Why is South East Asia preferred by nomads over Latin America?

Hi guys

Why do you think south east asia attracts far more 1st world digital nomads and tourists than latin america does? i have some theories but i would like to know your opinions because most of the people in this forum are from 1st world countries :smile:
Is it because is cheaper? safer? closer? more “cool” ?


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I’m Australian so SEA makes more sense in terms of distance and cost for travel.

Still, even though I’m spending a bit of time in SEA at the beginning of 2016, I’d much prefer Europe and other parts of Asia (Japan, Korea, etc).

Flying around Latin America is ridiculously expensive due to lack of budget airlines, and trains aren’t generally an option which leaves crazy long bus rides. Not the most comfortable or convenient. Plus some of the recent history in LA isn’t the most welcoming. I would have liked to have seen more when I was living in Colombia but it was cheaper to fly to Europe than to most countries in LA.


That’s interesting. Flying at least in south america is expensive, but everybody complains in south america that flying to Colombia is very expensive :slight_smile: I dont know if its a problem with Colombia, local taxes or something else. For example i bought a flight ticket from Uruguay to Madrid for 790 dollars. Montevideo - Bogota was 830 dollars…
I think that flight costs and lack of infrastructure are two main problems in the region, but also dont forget that south america alone is bigger than europe and SEA combined geographically speaking which makes these problems worse…

What about language issues? have you had problems with english in LA?

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My main reasons for SEA is the fact that it is cheaper, safer and has better infrastructure when it comes to the Internet. Even though many cities/countries in Asia have bad Internet, you can jump on a plane for as little at $30 sometimes and jet off to a large city if I need to get back to reality.


Personally, I speak Spanish so language is generally not an issue for me in the Americas.

I’d consider language actually an argument for LA since you’d only need one (well two) to get conversational access to the entire continent…

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SEA is just more affordable and perhaps culturally western people find it more interesting because it’s way more different from where they come from.

South America for me is definitely for amazing nature and a lot of outdoorsy stuff which SEA is not comparable on. Especially because of the Andes running right through the continent. Patagonia is amazing and there is nothing anywhere else in the world like that.

I don’t care for the cost. I personally love Latin/central America. I enjoy spending some weeks in Thailand, Singapore,… food is much better to start with, but… I can easily live long term in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica,… while I could never live long term in Asia. Love the music & vibe in Latin America, easier for me to blend in and as a European it was pretty easy to learn Portuguese and some Spanish. I’ll always be a foreigner in Azia. No chance for me to blend in :slight_smile: .


In general I think people prefer SEA because they see it as more exotic, more different. Others I think are drawn to the reputation it has garnered as a cheaper destination or to the beaches or to Asian women.

Personally I prefer LATAM over SEA because I speak Spanish and can blend in more. I can surround myself with other expats if I choose to, but I don’t have to. I like taking classes with locals.

I’m in Latin America right now, and as much as I like it here I can give a few reasons:

  • It’s not cheap, it’s actually really expensive to live here. Grocery food prices (vegetables, fruits especially) are high relative to even Western Europe. Meat is pretty cheap, that’s good.

  • Transportation is ridiculously expensive. A ONE-WAY flight from Colombia to Bolivia is $600. You know for less than that I can fly from Europe to Thailand sometimes? A similar distance in South East Asia would be $50 to $100.

  • Food isn’t amazing or healthy, it’s mostly fried, everything is meat, and some potatoes. I’ve never gained weight in my life and I can see the fat grow on my body here, haha :smiley:

  • Latin America is still dominated by a sexist machissimo culture where it’s impossible to walk with my girlfriend on the street in many places (like Colombia) without her being constantly catcalled and harassed. It’s ridiculous.

  • Safety is a giant concern here, even for guys. I’m in Panama now where for the first time I feel relatively safe again. Colombia was hell due to constant risk of robbery at gun point. Many people trivialize the safety issues in Latin America (especially Latin people themselves), but that’s ridiculous. There’s stories every month of a local of foreigner being shot (through the head) by a robber because they didn’t want to give up their iPhone. Sure that’s stupid of them, but that’s not okay either. Time to fix that shit. This situation is all over South America though.

  • Inefficiency is part of the culture. Ordering food will usually take 30 to 45 minutes. Half the time you’ll get the wrong order. People will forget your orders. You go for laundry, you ask “when is it done?”, they say “in one day”, then three days later you pick it up and it’s not done, and everybody smiles. That’s great, but it’s also really annoying.

P.S. Brazil is not considered Latin America

I’d like to close off with that Latin American people are some of the most friendly, caring and sweet people I’ve ever met. And most of these complaints come from first world entitlement. I’m used to everything being in order and structured. So it’s kind of love/hate for me. There’s something romantic about everything being full of serendipity, that’s the Latin spirit. It seems it’s not so much about the end goal here, more about enjoying the journey (every day is a celebration). I appreciate that.



Some thoughts:

  • If you want to eat well in south america, go to Lima, Peru. Peruvian cuisine is considered as one of the finest in the world. I was surprised in London to see many upscale peruvian restaurants there.
  • Colombia being dangerous, i totally agree. I dont understand why people flock there, i also felt unsafe, and this coming from someone that has been born in south america! If you want safety go to Chile or Uruguay, the rest is a mess…
  • Transportation is expensive as f**k but you have to keep mind that south america is huge and lacks budget airlines + infrastructure…
    -Inefficiency, yeah i hate it, thank god i’m a nomad, so anytime i’m going back to the first world! :smile:
  • Brazil is part of Latin America. They were colonized by the portuguese, and they speak a latin language. They are not hispanic americans, but they are latin americans.


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As someone who is wrapping up 3 months of living and traveling in Mexico…I have to say, I have never felt safer. Granted, I didn’t spend any time anywhere near the northern border but I have walked around in the middle of the night in some places and never had any issues. I’ve haven’t been to SEA yet but will be there in January through March. I like the general randomness of Mexico: the broken sidewalks with cats lazily laying upon them, my housekeeper spending more time gossiping about her neighbors with me than actually cleaning and the door to door bread vendors. Ironically, before going to SEA, I’ll be spending a month in Washington, DC, my old stomping grounds and the only place where I have ever had a pistol pressed up against my head while being relieved of my wallet and cell phone (3 blocks from the US Capital complex no less, the most heavily policed piece of real estate in North America).

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Generally flying in LA is expensive, but Colombia -> Peru is around $200 with VivaColombia. I’m flying from Colombia to Rio for carnival for less than $200. If you know where to look you can get good deals but majority of stuff is expensive.

Basically agree with the rest


Brazilians don’t consider themselves to be part of Latin America (or South America really) and feel closer to US and Europe: https://www.quora.com/How-close-does-Brazil-feel-to-the-rest-of-Latin-America

Oops, changed it to Colombia -> Bolivia https://www.google.com/flights/#search;f=BOG;t=LPB;d=2015-12-25;r=2015-12-29;tt=o

How is Chile, specially reneca beach Chile?

Are all those comments above are true for Chile too …@Oskar @levelsio?

Thinking to go there for two months, need to decide, if that’s the case told my @levelsio I need to re-think about going there.

Carnival i.e the one organized by ennovison ?


This is like saying that the english people don’t consider themselves as europeans even if they are in europe, their roots are anglo-saxon and speak a germanic language. Its odd they dont feel closer to Africa given the fact that a big portion of brazilians are from african descent. I would only expect people from Argentina or Uruguay to feel closer to Europe knowing that more than 85% of their population are descendants of people that came from that continent.

Most of the guys in the quora link argue that they feel closer to europe because they were not colonized by the spanish and they dont speak spanish as the rest of latin america so they dont share the same culture, and brazil is huge and live in “isolation”. All those things are true, but conceptually speaking they still are “latinamericans”, people born in South America with a latin heritage (portuguese culture and language).

Check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_America and you will see that Brazil is part of it.

Chile is safer and more developed than most countries in the region. Its expensive for most things. Efficiency is “good” for south america but still not at 1st world levels. Reñaca is nice in the summer months :smile: