2 Affordable South American Countries for Retirement

South America is a very welcoming retirement haven for Westerners.

However, many foreigners tend to flock to tourist traps or unwittingly move to cities with high costs.

But there are two countries in South America that are relatively safe, feature adequate social infrastructure, have living costs, and have easier retirement visa processes.


Paraguay is a landlocked country in the middle of South America. Paraguay is bordered by Bolivia to the northwest, Argentina to the south, and Brazil to the East.

The country has a population of 7.3 million.

Paraguay is sometimes referred to as the “heart of South America,” due to its central geographic location within the continent. You will find scenery like subtropical rainforests, dry savanna-like wildernesses, swampland, and rivers. 

The country is hardly known or visited by tourists, so the infrastructure for tourism is still developing. Although the country is modernized, the culture and architecture are heavily influenced by its Spanish colonial roots.

The weather is usually warm and humid. It will be helpful to learn some Spanish, especially if you travel outside of the city centers.

The capital city is Asunción. While the healthcare city is adequate, you will mainly find it in large cities. You also need to own good international health insurance or be prepared to pay out of pocket.

A very frugal retired person will need $1,300 monthly to live in Paraguay, and a retired couple will need at least $2,600 monthly.

All you do is prove that you make $1,300 monthly to apply for a permanent visa. You must prove you live in the country most of the time, or you will need to renew it once every three years.

You can also apply for Paraguayan citizenship while also maintaining your citizenship.


Uruguay is a relatively small country bordered by Brazil to the north, Argentina to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The country has a population of 3.4 million.

Uruguay is a safe country with moderate weather and stable social benefits, like a free education system.

The country is sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of South America.” The summers and winters in the country are reversed since the country is located below the equator and in the southern hemisphere.

Uruguay features lush beaches, Spanish colonial architecture, and vibrant cultural events. The country also has a successful beef industry; there are three cattle for every person in the country.

Uruguay has a quality healthcare system called “mutualista,” which is available to everyone who resides in the country.

You can move to Uruguay and apply for a permanent visa, a process that can take 24 months. The retirement visa doesn’t require you to earn a monthly income minimum, but a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork is involved.

You can qualify for an Uruguayan passport while keeping your American passport.

A retired couple should generate $3,000 monthly to live in Uruguay, although it may be cheaper to live in smaller towns near larger cities.