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We rarely accept guest posts but we liked this useful guide from Sam of Indefinite Adventure as it highlights some lesser known potential digital nomad bases in South America. Of Sam’s picks Arequipa is the only one we’ve visited ourselves, a city we enjoyed but had an unsuccessful apartment search, so we’re glad to see it on the list.
Around the world there are certain cities that seem to pull in digital nomads, bloggers and location independent types. Chiang Mai and Playa del Carmen are perennial constants, but increasingly popular are Istanbul, Lisbon and Berlin, among others.
If a city has some combination of good weather, fast internet, affordable prices and a good selection of good food, it’s likely to become the next digital nomad hotspot. In South America, the three names I see thrown around are usually Buenos Aires in Argentina, Cusco in Peru and Medellín in Colombia.
Buenos Aires’ reputation as a good base for digital nomads is well deserved, with its many cafés and entrepreneurial vibe, and since it’s the only one of these three cities I managed to visit on my recent 10 month trip in South America, it’s also the only one I can comment on.
However, I’d like to propose three alternative South American cities that could be set to become the next hubs for digital nomads on the continent which seems like a more popular place to travel through than to stop and stay a while in (unlike Asia) among us location independent types.
Argentina’s second city may not have the obviously cool edge compared to its big brother on the coast, but once you delve a bit deeper, this university town can be just as hip, and even more intimate.
Cool cafés line the streets in the area around the canal, and people come out to dance tango on the streets on Sunday evenings wherever the space allows. Being away from the capital, everything is cheaper, the many university students means a riotous nightlife if that’s your kind of thing and the surrounding countryside, even just an hour or two outside of the city, is beautiful and extremely varied.
This colonial city has all the makings of the perfect digital nomad hub for southern Peru, yet it seems no one has caught on yet. There are oodles of cool cafés, all with reliable wifi, cheap, varied and excellent food options, dry sunny days, gorgeous views from almost everywhere in the city of two dormant volcanoes and many options for day trips out into the surrounding countryside, especially towards the Colca Canyon, the world’s deepest. Plus, everything in the city is within walking distance.
For us, it was where we found one of our cheapest apartments in South America: a duplex, two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with fast wifi for just £330 ($540) per month.
Cuenca has the perfect combination of things that the other Ecuadorian cities we visited didn’t quite have balanced: nice weather, digital nomad friendly cafés, clean streets, a focus on art and cultural events and excellent food.
Like Arequipa, the entire city is walkable with many lovely outdoor spaces, the weather pleasant and predictable and there are strong wifi connections in the many nice places to sit and work over a cup of coffee. The surrounding countryside is lovely, and there are easy day trips out to El Cajas National Park for some light hiking or hardcore trekking, depending on your preferred style. The strong expat community also makes it an easy place to slip into comfortably for a short time.
About the Author: Sam is a sometimes-EFL teacher with a penchant for trains, napping, finding vegan food in unlikely places and podcasts. He recently spent 10 months travelling in South America with his partner, Zab, and is now back in his native Europe for a while. Follow Sam and Zab’s travels on their blog, Indefinite Adventure, through Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.