Five Best Places to Retire in South America

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South America
is such an exceptionally vibrant continent, inhabited by passionate
people who live life to the full. As Lonely Planet puts it: “It’s
as though the continent was built for travel.” If you’re
currently exploring your global options in search of the best place
to retire, and you’re looking for a place where you can have
a low cost yet high quality living, South America is home to a handful
of nations that you might like to closely consider.

In recent years
many South American countries have experienced significant and sustained
economic growth, which has seen at least the quality of infrastructure
improve, if not the quality of life for many citizens. However,
there remains a significant gap between rich and poor across the
continent, and inflation can still be a serious issue which means
that you have to plan your retirement to South America carefully,
and do detailed research into which nation you could most comfortably
call home.

The potential
downsides of committing yourself to South America for the rest of
your life are relatively few however, as long as you learn the main
language of your chosen destination, (probably Spanish or possibly
Portuguese), you manage your money matters carefully, and you select
a town or location where there is the right balance between cultural
integrity and relative sophistication.

For retirees
it is critical that you explore your healthcare options before you
commit to relocation too – and so this will include you looking
at where you will be able to access any support or services you
could conceivably need in the future. Additionally you need to look
at affording ongoing healthcare insurance or services. Some expats
go uninsured – paying as they go for any treatment or care.
Others commit to an international policy which can be expensive,
but invaluable if you do decide to live off the beaten track and
therefore you put yourself in the position where you may need medical
evacuation one day in order to access treatment for example.

The decision
you will make will be determined by the nation you choose, the location
within that nation that you decide to call home, the facilities
available and your own budget. However, please do bear in mind this
one consideration when exploring South America for a place to call
home in retirement.

The other critical
issue you will need to think about as you travel or research is
whether you should be looking to live in a country and a location
where other expatriates have already set up home, or whether you
want to be a pioneer! Each alternative has its benefits…for
example, if you live in an expat enclave you will be able to make
friends fast and benefit from others’ experiences of setting
up a new life in a new country. However, if you decide to fully
integrate with the local people you will certainly be embracing
the local culture, and if this is why you’re retiring abroad,
it may be the level of experience you’re seeking.

Having covered
the basics for you to keep in mind when examining where in South
America you would like to retire, it’s time to look at what
are perhaps the five best places to retire in South America.

Brazil

Brazil is the
largest country in South America, and it’s Portuguese speaking
– which is perhaps the only main downside of this nation! Many
people state categorically that Portuguese is harder to learn than
Spanish – however, the good news is that many of the most popular
destinations with expatriate retirees are the more touristy resorts
on the country’s North Eastern coast where many people can
speak some English. What’s more, there are plenty of people
who happily live in Brazil and only pick up rudimentary language
skills.

Naturally enough,
if you want to get the most out of this incredible and vast country
with its rainforests and mountains, its plains and highlands, amazingly
exciting cities and beautiful resorts then you will need to embrace
the language – and you will really need to speak a decent level
of Portuguese if you decide you want to move away from the popular
resorts such as Natal or even Rio.

Geographically
speaking Brazil is exceptionally diverse, and this has a direct
effect on the country’s climate. Most of the country is tropical
– with many tourists and expatriates preferring the North East
for its consistently beautiful weather. Although, if you’re
seeking a more temperate balance then head much further south where
you will come across marked seasonal changes and even experience
frosts and occasional snowfall in the winter.

In terms of
where exactly to live in Brazil the choice is vast! You have the
international appeal and cultural accessibility of aforementioned
Natal – although there are those who say the resort has been
spoiled by over-development. You have the vibrancy of life in Rio
– but then you have high crime rates and a distinct divide
between very rich and very poor that’s evident in the city.

João
Pessoa is perhaps a good alternative for those seeking a balance
between sophisticated city living, tropical beach access, historical
and modern architecture, culture and entertainment, a relaxed pace
of life and an affordable cost of living. Or what about Búzios,
Valença or Paraty to name but three alternatives?

In truth, the
only way an expatriate will find the right home in Brazil is to
travel to and then across this stunning country. Whilst swathes
of the nation are considered inaccessible or inhospitable because
of the terrain for example, it is also a nation with so many choices
of wonderful cities, towns, villages and communities to call home.

Chile

Chile is certainly
not one of the most popularly considered countries in South America
for retirement by foreign citizens. It’s a country considered
for travel and adventure, even for student exchange programs and
teaching English as a foreign language jobs, however when you understand
just what Chile can offer you, it soon becomes an attractive place
to consider relocating to, particularly if you’re retiring
abroad on a budget and you want a quiet pace of life.

Chile has many
of the usually required and expected retirement abroad benefits
going for it – for example, it can be a very cheap place to
live very well. What’s more the people become quite welcoming
once they see you’re committing to the country and immersing
yourself in the language, and there are even decent health care
facilities in Santiago and all major cities – although you
will find that medical costs can run quite high if you go private.

You can find
space in Chile to build and make a home – you don’t need
to live in the crowded capital to feel safe or to integrate. Additionally
you can travel within your new nation as a retiree and benefit from
an exceptionally diverse landscape and never needing to go further
than your nation’s borders to find true adventure.

From the city
of Santiago to the seaside resort of Viña del Mar and the
island of Chiloé, from the stunning southern Andes to Patagonia
and the endless sands of the Atacama desert, Chile offers you beauty,
diversity, freedom and an exceptional life quality. Seeing is believing
however, and again, you’re strongly encouraged to visit the
nation before deciding where in Chile you want to make a permanent
home.

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the rest of the article

November
19, 2010

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