Retirement Series: Colonia, Uruguay
As a local Expat and investor in Roatan, I believe it is important for me to research other “hot” retirement locations. I strongly believe that Roatan is one of the best locations to invest money into Real Estate or business with a good value for the USD. The quality of life is hard to beat on Roatan with the year round weather, access to the island, and lifestyle. However, it is good to keep our eyes and minds open to other opportunities!
Recently, I went to S America to travel for vacation and visit Martin’s family in Argentina. In recent months, I have read that Uruguay is becoming a hot new destination for Expats. So, we took the day trip from Buenos Aires to the popular Colonia del Sacramento. Located on the Southwest coastline of Uruguay, Colonia is a short 90 minute ferry ride from the bustling Buenos Aires. The location to the big city of Buenos Aires or Montevideo has increased the real estate market in recent years with Argentine investors as well as foreign expats. Colonia is a small tourist town with about $26,000 people and the historic neighborhood is a six by eight block with cobblestone roads, cafes, ruins, museums and shopping galleries.
This picturesque historical district has original Portuguese stone structures, streets, ruins and is open all year round. We did find that most places were closed on the Wednesday when we visited but apparently the village is more open Thu-Sun during the off season. With many Argentines and city dwellers coming to relax on the weekends.
Cost of Living
When thinking of living abroad to retire and extend the USD value, often S America and Latin America are great options! The USD is worth about 42 pesos in Uruguay. While that seems like quite a bit, we found that the prices/values of the food and drinks in restaurants to be about average to the island. We had a nice lunch, a large beer and bottle water for about $50 USD. The large bonus was we were not charged the 21% VAT as foreigners with a credit card.
The real estate market seems to be all over the place…we saw plenty of for sale signs all over the old historic village as well as out of town along the main “beach” highway. Prices are in USD and seem to vary from $150,000 for a two bedroom to $500,000 for three bedroom. Per my search online, rental prices are about $800-1000/month for a one bedroom condo. With many international real estate companies including ReMax, Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, and Sotheby’s I believe the real estate market is going to climb as more N Americans find Uruguay.
Healthcare is also more affordable than in USA. Many expats use private healthcare providers for about $200 month for insurance coverage. The utilities of electricity, gas/propane, wifi and cable seem to be on par with about $200-300 month. Per international living, the estimated cost of living should be about $2500-3000/month for a couple.
Personally, I found the village to be a wonderful escape from the bustling city life of Buenos Aires. With the museums, galleries, cafes, restaurants, beach activities along the river and the newer part of the city which has plenty more shopping and restaurants, I can see how this area is appealing. There are 4 seasons to enjoy and a “normal” city life feel. It should also be noted, Colonia also has many great food options for those with allergies or special diet restrictions. I have found this to be a great bonus while traveling in Argentina and our day trip to Uruguay! Roatan could use improvement in this area of living!