Archive for September, 2013

Mexico Real Estate: Who Is Buying Now And Why?

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The answer to the question can be summed up in several different categories of buyers;

  • Smart Money Buyers seeking bargain investments while the market has dipped
  • Families who love Mexico and whole family can use the property and help purchase it
  • Buyers who know living in Mexico is less expensive and want to retire in Mexico



Mexico Real Estate Why Buy Now



Now this is the obvious short list and it covers some of the reasons there have still been buyers in the Mexico Real Estate market in spite of the negative press being reported about South of the border. Rest assured there have been buyers and the pace is picking up. The first properties that are being bought are of course the best deals as it always has been and it always will be, particularly when some of the prime properties are selling at 25% to 50% of the selling price that they were as of 4 years ago.

Many developers, who were planning on reaping the fruits of the highly anticipated mass exodus of Baby Boomers that were, suppose to be heading South to Mexico to retire, have put a halt on building their projects due to the lack of sales. The biggest reason may be because the Americans can not get an easy home equity loan any more to finance their retirement homes in Mexico as many had planned to do 4 years ago and that coupled with the devaluation of their USA homes killed their plans.

Some of these bargains are driven by people who have so much cash invested in these properties they will take the loss on their Mexico Real Estate just to get their hands on hard to find fast cash. This is not a case of them loosing their home it’s a matter of not tying up that

much cash because they need to shore up their other financial issues in the USA due to the bad economy there. The remaining inventory that has been left in the wake of the crash is now selling off with some regularity as the security issues of Mexico are better understood by the well seasoned travelers to Mexico who feel it is safe if you follow the simple rules of a smart person traveling anywhere else in this world like Detroit, Kansas City, New Orleans and Atlanta.

The good news is the Mexico Real Estate market will recover much faster than the USA housing market. Canadians who have a strong dollar and booming oil market are taking advantage of the real estate situation in Mexico and also in several USA markets as well. Due to these facts and the political uncertainty in the USA, soaring health care costs, many buyers are looking to get into the Mexico Real Estate now as part of their retirement plan. Addressing both major issues of concern for those over 50, which is affordable housing and health care are at the top of their list. The profile of the buyers is very different with one exception; they are all seeking the best value for their dollars whether they are US or Canadian dollars.





Canada – sales exceed expectation, stir concerns

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New home sale numbers confirm what every real estate agent and mortgage broker has already guessed — home sales in August were sharply up from the same month last year, driven by fears of rising interest rates.


August sales exceed expectation, stir concerns



The number of home sales processed through the MLS® Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations and other co-operative listing systems rose 2.8 per cent on a month-over-month basis in August 2013. On a year-over-year basis the climb was 11 per cent.

The number of local markets where sales improved on a month-over-month basis ran roughly even with those where activity edged lower in August, with increases in major urban center tipping the balance.

“All real estate is truly local, but sometimes sales trends can change similarly in a large number of markets at the same time due to factors that can affect all markets across Canada,” said CREA President Laura Leyser. “The recent hike in fixed mortgage rates is one example of an influence that affects all markets, but it’s just one of many things that shape housing market trends.”

Sales were up on a year-over-year basis in about two-thirds of local markets, led by double-digit gains in Vancouver Island, Victoria, Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Edmonton and Greater Toronto.

“Sales activity dropped sharply around this time last year in the wake of tightened mortgage rules and has improved since then, so a sizeable year-over-year increase this August was expected,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Buyers who put off purchase decisions or who were otherwise sidelined by tighter mortgage rules and lending guidelines implemented last year were anticipated to return to the housing market. That said, the upward trend and levels for activity in recent months has been steeper than expected, but that may not last.”

“Recent increases to fixed mortgage rates caused sales to be pulled forward as buyers with pre-approved financing at lower rates jumped into the market sooner than they might have otherwise,” Klump added. “That pool of homebuyers has largely evaporated so demand may soften over the fourth quarter. The outsized year-over-year gains may persist, however, due to weak sales toward the end of last year.”



Does Green Real Estate exist in Costa Rica?

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Green real estate or eco real estate, what is the difference? Does green real estate exist in Costa Rica?


Green building Costa Rica


Costa Rica is considered part of a biodiversity hotspot. INBio, the National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica states that about 4.5% of the world’s biodiversity can be found in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is home to about 12,119 species of plants, there are 117 native trees and more than 1,400 types of orchids.

Almost a half of the country’s land is covered by forests. Costa Rica is all about being ecological. But is the Costa Rica real estate offered online green real estate?

You will find very little green construction in Costa Rica but there are a lot of eco communities. Architect Bruno Stagno and some others have designed and built a few green homes and green commercial buildings in the Central Valley and outside.


Green building in Costa Rica


Costa Rica promoting themselves as Green Developments or Eco developments. You will find some other communities that are looking for healthy land, simple living, clear flowing water, organic food and living in a healthy community, some others have a more religious back ground.


Ecological or Low Density?


You will find a lot of eco developments and eco condominiums who advertise themselves as a green residential community because the zoning allows them only low density and they are obliged to have 75% of their project without construction, which has nothing to do with eco development.  This blog is about giving you a place to start your research so you can find that paradise you are looking for.


Requirements for Green Building


Download Requirements for Sustainable buildings in the Tropics here


Do developers use green and sustainable guidelines and goals to create green real estate developments? Since December 2012, developers can qualify for “Requirements for Sustainable buildings in the Tropics” (RESET), which will allow the construction, operation and maintenance of homes and buildings in Costa Rica to be certified as sustainable. This certification establishes 21 requirements that allow the use of tropical conditions to save energy and water and prioritizes the use of materials made in Costa Rica that are made under sustainability standards.

“The idea is to exhaust the potential of design before resorting to technology, these are complementary where architectural options are exhausted” said Bruno Stagno, architect and leading advocate of the certification.

Even though Costa Rica does its best to deliver what they preach about sustainability, on the green construction – green real estate development and eco real estate, I have not been able to find any developers that were certified yet.


10 Amazing Dream Weekend Getaways in Canada

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10 Amazing Dream Weekend Getaways and Short Holidays in Canada


This week, Saveene has put together a list of ten of the top unique getaways that Canada has to offer. From luxury food, wine, and spa getaways to true Canadian wilderness adventures, unique Canadian experiences, and sights that you’ll faint at – this list that will bring you to the best activities, sights, adventures, and accommodations in Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland.


1.King Pacific Lodge in Central British Columbia & Killarney Lodge in Algonquin Park, Ontario
King Pacific Lodge in British ColumbiaIf you’re looking for luxury married to the stunning Canadian wilderness, then King Pacific Lodge in British Columbia is your best bet. The lodge is found in the Great Bear Rainforest just off of the remote Princess Royal Island in central BC. A truly secluded haven, the lodge is accessible only by a charter plane from Vancouver, followed by a Champagne welcome-reception upon you arrival.

For the best in portaging, camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, biking, hiking and trekking, Algonquin Park has little competition with its hundreds of lakes and trails. Keep your eyes open for beavers, moose, turtles, deer, lynx and black bears. Killarney Lodge in Algonquin offers cozy private log cabin rentals on the lake – with canoes for the borrowing. Meals offered in the lodge offers delicious country cooking that is a true Canadian experience.

2.Sip and Spa in Niagara, Ontario & the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia 

Okanagan Valley, British ColumbiaWind through the countryside backroads, through valleys, hills, and vineyards as far as the eye can see in these top Canadian wine regions: The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia and the Niagara Region in Ontario.

Just 4 hours from Vancouver, The Okanagan Valley is home to more than 70 wineries supplying 95% of the wine in B.C. With rows of vines that slope down towards the water, the views are as stunning as the many local and friendly winegrowers, fresh produce, bed and breakfast owners, and luxury resorts and spas.

Going eastward, the overall Niagara region and the Niagara-on-the-Lake community are home to some of Canada’s top wines, including its famous Ice Wines. In the cozy town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, you’ll find some of the best spas in the Americas, including 100 Fountain Spa at the Pillar and Post Hoteland the Secret Garden Spa at the Prince of Wales Hotel. Stop by Peller Estates Winery or Vineland Estates Winery for some of the best food and wine pairing experiences in Niagara.


3.Culinary and Jazzy Delights in Montreal, Quebec

Montreal Jazz FestivalMontreal is the best place to celebrate wonderfully delicious smoked meat, poutine, foie gras, venison and maple-syrup-spiked foods in Canada. From $5 plates of fatty-grade smoked meat in its local shops to its $200 (per person!) fine dining tasting menus with a whole hung of foie gras – cheap eats and foodies come together in harmony inMontreal.

As a place that is so passionate about food, it is just as passionate about music. The Montreal International Jazz Festival or Jazz Fest, is the largest festival in the world. The 10-day festival usually takes place at the end of June or beginning of July and attracts over 2 million people. Small clubs to huge venues are packed with jazz aficionados enjoying the beautiful Montreal scene in the summertime. Absolutely delightful.

More on Montreal? Read our article on the Top 10 Highlights Chez Montreal.

4.Golf in Summer and Ski/Snowboard in Winter at Whistler, British Columbia

Hike in the summer, ski/snowboard in the winderWhistler has more to offer than just winter activities and adventures! When the snow melts away, the 2181-metre peak of Whistler and Blackcomb become your summer playground, with activities like mountaineering, hiking, a mountain biking park, rafting, canoeing – the list goes on. Whistler is also one of the best spots for golf in Canada – imagine teeing off at many of Whistler’s championship golf courses with the stunning mountains in the foreground and the sun on your face. Something more relaxing? Hang out in Whistler’s pedestrian village to check out the shops, restaurants and cafes, and spas.

If you’re visiting Whistler Blackcomb during the wintertime, it’s likely you’re going to brave it out to carve up its remarkable slopes. As the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics’ Alpine Skiing Venue, Whistler is growing and will have completed their new Peak2Peak Gondola, an eleven-minute ride from the peak of Whistler to Blackcomb. You must try Whistler at least once – you’ll be amazed and awed by these massive peaks, you’ll probably never be satisfied elsewhere ever again.

5.Dog-Sledding, Ice-Fishing, Snowshoeing and Snowmobiling in Cariboo Chilcotin Mountains, British Columbia

Experience dog sledding or heli skiing/snoboardingDuring the summer, there’s rafting, fishing, ranches and rodeos for summertime. But the sparkling Cariboo Chilcotin Mountains were created for winter sports. Where else in Canada can you do all of the following in one place: backcountry & cross country skiing, dog sledding, downhill skiing and snowboarding, heli-skiing or snowboarding, ice-fishing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.

Mount Timothy is great for skiing/snowboarding without the crowds or if you’re gutsy enough, heli-skiing Bella Coola region for powder paradise. For a unique experience, go dog-sledding, try the Hills Health & Guest Ranch or The Wolf Den/Nakitsilik Outdoors Adventures.

Find out more about Dog Sledding in British Columbia.

6.Winter Wonderland at l’Hotel de Glace (the Ice Hotel) in Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, Quebec

Ice Hotel, QuebecThe Ice Hotel or L’Hotel de Glace is built anew every year, carved completely from ice: from its structure to its columns, beds, chandeliers, the bar, lobby, chapel for weddings, seating areas, and more. It is definitely a truly unique and Canadian experience, found only in Quebec. Just 30 minutes fromQuebec City, the hotel is perfect for a romantic getaway or to bring the kids on a completely unique experience. Open from January to the end of March every year, the hotel is recreated each year. The indoor temperature varies from -3°C to -5°C and arctic sleeping bags on bedspring and mattresses on solid ice blocks are provided for guests.

7.Polar Bears and Northern Lights in Churchill, Manitoba

Polar bear after a swimThe town of Churchill, Manitoba is inaccessibly by any roads – to visit, you’ll have to be flown in or take a 1 day + 21 hour train journey by VIA Rail to this town on the Hudson Bay.

From mid-October to mid-November when the ice begins to freeze, Polar Bear Tour Operators gear up for high-demand weekend and week-long tours which are often sold as packages that include accommodations, domestic transportation, meals, trips to see the Great White Bears, other activities and local attractions. Fall and winter seasons are also the best time to see the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights. A 3day/2night package can cost $1600 to $2600 from Winnipeg to Churchill. But as the tours are becoming more and more popular, let’s hope Al Gore was wrong about the demise of the bears by 2050.

See the polar bears with the Great Canadian Travel Company, the Lazy Bear Lodge, or the Tundra Buggy Adventure.

8.Banff Lake Louise & Canadian Rockies, Alberta

Banff Lake LouiseFor another breathtaking winter alpine experience, Banff, Lake Louise and Sunshine Ski Resorts in Alberta are three gems of the Canadian Rockiescomparable to Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia.

Like Whistler, Banff Lake Louise is just as buzzing in the spring, summer and fall as it is during the winter ski season. Fishing, canoeing, mountaineering, whitewater rafting, hikes (and heli-hiking!), or enjoy the hot springs. Not only does Banff Lake Louise offer adventurous experiences and true Canadian alpine wilderness, but top Canadian cuisine, luxury day and resort spas, as well as art galleries and historic museums. Don’t forget to stop by the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for a stunning view and Afternoon Tea.

9.Champagne and Chocolates in Cozy St. John’s, Newfoundland

Harbour in St. John's Newfoundland“Old World Charm . . . New World Comfort” sums up theMurray Premises Hotel that sits overlooking the harbour (the Narrows) in St. John’s. Originally built in 1846 as a warehouse for salt cod, the Murray Premises boutique hotel was brought to life in 2001 to offer the ultimate luxury and comfort in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Here, the cozy seaside town is matched with incredible comfort that is the perfect experience of what eastern Canada is all about.

Visit the Murray Premises Hotel for the perfect romantic weekend in cozy St. John’s that includes accommodations with massive duvets, private Jacuzzis in every room, stone or electric fireplaces, breakfast and of course, champagne and chocolates. Can you feel the love tonight?

10.Luxury Culinary Getaway at Trout Point Cooking School in East Kemptville, Nova Scotia

Trout Point Cooking School in East KemptvilleThis one is hands down for the hardcore foodies. The Trout Point Cooking & Wine School (and Trout Point Lodge) is located in southern Nova Scotia and is known as one of the top North America cooking schools and gourmet food travel getaways, notably, by Conde Nast, Food & Travel Magazine and National Geographic. The lodge and cooking school has also been heralded for its eco-tourism initiatives and sustainable tourism methods.

The lodge is open from May to October each year and offers lessons in Creole-style cooking and seafood. The getaway includes hands-on experience, visits to local oyster farms, fishing ports, and lessons in Cajun techniques, cheese making, smoking and growing garden produce. Besides working in the kitchen, guests have the opportunity to savour gourmet meals and luxurious rustic accommodations – think cozy log cabins with roaring fires. Activities include kayaking, canoeing, swimming, whale watching and golf.




Home Rental Prices Fell in Spain

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The average price of renting a home in Spain fell by 0.2% during the month of August, compared with the same period in 2012, according to the latest data from the National Statistics Institute.

Thus, the evolution of rental prices lies 1.7 points below the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which in the eighth month of 2013 stood at 1.5%.

Month-on-month, home rental prices registered a fall of 0.1%, and so far this year the decline is 0.3%.

Year-on-year, rental prices fell in 11 regions, with the biggest decreases being recorded in Navarra (-1.8%), followed by Madrid (-1.6%), and Murcia and La Rioja, both down 1.3%.

Registering the lowest declines in rental prices were Extremadura, with a drop of 0.7%, Valencia (-0.5%), and Andalucía, Aragón, the Canary Islands and Castilla-La Mancha, all down 0.4%. Rental prices in the Balearic Islands fell by 0.1%.

Meanwhile, El Mundo reported that rental prices registered the biggest increases in the autonomous cities of Ceuta (+1.3%) and Melilla (+1.2%), followed by Galicia (+1.1%), Castilla y León (+0.9%), Catalonia (+0.7%), Cantabria (+0.6%), Asturias (+0.5%) and the Basque Country (+0.4%).

With regard to the provinces, notable increases were registered in Burgos (+1.6%), Guadalajara (+1.5%) and Palencia (+1.5%), while Almeria and Cuenca both registered falls of -1.5%, the biggest decreases after the uni-provincial regions of Navarra and Madrid.


Spain Andalucia

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The popular image of Spain as a land of bullfights, flamenco, sherry and ruined castles derives from Andalucía, the southernmost territory and the most quintessentially Spanish part of the Iberian Peninsula. Above all, it’s the great Moorish monuments that compete for your attention here. The Moors, a mixed race of Berbers and Arabs who crossed into Spain from Morocco and North Africa, occupied al-Andalus for over seven centuries. Their first forces landed at Tarifa in 710 AD, and within four years they had conquered virtually the entire country; their last kingdom, Granada, fell to the Christian Reconquest in 1492. Between these dates, they developed the most sophisticated civilization of the Middle Ages, centred in turn on the three major cities of Córdoba, Seville and Granada.


Each one preserves extraordinarily brilliant and beautiful monuments, of which the most perfect is Granada’s Alhambra palace, arguably the most sensual building in all of Europe. Seville, not to be outdone, has a fabulously ornamented Alcázar and the grandest of all Gothic cathedrals. Today, Andalucía’s capital and seat of the region’s autonomous parliament is a vibrant contemporary metropolis that’s impossible to resist. Córdoba’s exquisite Mezquita, the grandest and most beautiful mosque constructed by the Moors, is a landmark building in world architecture and not to be missed.


These three cities have, of course, become major tourist destinations, but it’s also worth leaving the tourist trail and visiting some of the smaller inland towns of Andalucía. Renaissance towns such as ÚbedaBaeza and Osuna, Moorish Carmona and the stark white hill-towns around Ronda are all easily accessible by local buses. Travelling for some time here, you’ll get a feel for the landscape of Andalucía: occasionally spectacularly beautiful but more often impressive on a huge, unyielding scale.


The region also takes in mountains – including the Sierra Nevada, Spain’s highest range. You can often ski here in March, and then drive down to the coast to swim the same day. Perhaps more compelling, though, are the opportunities for walking in the lower slopes, Las Alpujarras. Alternatively, there’s good trekking among the gentler (and much less known) hills of the Sierra Morena, north of Seville.


On the coast, it’s easy to despair. Extending to either side of Málaga is the Costa del Sol, Europe’s most heavily developed resort area, with its poor beaches hidden behind a remorseless density of concrete hotels and apartment complexes. However, the region offers two alternatives, much less developed and with some of the best beaches in all Spain. These are the villages between Tarifa and Cádiz on the Atlantic, and those around Almería on the southeast corner of the Mediterranean. The latter allow warm swimming in all but the winter months; those near Cádiz, more easily accessible, are fine from about June to September.


Near Cádiz, too, is Parque Nacional Coto de Doñana, Spain’s largest and most important nature reserve, which is home to a spectacular range of flora and fauna.


The realities of life in contemporary Andalucía can be stark. Unemployment in the region is the highest in Spain – over twenty percent in some areas – and a large proportion of the population still scrapes a living from seasonal agricultural work. The andaluz villages, bastions of anarchist and socialist groups before and during the Civil War, saw little economic aid or change during the Franco years, and although much government spending has been channelled into improving infrastructure such as hospitals and road and rail links, the lack of employment opportunities away from the coastal tourist zones persists. For all its poverty, however, Andalucía is also Spain at its most exuberant – those wild and extravagant clichés of the Spanish south really do exist and can be absorbed at one of the hundreds of annual fiestas, ferias and romerías.





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Fine culture and amazing history is right on the doorstep of Puerto Vallarta. Trips to the Sierra Madre, exploring Mexican history in San Sebastian or the traditional villages of Yelapa are best way to get know with cultural rise of Mexico. The recipe mixes cultural exploration with the wonder of nature and a hint of beach relaxation to make for a truly delectable vacation dish. Cultural Encounters create an inspiring itinerary specific to your individual interests. For everyone who is planning to explore and travel, the best way to learn something about country and people living in there is to get familiar with environment and locals. Here are some places you shouldn’t miss out.





Burrowed deep in the heart of the Sierra Madre Mountains, San Sebastian’s remote setting has made it one of Mexico’s last remaining secrets.





Yelapa and Majahuitas’ beach villages are an absolute must. With emerald waters and pristine golden sand beaches, these remote coves are ideal for snorkeling, swimming and kayaking, providing the perfect backdrop to explore Banderas Bay’s secret hideaways.





As night falls, Las Caletas is transformed into a magical paradise, the ultimate backdrop for our exclusive event, Rhythms of the Night – an amazing voyage that will transport you to a spiritual land that time forgot.





Get off the beaten path and explore the real Mexico. Celebrate the wealth of natural resources and breathtaking scenery of this area – we’ll travel by Unimog into the remote Mexican Outback and uncover the ecosystem and wildlife of the Sierra Madre.





At the edge of the jungle on the south shores of Banderas Bay, our Sea Safari is a full-on experience that combines pure adventure with the opportunity to explore unspoiled tropical coves and places of extreme natural beauty.




Air Adventure provides independent travelers with charter flight service to many of the fascinating destinations in Mexico.