If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my extensive travel in Central and South America, it’s that not all places are created equal. Sure, I might be able to get $10 dinners and $100 rent in Bolivia, but is it worth putting up with bad food, poor infrastructure and devastatingly slow Internet? On the contrary, I can get good food and fast Internet in Uruguay, but is it worth the high cost of living and relatively boring city life?
The bottom line is that no city is going to tick all your boxes. But some are going to do a better job than others.
In my experience, the four basic things that one considers before moving abroad are as follows: Safety, Climate, Food and Cost of Living. If he’s running an online business, add Internet to the list as number five.
In Latin America, it can be difficult to find a city that will satisfy these needs. You’ll often have to compromise on something, whether it’s the weather or – God forbid – your own security. I know I’ve had to on more than one occasion.
Fortunately, there are a few places that meet almost all of the requirements for being a single man’s paradise.
Here are my top 3 picks for the best cities in Latin America:
1) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Aptly known as The Magnificent City, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has just about everything you could ask for: dynamic nightlife, friendly people, warm weather year round, spectacular beaches and some of the sexiest people in the world. Seriously. You’ll see girls here that are so hot you’ll doubt they exist. Not only that, but they are also incredibly affectionate and easy-going – if a girl isn’t interested in you, she’ll normally at least give you the time of day, which is more than can be said for many countries. And, although getting girls isn’t quite as easy as those Brazilian stereotypes may have led you to believe, as long as you’re fun-loving, sociable and in decent shape, you shouldn’t have to spend too many nights alone – especially if you make an effort to learn a bit of Portuguese.
In addition to the friendliness, the lifestyle here is unbeatable. People value their leisure time and don’t let work get in the way. No matter where you live in Rio, you won’t be too far from the beach. And if you want to live like a local, you’ll probably be spending most of your spare time there. Also a great place to meet friends (and lovers).
But, perhaps the main thing that makes Rio de Janeiro number one on my list is the fact that the city itself is absolutely beautiful. Pictures don’t do it justice. And the enthusiasm and warmness of the people set against this sensational backdrop of sea and sand exudes positive vibes. I couldn’t imagine being depressed in this city.
What You’ll Have To Sacrifice: Cost of Living
Although I love this city, there is no denying that it is expensive. Really expensive by Latin American standards. Expect to pay up to three times more for electronic goods than you would in the United States, and the same or more for a dinner or night out on the town. If you want to enjoy life in Rio de Janeiro, you should be making $1500 a month. Minimum. Even then, you might find yourself having to live with roommates. In other words, get your money up if you want to date Brazilian girls on their own turf.
2) Buenos Aires, Argentina
Although not my first choice for the best place for a single man to live in Latin America, Buenos Aires is probably the best starting point for someone who isn’t familiar with the region. What you’ll find here is a fusion of Latin and European culture, and a standard of living with comparable levels of comfort and service to the United States or Western Europe.
The other main draw of Buenos Aires is that it is a relatively safe city with impressive architecture and low cost of living for expats. Also worth noting that if you like good steak and wine, you’ll be in heaven. There is a good cafe culture here too which means you can spend hours in peaceful cafes reading or working (something I value, and that many Latin American cities lack). The nightlife is top quality, but you’ll have to adjust to going out extremely late at night until extremely early in the morning. It’s not unusual for a night of drinking and dancing to end at 7am the next morning.
What You’ll Have to Sacrifice: Social life
Let me clarify what I mean by this. You’re not going to be disappointed in the people here – indeed, the men and women are some of the most beautiful on the continent! They are just a bit harder to get to know compared to many other cities in Latin America. Colombians and Brazilians are warm and welcoming, generally speaking. Argentines are not, generally speaking.
Meeting people almost exclusively oriented around social circles, meaning that if you are a single guy in a club rolling solo, it’s not going to be easy. But it won’t be impossible. I’d place it close to the same level of difficulty as the United States or Canada…which makes it among the harder countries to meet women in Latin America.
3) Medellin, Colombia
Although I have mixed feelings regarding Medellin, it still deserves third spot on the list. It’s true that its glory days – when there weren’t so many tourists – are a distant memory, but it is still a great city to set up shop for a while.
There are a few reasons for this.
First of all, the girls. There is no denying that there is a bounty of stunning women living in Medellin. The rumours are all true. Unfortunately, foreigners have gotten quite a bad reputation recently. You’ll basically be guilty until proven innocent in this regard, so be ready to put in some work. Second, it is a very manageable city. With only slightly over 2 million people, you’ll never feel overwhelmed here and in a few months you should know the city pretty well – it feels even smaller than it is. The downside of this is that things can get boring pretty fast. Third is the weather. Known as “The City of Eternal Spring,” it never gets too hot or too cold here. Finally, the cost of living is low – you can live a good life here for $800 a month and still enjoy most if not all of the amenities you are used to back home.
In a nutshell, although it gets a trifle dull after awhile, it’s always hard to argue with beautiful women, high quality of life, good weather and a low cost of living.
What You’ll Have to Sacrifice: Food
Colombia, while well known for breast implants, guerrilla warfare and Colombian neckties, is not known for its cuisine. It’s quite basic. Some corn products, some beans and rice, a few soups. That isn’t to say it isn’t good, it just gets old fast. Unfortunately there isn’t a huge selection of ethnic restaurants in the city either. If you’re a food snob, you might have a tough go of it here.
And there you have it. The three best cities in Latin America for the single man…but don’t take my word for it – come and check ‘em out for yourself!
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Thanks for listening,
Until next time.