Where In South America Can I Live On $800 USD Per Month?
It is possible to live in many areas of South America on a budget of $800 USD per month. It won´t be a ‘high-flying nights-out-on the-town’ type of existence but can be done and can be enjoyable. Want to know where? Profiles of featured destinations are here: Cheap Places To Live In South America
Editor’s Note: I recently upped the monthly amount to $800 USD, previously it was $650 USD. Read “Can I live in South America on $650 USD per month” to learn why.
A more workable budget would be $1000 – $1200 USD and up, affording more luxuries such as eating out regularily, shopping excursions, larger apartment or house, trips to other areas of the country, etc. Living in South America Guides
The following countries have the lowest cost of living: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. The most expensive countries to live in are Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay.
Argentina offers great value for your dollar but many popular expat locations are expensive such as Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Bariloche. For these high-priced areas you would need a budget of $1200 USD – $1500 USD per month to live comfortably.
Two options for low-cost living in Argentina include the small town of Miramar on the Atlantic coast near Mar del Plata and the midsize city Salta in Northwest Argentina. Salta, Argentina – Cheap Place to Live
Uruguay has few low cost destinations. Inland locations are affordable but not where most International expatriates would enjoy living unless they have the disposition of a hermit. One exception is the midsize city of Salto in northeast Uruguay. Salto, Uruguay – Cheap Place to Live
Of course living in a major city will cost more than living on the outskirts of a metropolitan area or in a small town. To view a list of capital cities in South America – complete with online Travel Guides click here: Capital Cities in South America With Online Travel Guides
As an example, many areas of Peru are very affordable, yet if you want to live in Lima, you will need a budget of $900 – $1000 USD per month or more. Huanchaco and Mancora – popular surf towns – would be possible locations to live on $800 USD per month. Find a low-cost rental, spend most of your time chilling at the beach with a few meals out per week and you are all set. Huanchaco, Peru – Cheap Place to Live
Ecuador is the most affordable country to live in with the best value for your dollar. There are many locations to choose from to live well off of $800 USD per month. Living in Quito will be difficult at that price, but venture a short ways out of the capital city and you have more options such as the current hot spots Otavalo and Cotacachi – small town living in scenic, serene locations. Cotacachi, Ecuador – Cheap Place to Live.
The city of Loja in the South is very affordable and the very popular and hip hideout – Vilcabamba – only 40 minutes away by bus: Vilcabamba, Ecuador – Cheap Place to Live.
Beach towns near Bahia de Caraquez already have smatterings of expats living full-time such as in the popular tourist town and surf spot Canoa. Canoa, Ecuador – Cheap Place to Live
If you want a country that you can not only live in on $800 USD per month, but travel (staying in hostals) and eat-out regularily as well – Bolivia is your best bet. And this may be the only country in South America where you can afford to live in the capital on $800 USD per month. Sucre, Bolivia – Cheap Place to Live
La Paz is a favorite travel destination and affordable, yet a beautiful small town just two hours away at lower elevation (no need to worry about Altitude Sickness) is Coroico. Travel in Bolivia – Coroico
Many expatriates choose to call Colombia home. Unless living in an unsafe slum, Bogotá would not be affordable at under $1000 USD per month but you could try Medellin, very popular with expats and backpackers as well.
The city has transformed itself from a drug lord hot spot to a tourist hot spot and is considered one of the safest metropolitan areas in Colombia.
Cali is an attractive, affordable city in Southern Colombia but referred to as the ‘kidnapping capital’. Not where most would choose to live. I have traveled through the city and loved it, but stayed only three nights. The small town of Santuario (population around 9000) is cheap to live, with decent apartments for under $300 USD per month with spectacular views of the Andes mountains.
The smartest move you can make when moving abroad is to keep an open mind and be ready to try something new if your original ‘dream relocation town or city’ did not pan-out to be as idyllic as you imagined. Got abducted and robbed in Ecuador by a taxi driver (“express kidnapping”) and do not feel safe living in the country anymore? Leave. Try a few months in Northern Peru or hop a flight to Chile or Argentina. Read beforehand: Is it Safe to Travel in South America?
The opportunities for life and living in South America are endless, it is up to you to decide what will work best for you solo or with spouse and children in tow.