Colorful two story hose on an island in Las Isletas, Nicaragua

If You Think Owning An Island Is Impossible…Think Again

Own Your Own Private Island Starting At $60K

The idea of buying any property abroad is exciting. But there’s nothing more exotic, romantic, and exciting than the idea of living on your own private island.

In a way, you’ll feel like a pioneer no matter where you purchase abroad. But on an island—especially a private island—that feeling is amplified tenfold.

For hundreds of years, only the super-wealthy entertained the idea of owning a private island. And in most of the world today, owning a tropical island is still prohibitively expensive for most of us.

Yet there’s still one place left in the Americas today where you can own a private tropical island for less than $60,000…

It’s in a small island group known as Las Isletas, near the colonial city of Granada, Continue reading

Coloonial Style Buildings in the Coastal City of Olinda Brazil

3 Top Coastal Colonial Cities Offering Fun, Sun, And Property

Three Top-Rated Colonial Cities By The Sea

Most of us think of colonial cities as being situated in the highlands… not on the ocean. In fact, when we talk about various lifestyles in Latin America, we often discuss colonial city living and the beach lifestyle as if it were necessary to choose between the two.

But the truth is that you can have both. That is, there are a number of colonial cities on the water that offer an excellent expat lifestyle; not to mention the advantage of two property markets.

Here are three of my favorite colonial cities by the sea in Latin America…

Olinda, Brazil: An Early Portuguese Colonial Gem

Traveling down the coast of Northeast Brazil, it’s common to see gleaming resort cities, long stretches of sandy beaches, and beautiful small beach towns and fishing villages.

What I didn’t expect was Continue reading

Retirement For Boaters

Sail Into Your Retirement: 3 Top Retirement Spots For Boating

My first retirement plan—10 years before I moved to Ecuador—was to spend winters in Arizona and summers living on our 44-foot boat in the Chesapeake Bay. We planned to spend part of the season docked in the small town of Charlestown, Maryland, and the rest of the time cruising up and down the Continue reading

How to Live “Like A Local” In Mexico, Uruguay, and Colombia

Most people who move abroad enjoy the familiarity of an existing expat community and seek out destinations with a number of expats already in residence.

But not everyone.

There are a few of us who want to live among the local community, become a part of the local culture, and are happy if we rarely see another American or Canadian expat.

There are a few advantages to living a local lifestyle in a foreign community…

  • The cost of living is usually lower, without the market influence that expat communities often bring. This usually includes properties;
  • The cultural experience is far richer and more authentic;
  • It’s much easier to learn the local language when you’re using it to get by every day;
  • You’ll make friends quickly and easily if you’re one of only a few North Americans in the area, and you’ll enjoy a smoother assimilation.

Continue reading

Yes, You Can Retire Overseas and Still Play World-Class Golf

Yes, You Can Retire Overseas and Still Play World-Class Golf

Golf, Beaches, And Good Property Deals

I get a lot of inquiries about golf from people looking for a good place to retire overseas that also gives them a chance to continue to play the game.

And, according to most of these inquiries, I don’t talk about golf often enough.

So this week I’m going to report on two established projects that offer three things: a great place to live and own property, miles of unspoiled beaches, and golf.

Ten Miles Of Unspoiled Beach And A Top-Notch PGA Course 

Estrella del Mar is a huge, 850-acre residential and golf project that sits alone on a stretch of 10 miles of pristine beach… 3.5 miles of which belong to the development. It’s located just south of Mazatlán, Mexico, about 15 minutes from the international airport.

This project is perfect for those who want an undeveloped beach out front and the area’s best golf course out back.

Plus, you’ve got all the amenities of Mazatlán close at hand.

The golf course is a spectacular, 18-hole, Robert Trent Jones championship course, and a host on the Latin America PGA Tour. The course is par 72 (7,015 yards) with six holes running along the ocean. I spoke with Continue reading

Beautiful Beaches And Property Bargains In Cabo Frio, Brazil

Sizing Up Your Options On Properties In Las Terrenas, DR

Las Terrenas: Upscale Caribbean Living At Reasonable Prices

If you dream of owning a Caribbean home featuring a spectacular water view, near sandy beaches for strolling and lounging, with breezy trade winds to cool your afternoons, look no further than Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is an independent country that shares its western border with Haiti on the Island of Hispaniola. The community of Las Terrenas is located on the north shore of the Samaná Peninsula, which looks like a little thumb on top of the island.

In the past few decades, Las Terrenas (population 39,221) has become the vacation destination for many Europeans, especially the French. The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, but while walking around the whimsical town of Las Terrenas, French is the predominant language Continue reading

Comparing The Best Of Mexico: Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlán

Puerto Vallarta Versus Mazatlán: Comparing Two Top
Beach Destinations

One of the questions I hear most frequently is why I chose to live in Mazatlán, rather than the better-known Puerto Vallarta. In fact, even here at Live and Invest Overseas, Puerto Vallarta gets more coverage and higher ratings.

So why choose Mazatlán? Let’s compare the two.

In Some Ways, Both Destinations Are Quite Similar

Both Puerto Vallarta (PV) and Mazatlán enjoy choice spots on Mexico’s Pacific coast, with good access to the United States and Canada.

Both cities are longtime tourism destinations, which has both positive and negative consequences. For example, the touristy “Romantic Zone” in Puerto Vallarta is about the least romantic environment I’ve ever seen… similar to Mazatlán’s Golden Zone. Read more on the ups and downs of living in a tourist destination here.

PV and Mazatlán also both offer numerous, varied lifestyle options for the part-year resident, vacation homeowner, or full-time expat. They have good residential property inventories and can be great places to manage a rental.

English is widely spoken in both cities, and both are popular with American and Canadian expats.

The infrastructure is good in both PV and Mazatlán, not only for the practical stuff (water, electricity, cable, internet, etc.), but also with respect to their tourism infrastructure, with restaurants, nightlife, and activities.

The cost of living is close between PV and Mazatlán in the expat areas. The statistical data I found claims Mazatlán to be a bit cheaper, but only by 11% overall. In many categories, they’re too close to call. Mazatlán has a “real” city behind the coastal areas in which you can live very inexpensively. But, since expats almost never live there, I don’t think it’s fair to include those areas in a cost analysis.

Both cities can be very walkable if you settle in the right place—many expats live without a car. And both cities offer tranquil beachfront neighborhoods, which are completely residential and free from the trappings of tourism.

Finally, the cost of living is very low right now in both places, thanks to a U.S. dollar that’s very strong by historic Continue reading

Bucerías, Mexico: PV’s Lower-Priced, Less-Crowded Neighbor

Bucerías, Mexico: PV’s Lower-Priced, Less-Crowded Neighbor

Bucerías: A Small Beachfront Town That’s Big On Amenities

Plus: Watch Out For The Condo Fees

Nestled on more than 10 miles of uninterrupted sandy beach, Bucerías has just about everything you’d hope to find in a Mexican beach town.

The beaches are long, sandy, and relatively uncrowded and unspoiled when compared to those of nearby Puerto Vallarta. The cobblestoned streets see their share of visitors, but nothing like the throngs of tourists and cruise-ship passengers that visit its far more popular neighbor to the south.

Bucerías is fairly low-key… but it’s not the quaint fishing village that some writers describe. In fact, it’s better; it has the infrastructure and amenities of a much larger town. Bucerías can stand on its own as a retirement or second-home destination. Continue reading

Puerto Vallarta's Most Affordable Properties

Where To Find Puerto Vallarta’s Most Affordable Properties

Puerto Vallarta: Enjoy Rich Amenities at a Reasonable Price

Today’s strong dollar has created a lot of terrific opportunities around the world, and one of today’s best bargains is here in Mexico.

The dollar’s buying power here is up over 100% since 2008, so most everything in Mexico is now selling for half price.

Even in those expat areas where real estate trades in dollars, everything else in your life is a major bargain. Your taxes, restoration costs, furniture, upkeep, clothing, car repairs, etc., all cost half of what they did just a short time ago.

Where you’ll really see the difference is in cities that used to be expensive, in the cost of fine dining, wine, and entertainment. And there’s no better example right now than in Mexico’s famous beach resort, Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta Offers A Winter Climate That Can’t Be Beat

There’s no better place for escaping harsh winter weather than coastal Mexico right now. And Puerto Vallarta (called “PV”) is no exception.

The climate in PV is absolutely magnificent during the North American winter, with warm, dry days and cool nights. The average high in January is just over 83°F (28.8°C), while the average low is down at 62°F (16.7°C).

But it’s hot in the summertime, with August temps averaging almost 93°F (33.7°C). That may not sound like much if you live in Continue reading

Aerial View on Huatulco, Mexico.

How To Get In On Huatulco, Mexico—Before The Tourism Boom

The Next Cancún: Mexico’s Emerging Eco-Tourist Hotspot
Mexico has become a tourism powerhouse, with an impressive 9.4% jump in international visitors last year. This brings the total to over 32 million arrivals, making Mexico the ninth most-visited country in the world… and the second in North America after the Unites States.

This jump is creating opportunities for international property buyers.

The rise in Mexico’s international popularity is due to the efforts of FONATUR (Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo), the Mexican government’s tourism investment arm. Think of it as a national fund for tourism development.

FONATUR was created in 1974 to invest in (and incentivize the development of) new infrastructure, hotels, and other tourism-related businesses in designated regions throughout country. These projects are known as Integrally Planned Resort Centers.

First, the agency identifies an intrinsically desirable area in which to create a tourism zone. Then it develops a master-planned community, which includes a residential section for permanent residents complete with schools, hospitals, and markets; a tourist area with hotels, shopping centers, and golf courses; and, in many cases, protected zones for ecological conservation where no development can Continue reading