South America Expat Guide

by David Tompkins

South America Expat Guide — A Guide For Expats Living in South America

It won’t be wrong to say that South America is often a place for people with explorer instincts and a sense of adventure. Over the years this mesmerizing continent has continued to attract expats from all around the world. Every South American country offers expats one common thing — an enriching experience of a colorful cultural heritage. Several South American countries are popular for their relaxed lifestyle and warm-hearted locals who welcome everyone to their community.

South America

Here are a few South American destinations expats choose to go to:


Colombia is one of the most sought-after destinations in South America for expats. Much of it is because of its colonial towns, tropical weather conditions, and its warm weather in the foothills of the Andes. The fact that expats can take advantage of inexpensive properties, rich culture. An amazing healthcare system only make Colombia the right place to be at. The best cities to live in Colombia are Medellín (country’s second-largest city), popular tourist destination Santa Marta, Buga (city of colonial and Republican-era homes), and the mountain city of Manizales.


ColombiaEcuador is another South American nation that is especially popular among expats as a preferred overseas retirement destination. A lot of this is because of the quality of life that expats can enjoy here. For explorers, the country offers access to the dense Amazon forest, unspoiled Pacific beaches, the volcanic archipelago of Galápagos Islands, and even snow-capped mountains. Major cities that most expats reside in, include Quito, Guayaquil, Cotacachi, and Cuenca.


The land of the Incas and the mystical Machu Picchu, Peru is another South American country worth mentioning. Expats can enjoy over 1,500 miles of undeveloped coastline, the jagged peaks of the Andes. The beautiful Amazon rainforest, and a low cost of living. The best cities to live in Peru for expats include the Inca Empire’s old capital city of Cusco and Arequipa. Th city is located along with three volcanoes.

Travel Guide to South America

PeruMost of the countries in South America facilitate visa on arrival. However, it’s still advisable to check with an authority or a visa handling company so that you have the relevant visa information. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of entry to each country you visit. All personal belongings and travel-related gear are allowed by the customs, except archaeological goods and products made from endangered or rare animals.

Several North American, European, and Australian

Safety Guidance for Expats Moving to South America

Moving to South AmericaOne of the best things about South American countries is that you can visit some of the most enthralling places across the continent, but do be mindful of your safety. Contrary to popular belief, most of the countries in South America have a low crime rate. Many parts

of Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile have safe expat locations. But there are many sections in these countries where expats could be impacted by petty crime and civil strife. It will be important to check the news and your government foreign office warnings and take common-sense precautions.

Working in South America

It’s not difficult to work in South America if you know English. However, Portuguese is the most spoken language across the continent, followed by Spanish. Learning a few words of either could come in handy during casual conversation or while out shopping or hanging around with South American friends.

Workplace culture in many South American companies is unlike what exists in the US or Europe. Expats can gather details about the cultural differences and work ethics of their new home country before moving to that country.

Healthcare Guide in South America


carriers currently serve South American countries, in addition to several other South American carriers. You cannot come to the continent via road since the last highway ends in Southeast Panama. However, you can take the water route and book tickets with foreign boat agencies. These boats may take up to 5 days to complete their journey, depending upon your starting point.

All South American countries have exclusive healthcare systems that should be analyzed thoroughly before finalizing your travel plans. Healthcare services in South America are not as expensive as compared to other developing countries in the world. Even then, medical bills can shoot up all of a sudden. To avoid getting caught in such a situation, expats can buy a comprehensive international health insurance plan that covers treatment at leading private hospitals in South America, and also covers air evacuation to the nearest country for more extensive treatment. Note that the Zika virus continues to be a problem for many South American countries, so take precautions visiting areas where mosquitos reside. You should check with your doctor as to the vaccines that will be recommended for your journey to the continent.

Health Insurance is Vital for Expats in South America

Moving to a new country can be full of challenges. Healthcare is always up there as one of the primary things you need to consider before planning your move to a foreign land. These include the availability of good healthcare facilities, medicines, life-saving drugs, and insurance.

You can even consider opting for local health insurance plans in the South American country you are visiting; however, they may not cover extensive treatment plans or features like air evacuation when needed. That is why it makes good sense to purchase an appropriate health insurance plan for yourself as well as your family.

Your job will hold the highest priority and reason for moving to South America. But at the same time, it’s also important for you to give due consideration to your health and buy a good international insurance plan to have complete peace of mind.

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