Uruguay, the richest state in Latin America, stands out in the region as a liberal and modern country with developed social security, health, and educational systems. Moreover, Uruguay creates a favorable atmosphere for business investments offering a 0% income tax rate for income received from non-Uruguayan sources. Thus, it is not a surprise that an increasing number of people choose Uruguay not only as their holiday destination, but also as a place of their residence.
Uruguay offers a beautiful sightseeing for those visiting the country as tourists. Almost half of Uruguay’s inhabitants live in the capital Montevideo. The capital is the economic, political, and cultural center of the country. The city was established by the Spanish in the beginning of 18th century and currently offers a charming sightseeing of colonial settlements. In Montevideo, one can enjoy strolling around the downtown of the city and visiting elegant colonial churches as well as Art Deco-style buildings, including the oldest Uruguay’s theatre Theatre Solis. Montevideo also offers a number of colorful markets, like Mercado del Puerto, inviting for a barbecue-type lunch. Rambla de Montevideo is a spectacular venue for walking or jogging. Outside the capital, tourists can explore coastal lagoons and visit fascinating small cities, such as Colonia Del Sacramento.
People, who would like to become Uruguay’s residents, should consider the living costs in the country. The Word Bank ranks Uruguay a high-income country with a gross national income per capita of $16.360, the highest in Latin America. Although the life standard is relatively high in Uruguay, the quality of living is much better than in other Latin America countries. Expats can choose from a variety of public and private suppliers providing health care, social security, and educational services. The currency in Uruguay is Uruguayan peso, which is equal to approximately $0.04 or €0.03. The minimum salary in Uruguay is about $400 and the average monthly household income is about $1900.
Uruguayan citizens and residents paying social security contributions receive free public health insurance. However, the private health system is also inexpensive and efficient. The insurance provided by private companies costs about $100 per month depending on the age and the health condition of the insured person. Uruguayan residents may also choose a hospital plan mutualista that allows using private healthcare services without a middleman. Subscription for such a plan costs about $150 per month.
Uruguay provides free secular public education that is mandatory for children between 6 and 14 years old. Moreover, the higher education is open-access and free, meaning that any high school graduate may enter the university. Consequently, Uruguay has the highest literacy rate in Latin America and a well-qualified workforce. Expats in Uruguay may also opt for a private education system. About 10-15% of Uruguayan children attend private schools. The tuition fee for an academic year in a private school is approximately $12.000.
Real estate in Montevideo is more expensive than in the rest of the country. The prices of renting or purchasing real estate depend on several factors, such as the location and the state of the property. For those who consider renting a flat, the prices range from about $400 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment to about $800-1000 for a 3-bedroom apartment.
For buying real estate, the prices vary significantly depending on the location. An apartment or a house with 3 bedrooms of an average condition could cost from $90.000 in a rural area to about $300.000 in the capital. The prices of luxury apartments and villas with a sea view and full maintenance could reach $400.000-500.000 and over. The property in Uruguay is also subject to annual real estate tax that is relatively low and vary from 0,2% to 0,5 % of the real estate value.
Basic utilities, such as electricity, heating, water, and garbage disposal, for a 2-bedroom apartment cost around $130 per month. In addition, a phone bill covering unlimited number of local calls amounts to about $29 per month. Internet service providers (ISPs) charge averagely $24 for a high speed Internet access.
Uruguay has a well-maintained public transportation network. The bus system functions well and the busses departure and arrive on time. In Montevideo, one-way ticket for public transport costs $0.90 and a monthly travelling pass is about $42. Taxi companies charge $1.30 for getting a cab and $1 for 1 km of travelling. Those who would like to be more independent may purchase a vehicle. An average middle-class used car will cost about $8.000-20.000 and the prices for gasoline are fluctuating around $1.50 per liter.
Grilled meat is probably the most popular food in Uruguay. It is served everywhere – from markets to high-quality restaurants in Montevideo. Uruguayans also enjoy chivito (a sandwich-style dish), pasta, and mate (a caffeine-rich infused drink).
The restaurants in Uruguay are not expensive. A 3-course meal for 2 people in a mid-range restaurant would cost about $35. In a regular neighborhood café, the prices for a meal vary between $1 and $6, a cup of coffee costs $1.20, and one can buy a bottle of average wine for $7-10. The sellers of street food charge about $1 for an on-the-go sandwich or a piece of a hot pie. Cooking at home allows experiencing a bigger variety of tastes. Monthly grocery shopping for every-day products would cost about $200 per person.
The prices of clothes in Uruguay are similar to the prices in the most developed countries because the global clothing chains like Zara and brands, such as Nike or Levis, operate in the country and offer affordable clothing. Moreover, retailers sell many cheap clothes imported from China.
Uruguayan residents can choose from a variety of entertainment options that are relatively low-cost. For culture lovers, a cinema ticket would cost about $7, a theatre show in Theatre Solis – about $10. Sport enthusiasts may use tennis courts for $13 per hour or a fitness club for about $50 per month.
In addition to being a great place for business investments, Uruguay welcomes its expats with a favorable living environment. Beautiful beaches, friendly people, well-maintained public services, reasonable living costs, and a Western quality of life – this and many more benefits can be found in Uruguay, the richest country in Latin America.