Centro. Stop at the Tourism Office in the Main Plaza for a map or take advantage of their free walking tour. Many galleries carry high quality local crafts, established Mexican and international

artists and more. Adrenalin Rushes – There is something for every daredevil in Puerto Vallarta. The jungle-mountains lend the perfect back drop to zipline canopy tours while the warm ocean waters below are perfect for diving, snorkeling, swimming or renting a jet ski and exploring the coast line. The South Shore From Conchas Chinas to Cabo Corrientes, heading south from Puerto Vallarta will find you winding along a jungle highway with spectacular views to the ocean. The south is an area of tranquility and lush natural spaces. One of the most diverse areas of the world, the mountains in the South Shore

offer perfect viewing for birds, butterflies, orchids and other flora. Fantastic homes cling to the cliffs, luxurious resorts nestle into coves and ever charming beach towns offer water activities, fresh seafood and plenty of welcoming smiles. So whether you are in town for a week or a month, Puerto Vallarta can keep you busy with all the wonderful things to do, see and eat. Plenty of non-stop each week from all major Canadian cities and a friendly welcoming town will make your stay an easy one.

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Cooking Classes – Recognized as one of the world’s leading cuisines, there are a number of great schools in the Puerto Vallarta area that will teach you how to master tortilla soup, enchiladas, salsas and more. Fresh seafood, abundant fruit and veggies and a sophisticated community make Vallarta a foodies’ dream destination. Look for a school that will take you to the markets or intro-

duce you to the farmers and fishers for a truly cultural experience. Don’t want to cook? Try one of the Food Tours available. Eat like a local and for three hours you will enjoy everything from Tacos to Pozole at the food stands and small comidas around town.

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with the organic cafes and the yoga studios to prove it. Visit the Huichol Cultural Centre for some wonderful hand-made beaded jewelry or grab a surf lesson from one of the many vendors on the beach. Fish tacos for lunch are a must.

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especially considering that the spiral staircase was soldered together piece-by-piece inside of the narrow main tower structure Another exquisite feature is the handmade Medusa fountain, which greets visitors upon arrival. The water from the shell-shaped basin cascades directly into the swimming pool, making you feel as though you’re lounging around the Baths of Caracalla in ancient Rome. Today, the villa it is owned by an American couple that fell in love with its unusual Colonial Mexican style and central downtown location. They’d decided on Vallarta as a permanent vacation spot, but also wanted a property that could easily be used as a villa rental and event location.

If you know Puerto Vallarta, you know we are renowned for fun beaches, great food, a beautiful bay and a hot nightlife. But we are also graced by a plethora of fine craftsmen and artisans. Walk by any building construction site and you see that everything is created by hand. Our local construction workers, brick layers and craftsmen take tremendous pride in having built this town. They will gladly point out houses that they, their fathers or their grandfathers helped to construct.

A Castle in Paradise

By Miguel Fernandez

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Casa de la Torre is one of the best examples of this phenomenon. All of the locals know it as the “castle” in Old Town Vallarta. It is absolutely a testament to how skilled and creative our local craftsmen are. The entire house is built of mortared stone and you can spend hours studying the ingenious masonry of the main column in the living room. Or recline on the sofa to take in the ceilings mortared with small rocks and pieces of brick.

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The house also boasts unique Spanish influenced ironwork, a cheerful Talavera tiled kitchen, grand and colorful stained glass windows, carefully carved woodwork and lush hanging gardens. There’s not a corner of the villa that doesn’t have an architectural or decorative surprise. Casa de la Torre was completed in 1970 for señor Salvador Escalante, a local Vallarta businessman. His vision was splendidly whimsical. The signature three-story tower provides you with a 360-degree view of the Bay of Banderas and the surrounding Sierra Madre Mountain range. A grand feat of construction and design,

The purchase of the home also included the beautiful antique handmade furnishings and custom designed decorative features, such as two crystal chandeliers; one which graces the handsome wooden stairway and one which hangs above the master bath’s tiled tub. Rental guests at the villa are pampered by two full-time staff members, generous margaritas upon their arrival, and a daily breakfast of local tropical fruits and strong and delicious cappuccinos from the authentic European espresso machine. www.casadelatorrevilla.com


Tennis anyone? Head back to a simpler time in this historic luxury resort. A compound reminiscent of the Fifties, straight from the pages of a vintage Vanity Fair, this members-only resort is a mixture of old money, family connections and Spanish history. About thirty minutes from La Paz, Baja California Sur, it is said that at the rocky point in front of the property was where Hernan Cortes first landed in the Baja in search of riches. Here he planted three crosses (las cruces) to commemorate his arrival in 1535. Fast forward four hundred years and Abelardo L. Rodriguez Montijo (son of the 43rd Mexican President, Abelardo L Rodriguez), who was married to Hollywood actress Lucille Bremer, stood on the shores of this private five mile long coast and realized that los cruces still held a luminescent beauty that would appeal to his jet-setting friends. In 1948 began the first luxury resort in the Baja. The who’s who of old Hollywood and Las Vegas would soon fly in on private planes or sail in on private yachts. A number of famous friends became partners and built beachfront homes such as Bing Crosby and Dezi Arnez. Los Cruces would be the first of many acclaimed hotels Señor Rodriguez would build including the unparalleled Pamilla Resort in Los Cabos. Half expecting to bump into a Kennedy or perhaps a Paltrow, today this totally secluded 12,000 acre resort is perfect for an escape from the hectic outside world. The contrast of desert and sea forces you to absorb the landscape and toss off your big-city worries. Head

www.rancholoscruces.com www.hotelesboutique.com TRAVEL REAL ESTATE LIFESTYLE RETIREMENT

By Madeline Milne

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Rancho Los Cruces

back to a time of shuffleboard and croquet, afternoon tea and dressing for dinner. Completely family friendly, children will love to explore the grounds and play in the oceanfront pool, while the adults will enjoy a leisurely tennis match, skeet shooting or a day on the water. The level of service you’ll receive is impeccable and every request can be handled, from meals in your home to wedding and church services. It is truly a get-away from the era of Facebook and Ipads to a time of simple sophistication. (Though there is a strong satellite wifi signal in case the thought of being totally disconnected gives you hives.) Rooms and cabañas are decorated in tasteful traditional Mexican style with hand crafted furniture, talverna tile and extremely comfortable beds. Visit during the cooler months of January and February and you’ll be greeted each night by a warm glow from your fireplace. In the summer months, the cool breeze blows off the Sea of Cortez and the desert absorbs all the humidity. It’s near perfection. Rancho Los Cruces, a member of Mexico Boutique Hotels, offers understated luxury in a striking natural setting with amenities for all in your family. Flights to La Paz arrive from Los Angeles and Phoenix or you can fly from many locations into San Jose del Cabo and take the private shuttle.

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Travel

By Moralea Milne

Mother & Daughter:

Journey into the heart of Oaxaca Life doesn’t get much more heartwarming than when my oldest child suggested a mother and daughter adventure to explore the heart of Oaxaca, Mexico. From the excitement of visiting exotic locales, the comfort of a beautiful hotel, to the fearless experiments with indigenous cuisine (grasshoppers and crushed worms!) and the bond of shopping for exquisite handcrafts at various mercados and tianguis (markets) we shared a magical five days and nights.

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First off, when traveling to a new city, if you can’t have a loved one meet you at the airport with open arms, then a handsome guide holding a sign with your name on it is an excellent alternate scenario. Alejandro would be our interpreter and fountain of knowledge for the next five days, and with over thirty years experience in the business, there was never a question he couldn’t answer.

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A PLACE TO LAY YOUR HEAD Hotel Mision de los Angeles, a sprawling hotel complex, complete with pool, tennis courts, acres of green space and a huge breakfast buffet would be our comfortable home for the duration. We only discovered near the end of our stay that it is a pleasant hike into the Centro Historico, passing shaded parks, along streets lined with art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and specialty shops. Much of the charm of Ciudad de Oaxaca stems from their determination to respect the heritage of their architecture, and the facades of the one and two story buildings remain true to their original designs, creating an ambiance that combines a sense of authenticity with an obvious fierce pride in the local culture. ANCIENT CULTURES Mexico is a country saturated with ancient history, with settlements stretching back at least 10,000 years. New archaeological sites are still being discovered, while many known ones have been only partially explored.

The magnificent ancient Zapotec site of Monte Alban has been created and recreated during at least three different regimes, each of the new inhabitants adding to the scale and grandeur. Monte Alban is known for creating the first lunar calendar and a solar calendar was used by 550 BC. For those who prefer their archaeological adventures to be less than an endurance feat, Monte Alban and Mitla fill the bill. Monte Alban is a stone’s throw west from Oaxaca with trails that are easily accessible by almost any fitness level. Settled in the fertile confluence of three valleys, it was mainly a centre of governance, inhabited mostly by nobles and the military. It is estimated that 35,000 people were situated within the twenty-two sq km around the site. There is a fine museum that showcases a few of the artifacts that were found with the opening of Tomb Seven. Discovered in 1931 by the celebrated Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Casa, it was considered


Straying from the prescribed tour, I’m sure there were a few amused glances shared among the Mexican visitors to the site, when I discovered a wall covered in moths, no doubt trapped by a light left on during the night. To me, as a naturalist, their intricately and brightly patterned wings rivalled any of the ornamentation on display in the cases in the museum! Mitla, meaning Place of the Dead, is situated less than an hour’s drive east of the city. Established as a religious centre, it is renowned for the geometric patterns that decorate the buildings. While at Mitla, we were able to visit the nearby market, with some of the best

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even more significant than the treasures found at King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Eygpt. Dr Geoffery McCafferty, of the University of Calgary, believes that the tomb was dedicated to a female Goddess, probably with power over earth and fertility issues.

HISTORICAL COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE No tour of Oaxaca, indeed of anywhere in Mexico, is complete without visiting a few renovated churches, nunneries and monasteries. In part, to show their allegiance to the Catholic Church, and also to protect themselves from the fearsome eye of the Spanish Inquisition, enormous, intricately detailed, gold embossed religious buildings were constructed. Often only the nobility were permitted inside these grand edifices, with the general public receiving mass in an attached courtyard. The Mexican government and the Catholic Church have had a tumultuous relationship over the centuries and for a period in the 1930’s, many churches were closed and priests deported. Some of the buildings were abandoned, alters removed and maintenance suspended until the structures had more in common with the ruins they superseded rather than the powerful institution they had been previously. Lately there has been a movement towards renovation of these structures, with money coming from the local communities, the states and the federal government. As someone whose heart responds to the natural world, rather than the constructed one, my favourite part of the tour was an all too brief stop at a wildflower meadow near Teposcolula where we encountered a profusion of stunning native wildflowers with jewel-like

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prices we found anywhere. A lovely traditional cotton shawl, handy for the cool mountain evenings, was half the cost of anywhere else.

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butterflies nectaring amid the ancient pine and oak forests. Even our guide, tasking with keeping us to a hectic schedule, was glad of the respite, confessing that this unscheduled stop was the preferred part of his day as well. EAT EAT EAT AND DRINK! On December 2010, UNESCO declared Traditional Mexican Cuisine as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. We were able to explore the truth of this designation by sampling many of the nuances of Oaxacan cuisine. Moles are a complex mixture of ingredients that are famous in the region, used to complement many savoury dishes. The cool evenings are a perfect excuse to wrap yourself in one of the elegant hand-woven, woollen shawls and sip on the delicious Oaxacan version of hot chocolate, flavoured with cinnamon, almonds and sugar. You will want to return again and again to recreate that delicious experience.

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For those who appreciate a more substantial liquid to imbibe, Mezcal is the beverage that defines the local bar scene. Once a poor man’s road to oblivion, Mezcal is enjoying the attentions of the artisan movement. With over thirty species of agave to work with and the revival of traditional methods of extraction that impart the signature smokey flavour, Mezcal aficionados are as knowledgeable about their passion as any wine connoisseur. Be forewarned, Mexcal does impart a substantial kick!

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SHOPPING MECCA Many of the neighbouring villages have specialised in the production of a specific traditional handicraft or artisan product. We visited the town of San Martin Tilcajete, fortuitously timed to attend their annual market of alebrijes (brightly coloured, fantastical,

carved creatures). Creativity knows no bounds when it comes to the imaginative creations you can find here. In San Bartolo Coyotepec we were able to visit the famous Dona Rosa factory, where their renowned black pottery is produced. Using local clays, a specific firing and finishing procedure, and the carving of intricate designs, they have produced an amazing variety of decorative objects at embarrassingly low cost to the shopping traveler. Teotitlan del Valle is celebrated for their weaving, particularly of complexly patterned wool rugs, many suitable as art pieces. OCEAN RETREAT If it is within your ability, any visit to Oaxaca state should include a journey to the Oaxacan coast. The road over the mountains provides spectacular vistas through intact jungles. Stay a night in San Jose del Pacifico, perched on a mountain ridge and delight in the early morning sunrise, a panoramic view of lush, seemingly untouched forests clinging to steep mountain terrain. After the countless hairpin turns, you will want to spend a few days resting in Huatulco, an integrally planned tourist destination, certified as a Sustainable Tourism Community, dedicated to maintaining high standards of sustainable practices and environmental protection. Of the 20,000 hectares set aside for the development of Huatulco, 16,000 ha have been protected as the Huatulco National Park, where the vast biodiversity of the area, that includes 413 species of plants, 130 mammals, 291 species of birds, 72 species of reptiles and 15 species of amphibians has been preserved. There are a number of ecotourism companies that can help you explore this vital area, I met Leah, a charming young woman, English speaking, who works with her mother to provide ecotourism options: aventuramundo.net


Wherever you find yourself in the great state of Oaxaca, you will experience the charm and authenticity of a people who are proud of their traditions and culture, yet who can embrace the modern world. There is an experience and destination to satisfy every criteria, from the vagabond to the most discerning traveler.

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No trip to the Oaxacan coast would be complete without a visit to Puerto Escondido, home of Zicatela Beach, one of the best surfing breaks in the world. Young people are in a majority here, as they move from big wave to even bigger waves, giving a youthful vibe to the town. Make no mistake though, there are many of the “young at heart” who also treasure the laid back ambiance of this beach town. At Hotel Casa Dan

(hotelcasadan@gmail.com) it is almost impossible to get a booking, due to its popularity and the many clients who return like clockwork every winter for decades. Still, there are always cancellations and it is worth your while to see if they can accommodate you. From Puerto you can easily access many small, intimate beaches and communities that retain the feel of an earlier Mexico. One that I discovered recently is the small town of St Gabriel de Mixtepec, about an hour north of Puerto Escondido. I stayed at Rancho el Sagrado (ranchoelsagrado.com) a rustic group of cabins set in the mountains on old family coffee plantation, run by young members of the family, striving to make an eco-tourism resort. It’s bare bones, affordable, clean, and best of all, teeming with wildlife, a bird and butterfly bonanza!

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A PLACE FOR ALL I was able to visit three very different accommodations that showcase the diversity of choices available. Ocean Park Condominiums, a cozy establishment in the village of Santa Cruz, offers well appointed and comfortable condos for sale or rent. Here you can enjoy the proximity of the local scene, restaurants, the zocalo (town square) and beach right at your doorstep. Celeste is an upscale development with a private beach, and poolside restaurant for those who want the pleasure of cocooning, “far from the madding crowd”. Villas Fasol, an architectural beauty, offers an inclusive breakfast, two pools and a private beach from which to watch the action of the waves and surf.

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Postcards from Chiapas

Article and Photographs By Anita Draycott

Greetings from the Land of the Maya I was lucky to get this photo of Mayan women dressed in traditional costume as they tend to resent having their pictures taken. It’s not so much about “stealing their souls” as a belief that all live and inanimate things have chu’lel San Cristobal (vital energy) and that photographing them : Charmer Colonial violates it. For example, if I take a picture of a Mayan and her pile of mangos in the market I have diminished the worth of both. Chiapas, Mexico’s southernmost state, is home to several indigenous groups descended from the Maya, two of the largest being the Tzotzils and Tzeltals who inhabit highland villages surrounding San Cristobal.

Greeting

from Chiapis

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!

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omen in Mayan W

typical cost

ume

San Cristobal de las Casas, capital of Chiapas until 1892, is still considered the cultural capital of the state. The Cathedral dominates the tree-lined zocalo (main plaza). Built during the 16th and 17th centuries and restored in the 1920s, the mustard yellow and white facade blends Baroque, Moorish and indigenous influences. This is my first visit to San Cristobal and the state of Chiapas. This being one of Mexico’s poorest regions and the headquarters of the 1994 Zapatista rebellion, I was expecting dirt roads and basic services. Imagine my surprise to find not only one of Mexico’s best-preserved Spanish colonial towns but also a sophisticated vibe with luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants, cafes and fabulous shopping. There aren’t many North American tourists here but the French, Germans and Italians have definitely discovered the cobblestone streets of San Cristobal, aptly designated as one of Mexico’s Magic Towns.


In a small village near San Cristobal called San Juan Chamula the Mayans here have resisted the Catholic religion and many other practices that the rest of the world has adapted. The church is unlike anything I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I don’t have any interior photos because they forbid gringos from taking shots inside the church. (You can be jailed!).

C

ther

Like no O

al dinner.) Meanwhile, the priest and his followers circulate around the church playing the accordion and various stringed instruments. The air is pungent with copal incense mixed with the smell of fresh flowers. The other key offering is posh, a potent liquor made from distilled corn mash. A few worshippers flambéed their candle offerings with posh and I feared the whole place would go up in flames. Tourists must pay a nominal sum ($2) to enter the church. Once you’re in they basically ignore you while going about their rituals. This is a very sacred place and these people are intensely devoted.

Mayan M

edicine &

Bio Piracy

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Inside the Mayan Medicine Museum just outside of town, there’s a fascinating video that shows the role of a midwife during a traditional Mayan birth. Outside they grow myriad medicinal plants. Rumour has it that employees of pharmaceutical companies came here under false pretenses and tried to steal medicinal plants that they would then clone and patent. I was fascinated by the “pharmacy,” where you can purchase natural remedies for what ails you. A cardboard hand-printed sign indicates what ingredients heal particular symptoms. For example, pulverized wild tobacco, garlic and limestone are supposed to protect people against envy, bad winds and nausea. I not sure about that but the little vial of cold sore liquid that I purchased for a few pesos worked like a charm for me.

San Juan

A Church hamula:

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The floor is strewn with fresh cedar boughs. There are no pews; instead Mayan men, women and children kneel down on the floor and set up individual altars (based on what their shaman has instructed). He/she advises how many candles and what colours. So imagine this cedar-strewn floor covered in thousands of burning candles. Other items for their altar offerings include Coca Cola or Fanta (the belief is that the carbonation dispels bad spirits in the form of burps), eggs and live chickens. If a person has a psychological problem, the shaman says various prayers and passes a live chicken over the patient. Then she/he quietly breaks the fowl’s neck. (It goes home for a ceremoni-

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mber

Forever A

When you Go Robert Murphy, who works for Viajes Chiapas is a fantastic guide. Murphy’s uncle was the bishop of the San Cristobal diocese and he grew up in the bishop’s house. His mom is Mexican and his dad is American so he speaks both languages fluently. As a kid, Murphy accompanied his uncle to many of the Mayan villages. He is a veritable font of knowledge about Mayan customs and the lay of the land in Chiapas. www.viajeschiapas.com; info@viajeschiapas.com

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ay with M

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Market D

Today I met Chiapas’s celebrity chef, Marta Zepeda who runs a terrific boutique hotel and restaurant in the centre of town called Tierra y Cielo. She took me to the municipal food market a few blocks from the Santa Domingo Church. This is the social and commercial hub for the indigenous groups from the surrounding villages. What a feast for the senses! Stalls overflow with piles of mangos, tomatoes, beans, corn, herbs, chilies and flowers.

Chiapas is the third largest producer of amber on the planet. If you covet some new baubles this is the place to buy. Many experts consider the amber from Chiapas the most beautiful due to the great variety of colours, including rare reds, cognacs, greens and pinks. Some jewelry shops in town called themselves amber museums but the real one is located in the former Merced convent. Buyer beware: take the tour to avoid purchasing fake plastic or glass. Amber is not a mineral but an ancient fossilized plant resin from a Guapinol tree. Authentic amber is light and warm to the touch; counterfeit amber is heavy and cold. A reputable store will have an ultra violet light so you can test. If the amber glows green under the light, it’s real. The second floor of the museum houses an impressive collection, including two specimens with rare inclusions, one with a scorpion trapped inside; the other imprisons a tiny lizard. There’s even a miniature marimba made of golden amber.

Mayan grandmothers dressed in intricately woven and embroidered shawls, blouses and skirts wrangle live chickens and turkeys. The aroma of organically grown Chiapas coffee tantalizes. Tazcalate, another beverage unique to Chiapas, is made with ground toasted corn, chocolate, cinnamon, achiote and sugar. Back in her kitchen at Tierra y Cielo, chef Marta whipped up her signature dessert, a torte made with the staples of Mexican cooking (corn, chilies, squash and beans). Later Marta took me on a tour of San Cristobal to visit some of her favourite “foodie” shops. Carajillo sells and serves the best coffee. Intervino offers a huge selection of Mexican vino from the Baja and the unique Pechuga Mescal containing spices, fruit and vapour of raw chicken breast! At La Vina de Bacco each glass you order comes with small tapas. Pox is a posheria selling fermented sugar cane and corn that is distilled and infused with various flavours of raspberry, peach, cinnamon and plum. Super souvenirs. www.tierraycielo.com.mx


San Lorenzo Zinacantan, a Tzotzil community next to Chamula, is famous for its textile handicrafts. We visited Catalina and her family who make their living by opening their home to tourists. Catalina was busy weaving a colourful tapestry on a primitive back-strap loom. I bought a tablecloth and a shawl and we sampled some hot-off-the-comal tortillas made from scratch by her daughter. Trust me, there is no comparison between a storebought tortilla and one that’s been hand ground and cooked over hot coals.

Looms and

Local Life

STAY AT BO: a contemporary boutique hotel near the centre of San Cristobal. The spacious rooms are built around a central garden court with beckoning sitting areas. Food is excellent, especially the breakfasts. As I mentioned before, you won’t be roughing it in San Cristobal; the bar has more kinds of Champagne and Cognac than you’d find in a Vancouver hot spot. The service is personal and professional. www.hotelbo.mx

WHERE TO STAY

ECO-ADVE

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NTURE TRA VELERS

Calling all

vers

Nature Lo

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Chiapas is a stellar destination for adventure travelers and eco-tourists. About 120km south of San Cristobal, El Chiflon is a series of waterfalls and pools created by the Río San Vicente. A pathway leads along the river and extends around the base of the dramatic uppermost 70 m Velo de Novia (Bride’s Veil) waterfall. Bring your swimsuit for a dip in the pools or be brave and take the zip line across the falls. El Chiflon also has comfortable cabanas you can rent for the night. The Lagunas de Montebello National Park is another nature lover’s region in the far south of Chiapas where you’ll find more than 50 scenic lakes surrounded by pine and oak forests. The minerals, plus the reflection of the sun, give the lakes remarkable hues that range from turquoise to emerald to violet to blue to deep green.

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By Gabriel Jones

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Experiencing San Miguel de Allende through the eyes of Casa Sierra Nevada

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San Miguel de Allende (SMA) is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. Nestled in rolling hills and amongst the Bajio Mountains at 6500 feet above sea level it features a climate described as an eternal spring and might have perfected the slower simpler lifestyle that Mexico does so well. As a Western Canadian I am fascinated by any building older than 150 years and San Miguel was founded in 1555 with amazingly preserved colonial architecture (some of it dating back to the 1600s and 1700s). SMA also has a rich history as the cradle of the Mexican War of Independence. It was the birth place of Ignacio Allende (a great leader in the rebellion) and was the first city to be freed from Spanish rule. Last but not least, it is home to perhaps the most beautiful cathedrals in Mexico, featuring Neo-Gothic designs unlike anything in Latin America and perhaps the world. This combination of historical and cultural significance made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Much of San Miguel’s fortunes were based on a connection with the Spanish empire and silver from the area. When Mexico won its independence and

severed ties from Spain in the early 1800s and silver reserves started running dry later that century, the once bustling community was in danger of becoming a ghost town. Then in 1926, based on its significance in the War of Independence, the Mexican government declared San Miguel de Allende a National Historic Monument. From this point on, new development in the historic district was restricted in order to preserve the town’s colonial character, leaving almost a blank palate for the next incarnation of San Miguel. In the 1930’s and 40’s several influential artists discovered SMA, were inspired by its beauty (and low prices) and in turn made it home. They set up art schools which attracted international students, including many American WWII veterans traveling on the GI bill. These students created a need for new hotels and restaurants, many of which opened in the deserted buildings of the town center. This was the start of a vibrant expat community based around art, cuisine, and hospitality, that is still thriving today. While in San Miguel I stayed at the beautiful Casa Sierra Nevada, comprised of a cluster of eight buildings,


Casa Parque is located two blocks south of the lobby building next to a beautiful tree lined park called Parque Juarez in a neighborhood that felt much like Vancouver’s West End. Home to five more suites, it is situated on a large grass yard with a brick patio, making it perfect for wedding ceremonies. It is also home to a temazcal or an ancient Mexican form of steam bath. The small domed structure is heated with hot volcanic rocks and steam to purify and re-energize both the body and soul. Temazcal ceremonies happen each Saturday during the high season and can be booked through the spa, which also offers a great array of massage and beauty treatments. The last stop on my tour was the Sazon, which is once again housed in a magnificent 18th-century mansion, and combines a cooking school and boutique gallery. Here you can find beautiful hand-painted housewares, glassware, linen, sculptures, and paintings by Mexican artist including famous names like painter Juan Carlos Breceda and potter Gorky Gonzalez. Cooking classes are interactive and feature classic recipes with modern finishes as instructed by Chef Emmanuel Cervantes and his team. Casa Sierra Nevada offers several packages combining rooms with cooking classes, spa treatments, and tours as well as wedding and honeymoon packages. Its magnificent location, friendly and professional staff, and attention to detail made my stay one I will never forget and one I would highly suggest during your next visit to San Miguel de Allende

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Across the street is Casa Palma which is home to an amazing courtyard garden, fountain and outdoor pool surrounded by lime and orange trees and six more suites including the opulent Presidential Suite. All suites feature great outdoor spaces and breathtaking roof top patios with the best views in town. Other features include decadent soaker tubs, sublime bedding and furnishings, mighty fireplaces, great details like an office

All roads in Centro SMA are cobblestone and there are no stop lights or even stop signs, with each intersection instead being a stop and go. Most buildings are only one or two stories, preserving great views of the town and surrounding hills. Visually stunning, the town is comprised of a rich color scheme ranging from saffron yellow, tomato red to warm ochre. Colors outside of the city mandated by-law will result in a fine being issued and a mandatory repaint. There are an estimated two thousand doors in Centro and behind them there are at least two thousand courtyards opening onto private gardens. By law, each one of these doors must be made of wood, often supported with iron, and they are truly amazing to behold. All of these things combine to create a timeless feeling and make for endless photo-ops.

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Some of the highlights of the amazing property include Casa Principal in which you will find the world class Andaza restaurant, the gorgeous Blue Bar, and eight guest rooms. The building dates back to the 16th century, and at one time was home to the Archbishop. Like many of SMA’s buildings it has a rather unassuming façade on the outside, opening onto a beautiful courtyard. Ideally located, it stands in the shadows of the cathedral and offers spectacular views of the steeple and surrounding countryside from its rooftop.

space and fantastic espresso machine to fuel your adventures through San Miguel’s beautiful streets.

www.casadesierranevada.com

many of which are colonial mansions located in the heart of the city. Epitomizing SMA’s rich history, love of art of and fine dining, it was the perfect way to experience this magical town. Casa Sierra Nevada offers thirty-one rooms ranging from standard to presidential, along with amenities including a gorgeous pool, spa, gallery and art boutique and a cooking school.

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CULTURE LIFESTYLE

Crepes with Cajeta, Blueberry Compote By Rossana Ascencio Serves Four

Ingredients Crepes 1 cup All purpose flour 1 cup Milk 1 Large Egg 1 tsp Sugar ¼ tsp Salt 1 tsp Pure Mexican vanilla extract ½ cup Goat’s milk Cajeta 1 Tbsp Butter – room temperature Icing sugar – for plating Blueberry Compote 1 cup Blueberries 1 Tbsp Sugar 1 tsp Pure Mexican vanilla extract Cajeta (Traditional Caramel Spread) Handcrafted in BC with Chilliwacks goat’s milk available at www.ceibagourmet.com

Method Crepes 1. Warm up a crepe pan (or non-stick frying pan) to medium high 2. Whisk the flour, eggs, milk, vanilla, salt & sugar, making sure there are no lumps in the mix 3. Lightly butter the pan, reduce temperature to medium 4. Add a quarter of a cup of the mix into the pan 5. Allow the crepe to cook for about two minutes before flipping. Avoid too much browning 6. Reserve the crepes on a plate 7. In a separate pan over low heat, warm up the cajeta, adding a tablespoon of milk and stirring Blueberry Compote 1.Place the blueberries in a small pan over medium heat 2. Cover with the sugar, allow it to melt 3. Add the vanilla extract, stir until it is incorporated 4. Turn heat to low, and simmer until desired consistency Plating 1. Place one crepe on the plate, fill with a spoonful of the warm Cajeta. Fold into desired shape (rolled, or on a triangular fold) 2. Repeat, serving three crepes per person 3. Add a spoonful of the blueberry compote on the side of the crepes 4. Dust the crepes with icing sugar 5. Serve immediately

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

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Sayulita

Hotel Villa Amor Sayulita

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


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SAYULITA’S LUXURY BOUTIQUE HOTEL & VILLAS FOR SALE

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retirement

By David MacLean

Building A New Life in Colonial San Miguel Canadian couple David Russell and Bonnie Bickel had both enjoyed individual business success. Bonnie had been the founder and C.E.O. of B.B Bargoons, a Toronto based retail chain selling fabrics, wallpaper and decorating ideas. And David was the owner and C.E.O. of a medical distribution company specializing in products for diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease.

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Five years ago they found themselves winding down from the intensity of their careers, and were beginning to focus on where their retirement years would lead them. As seasoned world travelers, there were many options. But once San Miguel de Allende was on the radar, all those other options quickly fell away. _______________________________________________

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MEXI-GO: How did you end up choosing San Miguel de Allende as your retirement locale? Bonnie: We had sold our house in Toronto, and had booked one month in Ajijic and one month in San Miguel. And three days into being in San Miguel David said, I want to be here! And three weeks after, we purchased a lot and began planning to build a house. M.G: That’s fast. What made you dive in so quickly? Bonnie: It’s beautiful here; it’s the quintessential Mexican, colonial town. And there’s so much happening, the town is so alive,

you couldn’t help but fall in love with the place. M.G: Retirement abroad seems like a major undertaking. Some people would find it daunting to start over in an entirely new location. Bonnie: Life here is incredibly social, and it’s very easy to meet people. You meet a new friend at lunch, or a painting class. Everywhere you go you meet wonderful people, and they’re also interested in meeting you. And I think this kind of connection is easier because San Miguel is very much a community, not a resort.

M.G: Were you surprised by the diversity of friendships you’ve developed here? David: I think one of the unique aspects about San Miguel is that nobody is very interested in what you’ve done previously; they’re interested in what you contribute in the present. Whether you have a sense of humor, or whether you’re good at helping raise money for a charity. I find that comforting, the authenticity of that mindset. People here have done things to varying degrees of success elsewhere, but they’ve come here to take on an entirely new life. Things here in San Miguel have become about how you want to live your life for the next stage of your life. M.G: Building a house sounds like quite the adventure. What was the experience like for you as a couple? David: While we had renovated numerous houses before, we had never built anything from the ground up, and were very excited. And there were things we definitely wanted; such as lots of light, and big windows, and high ceilings. And we talked to absolutely everyone we could to determine who was a good architect and who was a good builder. And we began the process of interviewing people for those jobs.

M.G: So, it’s important to do your research, and talk to people who have been through the process? Bonnie: Oh absolutely, you have to get the right builder. But, as far as the actual build itself went, we didn’t disagree or fight about anything, until it came down to picking the paint colors! (they both laugh). M.G: What was the experience of working with the builders, the people doing the labor? Bonnie: We had put up a stone façade, and I wasn’t crazy about it. So, I asked our contractor how expensive it would be to re-do. And he said well, it would be very expensive! And I was imagining this huge dollar figure, then he told me it would be three hundred and fifty dollars! Well, I just about fell over, as that wasn’t so bad. So we redid it the way we wanted it. To build a house like ours, which has so much stone work would cost an absolute fortune in Toronto. But construction labor here is so much more affordable, so you can have a home like this for a lot less. David: I think there really is a Mexican, or Spanish appreciation for beauty, for art, for architecture, more so than in other places. We would tell our builder what we wanted, and then ask for his opinion. He would then go off and think about it, then


www.LivingInSanMiguel.com M.G: Did you have some friends in Toronto who thought you were crazy, moving to Mexico? Bonnie: Yes, some didn’t quite understand why we

were here. And they had some fear, because they’ve bought into the negative media portrayal of Mexico. But then, we invited groups of friends down to visit, and now they’re as thrilled with the place as we are! When people actually get here, they understand our decision. M.G: What about the safety issues? This seems to be the first question anyone asks about Mexico. David: San Miguel is a very safe place. In the five years we’ve been here we’ve never had a safety issue or concern. In fact, what I’ve really noticed is that there’s a real respect for other people. Everyone has so much more patience here, there’s a calmness. People will stop to ask you how you are,

and they mean it! That’s a very pleasant change from other environments that we’ve lived in. M.G: So, I’m getting the sense you’re very happy with your life here? Bonnie: The experience of being here has been both joyful and educational, and we now call San Miguel home. Mexicans are our next door neighbors, and down the block there’s some other gringos, but it doesn’t really matter, we all live in harmony here. David: I always thought Paris was the best city in the entire world, and I always wanted to live in Paris, and we visited Paris recently, but yes, San Miguel is definitely our home now.

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M.G: San Miguel has a reputation for being a place where people have an opportunity to re-explore their artistic pursuits, and have fun with that process of re-discovery. Bonnie: Absolutely, yes. It’s such an artistic place to be. David sculpts and I paint. And you can attend the opera or the theatre. There are so many discussions and workshop presentations being offered. You could slot them all into your day and still miss

half of them. David: I would suggest that there are many people here who have done so many interesting things with their lives, and the fact that they’ve retired from what they made their money at isn’t that important, they have a unique opportunity to take those skills to help the Mexican people, or organize a theater group, or whatever. You can become a part of anything you want to down here. You can be a hermit anywhere, but, if you want to take advantage of something called life, San Miguel is a great place to do that.

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come back and tell us what he thought, based on artistic merit. And there was always a component of his response which related to the aesthetics of the house. But the key aspect is that we always discussed it. That’s truly a wonderful environment to work in.

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retirement

With the loss of Mexico’s mortgage suppliers, private financing grows Before 2005, Mexico was a cash only market. Buyers paid cash if they wanted to buy real estate, simple as that; and many did. Then in late 2005, GE Capital made its entrance into the Mexico real estate market offering for the first time, traditional mortgage financing for US and Canadian citizens. GMAC followed suite shortly thereafter as well as other large brand names such as Wachovia and Deutsche bank. It seemed mortgage financing was here to stay…or so we thought. Fast forward 6 years to 2012 and Scotiabank, the last remaining lender offering mortgages to US and Canadian citizens exits the marketplace abruptly leaving Mexico a cash – only market again.

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It’s no surprise the economic downturn has affected the whole planet; and the real estate market and mortgage market in Mexico are no different. So what happens

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now? Thousands of homes listed for sale, the US and Canadian markets appetite for vacation homes in paradise on the rise and no financing options available. The fact of the matter being it is not a great time to sell your real estate regardless of which country you are in. In Mexico, with it currently being a cash - only market, sellers wait and hope for an offer, any offer, from a demographic of buyers that has exceedingly less of a desire to spend all their cash in one place. Sellers have been left scratching their heads wondering what they can do. Some however, have decided to take action against the economic times. These select few have chosen to facilitate their homes selling faster, have limited the amount of negotiating they need to do on price and have made a little interest in the meantime. You may ask yourselves how this is done and the answer is by offering private financing. Statistics indicate an increasing number of sellers have offered private mortgages to buyers in this 2012/2013 season with the trend continuing. Even though Mexico will always be a predominantly cash market, it hasn’t stopped developers and individual sellers from offering private mortgage financing to differentiate themselves from the competition and give their listing agent the ultimate sales tool.. and its working. With safe lending practices being the unknown element many sellers don’t understand, many have given private mortgages for hundreds of thousands of dollars and transferred title to buyers without doing so much as a background check… safe lending? I think not. Seemingly with this in mind, Mexico based ex-mortgage provider Mexico Capital Mortgage has transformed itself into a new animal called Underwrite Mexico and aimed its guns right at the heart of this new trend. Having coordinated a record number of real estate transactions across Mexico during the 2006 -2012 period involving financing, they are likely better qualified than most to tackle this task. They have taken all that expertise and are now applying it to private mortgage transactions with the goal of creating a safe lending environment. They offer borrower underwriting, monthly loan servicing, legal protection and even issue homeowners insurance and life insurance coverage for the loan amount for in the case of tragedy befalling the buyer before the loan is paid off. Their brochure claims to take all current conservative lending practices and apply them to private transactions across Mexico and after a conversation with operator Ryland Apsey and a review of their business, seem to do just that. Now that’s what I call making lemonade out of lemons.


By Claudine Langan, Canadian Realtor living in San Miguel De Allende

own the property outright without any conditions. You also don’t need any special legal status to buy here; your tourist visa and a valid passport are all you need. Costs of buying are also quite straightforward and transparent. In addition to the cost of the property, a buyer can assume no more than 2% of the sales price in expenses which would cover everything from the moment the offer is made to the moment the property is legally handed over. It has been four years since my husband and I became homeowners and full time residents of San Miguel, and to this day we still pinch ourselves, remarking how lucky we are to live in paradise with great friends and thriving careers. As a Canadian buyer and now a realtor with one of the top firms in town, Agave Sotheby’s International Realty, I can help guide you through the process of acquiring your dream home in this sunny, magical city. If you are interested in knowing more about buying real estate in historic San Miguel de Allende, please contact me at claudinelangan@gmail.com.

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Being the first time we had bought real estate outside of Canada, we were a little nervous about the process and feared we might get bogged down in a bureaucracy we didn’t know or understand. Not so. Buying real estate in San Miguel is quite simple, especially with a competent realtor by your side. The process is straightforward and can be done in a matter of a couple of weeks. Given that San Miguel is located in Central Mexico, or the Heart of Mexico as we like to say, and a fair distance from international waters or borders, certain restrictions in play when buying oceanfront property do not apply here. When you buy in San Miguel, you

Eternal Spring in San Miguel de Allende

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Like so many of my Canadian clients, one day I escaped the dreary Canadian winter and found myself head-over-heels in love with San Miguel de Allende. Before my two week vacation was over, my husband and I had bought a house. That might seem impulsive but you would be surprised how often it happens; it is nearly impossible to resist the charms of this city. Its colonial architecture, year-round spring-like climate, vibrant and fascinating expatriate community, friendly local people, low cost of living and culture in abundance all add up to a perfect place to own a primary or secondary home.

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retirement

Are you thinking of retiring in Playa del Carmen? Getting ready to enjoy retirement next to some of the world’s nicest beaches, the warm weather, the sunshine, great food – it can all be very exciting, but there are some practical points that are worth considering ahead of time.

By Thomas Lloyd

Nine Practical Tips for Retiring in Playa del Carmen

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What Mexican Food is Really Like So, you’ve been to Taco Bell – OK, we all know by now that this isn’t the real thing! Everyone seems to have their how opinion of what “real” Mexican food is – and there’s a reason for that; Mexico’s food actually varies considerably from one region to another. For example, in the north of the country, they eat a good deal of grilled beef. In the center they like (among many other things) soups, such as pozole, which has large kernels of corn and chicken or beef. In the south they have a kind of enchiladas called “papadzules” (a Mayan name) which have hard boiled eggs inside and are covered with a pumpkin seed sauce. One of the beauties of Playa del Carmen is that it includes food from all over the country, since workers from all over the country have come to get jobs in the thriving tourism.

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The Cost of Living Playa del Carmen is that ideal balance between costing significantly less than Canada, while still offering most of the products and modern services that North Americans are used to. Many expats say that their expenses are about half that of back home. This varies considerably according to lifestyle, and – in many cases – expats will live more comfortably, enjoying more little pleasures in life, spending those extra funds they save. In either case, it’s a win-win situation – you either have more money or you live better – or both!

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Accessing Funds from Back Home There are a variety of safe and affordable ways to access funds from a home bank account. Wire transfers – Once you open a bank account, you can have funds transferred directly from a bank account in Canada to one in Mexico. If you use online banking, some banks even allow you to set up such a transfer yourself. There is usually a flat fee of around thirty-five dollars, but you can transfer enough to make it worthwhile. Debit Withdrawals – In Playa, there are a number of modern, secure banks with ATMs onsite. If you just withdraw from any ATM, you will usually incur about five dollars in fees (one dollar from the Mexican bank and four dollars from your Canadian bank.) However, some banks have arrangements with “sister” banks in Mexico so there are no fees – the withdrawal amount is simply calculated by the current exchange rate. Credit Card – Large stores like Walmart, Sam’s, Office Depot, Home Depot (in Cancun), and their Mexican counterparts all accept credit. Many small stores and restaurants in Playa also accept credit cards, since this increases their appeal with tourists. Exchange rates for credit cards are often among the best.

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Buying and Owning a Home Safely Many people who decide to live in Playa del Carmen will want to own a home or a condo, at least in the future if not immediately. Average property prices are between $200,000 USD and $250,000 USD. However, good properties that are suitable for expats can be found even below $100,000 USD, depending on your needs. Properties are available on the beachfront, downtown, in Playacar (an upscale gated golf community that is a favorite for Americans and Canadians,) other similar gated communities, on resorts and near shopping areas. Buying property in Mexico is entirely safe if you work with


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Cost of Healthcare As is the case in Mexico in general, high quality health care is available for very good prices in Playa with a new, state-of-the-art hospital and several smaller but good hospitals, as well as a number of excellent clinics. An hour away in Cancun there are several state-of-the-art hospitals as well as specialized facilities. Mexico also has a hospital system run by paid-for public insurance. A flat rate of about $350 dollars per year covers everything from check-ups and surgery to vitamins and eye glasses. While the system includes more waiting lines and paperwork than the private hospitals, a growing number of Americans and Canadians find it meets most of their needs. For anything more specialized there are always the private clinics and hospitals. This system has one new hospital and a clinic in town.

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Learning Spanish There are so many expats in Playa del Carmen that if you arrive without knowing a word of Spanish, you’ll survive just fine. Since the area’s entire

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Your Possessions from Back Home Playa del Carmen is a long way from Canada; in fact, if you travel by land, it is probably the furthest point away from Canada within Mexico. Fortunately many direct flights are readily available and affordable. Unfortunately, when you arrive on plane, you will be bringing only a few bags of luggage with you. What about the rest of your stuff? There are many companies that will arrange such a move. While there is definitely a significant expense to consider, it will be only a one-time expense, and these companies offer door-todoor pick-up and delivery, very careful handling, customs documentation and a variety of plans so you can choose the space & pricing most suited to your needs.

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Residency To over-simplify residency in Mexico, basically there are two very broad categories that you will fall into: A. You are staying in Mexico for less than six months - If you are Canadian, you will be given the document you need every time you enter Mexico, so this is easy! Even if you come and go, there are no extra steps to take if a “tourist” status is all you need. B. You wish to stay in Mexico longer than six months – If you wish to stay in Mexico for more than 180 days consecutively, you will need to obtain a residency visa (either temporary or permanent) before entering the country, at a Mexican consulate in Canada. If you enter Mexico before gaining a residency visa, you will be required to leave the country within 180 days of arrival. For the purposes of this general overview, it’s enough to say that if you are planning to stay longer than 6 months, you should be visiting your Mexican consulate well before entering Mexico. Getting ready to retire in Playa del Carmen is certainly exciting! Considering these practical items ahead of time will help you plan and allow you to enjoy the time of transition to the fullest extent!

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Renting Out Your Property If you own a property, but you will be in Playa only part of the year, you may wish to cover expenses or even generate a profit by renting it out. If this is your plan, consider the following points: • Tell your agent when you are buying so they can help you find a property with good potential for rental. Not all locations and property types do well for rental. • Generally, within a block or two of the beach and a larger size (three bedrooms or more) is most appealing for vacationers. • If you can find a property where there is a rental pool on site, this makes the process much easier for you. • Resort properties tend to do well since they have an international publicity system well established already. A number of nice resorts around Playa have residential properties for sale. • Otherwise, find a good property management or rental agency. Ask for references and look for professionalism.

economy (and existence) is built on tourism, workers will speak English to some extent, and often very well. Once you arrive, learning Spanish will certainly be a fun and practical hobby to take up, and at some point it will open up more doors to experience certain aspects of Mexican culture more directly. There are several good Spanish schools set up especially for Canadians, Americans and Europeans.

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the right people. Be sure to find a qualified broker with certificates, years of experience and membership in AMPI (Mexico’s only professional association for real estate) and who is experienced in helping Canadians and Americans find and buy properties. If you are planning to rent, look for someone similarly qualified to help you find the right property and navigate the rental contract.

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LIFESTYLE

By Hana Kram

The Kindness of Strangers Not yet thirty, set on a path for success one Vancouverite learns that life isn’t all BMW’s and fancy shoes.

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In May 2011, I bought a fancy BMW SUV. The only thing I honestly loved about it was the little emblem in the middle of my steering wheel. I drove it around in my thousand dollar shoes with the red soles, to my well-paying job working for a developer, and back to my two bedroom condo in Kits Point, which cost more than any reasonable person would spend on such a small tiny place (but it’s in the most sought after part of town, right??). I was in an obsessively destructive relationship that ended, as these types often do, in a massively dramatic fashion in early September of the same year, where the only reasonable next step was to book a next-day trip to Mexico to visit my girlfriend, who had recently moved there (promises of lots of margaritas and no mean boys were major factors that influenced my decision).

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My expectation for my trip was simple: I will visit with my friend, I will lay by the pool, I will relax for a few days, add some colour to my fading tan, and then I will go home and start a new job I had recently accepted. Life will go on as normal. I was unprepared for how I ended up feeling about Mexico. I didn’t expect to fall head over heels in love with it as I did. I came home after my six days and was sitting in my mother’s living room explaining to her my newfound infatuation,

“You will not believe how it is there, Mom. Everyone is so happy. They care so much about you. They don’t need the same stuff we do to be happy. They are just content with what they have.” “Maybe you should move there,” was the response my mom gave me. (Side note for context: out of the four people in my immediate family, I am the only one who went the business route; my father and sister are both teachers and my mom has worked for non profit women’s organizations since before I was born. My obsession with material goods has been a sore spot that is often overlooked for the sake of keeping the peace at family dinners. I was obsessed. If only my new job hadn’t exceeded all my expectations I had going in, I probably would have showed up on the first day, apologized, and been on the next plane to resume this carefree, possession free, life in the sun. But as it often does, real life got back on track and I continued down the expected road of my life. I went to work, I contributed to my pension, I volunteered, and I continued to travel. In the next twelve months, I visited New Zealand twice, London and India, plus a plethora of other destinations for work. I forgot most of Mexico and all of my infatuation


“My expectation for my trip was simple: I will visit with my friend, I will lay by the pool, I will relax for a few days, add some colour to my fading tan, and then I will go home and start a new job I had recently accepted. Life will go on as normal.”

My friends ask me: “Why Mexico? It is so dirty. It is unsafe. The food makes me sick. It is the land of diarrhea. Why on earth would you go there?” Let me tell you something, friends and others with the same thoughts: Puerto Vallarta is one of the cleanest cities I have ever been to. It has been granted the stamp of approval for clean drinking water 17 years in a row. Walking down the large sidewalks, not a speck of garbage was in sight. And staying at my girlfriends house, where cooking is as regular as an eclipse of the moon (unless it is her famous homemade salsa, which is created and consumed daily), I rely on 50 cent street tacos to sustain me during my trip – and I have yet to get sick. But let me tell you what the real Mexico is about … On my second day, four of us took a drive into the mountains to find an oyster restaurant that allegedly had $10 all you can eat oysters. As we were driving through the mountains looking for a potentially non-existent

It took an hour for the father to return with the gasoline as we played in the river with the toddlers, helped pick out songs on the jukebox with the teenagers, and drank beer with the adults. It was surreal and homey and comfortable. It was what Mexico is all about. On my third night in Puerto Vallarta, after spending the better part of the day enjoying cervezas and fancy drinks with umbrellas, my friend and I were walking along the malecon to find somewhere for dinner. A man selling tours for boat trips stepped out at us. In the haze of my bottomless cocktail glass, the conversation is blurry, but was apparently opened with a compliment on my eyes. Flirting makes me uncomfortable and I kept walking. Two days later, I was walking along the same section of the malecon and was approached by the same man. After much persuasion, I joined him for a drink. Turns out, he had lived in New Jersey and Texas for 20 years, only recently moved back to Puerto Vallarta (because,

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But luckily, that isn’t where the story ends. I returned earlier this year for a vacation that was planned because I needed a beach holiday and not to escape a tumultuous relationship that was shedding its skin quickly. I had gone back to school in January, and after an exhausting four months of studying, working, traveling and then (attempting to but not really succeeding at) maintaining a sense of normalcy in my life, I needed a vacation. My expectations were similar to those the first time around – but this time, I would NOT fall in love. I’d been there already – nothing would surprise me this time.

address, the car slowly chugged to a stop. Turns out, the gas gauge was broken and we had run out of gas. We were just a few feet from a corner store, and the owners shuffled us in to the back room (through a kitchen, a storage room and potentially a bedroom) where Sunday night family dinner was taking place (complete with about 8 extended families, a blaring jukebox and tons of food) while the father of the family walked to the nearest town with a jerry can to get gas. There was no arguing about who would go to town – they were a warm, welcoming family who just wanted to make sure the poor people with the broken car and broken Spanish would make it back to town safely.

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and summed it up to the fact that it was the best thing for me at that time in my life.

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“Maybe you should move there, was the response my mom gave me.”

ly more than worried about some of my decisions. I followed him, trustingly, to his apartment, where we listened to local music and later he cooked my girlfriend and I an amazing dinner of aguachile. We sat, playing Texas Hold’em overlooking the ocean, watching the cruise ships come and go, listening to salsa and talking about life experiences. I couldn’t be happier. Or, contrary to most media reports, safer. I am not saying everyone should walk blindly into unknown situations in foreign countries. But I am saying, don’t always believe the sensationalized news when you see it on television at home – there is often more to the story than we are being told. It isn’t the cheap beer and margaritas, the amazing food or the sunshine and beaches that have me returning to Mexico so frequently (although it helps). It is the kindness of the people.

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get this, the standard of living was substantially higher) and we ended up having an wonderful conversation for the next three hours. The next day, when asked what I wanted to do, I told him: ‘Something that the other tourists don’t do.” When I relay the next part of the story to my friends and family, they are just slight-

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And who knows, maybe one day I will take the advice of my mother for once. At date of publishing, said BMW had been sold and the expensive shoes are on ebay. Author is getting ready to embrace a more simple style of life focused on what is important.


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Under $400

Under $300

Edmonton, Alberta $479,800 MLS E3337210 House Bed : 1 Bath : 1 Floor Space : 53.36 m2 Land: 376.22 m2 Cute rentable one bedroom home. Close to river valley and old Timers Cabin. This property has 360 degree view. Awesome opportunity to build your dream home.

Nanaimo, Bc $275,000 MLS®: 361998 House Bed: 3 Bath:2 Floor Space : 2300 sqft Land: 12410 sqft 3 Bed home that offers 3 dens, rec room. Features hardwood floors and updated kitchen. Home is on a large lot. Home requires TLC and is being sold as is.

Mexi-Go! says: So just to get this straight, it costs $479 800 and I still need to build my dream home?

Mexi-Go! says: Hmmmm... some TLC? Can’t wait to get the building permit process started. We love red tape.

Saskatoon, Sask $275,000 MLS®: 446275 House Beds: 2 Bath:2 Floor Space : 1176 sf Land: 150.82xIrregular 3 year old home w basement, open kitchen, dining area. Quality cabinets. Appliances included. Radisson is located on the Yellowhead Highway 1/2 way between Saskatoon and North Battleford.

MEXICO vs CANADA

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Under $500

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle $448 000 Beach Front Turn-Key House: 2464.04 Bed: 3 Bath: 3

Ajijic, Jalisco $399 000 Luxury “Mini Villa” Size: 3477 Sf Bed: 2 Bath: 3

Mexi-Go! says: Well this house isn’t too bad really. If you don’t mind living in exactly the middle of no where. San Miguel De Allende $295 000 Affordable in Centro Bed: 2 Baths: 2

Located Punta Esmeralda, this condo has everything complemented by recreational amenities and beachfront location between La Cruz and Bucerias. Terrace of over 900 sf w view and private infiinty-edge plunge pool.

Romantic walled garden sunny dining & living rooms perfect home easy entertaining formal informal outdoors spacious covered terrace. Low maintenance walk to village excellent value.

Charming pedestrian-only street in Centro, with multiple outdoor entertaining areas including a rooftop with spectacular views. You can even see the Parroquia while sitting in the living room.

Mexi-Go! says: I can live on the ocean 20 minutes from Puerto Vallarta on one of the cleanest beaches in the Bay? Ok. Sold.

Mexi-Go! says: So a “mini-villa” in one of the friendliest towns in Mexico, where they have nearly perfect weather year round? I will take it.

Mexi-Go! says: San Miguel de Allende is one of the most spectacular destinations in Mexico and if we can live there for under $300 000? Well it’s a pretty easy decision really.

www.mexi-go.ca/ajijic/house/133

www.mexi-go.ca/san-miguel-de-allende/house/250

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www. mexi-go.ca/la-cruz-de-huanacaxtle/house/369

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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 www.mexi-go.ca for

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www.mexi-go.ca for information on real estate, retirement, investment and travel

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the perfect home today.

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REAL ESTATE

By Madeline Milne

Changes to the Fideicomiso Rules for Foreign Property Ownership While nearly every year sees a similar proposal make its way through the political system in Mexico, this year has turned out a little different. Yet to be ratified by the Senate, this year’s attempt to change the laws governing foreign ownership of lands in Mexico along the border and oceans seems likely to occur. With a majority of 356 votes in favor and 119 against, the House of Representatives approved a constitutional reform to Artículo 27, so that foreigners have direct ownership of land for residential use in borders and beaches.

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Those that rejected the change argue that it violates the sovereignty and national security, and are concerned that it might be the beginning of the subsequent sale of strategic resources such as oil. What does this truly mean for the non-Mexican buyer of such properties is still anyone’s guess but Luis Melgoza a former PRI (Mexico’s ruling party) head counsel and legal adviser to the Mexican Congress has put together his thoughts to share with Mexi-Go! readers. Although retired from the legal profession, he is a highly respected consultant for both the foreign and Mexican communities in Puerto Vallarta since 2009. The lower chamber in Congress approved, and sent to 46

the Senate for what is expected to be a rubber-stamp vote, a major change to the Constitution’s Art. 27. Once the Amendment is enacted, foreign ownership of residential property within 100 kms of Mexico’s borders and 50 kms of the beaches will be allowed; just as it is in the rest of the country. In its current, and most probably final form, this Constitutional Amendment sets forth the conditions for foreigners to own purely residential property in the current “restricted area”, to wit: 1. The property, in its entirety, must be used exclusively as the owner’s residence. 2. The property may not have any commercial, industrial, agricultural or any use other than private dwelling or residence. 3. The foreigner must obtain prior permission of Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat. 4. Were the property to be used for any purpose other than private dwelling or residence, ownership of the property will revert to Mexico. 5. The foreign owner may not invoke a foreign government’s protection regarding the property, and may not initiate or participate in any diplomatic complaint against Mexico, or the property will revert to Mexico. 6. Commercial property of any kind may not be owned by foreigners in the restricted zone, this is not changing at this time.


The sponsors of the bill have more than the two-thirds majority required in the Senate, as well as majorities in more than the 17 state legislatures needed for a Constitutional Amendment.

‘I think you will find that there will still be buyers, be they foreign or national, that will still want the system. Keep in mind that the fideicomiso system operates as a trust and is an excellent estate planning mechanism. In a fideicomiso, substitute beneficiaries are named and upon the death of the primary beneficiary(ies), the property passes to the substitutes. This avoids probate, which can be a lengthy and tedious process, not unlike in the States. So buyers need to be aware of this for the future if they choose not to have a fideicomiso. Having the bank recognize the substitute beneficiaries in a fideicomiso is relatively an easy process.’ Have you had any lost clients because of the previous regulations? ‘This is the irony. I have never in 15 years lost a client due to the trust mechanism. Once the clients are aware of the benefits that are carried with having the trust, there are no longer any issues. Other than the annual fee and some of the fees to start or extinguish the trust, buyers don’t seem to have an overt issue with the trust mechanism. Clearly, if they didn’t have to pay for this, they would be happy. But there are other benefits to the trust that are not afforded when you no longer have it.’ Aaron Fisher, Canadian transplant and La Cruz real estate agent with Royal Club also shared his insight, suggesting that there are many unanswered questions including what this will mean for owners of investment or income producing properties. Aaron told us, ‘It looks like there are great changes being made when it comes to foreigners’ directly purchasing land along Mexican coastline.

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? 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!

What sort of benefits do I get? 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.

Sounds Great! How do I become a member? Register online at mexi-govacations.ca and we will keep you informed about new developments, excellent real estate opportunities and special incentives negotiated only for our membership!

www.mexi-govacations.ca

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What concerns current owners should have with the new changes?

What is a Real Estate Vacation?

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When asked how he feels the changes will affect his real estate clients, veteran real estate agent and owner of Tropicasa Realty in Puerto Vallarta, Wayne Franklin is skeptical that the constitution will change anytime soon but in the event that it does he feels that his clients will save time and money just by removing the necessity of involving the banks. “Clearly”, says Franklin, “they would not have to involve a bank nor have a fideicomiso. This could potentially save anywhere from 2-4 weeks of a traditional escrow for the purchase/sale of a property. In addition, the buyers would not have the annual fideicomiso fees, nor the fees involved from the bank in the purchase or sale of the property, as there are fees for both.”

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REAL ESTATE

Boomtown Mexico Super successful Ventanas in Cabo San Lucas provides buyers and vacationers with an easy turn-key package. By Joel Hansen

It was almost exactly one year ago that I visited Ventanas Residences for the first time, and I was incredibly impressed with their development.

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The master-planned site (a mix of luxury homes and condos) fits beautifully into the hillside, with each home built to high standards, and each home offering some of the best views of the ocean that Cabo San Lucas has to offer.

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The concept of Ventanas is a series of communities constructed in phases that began back in 2006 with Ventanas Del Cortes, a collection of 116 homes and 44 condos. Ventanas Del Mar began in 2009 and consisted of 60 homes and 36 condos. Between 2010 and 2011, while other developers in Cabo (and much of Mexico) were struggling to make a sale, Ventanas added 103 houses and 36 condominiums with the opening of Ventanas de Cabo and Ventanas del Mar Pivada. Each one of these communities boasts a club house and a full package of amenities including: adult and

family pools, fitness centres, a spa, a multi-media lounge, a concierge service, an in-development home dÊcor store, and a deli-which, along with the restaurant-offer home delivery at no added cost, plus an excellent and very busy restaurant. Santinos serves some of the best Italian food in Cabo, and boasts a spectacular view of Lands’ End. The developer offers property management services as well the option for homeowners to generate income by participating in a rental pool program. Backing up to last year when I first visited the community (because that is what it is, a thriving, vibrant community) I met with Jorge Garcia, Sales Director for Ventanas. Jorge escorted me through the neighbourhoods and amenities of Ventanas, explaining what made them so successful when many of their competitors were struggling. The reasons he listed were many: the location is spectacular, the price is excellent, the value you receive for that price is unparalleled, the quality of workmanship is exacting. Then there are the little things which set Ventanas apart, things like the how friendly the staff is and the fact that the developer runs the restaurant, which keeps the food standards high. I personally think that with all of the top amenities, the rental pool, the concierge, and the excellent restaurant, they make it easy to live at Ventanas, they’ve thought of everything.


On the tour last year, Jorge told me about the plans for phase four, Cabo Del Mar Ocean and Ecopark Village, a mixture of homes and condos located a short distance from the main development. The overall concept is similar to the rest of Ventanas with a Club House, fitness centre and swimming pool, but in addition there will be a complex of athletic fields and an emphasis on the natural environment and green space. The designers have laid out the village so that you can move from one area to the next without having to cross the streets and the entire village is connected through a series of bike paths and grass walkways. Last year Jorge explained this concept to me and drove me the short distance to the phase four site, which consisted of two model homes and a number of silent bulldozers, excavators and dump trucks. We toured the two homes, built to the same exacting Ventanas standards, but it was hard to imagine the developer’s vision as I looked out over the construction site. Now fast forward a year and I am standing in the same model home, but instead of silent heavy equipment, the area is buzzing with more than 100 workers putting the finishing touches on the first of twenty-two homes set to be delivered this November!! Jorge had a glint in his eye when I returned to his office after touring phasef and he explained that they were nearly sold out and already planning the next phase at Cabo del Mar Ocean and Ecopark. He also confided in me that they have started another project called Soleado Beach and Spa Resort, located in San Jose, which would have the most affordable beachfront condos in the area. As I was leaving, I met a Canadian from Alberta who had been living at Ventanas for two years, who told me that he had made more friends in this last two years then he had in the previous ten in Canada, and listed not only other residents among his friends, but also members of the staff. At Ventanas they do not rest on their laurels, they constantly strive to create the best living experience possible, by creating a true sense of community, and by all accounts, judging from their sales, they are succeeding.

info@portusmexico.com Los Cabos:624 104 3775 Canada: 877 341 8786 www.grupoportus.com www.ventanasresidences.com


By Madeline Milne

Restoring History: What does $20m buy you today? Hacienda San Jose Acamilpa, Cuernavaca

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If you had $20,000,000 burning a hole in your pocket you could purchase this piece of Mexican history.

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You will find yourself transported to an earlier, more gracious era when you tour this magnificent former 17th century sugar mill and colonial Hacienda, with its eleven bedrooms and thirteen bathrooms. Fully restored and completely furnished with an eye for exquisite authenticity, it is located in the municipality of Tlaltizapan, Morelos, located twenty kilometres south of the affluent cit of Cuernavaca. The property of 7,000 square metres sits on approximately six hectares of lush landscape, a perfect setting for your paradise retreat or exclusive boutique hotel. The main house has been impeccably restored to be a stunning example of a traditional Hacienda. With two stories that are accessed through beautiful, wide, arched corridors, there is a natural stone courtyard in front of the house, and a magnificent wall facing the garden-decorated with a central fountain, and a series of ponds that continue to an area that previously served as the aqueduct, bringing water to the mill.

After a refreshing swim, or time spent meditating in the church, you can also stroll through the exquisite gardens, play a tennis match or ride your horse through your extensive holdings. Having toured a number of haciendas and restored 17th century churches, this property is as fine as an example of traditional hacienda as any I’ve seen. If you would like to experience an idyllic lifestyle or create a boutique business opportunity, this property has the potential to fulfill those dreams. Interested? Let me know and we’ll pass on the referral. Madeline(at)mexi-go.ca Property represented by Sotheby’s Int’l Realty Guadalajara.

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Historically, each hacienda had its own church and this home has a completely renovated church which overlooks the central courtyard, with a wide parishioner’s area, a restored altarpiece and choir area. This building maintains its original stone bell tower with a brick dome done in “talavera” style, topped by stone ornaments and bells.

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The terrace and sensational swimming pool are in front of the central patio with the aqueduct running as a feature through the middle of the pool. The garage has room for five of your finest vehicles, in a barrel vault arch constructed building.

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REAL ESTATE

By Miguel Fernandez, Owner 3GMex Real Estate

10 Reasons to Choose a Gated Community Over the past few years I’ve lived in the Las Moras gated residential community in Puerto Vallarta Jalisco Mexico. The reason that I chose Las Moras is because of the high quality of grounds maintenance and administration. When you pass through the gates, you are greeted by an array of tropical fruit trees and flora, which is a testament to the quality and care taken here. Also, as a father, I’m able to provide my children with the same experience of freedom that I had while growing up. They come and go as they please, and can ride their bikes to a friend’s house, without me having to worry about their safety and security. We are the type of family who loves to spend a lot of time at home, and at Las Moras we can enjoy a beautiful setting and terrific amenities at our doorstep. Our neighbors are diverse, from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. The dues are very reasonable at approximately $1500 pesos a month, which covers all of the maintenance and administration of the grounds. To be “gated” or not to be “gated”, that is the question. Lots of people have LOTS of different opinions regarding the advantages and disadvantages of living in a gate community. Here are 10 reasons I’ve chosen for living a gated residential lifestyle:

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1.Safety and 24 Hour Security. To enter some gated communities, one must be a registered resident with photographic identification or must have a friend in the gated community who gives specific permission (via telephone or Internet) to the security guards at the gate. No strange people loitering or wandering around your property

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2. Great Common Areas. Lots of green space for you and your family to enjoy. Usually a communal pool, with a club house, which is great for the weekend, or a hot day, and can also serve as a party venue, if you make some per-arrangements with the management. 3. Fitness Center. Some have tennis courts, nearby golf courses and marinas, depending upon location an price point.

4. Worry-free Neighborhood for your Children. They can bike, play at the neighbors, and hang out without you having to worry about strangers lurking around or them leaving the grounds. 5. Clean and Tidy. Homeowners in gated-communities need to meet certain requirements regarding their property. Which means that though you can’t be super creative with your yard, you have to keep it looking good. 6. Helpful Neighbors. Usually people in gated communities like to carpool with kids and will help you in a pinch. 7. Nicely Designed Homes. As a rule, the homes are designed with a particular aesthetic in mind. So you won’t have to deal with overly creative neighbors painting their house purple. 8. Parking. You will always have a parking space or garage adjacent to your home. Easier with family, groceries and for deliveries 9. Professional Landscaping Staff. Normally the front exterior area of your house is maintained by the staff of your community. So, no lost weekends mowing and trimming, though, if you want to garden, you are usually afforded private space to create your own personal haven. 10. A Great Investment. Especially in Mexico, as we have one of the world’s largest number of gated community dwellers. There are 56.8 million Mexicans living in gated communities as of 2010. Gated communities in Mexico are substantially cheaper than in countries such as the United States. The homogeneous size and color of the homes also help to keep property values steady and healthy.


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Mexico City August 1, 2013 ATTENTION: CANADIAN REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS The Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals, AC (AMPI), was formed in 1956. It is governed through ByLaws and a Code of Ethics. Its’ primary goal is to professionalize real estate activity throughout Mexico. It currently has representation in seventy two cities in the country. Additionally we have bi-lateral working agreements with the National Association of Realtors®, Canada, Spain, Brazil and other countries. For the past 40 years we have held a National Convention which includes real estate training events, real estate reports of general interest, and social events. This represents a great opportunity to build and strengthen business networks and referral opportunities among the attendees. I wish to invite you to join us at AMPI’s XLII National Real Estate Conference which will be held in Mazatlán at the Mazatlan International Center, located on Av. Delfín No. 6303, Marina Mazatlán, in the state of Sinaloa from October 31 to November 2, 2013. For more details please visit our website; www.congresonacionalampi.com.mx I wish to invite you too, to become a member of the International Section of AMPI, the Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals. As a member of the international section of AMPI you will have the opportunity to contact and conduct business with AMPI members throughout Mexico. Not only will you be able to establish close relationships with AMPI real estate professionals, but also you will have dependable and reputable agents who can handle your valued referral clients.

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Benefits: 1.Prestige and Credibility, Individual membership in AMPI as an international member with a certificate. In Mexico, where real estate practices are often informal, being a part of the 50 year old AMPI organization with deep roots and influence in Mexico will increase your credibility as a Mexico specialist both in and outside of Mexico. 2. Increase your visibility in Mexico, Increase your international networking opportunities with the inclusion of your name and address in the online database www.ampi.org. You will be listed as an AMPI international member with your contact information. Access to the AMPI national database with members in more than seventy cities in Mexico, through the National Web Page. This is for the purpose of interviewing and developing referral contacts across borders. 3. Welcome kit, sent to you electronically which includes an introduction to the metric system, a small glossary of Spanish words used in the real estate industry, a membership certificate which you can print and frame, a membership card which you can print and laminate and a copy of the AMPI Code of Ethics. 4. Special invitations to national and international courses, events, forums, symposiums, with discounts, as applicable, available to AMPI members. 5. Discounts in selected Mexican hotels.

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Our interest is to continue interaction between our associations to offer our members a wider range of international opportunities and to exchange experiences and expand business networks. We would be honored to have you and your colleagues as our guests at this important event. Ing. Guillermo Salgado Castañeda AMPI National President


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Landscape with House and Ploughman, used with permission.

MAJESTIC | INTRIGUING | INVITING | HARMONIOUS | ENDURING | TRANQUIL

Search Property ID at www.sirguadalajara.com

Second Homes in Mexico

Hacienda San Jose Acamilpa

Casa Club de Golf San Gaspar

Price: US$20,000,000 11 Bedrooms / 13 Bathrooms / Property ID: 4000038496

Price: US$1,350,000 7 Bedrooms / 8½ Bathrooms / Property ID: 4000034271 Interior: 721 m² / 7,758 Sq.Ft | Land: 1,033 m2 / 11,119 Sq.Ft

Kingcrossing Equestrian Club

La Casona Chulavista

Price: US$1,295,000 3 Bedrooms / 1Bathrooms / Property ID: 4000043378

Price: US$ 695,000 4 Bedrooms / 4 ½ Bathrooms / Property ID: 4000042593

Interior: 1,410 m² / 15,172 Sq.Ft. | Land: 12,000 m2 / 129,120 Sq.Ft

Interior: 402 m² / 4,325 Sq.Ft. | Land: 1,175 m2 / 12,643 Sq.Ft

Casa Hamsayeg

Canto del Mar Manzanillo

JUST REDUCED: US$2,990,000 6 Bedrooms / 15 Bathrooms / Property ID: 4000016844

Price: US$1,500,000 4 Bedrooms / 5½ Bathrooms / Property ID: 4000040305

Interior: 2,740 m² / 29,482 Sq.Ft | Land: 2,948 m2 / 31,730 Sq.Ft

Interior: 768 m² / 8,267 Sq.Ft. | Land: 2,937 m2 / 31,602 Sq.Ft.

Lake Chapala, Jalisco

Lake Chapala, Jalisco

Manzanillo, Colima

Manzanillo, Colima

Av. Vallarta 6503, Piso 11-B, Torre Corey, Concentro, Zapopan, Jalisco. CP 45010 +52 (33) 3627.6437 | Toll Free 01 800.837.4653 info@sirguadalajara.com | www.sirguadalajara.com

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Interior: 7,000 m² / 75,347 Sq.Ft. | Land: 61,266 m2 / 659,222 Sq.Ft

Cuernavaca, Morelos

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Cuernavaca, Morelos

Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated. 63



Mexi-Go! Fall 2013