The Ultimate Alternative Investment?
by Alexander Green, Investment U Chief Investment Strategist
Friday, February 10, 2012: Issue #1706

Last week I spoke at an investment conference at Rancho Santana, a charming resort community on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, near the town of San Juan del Sur.

Set on more than two miles of coastline with rolling hills and dramatic cliffs, the reserve attracts expats, investors, surfers and nature lovers from all over the world. They like the idea of owning a piece of – or at least visiting – one of the most spectacular stretches of coastal land in the world.

Some are attracted because the property is so inexpensive. It’s hard to believe you can buy a stunning home site directly on the Pacific Ocean for less than $175,000.

And it’s not just the property that’s inexpensive. One evening 14 of us rode into town to have dinner at a favorite local restaurant, Yolanda’s. The proprietor served up heaping helpings of local lobster, fresh vegetables, black beans and rice, plantains and plenty of Corona beer. When I picked up the tab, I was shocked. The cost was less than $9 a person.

Some investors here are banking on increased foreign investment and commercial development. The International Monetary Fund estimates that Nicaragua’s economic growth hit 4% last year… and is on the verge of accelerating.

Exports jumped 23% last year. Tourism is up. MSN Money ranked Nicaragua at the top of their list of “Ten Exotic Retirement Spots for 2011,” telling readers “[Now] is the time to put this country at the top of your super-cheap overseas retirement list.” CNN Money calls it “the next Costa Rica.” Indeed, Rancho Santana is just 50 miles north of the Costa Rican border.

Good things are happening locally, too. A local business leader plans to invest $300 million next door in a world-class marina, golf and spa resort called Guacalito. Due to open in Spring 2013, it’s located just 30 minutes from Rancho Santana and is already bringing increased investment and improved infrastructure to the region. And an international airport is planned for the Tola area, located less than a half hour away.

Other investors are putting money to work here for privacy reasons. They want to diversify their portfolios beyond the prying hands of angry ex-spouses or potential litigants.

But for most, it’s the sheer beauty of the place. The New York Times points out that, “The beaches are among the finest in the Americas, and among the least developed.” Gaze out from atop one of the many bluffs on this 2,700-acre reserve and you’ll see what the coast of California looked like a hundred years ago, pristine and largely undeveloped.

Residential lots are selling quickly. Over 50 homes have been built and 24 more are under construction. It’s not hard to see why. The terrain is such that home sites can capture views of the ocean, the nearby valley and lovely sunsets. Labor costs are significantly lower here. And a master association and various sub-associations exist so that owners are assured that high and consistent standards of quality are maintained.

Is oceanfront property in Nicaragua the ultimate alternative investment? That’s for you to decide. But if you’d like to learn more, feel free to visit the website or, better yet, sign up for a property tour.

The cost is $500 per person ($600 per couple) and includes all transportation, breakfast and three nights in oceanfront accommodations at Rancho Santana. This is a great trip for those wanting to come down and investigate investment, second home or retirement opportunities. (Contact Bryan McMandon.)

In the interest of full disclosure, Rancho Santana is being developed, in part, by colleagues of mine at Agora Publishing. However, I am not compensated in any way (directly or indirectly) for any sales at the development. I just think it’s a beautiful place and an interesting investment.

And whether you decide to invest or not, I know you’d enjoy the experience.

Good Investing,

Alexander Green