Top 5 Latin American Cities for Digital Nomads

by | Feb 11, 2022 | The Americas - Other Countries | 1 comment

Countries around the world have become interested in digital nomads. Why? Because the opportunity to admit foreign workers whose source of income outside the country increases domestic consumption of goods and services, which also means an increase in sales tax revenue. It’s a freebee for governments who don’t need to worry about generating employment opportunities and risking displacement of the local workforce.

City Ratings for Digital Nomads

Nestpick, an online platform for on-demand housing operating worldwide, created the “Work from home anywhere index“, a guide with relevant information about the 75 best-rated cities worldwide to work as a digital nomad.
To create this index, they evaluated three key areas:
  • Cost and infrastructure:
    • rent,
    • accommodation availability,
    • taxes, and
    • internet speed.
  • Legislation and freedoms:
    • remote worker immigration,
    • remote working infrastructure,
    • safety, freedom and rights,
    • gender equality,
    • sexual orientation equality, and
    • minority equality
  • Livability:
    • COVID-19 vaccination rate,
    • cost of living,
    • healthcare,
    • culture and leisure,
    • weather,
    • and pollution.
Here are the top five cities from 2020. The first four have digital nomad visa laws.
  • Melbourne, Australia (Rank 1, pts. 100.00)
  • Dubai, UAE (Rank 2, pts. 96.64)
  • Sydney, Australia (Rank 2, pts. 92.62)
  • Tallinn, Estonia (Rank 4, pts. 88.11)
  • London, UK (Rank 5, pts. 87.18)
Several Latin American countries seem to have missed the opportunity to bring high-wage earners to their cities. But countries such as Panama and Mexico already offer digital nomad visas, while Colombia, Argentina and Costa Rica are currently working on legislation.
Based on the Nestpick index, I feature the top 5 cities in Latin America for digital nomads.

Digital Nomads Buenos Aires, Argentina

LA rank: 1 – World rank: 33 – Pts.: 76.88
Photo by Matias Cruz on Pixabay
Photo by Matias Cruz on Pixabay

The Argentine capital ranked number 1 in Latin America, and 33 in the world, even above destinations such as Paris, Munich, Bern, Boston, Vancouver, and Amsterdam. The city government launched the Digital Nomads BA program, which aims to attract some 22,000 digital nomads by 2023. To do this, Buenos Aires agreed with Airbnb to advertise the city as a digital nomad destination.

Over 40 hotels have already confirmed that they will offer discounts of up to 20%, special rates for a long stay, late check-outs, and free upgrades for digital nomads. In addition, local authorities are working with the national government to launch a special visa program that enables workers to live in the country for a year with the possibility of extensions.

Digital Nomads San Jose Costa Rica

LA rank: 2 – World rank: 44 – Pts.: 73.73

National Theatre San Jose by Travel Local on Flickr
National Theatre San Jose by Travel Local on Flickr

On July 13, the Costa Rican government approved a law to benefit foreigners to enter the country to work remotely for companies abroad.

This initiative, known as Digital Nomads, grants a special non-resident, migratory status for one year, extendable for another year. It allows free import of basic computers, telecommunications, and similar equipment, necessary to work remotely.

It offers the possibility of using your home country driver’s license beyond the usual 90 days, the option to open local bank accounts, and the exemption from income tax. The digital nomad must provide proof of an average monthly income equal to, or greater than, $ 3,000.


Digital Nomads Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

LA rank: 3 – World rank: 54 – Pts.: 70.95
Photo by Robert Rusell on Unsplash
Photo by Robert Rusell on Unsplash

Although Brazil doesn’t yet have a visa program for digital nomads, the technological conditions and infrastructure of Rio de Janeiro place it as number two in Latin America.

Rio is the second-largest city in Brazil and home to the most famous carnival in the world. With a tourist visa, digital workers can remain in the country for a maximum of 90-180 days, depending on the country of origin. But this visa does not allow them to rent an apartment, unless it is through Airbnb or a similar service, nor does it permit them to open bank accounts.

The conditions are more flexible for Portuguese citizens who enjoy the same rights as Brazilians. Special rules also apply to citizens of Mercosur countries that offer them additional benefits.


Digital Nomads Mexico City, Mexico

LA rank: 4 – World rank: 66 – Pts.: 68.21
Photo by Bhargava Marripati from Pexels
Photo by Bhargava Marripati from Pexels

Mexico is already a top-level tourist destination in Latin America.

Nomads can apply for a temporary residence visa if they prove can they work for a company outside of Mexico with a minimum monthly income of USD 1,620, or if they have an account with a minimum balance of $ 27,000.

This visa allows digital nomads to remain for one year, renewable for up to four years, after which time a visa holder may apply for permanent residency or naturalization.

Digital Nomads Medellin, Colombia

LA rank: 5 – World rank: 75 – Pts.: 50
Photo by USA-Reiseblogger on Pixabay
Photo by USA-Reiseblogger on Pixabay

The Colombian government enacted law #2069 on December 31, 2020, which allows the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to devise a special immigration scheme for digital nomads and remote workers.

These visas will be easy to get, require less paperwork than a normal work visa, and allow the legalization of workers who arrive in the country without being traditionally employed. With this, Colombia wants to become a remote-work center within the framework of the so-called “fourth industrial revolution”, or era of digitization.

The changes resulting from technological advances are transforming the world into an increasingly multicultural space, which opens the doors for adventurous workers to discover new countries and cultures while continuing to generate their income from anywhere on the planet. We here, at TCI, are in-the-know and happy to help you find the perfect place for your expat journey. Where will you land?
by: Román Vergara