Where to Live and Work as a Digital Nomad – Part II South America

Posted on December 6, 2016 by in TOP Travel Destinations

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

Mighty Travels’ mission is to guide you with ways to go everywhere and live well anywhere. Digital nomads now have the opportunity to live and work from anywhere and live a nomadic lifestyle without leaving the world behind.

Our parents discovered that a car can take them anywhere in a city. This generation of millennials is discovering that they can live anywhere on the planet.

I wanted to share my personal experiences and recommendations on where to live and work as a digital nomad. I’ll be exploring:

  • Part I Middle East and Central Asia
  • Part II South America
  • Part III Asia
  • Part IV Africa
  • Part V Europe
  • Part VI North America

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

I have devised the following (very scientific) criteria for choosing the best places:

  • Cost of living (especially hotels, apartments, local transport and food)
  • Internet speed
  • Security situation
  • Language (how easy it is without knowledge of the local language)
  • Quality / diversity of food
  • Cheap flights (to and from your temporary home)
  • Friendliness of locals
  • Entertainment options – or how bored would I be after one month
  • General hassle factor (how much drama is involved in everyday transactions)

Since we do not cover employment on Mighty Travels, we are assuming you already have a digital job that you can do (for a limited time) almost anywhere.

Much of South America has toyed with a communist-style planned economy for some time. This has depressed development and given rise to infamous crime lords (like in Colombia).

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Bogota

Cost of living

Apartments and even hotels tend to be cheap in Bogota at most times and food is about 30% lower than in the US. Plus local transport is really cheap.

Internet speed

Speeds tend to be just OK, but it’s getting better.

Security situation

Bogota has a crime issue – no doubt. The city has come a long way and is by no means terrible anymore, but crime and protection against it will be a constant theme of your time here.

Language

This IS the perfect city to learn Spanish, as there isn’t a lot of English here.

Quality / diversity of food

Bogota has a number of gourmet ghettos and while Colombian cuisine isn’t something to be delighted about, the food scene in the Colombian capital is well-developed.

Bogota4

Cheap flights to and from your temporary home

Despite its high elevation (and the resulting reduction in aircraft range), Bogota Airport has a ton of flights within South America and beyond.

Friendliness of locals

Colombians are a friendly bunch; this will be a positive part of your stay.

Entertainment options 

While Bogota is a big city, many areas are just too dangerous to hang out in, which limits your options somewhat.

Bogota

General hassle factor

Given that Colombia is a rather poor country, this one is low – just that crime will make you paranoid.

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is the archetypal city to immigrate to; it’s been the choice for Europeans for decades.

Cost of living

Given how developed the city is, prices are low. Accommodation is often charming and the old apartments with high ceilings will make any aspiring interior architect happy.

Internet speed

Not the fastest, but you can find 10Mbit+ connections with some effort.

Security situation

There is lots of non-violent crime here, but I’d worry here much less than in Bogota (maybe for the wrong reason).

Language

Lots of English speakers, but Spanish is still a MUST here.

Quality / diversity of food

Argentinian food (especially meat) is famous worldwide. However, there isn’t that much else if you crave something totally different.

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

Cheap flights to and from your temporary home

LATAM has cheap domestic flights, but Argentina is a bit far off the global map so international flights tend to be expensive.

Friendliness of locals

I don’t think Argentinians are the most friendly of folks out there. Having said that, though, it’s still South America and there’s generally a party vibe around.

Entertainment options 

There’s plenty of stuff to do if you want to start a new hobby like dancing.

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

General hassle factor

Rather low here; there is a lot of scamming by taxis and the odd street vendor, but if you can pretend to be a local you should be fine.

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

Lima

Lima is a down-to-earth city of foodies. It’s a great city, but that constant grey fog can get really depressing after a few weeks.

Cost of living

Lima is rather cheap if you try to eat locally.

Internet speed

This is an issue in Lima, but you can find speedy internet for a price.

Security situation

Like most of South America, Lima has an elevated level of crime, but nothing to be worried about if you follow a few rules.

Language

Spanish is a must here; English is like a language from another planet to Peruvians.

Quality / diversity of food

Lima is well-regarded as a foodie town. The trouble is that it is often high-end food and prices are easily on a US level. There is a lot of good coffee, though.

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

Cheap flights to and from your temporary home

Lima is a major LATAM hub and gets a lot of cheaper flights.

Friendliness of locals

Peruvians are super-friendly and always ready to help if you use a bit of Spanish.

Entertainment options 

Lima isn’t terribly exciting but great as a hub to explore South America. Cusco is close, as are many cities in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.

Live and Work as a Digital Nomad

General hassle factor

It depends, I’d say; there is more hassle than in the US, but you are mostly left alone.

Also-rans

In my subjective view, these cities did not make the cut…

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Panama City

Panama City has a scenic downtown and is an emerging hub for airlines and trade. However, there is lots of work to do and it’s just not the most entertaining city. It’s also very hot and not cheap.

Santiago de Chile

Frankly, I don’t know enough about Santiago de Chile to include it, but it strikes me as an organized yet expensive place in South America.

Mendoza

I hear great reports about Mendoza; it is just too small a city to be included in our list.

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Sao Paulo 

Sao Paulo has some fantastic areas and given the much lower Brazilian real it’s somewhat affordable now. Nevertheless, it is still a bastion of crime and violence and protecting yourself against this takes lots of research (or money). There are better places for you, my friend.

Medellin

Medellin is similar to Bogota; I did not include it since it seems to be a less interesting version of Bogota in my eyes (but it depends on your expectations).

(Note that if you are looking for Mexico City here, I have included it in my list for North America).