I first arrived in Tulum on bumpy roads in 2004.

I hopped on a plane from Panama City (where I was starting to earnestly invest in overseas real estate) and flew to Cancún. I rented a 4×4 and headed south down the stretch of coastline now known to the world as the Riviera Maya.

I stopped in small beach towns, explored stretches of powdery white sand beach and saw for myself the potential being realized as billions of dollars flooded into infrastructure and hotel projects all along the coast.

First, I hit Playa del Carmen — 40 miles or so south of Cancún. I was struck by the pristine curve of sand and charming beachfront palapas.

Few streets were paved. Yet construction was in full swing on big resorts and condo projects. There were backpackers and hippies everywhere, plus more mainstream tourists coming to enjoy a week of sun.

I continued past Playa, determined to see what was next. The road turned bad… very bad. I bounced down another 40 miles or so of this stunning coast until I arrived in a small, remote village.

This was Tulum.

Just a few streets, one unreliable ATM and a handful of small stores. After a cold drink, I took the final leg of my journey…

Three miles from the village, I stepped onto the beach. This was my “wow” moment. I caught my breath beneath the coconut trees and murmured, “Eureka.”

Miles of immaculate white sand washed by the cobalt-blue Caribbean — every inch the beach paradise of popular imagination.

I started scouting around Tulum. To the south, there are 1,000 square miles of luscious biosphere — protected land with a UNESCO designation. To the north, the extensive archaeological site of old Tulum, a magical Mayan city.

Tulum ruins

The ruins at Tulum are the youngest Mayan ruins in all of Mexico. They’re right on the coast, giving you 360 degrees of breathtaking views…

I knew even on that first visit that development would always be severely restricted in Tulum. The protected biosphere and historical ruins create a “geographic moat” that insulates any investment properties here.

Folks who bought in our recent Tulum deal (including Adam and myself) stand to make a pretty penny as rental demand in Tulum continues to grow.

And boy is Tulum growing… Tourism there is on an absolute tear.

Record numbers of visitors are coming to enjoy the culture, heritage and that stunning white sand beach. A record 2 million people passed through the archeological site of Tulum last year — 80% of them foreigners.

Tulum is also a favorite of models, socialites, celebrities and anyone who wants to catch a glimpse of them. You’ll see it mentioned in Vogue or Jetsetter magazine along with Saint-Tropez, the Swiss hotspot of Gstaad, the Greek island of Mykonos, St. Barts…

It’s certainly been high on my list since I first set foot there nearly 15 years ago. Every time I go it gets more and more difficult to leave.

After my recent trip, I traveled to London, then on to Portugal’s Algarve region.

Right now, I’m in Ireland investigating an overlooked sector — vacation homes built in the bubble that wound up in foreclosure. And they can be bought for a song…

I’ll share my findings with RETA members in future alerts. If you want to stay up to date on my scouting trips and be the first to hear about the next killer members-only deal, join Real Estate Trend Alert today.

Wishing you good real estate investing,

Ronan McMahon

Ronan McMahon

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