My Latin Life here to give you some insight into the cost of living in Latin America.
Using Expatistan, I’ve compared the cost of living between the most-searched-for major Central and South American cities on my website to help you decide where to live or travel in Latin America.
Let the showdown begin!
What Does It Cost To Live In Latin America?
Mexico City vs Lima
Mexico City vs Bogota
Bogota vs Panama City
Bogota vs Santo Domingo
Bogota vs Buenos Aires
Bogota vs Lima
Buenos Aires vs Santiago
Buenos Aires vs Lima
Buenos Aires vs Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro vs Santo Domingo
Rio de Janeiro vs Panama City
Rio de Janeiro vs Santiago
Ergo, based on the above data…
The Cheapest Major Cities To Live in Latin America Are
1) Mexico City (Tie)
1) Bogota (Tie)
3) Buenos Aires
6) Panama City
Problems With The Data
Although Expatistan is a reasonably accurate resource for cost of living, it can’t take into consideration the variables that come into play when living in certain Central and South American metropolises.
For instance, in Rio De Janeiro you will have to pay more for housing because it is too dangerous to live in lower/middle class areas. This is an absolute MUST for those unfamiliar with the city. Same goes, to a lesser extent, for Santo Domingo.
That’s going to bump your cost of living up considerably. For that reason, I’d put Rio de Janeiro above Panama as the most expensive city on the list.
In Panama City, Mexico City and Lima, you can get away with paying cheaper rent.
Also, you must consider currency fluctuations.
Panama City is more expensive because the dollar is reasonably strong. Buenos Aires is cheaper because Argentina is devaluing its peso. These things can change from year-to-year, or even month-to-month.
My Latin Life’s Personal Recommendations
If you want to have a nice, comfortable life in Latin America, you’re going to want to be hitting certain monthly figures of income.
In my opinion, here’s the minimum you should be making per month to enjoy life in each aforementioned city.
Bogota = $1500.00
Mexico City = $1500.00
Lima = $1600.00
Buenos Aires = $1800.00
Santo Domingo = $2000.00
Santiago = $2300.00
Panama City = $2500.00
Rio de Janeiro = $2600.00
My fast and loose calculations here are based on the assumption that you will be putting 33% or less of your monthly earnings toward rent.
It should never been less than this.
In each city, this percentage should be enough to get you into a one-bedroom apartment in a decent area of town.
Not the best one, mind you. But a decent one.
The corresponding level of income in each city should cover your costs and allow you to go out twice a week, assuming you’re not popping bottles like a gangbanger (the criminal kind, not the sexual kind).
And there you have it!
The cost of living in major Latin America cities.
I hope I’ve been able to help you out.
Keep in mind that my lifestyle may differ from yours – you could very well find that you personally need much more or much less than the above figures.
If you’ve recently visited and/or are living in one of the cities mentioned and think I have my calculations off, please let me know in the comment section!
Until next time,