By: Mexperience

One of Mexico’s most important religious holidays is celebrated on All Saint’s Day (Nov 1) and All Soul’s Day (Nov 2): Dia de los Muertos (sometimes called Dia de los Fieles Difuntos) – Day of the Dead.   Traditionally, November 1st honors deceased children and November 2nd honors deceased adults.

Far from being a morbid event, Day of Dead emphasizes remembrance of past lives and celebration of the continuity of life.  This acknowledgement of life’s continuity has roots which go back to some of Mexico’s oldest civilizations: Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, Purepecha.   The Aztecs, too, celebrated Day of the Dead, although earlier (August) on the current calendar.

Day of the Dead is celebrated passionately throughout Mexico, and especially so in smaller provincial towns and cities.

One of the culinary highlights of the season is “Pan de Muerto” (Bread of the Dead) which is a semi-sweet sugar-coated bread made from eggs and infused with natural citrus fruit flavors.  It’s traditionally taken with hot chocolate that has been mixed with cinnamon and makes for an ideal combination on a chilly November evening.

Planning for Day of the Dead can be done days, weeks, or even a whole year in advance, during which time family members will gather ofrendas, offerings, to the dead.  Toys are usually offered for deceased children and bottles of tequilamezcal, or atole for deceased adults.  Trinkets, or the deceased’s favorite food or candy, may also be offered on the grave.

During the celebratory period, it’s traditional for families to visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried to clean and to decorate the graves with the offerings.  Offerings are also put in homes, usually with foods such as caramelized pumpkin, Pan de Muerto and small sugar skulls which are sometimes engraved with the deceased person’s name.  Decorations usually include orange marigold flowers called cempaxochitl, or Flor de Muerto (“Flower of the Dead”).

Day of the Dead is a holiday that attracts a certain fascination for visitors from abroad. Celebrations in the city of Oaxaca and the town of Patzcuaro are particularly well attended by foreign visitors; early bookings for local accommodation are essential if you want to experience Day of the Dead at either of these places.

The precise ceremonies, offerings, and customs for Day of the Dead celebrations vary by region and town.  However, the fundamental traditions described here are echoed all over Mexico and a visit to a cemetery, where the graves are bursting with color and decorations, and the lives of those past are lovingly remembered by those present, is one of the most rewarding cultural experiences in Mexico during this time of year.




By: Jean Folger | INVESTOPEDIA


More and more Americans are retiring abroad to enjoy better weather, new experiences and relaxed lifestyles, as well as access to affordable healthcare and a lower cost of living. Mexico is a popular destination because it offers all this – plus it’s close enough to home that travel back and forth to visit friends and family (and for them to visit you) is relatively easy and reasonably priced.

A primary consideration when deciding on a retirement location is what it’s going to cost. Here, we take a quick look at how much money you might need to retire comfortably in Mexico.

How Much in Mexico: Lifestyle Matters

No matter where you retire – at home or abroad – how you retire greatly affects the amount of money you’ll need. It’s possible to retire on $500 a month in Mexico, for example, if you are willing to live modestly in a small apartment, eat simple meals at home, and forgo some of the comforts and conveniences you may be used to back home. Alternatively, you could easily spend $10,000+ a month living large in an exclusive beachside community and taking full advantage of myriad fine dining, entertainment and travel opportunities.

Most people who retire abroad won’t fall into either extreme, seeking a comfortable lifestyle that still keeps them on a reasonable budget. To achieve this in Mexico, a retired couple might be looking at the following monthly costs. Note that this level of budget in Mexico permits renting a house with three-times-a-week maid service and a weekly gardener:

Housing (a two-bedroom house rental) $900
Utilities (electric, gas, water, local phone, cable TV and Internet) $200
Household help (maid service 3X/week; gardener 1X/week) $290
Groceries $400
Dining out & entertainment $250
Healthcare (both people on Mexican IMSS insurance, plus incidentals) $112
Other incidentals $150
Monthly total $2,300

*Based on estimates from retirement website www.internationalliving.com.

So for roughly $2,300 a month, or about $28,000 per year, a couple could retire comfortably in Mexico. That puts it well in reach of many Americans: The average monthly benefit for retired workers is $1,294, according to the most recent data from the Social Security Administration. For a couple who each get that amount, that adds up to $31,056 each year – just enough to cover this budget.

Of course, retirement costs vary from person to person, and your costs could be lower or significantly higher than these estimates depending on your situation, lifestyle choices and any unforeseen expenses. And, keep in mind that these estimates don’t include expenses such as traveling to/from your retirement destination, moving your household, emergencies and taxes.

Ways to Save

One way to save is through Mexico’s retirement benefits program. If you are 60 or older and have a Mexico resident visa, you are eligible for Mexico’s Personas Adultas Mayores benefits program. This program provides discounts of 10% to 50% off full price for a variety of services, including healthcare (dental work, doctor visits, hospitals, lab work, medical devices and pharmacies); cultural activities such as archeological sites, museums and the theater; transportation (including airfare, bus fare, car rentals and car purchases); and hotels.

Another important way to control costs is to find out where the locals shop – and go there. Get to know the local vendors and farmers, and learn where you can buy things at the “local” rate instead of the “tourist” rate. Remember you’re not on vacation. It might be O.K. to splurge while on a short vacation, but if you live like that every day, it’s easy to burn through your entire retirement budget.

The Bottom Line

Retiring in Mexico might be a good choice for those looking to enjoy new experiences and cultures, access to affordable healthcare, a change of scenery, and a lower cost of living. Since life outside the U.S. can be very different from what you may be accustomed to, it’s helpful to have an adventurous spirit and open mind to fully enjoy and appreciate the experience.

Be aware that some regions of Mexico are safer than others. It’s especially important in Mexico to research regions you’re considering before you move, use common sense, and avoid (or use extra caution) in areas with active travel alerts and warnings.

Visa and residency requirements, plus taxes (both in Mexico and U.S. tax regulations for citizens living abroad) can be complicated. It makes sense to work with a qualified attorney and/or tax specialist when making plans to retire outside the United States.



By: Mexperience

Playa del Carmen as a Place for Living and Retirement

The Mexican Caribbean beach town of Playa del Carmen is located on the Yucatan peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo. Once a small fishing village, Playa (as it’s more often referred to) is now the second largest Mexican resort destination after Cancun. It is also the fastest growing city in all of Mexico — having surpassed Puerto Vallarta experienced an enormous influx of people during the late 90’s and early 20’s.

Playa del Carmen At-a-Glance:

Playa del Carmen is part of the Riviera Maya — the stretch of beach-facing land between Cancun and Tulum. This resort town is, and always has been, more ‘down to earth’ and authentically Mexican compared to trendy, commercial and high-rise Cancun situated thirty miles north of here.

Its central location at the heart of the Mayan Riviera makes it a favorite for travelers, tourists and certain types of expatriates who are seeking the warm, laid-back lifestyle accentuated by pristine white-sand beaches and year-round warm turquoise waters for swimming, diving and snorkeling coupled with a multi-national, multi-ethnic and artsy atmosphere. Playa attracts visitors and expatriates from a more diverse range of geographical locations than Cancun: Playa has a more rustic, more toned-down approach to tourism and, for foreign residents, it offers a ‘more Mexican’ feel and atmosphere, whereas Cancun is more about package vacations, mall shopping and all-night-parties.

A fun and lively beach culture has sprouted up around Playa del Carmen that demonstrates the diverse blend of interests which become attracted to these shores. The expat community is equally diverse, with a particularly strong European following; and if you live here, you’ll become comfortable intermingling with multiple nationalities and the crucible of cultures and languages thrives within the sphere of a Mexican resort town that has moved far away from its fishing village roots.

Excellent Transport Links

Playa del Carmen is the main port for ferries connecting the Yucatan peninsula to Cozumel, the largest island off Playa’s coast and one of the world’s best scuba diving hot spots. Playa is also well connected by means of a modern highway to Cancun’s international airport (less than an hour away); and a small international airport on the Island of Cozumel. Plans are also afoot to build an international airport in Tulum, just a few minutes away from Playa del Carmen, to serve the Riviera Maya ‘corridor’ and take pressure off Cancun’s airport system, which is the second busiest airport in the country, after Mexico City. When completed, the mix of roads, airports and ferries will make the Riviera Maya one of the best connected regions in all of Mexico.

Cozy Beach side Living in Playa del Carmen

Although Playa has undergone a faster pace of development than any other place in Mexico over the past decade, the local authorities have taken care to retain the characteristics and atmosphere which attracted people here in the first place. For example, by city ordinance, new buildings cannot rise more than three stories in height. From the time Playa was a small quaint town with few developments and a tony populace, the local authorities were certain that they did not want to create “another Cancun” here and, even today, continue to make great efforts to ensure that the high-rise commercialization of Cancun stays thirty miles north of here.

The principal boulevard, Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue, and referred to by locals as simply “La Quinta”) is where a collection of boutique shops, bars, cafes and restaurants coalesce and make for an entertaining stroll as well as modern-day shopping and leisure experiences in a pleasant, outdoor setting.

Commercial retail centers have also been growing to accommodate the retiree/expat communities that have been moving in over recent years, as well as middle-class and affluent Mexicans who have become used to U.S.-style shopping facilities in other bigger towns and cities across Mexico. Today, you can find big name supermarkets including Wal-mart, Soriana, Chedraui, Sam’s Club and CostCo as well as brand-name department stores like Liverpool.

Actively Relaxing Experience

This location is synonymous with relaxation and diversion and, as one of Mexico’s premiere resort towns, both may be enjoyed in equal measures at Playa del Carmen.

For relaxing: walks along the beach, shopping, spas and massages, and simply taking time to enjoy the relaxed way of life that emanates in this part of the world; watching sunrises and sunsets, listening to a cacophony of wild birdsong, or letting the waves brush gently against your feet as you stroll along one of the many white sand beaches. The peak tourism season runs from November through to March. At other times of year, the beaches are quieter and you can enjoy the natural beauty of the coast without the significant influx of seasonal vacationers.

To exercise and engage with a more active lifestyle, tennis and golfing are easily accessible from here. Outdoor activities include first-class scuba and snorkeling (including some some of the finest SCUBA diving in the world, just across the water in Cozumel), sports fishing, sea kayaking and a plethora of other water-based activities including wind-surfing, sailing, and swimming — all amidst the crystal turquoise waters of Mexico’s Caribbean Sea.

On land activities include yoga, salsa lessons and Spanish language lessons. For day and weekend trips, Playa serves as as the ideal base for a compelling choice of adventures including exploration of Mayan ruins in Coba, Tulum, Chichen Itza and beyond; taking in the flora and fauna in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere and Nature Preserve; taking part in an assortment of eco and adventure tours; snorkeling in crystal clear fresh waters, tubing down natural water outlets to the Caribbean sea and swimming with dolphins.

Cost of Living

Playa offers residents a slightly lower cost of living than other major Mexican resort towns; for example, in comparison to Cancun and Los Cabos. The cost of living is always slightly higher in popular resort towns than in resort towns which are off the beaten track: although the higher costs are compensated with facilities such as better transport connections and more choice in terms of retail and medical services.

Property prices have soared in recent years, but remain affordable especially in comparison to the cost of ocean-front and ocean-view property in the United States and Western Europe.

Coastal towns — and especially popular resorts like Playa del Carmen — are always more expensive to live in than colonial cities and other smaller towns ‘off the beaten track’ in Mexico. However, the higher prices reflect the added costs of getting the goods to more remote locations as well as the popularity (demand) from expats who want to live, work or retire alongside the beautiful oceanside environments like Playa del Carmen.

A Warm and Genuine Mexican Resort Town

Playa del Carmen is today one of the most popular resort towns in Mexico, but it remains an authentic Mexican town: a place where you can still find tienditas (small local stores) run independently by local families, ambulant vendors, local plumbers and carpenters advertising their services on the street, and the abundance of day-to-day life situations which are omnipresent across most of Mexico’s towns and cities and which help to put emphasis on the definition of ‘the real Mexico’.

One of the principal features which attracted people to Playa from its early days, is the way the town was able to blend the concept of ‘resort’ with the reality of ‘genuinely Mexican’. Some might argue that the ‘Old Playa’ is dead and buried, and although it’s true that a town whose population has grown from a little over a thousand to over 100,000 in the space of a decade* is going to undergo some change and transformation, it’s also fair to say that the people who live, work and retire here are genuinely warm, friendly and welcoming – and not in a superficial way. This characteristic: being able to pull off ‘the double act’ of transforming from a fishing village into a world-class resort and yet remain authentic to the location’s roots is one of Playa’s trump cards as a location — as much so for visitors and for residents.

There’s an international flair in Playa, created principally by a balanced mix of Europeans and North Americans, although people from a wide array of nationalities call this place home, part or full-time: indeed, according to the Mexican Immigration Service, over seven per cent of Playa del Carmen’s population is non-Mexican.

Most foreigners discover Playa del Carmen when they come here to vacation or as part of a living or retirement ‘scouting’ visit. An increasing number of people fall in love with the climate, the sea, the atmosphere and the food; and thus make plans — and realize those plans — to move here. Those who come to live and work often set up some kind of trade or shop; this is demonstrated by numerous foreign owned businesses operating along La Quinta as well as younger professionals moving to Mexico to work as consultants or ‘knowledge workers’.

For retirees seeking a tropical paradise for part or full-time retirement in Mexico, Playa del Carmen: part hippy, part artsy, part chic, part traditional and unmistakably Mexican, combines these many and varied characteristics to form a unique and beautiful location for retirement living in Mexico.

Real Estate Market in Playa del Carmen

The ‘real estate bargains’ that were available here a decade or more ago are long gone, but property prices remain affordable in comparison to beach-front or beach-side property in places like the U.S.A. and Western Europe.

Playa offers a wide variety of property types to choose from. Realty developers have entered the market in earnest and this, coupled with other smaller as well as private investment projects has produced a local realty market that serves a broad range of interests and budgets including modest condos and casitas (little houses) mid range and luxury condos, apartments, suburban town homes as well as super luxurious properties on the beach or overlooking the sea.

The real estate market in Playa continues to experience ongoing and brisk development driven by rising investment in the region, and there are also plans to expand development of the town inland, past current limits, to include the other side of Highway 307, the main highway connecting Playa with Cancun and the rest of the Yucatan.

It’s particularly important to visit Playa before you decide where to purchase, as the local marketing makes potential buyers believe that somehow all residences here may be found “a ten-minute walk” from the beach or La Quinta.

The area of known as Playacar (distinct from Playa) is the premier residential and tourist development where most of the all-inclusive hotels, golf courses and a U.S. shopping mall are located. Playacar also has condos and villas for sale in within upscale, gated developments.

Prices of realty in Playa del Carmen, as in all Mexican resort towns, have risen considerably over the last decade, although they still remain at very affordable levels when compared to ocean-side realty prices in the U.S. and Western Europe. The financial ‘credit crunch’ has tempered market activity and this is beginning to influence some prices, especially of properties whose owners had come to adopt unrealistic expectations of their value.

Prices for very desirable real estate situated on plots of land which are by nature limited (e.g. on the beach) continue to hold, or at least the price tags haven’t changed much,keeping in mind that price is negotiable. For example, for properties overlooking the ocean or very close to it. However, the tear-away price rises of recent years are yielding and to a more stable price market.

Most real estate is sold through local realty agents who know the area and the surrounding region, as well as directly through the developers marketing major realty projects, often on prime beachfront locations or on fine golf courses.

Playa del Carmen is one of the principal areas where Mexican time-share projects are sold, due to the massive draw of tourists and foreign visitors seeking to vacation in this region each year (note that time share is not ownership). Private residences (mostly re-sales) are available in the town center of Playa del Carmen as well as out-of-town, where some expat investors are buying homes offering semi-rural surroundings, away from the town proper, but close enough for easy road access to the beach, local shops and amenities.

Rentals Market in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has an abundance of rental properties on the market all year long. Most rental properties in Playa del Carmen are offered through local realty agents or directly by individual property owners listing properties on the Internet or local newspapers and magazines as well as signs posted at restaurants, cafes and bars near the vicinity where the rentals are situated. Some developers rent out their units or rent out units on behalf of absentee owners who only occupy the property part-time: check with local developers or a local realty agent for details and further information.


Healthcare in Playa del Carmen

In addition to Mexico’s state sponsored healthcare provided via the country’s national health service IMSS, good quality healthcare services offered through private clinics with US -standard healthcare services exist in Playa del Carmen. The privately-run out patient clinics available locally are ideal for day-to-day ailments, sprains, broken bones and other health matters which would normally be diagnosed and treated by a General Practitioner of medicine.

Local Climate in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is hot and humid with dry and wet (rainy) seasons. The annual average temperature is around 80F/26C. Humidity levels are very high all year long; often exceeding ninety per cent. The rainy season runs from May to October each year. Sea breezes bring cooling winds which help to make the location feel cooler, fresher and less aggressively humid than towns and cities located away from the coast.

Winter Climate:

November to January are the coolest months with average temperatures ranging from 81F/27C during the day and 68F/20C overnight. The “high” season for tourists and part-time residents begins in November each year.

Spring Climate:

February thru early May offers a beautiful spring-like climate with very little rain. Temperatures begin to increase from April, with average temperatures ranging from 84F/28C during the day and 71F/21C overnight.

Summer Climate:

June through September are the hottest months, with temperatures ranging from 75F/23C overnight, to 95F/35C in the daytime. The rainy season begins between mid and late May and will last through to October. Hurricanes may occur anytime during the hot summer months but are most likely during July, August and September. Temperatures and humidity reach their peak from mid-July to the end of August.

Autumn Climate:

The temperature begins to moderate again in October. Mid and late autumn brings cooler temperatures with averages ranging from 87F/30C during the day to 73F/22C overnight.

Rainy Season:

Playa del Carmen’s rainy season runs from May to October, with most of the rain falling in July and August. Torrential afternoon rains may be experienced several days a week and, in the peak temperature months of July, August and September tropical storms and hurricanes may feature, too.


Hurricanes can affect Playa del Carmen at any time during the summer, although they are most frequently experienced here during the peak summer months, especially mid-July through September. The last major hurricane to land on Playa was Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

Sea Temperature in Playa del Carmen

The average sea temperature in the region is 80F/26C. Sea temperatures rise higher in the summer months, and dip slightly November through February.




By: Oliver Smith  | The Telegraph

As the country celebrates its Independence Day, we offer some great excuses for a winter break to Mexico.

1. It’s the “aquarium of the world”

Jacques Cousteau gave this moniker to the Sea of Cortez, off the coast of Baja California, and “it has an almost legendary status among divers and marine naturalists,” according to Telegraph Travel’s Tim Ecott.

He adds: “Some 900 fish species and 32 types of marine mammal gather to feed and breed here. Massive blooms of plankton mean that even elusive blue whales are seen here, along with the gnarled humpbacks and grey whales that sound and breach in the bay, to the delight of whale-watching parties.”

2. There are more Mayan ruins than you can shake a stick at

Among the best are Chichen Itza, the crowning glory of which is the towering temple of El Castillo; Tulum, with its idyllic coastal location; Palenque, unknown to Europeans until the late 18th century; and Uxmal, a former capital that was once home to 25,000 people.

3. You can watch a parade of the walking dead

The best thing about SPECTRE, the most recent outing for James Bond, was undoubtedly the opening sequence, with Mexico’s Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) celebrations providing the striking backdrop.

Nobel Prize-winning writer Octavio Paz wrote that, while death remains taboo around the world, “the Mexican frequents it, mocks it, caresses it, sleeps with it, entertains it, it is one of his favourite playthings and his most enduring love.”

4. Or stay in Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s love nest

Casa Kimberly, the former home of the couple, can be found overlooking Banderas Bay and is now a luxurious nine-room hotel. Jade Conroy writes: “The story goes that Burton bought Taylor a house opposite his own, the two being connected by a pink replica of Venice’s Bridge of Sighs – and that Burton was banished over it to the other side of the house whenever the pair had one of their famously tempestuous rows.

“The soul of the Burtons is still very much there: a bronze statue of the pair by the front door can be seen from the street; there’s a painting of Taylor, her violet eyes staring at you as you ascend the stairs; vintage posters of the pair adorn the central, fountain-filled courtyard. Manna from movie-star heaven.”

5. There’s a hidden beach

Playa del Amor, a few miles north of Casa Kimberly, can only be reached by an underwater tunnel.

6. And a spectacular sinkhole

The Ik Kil cenote, not far from Chichen Itza (and often included on tours to the ruins) is spectacular – and open to swimmers. It’s also featured in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series (but don’t try that yourself).

7. You can visit the “City of Flowers”

This name was bestowed upon high-altitude Xalapa, capital of the Mexican state of Veracruz, by the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. Lush tropical flora thrives everywhere (spring is, unsurprisingly, a good time to visit).

The town is also known for its great coffee, grown in the surrounding mountains, and (you may have guessed given the name) as the home of the jalapeño pepper.

8. Or watch millions of monarchs

The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a Unesco World Heritage site, is where most of the eastern population of the monarch butterfly spends its winters. Millions pile onto pine and oyamel trees, turning it into a paradise for photographers.

Sara Evans describes a visit to the region back in 2010: “Gentle as wood smoke rising, butterfly after butterfly leaves the safety of oaks and fir trees until the sky fills with millions of them. Moving closer to the sun, their wings – a deep orange filigreed with bold black markings – look like vast stained-glass windows and block out the blue of the sky. As the butterflies dip and soar, the sound of a million insect wings in motion rumbles like a distant waterfall.”

9. There’s the party town of Cancún

For sun, sand and margarita-fuelled fun, it’s hard to beat Cancún, a popular spot for families, American youths enjoying “spring break”, and everyone in between. For total indulgence (personal butlers, in-room hot tubs and ice cream at breakfast), try the Le Blanc Spa Resort, or else other major players offer more affordable packages.

10. Or the Pacific alternative, Puerto Vallarta

On the opposite side of the country lies Puerto Vallarta. It’s undoubtedly a commercial holiday resort, albeit smaller than Cancún, but has an old town at its heart, where cobbled streets fan out from a colonial plaza. And venture from the main tourist areas and you’ll find some of the most unspoiled coastline in Mexico. John Fisher writes: “Cove after isolated cove around the town is backed by forested mountains, while to the south along the Costalegre, the ‘Happy Coast’, spread more expansive, silky sands. Jungly lagoons and torpid villages, their beaches scattered with makeshift bars and studded with palms, are completed by heart-melting sunsets and a rich array of freshly caught seafood.”

11. And the sunshine enclave of Baja California

Hollywood stars are lured from LA to genteel Cabo San Lucas at its southern tip of this narrow peninsula, which extends from the lower edge of California. Top hotels there include The Cape by luxury group Thompson, known for its boutique properties in New York, London and Miami, and Esperanza Cabo San Lucas, with its private beach, swanky ocean-facing villas and dramatic cliffside restaurant.

12. It has 33 World Heritage Sites

That’s more than either Britain or the US. They include Puebla City, with its handsome colonial old town, the Sian Ka’an reserve, home to monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, jaguars and tapirs, and the 7,000-year-old rock paintings of Sierra de San Francisco.

13. There’s laid-back Oaxaca

Chris Moss, our Latin America expert, rates Oaxaca, with its crumbling palaces and grand churches, as his favourite Mexican city. “Sometimes, arrival in a new place is marked by a sense of epiphany,” he wrote back in 2008. “Oaxaca seemed vibrant, colourful, convivial, and I wondered: have I stumbled on the perfect city? My only other question was, why are British towns and cities never, ever like this?”

14. One of the world’s most beautiful hospitals

Hospicio Cabañas, founded in 1791, operated as a hospital until well into the 20th century. Its highlights include monumental frescoes by José Clemente Orozco, including the allegory of The Man of Fire.

15. And one of its finest post offices

Mexico City’s Palacio Postal certainly puts your local sorting office to shame.

16. It has an island filled with dolls

Xochimilco is a district of Mexico City that contains an extensive system of canals and artificial islands, or chinampas, the most famous of which belonged to a man named Julian Santana Barrera. After he discovered the body of a dead girl in a nearby canal, he began collecting discarded dolls and doll parts, which he would hang from the trees on his island in an attempt to ward off evil spirits. Mr Barrera died in 2001, but the dolls remain, and the creepy island can be visited by boat.


17. Kim Kardashian is a fan

Not of the dolls. Rather, she’s a regular visitor to Punta de Mita, just to the north of Puerto Vallarta (as are Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow). Among the newest hotels there was opened by the luxury chain W in the summer. It has 119 villas and a pool lined with cabanas, while décor channels the region’s boho surf culture.

18. There’s a hotel in a bullring

The last bullfight in the city of Zacatecas took place in 1975, and its 19th century ring has been put to far better use – as a luxury hotel. The restaurants at Quinta Real Zacatecas looks over the old arena, while a brick-walled bar can be found where the bullpens used to be.


19. Its capital is fascinating 

Mexico City, the most populous metropolis beyond Asia, is an sprawling, throbbing place of wide boulevards, palm trees, street food, traffic jams, murals and graffiti art, intriguing architecture both old and new, gardens, museums, churches and corruption. Visitors to Mexico would be wise not to pass it by.

20. And its second city is capital of cool

Guadalajara has turned around it reputation to become something of a hub for contemporary art, fashion and top-notch food (to go with the tequila and mariachi bands). Cool design hotels have sprung up too, such as Casa Fayette, named after the up-and-coming neighbourhood in which it’s found.

21. The are some truly spectacular landscapes

Like the dunes of Sonoran Desert, the only place in the world where the iconic saguaro cactus grows in the wild:




By: Mexperience.com

From modern roads and airports to pathways and cycle-lanes, Mexico has extensive and affordable transport systems which make getting around the country efficient.

In addition to a substantial network of modern airports, Mexico also has one of the best national bus service networks you’ll encounter, offering three levels of service (executive, first, and second) on popular routes and two classes of service on many others (first, second).  National bus travel in Mexico is a world apart from bus travel in the United States or the UK, for example.

Local travel using the plentiful supply of taxis in Mexico is inexpensive by US and European standards, and provides a perfect way to get around places like Mexico’s colonial cities in-between walking tours.  App-Cabs including Uber and Cabify are available in cities across the country—and these services are expanding due to their popularity.

Over the last couple of decades, Mexico has been investing heavily in its national road network, and new roads continue to be built even today.  These new intercity highways are making Mexico more accessible for drivers. A few years ago, the road journey between Mexico City and Oaxaca City was a major undertaking; today the journey can be completed in less than six hours on a modern, safe toll-road.  Be sure to have adequate insurance if you drive your US or Canadian-plated car to Mexico.

Car rental is popular with visitors and foreign residents who want to explore locations off the beaten track, or tour an entire region independently.

Domestic flight options have never been more abundant and less expensive in Mexico than they are today.  Although less-frequented routes which are only served by one airline continue to be relatively expensive, popular routes serviced by two or more airlines offer competitive fares and efficient services across Mexico’s modern airport system.

Lately, an ancient of transport has begun to make a comeback, especially in urban areas: the humble push-bike.  Mexico City has expanded its network of cycle lanes and paths to encourage capitalinos to trade their cars for bicycles.

Whether you plan to visit Mexico for a visit, or move to Mexico as part of your lifestyle plans, the Mexperience guide to Transport in Mexico provides an invaluable resource that helps you learn how to move around efficiently, safely and cost-effectively across Mexico.





By: Angela Kocherga | Dallas News

A few years ago, Ben and Bonnie Benoit considered returning to the United States, believing it was time to go home. Now as they follow the U.S. presidential election from their ranch home in Mexico’s wine country, they’re glad they didn’t.

What they see as divisive politics in the U.S. — the presidential campaign between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump — confirms their decision to stay in Mexico. Sometimes as they watch and read the news, the Benoits are filled with dismay.

“Someone like Trump comes along and I can’t believe the country I thought was in existence … is not,” said Ben, 76, who retired in Baja California, where he and his wife make wine. “I think we’re all in shock. I think we’re also terribly embarrassed.”

The U.S. presidential contest is generating buzz across the globe, where expatriates are in a frenzy about politics back home. Only Canada has more Americans than Mexico, but Trump’s Mexico bashing has made being American a bit more awkward these days.

“A lot of our Mexican friends are frightened of him,” Bonnie said.

In a close race, the vote abroad is that much more critical. Democrats and Republicans in Mexico say they’re seeing a huge spike in interest as they organize the “get out the vote” effort. Many are hosting large gatherings, including debate-watching parties.

The votes of expats, especially those registered in battleground states, can make all the difference, as was the case back in 2000, when George W. Bush beat Al Gore in a controversial election that ended up before the Supreme Court.

“The 2000 election raised awareness of the potential role of overseas Americans’ ballots. Admissibility of overseas ballots was key in that election,” said Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels, a senior lecturer in migration and politics at the University of Kent’s Brussels  School of International Studies in Belgium and author ofMigrants or Expatriates? Americans in Europe.

“Overseas Americans are not polled; they could indeed provide winning margins in close elections,” she said.

James F. Hollifield, a professor of politics and science and director of the Tower Center at Southern Methodist University, said, “[Expats] are on the front lines of American foreign policy and will be among the first to feel the repercussions of a more isolationist stance.”

Americans in Mexico

At least a million Americans live throughout Mexico, according to the U.S. State Department, many concentrated in scenic colonial and coastal towns, from San Miguel de Allende to Valle de Guadalupe, which is just far enough from the hectic pace of life in the U.S. but close enough to feel connected to friends and family and stay involved in politics.

Like many expats in Mexico, the Benoits are watching the presidential debates. They brought a homemade tortilla pie and Zinfandel to the first debate-watching party at a friend’s house. They’re looking forward to the second debate Sunday.

“I’m glued to the television,” said Bonnie Benoit, a Democrat and staunch Clinton supporter.

Trump supporters in Mexico are also closely following the election.

“I think I like him more than Ronald Reagan,” said Ed Cage, 72, a Texan now living in Ajijic with his wife, Karen. The Cages lived in North Texas for decades before moving nearly eight years ago.

“Our business cards read ‘retired in paradise’ and it really is,” said Karen Cage, 70.

“I love Mexico. I love the people,” said Ed Cage. But he shares Trump’s concerns about Mexicans crossing the border. “There are a number of criminals going up there. Not all of them, not all of them. They’re mostly good people, but they’re taking away American jobs.”

Like other Americans in Mexico, the Cages get asked about Trump. Recently Karen fielded a question from their handyman.

“Alberto said ‘what do you think of Mr. Trump?’. I said I love him. He nearly fell off the ladder,” said Cage.  She said she tells  Mexicans who ask  “He (Trump) likes you. He just wants you to come across legally.”

But for some Republicans in Mexico, Trump is not an easy choice. Consider Larry Rubin, 42, head of the Republicans Abroad in Mexico group.  Rubin, 42, will vote absentee for Trump in Ohio, a key battleground state, but he does not agree with the Republican candidate’s views on  trade.

“NAFTA is like this hidden jewel that benefits a lot of small and medium businesses from the U.S.,” said Rubin.

Trump’s effect

Rubin admits many Republicans in Mexico are reluctant to openly discuss their preference for Donald Trump. Unlike previous election years when Republicans held large gatherings in Mexico City, some, including Rubin, are hosting private dinner parties to watch the debates.

The Trump presidential campaign has led to some uneasy conversations for Americans living in Mexico. At a grocery store in Mazatlan, Jody Quinnell gets approached by Mexican shoppers who complain about Trump. She quickly tells them she’s not voting for the Republican candidate.

Quinnell is chair of Democrats Abroad in Mexico, which has chapters in Mazatlan, Mexico City, Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, and Puerto Vallarta.

She said she’s appalled by Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric “These are people we work with, neighbors, friends,” she said.

From her home with a view of Lake Chapala, Maureen Jones, 67, a former Dallas resident, is  watching the election with growing concern about her homeland.

“As a longtime member of the League of Women Voters I am disappointed that so little time in this very important presidential campaign is being dedicated to real issues, said Jones.

Jones  served as an election judge in Oak Cliff and was active in the League of Women voters for many years before moving  with her husband to Ajijic in the western state of Jalisco in 2010.

“We have requested our ballots and plan to vote from here,” said Jones. “I am very excited to have the opportunity to vote for Hillary Clinton for president of the U.S., not just because she is a woman but also because she is highly qualified.”

Indeed, Trump’s frequent references to Mexico on the campaign trail and trip to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto hit close to home for Americans living south of the border.

“We were shocked and disgusted that Peña Nieto invited him here,” said Margaret Van Every, a resident of Ajijic and a Democrat. “His plans to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it is a huge joke. His insults about the immigrant murderers and rapists are outrageous beyond belief.”

For many American who moved to Mexico, the border wall is at the center of a passionate debate.

“Humpty Trumpty is as full of [expletive] as a Christmas goose,” said Dan Scher, a longtime resident of San Miguel de Allende who plans to vote for Clinton. “The higher the wall, the longer the tunnels.”

But some Americans living in Mexico support the idea of a erecting a big barrier along the entire border.

“I want that wall built,” said Karen Cage. And the Texan would help cover the cost if citizens could make private contributions. “I would buy a couple of miles of tile for that wall.”




By:  Kathleen Peddicord |  THE HUFFINGTON POST

With more than a million U.S. expats settled in south of the border, Mexico is the most popular choice for North Americans looking for a better life overseas.

Of course, one of the biggest attractions of Mexico is its easy accessibility. Depending on your location in the United States, you can drive to many parts of Mexico along good roads. If that’s not an option, the airports at Cancún and Mexico City are accessible from most U.S. cities, and plans are underway to open flights to secondary Mexican towns. Again, depending on your location, you could be in your new home in two to four hours.

While proximity is a huge bonus, there’s much more to the whole Mexico package to make it one of the easiest live-overseas options. In a breakout session on one of our recent conferences, our experts reminded us of some more advantages of setting up a new life in Mexico.

Expat presence. One million Americans already call it home, there are lots of communities you can slot right into. Even if you prefer to live outside the established expat communities, it’s not difficult to seek out expat company as desired.

You’ll be understood. While you’ll always have a more fulfilling experience if you make the effort to learn Spanish, you won’t be entirely lost in Mexico without it (at least for starters). English is becoming a second language in Mexico and is taught in schools. In the bigger cities, you’ll find English is widely spoken.


Unlimited living options. Much like the United States, Mexico has diverse living options. You can take your pick of Spanish-colonial cities, Caribbean beach towns, tranquil island living, or mountain escapes.

Familiarity. You may never care to see Walmart or Starbucks again … but if you do need or wish to shop in familiar stores and modern shopping malls, you can find everything you need in the big cities.

Lower cost of living. Right now, the dollar-peso exchange rate is highly in your favor. Your buying power is almost double what it was a decade ago. In Guadalajara, the second largest city, you could rent a nice place for US$500 a month or buy a house for US$75,000 or less. Right in the heart of Mexico, the colonial city of San Miguel de Allende is a little more expensive — average rent is US$650 a month—but living is still very affordable. And, San Miguel has a distinctly international feel, with world cuisine and an established art and theater scene.

Mexico offers one of the best — and most affordable — health care systems in Latin America… as proven by the increasing number of Americans that travel over the border for affordable surgery in places like Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara.

Good public transport. Outside of Mexico City where public transport is crowded, towns are well-serviced by bus. There is also a great city link—with air-conditioned coaches, comfortable seats, and movies — providing an affordable alternative to flying between Mexican cities.


Residency is straightforward. For a temporary or permanent residency visa, you must apply to the Mexican consulate before you travel to Mexico. There is no minimum income requirement — it’s subjective, depending on your age, where you’ll be living, etc. We know plenty of expats who live here on Social Security alone.

Top tourist destination. Mexico welcomed 25.8 million visitors in 2015. Cancún, its main tourist mecca, has developed into a world-famous beach resort … which means, if you invest in a rental property along the Riviera Maya (the stretch of Caribbean coast that runs from Cancún down to the border with Belize), you’re buying into an area that has an average occupancy rate of 80%.

Mexico has almost every lifestyle on offer. It all comes down to your own preferences. You can, if you wish, enjoy all the comforts and familiar brands of home … go for a more traditional way of life … or enjoy the best of both worlds. But you won’t really know what and where makes sense for you until you come and find out in person.

With now being the best time in two decades to live and invest in Mexico, thanks to the favorable exchange rate, I’d encourage you to do this sooner rather than later.