The draw to work remotely is only growing as more jobs open up to the idea of remote work and employees seek the opportunities to work abroad. The warm climate, rich culture and low cost of living in Latin American countries make the region a prime but often overlooked digital nomad destination, especially when compared to Europe and Southeast Asia.
For nomads working with U.S. based employers, the time zones of most Latin American cities make communication less of a hassle compared to other nomad hotspots like eastern Asia. Most cities on this list are eastern or central standard time (or switch between both depending on the season), the same as cities like New York, Chicago and Washington D.C.
At least an elementary understanding of the Spanish language should be learned before going to work in South America. Many of the bigger cities on this list are also full of English speakers, however, so fluency isn’t necessarily required but will most definitely give you a leg up and make life go much smoother.
Several destinations in Latin America stand out among the rest for their particularly low cost, good internet speeds, culture and everything else important for the digital nomad lifestyle. Nomad Girl has a list of countries that have specific digital nomad visas or programs.
Let’s take a look at the 10 digital nomad hotspots of South America and Central America.
1. Medellín, Colombia
There is no doubt that Medellín has emerged in recent years as a world favourite digital nomad hub — a full 360 from the city’s turbulent history of violent crime. A large network of digital nomads already exists and the city has responded with a wealth of co-working spaces. The country’s second-largest city with over two million residents, its strong internet connection throughout and a plethora of welcoming cafes appeal to remote workers and the large expat community.
A comfortable life in Medellín, including dining and drinking out occasionally, visiting museums and other entertainment with modest accommodation, can be achieved for around 1,000 USD a month. Frugal nomads can stretch 800 USD. You can find a cost of living comparison for Medellin at Numbeo.
Nightlife is vibrant with an abundance of clubs and bars with a blend of western, reggae and salsa styles. Football (soccer) is incredibly popular and there are many can’t-miss museums.
Known affectionately as ‘The City of Eternal Spring’, the weather is comfortable year-round, making it a great digital nomad destination regardless of the season.
The coworker.com lists a total of 44 coworking spaces in Medellin. A popular place seems to be Selina Medellin, which is part of a hostel concept around coliving and coworking.
2. San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
The coastal town of San Juan Del Sur is one of the region’s top backpacker and digital nomad retreats. What it lacks in size (the town has just under 10,000 residents), it makes up for it in sheer beauty and a low cost of living. Internet isn’t as fast and abundant as other potential destinations but most accommodations will have connections sufficient for uploads, downloads and the occasional video chats.
One month in San Juan Del Sur can be sustained comfortably (partying and eating out) for about 900 – 1,000 USD. This is what Numbeo has to say about the cost of living in San Juan del Sur.
Definitely one of the more relaxing destinations on this list, San Juan Del Sur has a large and thriving surfing culture. Yoga and the arts are also famed in the small town.
San Juan Del Sur is perfect for digital nomads who not only want a cheap place to work but want a smaller, quieter destination and to hit the waves during free time.
Selina also operates a coworking spot in San Juan Del Sur. The Space is another exciting coworking space to open in 2022 along with the current hostel.
3. Antigua, Guatemala
The Guatemalan city of Antigua stands out for its colonial charm and its abundance of cultural heritage sites. It is frequented by tourists and digital nomads alike. Wi-Fi is fair throughout the city and many cafes welcome the laptop-tapping nomads.
For one month in Antigua, a single digital nomad should budget around 1,100 USD a month for a very comfortable living situation. Here is the number cost of living in Antigua Guatemala.
The abundance of time-killers is far and away Antigua’s largest appeal. The surrounding area boasts fantastic hikes and several active and dormant volcanoes. Bars and clubs are popular but many are more westernized than some of the other destinations on this list — in fact, there are a lot of things about the city that are more reminiscent of western culture (for better or for worse).
Antigua is key for any digital nomads who balance work and play; the city has many things to do, a growing nomad community and a unique colonial aesthetic.
The coworker.com lists 3 spaces in Antigua with popular chains like Selina and Impact Hub having a presence.
4. Quito, Ecuador
The Ecuadorian capital is quickly becoming a favourite for digital nomads. Built on what was once an ancient Incan city, Quito has splendid views, architecture, a rich history and all a digital nomad can ask for — a low cost of living and good internet.
Quito stands in line with most of the other cities on this list and a digital nomad can live comfortably for around 1,100 to 1,200 USD a month. Here is the cost of living in Quito according to Numbeo.
Regardless of where you stand in Quito, there always seems to be a beautiful view of the Andes Mountains and its snowy peaks. The city has many green parks, great variety in food and a plethora of outdoor activities inside and outside its limits.
Quito also has fairer temperatures compared to some of the other Latin American destinations due in part to its high elevation (the city is the second-highest capital in the world after La Paz, Bolivia). Digital nomads prioritizing a strong culture, scenic environment and plenty of destinations with WiFi should consider Quito.
5. Mexico City, Mexico
For a taste of the big city, digital nomads can’t go wrong with Mexico City. Steeped in history with affordable prices, plenty of things to do and a great nomad community full of working spaces, the city is rapidly growing as a top destination for digital nomads in Latin America. Crime sometimes deters nomads and tourists, however, the city has been taking great strides to clean up its streets and crime is mostly concentrated to certain neighbourhoods.
Mexico City has a wide range of price options and a comfortable one-bedroom apartment can be found for around 400 to 500 USD a month. Expect to budget a total of 900 to 1,100 USD per month if you want to do some small travelling and drink or eat out on occasion. This is the cost of living in Mexico City according to Numbeo.
Plenty of museums and galleries are in Mexico City and many of its roads are decorated with intricate street art and chock-full of internet cafes and coworking spaces for the diligent nomad. Venture out of the city and visit the ancient and storied settlement of Teotihuacan.
The growing nomad community in Mexico City and its wealth of entertainment options, from art and history to partying, makes it a great choice for digital nomads.
Mexico City has plenty of choices with 137 listed coworking spaces. A popular one here is Homework which has 5 locations in town.
6. Bogotá, Colombia
The final destination on this list and the second within the nation of Colombia, the country’s capital is a bustling metropolitan city with an active nightlife and a flourishing Latin American culture.
Although not as inexpensive as the other Colombian city on this list, Medellin, the cost of living is still considerably cheaper than in the U.S and Europe. A digital nomad can expect to pay around 1,200 to 1,300 USD a month in Bogota. Here is the cost of living for Bogota.
Bogota has it all. Parts of the city, notably the tourist areas and areas like Parque 93 and Zona T, are very safe yet others are more dangerous. Do your research ahead of time. The city boasts great food and for fun, biking, dancing and partying are a huge part of the digital nomad experience in the capital.
For digital nomads who thrive best in the hustle and bustle of a sometimes chaotic city, Bogota makes a great — if not underrated — choice.
7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
With the economic crisis seeming to hit Argentina like regular clockwork, now is the time to go to Buenos Aires for its incredibly low cost of living. You will get a major city with plenty of fun, history, culture, European vibe, the famous tango dance, and exciting nightlife.
The area of Palermo seems popular with digital nomads with numerous cafes and bars with decent WiFi. There are plenty of free high-speed WifI connections in many public spaces such as plazas and parks.
You can easily explore Montevideo in Uruguay which is only a 2-hour BuqueBus ferry ride away across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires.
Cost of living wise, Buenos Aires at the moment can’t get any lower with the Nomadlist quoting prices between $700 to $800 a month.
There are over 80 coworking spaces in Buenos Aires so plenty to choose from. Cafe Flor in Palermo seems to be one of the popular ones.
8. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen is a bustling beach town located on Mexicos’ Mayan Riviera. If you want a place by the beach that is cheap, is reasonably safe, has decent infrastructure, has good internet speeds, and has crazy nightlife every single day, this is the place for you. You will have to deal with some of the downsides which are mass tourism and plenty of hustlers. This might not be for everyone’s cup of tea.
The Mayan Riviera has plenty to offer from great beaches to great diving and snorkelling on the coast and swimming with dolphins. There are also plenty of cenotes that can be explored or dived in. There are also plenty of archaeological sites around such as Tulum, Chichen Itza and Coba.
The cost of living for a Digital Nomad in PDC is between $1100-$1300 a month.
Playa del Carmen has more than 10 coworking spaces the most popular one is BUNKER coworking.
9. Sao Paulo, Brazil
Sao Paulo might not be the most beautiful city in South America but it is one of the most exciting ones. This city with its 12 million inhabitants and the economic capital of Brazile, is an innovative, avant-garde and multicultural city with over 70 nationalities represented. This city which never sleeps, and is compared to New York by South Americans, has enormous energy.
It is an artsy and entertainment town with 101 museums and 182 theatres. Yes and on top of this, there are plenty of fairs and festivals taking place in the streets of Sao Paulo. Lastly, there are the food choices and quality, from street food to Michelin stars.
There are some downsides to this town with extreme social inequality and poverty common. Safety is also an issue here but there are plenty of safe areas as mentioned in this article here.
The cost of living for a digital nomad in Sao Paulo is between $1200 to $1300 a month.
10. Lima, Peru
Lima the capital of Peru with 10 million inhabitants may have a bad reputation when it comes to the safety of some parts of town. Areas like Miraflores and Barranco are generally safe and with decent Internet speeds, these have become more popular with Digital Nomads. This is more so since another tourist hotspot like Cusco has bad Internet speeds and coverage putting many digital nomads of working from here.
What you do get in Lima is the best food on the continent with two of the world’s best restaurants located here. There are also plenty of things to see like the Unesco Plaza de Armas and the Convento de San Francisco. For those that are romantic, there is the Parque del Amor, which is often compared to Antoni Gaudi’s ParcGüell in Barcelona.
Lima is one of the more expensive destinations for digital nomads with a cost of living of around $1400-1500 a month.
Coworking Spaces / Cafes
When it comes to coworking spaces, an online search will reveal there are over 40 in this city. One of the most popular ones is Selina Lima, which gives digital nomads 24/7 access and a good WiFi speed of 40 – 100 Mbps.
Also, the trendy digital nomad friendly cafes and coffee shops seem to centre around Miraflores and Barranco. A popular one is Kulcafe for its reliable internet connection and delicious coffee.
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