David Hammond

Author Image for David Hammond

Before coming to Uruguay, David Hammond lived in Port Townsend, Washington for over 20 years. In Washington, David spent 10 years as a licensed Merchant Marine captain operating his own charter boat, working in rescue towing and salvage operations, and providing launch service for ships. After a decade on the water, he spent the next 10 years on land, building homes and selling real estate.

Looking for a new adventure and real estate opportunities, he came to Uruguay in 2006. He liked it so much, he simplified his life and moved to Punta del Este the same year. David always enjoyed writing as a hobby. Since making the move south, he has the time and opportunity to combine his interest in writing with his passion for life in Uruguay. David is International Living's Uruguay correspondent.

David regularly contributes to International Living's Uruguay Facebook page.

Archives

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Tarija: Bolivia’s Andean Paradise for $1,200 a Month

Nestled in an Andean valley at 6,000 feet, the Bolivian city of Tarija is truly one of South America’s great undiscovered gems. You’ll find colonial architecture, a near-perfect Mediterranean climate, and vineyards outside town stretching to the horizon. It’s also one of the most affordable cities in the Americas: you can live a comfortable retirement in a centrally-located apartment for $1,200 a month, including rent, enjoy a delicious three-course meal for as little as $4, or visit one of its many medical facilities from $20. Tarija is home to 235,000 people, among them a small community of around 250 expats— mostly from Europe, North America, and New Zealand.

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Great Food, Miles of Beaches, and a Property that Could Pay for Itself

With stress-melting coral-sand beaches, warm tropical seas, an eclectic mix of welcoming locals and friendly expats, and international dining, the Dominican Republic epitomizes the laidback, sun-kissed lifestyle the Caribbean is known for. And you don’t have to be rich to buy a home here. I explored two up-and-coming beach towns, Cabarete and Las Terrenas, which offer exceptional Caribbean island value; you’ll find newer condos starting at $100,000, sometimes even less. Even better, many properties on these sumptuous stretches of coast will cover all your ownership costs and could even make you a profit. This is among the very few places left in the Caribbean where you can buy affordable, quality properties and take advantage of a robust rental market.

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How to Make a Home in Bolivia with Just A Little Spanish

It’s said “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”…but that’s definitely not the case when it comes to learning Spanish. On the contrary, knowing just a little Spanish is often enough to reach your goal of starting a new life in a Spanish-speaking country. With just a little knowledge of the language, you can express and understand many very basic exchanges. Then, you just keep improving little by little…day by day. You’d be amazed how it can enrich your life. Take getting around in a taxi as an example:

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Discover Bolivia’s Best Places For Income Opportunity

If you’re the pioneering type, a small business in Bolivia might offer just the kind of lifestyle you’re looking for. You can live well in Bolivia for less money than just about anywhere, and you don’t need bags of cash to start an enterprise here. Historically, Bolivia ranks alongside the poorest countries in the region, but things are changing. Today it is among the most hopeful economies in the hemisphere…its economy is growing steadily at around 5% a year… inflation (5.19% in 2014) and debt (32% of GDP in 2013) are under control. Bolivia’s oil and gas industry helps keep energy costs low.

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Discover Paraguay: South America’s Forgotten Heartland

Bumping along on the back of an ox cart, I’m wondering why some of the locals look amused. “Well, usually it’s the kids who like riding in Domingo’s ox cart,” says my new friend and guide, Adrian. “They don’t usually see a gringo in it.” In fairness, they probably don’t see all that many foreigners anywhere in the beautiful colonial town of Santa María de Fe. On the site of a former Jesuit reduction (mission town), Santa María de Fe is a small town in Paraguay’s Misiones Department, 152 miles south of the capital, Asunción. Paraguay is one of the least-known countries in Latin America. And the little that people do know about this landlocked country at the heart of the continent is often about its history of eccentric dictators and military coups.

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Tarija, A Hidden Haven in Bolivia’s Wine Country

Latin America is home to many scenic colonial towns with a low cost of living. But every once in a while, a location crosses our radar that truly stands out. Bolivia’s southernmost city, Tarija, is just such a place. Tucked away in a mountain valley, with vineyards stretching to the south, Tarija is one of the continent’s hidden treasures. For a start, there’s the cost of living. A couple can live in Tarija, including rent, for $1,000 a month. For $1,200 to $1,500 a month, you can live in a centrally-located apartment, dine out, buy wine, join a gym, go to the movies, and get manicures. You’ll find places where you can enjoy a delicious and filling three-course meal for less than $4.

Bank-Roll Your Overseas Goals With “Crowdfunding”

Getting a small business loan can be a challenge anywhere. It’s especially tough in a new country where you may not have a credit history or collateral. Fortunately, there’s a way to raise money for your business abroad that bypasses banks altogether. It’s called reward-based crowdfunding. With crowdfunding you fund your business idea without taking out a loan, going into debt, or sharing equity with a financial partner. It’s a perfect solution for many expats because it enables you to fund your business across borders. You can raise money from backers anywhere in the world for a business activity in the country of your choosing.

Video: Where to Buy Real Estate in Uruguay–Three Areas to Consider

Uruguay is the most economically, politically, and socially stable country in the region. The property registration system is among the best in Latin America. And you don’t need to become a resident or get a local tax ID number to buy, own, or sell real estate in Uruguay. Even though real estate values have climbed in recent years, with a little research it’s still possible to buy property in the most popular areas of the country for a very reasonable price.

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“I Teach U.S. Students Online from Low-Cost, Tropical Bolivia”

Stacey Roush is a teacher who left the United States…without ever missing a class. Thanks to technology, she now lives in a low-cost area overseas while still teaching her geography class—online—to students in Pennsylvania. Stacey’s new home is Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia.

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Santiago, Chile: A Cosmopolitan Latin American City

Cosmopolitan, indeed—as well as comfortable and convenient. In Santiago you’ll find modern skyscrapers, including the tallest building in Latin America. There’s a sleek and efficient subway system. Popular cuisine from around the world is paired with fine Chilean wines in the city’s many upscale restaurants. And opera, ballet, Broadway hits, great museums, and dozens of galleries abound.

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Santiago, Chile: Latin America’s Most First-World Capital

When the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago in 1541, he chose the site for the favorable climate, fertile soil, plentiful water, and ease of defense. While the weather still tops the list for many expats today, it’s only one of the many advantages that Santiago offers.

A New Income in Uruguay Transformed This Single Mom’s Life

When people ask me what’s so good about Uruguay, I often talk about the various income opportunities, the natural beauty of the land, or the ability to live a simpler and less complicated life. Just a while ago, I was trading notes about life in Uruguay with Karen Michele—a single mother from the U.S. who moved to Punta del Este, Uruguay with her 12-year-old daughter, Etanne.

Retirement in Uruguay Is Unique

Uruguay is a nation of immigrants—which means that if you’re looking to retire overseas, you’ll fit right in. This unique country’s citizens are descended from all corners of the world; about 90% of Uruguayans have ancestors from Western European, with the highest percentages from Spain, Italy, and France. And, because most Uruguayans are descendants of immigrants (and many know and can tell you their family’s relocation story) newcomers are generally treated warmly.

Making Pizza in Valparaíso, Chile

When Edward Shelton worked as a journalist, he had no idea how to make a pizza. In fact, it was the furthest thing from his mind in the years when he lived between London and New York. Today, he owns and operates a pizza restaurant and B&B in the coastal Chilean city of Valparaíso, known for its hills, colorful homes, and bohemian vibe.

Edward Shelton serves up pizza and beer to a steady stream of customers in the coastal city of Valparaiso.

Chile—Land of Opportunity for Expats

Visit the Chilean capital, Santiago, and you’ll see college students texting on smartphones and sipping $3 coffee drinks…restaurants that are busy every night of the week…and street traffic generously speckled with German luxury cars. After a decade of strong economic growth, a large middle class population has emerged, with money to spend.

Beach-Town Living in Affordable Rocha, Uruguay

If your idea of paradise is a tranquil beach where a couple can live comfortably for $1,200, including renting a furnished home, then Uruguay’s Department of Rocha is a place you should definitely know about. A “department” in Uruguay is like a state or province. Rocha covers 4,074 square miles and stretches 112 miles along the Atlantic coast between Punta del Este, the largest beach resort in Uruguay, and the Brazilian border.

Uruguay is a small agricultural country in South America, known for its beautiful beaches.

How to Become a Resident of Uruguay

If you were to set off on the adventure of a new life in a new country, where would you go? A lot of folks are choosing Uruguay: The small agricultural country in South America, known for its beautiful beaches. While Uruguay is no longer among the least expensive countries in Latin America, it still has a lot to offer.

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Find Your Perfect Place Overseas

Going abroad sometimes comes as a response to a personal shakeup: the end of a relationship, a financial loss, or the passing of a loved one. Getting out of Dodge, at least for a while, can provide the opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and explore your options.

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The Earth’s Bounty: How to Harvest an Income in Uruguay

Uruguay is one of the best places in the world to own a farm…and you don’t have to be a Uruguayan citizen or even a resident to buy agricultural property. While it is most famous for its grass-fed beef industry… Uruguay also has soil and climate that are ideal for growing wheat, rice, soybeans, olives, and blueberries. It is a water-rich country, minimizing the need for irrigation, and its soils are among the least degraded in the world. All Uruguay’s farmland is mapped by soil type.

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Health Care in Uruguay for Over 65s

Uruguay is not a medical-tourism destination or a place where people come for the health care alone. However, if you fall in love with Uruguay, as I did, and decide you want to live here, the chances are good you will be able to get quality health care at an affordable price.

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The Best-Value Beach Lots in the World

Do you ever wish you could find a cool little beach town before it gets discovered and invest in land while the prices are still low? You aren’t alone. Global investors are constantly searching the planet for that kind of opportunity. But you know what? They missed a spot. It’s a little town of 1,000 full-time residents, and it’s called Barra del Chuy, in Uruguay.

Expat John Brenner has enjoyed the interesting experiences and people he has met while learning Spanish.

An Expat’s Worst Spanish Mistake—It Was All Part of the Process

John Brenner, a Minnesotan in his late 50s, was traveling in South America looking for a new place to live. The next leg of his trip was from Bogotá, Colombia to Lima, Peru. He was joined by three others, also Lima bound, whom he had met in the Bogotá hostel where he stayed. After an all-night bus ride they reached Ecuador’s border, where they crossed on foot. Once in Ecuador the four had a stroke of luck.

Get A Taste Of Uruguay’s 140-Year-Old Wine Secret

Get a Taste of Uruguay’s 140-Year-Old Wine Secret

Sometimes a wine-growing region and grape variety combine to produce a wine legend. Think California’s Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon, or Argentina’s Mendoza region and Malbec. Well, there is another wine-growing region and grape variety combination you should know about: Uruguay and Tannat. Tannat is originally from France. It grows in many countries for use as a blending grape, due to its sharp bite.

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Uruguayan Ranch and Beach Life

Each morning Jerry Bruner wakes up on his farm in Uruguay. He checks in on his animals…Jack the Labrador…Carbon the tiger-stripe cat…the chickens…the geese…and half-a-dozen beef cattle who roam a fenced-off, green pasture. The farm covers 27 acres of greenery and is a world away from Jerry’s native Nevada. What Jerry loves most about Uruguay […]

Learning the language of your new country can enrich your expat experience immensely.

A Tour-Guide-Free Waterfall Adventure—Thanks to Spanish

When I first moved from the U.S. to Uruguay, I didn’t speak Spanish. And while some English-speaking expats get by without learning any Spanish, my experience is, the more Spanish I learn the richer my expat experience becomes.It took just a little study to learn to greet people and show respect. Now, after a little more study and practice I can express my needs and wants and I’m starting to build rapport with my Uruguayan neighbors. More and more, it feels like I’m getting ready to take off my Spanish “training wheels” and learning to communicate like a local.

Tango was developed in Montevideo and remains popular.

Seven Things to do in Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, has a culture that many North American expats find comfortable. It’s a place where the traditional and the modern weave together. For example, Montevideo has a prosperous economy, but people still take time for one another. It has new gleaming malls, but it is also teeming with small family-owned shops. Each child in the country receives a free laptop computer, but time with family is still cherished above all else.

Atlántida, on the Gold Coast, is the best small town beach in Uruguay.

Visit Uruguay’s Best Beaches This Winter

There are situations in life we cannot escape. But fortunately, a long cold winter in the U.S. or Canada isn’t one of them. When it’s winter in North America, it’s summer in South America. And there is no better place in South America for a winter respite than the beaches of Uruguay.

There are many different types of residency visas available in Uruguay.

Getting Your Residence in Uruguay

To apply for residence in Uruguay you must be in the country, this is perfect for those that try out the country and decide to stay. Uruguay’s Dirección Nacional de Migración (DNM, or Immigration) is the government office that deals with residence matters. The complete process for obtaining permanent residence takes 12 and 24 months in addition to the time it takes to obtain the necessary documents.

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A Step Back in Time in Montevideo, Uruguay

“Montevideo’s Ciudad Vieja (Old City) is as close to time travel as I can get,” says expat Madeline Parmot. Madeline’s home is on a pedestrian street of restored colonial buildings, just a few blocks from Plaza Matriz, Montevideo’s original plaza.

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Video: Why I Moved to Uruguay

It was probably just a matter of time before it happened to me. Real estate agents who take a vacation after going too long without one can get carried away

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Video: A Great Quality of Life in Punta del Este, Uruguay

Punta del Este, Uruguay, is, without doubt, the most fashionable beach resort in South America. During the high season, there are polo tournaments…yacht races…fashion shows…lazy days on the beach…and celebrity parties. To many vacationers, Punta del Este is a beach resort…

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Uruguay’s Health Care Gives Me Peace of Mind

I didn’t move to Uruguay for the health care…but after six years of receiving first-rate medical care at a low and predictable cost, it’s become one of the things I appreciate most.

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The World’s Best Health Care Plan

If you fall in love with Uruguay, as I did, one thing you’ll appreciate is the high-quality, affordable health care. In Uruguay, medical equipment is modern and doctors highly trained. There are two medical schools in Montevideo, but many senior doctors in Uruguay were trained in the United States, Germany, and Brazil.

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A Freer, Simpler Life Awaits You

I have a confession. Before I moved to Uruguay I regularly associated with criminals. And their crimes were many and diverse. I lived in Washington State. And the crimes I speak of ranged from collecting rainwater in barrels for the garden (against Washington State law), to advertising a large home for sale as “ideal for a large family,” a HUD violation.

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The Best Things in Life Are Still Free in Montevideo, Uruguay

Somehow, in my adult life, I developed the belief that I needed money to have a good time. However, living in Montevideo reminds me that’s just not so. Here, there are so many public spaces, celebrations, and ways to socialize… all for little or no money. In fact, the idea that the finer things in life should be available to all is so important to Uruguayans that they dedicate a whole weekend to it every spring.

Affordable Properties in the Best Areas of Punta del Este, Uruguay

Affordable Properties in the Best Areas of Punta del Este, Uruguay

Believe it or not, you can still find a nice condo in a coveted Punta del Este neighborhood for less than $150,000. There’s a secret to buying affordably here. And it’s simple. Folks from North America determine a property’s value by three factors: location, location, location. But in Punta del Este’s condo market, a property’s location is less important.

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