Estrella del Mar - clubhouseREAL ESTATE

Estrella del Mar community in Mexico offers privacy, affordability and plenty more

By Larry Olmsted,
Special Contributor

Mexico has a long history as a very popular second-home destination for American golfers who are seeking courses from top designers, great weather, and a flair for the exotic in food and culture -- at bargain prices compared to the United States.

Estrella del Mar, sitting on more than 800 acres along the Pacific Ocean, is among them.

Estrella del Mar - homesAffordability is one of the biggest selling points here, with lots for custom homes starting at $89,000 and brand-new, well-equipped condos starting at $325,000. The 11 existing condos currently on the resale market cost even less -- from $229,000 for a two bedroom to $529,000 for an expansive four bedroom.

Every condo has ample outdoor as well an indoor living space and easy access to pools and the beach. The interiors are finished with touches like travertine marble and high-end GE Profile appliances. There is just one finished home on the market right now, for $625,000.

But price is hardly the only appeal of Estrella del Mar. The gated community offers security and is on three-and-a-half miles of private beachfront, a vast expanse that is hard to find almost anywhere else in North America. Estrella del Mar also has several restaurants, a spa, hotel, turtle sanctuary (Mexico's largest), tennis center and a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course. The Estrella del Mar Golf Course, built in 1996, plays more than 7,000 yards from the tips and is routinely ranked among the best in Mexico. It hosted the 2011 Mexican PGA Championship, a Canadian Tour event.

Estrella del Mar - golf courseEstrella del Mar is located on Isla de las Piedras, or Stone Island, which is actually a peninsula jutting into the Pacific south of the city. It can be reached by road or ferry, and it's home to small but thriving fishing villages. Off-site attractions nearby include horseback riding on the beaches, boating, parasailing and diving. There's also deep-sea fishing and, surprisingly, excellent freshwater bass fishing in nearby El Salto Lake. Mazatlan, an old city rich in Mexican culture and cuisine, is about 40 minutes away and is a must-visit destination.

One of the other appeals of the community is that it is well established. At a time when many newer developments are struggling to attract buyers and stay afloat, Estrella del Mar already has more than 250 homeowners. Many are from outside Mexico and have been enjoying this place for more than a decade.

Estrella del Mar - condominiumsIt's especially popular with residents of the Southwest and West Coast, since the Mazatlan airport, just 15 minutes away, has direct flights from Dallas, Houston, Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Because the community offers complimentary airport transportation for homeowners and their guests, as well as internal shuttles, visitors do not even need a car.

While the development is well established, it is hardly static. Estrella del Mar recently added the Wyndham Las Villas Resort, an upscale 71-room resort hotel that includes a large spa, fitness center and three restaurants. Estrella del Mar already had La Paloma, considered one of the region's best restaurants, in its large and well-equipped clubhouse. Future plans call for a second golf course, one more hotel and more real estate development with a long-term, master plan of 800 condos and 1,200 homes.

Larry Olmsted has written more than 1,000 articles on golf and golf travel, for the likes of Golf Magazine, T&L Golf, LINKS, Golf & Travel, Men's Health, Men's Journal, USA Today, and many others. He broke the Guinness World Record for golf travel and wrote Getting into Guinness, as well as Golf Travel by Design. He was the founding editor of The Golf Insider, and the golf columnist for both USA and US Airways Magazine.

February 13, 2012

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.

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