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 01-21-2010, 11:12 AM
228 posts, read 437,941 times
Reputation: 462


I am looking at potentially moving to South America with a good friend next January from anywhere between 3 and 6 months. The main reasons for the trip will be to practice and learn spanish in a real life context and to explore living in a completely new environment with a good friend. We have tossed around the idea of moving to Uruguay, more specifically Montevideo, as he has been there before and has a few connections in the area. After doing some research I found out that Montevideo is not nearly as cheap as it used to be due to the U.S. dollar becoming weaker against the Uruguayan peso. Also, it seems as though many people have already "discovered" Montevideo, and as usual when this happens, rents and other expenses go up in price. Another big thing is the price of flights down there. I was thinking that if we explored other options we might find cheaper airfare, but if not it's not too big of an issue as I do not expect great deals on flights when traveling that far away.

Since we are both young and won't have loads of money to toss around, we are trying to find somewhere inexpensive. I understand everyone's ideas of cheap cost of living are relative due to people's lifestyles etc. We are both definitely not looking for some luxurious experience where we live like kings while watching the locals suffer in complete poverty, and are willing to do without many things that some older folks who are used to high standards of living might not be willing to sacrifice.

With that said, what countries, or most specifically, cities and towns would be good places to live for 3-6 months to: rent an apartment or house, get a good cultural experience, not be fearing for our lives on a daily basis, and have a low cost of living? We both want a real, raw adventure where we immerse ourselves in the local culture, not some shielded tourist experience.

One last thing I wanted to add was that I was going to toss around the idea of possibly backpacking around instead of staying in one place, but I was wondering if this might actually be more expensive due to transportation costs and living in hostels (where we wouldn't have a kitchen to do our own cooking and would be forced to eat out) or if there were places that are cheap enough that it wouldn't make a difference. Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 01-21-2010, 12:22 PM
32,071 posts, read 32,974,848 times
Reputation: 14950
I would recommend Ecuador.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-21-2010, 08:39 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,101,231 times
Reputation: 7700
In terms of safety, I'd say Costa Rica, Panama, and Chile, with Chile being the least Americanized of the group.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-21-2010, 09:00 PM
304 posts, read 887,371 times
Reputation: 303
Bolivia is the cheapest country in South America and the city that everyone goes to there for Spanish lessons is Sucre. You should get by fine for $500 to $600 a month.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-21-2010, 10:07 PM
15,065 posts, read 19,698,609 times
Reputation: 12234
Venezuela is interesting,
there's 2 exchange rates, the official rate 2.15Bs/dollar and the black market rate (street rate) about 5Bs/dollar.

What that means is that if you take dollars over there, people in the street could give you 5Bs for every dollar.

If you decide for Venezuela, I don't recommend Caracas,
it's too packed with people and crime is high.
I always like the "Paraguana Peninsula" (Falcon State) that is on the North-West part of the country.
ESTADO FALCON, Península de Paraguaná, Venezuela

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-21-2010, 10:47 PM
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,393 posts, read 21,234,308 times
Reputation: 24216
My first and major consideration is climate. Remember in January, it will be summer months for Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, possibly uncomfortable, particularly on the east coast with more humidity.

I avoid all places which suggest tourists and expatriates. Easy to find in any travel guide. When I look at a prospective city to visit and it says: tourists generally avoid this city, I'll take a beeline for that city. Or country, like El Salvador, or Bolivia. Generally, safer and cheaper.

Costa Rica is not the safe country, it used to be. The blame? It's a no-brainer.

Lots of nice off-the-beaten track medium-sized cities down there which will be cheaper than the touristed cities. Try Salto, in Uruguay. In Argentina: Santiago del Estero, Catamarca, San Rafael, Tucuman, Salta. In Chile: Rancagua, Arica, Iqueque Concepcion. Ecuador: Riobamba, Ambato. Bolivia: Cochabamba, Tarija, Sucre. Peru: Cajamarca. I've spent time in all of these cities.

But if your friend has contacts in Montevideo (great city) my suspicion is that you'll end up there regardless. Just a guess.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-22-2010, 08:04 AM
228 posts, read 437,941 times
Reputation: 462
Thanks for in input. Does anyone know how cheap/expensive Chile is? Also, I have heard Bolivia is not safe, is there any truth to this or are they refering to specific areas?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-22-2010, 07:33 PM
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,393 posts, read 21,234,308 times
Reputation: 24216
I spent two weeks in Bolivia a few years ago. Bought one of those airline passes where you could fly all over the country for a set price: San Juan, Sucre, Cochabamba, Tarija, Potosi, La Paz.

I would stay away from Central La Paz, other than than that, I felt very safe the whole time I was there. The altitude in La Paz is too high anyway, at 12,500 (as well as Lake Titicaca). Too much huffing and puffing!

Chile, IMO, was the most expensive country I visited. Ecuador, Bolivia, the cheaper.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-22-2010, 08:20 PM
Location: GA/AL state line
254 posts, read 1,079,975 times
Reputation: 152
I lived a year in Asunción, Paraguay back in the 80s and I loved it. I was going to my sophomore year of high school and there was lots of drinking and partying around town. I was a teenager so I never worried about safety. I'd be interested in seeing how things have changed there over the past 20 years.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-23-2010, 11:55 AM
Location: Austin
1,477 posts, read 1,423,863 times
Reputation: 435
I spent 6 months in Brazil. Some of the best times of my life.
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.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

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