U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Americas
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 02-28-2019, 03:34 PM
24,192 posts, read 17,574,394 times
Reputation: 9149


Originally Posted by MrPilot View Post
I checked online and costa Rica was the best country in central america as far as safety goes. Chile best in south america.

easy google.

Btw, Santiago de Chile lower crime rate than most american cities.

I'd say Countries (like chile, Canada, the eu) taking on immigrants from third world like Haiti, colombia might end up with an elevated crime rate.

4k amazing drone imagery:


Immigration doesn't lead to crime, nor does the presence of dark skinned people.

Brazil is a disaster because it never moved on from being a sugarcane planation based economy. Only in recent years did Black Brazilians actually get to be admitted to universities. The same for a number of countries whose only purpose was to export sugar or rum back to Europe.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 02-28-2019, 03:35 PM
24,192 posts, read 17,574,394 times
Reputation: 9149
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
Of course. 99.999% of them are not criminals in their home countries. Why would they be criminals here? Indeed, when they come here they want to avoid getting in trouble because they don't want to jeapordize their stable and economically better lives.
@pueblofuerte: youtube is just full of people posting slick videos claiming this and that, which with a little digging turns out to be total lies.
Bingo. That's true to anyone immigrating to any country.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-13-2019, 08:31 AM
6,226 posts, read 6,839,926 times
Reputation: 3099
Originally Posted by reds37win View Post
My wife and I and a couple of friends are considering retirement in Costa Rica. From what I can gather, Costa Rica has better healthcare than the US, has a much cheaper cost of living and is one of the safest areas to live. Again, that is all a matter of perspective, but there are several areas of the country recommended for expat retirees.

I'm hoping to take a trip there soon to explore options and meet with some expats.
I've looked closely at Costa Rica for sometime now. Costs have risen quickly the past few years. Gringo pricing is rampant, prevalent. Recently I've read in some areas costs are competitive with many areas of the US. I'm now looking at the only English speaking nation in Central and South America and that is Belize, Caribbean coastal Belize. So far gringo pricing doesn't seem to be an issue, I think one reason is because the official language is English, its laws, real estate law etc., everything is written in English. They also use the Dollar--Two Belize dollars to One U.S. dollar. They do have a national health care delivery system that even applies to out of towners, however, it is advised that one should acquire health insurance which is a fraction of what it costs in the states for Americans. Belize City has a high crime rate, the coastal areas have the lowest.

I have read of some Americans getting robbed, but what crime stuck out for me was the millionaire American John McAfee, who pioneered anti-virus software for computers. He owned 2 Belizien estates both oceanfront and inland. He hired armed thugs to guard and terrorize his neighbors letting his attack dogs roam free. Paid off the local police and murdered his neighbor, an American, and so far has gotten away with it. He no longer resides in Belize.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-18-2019, 02:52 AM
3,106 posts, read 3,339,013 times
Reputation: 1730
I wouldn't form on decision on English convenience alone, being a deciding factor. Never been to Belize, but definitely put off Belize City by the horrific crime there, an Irish friend, had a very lucky escape there, he also conveyed tales of other foreigners coming into trouble there during his time in the capital. Saying that an Aussie guy I met, worked on the reef there and appear to have had a ball. It was some time back, he has long moved on.

No I travelled to all but three countries in South America, over an extended period, finding none, I would really consider for retirement. For me South East Asia or parts of Europe far, far preferable.

Chile would come the closest if push came to shove, with Uruguay a very close second if not equal place. Argentina, has its pro's but too many con's as well.

I'd herd so much about Ecuador, but sure it has its moments, but to live there in the age, just don't see it. Same with American favourites like Costa Rico and Panama.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-21-2019, 06:35 PM
116 posts, read 41,931 times
Reputation: 49
Costa Rica is last lol Not last but after Brazil and Mexico which are the two most dangerous there is in the world Costa Rica is far from safe. I find it hilarious when American media hypes it up as safe because they benefit greatly from doing so
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-01-2019, 11:48 AM
356 posts, read 108,881 times
Reputation: 790
Originally Posted by Schwartzmann View Post
I've been hearing that, depending on country, American expats who move to Latin America do best in places where other expats live and often in gated communities or semi-fortified dwellings. Home invasions and possibly in-home beatings, murders, or just being tied up have been happening in Mexico (areas outside of San Miguel de Allende and in/near Lake Chapala), Costa Rica, and Panama. I imagine it is the same in Ecuador and Colombia, other "hot spots" for American expats. Foreigners who are most at risk are those who locals judge to have money and who venture out on their own into their country of adoption away from security measures put in place where other foreigners congregate.

If you are American (look and sound different, basically a foreigner) and locals perceive that you are wealthy, are there any places in Latin America where one could live on a small rancho among the locals with minimum security without fear of being robbed or killed?
Yes, I know many people who live out in the country side surrounded by locals, in Costa Rica, perfectly safely, and they don't even have bars on their windows or a security system. Some have dogs. Some have security systems. None of them have bars on their windows nor feel at any more risk of being robbed than their Costa Rican neighbors.

That said, burglary is always a possibility and one needs to take measures against that, such as having a security system, cameras (or at least fake cameras) or etc. If your home is well off the road and not visible from the road, that is an advantage as well. Personally I find dogs to be much over-rated in terms of security. If someone wants to burgle your house when you're not home it's easy enough to shoot the dog, and often the dog does not attack unless it's well trained to attack. Cameras or fake cameras are a much better deterrent in my opinion.

There is very little danger of being robbed in Costa Rica, as in held up at gun point. If you look at how many times it happens and who it happens to you'll see a pattern that it mostly happens to

a) people involved with criminal types; and

b) people who do stupid stuff like let it be known to neighbors that they have $12k in a safe in their house. (this was the last one I read about).

I have traveled extensively in Costa Rica including the capital city, alone, and have never been hassled by anyone. One time I was pickpocketed in broad daylight but that can happen anywhere.

People I know who rent or own homes there - a few I know have been burgled and all were "inside jobs", as I explain below, based on living in a gated community. No one I know who lives out by themselves has been burgled. Seems counter-intuitive but see the explanation below.

Another note: there is no reason to walk around or drive around looking like you're rich. Dress down in these countries, wear comfortable but not fancy clothes, no jewelry, no wads of cash in your pocket. You are not likely to get robbed if you follow these basic common sense practices.

On the other hand if you go around dressed in fancy nice clothes, wearing fancy jewelry, flashing wads of cash, driving a new Toyota or Mercedes... yeah, you might get targeted by a robber. It does happen but it's actually quite rare, especially once you get out from the capital city of San Jose.

But Costa Rica and Panama are not places where there are a lot of people just out to rob you. If you have common sense and don't do stupid stuff like cavort with criminal types or let it be known you have thousands of dollars on your person or in your house, you are not likely to have a problem. At all.

A couple other things I've observed and /or heard from people I know who live in Costa Rica:

1) if you live in a gated gringo community you are often MORE a target of burglary than if you live out in the country by yourself. This is in part because the gated community's guard or landscaper or gardener or a construction worker is likely to make you a target and often a guard or someone else "on the inside" helps someone to accomplish the crime by telling who is not home and when, who has the most valuable stuff to steal etc.

2) In Costa Rica gringos are accepted and welcomed for the most part. Neighbors treat you nice if you treat them nice. If you make friends with the people who are from there, who live around you, and they see that you are a good person, you are much less likely to be burgled not to mention you are much more likely to be helped when you need help with something, and that you will have more friends. If on the other hand you do not try to learn the language a little, and do not make any local friends, you are not going to be liked as much or maybe not at all.

Either way, being robbed or assaulted is very very rare.

Last edited by movingvanmorrison; 04-01-2019 at 12:52 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-01-2019, 12:09 PM
356 posts, read 108,881 times
Reputation: 790
Originally Posted by Enigma777 View Post
There are a lot of retirees heading to Mexico--they aren't worried. A friend just went to a destination wedding in Mexico City. Tech companies are moving there, as well.

We're looking at Portugal/Spain ourselves for personal reasons, but same deal--lower cost of living. I would go to Mexico or Panama if I was interested in living in Central America with expats.
Mexico is the worst now. Didn't used to be that way...
I have a relative who lives in Guadalajara. Her family lives in an area that used to be safe a couple miles from the center of town.
Now they have criminals living on their street who watch from windows to see when they can steal a car or who's not home to rob a house.
Her brother was pulled out of his car and beaten half to death - literally, he was in the hospital for days.
A friend of a friend was kidnapped, raped and murdered - yes in Guadalajara.
She has heard various stories of robbery, kidnap and murder.

She still goes there, but does not go out at night unless necessary and only with others as a group. (not that this is really a lot of help in terms of staying safe; though it's some help I guess).

I used to travel all over MX alone. Puerto Vallarta, MX City (DF), Mazatlan, Ensensada, Guadalajara, Cancun...
Guess what? I won't travel there any more, and I would not even consider living there.

Mexico now has a government run by the drug cartel(s) and there is such a lack of jobs, that many people are desperately poor. Desperate poverty = more crime.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-01-2019, 12:19 PM
356 posts, read 108,881 times
Reputation: 790
Originally Posted by the troubadour View Post
One thing I don't get is Ecuador's apparently regular vote as best country to retire. (for Americans) I didn't find it the worst, but far removed from the best. Begs the question, ' Whose interests are being served, constantly claiming this country as the prime destination for retirees?.

I found Uruguay and Chile (especially Down South, Lake District, but Patagonia, Although remote and chilly fine as well)
Next up would be Argentina, but hard pressed to think of another place, longer term. Like Brazil, but no getting over it is dangerous. Not just Rio either.. was in Salvador for the carnival and great place, but wits really needed.

Peru hardly the place, Panama, way over rated, at least Panama City is. Costa Rico has increasing crime, cost of living and a number of disgruntled ex pats.

No idea about Bolivia, Paraguay or rest of Central America .
One way certain places get "promoted" as a great place for gringo retirees is in magazines or online sites like International Living. Now, International Living provides a service in terms of giving info on many places you might be interested in.

The key is you have to take it with a grain of salt and not believe it all without skepticism, because they often get paid to promote real estate in these places, so it's in THEIR interest to push certain places.

I'm not saying Int Living is "all bad" or that they are the reason the places mentioned above get good reviews. I just know you should take their info with a grain of salt, remain somewhat skeptical of some stuff they say. They're out to sell you on moving abroad. And that's not a bad idea but you do have to know what you're getting into, and sometimes information you get is not as real as it should be.

Last edited by movingvanmorrison; 04-01-2019 at 12:54 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-02-2019, 10:13 AM
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,809 posts, read 9,467,884 times
Reputation: 2950
Originally Posted by movingvanmorrison View Post
Yes, I know many people who live out in the country side surrounded by locals, in Costa Rica, perfectly safely
It's all about money. In South America, if someone is perceived to have money, they are a target. The more money you have, the bigger of a target you will be and people will plan ways to take your money. Last night my wife and I had a laugh about this - on TV they were showing a lottery winner (here in the U.S. photos of lottery winners are posted). In Central/South America no lottery winner's photo will EVER get posted - if that happened it's 100% guaranteed you'd get kidnapped/killed.

have never been hassled by anyone.
This entirely depends on what you look like, how you act, and where you're hanging out. If you go into local bars (normal places) in non-tourist neighborhoods, you are by yourself, you don't have any friends, you don't know any local people, you're talking a lot, drawing attention to yourself, you've got obviously-American clothing, I guarantee you people are looking at you, wondering who you are, and there's always certain individuals in that bar who are going to be wondering how much money you've got.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-02-2019, 10:23 AM
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,809 posts, read 9,467,884 times
Reputation: 2950
Originally Posted by movingvanmorrison View Post
Mexico is the worst now. Didn't used to be that way...
Mexico has always had problems. I knew an American lady (white, Anglo) who had gone down to vacation there in the 1970s and had been raped by Federales. She said they were going to kill her, but she put up enough of a "song and dance" to appease them somehow and they let her be.
Her brother was pulled out of his car and beaten half to death - literally, he was in the hospital for days.
This reminds me: I had a friend in college from Africa who was driving around Albuquerque with a few girls one night (this was in the 1990s) who was pulled out of the car by a few guys (cholos, I assume) and punched and kicked.
I won't travel there any more
Traveling there is fine, but I wouldn't drive around the country.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Americas
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top