Best Cities for Digital Nomads in Latin America
As jobs continue to shift online and our new offices consist of nothing more than a laptop, the digital nomad lifestyle has taken off, allowing workers to work from anywhere. Many choose to take the opportunity to travel part-time or full-time, or relocate to places with better weather and a more affordable lifestyle.
For those looking to get a start as a digital nomad – especially those that have to work in the same time zone as Canada or the United States – Latin America is both an affordable and convenient option.
While Latin America has countless offerings for digital nomads when it comes to lifestyle, affordability, and travel, these are some of the top and up-and-coming hubs for digital nomads in the region.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires is my personal dream digital nomad hub in Latin America – and the large number of digital nomads that flock to the city must agree. I lived in Buenos Aires for about 6 months and have been back several times since – to say I loved my time there is an understatement. It is a bustling city that seems like a combination of New York, Paris, and Latin American flare combined in an indescribable way.
Check out my Ultimate Digital Nomad Guide to Buenos Aires for an extremely thorough overview!
As a major cosmopolitan city, you’ll meet plenty of people from every part of the world, and representing every industry, and it is quite easy to make friends and socialize. There is also a large number of coworking spaces – check out Urban Station or La Huerta.
I would recommend Buenos Aires to those who are considering digital nomad Latin America life but perhaps haven’t traveled much in Latin America before: the city has a European feel and is distinct from other large cities in the region.
There is also a huge café culture, more than I’ve experienced in other Latin American cities, which makes it perfect for switching up your work spot from day to day.
Cost of living: $500-1000 per month
Big city living: everything you could want to do is right at your fingertips;
Fast and widely-available internet;
High inflation in the Argentine Peso (while obviously not a positive for locals) means that foreigners are able to live comfortably at a very low cost;
There are a lot of travel destinations close by, including the region home to Malbec wine in Mendoza, Argentina, and just a short ferry ride across the river are Uruguay’s famed beaches, some of the most beautiful in South America.
Buenos Aires is surprisingly quite far from even other South American capitals – Rio de Janiero is a 3-hour flight, and Santiago, Chile is 2.5 hours – not to mention the States or Europe. Flights to Miami are 9.5 hours!
It gets quite cold in the winter (which is June-August as it is in the Southern Hemisphere);
A very meat-heavy diet makes it more challenging for vegetarians – though it is still possible!
I called Quito, Ecuador home for two years, so I definitely feel I have a lot to share about living in Ecuador. Quito is an incredible, breathtaking city with so much to offer – even after two years there, I can’t wait to get back.
Check out my Ultimate Digital Nomad Guide to Living in Ecuador for an extremely thorough overview!
Ecuador is an up-and-coming place for digital nomads, but as a major city Quito offers the amenities that digital nomads are looking for, including a slew of trendy new cafes and a growing number of co-working spaces like Impaqto. You’ll find everything you need and more in Quito.
Ecuador is an incredibly compact country, making travel to the beach, in the Andes mountains, or the Amazon rainforest possible for a weekend trip. The travel opportunities are endless, and after traveling throughout Latin America extensively I can say mainland Ecuador (often passed over by travelers on the way to the Galapagos) is one of Latin America’s gems.
Cost of Living: $700-1000 per month
The cost of living in Quito can easily be kept quite low (lower than estimated above – as an expat I spent around $400-500 a month living on a budget);
Big city amenities – cafes, restaurants, malls, international airport;
Ecuador has so incredible travel opportunities, so being based in the capital offers benefits for travel in the area and across Latin America;
There are a moderate and growing number of long-term transplants and digital nomads;
You can take inexpensive Spanish lessons at some of Quito’s many Spanish schools (and the Ecuadorian accent is a very favorable accent for language learners).
Imported goods can be expensive, such as any tech products or brands of food or toiletries from home;
Quito is not very walkable and it will take some time to adjust to public transport;
The internet speed is moderate, though getting faster. In most parts of the city, it won’t be an issue for you.
In the south of Ecuador located in the Andes is Cuenca, another colonial gem smaller and slower-paced than Quito. Cuenca is known in Ecuador and around the world to be a hub for expats and retirees that choose the city for its affordable and plentiful amenities and perfect year-round weather. It is a beautiful city with an incredible colonial center definitely worth sticking around in.
While Cuenca is a bit more expensive than Quito due to the larger number of foreigners, it offers a lot for those looking to set up base as digital nomads including good internet speed, fun activities and plentiful nearby travel opportunities, and plenty of expats and digital nomads from all around the world to mix with.
Mexico City, Mexico
While Mexico City may be one of the world’s largest cities, it is also one of the world’s greatest for its incredible culture, food, people, and the endless opportunities the city offers.
As one of Latin American’s most thriving digital nomad hubs, there are plenty of opportunities to grow professionally while experiencing all that Mexico City has to offer. As a major international city, the internet is great, too, and its proximity to the United States and Canada can be helpful for digital nomads with connections there.
Oh, and did we mention the travel potential from being based in Mexico City? It allows you easy access to the beaches on either coast of the country, as well as the countless picturesque cities in the interior of the country like Guanajuato, Puebla, and San Miguel de Allende. You’ll also enjoy the rich history of Mexico, including exploring Aztec ruins, colonial churches, and much more.
Cost of Living: $800-1200 per month
Mexico City is one of Latin American’s largest digital nomad and expat community hubs, representing all industries – you’ll have plenty of opportunities for networking and making friends here;
It can be quite inexpensive to set up in Mexico City when seeking out low-cost and local food options and rentals outside of the trendiest neighborhoods;
Mexico City has everything you could ever want and more, including tons of cultural highlights;
Mexico City is massive, and at times can be hard to navigate;
Costs can quickly rise if you don’t keep a budget and stick towards trendier parts of the city or eating out a lot;
Pollution is bad, and city crowds can be overwhelming for those not used to living in a city.
Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum
While Mexico City is Mexico’s digital nomad hub, there are a variety of smaller cities that are attracting digital nomads these days as well. Some of Mexico’s picturesque cities in the center of the country, like Oaxaca, have many of the same amenities as Mexico City but are much more relaxed.
A popular Pacific coast destination is Puerto Vallarta – check out this ultimate Puerto Vallarta digital nomad guide for more about the growing digital nomad scene here.
Beach towns like Playa del Carmen and Tulum also have increasing digital nomad and expat populations and, of course, the incredible draw of the incredible beaches. Isn’t it the digital nomad dream to get some work done from a Tulum beach club, or fish taco shack by the sand?
Tulum can get a bad rap for being a party destination, or just for young travelers, but I known plenty of digital nomads with families, or even those who just aren’t interested in the party scene, who have enjoyed their time here, too. If you know where to look, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly Tulum options for accommodations, eating out, and activities.
Antigua, Guatemala might not be the major hub for digital nomads like Mexico City or Medellin, but it is an up-and-coming digital nomad hotspot in a much more relaxed and smaller city than some of the others on this list. Antigua is the beautiful colonial center of Guatemala and provides a gorgeous backdrop for work and travel – check out this Guatemala itinerary for an idea of all the things to see and do in this incredible country!
There is also a good availability of workspaces in the city such as cafes and coworking spaces – check out Impact Hub – if you’re not interested in working from home all the time.
Cost of Living: $750-1000 per month
Antigua is a smaller city, so you won’t feel so confined and have more space to spend time outdoors exploring;
The city is very affordable and has plenty of activities and nearby travel destinations.
The internet speed in Antigua can be moderate or decent, but isn’t blazing fast;
Not as many amenities as a larger city, though it is located close to the capital;
As one of the major tourist hubs of Guatemala, there are a lot of things targeted towards foreign visitors. This can be a plus, as it means you’ll have some things you’ll likely be craving from home, but it also means that your cost of living can rise quickly if you’re not careful.
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Another up-and-coming location for long-term travelers and digital nomads in Guatemala is the highlands, especially in the Lake Atitlan area and surrounding cities like Panajachel, San Pedro, and San Marcos. The small cities surround the lake are all very different and make for some great places to explore.
It is important to note that internet speed is generally moderate at best, and with smaller towns around the lake there are less city amenities than you may be used to in larger digital nomad hubs. However, if you’re looking for a smaller and more tranquil area to spend time as a digital nomad, and at a much lower cost, Lake Atitlan may be the perfect place to try.
Medellin is a city that has been totally transformed in the past few decades, and is now considered one of the major hubs for digital nomads in Latin America. A few years ago I spent two months living in Medellin, so I can attest to it being an incredible place to spend time – I feel like I just scratched the surface of all there is to do there.
Part of what makes Medellin so attractive for so many digital nomads is its combination of the things you’ll need to work online, like a strong internet connection and plenty of coworking spaces – check out Selina or Semilla Cafe Coworking – and cafes as well as things to do outside of work. The big city amenities you can find here are also quite affordable for a major city, setting it apart for nomads.
Medellin is also perfectly located in the center of Colombia to reach the beach for a weekend trip (don’t miss Cartagena, Colombia!), the capital of Bogotá, and nearby the majority of the country’s coffee plantations, all making for some incredible trips.
Cost of Living: $650-950 per month
Medellin has fast internet speeds, and internet is widely available;
As a true hub of digital nomads in Latin America, there are endless opportunities to meet other travelers and expats, and many coworking spaces to help you do so;
The low cost of living and the accessibility of amenities make the city ideal.
While safety in Medellin has come a long way, some areas of the city can be unsafe. Regardless of which area you’re in, take care when walking outside at night;
Having so many amenities at your fingertips also means that costs can build up quickly if you live in a nicer area and only frequent spaces targeted towards foreigners rather than locals.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for being a Latin American country that has long attracted expats and retirees from around the world for its beautiful beaches, pleasant weather, and tranquility. There are so many things to do in Costa Rica and places to explore that you could easily spend weeks or months here without getting bored. But what is it like for a digital nomad? It depends what lifestyle you’re looking for!
There are many smaller towns in Costa Rica that also are home to long-term travelers or transplants from countries around the world, making pinning down a singular hub for digital nomads in Costa Rica challenging. However, as the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose offers the greatest array of amenities that make it easy to adjust to digital nomad life.
For those looking for small town digital nomad hubs, make sure to check out the beach towns of Tamarindo, Santa Teresa, and Puerto Viejo.
While San Jose is not as picturesque as many of the other cities on this list, it offers a ton of attractions, restaurants, cafes, and coworking places – Selina San Jose is a great option! – to make it stand out. It is also conveniently centrally located for other travel and weekend trips.
Cost of Living: $1100-1700 per month
Proximity to the beach and jungle are attractive and provide a high quality of life;
San Jose has tons of amenities you’d expect in a major city, but at a more relaxed pace than larger cities on this list.
The cost of living in Costa Rica can be relatively high, especially in comparison to other countries in Latin America;
Many foreigners prefer the smaller towns in Costa Rica that are closer to the ocean or jungle, though it can be harder to find concentrated expat or digital nomad communities there.