is it true you can avoid early withdrawals from qualified retirement plans if you buy foreign real estate?

I’m looking to purchase property in Central America and have a few dollars in a rollover distribution I was thinking of utilizing for the acquisition.

Yes. IRAs can be invested in real estate. You need to find a sponsored self directed IRA and roll into it. Then you can invest in real estate, tax liens, and many other assets. Structured properly you can invest with family and others.

Try the book IRA Wealth by Patrick W. Rice (I am sure there are other books as good) that covers this and gives you some self directed IRA sponsors (trustee and custodians) that keep you within the IRA guidelines.