15 Safe and Affordable Cities in South America That Retirees Love

Explore the charm of South America’s retiree-friendly cities, where safety and savings meet.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Have you considered retiring outside of the U.S.? If so, you have plenty of options, including South America.

Many South American cities are welcoming to retirees. They allow you to enjoy beaches, rainforests, mountains, and the everyday culture of unique cities.

If you are ready to make some smart retirement planning moves, check out these cities in South America and find out if they are right for you.

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Montevideo, Uruguay

Michele/Adobe montevideo uruguay cityscape capital

Montevideo is a coastal city with beautiful beaches. You will also find attractions such as museums and theaters.

The country allows expatriates easy access to temporary residency visas if you buy a home there. Uruguay has a cost of living that is considerably lower than in the U.S.

Fortaleza, Brazil

Juan/Adobe sunset in fortaleza brazil

Located along the northern coast of Brazil, Fortaleza offers excellent beachfront living.

The town is also known for fishing, so enjoy spending time on the water or head to one of the city’s restaurants for fresh catches each day.

Sucre, Bolivia

Dudarev Mikhail/Adobe city of sucre at sunny day

Sucre has special architecture that combines local traditions with European styles. Explore the city’s many churches in particular.

Sucre also is an affordable city. Rent, dining options, and other expenses are on the low end of costs.

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Mendoza, Argentina

Michele/Adobe mendoza urban center

The Argentinian city of Mendoza is another affordable place to retire in South America. Your dollars can last longer in this place.

Foodies will find delicious wines and foods with beautiful views. You can spend your days taking tours of local wineries or exploring the country’s olive oil industry.

Cuenca, Ecuador

alanfalcony/Adobe city of cuenca ecuador

Cuenca is known for its beautiful architecture, much of which dates to the 18th century.

The country also has a visa for retirees, giving you the option to stay in the country and enjoy all that Cuenca has to offer.

Asuncion, Paraguay

Michele/Adobe asuncion city waterfront

Asuncion is considered a safe city for retirees. It has a growing community of expatriates.

Enjoy beautiful landmarks such as the Palacio de López, or enjoy strolling through some of the city’s modern shopping centers.

Medellin, Colombia

Andrs/Adobe medellín colombia

Medellin is called the City of Eternal Spring, and for good reason. You’ll find the city to be pleasant and warm all year and will find yourself surrounded by lush green plants and trees.

Check out the city’s bars and restaurants or visit nearby coffee farms. And if you live in the area, make sure you seek out the Flower Festival every summer.

Barranquilla, Colombia

Daniel Escobar Photo/Adobe city of barranquilla colombia

Barranquilla offers plenty to do: You can see historical sites or walk the Gran Malecon, a large park that runs along the Magdalena River.

Barranquilla is generally considered safe for visitors or expatriates.

Santiago, Chile

Mariana Ianovska/Adobe Santiago Chile cityscape

The Chilean capital of Santiago is a bustling metropolis filled with things to see.

The area offers a variety of climates and is well-known for its wineries. So, take some time to explore nature there.

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La Barra, Uruguay

danflcreativo/Adobe la barra beach

La Barra is located along the Atlantic Ocean in Uruguay.

The town is considered walkable, with plenty of little streets and beautiful beaches to explore. You can also take in attractions like the city’s Museo del Mar. Or, enjoy some of the local golf courses.

Brasilia, Brazil

Erich Sacco/Adobe brasilia brazil

The capital city of Brazil — located along the shores of Paranoá Lake — is known for its unique architecture that is sure to delight.

You can also explore Congresso Nacional or Catedral Metropolitana to see examples of Brasilia’s beautiful buildings.

Huanchaco, Peru

diegograndi/Adobe huanchaco beach

Huanchaco is a beach town, giving you plenty of options to enjoy the outdoors if you like water and sand.

The town also has affordable restaurants and bars. Seek out the city’s famed ceviche dishes.

Cordoba, Argentina

Luis/Adobe córdoba capital argentina

The city of Cordoba is one of the oldest cities in Argentina. It offers a rich heritage to explore.

Check out the city’s regal colonial buildings and explore the art and music scene. Cordoba is also a relatively safe town, with colleges and other institutions.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

SL-Photography/Adobe santa cruz de la sierra

The city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra is well-known for its nightlife, which many retirees find attractive.

Enjoy the low cost of living while you check out affordable restaurants at night and the lush nature surrounding the city during the day.

Salinas, Ecuador

MarcosBeltranG/Adobe beach and sea

Salinas sits next to the Pacific Ocean. The peninsula is a beachfront oasis for retirees who want to enjoy warm weather and sunny days.

Aside from petty crime, the town is considered safe for visitors and residents. Real estate taxes are low.

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Bottom line

Darren Baker/Adobe couple on a tropical beach

Retiring outside the U.S. is often cheaper, offering the sense of adventure that comes with living in another country.

If you are planning for retirement, consider checking out the South American cities on this list. One of them might be an excellent place to spend your golden years.

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Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.