Fees, restrictions and local bureaucracy can make planning a headache. If you're not prepared, you may end up paying more than you have to, find yourself in trouble with local authorities or even being barred from the country.
The good news is that Latin America isn't as harsh as some regions when it comes to allowing Americans to stay for extended periods of time.
That being said, there are many nuances that you MUST be aware of being heading south, especially if your plan is to stay longterm.
Times have changed. Latin America has changed. I've changed.
Cities in Central and South America have a tendency to go through ebbs and flows. A great city to live in today might not be a great one tomorrow.
Take Medellin for instance. In the early 2000s, this was the place to live in Latin America. If you were brave enough to venture down to recently drug-war torn Colombia, as one of the few foreigners, beautiful women would be throwing themselves at you as you enjoyed an incredibly low cost of living and year-round spring temperatures.
I know I know, I've beaten this topic to death, but two different emails this week got me thinking that maybe I've been approaching the subject the wrong way.
The gist first email went something like this. It was a rant and didn't merit a response.
Email 1: Hey Vance, based on your advice I went to Guanajuato in Mexico...and let me just say you are completely wrong! Girls in Mexico are far from easy. They are standoffish, impossible to get on dates, etc, etc.
Today I'll be talking about the best places to find a wife in Latin America...or at the very least, a serious girlfriend.
You see, as much as I like hooking up with and casually dating Latinas, I acknowledge that I'm getting a bit older and more mature (relatively, at least). And, as I'm sure many of you know, after reaching a certain number of notches, the whole chasing women just for the sake of it tends to turn to ash in your mouth.
I was finishing a lunch at KURA, a fancy Japanese spot in Colonia Roma Norte.
We were an eclectic group of patrons: an Egyptian girl, who originally moved to Mexico for her boyfriend and decided to stick around after they split, a Mexican woman with her own small advertising agency, my Japanese roommate, who worked at a bank, an American friend who sold security systems throughout Latin America and was based in Mexico City, and myself, a Canadian who no one really knew what the fuck was doing exactly...
Since about the mid-2000s or so, this South American nation began to skyrocket in popularity among tourists. What was once a no-go zone for travellers 10 short years before due to extreme rates of narco violence, terrorism and political instability, all of a sudden became a hotbed of drug and sex-craved backpackers.
It wasn't long before word got out about the beautiful women and their alleged preference for foreign men.