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Leaving Boston and Moving to South America

shutterstock_420654133 (800x533)This is not a new fad. In fact, a lot of people have already been doing this for years. You might be surprised to learn that there are thousands of Americans in South American cities/countries.

Did you know that there are 39,000 US citizens living in Ecuador? Or that there are 13,000 Americans in Costa Rica?

Ecuador is consistently ranked among the World’s Best Places to Retire. Those aged above 65 get discounts on flights that originate in the country and enjoy 50% off on utilities, bus transport and entry to sporting events/movies. Filling the fridge with fresh produce costs around $35 a week. Rents hover around $400 for a fully-furnished dwelling, and a meal at a restaurant costs just $5. Costa Rica is one rung below Ecuador in the rankings and was named the World’s Happiest Country by the Happy Planet Index. It has a healthcare system that is better than that of the United States, and to access it, you just need to pay $50-$150. This includes even major surgeries and covers pre-existing conditions.

Learn the local language

In most of South America, Spanish and Portuguese are the predominant local languages. You might be able to get by with English, but then also communicating with the authorities in case your bag gets stolen can turn out to be difficult.

There are two ways you could zero in on your destination. If you know either of these two languages, you can make a list of the countries that speak the language and then filter according to your preferences/job opportunities. Or you could do the latter step first and then learn the language which is spoken in that country.

Explore your destination

There might be plenty of articles about the colonial architecture or the natural scenery of the place, but what you should be paying attention is to what you don’t see much about – the crime rate, reliability of the power supply/internet and so on. For someone moving to South America, these things are what matter.

  • Just like the electricity, hot water is unpredictable. You might have to get used to taking cold showers in the morning.

There are the ones organized by people who assist you with the move, taking care of everything like accommodation et al (you just need to get a job if you are not a retiree). As people who have made the move will tell you, these are tailored to make the destination attractive. This may not be the case in real life. So you need to try doing this on your own. Only then will you understand how difficult/easy it is when it comes to hailing a taxi, getting around, making purchases (you might discover that a lot of convenience items available in Boston are not found here), making sure you are understood by those who serve you, ordering a meal in a restaurant and so on.

If possible, you should visit in June-July, when winter is at its peak (things work differently in the southern hemisphere) or in December-January to experience the heat first-hand. Only then will you be able to decide for yourself whether you could live with the weather extremes of a South American country.

If you’re looking to relocate to South America, contact one of our relocation experts for more information.