Archive for July, 2015

What to do and see in San Jose, Costa Rica

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POAS VOLCANO / POAS VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK (PARQUE NACIONAL VOLCAN POAS)

Experience type: volcano visit, educational walking tour
Location: Alajuela (north of downtown Alajuela – nearby Poasito)
Operating hours: 8:00am to 3:30pm
Recommended for: travellers interested in volcanoes; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes
Other: make the most of your visit to Alajuela by combining a visit to the Poas Volcano with a visit to Lake Botos (accessible via entrance into the Poas Volcano National Park) and/or the La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Don’t miss: the educational display inside the building at the entrance, rare yellow-green squirrels, and Lake Botos

LA PAZ WATERFALL GARDENS (CATARATA LA PAZ)

Experience type: waterfall visit, educational walking tour
Location: Alajuela (north of downtown Alajuela – nearby Vara Blanca)
Operating hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Recommended for: travellers interested in nature, animals, and waterfalls; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes, unless your accommodation is the Peace Lodge (otherwise no)
Other: make the most of your visit to Alajuela by combining a visit to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens with a visit to the nearby Poas Volcano and/or Lake Botos (both accessible via entrance into the Poas Volcano National Park)

 

LAKE BOTOS / POAS VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK (PARQUE NACIONAL VOLCAN POAS)

Experience type: lake visit, educational walking tour
Location: Alajuela (north of downtown Alajuela – nearby Poasito)
Operating hours: 8:00am to 3:30pm
Recommended for: travellers interested volcanoes and lakes; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes
Other: make the most of your visit to Alajuela by combining a visit to Lake Botos with a visit to the Poas Volcano (accessible via entrance into the Poas Volcano National Park) and/or the La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Don’t miss: the educational display inside the building at the entrance, rare yellow-green squirrels, and the Poas Volcano

LANKESTER BOTANICAL GARDENS (JARDIN BOTANICO LANKESTER)

Experience type: research-based, educational walking tour
Location: Cartago (halfway between downtown Cartago and Orosi)
Operating hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm
Recommended for: travellers interested in nature, gardens, and flora (specifically orchids and/or bromeliads); all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes
Other: make the most of your visit to Cartago by combining a visit to the Lankester Botanical Gardens with a visit to the nearby Ujarras Ruins, Cartago Ruins, Our Lady Of The Angels Basilica, Duran Sanatorium, and/or Irazu Volcano

 

IRAZU VOLCANO / IRAZU VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK (PARQUE NACIONAL VOLCAN IRAZU)

Experience type: volcano visit, educational walking tour
Location: Cartago (north of downtown Cartago – nearby Tierra Blanca)
Operating hours: 8:00am to 3:30pm
Recommended for: travellers interested in volcanoes; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes
Other: make the most of your visit to Cartago by combining a visit to the Irazu Volcano with a visit to the nearby Ujarras Ruins, Cartago Ruins, Our Lady Of The Angels Basilica, Duran Sanatorium, and/or the Lankester Botanical Gardens
Don’t miss: the Linda Vista Restaurant en route to/from the Irazu Volcano National Park (this gimmicky restaurant is covered in business cards and currency collected from travellers and countries around the world)

UNIVERSITY OF COSTA RICA INSECT MUSEUM

Experience type: research-based, educational walking tour
Location: San Jose (downtown – calle central y calle 3 / central street and 3rd street)
Operating hours: 1:00pm to 4:45pm (Mondays-Fridays)
Recommended for: travellers interested in insects; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes, if accommodations fall outside of the downtown San Jose core (otherwise no)
Other: make the most of your visit to downtown San Jose by combining a visit to the University of Costa Rica Insect Museum with a visit to any other downtown San Jose exhibit, museum, or shopping attraction

ANIMAL RESCUE BIRD ZOO (RESCATE ANIMAL ZOO AVE)

Experience type: exhibit, educational walking tour
Location: Alajuela (west of downtown Alajuela – nearby La Garita)
Operating hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Recommended for: travellers interested in nature, animals, and birding; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes
Other: make the most of your visit to Alajuela by combining a visit to the Animal Rescue Bird Zoo with a visit to the nearby Poas Volcano and/or Lake Botos (both accessible via entrance into the Poas Volcano National Park) or the La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Don’t miss: the giant mural showcasing a painted version of every bird species found in Costa Rica

YOGA CLASS (CLASE DE YOGA / LA FERIA VERDE DE ARANJUEZ)

Experience type: class
Location: San Jose (downtown – calle 19 y avenida 15 / 19th street and 15th avenue)
Operating hours: every Saturday, typically around 10:00am *exact class time varies*
Recommended for: travellers interested in yoga; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes, if accommodations fall outside of the downtown San Jose core (otherwise no)
Other: make the most of your visit to downtown San Jose by combining a Yoga class with a visit to any other downtown San Jose exhibit, museum, or shopping attraction

NATIONAL STADIUM OF COSTA RICA (ESTADIO NACIONAL DE COSTA RICA)

Experience type: historical site visit, educational walking tour
Location: San Jose (downtown – avenida de las americas / street of the americas)
Operating hours: N/A
Recommended for: travellers interested in sports, architecture, and culture; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes, if accommodations fall outside of the downtown San Jose core (otherwise no)
Other: make the most of your visit to downtown San Jose by combining a visit to the National Stadium of Costa Rica with a visit to any other downtown San Jose exhibit, museum, or shopping attraction

UJARRAS RUINS (RUINAS DE UJARRAS)

Experience type: historical site visit, educational walking tour
Location: Orosi (north of downtown)
Operating hours: N/A
Recommended for: travellers interested in history, architecture, and culture; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes
Other: make the most of your visit to Orosi by combining a visit to the Ujarras Ruins with a visit to the nearby Lankester Gardens, Our Lady Of The Angels Basilica, Duran Sanatorium, and/or Irazu Volcano

CARTAGO RUINS (RUINAS DE CARTAGO)

Experience type: historical site visit, educational walking tour
Location: Cartago (downtown)
Operating hours: N/A
Recommended for: travellers interested in history, architecture, and culture; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes
Other: make the most of your visit to Cartago by combining a visit to the Cartago Ruins with a visit to the nearby Lankester Gardens, Our Lady Of The Angels Basilica, Duran Sanatorium, Ujarras Ruins, and/or Irazu Volcano

LA SABANA METROPOLITAN PARK (PARQUE METROPOLITANO LA SABANA)

Experience type: park visit
Location: San Jose (downtown – avenida de las americas / street of the americas)
Operating hours: N/A
Recommended for: travellers interested in nature and strolling around town; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes, if accommodations fall outside of the downtown San Jose core (otherwise no)
Other: make the most of your visit to downtown San Jose by combining a visit to La Sabana Metropolitan Park with a visit to any other downtown San Jose exhibit, museum, or shopping attraction
Don’t miss: the stunning and colourful surprise behind the park’s tree bark

MORAZAN PARK (PARQUE MORAZAN)

Experience type: park visit
Location: San Jose (downtown – avenida 5 entre calles 5 y 9 / 5th avenue between 5th street and 9th street)
Operating hours: N/A
Recommended for: travellers interested in nature, strolling around town, and modern culture; all ages welcome
Is a vehicle and/or transportation required? yes, if accommodations fall outside of the downtown San Jose core (otherwise no)
Other: make the most of your visit to downtown San Jose by combining a visit to Morazan Park with a visit to any other downtown San Jose exhibit, museum, or shopping attraction
Don’t miss: the hula-hoopers, slack-line artists, drum circle musicians, skateboarders, jugglers, and other local entertainers

Fractional ownership

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Imagine a place where you can relax from the moment you arrive; everything is ready, all rooms are beautifully laid out for you and your guests, and welcome goodies are in the cupboard; it’s just like coming home.

Your personal belongings, carefully stored since your last visit, are ready and waiting for you; so you don’t have to think about airports and annoying liquid rules, you can leave your favourite shampoo here, it’s been tucked carefully away since you last visited.

All you have to do is arrive, relax, and enjoy.

Picture yourself, home from home,  returning each and every year to a property you can really call home, shared with like-minded owners; each of you buying into a company where collectively you own a beautiful property, each with a one tenth share of an equitably managed calendar, where everyone has five weeks when the property is yours, exclusively, to enjoy, however you wish.

Unlike sole ownership of a whole house, which can bring its own particular challenges, like hiring local help, or cranking up the garden tools to set about keeping nature at bay; or worse still, worrying about whether the fabric of the building will stand up to the test of time, shared ownership takes the headaches right out of the equation.

“Seen through the prism of a global downturn, fractional ownership has become a strikingly attractive and popular option”  Financial Times

Sailing in Spain

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With its beautiful architecture and amazing history, Spain has been a cultural center of Europe for hundreds of years. It is a country well known for its erotic Flamenco music, bull-fights, passionate people, wonderful beaches and perfect climate.

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Sailing in Spain

Spain’s gorgeous clear waters are a reason enough to pick it as your sailing destination. If you choose to spend your vacation sailing in Spain, you will be signing up for the finest way to explore this unique country

Sailing in Spain, a land on the crossroads between Europe and Africa, a land of long sunbathed beaches and high snowy peaks, is one of the most rewarding and enthralling experiences of one’s life. This Mediterranean country offers so much to discover that it would take several lifetimes to get to know all its secrets. Spain, the space of merging of so many various nations and cultures, is the perfect location for embarking on a sailing adventure. Spanish climate is extremely diverse but it is overall considered to be temperate. However, most of the Iberian peninsula gets extremely hot during mid-summer, in July and August, so the most comfortable and least exhausting way to explore the country would be by sailing. Spring or autumn, particularly May and October, is also a good time to charter a boat because the weather is lovely and the country not as crowded as during the summer months

Barcelona

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The advantages of including Barcelona in your sailing experience are myriad – nice waters, romantic beaches, exciting fiestas, or exhilarating nightlife that this magnificent city offers. You will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the city from the sea as you sail along the coastline on your charter boat. Barcelona’s most important landmarks – La Sagrada Familia, the skyscrapers of the Olympic Marina, the Cathedral, Tibidabo Hill, the Collserola communications tower and others, will be in your horizon. You may choose to start your sailing holiday from our Barcelona base, or visit it during some other part of your trip – it is all up to you.

Barcelona is a city vibrant with life, packed with all sorts of cultural events, from music and film festivals to religious ones. All these events, called fiestas, are definitely the best reason to leave your boat and hit the city for a few hours. Fiestas are absolute explosions of colors, fun, music and fireworks plus they usually last all night through. Do not let your sailing holiday pass without participating is one of such events.

If you are interested in getting to know the people and customs of Spain during your sailing holiday, you should know basic information about that before you embark on your sailing expedition. Like in the rest of Spain, people in Barcelona are very open, cordial and friendly. They are also, in general, very helpful and generous – the true Mediterranean types. Now that you know the basics you are ready to make a final step and charter a boat, thus making a step closer to your sailing experience of a lifetime.

Ibiza

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Ibiza, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea, is an excellent sailing destination. Book a charter boat and begin your holiday in the third largest of the Balearic Islands archipelago. The Balearic Islands are an ideal sailing destination mostly due to the Mediterranean climate with rather mild winters and hot summers. Besides, the winds are favorable as well, as they mostly come from the direction of North.The Balearic Islands are also a desirable sailing destination due to the fact that they have over 300 sunny days annually. Who could ask for more? Sailing in Ibiza will be a very rewarding experience, especially for those who are interested in vibrant nightlife – as Ibiza is a well known “mecca of fun”. Even though the island is today better known for its party scene, it is also historically and culturally rich and important. It is reason more to choose this UNESCO World Heritage Site as your sailing destination.

 

 

Sailing in Mexico

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A sprawling country with over 10,000 kilometres of dazzling coastline, Mexico enjoys a wealth of diverse climates, from luminous cloud rainforests to glittering white-sand beaches resting on the glorious Caribbean Sea. Attracting a global crowd of urban elite, Mexico offers luxury and indulgence at a premium level and in an array of stunning landscapes.

Mexico has everything, and that statement is not made lightly. From the lush rainforests of the south, grassy plains and arid deserts of the north to the seductive coastlines rife with pearly beaches and glitzy clientele, this is a country that is completely prepared to fulfil the desires of even the most particular visitor.

Whether they seek the rusticity of a tiny village of pueblos in Chiapas, the seclusion of an exclusive villa set on a private Baja Californian beach or the vibrant bustle of Mexico City’s chic Polanco district, discerning travellers won’t be disappointed by the beauty and adventure on offer.

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Jungle
Once an absolute wilderness, Mexico is slowly developing even its most feral regions, though in general, the government has taken great care in preserving areas of ancestral importance and delicate environment.

One such place is the 1300 year-old palace at Palenque: a lush jungle surrounding ruins overrun by howler monkeys and the sultry air filled with the screech of parrots. The cloud forests of Oaxaca (pronounced wa-ha-ca) are another spectacular sight, luring intrepid trekkers to their exalted heights and rewarding them with panoramic views of indescribable beauty.

Yucatán peninsula
The Yucatán peninsula boasts a glorious, thriving coral beds and exotic marine life irresistible for passionate snorkelers and divers. For sun-seekers, the sugary sands and bending palms of Puerto Vallarta beckon seductively, while the rowdy beaches and raucous nightlife of Acapulco and Cancún are as beautiful as they are notorious.

Home to a wide array of species such as elephant seals, sea lions and spectacular grey whales, Mexico offers a bounty of exciting opportunities to connect with its impeccable natural attractions.

Mexico City
Mexico City is the vibrant, pulsing capital city, and is bursting with vitality, romance and a bohemian charm that is infectious. The fashion elite favour the emerging art scene of the Condesa district, with its cool, tree-lined streets and boutique hotels. Polanco is the exclusive, affluent area perfect for the ‘see-and-be-seen’ crowd and home to cities premier restaurants, enormous mansions and selective, elegant nightclubs.

El Bosque de Chapultepec
El Bosque de Chapultepec is a kind of Central Park; this verdant sprawl is home to the cities important museums. For lovers of Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera, their house in the romantic village-district of Coyoacan is preserved and exhibits several pieces of theirs, though it is typically packed beyond comfort. For a larger display and more space, visit the Museo de Delores Olmedo, the home of a former lover of Rivera’s.

 

Heating the boat

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What about the cold? Experienced winter cruisers say cold is a mindset, like rain during summer cruising. You plan for it, and equip yourself and your boat to deal with it. Enjoying winter cruising assumes you have adequate heating for your boat. This is critical for you and your crew, as well as for the boat itself. Many boats have heating systems that provide warm air using heat from the running engine. While this works well under way, once anchored or at the dock another source of heat will be needed. Electric heaters work well, but your cruising destinations will need to be planned around docks and marinas that offer shore power year round. Calling ahead and checking that power is available is prudent.

The cruising season in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest does not have to end with the passing of summer. A few hardy cruisers keep fall, winter and spring cruising as their own secret. The places that looked so captivating, with their natural green beauty in the summertime, take on a completely different look during the off-season. Fall colours are painted across the hillsides and in winter the white snow cap is more pronounced.
The best heating system is a separate furnace that warms air or water and circulates heat throughout the interior of your boat. Boat heating systems carry a BTU rating for the amount of heat they generate – check whether your heating system is up to the task of warming your boat for winter cruising. If you are installing a new system, an expert in marine heating can determine the proper size for the interior volume of your boat and the type of cruising you plan to do. Powerboats tend to require larger heating systems as their interior volume is usually larger for a given length.

A heating system that uses the boat’s main fuel system is usually the best choice. For boats with gasoline engines there are heaters fueled by gas or propane, although many cruisers prefer the safety of a diesel furnace; some gas-engined boats are equipped with a separate diesel fuel system for the furnace alone.

A number of very good diesel furnace systems are available for forced air or hot water circulated through radiator systems to warm interior spaces. An advantage to a warm-water (or hydronic) system is that you can use heat from a fresh water-cooled engine to warm the boat while under way. Then, the fuel-fired hot water system can heat the water at anchor. Systems that circulate hot water or warm air use a pump or blower system that will require power from your batteries when at anchor. Some boat owners elect choose a main cabin furnace that radiates heat throughout the boat without a blower to avoid drawing on battery power at anchor.

Fractional Ownership History

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Since 1983 all major hotels (including Hilton, the Ritz Carlton, Marriott and Four Seasons) have entered the fractional market all over the world. By the mid-2000s, hundreds of fractional properties were well established, and the industry is still growing today.

Winter Destinations

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Off-season cruising does not have to include only the most remote locations. In fact, places you may have avoided for lack of satisfactory moorage in summer will now offer plenty of anchoring or mooring options.


The San Juan Islands are especially attractive in the off-season. Anchorages on Sucia Island are quiet and peaceful without the summer crowds. Resorts such as Roche Harbor and Rosario often offer special events right through fall, winter and spring.

In the fall and winter, Victoria carries a special charm. Finding dock space in the Inner Harbour in front of the Empress Hotel is typically not a problem, and with the Christmas holidays, the city takes on a festive air, the government buildings and waterfront hotels and shops aglow with lights. Another treat is a visit to Butchart Gardens, down Saanich Inlet near Brentwood Bay. In the off-season, choice moorage is available in cozy Butchart Cove. Nearby is Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa which offers special wine-tasting events at the Seagrille Seafood and Sushi. Or you can relax at the Essence of Life Spa.

BC’s Gulf Islands offer lots of fall and winter destinations at towns and resorts such Ganges on Salt Spring Island or Poets Cove Resort on South Pender Island. Scenic anchorages such as Montague Harbour on Galiano Island, or Pirates Cove Marine Park on DeCourcy Island will provide good protection and delightful surroundings.

For many, the scenic harbours of BC’s southern mainland coast are perfect for exploration any time of the year. One of the most majestic passages is Jervis Inlet to the Malibu Rapids, and through Princess Louisa Inlet to the base of Chatterbox Falls. While the dock near the falls is full almost every night during the summer, you may have it all to yourself in the off-season.

For several years, Brian Pemberton, president of NW Explorations, a charter company in Bellingham, Washington, has cruised with family and friends between Christmas and New Years to Princess Louisa Inlet on their 49’ Grand Banks.

“You really have to see the falls in the wintertime,” says Pemberton. “It is a unique experience in adventure cruising and one that can be accomplished with a capable boat and an eye to the weather.”

A winter cruise to the falls is a breathtaking but very different experience than it is in summer. The winter colours of grey and white blend with a hint of green from the trees. The low sun can be brilliant, casting long shadows that add to the depth of the scene. On a misty day, low-hanging clouds will frame the scene with occasional peeks at mountain tops and waterfalls.

For many cruisers, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is a favourite time to escape on the boat. After family events on Christmas Day, you may be ready for a week alone or in a small flotilla of friends. Visit your favourite coastal town, an urban harbour such as Victoria, Vancouver or Seattle, or a remote area where you may be the only boats there. Gauge your destination based on the weather, and the capability of your boat and crew.

Winter Cruising in Canada

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In the off-season, when the crowds are gone, experience familiar passages and destinations in an exciting new way.

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The cruising season in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest does not have to end with the passing of summer. A few hardy cruisers keep fall, winter and spring cruising as their own secret. The places that looked so captivating, with their natural green beauty in the summertime, take on a completely different look during the off-season. Fall colours are painted across the hillsides and in winter the white snow cap is more pronounced.

Waterfalls spill out of the steep mountainsides and tumble down, sometimes thousands of feet, to the water of a quiet inlet below. Deep into the winter months the mountains and hillsides may be blanketed with snow, draping the trees and dressing the dramatic rock faces with brilliant white. The visibility, on a clear day, is crisp and sharp. The mountains appear closer and the clear nights, when a full moon rises into a field of millions of stars, is something to be experienced. Occasionally, the northern lights might provide the evening’s entertainment.

For those who seek solitude, the off-season is truly the best time to cruise. The Desolation Sound area, usually packed with boats in July and August, may be all yours during an off-season cruise. The people who run the many small marinas and coastal shops that stay open year round will be thrilled to see you, and will have time to chat and socialize when you stop for fuel or moorage. If the weather does kick up, once you find the right anchorage, snuggling up with a book in a warm boat is the ultimate in cocooning.

Some experienced Northwest cruisers time their departures for their favourite destinations in the early fall, when the crowds have left. Of course, those who choose to cruise in the winter sensibly pick their destinations with an eye towards the weather.

 

Advantages of fractional ownership

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The common sense of shared ownership is so elegant and obvious, it is puzzling that these deals are only now attracting the attention and popularity they deserve. Why obtain all of the costs of owning something you will only use part of the time? Why not share the costs with other people who want to use the same thing? This simple logic is now being employed by consumers of many types of luxury items, from executive jets to marvelous yachts. But by far the most common use of fractional ownership today is the vacation home.

Statistics show that most people only use their vacation home 17-30 days each year. Fractionals are appealing because they allow people to own only the share of a vacation villa that they will use, rather than the entire estate. The main benefits of fractional ownership are:

Lower Acquisition Costs

Buying a fraction of a property means the buyer pays only a part of the cost of the entire property. In addition, the costs of renovating, furnishing and outfitting the property are shared. Although the per-share cost of fractionals packaged by a property owner or developer include a “markup” (on average the total share price will be 150-250% of the cost of the home and contents), they are still a good deal for most buyers because they avoid the time, effort and difficulty of outfitting the property, creating the legal structure and assembling the owner group.beautiful-cozy-fun-home-design-Favim4e0fff2b1aec4428880c197999ec675dthey are still a good deal for most buyers because they avoid the time, effort and difficulty of outfitting the property, creating the legal structure and assembling the owner group.

Lower Operating Costs

Owning real estate involves ongoing operating costs such as property tax, insurance, utilities, and maintenance, including the cost of repairing and replacing the furniture and other household goods inside. Maintaining a vacation home can be particularly complex because of intermittent usage and the distance between the owner and the property, often requiring the assistance of a local manager or management company. Sharing the cost and efforts of operating dramatically lightens all these burdens.

Eliminate or Diminish Need for Rental Tenants

Most vacation home owners face the unpleasant decision between leaving the property vacant when it is not being used by the owner, or renting it out. As anyone who has been involved in vacation rental knows, the rental option has significant downsides. Do it yourself, and you spend innumerable hours promoting the rentals, responding to inquiries, handling bookings, checking tenants in and out, and readying the property between tenants. Hire a manager or rental agency and you will generally give up 30-50% of the rent. Either way, the tenants extract a significant toll on the property, and the rental periods most demand are the same ones when you would prefer to use the home yourself. While some fractionals allow owners to rent out their home when they are unable to use it, the lower cost of buying and owning a fractional means that most owners do not need to use this option.

Diversification of Investment and Destination

Shared ownership allows the money that would have been needed to own and operate a single vacation home to be spread over two or three vacation homes. Spreading your dollars over several homes lowers investment risk and increases the likelihood of profit by exposing you to two or three different real estate markets. Moreover, owning vacation homes in several locations gives you more vacation options each year, while still allowing you to spend your time in your own homes where you are comfortable with the surroundings and know how everything works.

 

The benefits of fractional property are so compelling that many people who could easily afford their own place are opting for fraction ownership instead. Perhaps even more surprising, many people who already own a vacation home are choosing to sell some fractional interests in it in order to lighten their cost and management load and still use the property as often as they ever did.

Today’s fractional ownership arrangements are often organized by the users themselves. More frequently, they are set up by a property owner or developer who outfits the property, creates the legal structure and documents, then offers the fractional interests for sale. Contrary to what you might think, groups of complete strangers who come together through these packaged offerings are generally more successful at managing the shared property than groups of friends or family members. The key is good advice, careful planning, and a comprehensive legal agreement.

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5 things to do in downtown Cancun

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The city of Cancun is divided into two sections: the Hotel Zone island with the destination’s beaches and resorts, and Downtown Cancun where the locals live. Most tourists spend their entire vacation in the Hotel Zone, but more adventurous tourists know that Downtown Cancun has its own inviting attractions.

Some parts of Downtown Cancun have seen significant changes over the past few years with beautiful new buildings and unique scenery, and other areas like the famous Market 28 haven’t changed a bit.

Located a quick bus ride from the beach, Downtown Cancun has great shopping, a fun community atmosphere, and some of the city’s best bars and restaurants. If you want to see the side of Cancun that the locals know, then hop on a city bus and explore the charms of Downtown with these five attractions, each located less than a five-minute taxi ride from the entrance to the Hotel Zone.

Parque Las Palapas

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The city’s main park is a large plaza where you’ll find food carts, a small outdoor food court, local handicrafts and souvenirs, a playground, and a large stage. On weekend evenings, the park becomes a hotspot for local families to hang out and enjoy weekly events

Market 28

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Cancun’s top market offers a colorful maze of souvenir stands and jewelry shops that cover a full city block, with several small restaurants in the center so you can grab a quick lunch during a day of shopping. Market 28 is a fun way to get the real Mexican market experience, so be prepared to haggle with the vendors.

Malecon Tajamar

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This waterfront neighborhood is one of Cancun’s newest and most beautiful areas—over the next few years, the city will add a large nature park, shopping, restaurants, and more. For now, Malecon Tajamar has a delightful walkway along the Nichupte Lagoon with amazing views of the Hotel Zone skyline.

 

Malecon Americas Shopping Center

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Downtown’s main mall is where you’ll find most locals on any given weekend. Malecon Americas has a lovely and modern open-air atmosphere where you can grab an ice cream, browse beautiful department stores, and enjoy a meal at a variety of restaurants. Malecon Americas sits right across the avenue from Malecon Tajamar, so you can easily see both attractions in one outing.

 

Avenida Tulum and City Hall

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The heart of Cancun recently got a facelift: Downtown Cancun’s main street, Avenida Tulum, was upgraded to feature wide pedestrian paths on either side, perfect for a leisurely stroll lined with shops, small markets, bars, and the City Hall building. You can expect this active neighborhood to become even more tourist-friendly over the next few years.