Perhaps you're reading this right now on a crowded bus or subway. Or while sitting in traffic on your way to work. And you're thinking to yourself, for the 14th time this week, "This is ridiculous. I'm gonna cash in my 401(k), sell my condo, and buy a massive beach house in Belize. Seriously, I've seen, like, a million episodes of House Hunters International, I can totally do this."
You know what -- you totally can. But to help you decide whether you should, we took a look at what an oceanfront home costs in 30 countries around the world, from thatched-roof huts in Ghana to tree houses in Thailand to seaside mansions in Dubai.
Although just to be clear, waterfront homes in most of these countries range in size and price and run the gamut from tiny one-bedrooms to multi-million-dollar luxury homes. We selected properties that, to us, were reflective of each country, and what we imagine a waterfront home there to look like. So, yes, when you read our listing and are, like, "I could easily find a cheaper place in Colombia," or "There's no way everything in Bulgaria is that inexpensive," you're probably right. But this should at least give you an idea of what's available.
What you're getting: A 3-bedroom/1-bath/1,000sqft spot that was renovated in 2008 and sits on a lot designed for 1-2 MORE houses. So, if remoteness isn't your thing, you're gonna want to convince some friends that you should all be living near Grotto Bay Beach in the Bahamas.
What you're getting: 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Plus, the ability to open up the doors and let the tropical breeze blow through. Not only is there direct ocean access and a 30ft dock, but you also get a patio/private swimming pool and -- for $150 a year -- all the links you can hit at Consejo Shores Golf Course across the street. You do, however, have to pay a whopping $20 a year in property taxes. Take THAT, Florida!
What you're getting: An entire bed and breakfast, that's what! No joke. For $250k, you get a sweet house right on Ilha Grande AND a B&B that can do with as you see fit. Your move Dick Loudon.
What you're getting: This 3-bedroom house sits on a municipal lake near Provadia and owning it, according to the listing, also affords you an opportunity to run the lake's concessions! Oh goodie. But even if renting boats and selling expensive sunscreen isn't why you're buying lakefront property, it also comes with high-speed Internet (not a guarantee in Bulgaria) and your very own well for water/getting stuck in.
What you're getting: A 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom house with its own private beach on the shore of Lake Huron in the quaint little town of Forest, Ontario. Plus, the log home has a "holiday apartment" where you can send friends who feel compelled to sing Lights while you enjoy the nightly sunsets.
What you're getting: A 4-bedroom, 4-bath house (nobody will share a bathroom!!!) at the top of a hill overlooking the ocean and the rest of Algarrobo. The inside is decorated like a trendy urban condo with hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and granite counter tops. Except instead of a view of someone else's condo you've got a view of the ocean.
Cost: $2 million
What you're getting: A house that looks like it was the scene of a horrific murder in Scarface or Breaking Bad. Admittedly, there are plenty of beachfront spots in Colombia for less than a cool $2 mil, but this one just felt right. It's got sick amenities like a domed ceiling and bell tower, infinity pool, sweeping views of the ocean, and tropical gardens where you can pick fresh fruit every day. There's also a semi-private beach to accompany your 5 bedrooms and 6 baths.
What you're getting: 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with a private stairway down to a secluded cove, where you can enjoy the Costa Rica waterfront without any of those annoying surfers. It also has a large teak deck and an infinity pool that overlooks said surferless cove.
What you're getting: 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, and 2 kitchens, not to mention A/C and satellite television -- which are rarities in a Mediterranean villa. Although with 600sqft of balconies and gorgeous views of Omis Bay, you really shouldn't be using either.
What you're getting: You know the old expression, "buy the cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood?" As the DR's Amber Coast prepares for an influx of new tourism, this house that "needs paint, redecoration, some furniture and repainting the pool" might be a wise investment if you don't want to live there right away. Added bonus: They've already put in steps for you to build a second floor! Just, no actual second floor.
Cost: $12.2 million
What you're getting: The fun of telling people you live on that cool island shaped like a palm three. This 6-bed, 7-bath villa is on "frond C" of the famous Palm Jumeirah, and covers 13,404 square feet. Not even close to the most expensive villa in the development, it also has an infinity pool, views of the Dubai skyline, and most importantly, ice-cold A/C.
What you're getting: 10 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and parking spaces for 20 cars. In most parts of the US, that's called an office park. Here in Sonsanate, however, it's called a nice house on the Salinitas Beach, the only brown-sand beach in the country. From the property, it's an easy walk to deep-water diving on one of the best coral reefs in the Pacific, as well as a three short miles to El Salvador's main cruise port. You know, in case for some reason you want to take a cruise.
What you're getting: The Waterfall Villa, part of the private Koro Sun Resort on the Koro Sea. And while there are no actual waterfalls on the property, it is only a short distance from Kavika Falls. The house is two stories on a Fijian hillside with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, furnished with Balinese teak furniture, and one king and two queen beds. Plus, since it's on resort property -- 24/7 security.
What you're getting: You might think 350k is a little steep for a 2-bedroom, 1-bath house that looks kinda like the welcome center from Jurassic Park. But this small villa sits on two-thirds of an acre of private beachfront, and has its own water supply and solar panels. Rustic? Sure. But with that much land, there's nothing stopping you from building your own resort right on the beach.
What you're getting: There's no shortage of flashy waterfront homes in the Greek Islands, but this 19th-century stone house is almost like having your own Greek ruin! But with a modern roof and running water. With the feel of an ancient Greek fortress, the house sits on just over a third of an acre of property on the Island of Samos, and what it lacks in Greek island excitement, it more than makes up for in serenity.
What you're getting: A 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom house in a private, gated community that boasts architecture (and weather, quite frankly) reminiscent of the Gulf Coast of Florida. Except instead of sitting on a man-made lake with people whose weekly thrill is a trip to the Miromar Outlets, you can sit on the beach with surfers and expats and discuss how you really wish there were some outlet stores nearby.
What you're getting: What's better than a 3-bedroom house on a black-sand beach in the middle of Bali? How about TWO 3-bedroom houses on said black sand beach?!?! Yes, for a little over a half-million bucks you can have a house for you and one for the kids, all with air conditioning. Plus, an oceanfront gazebo and open-air bathrooms. So, yeah, maybe bring some Off!
What you're getting: The Little White House. No, seriously, that's its name. Apparently the Irish don't get as creative with the names of their homes as they do with the names of their whiskey. It's a 900sqft house with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths set on 17 acres in a place called Toe Head. And though not the sunny beach retreat you'd find in Bali or Costa Rica, it's exactly what you picture in a quaint, coastal Irish home.
What you're getting: You apparently don't have to be super-wealthy to enjoy an oceanfront villa in Italy. For about the pre-construction price of a 2/2 in most major cities, you'll score 2/2 villa on the Amalfi Coast and eat your breakfast while enjoying the above-pictured view... EVERY DAMN DAY. Sure, it's only 750sqft, but when the Mediterranean is your backyard it feels a lot bigger.
What you're getting: A 2-bed, 2-bath house near an estuary in Sonora. And since it's Mexico, the place comes complete with its own cistern and water filtration system, as well as a block wall and wrought iron gates. The listing tells us not once but three times that this is a "very safe area," but you need those fences to keep people from barging in while you enjoy the beachside outdoor shower.
What you're getting: A small house that sits a mere 15 feet from the high-water line atop a sand dune. This 2/2 is, according to the listing, "built from reed, thatch, palm & a bit of brick" -- apparently, taking lessons from all three little pigs. In case the big bad wolf (or a storm) does blow the house down, you've still got an eighth of an acre to rebuild on.
What you're getting: Two master suites (one of which is wired for a home theater system) with 180-degree views of Doubtless Bay. It's also ideal for entertaining all your new Kiwi friends, as the kitchen is decked out in granite bench tops, Rimu cabinetry, polished concrete floors and a Westinghouse stove.
What you're getting: A big, mint-ice-cream-green, 3-bed/3-bath house that combines southern, Key West, and Mediterranean styles, and is less than a minute walk to Rizal Beach. With parking for 10 and just over an eighth of an acre of land, the listing, as many of these do, likes to tout the possibility of opening your own resort. Just a thought.
What you're getting: A historic 1936 house in a meticulously landscaped tropical setting, and only two minutes from the nearest golf course. The house is in Port Shepstone and has 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, and a private beach entrance.
What you're getting: An old fisherman's house. Yep, the interior needs to be completely renovated, and yes, you're getting less than .02 acres of land. But you've literally got a white house on the water in Mallorca, with stairs leading from your back door right INTO THE WATER. And while the house might need some work, it definitely makes this one of the most intriguing properties on this list.
What you're getting: 10 bedrooms (two of which are private suites) with French doors that lead out to the infinity pool and the ocean. With high vaulted ceilings and thick stone walls, the four-year-old house sits on 180ft of private beachfront.
What you're getting: A 3-bed, 4-bath house with a sprawling wooden deck that stretches right up to the high-water mark. So, hopefully that whole global warming thing is overrated and the ocean will stay right where it is. It also sits on eight acres, boasts over 350ft of beach frontage, and supports parking for 10.
What you're getting: A house 200ft feet from Railei Beach, which's been named one of the world's most beautiful by Conde Nast. Each of this tropical house's 3 bedrooms (and 2 baths) sits amidst a grove of frangipani trees, and you can traverse the property via a series of raised, covered walkways.
What you're getting: A giant, yellow, 4-bedroom house. Or, what the listing refers to as "the best villa in Kusadasi." This well-appointed, detached home sits 60ft from the beach and has a fully maintained garden and private sauna.
What you're getting: Granted, it's almost impossible to not be on the water in Providenciales, but here you have both a sweeping view of the Caribbean from the massive wraparound balcony AND a canal in the back that leads out to Discovery Bay. Plus, a narrow lap pool to go along with the 2 bedrooms/3 baths and a downstairs that can easily be converted into a one-bedroom rental property.