Uruguay is located between Brazil and Argentina. It is South America’s smallest country that spans just 68,039 square miles. It might be small in size, but Uruguay is one of the most popular destinations in the world for retirees.
You will often find Uruguay featured in the top 10 lists of best places to retire and for good reason. Unlike other Latin America countries, Uruguay welcomes retirees from all parts of the world. Foreigners can easily get visas, open bank accounts, and even own property.
Why Retire to Uruguay?
If you are about to retire and are considering your options, make sure that Uruguay is among those options. Here are the answers to the question “Why retire to Uruguay?”:
1. The People
Top on the list of answers to the question ‘why retire to Uruguay?’ is the people. Uruguayans are some of the most honest, reliable, punctual, and patient people that you will ever find in the world, which is exceptional since this is unfortunately not the case in most of Latin America.
Uruguayans are known to stand by their commitments, keep their word, and conduct themselves in a professional manner. The levels of corruption are low and hard work is emphasized as a virtue in the country. Uruguayans are laid back, non-confrontational, friendly, good natured, and nonviolent, which makes them some of the best people to call your neighbors.
2. The Scenery
Uruguay is about twice the size of New York state but it has a population of about 3.5 million with most people living in or near Montevideo. If you drive along the southern coast, which is the most populated areas in the country, you will see just a few spotted towns. The country’s interior is even less populated.
All those open spaces are green and incredibly lush. It rains throughout the year in Uruguay. The green open spaces are a big plus for most people that choose Uruguay as their retirement destination since it is quite serene and ideal for people that love being outdoors.
Southern Uruguay gets a bit more crowded for several months in the summer because of tourists flocking to the beaches of Uruguay from Brazil and Argentina. However, for most of the year Uruguay is the place to be for those that don’t like crowds.
3. The Infrastructure
The infrastructure in Uruguay is truly remarkable. The country boasts modern highways, reliable cell, phone, and broadband Internet coverage, and drinkable water from all taps in the country. Traffic is minimal, public transportation is cheap, convenient, and comfortable, and there’s even free Wi-Fi in the town squares and buses. You won’t find too many places in Latin America with all that.
4. Stability and Safety
Uruguay has been part of Spain, Portugal, and Brazil at different times in its history. The final war that Uruguay was involved in, which was a civil war, was with Brazil back in 1828 with the assistance of Argentina.
Today, things are completely different and the country now enjoys the lowest levels of corruption in all of Latin America. This is quite an important consideration for those thinking about retiring there but who are worried about crime rates in South America.
Uruguay is also a financially and politically stable democracy with a judicial system and an elected president. The lower crime and poverty rates are also an extra benefit.
5. The Weather
The mild climate in Uruguay is one of the most attractive things about the country as a tourist destination. The country has 4 seasons and summer temperatures average abut 82°F, which can plummet into the 30s during the colder seasons. It never snows but frost happens on rare occasions.
The great thing about the weather in Uruguay us that there isn’t even a rainy season. The 41 inches of rainfall received annually is spread out over the 4 seasons. You might find that you don’t actually need air conditioning during summer due to the sea breezes. However, heat is necessary during winter.
6. Income Taxes
The tax system in Uruguay is incredibly friendly to expats. Uruguay generally does not tax income earned abroad with a few exceptions. Income earned outside of Uruguay can be completely tax free for the first 5 years of residency. This includes foreign earned incomes and passive income earned abroad such as pensions, rental income, capital gains, dividends, etc.
However, things change after 5 years. You will be required to pay Uruguayan taxes on any foreign capital gains, dividends, and interest, to the extent that they are not taxed already in a different country. However, rental income on properties in foreign countries, pensions earned abroad, and income earned abroad are never taxed in Uruguay even after the first 5 years.
7. Quality, Affordable Healthcare
If you are a retiree, access to quality medical care is probably one of your greatest concerns. Fortunately, Uruguay offers quality medical care at affordable rates. People that have already retired in the country have nothing but positive things to say about the quality of healthcare offered there.
The majority of doctors in Uruguay were trained in either Europe or the United States. The private hospitals in Uruguay have most of the latest equipment and use the latest techniques. They actually even do house calls at reasonable prices.
8. No Widespread Poverty
Uruguay has just a small population and it does not have millions of people living in poverty as is the case in other countries in Latin America. However, the low rates of poverty cannot be attributed to the small population exclusively. The country has a solid middle class with the smallest gap between the poor and the rich in Latin America.
It would be wrong to say that there isn’t any poverty in Uruguay since there is, but there are some wealthy neighborhoods too. However, it does not have the dichotomy that’s seen in Mexico, Argentina, or Brazil. It is part of the reason why the crime rate is so low in Uruguay. The entire country feels safe, modest, family-friendly, and egalitarian.
9. Small, Healthy Expat Community
The number of retirees moving to Uruguay in the last decade or so has grown. The country receives hundreds of new arrivals from the USA each year. Today, there are thriving expat communities in Montevideo as well as in the beach towns to the east. That’s good news for retirees since it means that there are all kinds of events and support groups for expats.
The great thing that makes Uruguay stand out from other popular Latin America retirement destinations such as Panama and Ecuador is that it is not overrun with expats. If you plan to retire in Uruguay, you obviously want to feel like you are living in Latin America and not the United States or Europe. Uruguay has a good balance. The expat community is decent but still relatively small.
10. Easy Residency Procedure
It is fairly easy to become a resident in Uruguay and the financial thresholds for obtaining your visa are quite low. Final approval might not be fast, but you get your residency card upon application and not after approval. In the meantime, you get to enjoy the same benefits as the citizenship. Depending on your situation, citizenship is available after 3 to 5 years.
Application for residency in Uruguay includes a health checkup, a criminal background check, and a verification of a regular income source, such as a pension or social security. 500 US dollars per month is the current income requirement, which is regarded as the minimum amount that a person can comfortably live on. New residents are allowed to bring in their household goods without having to pay taxes or duties.
11. The Cost of Living
Uruguay might not be the most affordable places when compared to other Latin American countries such as Panama and Nicaragua. However, life in Uruguay is still quite affordable and probably cheaper than where you are from.
You can expect to pay about $1,000 per month for a 3-bedroom apartment in Montevideo or about $700 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment. Depending on the area and lifestyle you choose, you can live a comfortable life in Uruguay on anywhere between $1,300 to $2,700 per month.
Uruguay is frequently ranked among the top retirement destinations in the world and recent trends actually show that the number of people choosing to retire in the country is growing. The country is one of the top choices for retirement and for good reason.
Uruguay is known for the lovely beaches that run along its coast. It has also managed to prosper economically in spite of the many financial crises happening all over the world. The country is thriving as a retirement destination and the reasons why have been provided here.
If you have always asked yourself, ‘why retire to Uruguay?’, now you have 11 good reasons why you should do it. With a lively culture, lovely scenery, temperate climate, low crime rates, and friendly people, it is an absolutely dream-come-true for many retirees.