Uruguay: A Latin American Safe Haven
Are you looking for a true safe haven in Latin America?
If so, you need to know about Uruguay—a politically, economically, and socially stable country with a mild climate free of earthquakes and hurricanes.
Uruguay is below the tropical zone and has four seasons. The average summer high temperature is 82 degrees F, cooling down to 63 F at night. The average winter high temperature is 57 degrees F, cooling down to 43 F at night. Because Uruguay is in the Southern Hemisphere with opposite seasons, summer is in December, January, and February.
Besides mild weather, Uruguay has a warm social climate. You’ll find less economic disparity here than anyplace else in Latin America. Uruguayan culture is noted for tolerance and inclusiveness. And expats who are respectful of Uruguay’s culture and make an effort to learn some basic Spanish report feeling comfortable and accepted here.
Uruguay is also among the top countries in the region when it comes to infrastructure. Here, you’ll find the best overall road system, the most reliable electrical grid, and one of the fastest overall internet speeds in Latin America. You’ll also find quality medical care, safe drinking water, and good public transportation.
Even though Uruguay is a small country, it offers a variety of lifestyle options. Choose among places like Montevideo, the capital city with an active cultural scene; Punta del Este, the continent’s most sophisticated beach resort; La Paloma, a small beach town on the Atlantic coast; or a small farm or rural town in Uruguay’s countryside.
But what about Uruguay’s solvency? The country of Uruguay has investment-grade sovereign bonds. The locally-owned banks are well capitalized and safe. In 2009, when most of the world’s economy was suffering from the global recession, Uruguay posted an economic gain. There were no failed banks, and the rate of nonperforming loans throughout the country was just 1%.
Uruguay is a popular place to invest in real estate. That’s because foreigners can buy, own, and sell property with the same rights and protections as a Uruguayan citizen. Uruguay’s government welcomes foreign investment by individuals, the system for registering property ownership is solid, and property rights are enforced.
Uruguay is a nice place to spend time. It’s a small food producing country, which offers a variety of pleasant lifestyle options that is out of the way of world conflict.
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- Population: 3,324,460 (July 2013 est.)
- Capital City: Montevideo
- Climate: Warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
- Time Zone: GMT-3
- Language: Spanish (official)
- Country Code: 598
- Coastline: 660 km
I had heard the stories. About a country where U.S. citizens could secure easy residence, a second passport, and open a safe bank account without even acquiring residence. Well, the stories are true. Based on my travels across the world and my visits to Uruguay, I place this country near the top of my list of livable countries. That is mostly because of its friendly people, but also because it accords everyone the freedom to live in peace as they wish. In addition to having no restrictions on foreigners’ individual ownership of land, it’s one of the only countries on the planet whose constitution guarantees foreigners the right to live there, and to become citizens.
When it comes to taking your life and assets offshore, few tools are more valuable than a second passport. I have one, and it makes my life easier in many ways. For example, I am able to enter Brazil and several other countries on my second passport (South African) visa-free, since Brazil requires visas for U.S. passport holders. And when I go to certain countries—ones that aren’t big fans of the U.S.—using my second passport helps me avoid attention.
There are many countries around the world that offer you the right to residence without having to be physically there. The biggest benefit of having residence in another country is the ability to avail of offshore and financial protection strategies that would otherwise be unavailable to you as an America citizen.
Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s most spectacular wonders. This 580-square-mile natural cove contains some 2,000 limestone islands—occupied only by trees, ferns, birds, and monkeys. Small ﬂoating villages and isolated sandy beaches also entice. The best—and perhaps the only—way to see Halong Bay in its entirety is by boat, or more speciﬁcally, by junk. A junk is an ancient Chinese sailing-ship design, and many junks still sail Halong Bay.
Long, unspoiled beaches…a new infrastructure project that will open up access to an undeveloped but seriously attractive region…and the chance to watch a real estate investment grow rapidly in value: just some of the reasons you need to be looking at Uruguay’s Rocha region. Little Uruguay is a small, open economy—and one of the best places to consider buying real estate in the world right now.
Uruguay’s province of Rocha has the country’s best beaches and most charming beach towns. And now the Path of Progress is due to roll down this coast. I expect real estate values will rise as accessibility improves. My contacts in Uruguay have been keeping me up to speed. One particular infrastructure project has my attention right now.
When I first came to Uruguay in 2006, I knew I’d found the place I wanted to live—just six months later, I’d changed my life around and moved to Uruguay. So what prompted such a big change? For starters, the culture of Uruguay is something special—the perfect blend of warmth and respect. Here, people are more important than schedules. Friends and coworkers greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. Neighbors take an interest in each other, and extended families get together on Sundays.
Spiraling healthcare and insurance costs are a thing of the past for thousands of North Americans who have found their dream retirement haven abroad. If you’re still mulling your overseas options, then the availability of quality and affordable healthcare is likely a primary concern. Over the next few pages, we explore five countries hand-picked by our expat experts for the exceptionally high quality of their healthcare. All five destinations have become expat hubs, and the North Americans who now call them home—including our correspondents—can attest to the high level of care they’ve received there.
Imagine waking up in the morning and enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee before heading out your back door to get breakfast. You gather eggs from your hens. Tomatoes, peppers, and herbs, all from your kitchen garden, as well as homemade goat cheese, are added for an excellent omelet. The fresh-squeezed orange juice comes from your trees. Life in the cities and suburbs of the U.S. can mean being far removed from the origins of the food we eat. If you dream of getting back to the land, you’ll find hobby farms with fertile soil, ideal growing conditions, and great locations throughout the world.
Living in a sunny, low-cost, laidback destination overseas doesn’t mean that you have to forego good healthcare. In fact, in many countries abroad, the healthcare you’ll enjoy is second to none…and more affordable than you’ve ever dreamed possible. Below are the five countries which received the top scores in the healthcare category of International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2015.
If you dream about a different life… one lived on a sun-dappled beach… or in a colonial, history-rich town… or some exotic big city abroad… but you need an income to make it happen, sooner rather than later… Then you should know: There are proven, flexible ways you can fund your life overseas… and get paid to do something you genuinely enjoy… So you gain the freedom to pick up and go… travel when you feel like it… live in a place you love… and all the while earn $12,000… $25,000… $40,000… even $85,000 a year or more…
In a handful of noteworthy places on the planet right now, you could own a world-class property for $150,000 and have it throw off $1,000 a month, right from the start. These are what I call “exceptional markets.” Places where you’re looking at as much as an 8% yield… more than double the norm. But you don’t need mounds of cash on hand to get in – often less than $20,000. And these are gains you can pocket with little-to-no effort.
Little Uruguay is a country that has advantages for producing food. It has good productive land, and a temperate climate allows the cultivation of up to three crops a year on average. Thanks to increasing wealth and food consumption in emerging markets, farmland here could generate a yield of between 3% and 9% (depending on the type of land and management option you choose), and also enjoy long-term appreciation. And Uruguay is where the small guy can directly get in on this food trend with ownership control. Uruguay has an advanced domestic farm industry. The domestic infrastructure of farm management companies, routes to market, and professional services caters for foreign investors.
In the 2014 Fast-Track Your Retirement Overseas Package we’ll introduce you to more than a dozen beautiful places in the world where you can live a caviar lifestyle on a hot dog budget.
Perhaps you long for your own cottage on a quiet beach… a grand apartment in a city vibrant with concerts and cafes… a mountain villa where the air is crisp… or even your own vineyard amid gently rolling hills…
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.
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.
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.
Atlantic beach towns that take you back in time…a foodie’s paradise in Southeast Asia where dim sum stalls beckon…an arts-rich bohemian haven in South America full of cafés and concerts… All over the planet you’ll find hidden gems like these—spots that rarely, if ever, earn even a passing mention in the popular press. It’s not surprising. Almost no publications bother to keep outposts abroad anymore. The quality and scope of international news coverage—and our understanding of and empathy for the world—has suffered for it.
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.
Last December, when “The Economist” announced its “country of the year” for the first time, Uruguay was the country that took that spot. It was chosen on the basis that it has been a trailblazer at enacting policies that not only benefit its citizens but humanity as a whole. It’s a great place to keep you—and/or some assets—in times good and bad.
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.
“We’re looking at retirement options,” she wrote, “and I’ve appreciated your insights, particularly on Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay. I know that seems like a lot of countries, so I’m hoping you can help us narrow it down. We plan to take a trip to at least two of these this year; one country at a time. Which country would you suggest we visit first? And can you please suggest some travel itineraries?”
Today I am challenging you to become as creative as possible about finding alternative routes to do more of what you want. Let’s say you want to earn enough to live in a gorgeous home. Most people think they have to buy or rent such a place. Not Joe. When he was in his early 20s, he found himself drawn to the ocean and wanted to live as close to it as possible. He got the idea to offer his services as a yacht sitter and almost immediately found himself living in luxury.
When moving abroad, renting a place to stay is an attractive option that offers a lot of advantages, whether you’re headed to Costa Rica, Malaysia, France, Mexico, Ecuador, Ireland…or any country. If you plan to buy or build a home eventually, renting allows you to investigate a region and/or community…or several…before you put down roots. You don’t want to be stuck in a neighborhood, region, or home you don’t like.
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.
Over eight years ago, I decided to leave behind the urban jungle of American cities to travel. At the moment, I’m surrounded by the lush green suburbs of Buenos Aires. I’m constantly reminded of Jumanji out here. Thick green, leafy vines have completely taken over property walls and fences, wrapped themselves around tree trunks and flower pots. Palm trees and banana trees rise up like proud flags beside homes and office buildings.
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.
Vacation rentals are a great way for an investor to create an income overseas but, unless they’re living next door, anyone who owns a vacation rental needs someone to manage it for them. Property management is a business you can start with absolutely no investment. You are simply trading your time and effort.