5 Dreamiest Caribbean Beach Towns with Affordable Real Estate, Ranked!
If you’ve visited the Caribbean, chances are you’ve imagined trashing your return ticket, making a down payment on a cottage by the sea, stringing up a hammock, and staying forever.
If it seems too good to be true to find a gorgeous, palm tree-studded spot that also has sane home prices, realtor.com’s list of ten Caribbean hideaways with reasonable real estate is for you—and it’s here just in time for cooler weather here in the States.
The realtor.com data team considered safety, affordability, quality of beaches, and easy-going real estate rules in their survey, giving the heaviest weight to home prices. Once they determined which countries were best for ex-pats, they consulted travel experts to find the best beach destinations within.
Here are the top five, from five to one:
5. Caye Caulker, Belize
Price per square meter in Belize: $2,322
This five-mile long coral island off the coast of Belize embodies its motto of “go slow.” With few roads and no cars or trucks, most residents walk or bike. It boasts world-class snorkeling, fishing, swimming, and boating. According to realtor.com, “the home-buying process is simple and similar to that of the U.S., and luxury condos sell for around $200,000, while five-bedroom homes right on the beach go for around $400,000. If you're OK with a short walk to the beach, you can find something under $200,000.”
4. Playa Bonita, Dominican Republic
Price per square meter in Dominican Republic: $2,078
This quiet fishing town with a crescent-shaped beach is home to a vibrant Spanish, French, and Italian expat community. The home buying process is easy here: just present a copy of your passport. “Expats can score two-bedroom condos for between $230,000 to $300,000—a sweet deal, considering many of these homes are within walking distance to the ocean,” per realtor.com.
3. Dominical, Costa Rica
Price per square meter in Costa Rica: $1,938
This surfer’s paradise is not on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, but its Pacific. Nonetheless, it made Realtor.com's list. The jungle-meets-the-sea paradise is also an ex-pat haven, thanks to a surf break that’s prime nearly all year. “American buyers will also enjoy Costa Rica's low, low property taxes—which amount to around 0.25% annually,” according to realtor.com. “In addition, Costa Rica property laws are fairly easygoing and foreign home buyers are treated the same as locals.”
2. Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
Price per square meter in St. Lucia: $1,860
This bustling port town is an ex-pat haven, with shopping, restaurants, and bars in walking distance to internationally known Reduit Beach. Quieter shores with fewer tourists are close by, as are lush hikes, scenic dives, and hot springs. Keep in mind that “in order to buy property, Americans must hire an attorney (for about $5,000) to acquire a local license,” according to realtor.com.
1. Tulum, Mexico
Price per square meter in Mexico: $1,852
This bohemian enclave on the Yucatan Peninsula has Mayan ruins, a stellar food and beverage scene, chic boutiques, and of course, stunning beaches. This means it’s garnered a lot of well-deserved buzz, which means “you won’t be the first one there, and you’ll have to pay for that,” says Coastal Living Travel Editor Tracey Minkin. And “while prices in Tulum are high relative to Mexican home prices, they aren't out of reach,” according to realtor.com. A note of precaution: “American buyers need to do their research before buying in Tulum: Mexico prohibits buying in some areas on the beach and requires foreign buyers to set up a trust through a Mexican bank,” realtor.com says.