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Paulina Almeida of Tao Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Pool at Tao Mexico, Akumal, Quintana Roo – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCancun has an airport with the most international and tourism traffic in Mexico, second only to Mexico City. Cancun has flights coming in from Europe, the United States, Canada, and a lot more, so it is a really good airport. 
 
Cancun is a big city with a lot of huge hotels and a lot of companies mainly focused on tourism. Cancun is like Mexico City turning to the beach life. It is a great city to live in- it’s big and it has a lot of schools and houses. People move from Mexico City to Cancun because it is a really, really amazing city. The population in Cancun has grown a lot. If you see the path of progress, it is just amazing. Cancun had a population of 200,000 in the 90’s, and right now it’s about 800,000 people. 
 
Cancun has a main street that’s 20 kilometers long and is full of big hotels that have more than 10,000 rooms. The people who live in Cancun (as opposed to the tourists) are more on the outside of Cancun where they have their houses outside of the tourism area.
 
Going south, around a 50-minute drive from Cancun is Playa del Carmen, which is an amazing small town that has also grown a lot. In the 90’s, Playa del Carmen had only 2,000 people, and now there are around 200,000. It’s a small, party town that has grown amazingly. Playa del Carmen also has a main street called Fifth Avenue that has a lot of restaurants, lights, and life, and this main street is known because of being one of the most attractive tourism places to go in Quintana Roo. 
 
Playa del Carmen is like a Disney World in a little town in Quintana Roo where you can walk around and get to see a Mexican handcraft material, the people, and the little restaurants that give you the feeling of being in Europe. It is just amazing.
 
What people don’t know about Playa del Carmen is that it is much smaller than Cancun, and the hotels are nowhere near the size of the hotels in Cancun.
 
Builders in Playa del Carmen always make sure to follow the construction regulations of Playa del Carmen. Densities are regulated in Playa del Carmen, so you’ll find that you cannot have buildings that are more than five stories tall. 
 
Going south, you’ll find Puerto Aventura. Puerto Aventura is a 25-minute drive from Playa del Carmen. It is a residential area that has a marina where you’ll find boats, restaurants, and schools. Most of the people who live in this part of Riviera Maya, which is the coastline on the Yucatán Peninsula, are wealthier. Puerto Aventura is a big residential area where most of the people are wealthier. 
 
Further south, a 15-minute drive from Puerto Aventura is Akumal, a small fisherman’s town. Akumal offers a couple of restaurants that allow you to go in front of them into the ocean where you get to see these amazing big turtles and anguila (eels) and it is just amazing. Akumal is really a center for tourism where you get to see what the Caribbean has to offer – the white sand, the crystal clear waters, and all the animals that live in the ocean. It is an amazing experience to see.
 
In Akumal, you’ll also see the nearby cenotes from the Mayan culture which are the main attractions in the Riviera Maya, the coastline on the Yucatán Peninsula. The cenote played a central role in the culture of the Mayans. A cenote is a sinkhole that has incredibly clear, iridescent water in it that perhaps is connected through other cenotes throughout the Yucatán Peninsula, and many times have trees on the outside and an otherworldly feel to it. It is amazing. A cenote does not have salty water- it has fresh water. You discover another world inside of the cenotes.
 
As you get to Cancun from Akumal, you’ll see different signs to the cenotes and all the amazing things you can do in this region on the roads. 
 
One of the biggest developments within Akumal is Bahia Principe which has multiple hotels and residential developments. Bahia Principe is on the beach side of the federal highway. Within Bahia Principe is Tao Mexico.
 
Tao Mexico is 5 minutes from Akumal via the federal road. Akumal is in the beachfront. Tao Mexico has been in the Riviera Maya for seven years, since we started developing it. Tao Mexico is now one of the most unique real estate opportunities in the Riviera Maya. Tao Mexico is inside Bahia Principe, which is a master plan. It is amazing because Tao Mexico offers a unique architectural design that blends with nature. 
 
Right now we are on the last phase of constructing Tao Mexico. We have more than 400 different types of properties in Tao Mexico, and our main clients are Canadians and Americans. We built a community with a wellness center as the heart, and in this wellness center we offer holistic growth and well-being for our home residents. 
 
We have had more than 5,000 events at our wellness center. There are also exclusive amenities and daily activities for our homeowners. The vision of Tao Mexico is to give a sense of belonging to our residents. The properties of Tao Mexico are amazing and built with very high end materials, which causes a magical effect on the people because we don’t just build houses, we actually take care of our environment. That’s how Tao Mexico is built inside the jungle. 
 
A 15-minute drive further south is Tulum, a small town that has grown a lot. Tulum is a high-end little town with boutique hotels and cabanas on the beachfront. Tulum has a special feeling because it is considered a “hippie town,” and it offers organic living, taking good care of nature. 
 
Most of the hotels in Tulum are not massive and are built with wood and materials that people collect from the ocean in the region. Tourists go and are amazed. The Riviera Maya is also recognized for Tulum. Tulum is a place where a lot of people from Europe, the United States and Canada go. Tulum is just like a foreign place. The Riviera Maya ends in Tulum.
 
(Pictured: pool at Tao Mexico, Akumal, in the state of Quintana Roo.)
Gustavo Cisneros of Petén – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Peten in the fishing village of Sisal,Yucatan, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingLet’s start with the areas on the Atlantic coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo, which are Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, and Isla Mujeres. Those are the biggest areas. Most of the inhabitants there live off of tourism. Cancun has become a very big city with more than 500,000 people living there. What the people who live there do is mostly provide services to the tourism industry. That area is very important. There are new spots in that are that are now getting some attention. One of them is Holbox, which is a very nice island.
 
In the state of Yucatan in the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida concentrates 50% of all the people. You will also see other alternatives, which are very nice developments on the coast and where expats are now moving, such as Telchac, Chelem, and Chuburna. Development is also now moving towards other coastal towns of Sisal and Celestún.
 
In one of the larger areas of the coast of Yucatan, there are about 45,000 people living in Progreso, which is an industrial port so it is not as tranquil and as easy going as the rest of the areas in Yucatan. There are also a lot of people from Merida who have second homes in Progreso. The towns in the corridor that goes from Progreso to the east mostly have the same feel. Most of them are filled with summerhouses of people who live in Merida.
 
Moving from Progreso to the west, you would see the two towns of Sisal and Celestún. Celestún has around 10,000 and Sisal has around 2,000 inhabitants. Most of the tourists who are looking for a more authentic feel when they visit the state of Yucatan go to Celestún or Sisal. Sisal is not industrial, while Celestún, given its size, is a little bit more industrial. Sisal is a very small fisherman’s town. It’s a quaint village.
 
Then, when you move along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula to the west and south, you will find the state of Campeche. Campeche is also very concentrated in two cities. Its capital, which is also called Campeche, is very nice and very old. It is like a fort. It’s beautiful, as the government has refurbished it. Then here is the city of Ciudad del Carmen, where the oil production activities are based.
 
(Peten, a seaside community in the fishing village of Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)
Gary De Spiegelaere of Celestun Properties – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
View of the beach of Hotel Bahía Príncipe, Quintana Roo, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe Yucatan Peninsula includes three states: Campeche, Yucatan (where I am, in Celestún, and which also has the large city of Merida), and Quintana Roo, which contains Cancun, Playa del Carmen, etc., in an area called Riviera Maya.  The Yucatan Peninsula is quite a diverse area; the state of Quintana Roo is on the Caribbean coast and the state of Yucatan and Merida is on the Gulf of Mexico, so the peninsula has different in oceans.
 
The more you go towards Cancun or the Caribbean, the more you will find major tourist facilities such as large hotels with thousands of rooms. Here in the Yucatan, there is not so much a presence of large hotels. We do have smaller hotels in the smaller communities. In the Merida area, you will find the bigger chains such as Holiday Inn, which are places that are fairly comparable with the ones that you will find in the US. (When you are looking at a hotel in Mexico, if it is rated as a 4-star hotel, it would generally be equivalent to a 2-star to 3.5-star hotel in the US or Canada.)
 
The areas in Quintana Roo like Cancun are much more heavily populated. People from all over Mexico come there to work in the tourist industry. There is much crime in the tourist areas and if you go to the Yucatan areas of Merida or Celestún, where I live, there is virtually no crime at all.  
 
(View of the beach of Hotel Bahía Príncipe, Quintana Roo, Mexico, pictured.)
Jason Waller of Playa del Carmen Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 Puerto Adventuras, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingCancun is one of the main cities of Yucatan. It’s the one that everybody knows that’s been here for a long time. It’s been a top tourist destination for a long time. And as you start heading south from Cancun you’ll come to Puerto Morelos, which is more of a fishing village. It’s grown a little bit now but not much. They’ve got a lot of protected land there so there’s not a lot of growth that can happen. And those who live there don’t want growth. So it’s a pretty quiet place and it’s between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. 
 
Playa Del Carmen is your next stop. That’s the main hub these days for everything. Most of the people are coming to Playa Del Carmen for vacation and then you can branch out from there. It’s only a 40-minute drive from the airport so it doesn’t take long to get here. There are more than 200,000 people in Playa Del Carmen now and it’s the place where everybody wants to be these days.
 
Then as you head farther south than that, there is a small, gated community called Puerto Adventuras, which is the marina community. So for people who come here and want to have a boat, that’s where they would be. You can buy a house and dock your boat on the canal right behind your house or you can have a condo in the marina and put your boat in the marina. It’s just a small area, not too big at all.
 
And then after that you’ve got Akumal. Akumal is another small area. It’s known for is snorkeling. They have a huge concentration of sea turtles there. Every year the sea turtles come there to lay their eggs on the beach and then all the Akumal residents go out there and protect the eggs.  They figure out where the eggs were laid and when they will hatch.  When they do hatch, all the people go out there to help the turtles get to the ocean and not get eaten by the birds. It’s a really big deal out there. If you do a 5 minute snorkel you’re going to be able to see a giant sea turtle in the wild. It’s another quiet place.  There is one road and pretty everything is on the beach there.
 
As you head far south from there, there is Tulum, which is the site of archeological ruins. It’s the only one in this area that’s on the water; everything else is inland. So it’s pretty popular for that reason. And there’s also a small city town there with a really nice stretch of beach. The beaches in Tulum are some of the nicest beaches you’ll find in the world. It’s just beautiful. If we’re going to the beach, a lot of times we’ll drive to Tulum to just spend the day. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Playa del Carmen but it’s worth the drive there. 
 
Quite a way further south you’d come to Chetumal, a larger city which is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo. It’s not touristy and not known as a big expat community. There’s a small expat community there but not huge. Chetumal is very close to Belize. After Chetumal, if you continue going south, you hit Belize. That’s the end in that direction.
 
Over on the gulf side, you’ve got Merida, which is a large city with over a million people. It’s inland about half an hour to 40 minutes from the beach, and there’s a beach town there called Progreso. If you go live in Merida, you either come to the Riviera Maya to go to the beach or, if it’s for a couple of days or just a day or two, they’ll go to Progreso to go to the beach. Merida is about a 3 to 4 and a half hour drive from Playa Del Carmen and the Riviera Maya area.  
 
(The beach at  Puerto Adventuras, Mexico, pictured.)
John Venator of Casa de los Venados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
outside the Banamex museum on the Merida main square – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn the whole Yucatan Peninsula, one of the big players is Cancun, which is totally new-- 45 years ago it didn’t even exist.   Fonatur, a government agency, asked where they could bring tourists in and get what they and the tourists wanted.  Cancun is the closest thing to Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina, in that it is a planned community. It has a hotel zone, underground utilities, a water purification plant, a place where workers in the hotel live, a commercial center, etc. When we first lived in Cancun, about 30 years ago, there were only about 13,000 people there and now it’s about to hit 1 million in population. 
 
Merida is the old town, which was founded in the 1500s. It is a big commercial center with a million people. There is manufacturing there, with lots of commercial retail.  Merida is the business commercial hub of Yucatan. Since we are half way between Cancun and Merida, I have my dentist in Merida, and we go to a major hospital there, too. We go there for some concerts because there are more social events being held in Merida.
 
Going north, about 90 kilometers, there are several beach resorts that are much less well-known but a number of expats are in them because it is very inexpensive. One resort is called Holbox, which is an island that you get to via a ferry. Other resorts are Rio Lagartos and San Felipe, which were originally fishing villages that have now taken on an expat and resort flavor to them but they are very low key and extremely inexpensive as far as real estate. 
 
If you go north of Merida, there are a number of beach resorts. Historically, the most well-known is Progreso.  The whole area both east and west of Progreso has a bunch of fishing villages and beach communities.  Developers are buying chunks of beachfront in this area and putting up some fairly lower cost condominiums with about 10 to 12 units.
 
If you go south of Valladolid, basically all the communities other the ones I have mentioned above are small. In between here in Yucatan and Cancun or between here and Merida, there are a number of pueblitos, or villages where you might find one with about 10,000 people but it’s fairly rustic and there are no major chain stores. In Valladolid, we have three national grocery stores – Super K, Sorianos, and Aurora Bodega, which is a Walmart subsidiary. You won’t find those in any of the smaller communities. 
 
Here in Yucatan, most of the people, and even our current mayor, don’t speak English. Our next mayor who will take office in January is a former teacher, and does speak English. She was here for the Lion’s Club installation dinner. I had the chance to talk with her. The majority of people in the city government do not speak English. The majority of police officers don’t. There are some traffic police who are riding bicycles in town that are much more assessable.
 
Valladolid gets over a million tourists per year. Their average stay is 30 to 45 minutes because they are on tour buses that are coming or going to Cancun or some other place. Some of them come in the morning but a lot of them come at 6 PM. I counted 17 big tourist buses, not including the vans all parked around the town square with all these people going to the main church on the square, going up to the city hall to see the murals, walking around the central park in the main square. They buy themselves some beer, ice cream, or a bottle of soda pop before they get themselves back on their tour buses to go back to the hotel. It’s interesting.
 
The good thing here in Valladolid is that we have had a bit of a hotel business boom. There are now small boutique hotels with 10 to 20 rooms and some of them are quite nice. That is happening now because of the Pueblo Majico. Most people put this place now on their bucket list. Most of the tour guides say, if you want to have a colonial experience and you don’t want to drive hours all the way to Merida, go to Valladolid.  It is the closest town to Cancun on a secure toll road. After you leave Cancun, Valladolid is literally the first exit on the four lane highway. More people are coming here to Valladolid on their own as well. We have almost 1,000 hotel rooms now. We have everything from backpacking places where two to three students can stay up to hotels that are about 100 rooms each. We also have a couple of boutique hotels or B&Bs, a lot of which are owned by expats.
 
(Outside the Banamex museum on the main square, Merida, Mexico, pictured/)

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