Category Archives: Living In Mexico

Articles related to the Mexican lifestyle.

In Ensenada, Cheap Mexican Charms Await

 

TRAVEL
In Ensenada, Cheap Mexican Charms Await
Jan.14.2015

For as long as I can remember, Ensenada has had a whiff of south-of-the-border excess and spring-break stigma. Less than two hours from San Diego, down the Baja California peninsula, it’s one of the easiest and safest places to experience Mexico on a budget — which makes it easy to think of this small coastal city and cruise line layover as a sort of Mexico for Beginners. But dismissing northwest Baja is a mistake. Beyond the souvenir shops selling sombreros, knockoff artesanía (handicrafts) and tacky T-shirts, there’s a college town, a port town and a budding culinary capital that invite exploration. While Ensenada and the surrounding area can require a bit of patience, its pleasures are worth the time it takes to find them — and all the more so because they can be had so affordably.

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A restaurant at La Bufadora, a powerful blowhole where families pose for photos as the Pacific sprays them with sea mist. Credit Freda Moon

 

I’ve had an affection for Ensenada since childhood, when it was a daylong car ride from my Northern California hometown and my introduction to international travel. In those days, I’ll admit, its beaches looked cleaner and the Pacific Ocean felt warmer. My brother and I would sip virgin piña coladas and spend hours scouring the beach for sand dollars. In college, it remained exotic in my mind — a place Tim, my then-boyfriend (now-husband), and I could go on winter break and feel like adventurous runaways. These days, Ensenada is simply the closest we can get to the Mexico we love without a plane ticket.

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New lanes ease wait times at border

 

New lanes ease wait times at border
By Sandra Dibble 6:36 P.M.SEPT. 17, 2014

SAN YSIDRO — Could long lines at the San Ysidro Port of Entry be largely in the past?

Many drivers accustomed to waiting in line for hours instead sailed through the busy border crossing within minutes on Wednesday.

What made it possible was the reopening of seven inspection lanes — and the completion of a key phase in the $741 million reconstruction of the massive port, the busiest on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Long Lines Disappear

Wednesday afternoon the lines at the San Ysidro Port of Entry were incredibly short, sometimes as small as 3-4 cars. Sean M. Haffey U-T San Diego

The expanded capacity in the primary inspection lanes means that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency charged with operating the port of entry, now has at its disposal 25 rebuilt inspection lanes with total of 46 booths. And that’s just the beginning: By January 2018, the port is expected to grow to 34 lanes with 63 booths.

“This is incredible. I can’t believe it. There’s something like 15 cars ahead of me,” said Marco Montano, as he waited early Wednesday afternoon to cross in the general lanes, which are usually the longest. He and a friend were heading from Tijuana to San Diego to purchase a bus part and had been prepared for the usual wait of two to three hours — not 10 minutes.

And so the cars flowed into San Diego from Tijuana: A grandmother returning from a family visit, an unemployed man from Spring Valley coming back from a doctor’s appointment, a construction worker from Lake Elsinore going home after visiting family in Rosarito Beach.

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Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas, Mexico

 

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas, Mexico
DESTINATION & TOURISM | BRANDI ANDRES | SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

Just a 40-minute drive south of the California border to Mexico, a few miles beyond Rosarito, is the quiet, guard-gated community of Las Gaviotas.

Beyond the walls of this Northern Baja retreat is a calming escape from the daily grind that inspires a whole new fondness for Mexico. Rows of houses are stacked on a slope above the Pacific and have second-level views of the deep blue. Since the homes are privately owned (there are no resorts or hotels here), the best way to find a vacation rental is through a search online or through a travel agent.

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas

Three-Day Stay: Las Gaviotas

Within the community, there’s a private beach where many Southern California surfers can be found from morning to early afternoon paddling out, determinedly, beyond the pounding waves to catch the kind of curls most people would think only exist in places like Hawaii. Although the surges can fluctuate, these waters aren’t for the faint of heart. Less experienced surfers should proceed with caution, and beginners might consider avoiding the waves altogether. The tides are strong and every evening the salty sea crashes against the cliffs that protect a string of homes along the shoreline.

For families with little ones and those who’d rather not mess with sand, there’s a community pool and hot tub that overlook the ocean. On some days a pop-up fish stand sits at the edge of the stone-paved terrace of the pool house where guests can order the freshest catch of the day sashimi-style or in a mouth-watering ceviche, a mixture of seafood cured in lemon or limejuice with salt, spices and in this part of the world tomato, onion, avocado and cilantro.

What’s nearby?

Most who stay in Las Gaviotas bring their own groceries for home-cooked meals, but anyone who loves seafood must visit the “lobster village” of Puerto Nuevo. Only a short drive to the south on Carretera Libre (free road), this small town has shops filled with Mexican art, jewelry and trinkets, plus restaurants that serve up fresh-caught fried lobster piled high on a platter and shared family style with sides of rice and beans.

Siete Mares (Paseo del Mar #2, 646-218-2370) is the place we’d recommend for the food, friendly service and a gorgeous sunset view from the outdoor deck. Villa Ortegas Restaurant seems to get a good crowd, as well. Keep in mind all of the restaurants and shops are cash only.

The city of Rosarito is also close by, just eight miles north of Las Gaviotas, and offers a larger variety of shopping, restaurant options and deep-sea fishing charters.

Across the road from Las Gaviotas is the most helpful White Horse convenience store, which sells snacks, beverages and ice.

When to go?

The weather is similar to Southern California, which means it can be nice year-round. But beach-lovers and sun-tanners would enjoy the summer months best.

How to get there?

The nearest airport is the Tijuana International Airport which has many of the well-known car rental companies, such as Thrifty, Alamo, Budget and Auto Europe.

For a weekend getaway, however, most visitors drive across the border at San Diego. The main stretch of the drive is along the highway, which is also a cash-only toll road. An important consideration, as with driving in any unfamiliar destination, is to follow all traffic rules (speed limit signs note kilometers/hour). An absolute must when crossing the border by car is to purchase Mexican auto insurance prior to entering.

A few road rules to know: drivers must wear seatbelts and it is illegal to use a cell phone while driving. For the safest trip by car, try staying on toll roads or along a main highway as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to stay within the gated community after dark.

When the weekend is over, consider heading back toward California in the morning hours. Wait time at the border can be anywhere from 3-5 hours, otherwise.

Be prepared to show a passport upon returning to the states.

As with traveling to any foreign country, please visit the website of the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

 

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Read more about the Baja style of living: http://www.bajarealestategroup.net/

Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing

 

Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing
Jason Oliva-August 25, 2014

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Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing.

A popular tourist spot, beachfront real estate and a newly converted resort hotel adds up to what developers say will give luxury senior housing in the U.S. a run for its money south of the border.

Those are the ingredients for Front Beach Retirement Mexico, a Mexican development company that sees opportunity in targeting American and Canadian seniors looking to retire in Mexico, particularly the widely popular tourist town of Puerto Vallarta.

Through an agreement with the Las Palmas Hotel, Puerto Vallarta-based Front Beach Retirement converted the 225 rooms of the all-inclusive hotel into an independent and assisted living community, Front Beach Puerto Vallarta.

“We’re offering a buffet-style of living,” says Front Beach Retirement and Mexico Assisted Living Marketing Director Joshua Ketner. “Rather than convert rooms into apartments, we left them at resort-style living.”

Though the company declined to disclose costs associated with the senior housing transformation, Ketner—who previously worked for A Place for Mom and as a caregiver at Aegis Living—told SHN that the overall spending on the conversion was minimal, as many of the rooms and accessibility features, such as hand rails, were already in place. The main cost, he says, was to convert a room into a doctor’s office.

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Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing.

The community embraces its hospitality roots, offering amenities like housekeeping services, two swimming pools, various dining venues, large common areas, direct beach access, a Tiki Bar and Internet accessibility.

Where the campus caters to its senior clientele becomes apparent with medical alert systems in every room, daily activities programming, transportation to medical appointments, wheelchair accessibility and 24-hour care provided by on-site nurses as caregivers and a resident physician who also lives within the community.

Aside from the seaside real estate and all the resort-style amenities included, the biggest draws for the Puerto Vallarta community are its lower price points on monthly rent and healthcare, says Ketner.

For $3,000 a month, residents at the Puerto Vallarta community can enjoy rooms with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as utilities such as air conditioning, electricity and water that are included in the rent. For double occupancy rooms, the monthly rent is $4,600.

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Mexico Developers Selling Cheaper Alternative to U.S. Luxury Senior Housing.

In the U.S., the costs for assisted living are considerably more expensive at $3,500 per month, according to the 2014 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. While this figure signals a 1.45% increase in the last year, costs for assisted living have grown 4.29% annually on a five-year basis—the highest of all long-term care settings recorded by Genworth.

A unique feature of the community is that it doesn’t restrict its age-50 and up cliente to a one-month stay minimum.

In another attempt to target those “snowbird” vacationers heading for warmer weather during their retirement years, Front Beach also offers one-week stays at $780 for single occupancy and $1,100 for doubles. Additionally, a two-week stay runs $1,509 for a single and $2,140 for a double room.

Still in its early stages of operations, with a grand opening slated in the next couple of weeks, Front Beach Puerto Vallarta has seen about 10 leads looking to move in come September so far.

“There’s quite the misconception of Mexico, but the economy is growing and there is a large middle class here,” says Ketner. “It’ll just take more time getting people accustomed to the idea, and us a few months to figure out what our niches are.”

http://seniorhousingnews.com/2014/08/25/mexico-developers-selling-cheaper-alternative-u-s-luxury-senior-housing/

Written by Jason Oliva

 

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Read more about the Baja style of living: http://www.bajarealestategroup.net/

After The Kids Have Gone: Former Spring Break Destination In Mexico Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper

 

After The Kids Have Gone: Former Spring Break Destination In Mexico Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper
By Rebekah SagerPublished July 18, 2014Fox News Latino

Town Once Known For Spring Breakers Finds Quieter Ways To Prosper

The Rosarito Beach area of Baja California in Mexico, once a thriving spring break locale that was decimated by crime and a collapsing economy, has had to find new, quieter ways to prosper.

Until 2008 or so, Rosarito Beach, about 10 miles south of the United States-Mexico border in Baja California, was a hot spot for kids on spring break looking to drink tequila, eat cheap lobster dinners and party the days and nights away. Then the economy crashed and crime reached epidemic proportions and suddenly the streets went from 24 hour fiesta to ghost town.

Baja Fresh Produce

The Rosarito Beach area of Baja California in Mexico, once a thriving spring break locale that was decimated by crime and a collapsing economy, has had to find new, quieter ways to prosper.

Until recently, that is. Today Rosarito is a thriving place for families, foodies and small businesses.

A visit to the only winery in Rosarito, Claudius, provides a glimpse into the innovation and resilience desperate (and resourceful) business owners in the area have gone through.

Julio Benitez, a native of Segovia, Spain, established the business just four years ago, and only this year is the label releasing its first bottles onto the market. The vinyard caters primarily to aficionados who can take classes at a small wine-making school, and a tasting room and restaurant for enthusiasts who would rather savor it.

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The New Tijuana: Craft Beer, Gastronomy & Art

In this week’s episode we cross the border and move past the myths about Tijuana, Mexico to explore the cultural revival that’s turning Tijuana from a border town into a rising travel destination.

Muchas gracias to Let’s Go Clandestino Tours, Verde y Crema Restaurant, The Beer Box, Border Psycho Brewery, Baja Craft Beers, & Tacos Kokopelli.

And also to our good friend Drew McGill for help filming!

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VAGABROTHERS: We’re Marko and Alex Ayling, brothers, backpackers, and bloggers on a mission to explore the world through its people.  Winners of the global travel-video competition “The Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List” which paid us to travel the world for six months, checking off our travel bucket list and documenting the adventure on YouTube. read more »

Housing inventory not much of an issue in northern Baja California, broker Kathy Katz says

 

Housing inventory not much of an issue in northern Baja California, broker Kathy Katz says

By GLENN GRANT, Special to The Daily Transcript
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

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Sales have doubled each of the past three years at Baja Real Estate Group in Rosarito Beach and Ensenada, says broker/co-owner Kathy Katz. Courtesy photo

Low housing inventory is a challenge for most San Diego County real estate firms. But it’s a different story just south of the border.

“We have great inventory in northern Baja California,” said Kathy Katz, broker and co-owner with husband Max Katz at Baja Real Estate Group in Rosarito Beach and Ensenada. “There’s been a lot of developer-financed new construction the past few years, but because we got hit by the economy along with everybody else, we have new standing inventory.”

Americans by birth, the Katzes have lived and worked in northern Baja for more than 20 years. They have a second home in Chula Vista but raised their children in Rosarito Beach, where they’re active in community affairs and among other Americans who live in the coastal city.

“I was doing vacation rentals in Rosarito, then met up with a developer and started re-launching his condos,” Kathy Katz said. “I was always in sales, so I guess this was my calling.”

The firm has clients in the United States, Baja and the Mexican interior, and prides itself on educating them about property ownership along the border. A client-relations staff member was recently hired to funnel prospective buyers to agents and help them make informed decisions.

The firm’s eight agents also help clear up prospective buyers’ apprehensions and beliefs about Mexican laws regarding foreign ownership, such as the 99-year land lease.

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The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

 

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico
January 15, 2014

Below is an unbiased look at the best places in Mexico to retire – with real pros and cons – to help you make an informed decision as to which best meets your needs, interests and ambitions.

So writes “Johnny Punish” (www.JohnnyPunish.com) in edited excerpts from his article written originally as an exclusive for www.munKNEE.com (Your Key to Making Money!) and under the title The Top 10 Places to Live and Retire in Mexico and the reasons why. Note: this paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Mexico

Punish goes on to say:

In the process of putting together this comprehensive report I have consulted with highly experienced ex-pats who have lived and/or live in the places that I rate here so, without further wait, here’s the top 10 places to live and retire in Mexico and the reasons why:

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco
2. Ensenada, Baja California
3. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
4. Guadalajara, Jalisco
5. Merida, Yucatan
6. Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
7. Mazatlan, Sinaloa
8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
9. La Paz, Baja California
10. San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas

1. Lake Chapala, Jalisco (Winner)

According to Kristina Morgan of Focus on Mexico, “Of all the places in Mexico I have been, none can quite compare with Lake Chapala. There’s something about this place that just seems…magical and, as corny as it sounds, that’s the word I hear people use to describe Lake Chapala time and again. Lake Chapala gets into your heart and becomes home. It’s like stepping back 50-70 years here regarding the simpler lifestyle, culture and values. When I’m here I feel like I can be me, like I can breathe a little more freely and be the person I want to be and this is a sentiment expressed by most everyone who has ever been here or lives here”.

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1 Picudas Este, Las Gaviotas in Rosarito Beach 22710

 

1 Picudas Este, Las Gaviotas in Rosarito Beach 22710

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Casa Piedra

Nestled along the Baja Coast, a mere 1 hour from downtown San Diego, is the exclusive oceanfront hamlet of Las Gaviotas. For over thirty years this community has set the standard for coastal living in the Northern Baja corridor. A secure community with exemplary amenities, Las Gaviotas is home to the most esteemed estates on the Baja Coast.

http://www.bajarealestategroup.net/images/virtual_tours/html/1_casa_piedra_back_patio.html

Experience the winery, dining and beauty of Baja California, Mexico

 

Experience the winery, dining and beauty of Baja California, Mexico
Jan 12, 2014
By Fernanda Beccaglia   

Approximately only 10 percent of Baja California’s wine gets exported, meaning you will need to make a trip to the area, specifically Valley of Guadalupe, to sample it for yourself–personally, I don’t mind.

Some of the popular varieties you will find include Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Malbec and Barbera.

If you are planning a trip any time soon to Mexico’s Baja California, here are my top suggestions.

wine in Baja California

Only 10 percent of the wine in Baja California is exported. Experience wine tasting, dining and travel destinations to its finest in the Mexican city. (Shutterstock)

Editor’s Top Choice
2005 Zinfandel Cru Garage, Torres Alegre y Familia

Graduated in Agricultural Engineering, Víctor Torres Alegre, owner and enologist, is the first enologist in Mexico to have a Ph.D. in the Science of Enology.

He received his doctorate from the University of Bordeaux, France, and has formulated innovative ideas and practices for winemaking that have been accepted throughout.

Its winery blends delicately into the dusty Baja Californian landscape, amid vineyards and olive groves.

His wine reflects his devoted passion and dedication to winemaking for over 30 years.

Signature wines

  • Cru Garage: Zinfandel, 75 percent Tempranillo – 25 percent Petit Verdot, Grenache and Nebbiolo
  • La Llave Blanca: (50 percent Sauvignon Blanc, 40 percent Chenin Blanc and 10 percent Moscatel)
  • La Llave Tinta: (70 percent Cabernet Franc, 20 percent Merlot and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon)

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