This article examines both geography for lifestyle considerations and investment criteria with a graph to highlight some examples of return type. Obviously, there are many more factors to consider when buying a property overseas, but these two are the big front line for most folks. Potential buyers should also request a complimentary copy of my Global Property Resource Kit for a deeper consideration of due diligence process outside of North America.
The Geography FactorThe geography of Latin America serves up just about every climate type imaginable. It offers breezy Caribbean islands to high, dry deserts, to snowy mountains, to vineyard regions similar to Napa Valley. Even the beaches are very different. On the coasts, you’ll find lush tropical lowlands to semi-arid southern California-feeling and everything inbetween.
Most people looking at Latin America want warm weather. But what kind of warm weather? Some prefer hot, dry weather like Phoenix? If so, then the deserts of Mexico would be a great choice. A Southern California climate exists along the coastline of Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica. Some folks want to in a hot, humid climate like Miami or Houston. Tropical Panama would be perfect for them.
The Caribbean islands really just have two seasons: dry and rainy. Humidity levels are seasonal. Rainy season runs from late summer to early December. Around the Caribbean, the weather ranges from moderately moist to humid, and temperatures generally band between 80-90 °F. The warm temps and gentle humidity are offset by the trade winds blowing in off the sea. Note: This is only true along the coast. Inland areas of can become humid and quite warm, with seasonal temperatures reaching the mid to high 90’s in low lying areas.
Many folks want a cooler climate resembling springtime year-round. Throughout tropical Latin America, you will largely find that an area’s temperature is determined by elevation. Cuenca, Ecuador, possesses a wonderful year-round spring time climate and sits at 8500 feet. Stairs are a lot more “fun” there, I can assure you from personal experience. In places like the Central Valley of Costa Rica or Medellin, Colombia, temperatures are in the 80’s during the day and the 70’s at night, every day of the year at about half that elevation.
The last geographic consideration is whether to live in an urban area, a resort setting, or a rural area? Will it be a coastal resort that is semi-arid or a humid urban area? Is it a modern city with high rises, a subway, and shopping malls, or is a small colonial city with brick streets, small markets, and rough sidewalks preferable? All of these options can be layered into the climate as well.
Answering these types of questions on geography and climate will greatly help you identify and locate possible cities and areas that meet your lifestyle criteria. The main factors to consider are these listed here but none are black and white. It’s an open recipe that’s best experienced first-hand.