Resorts: Puerto Escondido Comes of Age with Luxury Oceanfront
Homes & Condos
Condo Unit Under Construction
Canadian Olympian and World Cup downhill champion Cary Mullen
was recovering in Maui, Hawaii, from a ski accident. He began
to ponder a prime location in the world to build an affordable
beachfront community of homes and condominiums for people
like him; those who are still relatively young, yet are already
starting to think about a warm climate for part time
residence, a future for themselves and their families. He
compiled a list of 44 factors to consider, investigated 30
countries, and personally visited over a dozen before settling
on Puerto Escondido, in the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca.
Mullen wasnt interested in building simply a sun, sand
and surf retirement community. In a conversation at his Vivo
Resorts building site, he explained that the idea was never
to attract just retirees:
I was looking at two demographics; Baby Zoomers, and
generation Mex. Pretired Canadians [and Americans]
who realize that they dont have to live in a cold weather
climate all year round. People like me who want to practice
for retirement, which might come three, four or 10 years down
In 2007, Mullen purchased 30 hectares of land, about a 12
minute drive up the Pacific coast from Puerto Escondido. The
development has 735 meters of oceanfront, is 400 meters deep,
and includes a tranquil piece of property (slated to remain
as such) for the exclusive use of residents, backing onto
a lagoon filled with mangroves, fish, birds and other assorted
flora and fauna.
Mullen has already sold a number of oceanfront and ocean view
lots, as well as several condominium units in Phase One of
his development. As of late November, 2010, construction of
the condos and pool was well underway.
Why Buy in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, Versus Anywhere Else
Around The Globe?
Four of Mullens 44 factors stand out. A comparative
analysis made the choice of Puerto Escondido, as opposed to
any other beach location, relatively easy.
Weather as a Key Determinant in Selecting Puerto Escondido
Amongst other considerations, Mullen studied frequency and
strength of hurricanes, temperature variation and rainfall.
He found that, for example, over a 150 year period Cancun
has had 38 significant hurricanes, compared to only three
in Puerto Escondido. In Puerto Escondido there is only a 5°F
average temperature variation year round, ranging from 78.3
to 83.3, and total rainfall between the end of October and
the end of May is about 1/3 of an inch.
The water temperature is warmer in the Pacific at Puerto Escondido
than in the Caribbean or Hawaii. When vacationers can
only take off work for a week or two, they want good weather;
they actually want to be guaranteed that theyll have
great weather the entire time, Mullen stresses. He continues:
I came to realize that real estate agents only want
to show warm climate ocean properties in the mornings, because
in the afternoons the wind tends to pick up. But in Puerto
Escondido were blessed with just gentle breezes.
Investment Timing for Purchasing Land or a Condominium
in Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido is one of the few beach locations still showing
relatively low cost of land and construction per square foot.
Mullen cites resort properties in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California,
as an area where exorbitant land costs have made purchasing
there inaccessible for most. He illustrates that in Cabo San
Lucas its almost five times as expensive as buying along
Oaxacas Pacific coast.
And here in Puerto Escondido were seeing really
strong investment returns for condo rentals. He continues,
with a sound prediction: Just wait until the highway
widening project between the city of Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido
is completed. A lot more people, both residents of and vacationers
to south and central Mexico, will be interested in renting
homes and condominiums along the coast. Mexico has one of
the strongest world economies; compare it to that of the US
in recent years, for example. The Mexican stock market has
been performing phenomenally.
Safety & Security in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
I spent a big part of my life on the World Cup circuit,
risking my life, Mullen admits. The last thing
I want to do now is anything which would create fear and insecurity
in my life. Im in my forties with a wife and three young
children, and parents in their sixties who are thrilled to
be able to spend time here in Mexico with their grandchildren.
Ive bought a condo unit in the development for us. Right
now I, my wife and children live here six months a year, and
in Canada the other six months. But our future is Puerto Escondido,
perhaps not 12 months a year any time soon, but its
something I want for my wife and our family, and an investment
for our children; so theyll always have somewhere to
go to vacation, and the option of making Puerto Escondido
Mullen cited the recent arrival in Puerto Escondido of a new
hospital, several car dealerships, vastly improved options
for private schools for children, and a large grocery store
chain. In addition, a number of construction material outlets
have been springing up, evidence of a building boom. And
theres more on the way. Look, in the state capital,
he boasts, we already have a Sams Club, Sears,
Fábricas de Francia [similar to Bloomingdales].
These chains dont open up unless theyve done their
homework, and are confident about growth potential, signifying
confidence in future safety and security of the region.
Mullen correctly cites comparative statistics in support of
the proposition that the media carelessly and wrongly paints
all of Mexico with one broad stroke of the brush, and that
Puerto Escondido is much safer than the cities in which most
Canadians and Americans live. He continues:
Last week in Calgary there was a bad snowfall; there
were more than 600 traffic accidents in one single day. People
caution about swimming in the ocean, yet only five people
die of shark attacks annually worldwide, while 200 die from
faulty toasters and 1,000 from hippopotamus incidents. My
mom has no qualms whatsoever about going for long walks by
herself along the beach here in Puerto Escondido, or in town
for that matter. Do you think shed feel that way about
walking alone in Chicago, New York or Acapulco?
People & Pace in Puerto Escondido
While its difficult to compare statistics when it comes
to the people and pace of living in one part of the world
versus another, according to Mullen Puerto Escondido does
stand out from many other warm weather retirement and tourist
destinations. He finds the people extremely friendly, always
greeting with a smile and offering their assistance. He believes
that he and other non-Mexicans dont particularly stand
out, and are certainly not constantly harassed by hawkers
of every kind of product and service. Its easier for
Canadians and Americans to become part of the broader society
if theyre so inclined, perhaps because residents of
Puerto Escondido have been accustomed to dealing with foreigners
for generations; Puerto Escondido has existed as a port town
for literally hundreds of years, with non Mexicans
coming and going, and staying.
Puerto Escondido Versus Huatulco, A Short Drive Down the
Pacific Coast Highway
My personal bias has always been in favour of Puerto Escondido
over Huatulco, two vastly different cities, yet separated
by only 1_ hours of coastal highway. Back in 2005, I predicted
that over time, Huatulco, a resort town built by the Mexican
government to be a world class tourist destination, would
develop its own quaintness akin to that of Puerto Escondido,
and a unique culture complete with color and pageantry. My
thinking was that over the course of a generation, the Mexican
population in Huatulco, that is, those individuals transplanted
from other parts of the state and country to provide goods
and services, would inevitably build for themselves neighborhoods,
marketplaces, bars and comedors, and other indicia of a complete
social structure. Mullen sees such a metamorphosis as being
a long way off. He maintains that theres still a significant
difference between the two sister cities; I have to agree
with his assessment:
Huatulco is like a movie set; designed and manicured.
Except for the very small downtown area, La Crucecita, which
is a fair distance from most of the resort areas, theres
an air of unreality to it. And even La Crucecita seems moulded
for tourists and no one else. It just lacks something. Puerto
Escondido has a soul, and theres a positive vibe that
Huatulco in my estimation is missing, plain and simple.
Even the surfing sub-culture component to Puerto Escondido
is remarkable. And yes, it feels to me like a [winter] ski
town. Perhaps thats part of what attracted me to it.
It has vibrancy; its full of youth and energy. But at
the same time, theres a very strong local dimension,
with traditional native festivals going on throughout the
year, as has been the case for generations. So while Huatulco
does have many of the attributes of Puerto Escondido, and
ranks up there based on the factors I initially enumerated
and compared, theres a significant difference, in the
respect Ive indicated.
Cary Mullens Pedigree: Success in Real Estate Development
Leads to Mexican Investment
Cary Mullen is far from just a retired ski champion looking
to conquer a different series of moguls. Success in real estate
is in his blood; no different than his athleticism. When Mullen
was 10 years old he saw his father buy his first investment
building, and he took notice of it, and an immediate interest.
Mullen would spend weekends alongside his dad, learning the
trade. At 19 he got his real estate license, and at 21 purchased
his first property, on his own: I knew that I had to
have a fallback plan, and that being a professional athlete
is a short career, especially as a skier. Were not like
major league pitchers who can work into their forties by finessing
how they throw the ball, or like the Bret Favres in the football
Mullen had an eye for the residential real estate market,
such that he began buying and selling houses, invariably making
a handsome profit at every turn. He would always purchase
prime geography. He converted a duplex into a four-plex, then
an apartment building into condo units; all this while competing
on the ski hills.
The Canadian real estate experience taught him to look for
opportunities undervalued properties. This is
my new play, finding affordable beachfront that is attractive
to people in my kind of demographic. I didnt just go
out and buy a piece of oceanfront and decide to build and
market. Ive been doing my homework for several years,
using study habits Ive honed and perfected over the
course of more than 20 years.
Its one thing to have investors, and to work with their
money and hope for the best. But its another to do it
all on your own, relying on your experience, instinct and
research, and to put it on the line. Indeed Mullen has had
opportunities to take in partners in Vivo Resorts. But hes
an expert at what he does; the same drive, passion and talent
which lifted him onto the world stage in skiing, is guiding
him in Puerto Escondido.
Wait just a minute Alvin, Mullen says as were
walking through one of the oceanfront condos under construction.
I have to speak to one of my men and show him something.
A couple of days ago I decided to make a change to this unit,
to make the living room larger and appear much more spacious,
with more of an ocean view. I have to show him what I mean.
You see if I had investors, wed have to have meetings
and discussions; but its just me, so I can decide on
my own what I know is best for the people Im selling
to. And yet I am very fortunate to have an incredible team
working with me.
Vivo Resorts in Puerto Escondido Caters to a Cross-Section
of Investors, Vacationers & Retirees
One of Mullens goals is to provide as much of a view
of the ocean as practicable, to as many condo units as possible.
At the same time hes committed to making prices as accessible
as possible to the broadest range of prospective purchasers.
In his initial development there are 156 condominium units
and 104 building lots, although hes now just concentrating
on the first phase of the development. The prices of the condo
units range from $59,000 for a studio, to $549,000 for a 3,886
square foot four bedroom oceanfront penthouse ... and everything
in between. Vivo Resort building lots range from the $40,000
mountain-view lots, up to sprawling $265,000 sandy beach oceanfront
properties. I did the math, and the pricing per square meter
impressed, both in terms of the serviced lots, and condominium
units built with higher end finishes.
Those purchasing raw land have the option of using one of
Mullens recommended contractors (he opted for a Mexican
crew for his development after interviewing and evaluating
Mexican, Canadian and American companies), or retaining architects
and contractors on their own. Homeowners have access to all
of the facilities of the condominium clubhouse such as restaurant,
lounge and spa; meditation and yoga room; tennis courts and
sports field; ocean view fitness club; VIP business center;
conference space; general store; and kids club / daycare
center; As you can see, Vivo Resorts is not just for
retirees; I want families just like mine to have the option
of spending a large part of the year here; and with the internet
and the global economy, many working men and women have the
option of earning a living from anywhere, even here
while gazing out onto the ocean from their living rooms.
Casa Rubia in Puerto Escondido Facilitates Opportunity
to Visit Vivo Resorts
Even though Mullen sponsors information sessions to attract
prospective purchasers, hes not one who believes in
the hard sell, or in the guise of giving away something for
nothing. He assures: No, no, no; thats not me,
and its not my style, and never has been. I know what
I have and what I am building, and that it sells itself; at
least to those who have done their due diligence. In fact
I never dissuade people from looking around at different opportunities.
Thats exactly what I initially did a few years back,
looked at all of my options, and why I purchased this tract
of land and am doing what Im doing. Hes
up front about it: And Im not giving away free
trips to a Mexican resort.
What Mullen is in fact doing is providing potential buyers
with an opportunity to fly down to Puerto Escondido, spend
a few days scoping out the area, and his resort, within the
context of a vacation. While visiting, they stay at Mullens
Casa Rubia, an ultra luxurious oceanfront complex with
six bedrooms each with en suite, media room with WIFI and
satellite TV, living room with expansive wraparound sofa opening
onto an exquisite dining area, and other facilities all spread
over 15,000 square feet.
Yes, Mullen pampers his guests, with a dedicated bilingual
staff including maids, butler, property manager, chauffer
/ handyman, and Mexican chef. But he doesnt give away
free trips to Puerto Escondido. Prospective purchases can
look at his website, communicate with him or his staff by
phone or email, and then if the interest is there, fly down
at their own expense, and stay at Casa Rubia at a rate
well below the value provided. Sure, for those who
end up buying we reimburse part of the cost of the vacation,
Mullen acknowledges, but those who come down and decide
its not for them, for whatever reason, they leave having
had a great vacation, first class all the way.
Mullen provides visitors to Casa Rubia and Vivo Resorts with
an all-inclusive package. Each visitor is provided with a
personalized, comprehensive and extremely detailed Stay
& Play Itinerary for the full six days, outlining
meals and happy hours, shopping and boat tours, visits to
the main beaches, relaxation periods to sun and swim at Casa
Rubia, and of course, time to visit the Vivo Resorts development
to learn and ask questions. Significantly, portions of only
three days out of six are devoted to visiting the development
and question and answer periods two mornings and one
after lunch discussion session.
One thing for sure, a visit to Casa Rubia and Vivo Resorts
makes you start thinking about your future, and the quality
of life you want for yourself and your family, both down the
road and right now.
Vivo Resorts Oceanfront Properties in Puerto Escondido,
For further information, contact Vivo Resorts:
Phone from Canada and the US: 403 827 3210
Phone from Mexico: 558 421 7212
Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast ( http://www.oaxacadream.com
Consider one or two Oaxaca tours with Alvin, regardless of
whether or not you stay at Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast
) Alvin is the Oaxaca destinations expert for a major international
travel website, and a founding member of the Oaxaca Bed and
Breakfast Association, whose members provide an attractive
Oaxaca accommodations alternative to lodging in traditional
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