5 Latin America Havens Where Couples Can Live Well On $2,000 A Month
Offering a wealth of lifestyle opportunities in an array of sun-drenched havens where the cost of living can be less than half of the average in the U.S., it’s clear why millions of North Americans have chosen to call Latin America home.
Of course, Latin America is a big place… So where are some of the best spots to consider here for those on a monthly budget of $2,000 or less?
I’ve been exploring expat opportunities the world over for 30 years. I’ve traveled to, lived in, and invested in scores of countries and, through my business, I’ve helped thousands more people to do the same.
Of course, your perfect place in the sun will depend on many personal factors, but to get you started in your search, here’s my pick of five Latin America expat havens where you can likely upgrade your lifestyle and slash your cost of living.
Panama is a premier retirement and business haven offering the best infrastructure in Central America.
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For those looking to start a business or invest in a market ripe for profit, Panama should be high on your list. With its excellent health care, English-speaking locals, affordable rentals, warm weather, low crime, and a more mature expat community, it’s also a great option for senior digital nomads.
In-country, the small, close-knit town of Chitré topped the rankings in the annual Live And Invest Overseas Retirement Index. A couple could live comfortably here on a monthly budget of $2,000. Rent for a furnished, two-bedroom apartment in a desirable part of town will cost around $800 per month. To run a car here will cost around $60 a month and a couple will spend an average of $425 a month on groceries.
Pensionado Visa holders are eligible for discounts off utility bills, airline tickets, doctor’s bills, hotel stays, and more, further reducing the cost of living.
It’s easy to feel at home in Mexico. For those moving here from the U.S., it’s as accessible as it gets—you can drive here should you choose. It’s a vast country with two long coasts and with beach resorts, mountain towns, and colonial cities to choose from, you can take your pick of lifestyle options here.
For those seeking a more authentic Mexican lifestyle and lower costs than those on offer in the popular tourist resorts, consider Oaxaca City. Here, you’ll also find charming colonial architecture, a vibrant culture, a moderate climate, reasonable prices, flight connections to the States, and high-quality health care.
Rentals here start at around $400 a month, lunch at a local spot can be enjoyed for $5, and a bus ride will cost less than $1. Overall, a budget of $2,000 would be more than sufficient for an expat couple here.
Warm, welcoming, independent, and private, Belize is an English-speaking Caribbean paradise. This small country—just a little larger than Massachusetts—is home to a population of around 400,000. If you like wide-open spaces and small-town living then Belize could be your perfect overseas haven.
At Live And Invest Overseas, our preferred destination within Belize is the seaside town of Corozal, in the north of the country. Here, you can rent a two-bedroom, Belize-style home for around $500 per month and, all-in, a couple could live well here on a monthly budget of $1,403.
Legal residency is easy to obtain in Belize, and foreign residents pay no tax in Belize on non-Belize income.
The one caveat when it comes to Belize is heath care. While facilities and standards are improving, they are limited. For those with serious health concerns or existing medical conditions, it’s best to look elsewhere in the region.
North Americans are quickly catching on to the charms of this progressive country which can offer a serious lifestyle upgrade for those on a more modest budget.
In the city of Medellín, an expat favorite, a couple could enjoy a comfortable lifestyle on a monthly budget of $1,384. Rentals in the city’s Laureles neighborhood—recently voted the coolest neighborhood in the world—are on the market for $650 a month. A couple will spend in the region of $370 on groceries and $100 on electricity and internet costs each month. A meal out for two will cost around $25.
Health care is another major selling point for Colombia and Medellín in particular, as this is where many of the country’s best hospitals are located, including the Joint Commission International-accredited Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe.
Entidades Promotoras de Salud (EPS) are basic health care plans that every Colombia resident must have by law. These plans cost 12.5% of your monthly income, or pension for retirees. They cover medical, vision, and dental at a
basic level. Many expats opt to pay out of pocket for additional costs as health care is so affordable. Standard doctor and dentist visits typically cost around $50.
The city also boasts an excellent public transport system comprising a metro, metro cable, bus, and tram, as well as taxis, ride-hailing apps, and public bicycles. It’s the best choice in Latin America for car-free living.
#5: Dominican Republic
Blessed with white-sand beaches, virgin jungle, and mountain hideaways, the Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean’s largest tourist destinations.
For those looking to settle in for a longer stay, one of the world’s most user-friendly residency and citizenship programs is on offer here.
It’s also where you can enjoy affordable Caribbean island living with a strong European flavor thanks to the thriving expat population.
On the Dominican Republic’s northeast coast, in the Samana Peninsula, signs for expat-run businesses in English, French, Italian, and Spanish abound; and French and Italian food brands line the shelves of specialty grocery stores, too.
It’s here you’ll find the resort town of Las Terrenas, known as the “St. Tropez of the Caribbean.” The French settled Las Terrenas generations ago, and their influence lingers. People greet each other with kisses on both cheeks and patisseries offer fresh-baked pain au chocolat and baguettes.
The lifestyle here is more affordable than you might expect. Condos close to one of Las Terrenas’ most beautiful beaches are for sale from under $100,000. Long-term rentals can be secured on a six-month or longer lease from $600. On a budget of $2,000 a month a couple would be comfortable here.