By Dobrina Zhekova / Photo by Ingus Kruklitis/Getty Images
It’s easy to see what makes Mexico the ultimate vacation destination. With almost 6,000 miles of coastline touching four bodies of water, the choice of idyllic beaches here is pretty overwhelming. The country’s rich history and fascinating traditions permeate its ancient towns, while its delicious cuisine offers a feast for the senses. Easily accessible from every major city in the U.S., our southern neighbor has always been the preferred spot to relax and unwind, whether for a quick weekend getaway or a more extended trip. And as one of the top tourist destinations in the world (in fact, it’s Travel + Leisure‘s 2022 destination of the year), investing in a vacation home in Mexico means plenty of year-round rental potential.
“It is a destination with clear real estate growth, mainly focused on sustainability. At the moment, Playa del Carmen has 199 developments while Tulum has 406. There is also a very active land market, very related to the real estate construction boom,” Liszett Torres, Riviera Maya Sotheby’s International Realty manager, explained in an email.
When it comes to finding your dream vacation property, Torres’ number one piece of advice is to contact a certified agency or an agent who not only knows the market and the inventory well, but can also guide you through the legal, tax, and immigration requirements for foreigners. She recommends hiring a local real estate attorney to coordinate the closure on your behalf.
For those scouting a second property, here are the top markets for vacation properties to get you started in your search for vacation homes in Mexico.
Playa del Carmen
Once a sleepy fishing village, Playa del Carmen is a bustling town famous for its beaches and vibrant nightlife. But away from its busy commercial strip La Quinta Avenida, this lively destination also offers plenty of fun outdoor, nature-focused activities such as ziplining, diving, and snorkeling. The area is also home to a few great golf courses, including Greg Norman-designed gem El Camaleón Mayakoba, the first PGA Tour golf course in Latin America.
Many expats have made Playa del Carmen their permanent home and English is spoken everywhere. The real estate offerings here are fairly diverse — from studios, multi-bedroom apartments, and condos to single-family homes. While prices vary, expect to pay more if the property is closer to a stretch of sand.
Year-round sunny weather, lower cost of living compared to bigger cities, and lower HOA and property taxes make Cancun a paradise for second home buyers, according to Torres. Its proximity to Cancun Airport, which has one of the highest numbers of direct international flights, has made the city a major transportation hub in Mexico. In fact, in October 2021, more than 1.1 million visitors arrived at the airport, making it the busiest October on record. So, needless to say, a vacation home here means you can easily rent your house to tourists whenever you’re not using it.
Cancun itself is a bustling city both during the day and night. With plenty of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment opportunities — and that’s in addition to its many pristine beaches — boredom is never an option in this famous resort town.
The historic heart of the Riviera Maya is home to many Mayan ruins, making it a magnet for history buffs. The stunning turquoise waters of the Caribbean, white-sand beaches, and mysterious remnants of temples and castles perched above the sea look like they belong in a fairy tale.
“Tulum is concentrating on an offer of holistic services related to health, wellness, meditation, yoga, and spa,” said Torres. “Investing in the area is synonymous with surplus-value, investment returns, [but] also of life quality and permanent connection with nature.”
Another reason to invest in Tulum? Plans for a railway that connects the town with the rest of the Quintana Roo state promise a spike in visitor numbers.