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Brad Billingsley, an American retiree living at Calafia Condos, talks about why he chose to retire to Mexico and why he chose Calafia Condos.

For more information on Calafia Condos visit http://www.calafiacondos.com. Click here for even more real estate in Mexico

Marianne ‘Mimi’ Mills, Broker for The Baja Real Estate Group, takes us on an open house tour of the The Montecitos model unit of the luxurious boutique residential development of Santa Barbara at Bajamar, a private gated community famous for its 27 hole ocean front golf course.

Santa Barbara at Bajamar offers full Concierge Services at what it is one of the best locations in Ensenada, especially if you are passionate for golfing. All of the condos in Santa Barbara have an ocean view and come full with appliances and wine storage.

For more information on Santa Barbara at Bajamar visit http://www.santabarbaratbajamar.net

Browse for more Ensenada real estate and Mexico real estate.

Experts say Americans have wrong perception
By: Leonel Sánchez

Tourism in Mexico is up again despite the perception that it is not safe because of the drug-related violence that has claimed thousands of Mexican lives in recent years, according to a binational panel in San Diego on Tuesday.

Ernesto Coppel Kelly, a Mexican resort entrepreneur, said now is a good time to travel to Mexico. Troy Orem / SanDiegoRed.com

Ernesto Coppel Kelly, a Mexican resort entrepreneur, said now is a good time to travel to Mexico. Troy Orem / SanDiegoRed.com

“The perception is that we are losing ground but it’s the other way,” said Ernesto Coppel Kelly, one of Mexico’s leading tourism entrepreneurs.

Coppel was speaking at a roundtable discussion organized by the Mexico Center of the San Diego Regional Chamber that focused on U.S tourism to Mexico.

The panel included Baja California, Tijuana and San Diego tourism and transportation officials and the editor-in-chief of the San Diego Business Journal.

Coppel, chairman of the Pueblo Bonito resorts and spas in Mazatlan and Los Cabos, said more than 22 million foreign tourists visited Mexico last year, a 12 percent increase from the previous year and another increase is expected this year. More than six million visitors last year were Americans, he said.

“With better news from the media we could have better business,” Coppel said.

He said later during an interview that tourism was up largely because prices were cut to attract foreign visitors.
continue reading…

By Sandra Dibble | Sign on San Diego News

TIJUANA — Baja California has been losing cruise-ship visitors, sales of coastal real estate have plummeted and many resort hotel rooms sit empty. Yet the range of tourism offerings for visitors to the state has never been greater.

Fans cheer on the Xoloitzcuintles soccer team in Tijuana, which has developed a growing following on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly after its ascension to Mexico’s Primera Division in May. / Photo by K.C. Alfred * U-T

Fans cheer on the Xoloitzcuintles soccer team in Tijuana, which has developed a growing following on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly after its ascension to Mexico’s Primera Division in May. / Photo by K.C. Alfred * U-T

Among this year’s choices: a large agricultural fair in Mexicali, new fine-dining restaurants in Tijuana, an expanded wine festival in Ensenada, and surfing and rock-climbing classes in Rosarito Beach.

In the wake of a difficult decade for tourism, government and private promoters in Baja California are finding more ways to attract visitors as they launch into the traditional summer peak season. The state’s tourism secretary, Juan Tintos, speaks of “reorganizing, redefining our strategies in the tourism sector.”

That means continuing to target Hispanics living in the United States but also relying more heavily on Mexican domestic tourism. It means depending far less on the traditional flow of Americans to Baja California’s beaches and focusing on new niches: athletes and sports fans, food and wine devotees, convention visitors and medical tourists.

When things were going well, “the state didn’t have a need to look in general at what it can offer,” said Laura Torres, whose family owns and operates Rosarito Beach Hotel. Then a series of crises in recent years forced the search for a broader range of offerings.

Torres, the head of Baja California’s Business Coordinating Council, has started a tour agency that takes guests on excursions such as whale-watching trips, visits to a Spanish mission, rappelling classes in nearby La Mision. continue reading…

ROSARITO, BAJA CALIFORNIA, April 4, 2011 – Baja Real Estate Group, the leading Real Estate brokerage in the Rosarito area, has announced plans to merge with Bajamar Premier Properties, a firm with significant presence in the Ensenada region.

Two Baja Real Estate Firms Merge To Become Powerful Force In Northern Baja

Two Baja Real Estate Firms Merge To Become Powerful Force In Northern Baja

According to Max Katz, owner of Baja Real Estate Group, the new company will be called Baja Real Estate Group but will operate two divisions, Beachside Realty in Rosarito and Baja Premiere Properties in Bajamar and Ensenada. A new office is already planned in the Guadalupe Valley, just north of Ensenada.

Mimi Mills and associates have an outstanding reputation in the area,” said Max Katz, “and her long history throughout northern Baja will contribute greatly to the strength of our new organization.”

Bajamar Premier Properties began within the gated oceanfront golf community of Bajamar, since 2005 guiding American and Canadian expatriates through safe and successful transactions.

“Max and his wife Kathy Katz represent some of the most respected real estate developers in the region and, as we combine our forces, we will be able to serve more new developments and spread our expertise to those who need our services,” said Marianne “Mimi” Mills.

New residential developments currently represented by the Baja Real Estate Group include Calafia Resort and Villas in the area known as Calafia, 10 Miles south of Rosarito; Palacio del Mar in El Descanso, 20 miles south of Rosarito, and Naos, where sales recently began in the northern beach corridor of Rosarito continue reading…

BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER
aoppenheimer@MiamiHerald.com

Mexico's big hope: get 5 million U.S. retirees

Mexico's big hope: get 5 million U.S. retirees

MEXICO CITY — Mexico is silently working on proposals aimed at drawing millions of U.S. retirees to this country, which could eventually lead to the most ambitious U.S.-Mexican project since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

President Felipe Calderón is likely to propose the first steps toward expanding U.S. retirement benefits and medical tourism to Mexico when he goes to Washington on an official visit May 19, according to well-placed officials here. If not then, he will raise the issue later this year, they say.

“It’s one of the pillars of our plans to trigger economic and social well-being in both countries,” Mexico’s ambassador to the United States Arturo Sarukhan told me. “We will be seeking to increasingly discuss this issue in coming months and years.”

Calderón brought it up during a U.S.-Canada-Mexico summit in Guadalajara in August last year, but President Barack Obama asked him to shelve the idea until he was able to pass healthcare reform, another official told me.

Now that Congress has passed healthcare reform, Calderón is preparing to charge ahead.

A GROWING MARKET
There are already an estimated 1 million Americans living in Mexico. And according to Mexican government estimates based on U.S. Census figures, that number is likely to soar to 5 million by 2025 as the U.S. population grows older and more Americans look for sunny, cheaper places to retire.

The U.S. Census projects that the number of U.S. retirees will soar from 40 million now to nearly 90 million by 2050. Already, 5 million American retirees live abroad, of whom 2.2 million are in the Western Hemisphere — mostly in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Brazil. Another 1.5 million live in Europe and 850,000 in Asia.

The key to luring more U.S. medical tourists and retirees to Mexico and other Latin American countries will be getting hospitals in the region to be certified by the U.S. Joint International Commission, which establishes that they meet U.S. hospitals’ standards. There are already eight Mexican hospitals certified by the JIC and several others awaiting certification.

According to Mexican government estimates, healthcare costs in Mexico are about 70 percent lower than in the United States. And from my own experience, those estimates are right: As I reported at the time, when I was hospitalized in Mexico two years ago for an emergency operation, my hospital bill was indeed about 70 percent lower than what it would have been in Miami.

So what will Calderón specifically propose to Obama? Most likely, the Mexican president will suggest starting with a low-profile agreement that would allow the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration to pay for Medicare benefits to U.S. retirees in Mexico. Under current rules, Medicare only covers healthcare services in the United States.

IT JUST MAKES SENSE
My opinion: Mexico and much of Latin America are bound to become growing U.S. retirement and medical tourism destinations, much like Spain has become a permanent living place for Germans, Britons and Northern Europeans.

You won’t read much about it now because neither Calderón nor Obama will emphasize it publicly while the drug-related violence in northern Mexico is making big headlines, and while the political wounds from the recent U.S. healthcare debate are still open in Washington, D.C.

But I’m increasingly convinced that, as the violence in Mexico subsides and the healthcare debate becomes a distant memory in Washington, medical benefits’ deals will become a top U.S.-Latin American priority. Just as free-trade agreements were the big thing of the 1990s, healthcare agreements will be the big deal of the coming decade.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Calderón and Obama take the first baby steps toward a U.S.-Mexico healthcare agreement by finding a way to pay for Medicare benefits for U.S. expatriates in Mexico, or getting U.S. states to allow similar payments. Then, most likely after the 2012 presidential election in both countries, the two would start negotiating a more ambitious deal.

Demography, geography and economics are pointing in that direction. With the U.S. population getting older, a record U.S. budget deficit, rising U.S. healthcare costs, and Mexico and other Latin American countries badly needing more tourism and investments, this should be a win-win for everybody.

Browse for real estate in mexico.

By Kathleen Kirkwood

Brad Billingsley and his Wife

Brad Billingsley and his wife Linda

Brad Billingsley could have been waiting for his tee time at an Arizona golf course.

Instead, the former Lafayette resident and his wife Linda were in a lagoon off Cabo San Lucas, snapping photos of gray whales bobbing next to their small charter boat.

“Every day, it’s an adventure here,” Brad Billingsley said. “It’s added 20 years to my life.”

Brad, 62, and Linda Billingsley, 61, are among the “silver surge” of baby boomers seeking alternative retirement nests in Mexico, according to a recent report by the International Community Foundation.

It’s not certain how many U.S. retirees are living in Mexico — a 2004 study puts it between 500,000 and 600,000 — but the foundation and other researchers say the number is bound to increase as more boomers settle into their golden years and find Mexico an affordable alternative. Almost half the retirees living in coastal areas are getting by comfortably on less than $1,000 per month, said the report, which cites the growth of real estate projects targeted at retirees as proof that expatriates are flocking south of the border.

The Billingsleys had seriously considered a retirement community with a golf course in central Arizona. But they lacked the enthusiasm for fairway living that seemed to consume retirees there. “Their entire lives were involved with golf,” Brad Billingsley said.

In 2007, the couple became expatriates and settled into a $300,000, two-bedroom beachfront condominium in Rosarito Beach, in Baja California.

They’ve made the most out of their retirement dollars, Brad Billingsley said. The cost of living — from groceries to health care — is low in their beachfront town and there’s plenty to do, such as driving down the coast to Cabo, walking on the beach and shopping at the local mercado. continue reading…

Villanueva, far left; Rosarito Mayor Hugo Torres, center in striped maroon sweater; and Bruce Howard, far right in yellow vest

Villanueva, far left; Rosarito Mayor Hugo Torres, center in striped maroon sweater; and Bruce Howard, far right in yellow vest

ROSARITO BEACH, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO—Seven members of a California Rotary club joined with about 20 local Rotarians and Rosarito residents Saturday in an event to demonstrate this tourist area is perfectly safe for visitors.

The event organized by Rotarians from Cambria, California was officially a beach maintenance session but Bruce Howard, past president of that club, said its main purpose was to help eliminate inaccurate perceptions that have developed in the U.S.

“We want to tell people that Baja is safe,” said Howard, who owns a vacation home in Rosarito. “We’re coming down, we love coming down and we feel safe and welcome and comfortable here.”

Howard said media coverage of the Mexican government’s aggressive crackdown on drug cartels, including some sensationalized stories, has created the impression among some in the U.S. that the area is unsafe for visitors. continue reading…

Bring Your Medicare to Mexico

Bring Your Medicare to Mexico

Suzan Haskins
Latin America Editor, International Living
International Living Postcards—your daily escape

Which foreign country will be the first in which Americans can use Medicare and Medicaid benefits?

Mexico, of course.

It just makes sense. Mexico is right next door to the largest market of health care consumers in the world. Some health services in Mexico can cost 12 times less than what is charged in the U.S., experts say.

It’s no wonder that Americans (and yes, Canadians, too) cross the Mexican border in frequently increasing numbers to avail of the high-quality but low-cost health care Mexico provides, including reduced cost prescriptions. continue reading…

Drug cartels. Murders. The news is often bad out of Mexico. Peter Ferry journeys beyond the headlines.

Finally Some Good News on Travel in Mexico

Finally Some Good News on Travel in Mexico

Poor old Mexico. Talk about kicking a guy when he’s down! Just when the price of oil plummets, American jobs dry up, and the fear of drug violence cuts tourism in half, along comes swine flu to cut it in half again.

OK, it’s time for a little good news. In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control lifted its recommendation against travel to Mexico; the swine flu isn’t so bad after all, and it probably didn’t come here from Mexico in the first place.

And now a little more good news. Drug violence is not a threat to ordinary tourists like you and me. This is according to the Mexican government, the U.S. State Department and me. Let me give you a little background. continue reading…