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Sunday December 17 2017
Up-and-Coming Campeche: Beachfront, Colonial and Culture

Thomas Lloyd

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Imagine being in a small boat, taking a relaxing ride through a long lagoon, surrounded by jungle, past some ancient Mayan ruins. The lagoon widens, then narrows, then widens again. Suddenly you hear a splash behind you. You turn around and look – it's a dolphin! The dolphin jumps again, and follows you as you continue through the lagoon. Now imagine that this is in your backyard, and a wide, white, sandy beach that stretches out for miles and miles is your front yard.

This sounds like paradise to many of us, but you do not have to imagine it. In the state of Campeche, on the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, real estate buyers can find a paradise like this to build their dream home on virtually virgin beachfront. The state of Campeche offers beautiful beachfront available for investors, retirees, families or anyone else who are looking for high-quality lifestyle at a fraction of the price that similar properties would cost in many parts of Mexico, or other parts of the world. But this is not all Campeche has to offer; the area is beginning to capture attention of significant real estate investors in a marina resort development. The area offers a unique combination of a beautiful fortified colonial city, extensive beachfront with turquoise waters, rich history in ancient Mayan ruins, and peaceful natural surroundings combined modern infrastructure and services.

Driving on the highway from Campeche to Ciudad del Carmen, you will see starfish and seashells offered for sale on the edge of the road and the wide white beaches – still untouched. On the beaches themselves, which are wide and sandy about a 30 minutes south of Campeche, you will find sea turtle shells which are significantly bigger than the ones typical in the Riviera Maya area on the other side of the Yucatan Peninsula. The ocean has a beautiful turquoise hue, and contrary to the Gulf of Mexico's reputation, the water is clear and clean. While it is still not common in all cases to find an official tour guide to get to know the ruins nearby, this is the kind of place where the local fishermen will be happy to show you around.

This part of Campeche is grabbing the attention of many non-Mexicans since prices of waterfront properties are more accessible than buyers would expect. Some properties on the beachfront are costing less than one hundred thousand dollars. Although many of the sandy beachfront areas are in a somewhat undiscovered corner of Mexico's beachfront real estate market, they are by no means "roughing it." The region already has electricity, phone, and water utilities running along the highway.

Sabancuy and Champoton, about 45 minutes from the city of Campeche, are two fishing towns on Gulf coast, which are popular for their seafood and picturesque quaint shops. Near these villages, there are many options those who dream of living affordably on the beach, enjoying close contact nature, and at the same time, having quick easy access to many of Campeche’s amenities.

The area is showing signs to be the next "up-and-coming" market in Mexico. One indicator of this, which also presents another type of real estate opportunity, is a large-scale multi-million dollar European development in the nearby town of Champoton. The development includes condos starting around $300,000 and going up over a million, a golf course, and a 150 slip marina. The first buyers are scheduled to begin to take physical possession of their condos for the summer of 2010. For buyers seeking luxury in an upscale, complete community, this development presents an excellent option. For those looking at the virgin beachfront lots near the fishing villages, this development means that investment and infrastructure will continue to grow in the area, offering more services and activities as foreign investors continue to take interest in this off-the-map little corner of Mexico.

The new European development is the first of its kind in the state of Campeche opening up various opportunities for the area. Champoton is a pretty, colonial town which not that long ago would have been perfect for a nice picture and not much else. As a result of the development, which includes a new Jack Nicklaus golf course, the town is beginning to develop its points of interest, now including neat little discoveries such as a pirate restaurant and quaint downtown area. Champoton is also making plans to develop a new boardwalk area, and, as the town's atmosphere begins to bring out its potential, more real estate opportunities will also open up.

For those intrigued by the idea of colonial properties, the capital city of Campeche may already be the place to look. One interested buyer commented that Campeche seems to be where Merida was about 15 years ago – a beautiful colonial city with a tremendous potential for growth in the tourist industry. But some aspects of Campeche put it in a category of its own. First of all, it is directly on the oceanfront. The city has a beautiful boardwalk, where you can see the local fishermen's boats tied, or even see them heading out to sea early in the morning. Secondly, the colonial city center is surrounded by fortifying walls, built by Spanish colonists to protect the city against pirates coming from the Caribbean. These walls add a touch of awe to the city’s atmosphere.

"Approach downtown," observed one Canadian commenting on his first visit, "and suddenly there they are – massive 18th century stone walls and bulwarks that enclose 40 square blocks of pure colonial charm. Within those walls lie street after street of gaily painted facades, austere churches and cathedrals, and a graceful town square complete with gazebo just begging for a stroll."

The streets lined with brightly-colored homes are also charmed by a botanical garden, cozy parks, and a town square with large trees and benches, right next to the cathedral. Campeche's history is not only a sight to see, it is an experience to live. The city is full of tradition which permeates day-to-day life in little things like the city market with its colorful booths offering fruit, vegetables, cheese, handicrafts and many other items. A long-standing part of the city's tradition was recently celebrated with the Carnival in mid-February. The Carnival is a complete experience, from the process of buying the tickets, to seeing the spectacular color-filled parade move through the colonial streets, to the vendors in the booths selling blankets and handicrafts.

Besides beautiful, full of atmosphere, history and charm, Campeche is also convenient. The newer parts of the city include shopping malls and large new American stores, such as Walmart, Home Depot, Mega (a Mexican super-store, similar to Walmart), and Sam's Club. The city includes several very modern and up-to-date hospitals, as well as an international airport. For those who buy a property down in the middle of the state, making a quiet beach or a new marina-golf development their winter home, Ciudad del Carmen, about forty minutes away also has an international airport and numerous services.

The almost undiscovered charm of Campeche and the surrounding area is attracting the attention of property buyers and investors from the U.S., Canada and Europe. Buyers who choose to invest in the state of Campeche will enjoy the comfort of having neighbors from back home, and, at the same time, have very close contact to beautiful, soft white beaches, untouched nature, and Mexico's rich culture, architecture and history at its best.


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