2020 South American Expat Thread

Brother Abdul Majeed

Kingfisher
Gold Member
I see hurricane Lota is putting a hurting on parts of Central America. Here in Cartagena there are a lot of parts of the city under water.... but honestly that seems pretty normal to me. I hope everyone in the path of this storm is safe!

(Not a huge fan of this fellow's videos normally but he has a lot of coverage of the damage the storm has done in parts of Panama)
I just had to drive on that road the other day. I bought a used car in Panama City (lots of people are selling these days) and I had to drive it back to Bocas del Toro. There's only one road to Bocas, it's through the mountains from the PanAmerican highway to the port town of Almirante on the Atlantic side. The road was in terrible shape, but there are make-shift bridges and cut-backs where the worst of the mudslides took place, so it's passable for pickups and smaller trucks. For about a two hour stretch there is no asphalt on the road, only loose gravel, which is pretty scary that high up in the mountains because the traction isn't great. I saw several pickup trucks on their sides, it was very slippery and I had white knuckles for a good part of the drive. The government estimates that it will take about a full year to repair the road again. The island ran out of supplies for a few days after the initial mudslides when the road was completely closed and no fuel and food could get through. Now things are mostly back to normal. We need diesel to run the power generators on the island for the electricity grid (as well as our vehicles), so that now gets sent on a barge from Colon, on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal instead of coming over the mountains from David.

The drive did take a lot longer than anticipated, so I missed the ferry (it's once a day, leaving at 7 am), and had to load the car up the next day.
That's not a problem for me really, there's a place in Almirante where you can park your car for $3.00 a day, and it's all fenced in. The town itself is a bit primitive, but there are water taxis back to the island every half hour or so, up until 6 pm when it gets too dark.

The journey through the mountains itself is always pleasant enough in daylight hours, sometimes the clouds will move in when you're way up at the peak of the drive, in a place the locals call "The Devil's Chainsaw". It actually gets pretty chilly up there. There are a lot of little places to stop along the way and buy fresh food, fruits and vegetables from the Indians who live up therecloudydayin mountains.jpgbadroad.jpg
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
I ate at a Mexican restaurant the other day and I've been thinking about visiting Mexico since. I've never really considered Mexico because I assumed that many people would have a thorn in their side against Americans. Can anyone who's spent a bit of time in CDMX, Monterrey, Guadalajara (or any non gringo resort) weigh in on that? Travel restrictions are non existent and even with a socialist president seems somewhat resilient to globohomo. Also supposedly has a big practicing Catholic population rather than nominal Catholics found in most of South America.

I just had to drive on that road the other day. I bought a used car in Panama City (lots of people are selling these days) and I had to drive it back to Bocas del Toro. There's only one road to Bocas, it's through the mountains from the PanAmerican highway to the port town of Almirante on the Atlantic side. The road was in terrible shape, but there are make-shift bridges and cut-backs where the worst of the mudslides took place, so it's passable for pickups and smaller trucks. For about a two hour stretch there is no asphalt on the road, only loose gravel, which is pretty scary that high up in the mountains because the traction isn't great. I saw several pickup trucks on their sides, it was very slippery and I had white knuckles for a good part of the drive. The government estimates that it will take about a full year to repair the road again. The island ran out of supplies for a few days after the initial mudslides when the road was completely closed and no fuel and food could get through. Now things are mostly back to normal. We need diesel to run the power generators on the island for the electricity grid (as well as our vehicles), so that now gets sent on a barge from Colon, on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal instead of coming over the mountains from David.

The drive did take a lot longer than anticipated, so I missed the ferry (it's once a day, leaving at 7 am), and had to load the car up the next day.
That's not a problem for me really, there's a place in Almirante where you can park your car for $3.00 a day, and it's all fenced in. The town itself is a bit primitive, but there are water taxis back to the island every half hour or so, up until 6 pm when it gets too dark.

The journey through the mountains itself is always pleasant enough in daylight hours, sometimes the clouds will move in when you're way up at the peak of the drive, in a place the locals call "The Devil's Chainsaw". It actually gets pretty chilly up there. There are a lot of little places to stop along the way and buy fresh food, fruits and vegetables from the Indians who live up thereView attachment 28051View attachment 28053

Nice pictures. I rode my bike on roads like that in Colombia, dirt and gravel with a beautiful, distracting view and steep drop over the edge. You couldn't pay me to drive on roads like that in a truck. If one other truck came flying around the corner and went a bit wide (happens all too often) he could force you to the edge of the cliff.
 

LoveBug

Kingfisher
I spent some time in Chiapas (Tapachula) and it’s environs last year and most everyone seemed respectful.

I did get the occasional “Te gusta Trump?” “Guero”, but never spitefully. Playfully when your hanging out on the streets

I think Americans are still respected as they are in a lot of the developing world. I’m looking forward to getting back after this Rona frenzy
 
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Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
I spent some time in Chiapas (Tapachula) and it’s environs last year and most everyone seemed respectful.

I did get the occasional “Te gusta Trump?” “Guero”, but never spitefully. Playfully when your hanging out on the streets

I think Americans are still respected as they are in a lot of the developing world. I’m looking forward to getting back after this Rona frenzy

Sounds about the same as most of Latin America. As long as youre respectful they'll show you respect. Thanks for the input
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I ate at a Mexican restaurant the other day and I've been thinking about visiting Mexico since. I've never really considered Mexico because I assumed that many people would have a thorn in their side against Americans. Can anyone who's spent a bit of time in CDMX, Monterrey, Guadalajara (or any non gringo resort) weigh in on that? Travel restrictions are non existent and even with a socialist president seems somewhat resilient to globohomo. Also supposedly has a big practicing Catholic population rather than nominal Catholics found in most of South America.



Nice pictures. I rode my bike on roads like that in Colombia, dirt and gravel with a beautiful, distracting view and steep drop over the edge. You couldn't pay me to drive on roads like that in a truck. If one other truck came flying around the corner and went a bit wide (happens all too often) he could force you to the edge of the cliff.

I've never spent time in Mexico, but I'll jump in. @scotian spent some time in Mexico.

One thing he impressed upon me as I'm in Canada, is that it's a shorter flight, and the travel restrictions for going back and forth are alot lighter, specifically for if you meet a girl or she has family. The same applies to working as we still have the New NAFTA.

I'd wonder how this would playout in a Covid world. You could start a little business down there, or get some sort of job, and make it an excuse to travel.
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
I've never spent time in Mexico, but I'll jump in. @scotian spent some time in Mexico.

One thing he impressed upon me as I'm in Canada, is that it's a shorter flight, and the travel restrictions for going back and forth are alot lighter, specifically for if you meet a girl or she has family. The same applies to working as we still have the New NAFTA.

I'd wonder how this would playout in a Covid world. You could start a little business down there, or get some sort of job, and make it an excuse to travel.
From my understanding, the restrictions are really in practice just followed by US/Canada taking in Mexican travelers. Mexico needs the tourism so they just let everyone in no test, no reason needed etc. Even though technically there are restrictions, I've seen multiple people say online that it's not followed. I am reading though that they're pretty anal about covid outside of the resorts, mexico city is on Semáforo rojo and there isn't even dine-in eating. Could be different in the smaller cities though, which is probably where I'd go anyways
 

Dilated

Woodpecker
From my understanding, the restrictions are really in practice just followed by US/Canada taking in Mexican travelers. Mexico needs the tourism so they just let everyone in no test, no reason needed etc. Even though technically there are restrictions, I've seen multiple people say online that it's not followed. I am reading though that they're pretty anal about covid outside of the resorts, mexico city is on Semáforo rojo and there isn't even dine-in eating. Could be different in the smaller cities though, which is probably where I'd go anyways

Reminds me of the Amazonia in Ecuador- nobody was bothered about masks at the resorts last summer. Business as usual. But, in Quito there’s a crazy mayor who insists on Covid protocols that are more severe than the national protocols.

Need to get out of the cities.
 
From my understanding, the restrictions are really in practice just followed by US/Canada taking in Mexican travelers. Mexico needs the tourism so they just let everyone in no test, no reason needed etc. Even though technically there are restrictions, I've seen multiple people say online that it's not followed. I am reading though that they're pretty anal about covid outside of the resorts, mexico city is on Semáforo rojo and there isn't even dine-in eating. Could be different in the smaller cities though, which is probably where I'd go anyways
I read that travelers going to the United States are going to require a negative covid test. I don't know if that applies to US citizens returning to the country (I assume it does), but that would really make short trips inconvenient. Having to worry about finding a test, paying for it, getting the results before your flight back, etc.
 

Dilated

Woodpecker
I read that travelers going to the United States are going to require a negative covid test. I don't know if that applies to US citizens returning to the country (I assume it does), but that would really make short trips inconvenient. Having to worry about finding a test, paying for it, getting the results before your flight back, etc.

And the test has to be done (with results returned) within 3 days of flying. Can be difficult depending on your location. They really need to make it 5 or 7 days.

I’m currently outside of the country and thinking about coming back before this rule is in effect. I’m worried airlines may start canceling flights.
 

bucky

Ostrich
And the test has to be done (with results returned) within 3 days of flying. Can be difficult depending on your location. They really need to make it 5 or 7 days.

I’m currently outside of the country and thinking about coming back before this rule is in effect. I’m worried airlines may start canceling flights.
If anybody finds any specific info about this, please post here. My wife wants to go back to Central America to visit this year. I don't think it's such a good idea for multiple reasons, but this could be the final nail in the coffin.
 

Cr33pin

Peacock
Gold Member
With the current shift in power in Murica I feel like this thread is more relevant than ever. I don't want to turn this into a thread discussing the ill's of the West as there are many threads along those lines on the forum already. However it just seems to make the prospect of expating to South America that much more appealing.

And cause I can't resist... My friend who lives in Michigan (grinding out a sales job to stack money to move overseas next year) sent me this:
"My buddy here told me that his son's 2nd grade class has "discussions on racial justice and diversity" led by their female POC instructor who teaches them whites are the problem. They're 7 yrs old, Soviet style brainwashing"

There is no one in power to check these things now... such as the "racial sensitivity" training that was taking place in schools, government, and workplaces that made participants write letters apologizing for their whiteness. It is going to get ramped up to eleven under this radical administration. In my humblest opinion "it's time to shit or get off the pot"

giphy.gif
 

Dilated

Woodpecker
I showed my girlfriend in Ecuador the picture of the new tranny Secretary of Health and her horrified expression tells me all hope may not be lost. South America, gentlemen.

I’ve got a 2 year temp visa and can make it permanent in 2022. Currently bouncing back and forth between Ecuador and USA. Logistics looks to be a looming issue as Grandpa Biden appears to be poised to lock down USA. Heading to my house in USA Saturday to get a feel for the situation.
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
With the current shift in power in Murica I feel like this thread is more relevant than ever. I don't want to turn this into a thread discussing the ill's of the West as there are many threads along those lines on the forum already. However it just seems to make the prospect of expating to South America that much more appealing.

And cause I can't resist... My friend who lives in Michigan (grinding out a sales job to stack money to move overseas next year) sent me this:
"My buddy here told me that his son's 2nd grade class has "discussions on racial justice and diversity" led by their female POC instructor who teaches them whites are the problem. They're 7 yrs old, Soviet style brainwashing"

There is no one in power to check these things now... such as the "racial sensitivity" training that was taking place in schools, government, and workplaces that made participants write letters apologizing for their whiteness. It is going to get ramped up to eleven under this radical administration. In my humblest opinion "it's time to shit or get off the pot"

giphy.gif

There's something to be said about "standing your ground" and that you can't always keep running away as globohomo pillages the world. But what is there to do? In my opinion aside from a total act of God, the only way out of this is if conditions deteriorate so rapidly that people wake up. But until then, what's the point of hanging around the US patiently hoping for everyone to realize what is being pushed on society.

While it's not like SA is completely immune to this, I would say these countries are healthier than the USA. I mean, even though "Racism" is a big conversation in Brazil now, people don't take it into account in everyday encounters. Like poor blacks or rich whites will just start making conversation with you in the same friendly way, without really thinking twice. Obviously there's many problems in Latin America, but something feels terribly wrong with the US now. The only way I've been able to describe it is that South America and South Americans are more human. I feel like I'm an outsider in the place I was born, and more at home where Im still a gringo.

A good example of this is with the corona. People in Brazil are ignoring the lockdown measures. The barber shop garage door was half closed so I knocked and they let me in. Lady working at the bank wasn't wearing a mask and poked fun at me for coming in with a mask (I try to be a polite gringo lol). Even though the city I'm in is supposed to be on serious lockdown, people are done with the bs. Very refreshing compared to how things are going up north
 
Guys looking for some advice here on Mexico. Once I've completed my training I'll be doing diesel mechanics and after a few years in it (to save the requisite capital) I want to head down to Mexico (ideally a fairly quiet, small to mid sized town) and setup an auto business of some sort (thinking along the lines of a Les Schwabs or Jiffy Lube).

With that goal in mind here are the things that concern me. One how business friendly are they, two how hard is it to get hard workers that don't show up drunk and/or high, three what kind of setup costs will I be dealing with and four I know Mexico is corrupt but how corrupt are we walking about?
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Guys looking for some advice here on Mexico. Once I've completed my training I'll be doing diesel mechanics and after a few years in it (to save the requisite capital) I want to head down to Mexico (ideally a fairly quiet, small to mid sized town) and setup an auto business of some sort (thinking along the lines of a Les Schwabs or Jiffy Lube).

With that goal in mind here are the things that concern me. One how business friendly are they, two how hard is it to get hard workers that don't show up drunk and/or high, three what kind of setup costs will I be dealing with and four I know Mexico is corrupt but how corrupt are we walking about?

One step at a time. Finish your training, travel a bit to Mexico here and there, and then think about starting a business. But being a mechanic in Mexico is choosing a poverty route. You'd probably be looking at $700 per month max. Much less if in a smaller town. Most laborers make a dollar or two an hour. You're better off opening a mechanics shop in the states and finding someone to manage it while you live in Mexico. Or even working as an employee something like 8 months of the year and spending 4 months in Mexico. Even if you had passive income from property or investments padding your monthly income, it still would definitely not be worth your time running a business like that in Latin America. The only country where you could start some sort of blue collar company and take home decent money is Chile.
 
Tell me more about Chile then Cortes. I was thinking that being the business owner was the way to get around low wages in Mexico. As for owning anything in the USA...no, just no. It will only get worse from here on out.
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Tell me more about Chile then Cortes. I was thinking that being the business owner was the way to get around low wages in Mexico. As for owning anything in the USA...no, just no. It will only get worse from here on out.

Well you could probably start some lucrative business in Mexico, but it would probably be in an industry like software, finance, or a high end restaurant.

My time in Chile was limited, but it's well known that salaries are actually very good there for the region, in some cases better salaries than Spain or Italy. I met one guy who wanted to buy my motorcycle who owned a small construction company. He had like 5 guys working for him and he showed me some of his toys which included a jeep, a nice truck, a Harley and he wanted to buy my motorcycle to use for offroading. So clearly he earned enough to live comfortably. He was maybe young thirties. For all I know he came from a rich family, but this lines up with Chiles reputation of a good middle class.

Uruguay might work as well. I knew a guy who owned a motorcycle shop/store/long term parking and was doing very well too.

The problem is that any country in Latin America where it would be lucrative enough to live on a business like this is just as liberal as Western Europe. Generally the shit hole countries are the ones where people can be more traditional
 
Not concerned about liberality as much as I'm concerned about government crackdowns, wealth confiscation, taxes from hell and so forth. Eventually I could get the business to the point where I have multiple lube shops with managers. At that point I can simply live in other locales all the while ensuring my children have the family business as an option.
 

Slam

Woodpecker
Tell me more about Chile then Cortes. I was thinking that being the business owner was the way to get around low wages in Mexico. As for owning anything in the USA...no, just no. It will only get worse from here on out.
Relevant on Chile, they've just had rather significant social unrest and will now re-write their constitution to reflect 'social justice':

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/10/chile-referendum-constitution-recoleta-jadue (note the source and slant of this article)

https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/23/americas/chile-constitutional-referendum-intl/index.html

https://en.mercopress.com/2021/01/1...-year-to-rewrite-a-new-constitution-takes-off


My bros, the thing about going to a new country is that you don't really know the situation until you've spent a good bit of time there, and have really done your due diligence.

Latin American countries tend to go in waves -- bloated marxist nonsense and corruption, followed by collapse, followed by dictatorship and reforms, followed by some tolerable years, followed by folding back into marxist nonsense and corruption.

For many decades now, it has not been a reliable place to make money. Many very talented and experienced entrepreneurs have gone there because of fun sexy times, tried to make money, and totally flopped. If you were a conquistador seizing the continent's gold in the 1500-1600s-- different story.

I personally would not recommend Chile at this point. Some great natural scenery for a trip though.
 
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