Archive for May, 2013

Property in Costa Rica – Where Second Homes Are a Good Investment

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If you’re thinking of buying a second home, then you should consider buying property in Costa Rica – as prices are currently still inexpensive, but are rising rapidly.

By buying property in Costa Rica, you’ll be able to take advantage of a real estate boom that’s set to continue for many years to come.

Let’s look at why buying a property in Costa Rica is such a good investment:

Property Prices in Costa Rica are rising

Investors that purchased a $30,000 property 15 years ago, now find that their property is worth as much as $750,000.

Another example of the Costa Rica property boom is the Marriot Corporation, which built the Los Suenos Resort, pre selling fifty condominiums of 2000 square feet for $250,000.

The following year, Marriot sold another fifty at $350,000. This year’s upper end units are being sold for as much as $450,000 to $850,000!

The biggest change in property in Costa Rica during the past decade is that prices have dramatically increased as Costa Rica has attracted more foreign buyers – and prices have doubled, or tripled, from 10 years ago.

Property in Costa Rica is Inexpensive

Despite these huge property price rises, Costa Rican real estate is still cheap compared to countries such as the US. A lovely three bedroom property can be purchased for as little as $60,000, and prices for beachfront properties cost up to 75% less than in US states such as Florida and Arizona.

Property prices in Costa Rica will continue to increase in value over the coming years, but there’s another way to ensure that your properties value exceeds what is already an excellent average growth rate – and here we need to look at location:

The Importance of Location

When buying property in Costa Rica, you need to look at the infrastructure – which can improve an area’s value.

Here are examples of three infrastructure changes that will increase property prices in adjacent areas:

A New Freeway: Scheduled to be completed shortly, which will link the largest metropolitan cities to the Pacific Coast, thereby generating an increased flow of traffic and fueling buying interest in adjacent areas.

A New Marina: The largest marina in Costa Rica,is due to be completed soon in the Town of Quepos.

A New Airport: A new international airport is planned for the town of Orotina in the near future.

When buying property in Costa Rica, being in ahead of the crowd – before an important part of the infrastructure is completed, will enable perceptive buyers to take advantage of price rises after the infrastructure is completed.

If you’re buying property in Costa Rica, (or anywhere else for that matter) then you need to consider location before buying.

Buying Property is Easy

Where else in the world can foreigners come to a country which has a stable democracy, no military, a government that encourages investors with no restrictions, and where foreigners are entitled to the same ownership rights as Costa Rican citizens?

Throw in low costs and no capital gains tax, and its no wonder foreign buyers are looking at Costa Rica. Buying property is Costa Rica is easy – and that’s one of the major attractions.

A Demand Driven Market

Buying property in Costa Rica will continue to be a sound investment, as foreign buyers look for an affordable place to live with a great lifestyle.

Costa Rica is beautiful, and has a great climate with no weather extremes, a low cost of living, no serious crime and an infrastructure that is on par with many industrialized nations.

Buying property in Costa Rica offers a slice of paradise at a cost anyone can afford – and as more buyers invest, prices will rise.

 

Five Romantic Places to Visit in Spain

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Seeped in history, it is hard to not find romantic spots in every nook and cranny in Europe. The cobblestone streets, the towns crawling up hillsides, the castles, the gastronomy and wine…

It’s easy to be greeted with a seemingly endless array of places to share with that special someone. In Spain, there are the mountains, the little villages, the big cities, the gorgeous beaches, all conducive to setting the stage for a magical and romance-filled holiday.

From the no-brainer romantic spots (La Alhambra) to some that just need a little bit of thinking outside of the box (Tarifa), romantic spots in Spain are easy to find:

La Albufera, Valencia: Just south of the beautiful Valencia is La Albufera. Take a day trip or book beachside accommodation and take some time to explore this serene and beautiful landscape. The Albufera Nature Park is the perfect place to get in touch with the outdoors. The park is one of the most important nature parks in the region and is home to a freshwater lagoon that feeds via three canals into the Mediterranean. Make a day of it and take in the sights of the wetlands or, for bird-lovers, look for the 100,000-plus that make the park their home. It’s also the birthplace of paella, so be sure to enjoy some of the local gastronomy (at a candle-lit table overlooking the water, of course) before heading out.

La Albufera, Valencia: Just south of the beautiful Valencia is La Albufera. Take a day trip or book beachside accommodation and take some time to explore this serene and beautiful landscape. The Albufera Nature Park is the perfect place to get in touch with the outdoors. The park is one of the most important nature parks in the region and is home to a freshwater lagoon that feeds via three canals into the Mediterranean. Make a day of it and take in the sights of the wetlands or, for bird-lovers, look for the 100,000-plus that make the park their home. It’s also the birthplace of paella, so be sure to enjoy some of the local gastronomy (at a candle-lit table overlooking the water, of course) before heading out.

La Alhambra, Granada, Andalusia: This Moorish castle from the 1400s can take the entire day to explore. Located in the beautiful city of Granada, this hillside fortress oozes romance. Stroll hand-in-hand through the gardens overflowing with blooming roses, sit on a bench and take in the fountains and scenic overlooks of the city, or just wander from building to building, admiring the intricacies of the architecture and the well-preserved art. After spending the day in the ancient palaces, head back down the hill to the Arabic market and take in the sweet wafting smell of the shisha bars, enjoy some Moroccan mint tea or head to a local restaurant for some vino and complimentary tapas. At night, wander the back alleys to find hidden treasures, like flamenco clubs. Note: Booking a ticket at La Alhambra requires to be committed to a specific time slot. This is a popular attraction, so get there early in the morning to get the ticket. There is a café with tapas, wine and coffee to tide people over while waiting to enter this attraction.

El Reitro, Madrid: Yes, it is a park. And yes, it is in a bustling city, but that doesn’t make it any less romantic. Just ask the countless lovers draped on each other in very public displays of affection. This sprawling expanse lies just outside of the city center, near the glorious Prado art museum. On a sunny day, the green grass of El Reitro is the perfect place to spend some couple-time. Pack a lunch, grab a bottle of wine, and enjoy a picnic near the rose garden. Or, head over to the lake to rent a rowboat. There’s even a horse-drawn carriage to up the romance factor. During the summer months, the former Monarch-owned park features free concerts to enjoy.

Segovia, Castilla y Leon: A perfect day trip from Madrid, the ancient city of Segovia has some picture-perfect spots to admire with a partner. First, hit the center of the town to see the ancient Roman aqueduct that splices across the main square. Then, head over to the gothic cathedral. End the “must-sees” at the Cinderella-esque castle, Alcazar. Take the tour and stop to look out over the stunning Spanish countryside from one of the large picture windows. For some alone time, head to the path which winds down the castle’s perch to the outskirts of town way below. There, sit by the little creek surrounded by blossoming trees for a different perspective of Alcazar. Afterwards, head to one of the restaurants to try the local delicacy – a roast suckling pig with meat so tender it is sliced with a plate.

Tarifa, Andalusia: There’s something ridiculously romantic about sitting on the sand of the Mediterranean and seeing Africa in the distance. In Tarifa, spend time lounging on the beach where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean. This underrated small town is the southernmost point in continental Europe and features both Spanish and Moroccan charm. For adventuresome couples, there’s windsurfing and kite surfing courtesy of the winds from the Strait of Gilbraltar. Meander through the small alleys of the old city and stop in a courtyard for a clara or tinto de verano on the patio.

 

About area – Properties in Costa Blanca Spain

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Costa Blanca is located by the Mediterranean Sea on the eastern coast . The climate in Costa Blanca is very good all year round because the Mediterranean Sea helps to prevent too great or sudden changes in temperature. In the summer, there is almost constant sun-shine; precipitation is very rare. There is more precipitation in the winter months and early spring, but the region has always had a moderate amount of precipitation. The climate in the winter is mild as day-time temperatures rarely fall below +15 degrees. The beach season lasts from April until September, although even in November water temperatures often exceed +20 degrees The Mediterranean Sea cools down slowly, thus maintaining a pleasantly mild climate in the whole of the coastal region.

Because of the climate, which is mild throughout the year, the region of Costa Blanca is very popular among many Europeans who have chosen to purchase their second home in this particular region. It is best to come by plane. Most of the well-known European airlines – including the low-cost airlines of EasyJet and Ryanair – fly to the airports of Alicante and Valencia.

Denia

Denia is a city in the northern part of Costa Blanca. It is situated right between the airports of Alicante and as it is almost 100 kilometres away from both airports. Denia boasts frequent ship transportation to Ibiza and Mallorca . Ibiza is about 70 kilometres away from Denia and is thus a very popular destination for many of the yachts and launches that stay in the harbour in Denia. The Mediterranean freeway A7/AP7 passes through the region, so that distances seem very short when travelling by car. Even a drive from Denia to Barcelona usually takes only 4 to 4.5 hours. Denia is a city without any high-rise buildings – that is why, even in the summer, the region is not too over-crowded. The city is partly situated on the foot of the Montgó mountain. This part of the city boasts picturesque views of the sea and the city centre. Denia is a popular fishing port – hence fresh fish is always available and can be enjoyed in the city’s many fish restaurants. Denia is also famous for its many boutiques as even shoppers from Alicante and come here for a shopping trip. Right it the centre of the city, at the top of the mountain, there is a castle which houses various museums and features viewing platforms offering excellent views of the entire surrounding area. Despite having a reputation as a peaceful resort, Denia is at the same time also famous for its numerous festivities (fiestas). In the summer, there are constantly various different events taking place in the city centre. The most famous event is probably the bull-run, taking place every day of one week, right in the high street of the city, in the Calle de Marques de Campo. At the same time, there is also a bull-ring set up at the harbour and that is where bloodless bull-fighting takes place: people try to get the bull to jump into the water. The events are free for everyone and anyone brave enough can participate as well. The well-maintained sandy beaches of Denia start right in the city centre and extend for more than 15 kilometres to the north of the city. The southern part of the city, where the mountain drops straight into the sea, features the region’s best places for scuba diving. It is exactly these excellent local scuba diving opportunities that attract many of the tourists to Denia. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the region of Denia is the third healthiest place to live in the world, in terms of climatic conditions.

Calpe

Calpe is situated between Denia and Benidorm and is a well-known resort city. A characteristic feature of the city is the high steep cliff which drops into the sea right in the city centre. The beach is beautiful and well-maintained. The city also features a big yacht harbour with many yachts and launches.

Benidorm

Benidorm is a resort city famous for its skyscrapers and the beach boulevards bustling with night life. Whereas Europeans, when purchasing their second home, prefer more peaceful surroundings and favour the quieter environment of a small town, some tourists come to Benidorm in the summer precisely for the busy night life. The well-known water, amusement and theme parks Aqualandia, Mundomar and Terra Mitica are also located near Benidorm. Benidorm features the famous beaches of Levante and Poniante which are extremely crowded in the summer, making it difficult even to walk around, not to mention finding a place to lie down.

Alicante

Alicante is situated between and . The closest cities are Elche in the south and Benidorm in the north. There are approximately 300 000 permanent inhabitants in Alicante . The Alicante international airport is located out of the city, to the south of Alicante . This airport is one of the busiest airports in as it provides direct flights to many other bigger airports in Europe . There are plenty of sights to see in Alicante . There are many churches, monuments etc. in the city. There is a castle called Castillo de Santa Barbara located near the city centre on top of a hill. This is one of the biggest medieval castles in Europe . Alicante is also a well-known harbour city and an important transit centre. In the heart of the city, there is a big yacht harbour where many luxury yachts and launches can be seen. The city centre also includes the famous promenade which is surrounded by many cafés and restaurants.

Torrevieja

Torrevieja is a fast-developing resort city in the southern part of Costa Blanca. The area around Torrevieja has for a very long time been known as a salt production region. The terrain by the sea is flat and that is where many pools have been created for the production of salt. The centre of Torrevieja is rather over-crowded with tourists in the summer and the traffic is quite heavy. The reason for this is probably the fact that there is a lot of construction going on in the region and the city is spreading in all directions. The beach district of Torrevieja is well-maintained and the beach boulevards are a great place for walking. The residential buildings can predominantly be found in the so-called residential complexes (urbanizacion).

Nature

The landscape in the northern part of Costa Blanca is nice and mountainous, with the mountains often extending right to the sea. The region is primarily covered in green Mediterranean vegetation. The area to the north of Denia, up to , features many orange and lemon plantations as the region’s climatic conditions are suitable for growing citrus trees. To the south of Benidorm, towards Alicante , the terrain becomes more level and there is less vegetation. In areas south of Alicante , the mountains are increasingly farther from the coast and the coastal region becomes flatter. Costa Blanca boasts 320 sunny days per year, on average.

 

Costa Blanca remains top choice for Spanish property

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With its mountainous interior, miles of golden sandy beaches and subtropical climate it’s no wonder the Costa Blanca remains the most attractive and popular region of Spain for those wishing to purchase a holiday home in the sun.

The latest analysis of enquiries made on the largest English language Spanish property portal, Kyero.com from July to December 2012 reveals that the Costa Blanca continues to be the most attractive province for foreign buyers accounting for 33% of all enquiries generated. Malaga province attracted 15% of foreign buyer enquiries, followed by Murcia with 6% and Tarragona with 5%.

The most popular property types enquired about were apartments (37%) followed by villas (29%) and country houses (17%).

“With Alicante being such a popular choice for overseas buyers, it’s hardly surprising that the Costa Blanca is top of the list of foreign buyer enquiries. Here at Taylor Wimpey España we offer a variety of high quality, affordable developments in the province, with our own 57% increase in sales volume throughout 2012 in comparison to 2011, reflecting the Costa Blanca’s popularity,” notes Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Manager of leading Spanish house builder Taylor Wimpey España .

In terms of property size, the Kyero report reveals that 3-bed properties attracted the most interest (33%) followed closely by 2-bed properties (31%). And at 46% of all enquiries, the most attractive price band was €50,000 to €150,000, followed by those under €50,000 (22%) indicating that buyers are still looking to take advantage of falling prices and bag a bargain.

“The current domestic Spanish property market is reeling from one body blow after another however; our sales volumes prove this has not deterred foreign buyers purchasing second homes. Many view the Costa Blanca as the preferred holiday home destination; with warm seas, sunny skies, plenty to do day and night and more cheap flights per day than you could shake a stick at, it is a serious lifestyle option for fed up Brits looking to escape the cold,” Mr. Pritchard adds.

 

Spain set to be top holiday choice in 2013 for second year running

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With the summer holidays hot on its heels, families across Britain will be packing up their suitcases ready for some much-needed spring sunshine. Travel agent Direct Holidays predicts that Spain will be the top choice of holiday destinations for Brits during 2013, just as it was during 2012.

Data for the month of January released recently by the Spanish Ministry for Industry seems to support this prediction, with tourists spending 6.5% more when compared with January 2012. In fact, the Spanish Institute for Tourism Studies (IET) has just declared that 2012 was Spain’s third most successful year in tourism to date, with the majority of tourists coming from the UK.

With abundant sunshine, beautiful beaches and plentiful tapas, it’s easy to see why Spain is such a popular destination. But it’s not just Spain’s scenic and gastronomic features that have kept it at the holiday venue top spot.

According to the latest Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, which examines a range of costs from sun-cream to meals out, Spain is the cheapest holiday destination in Europe, something no family can afford to ignore during these trying economic times. TheMoveChannel.com backs this view, calling Spain’s largest Balearic Island of Mallorca ‘the perfect holiday destination for those looking for a great value break.’

For some families though, a holiday to Spain just isn’t enough and the merits of making their stay a bit more permanent prove too tempting to resist. Taylor Wimpey España, the award-winning Spanish arm of leading UK house builder Taylor Wimpey, saw sales of its Spanish properties to British owners soar during 2012, with figures up 24% on the previous year.

“Spain has held a place in British holidaymakers’ hearts for decades, but now we are finding that more and more Brits are wanting more than just a holiday,” notes Mr. Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of Taylor Wimpey España.

Buyers, according to Mr. Pritchard, are looking for permanent or second homes in Spain, taking advantage of the country’s current bargain property prices.

Mallorca and the Costa Blanca are proving particularly popular areas, with their obvious delights of wide sandy beaches and charming laidback towns.

 

 

Best Exotic Holiday Destinations – Mexico Top 5 Places to Visit

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Are you looking for the best & most exotic destination for a holiday with your loved ones? There are a number of destinations in the world that will fit the bill. Mexico is one of those locations. Mexico easily tops the list for one of most romantic and exotic holiday destinations. Mexico is one of the popular travel spots for newlyweds and love buds to flock into the white beaches of this exotic land. In addition to this, you can avail the all inclusive resort deals which offer the best special couples spas, special beach-side dinners, and romantic treats at an affordable rate. Wandering all this to be pricey? Relax with the plenty of travel deals online you can make your dream vacation possible. In the past few years, four and five starred hotels have sprung up, sprawling mega-malls have been erected and a strong tourism infrastructure has been put to place in order to satisfy even the most demanding long haul tourists that might consider visiting Mexico. Legendary travel agency Thomas Cook was one of the first to offer all inclusive packages and other great deals to visit Mexico through their website thomascook.com and now, in a few short years, Mexico has become one of the major tourist hubs of the world. It is a land of amazing vistas, history and culture in abundance and sports and beach holidays. Let us look at top 5 places to visit in Mexico

1) Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas which is also commonly known as Cabo is world famous for its balnearios, scuba diving locations and beaches. The Los Cabos Corridor has become a top holiday destination for tourists, with wide number of resorts and hotels along the coast between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. You’ll find crashing waves off Cabo’s Pacific coast and sheltered, calm water on the Sea of Cortez. Given those options, Cabo has built a rare reputation for both excellent outdoor sports (big-game fishing, diving and kayaking, among others) and pure beach relaxation. Of course, there’s also great nightlife. Cabo’s resorts, hotels and inns cater to everyone from honeymooners to families to Hollywood stars seeking a weekend getaway.

2) Mexico City
This spectacular metropolis enjoys a wonderful climate and the evenings are actually cool. As a result any time of year would be an excellent time to go to The Capital City of Mexico. The fabulous Chapultepec Park happens to be an immense park that has been established in the middle of the Mexican capital. The extremely popular Chapultepec Park is the largest sized park in the Americas and it consists of large numbers of the city’s most incredible attractions. Mexico City offers a unique collision of contemporary city life and historic preservation. World-class museums, restaurants and parks rub shoulders with the remains of several cultures. The nightlife, the shopping and the history make it a must-see regardless of your travel style.

3) Cancun
Cancun is a tourist destination famous with holiday revelers all over the world. It is situated in Southeast Mexico. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, and is one of the easternmost points in Mexico. It is well known for the Nichupte Lagoon, location used for boating excursions and Jet Ski jungle tours. It’s not just for spring-breakers. Cancun, with its golden beaches and perfect climate, is the premiere coastal destination in Mexico. And while there is certainly a 365-day party available for college students, resorts cater well to families and to those seeking solitude. This Yucatan paradise is also the gateway to the ruins of Tulum and Chichén Itzá.

4) Oaxaca
Oaxaca is a place in Mexico famous for its rich culture, heritage and personal service. People find everything amazing about Oaxaca from wonderful theatres, museums and delectable cuisines. Easygoing and vibrant, Oaxaca offers the best of southern Mexican charm, pairing lively festivals and entertainment with fantastic cuisine and unique cultural attractions. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Oaxaca is home to the spectacular Macedonio Alcala theatre and a short drive from the inspiring rock formations at Hierve el Aqua.

5) Akumal, Mexico
Akumal is a beachfront town 100 kms from Cancun. The place guarantees total satisfaction, thanks to the numerous activities you can enjoy and the great opportunities provided to you for relaxation and unwinding. It is on the Caribbean coast, located in a place known as the Mayan Riviera. Even though Akumal used to be very remote a few years back, the place still enjoys some level of serenity and quietness than most of the other tourist destinations in Mexico. Akumal means “Place of the Turtle” in the Mayan language, and if you snorkel here, you just might see one swimming alongside you. You’ll definitely see coral and beautiful fish in the clear, sparkling waters.

 

Spending a Romantic Getaway in Cancun

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No matter how long you’ve been with your significant other, small gestures like planning a romantic holiday always make them smile and strengthen the relationship. If you are in the States, you really don’t need to break your budget to get to Paris for that perfect romantic getaway. Cancun is a much better choice especially when winter sets in the Northern Hemisphere.
Planning your budget: flight and accommodation
The high season in Cancun lasts between mid-December until end of March so St. Valentine’s Day falls right in the middle of it. In short, everyone who wants to come to Cancun will probably come during this time of the year. The flights to Cancun fill up quickly so you should consider booking in advance and making sure to check out the special offers as well.
Depending on where you are heading to, Mexico hotels range from very cheap to expensive. Of course, it does depend a lot on your budget and what you expect from staying in a hotel. If you are on a backpacking trip, budget hotels are perfect.
But if you want to impress your loved one, you should look for hotels in Cancun which offer nice amenities and a romantic mood.
Romantic things to do in Cancun
Go horseback riding. Double points if you manage to do it on the beach, at sunset. There’s something magical about enjoying the azure waters and the company of your loved one. Stop for a romantic picnic and to take a dip in the water.
Swimming with the dolphins might sound as an activity reserved for the kids. But grown ups can have fun too.
A day trip visiting Chichen Itza might not be everyone’s ideal of a romantic way to spend time together. But taking a break from the resort routine and the beach activities is a nice way to set a new pace for your vacation and to create beautiful memories.
If you want to stay close to Cancun but want to explore some other place, go to Isla Mujeres. The snorkeling opportunities are excellent and there are quite a few other things to do here including checking out some sights.
If you feel adventurous, you can always try a speedboat tour or an ATV tour through jungle and mangrove. Of course, it does depend on whether your significant other would like such a getaway.

 

3 Days in Cancun: Itinerary Ideas

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Cancun is the perfect place for a quick, long weekend getaway. Airfare from the Continental USA and Canada is cheap, the flights are often short and it feels a world away from business as usual. With an array of hotel options, from ultra-inexpensive hostels to five star all inclusive resorts that cater from every demographic, from backpackers to families, to honeymooning couples and retirees, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Cancun.
If you’re flying in one one of the long weekend package deal you’ll want to prioritize to make the most of your time.

Day 1: Fun & Sun

You came to Mexico to relax, so let’s start there! Odds are, your hotel has a pool or a beach to enjoy so spend some time holding down a beach blanket and reading your book. All beaches in Mexico are considered public property, so you can go anywhere you like. However, the hotels built on the beach are unlikely to let you use their facilities unless you’re a registered guest or buy food at their restaurants. Waters on the lagoon side of the strip are calmer than on the ocean side where you should watch for flags announcing swimming conditions to change throughout the day.
Book a snorkeling tour or take a resort SCUBA dive trip and see some beautiful underwater wildlife, rent a jet ski, or go parasailing (tip: talk to the boat captain, make sure he’s sober! No kidding.)
While relaxing on the beach, “No Gracias!” is your phrase of choice. It means “No thank you,” and you’ll need it often to ward off the many hawkers that work the resort beach strip selling their wares. Be warned, if you buy from one, you’ll have many others within minutes.

Day 2: Choose Your Own Adventure

X-Caret

X-Caret is an eco park that will provide a one stop introduction to Mexican history, culture, geography and wildlife. Part zoo, part conservation area, part museum, part theater and cultural celebration it’s well worth a day trip. Be sure to stay for the evening show, which is one of the most magical celebrations of Mexican history in the country.
Xel-Ha

Xel-ha is a natural aquarium park that brings visitors face to face with ocean life. Snorkel their protected lagoon and see fish in quantities and sizes that you just won’t anywhere else on the coast. Their dolphin swim and research program is one of the most humane and ethical anywhere and is worth supporting. If you plan to swim with dolphins, do it here instead of through your hotel.
Coba

Most people take the bus trip to Chichen Itza or Tulum to visit a Mayan ruin site. My recommendation is to forgo both of the over touristed “biggies” and instead take the longer bus ride out to Coba. You’ll pass through tiny pueblos and countryside on the way before you hike through the jungle to one of the most fascinating and unique sites on the Yucatan. Nohoc-Mul is the tallest pyramid on the Yucatan and is one of the few remaining that visitors are still allowed to climb to the top of. The view of the jungle is spectacular. This will be an all day trip with a lot of walking, so plan accordingly.
SCUBA Dive

There are lots of resort dives and SCUBA shops abound in Cancun. If you’re an avid diver and are looking for an excellent dive company with high safety standards, and the best reef on the coast, consider SCUBA Mex. They operate from the Paamul RV and Cabana/hotel complex and are staffed with American dive masters. Quality gear can be rented and full SCUBA courses are offered if you’re interested in certifying.

Day Three: Shopping

Doubtless there is ample shopping within a stone’s throw of your hotel. Cancun has no shortage of shops catering to the tourist crowd and street hawkers stalking your every move. If you’d like to get beyond the hotel strip and experience a bit more “authentic” side of Mexican commerce hop in a cab and ask them to take you to Mercado 23. You’ll easily while away half a day lost in the labyrinth of this local market. Take time to savor the sites and smells of each section. Even the meat and fish section.
Here you’ll find local folks shopping for their daily needs and you won’t be accosted by hawkers selling tacky t-shirts or woven bookmarks. This is solidly off the tourist strip and not for the faint of heart. It is the real Mexico, or as close as you’re going to get in a resort town!
Do yourself a favor, buy your souvenirs here. Don’t, however, flash large wads of cash or carry every credit card or form of ID you brought with you in your back pocket. Leave the bling at your hotel, travel light for the day, and spend a day walking in the realities of the place you came to visit.

 

Riviera Maya – SUN, SAND AND THE AZURE SEA

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Life doesn’t get much better than it is for those living in Riviera Maya. Located on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the area offers world-class diving, sailing, fishing and some of the most breathtaking beaches in the entire world. It will be love at first sight when you watch your first sunrise over those crystal-clear Caribbean waters.

Although the water is the star in Riviera Maya there are hundreds of other reasons to visit Mexico’s east coast as well. For those who love swimming, diving, sailing, fishing or just gazing at the pool-like waters of the Caribbean, there is no better place.

Inland, there is something for everyone. From the quaint, traditional pueblo of Playa del Carmen, to the bright lights and plentiful shopping of Cancun, the cultural experiences here are abundant. If history is your thing, you will love exploring the colonial-era city of Merida and the Mayan ruins of Tulum.

Of all Riviera Maya’s many unique characteristics, the best may be its people. Wherever you go, friendly and helpful locals welcome you with a tremendous sense of community.

With a cost of living that is 40% lower than anywhere in the U.S., plus incredible year-round weather, great food, plentiful golf courses, a budding art community, world-class medical facilities, and an international airport offering daily flights to the U.S. and Canada (more than any other airport in Mexico), Riviera Maya is one of the most livable areas in the country for Americans and Canadians.

 

Exotic Places of Canada

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AN ENORMOUS COUNTRY, NO ROOM FOR BOREDOM
Canada’s varied climate is suitable for extreme pursuits of all types, with everything from cold winter snow to warm summer sunshine. The daunting Canadian Rockies lay along the border between British Columbia and Alberta, and contain dozens of top-notch ski resorts whose snowy peaks attract adventurers during the chilly winter months. The Pacific Ocean off the coast of British Columbia provides numerous adventure options when things start to warm up during the spring and summer, while Quebec and Ontario offer vast parklands, brilliant lakes and some mountainous terrain. The environment in the territories of Northern Canada is less forgiving and is comprised mostly of tundra, which is defined as being near-treeless mountain terrain. Up there, extreme cold-weather ventures, such as snowmobiling and dog-sledding, are prevalent.
EXTREME DESTINATIONS

Kayaking a Rapid on the Columbia River2 British Columbia is acclaimed internationally for its beautiful landscape, mild weather and high-flying thrills. The Pacific Ocean provides western Canadians with access to the great wide open. Here, surfers take to the tide to test their nerves and skills against the churning brine. Tofino offers some of the most popular surfing at Long Beach. Sea kayaking is also a popular sport. Novices and veterans alike pit themselves against the deep during the summer months. However, freshwater kayaking in British Columbia is far from unheard of. The Columbia River, for example, offers plenty of rapids. A plethora of rivers, waterways and rapids speckle the entire province and allow adrenaline junkies to shoot powerful rapids in canoes or kayaks or as part of a whitewater rafting group.
Rock climbing is also popular in British Columbia and the province is generally known as the extreme climbing capital of the country. Climbers often opt to test their abilities in the Rockies, but the inland city of Squamish provides its own unique challenge at the famous Stawamus Chief, a massive cliff-faced granite giant, provides more than 1000 different climbing routes and hosts extreme national climbing competitions each summer. The area is also a hotbed for mountain biking and corresponding competitions and events.

The Rocky Mountains The Rockies of British Columbia and neighbouring Alberta provide an entirely different range of endorphin-juicing options. BC has over 30 ski hills, including critically acclaimed international destinations like Whistler, Big White, Panorama, Fernie, Silver Star, Kicking Horse Mountain and plenty more. Alberta boasts a wide range of slopes in and around Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. Resorts such as Lake Louise, Sunshine, Norquay, Marmot Basin, Fortress Mountain, Nakiska in Kananaskis Country and Canada Olympic Park in the city of Calgary bring in skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. For an even more extreme downhill experience, heli-skiing here has gained an excellent reputation among die-hard adrenaline junkies.During the summer months when the snow has thawed, the mountains teem with bikers, canoeists, kayakers, whitewater rafters and other outdoor and extreme sport enthusiasts. These parks and peaks make up the single most popular tourist destination in the entire country.

Alberta Alberta offers its own range of exciting activities. Like the lakes in British Columbia, prairie lakes see their share of wakeboarding and waterskiing, jet boating and all manner of other watersports. Kiteboarding and windsurfing are extremely popular on Sylvan Lake, Ghost Lake and on other fresh-watered bodies scattered across the great Canadian plains. Snowmobiling, ATVing and auto racing are also tremendously popular exploits all over Western Canada and both pastimes are rooted deep in Canadian culture dating back to the time when gas turbine engines and the vehicles that used them became abundant. And like everywhere else that receives annual snowfall, tobogganing down the various foothills, valleys and ravines and pretty much any other downhill grade occurs every winter.

Eastern Canada The eastern provinces provide just as many opportunities to be extreme as those in the west. Ontario is home to more lakes and waterways than any other province in the country, and accordingly, a ton of watersports await visitors in this vast province. Waterskiing and wakeboarding, sailing and other waterbound thrills can all be successfully sought here. Boulevard Lake is very popular with wakeboarding enthusiasts.. Skydiving, hang-gliding and paragliding in Ontario and across Canada provides what adrenaline junkies refer to as “the ultimate hit.” Bungee jumping can provide a similar rush. Ontario is also home to numerous paintballing establishments. Of course, rock climbing and similar adventures can be experienced in this vast province as well.

Paragliding in Quebec6 Quebec’s landscape is fairly similar to that of Ontario, however, the province offers a unique downhill ski experience not found in its neighbour to the west. The province has more than 30 different slopes to choose from, the most well-known being Mont Tremblant, Mont Ste Marie and Le Massif, which has more vertical drop than any other resort in Eastern Canada and ample snowfall. Quebec summers are mild and accommodate loads of crazy outdoor pursuits with high-flying mountain biking being a popular favourite. The province has a significant number of ATV and snowmobile enthusiasts and indulges these folks with many trails and parkways.

Northern Canada Northern Canada’s snow-laden territories encompass an enormous area. The Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Nunavut all make up this barren landscape home to a sparse population but a ton of extreme outdoor adventures. The Yukon is home to the Yukon Quest, a 1609 km (1000 mi) race said to be the most challenging international race in the world. Dog sled teams from all over the globe rush to start the race in Fairbanks, Alaska and cross the finish line in Whitehorse, Yukon. Northern adventures and winter exploratory expeditions provide thrills unheard of when conventionally camping in a temperature climate. Tundra adventure tours are plentiful in the Great North.