All you need to know about Iberian America

A Shift in the Expat Community in Latin America

Published October 1, 2022 in Personal Stories & Opinions - 0 Comments

Times are changing.

When I first began traveling to Latin America in 2014 and learning about others who were doing the same, you noticed certain characteristics in other "expats" or "digital nomads" or, if you are a woke person, "immigrants" as some call us.

I can tell you personally the type of people I remember meeting back then until recently.

There was variety to be fair.

Not everyone was the same.

But you had certain characteristics that were repeating.

Obviously, we all know of the old man expat who is retired.

You have some social justice ones like you do to this day even.

Plenty also who come down here for vices (sex, drugs, etc).

In fact, to this day, Latin America still attracts plenty like that also.

No judgement on my end -- who doesn't like sex and drugs?

Putting those aside, you had some other characteristics among some.

One of the defining characteristics was how expats had to figure out how to support themselves.

Be more creative when it comes to income.

Back then, things like affiliate websites were way more popular as an example.

You still have people who make income from affiliate income -- I do!

But it's harder these days to begin doing that versus back then for various reasons.

And, if it wasn't affiliate website income, it was some other form of being self employed basically.

It could be cam models for example.

I remember a Canadian gal who spent lots of time in Asia (maybe is still there?) that was a cam model.

It could be starting your own courses.

Maybe it was being the broke ass English teacher that worked for himself (or others to be fair).

Perhaps starting a side hustle in tourism where you are trying offering guides or tours in whatever part of Latin America to foreigners.

For example, there's a popular blog on the internet that I read where the American author used to offer "brothel" tours in Bogota, Colombia and also I think he used to do food tours of some type a decade ago or so.

I won't say who specifically out of respect because I'm not sure he wants that out there as the brothel tours he did no longer exist.

Regardless, you get the idea.

Folks back then way more commonly had to hustle and figure out how to make it work if they were not retired.

Nowadays, it is shifting rapidly.

Especially since Covid started.

There were already trends leaning this way before Covid but Covid just accelerated it with the more rapid rise of remote work.

To which you now have way more folks coming to Latin America with remote jobs for big companies back home.

A lot of tech bros.

Whatever it might be exactly for the individual.

Where they are bringing with them 2000 to 4000 a month or maybe even a shit ton more with some established job.

Of course, it's not perfect.

Not every employer wants their employees working remotely as you can see here.

"50% of companies want workers back in office 5 days a week–why experts say this strategy could fail"

A lot of those who also have invested interest in commercial property as you can see here who don't like the idea of remote work either.

But remote work is continuing.

It's going to become more and more popular.

Of course, just because someone works remotely doesn't mean they will be doing so abroad.

In my time in other expat or digital nomad Facebook groups, you see the occasional person ask about how they can work abroad without their employer knowing.

Or perhaps that occasional person who is selling their shit here because they are being forced back.

Perhaps some arrangement they have now where they can work remotely for 3 days a week and the rest of the week has to be in the office.

So I don't think that, just because you have more remote work in the future, that all of them will be able to pull off living abroad full time with the job and the exact business they work for.

Still, it's an interesting shift in the expat scene.

Before this current change, a lot of the older expats used to be broke as fuck.

Not all of them.

Some were able to make it financially work quite well.

But you had no shortage of those who were just broke as fuck and going month to month as digital nomads with their blog or whatever.

Selling ebooks for 4.95 on banging hot chicks in Central America or whatever the fuck else.

Maybe affiliate links to Cupid sites.

So on and so on.

Perhaps with that much needed visit back home for a few months to a year earning USD in some local job before going back to Latin America as I wrote here.

So it is a change too in the expat scene and how much money the average expat has versus how much the average young expat you saw a decade ago.

Another thing too is that it also exposes to some degree the locals who bitch about us.

As I wrote here, you can never win with the local who hates foreigners just because they are foreigners.

They always have a reason for their bitching.

Before, it might've been because we are all sex tourists or too broke to make it back home.

Nowadays, it's gentrification.

Which makes sense given the context of everything I have said so far regarding the shift in income of those coming.

But, as a side point, it's just retarded.

Have the balls to say you don't like foreigners and leave it at that.

With income or without, they'll always find a reason to bitch about us (some anyway, most locals are chill).

Anyway, it is what it is.

It's a trend that'll likely continue to get stronger in the next decade or so.

Where eventually almost everyone will be an expat or digital nomad by working for someone else back home while that was the exact opposite just a decade ago.

Some final things I want to say is that I do think this will make things worse for all of us in the long run.

My predictions are as following:

1. More xenophobia by locals in SELECT few areas that get most of the foreigners like we are already seeing in Mexico City and saw in Medellin before.

2. More of a push to be more financially restrictive on which expats can become legal down here. More digital nomad visas that only work for a year or two and some of which have unrealistic standards for who can qualify. Higher financial standards for residency. More cracking down on visa runs. Effectively, if you wish to be a long term expat, you'll have to earn more money for a lot of places or you'll have to find some other way to become legal in whatever country you wish to move to.

3. I predict there will be more scams targeted towards foreigners. As I wrote here, you have those scamming gringos. A lot of the new ones "fresh off the boat" seem naive about life here and can already see more and more getting fucked over (like what we saw in that article cited regarding foreigners looking for residency and Covid vaccines).

4. Rising rental prices in select areas of Latin America like we have already see. One thing that I'd be curious about is just how far "off the beaten path" do expats/digital nomads go when some of them do leak outside of the preferred areas. It's not hard to avoid other expats or digital nomads (even in Mexico City) but you already do see more "leaking" into areas like Santa Maria la Ribera.

At any rate, that's all I got to say for now.

The bottom line is that you simply have seen a noticeable change in the expat scene over the last decade.

Not saying all of them are fancy wine tasters who live in Polanco.

Plenty still out there who live normal lives and are relatively poor.

But the scene has been changing for a while.

Anyway, that's all I got to say.

Leave any comments below.

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Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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