A Bargain-Ripe Coast That’s Yours For the Taking

While tourist numbers grew steadily in Nicaragua over the last three years, property prices didn’t.

A million visitors traveled to Nicaragua in 2010…and it’s rated as one of the top destinations to visit in 2011 by Lonely Planet, Travel Agewest and Shermans Travel.

In the first half of this decade, property speculators rushed to Nicaragua, buying the finest beachfront and oceanfront land, hoping to cash in on the boom. Then the U.S. housing market stalled, and buyers dried up. Today, some owners of lots and condos (mainly North American) need to sell their property to shore up their finances back home.

And that means property bargains. Over the last three months, we’ve told readers of the Pathfinder Alert e-letter (get a free subscription here) about some exciting opportunities…from a move-in-ready condo in an established development for $45,000…to $25,000 for a third-acre lot a short stroll from a white-sand beach…and a two-bedroom true beachfront condo (the beach right outside your front door) for $179,000.

If that’s not enough to convince you to put Nicaragua on your shortlist of second-home destinations, here are five more reasons why you should consider this country:

1. The coastline. Put simply, it’s stunning. Unlike much of Panama or Mexico, the coastline here is not flat. Sharp forest-clad cliffs fall to the rippling waves of the deep-blue Pacific, with ribbons of gorgeous sandy beach in between. The cliffs and hills close to the shore give dramatic, expansive ocean views. And the price of beachfront here is as dreamy as the views…

2. It’s easy to get to. You can fly direct to Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city, from many locations in the U.S. From Miami, it takes just two hours and 40 minutes.

3. Its natural beauty. Towering, smoldering volcanoes…virgin rainforest and cloud forest…old colonial cities…pristine islands…pounding surf…and enormous freshwater lakes teeming with exotic wildlife. Up close, Nicaragua boasts dramatic landscapes that easily holds their own against Costa Rica’s. It’s just not as well-known. That’s mainly down to the lack of a Costa Rican-style tourism marketing machine.

4. It’s not mainstream yet…but it is fun. Savor a leisurely lunch in a shady plaza in the colonial city of Granada…surf the Pacific waves…snorkel the coral reefs and clear Caribbean waters of the Corn Islands…trek through a cloud forest…sail or fish on Lake Nicaragua. Or simply relax in a locally-made hammock or rocker, in the tranquility of a tropical afternoon…

5. The value. Nicaragua is one of the lowest-cost countries in the region. You can afford to eat out regularly, and hire household help. Residency comes with a low income requirement of just $600 a month. And there’s that low-cost property to factor in, too.

Editor’s note: Margaret Summerfield is a property expert who has scouted all over the Americas for Pathfinder, IL’s preferred real estate advertiser. Nicaragua has the most undervalued 40-mile stretch of coastline in the world. See our latest report for full details on how to turn that to your advantage.