Where in South America is the best refuge for non-USA expats?

Where in South America is the best refuge for non-USA expats?

Where in South America is the best refuge for non-USA expats?

Brits and Europeans are now catching on to formerly USA expat-centric locations.

For many would-be British expatriates, South America in general and its offshore islands were the private provinces of expats from the USA making them off-limits for all but the bravest Britons. Sources such as International Living and its imitators didn’t seem to realise that pension payments, savings and cash from house sales in the British home country don’t add up to to the average USA retirees’ total financial pot. As many US expat communities demand a ‘spend, spend, sped’ mentality, British expats correctly felt there were more attractive locations for a relaxing retirement in the sun.

Costa Rica is one destination which crops up in expat forums and elsewhere online as a cheap destination, but new arrivals from the UK will soon notice the cost of living is far higher than first expected, forcing them to cut back on many activities they’d looked forward to including in their new lifestyles. Compared with, say, Panama, Costa Rica’s visa requirements are more rigorous and its tax regime more demanding, but heat, humidity and the disquieting presence of military units in Panama are all off-putting to the average expat retirees, no matter which home country they've arrived from.

It has to be said that, in spite of the extra expense of life in Costa Rica, the elements of security, attractive outlying regions, far more comfortable year-round weather and genuinely friendly locals make it a win-win destination for incomers from Western nations. Also, for those in a hurry to move, Costa Rica’s pandemic mortality rate numbers are five times less than those in Panama. Many years ago, other locations in the region might have attracted adventurous expats from first-world countries, but nowadays it’s a very different story.

Taking nearby Nicaragua as an example, it helps to remember that the government and its dictator are still committed to Communism and are backed by the army. It’s tricky to enter due to the attempted 2018 coup, which resulted in the deaths of at least 200 local protestors. Another result of this minor uprising can still be seen at immigration, known for its tardiness as regards approving entry for new arrivals.

Mexico is known as being little short of paradise for expats from the USA, perhaps because it’s just short drive away for many. Its people are genuinely lovely and the country is an economic powerhouse, but its downsides include its long-term popularity with drug cartels and international criminals. Corruption is everywhere, as is pollution in Mexico City and a number of favourite tourism hubs.

Sadly, as many expats have found once they arrived, Mexican-style corruption is widespread in the bio-diverse beauty of Ecuador, accompanied by a lack of organisation in society and business. For those who need to get as far away from the West as is possible, Uruguay has its share of modern amenities, but its downsides include severe security issues as well as extreme weather patterns. All told, for expats looking to escape the pandemic as well as other aspects of their lives in the home country, it seems Costa Rica is as good as it gets!

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