5 beautiful beaches with glamourous oceanfront property

5 Best Values On Beach Property Markets For 2016

Five Best Beach Values for 2016
Plus: “How Can You Recommend This Guy?”

This week I’m going to focus in on the most popular of all overseas properties: beaches. Mountain lifestyles and city living are popular, to be sure… but beaches draw people to a full-time or part-time life abroad more reliably than anything else.

Thanks to today’s volatile (and favorable) exchange rates with the U.S. dollar, the concept of “best value” can be a moving target. So it pays to stop and reevaluate the entire picture every few months.

After doing a quick study over the weekend, here are what I believe to be five of the best values on the beach-oriented market today.

Playas, Ecuador

Since I first visited Playas in 2002, it has been my favorite beach town in Ecuador.

The first thing I noticed is Playas’ “fishing village” character. The way the small fishing fleet blends with the beach resort creates a great beach experience with a homey and culturally rich feel… and provides for lots of fresh and inexpensive seafood.

The waters are warm and calm, thanks to Playas’ tucked-away position in the Gulf of Guayaquil—43 miles inland of Ecuador’s western tip at Salinas—which protects it from the open Pacific and the cold waters of the Humboldt (Peru) Current.

Also, Playas boasts 320 days of sunshine per year (thanks again to its position in the gulf), unlike most of Ecuador’s coast, which is overcast for a good portion of the year. It’s the only place on the coast where I’ve seen sunshine every time I’ve visited.

Best of all, Playas is Ecuador’s most accessible beach, at 60 miles from the airport in Guayaquil (97.4 km); a drive that will take you 1 hour, 17 minutes. Beaches in Ecuador can be as far as six hours from the international airports, so this proximity has Continue reading

Mazatlan Mexico beach areas

Best Areas Of Mazatlan For Beach Property

Beaches, Golf, Boating, And Sportfishing On Mexico’s Pacific Coast
Plus: “I Beg To Differ!”

Mazatlán draws people to its shores for a lot of reasons, and I’ve been focusing mostly on the properties and the beaches, since the beaches are the big attraction here.

But I realized while talking to a few expats yesterday that many people come here for reasons other than the sea and sand.

Golfing is one reason people are drawn to Mazatlán, and the area boasts a number of good courses… including a Robert Trent Jones course right on the Pacific, and a David Fleming course at the marina.

Follow this link to see a few of Mazatlán’s popular golf courses (http://mazatlantoday.net/golf_courses_in_mazatlan.html).

Also, the sportfishing in Mazatlán is world class with loads of charters to fish offshore for tuna, marlin, swordfish, and shark. Other popular species found in Mazatlán waters are grouper, halibut, sea bass, and red snapper.

Last week we looked at the Mazatlán beaches closest to the historic center. Mazatlán’s northern beach areas are quieter, more upscale, and offer amazing ocean and island views.

And notably, you can buy properties here that are directly on the sand rather than across the beachfront road.

You can follow this link to Continue reading

Beach In The South Of Mazatlan, Mexico

The Beaches Of Mazatlan Offer Good Real Estate Value

Good Values Found On Mexico’s Best Beaches
Plus: Where To Invest US$100k… And Prejudice Against Latinos In Ecuador

The beachfront real estate market in Mazatlán has an impressive diversity that will satisfy the taste of most anyone who is shopping for beachfront real estate.

I’ve been here in Mazatlán for a month now and I’m still sorting out the different lifestyle options here with an eye toward obtaining an investment property or part-time residence.

For the background on why I chose to come to Mazatlán, see my recent article on Mazatlán and its turnaround historic center. This week, we’re going to focus on some of Mazatlán’s incredible beach options.

The expat community is one thing I should mention before getting into the real estate. Mazatlán is home to a fair number of full-time expats from the United States and Canada, and a far larger number of part-year residents. Canadians seem to outnumber Americans in Mazatlán with most coming from western Canada. Most Americans come from the western United States.

About 65% of all real estate transactions are to Mexican buyers. Among the foreign buyers, Canadian buyers outnumber Americans by about a 60/40 ratio.

Choosing The Best Beach Lifestyle In Mazatlán

Your preferred location, here, depends on what you’re looking for in a property or lifestyle, and whether you intend to rent your property out.

Mazatlán’s public transit system will affect your choice of where to buy since the city has a good system of public transportation. There are buses, traditional taxis, and dune buggy-like vehicles locally called pulmonías, which can get you easily from one zone to the next. Referring to the map below, you can go from Sábalo Country to Olas Altas in about 14 minutes with light traffic.

Here’s my take on Mazatlán’s most popular beach areas for expat buyers. To get a feel for orientation, take a look at this map of Mazatlán’s beach zones I marked up from Continue reading

Beachfront Condo With Guaranteed US$15,000 Annual Return

After 14 years of traveling and scouting properties in 17 different countries, there are not many countries left where I try to combine a real estate scouting trip with a vacation… at least not on the second or third trip.

But I just realized this morning that we’ve vacationed in Nicaragua four times now. Almost every time I went to Nicaragua on assignment, we’ve combined it with a vacation.

And it’s hard to explain the attraction.

Nicaragua offers some of the world’s largest lakes… a pristine Caribbean coastline… beautiful Caribbean islands… cool mountains… and hundreds of miles of sandy Pacific beaches.

But it’s more than that. And it’s more than the super-low cost of living, or easy residency, or any of those practical items.

Nicaragua and its people also convey a welcoming feeling—a comfortable feeling—that I don’t quite find anywhere else. No matter how many times I go, I look forward to getting there… and I’m sorry to leave.

A month ago, we talked about an area that offered reasonably priced beach properties, in Nicaragua’s Masachapa. This is one of my favorite beaches in Nicaragua, and the presidential beach home is located there.

But Masachapa, and its lifestyle, are not for everyone.

This is because the properties in Masachapa are in a rural, local seaside neighborhood rather than Continue reading

colombia beach

Property Q And A With Lee Harrison

“I’ll Assume You Have No Clue…” Readers Speak Out

Aug. 25, 2015
Medellín, Colombia

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

As of today, I have 99 pages of reader questions—of which, some 40 are unanswered.

So I’m going to hand this issue over to the readers of Overseas Property Alert. This is a good way to cover a number of topics of interest to readers… topics that may not warrant an entire article on their own.

Plus, it’ll cut down on my backlog of questions…

Hey, what happened?

I am quite surprised that Mr. Harrison has not responded to my email, which I submitted well over a month ago. If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll assume you have no clue on how to respond to my question.

Thank you anyway.


I love guys like this. They sign up for a free e-letter, and then they’re unhappy that they didn’t get a free personal consulting service along with it. I wonder if he writes to the editor of The Economist for Continue reading

Affordable Beachfront Property In Nicaragua

Affordable Beachfront Property In Nicaragua

Plus: The Best Picks For Living In Costa Rica

Aug 11, 2015
Granada, Nicaragua

Properties in this report trade in U.S. dollars

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Nicaragua is one of my favorite countries in the Americas. I own a property in Granada, and have spent considerable time throughout the country. The time I spent was not just on writing assignments or to attend events. It’s one of the few countries where I’ve actually spent my own money just to enjoy and explore what it has to offer.

A lot of that exploration time was spent looking at properties on Nicaragua’s dramatic Pacific coastline. Stretching for more than 200 miles from its northernmost tip to its border with Costa Rica in the south.

This coast offers majestic cliffs… wide, white sandy beaches… beautiful black-sand beaches… and small hidden coves surrounded by lush jungle.

There are no cities to speak of on Nicaragua’s coast. Instead you’ll find small fishing villages, a few friendly towns, and lots of open space.

Some of the towns are old Nicaraguan resort destinations. These are alongside large, modern, planned communities, undertaken by (mostly) North American developers. The best of these planned communities are thriving… while others have failed. They tell a story of inept or corrupt Continue reading

Beach looking North

Beachfront Brazil For Just US$73,300 With Up To 10% Return

Plus: “…I Would Not Go There If They Gave Me A Villa.”

May 26, 2015
Itamaracá, Pernambuco, Brazil

US$1=3 Brazilian reais

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Three things have changed since I last wrote to you about the Brazilian island of Itamaracá, and I’ll put them on the table right here:

  • The dollar has gotten stronger against the Brazilian real
  • A new pool of renters has joined the local market, making a purchase here even more attractive
  • Most importantly, Itamaracá now finds itself squarely in the path of development progress as it moves northward from nearby Recife

So with a new project offering beachfront condos starting at just US$73,300, it’s time to take another look at Itamaracá. Continue reading

playa pueblo bonito

Pick From Over 20 Miles Of Sandy Beaches In This Popular Getaway

Plus: Managing Crime Rates And The Language Barrier

May 5, 2015
Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico

US$1=C$1.23=15.83 Mexican pesos

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

As you can probably tell from my recent articles on Álamos and Mazatlán, I’m spending a good bit of time rediscovering Mexico. In some ways, it’s like becoming reacquainted with an old friend.

Mexico is, after all, a neighbor and culturally similar to the United States. Americans and Canadians can drive to Mexico, the food is among the best in Latin America, and prices are good in many Mexican markets right now.

When I first arrived in Mazatlán, I made up my mind pretty quickly that Mazatlán’s Centro Histórico was the place for me. Although there are expats and tourists in Centro, much of it still has a homey, Mexican, nontouristy feel.

But then I looked at a half-dozen or so seafront properties in Mazatlán’s beach neighborhoods… and now I’m not so sure.

The last apartment I looked at was right on the sand, had a straight-on view of the islands, and was in a luxury building that’s perfect for whale watching. Yes, most of the beach areas are more touristy than Centro Histórico. But, for that view, I could put up with quite a few souvenir shops and tourists in safari jackets.

Located on Mexico’s Pacific coast within driving distance of the western United States, the main attraction in Mazatlán is almost 20 miles of beautiful beaches bordering the deep blue Pacific. It’s true that the nicely restored historic center has gained markedly in Continue reading

centro colored houses

Why This Coastal Pacific Market Offers Fresh Opportunities In 2015

Plus: Looking For Projects That Are Close To Nature
April 28, 2015
Mazatlán, Sinaloa, MexicoUS$1=C$1.23=15.83 Mexican pesosDear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Mazatlán, Mexico, opened its first tourist hotel and restaurant in 1850 and has been a major international tourist destination since the 1940s. It began to fall out of favor in the 1970s, as more travelers opted for its cousin Puerto Vallarta, some 270 miles to the south.

But Mazatlán has undergone a mostly unnoticed resurgence during the past few years and has gained popularity with tourists, travelers, and expats.

A big factor in this comeback is Mazatlán’s historic center, which has undergone a rebirth and now rivals the beach scene in popularity.

Prices for seafront properties are good in Mazatlán, by North American and most Latin American standards. And, recently, a market quirk involving the Canadian dollar has resulted in some properties trading at an additional 20% discount when compared to just two years ago.

Mazatlán is located on Mexico’s Pacific coast, one (long) day’s drive from the U.S. border. The main attraction here is almost 20 miles of beautiful beaches bordering the deep blue Pacific.

The beaches are lined with an excellent resort infrastructure, with loads of shopping, restaurants, and cafes, as well as the requisite banks and commercial establishments needed for full-time living.

Continue reading

Algarve rock - coast in Portugal

Portugal’s Algarve Versus Spain’s Costa Del Sol—Finding The Best Value

Plus: The Path Of Progress In Tulum

April 7, 2015 Algarve, Portugal €1=US$1.08

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

When it comes to sun, sea, and sand, southern Europe offers two attractive options on its warm, southern coastline that are known throughout the world—Portugal’s Algarve and Spain’s Costa del Sol. Each share a similar history of Roman and Moorish patrimony, excellent fresh seafood, and sunny idyllic climates. Owning a property and living in either of these locations would be a dream for almost anyone.

However, the property markets of the two regions differ in both value and affordability, with the Algarve being a better choice for those who want to live in the sunshine.

Let’s take a look at both of these popular regions. Continue reading