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Living in Uruguay as an Expat, Digital Nomad, or Retiree: Pros and Cons

Uruguay has become an increasingly popular destination for expats, digital nomads, and retirees. The country offers a high standard of living, freedom, peace, low taxes, political and economic stability, and a relatively low cost of living. It’s also a beautiful part of the world. This guide outlines everything you need to know about living in Uruguay. I’ll cover the cost of living, visa requirements, the best places to live, safety, healthcare, banking, and more. I’ll also outline some pros and cons of living in Uruguay.

Uruguay was one of the first places I visited when I became a digital nomad. I think it’s one of the best value destinations. It’s not the cheapest place in the world but the quality of life you can get here is high. In this guide, I’ll share my experience. Hopefully, this guide makes moving to Uruguay a little bit smoother and easier.

Plaza Independence, Montevideo
The view of Plaza Independencia from my first apartment in Montevideo
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Table of Contents

Quick Facts About Uruguay

  • Population- 3.5 million

  • Language- Spanish

  • Climate- Temperate

  • Geography- Southeast region of South America between Argentina and Brazil

  • Currency- The Uruguayan Peso (UYU). Currently 1 USD = 38 pesos

  • Time zone- GMT-3

  • Drives on the- Right side of the road

  • Electricity- 220V 50 Hz.

  • International Dialing Code- +598

  • Main Religion- Christianity

  • Cost of living for an expat or digital nomad- $1500-$2500 per month

Palacio Salvo
The first building I stayed in, Palacio Salvo

A Bit of Info About Uruguay

Uruguay is a small country located in the southeast of South America. It is bordered to the west by Argentina, to the north and northeast by Brazil, and to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean.

At around 176,000 square kilometers, Uruguay is one of the smallest countries in South America. The country is fairly densely populated with over 3.5 million people.

Uruguay has a temperate maritime climate with four distinct seasons. The summers are warm and the winters are mild. It rains frequently throughout the year. Snow is rare. The weather never gets too extreme.

Uruguay is a beautiful country. Montevideo, the capital city, offers a beautiful mix of colonial, Art Deco, and modernist architecture. The beaches of Punta del Este offer plenty of natural beauty. The historical town of Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a unique colonial atmosphere.

For expats, digital nomads, and retirees, Uruguay offers a relaxed lifestyle, high-quality healthcare, respect for civil liberties, and plenty of freedom. The internet infrastructure supports remote work. The cost of living offers good value considering the high quality of life that the country offers.

Cost of Living in Uruguay

For an individual, the average monthly cost of living in Uruguay is around $1,400 to $1,800. For expat families or couples, expect to spend about $2,200 to $3,000 per month.

On this budget, you could afford a one bedroom apartment in a decent location. You can live a comfortable lifestyle with moderate spending on entertainment and dining out. You could go out to eat a few times per week. To stick to this budget, you would need to rely on public transportation and cook most of your own meals.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can get by for less. If you live a frugal lifestyle, you could live in Uruguay on around $1000 per month. For a couple, it would be possible to get by on $1,500.

The average salary in Uruguay is just over $900 per month so it is possible to live on this budget if you watch your spending. You would have to live outside of the capital city or at least on the outskirts and cook most of your own meals to stick to this budget.

If you’re looking to live a more luxurious lifestyle, you can expect to spend closer to $3,000-$4000 per month. On this budget, you can afford a larger home or a luxury apartment in a higher end neighborhood, frequent dining out, and regular entertainment.

Uruguay’s cost of living is high by Latin American standards. In fact, it is one of the most expensive countries in Latin America. The cost of living is still significantly lower than the U.S., Canada, or Western Europe. You could cut your living cost by around 20-30% and maintain the same standard of living by moving to Uruguay.

Rent Cost in Uruguay

Housing will be one of your biggest expenses. On average, a studio or one-bedroom apartment in a decent area in Montevideo will cost around $500 and $800 per month.

For those on a tighter budget, Uruguay also offers lower cost housing alternatives. You could find a lower-end one-bedroom apartment in a less desirable area in the suburbs or in a second-tier city for as little as $300 to $400 per month.

If you’re looking for a more luxurious lifestyle in high-end neighborhoods like Punta Carretas or Pocitos in Montevideo, you will have to pay a premium. Rent for a luxury apartment in these wealthier areas could cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000 per month or more depending on the amenities offered and the location.

It’s also possible to buy property in Uruguay. You can find decent two bedroom apartments for sale for under $200,000 in good areas such as Punta Carretas and Pocitos. Buying a property can also help you obtain residency.

Food Cost

On average, a monthly grocery bill for an individual might range from $200 to $300. For a couple, you could expect to spend between $350 and $500.

Staple foods such as rice, pasta, and local bread are reasonably priced. A kilo of rice typically costs around $1, pasta around $2 per kilo, and local bread approximately $1.50 for a standard loaf. Eggs, dairy products, and meat are also relatively affordable. You can buy a dozen eggs for $2.50, 1 liter of milk for around $1.50, and beef for between $7 to $10.50 per kilo.

Shopping at local markets and farmers’ markets is a cost-effective way to buy fresh produce. Prices are often at lower than in supermarkets. The produce will be of higher quality as well.

When it comes to dining out, Uruguay offers a wide range of options. A meal at a mid-range restaurant may cost around $15 to $20 per person. A meal at a high-end restaurant could cost around $40 or more per person, depending on the type of cuisine. For those who prefer fast food, a standard combo meal usually costs around $5 to $8.

Taking into account groceries and an occasional meal out, an individual might expect to spend $300 to $400 per month on food. A couple would likely spend around $500 to $600.

Of course, your food cost will vary based on your dietary preferences and lifestyle. If you cook all of your own meals, and eat cheap foods, you could spend less than $150 per month on food. If you eat out every day, you could spend $500 or more per month on food.

Transportation Cost

Uruguay offers a decent public transportation network. Public transportation mostly consists of buses. There are also taxis and ride-sharing services available if you prefer private transport.

Public transportation in Uruguay is affordable and reliable. A one-way ticket on a city bus in Montevideo costs about $1.30 per ride. Montevideo has an extensive bus network that can get you almost anywhere within the city limits. Other cities and towns in Uruguay also have their local bus networks. There is no subway or light rail system in Montevideo.

Taxis and rideshare services are also available. Costs vary based on distance. On average, a short taxi ride within city limits may cost around $5 to $7. An Uber might be slightly cheaper at around $4 to $6. During peak times or in popular areas, prices are higher.

For those relying on public transportation, the monthly cost may be around $45 to $50. For those who frequently use taxis or rideshares, you may need to budget $100 to $150 per month, depending on how often and how far you travel.

Many neighborhoods are walkable. It’s common for locals to walk to their destinations. The country’s relatively flat terrain also makes cycling an option for commuting. If you just want to pick up some groceries or grab a coffee, you don’t have to spend money on transportation. You can just walk to your local market or cafe.

Driving yourself is also an option. Owning a car in Uruguay is somewhat expensive. Import taxes and fees are high. A small economy car can cost as much as $15,000 new. Used cars hold their value well in Uruguay, which is good for resale but means higher initial costs. Gasoline prices in Uruguay are some of the highest in Latin America at around $1.60 per liter. There are annual taxes on car ownership as well.

Entertainment Cost

Uruguay has a wide range of entertainment options. Whether you’re a fan of wine, the outdoors, exploring historical sites, or immersing yourself in cultural events, the country has plenty to offer.

An average price for a local beer or wine is around $4 to $5. A cocktail might cost you between $7 and $10, depending on the establishment and the city.

Uruguay has a variety of tourist attractions, from the beautiful beaches of Punta del Este to the historic streets of Colonia del Sacramento. Most beaches are accessible for free. Montevideo is full of various free-to-visit spots like Plaza Independencia and Mercado del Puerto. Most of the museums in Montevideo are free to enter.

When it comes to cultural events, ticket prices vary based on the event and the venue. For theater shows, concerts, and various performances, prices can range from $10 for a ticket to a local theater production, up to $50 or more for a high-profile concert or international theater performance.

Many cities in Uruguay offer a free or low-cost cultural events such as outdoor concerts and neighborhood festivals. There are budget-friendly ways to immerse yourself in the local culture.

An average monthly entertainment budget could range anywhere from $50 for a more reserved lifestyle or up to $200 or more for those looking to frequently dine out, attend events, or visit attractions.

Palacio Legislativo, Montevideo, Uruguay
Palacio Legislativo, Montevideo

Visas for Uruguay

Most nationalities can visit Uruguay for up to 90 days without a visa. For those looking to stay in Uruguay long-term, obtaining a visa is necessary.

The visa requirements are pretty minimal but the process of obtaining a visa can be somewhat complex. It usually involves demonstrating financial self-sufficiency, providing clean criminal records, and undergoing medical tests. There is a strict income requirement. In the following sections, I’ll outline some different types of Uruguay visas available for expats.

Staying in Uruguay as a Visitor

For digital nomads or those considering a trial run in Uruguay, Uruguay offers easy visitor regulations. Most nationalities, including Americans, Canadians, Australians, and most Europeans, can enter Uruguay for tourism or business purposes without a visa for up to 90 days.

If you fall in love with Uruguay and want to extend your stay, you can apply for a one-time extension for an additional 90 days. This process involves going to the Dirección Nacional de Migración (National Immigration Office) in Montevideo. Here, you’ll fill out an application and pay a small fee.

Another way to extend your stay is to make a “visa run” or “border run”. You can leave Uruguay and immediately return to reset your 90-day count. It’s easy to take the ferry to Buenos Aires, stay for a couple of hours, then catch the next ferry back. This trip can be done in a day.

This is a commonly used practice. It’s a good idea to stay up-to-date with immigration regulations. You could eventually be denied entry if you continue doing border runs. Eventually, you’ll need to get a residency visa.

For digital nomads, these flexible visitor rules make Uruguay an attractive destination. You can easily stay for 1-6 months. However, if you’re planning to stay longer term, like a year or more, or if you want to work locally in Uruguay, you’ll need to apply for a residency visa.

Uruguay Digital Nomad Visa

Uruguay recently introduced a digital nomad visa. This visa is specifically designed for remote workers, online business owners, and freelancers who work entirely online.

The digital nomad visa offers a stay of up to one year in Uruguay. It is initially valid for 180 days. It can then be renewed for an additional 180 days.

The application only costs around $10. You will probably have to spend some money gathering the additional documents you’ll need to apply for the visa. To be eligible for the Uruguay digital nomad visa, you must demonstrate that you have stable, regular income from a source outside Uruguay.

The application process involves submitting a variety of documents. You will need to show proof of income, proof of health insurance coverage, a clean criminal record from your home country and any other countries you are a resident of, and possibly other documents depending on your personal circumstances. You will also need to show a vaccination certificate that shows that you were vaccinated against various diseases. Of course, you’ll also need your passport.

Once your application is submitted and approved, you can start planning your move to Uruguay. It is also possible to apply for the digital nomad visa while you’re already in Uruguay as a visitor.

Probably the biggest advantage of this visa is that you are not required to pay taxes in Uruguay. The country does not tax residents on foreign-earned income. This can be a massive savings for high-income individuals.

For more in-depth info, check out this great guide to the Uruguay digital nomad visa. You can start your digital nomad visa application on the government of Uruguay website here.

Uruguay Residency Visas

If you’re planning a long-term move to Uruguay, you’ll have to apply for a residency visa. Uruguay offers several types of residency visas for different situations. Resident visas include:

  • Investment visa- This visa type is designed for people who plan to make an investment in Uruguay, such as buying a business or real estate. The specific investment amount required varies. It’s best to consult with an immigration expert if you plan to pursue this type of visa.

  • Independent means visa- If you have sufficient income from outside of Uruguay, such as a pension, rental income, or other investments, you might be eligible for this type of visa.

  • Work visa- If you’ve secured a job in Uruguay, your employer can sponsor your work visa application. You’ll typically need a formal job offer and the employer must demonstrate they’ve made efforts to fill the position locally.

  • Marriage visa- If you’re married to a Uruguayan citizen or permanent resident, you can apply for residency based on your marriage.

  • Retirement Visa- This is a popular option for retirees who can demonstrate a consistent source of income in retirement, like a pension or Social Security.

Eligibility for these visas depends on the specific visa type. Common requirements include a clean criminal record, proof of income or financial resources, a vaccination certificate for various diseases, and health insurance coverage.

The application process involves gathering the necessary documentation and submitting it to the Uruguayan consulate in your home country or directly to the Dirección Nacional de Migración if you’re already in Uruguay. You can apply for residency while you’re already in Uruguay.

Residency visas in Uruguay are a path to citizenship. After 5 years of living in Uruguay on a residency visa, you can apply for citizenship. If you’re married, you only have to wait 3 years. Permanent residency is also an option.

Regulations may change over time. It’s a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney or contact the Uruguayan consulate directly for the most accurate information regarding residency visas.

La Rambla, Montevideo, Uruguay
La Rambla, Montevideo

Best Places to Live in Uruguay

  • Montevideo: As the country’s capital and largest city, Montevideo offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle. There are plenty of dining, entertainment, shopping, and cultural options. There are also a range of neighborhoods to choose from. You could live downtown, in the historic district, near the waterfront, or in a suburban area. The beachfront promenade, called the Rambla, is a favorite spot among locals and expats alike.

  • Punta del Este: Punta del Este is Uruguay’s largest seaside city. This beautiful city is known for its beaches, luxury resorts, and vibrant nightlife. It’s an ideal location for those seeking relaxation, beauty, and entertainment. Punta del Este has a year-round population of around 12,000. The population swells during the busy summer months. Along the 16 block peninsula, you’ll find a strip of high-rise apartments, hotels, and resorts. Further inland, there are more residential neighborhoods with single-family homes and vacation rentals as well as some low-rise apartments. There is a well-established expat community here. Punta del Este is also an education center in Uruguay with six university campuses. You can find studio apartments here starting at around $150,000. Luxury apartments can sell for over a million dollars. Most have a pricy HOA fee. For more affordable housing, consider the nearby city of Maldonado. Here, you can find apartments for sale for less than $100,000.

  • Colonia del Sacramento: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Colonia del Sacramento is a picturesque and historic town. Its cobblestone streets, colonial-era buildings, and cozy cafes make it an ideal place for those seeking a slower pace of life. This is a small town with a population of around 27,000. It is very touristy. One benefit of Colonia is that it’s easy to access Buenos Aires. The city sits just across the river, about 75 minutes away.

  • Piriapolis: Located between rolling hills and the sea, Piriapolis is a tranquil beach town. It is popular among those who are looking for a quiet, laid-back lifestyle. It offers beautiful natural surroundings, charming architecture, and a friendly community. This was Uruguay’s first seaside resort development. It was modeled after the seaside resorts of southern France. It is a very touristy city. The permanent population is only around 9,000. This can swell to as much as 40,000 during the busy summer months. Piriapolis is a very convenient place to live. You can get around on foot or by bicycle if you choose.

  • Salto: Salto is an inland city located near the Argentinian border, about 300 miles north of Montevideo. It is known for its wine and hot springs. Salto is a great choice for those looking to live in an inland city. Salto has a population of around 105,000 making it the third most populous city in Uruguay. The cost of living here is significantly lower than in Montevideo.

  • La Paloma: A peaceful seaside town, La Paloma is perfect for nature lovers. The town is located about 60 miles east of Punta del Este and around 90 miles west of the Brazil border. The full-time population of La Paloma is only around 4,000. During the busy summer months, this can swell to over 30,000. With beautiful beaches, wildlife, and a relaxed atmosphere, it’s an ideal spot for those looking for a quiet, outdoor-oriented lifestyle.

  • Atlántida: This charming seaside town, located just 45 kilometers from Montevideo, is an ideal destination for those looking for a balance between the convenience of city life city and the relaxation of beach life. Atlántida offers beautiful beaches, a pine and eucalyptus forest, and an assortment of shops and restaurants. Its close proximity to Montevideo allows for easy access to city amenities, while still providing the relaxed pace of a beach town. Atlántida is close enough to Montevideo to commute for shopping and entertainment. It takes around an hour to drive to the capital. The full-time population of Atlántida is around 6,000. This doubles during the summer months.

  • Rocha: Rocha is a department in eastern Uruguay. It is located along the Atlantic coast. There are around a dozen small coastal towns in this region. The largest city is the city of Rocha with a population of around 26,000. Known for its breathtaking landscapes, Rocha is the perfect destination for nature lovers. The region has some of the country’s most beautiful and untouched beaches, lagoons full of birdlife, pastures, pine forests, and national parks offering excellent hiking opportunities. The lifestyle here is slow-paced, making it perfect for those who value tranquillity and close contact with nature.

  • Maldonado: This middle-class city is located around 80 miles to the east of Montevideo. Maldonado borders Punta del Este. It has a population of around 70,000. Maldonado offers a rich cultural scene, with art exhibits, theater performances, and music festivals. The old town area is a charming place to explore, with colonial-era architecture, local artisan shops, and traditional restaurants. Additionally, the city provides easy access to a variety of beautiful beaches in the surrounding region. It’s a bit more laid back than Punta del Este.

Best Places to Live in Montevideo, the Capital City

Montevideo is Uruguay’s capital. The city has a population of around 1.3 million with around 2 million in the metro area. The vast majority of expats and digital nomads who move to Uruguay choose to live in Montevideo. Around half of Uruguay’s population also lives here.

Montevideo is made up of 62 barrios or neighborhoods. Each barrio has its own personality. The city covers 77 square miles of beautiful land along the Rio de la Plata. One of Montevideo’s best features is the 14 mile long Rambla. This walkway runs along the waterfront. Here, you’ll find bike paths, restaurants, beaches, shops, and more.

Montevideo also offers plenty of history and culture. The city is full of museums, theaters, and music halls. Montevideo is regularly ranked among the cities with the best quality of life in South America.

  • Pocitos: Known for its high-quality apartments, modern amenities, and beautiful beach, Pocitos is one of Montevideo’s most desirable neighborhoods. It has a vibrant atmosphere with lots of shops, restaurants, and nightlife options. This makes it a popular choice for younger expats and those seeking a lively lifestyle. It’s also possible to find reasonably priced apartments here. You can buy a two bedroom unit for under $200,000.

  • Carrasco: If you’re looking for tranquility and luxury, Carrasco is a good option. This upscale area offers large homes, lots of green spaces, and a laid-back atmosphere. It’s a bit further from the city center. This gives it a more suburban feel.

  • Punta Carretas: This neighborhood is home to the Punta Carretas Shopping Mall, the iconic lighthouse, and a beautiful golf club. It also offers easy access to the Rambla. This makes Punta Carretas a favorite among both locals and expats moving to Uruguay. This is one of the more upscale and expensive neighborhoods in Montevideo. Here, you’ll find some of the city’s best restaurants and most expensive apartments. Renting an apartment in a new complex will cost around $1200 per month. You can buy two bedroom apartments for around $250,000. Some of the most valuable real estate in the city is located along Boulevard General Artigas next to the golf course.

  • Ciudad Vieja: The Old City is the historic heart of Montevideo. This neighborhood sits on a peninsula. It measures 14 blocks by 8 blocks. It is also where the port of Montevideo is located. In this area, you’ll find colonial architecture, plazas, narrow cobblestone pedestrian streets, and some of the city’s key landmarks. It’s the most touristy part of the city. You’ll also find many great coffee shops, restaurants, and the famous Mercado del Puerto (port market) here. Some of the city’s best barbecue restaurants are also located here. This neighborhood offers a vibrant blend of history and modernity, and it’s the center of Montevideo’s arts scene. Ciudad Vieja is one of the most convenient places to live in Montevideo. Everything is walkable. This is also a relatively affordable place to live. It’s possible to rent a decent apartment here for around $700 per month. This is where I stayed when I first arrived in Montevideo.

  • Centro: Centro is the city’s downtown and business district. With a mix of residential and commercial properties, it’s a busy area filled with offices, shops, restaurants, and cultural sites, including the impressive Solís Theatre. Many of the city’s government offices are also located here. This is Montevideo’s economic and financial center. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city, this might be a good neighborhood for you. Centro is a convenient place to live, though it can get noisy.

  • Parque Rodó: Adjacent to the park from which it takes its name, Parque Rodó is an attractive neighborhood with lots of culture. It’s home to many students and offers a range of entertainment options, including bars, clubs, and the Parque Rodó amusement park.

  • Cordón: Cordón is a busy and eclectic neighborhood located adjacent to Centro. It offers a mix of old and new that creates a distinctive charm. Known for its historic architecture, vibrant street art, and variety of local businesses, it’s a neighborhood full of character. Cordón is also home to several universities. This gives it a youthful and energetic vibe. With its affordable housing options, numerous shops, restaurants, and easy access to the rest of the city, Cordón is an attractive choice for younger nomads.

Finding a Home or Apartment in Uruguay

Finding an apartment in Uruguay is one of the first steps in establishing yourself in Uruguay. There are a number of websites where landlords list properties for rent. A few of the more popular ones include Mercado Libre, Infocasas, and Gallito. On these sites, you’ll find listings of available apartments across Uruguay.

There are also expat Facebook groups you can join. People sometimes advertise apartments in these groups. Other expats can also help to guide you through the rental process. These groups would also be a great place to look for a roommate. One of the most active groups is the Uruguay Expat Community.

You can also hunt for apartments in person. Go to your favorite neighborhood and look for ‘for rent’ signs. Most large apartment buildings will have a phone number you can call to enquire about apartments for rent.

You could also hire a real estate agent to help you rent an apartment. They can guide you through the process and help you negotiate lease terms.

Most apartments in Uruguay come unfurnished, meaning they don’t include furniture or appliances. It is an important factor to consider when budgeting for your move. You’ll have to buy your own stuff.

If you’re planning a short-term stay, Airbnb is a good option. There are plenty of furnished apartments available throughout Uruguay. Staying in an Airbnb is more expensive than a long-term rental but it is hassle-free. You don’t have to deal with moving utilities into your name or furnishing the place. This would be a great option if you’re only planning to stay in Uruguay for 1-3 months.

Rental Agreements in Uruguay

Rental agreements in Uruguay are pretty straightforward. It is important to understand how these agreements work and what’s required to rent an apartment.

The typical rental term in Uruguay is 12 months. Shorter or longer terms may be negotiable depending on the property and the landlord.

To rent an apartment, you’ll need a garantía (guarantee). This serves as a type of security deposit. In Uruguay, this is often done through a Guarantee Depository (such as ANDA or Porto Seguro). The deposit is usually equal to 5 or 6 months rent. This makes renting an apartment pretty expensive. Sometimes another property is used as collateral. This usually isn’t an option for foreigners. This guarantee is not a legal requirement but most landlords require it.

There are also some documents you may need to show. When renting an apartment, you’ll usually need to provide proof of income to show that you can afford the rent. You’ll also need a local ID (cédula). Some landlords might accept a passport for foreigners. You don’t have to be a resident to legally rent an apartment but some landlords may require it.

Rent is paid monthly in Uruguay. You may also be responsible for common expenses (gastos comunes) that cover building maintenance and services. The amount varies by building, but it’s typically a small fraction of the monthly rent. It’s important to check this expense before renting so you’re not surprised with a big bill every month.

Tenants are usually responsible for their own utility bills, including electricity, water, and internet. I’ll explain how these bills are paid later on in this guide.

Before signing any rental agreement, it’s important to read the contract thoroughly and understand the terms. Consider getting help from a local real estate professional or lawyer to ensure you fully comprehend the agreement.

Buying Real Estate in Uruguay

For long-term expats and retirees, buying property in Uruguay can be a great investment. Uruguay is very foreigner-friendly when it comes to property ownership. There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property. Expats have the same rights as locals.

Average property prices in Uruguay can vary widely depending on the location and the type of property. For example, in Montevideo, you can find apartments ranging from $100,000 to over $1,000,000, depending on the area and the property’s size and condition. Houses in suburban areas or smaller cities are available at lower prices. Upscale areas like Punta del Este, known for luxury homes and beachfront condos, can command significantly higher prices. For a two bedroom condo, a good budget is around $200,000-$300,000.

The process of buying property in Uruguay involves several steps. First, you have to find a property. You can start by browsing online listings, working with a real estate agent, or even exploring neighborhoods of interest to find properties for sale.

Next, you or your real estate agent can make an offer. If the seller accepts your offer, you will typically sign a Reserva (reservation agreement) and pay a small deposit (often 3% of the purchase price). After the reserva, the next step is to sign a Promesa de Compraventa (Promise of Purchase and Sale). This document outlines the terms of the sale and is typically accompanied by a larger deposit (around 10% of the purchase price).

The final sale is completed at the notary’s office, where the property title is officially transferred to the buyer. The balance of the purchase price is paid at this time.

Most properties are paid in cash in U.S. dollars. It is possible to get a mortgage but it will be difficult for foreigners. Most expats buy in cash.

It’s always recommended to work with a reputable real estate agent and notary when buying property in Uruguay to ensure all legalities are properly handled. A good agent will help you navigate the process and handle negotiations.

Healthcare and Health Insurance in Uruguay

Healthcare is an important factor to consider when planning a move to another country. Particularly for older individuals and those with health issues.

Uruguay offers a high-quality healthcare system with modern hospitals and an excellent standard of care. This makes it a strong choice for expats and retirees.

Health insurance in Uruguay is often structured around a model known as a ‘mutualista’. A mutualista is a private membership plan with a specific hospital or network of hospitals. Whenever you need to see a doctor, you go to one of the private hospitals that you are a member of.

For a monthly fee, members receive a wide range of medical services, often including routine check-ups, specialist appointments, and emergency care.

The average cost of a mutualista varies depending on your age and the plan you choose. Prices for a mutualista can range from around $50 to $200 per month. Most expats and retirees choose to join a mutualista for comprehensive coverage.

While healthcare costs in Uruguay are generally lower than in countries like the US, costs can quickly accumulate in the event of a serious illness or accident. Therefore, having a mutualista or health insurance is highly recommended.

In addition to private options, Uruguay also offers free universal healthcare to low-income residents. Known as the ‘Fondo Nacional de Salud’ (National Health Fund), this system provides a safety net for those who cannot afford private care.

For those planning a shorter stay in Uruguay, such as digital nomads staying for six months or less, travel insurance that includes health coverage can also be an option. Many international insurance providers offer plans that cover emergency medical care in foreign countries. I recommend SafetyWing travel insurance.

Pros of Living in Uruguay

  • Uruguay has an excellent and affordable healthcare system- Healthcare in Uruguay is affordable. The level of care is high. Uruguay has a universal healthcare system. This ensures that everyone receives care, even the poor.

  • It’s easy to get a residency visa in Uruguay- Uruguay is one of the easiest countries to immigrate to. The government is actively trying to attract foreigners to move there. The only real requirements are proof of income and a clean criminal record. You can even apply for residency while you’re already in the country. If you only want to visit short term, most nationalities can visit without a visa for up to 90 days.

  • Uruguay has great beaches- Uruguay offers miles and miles of unspoiled white sand beaches. There are charming little beach towns all along the coast. During the summer months, thousands of tourists arrive from Argentina and Brazil. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, check out the beaches in Rocha, near the Brazil border.

  • The beef- Uruguay produces some of the world’s highest-quality beef. Uruguayans eat nearly as much beef per capita as Argentinians. Uruguayan beef is less famous than Argentinian beef because the country doesn’t export as much. Most of the beef produced in Uruguay is grass-fed. This is often considered to be healthier than grain-fed beef. There are excellent barbecue restaurants all over the country. If you’re a carnivore, you’ll love Uruguay.

  • Uruguay is politically stable- Uruguay has a democratic government. People generally trust the government. Most people live a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. The country is stable. There is rule of law. You don’t have to worry about political unrest. Crime rates are low.

  • There is affordable real estate available- In many beach towns, it is possible to find a property within walking distance of the beach for around $100,000. Even in Montevideo, you can buy a nice home for under $200,000.

  • Reliable internet infrastructure- Uruguay has some of the fastest internet speeds and the most reliable internet anywhere in South America. This makes it an excellent choice for digital nomads and remote workers who need to be online. The electrical infrastructure is also very reliable. Power outages are rare.

  • Uruguay is a tolerant country- People of all different races are welcome. Uruguay is a diverse country due to its colonial history. Uruguay is also accepting of people in the LGBT community. Anyone can live here without having to worry about being discriminated against. People are friendly and open-minded, for the most part.

  • Uruguay is a progressive country- This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your personal beliefs. Abortion is legal in Uruguay. Same-sex marriage is legal in Uruguay. Recreational marijuana was also legalized in Uruguay. The country has some extremely progressive policies.

  • Uruguay is a great place to live a quiet, laid-back life- Uruguay is a peaceful country. Most of the population is middle-class. There aren’t any major conflicts going on in the country. If you’re looking for a quiet and simple lifestyle, Uruguay is a great choice.

Cons of Living in Uruguay

  • The language barrier- You need to speak some Spanish to live in Uruguay comfortably. Before moving to Uruguay, you should speak at least basic Spanish. If you don’t, you will struggle. Most people speak very little English or none at all.

  • The Uruguayan people aren’t the friendliest- Latin American culture is generally extremely friendly and welcoming but Uruguay is a little different. The people in Uruguay aren’t unfriendly but they can come off as a little bit cold. People won’t be hostile toward you or anything like that. They just won’t be overly friendly. People won’t just invite you into their home or their friend group. It can be difficult to make long-term friends with locals. Of course, it’s still possible to make friends with locals. It may just take a little more time for people to warm up to you after you meet.

  • Cold winters- Winters in Uruguay aren’t extreme but they are cold, windy, and dreary. This can be a challenge for people who are used to living in warmer climates. You’ll need a jacket during the winter.

  • During the winter, many places are deserted- I first arrived in Montevideo during the winter. While I was walking around the city, I couldn’t help but notice how empty it felt. I took a walk on the Rambla all by myself. Even downtown felt deserted. There were very few tourists out and about. It was kind of depressing. When spring arrived and the weather warmed up, the city came back to life. The beach towns are even worse. Many seaside cities only have a few thousand full-time inhabitants. During the summers, the population swells. If you live in one of these towns, it will feel empty during the winter.

  • Uruguay isn’t the cheapest destination- One of the main reasons expats, digital nomads, and retirees choose to move to Latin America is the low cost of living. Uruguay is probably the most expensive South American country to live in. If you’re moving from a large American city like New York or Los Angeles, you’ll find Uruguay to be affordable. If you’re moving from a low-cost-of-living city, you won’t find it that cheap. You might be able to reduce your monthly cost of living by 10-30% by moving to Uruguay.

  • High import taxes- Imported goods are extremely expensive in Uruguay due to the high import taxes. If you want to buy a new car, laptop, or phone, expect to spend more than you would in the U.S. or Europe.

  • Poor customer service- People working in shops and restaurants aren’t too friendly or helpful to customers. This can be frustrating if you’re used to a higher level of service.

  • Shopping is a hassle- In Uruguay, you won’t find many big box stores or supermarkets. Instead, you’ll find lots of small mom-and-pop shops. You’ll find small grocery stores, butcher shops, produce shops, shops selling household goods, pharmacies, etc. While this may sound nice, it makes getting everything you need a bit of a hassle. You can’t just go to one store. You’ll have to visit multiple shops. Some people consider this a good thing. And it is. Most stores are locally owned and operated. It can be a hassle to visit multiple shops.

  • Uruguay isn’t the cleanest country- While walking on the beach or down the street, you’ll see litter lying around. In some places garbage piles up because collection is infrequent. Many of Montevideo’s buildings are covered in graffiti. That surprised me.

  • The job market is competitive- It’s not easy to find a job in Uruguay. If you plan to work, you’ll need to find a job before you move there. There are very few jobs available for people who don’t speak Spanish fluently. You’ll need to be highly skilled in your profession to have a chance at finding a decent job here. It’s also important to remember that Uruguay is a small country. There aren’t many good jobs available. Salaries are relatively low.

  • It’s boring- Uruguay isn’t the most exciting place to live. There isn’t much going on. After all, how often do you hear about Uruguay in the news? Probably not often. Montevideo isn’t a big bustling city like Buenos Aires or São Paulo. The downtown area is relatively small. Oftentimes there aren’t many people out and about. There is nightlife but options are somewhat limited. There aren’t any major attractions in Uruguay other than the beaches. It’s a small country. If you want to live an exciting lifestyle and go out all the time, Uruguay probably isn’t the best choice. You’ll get bored quickly.

Finding Jobs for Expats in Uruguay

Uruguay’s economy is diverse. The main industry is agriculture (primarily beef and soybeans). Information technology services, tourism, and finance also make up significant portions of the economy. Montevideo offers the greatest range of job opportunities.

In order to legally work in Uruguay, you’ll need to secure a job before moving. Your future employer will then need to sponsor your work permit application. This involves the company demonstrating that they’ve tried to fill the position with a local candidate, but have been unable to do so. They’ll also need to confirm that you possess the skills or qualifications necessary for the role. Once your work permit application is approved, you’ll be granted a visa that allows you to live and work in Uruguay.

If you have a remote job and earn money from abroad, you can work legally in Uruguay on a digital nomad visa or a residency visa. You don’t need a work permit for this type of work as long as you earn your money from another country.

As for work culture, Uruguayans tend to value a balance between work and personal life. The typical work week is 40 hours from Monday to Friday. This can vary depending on the job and the sector. It’s not uncommon for businesses to close in the afternoon for a siesta, particularly outside of Montevideo.

The job market in Uruguay is competitive. It’s not easy to find a job there unless you have certain in-demand skills. Fluency in Spanish is often essential for job seekers as well. Salaries are also lower than North American expats may be used to.

Retiring in Uruguay

Uruguay can be an excellent decision for retirees. This peaceful country is known for its safety, high standard of living, and quality healthcare facilities. This all makes it an attractive destination for retirees.

The Uruguayan government encourages foreign retirees with a specialized visa, the Pensionado Visa. This visa allows retirees to reside in Uruguay while receiving a pension or social security payment from their home country.

One of the key benefits of this visa is the country’s tax structure. Uruguay taxes on a territorial basis. This means foreign-sourced income, like most pensions or social security payments, are not subject to tax. You don’t need to report foreign income because Uruguay uses a territorial tax structure.

In terms of requirements to retire in Uruguay, the process is pretty straightforward. Applicants must demonstrate a consistent monthly income of at least $1,500 from a reliable source, such as a pension or Social Security. This requirement is in place to ensure that the retiree can sustain a comfortable lifestyle in Uruguay. Additionally, applicants must pass a criminal background check and show up-to-date vaccine records.

Food in Uruguay: Grocery Shopping

Uruguay offers a number of options for grocery shopping, from big chain supermarkets to local mom-and-pop shops.

Uruguay’s larger cities, like Montevideo and Punta del Este, are home to several big-chain supermarkets, including Disco, Devoto, and Tienda Inglesa. Here, you can find a wide variety of products, including fresh produce, meat, dairy, canned goods, household items, and more. These supermarkets also often carry international brands as well.

Many Uruguayans prefer shopping at local mom-and-pop shops, known as ‘almacenes’. These small shops are often family-run. They carry a variety of staple items. These shops are conveniently located in every neighborhood. If you need some sugar or rice, you can just stop by your local almacence.

In addition, there are also plenty of specialized shops. Butcher shops, or ‘carnicerías’, offer a range of meats, Beef is particularly popular due to Uruguay’s strong cattle industry. There are also ‘verdulerías’, produce shops that offer a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmer’s markets and roadside produce stands are also common. Bakeries, or ‘panaderías’, offer a variety of bread and pastries, including traditional Uruguayan treats like ‘bizcochos’.

You can prepare your favorite home-cooked meals in Uruguay. Pretty much all of your favorite ingredients are available.

Restaurants in Uruguay

In Uruguay, you’ll find a wide range of restaurants, from upscale dining establishments and cozy bistros to local parrillas (barbecue restaurants) and even street food stalls. Generally, the ingredients are fresh and of high quality. Particularly the meat.

Uruguayan cuisine is heavily influenced by its European roots, primarily from Spain and Italy. Lots of Italian immigrants moved to Uruguay in the 20th century. As a result, you’ll find plenty of restaurants serving pasta, pizza, and seafood dishes. Local Uruguayan dishes are also available, such as the traditional ‘chivito’ (a steak sandwich) and ’empanadas’ (stuffed pastries).

As a nation of meat lovers, Uruguay is known for its exceptional quality of beef. Parrilla restaurants are where you’ll experience the quintessential Uruguayan ‘asado’ (barbecue). Here, a variety of meats, including beef ribs, sausages, and sweetbreads, are slow-cooked to perfection over wood or charcoal.

Of course, you can also find most of your favorite American fast-food restaurants in Montevideo including McDonald’s and Burger King. There are also coffee shops. Street food stands aren’t too common but they are around. Pizza by the slice is common. There are lots of options for quick eats.

Transportation: Getting Around Uruguay

Traveling around Uruguay is relatively easy thanks to the country’s extensive public transportation network. Buses are the primary mode of public transport in Uruguay. Pretty much every city has a public bus system. There are also long-distance buses that can take you anywhere in the country.

Montevideo has a large, efficient public transport network. Buses service pretty much all areas of the city. The bus is a convenient and affordable option for daily commutes.

Uruguay does not have a metro or light rail system. There is also no long-distance train service. There are trains but they’re only for cargo. For intercity or interstate travel, buses or private cars are the only options.

For those considering living outside the city or in rural areas, owning a car may be necessary. Public transport services are infrequent or non-existent in rural areas. Driving in Uruguay is relatively straightforward. The country has a good network of roads. Traffic rules closely follow international standards.

Owning a car in Uruguay can be expensive. Import taxes on vehicles are high. This makes buying a car pretty expensive. Regular expenses like fuel, maintenance, and insurance also add to the overall cost. Therefore, it’s recommended to consider your travel requirements and weigh the costs before deciding to purchase a vehicle.

There are also ferry services to Buenos Aires. If you want to take a weekend trip or do some traveling in the region, you can catch the ferry from Montevideo or Colonia.

In Montevideo, most neighborhoods are walkable. You don’t always need to use transport. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, etc. nearby. Cycling is also a good option.

Money and Banking in Uruguay

In Uruguay, the official currency is the Uruguayan Peso (UYU). As of writing, the exchange rate is approximately 38 UYU to 1 US dollar and around 42 UYU to 1 Euro.

Credit cards are widely accepted in Uruguay, especially in larger cities like Montevideo and Punta del Este. You can almost always pay with a card in restaurants, hotels, and larger stores. Cash is still king in many places. Particularly in smaller towns, local markets, and rural areas.

ATMs are common throughout the country. This makes it easy to withdraw cash as needed. It’s worth noting that some ATMs may charge a high withdraw fee. Especially if you’re using a foreign bank card.

Taxes in Uruguay

Taxes play a significant role in any decision to relocate. It’s one of the main reasons people choose to move abroad.

For many expats and retirees, Uruguay’s tax system is a key attraction. You may benefit from a number of tax breaks by moving. One of the biggest benefits of Uruguay residency is that the country has relatively low taxes.

Uruguay operates a territorial taxation system. This means that you are only taxed on income earned within Uruguay’s borders. This includes work income, rental income from Uruguayan property, and income from Uruguayan investments.

As a foreign resident, you are usually not taxed on any income earned abroad, including pensions, social security, or investment income from other countries. This tax structure can provide substantial savings for expats and retirees.

However, this only lasts for your first 11 years of residency in Uruguay. After that, you pay around 12% tax on foreign income. Alternatively, you can waive the tax-free window and choose to pay just 7% taxes on foreign dividends and income as long as you are a resident of Uruguay. For more info, check out this great guide.

It’s important to note that, while Uruguay doesn’t tax worldwide income, your home country might. For example, the United States taxes its citizens on their worldwide income, regardless of where they live. You may still have to pay taxes in the U.S., even if you’re not living there if you’re a citizen.

Furthermore, other taxes in Uruguay, such as Value Added Tax (VAT) on purchases and property tax, do apply to everyone. VAT in Uruguay is typically 22%. Property taxes vary based on the value and location of the property.

To navigate the Uruguayan tax system effectively, it’s best to consult with a local tax professional or financial advisor.

Paying Bills

In Uruguay, there are several methods for bill payments. Online bill payment is a widely used option in Uruguay. Most utilities and phone and internet service providers have online platforms that allow you to pay your bills directly from your bank account or with a credit card or debit card. Banks offer online banking services where you can easily set up automatic payments or manually pay your bills each month.

Some locals and expats prefer to pay their bills in person. This can be done at Abitab or Redpagos. These two payment and collection companies can be found throughout Uruguay. These agencies allow you to pay a variety of bills, including utilities, phone, and even taxes, all in one place. You simply bring your bills to the counter and the clerk will process your payments. It’s an easy system. The agencies are typically located in convenient places like shopping centers or near grocery stores.

In some cases, especially for rent or condominium fees, direct payment to the person or entity you owe may be required. In these instances, payments are often made in cash or via bank transfer.

Opening a Bank Account in Uruguay

When it comes to banking, many expats and retirees choose to open a local bank account to handle their finances more conveniently within the country. Some popular banks that foreigners use include Banco Republica (BROU), Santander, and Scotiabank. Each of these banks offers a range of services, from checking and savings accounts to credit cards and online banking.

You’ll need your passport, proof of income, and sometimes proof of address in Uruguay to open a bank account. Most banks will open accounts for foreign nationals. You don’t even need to be a resident to open a bank account in most cases. Uruguay’s financial system is modern and relatively easy to use.

The Language Barrier: Do I Need to Speak Spanish to Live in South America?

In Uruguay, the official language is Spanish. While some Uruguayans, particularly in business or tourism sectors, may speak English, it’s not widely spoken across the country. It’s actually pretty rare to meet someone who is fluent in English.

If you’re considering a move to Uruguay, having at least a basic understanding of Spanish is highly recommended. It will make your day-to-day life much easier. Without some Spanish skills, everyday tasks, such as shopping, navigating public transportation, or interacting with neighbors, can become challenging. Understanding the local language allows you to fully immerse yourself in the culture and community.

There are several ways to learn Spanish before your move or once you’ve arrived in Uruguay. Before moving to Uruguay, you can use online learning platforms. Applications like Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone offer self-paced Spanish courses that you can access from anywhere. Online platforms like iTalki also allow you to practice with native Spanish speakers.

Once you arrive in Uruguay, you can enroll yourself in a Spanish school. There are lots of language schools in Uruguay that offer Spanish courses for all levels. These schools often provide intensive courses geared towards expats and travelers.

You could also hire a private tutor. This can be a good way to speed up your language learning. Tutors offer personalized lessons based on your current proficiency level and goals.

Understanding and speaking the local language can greatly improve your experience in Uruguay. While it may take some time and effort to learn Uruguayan Spanish, it will make your life much easier.

Is Uruguay Safe?

When considering a move abroad, safety is an important consideration. Uruguay is a safe place to live. In fact, Uruguay is consistently ranked as the safest country in Latin America. The country is peaceful. It has low rates of violent crime. During the day, it’s safe to wander around pretty much anywhere.

Petty crimes, such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, or theft, do occur in Uruguay but they are relatively rare. You have to be careful in crowded touristy areas in larger cities. Muggings are also rare but they do occur.

In recent years, Uruguay has seen a slight increase in crime rates. The crime rate still remains low compared to other countries in the region. Uruguay is far safer than other popular expat and digital nomad destinations like Colombia and Brazil.

You do need to take some simple precautions to avoid falling victim to crime. While you’re out and about, always stay aware of your surroundings. Avoid flashing valuables. keep your belongings close to you, particularly in crowded areas such as markets, bus stations, or tourist sites where pickpockets may operate.

It’s also important to avoid isolated areas after dark. Stick to well-lit, populated areas at night. Be extra cautious in unfamiliar places.

You should also use reputable transportation services. Be sure to use officially marked taxis or reputable ride-hailing services to get around.

Despite the need for these precautions, the overall security situation in Uruguay is good. It’s a place where you can enjoy a high quality of life, complemented by a sense of security and peace of mind.

For more info on crime and safety in Uruguay, check out this great guide. It can also be helpful to read the travel advisory for Uruguay from the U.S. State Department.

Climate and Weather in Uruguay

Uruguay experiences a subtropical climate. There is mild and enjoyable weather year-round. The seasons are switched from the northern hemisphere. When it’s winter in North America and Europe, it’s summer in the southern hemisphere.

The Uruguayan summer lasts from December to March. The summer typically sees average temperatures ranging from 70°F to 82°F (21°C to 28°C). The weather during this season is warm and sunny, perfect for enjoying the beautiful beaches or enjoying outdoor activities.

Fall in Uruguay lasts from March to June. This season sees a gradual decrease in temperature, with averages usually between 57°F to 70°F (14°C to 21°C). Fall is beautiful in Uruguay. It’s an excellent time for countryside excursions to enjoy the vibrant fall colors.

The winter lasts from June to September. Winter brings cooler weather to Uruguay. Average temperatures can range from 43°F to 57°F (6°C to 14°C). While it doesn’t snow in parts of the country. It can get quite chilly, especially in the evenings. During this time, you’ll need a jacket or sweater.

Spring runs from September to December. This is a delightful season with mild temperatures, ranging from 57°F to 75°F (14°C to 24°C). This is one of the best times of year in Uruguay.

While Uruguay’s climate is generally mild, the country can experience periods of heavy rainfall throughout the year. These periods are usually short-lived and shouldn’t significantly affect your daily plans.

Education in Uruguay

For those moving with children, education is an important consideration. Uruguay offers a wide range of education options from public schools to international institutions to fine universities.

Uruguay offers free education for all children. The quality of education is okay. If you prefer an English-speaking curriculum, you can send your kids to an international school. There are a number of international schools in Montevideo.

Universities in Uruguay are also well regarded. For students seeking study abroad opportunities, Montevideo offers a diverse range of programs in disciplines.

For those looking to improve their Spanish language skills, Uruguay has a variety of language schools Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced speaker, there’s a Spanish school suited to your level.

Is Uruguay a Good Place to Live?

Yes. Uruguay is a great place to live. There are a number of reasons for expats, digital nomads, and retirees to choose Uruguay.

Firstly, safety is a big plus. Uruguay is the safest country in Latin America. This provides peace of mind. You can safely wander around and enjoy the city without having to constantly worry about getting robbed.

Uruguay’s low tax system is also a significant draw. The country operates on a territorial tax basis. Generally, only income earned within the country is taxed. This, along with a stable government and economy, provides a solid foundation for financial planning.

Uruguay also offers a high-quality and affordable healthcare system. There are modern facilities, comprehensive and affordable coverage options, and a large network of hospitals and clinics. This makes Uruguay a great choice for retirees or those with health issues.

Uruguay also offers a streamlined residency process that makes it relatively easy for foreigners to settle down. Whether you’re a retiree, an entrepreneur, or a digital nomad, there are a variety of visa options available. Chances are you’ll qualify for one.

Uruguay’s natural beauty is another major perk. From the stunning beaches of Punta del Este to the charming historic district of Colonia del Sacramento, there’s a range of natural and cultural sites to explore.

The country’s mild climate is appealing to many, with warm summers and cooler, but not freezing, winters. This temperate weather makes it enjoyable to explore the country year-round.

Uruguay also has safe drinking water throughout the country. You can drink the tap water. This isn’t a given in many parts of Latin America.

Uruguay offers an extremely high quality of life.

It’s worth noting that it’s not the cheapest destination. Living costs, particularly in Montevideo, can be relatively high compared to neighboring countries. If you’re on a tight budget, Argentina is a great alternative.

The language barrier can also be an issue for some. English isn’t widely spoken. You’ll need to speak some Spanish to live comfortably in Uruguay.

FAQ About Living in Uruguay

Can Foreigners Live in Uruguay?

Yes. Foreigners can live in Uruguay. Uruguay is not only welcoming to foreigners, it also has an immigration policy that encourages them to make the country their home. For example, the country is offering tax incentives for new residents. The immigration policy is also pretty lax.

Visitors from most countries can enter Uruguay without a visa for stays up to 90 days. This is an excellent opportunity to explore the country and get a sense of whether or not it is the right fit for you.

For those looking to stay longer term, Uruguay offers straightforward residency options. You need proof of regular income. In addition, you’ll need a clean criminal background check.

Uruguay has taken steps to attract the growing digital nomad community. The country has launched a digital nomad visa, allowing remote workers from around the world to live and work in Uruguay.

Can a US Citizen Live in Uruguay?

Yes, U.S. citizens can live in Uruguay. The country’s welcoming immigration policies make it an attractive destination for Americans looking to relocate.

For short stays, American citizens can visit Uruguay without a visa for up to 90 days. For long-term stays, Uruguay offers straightforward residency options. U.S. citizens can apply for residency by demonstrating a steady income.

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Uruguay?

The cost of living in Uruguay can vary significantly depending on your lifestyle, the city you choose to live in, and your personal needs.

A comfortable budget for an average individual in Uruguay might be $1,500 to $2,000 per month. Let’s break down that budget:

  • Rent: Depending on where you live (city center or outskirts) and the type of accommodation you prefer, rent for a one-bedroom apartment can range from $500 to $1000 per month. For a two-bedroom unit, you’ll pay $600-$1200.

  • Food: Groceries for one person might cost around $200-$300 per month, and dining out occasionally can add another $100 to $200.

  • Utilities: Electricity, water, and gas might cost $75-$150 depending on the season. During the winter, your utility bill will increase because you’ll need to pay for heating.

  • Transportation: Monthly transportation in Montevideo when taking the bus will cost around $30. Let’s budget $50 for a person primarily using public transportation and taking the occasional taxi or Uber. Maintaining a car would cost much more.

  • Entertainment: Budgeting around $100-$200 per month can cover occasional outings, movie tickets, cultural events, or gym memberships.

  • Insurance: Health insurance through a “mutualista” plan typically costs around $50-$100 per month.

These figures are approximate and can vary widely depending on individual circumstances and lifestyle choices. Living frugally, it might be possible to get by on less. It would be possible to live on $1000 per month in Uruguay if you rent a cheap apartment outside the city center and don’t go out much. A more luxurious lifestyle will require a higher budget. If you live in a luxury apartment and go out to eat every day, you might spend closer to $3000-$4000 per month.

My Experience Living in Uruguay as a Digital Nomad

Uruguay is one of the first places I went when I became a digital nomad. I split my time between Montevideo and Buenos Aires. Both countries allow visitors to stay for 90 days. Every time I crossed between the two countries, my 90 days reset. This makes it easy to stay in this part of the world long-term without having to apply for a visa.

Overall, I enjoyed my time in Uruguay but I wouldn’t want to settle down there long term. I feel that it would get a little bit boring. I found that the streets were pretty empty after dark. Options were somewhat limited in terms of restaurants and nightlife.

That said, I really love the natural beauty of Uruguay. The coastal towns are charming and beautiful. There are some spectacular beaches. The country also feels very safe. Most people are middle-class. It’s nice. I can imagine myself spending more time there when I’m older. I think it would make an excellent retirement destination.

Final Thoughts About Living in Uruguay

Living in Uruguay as an expat, digital nomad, or retiree offers unique advantages that make it a compelling choice. From its comfortable climate and scenic beauty to its stable economy and appealing tax system, Uruguay offers a comfortable and high-quality lifestyle. Whether you’re drawn to the urban allure of Montevideo, the beachside charm of Punta del Este, or the peaceful countryside, Uruguay caters to a diversity of preferences. While the cost of living may be higher than in other Latin American countries, the quality of life, safety, and access to excellent healthcare make it worth the money.

If you’re contemplating making a move abroad, Uruguay could be the ideal destination to embark on your expat journey, embrace digital nomadism, or enjoy your golden retirement years. As always, careful planning and research are key to a successful relocation.

Have you lived in Uruguay? Share your experience in the comments below!

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