The Next Beachfront Play On Mexico’s Caribbean

The Next Beachfront Play On Mexico's Caribbean
Plus: Getting Your Money Out Of A Foreign Country

March 10, 2015
Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico

US$1=15.2 Mexican pesos

Dear Overseas Property Alert Reader,

Cabo San Lucas is famous as a hot destination for tourists and celebrities alike, and is commonly known for its high-end real estate… but it wasn’t always that way.

Prior to 1974, the Mexican government decided to focus on the infrastructure and highways to Cabo, in order to enable it to become a tourist destination. With the development of the Transpeninsular Highway (also known as the Mexican Federal Highway), tourist developments started popping up, and Cabo became known to the world as a place to own a beach vacation home, drink tequila, or go sport fishing.

Early adopters of the commercial and residential opportunities in Cabo are still smiling over their early investments that have produced huge returns for them over the years.

Searching for the “next Cabo” has been a topic of discussion for many international investors and beach-home purchasers for years. Prices in Cabo, along with Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and other mature destinations in Mexico, are now untouchable by most standards.

But the “next Cabo” may be right here in the Yucatan.

Sisal May Be The Next Big Play In Mexican Tourism Real Estate

Just outside of the cosmopolitan city of Merida, the Mexican government has been spending money on the development of a highway into Sisal… a quaint fishing village with some serious potential. Sisal was a major seaport and prominent city in the 19th century, and there are initiatives today to restore Sisal to its former glory by developing tourism and facilities for tourist vessels at the port.

Sisal is located approximately 32 kilometers from the Yucatan capital city of Merida, along the northwestern Yucatan Peninsula shores. Long known for its sparkling white-sand beaches, flamingo sanctuaries surround the village, making it even more inviting.

Already, the town center and main street have been revitalized with new paint, and the new road to Sisal creates convenient access from Merida to this beach town. It appears to be the next play in tourism and real estate in Mexico is Sisal.

Based on the history of places similar to Cabo and Cancun, Sisal will soon be the place to be (and stay). The government confirmed this year that the final bypass from Merida to Sisal will be in place to cut the travel time to and from Merida to approximately 35 minutes, which will further fuel the prices of real estate in the area.

This beach town is literally poised to make a scene.

Reasonably Priced Land Available, Along With Well-Priced Properties

The good news is that the available land is limited… presenting an opportunity for early investors to get the beach house they have always dreamed of, while assuring that this beach area will never get to “grow up too much.” Also, strict environmental regulations on the limited land available will limit growth in the area.

According to the locals, hotel and restaurant developers are looking at siting properties in Sisal. Also, a tract of 250 acres sitting on over a mile of unspoiled beach is starting to show development activity. It’s nestled between the ocean and the flamingo reserve, assuring its privacy and tranquility. Preliminary plans call for a six-phase community with expansive lakes and green areas.

Once these developments start to happen, prices of available land or homes will increase rapidly. Today, prices are still reasonable.

One new development called Ensisal offers beachfront luxury condos from US$224,000, with quartz countertops, balconies with private infinity pools, handmade pasta-tile floors, and panoramic water views. Follow the link to see the beachfront Ensisal project’s details.


On the private market, you can still buy white-sand beachfront lots for US$139,500, with a more-remote lot going for just US$49,000. A three-bedroom, two-bath home—right on the water—is selling for US$141,700 (2.1 million pesos) at today’s exchange rates. A large, walled, beachfront estate—including two docks and a swimming pool—is going for just US$212,500 (3.2 million pesos).

“Playing Monopoly” in Mexico means following the money: Discovering the land where the money’s bound for and buying it first.

I suggest you keep your eyes on what is happening in Sisal.

Mandy Allfrey
For Overseas Property Alert

Editor’s Note: Mandy Allfrey is an avid writer and world traveler. Her travel blog, Cloud Surfing, is a collection of people, places, and things from her experience. Mandy has been discovering charming destinations for more than a decade, where she seeks out local experiences and culture. She is also president of the social marketing firm The Buzz in Asheville, North Carolina.

Lee Harrison
Editor, Overseas Property Alert


Letters To The Editor


I would like to know more about your recommended neighborhoods in the various comunas in Santiago, Chile.


Here’s a recent article on the top neighborhoods in the comuna of Providenciaand another one on rental returns in Santiago, Chile. For other parts of Chile, have a look at these essays on Viña del Mar and Valparaíso.


Thank you, Lee, for the latest report. I’ve got one more question, about transferring funds.

When you have sold your investments, did you ever have obstacles to transferring money out of the country?


In most cases, I’ve simply wired the money out of the country with a wire request. When you do this, it’s not uncommon to have to show where the money came from (such as a sales contract on a house you sold).

In some countries, however, there are currency controls in place. In these situations (such as Colombia and Brazil), you’ll need to show that you brought the money into the country legally before you can send it out. It’s a simple matter of filling out a form or two… unless, of course, you didn’t do the proper paperwork when you brought it in. In that case, you’ll need to call a lawyer for help.


Hi Lee,

Thank you for all your interesting content! We are motivated to retire early—maximising our spending power whilst improving our quality of life. Early in 2016, we are going to “put our toe in the water” and try three or four locations in the Americas for a few weeks, to get a taste before making a firm commitment.

Our list of requirements would be as follows:
– Coastal region
– Consistent spring-like temperatures
– Beautiful scenery
– Not prone to storms or natural disasters
– Great expat community so we can make friends
– Able to get by as an English-only speaker
– Low crime rates
– Competitive cost of living
– Continental lifestyle (great bars, restaurants, food, etc.)
– First World infrastructure

Many locations sound great, but I am not sure which ones tick most of our boxes. Where do you suggest we look and compare next year, Lee?

Best Regards,
United Kingdom

Aside from the coastal criteria, the El Poblado neighborhood in Medellín, Colombia, would otherwise fit Paul´s criteria perfectly.

Paul brings up a common dilemma among people looking for that perfect location: You’re not going to find year-round, spring-like temperatures on the coast. Where you will find them is about 5 degrees either side of the equator, at around 1,500 (5,000 feet) meters altitude or maybe a bit higher.

The most moderated coastal temperatures tend to be on the Pacific, where the cool currents help with the summer heat. In Mazatlán, Mexico, for example, the average wintertime high temperature is 79 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average summer high is 91 degrees. Not spring-like, but not too extreme.

In my experience, the only way to find that perfect coastal weather is to find it in two places… one for the winter, and one for the summer. For me, “perfect” would be a place on the coast of Uruguay combined with the north coast of Spain between Gijon and Santander.

But there are endless combinations. If you choose wisely, you could rent out both places while you’re not there.

Have a question? You can write to Lee or Mandy here.