Here’s What Josh Linnes Thinks About El Salvador’s Investment Potential
Viva Tropical founder and Latin Tropic Investor, Josh Linnes, just arrived back from a surfing trip to El Salvador where he met a couple of his lifelong friends for an authentic El Salvador surf trip.
What a great opportunity for Viva Tropical to get his personal opinion on a country which is rarely mentioned in the investment arena. Let’s see what the real El Salvador investment story is about from inside its borders!
This was your first trip to El Salvador?
Yes, well, besides spending time at the airport. I have been right up to the El Salvador border on 3 different sides of the country, but I always fell just short of actually crossing the border.
What were your first impressions?
I loved it and I really felt like the country is way underrated. What I noticed right away was they use the U.S. dollar which is easy. The second thing I noticed is that the people of El Salvador were really friendly.
What I mean by that is they are not jaded by tourists, once you get out of the airport into the countryside the people are genuinely happy to see you and take an interest in you for being there.
There are other countries in the region where you can feel like you are a Dollar Sign and locals only take an interest in you because they have a financial interest in you. This is an inevitable consequence of tourism success; the more successful a country is getting tourists to their country the more you get treated like an opportunity.
The way I am treated is something I pay attention to as an investor because it is an indicator of how many tourists go to a country or how developed tourism is in a place.
In the case of El Salvador, tourism is lower than other countries in the region and because of it you can really have a very authentic experience with the people who live there. I found that refreshing and it made me want to spend more time there as well as look for a possible investment opportunity.
The last thing that stuck out to me was that the country is really beautiful; there is a lot opportunity for living, investing and retiring in El Salvador.
Where did you go?
As you may have guessed I didn’t spend any time in the city. I really don’t enjoy spending too much time in any capital city of the Latin Tropics.
I am much more interested in undiscovered areas and wide open spaces. So I headed straight for a region called “Oriente Salvaje” which translated means the Wild East. It is the least populated region on the East Coast of El Salvador towards the Nicaraguan border.
To be completely candid, I was not intending on going on a scouting mission, I was originally going to meet a childhood group of friends for a surf trip.
It was only after I arrived that I realized I stumbled onto something rare and very interesting.
What about the violence and gangs, is it safe?
Those are two things that definitely exist in El Salvador and really any other country in the region. But from talking to expats and locals I got the feeling it really was safe.
I felt safe and wasn’t worried at all about walking around the villages at night or walking down the beach. I am sure there are different experiences depending on where you go, like San Salvador (the capital city), but that can be said in any capital city in the region and you have to be aware wherever you go.
Always take precautions and not do anything to provoke problems, but any seasoned traveler knows this.
El Salvador reminded me a bit of Nicaragua or Ecuador; they are slightly rougher around the edges, not as quite as comfortable as Costa Rica or Panama. But the rougher edges give a raw, more vibrant feeling and I like that, and as the real estate market indicates, so do other people.
So, I don’t think El Salvador is going to pass up Costa Rica anytime soon, but as far as value and beauty, you can get equal stuff for a lot less.
Who would El Salvador appeal to?
Anyone who wants an authentic connection to the locals, surfers, and people who want to feel a little bit like trailblazers. Basically Stage 2 and 3 buyers and sellers.
Any final thoughts?
I am not going to give too much away, but I am trying to buy property there now. I am really excited about the area and the surf.
It just has that feeling where things are happening and we are about to go through that much desired change from Stage 2 to Stage 3 market and as many of our readers know that is Park’s and my favorite opportunity for buying land.