It IS possible for foreigners to own property in Mexico — even by the beach. However, regardless of whether you are Mexican or not, you cannot own the beach.
Technically (legally), there is no such thing as a ‘private beach’ in Mexico. The Mexican Constitution decrees all beaches to be public property and, as such, people have right of access to them anytime. There are some exceptions, most notably, beaches classed or reserved for military use.
Just about every major beach destination in Mexico has a number of beaches which have no hotel or other property development near them. They are usually frequented by people playing ball sports, relaxing, sunbathing, having a picnic, or just watching the world go by. Some of them have palm groves or other shaded areas in the immediate vicinity; some also have beach-bars or kiosks selling a range of take-away food and drinks. These public areas are an ideal way to enjoy the local beaches and the sea if your home is situated inland from the beach front.
Be aware of beaches facing the open sea (in Spanish known as “playas con mar abierto“), especially on the Pacific coast. Beaches which are not part of a cove or bay can be extremely dangerous to swim from, as the ocean’s waves land directly on the beach with some considerable force and also have a powerful undertow that may drag even the strongest swimmer out to sea. If you’ve spotted a secluded beach off the beaten track which you fancy visiting, check with the locals to ensure it’s safe before swimming there.
When you own a home near the beach, keep in mind that the salty sea air will create more wear and tear on your home than a property situated inland. Careful choice of materials (if you are building your home) and a regular maintenance program will ensure that the structure of your home and any outbuildings remains in good order. Failing to undertake regular house maintenance usually leads to much higher repair costs later on.
Summers in Mexico near the beach can be very hot indeed. Most people find that air conditioning is essential to stay cool, and especially to get a good night’s sleep. If you are building your own home, there are design elements that you can include to promote natural cooling and air ventilation, and thus reduce energy costs. However, you will probably need some air conditioning and fans, and with Mexico’s relatively high electricity prices, keeping cool can become a line item on your home budget in these hotter climates.
If the area where you are buying your home is subject to tropical storms and hurricanes, you will need to buy a home insurance policy that covers your property for damage caused by these. You can learn more about how to protect your home from unforeseen events on our comprehensive guide to Insuring Property in Mexico.
If you plan to buy or build a home near a beach, there are many factors to take into account in regards to construction and maintenance. Ed Kunze’s eBook, Buy Build or Extend Your Home in Mexico has extensive information about this, sharing valuable advice that can prevent you from making material mistakes and save you time and money.
See also: Guide to Real Estate in Mexico