We put a lot of time into finding the best place to launch ONDA. We had defined our initial target geography to include everywhere from Mexico to Colombia – which is a lot of ground to cover!
We initially set our sights on Mexico, specifically the Yucatan peninsula. We liked this area for a variety of reasons, including ease of access from the U.S., volume of international arrivals, density of tourist destinations, and location within the U.S. central and eastern time zones. We conducted a 3 week scouting visit in September of last year, that included stops in Tulum, Bacalar, Merida, Progreso, Valladolid, and Isla Holbox.
We were, however, unable to uncover much workable, existing infrastructure and concluded that we’d need to develop something from scratch in these geographies.This isn’t in-line with our model so we went back to the drawing board and began digging deeper into other locations. At the suggestion of one of our informal advisors with experience in Costa Rica, we spent some time focusing there. And, we liked what we found.
Costa Rica is one of the friendliest, safest, and politically stable countries in Latin America. They abolished their military in 1948 and have been welcoming to foreign investment for decades. It is a country famous for its nature and wildlife and with almost ¼ of the land designated to national parks and wildlife refuges, it’s no wonder tourists have been flocking here for decades.
After an initial scouting visit in December 2020, we were sold. Not only did Costa Rica have all the big-ticket items working in its favor (ease of access, same time zones as the U.S., density of tourist attractions, etc.), but the types of properties we were looking for were widely available. We had an abundance of suitable sites to choose from. Additionally, we were able to identify top-tier real estate, legal, and architectural/design partners.
Bill returned for a second trip to Costa Rica in January 2021. He spent the entire month exploring the province of Guanacaste,focusing on scouting locations for our first project .
Bill is now in the process of relocating to Costa Rica full-time to oversee the conversion and launch of our first location; with Alex expecting to relocate shortly thereafter. The whole team plans to be in-country during the month of March to celebrate the close of our first acquisition. We can’t wait to kick off the conversion process.
Stay tuned. We’ll have more details of our first location coming soon.
Bill, Alex, Joe, and Bernie