vicki powers
freelance writer

Vacation for Fun and Profit

Hemispheres, January 2007

by Vicki Powers

Imagine owning oceanfront property for $30,000 or a share of a $5 million vineyard for only $33,000. Some investors are skipping the U.S. stock market and looking abroad for higher yields, increased diversification, and lower risk. But these folks aren’t taking somebody else’s word for it. They’re scouting international investment opportunities themselves on vacationlike jaunts.

The trips, called investment tours, target international vineyards, reforestation sites, or coffee farms in Central and South America. Florida-based Agora Travel is one of several companies offering investment tours beyond U.S. borders. Agora’s travelers get an insider’s guide to the country and can meet with experts such as developers, attorneys, real estate agents, and architects to navigate the purchase of international property. Travelers on the Nicaragua tour, for example, can see a wide variety of purchase options, including city suburbs, historic colonial sites, raw land, and tourism properties with tax benefits. The trips continue to lesser-known areas of Nicaragua to view coffee farms and land perfect for growing rich coffee beans. Visitors can learn about investing in reforestation of hardwoods such as cedar, teak, and mahogany.

In Argentina, tour groups visit a $5 million vineyard that is selling 300 acres of excess property ready for planting. Tropical Pathways offers seven-day investment tour excursions to Panama to see condominiums, seaside villas, and retirement homes in planned developments. Other destinations include the Caribbean island of Roatan and the Dominican Republic, a haven recently embraced by North Americans for its amazing bargains and stunning beaches. Investors interested in Mexico can join Mexico Investment Tours to find profitable investment opportunities and tour Mexican art galleries. Savvy investors always say “read the fine print before buying,” but the best insight often comes through first-hand experience.

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