Learning Spanish

By Joel Hansen

I moved to Mexico three years ago. In that time I have traveled across my adopted home from the deserts in Sonora to the jungles of Veracruz in search of adventure and great places for Canadians to visit. Arriving in Mexico three years ago I didn’t speak a word of Spanish and my thought was that I would learn it as I lived it. I would absorb Spanish through the powers of osmosis. It hasn’t quite worked out the way I hoped. During my adventures to parts of Mexico where little English is spoken I found my vocabulary hopelessly woeful. I can get by but I constantly felt like I was missing out. I knew it was time to do something about it.

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A History of Financing in Mexico

baja financing 300x133 A History of Financing in MexicoMortgages in Mexico are a relatively new occurrence all things considered. In fact, it has only been since 2005 that a foreigner could actually finance a purchase in Mexico. Until 2005 and the inception of GE Capital & Silvergate bank, all buyers simply paid cash. A quick glance at data on the MLS dating back from 2005 until now will indicate that the vast majority of buyers have paid cash. That data considers land, condos & houses in all price points. Certain segments of the market do have a higher volume of buyers seeking financing than others, namely the $100,000 to the $700,000 price point. The last complete year of data that can be used was 2011 as the mortgage product was consistent that year. Information garnered from BBVA/Compass (primary funding source for 2011) and the MLS Los Cabos showed that less than 10% of all transactions utilized mortgages that year.

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Beach and Stethoscope: Medical tourism in Western Mexico

By Antonio Vázquez

The Jalisco medical tourism cluster is one of the leading centers in the country for attention to foreigners; it offers a wide range of specialties ranging from cosmetic surgery and care for chronic degenerative diseases to cancer and fertility treatments.

Tourism and health: what better combination?

The medical tourism industry in Mexico offers a wide range of health services, and Jalisco is home to one of the most important medical clusters in the country.

In 2009, a number of private institutions in the state of Jalisco conceived the idea of forming a cluster to offer quality services in the healthcare market. Initially, the group focused primarily on cosmetic surgery services but over time the catalog was expanded.

“There is a great demand as the global population begins to age. We are seeing an increasing prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and those affecting the heart, the joints, the hips, and so on,” explains Carlos Rodríguez Zárate, president of the Jalisco Medical Tourism Cluster.

Rodríguez Zárate explains that the leading consumer of health services, the US, represents a great opportunity for clusters focused on medicine in Mexico. The costs of coverage of different health systems in the US are high and the health reforms in that country have set restrictions on coverage.

“That creates an important market for us. Another factor is the migration policy of the Obama administration, which is aimed at reaching millions of migrants; many Mexicans are waiting to become citizens of the US in order to come to Mexico and be treated in the health services here,” he adds.

The quality of medical services in Mexico and the warmth with which Mexican doctors treat their patients are added values that attract medical tourism from the US. Jalisco, in western Mexico, is a state with approximately 10 million inhabitants. Its capital, Guadalajara, is the second largest metropolitan area in the country, with just over 6 million residents, and an international airport with flights to 21 cities in the US.

entrada san javier 300x203 Beach and Stethoscope: Medical  tourism in Western MexicoWith mountain ranges and the sea, the state has wonderful tourism sites. Puerto Vallarta, on the coast of Jalisco, is one the most preferred beaches by American tourists. According to figures from the federal Ministry of Tourism, in the first half of 2014, about 600,000 tourists visited the destination, representing an increase of almost 20% compared to the same period in 2013.

The Jalisco Medical Tourism Cluster is composed of 10 hospitals in Guadalajara that are renowned throughout the country and four hospitals in Puerto Vallarta.

“Jalisco has extensive experience in treating emergency patients, people who are traveling on business, or people living in US and Canadian dominated neighborhoods on the shores of Lake Chapala,” Carlos Rodríguez Zárate points out.

Medical tourism in Mexico is a market that brings major economic benefits to the country. Mexican exports of health services in 2012 exceeded 3 billion USD, according to figures from Euromonitor. Patients Beyond Borders estimates that every year over one million people travel to Mexico for health care.

The Jalisco Medical Tourism Cluster offers an extensive portfolio of specialties. The cluster partner hospitals as offering cosmetic surgery, dental care, ophthalmology, obesity treatment, orthopedics, hip implants, oncology, cardiology and neurosurgery, as well as fertility and stem cell treatments, among other services.

consultorio san javier 300x225 Beach and Stethoscope: Medical  tourism in Western MexicoIn March 2014, representatives of the most important medical clusters in Mexico met to map out a strategy that will project the sector onto the international stage. The main outline of the strategy, defined in conjunction with the federal Ministry of Health, is to work in a coordinated manner to provide quality service for foreign patients.

“In Mexico and Jalisco there is a high level of quality among health professionals. Many of our doctors have qualifications and training from countries like the US, Canada, and some European countries. The network of hospitals, hospital infrastructure and services such as laboratories and radiology units fully comply with international standards,” states Rodríguez Zárate, who adds that, in the coming years, the Jalisco Medical Tourism Cluster will seek to position Mexico as one of the main destinations for health tourism in the world.

“We are focused on international tourism and on developing a comprehensive approach as a country and as a State. Jalisco has been developing for several years as a major center for medical attention care in the country,” concludes the president of the Jalisco Medical Tourism Cluster.

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Transitioning to a Life in Sayulita

Our very own, Gabriel Jones and his wife Wendy were recently featured on the popular Sayulita Life website. Gabe and Wendy have called Sayulita, Mexico home now for nearly 3.5 years. Originally coming down with their two Chihuahuas for a year-long workcation, they now have a pack full of rescue dogs (this week it’s five, next week who knows?) and no intention of returning to Vancouver, Canada anytime soon.

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The Sixth Mass Extinction

By Minerva Zamora

Earth’s last five mass extinctions- classified as such when 75% or more of the planet’s life dies out- were caused by unstoppable cataclysms such as giant asteroid strikes or massive volcanic eruptions. It is overwhelming then to realize that scientists are now comparing humans’ influence on our Earth’s flora and fauna at the same level as these catastrophic events.

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