10 Exotic Destinations Where Real Estate Is a Steal

you can embrace paradise, even on a starter-home budget.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Many folks dream of buying a vacation home. But what if that getaway became your full-time destination?

Whether you plan to retire early or simply want to give up the rat race and look for a quieter place to live, lower real estate prices in some of the world’s most beautiful destinations can make your dream come true.

Here are 10 places to start your house hunt for a beach bungalow or mountain cottage at a starter home price.

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Southern Zone, Costa Rica

wollertz/Adobe costa rica southern pacific coast

As you go south from Costa Rica’s capital city of San José, you’ll hit the Southern Zone, which is filled with beaches, forests, mountain views, and outdoor adventure.

While you can get a lot in the mountains here for just $40,000, a bit more money will open you up to luxury: A two- to three-bedroom house with a pool averages $150,000 to $200,000, a price that can help lower your financial stress.

St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Nancy Pauwels/Adobe frederiksted, saint croix, us virgin islands

Keep things simple by buying a home that is officially within U.S. territory but that feels a world away.

The tropical paradise that is the U.S. Virgin Islands isn’t necessarily known for being affordable, but there are deals to be found on St. Croix. A nice condo here is only $165,000.

Silver Coast, Portugal

Vera/Adobe scenic view of nazare beach

Portugal is known for having some of the world’s most stunning beaches alongside charming small towns loaded with history and character. It’s famous as a budget-friendly place to travel.

Now, it’s also getting attention as a budget-friendly place to buy real estate. A beachfront home on the Silver Coast — known for its fishing villages, great golf, and surfing — can be found for just over $200,000.

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Kurtistown, USA

jakkapan/Adobe surfboard on tropical beach

While Hawaii is famous for sky-high real estate prices, you can still find less expensive properties.

Kuristown is a less expensive enclave on the Big Island of Hawaii that is known for its tiny houses and cabins. These often sell for under $150,000, making your slice of paradise seem within reach.

Guayama, Puerto Rico

stevengaertner/Adobe hidden beach puerto rico

Puerto Rico is a place where you won’t need a passport. You can find inexpensive real estate in some of the island’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Head to Guayama, a beach town near Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. There, you can get a two-bedroom home for $100,000.

Key West, USA

xbrchx/Adobe key west famous duval street

You don’t even have to leave the continental U.S. to find an exotic and affordable locale. This tropical community in Florida at the country’s southernmost point is filled with palm trees and history.

If you know where to look, you can also find cheap real estate. In the Santa Clara neighborhood, you can find a condo for just $150,000.

Santa Marta, Colombia

mehdi33300/Adobe santa marta colombia

In Colombia, you get all of the vibrant Caribbean culture without being on an island. This South American country has several cities where you can find affordable real estate.

For example, Santa Marta is a coastal town with national park and mountain views. This peaceful retreat is the perfect place for a tropical getaway.

Xalapa, Mexico

Heber/Adobe vista de xalapa

If you want to invest in your long-term happiness, take $40,000 and buy property in the mountains of Mexico.

Xalapa is a town that’s just one hour from the Caribbean Sea and 200 miles from Mexico City. With spectacular views of the mountains and volcanoes, you'll quickly discover the magic of the Mexican countryside.

Kotor, Montenegro

JFL Photography/Adobe historic town of perast

This country on the Dalmatian Coast flies under the radar compared to its neighbor, Croatia. Yet Montenegro has yet to see the enormous price hikes that Croatia has, partly because it hasn’t entered the European Union.

You can still get a home with stunning bay views for just over $100,000 in the area around Kotor, Montenegro.

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Costa del Sol, Spain

Alex Tihonov/Adobe white washed homes in Mijas

Sunshine for 320 days of the year sure sounds like a great deal. It’s even better when you realize apartments with water views in Costa del Sol cost just over $100,000, helping you to boost your bank account.

Spain also makes it easy for foreign buyers to get a mortgage, making it an even more appealing place to find your forever vacation.

Bottom line

Kzenon/Adobe man carrying his wife piggyback

Before you relocate, look into local laws regarding foreigners purchasing real estate. You may have difficulty financing properties abroad. If so, you will need to explore other buying options or ways of obtaining a mortgage.

It’s always essential to do your due diligence before buying real estate abroad. So, step up your travel game by visiting one of these affordable places to see if it is worthy of becoming your forever home.

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Intro Offer

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Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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