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Best Countries To Retire in Central and South America

Updated on August 20, 2016

Beaches of Montevideo,Uruguay

This hub is mainly directed to answer a question by Credence2, but I figured it could interest more people so I made a hub about it.

Cruising around the internet a while ago I came across something that really surprised me, a site by american expatriates living in my country of birth Uruguay, in South America.So I start reading about it and find out there are thousands of american citizens living in Uruguay,used to be the only americans living in Uruguay were embassy employees and diplomats,but now there are a few thousand regular folk living there and they even have some community associations and events, get togethers and ,celebrations, and seem to be a nice tight knit and helpful community.Which must be really helpful for people looking to relocate there for whatever reason.There are American schools available for the children of expatriates if they so chose,from pre-K to high school, although they can be enrolled in the public school system which is universally available and free for everyone all the way to finish a career since the university is also free and available to anyone residing in the country.

Panama City .

Which countries offer you the best posibilities of adaptation.

If you are thinking about relocating to South or Central America you must consider first of all which countries offer the easiest posibility of adaptation and feeling at home.Where the culture shock will be such that you feel you can come to love this place, feel welcome and be integral part of the community and not feel awkward or foreigner.So going from north to South let's start with Central America: of all the countries in Central America there are two that would make a great destination for americans to establish themselves there,in first place Costa Rica, which is a country very much en vogue as a tourism destination right now ,mainly because of it's nature, and beautiful environmental reserves make it the eco-tourism capital of the world.But there are other reasons to target Costa Rica as a possible destination to immigrate to , first of al it's a country with great political and social stability, has been for many decades,and really throughout it's history,the country doesn't even have an army,and to say the truth ,they don't need it.The other country is Panama which because of the canal has a numerous english speaking population , and a very modern and thriving capital city, it also seeks to attract American expatriates having governmental programs to that effect.Another advantage is that it is relatively close to the US and the travel back and forth if you want to visit family or vice versa is fast and not as expensive as other destinations.Something that both Costa Rica and Panama have in common is that you are in countries where the rule of law is prevalent as it is in the US,unlike unfortunately some of their neighbors that having been ravaged by extreme poverty, social unrest and lawlessness due to unstable governments and regimes and revolutions have more corruption and less desirable social and living conditions.

Buenos Aires ,Argentina

Rio de Janeiro

South America

If you are looking at South America as your possible destination for relocating,than the best options would be Brazil ,Argentina,Chile ,and Uruguay,not because the remaining countries aren't beautiful countries and have great tourist destination to know and visit but relocating means your greatest priority is security,safety,political and social stability,you may notice that I emphasize these issues quite a bit ,and the reason being is that usually the information that people in the US have about the countries south of the border is about events that make the news and these tend to be of a negative nature,and these events do happen , but even though they happen in many different locations the common impression is that from the Rio Grande all the way down to Tierra del Fuego it's one big hispanic country which do not differ much from one country to another and that couldn't be farther from the truth, there are places in South and Central America where you , your family and your assets or belongings are just as safe and secure as they would be in any place in the US , both from the local population as well as the governments.The four countries in South america offer very similar conditions as far as how viable these countries are as possible destinations for relocating to South America.What I am trying to do here is narrow down for you the countries you should focus your research which you should do extensively , and of the four I only feel qualified to give specifics on Uruguay,which is the country where I was born and lived for half my life.In Brazil I would suggest Sao Paulo or Porto Alegre as preferred destinations , in Argentina, Buenos Aires,.

A livable sculpture, Paez Vilaro's  Casapueblo is a hotel, museum and his home.In Punta del Este Uruguay.
A livable sculpture, Paez Vilaro's Casapueblo is a hotel, museum and his home.In Punta del Este Uruguay. | Source

Specifics on Uruguay

Relocating in Uruguay has the advantage that you're close enough to Buenos Aires so that you can take either a 55 minute flight or take the ferry boat or "ALISCAFOS" and be there in a couple of hours enjoy a day or two in the megalopolis and be back home to a more tranquil place. Montevideo should be the place to choose as your home in Uruguay .,and within Montevideo you should look at Pocitos as the neighborhood you will want to establish your home in.For many reasons, It's close to everything, it's right by the beach and the Rambla(Uruguayan version of the boardwalk ,only prettier),it's a middle/upper middle class neighborhood, the Montevideo Shopping center is there which is a fairly large mall.And you can find businesses open until late at night.The price of real estate has been rising steadily for the past few years, a nice two bedroom apartment goes for about 80.000 to 160.000 dollars depending on location luxuries and size and houses are about the same price range for some reason there is not a great difference in price between apartments and houses in Montevideo unless you go to the neighborhood of Carrasco and Punta Gorda where the Uruguayan elite lives.I guess part of the reason is that there are plenty of parks close to every neighborhood for people to enjoy without the hassle of maintenance of your own landscaping and gardening,the Rambla being like a huge park in a way stretching for literally hundreds of miles,as well as Parque de los Aliados, and El Prado. If you would prefer to rent the same two bedroom apartment or house would go for about 450 to 800 dollars per month .And a very important point is that you can purchase comprehensive health insurance which would cover everything healthcare for about 100 dollars per month for one person and about 160 for a couple with a modest copay for doctor visits , medicine and hospitalizations or even major surgery.

As a closing statement

As a closing statement in this hub I would like to say that under no circumstance would I recommend anybody selling properties or assets and relocating anywhere prior to actually living in the place of choice for at least a few months,so once you make that decision you are sure to have made the best possible one.

Have you ever considered relocating to another country?

Have you ever considered relocating to another country?

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    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      6 years ago from Uruguay

      I would eliminate Mexico as a possibility it would take an hour to tell you all the reasons why Ecuador would not be bad at the present time,but the culture,the way of life there,the fact that Ecuador is still a third world country would make it difficult for an American to adapt,although it would be a great place to visit.Panama would be the easiest for an American to relocate because it was for decades an American colony and that can not be erased.But whichever place you choose to relocate,use whatever liquid capital you have ,don't sell anything because I have yet to see an American that is able to expatriate for good . Believe it or not as much as this country has always promoted abroad what we call "neoliberalism" and you call "conservative" ,inside the United States there is more socialism embedded in the system than in most countries in the world.

    • Coolpapa profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Any recent opinions on Ecuador? I am considering Ecuador, Mexico and Panama. Looking for a nuetral to liberal environment with access to cultural stuff like arts,nc rafts etc.

    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      6 years ago from Uruguay

      Even if not to live it's a place where people who visit come back year after year,thanks for reading and commenting

    • wildbluefrontier profile image

      Nathan M 

      6 years ago from Tucson

      An interesting read, especially since I know next to nothing about Uruguay except that it is in South America. Sounds like a large number of ex-pats have found living there suits them.

    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      8 years ago from Uruguay

      Yes , and stability is something that is achieved over time, really throughout a country's history and respect for the individual while taking into account the importance of society as a whole. that is why I feature certain countries over others

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      8 years ago from California

      I don't think most people understand that government stability is what makes a country prosperous. You did a nice job of making that clear.

    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      8 years ago from Uruguay

      read the comment i just made in response to cred2 about ecuador maybe you think it accurate.

    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      8 years ago from Uruguay

      there's nothing wrong with ecuador, and it seems to be stable right now but the reason why i chose the countries I did is because knowing the history of all the countries in south america those are the countries that no matter what the political changes may be ,private property and whatever capital you may invest would never be at risk. these are countries that have had democratic governments, then right wing dictatorships sponsored by the US,and when democracy was reestablished have had right wing, moderate and now mostly socialist governments in the model of the european democracies, but throughout this history never private property, or a capitalist economy has been threatened or even considered to be in jeopardy,unlike for example venezuela where people have to have their money in banks in Panama in order to be secure.Not saying this could happen in ecuador but couldn't guarrantee it couldn't. didn't want to dwell on the negatives of each individual country i didn't choose as best choice.

    • seekingpeace91 profile image


      8 years ago

      Love this! My parents are living right now in El Salvador, which has been a good place for them- the country seems to be moving in the "right" direction, away from it's sketchy reputation. What do you think? We are looking forward to visiting Panama soon to see what it might be like if we were to move to Central America.

      Thanks for the hub!

    • Credence2 profile image


      8 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks for the info, what is wrong with Ecaudor? I have heard that it is the most affordable and politically stable and has been an attraction to US and Canadian ex-pats in the area only exceeded by Panama. What do you think?"

      Thanks for the honorable mention at the start of your article, we are considering making the transition simply as I much rather live a full life in a foreign land then just get by at home.

    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      8 years ago from Uruguay

      thank you! I had no idea in my own country of birth there were so many us citizens living there, this is a small country of little over 3 million peoplke, with half the population living in the capital of the country.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      8 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      This a great hub. I have never thought about immigrating to South America, or Central America. It is interesting that so many people have done it. Thumbs up!

    • mio cid profile imageAUTHOR

      mio cid 

      8 years ago from Uruguay

      thanks for your comment, who would've thought a few years ago people emigrating from north to south.

    • profile image

      Sophia Angelique 

      8 years ago

      Yup. I wrote about it in my book "How to immigrate to another country." It's a really good place to immigrate to. Lots of South Africans are interested in it as well.


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