Understanding The Media Assault on Mexico
As published in Cabo Social Magazine Issue #16 (September - December, 2010)
Before jumping in with how ridiculous the safety in Mexico topic is, lets first discuss “Mexico.” It is the misuse of the word Mexico that has blown this subject way out of proportion. Mexico is a country, and a very large nation at that, spanning nearly 500 million acres. Within Mexico, there are 31 states and within those states are scores of cities and towns. The majority of the world’s mainstream media however, seems to be either insensitive or oblivious to this fact. It is constant and unrelenting, as if every square mile of Mexico is unsafe. If an incident occurs in Mexico, most media outlets do not emphasize the city and state of the episode. Instead, the fear mongers keep it simple, generalizing and typecasting the incidents into one simple word, “Mexico.”
It is not odd for people living in a media-driven society, such as the US, to be concerned about traveling to Mexico, not while in an earshot of mainstream media’s relentless assault on Mexico. If I were still living in the US today, I would probably feel the same anxiety about traveling south of the border. The US media really is that good –its power and money are massive and its influence can move vast majorities of the entire world.
Cabo in relation to real danger
To understand safety in Cabo, one must first posses geographical knowledge of Mexico. The majority of Mexico’s physical area is actually safe. There are only areas, epicenters if you will, which should be respected as potentially dangerous regions. Knowing where Mexico’s danger zones are, in comparison to Los Cabos is key to understanding how safe Cabo actually is.
The core of Mexico’s violence is drug related and takes place in the city of Juarez (pronounced hWA-rez) in the northern state of Chihuahua. Juarez is actually only two miles from El Paso, Texas –yes in the US, and some 1,800+ miles (by car) away from sunny Los Cabos, at the southernmost tip of Baja. In fact, the US cities of Tucsan, Phoenix and Palm Springs are all far closer to Juarez than Los Cabos is.
Not only is Los Cabos many miles from the core of Mexico’s drug violence, but Los Cabos is, historically-speaking, a very safe group of cities in the equally safe state of Baja California Sur.
Beyond the substantial physical separations between Los Cabos and violent hot spots like Juarez, lies a significant social divide too. The majority of the violence in Juarez and other danger zones near the Mexico-US border are associated with the trafficking of narcotics into the US. Unless you are planning to infiltrate Mexico and take a crack at the drug trade, then it is even more unlikely that you will find yourself in a violent drug related clash.
Should you visit Cabo?
If you are reading this article here in Cabo, congratulations, you are in paradise. You are probably nodding your head in agreement while sipping a margarita, and looking forward to sharing this article with your skeptical peers that warned you of dangerous Mexico before you came.
If you are not here, then you will have to decide that for yourself. As for me, I have lived here for nearly six years now and have absolutely no plans to leave any time soon. Before Cabo, I enjoyed life in Boca Raton, Chicago, Del Mar, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Oshkosh and beyond, and I can honestly say that I feel just as safe or even more so here in Los Cabos, Mexico –home sweet home.
authored by: Derrick Grahn
Take a stroll around the Cabo San Lucas Marina late afternoon or early evening and observe the hundreds of fish flags flying from the charter and private boats.
Yes, hundreds of flags. The fall fishing season is hot. All fishing expedition companies are reporting an unusually large amount of fish in the warm waters surrounding Cabo. Not only are the smaller species in evidence, such as Dorado and Wahoo, but the large bill fish are appearing. Recently, a 100 pound marlin was boated in an open panga.
The increased fish activity is good news to the participants and observers of the upcoming Bisbee Black and Blue Marlin Tournament. Billed as the richest billfish tournament in the world, with the most million dollar winners, an expected 200 teams will compete for four million dollars in prizes.
The entry fee for this tournament is $5000 U.S. or $63,100 U.S. per team. There are no limits on size or number of boats and both private and charter boats are welcome. The target species is the Black or Blue Marlin with a modified release format. Black or Blue Marlin must weigh 300 pounds to qualify. Any Black or Blue brought in under that weight will result in a penalty for the team.
The Bisbee started in 1981 with 6 teams and $10.000 U.S. cash awards. Last year 94 teams participated with 485 anglers resulting in $1,926,715 U.S. in cash awards. The highest overall purse was $4, 165,960 U.S.
But the Bisbee is not just all about fishing; it has become one of the major social events of Cabo San Lucas. October 19th is registration day when the teams will check in front of the Puerto Paraiso Mall. The excitement is high. The atmosphere is electric anticipating the days to come. The marina becomes a street fair with booths selling their wares or information on life in Cabo. Most of the local charities are represented and anglers and guests are seen on the marina greeting friends and announcing to one and all “We’re going to win it this year!”
The local population flocks to the marina to join in the festivity. Food and drink are to be found everywhere. This is the place to be on the afternoon of October 19th.
The following morning at 8 a.m. the tournament officially begins with the famous shot gun start. The shot gun start is a mighty sight to behold. BANG and all 200 boats will head out of the harbor to the spot they know the big fish is waiting.
Cabo San Lucas is fortunate to have captured some of the winners of this famous tournament as part time residents. Having encountered a representative of Cabo San Lucas Real Estate, they were well prepared to use their winnings to purchase their dream get away. Now fishing is not just the time of the Bisbee but any time of the year.
Many former participants return year after year even though they no longer fish the tournament. They will be seen on the marina at the Kick-Off Cocktail Party and every day as the boats come in with hope that they have the winning fish. These same aficionados of the billfish sport will be watching the shot gun start from the terrace of their villa or balcony of their hotel room. But they will not miss this important event!!
Seven years ago the closest thing to a supermarket in Cabo San Lucas was Aramburo, downtown, or several blocks off the main drag was Diana’s. Then, seven years ago Soriana opened their doors to thousands of residents who had been waiting patiently, or not so patiently, for some touch of real shopping to reach Cabo.
The doors opened, the throngs descended, shelves were stripped faster than they could be restocked. For at least two weeks it was almost impossible to find a parking spot in the lot.
Three weeks later, Costco opened with and invitational cocktail party on Friday evening and an open house breakfast the following morning. Life had changed in Cabo San Lucas. No longer was it necessary to make the long trip to La Paz for everyday necessities.
This was but the beginning. In December, just a few blocks from Soriana, CCC opened its new upscale supermarket. All of this was closely followed by City Club, Office Depot, Home Depot, Office Max and Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.
Similar changes were happening at the other end of the tourist corridor in the town of San Jose Del Cabo.
And now, seven years later, on the same site as the pioneer Soriana is the Plaza Sendero. Soriana serves as an anchor store at one end of this full service mall and Cineapolis, a multiplex state of the art cinema anchors the mall at the other end. Most movies at Cinepolis are in English with Spanish subtitles and are in the theater within a week or two of opening in the United States. When the ads say, “opening everywhere” this means at Cinepolis Sendero also.
This is not a tourist mall but a mall that serves the residents and visitors to Cabo with real merchandise at non tourist prices. Between the anchors, more stores are opening every week. Presently the mall boasts a full service travel agency at the entrance to Soriana, a large fabric store with a complete selection for any sewing needs, commercial or home. There is an incredible food court offering Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and American selections.
A beautiful nursery will care for children while their parents shop for 50 pesos an hour. People mover ramps and elevators make shopping easily accessible to the handicapped. Can shopping get any better than this?
Do not be fooled by Plaza Sendero from the outside. It appears to be just a strip mall but appearances are deceiving. Park the car in the very ample parking lot or in the underground garage at the Cinepolis end and take a stroll through the beautiful interior.
Unfamiliar with Cabo San Lucas? Home Depot, Costco, Office Max, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club are on the Cabo Corridor, all with in 6 miles from the center of town. City Club is downtown, just behind the Chevrolet dealership. Office Depot is on the bordo, the road that circles the outside of Cabo proper and Plaza Sendero is on the road to Todos Santos, just past the CFE (the electric company) on the right hand side of the highway, approximately 3 miles from the town center.
Shopping in these very convenient stores may not be what the typical visitor to Cabo comes looking for…….but if one is in a timeshare and cooking their own meals or need some accessories for a laptop, digital camera or camcorder, or investigating the market for Cabo San Lucas Real Estate, it is handy to know that it all can be had, just minutes away from the beach chair on Medano Beach or the table at the poolside restaurant or your retirement of second home in this wonderful paradise called Cabo San Lucas.
Adjacent units available for sale
• 550 sq. ft., 1 bath, 1 bdrm single story - $69,900 USD - Cheapest Condos in Cabo
Mañana Condos, El Tezal - Fabulous Opportunity to Buy a One Bedroom Condo
Views of Land's End, Beautiful Sunsets and City Lights at Night from these units. Two units available in total that are adjacent to one another. Price is for each unit individually. SELLER IS MOTIVATED and NEEDS TO SELL FAST. Make an Offer!
Low cost of living and recent rehabs of similar units can be done for around $12,000 USD. Make sure to note the finished, rehabbed unit pictures along with checking out the virtual tour video.
Garage is available too for $10,000.
Start Living your Cabo Dream and have it in time for Winter!
Los Cabos Real Estate - Click Here to see condo
El Tezal, Cabo San Lucas Corridor - Announcing a price reduction on Hacienda Punta Vista, a 6,000 sq. ft., 6 bath, 6 bdrm single story. Now $649,000 USD - Less than $110 per sqft!.
Los Cabos Real Estate
CSL Central, Cabo San Lucas - Announcing a price reduction on Shots - The Bar, a 400 sq. ft., 1 bath single story. Now $119,900 USD - Real Estate and Bar.
Youtube video available: Cabo Real Estate
• 2,000 sq. m. lot / land - $219,000 USD - Cheapest Beach Front Lot
Light House Point Estates, La Ribera - Own your very own beachfront lot in Cabo. Located in Lighthouse Point Estates this 1/2 acre lot has all services to it. There are homes already completed and many under construction. Located just 45 minutes from the San Jose International airport (SJD) this location is ideal for those that LOVE the EAST CAPE. Also, only 15 minutes from the famous Cabo Pulmo reef.
Enjoy this swimmable beach all year round and at this price know you have only one way for your investment to go and that's UP!
Also, View Video on Youtube: Click Here
According to a E360's 2nd Home Trend Report done this year 2010 of second home owners, 45% of the owners think it is the perfect time to buy another "second" home. The report has surveyed second home buyers based on the following criteria: timing, home characteristics, location, and price to buy a second home. The country that ranked the most favored of those surveyed was Mexico dominating more than 50% of those polled. 360’s Global Research Analyst, Chad Martin said “although only half of our respondents believe now is a good time to buy, it is impressive that there is a strong second home contingent looking at a market like Mexico.” Also, of the remaining percentage of people who weren't thinking now is the right time to purchase that second home a staggering 79% of them thought in the next 2 years they would purchase a second home. Pretty Impressive huh? You will also find interesting that the top 3 reasons why second home buyers are buying now are as follows: 1. Lifestyle and Leisure ranks in at number one at 46% of those polled 2. Investment reasons ranks in at number 2 at 41% 3. Retirement ranks in at 3rd at 11%. It's interesting because most people aren't thinking for retirement but more a lifestyle of commuting back and forth between home and their second home. This is why Los Cabos Real Estate has shown movement even in this down economy. For that matter all Mexico Real Estate. So what property characteristics are most sought after in a second home property? There probably isn't much surprised that those surveyed chose water views and proximity to the water along with mountain activities like mountain biking, hiking, atvs, horseback riding, and camping. It's amazing that you can buy houses in Cabo offering all of those things. Gaining recent growth and heightened interest are the need for spa and medical facilities. It was interesting that although Golf is important to many people it didn't rank as a top attribute for people seeking a second home. It might be that those loving to play Golf prefer to much rather have all other things and Golf would be just a nice plus. It is also interesting to note that still 49 percent of those polled will consider local or domestic areas for retirement but many want to consider those properties that are a little bit outside of the highly populated areas and more off the beaten path. It could be deduced that this same mentality is why many are considering international destinations for a second home because many countries especially in the Latin America are unchartered and less inhabited areas. In consideration of the size of home, 49% want to have a single family residence and 60% prefer a smaller 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom setup. The price range of consideration is 200k - 400k and 60% are cash buyers not in need for financing. This remains very consistent and logical given that the people with the ability to buy a second home typically have the extra cash saved and prefer to not encumber a property and headache about another monthly payment. After all, buying a second home is suppose to easier than owning a primary home and not having a mortgage is a step in the right direction.
This July 2010 article has caught a lot of attention and is drawing a large number of people to Mexico to buy real estate. The location is ideal for Americans and Canadians alike. For many there is no difference between a flight from Chicago to San Francisco than a flight from Chicago to Cabo San Lucas. With several flights daily going between Canada/America and Mexico, accessibility is usually the least of issues for travelers. Also, the cost of living is so much less than most other North American cities with the benefits of a slower pace of life and beautiful weather all year round.
Medical care is also advancing and addressing more and more of the needs of retirees here in Mexico. With hospitals adapting American standards and a fully bilingual staff, hospitals like Amerimed are becoming increasingly more popular. There are 2 such facilities in Los Cabos - one in Cabo San Lucas and another in San Jose del Cabo. Many of people's medical insurance cover Amerimed bills too. Also, for a very inexpensive premium each year you can get Medivac insurance for those extreme medical emergencies that require you to head up to the States.
So you have made the decision to buy your retirement home in Mexico, now what? It is always wise to do your research on the internet and read a variety of blogs, websites, and discussion forums to hear the areas that are most popular. One such valuable website on Los Cabos Real Estate is loscabosagent.com. If Cabo is not your area of choice a simple google search of "______ Real Estate" will do the trick. Fill in the blank with Puerta Vallarta, Cancun, Mayan Riviera, Lake Chapala, Rocky Point, etc.
Generally speaking real estate in Mexico is cheaper and offers many more amenities that most properties back home don't offer. For example, it is typical to have a community pool, 24/7 gated security, and fitness room. The amenities and carefree ownership are important features to owning a home in Mexico. Not to mention the fact that real estate taxes are typically only .1% of the value of the property paid each year. This is usually about 1/10 the normal real estate taxes retirees would be paying for a similar property back home.
To learn more about Jim Cramer's take on the Mexican Real Estate investment read below. Just keep in mind that his last point of no real estate taxes is a little inaccurate. I think he was figuring if you're paying .1% per year it pretty much is like paying nothing.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
CNBC’s Stock Market Guru Urges Investing in Mexico
Jim Cramer, the Bombastic, high-energy investment Guru and host of
CNBC’s massively successful show “Mad Money”, gave Mexico real estate
investment a big boost this week. Cramer told his audience:
not such a bad idea to diversify away from stocks, I think that out of
favor real estate in Mexico, that’s easily accessible to Americans,
represents a great buy”.
With as many
as 2.5 million investors viewing the show each week, the controversial
host wields quite a bit of influence among his viewership and in the
marketplace as a whole. His following is so intense that it has created
a unique phenomenon in the stock market known as the “Cramer Bounce”,
which can be best described “as the sudden overnight appreciation of a
stock’s price after it has been recommended by Jim Cramer on his CNBC
show”, “Mad Money”.
Why does Cramer have such clout? Well, after graduating magna *** laude
from Harvard College, his first year as a rookie broker with Goldman
Sachs, he made over $700,000. After he paid his dues at Goldman, Cramer
started his own $450 million hedge fund where he earned 24% after fees,
regularly taking home over $10 million a year. Cramer’s fund finished
in 2001, up 36%, compared to -11% for the S&P 500 average and
walked away with $100 million and change.
Since then, he founded TheStreet.com and has written five New York
Times best selling books and his articles are featured in Time and New
York Magazines. He also a frequent guest on Meet the Press, Today Show,
60 Minutes, NBC’s Nightly News, The Tonight Show and most major
his own advice, Cramer recently announced to his audience that he had
already purchased three properties in Mexico within the last few weeks.
When asked about hyped headlines about drug violence and turmoil in
Mexico, Cramer downplayed those fears, he said, “Mexico is a big
country and not every province, every state is involved in the drug
trade”, and he added, “it has to be one of the nicest places I’ve ever
asked why he invested money in Mexico real estate, he replied, There is
“no property tax,” the properties are “incredibly easy to maintain,”
and there are “property managers everywhere.”
Arch Views on 1/2 Acre
• 6,000 sq. ft., 6 bath, 6 bdrm single story - $695,000 USD - Asking $115 per sqft!
El Tezal, Cabo San Lucas Corridor - This spectacular house has the best views in Cabo. Located on the Cabo Corridor and only 5 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas. It is ideally located.
It is a large 6,000 square foot home split into two 3,000 sqft units each featuring their own kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, laundry room and very nice views. The options for this home that sits on 1/2 an acre are limitless. If you want to live in one unit and rent the other or live in one and keep the other for out of town guests and family.
The house is equipped with a pool and jacuzzi and outdoor terraces taking advantage of the Land's End/Arch Views. There is plenty of land to still build another home.
There are possibilities to even do a bed and breakfast so act now as this home is selling for a drastic price reduction and 50% less than what it was originally listed for.
CSL Central, Cabo San Lucas - Announcing a new listing Shots - The Bar, a 400 sq. ft., 1 bath single story. Now $129,900 - Real Estate and Bar.
Plaza Bonita, CSL Central - Announcing a price reduction on Thirsty Fox Bar, a 1,500 sq. ft., 1 bath single story. Now $35,000 USD - Cost of Build out.
• 1,500 sq. m. lot / land - $359,000 USD - Cheapest Beachfront lot
Los Cerritos, Cerritos Beach - Own your very own beachfront parcel that measures over 1/3 of an acre. It spans 66 feet wide by 246 feet long. Just a few hundred meters from the Hacienda Cerritos which is a beautiful home turned into a boutique hotel. You can view that your future neighbor at www.haciendacerritos.com.
Off of one of the most coveted surfing and swimming beaches in all of Los Cabos. You can safely swim on this beach all year round. Also, located just 10 minutes from the historical town of Todos Santos and 45 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas. This lot is a true gem.
What does Summer mean in Cabo?
Many people just can’t wait to get out of the winter months and into the summer to finally start enjoying warm weather. It’s a common thing heard in Cabo San Lucas everyday among visitors. Another common thing heard is for real estate in Cabo San Lucas “have we hit bottom?”. It appears that the bottom of the Cabo San Lucas real estate market is here or very near. The exact timing is always hard no matter what market you are in but the one thing that is for sure is that it still is a buyer’s market. It is a great time to start buying and even more so now in the summer months.
Unlike in many markets in the U.S. and Canada the where the real estate markets trend up during the summer the exact opposite happens here in Cabo. The main reason is that the majority of visitors are in Cabo San Lucas during the months between October and May. It’s Cabo’s high season and the low season is the time period between June and September. The exciting part to all of this is that not only is Cabo in a down market with lower real estate prices than ever but also there is the “seasonal effect” happening where sellers are more desperate to sell due to the slower Cabo real estate traffic.
The timing right now and the next 3 months represent prime time for those ready, willing and able to buy. This not only is a good time to purchase but a fantastic time to rent too. There are many property managers reporting now that owners aren’t so willing now to let their Cabo Villas lay dormant and are now considering long term rentals instead of short term for that more consistent cash flow.
So even though many try to stay home during the summer months and leave Cabo San Lucas for the winter and spring time there is definite good reason to come during the summer months not only for a cheaper vacation but also to be buying that dream villa that is at historically low prices.
Check out Jonathan Brilliant's fabulous coffee stick sculpture on display at the Shoppes of Palmilla until June 30th. He used over 60,000 coffee stirrers to make this art display. From May 2009-December 2010 he is executing his “Have Sticks Will Travel world Tour”. The tour is a marathon series of site-specific installations taking place in thirteen galleries in eighteen months, in three countries, on two continents. In September 2010 he will conclude the tour with a three month fellowship as an artist in Residence at The Mccoll Center in Charlotte North Carolina. Click on the video below to see how he did it: