2020 South American Expat Thread

B


Hi there,

Could you please if possible tell which parts of Colombia you lived in? Im considering this country for a permanent move.

I visited it a few times and noticed a big contrast in coastal towns/people and the mainland.

Overall, I didnt like the coast, felt like in Africa, lots of poverty, as a white person you're being approached A LOT, lack of safety.

However, in the lower, "plain" parts of Colombia, it was way nicer.
I left 5-6 years ago. Better if you ask someone else. The country has changed a lot.
 

lonewolf1968

Kingfisher
B


Hi there,

Could you please if possible tell which parts of Colombia you lived in? Im considering this country for a permanent move.

I visited it a few times and noticed a big contrast in coastal towns/people and the mainland.

Overall, I didnt like the coast, felt like in Africa, lots of poverty, as a white person you're being approached A LOT, lack of safety.

However, in the lower, "plain" parts of Colombia, it was way nicer.
I don't recommend a permanent move after the elections in 2022 tbh. The violence, poverty and instability is on the rise.
 

Parmesan

Woodpecker
This has been interesting thread. Something I find quite sad is how the smartphone has seemingly deteriorated the brains of women the world over. It seems the interconnectivity of smartphones and social media means even poor and rural women develop delusions of grandeur and entitlement on par with middle class American Stacies. It’s still surprising to read some of these takes, as the Mexican middle class is small, it’s hard to believe all these women can maintain such entitlement, when outside of the elite enclaves, there can’t be much in terms of upper middle class provider males.
 

Cr33pin

Peacock
Gold Member
I have been in Panama for about a month now. As for my initial impressions its a lovey country with a lot of perks. I am in the mountains up near Costa Rica an aside from the almost daily rain (its rainy season) the weather is amazing. Really even with the daily showers its still amazing, its usually sunny and lovely all morning then there is a afternoon shower then it goes back to lovely. The weather is so comfortable here I see why its a big expat draw for older folks. I can be standing outside in a t-shirt and shorts and it feels perfect then walk inside an put on jeans and a hoodie step back outside and it still feels perfect. It is super safe here... safety doesn't even show up on my list of concerns. It's great they use the dollar, that makes things pretty simple and straight forward for a Murican man such as myself. Food is fine and reasonably priced.... I do live in a expat city so the prices are a tad higher than if I were to live off the beaten path but the prices are still very favorable. THE SINFUL COFFEE HERE IS AMAZING! You can get fresh roasted coffee beans (just dried out the previous week and roasted the night before you buy them) which is a absolute game changer compared to store bought coffee that's been sitting in stores and warehouses for months. The nature is absolutely breathtaking, such a beautiful country. If I had to mention some not so great things I would say buying a car was a bit of a chore, when it came time to actually transfer the car into my name we had to run around this complex colleting stamps and making copies for hours.... I am having a bit of a struggle trying to get some things on my car fixed as well but I think once I find a worthwhile mechanic that problem will be solved. As far as the women... man going from almost two years in Colombia to Panama is crushing haha. A lot of fatties here but some of the girls that keep themselves thin are still pretty attractive but compared to something like Colombia or Brazil its tragic. I just missed out on the easiest to get residency... they do seem to be cracking down a bit on ease of residency. I will stay here my 6 months then drive up to Costa Rica for a month or so then drive back down an do another 6 months here or possibly explore more of Costa Rica or even drive up to Nicaragua. Nothing set in stone so that is the tentative plan.


232990985_260224945661321_7738186490548728187_n.jpg
My view when I wash my dishes..... If I actually washed my dishes by hand and didn't use the dishwasher :)
 

thetruewhitenorth

Robin
Orthodox
After browsing this thread, looks like there's not one person on the forum who moved from North America with a wife and at least one child to Latin America?

I would be very much interested in hearing their story. Being single and cruising the planet is one thing, but making a leap with the family is totally different.
 

Cr33pin

Peacock
Gold Member
After browsing this thread, looks like there's not one person on the forum who moved from North America with a wife and at least one child to Latin America?

I would be very much interested in hearing their story. Being single and cruising the planet is one thing, but making a leap with the family is totally different.

Can't speak from personal experience obviously but I play pickleball (its like human ping pong) with a fair amount of expats who packed up and moved down here with family and young kids in tow and they seem to be fine. Really I think its just a matter of deciding its something you are going to do and doing it.... you will have your own set of trial and tribulations however this is unavoidable in all walks of life no matter where you decide to live. Again I am a single man (holla at me pretty 18 year old virgins reading this) but the thought of having and raising a faimly in the USA is not even on my radar..... What are the benefits? The thought of exposing my nonexistent faimly to clown world keeps me up at night.... Not a personal attack because I understand with jobs, family, and other variables its not so easy to just pack up and go.. also to truly escape the clown world is to undergo quite the transition... But to raise kids around the kids of my friends and faimly back in the states is bordering on child abuse.
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
I have been in Panama for about a month now. As for my initial impressions its a lovey country with a lot of perks. I am in the mountains up near Costa Rica an aside from the almost daily rain (its rainy season) the weather is amazing. Really even with the daily showers its still amazing, its usually sunny and lovely all morning then there is a afternoon shower then it goes back to lovely. The weather is so comfortable here I see why its a big expat draw for older folks. I can be standing outside in a t-shirt and shorts and it feels perfect then walk inside an put on jeans and a hoodie step back outside and it still feels perfect. It is super safe here... safety doesn't even show up on my list of concerns. It's great they use the dollar, that makes things pretty simple and straight forward for a Murican man such as myself. Food is fine and reasonably priced.... I do live in a expat city so the prices are a tad higher than if I were to live off the beaten path but the prices are still very favorable. THE SINFUL COFFEE HERE IS AMAZING! You can get fresh roasted coffee beans (just dried out the previous week and roasted the night before you buy them) which is a absolute game changer compared to store bought coffee that's been sitting in stores and warehouses for months. The nature is absolutely breathtaking, such a beautiful country. If I had to mention some not so great things I would say buying a car was a bit of a chore, when it came time to actually transfer the car into my name we had to run around this complex colleting stamps and making copies for hours.... I am having a bit of a struggle trying to get some things on my car fixed as well but I think once I find a worthwhile mechanic that problem will be solved. As far as the women... man going from almost two years in Colombia to Panama is crushing haha. A lot of fatties here but some of the girls that keep themselves thin are still pretty attractive but compared to something like Colombia or Brazil its tragic. I just missed out on the easiest to get residency... they do seem to be cracking down a bit on ease of residency. I will stay here my 6 months then drive up to Costa Rica for a month or so then drive back down an do another 6 months here or possibly explore more of Costa Rica or even drive up to Nicaragua. Nothing set in stone so that is the tentative plan.


View attachment 32744
My view when I wash my dishes..... If I actually washed my dishes by hand and didn't use the dishwasher :)
Very cool, it's a shame they closed the "friendly nation's" residency program. How do the prices on rent, food and other essentials compare to Colombia? I imagine itll be cheaper outside of Panama City and the expat hubs, but just going off of a cursory look at Panamanian real estate sites it seems rather expensive all over the country. Does it feel like Panama has its own distinct culture? I've heard that it kind of feels like some sort of economic zone rather than a having a unique way of life
 

LoveBug

Kingfisher
Anyone try vlogging?

it looks interesting as a viewer, I don't know what kind of an pain in the azz hauling around a camera/iPhone on a stick would be.

Might seem invasive to have strangers as a part of your journeys as well.

Overall not my style, Im too introverted to attempt
 
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Cr33pin

Peacock
Gold Member
Very cool, it's a shame they closed the "friendly nation's" residency program. How do the prices on rent, food and other essentials compare to Colombia? I imagine itll be cheaper outside of Panama City and the expat hubs, but just going off of a cursory look at Panamanian real estate sites it seems rather expensive all over the country. Does it feel like Panama has its own distinct culture? I've heard that it kind of feels like some sort of economic zone rather than a having a unique way of life
Sorry I missed this post until now.... Rent here in Panama where I am staying is high when compared to Colombia. However on a Panama forum that I am on I am seeing some nice comfortable apartments or houses near beaches in less touristy parts of Panama renting for $400 or more. In my city anything comfortable is going to be $700 or more. Food is reasonable cheaper than the US but more expensive then Colombia... although if you are going to the local spots its not much more expensive than Colombia. As far as culture.... not sure but here in the mountains in my little town I find the people to be extremely friendly, always saying hello when they pass and being super helpful. Another tell tale sign for me is when driving cars pretty much always let you pull out, turn, or walk across the street (I find this to be one of the ultimate tell tale signs of the type of people in a community)

Anyone try vlogging?

it looks interesting as a viewer, I don't know what kind of an pain in the azz hauling around a camera/iPhone on a stick would be.

Might seem invasive to have strangers as a part of your journeys as well.

Overall not my style, Im too introverted to attempt
nope-danny-de-vito.gif


Never... not in a million years would I want to be one of those people talking into my little zombie device all the time. To be fair though I loathe smartphones and social media will all my being. On top of the always filming yourself talking to your little screen you would have to have a presence on social media begging for follows and likes in order to grow your channel. I'd rather kiss Hilary Clintons big toe then get caught up in the world of social media.
 

Cr33pin

Peacock
Gold Member
Well Panama has gone and done it... They are changing their immigration policy, instead of being able to stay 6 months at a time you can only stay 3 months. To my understanding you can leave 30 days an reset the 3 months only once per year. So a total of 6 months in Panama a year unless you have residency which they are making increasingly difficult to get. So when I am out of here at the end of my 6 months ( I assume I am grandfathered into having 6 months here) I am out of here... Perhaps in the future if getting residency seems more obtainable I will look back into it but for now its on to the next one. Geographically speaking it will be Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, and Mexico.

I briefly looked into some of these countries before deciding on Panama being the first to check out. I have herd good and bad about all of them... as all countries in the world have their good and bad. I am a bit bummed out about Panamas new outlook on expats however I am also a bit excited about a road trip across Central America. Although as soon as flu season hits and the "insert variant here" version of covid ramps up because that's what the flu does during flu season... the road tripping and restrictions will probably hinder my travels I imagine.

Now that I am back into researching other countries I found this article posted about Nicaragua that I found interesting and contrary to the usual banter about the country.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is probably the most surprising country to make it onto this list. For years now Nicaragua has been brought down by a poor reputation due to the civil war that occurred there in the 1980s. Unfortunately, many still see Nicaragua in this light. This could not be farther from the truth.

Nicaragua has made much progress since that time and is now a stable democracy. The government has gone through several peaceful changes of power, as in opposing political parties democratically changing who is in power. In addition, Nicaragua is an incredibly safe country, actually holding the distinction of being the second safest country in the Western Hemisphere.

One of the biggest appeals of living in Nicaragua is the affordability. Nicaragua real estate is very affordable. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas, meaning that everything there is very affordable. Grocery prices in Nicaragua, for example, are on average 43% lower than they would be in the United States. Restaurant prices on average are 53% lower. Hired help, such as a maid, cook, gardener or personal driver, are all incredibly affordable, and each of these services can be hired out for a few hundred dollars each per month. This can seriously improve your quality of life. Not having to ever worry about washing dishes, sweeping floors, or doing other household chores is an incredible improvement to one’s life.

Nicaragua is also home to a rich culture. For those who enjoy spending time outdoors, Nicaragua is an excellent choice as it is home to many natural attractions including 19 volcanos, the Bosawás UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and the beautiful Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America, which features the luxuriant Ometepe Island within. For those who enjoy urban fun, Managua and San Juan del Sur both have very active night lives. For those interested in culture and history, León and Granada are two prominent colonial towns, rich in history and full of museums, art galleries and other cultural centers.

 
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kel

Ostrich
Where are you from originally and would you consider going back to that country? If not, is money or law your big limiting factor?
 

LoveBug

Kingfisher
Well Panama has gone and done it... They are changing their immigration policy, instead of being able to stay 6 months at a time you can only stay 3 months. To my understanding you can leave 30 days an reset the 3 months only once per year. So a total of 6 months in Panama a year unless you have residency which they are making increasingly difficult to get. So when I am out of here at the end of my 6 months ( I assume I am grandfathered into having 6 months here) I am out of here... Perhaps in the future if getting residency seems more obtainable I will look back into it but for now its on to the next one. Geographically speaking it will be Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, and Mexico.

I briefly looked into some of these countries before deciding on Panama being the first to check out. I have herd good and bad about all of them... as all countries in the world have their good and bad. I am a bit bummed out about Panamas new outlook on expats however I am also a bit excited about a road trip across Central America. Although as soon as flu season hits and the "insert variant here" version of covid ramps up because that's what the flu does during flu season... the road tripping and restrictions will probably hinder my travels I imagine.

Now that I am back into researching other countries I found this article posted about Nicaragua that I found interesting and contrary to the usual banter about the country.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua is probably the most surprising country to make it onto this list. For years now Nicaragua has been brought down by a poor reputation due to the civil war that occurred there in the 1980s. Unfortunately, many still see Nicaragua in this light. This could not be farther from the truth.

Nicaragua has made much progress since that time and is now a stable democracy. The government has gone through several peaceful changes of power, as in opposing political parties democratically changing who is in power. In addition, Nicaragua is an incredibly safe country, actually holding the distinction of being the second safest country in the Western Hemisphere.

One of the biggest appeals of living in Nicaragua is the affordability. Nicaragua real estate is very affordable. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Americas, meaning that everything there is very affordable. Grocery prices in Nicaragua, for example, are on average 43% lower than they would be in the United States. Restaurant prices on average are 53% lower. Hired help, such as a maid, cook, gardener or personal driver, are all incredibly affordable, and each of these services can be hired out for a few hundred dollars each per month. This can seriously improve your quality of life. Not having to ever worry about washing dishes, sweeping floors, or doing other household chores is an incredible improvement to one’s life.

Nicaragua is also home to a rich culture. For those who enjoy spending time outdoors, Nicaragua is an excellent choice as it is home to many natural attractions including 19 volcanos, the Bosawás UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and the beautiful Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America, which features the luxuriant Ometepe Island within. For those who enjoy urban fun, Managua and San Juan del Sur both have very active night lives. For those interested in culture and history, León and Granada are two prominent colonial towns, rich in history and full of museums, art galleries and other cultural centers.


Yeah, I'm here for Nicaragua. I enjoyed my trip there. One of the cheapest countries in the region, and not too many gringos .
 

Cr33pin

Peacock
Gold Member
Where are you from originally and would you consider going back to that country? If not, is money or law your big limiting factor?
Murica (USA)
I will go back when I am ready to give up... and just try to avoid all the fat, entitled, stupid mouth breathers. Finding my joy in spending way too much money on cars....

Until then I am looking for somewhere else to settle down and live a simple life and try to create a happy healthy faimly.

america-countries-gif-4th-of-july.gif

Yeah, I'm here for Nicaragua. I enjoyed my trip there. One of the cheapest countries in the region, and not too many gringos .

Have you talked about your experiences there in this thread? I don't really want to scour through the 35 pages to see. I would certainly love to hear your take on Nicaragua. Things like cost of living, safety, the food, the people.... Maybe some hidden gems as far as cities or beaches to check out.

1.jpg
 
Finally got around to apply for my passport a few weeks ago I have been wanting to travel since around 2015 when I first found RVF. I am looking at going to Medellin, Colombia around December hopefully if my papers come through. I am very interested in Nicaragua as it looks very affordable and safer than El Salvador and Honduras, it also seems to be low on the radar which is a good thing in my opinion. Has anyone in here looked into southern Chile I know a few members liked Peru and that is for sure on my list to scout. Here is a video from a man known as Jim he is from United States and has spent the last 9 years calling southern Chile home on his homestead.


Any advice tips for first time traveling to SA would be greatly appreciated thank you.
 

Coja Petrus Uscan

Crow
Orthodox Inquirer
Gold Member
After browsing this thread, looks like there's not one person on the forum who moved from North America with a wife and at least one child to Latin America?

I would be very much interested in hearing their story. Being single and cruising the planet is one thing, but making a leap with the family is totally different.

There is at least one in America, and a deep-sleeper from Tasmania.
 

LoveBug

Kingfisher
Murica (USA)
I will go back when I am ready to give up... and just try to avoid all the fat, entitled, stupid mouth breathers. Finding my joy in spending way too much money on cars....

Until then I am looking for somewhere else to settle down and live a simple life and try to create a happy healthy faimly.

america-countries-gif-4th-of-july.gif



Have you talked about your experiences there in this thread? I don't really want to scour through the 35 pages to see. I would certainly love to hear your take on Nicaragua. Things like cost of living, safety, the food, the people.... Maybe some hidden gems as far as cities or beaches to check out.

1.jpg

I think I did, briefly

When I was 36, about 6 years back I went on a 3 weeks cross country voyage to learn Spanish at different Spanish schools. I was nowhere near as intrepid/confident as a traveler as I am currently, so I couldn't describe the natural beauty of the place to the extent I could if I was there now. I used a lot of wifi at the families houses I was staying

One week in Leon, one in Granada, and one in Playa Gigante.

I enjoyed Leon. Didn't see another tourist during my stay (there seemed less up north). A solid, reasonably priced mid sized city, within range of a nice beach Las Penitas I enjoyed. Good local food markets. There seemed to be some important history that took place in the area from the school excursions I remember

Playa Gigante was a small beach enclave that seemed overrun with backpackers, which I heard San Juan is as well (by Nicaraguan standards, wouldnt call it Puerto Vallarta). Seems part of Latin America now where any time there is good sea about you have to possibly dodge the gringos. I heard Hollywood celebrities even visited San Juan

Granada seemed what Antigua is to Guatemala or maybe Cartigena to Colombia? A "magic" city is a bit touristy but great architecture etc.

From what Ive read it consistently has one of the lowest average wages and cost of living in Latin America. The safety concerns seem a lot higher in its neighboring countries El/Salvador/Honduras/Guatemala where the exodus to the US currently seems to stem from. The European admixture is solid, so good female potential.

Anywhere where its cheap, has solid European admixture for wife potential, is within range of the US, and has a decent coast, I'm in. When finding a quality place in Latin America its often a process of exclusion. Which is expensive? Which has high Indian/African admixture that may dampen wife potential? which has high crime? which place is gringo overrun? etc. Nicaragua has some advantages to it
 
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NoMoreTO

Ostrich
Finally got around to apply for my passport a few weeks ago I have been wanting to travel since around 2015 when I first found RVF. I am looking at going to Medellin, Colombia around December hopefully if my papers come through. I am very interested in Nicaragua as it looks very affordable and safer than El Salvador and Honduras, it also seems to be low on the radar which is a good thing in my opinion. Has anyone in here looked into southern Chile I know a few members liked Peru and that is for sure on my list to scout. Here is a video from a man known as Jim he is from United States and has spent the last 9 years calling southern Chile home on his homestead.


Any advice tips for first time traveling to SA would be greatly appreciated thank you.

I once went to Bariloche and El Calafate in Southern Argentina on the andes mountain range that borders Chile. I spent about 3 or 4 days in each. I found the south of Argentina to be very quiet, kind people, great steak, clean air. I imagine it would be a nice place to perhaps have a family if you could somehow find work, or for a writer who just wants to unwind and spend some time outdoors.

I still remember a Christmas festival in the town square of El Calafate, the people seemed so happy, communal, and simple. Not sure if this helps, I've never been to Chile.

Medellin is a great place, how long are you planning to stay?
 
I once went to Bariloche and El Calafate in Southern Argentina on the andes mountain range that borders Chile. I spent about 3 or 4 days in each. I found the south of Argentina to be very quiet, kind people, great steak, clean air. I imagine it would be a nice place to perhaps have a family if you could somehow find work, or for a writer who just wants to unwind and spend some time outdoors.

I still remember a Christmas festival in the town square of El Calafate, the people seemed so happy, communal, and simple. Not sure if this helps, I've never been to Chile.

Medellin is a great place, how long are you planning to stay?
I am planning on visiting Medellin El Poblado for at least a week around December hopefully it will be my first time out of the motherland. I have been looking into Bariloche as it looks like a great area with forest, lakes, and the Patagonia mountains. I had the impression it is very peaceful and quite in that region the southern most parts of SA. How long where you there for and please tell me more is it better to fly into B.A.?
 

Australia Sucks

Kingfisher
Wild Steve I spent 12 weeks in Chile in 2019 and traveled all over the country.
I probably spent around 4 - 6 weeks in total moving around Southern Chile (it was in their summer mind you).
So I cannot comment on what it is like to live there long-term but for what's worth I will throw in my passing observations:

-In general cost of living is not expensive (except in the Patagonia region where prices are higher) but not what I would call cheap either.

-Expect to pay a lot more for everything than a country like Peru or Colombia, etc.

-In general it seemed very safe and basic infrastructure like roads, internet, etc seemed to be okay (except for very isolated locations).

-The water temperature at lakes and beaches is generally always cold (can vary depending on the exact location) due to the Humboldt current.

-From what I was told the winters can get very cold (I was only there in the summer).

-In Patagonia it can get very windy even in the summer.

-Apart from the Mapuches (the largest indigenous tribe) which keep to themselves, I didn't really see much in terms of distinct culture. Chile is a very culturally and architecturally bland country. The cuisine is nothing to get excited about either.

-Chileans in general including in Southern Chile in general seemed aloof, distrustful and not overly friendly. Don't expect to make a lot of friends quickly like you would in Colombia.

-Chilean women are very subpar and I certainly would not be considering them for a serious relationship. They are not especially attractive on average (I wouldn't say they are ugly either but its definitely a noticeable downgrade compared to Colombia). They seem to have a lot of entitlement (I predict they will be as bad as western women in another 10 - 15 years at the current trajectory) and have swallowed the feminist/career poison pill. Also Chilean women are pretty racist, so if you are not "white" its going to be an uphill battle.

-Southern Chile is reasonably scenic and good for forest/mountain hikes, fishing, rafting, kayaking, skiing, visiting volcanoes and hot springs, etc. And the fertile mineral rich soil and lush greenery and clean air means the local produce (meat, honey, fruit and vegetables, etc) is generally of reasonably good quality.

-I personally wouldn't consider anywhere in Chile as a long-term destination as it's not my cup of tea.

-Property in Southern Chile is affordable $200,000 U.S. will generally still buy you something modest and rustic but adequate in/near a reasonable town. If you want some green forested land in a scenic location near a lake and some volcanoes, etc to build a quiet peaceful homesteading type of lifestyle southern Chile might just be for you.
 
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