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

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:

Hey…sorry for the late reply. I missed this.

I actually haven’t been to chiang mai (lived in Phuket), but still have an idea of how it’ll likely be.

Here’s my answer :slightly_smiling:

  1. Community of DN entrepreneurs - that hands down goes to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is arguably the biggest, or at least most populated DN spot in the world.

  2. Quality of Life - I think prices in Chiang Mai have gone up recently, while Medellin prices seem to keep falling. Are you using the dollar? If so there’s never been a better time to get to Medellin, price wise. Your money will go really far.

That said, it’s still Thailand and Chiang Mai we’re talking about. So I would still say your money in terms of rent/food will probably go a bit further there, but Medellin isn’t far off

  1. Cool experiences - I guess that depends. You’re a guy…and if women are important to you, Medellin has some of the most beautiful women in the world, hands down. In terms of other experiences, I know there are a lot of cool things to do in Chiang Mai, but Medellin has some fun stuff too.

So factor that in. I think you can’t go wrong with either personally but…as a first time DN, if you want a lot of cafes / coworking spots to work out of, interact and easily meet lots of DN’s, and save more $, I’d say Chiang Mai would be good as a first stop. Then once you’re up and running you can always check out Medellin after for a better perspective.

I lived in DF for a couple of years on about 800 a month, when the peso was at 12 to the dollar (now it’s about 18) staying in a month to month hotel room in a hotel with lots of expats, ten minutes walk from the Zocalo. Public transport was great, and about 25 cents a journey. My room was 450-500 (I upgraded). You can eat really well for 8-10 bucks a day. Internet was often slow, but I managed to work online. It cuts out during the rainy season, especially around May. If you want to live in the most expensive areas and shop at their Whole Foods equivalent or eat at trendy cafs every meal and buy clothes and computers, it would cost roughly what a city like Dallas costs. But living simple doesn’t cost much. The people are great. Nightlife is incredible. Hundreds of parks. Tons of culture. I highly recommend it for a spell, but it is dirty and crowded and goes on for miles.

My visa process was expensive though. I had to get an attorney who charged 800 bucks to do my visa and still messed it up. That being said, lots of people just left the country every 90 days, but I can’t speak to how effective that is now.

For a smaller Mexican City, I prefer Guanajauto to San Miguel. Loads of expats there too.

I missed your reply until now. Thank you very much!!!

Thank you very much Raphael!

What spots did you all like in ecuador? we’re currently in medellin and looking at ecuador next (costal towns of olon & puerto cayo are top on the list). i’m not interested in cuenca. i was here 7 years ago but just traveling- now i am nomading with my kids (age 2 and 4) and husband.