Adios Mexico…

After nearly 2 months in Mexico, it is time to pack and prepare for the next leg of our journey. Next week we fly to Panama and begin the next chapter of “Further on up the Road”.

Since our last blog post, we have spent several days in and around Tulum, Cobá, Akumal, Muyil, and Chemuyil. These communities all lie within the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the eastern edge of the Yucatan peninsula. The big draw here aside from the weather, are the beaches, Mayan history and for some the adventure of scuba diving.

Could 2 Canadians live here? Well, there are several nice options for living here.

Vacant lots to build a house on are readily available. A nice waterfront lot in Akumal is currently listed at $450,000 US. Away from the beach, in one of Tulum’s new residential areas, a building lot with 2,200 square feet can be found for about $30,000 US.

Detached, move-in ready houses near Chemuyil range from $100,000 US to $300,000 US.   You’ll pay way more for anything that’s waterfront.

Condos are plentiful, both pre-owned, fully furnished and brand new, still under construction. They vary in size from studio, one bedroom, two bedrooms, and three bedrooms. Prices vary too, starting at $150,000 US and up. We looked at several new condo projects in Tulum and found a couple of nice ones in the range of $215,000 US to $285,000 US.

Most of this information is available online so I won’t bore you further. Suffice to say this is definitely a liveable area. It may sound pricey, but all indications are this location will get more costly in the next few years. We’ve learned a new airport is proposed for the area, likely situated between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. As well, some say a rail link will be built between Tulum and Cancún to take some of the heat off the growing traffic arriving daily in Cancún. The taxis and shuttles running between Tulum and Cancún won’t be pleased. There is also a new hospital proposed for construction in Tulum.

We’ve found other aspects of living here to be similar to Canada. Food stores are plentiful, health care, (which we really haven’t had to try) by all accounts seems fine and from what we’ve heard substantially cheaper. Other living costs vary with some things being cheaper (internet, water, taxes) and other things about the same (gasoline, clothing, anything imported).

So, lets see what Panama has to offer as we continue Further On Up The Road.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIwEh6ZmFFs

What about the bugs?

Just north of Tulum is a little town called Chemuyil.  Its smaller neighbor, Chan Chemuyil is our current home.  It’s a little enclave of concrete houses on cute streets called Belize, Jamaica, Cayman and Cuba.  Most of the residents are Canadian snow birds, with a few Americans.   Its cute to see vehicles with license plates from BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.  Also one from the Yukon… now that’s a road trip!

In Chan Chemuyil, the houses sold for about $40,000 US a little over 8 years ago.  One on the next block is currently listed for $170,000.  Let me know if you want the phone number.

We’re renting one of these houses from a Calgarian who’s daughter we met and befriended through a chance meeting thanks to  Kijiji.

Its very quiet and comfortable here.  Jody and I both appreciate using the air conditioning when the place gets stuffy and the humidity pushes 90% or more.  Each evening a guy from Chemuyil drives by on a scooter, beeping his horn and yelling “pizza”.  Twice a week, 30 pesos will get a 20 litre bottle of drinking water delivered to our front door.

However, the Internet is a bit spotty and actually went down for several days.   I started this post a week ago and only got back to it today.  Part of life here I guess.  Sometimes things are not always there when you want or need them.

The beach (playa) and a cenote are a short 15 minute walk away.  We opted to drive to the beach recently and spent several hours enjoying the warm and clear water of the Caribbean and the white powder sand beach this part of Mexico is famous for.

Recently we also drove to Cobá.  Its a small town further inland that is home to amazing Mayan ruins.  There are more ruins in Tulum we hope to check out this weekend.

Immersion Spanish lessons started this week at the Meztli Spanish School in Tulum.  Jody has graciously decided to let me become the official translator in this adventure, so I’m going to the lessons on my own.  Each I’m in a group setting were I get an hour and a half of grammar and vocabulary followed by an hour and a half of conversación.

Oh, and here’s a few of the local bugs……..

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The Contrasts of Cozumel

We have been here almost three weeks now and have seen and experienced many contrasts of Cozumel.

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This is a beautiful island with beautiful people. We have enjoyed getting to know a few and learning what makes this island so appealing.

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First of all its the sunshine and the warm breezes. The ocean is a playground of fun activities. Then there is getting to know this town of San Miguel on foot which we did every day.

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Let’s start with the waterfront.

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Its amazing Main Street has a  long whitewall with seating on the ocean side and places to stop and watch the business of your surroundings; the cruise ships,

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the ferries, the tour boats and the fishermen. The other side of the street is lined with a shoppers paradise of jewelery, souvenir and many other shops and intertwined with a large array of restaurants and bars. The view of the street and port is amazing both day and night. People watching is fun here. This is what cruise ship passengers see on their day in port.

But walk a little further on up the road from the tourist district and you will find the real Cozumel.

 

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On every street you find the contrasts  the new and the old, the refurbished and the forgotten, the clean and tidy and the rubbish.

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The smiles of the little children

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and the strain and the pain of the elderly. To live here one must accept it all. You will want to make a difference in the lives of these beautiful people whose faces just light up when you make eye contact and say hola.

We will be sad to leave but on to the next adventure on Tuesday.Heading on up the road to Tulum and a turtle sanctuary. Stay tuned!

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Who let the dogs out?

imageimageWe have been in Mexico for a little over three weeks.  Five nights in Cancún and two + weeks in San Miguel on the island of Cozumel.  Time is getting fuzzy.  Both are very touristy introductions to the Caribbean coast of Mexico.  Cancún has the international airport so it’s hard to avoid.  Cozumel has the cruise ships and the scuba diving, without which the economy here would struggle.

Our home has been a comfy bed and breakfast called Los Alcatraces.  Our hosts are Greg, Silvia and Rosa, a cute little dog they rescued.  Pretty much everything is within walking distance including the restaurants, grocery stores, ATMs, and the sea.

There’s usually a symphony of barking dogs in this neighbourhood.  The rooster next door is reasonably accurate calling for day around 7:00am and sometimes again during the afternoon.  Maybe that’s for happy hour.

This past Sunday, we attended (in inglesis) a nondenominational church service.  We met several expats from both the US and Canada.  Two couples were actually from Fernie, BC.  Most raved about Cozumel and since they live here part of the year it’s a community they are quite comfortable with.  Others have lived here year round for many years.

However, Cozumel is still an island.  The mainland is a 45 minute ferry ride to Playa Del Carmen.  PDC is another touristy spot with beautiful beaches and all the typical shopping anyone could want.  There’s even a few Starbucks (surprise, surprise) if you feel inclined.   We may explore more of PDC in a couple of weeks after we move on to Tulum.

 

 

It’s a brand new year – 2016

image It was a cold, clear morning as we drove to the Calgary Airport on December 15.  The day we began our adventure.  All the goodbyes were said, the packing was done.  The preparations were all done.  It was time to go.

The flight was called and we headed to our seats.   Destination Cancún.

Jody and I are calling it retirement.  Not a lottery winnings retirement, nor one methodically planned with the support of years of dedicated pension contributions.  No ours is a “let’s go for it”.  I’m calling it our reconnaissance mission.

Phase One is six months, give or take a few, of wandering through Latin America.  Starting in Mexico where we’ll struggle to learn Spanish, live in shorts, t-shirts and no socks.