For most folks, the perfect way to start a day is with a stroll on the sand or a dip in the ocean. Owning a beach home so that they can do it every day is at the top of many wish lists. Many people think they can’t afford to do that. Understandable: When you take the limited supply of beach property and combine it with strong demand, what do you get? Sky-high sticker prices. But you can still bag a beach bargain in some overseas destinations
It feels likes standing in a virgin wilderness. In front of you are some of Panama’s finest white-sand beaches. Tropical birds call from the trees behind you. The land is undeveloped and quiet. You won’t meet many people here. Occasionally, you’ll see a kite surfer or someone walking an almost-deserted beach.
I first came to scout Panama City 11 years ago. Back then, the city was on the cusp of a massive growth spurt. It was primed for big things—set to transform into one of the commercial hubs of the Americas. That growth played out just as I expected. Since then, I’ve watched the city change almost beyond recognition.
The mountain town of Boquete is undoubtedly familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in living or buying a home in Panama.
While the notion of getting away from it all on a tropical island has near universal appeal, coconut phones and signal fires won’t cut it with today’s savvy expats. Let’s face it. You want to have your solitude, but also remain connected to the outside world through high-speed internet service and modern transportation options. Particularly […]
You sit in your courtyard at a sturdy hardwood table, enjoying the first cup of coffee of the day. The sounds of the city waking up are muffled by thick stone walls, as the tinkling fountain next to you provides a soothing soundtrack. A small pool to the side is the perfect antidote to hot days. You’re surrounded by heliconia, ginger, and bougainvillea vines. As you head inside through a tall, arched doorway for a second cup, your eyes pass over the intricately patterned tile floors, the vaulted ceilings with heavy timber beams standing out against the bright-white ceiling, and the dark wood doorframes perfectly complementing the yellow walls.
I ﬁrst visited Northeast Brazil in April 2008…speciﬁcally the beach town of Cumbuco. I made a bold prediction about this sleepy little spot… I predicted that it was set to embark on a big, upward trajectory. It did, and for folks who got in then, it’s proved proﬁtable. Now a special situation has created another buying moment here, right in the middle of Northeast Brazil’s great growth route.
As the savage North American winter begins to bite and the snow and ice pile up, many of us ﬁnd ourselves yearning for warmer climates elsewhere. Imagine a place that’s never too hot or too cold—just perfect. Outside, the birds are chirping, while gardens and wildﬂowers bloom in multicolored glory. You can walk around in a light tee-shirt at any time of year. Throw out your coat and boots. Forget about heating and air-conditioning bills and suffering through sweltering heat and humidity.
What a delight to wake up each morning to a glorious sun rising over the Caribbean Sea. You head out to the veranda to sip a rich, dark Guatemalan cup of Joe while gazing out at frothy waves breaking on the world’s second largest barrier reef less than a mile from shore. What a tranquil way to start the day…
Sunlight streams into your bedroom. The birds sing and the soft lapping of the ocean on the beach lures you to your front patio. The light is golden as it glides across the water to bathe the palm trees.
Roatán offers an appealing expat lifestyle, diverse and healthy food, easy access to North America, and great infrastructure for such a small island (only about 50 square miles in size). You’ll find an international airport, two cruise line ports, paved main roads, two hospitals, a golf course, and several high-quality grocery stores that stock North American gourmet items. The lifestyle is also highly affordable for the Caribbean. I met one expat couple who own their own home and live comfortably on less than $1,200 a month.
You wake in the morning and throw open the shutters to see a pure blue sky. Just as it was yesterday. And the day before. You return to your bed, content to gaze at the fluttering of the plane-tree leaves and terracotta rooftops outside your bedroom window, as you contemplate the delicious possibilities the day holds for you.
Park Views in Italy from $50,000
The short stretch of coast you find south of Barcelona is called the Costa del Garraf. Here you’ll find a string of three small towns that offer upscale amenities, relaxed living, easy access to Barcelona, and great-value real estate…
It’s a sunny morning, and you have plans to meet friends at a nearby café. You go down the elevator and are greeted by the porter on your way out. Your little studio apartment is a building near the corner of 21 de Setiembre and Ellauri in the neighborhood known as Punta Carretas in Montevideo, Uruguay.
After a day of socializing and swimming at the beach, you’re walking to your home in the La Aguada community in La Paloma, Uruguay, with your beach chair and umbrella. The sky is blue, and the sun is warm. You feel relaxed from head to toe. Like your lifestyle here, your home is simple and […]
Punta del Este, Uruguay, is to South America what the Hamptons are to North America and Saint-Tropez is to Europe. It’s a picturesque beach town that buzzes with vacationers and activity during the summer high season. And over the last decade, Punta del Este is growing in popularity as an expat haven. As you’d expect […]
If you’ve seen pictures of quintessential Ireland, you’ll probably have seen photos of the lakes of Killarney in Ireland’s County Kerry. Having these glorious landscapes on your doorstep costs far less than you may think.
After living in Medellin, Colombia, for a few months it struck me that I was enjoying San Diego weather at a quarter of the cost of living.
Blessed with some of the country’s best beaches—as well as great golﬁng—Hua Hin has been a Thai holiday hot-spot for almost 100 years. More recently, foreigners have also discovered everything this town of 80,000 people has to offer. New condo complexes and housing developments are springing up within a 10-mile radius, hand-in-hand with a burgeoning infrastructure of new malls, international restaurants, and tourist attractions that were much more difﬁcult to ﬁnd just a few years ago.
European real estate is on sale…at least in a few select locales. You know the story by now. In the early and mid-2000s, Europe’s real estate markets embarked on a massive tear. It became a gold rush. A mad frenzy. Values rose and rose…until everything stopped. Credit dried up. The market imploded and real estate owners found themselves deeply underwater.
The Romans’ influence stretches down the millennia into architecture, literature, theater, warfare, politics… They are a pillar upon which Western civilization is built. At its height, the Roman Empire held sway over much of Europe, the Near East, and North Africa. Its borders expanded over the centuries as the Romans took new lands… or shrunk in the face of barbarian hordes that invaded as the empire declined.
If you’re considering a home in the Emerald Isle, now is a great time to buy. After years of price falls and stagnation, the property market is starting to come out of the doldrums. And for North American buyers, the currency exchange rate means that your dollars now go further than they have in a decade.
Imagine a land like something from a fairy tale. Magnificent châteaux have spiky black turrets resembling witches’ hats. Immaculate Renaissance gardens prove that horticulture is indeed an art form. Riverbank towns with timber-framed houses, ancient arched bridges, and openair markets dot the landscape. Vineyards give way to wheat fields studded with scarlet poppies and scarecrows that are far too prettily dressed to be outside scaring crows.
There’s a situation right now worth your attention south of the U.S. in Mexico. Mexico is set to become a developed country in the coming decades. You can benefit most from this economic transformation in the beach city of Playa del Carmen. The strategy? Buy best-in-class real estate, particularly the type of real estate that will appeal to the mobile entrepreneurs and young, new, upper middle-class families that are moving there.
Before the automobile came along, people lived life on a more intimate scale. You shopped at the local butcher, baker, and grocer (whom you knew by name). The café downstairs, or down the street, was your second home, and its patrons your second family. You scheduled your day by how long it took to walk from place to place…and nobody was in a rush, anyway.
Five years ago I moved to Malaysia. It’s a fun-loving, outdoorsy, and welcoming country. It’s friendly and English speaking—even the road signs are in English, and the roads in Malaysia are some of the best that I have seen anywhere in the world.
Cheerful songbirds greet you as you enjoy a rich Italian coffee on your terrace. The sun rises from the direction of the Adriatic Sea—a mere half-hour drive away.
Ireland is about the best place I can think of for genuine hospitality. Folks speak English—which is a big plus—and hopping around Europe from your Emerald Isle retreat is a synch thanks to low-cost airlines. (For example, flights of a couple of hours to France cost from $80.) I’m sure you know the country’s real estate market took a beating during the crisis. It’s picking up, but there are still great-value properties to be uncovered.
Mexico is set to become a developed country in the coming decades. We can benefit most from this economic transformation in the beach city of Playa del Carmen. Playa del Carmen, a veritable boom town today, is already a well-recognized name among tourists. But today it’s becoming something more than just a hot spot for travelers.
In 2009, the global financial and economic crisis steam-rolled through fragile Portugal. In the six years since, I have been closely watching the real estate market in the Algarve (that’s the popular tourist destination at the nation’s foot). I have made four scouting trips here in recent times. Finally, it’s time to make a move.
For millions of folks, golf satisfies something in the soul: hitting that one pure shot…breathing fresh air…and walking an immaculate course…the fast friendships forged on the fairway (and in the clubhouse bar). The game we know today has its origins in Scotland in the 15th century. popularized by British royalty, it soon spread throughout Europe and beyond.
The dazzling Caribbean island of Roatán offers much more than spectacular sugarsand beaches and cozy, inviting bays. You’ll also find mountainous terrain lush with vibrant tropical flowers. Head up any of the many hills that form the interior to be awestruck by the surrounding Caribbean Sea, its surface sparkling in the sun, its depths tinged with aquamarine, topaz, and soft green hues.
The news out of Brazil is bad. Really bad. I’m excited. I’m excited because, while the media’s stories imply that the whole nation is a mess, I know that’s not the case. But most people don’t know that. And for you that opens a window of opportunity. You see, Brazil’s media is centered in, and dominated by, Rio and São Paolo. What reaches us as “Brazil news” is essentially just Rio/São Paolo news. And yes, there are troubles in Brazil’s economy, no question. But I’ve been focusing my attention south of Fortaleza in the northeast, and I’ve come across some great opportunities.
In the northwest corner of Spain you ﬁnd a land where the bagpipes, known locally as the gaita, is the preferred instrument, a hallmark of the region’s Celtic heritage. The Galicia province, one of the least-known Celtic nations, is littered with Celtic sites. These include ancient places of worship and stone huts similar to those found in other parts of the Celtic world. Festivals with Celtic origins continue to be celebrated. And the local language, Gallego, even has several words of Celtic origin. Today the region is an autonomous community within modern Spain.
You’ll enjoy some of Mexico’s ﬁnest quality of living for a fraction of what you’d pay in the U.S. or Canada. All told, a couple can comfortably call this paradise home for around $2,500 to $3,000 a month. Simple meals in local restaurants will run you $5 or less. One of my favorites, ﬁsh tacos, can be had for $1.50 each in the no-frills beach restaurants. And in stores, you can expect to pay prices similar to those in the U.S. for imported foods, but fresh produce is a bargain…try a pound of tomatoes for 65 cents or two pounds of fresh fruit like mango for $1. There are big savings on property taxes and healthcare, too. And where else can you enjoy life in a two-bedroom condo a stone’s-throw from the beach, in a premier beach town, for under $700 a month rent?
You step from your dining room onto a large balcony. It’s warm out—short-sleeves only—and the sun is dipping behind forest-clad mountains. Cut-stone steps lead down to your cobbled courtyard and from there your split-level garden. Your orchard’s looking good: Lemon, fig, olive, avocado, and cherry trees laden with fruit. Maybe now’s the time to fire […]
Costa Rica’s northern Pacific is a place where you often might be one of a dozen people on the beach. It’s laidback and on a reasonable scale. Small villages. Quiet resort towns. Manageable. Lots of trees and natural areas. Not crowded. The level of development, though increasing, is still very small. And the attention development […]
Imagine coffee on your terrace as you enjoy spectacular views of lush green mountains and the valley and town below. Parrots glide overhead as the sun sets over the mountain… A lot of living is done outdoors here in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica. A major draw is the comfortable year-round climate. The […]
The glittering, cerulean Mediterranean. Not a bad view every morning as you enjoy coffee and croissants from your terrace. Life is good. Sunny days. Freshcaught seafood. Crashing waves your lullaby every night…or for those drowsy, afternoon, after-lunch siestas. And salt-scented breezes keeping things cool.