Alex Apellaniz, Bacalar’s RE/MAX broker, “fled” from the hectic Playa del Carmen area two years ago. Tall, lean, slightly balding and 40ish, Alex has an abundant supply of energy (as evidenced by all the “for sale by Alex” signs in the area).
When he first came to Bacalar he made the very wise move of buying the building that now houses his office and where he has opened a seafood restaurant. The building faces the town zocalo and is a block from the Spanish fort that overlooks the Laguna to protect Bacalar from pirates (and houses a very interesting museum).
Apellaniz is now completing the sale of a small eco-resort and spa situated on the Laguna to an entrepreneur/investor from Cancun for 2+ million US Dollars (which should appreciate rapidly) and has just received a project to sell 2 and 3 bedroom luxury villas.
The best buys around Laguna Bacalar according to Apellaniz are, “Mostly waterfront lots, close to Bacalar town. Plus, a few upscale villas for sale now that present great values. With the current rate of exchange, prices are effectively 30-40% less for foreigners, paying with dollars, which makes for a very good return on investment.”
Architect Ricardo Romay and his family came to the tranquility of Bacalar from the chaos of Mexico City, looking for quality of life. He has established a booming business designing and building luxurious homes and business’ incorporating local materials and tropical hardwoods and other fine handcrafted details into Mayan influenced designs. His construction team includes Bacalar's most talented Mayan artists and craftsman.
Upscale Real Estate Projects
Currently Romay is working on a new downtown building for a business called Gaia and a luxury villa in Wildlife Lagoon (a conservation project and low-density residential community on the north end of Laguna Bacalar).
According to Marcela “Nita” Basail, Romay’s wife, who sells waterfront real estate, the area has much to offer the wealthy buyer in terms of investment, home, second home, vacation rental or business. “As a potential tourism hotspot, the underdeveloped Bacalar real estate market seems like a compelling investment. The region is of interest to pioneering investors, who will have the opportunity to shape a future for the area with respect to environment and culture.”
Laura Zapata, a realtor from the Riviera Maya and president of its real estate board, has recently been selling properties in the north end of Laguna Bacalar.
Zapata says of this area, “Bacalar has been a well kept secret for many years. Those who know where to purchase ahead of the crowd have been purchasing large and small tracts alike for the last 6 years now. Because the area offers a diversity of activities, tourism will increase and that will naturally evolve into investors looking for opportunities for businesses as well as those looking for a retirement home, vacation home, or simply investing in residential property for the appreciation that exists in the area.”
“For those wanting a lake front home for under $500,000 USD now is a great time to invest. Given the appreciation of other areas such as the Riviera Maya it won’t be long before these homes move into the category of luxury home market and values increase considerably. Residential lots can still be found for under $200,000.”
“Developments such as the luxurious Casas La Fe should see many homes built over the next three to five years, priced initially at $750,000. This development will be one of the first to see a selection of million-dollar homes for those looking for a turnkey property. Lots run $175,000 up to approximately $250,000.”
“This private residential development has 72 lots. Each is approximately 1,400 sq meters (1/3 acre), located within an area of 4,000 sq meters (about 1 acre). Each lot is surrounded by this “green area” or common area. Effectively each lot has 40 meters (131 ft.) of frontage on the Laguna. All are residential single family lots.”
Sailing into the Gant’s Eye
Joining the shallow, Caribbean-like waters of the Laguna like a deep, dark giant’s eye is a Laguna property that Apellaniz prizes among his many Bacalar jewels. This sweep of land inclines gracefully to the Laguna from the “Costera” (the Laguna coast drive). Resting on a cenote, one of the seemingly bottomless, mysterious holes dotting the Peninsula that the ancient Maya revered as sacred, the property is a perfect place to sail—as Oregon expatriate and sailboat builder Jimmy, who owns the adjacent parcel, demonstrates.
Launching his sloop from a dock below his house, Jimmy teases the sail up like a kite before it catches the breeze and bobs across the Laguna’s gentle whitecaps. I watch it as I stroll leisurely along the Costera, dreaming of my own perfect place—at home among the banana trees.
To learn more about Bacalar (with video) follow this link: Bacalar Background
To learn more about Bacalar real estate, follow this link:Remax Laguna Blue
For more information on architecture, building and real estate in Bacalar follow this link: Romay/Basail
Story and photos by John Lamkin.