How to digital nomad in Latin America
July 8, 2017 7:43 AM   Subscribe

I will soon be able to work remotely from anywhere and Latin America looks like an attractive option for me. What do I need to consider?

I am from the UK and living in Europe now, and it makes sense for me to live in Latin America due to timezone issues and the fact I know Spanish.

My half-thought out plans involve renting an AirBnB in Mexico City for perhaps 1 or 2 months to test the waters, then coming home or perhaps moving to a new location.

I already have the work side of things sorted out (for the most part) my main worry is the actual logistics.

What is wrong with this plan? What am I not thinking of?

Some of my concerns:

Will I have problems withdrawing money over there with a European bank card?

Internet won't be a problem, right?

Is Mexico a good idea or are there better options? Quito? Lima?

Will it be easy to meet people? Loneliness is a bit of a concern, though I am quite happy to go off and explore by myself. I was thinking of using things like Meetup, Facebook groups to meet other people in the same situation and hopefully locals too.

I will be doing this on a budget - will be earning a minimum of 1000 euros per month (hopefully more like 1500).

I have discovered the digital nomad subreddit and will be looking into that.

Looking for recommendations, experiences, and things to research. Particularly Latin America specific. Thank you!
posted by iamsuper to Travel & Transportation around Mexico (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Costa Rica is nice. My sister and her husband spent a couple of years living in Tamarindo fairly cheaply. It would be possible to make the Dominican Republic work on that much money, but wouldn't be nearly as pleasant as it could be elsewhere or with a bit more money.
posted by wierdo at 8:24 AM on July 8, 2017

I somehow ended up on this blog post about internet in Bolivia the other day. Probably not Bolivia, except maybe major cities?

Possibly helpful is Wikipedia's Internet by country page.
posted by aniola at 8:53 AM on July 8, 2017

If you're thinking about Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is a great spot full of expats -- so it's an easy place to ease yourself into Latin American life, and plenty of opportunities for meeting other expats, and many AirBnBs/rentals.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:38 AM on July 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mexico City is like smoking more than a pack a day. The San Miguel de Allende, is a great, great suggestion. I have old friends who half relocated there, they spend half their time there. Very picturesque place. I know someone else who touted Mérida in the Yucutan, saying $200 US would keep you in a 2 br with a garage.
posted by Oyéah at 10:46 AM on July 8, 2017

You'll of course want to make sure the visa situation works out wherever you decide to go. In some places, it will be ok to say you're working remotely, in others you'll want to enter on a tourist visa. Which will probably be fine but always carries some risk.

As for how to meet people: in my experience, most cities I've been to have some sort of hostel/guesthouse type place that tends to attract longer-term and/or older guests than your typical party hostel. It might be a good idea to stay in a place like this - of course, then you'll be meeting other foreigners! Alternatively, you could seek out an Airbnb room (as opposed to whole apartment) with hosts that seem friendly and well-connected. Also, if you will be working remotely, then a coworking space seems like a no-brainer way to meet people.
posted by lunasol at 11:42 AM on July 8, 2017

Nomad List has a bunch of cities ranked by statistics, including internet connection quality.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:01 PM on July 8, 2017

I have a friend who has been living this life and blogging on the topic for several years. She's currently stationed in San Miguel (mentioned up thread) and she covers a lot of your questions in her back catalog of posts on
posted by missmobtown at 1:38 PM on July 8, 2017

One of the capital cities would be the last place I would pick. People go there to find jobs, not because they're necessarily awesome places to live. In most latin american countries, they're polluted, high crime, relatively expensive, etc. If you don't need to go there for work, try and research places that are more on the backpacker trail but have reliable internet.
posted by empath at 1:55 PM on July 8, 2017

Don't just look at digital nomad sites-- expand your search to include terms like retire overseas. In my experience retirees make very explicit videos about budget and costs in the various cities they are talking about-- it is a focus for someone on a tight budget or fixed income. There are a ton of videos on youtube to get started. You mentioned Ecuador, and Quito would be my first choice for a cosmopolitan city with everything you would need, but there is also a large expat community in Cuenca, so you might want to check that out.
posted by seasparrow at 3:18 PM on July 8, 2017

One of the capital cities would be the last place I would pick. People go there to find jobs, not because they're necessarily awesome places to live. In most latin american countries, they're polluted, high crime, relatively expensive, etc.

I think this is mostly true of the capital cities in Central America (Managua, Guatemala City, Tegucigalpa in my experience), but Mexico City is one of the greatest cities for culture, food, and just a great city experience. There are crime issues but this is true of a lot of Mexico, and I had a great time and felt very safe. I have not been to South America but have heard great things about living in Quito and Buenos Aires, which are both capital cities.
posted by lunasol at 4:46 PM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Why not bounce around a bit? If you know you want to check out a few cities, give them a month each until you find one you like?

Quito is really, really nice. As is Bogota! Colombia is an amazing country, and given the chance to live there would be amazing.
posted by furnace.heart at 4:54 PM on July 8, 2017

Colombia is gorgeous. Medellin is a great city that is a nice mix of affordable and cosmopolitan. I would definitely explore beyond the usual suspects assuming you speak good Spanish.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:06 AM on July 9, 2017

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