Tourism is booming in Mexico with currently 22.4 million visitors a year heading for the home of big hats, tequila and those great Mayan civilisations. It's a huge market for North American "snowbirds" who jump on a plane for the short hop south for some winter sun. Although the mega-resorts of Cancun, Cozumel and Acapulco are easiest to reach - whether you're flying in from the US or the UK - it might just be worth looking away from the tourist trail if you seek an affordable investment in this vibrant country.
A so-called hidden gem - in fact it's name translates as "hidden port" - at the southern tip of the country is the bohemian resort of Puerto Esconido, in the state of Oaxaca. It may not be as fashionable with wealthy jet-set as the Baja Peninsula and Los Cabos higher up the Pacific coastline but it is well known as a surfing destination and as such has developed into a laid-back resort popular with both back-packers as well as Mexican families.
It's also got a growing expat community from Canada, the US and the UK, according to Chuck Ashton of Vivo Resorts, who have begun marketing properties in the area. "Surfers have loved it for decades but the rest of us are slowly catching on," says Ashton, a Canadian. "The area is poised to become a bonafide international tourist destination with state and federal investment improving the infrastructure. New roads, motorways and a new hospital are all part of this."
Big draws to Puerto, as it's called by the locals, is a near-perfect climate, plentiful wide-open beaches and a typically warm Mexican hospitality. According to Ashton it lacks the crime associated with big cities and areas close to the US border, while the very low cost of living makes it attractive to retirees. Ashton's Vivo Resorts is Puerto's newest residential community and the first to offer beach-front condos (apartments) and resort-style amenities. Created by the Canadian developer Cary Mullen - a World Cup ski champion - the development is located on a pristine beach known as Playa Palmarito and offers one- to four bedroom beachfront condos with an entry price of CAN$164,000 (£104k). There's a managed rentals scheme if you can't always make the ten-hour flight to Mexico City/connecting one to Puerto - personally.
10 reasons to buy in Mexico
• The climate. Wonderfully diverse but warm, with the Mexican Caribbean (Costa Maya) around 82 degrees year-round
• The low cost of living. You can live on a fifth of the cost in the UK
• Dynamic cities. Mexico is the world's second largest; Monterey and Guadalajara are next best in Mexico
• The beaches. Miles and miles of them on Pacific, Caribbean and Mexican Gulf coastlines
• Excellent medical facilities. Medical tourism is on the up!
• The food. It's much more than refried beans and chilli con carne and very fashionable right now
• It's well-connected to the US and the UK with plenty of flights
• The people. Friendly and amongst the most easy-going around
• Property prices that are still on the up and lower than the Caribbean
• The lost civilizations and the colourful culture.