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The Benefits & Risk of the Extra Sun in Latin America for the Expat

Published May 30, 2022 in Health & Safety - 0 Comments

Coming from a small town in Canada with intense winters and cold, you arrive to Havana, Cuba.

With cigar in hand and two hot Cuban bitches by your side, you are enjoying the view of the historical buildings all around.

And, above all, you got the warmth of the Latin American sun hitting you with all the Vitamin D benefits.

No longer do you have to hike for hours through intense blizzards while fighting bloodthirsty polar bears just to get to work each morning.

Nor do you have Justin Trudeau riding his snowmobile and trying to capture you to inject you with the vaccine.  

Instead of living in an igloo and eating penguins for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you now can have the highest quality steak imported from Argentina.

....and don't forget the Italian wine!

Among other benefits that you find living down here in Latin America.

But one of them you keep repeating over and over again on Twitter reminding others why you enjoy life down here so much: the sun.

All the extra sun that you get down here just makes you feel a lot better.

Makes your days 100x better.

And, quite frankly, it's a benefit that so many other expats mention when it comes to life as an expat in Latin America.

The Benefits of the Sun in Latin America

To be fair, there's plenty of sun back home also in Iowa where I'm from.

Though Iowa can be extreme in that both the summers and winters can be intense.

Insane heat and humidity during the summer and sometimes you are still getting snow until as late as March or April even.

Down here in Mexico City, snow isn't an issue.

While I do miss the snow in the sense of I wouldn't mind having an hour to appreciate it again, I also don't mind scraping ice off the windshield of my old truck.

I don't mind walking for 20 minutes or more to school and back to home during high school or in college with my feet freezing to death.

Accidentally slipping on the ice?

Don't miss that either!

On top of it all, there's a certain mental effect too that comes with intense winters where I'm more easily able to feel depressed during such months of intense cold and little sunshine.

It should be no surprise that a country like Russia -- with all its snow -- is the king in "doomer music" on the as you can see here.

In contrast, Latin America generally offers the opposite of all of the above.

Of course, not ALL of Latin America does as I always get into the differences across geography.

As you can see here, you do have some parts in southern South America that have snow and cold.

Plus, you have some cities like Lima of Peru that are known for having grey skies and not much sunshine during certain parts of the year.

On top of that, some places like Mexico City have lots of rain during the summer months for example.

Known as the rainy season.

Other parts of Latin America have this also.

While I don't mind the rain and like it some degree as long as it doesn't interrupt my plans and I'm just sitting on my patio enjoying it, you obviously will have less of that "sunshine" benefit expats talk about during such months.

Regardless, it is true that generally Latin America gives you more "sunshine benefit" that can make you feel more active, happy and improve the quality of your days in general.

Especially if you are coming from a part of the world where the winters can be intense (Canada) or where there is lots of rain and grey skies also (Seattle).

Having said all of that, there are some negatives to all the extra sun that most expats don't discuss when bringing up this topic.

The Negatives of the Sunshine in Latin America

The first negative obviously has to do with heat waves like you can see here.

Some countries are much worse than others.

Second, when I lived in Barranquilla of Colombia which is also very hot, you'd find that a lot of places claim to not have hot water in the showers because "why have hot water when it's hot outside?"

Personally, I thought that was just a cope for being too poor to afford nicer showers where you aren't freezing your ass off.

Third, in Mexico City, it's not uncommon for your apartment or room to feel hot as fuck and to be sweating your ass off down here like I wrote about here or, as I wrote here, how most places don't have AC down here either.

And, above all, some places are just too fucking hot where simply being outside means sweating your ass off even if you are just standing and doing nothing for 5 minutes.

Having said all that, the other issue with all the extra sun in Latin America is the extra risk of skin cancer.

It's a small detail to consider that other expats in other countries like Australia have brought up as you can see here.

Or like in other articles such as this one here.

If you are very white like me, this is definitely something to keep in mind.

I remember, for example, checking out Machu Picchu years ago and not applying any sunscreen.

Soon after, I found a significant portion of my upper back and neck and some of my upper chest to be RED AS FUCK.

And I remained sun burned for MONTHS.

No fucking joke.

There was a part of me that jokingly thought "is this going to give me cancer?"

Thankfully, it has not.

But, especially if you are an older white expat in his 50s or so, I think this issue needs to be even more seriously considered.

Just take care of your skin health and you'll be good.

Anything to Add?

That's all I got to say for now.

Overall, it is a benefit to life down here but it comes with some negatives.

If you got anything to add, drop a comment below in the comment section.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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