Travel Tips

Published on January 5th, 2018 | by Mark Chesnut


The Top 3 Places to Live in Latin America

At lot of people dream about living somewhere else. Live and Invest Overseas, which provides information about living, retiring, and investing overseas, recently unveiled its list of the “Top 10 Best Places to Live Overseas in 2018.” And three Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America figure prominently in the rankings.

“We aren’t identifying the world’s top retirement havens. At least, these are not only the world’s top retirement havens right now,” said Kathleen Peddicord, author and publisher of Live and Invest Overseas. “These are simply the best places to be, regardless of your age or any other circumstances.”

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So whether you’re a Latin America travel addict or simply someone who dreams of starting a new life in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central or South America, check out these hot places to visit and live in Latin America. Here’s what Live and Invest Overseas has to say.

Cali, Colombia
Ranking an impressive number two in the top 10 (number one is Lisbon, Portugal), Colombia’s third largest city, with around 2.5 million inhabitants, “is not the city you imagine,” according to the report.

“First, it’s safe,” says Peddicord. “Second, it’s a bargain… largely because for so long the world has been too afraid to spend time or money here. This is beginning to change, as tourists and investors are realizing that Cali is not what they’ve been led to believe it is.”

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“Ignore the cautions and the historically negative press and come discover this pretty city where rents and much else can be 25 to 30 percent cheaper than in now much-better-known Medellín.”

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic scores high for international visits.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Coming in at number three is the capital of the Dominican Republic.

“Today, Santo Domingo, capital of the country with one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, is chasing a new prosperity,” says Peddicord. “The streets are lively, the harbor busy, and the city is the epicenter for tourism investment in this country. Recently opened are a JW Marriott and an Embassy Suites by Hilton. Under way are an Intercontinental [actually, it’s already open] and a Hard Rock Hotel, and Carnival is bringing a ship a day to Santo Domingo’s cruise dock.”

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All of this tourist growth is translating into impressive infrastructure improvements in and around the capital, as well as the continual development of new and better services, amenities, and conveniences. As a result, Santo Domingo is the most impressive Spanish-colonial city in the Americas now supported by all modern conveniences (everything from a new 911 service to new shopping malls, movie theaters, and five-star restaurants), making it a better place to think about spending time all the time.

Plus, the Dominican Republic offers the easiest and quickest residency and naturalization programs available anywhere. The country is rolling out the welcome mat for anyone interested in living here full time… or even becoming a full-fledged Dominican.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico
It’s no surprise that one of Mexico‘s hottest tourism destinations scores big on this list.

“These days Playa is thought to be home to over 10,000 foreigners —expats make up 7 percent of its total population, including many Europeans, Americans, Canadians, Argentinians, Venezuelans, and many more nationalities,” according to Peddicord.

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“Expats aside, there is a significant amount of ‘domestic immigration’ to Playa,” she adds. “Many Mexicans feel that this region of their country is one of the safest, so they come here to vacation or live with peace of mind. Plus, this coast is responsible for 30% of the country’s tourism income; the regional economy is stable and jobs are plentiful.”

Foreigners can work here too, making it an attractive destination for those needing or wanting to earn an income to help support their Playa adventures. We’ve known expats in Playa who own and operate bars, teach English, teach at or run schools, and manage real estate offices.

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Many are also raising families. This town is growing and has lots of niches to fill. The international school here was founded by expats who recognized that they and other expat parents needed a good option for education.

Playa’s population is incredibly eclectic for such a small town. Tourists, but also residents, are of all ethnicities and represent all parts of society. From young couples to retired couples, from families to groups of students, it seems to appeal everyone alike. It’s also a welcoming destination for the LGBT community, with several gay bars around town. Plus, nearly everyone in Playa seems to speak English.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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