South America

Finding and purchasing your dream home in the top locations of South America…

The continent of South America is also known as the southern subcontinent of the Americas. The entire landmass is located in the Western Hemisphere and mostly south of the equator. However, a few of the locations we recommend lie in the northern hemisphere including most of Colombia, a small portion of Brazil, and parts of Ecuador including Quito which straddles the equator itself.

Most of the continent is located in the tropics and the geography is dominated by the long Andes Mountain range and the Amazon River Basin. With lush jungles, wide rivers, coastal beachfront areas, and even vineyards you can find just about any natural setting you might want to explore.

South America is a perfect destination for many U.S. and Canadian expats since it lies in similar time zones and the northern-most countries are only a few hours away by air. Many major airlines serve the larger cities in South America where you’ll find modern airports and friendly locals.


The South American locations nearest the equator offer excellent year-round weather, especially those at higher elevations such as Quito, Ecuador and Medellín, Colombia. While in destinations like Santiago, Chile you can enjoy four seasons and snow is common in the highlands.


Most countries in South America speak Spanish, while Brazil’s native language is Portuguese. If you can learn a little Spanish, you can travel around the continent without having to master several languages. You’ll find more English speakers in the larger cities depending on your country of choice, but you’ll need some Spanish in the smaller, more traditional villages.


You can immerse yourself in the culture of Spanish-inspired, colonial towns that seem to be frozen in time, or marvel at the large, cosmopolitan cities with first-world infrastructure, public transportation, quality roads, drinkable water, and every convenience you are accustomed to “back home.”

If you are looking for an exceptional quality of life, at a reasonable cost of living, the amazing opportunities in South America are not to be missed.

Key West Escapism Without The Price Tag

Red Frog Beach On Bocas Del Toro Panama

Plus: “I Need Advice For My Next Property Purchase”

“If there is a heaven for me, I’m sure there is a beach attached.” –Jimmy Buffett

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Jimmy Buffett found his island escape when he relocated to sunny, sand-fringed Key West, FL, from Nashville, TN, in the early 70s.

He’d been trying to make it in Nashville’s music scene, but with his unique style that wasn’t quite country and wasn’t quite rock, he didn’t have much success.

Everything changed after a busking expedition to Key West in 1971.

Tropical weather… sandy beaches with swaying palms and aquamarine Caribbean waters… a friendly, alternative community… a laid-back way of life…

He liked what he saw so much that he decided to move there a year later, which completely changed his life.

Key West was the launchpad for Jimmy Buffett’s career.

The island atmosphere and its quirky people were the inspiration for his “tropical rock” music style that became so popular that, by the time of his death on Sept. 1, 2023, he was one of the wealthiest musicians of all time.

But the appeal of Key West—that “island escapism” feeling that his music captured so well—isn’t limited to the Straits of Florida…

Even Jimmy himself acknowledged this: “There’s many, many Key Wests out there that have been created over the years…”

Here at Overseas Property Alert, we believe the biggest potential for both fun and profit lies beyond the borders of the United States.

To that end, we’ve identified three places overseas where you can enjoy a Jimmy Buffett-inspired Key West lifestyle for a fraction of its US$1,076,312 average home value.

1. Ambergris Caye, Belize

“The good news from Belize is… no news from Belize.”

So said “60 Minutes” correspondent Morley Safer during his 1988 broadcast on this unassuming little Caribbean nation of 400,000 people.

Thirty-five years later, the sentiment still holds true. Aside from a handful of infrastructure upgrades to accommodate its tourism industry, not much has changed in sleepy Belize, and that’s the way people like it.

It remains the perfect place to escape the world’s troubles, and for Americans, that peace of mind can be accessed in as little as two hours of flying from Miami.

Perhaps the friendliest part of this English-speaking country is Ambergris Caye, a 26-mile-long, 1-mile-wide island just off the Belize mainland.

About 15,000 people live here full-time, including about 3,000 expats who get from A to B on golf buggies and motorboats.

Its capital is San Pedro, a quirky, comfortable beachside town with open-air bars and restaurants, art galleries, wine shops, bakeries…

Ambergris Caye appeals to the retiree who wants the Caribbean and who appreciates that this classically Caribbean spot is also affordable.

It also offers a lot for the investor, with a mature tourism market, in a destination that’s best-in-class, in a country that’s world-renowned for its diverse tourism potential.

Ambergris Caye Property Pick

Ambergris Caye Property Pick

Just a five-minute walk from a white-sand Caribbean beach, there’s an opportunity to buy into an exclusive community from a developer that Lief Simon has worked with for over a decade.

It’s not your typical beach property investment… The developer has partnered with Best Western, one of the world’s biggest hotel chains, to deliver high standards, spending power, and experience.

The community boasts on-site amenities like the largest pool on the island (complete with a swim-up bar), a fitness center, tennis courts, and a restaurant.

It’s near restaurants and bars, and it’s right in the middle of a thriving tourist hot spot. You’ll have diving, fishing, snorkeling, and swimming, as well as restaurants, shopping, and supermarkets, all nearby.

In short, it has everything needed to keep you or your rental clients happy and returning again and again. It offers strong ROI potential of 6% to 10%.

Studio apartments at this development start at just US$148,000… a bargain considering what the equivalent would cost in Florida or California.

Get in touch about this opportunity here now.

2. Bocas Del Toro, Panama

Bocas del Toro is a province of northwestern Panama that consists of a stretch of mainland plus nine islands that float in the Caribbean.

It stands out from the rest of Panama for its Caribbean-Calypso vibe. The locals are descendants of Afro-Antillean people brought over from Jamaica, Martinique, and other islands during the construction of the Panama-Colón railroad, the Panama Canal, and other projects.

The local language is Bocas del Toro Creole or English with a distinctive Jamaican lilt. This is one place in Panama where you can get by exclusively on English.

A big, diverse group of expats have settled here, especially on the main island, Isla Colón.

They love Bocas for the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle, the camaraderie of expats and Panamanian locals, the delicious fresh seafood, and the daily choice between total relaxation or boating, water sports, and fishing.

Some expats are retired, some are remote workers, and some own small businesses, such as restaurants, mini-supers (corner stores), nightclubs, and hostels.

Most of those businesses are situated in pastel-hued Victorian-style buildings along the main street of Bocas Town, the provincial capital. Reggae music seeps from their open doors and windows as water taxis glide up to the town dock.

A carefree destination with stunning scenery, it’s hard to resist Bocas’ appeal.

Bocas Del Toro Property Pick

Bocas Del Toro Property Pick

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom house features spectacular Caribbean views from its hilltop vantage point on Isla Bastimentos.

It’s a split-level, with open-air living on the lower level and enclosed spaces with air conditioning on the upper level, where the bedrooms are.

The house is in Old Bank, the main town on Bastimentos, just a 10-minute boat ride to Bocas Town and a 20-minute walk along jungle trails to Wizard Beach.

Most importantly, the property is titled, which can be an issue in this area of Panama. The asking price is US$165,000.

3. Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

If you dream of golden sand and clear, blue waters, small town vibes, and friendly locals, then this Caribbean escape might just be your Shangri-La.

Located on the Dominican Republic’s Samaná Peninsula, laid-back Las Terrenas has been sought out by European expats for decades.

The French were among the first to arrive here in the 70s and 80s, and their influence remains strong. There are authentic boulangeries where you can buy croissants and cafés au lait. Pétanque on the beach at sunset is a daily ritual.

Nowadays, Las Terrenas is on North Americans’ radar for retirement, and it’s easy to understand why…

Life here is all about outdoor fun. Surf, kite surf, snorkel, dive, kayak, paddle board, hike to hidden waterfalls, or take an ATV ride (the most common mode of transport).

You can relax on soft-sand beaches with sparkling waters or walk, run, or bike along the town’s boardwalk.

The cost of living is another draw. Overall, you could live with your basic necessities in Las Terrenas for about US$1,300 per month. Splurging a little more could raise that to a monthly budget of US$2,000 for a couple.

Las Terrenas Property Pick

Ocean Edge DR

This two-bed, two-bath bungalow is in a gated community that includes access to a shared swimming pool, parking, manicured gardens, and 24-hour security.

It’s near Las Terrenas’ town center and just a five-minute walk to one of its best beaches, Playa Popy.

It’s being sold furnished, with ample living space spread out across two floors and air conditioning in the main bedroom.

This is a turn-key opportunity, ideal for generating rental income or for personal use by someone who wants to move in right away. The asking price is US$210,000.

Bonus Pick: Los Islotes, Panama

On Panama’s Pacific coast, there’s a private residential community under development that offers the ultimate escape from the onslaught of modern life. It captures the heart and soul of Jimmy Buffett’s music like no other place I’ve seen…

The community consists of 425 acres of rolling hills and virgin shore, including two beaches, along the Azuero Peninsula’s little-known but pristine west coast.

It will feature amenities like a gatehouse, a beach club, a swimming pool, an equestrian center, tennis courts that will double as basketball courts, a fitness center, parks, hiking trails, riding trails, and more.

Los Islotes will be the preeminent private residential community not only on this coast but in all Panama. It’s a place that values beauty, history, and tradition, as well as privacy, security, freedom, independence, and elbow room.

To take a position in Panama’s path of coastal progress while also joining a unique community that recognizes how special and valuable this spot really is, go here now.

Sophia Titley signature
Sophia Titley
Editor, Overseas Property Alert

How To Put More In Your Pocket Every Month

Beautiful caribbean sight with turquoise water in Caye Caulker, Belize. best property prices

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Increasing numbers of retirees are leaving their home states in search of more affordable housing. Florida, North Carolina, and Michigan are the top places they’re moving to.

But how affordable is property in these states? And what about their costs of living in general? Once housing is covered, how much do retirees have left for other expenses (not to mention themselves)?

As a reader of Overseas Property Alert, you already know that we’re advocates of straying from home in search of profit, adventure, and lifestyle upgrades. But for us, Florida, North Carolina, and Michigan aren’t far enough.

The best property prices and lowest costs of living are found beyond the borders of the United States.

Maybe you like Florida, North Carolina, and Michigan for their lifestyle appeal…

But you don’t have to compromise on this when you move to a new country. There are places overseas that have similar offerings for a fraction of the price.

More savings means more money in your pocket at the end of the month for discretionary spending—in other words, more funds to treat yourself with and have some well-earned fun during retirement.

Let’s compare the top three states that older Americans are moving to in search of affordable housing with comparable overseas counterparts. I’ll look at the average home value as well as the living wage (the amount needed to cover basic expenses) in each case.

  1. Florida Vs. Belize

Unsurprisingly, Florida is the top spot retirees are moving to. They’re drawn by the dream of a beach retirement plus warm weather and a low cost of living, including lower taxes.

If you’re willing to venture a bit farther south, you can access all of Florida’s appeal at a much lower cost. Just two hours from Miami by plane is Belize, an English-speaking Central American country with a long Caribbean coastline.

It has white-sand beaches, palm trees, and warm weather year-round… a tropical retirement dream come true. Plus, it’s a tax haven. Even as a resident, it does not impose tax on income earned outside of the country.

Home prices vary across Belize and by type of property (whether it’s an American-style home in a private residential development or a Belize-style home in a humble village).

Some of the best value is in Corozal District, the northern part of the Belize mainland, close to the border with Mexico. Here, homes cost between US$100,000 and US$200,000 on average.

Compare that to the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville area, a top choice in Florida, where the typical home value is US$314,000.

The cost of living is lower in Corozal, too… In Florida, the living wage is US$5,480 per month. In Corozal, we estimate that a couple needs about US$2,000 per month for a comfortable lifestyle.

If you bring Florida’s budget to Corozal, you’ll have an extra US$3,480 in your pocket every month, which you can allocate to nice dinners out, boat or fishing trips, or travel.

  1. North Carolina Vs. Spain

Retirees love North Carolina for its culture. It has university towns with thriving food scenes and professional sports teams. It also has a wide, sandy seashore, mountain views, and national parks.

Its retiree numbers are increasing just like Florida’s… but despite being sought out for affordability, there’s a gap between the living wage (US$5,030 per month) and what the average person earns (US$3,700 per month) in North Carolina.

In Asheville, average home values are US$451,400. Compare that to Murcia, a little university city of just under half a million in Spain, about halfway between Valencia and Málaga and about 30 minutes inland from the coast. Here, the average home costs about US$100,000 to US$150,000.

Murcia has a strong expat community, attracting people from all over the world who are drawn by the affordability, warm weather, and Spanish cultural ambiance. About US$1,500 is a reasonable monthly budget here.

That leaves you with an extra US$3,530 per month if you bring Asheville’s living wage here, which you can put towards enjoying your retirement. You can play golf at one of Murcia’s 17 courses, for instance, and never worry about the green fees.

  1. Michigan Vs. Montenegro

Michigan’s inbound retirees are drawn by the low cost of living, first and foremost.

It’s ranked one of the most affordable states in the country, and it’s one of few states where the average housing cost (US$820 per month) is actually in line with the living wage (US$4,700 per month).

Retirees also like Michigan for its lake lifestyle, natural beauty, and low-key appeal. Resort towns like Petoskey and Grand Rapids are likely choices because they’re quiet and provide access to Lake Michigan.

On the other side of the world in Montenegro, a tiny country in the eastern Mediterranean, you can find much of the same for a much lower cost. It even has a massive lake, Lake Skadar—the biggest in Southern Europe.

Montenegro is just being discovered by expats, and property values remain incredible bargains—especially inland. You can find homes for US$50,000 to US$100,000.

Compare that to Petoskey, where the average home value is US$400,820.

A budget of about US$2,000 per month is enough for a comfortable lifestyle in Montenegro. Compared to Michigan’s living wage, you’ll have an extra US$2,700 in your pocket per month to spend as you please.

Another benefit of buying property in Montenegro is that it qualifies you for residency. The country is on the cusp of entering the EU, which means that Montenegro residency could become even more valuable in just a few years.

How Much Can You Save Overseas?

  Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Corozal, Belize Discount
Average Home Value US$314,000 US$150,000 52%
Monthly Budget US$5,480 US$2,000 64%
  Asheville, NC Murcia, Spain  
Average Home Value US$451,400 US$125,000 72%
Monthly Budget US$5,030 US$1,500 70%
  Petoskey, MI Montenegro  
Average Home Value US$400,820 US$75,000 81%
Monthly Budget US$4,700 US$2,000 57%


Sophia Titley signature

Sophia Titley

Editor, Overseas Property Alert

P.S. On Sept. 20–22, Lief Simon is hosting the most important event on our calendar, the 2023 Offshore Wealth Summit. This event is all about helping you create a plan for financial safety and prosperity with the guidance of experts.

Go here now to reserve your place at the 2023 Offshore Wealth Summit.

The Battle For Brazil’s Presidency

Next Sunday, Brazil is having its run-off presidential election. The showdown between the far right and far left is creating a lot of noise…

The left is accusing the right of trying to destroy democracy, and the right is dismissing the left of trying to derail the economy.

Neither side is being honest. Political mudslinging is the same the world over. The question is: Will this spectacle affect Brazil’s investment climate?

Not really… I’ll be bullish about Brazil regardless of who wins Sunday’s faceoff.

Brazil is a country of untapped potential. It’s similar to the United States 50 years ago: a young, hungry country full of passion, drive, and resources. It could go on to replicate the successes of the American post-war economic miracle.

Let’s take a step back and examine both candidates’ track records…


The Battle For Brazil’s Presidency

Twenty years ago, today’s opposition contender, Luiz Ignacio Lula de Silva (known as “Lula”), first ran for president.

The business sector panicked, imagining a communist state like Bolivia and Cuba where investors lost their investments and liberty. Brazil’s currency dropped 35%, and fear of Lula’s imagined banana republic policies was so rampant, he was forced to promise that he wouldn’t do anything fiscally reckless or destructive.

In the end, all that fear was unwarranted. Lula’s policies were good for everyone, and he was reelected for a second term, serving until 2010.

Lula ran on an anti-corruption platform, promising to remove graft and bribery from Brazilian political life…

But his presidency was marred by corruption accusations, and several years later, he was jailed for his part in the massive Operation Car Wash bribery scandal (among other things).

Two years into a 12-year sentence, his conviction was overturned by the supreme court. Now Lula is back, charming his electorate with plans for the economy.

His opponents are trying to paint an alarming picture of private asset seizure… but this doesn’t reflect Lula’s track record.

He promises fiscal responsibility, investment in infrastructure, respect for the independence of the central bank, and national debt reduction.

Lula’s opponent is incumbent president Jair Messias Bolsonaro, who offers a similar set of campaign promises… Slightly behind in the polls, he’s running on a free-market populist anti-corruption platform.

Like Lula, his presidency has been plagued by corruption scandals, and his economic policies are heavily criticized by the left.

So the anti-corruption contender is actually quite corrupt… He’s supposedly communist but also pro-business and good for the economy…

Our pro-freedom incumbent is pro-business and will cut regulation to boost the economy… He’s also caught up in accusations of cronyism and graft…

Ideology and environmental policies aside, it’s hard to tell the difference between Lula and Bolsonaro. Neither adheres to the ideals that they claim… like almost all politicians everywhere.


What About The Future?

In Brazil, like many other countries, political corruption exists alongside a strong economy and good potential for economic growth.

Under Lula, the economy grew at an average rate of 4.5%. Under Bolsonaro, the economy grew by 4.6% last year, while still in the throes of the pandemic.

Under Lula’s two terms as president, unemployment fell from 10% to 7.3%. Under Bolsonaro, unemployment has dropped from a pandemic high of 14% to 9.1% in July, its lowest level in seven years.

Lula had a large annual balance of trade surpluses. Under Bolsonaro, Brazil had a trade surplus of nearly 10 billion in 2021.

The results of Sunday’s election are anyone’s guess… As an investor, I don’t care which of these guys is in power. Brazil’s economic outlook is so strong, it doesn’t particularly matter.


Brazil’s Economic Outlook

Brazil is vast—the world’s fifth largest country by area. It shares borders with all but two South American countries, making trade with neighbors easy.

Brazil is the sixth most populous country on Earth, with a young population of over 210 million people that’s growing fast.

With a GDP of US$1.61 trillion, Brazil’s economy is the 14th largest, but purchasing power parity means it has buying power equal to the 7th largest economy in the world.

Brazil has an exceptionally diversified economy, with heavy and light industry, huge natural resource reserves, and a rapidly expanding energy and services sectors.

Brazil’s unemployment rate stands at 9.1%, meaning there are no labor shortages like we are seeing in the States.

Commodity prices are surging around the globe. This benefits Brazil as the fifth largest agricultural exporter in the world and a huge producer of global commodities including soy, corn, iron, metal ores, sugar, lumber, and oil.


Brazil’s Property Market

Property prices rose by 5.3% in 2021 on average, even during the pandemic. Brazil has a strong domestic vacation rental demand from its massive population and rapidly growing middle class.

Price and quality of real estate vary depending on where you are and what you want to spend. Once you get outside the major cities, high-end property is a fraction what you’d pay in other countries.

You can even find deals on beachfront property, if you know where to look…


Beachfront Bungalows In Ceará

In northeastern Brazil’s Ceará state is an investment opportunity offering you direct beachfront living or rental cash flow in an established beachfront community.

It’s just a one-hour drive from Fortaleza, the country’s fifth largest city. This part of Brazil is experiencing major growth with several infrastructure and development projects underway…

  • Fortaleza’s international airport continues to expand its routes to major international cities.
  • New luxury hotels, restaurants, beach bars, and other amenities are sprouting up along this coast as a result of the increased tourism.
  • According to Airbnb, this region is one of the fastest rising vacation rental destinations for families.

These turn-key beachfront homes are ideally suited to capitalize on the growing short-term tourism rental market that is expanding in the region. The development is situated on a peninsula with stunning white sand beaches on each side.

All bungalows come with a small pool, outdoor terrace, and air-conditioning.

The development is close to amenities like a supermarket, pharmacy, and hospital. Also nearby are several restaurants, beach bars, and outdoor recreation opportunities like boating, kite surfing, buggy rides, walking trails along the sand dunes, and more.

A growing international expat community speaks to the appeal of this beautiful beach area…

The developer is projecting a 10%+ net ROI—after paying property management costs, utilities, and condominium maintenance fees. Prices start at US$77,000 for cash buyers. With developer financing, prices start at US$88,500. Delivery is in 2023.

Inhouse property and rental management is available if you want it, or you can choose to live here year-round… To find out more about these Brazil beach bungalows, go here.

Con Murphy
Editor, Overseas Property Alert


P.S. On Thursday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. EDT, Lief Simon is hosting the Inflation-Proof $160k Profit Plan Spotlight Event.

This live webinar covers his top income investment for 2023 and beyond—an opportunity that will continue to pay out no matter what happens with inflation or the stock market.

Lief’s given me the go-ahead to invite Overseas Alert Readers to this event, including access to exclusive attendee-only discounts.

Register to join us online for free here. Access comes with a recording of the webinar, too.

How To Buy A Tiny Home In Colombia And Get A 20% ROI

Beach at sunset in Baru island in Cartagena, Colombia

Tiny Investment, Huge Returns: Invest In Cartagena’s Short-Term Rental Market For A 20% ROI

Colombia has always held a special place in my imagination.

As a child I sat entranced watching “Romancing the Stone,” starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Their swashbuckling tale starts in Cartagena and continues across Colombia with Danny DeVito stalking their every move.

Back then, Colombia seemed like the most magical and adventure-packed country imaginable, the epitome of opportunity for those who had the strength of character to seek it.

It turns out that Colombia really is a country of unusual opportunity and adventure.

It’s an investor’s paradise these days, offering high than usual returns and unique opportunities. I’ve helped clients invest in precious metals and gems and advised …

Ceará, Brazil: Pristine Beaches And Cheap Property Are Just The Beginning

Raft or Jangada, typical sail boat from Brazil Northeast, used for fishing and for tourism in Cumbuco Beach, Ceara, Brazil.

Invest In One Of Brazil’s Most Coveted Tourism Destinations

If you think of Brazil, you probably think of Rio de Janeiro first. This city has been popularized in movies and books over the last 75 years. But Rio’s population has swollen to 13 million people. Sao Paulo is even bigger, with 22 million.

While full of art and history, Rio and Sao Paulo also have the usual issues found in huge cities, including heat, congestion, and crime. Plus, with this population pressure, property prices have risen dramatically.

This doesn’t mean that Brazil is an unaffordable or unattractive place to buy real estate.

Brazil is vast. It’s the 5th largest country in the world, with some of the most amazing beaches and inland real estate opportunities if you know where to look.

The trick is to follow the locals.

Upper- and middle-class Brazilians are vacationing and relocating to the northeastern coast because they are fed up with the sweltering summer conditions in the south. They are lured by a better lifestyle and more affordable real estate.

They are relocating to Fortaleza, capital city of the Ceará state, and the towns and villages in the surrounding area.

A map of BrazilCeará has miles and miles of pristine beaches with consistent breezes that make the area both comfortable and one of the wind-surfing capitals of the world.

But the secret isn’t out yet. That’s what I find most appealing about Fortaleza.

It’s undiscovered by outsiders.

Foreign investors don’t know about the rock-bottom local prices that you can still get fabulous beachfront property for. Property in the city is still quite affordable. The strength of the dollar over the past few years continues to keep prices down. The Brazilian real has lost almost 40% of its value in the last five years.

The best deals on beachfront property can be found when you go 45 to 90 minutes outside of Fortaleza.

You’ll find spectacular beaches, nice towns, and quaint fishing villages that are quieter, uncongested, and safe and welcoming. The area isn’t blighted by mega resorts, but there are plenty of places to eat and all the services you need close by.

Beach properties cost one-tenth what they would cost in the United States. If you want property on the water close to lovely towns, places where you can have a nice dinner for a few bucks, and where you can relax and be inspired… you have come to the right place.

Another advantage of the northeastern coast of Brazil is that you get no hurricanes. They peel north or south and almost never make landfall in the area.

English-speaking locals are friendly, but my friends have found that those who don’t speak English are even friendlier. They go out of their way to help you and are not out to hustle or panhandle you. These are decent, humble people who live how folks lived in the States back in the 1950s.

You don’t need to learn Portuguese to live in Brazil, but learning simple phrases will help you integrate into the local community.

The Brazilian economy has more going for it than just tourism…

Brazil borders every country in South America except Ecuador and Chile, making trade in Latin America easy. Brazil is the 6th most populous country on Earth, with a young population of 210 million people that’s growing fast.

When purchasing power parity is used, the Brazilian economy is the 7th largest in the world with a relative buying power of about US$3 trillion.

Brazil has a diversified economy, with heavy and light industries, huge natural resource reserves, and a rapidly expanding services sector. Brazil has also proven to be insulated from the war in Ukraine.

Brazil’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.8% in May, meaning there are no possibilities of inflationary pressures caused by labor shortages like we are seeing in the United States.

Commodity prices are surging around the globe. This benefits Brazil because it’s a huge producer of global commodities including soy, iron, metal ores, sugar, gas, and corn. Even though Brazil is exposed to the rising costs of oil derivatives and other raw materials, the global price surge in commodities that Brazil produces compensates for the price increases in these few categories.

Brazil had a trade surplus in 2021 of nearly 10 billion. For a developing nation to enjoy such huge surpluses is uncommon, especially after a crisis like COVID-19. It’s a strong indication of the general heath and diversity of their economy.

Ceará’s Real Estate Market

The real estate market in the Fortaleza area has tremendous growth potential. Prices are as little as a tenth of what you would pay for similar properties in Florida or California.

What’s the catch? How can they afford to sell these amazing beachfront homes starting at less than the price of a nice SUV?

I tell my clients that they are asking the wrong question.

The question should be: Why is real estate so overpriced in the United States?

You can buy new homes on the beach in northeastern Brazil for less than US$70,000 because Brazil has a fully integrated economy and lots of labor.

They make everything in Brazil, while America imports everything from China.

There are no import tariffs on home-produced building materials. It’s all sourced and built locally. The steel, concrete, floor tiles, roof tiles, wood, cabinets, granite countertops… everything is locally sourced.

These local supply chains allow savvy developers to build at a better price than anyone else.

There’s lots of prime oceanfront land available along the northeast coast of Brazil, which means developers can find development sites at reasonable prices.

If you are interested in acquiring residency through your investment, you can invest 700,000 reals (roughly US$140,000) in property in northeastern Brazil to be eligible for the Investor Visa. This is a lower threshold than if you were buying in southern Brazil.

The developer we are working with offers several developments within an hour or two of Fortaleza and its international airport. And yet, these developments feel a thousand miles away from congested cities and are on some of the most spectacular beaches in the world.

Our development partner is a boutique building company that has been active in the area for over two decades.

These guys don’t build 30-story concrete condo towers. Their specialty is finding small plots of land on pristine beaches and developing a limited number of boutique villas and bungalows.

They attract a different type of consumer than your typical condo buyer.

Unique to the Fortaleza area is the year-round rental market. This is what makes investing here much more lucrative than elsewhere in Brazil. Most of Brazil caters to the summer vacation rental market (June to August) or the winter vacation market (December to February) and everything else is off-season.

You can reasonably expect anywhere between a 10% and 15% return on your rental investments due to the year-round tourism rental market and the very low entry costs, coupled with the fact that they develop desirable seaside properties.

The rental occupancy rate in this area is an impressive 88%, making this a viable investment opportunity.

Located in Canoa Quebrada (90 minutes from the city of Fortaleza) in the Ceará state, this developer is selling bungalows with their own pool, located on the best stretch of beach in the area.

A beach home in Ceará, Brazil

The bungalows have a living space of 37 square meters (400 square feet), one bedroom, one bathroom, and a private pool. Construction is expected to be completed by August 2024.

This investment has full-service property rental and management available.

The property has a cash price of US$67,000.

Developer financing is available from US$77,000. You’ll put 25% down with interest-free payments for the remaining balance over 24 months.

The development is near one of Ceará’s most popular tourist destinations, with access to great restaurants, supermarkets, shops, and tourist activities such as dune buggy rides, kite surfing, diving, paragliding, ATV tours, fishing, boat trips, and several of Brazil’s most beautiful beaches.

To find out more about this opportunity, click here.

Con Murphy
Editor, Overseas Property Alert

Santos: Brazil’s Bustling Island City With Gardens Galore

Aerial view of Santos city, county seat of Baixada Santista, on the coast of Sao Paulo state, Brazil

A Tale of Two Cities, Part 1: Santos

Likely you’ve never heard of Santos. Almost certainly you’ve never heard of her sister city across the estuary, Guarujá. But every Brazilian has.

These cities lie about one hour southeast of the city of São Paulo. Each is situated on a large coastal island, and though each boasts lovely beaches, they are quite different in most other respects. For now, we’ll get to know Santos.

One Of The Best Cities In Brazil—But Don’t Take My Word For It

Santos is a bustling city of about 420,000. It is, in fact, generally conceded to be the busiest port in all of South America, servicing both container and cruise ships.

But Santos isn’t the grimy blue-collar town you might imagine. Around 2010, with the discovery of oil and gas reserves offshore, there was a sudden inrush of white-collar jobs. Also, many of the locals are well-paid professionals who actually work in the city of São Paulo, but who make the commute daily because they prefer to live in Santos.

Santos, in fact, regularly appears on lists of the top cities in Brazil in which to live. In 2016, Santos ranked #6 among the best cities in Brazil as determined by the United Nations, considering factors such as average level of education, life expectancy, and income. Santos was rated in 2021 as the best city in all of Brazil for those 60 and over. In a country where people are given to complaining about the government and services, everyone here speaks highly and proudly of Santos, of its superior services, safety, and high quality of life.

Santos is attractive as well. Nature has blessed her. Here, as in so many cities in southeastern Brazil, morros, those tree-covered cones of granite, so quintessentially Brazilian, nestle along the coastline. Broad beaches are washed by the South Atlantic. The unbroken gardens running along the beach are considered by Guinness to be the largest in the world.

I really like the way Santos organizes its beaches—and I’ve seen plenty here, up and down Brazil’s extensive coastline. The beaches are Brazilian, and yet organized—two words not typically used in conjunction. There are bike lanes, and the calçadão (broad beach sidewalk) for pedestrians. Permanent kiosks serve up seafood and icy-cold beers.

On the weekends, locals and daytrippers throng stalls and pushcarts, which offer everything from handicrafts to churros (wickedly delicious tubes of deep-fried pastry stuffed with chocolate or caramel cream). The beaches are broad, in many stretches a full two city blocks from the calçadão to the water’s edge. You stand surrounded by clutches of beach umbrellas of every color, and the sounds of laughter, volleyball, beach soccer, and, of course, the crash of the waves. Close to the kiosks, the smell of the sea gives way to that of churrasco, Brazilian-style barbecue. Ahhhh…

Paradise? Well, if I’m picky, the sand here has clay in it. It’s grayish in spots and isn’t as sugary soft as over in Guarujá, which we’ll visit soon enough. But there are certainly worse places to hang your hat!

If you tire of the beaches, Santos boasts an aquarium and a number of museums, including ones dedicated to coffee, the navy, fishing, soccer, and one specifically to Pelé, widely regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time, who played most of his career right here. There are botanical gardens and an orchid park housing a small zoo. You can tour the historic district (Santos dates all the way back to 1546) by streetcar. And there are good restaurants everywhere, offering seafood of course, but really almost any type of cuisine you might want.

Santos has generally fine weather, too. While there are four seasons, even in winter (June to August), daily highs often reach 70°F, and lows rarely fall below 55°F. The intermittent gusts from the south are invigorating. Summers are hot, but not oppressively so, and these days most homes have air conditioning.

Aerial view of Santos city, buildings on the waterfront avenue, county seat of Baixada Santista, on the coast of Sao Paulo state, Brazil.
Adobe Stock/Cifotart

Brazil, Only Better

I find myself liking the people here as well. They take pride in their city, and despite the continuing economic crisis in Brazil, the city provides a high level of services, and it is quite evident that the city is well managed, from garbage pickups to bus service to hospitals. You have to give credit to the paulistas for this.

Brazilians universally, if sometimes begrudgingly, acknowledge São Paulo to be the most organized and industrious of all the Brazilian states, and I would have to concur. It doesn’t hurt that Santos is one of the state’s—indeed, the country’s—wealthier cities.

While Santos forges ahead through the economic downturn, there are many apartments currently on the market. Many are second homes or investment properties, and their owners want to unload them. It’s not quite the buyer’s market you’ll find over in Guarujá, but there are definitely deals available.

Getting The Lay Of The Land Around Santos

Santos is located on a large island which it shares with the city of São Vicente—which was the first permanent Portuguese settlement in what would become Brazil.

The most attractive areas lie on the south side of the island, where the beaches are strung along an arc facing the bay and the South Atlantic.

While there are many nice areas here in which to rent or buy, the most desirable bairros (city districts) in my view are Boqueirão, which is centrally located, and Ponta da Praia, to the east, where the estuary empties into the sea. Another bairro to consider is Gonzaga, which includes the central shopping district; it’s convenient to everything, if perhaps a bit noisy. I would avoid the western end of Santos, adjacent São Vicente, as there are two favelas nearby.

Although the beach is undeniably attractive, I suggest also looking at properties one to two blocks inland, for a couple of reasons. The first is that in Santos, buses run along the beach avenue, so unless you get a unit facing away from the beach, you’ll have to contend with traffic noise and also dust if you are on one of the lower floors. And marisia, the salt air, slowly corrodes appliances.

By moving just a couple of blocks away from the beach, you’ll not only avoid these problems, but find cheaper rents, and also lower prices in pharmacies, markets, and restaurants. It’s the same in beach communities everywhere.

It’s a fairly straightforward matter to rent a furnished unit here for 90 days on what is termed a por temporada (for the season) lease. Standard long-term contracts in Brazil are for 30 months, but it is common these days to add a clause which allows the renter out after 12 months with no penalties. Traditionally, property owners have asked for a fiador, or co-signer, for long-term leases, but now most will accept a deposit held in escrow. Surprisingly, many owners actually prefer to rent to foreigners.

Santos has a lot to offer, so it’s not surprising that it’s a bit pricey—by Brazilian standards. But for those with dollars, pounds, or euros, Santos offers the most elusive of beasts: a truly desirable beachside location, at very reasonable prices.

Sabaneta, Colombia: The Perfect Small Town Living

Outdoor cafe in main square in small town Sabaneta, Medellin, Colombia

Take Two Steps Back In Time From Medellín

Sabaneta lies at the southern end of the Aburrá Valley and is 1 of 10 municipalities in the Medellín metropolitan area. It’s also the smallest municipality in all of Colombia, with an area of just 5.8 square miles (15 square kilometers).

Sabaneta is a medium-sized town… but its friendliness and closeness convey the feeling of a village.

Like the whole Medellín area, Sabaneta enjoys arguably the world’s best weather. Average high temperatures are in the upper-70s to low-80s, with lows in the 60s, all year (that’s 27˚C and 17˚C). No heat, no air conditioning, and no screens on the windows, thanks to the 5,200-foot (1,585-meter) altitude.

Sabaneta is about as unlike Medellín as you can get in the realm of Colombian cities. The pace here is slow and laid-back. As opposed to Medellín’s modern, energetic feel, Sabaneta feels like small-town Latin America… and like a community. There are a number of high-rises sprouting up around town—and even within town—but mostly you’ll find clean streets, friendly …

Treinta Y Tres, Uruguay: The Ultimate Low-Key Lifestyle

Treinta y Tres

The Best Place To Disappear Abroad

Those of us who write about living overseas tend to focus on the positive. That is, we make our case for living or buying abroad based largely on the advantages of overseas life… rather than the advantages of escaping your previous life.

But let’s face it… some expats simply want to disappear—to spend their days under the radar.

Or, if they don’t want to disappear right now, they want the ability to disappear if they should feel the need to do so.

When looking for an out-of-the-way haven, I have a few preferred criteria… I like a low-profile country, at some distance from the United States, in a low-key city that …

Guarujá, Brazil: A Laid-Back Beach Town With Relaxed Property Prices

A wide view of the beach of Guaruja in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.

A Tale Of Two Cities, Part 2: Guarujá

Just across the estuary from Santos lies Guarujá. Though only four minutes from Santos by balsa (ferry), Guarujá is quite different in many respects.

Whereas Santos bustles, Guarujá is more of a laid-back beach town. In fact, a quick search online of the top things to do in Guarujá will present a list of beaches, more beaches, and still more beaches. Oh, and the Acqua Mundo aquarium, with its sharks and penguins.

Guarujá is full of vacationing paulistanos (residents of São Paulo city) during the summer months (December to February), and again during the July holidays. Throughout the …