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Old 02-11-2013, 05:18 PM
 
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I'll keep this as simple as possible. I'm American, white male, limited spanish knowledge but I plan on learning, practicing, etc.

Where I need: Latin America, preferrably Mexico, Central America or the northern parts of South America (No further south than Peru/Colombia)

What I need:
-visa system that makes it easy and convenient to stay in the country for an extended period. 3-12 months preferrably. Obviously hopping over the border every few months might be necessary, but less of this is better. I'm hoping that a few people with expertise or experience in specific countries can help me out on this one.
-reliable internet. fast somewhat reliable internet either in hotels or apartments that I'd rent
-cheap cost of living. doesn't have to be rock bottom but i'd really like it to be cheap. I don't want the prices to be so close to US prices that I feel I'm still in the USA.


Places I'm already considering: Mexico, Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, etc.

If any can comment on these, specifically the visa part, I'd be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by Ronnie555; 02-11-2013 at 05:30 PM..
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Winnetka, IL & Rolling Hills, CA
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Mexico is probably going to the easiest to adjust to among those you listed. Mexico will provide affordable cost of living, NAFTA privileges, proximity to United States, and the best economic growth in Latin America.

However, despite not wanting to be further south than Peru/Columbia, I highly recommend Chile. Chile is the most well run country in Latin America. Chile would certainly be the most comfortable aside from the distance.
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:40 PM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 12 days ago)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie555 View Post
-visa system that makes it easy and convenient to stay in the country for an extended period. 3-12 months preferrably. Obviously hopping over the border every few months might be necessary, but less of this is better. I'm hoping that a few people with expertise or experience in specific countries can help me out on this one.
Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and possibly Colombia.

Quote:
-reliable internet. fast somewhat reliable internet either in hotels or apartments that I'd rent
Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, and possibly Colombia. Peru is also good at this (mostly in Lima) and I don't know enough about this about the rest, so don't knock them out based on this. lol

Quote:
-cheap cost of living. doesn't have to be rock bottom but i'd really like it to be cheap. I don't want the prices to be so close to US prices that I feel I'm still in the USA.
Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Peru... it really depends on your lifestyle.
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by US-Traveller View Post
Mexico is probably going to the easiest to adjust to among those you listed. Mexico will provide affordable cost of living, NAFTA privileges, proximity to United States, and the best economic growth in Latin America.

However, despite not wanting to be further south than Peru/Columbia, I highly recommend Chile. Chile is the most well run country in Latin America. Chile would certainly be the most comfortable aside from the distance.
Thanks. I'll check out Chile if I'm willing to travel far. I'll start with Mexico though =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio84 View Post
Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and possibly Colombia.


Panama, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, and possibly Colombia. Peru is also good at this (mostly in Lima) and I don't know enough about this about the rest, so don't knock them out based on this. lol


Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Peru... it really depends on your lifestyle.
I see panama mentioned under each category. It was one of the ones I had my eye on. I'll check it out.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
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Having traveled thru Central America, Mexico now seems to be an expensive country to me, one of the more expensive in Latin America. Having traveled thru South America, I now believe it when I read: Chile is the most expensive country in South America.

For cheap, I'd pick Honduras (they're currently having some major political problems which makes it even cheaper as it scares tourists away), Nicaragua or El Salvador, the least visited country in Central America due to its history of crime, again, which scares the tourists away!

I never found any country in Central America to be any more dangerous than another. 5 trips there, no bad incidents to report, felt very safe there only riding the local chicken buses 5-6 years ago.

In northern SA, Ecuador is a cheapy, but so is Bolivia!

What I love about Ecuador and El Salvador, is they both use the American Dollar, no trips to the bank/cambios necessary!

Last edited by tijlover; 02-12-2013 at 08:54 PM.. Reason: Add line
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:15 PM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 12 days ago)
 
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I would stay away from El Salvador and even Honduras. The crime rates there are not fairy tales. Nicaragua is extremely safe but also the most backwards of the Spanish speaking countries in the world. Nicaragua is also dirt cheap.

There appears to be a link between massive migration to the US and the level of crime. In countries like El Salvador, that had huge number of people migrate to the US; the massive deportation of the bad apples has brought that country to its knees as far as crime is concerned. Its almost entirely attributed to the Maras gang, which originated in Los Angeles. A similar situation occurs in Honduras. Crime rates there rival those of a war zone and the sad part is that I'm not even exaggerating.

However, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama never really produced massive migrants to the US and today they are among the safest countries in the isthmus.

A similar thing occurred in Puerto Rico. First massive numbers migrated to the mainland and then some bad apples decided to move back to PR and that island is now a mess, as far as crime is concerned.

Venezuela is also out of control, especially in Caracas.

Colombia is surprisingly safe in the major cities, which are not bad looking either. Many expats sent there by their companies with juicy pay packages, often joke that they are paid extremely high wages to compensate for the "extra risk," when they actually live in cities that are not that dangerous at all, like Bogotá. Plus, most of the crime there is concentrated in the slums, which almost no foreigner goes to and are easy to avoid since the city is segregated (the rich and middle class live in the northern neighborhoods and the poor in the southern neighborhoods; the airport is halfway between the two cities within a city, and this makes not having to go or even see the poor areas a non-issue.) All of this leads me to believe that some expats (like the ones that work in the US Embassy), have an interest in keeping the bad image Colombia has intact, so they can keep getting juicy pay packages from their American and European employers.

Also, Colombian women are stunningly beautiful. That country easily has the highest density of extremely beautiful women in the whole hemisphere.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:01 PM
 
344 posts, read 867,341 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio84 View Post
I would stay away from El Salvador and even Honduras. The crime rates there are not fairy tales. Nicaragua is extremely safe but also the most backwards of the Spanish speaking countries in the world. Nicaragua is also dirt cheap.

There appears to be a link between massive migration to the US and the level of crime. In countries like El Salvador, that had huge number of people migrate to the US; the massive deportation of the bad apples has brought that country to its knees as far as crime is concerned. Its almost entirely attributed to the Maras gang, which originated in Los Angeles. A similar situation occurs in Honduras. Crime rates there rival those of a war zone and the sad part is that I'm not even exaggerating.

However, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama never really produced massive migrants to the US and today they are among the safest countries in the isthmus.

A similar thing occurred in Puerto Rico. First massive numbers migrated to the mainland and then some bad apples decided to move back to PR and that island is now a mess, as far as crime is concerned.

Venezuela is also out of control, especially in Caracas.

Colombia is surprisingly safe in the major cities, which are not bad looking either. Many expats sent there by their companies with juicy pay packages, often joke that they are paid extremely high wages to compensate for the "extra risk," when they actually live in cities that are not that dangerous at all, like Bogotá. Plus, most of the crime there is concentrated in the slums, which almost no foreigner goes to and are easy to avoid since the city is segregated (the rich and middle class live in the northern neighborhoods and the poor in the southern neighborhoods; the airport is halfway between the two cities within a city, and this makes not having to go or even see the poor areas a non-issue.) All of this leads me to believe that some expats (like the ones that work in the US Embassy), have an interest in keeping the bad image Colombia has intact, so they can keep getting juicy pay packages from their American and European employers.

Also, Colombian women are stunningly beautiful. That country easily has the highest density of extremely beautiful women in the whole hemisphere.
What do you mean when you say Nicaragua is the most backward country in latin america? like corrupt politically? not 100% sure I understand. Or are you saying the spanish they speak is different?

I will definitely check Colombia out too! I read that the carribean coast area tends to have less crime, on average. Not sure if that's true, but I plan on checking out that area, as well as some Bogota and Medellin.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:12 PM
 
Location: The North
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Learn some more Spanish before trying Colombia would be my advice. I am currently here on vacation and lack of English is pretty clear here even in Cartagena where there are far more tourists than the other cities. I speak decent Spanish and have helped translate in quite a few instances. Unless you will spend time in airports or high end hotels and restaurants you will struggle here. As for costs there are some very affordable options but they almost certainly will require Spanish skills to search out and function in.

Overall this seems a wonderful place to live as an adventure away from the States but it also doesnt seem a place to begin with. Spend some time in Mexico or Costa Rica to learn Spanish and get more comfortable with Latin cultural differences. Attitudes towards work and family, among other things are very familiar to me and I have spent quite a bit of time in Mexico and have been married to a Mexican for over 10 years.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:02 PM
Status: "Then everything change forever..." (set 12 days ago)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie555 View Post
What do you mean when you say Nicaragua is the most backward country in latin america? like corrupt politically? not 100% sure I understand. Or are you saying the spanish they speak is different?
Backward as in poor, very poor. There's a lot of corruption there too and their government is not in a hurry on capitalizing on the great potential of that country. They are trying to develop their tourism industry and I wish them well, but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie555
I will definitely check Colombia out too! I read that the carribean coast area tends to have less crime, on average. Not sure if that's true, but I plan on checking out that area, as well as some Bogota and Medellin.
Cartagena, Bogota, and Medellin are my three favorite cities there; with Bogota getting an extra. They are very different from each other, from weather (Bogota is constantly cool, Medellin is known as the city of the eternal spring for a reason, and Cartagena is full fledge tropical) to the overall vibe of the people (Bogota is very formal and the people are very educated, if maybe a little cold while Cartagena is more alive, more sensual and exciting; Medellin falls somewhere inbetween.)

Of the three, Medellin probably has the most crime, but again, its mostly limited to the slums. There are many Americans living there.

The women are incredibly beautiful all over the three cities, with Cartagena distinguishing itself due to its greater African influence.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Caribbean
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Good thread. Wish I had more to add but I've only been to Puerto Rico. However, I should be heading to Colombia sometime soon. My hope is to visit Medellin, Bogota & Cartagena but will probably end up spending all my time in Medellin.
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