The 9 Greatest Latin American Destinations For US Expats

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The U.S. State Department estimates that there are now about 6.32 million Americans living abroad in over 160 countries. With so many to choose from, why not branch out and move down South?

Get a taste for that Latino heat and try these 9 places to relocate to:

1. Guatemala

Image Source: skycrapercity

Many tourists rush past Guatemala, but not the real traveler. This tiny Central American country is a cultural Mecca, with the majority of its population holding indigenous roots.

The low cost of living and proximity to the U.S. also give Guatemala major brownie points. An expat couple can easily live comfortably on under $1500 a month, as domestic help ranges from $2-$3 an hour, and a week’s worth of fresh fruits and vegetables amount to $6-$10.

Unlike nearby destinations, Guatemala offers the same beautiful sites, eternal spring-time weather, and a relaxed pace of life, without all the crowds.

2. Belize

Coco Beache, Belize-Image Source: Purentonline

Oh, you like Caribbean beaches and gorgeous sunny weather? And oh, you don’t even have to learn English to get around in Belize because it was actually a British colony and everyone speaks English? This just doesn’t get any better. Wait, it does! Situated right below Mexico, Belize is close enough to the U.S. that you can travel to and from without blocking out entire days to do it.

Belize’s Barrier Reef attracts divers and snorkelers worldwide with its 180 miles of crystal-clear coastline.

Just be aware of Belize’s rainy season that runs from June to November of each year. The chance of hurricanes rise 20% between July and October, too. But hey, at least you don’t have to toughen out the brutal New York City winters!  

3. Argentina

Image Source: Wikiwand

Argentina is a perfect spot for someone who wants a little taste of Paris mixed with mountains, cowboys, indigenous culture, and lots and lots of red wine.

10,000 Americans have found home in Argentina, making it one of the top expat nations in the world. 

Fall in love with the chic nightlife of Buenos Aires as tango dancers fill the streets. Explore new territories in Salta, which the Grand Canyon only pretends to resemble. Have a typical Sunday barbeque, or “parrilla,” with friends where you can drink all the wine and eat all the red meat your body can possibly handle.

You can easily buy property in Argentina with only the 90-day tourist visa you get on arrival. And you can stay in the country forever, as long as you leave and come back at least once every 90 days. So hop on a ferry to neighboring Uruguay for the weekend or take a quick plane ride to go adventure through Chile. It will definitely be worth your trouble!

4. Brazil

Image Source: Globalconferences

With over 100,000 Americans living in Brazil right now, this South American giant caters to the high rollers of the expat community. 

Between the Carnival celebrations every year and the rich history of social vibrancy, Brazil is overflowing with culture that is a feast for the eyes of any expat. Soak up the sun on Brazil’s Atlantic coast, wander through the streets taking in the succulent smells of local restaurants, and make sure to brush up on your Portuguese before going!

Bilingual international schools fill Rio de Janeiro that are mostly attended by the children of Brazilian diplomats and other wealthy elites, along with Western expats. Just keep your eyes peeled, steer clear of the dangerous “favelas”—city-side slums—and make sure you can afford the hefty cost of living in order to fully enjoy the Brazilian experience.

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5. Uruguay

Montevideo, Uruguay-Image Source: Worldtravel

Uruguay is a gem off the beaten path for expats. The best thing about Uruguay? It’s the least corrupt country in Latin America! You don’t need to worry about an unstable economy, crooks for politicians, street violence, or social unrest on this little slice of paradise.

Roam down the cobblestone streets of Montevideo or relax on the beaches full of Argentine vacationers where clothing is an option.

Many expats claim the Uruguayan people are some of the most kind-hearted and helpful. Make sure you practice your Spanish (and the Rioplatense dialect specifically), as most Uruguayans don’t speak English. Once you do master a level of competence in Spanish, though, the Uruguayans will bend over backwards to give your directions, recommendations, advice, and anything else you need help with.

6. Panama

Image Source: Imgchidas

We’ve got to give it up for Panama for being the number one choice among expats in places to retire. Take the beauty of the Caribbean beaches, the convenience and closeness to the U.S., the stable political environment, the affordability, the lively cities, the incredible rainforests, and an unmatched retirement program, jumble them all together, and you find Panama.

English is widely spoken and Panama’s economy is even dollarized for more convenience. 

Panama is more affordable than its competition and neighbor, Costa Rica, because its tourism industry is much younger.

With 12,000 American expats lodged up in this country of less than 30,000 square miles, you can rely on a strong expat community to mingle and swap stories with

7. Costa Rica

Image Source: Huffingtonpost

Costa Rica has been a huge destination for American expats, backpackers, retirees, and students for decades. Everyone’s travelling down South to breathe in some of that “pura vida” lifestyle. And how could they not want to? Costa Rica has been named as the world’s happiest country, according to multiple Happy Planet Indexes. 

13,000 Americans have found their home-away-from-home in this small Central American country, so you know it wouldn’t be hard to find other expats and reminisce on your time back in the U.S. 

Check out some of the healthy living options that Costa Rica is so proud of. Take yoga classes or dine in at organic food restaurants, all with gorgeous coasts and mountains as a back drop.

8. Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador-Image Source: Cnn

Ecuador is the expat’s secret oasis in Latin America. It’s more suited for long-term living, as it enjoys a low cost of living, a slower pace of life, and a peaceful atmosphere.

The people are known in Ecuador as being some of the friendliest and most good-natured in the region. Locals will most likely be eager to engage in conversation with expats, whether it’s in English or patiently sticking with you through your Spanish.

You can easily enroll in Spanish classes, as an adult or for children, in Quito’s many bilingual international schools. Volunteer opportunities are abound, as well, at any age, and include teaching English classes.

The only thing to be conscious of before you head to Ecuador is that it is still very much a developing country. Shopping options are limited, poverty is widespread, and stray dogs are abundant.

9. Mexico 

Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico-Image Source: Skycrapercity

Surprise, surprise! Here we all thought Mexicans were trying to get into the U.S.! Turns out there are more Americans moving to Mexico than vice versa. Right now tit is estimated that over 850,000 Us Citizens live in Mexico. 

And not only is Mexico the hottest expat spot in Latin America, it’s America’s top choice in the world! The next runner-up, Canada, has only less than half the amount of American expats than Mexico.

Why are so many Americans flocking to Mexico? To start with, our neighbor to the South offers so many kinds of living environments, from beaches to cities to mountains to rainforest, all jam-packed with culture and excitement.

Mexico is also great for learning Spanish. Private bilingual schools fill the country and the people are eager to converse with foreigners.

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