South America Living

Travel, Dine, Live… Like A Local


Cheap Places To Live In South America

Popular Destination – Cusco, Peru

Want to move to South America or live for a year or more but not sure your budget will allow it? Need to know where to go and how much it will cost? Below are destinations where you can live on $800 USD per month, and enjoy life in the process. They are places you would actually want to live, not just cheap ‘out in the boondocks’ rural locations or unsafe metropolitan ones.

The information below has been compiled into a FREE 110 page eBook: Cheap Places in South America & Budget Travel Tips eBook that also includes ‘Cheap Places to Travel’ and a special section on how to travel the contintent at the lowest cost.

Featured Cheap Places To Live in South America in 2013

Cusco, Peru

                         Cusco, Peru

If there is a city to fall in love with in Peru it’s Cusco. And it makes an excellent choice for a long-term stay as well.

What’s to love about Cusco other than being the way station to Machu Picchu and having many lovely museums, restaurants and hotels? Everything. The low cost of living, markets, people, active nightlife. There is even a sweet, little gold-painted man… Read full article

Vilcabamba, Ecuador

                         Vilcabamba, Ecuador

Supposedly the longevity claims that made Vilcabamba famous – of folks lasting 110 years plus – have been debunked (National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD in 1978) yet that doesn’t seem to slow down the influx of foreigners wanting to relocate to the area and call it home.

“Valley of Longevity” or just lovely valley in a beautiful natural setting with a year-round temperate climate? Either way, Vilcabamba attracts… Read full article

Cotacachi, Ecuador

                         Cotacachi, Ecuador

Healing mecca, mountain paradise, expat haven – the small town of Cotacachi, Ecuador (population around 9000) is racking up a slew of complimentary titles as well as attracting retirees from the U.S. and elsewhere in droves.

Located approximately 2 hours from the capital city Quito the village is well known for its hand-crafted leather products. Methods of tanning, stretching and molding the leather skins… Read full article

Sucre, Bolivia

                         Sucre, Bolivia

Great for a visit or a low-cost, long-term stay. Sucre, Bolivia may be the only capital city in South America that fits this profile. It may also be one of the few larger cities where you can not only live off of $800 USD per month but have a little left over to take trips to other areas of the country.

The city is compact with plenty of traffic congestion (both pedestrian and auto) yet full of green spaces as well… Read full article

Salta, Argentina

                         Salta, Argentina

Salta is heavy on the Argentina to Bolivia tourist circuit yet a great place to touch down for a year or so as well.

If you like city life with a small town feel, you will love Salta. Parks and plazas weave throughout the town with numerous shops, restaurants and ways to get yourself into trouble i.e. things to… Read full article

Medellin, Colombia

                         Medellin, Colombia

Most don’t register the thought ‘Colombia’ when trying to escape the high cost of living in the U.S, Canada, Australia or England, but maybe more should.

Colombia has its share of worldly problems (crime, drugs, poverty) yet also has areas that have become mainstays on the travel circuit and become increasingly popular for extended stays or relocation to the country such as the large metropolis Medellin (population 3 million)… Read full article

Salto, Uruguay

                         Salto, Uruguay

The majority of locations in Uruguay would be very difficult, if not outright impossible, to live off of $800 USD per month such as capital city Montevideo, Punta del Este, La Paloma and other Atlantic coast beach towns.

Inland locations are dirt cheap, but not where most International visitors would enjoy living. Salto is an exception to both of these rules i.e. affordable and with enough attractions in and around… Read full article

Huanchaco, Peru

                         Huanchaco, Peru

As you can tell from the photo to the left, Huanchaco, Peru is a popular surfing spot. This Pacific coast town is also a popular location for Peruvianos and International travelers on holiday seeking some time in the sun and sand (while offered cold drinks and snacks from friendly local beach vendors).

Many are on more than a vacation, visiting the town to meet with realtors and shop for their holiday home… Read full article

Canoa, Ecuador

                         Canoa, Ecuador

The small fishing village Canoa on the Pacific coast is a very popular tourist location in Ecuador and becoming increasingly popular as a relocation destination also. Many English-speaking expats live in the area (primarily from the U.S. and Europe) full or part-time.

There are expat-owned local businesses (bars, hotels, restaurants, adventure companies) and a lot of interaction between the locals and ‘gringos’. A small, bilingual elementary school was opened… Read full article

11 to “Cheap Places To Live In South America”


  1. dillan says:

    i like to come in south america but i need a cheaper place to stay

  2. Teri Matthews says:

    I have lived in Vilcabamba, Ecuador for the past two years and it is no longer as cheap as you say. The price of property has doubled since I first visited here 3 years ago. Yes,…I built a house here…a beautiful house in Mollepamba(a conecting valley)
    One half of a hectare of land will cost a minimum of 35,000$ compared to 17 or 18K three years ago.
    The city itself is absolutely incredible …..BUT not incredibly cheap. I myself am looking into Bolivia…and I am a devoted resident of Vilcabamba,Ecuador. Just so you know!!!!!!!!

    • Molly McHugh says:

      Hi Teri, thanks for the info and everywhere is rising in cost, especially the places that have become ‘expat havens’ and over-advertised/hyped by folks wanting to make $ (local and foreign) – happens everywhere.

      But, I do not have any real estate prices on my website as that is not my gig, and of course that is not what a low income person is looking at (thousands of dollars in cash to buy property… no, think not) – not sure where you are coming from with that.

      Other prices such as are on the cost of living page I think are still valid… and there are apartment rentals in the $300 USD range from what I hear, correct me if I am wrong!

      best, Molly

  3. ivan lopez says:

    Well first of all, to considering the cost of living of a country, we have take in mind the food (fresh and good ofcourse), housing rent or buying, and Ecuador met all this conditions if you compare to Colombia.
    In Ecuador food is cheaper,baberage,pets food,building rent, and some domestic kind of cloth, transport is incredible, just with a few coins you can travel betwenn municipalities or inside the city.
    I am pensioner and pretend move there because is cheaper a paceful place if we compare with the Colombia country.
    I hope this can help you, write me if you want other advice related to travel Ecuador or Colombia, God bless you.

  4. Greg S says:

    Does Vilcabamba have good schools???? I have two children one is five and the
    other is two….is there a good school for my five year old????

    • Molly McHugh says:

      I do not know of any ‘good schools’ in the town itself but it is very close to Loja and there are families living there. You’ll have to research online. There is a small bilingual international school in Canoa, another popular relocation spot, but quite a bit different from Vilcabamba, much more of a party/beach town.

  5. Nelson Crespo says:

    I am 26 years old and I have never left my home city hopefully this will give me the big push IV been needing and helpful tips along the way

  6. Larry Whittington says:

    I would love to have a copy of your book, “Cheap Places in South America”


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