Where are the nomad hot spots in Central and South America?

I know it is not CA or SA but since a few people have mentioned it and I am here right now, the pacific coast of Mexico has some great destinations. I’m in Puerto Vallarta right now, great beach city destination, it is low season now so it is easy to find inexpensive housing (I’m in Gringo Gulch at the moment) and since I eat a lot of street food and buy from the local central market (PV has a great produce and meat market in the Centro downtown area near where I am staying) feeding myself is pretty cheap. Some great little cafes near Los Muertos Playa (one of the better beaches in PV).

Since the city is a tourist town, there is a lot to do, depending on how much money you want to spend, also English is spoke widely which is a bonus for me since my Spanish is very basic. I’m surprised the DN isn’t larger here, internet seems decent (where I am staying anyway) and if you get tired of a large city, many smaller beach towns are nearby, such as Sayulita (as mentioned in previous posts) to the north and Yelapa (only accessible by water taxi) to the south. My only other experience with Mexico has been the Mayan Riviera and although it is beautiful, I did not enjoy my time there, since it was expensive (in comparison to the Pacific coastal region anyway), over run by drunken foreign tourists and very aggressive local hawkers.

Just from Medellin, American tourist killed when his cab was intercepted by thieves

Everyone - including locals - get robbed in Medellin. Just plan on it. Be smart. But some huge camera… Will be an easy target.

My assistant there wouldn’t let me use my phone in her car, if we hitting lights in the city. ESPECIALLY if my window was down.

She would dart into stores to call me when we were meeting.

But I never really heard of anyone getting hurt.

I felt the same in Medellin. To be honest if you travel to latin america you are looking for trouble. And i was born there :slight_smile:

Time to share my experiences, hope its gonna help a nomad one day :slight_smile:

Cusco / Cuzco Peru:
Beautiful City but very, very touristy. I had to leave after two weeks because I couldnt stand the “massage, massage” anymore. Otherwise very nice, cheap, good restaurants and some hotels (eg. Chakana House) offer rooms with good Wifi and work desk too. At the same time the wifi in Cafes isnt reliable. A big plus: It’s the base for Maccu Picchu visits, a once in a life time experience. Oh, and there is a healthy Gringo-Nightlife with unhealthy cheap drinks.

La Paz, Bolivia:
Very cheap, very exhausting, very interesting. There’s no city like La Paz, the view is really bizarre. But Internet is bad, its loud and busy and the high and cold is exhausting. I had no energy left for hard working there.

Coroico, Bolivia:
Laidback, calm village near La Paz with some touristy infrastructure and a beautiful, cheap “resort” with apartements (Hostal Sol y Luna). Best for some inspirational brainstorming and creative planning at nearly no living costs. Internet sucks, bring your own dongle (go for Tigo 4g LTE). And a lot of bug repellent.

Sucre, Bolivia:
I love this city. It’s not only incredible cheap, the city is relaxed and beautiful, there are excellent restaurants and hotels, the weather is fine and you even can find some cafes with OK internet (e.g. Condor Cafe). Maybe no hardcore gaming, but well enough to work with SAAS-stuff. Best is to get a dongle (Tigo, 4G LTE). For longer stays: Some really nice apartements are avaible too. Somebody just needs to open a coworkingspace with fast internet and this is gonna be the place to be :smile:


A 60 yr old American tourist was murdered here recently. But he was followed from his expensive hotel in the Poblado and set up - so it wan’t guy walking down the street stuff. Oh…also he wouldn’t give them his wallet, so they shot him. That is just dumb. Carry a few bucks in your wallet and stash everything somewhere else.

@seojeff Nobody has to kill you, either if you go to your mansion in el poblado or to the slum. If you travel to latin america you have to be aware of the risks. This is not europe or SEA. Sh*t really happens in this region.

In Medellin now. Apparently this did not worry me. Staying in Envigado - so it is pretty tame.

How is your internet in Nicaragua? I lived there in 2008 and my internet went out all the time (satellite only) and the power went out for hours every day. This was north of León.

Caye Caulker is amazing but crappy internet. I have a flight to Belize in January so I will let you gusy know if the internet situation is any different these days.

I’m from Guayaquil, Ecuador and can confirm this.
I’ve visited the Galapagos archipelago, the jungle, the many natural reserves, and driven through most of the Andes volcanoes and towns, as well as the coastal beaches.
It’s really beautiful and way above many south american countries. I lived in Chile for a year, and have been to various countries in Latin America and Ecuador is among the most beautiful. If you like ecotourism and wifi, most lodges in TripAdvisor/AirBnb will accommodate.
Using dollars makes things way easier, and I think Cuenca came out as #1 for expats to live in.
I can definitely help out with tips for anyone willing to visit.

Some links:

  1. http://internationalliving.com/why-cuenca-is-the-best-city-in-the-world-to-retire-to/
  2. http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20150214-living-in-the-worlds-best-cities-for-expats
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We’ve been in Panama and Costa Rica for 4 weeks. Panama city – noisy big city, some parts are sketchy but you will probably not go there, internet was good. Bocas del Toro – you get good 3g coverage on the main island and nearby, lots of tourists and a good vibe, internet was pretty good too. Boquete – lots of expats, many people speak English here. Some pretty awesome jungle hikes. Then we moved to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Good internet as well, 3g coverage exists but Kolbe ICE was quite slow for us (never more than 2Mbps). City is very touristy and the most expensive on our whole trip. Beatiful beaches and very good national park though. Also, you can surf on Playa Espadilla which is cool. Now we’re in La Fortuna / Volcan Arenal area. A bit like Boquete, but more expensive, less expats more tourists. Kolbe is even more slow here than in Manuel Antonio, hotel WiFi not more than 2Mbps down / 1 Mbps up.

To summarize, Costa Rica more green and touristy and expensive than Panama. Internet speeds outside of big cities generally leave much to be desired (well, I guess you can find 10 Mpbs channel in La Fortuna but it will be hard), but you can get ~2 Mbps on 3g in most places you’d like to stay at. And rainy season is actually good time to visit – it rains just a little not the whole day and there are much much less tourists and it’s not so awfully hot.

I would like to go to South/Central America for 3 months starting in March 2016.
I am looking for a place where I can do the following:

I would like to surf in the morning, work during the day (good internet) and dance salsa at night.

Do you have any recommendations/advice/tips where I should go? :smile:

Thanks a lot,

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I am currently checking out Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for the same thing minus surfing (I wanted to free dive). I had an opportunity to help out a business for a few months and flew out to check it out. I booked a place for 9 days and wanted to leave by the third day. The internet is crappy. The water has no sea animals since the coral reef is dead (dead seaweed washes up on the beach every morning) and they only have bachata.

I didn’t do much research and am now looking at another place to fly to right now. I am using https://nomadlist.com/ as a base for research.

I am thinking of checking out:
Caye Caulker a small island of Belize - supposedly has 30 mbps
Playa Del Carmen - might be too touristy for me
& Sayulita, Mexico

My internet is crappy so I can’t do much research. :frowning:

I’ll let you know which one I checked out.

Let me know where you are thinking of moving to in March 2016. I am moving April 2016.

We were in Punta Cana for a few weeks in December. We weren’t thrilled with it either. I suppose it’s fun if you stay in one of the all inclusive resorts on vacation, but outside of that bleh.

The beaches are dirty/private/over loaded with touts and boats.

The internet sucks everywhere…

The food is awful. Everyone around kept raving about Outback Steak House for gods sake… The one exception just north was Delicias de Bavaro, local place super cheap and super tasty.

Ping me in Slack if you want some more info before you leave PC.

Hey @bastianernst,
Not sure if you did but you should check out this thread: Any good coworking + surfing locations?.
About your question, you could check out the area of Cartagena / Barranquilla / Puerto Colombia in Colombia as it seems like it could fit your criteria of Salsa and Wifi. The surf spots will be a little hard to find though, and the surfing conditions aren’t good throughout the year so that’s not a great point.
This said, the surf is good in Montanita and on that coast in Ecuador.
Hope this helps,


The reasons I am leaving the US are to:

  1. Make my money go further
  2. Surround myself with location independent entrepreneurs
  3. Experience new cultures

Right now, the 3 main cities I am considering are Medelln, Ho Chi Minh, and Chiang Mai. It seems like you have lived in both Medellin and SE Asia, so I was wondering if you have any advice for me?

My monthly income will be around $800-1300, and I have a bit saved up as well…


Would you recommend Thailand (Chiang Mai) or Medellin for a first time DN?

I’m looking for:

  1. Community of DN entrepreneurs
  2. Quality of life (on approximately 1000 USD/month)
  3. Cool experiences

… in that order.

If it is the community that matters most to you, and the bank for your buck - I’d do for Chiang Mai, as people say it is the “capital of the world for digital nomads”. I haven’t really seen any “Community” in Medellin, even after having searched for 2-3 months, there are people though, but not that many. Chiang Mai will be a lot cheaper too.
Just use Nomadlist data and it’ll confirm what I’m telling you…
I haven’t lived in Chiang Mai yet (I’m in HCM at the moment), but I can tell you that both will probably have a very distinct vibes. Medellin was incredible - that’s for sure!

You should come to Uruguay and visit: Punta del Este, Montevideo, Colonia, Salto.
More info about the country: