Is Latin America Really Cheaper than the U.S.?

Every now and then, people ask me if Latin America is really all that much cheaper than living in the States. Or friends make comments about how I must be able to live like a king when I´m in Latin America. This is something I have briefly discussed in a previous post – Why I Like Latin America.

It is kind of a cliché idea that many gringos have – a dream of vacationing or retiring in a Latin paradise where the beer is cold and cheap. Well, that part is certainly true. The beer is cheaper… But the gringo dream encompasses much more than merely cheap beer – the gringo imagines a world where he can live a life of peace, relaxation and luxury.
I think most of us are somewhat familiar with this stereotypical idea of Latin America. RememberThe Shawshank Redemption? Tim Robbins´s character breaks out of prison and makes his way down to a small coastal town in Mexico. Of course part of the reason he went to Latin America was to evade being captured and sent back to prison… But I´m just saying, Tim Robbins didn´t choose to hide out in Saudi Arabia or China – he went to Latin America… where the beer is indeed cold and the women are hot.

So, the question remains whether Latin America is really less expensive than living in the U.S… Well, the short answer is “Yes” – but the better answer is “it depends”.

It depends on where you are coming from – are you moving to Latin America from Mississippi or are you moving from NYC, Boston, or Los Angeles??

It also depends on the lifestyle you are looking for – are you ready to live like an average Panamanian or are you accustomed to central A/C?

Maybe you live in a middle-class neighborhood in the U.S. – but what kind of neighborhood are you prepared for in Buenos Aires?

I´ll address some of these factors based on my own personal experience in the following posts:

Part 1 – Paying Rent in Latin America

Part 2 – Living like a Local

Part 3 – Goods and Services in Latin America

Remember this is not scientific data or anything – just my own observations and antecdotes.

This post originally appeared at El Gringuito