It is true that Americans are more likely to receive immigrants than be immigrants, however, around 6 million Americans live abroad. Many of them have chosen Latin American countries to be their new home for a multitude of reasons, such as proximity, warm climate, gorgeous nature, affordable living costs, etc. We have made a list of 7 countries (in no specific order) you should take into consideration if you’re planning on moving to Latin America.
Mexico is the number one choice among American immigrants. In fact, the number of Americans who moved south exceeds the number of Mexicans who moved north. It is full of fabulous tourist resorts and great expat destinations. Here are some of the most common reasons for relocating to Mexico. First, it is close. It could be just a short drive away, depending on the part of the US you are departing from. Then, it is much cheaper than the US. You can have the same quality of life at much lower prices. The infrastructure and health care are also great. Mexico is one of the best countries for children to attend school and learn Spanish, the official language, since there are many bilingual schools. Finally, Mexicans have managed to preserve their rich culture, which cannot be said for many other countries with a large immigrant population.
This country is one of the world’s best places for retirees. The cost of living in Ecuador is quite low. With only $1500-1800 per month, a couple can enjoy a very comfortable life in most cities. However, due to the country’s growing popularity among expats, property prices are increasing. The official language is Spanish and the currency is US dollar. Ecuadorians are now enjoying a better lifestyle than previous generations thanks to the stable and growing economy. They have a reputation of being friendly, so making friends is quite easy. Most of them speak English, and there are also many bilingual international schools. Private healthcare is good, especially in larger cities. There are good transport links with the rest of the country and the US. There’s also the mild weather that rarely reaches 90 degrees in the warmest part of the country.
Several factors have made Chile one of the world’s happiest countries. There’s the good income per capita, the dynamic, market-oriented economy, the low rate of corruption, and an overall good quality of life. The healthcare standards are relatively high, especially in private medical facilities. There is private and public healthcare insurance. The quality of education international schools offer is good, but such schools are located in larger cities. Most Chileans speak English, even though Spanish is the official language. It is blessed with exceptional natural beauty and famous for its volcanoes, delicious food and wine.
This country is also one of the world’s happiest. Apart from the beauty of its nature and everlasting summer, the pace of life is much slower and more relaxed than that of the US. The political situation is stable and the country is generally safe. Its public health system is among the best in the world, better than the US system. For approximately $50-150 a month (depending on your income) expats get free health care that includes routine checks, prescriptions, even surgery. Not many people speak English, but one can use it to get around. The government invests in education and the result is one of the world’s highest literacy rates. All in all, Costa Rica is a logical choice for US expats, especially retirees, who are moving to Latin America.
Its diverse multinational and multiracial population is what makes Brazil an ethnic melting pot. Major Brazilian cities have thriving expat communities. Even though the official language is Portuguese, most people understand English in major cities. There are numerous international bilingual schools, but mainly for the rich. In Brazil, home of the world’s most famous carnival, one can never get bored. The Copacabana beach, the Iguazú Falls, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain are some of the most recognizable landmarks of this amazing country. Climate varies depending on the region, from tropical and subtropical to cool and even snowy in the mountains.
This Latin country is rather liberal, with a functioning political system. There is almost no inequality, corruption or violent crime. Uruguayans are highly educated and very friendly. If you’re moving to Uruguay, start learning Spanish because you won’t find many locals who speak English. This country is rather flat, with no mountains and volcanoes, but it does have world-class beaches. The best place for expats is the capital, Montevideo. It has a growing economy and a high quality of life. The city is called the ‘Switzerland of Latin America’ for a reason – it has many private banks and large international institutions.
Panama’s expatriate community is one of the most active in Central America. Owing to new visa possibilities living in Panama has become even easier for expats. Panama is also a good place to invest in real estate or tourism, thanks to its affordability. It often ranks highly in polls of happiness and wellbeing. English is widely spoken, US dollar is used, infrastructure is good and improving. The capital of Panama City is often compared to Miami. Although it is expensive by Central American standards, it is much cheaper than the US. Besides, there are many smaller towns in Panama that are more affordable.
The biggest disadvantages of moving to Latin America
Here are the most common reasons why people think relocating to Latin America is not a good idea:
- high crime rates discourage people from moving to Latin America;
- unemployment and poverty are widespread in Latin countries;
- natural disasters also occur across Latin America.
These are some of the problems that most Latin countries have in common, although it all depends on the region. Nevertheless, their governments are making great efforts to fight unemployment, poverty and crime. As for the natural disasters, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and hurricanes do happen, causing great damage, but not in all regions and not all the time.
Now that you’ve seen some of the most common reasons for and against moving to Latin America, it is up to you. We say it is never too late to start a new chapter in your life. Be adventurous because you only live once.