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The 20 Best Places to Live in South America


If you are looking for a place to live outside America, there are certainly many places that are worthy of your consideration. This is, after all, a big world. You will find many exotic destinations that afford you the quality of life that you have been looking for, along with a rich culture that you can grow to appreciate and thrive in over time.

With that in mind, you might be like many people in the world and find that South America really appeals to you. There are many reasons why you might want to live there.

When you consider South America, you will find some great cities that provide you with everything that you need to be successful. No matter if you are still working or retired, there are places that you can really enjoy and see yourself living in for quite some time to come.

At the same time, you will want to do your research and determine which of these locations is best for you. That is where we come into the picture. We have gone through and compiled a list of the 20 best places to live in South America. Take a look and see which of these cities and countries looks most appealing to you.

20. Medellin, Colombia

There are actually quite a few reasons why Medellin, Colombia is one of the best places in South America to live. The culture is primary among them. You will find countless art galleries, museums, concert halls, restaurants, and so much more to spend your time in. This will really make the place seem like home to you.

These are places where you can interact with locals who have lived in Medellin all of their life and begin to feel a part of the community more quickly than you might have dreamed possible.

Ecuador ($915)

19. Quito, Ecuador

Quito is an interesting city. It is actually located right in the region of an active volcano and it is more than a mile above sea level. You might wonder why this makes the city so appealing, but it is largely due to the people who live there.

You will find that the city is quite diverse. It is beautiful and has a natural environment that is simply appealing to the senses. It is also considered to be one of the safest major cities in South America, and that speaks volumes as well.

Fortaleza, Brazil

18. Florianopolis, Brazil

Here is a city in Brazil that easily makes it onto our list of the 20 best places to live in South America. The crime rate here is low and the city has a great health care system.

Those are two key components that should go into deciding where you are going to live for the rest of your life. Contrary to the major cities of Brazil, Florinapolis also benefits from having must less pollution and little traffic congestion to speak of. Living so close to the beach sounds nice as well!

Puerto de Frutos

17. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Just about everyone in the world has heard of Buenos Aires. You should now know that this is one of the 20 best places to live in South America. It has the urban life that many people crave.

If you are looking to start a business, this is one of the friendliest places on the continent to do so. The climate is great, begin hot and humid most of the year, while the cost of living is lower than what you would find in most of North America or Europe.


16. Arequipa, Peru

If you like outdoor activities, here is a city in Peru that you would likely enjoy calling home. This is the place to go for a carefree lifestyle. You will notice that there is much less congestion here than you might associate with the rest of South America.

The city is not overcrowded at all. It is also beautiful from a scenic perspective. Because of the great climate, you can enjoy hiking, biking, mountain climbing and so much more just about any time of the year.

Guatemala City, Guatemala

15. Antigua, Guatemala

Now we move to the country of Guatemala. Antigua has become one of the 20 best places to live in South America because it has so much culture and history behind it. There are a lot of things to do here. The landscape alone provides you with more than enough outdoor activities to keep you busy for the rest of your life. You will also notice that the cost of living is about 30 percent lower than in most of North America, allowing the money in your wallet to go much farther.


14. Cusco, Peru

We now go back to Peru, so you are probably sensing a common theme here. Cusco is the place you want to live if you like to see your streets filled with cobblestones and your walkways wide and appealing.

You will see a lot of colonial buildings still standing and occupied here. Many of these are now home to restaurants and various types of shops. This is like stepping back in time, complete with all of the modern conveniences you have grown to depend on.

Costa Rica

13. Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

There are many reasons why cities in Costa Rica are often looked to as the best place to live. The Nicoya Peninsula, for example, is a place where you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You will also gain the benefit of having a modern infrastructure that has really evolved in recent years. There is great medical care in the region and you will not spend that much money here to live every month.

12. Santa Marta, Colombia

Now we go back to Colombia for yet another great city to call home. While much of the country seems to have received a bad reputation due to high crime rates, Santa Marta is the glowing exception. It considered very safe to live here and you will benefit from having a rich culture in which to call home. You will also find it relatively easy to get a long term visa when you want to set your roots down here.

11. Montevideo, Uruguay

If you are not familiar with where Uruguay is on the map, it is right between Brazil and Argentina. It has some great beaches to gaze upon, while the lagoons and lakes are pretty impressive as well. Montevideo is the capital city, so you will be among a lot of people, but have a rich infrastructure to benefit from. You will spend about half as much a month to live here as you would in London.

Panama City Beach, Florida

10. Las Tablas, Panama

This is a city in Panama that is located right on the sea. That leads to a comfortable and casual life that many people are longing for today. It is amazing how much a thousand dollars go here, which is another reason it is appealing to many people. The access to health care is among the best in the region as well.

Carmen de los Martires Gardens

9. Granada, Nicaragua

Nicaragua is home to much more than just Manuel Noriega. In fact, you will quickly learn to understand why Granada is one of the best 20 places to live in South America. It is located right on Lake Nicaragua.

This is where a lot of tourists go, so quite a few businesses have sprouted up throughout the region. You will also find that many of the locals here speak English and Spanish, so language is much less of a barrier than it might be in other parts of South America.

Dreams Costa Rica

8. Arenal, Costa Rica

Here is another city in Costa Rica that makes the cut as one of the best places to live in South America. This city is located right next to the largest freshwater lake in the country.

It is also situated by a large volcano. As such, the beauty here surrounds you. The climate is great year round, with enough rain to keep you happy but not so much as to drown you. It is the best of both worlds.

7. Cuenca, Ecuador

Cuenca is a city in Ecuador that is truly a mix of the old and new. You will find tons of colonial architecture to enjoy here. Many of the old buildings are still occupied, making the city your own living museum.

You will also benefit from having a number of art galleries in the city, so you will never be left looking for a cultural event to take part in. Add to all of this the low cost of living compared to other places in the region and you will have a good place to live in for some time to come.

San Ignacio, Belize

6. Ambergris Caulker, Belize

Belize is a beautiful South America country that used to be a British Colony. As such, you will notice a vastly different culture and way of life here than in other places on the continent. Ambergris is a city that is built on an island.

There are only 20,000 people so you will not be stepping over anyone. You can go snorkeling all day and then relax on the beach for a drink at night. You will also find that this city has excellent healthcare and English is the spoken language here.

Pozo Azul

5. Manizales, Colombia

Manizales is home to half a million people and is located in the fertile hills of Colombia. It is a great place to live if you want to just separate yourself from the rest of the world.

It is incredibly cheap to live here, with many people reporting that a comfortable life can be had for just $975 a month. You will also have a great culture to be a part of and the healthcare system will put your mind at peace as well that you are well taken care of.

Feira de Santana, Brazil

4. Joao Pessoa, Brazil

This is a city in Brazil that you may have never heard of before, but it is one of the 20 best places to live in South America for a number of reasons. It is much cheaper to live here than in much of the rest of the country. It is less congested, the air is clean, and the modern infrastructure well established. Add to all of this the natural beauty of the region and it will be easy for you to envision spending the rest of your life here.

Cotacachi, Ecuador

3. Salinas, Ecuador

Salinas is a city that gives another nod to the South American country of Ecuador. Here is a city on the beach that has become something of a resort. You will love the vibe that the town gives off. It is probably one of the cheaper beach cities to live in that you will ever come into contact with as well. That certainly helps the cause.

Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau

2. Nassau, Bahamas

Yes, the Bahamas is considered to be in South America. Nassau is one of the 20 best places to live on the continent for a variety of reasons. If you are looking to escape the congestion of the big city, that will not happen here.

What will happen, however, is that you will step back in time to a quieter and more peaceful way of life. That makes it all worthwhile in the end.


1. Santiago, Chile

The best place to live in South America is Santiago, Chile. You will find that there is simply so much in this city to take in that it is hard to know where to get started. Let's just say that you will gain so much by living here, and spend a lot less doing it.

Now that you have this list, it is time to start planning your move. You will want to see which of these locations appeals most to your senses and personality. Not every city is designed for every person on the planet. That is what makes the world so exciting and diverse. Consider what you want out of the place that you live and then go out there and find it.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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