Easygoing cultures, friendly people, warm weather and all-year sunshine, extraordinary and diverse natural beauty from the Caribbean to the Pacific with mountainside villages and historic colonial cities in between…
Plus a cost of living that means your budget can stretch two, three, four, five times further than it does back home…
Especially right now thanks to the supercharged U.S. dollar.
The Greenback is at historic highs versus the Mexican peso, the Colombian peso, the Brazilian real…
It all adds up to some pretty irresistible lifestyle options south of the border.
If you’re just beginning your search for the best place for you to reinvent your life somewhere welcoming, sunny, safe, accessible, and affordable…
Or if you’ve been dreaming about a new life in some beautiful, exotic locale but haven’t been able to drill down to compare and contrast your best options…
How are you to identify where to launch your new home overseas… without wasting anymore of your precious time?
Here’s a quick tour of LIOS’ top picks in the Americas to help you get acquainted… and then get off your bum.
#1. Mexico: Accessible, Affordable, And Familiar… Why Go Farther?
Mexico is a big, extraordinarily diverse country that offers two long coasts, mountains, and colonial cities… not to mention Mayan ruins, jungle, rain forest, rivers, and lakes.
Mexico is the most accessible country in the region from the United States and Canada. Being in North America, this country is home to many American franchises, from McDonald’s and Pet Depot to Walmart and Starbucks. Almost anything you can buy in the States is also available in Mexico.
Those are just two of the many reasons Mexico is the #1 overseas destination for North Americans. More than a million Americans and Canadians already call this country home, creating the biggest established populations of North American expats in the world.
And all these expats are enjoying a low cost of living thanks to today’s exchange rates… while new arrivals are getting some impressive property bargains.
Because of its close relationship and proximity to the United States, Mexico is, perhaps, your best choice if you seek an adventure overseas with all the comforts of home.
Mexico Pros At-A-Glance:
- Mexican residency is the easiest and fastest to obtain in our experience. One of our contributors says he was able to get Mexican residency recently in about 20 minutes, without translations, apostilles, or notarizations… a feat you won’t match anywhere else.
- Health care is high quality, and Mexico is home to the largest hospitals in Latin America. English-speaking doctors who trained in the United States are easy to find, and costs are at least half of what they would be in the States, including for prescriptions.
- English is spoken widely throughout the country thanks to its neighbor to the north.
- Extraordinarily easy access to United States by land, sea, or air. Mexico is the most accessible country in Latin America from the United States and Canada. As Mexico is one of the top 10 most visited countries in the world, access to elsewhere is easy, too, and the Mexico City Airport is the largest in Latin America.
- Because of the close proximity to the States, there are lots of familiar brands and franchises to avail of throughout Mexico, including Walmart, Starbucks, Home Depot, Auto Zone, Sam’s Club, Pet Depot, and more. Almost anything you buy in the States is also available in Mexico.
- Mexico is home to the biggest established population of American expats in the world (at Ajijic and Chapala) and these populations help to make for an easy transition.
- This is a massive country, the geographic and cultural diversity is great.
Mexico Cons At-A-Glance:
- The typical mañana attitude is pervasive throughout Mexican culture. Things don’t happen quickly here.
- The standard of infrastructure varies throughout the country.
- Natural hazards are a part of the landscape. Earthquakes and hurricanes do happen here and can be damaging.
- Public transportation in parts of the country are old and in need of replacement.
#2. Belize: An English-Speaking Caribbean Paradise Less Than Three Hours From The United States
This is a tiny country, about the size of Massachusetts, home to just 350,000 people. The entire country is like a small town. Everyone here speaks English (it’s the country’s official language), but the population is incredibly diverse.
As the only English-speaking country in Central America, Belize has been attracting expats in the know from the U.K., Canada, and the United States for decades.
The big attraction are the white-sand Caribbean beaches and clear, unpolluted waters. Belize also offers the world’s second-longest barrier reef, Mayan ruins, rivers for rafting, and rain forest for exploring… plus easy residency and tax-free living.
This is one of the quirkiest places in the world. Belize City’s roadways are built around a system of roundabouts (thanks to her British colonizers), but shops alongside them sell rice, beans, and tortillas still ground by hand.
Infrastructure is not Belize’s strong suit. The country has but three highways that qualify really as little more than two-way streets. There are no fast-food franchises or big-box shopping. Expats in residence embrace the back-to-basics lifestyle as part of the country’s charm… or they sooner or later learn that Belize isn’t really for them.
The common denominator among everyone finding his (or her) way to Belize’s shores today—from scuba enthusiasts and eco-adventurers to missionaries and billionaire investors—is a desire for a simpler, freer, more private way of life. With everything going on in the world these days, Belize’s appeal is greater than ever.
Belize Pros At-A-Glance:
- This is a 100% English-speaking country.
- The Belize dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar 2:1, meaning the currency is stable and simple for you to convert.
- One of the world’s true tax havens—as a foreign resident, you can pay zero local tax, and you can operate your business here tax free, too.
- Quintessential Caribbean lifestyle: azure water, white sand, and swaying palm trees.
- The cost of living is affordable. A couple could live in some parts of Belize on as little as US$1,215.
- It’s easy for a foreign retiree to make Belize home through the Qualified Retired Persons visa program (that you can apply for at just 45 years of age). Plus, the visa offers lots of discounts and benefits, you can you’re your personal belongings and household goods into the country duty free, for example.
- It’s easy to purchase property in Belize… From beach condos on Ambergris Caye to emerging-market buys in the Cayo district (where you can own in a private riverfront community, for example, for as little as US$20,000).
- Belize offers two structures specifically designed to help keep your assets safe: the Belize Trust and the Belize International Business Corporation (IBC, which is not subject to income, Social Security, capital gains, withholding, or stamp duty; gift, death, estate, dividend, distribution, or inheritance tax, nor is it required to file annual returns)
Belize Cons At-A-Glance:
- Belize has very little infrastructure. There are but three main roads and six traffic lights in the entire country. To some, this is a refreshing return to an off-grid lifestyle… others need their reliable, high-speed Wi-Fi every day.
- Health care anywhere in Belize isn’t up to international standards and is behind the standard of even its neighboring countries. Most expats choose to seek care in Mexico or the United States. If you need a high level of medical care or ongoing treatments and medical attention, Belize is not a good option for you.
- While Belize is a nature-lover’s playground, there isn’t anything here to appeal to a culture vulture. You won’t find much to do here, but there’s a vibrant community nonetheless—people here just know how to entertain themselves. The exception is Ambergris Caye, where you’ll find a number of good restaurants, wine bars, and live bands playing on a regular basis all over the caye, and there is a movie theater (a coup for this little town).
#3. The Dominican Republic: A Super-Affordable, Sand-Fringed Caribbean Island Nation
Welcome to the Caribbean as it once was, priced as it used to be. The Dominican Republic offers you a rich, relaxing, and truly diverse lifestyle (even on a pensioner’s budget). Plus, recent infrastructural developments mean it has never been safer or easier for foreign retirees and investors to stake their claims.
The final landing place in the New World for Christopher Columbus and his crew in 1493, today the Dominican Republic is a white-sand haven that is surrounded by warm turquoise waters and enjoys yearround sunshine. This affordable island paradise boasts not just beaches—both remote and resort—but also virgin jungle and mountain hideaways.
The Dominican Republic is the Caribbean but so much more, a melting pot with an eclectic population and a diverse history informed by Afro-Antillean, European, North American, and Latin cultures. This not-so-little island has a lot to offer and a long history of welcoming foreigners.
The Dominican Republic Pros At-A-Glance:
- Establishing residency easy, and the country embraces—even rewards through incentives—foreign investors.
- The DR is one of the most affordable spots in the whole of the Caribbean, a place where you could embrace a white-sand retirement even if your retirement nest egg is nothing more than a monthly Social Security check.
- Unlike other Caribbean islands, the DR offers residents a sophisticated lifestyle—one that is strongly European. Santo Domingo, the oldest permanent settlement in the New World, boasts some impressive colonial architecture, along with modern shopping options, theaters, museums, and stadiums. It’s the best of island living with the opportunity to take in an opera, go to the game, get in a round of golf, or indulge in some retail therapy.
- Residents can and do work here. Many support themselves on the income they earn locally—whether from brick-and-mortar business, online consulting, or offering their services locally.
- Real estate is a bargain and there are no restrictions posed on foreigners. The average cost per square meter in our favorite town in the DR, Las Terrenas, is about US$2,100
- Taxation in the DR is jurisdictional, meaning this is a tax haven, as you’ll only be taxed on income earned in the country.
The Dominican Republic Cons At-A-Glance:
- Because this is an island, some commodities come at a premium… electricity is expensive, as are any imported goods—which comprises much of what there is to buy (think furniture, electronics, and familiar food brands).
- Infrastructure can be poor on some parts of the island, and even where it is good, it can be unreliable. Most areas have good electrical coverage, but it can be spotty in more rural areas, subject to outages and brownouts.
- Adequate medical facilities can be found in the bigger cities, especially at private hospitals and clinics. Outside the major cities, though, the quality of care varies. Once you leave the capital, even emergency services can range from extremely limited to nonexistent. While basic medical needs can be attended to nearly on the island, for anything major or specialized, you’ll want to seek health care elsewhere.
#4. Nicaragua: Affordable And Home To The Oldest And Most Romantic City In The Americas
Nicaragua’s story has been anything but dull these past 40+ years. Political unrest, civil war, economic disaster… then a renaissance. The Sandinistas were pushed aside, and the free market was given a chance.
During those sunny days, the tourists came, followed by the speculators, the property investors, and the retirees. Speculation turned to frenzy, and beachfront property prices were pushed up and up and up with seemingly no end in sight. Then came 2008. Nicaragua, like many markets worldwide, fell hard in its aftermath.
Now, this country is reemerging to retake her place among the most appealing bargain lifestyle and retirement choices in the world. Not only tourists, but property buyers, retirees, and foreign investors are beginning to find their way back to this country, as well.
This is the time to be looking at Nicaragua again. Prices are bargain basement, both for living and for buying real estate.
Regardless your agenda—be it to live, to retire, to invest, or some combination thereof—Nicaragua is offering a great deal of opportunity that you should be paying attention to right now.
Nicaragua Pros At-A-Glance:
- Nicaragua quietly launched the most affordable retiree residency program in the world, requiring an income of only US$600 a month. It comes with the added benefits of no sales taxes on materials used to build a home (saves an estimated 15%), duty-free import of personal and used household goods, and the ability to purchase a new automobile (locally) duty-free every four years. Plus, you won’t be liable for tax on foreign-earned income.
- The cost of enjoying all this diverse and beautiful country has to offer is about as bargain-basement as it gets. Nicaragua is one of the most affordable places in the world to enjoy a comfortable, full, and rich retirement. A couple could retire here on a budget of as little as US$1,040 per month.
- U.S. dollars are widely accepted throughout the country, acting as an alternate currency to the córdoba.
- The medical care is both inexpensive and excellent. The Hospital Metropolitano Vivian Pellas in Managua, opened in May 2004, is considered the best private hospital in all Central America. It provides first-class fullservice care 24 hours a day.
- This is a land of lakes, beaches, national parks, exotic islands, and charming colonial towns, including the oldest city in the Americas… there is lifestyle here to suit anyone—you just have to choose which one is right for you.
- A report from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) names Nicaragua the safest country in Central America.
- It’s highly accessible from the United States. Getting back home to visit family is easy.
Nicaragua Cons At-A-Glance:
- Secondary roads throughout the country are in poor condition.
- Traffic congestion in cities is bad, as is the accompanying air pollution.
- Litter throughout populated areas is a problem.
- Power outages are not uncommon.
- Construction here is not to North American standards and you should be on the lookout for corners being cut. Hot water, for example, is not a given—even if a tap has two faucets, they may both be plumbed for cold water.
- Service standards can be inconsistent. You may have good service on occasion, but, generally, good and attentive customer service is not common.
#5. Panama: A Retirement And Business Haven With Still-Emerging Pockets Of Opportunity For Real Estate Investment
We’ve been making the case for Panama for over 20 years, and we’re more bullish on the opportunities and upsides on offer in the Hub of the Americas than ever.
Panama could arguably be called the world’s best offshore haven. There is no doubt that Panama has serious pluses for those looking for a country with a cheaper standard of living than the United States and Europe. Panama is blessed with beautiful islands, ample coastline beaches, mountain retreats, and colonial towns.
The people here are friendly, and, outside Panama City, the atmosphere is laid back and easygoing. With a population of only 4 million, the country does not anywhere feel overly crowded.
If you are in the market right now for a place to live, retire, invest, or do business overseas, you’re doing yourself a big disservice if you aren’t looking closely at this little country.
Panama Pros At-A-Glance:
- A U.S.-dollar jurisdiction—that is to say, Panama has been using the U.S. dollar as its currency for about 100 years, meaning stability and simplicity in your financial transactions.
- It’s the best place in the world to base your business and an entrepreneur’s playground.
- One of the world’s true tax havens—as a foreign resident, you can pay zero local tax and you can operate your business here tax free, too.
- The biggest international banking center in the region, where, yes, it is still possible to open an offshore account, even as an American.
- It’s the easiest and most advantaged place in the world to establish residency thanks to the groundbreaking Friendly Nations visa (that can even provide a work permit). The pensionado program offers retirees special benefits and discounts—it’s the current Gold Standard in retiree visas. Retired in this country, you can save as much as 50% on everything from restaurant meals to in-country airfares, from prescription medicines to closing costs on your new beach house.
- The cost of living is affordable. Outside Panama City, it remains downright cheap. A couple could live comfortably in the interior of the country (including in many of the less developed beach towns) on as little as US$1,000 a month, perhaps less.
- Blessed with two long coasts and myriad sand-fringed islands, plus some of the best deep-sea fishing, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving anywhere.
- An established medical tourism destination and home to the Johns Hopkins-affiliated Punta Pacífica Hospital in Panama City.
- The infrastructure is of a high standard. This is a place where things generally work—the internet, cable TV, phone service, etc., are all nearly as reliable as anywhere in the States. The roadways and highway systems are being constantly expanded and improved.
- Home to more than two dozen international schools.
- Offers some of the smartest beach, river, and mountain property buys anywhere on the planet today.
- One of the few Latin markets where it’s possible for you, as a foreigner, to borrow locally to buy real estate.
- One place in the world that’s enjoying continued growth and prosperity and that is positioned for a whole lot more of the same over the coming decade.
Panama Cons At-A-Glance:
- A U.S.-dollar jurisdiction—meaning investments here are not currency-diversified. You also aren’t going to realize any discounts because of a favorable exchange rate (as you can in so many other countries right now).
- The cost of living in Panama City has increased and is now no longer a “cheap” option (but once outside of the city, costs plummet).
- The tropical heat and humidity can be sticky and unappealing to some (of course, Panama also offers cool mountain towns that are temperate and breezy).
- Pollution is a problem here.
- The mañana attitude is pervasive in Latin cultures, including in Panama. Things here don’t happen quickly or efficiently, and you have to be prepared for that.
- While the economy is booming and prosperity is on the rise—especially in the city—there’s no avoiding the fact that Panama is the Third World and there are high levels of poverty throughout the country.
- General education levels in Panama are poor, even according to regional standards.
- Service standards in Panama City are poor—attentive customer service is hard to come by.
- While traffic in the city has improved significantly in the past year or two, it can still be bad in some parts
#6. Colombia: The Best Health Care In Latin America With Diverse Lifestyle Opportunities
For us and Colombia, it was love at first sight. Over the decade-plus since we first laid eyes on this beautiful country, we’ve become only more enchanted.
Shortly after Colombia first came onto our radar, we made a bold prediction… Colombia, specifically Medellín, we reported, would soon take its place on the short list of world’s best places to live.
Back when we first made it, that prognostication created a stir. How could we be recommending that expats and retirees think about taking up residence in the land of Pablo Escobar?
Today we’re no longer alone in referencing Colombia as a world’s best destination. The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Forbes, and others have made similar declarations.
As a result, Colombia as a top-tier choice for anyone considering launching a new life overseas isn’t news. Colombia is enjoying the attention she deserves in this context.
Colombia lies where the Andes converge with the Pacific and the Caribbean, providing a dramatically beautiful country with two coasts and lots of geographic and cultural diversity along with strong regional identities. Colombia is considered the second most biodiverse country in the world after Brazil.
The U.S. dollar’s historic strength against the Colombian peso is creating remarkable bargains. And, more than ever before, Colombia, specifically Medellín, qualifies as one of the best places on Earth today to establish your foothold overseas.
Colombia Pros At-A-Glance:
- According to the World Health Organization, Colombia has one of the world’s best health care systems, and Medellín specifically is home to 8 of the best hospitals in Latin America (and 22 of the top 43 in Latin America). In fact, it surpasses many developed countries, such as the United States, Canada, Switzerland, and Germany. Medellín also boasts some of the continent’s best and most highly skilled doctors. Long known as a destination for cosmetic surgery, Medellín is now established as a destination for complex procedures and advanced technology, including transplant surgery. Medical insurance and out-of-pocket medical expenses are less than one-third the cost of those of the United States. Doctors in Colombia provide their personal cell phone numbers to patients and even make house calls if requested.
- Just about any city in Colombia is affordable. In the modern, culture-rich city of Medellín, you could get away with a budget of US$1,295 monthly, for a couple.
- This country has a strong, stable economy with a rapidly growing middle class.
- Colombia is culture rich—Bogotá has more than 50 museums, 60 art galleries, 30 libraries, 40 theaters, and 150 national monuments. Colombia’s cultural capital, Medellín, is competitive with its better known peers, offering a wide range of entertainment options. With modern movie theaters, shopping, orchestra, theater, and countless events and shows (including an annual symphony season), vibrant nightlife, impressive galleries, museums, venues for theater and music, plus soccer stadiums.
- Colombians support an upbeat gay social scene. Medellín, especially, is very LGBT-friendly; Parque Lleras in Medellín is famous for hosting one of the most entertaining and energetic gay scenes in South America.
- Purchasing real estate is affordable and property sees steady appreciation. We’ve been recommending Colombia, specifically Medellín, for investment for nine years. The Medellín market has seen good appreciation over the last nine-plus years (as much as 10% per year). Expect this to continue.
- Developed, reliable infrastructure—good, fast internet, minimal power shortages, pure drinking water, and large cities with good domestic access. In certain cities, Medellín, for example, the public transportation system is highly developed (with metro and Metrocable, a funicular service that runs up and down mountains; bus routes are extensive, and vehicles run on natural gas; taxis here are metered and easy to hail), so you can get by without a car. Roads in and around the city are good, and most of the city is built on a grid system, making it relatively easy to navigate.
- Colombia offers excellent, easy, and quick foreign residency options, including one for pensioners (with an income requirement under US$1000 a month) and another for investors. Colombia also offers residency with the least amount of red tape. Expats report that it’s possible to apply and get the permanent residency visa issued in just one hour. You qualify instantly for permanent residency as a property owner, shaving five years off the time required for permanent residency and citizenship.
- It’s not too far. Medellín, for example, is only a three-hour flight from Miami and just over five hours to New York.
Colombia Cons At-A-Glance:
- You might get by with just a smattering of Spanish, but those who want to experience true Paisa culture need more. English-speakers can usually be found at restaurants and hotels, but for day-to-day life, you really need Spanish here.
- Rainy season is from both September to December and March to May.
- While it is growing each year, the expat community in Colombia is relatively small, overall.
- Air pollution is a real problem in Medellín, though the city has implemented several initiatives to combat the problem.
- Living here, your tax burden could increase, depending on your nationality, where you hold legal residency, and where your income comes from. The country even imposes a wealth tax after five years of residency. (Note, though, that moving to Colombia with only retirement income should be a tax-neutral event. Colombia, like most countries, doesn’t tax foreign retirement income.)
#7. Ecuador: Vibrant Culture, Established Expat Communities, And Cheap Living Surrounded By Beautiful Nature
Ecuador is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries on the planet, boasting the Amazon Rain Forest, the Galapagos Islands, hundreds of miles of coastline, and the bucolic Andean central valleys. Thanks to this geographic diversity, Ecuador enjoys environmental “megadiversity,” meaning it’s home to an inordinate percentage of the planet’s plant and wildlife species.
For those looking to retire abroad, Ecuador is not only aesthetically appealing but also a logically sound decision. If you want to talk about an affordable retirement lifestyle, you want to talk about Ecuador. Life may be simpler here than, say, the fast pace of the United States, but that does not mean you must give up certain comforts and amenities of home—quite the contrary.
Welcome to a place where your retirement will not be spent penny-pinching. Instead, you can enjoy a maid and gardener at your beautiful (and modestly priced) new home for as little as US$18 per day.
In recent years, Ecuador has topped the list of top retirement overseas havens. The benefits of relocating to Ecuador include beautiful nature, a pleasant climate, cheap cost of living, high-quality infrastructure, a thriving expat community, and friendly locals. Ecuador is easy for North Americans and Canadians to retire to because of its straightforward and cheap residency process and the fact Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar as its national currency.
Ecuador Pros At-A-Glance:
- Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar, meaning you never have to worry about changing your money at the border or figuring out exchange rates when shopping.
- This country offers one of the world’s best retiree visa programs, the 9-1 pensionado. With it comes a bevy of discounts and benefits, including ability to ship in used goods duty free, a discount on vehicle import tax, a special discount on property tax, vehicle tax, and judicial fees, plus refunds on sales tax. Plus, once you qualify, you never have to requalify or re-substantiate your income.
- Low cost of living. Whether you spend US$750 per couple per month in the country or US$1,250 in Cuenca’s historic center, it’s hard to find a place that offers you so much lifestyle for the money.
- The colonial charm makes it a cultural gem.
- Established expat communities help to make the move turnkey. You’ve got a built-in support system that has paved the way for you in advance.
- As a tax haven, you won’t be taxed heavily here as a resident—you won’t be liable for income tax, capital gains tax, estate tax, or foreign-earned income tax.
- Ecuador offers a great package of senior benefits, including 50% off all public transportation; 50% off national and international airfare; 50% off all cultural, sports, artistic, and recreational events; and 50% off electricity, water, and telephone service.
- Excellent, affordable medical care. Many come to Ecuador just to take advantage of their excellent physicians and facilities at unheard-of costs.
- Due to the high altitude of this mountainous country, the springlike climate is generally thought of as being ideal… Ecuador’s perennial springlike climate in the mountains means no heating or air conditioning is required here. There’s little fluctuation throughout the year, and temperatures would rarely rise above 75°F. Humidity is a comfortable 75% or less in most places (year-round), annual rainfall is low (at about 32 inches per year), snow is rare and light when it does occur (in Cuenca, for example). Of course, things heat up at sea-level around the coast.
Ecuador Cons At-A-Glance:
- Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar, meaning investments here are not currency-diversified. You also aren’t going to realize any discounts because of a favorable exchange rate (as you can in so many other countries right now).
- The high altitude is hard to adjust to and may be unsuitable for people with certain health conditions.
- The infrastructure is of developing-world standard—that is to say, it can be poor.
- The lack of regulation throughout Ecuador can be frustrating and make getting things done very difficult.
- There is an element of dishonesty in the culture. It’s not uncommon to be scammed in small ways in daily interactions… some of this is the typical “gringo pricing” you should expect anywhere in Latin America, but some is a little more malicious. Always be sure to count your change at the register, getting short-changed is a frequent occurrence. Costs are often stated as all-inclusive when you’re really paying extra for the extras. Being suddenly charged for something that you didn’t expect to pay for is common.
#8. Argentina: Live The Good Life Amidst The Vines With A Low Cost Of Living And Excellent Health Care
Argentina is a captivating country that is both Latin American and European in culture and lifestyle, where the new and the old worlds blend harmoniously.
A destination that has welcomed immigrants and expats since the mid-1800s, much of the population in Argentina claims Italian or Spanish heritage or both. The connections are clear when you walk the streets of Buenos Aires. Everywhere are pasta and pizza shops, and Spanish is spoken with a noticeable Italian inflection.
However, to know Argentina’s economy is to know one of the world’s biggest dramas. The country is up and then it is down, with flashes of stability bridging the time between the last rise and next big tumble. In Late 2001, the Argentines removed the peg between their peso and the U.S. dollar, and the crisis situation opened a window of opportunity during which savvy investors, led by our editors, bought primo Buenos Aires apartments for a fraction of the former value…
In terms of lifestyle options, Argentina includes a world-class city, Buenos Aires, of 14 million people. In the interior, expats enjoy life among the vines in the Mendoza region, colonial Cordoba and the surrounding mountains, Salta, and other provinces.
Argentina Pros At-A-Glance:
- Four distinct seasons in Buenos Aires (without snow in winter, with sweltering heat every now and again in summer), plus skiing in the mountains in winter and lovely beaches in summer.
- European lifestyle, especially in Buenos Aires, premier international city with vibrant arts and all-night nightlife. Enjoy amenities such as steak houses, empanadas, cheap-but-high-quality red wine and local bubbly.
- Argentina’s periodic upheavals offer crisis investing opportunities, ensuring that deals pop up from time to time.
- High-quality health care (plus access to the free public health care system).
- International schooling options in German, English, French, and more.
- Easy entry rules. Stay three months without a visa, then pop over to Uruguay and get another three months upon return. Or apply for a resident visa, which is also easy to obtain.
Argentina Cons At-A-Glance:
- Historically unstable political and economic systems.
- Argentina is Latin America’s most expensive country, so the high cost of living can be prohibitive for those on a budget. (The study that made the claim was published in early 2016, and prices have continued up since then.)
- Buenos Aires suffers from high crime and corruption rates, with both street crime (pickpockets, mustard squirters, phone snatchers) and serious crime (crooked police, drug gangs). Even current President Mauricio Macri was kidnapped for ransom many years ago, by what turned out to be Federal police officers.
- Routine tasks here quickly become complicated, requiring tiring amounts of time and effort. ATMs run out of money, security alarms go off, locks break, protesters block roads, overseas banks deny credit card charges, fare cards fail, ticket machines fail… (Show up at the famous Colon Theatre, ticket in hand for a scheduled ballet or symphony, and find the theater dark, the entrance locked. You and others stand around wondering what happened.)
- Foreigners must normally be residents to open bank accounts.
- Foreigners are subject to some limitations real estate; they must obtain approval from the tax authorities to sell real estate and are banned from buying large tracts of land in the interior.
Editor, Live and Invest Overseas: Confidential