One moment that has stuck with me over the years is a dinner I had with a friend in New York. It was around the time that I put my apartment up for sale and was getting ready to move my life to Mexico. We met in the Meatpacking District, at a small Italian restaurant. It was a warm, late-summer night, perfect for lingering over our wine in a corner of Manhattan that felt like Europe, where we both had lived in the past.
“The weather is wonderful—very warm, can be hot, with a sprinkling of showers every once in a while. Coming from our cold temperatures in Canada we appreciate not having to bundle up for five months,” says Colleen Tannahill who along with her husband Blake owns a condo on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. “We are very happy with our rental occupancy and we’ve had a strong return so far. We have a rental manager who has our property posted online and we also spread the word ourselves.”
Time has slowed. I’m squinting from the midday sun. The low roar of gentle waves lapping the white-sand shores all along the three mile-long bay mixes with the calls of seabirds. On the horizon, breakers foam over the reef, contrasting with the vivid turquoise sea. It’s hypnotic…a nearly out-of-body experience. Tulúm, a community of around 30,000 people on the south end of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, tends to have that effect on people. It’s the type of place where vacationers fall in love and the next time they return it’s for good.
On the southern end of Mexico’s Riviera Maya is the up-and-coming expat destination of Tulúm. This small but lively beach community offers a warm tropical climate year-round, as well as white-sand beaches and vibrant turquoise Caribbean waters. Good value condos and homes means retirees and other expats live by the beach for less. And an active expat community, great restaurants, and plenty of modern amenities and services make for a great lifestyle.
Ever wonder what it would be like to work with elephants for a day in the jungles of northern Thailand? At the Patara Elephant Camp, you can. Not all elephant camps are created equal but this is one of the highest on the list when it comes to ethics and dedicated mahouts (elephant handlers).
Sinking my toes into the warm white sand, I lean back in a plastic chair warped by the sun to give it a reclining effect. Homemade tortilla chips heaped on the plate in front of me are perfect for dipping into the ceviche of fresh ﬁsh caught just off the coast. And the $2 chelada, a lager beer on the rocks—Pacíﬁco is my favorite—with a liberal dose of lime juice and salt on the rim, hits the spot.
Just north of Tulum on Mexico’s Riviera Maya is the small beach community of Akumal. The beach curves gently around a small cove, which is home to endangered sea turtles who munch on the abundant sea grass.
One of my absolute favorite destinations in the world is Guanajuato, a city in Mexico’s Colonial Highlands. It’s a place where every interest is catered for: Every time I return I throw myself into the wealth of cultural activities it offers: concerts, exhibitions, theater, food festivals, book fairs… Even Guanajuato’s street scene is lively. Walk down to the Jardin (Garden) area any given night, and you’ll see strolling locals and expats, bustling outdoor cafes, student troubadours, and mariachi groups making music, and more.
Mexico’s Riviera Maya runs south of Cancun to Tulúm. The sand is white…and the water, turquoise. In the jungle, you’ll find Maya ruins. Offshore, the world’s second-longest coral reef is home to brightly colored fish. The biosphere at Sian Ka’an is a great place to hike, kayak, and study nature. The coral reef offshore attracts divers and snorkelers. Golf, hiking, spelunking in ancient caves…it’s all here. Tulúm is, and will stay, boutique. The Sian Ka’an biosphere means that much of the land is protected. Development will be low rise and low density—that’s if and where it’s permitted. Yet, amazingly, you’re just a 90-minute drive to the airport and two hours in the air to the U.S.
Encompassing Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of El Salvador and Honduras, La Ruta Maya (the “Maya Route”) covers the territory of the Maya civilization, which reached its height from 250 to 900 A.D. One of the New World’s most advanced cultures, the Maya had written language, mathematics, a sophisticated calendar, and architectural skills that saw them construct massive temples and spectacular cities, many of which still stand. However, the Maya were never a single empire; rather, kings ruled over small territories surrounding a city.
Carlos stares into the afternoon sky, scans the horizon, and glances at his cell phone to check for messages. Then, using his machete and with a few deft flicks of his wrist, he slices through the scrub. Brightly colored butterflies float on the breeze. Whenever they come close, Carlos gently brushes them away from us and away from any danger to them. Carlos, though hardly five feet tall, wears the wide smile common among Mayans. It’s contagious. He’s one of the most successful developers on the Riviera Maya but here in the scrub, he’s a world away from bustling Mexico City where he spends a lot of his time. In the Riviera Maya is where he’s at his happiest—not in any boardroom or first class airline seat.
Land in the Tulum area on the southern edge of Mexico’s Riviera Maya can be a strong opportunity…as long as it’s the right land. On my recent scouting trip I put boots on the ground at more than a dozen interesting communities (including some planned lot communities). As long-time readers of Real Estate Trend Alert know, Tulum is stunning. It’s home to some of the world’s finest white-powder beaches…backed by palm trees that rustle in the Caribbean breezes.
Right now, in Mexico, there’s a place where rich celebrities, like Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, and Orlando Bloom come to hang out…but where you can still buy a condo without the millionaire-price tag.
If you’re thinking of buying property overseas, right now the stars have aligned to bring you an unbeatable opportunity on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast.
This stunning stretch of coast is on the up thanks to the convergence of major trends along these stunning white sands. North Americans are back buying in numbers thanks to a strong stock market and recovering real estate values back home.
Thirty million Tripadvisor readers voted Tulum #2 in their top 10 Beach and Sun Destinations worldwide in 2010. When you see the beaches, it’s easy to see why … silky white sand, dotted with palm trees, and washed by bright-aquamarine Caribbean waves. Offshore, the coral reef beckons, with a rainbow of exotic fish.
On a typical day in Tulúm, Mexico, I get up before the sun and come out onto the beach to watch it rise. Then I come back in, check my emails, and have some breakfast. After that I go for a run, have some more breakfast, and go back out to watch the water. Some days I go into town and get a bite to eat. Other times I drive up to Playa del Carmen, which is 45 minutes away, for provisions. Most of the time, I just hang out here at home.
In Tulum, Mexico, you’ll find some of the world’s finest white powder beaches… They’re backed by palm trees that rustle in the Caribbean breezes… It’s a special place to spend time. You can kayak on a white-bottomed lagoon…or stroll along picture-perfect beaches to your yoga class before breakfast. You can visit ancient Maya ruins or swim in a cenote.
The Tulum area, at the southern edge of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, has the finest, white-sand beaches on my beat. Turquoise waters lap on soft sand while breezes rustle through palm trees. This is a great place to spend time—a place I like to vacation. It’s jet-set chic here.
Close on a decade ago I first stood on the white sands at Tulum, Mexico. Playa del Carmen was my base for this trip, and I saw first-hand what was happening. Playa was taking off—as were its real estate values. Ninety minutes down the coast (before the road improvements) Tulum was a secluded piece of paradise. It was an empty beach—there wasn’t a single soul. I drove down a potholed, rutted, sand road with a friend.
The Tulum area, at the southern edge of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, has the finest white-sand beaches on my beat. Turquoise waters lap on soft sand while breezes rustle through palm trees. This is a great place to spend time—a place I like to vacation. It’s jet-set chic here. Fortunately I’ve an excuse for frequent visits.
Cancun wasn’t always packed with high-rise condos and tourist accommodation. In fact, in 1970, it had just three inhabitants. (Yes, you read that right.) Then, in 1974, Fonatur (Mexico’s tourism development authority) kicked off a master plan to bring tourism to this sandy spit of land. They built the infrastructure and provided the incentives necessary to attract hotelier tourists—and it worked.
It’s hard to believe that a place of such stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and ancient history as Tulum is so easily accessible. On the Riviera Maya, this town boasts warm Caribbean waters, soft white-sand beaches, centuries-old Maya temples, and jungle filled with colorful wildlife. Standing here, it feels sometimes like you’re stepping away from the hustle and the noise of modern civilization.
I’ve never seen a stretch of the Caribbean more beautiful than the Riviera Maya. Standing on the warm, clean, coral-sanded beach, turquoise water laps at your feet. Behind you, palm trees sway and rustle in gentle breezes. Dive into that water and you can explore the world’s second-longest coral reef. Or step back from the beach and take in untamed jungle, ancient forest cities, and mythical cenotes—underground, swimmable caverns revered as sacred places by the Maya people.
I’ll only consider a real estate opportunity in a country where I’m confident that income and capital gains can easily be transferred elsewhere.
As an International Living reader, you know that I’m bullish on the opportunity we have in the Tulúm area of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. I’m here on a 10-day scouting trip— my seventh visit—and I’ve lucked out. Through a local contact, I’ve managed to get a last-minute rental in the high-quality condo closest to the beach at Tulúm.
It’s a rare thing these days to be able to say that you own real estate on or close to “Grade A” beach. By that, I mean truly stunning beach, either Caribbean white sands or the bluest stretches of the Pacific Coast. We’ll discuss the following three beach areas in detail at our upcoming International Real Estate Investment Forum…and for those in the room, $91,500 in savings will be on offer.
I’m not usually a big fan of popular “resort” destinations. But I make an exception for Tulúm, in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. This little beach town is very easy to like. In fact, if I had to recommend just one destination in Mexico for beach lovers today, it would be Tulúm.
This is the most stunning stretch of white-sand beach I have set foot on. Standing here, on Tulum’s Caribbean coast in Mexico, with warm sea breezes rustling through the palm trees, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d want to be. If you’re looking for a manufactured resort, stay in Cancun. Tulum is the real thing. Jungle crawls over ancient Mayan Ruins. You’ll find caves and underground rivers.
In pockets all across the planet, you’ll ﬁnd amazing opportunities to make money from real estate. I’m talking about beautiful places tucked into lush jungle-clad hills, on white sandy coves, in bustling cities, and in small colonial towns. These are markets on the upswing. The mainstream hasn’t heard of them yet. And in them today you’ll get excellent bang for your buck as well as great proﬁt potential.
This is what can happen when the Path of Progress rolls through. Real estate prices rise faster than the rate at which shiny high-rises spurt from beachfront sites. In Cancun, Mexico owners of little fishing huts became millionaires.
Enduring the winter months in Northeast USA can be rough. The snow, sleet and cold always compels me to go someplace warm. I often dreamed of having my own tropical paradise to visit whenever I wanted…although the reality of it seemed so out of reach.
I’m in Mexico’s Yucatán, only a short flight from many U.S. cities (1.45 hours from Miami, two hours from Houston, and four from New York). But I’m a world away from Cancún’s spring break crowds and wall-to-wall highrise hotels.
Trendy beach resorts with all the amenities can be lots of fun. But if you sometimes miss the romance of Caribbean beaches as they used to be—remote and wild, just you and the white sand and surf—then Xamach Dos, in Mexico’s Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, is for you.
Perched above the fine white-sand beach and turquoise water, Tulum’s ancient Mayan ruins have the best seat in the house. The Mayans typically built their temples inland. In places that are sheltered from the storms that sometimes brush by. This is Mexico’s only Mayan ruin that sits on the coast.
Tao is a project with competitive advantages and a decade head start in an area where a government plan calls for the increase of tourism numbers from 3 million to 11 million by 2025.
Costa Rica is one country that may truly have it all: A year-round tropical climate, modern cities, Caribbean beaches, Pacific coastline, rain forests, lush valleys, and majestic mountains.
See the video, where Dan Prescher reports from Merida, Mexico, with your weekly wrap-up of International Living postcards for the week ending November 27.
I arrived at the Gran Bahia Principe Resort near Tulum in Mexico at lunch time the day before International Living’s Live and Invest Mexico Conference kicked off. Man, is this place accessible. My 8.45 a.m. flight from Toronto got me to the resort in time to enjoy lunch on the beach. Then, straight down to business…
Not so long ago, Tulúm, Mexico, was a backpackers’ haven. A small town beside one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in Mexico, it was just far enough south of Playa del Carmen—about 40 miles—to be off the beaten path. There were a few hotels and beachside palapas for those who wanted to play beach bum.
See the video, for a short clip of the beautiful beach of Tulum in Mexico.