7 Of The Top Places US Expats Are Living In Latin America And Why
More and more Americans are choosing to live aboard and while currently an estimated 6.32 million Americans, according to the U.S. State Department, are living overseas, in approximately 160 different countries throughout the world, many of the most popular countries are located just south of the border.
A new interactive map by the United Nations Population Division shows where Americans, and other foreign nationals, are living aboard. For many Americans, Latin America is an easy choice for multiple reasons. The first reason is, it’s close. With many countries just a short flight, or even drive, away, getting to and from these countries is easy and affordable so visiting home to see family and friends or take care of any business is simple. The pleasant climates and affordability also make Central and South American enticing options for Americans looking to live aboard.
1. Mexico With an estimated 849,000 Americans, Mexico is the number 1 place that Americans go when they leave the U.S. Relocating to Mexico is easy. It’s close, there are plenty of other expats, and in many parts of the country that infrastructure is great with top notch health care, U.S. franchises and brand names that many Americans recognize, and the lifestyle is affordable. Despite the U.S. influence, Mexico has retained a strong sense of culture than many Americans enjoy while living aboard. And, probably the number 1 selling point, it’s close. Flights are frequent and affordable and for many Americans, it’s only a short drive across the border.
2. Ecuador In the past Ecuador was always just behind Panama as an expat haven but in recent years, its unrivaled beauty and very affordable living has put Ecuador in the number 2 slot. With 39,000 Americans living in Ecuador, its popularity is continuing to grow. Affordable, quality health care in the major cities and constantly improving infrastructure and just a few of the reasons that Americans are looking at Ecuador as their home away from home.
3. Costa Rica Named the world’s happiest country in 2009 and 2012’s Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica has been an expat epicenter for years. With one of the best public health care systems in the world, a slow pace of life, an incredibly high standard of living, and a great residency pension program for retirees with just $1,000 a month income, Costa Rica is an ideal spot for Americans living aboard. The local Costa Rican populations, Ticos, are welcoming and friendly and the overall vibe of the country is laid back with healthy life-style choice like yoga and organic foods readily available.
4. Panama For years Panama has been a convenient and affordable place for Americans to live aboard thanks to several international airports, a dollarized economy, widely spoken English and an almost unrivaled residency plan that allows many Americans to establish residency in a simple and affordable manner. Panama’s variety and value can hardly be rivaled by other Latin American countries with its quaint mountain cities, laid-back beach towns and bustling capital city.
5. Guatemala The man draw for the 8,000 Americans living in Guatemala is its rich culture. Known as the Land of Eternal Spring many Americans choose Guatemala due to its less crowded feel and its affordability where expats can live comfortably off just $1,500 a month. Real estate in Guatemala is also much more affordable than its neighboring Central American countries and much of the country enjoys a mild climate with warm days, cool nights, and almost no humidity.
6. Nicaragua Home to two of the Western Hemisphere’s most ancient cities, Granada and Leon, Nicaragua is rich in both history and culture. With only 4,000 Americans living in Nicaragua, it is less developed and less discovered than its neighbors, Costa Rica, Panama, and Guatemala. But, this stunning landscape and incredibly affordable real estate is sure to see Nicaragua gaining popularity as a great place for Americans to live aboard.
7. Belize Thanks to a British colonial history, English is the official language of Belize making living here as an American very easy. Stunning natural beauty, warm waters home to the world’s second largest barrier reef, and a stable economy are all major selling points for the 3,000 Americans living Belize and surely, in a short amount of time, more will follow.