To start, I'd like to say welcome to the site!
I'm glad you're here and I hope I can help.
Although this is primarily a site about Latin America, I also touch on other subjects. A bit further down below I've separated the content of the site into sections to make it easier to find what you are looking for.
WHY DID I CREATE MY LATIN LIFE?
My motivation was simple: a comprehensive travel website for men interested in Central and South America didn't exist.
I know this because I spent weeks trying to find one.
Expat forums didn't cut it - I was too young to relate.
So after many, many months of travel, taking notes and making observations, I created a resource.
Is it the best one out there?
I think so.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
If you're just interested in knowing about a specific city, you can start with my city guides. There are about 80 of them. There is a good chance that whatever city you want to visit will have a corresponding guide.
The blog articles as they appear on the homepage don't follow any particular order - when I think of something to write about, I write about it. Only my 10 most recent posts appear on the homepage. If you'd like to scroll through my blog posts chronologically, from newest to oldest, navigate to the blog page.
If you want an overview of what we talk about here, below are some categories to make things a bit easier to navigate.
Resources And Recommendations
Still Can't Find What You Need?
Here's an archive of the 30 most-recent posts on My Latin Life:
And now for something slightly different.
I don't usually write about things that are easy to find on TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet.
One, because I'll never beat them in Google, and two, because the kind of information asked on those sites is generally easy to find in 100s of other places on the Internet.
But when I Googled "best/interesting markets in Lima" today, what popped up was, frankly, wrong...
I will likely be heading down to Peru again in February or March.
As some of you may recall, this wasn’t my original plan.
In 2018, the idea was to choose a place to settle and stop this nomadic shit.
But, alas, I was playing with a bit of business while I was in Lima...
No one is ever going to entirely agree on a "safest cities" list.
First of all, it's hard to get a read on these things. Official crime statistics simply can't be trusted in Latin America. I raise my eyebrows in amusement when journalists claim that Mexico City has a lower murder rate than cities like Washington D.C or Boston, erroneously assuming that Mexican law enforcement agencies report murder rates with the same accuracy as American law enforcement agencies. Also, many people in Central and South America don't bother to report crimes such as robbery (or, in some cases, even murder) because they either don't trust law enforcement, or they know that law enforcement is so inefficient that the perpetrators are unlikely to ever be caught anyway.
Second, personal experience tends to color perception.
Hola mi gente!
This post is for those of you that are looking to spend some time in the Colombian capital.
One of the most frustrating things about heading to a new country for a short or long term stay is finding an ideal place to live; the rush and excitement of arriving in a new place is quickly moderated by the reality of needing to hustle to find an apartment, unless of course you're comfortable paying for an overpriced Airbnb or living in a hotel for months on end.
I'm here to help make the process a bit easier.
Latin America has pumped out some great films.
Unfortunately, because of the region's less-than-impressive movie making past, many of these masterpieces have gone unnoticed. Historically, Argentina has been the leader in Latin filmmaking, followed closely by Brazil and Mexico, but recently other countries have been producing some phenomenal cinema, suggesting a promising future for the industry in the Latin America.
Watching movies is an excellent way to get a feel for the history, culture or atmosphere of a place; I'm always impressed at how a good film...
What originally drove me to live in Latin America wasn't the sex, sun and salsa. Rather, it was a fascination with the politics, culture and society in this part of the world.
My interest started in university with a socioeconomics course. Insufferable Marxist indoctrination aside, it was an engaging class and responsible for igniting my enthusiasm for Latin America. I probably never would have bothered to take the jump to live in LATAM if I hadn't taken the class.
Credit where credit's due.
As you can probably tell, I've been on a "business in Latin America" kick lately.
Today I'll be talking about what I deem the most suitable countries for anyone looking to start a business south of the border.
But before I get into all that, a few comments about how I determined the rankings:
Welcome to Part 5 of my e-commerce in Latin America series. Parts 1-4 covered how to get your store up and running, how to market your store and whether you should use dropshipping or private label goods.
But none of that means shit unless people are buying your stuff.
The good news is that, if you've followed parts 1-4 of the series, you should know whether you have a viable product for your market.
The bad news is that, when it comes to online shopping, it's much more difficult to bridge the gap between interest and the sale in this part of the world.
Allow me to explain.
Welcome to part 4 of my series on E-Commerce in Latin America. Today I’ll be talking about whether or not you should do dropshipping or private label if you plan to open an online store down here.
For those unfamiliar with these terms as they relate to e-commerce, let me break it down in layman’s terms for you.
Dropshipping – Dropshipping is when the retailer (you) doesn’t keep stock but rather forwards customer orders and shipping information to a manufacturer or wholesaler who ships the customers order directly to them.
The easiest execution of a dropshipping store is through Shopify, Obrelo and AliExpress.
It works like this.
You guessed it: another instalment in the E-Commerce series. Although this is Part 3, it really should be Part 1. After all, before you attempt to start any business, you should first make sure people want what you’re offering.
Fortunately, the Internet has made it easy to do this. Many of you may already be familiar with the idea of testing the demand of a product you aren’t selling yet by driving traffic to a sales page to gauge interest and telling any customers that want to buy your product that you’re ‘sold out’. Based on how many inquiries you get, you’ll have an idea if it’s a viable product or not.
This is a commonly-used strategy for hopeful entrepreneurs in the United States, Europe, Australia etc., but hasn’t quite caught on in LATAM.
Hello again! It's been awhile.
This is the second instalment of a series that will discuss running an e-commerce business in Latin America.
Part 1 is here: How To Start An E-Commerce Business In Latin America
The first post talked about the things you'll need to get your online store up and running, such as an appropriate niche, a platform like Woo Commerce or Shopify, payment gateways etc.
This post will talk about how you should approach marketing after your store goes live. After all, before people can buy from you, they have to know that you exist.
If you want to reside in Latin America, you'll need to find a way to make money.
The vast majority of foreigners down here will make their living doing one of the following things:
1) Teaching English
2) Working for a multinational corporation
3) Freelancing from their computers
It makes sense. These are the only immediately apparent options for expats south of the border who aren't citizens of their adopted country.
But unfortunately, these aren't always ideal work situations.
So, what do you do if you want make money in Central or South America as a foreigner, but aren't interested in any of the above options?
One of the biggest hurdles of living in Latin America is finding good accommodation.
Most travellers opt for Airbnb - after all, it's one of the most convenient ways to find a short/long term rental in almost any Central or South American city, and its terms and services protect both owner and tenant from any unexpected issues that may arise.
But, unfortunately, it's not the cheapest option. Airbnb rentals are usually...
It's July of 2017.
Thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets to protest President Maduro's increasingly oppressive rule and general incompetence. Mass inflation, food shortages and violent crime have seen the leader's approval rating plummet to about 20%.
Clearly, most Venezuelans think it's time for a regime change.
But how is it that - in a country that has been suffering so long, with many angry, gun-owning citizens - Maduro is able to hold on to power?
Hey there gang!
I've got some time, so I thought I'd put together a fun little post outlining some of the items I pack to go to Latin America.
Around 2012/2013 I threw out, sold or donated most of my stuff. Since then I've adopted somewhat of a minimalist lifestyle. I'd say about 90% of what I own, I travel with. The other 10% stays in storage in Canada, and consists mostly of things that hold sentimental value.
These days, instead of buying more things, I just replace the things that I already have when they break or break down. I'm conscious of never unnecessarily increasing my personal belongings.
I'm happier this way.
For this reason...
One thing that is not entirely clear to travellers who have never been to Mexico is whether or not you can get by in the country without Spanish.
Considering its proximity to the United States, one might expect that everyone here will be able to handle themselves in English.
For better or for worse, this isn't true.
I've been doing some thinking.
More like some re-thinking.
I'm not sure this digital nomad thing is for me.
You see, it was never my intention to work from the Internet without a permanent residence. But after...
Today, we'll be comparing Bogota with Lima. I'm going to help you figure out which city is better suited to your needs, tastes and desires.
I'll be using my tried and true breakdown of the following things a man looks for in a city...
As much as I try to forget, the first time I had sex will always be burned in my memory.
It was around a decade ago. I was in high school (late bloomer) and I got a summer job working on a corn farm. I'd wake up at the crack of dawn, harvest corn until noon and then deliver it to various produce stands around the city.
Mikaela worked at one of these stands. She was a year older than me and went to the high school across town. About 5'7", long blonde hair and brown eyes. Thin as a twig but somehow was blessed with an ass that disobeyed gravity...
Hola, mi gente!
Today is another city-comparison post. In this instalment, I'll be helping you decide if you should travel to Lima ("The City Of Kings") or Quito ("The Light of America").
Here are the others in case you missed 'em...
I have a fun game for you to try.
Ask any Latin American what they think of Peruvian girls.
"Feas", they'll say.
That means ugly.
Ask fellow foreigners and you'll find the responses polarizing.
Some love them, and some hate them.
So, what's the deal?
You have some free time on your hands.
Maybe you're taking a vacation from work. Maybe you've just graduated university. Maybe you've just retired.
You want to take a vacation. You've always been interested in South America.
But where should you start?
If you spend enough time in Latin America, you're going to meet a lot of Venezuelans. Men and women alike are leaving the country due to the country's ongoing crisis, starting new lives everywhere from Santiago, Chile to Miami, Florida.
Because the country has basically been a no-go zone for travellers the past 10 years, relatively little has been written about Venezuelan girls. Sure, we all know that they are famous for being beauty queens, but what are they like? Are they sweet? Standoffish? Sensual?
Here are my observations.
NOTE: And yes, I know...
Ladies and gentlemen, my time in Lima is drawing to a close.
And I'm here to tell you what I think.
It's taken me a long time to form a coherent opinion about living in this city - at first, I didn't know what to make of it. And upon arriving I made no secret of the fact that I had my doubts about Lima.
But after nearly 6 months in Peru's capital, I think I've finally figured the place out.
What follows will be a loosely-organized collection of my thoughts on what it's like to live in Lima. By the end of the article you should have a very clear idea whether or not this is a place you'd like to check out.
Let's get it going.
You may have seen some crazy shit on the Internet recently about Venezuela.
Mass protests, moves by President Maduro to rewrite the constitution and, of course, the perpetual food and medical shortages, crime waves and violence.
So, how did all this happen to a country that was once among the richest in Latin America?
A lot of people ask me, "yo Vance, what are the best songs for improving my Spanish?"
Actually, no one has ever asked me that.
But I'm going to do a post on it anyway.
But before getting started, there are two things you should keep in mind about this list:
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having a crew to hangout with, hit the bars with and bounce shit off of, but I am also very comfortable with being alone.
I've always been that way.
Working from my computer and living in countries where people don't speak my native tongue has only amplified this kind of independence - it's undoubtedly harder to meet people now than it was when I was working an office job and living in Canada (though this blog has helped).
As a result, I often have to go out to bars and clubs solo. And after much trial and error, I think I've finally figured out how to do it without looking like a rapist or serial killer.
My journey to Spanish competency has been long and tumultuous. It started with Spanish classes in Mexico (which I promptly quit after just a week), then moved on to audio courses (most of which I slept through) and finally to Latin music and telenovelas, with which I finally began making some progress.
Initially, my goal was simple: learn Spanish to meet women. But it took me months of stumbling through learning methods before I was finally able to hold down a basic conversation on a discotec dance floor (discotec is Spanish for "nightclub," by the way).
If only I had discovered a course tailored to my *ahem* ultra specific needs at the time, I would have saved myself a lot of fruitless effort, valuable time and money.
Bring in El Conquistador's Pickup Spanish course.
"Things are going really well for me," he said, sipping his coffee. "I'm making around $2000 a month!"
John was from Texas. He had moved down to a small, touristy town in Central Mexico about 10 years back, and was now working as a tour organizer/driver, transporting Americans and Canadians around to various historical and cultural sites in the region. He was about 50 years old.
Wow, I thought. You could live like a king in Mexico on $2000 a month.
Through John, I was able to meet a number of foreigners living in this Mexican city.
There was George...
So, I'm in a bit of a dilemma: I don't know where to go next.
In a few months' time I'll be leaving my base in Lima and heading back to Canada for a wedding. After that, my plans are wide open.
And I can't seem to shake the idea of Asuncion.