The Ultimate Guide to CoLiving and Coworking In South America
The Coworking and CoLiving trends in South America are exploding in popularity. Learn everything you need to know about the best locations in South America for coworking and CoLiving. Start planning your next trip now.
South America Is Growing in Popularity with Digital Nomads. When you think of coworking hubs around the world, what cities come to your mind?
- New York City
- Chiang Mai
- San Francisco
- Ho Chi Minh
These are all great cities, but if you limit your location-independent working journey to these locations, you will miss out on one of the most exciting and vibrant continents on the planet: South America
A global survey by the coworking magazine Deskmag found that coworking is growing all over the world, but South America is seeing particular growth – “from 2011 to 2012, the strongest growth was recorded in many countries south of the equator. South and Central America saw a growth rate of 167% in the past twelve months.”
More and more digital nomads are choosing to live and work in South America due to its low cost of living, improving infrastructure, and an ever-growing number of coworking and CoLiving spaces.
What Is CoLiving?
CoLiving is a modern idea of living with like-minded people in a shared space. It is for people who value both community and individuality.
Residents unite bonding over common interests and use the space and community to help them learn and grow.
Additionally, CoLiving offers freedom and flexibility. CoLiving spaces are often cheaper than a normal apartment. They come furnished, and cleaning services are included. This takes away a lot of the responsibility that comes with renting an apartment and allows more time to enjoy the community.
CoLiving is the ideal setup for travelers relocating for a new job, students going to an international university, digital nomads who are working remotely, or entrepreneurs starting a new company.
What is Coworking?
As you might expect, coworking means working together in a shared space. You don’t need to be working together in the same job or for the same company, individuals, or small teams, share a workspace, save money on office rentals, and enjoy the innovative environment that allows them to share ideas and grow with other remote workers.
Advantages of an office or desk in a coworking space include :
- networking opportunities and community events
- Don’t need to feel isolated simply because you are working alone
- Various options are available for working space – from hot desks to private offices
- Flexibility – only pay for the space you need and scale as you grow
Ready to Book Your Flight? Here is Where You Should Go
CoLiving and Coworking in Quito Ecuador
At over 2,800 meters and surrounded by stunning mountain peaks, Quito is the highest capital city on Earth. Ecuador has drawn in ex-pats and digital nomads for years, due to its low cost of living and pleasant year-round climate. With infrastructure improving and more coworking and CoLiving spaces popping up in and around the city, there is now a notable digital nomad community in Ecuador’s capital. Here is a quick guide to everything you need to know about CoLiving and coworking in Quito.
1. Cost of Living
Compared with Europe and the US, Quito has a very low cost of living. If you are just starting as a new freelance or starting up your company, you can live on a tight budget and still enjoy a good quality of life. If you are a more established digital nomad, you can live the life of luxury on a relatively basic salary.
- Housing: Apartments vary in cost across the city. In The south and the Old Town, rents are generally cheaper, however, Parque Metropolitano and Gonzalez Suarez are more expensive. La Floresta and Parque Carolina fall somewhere in the middle. You can expect to pay somewhere between $100-$500 a month depending on the amenities and location you are looking for.
- Restaurants: A standard fixed-price lunch can cost between $2 and $4. This will typically consist of a bowl of soup, a main plate with chicken, fish, or beef with white rice, a salad, a small dessert, and juice. You can also find international restaurants in the City, serving everything from Italian to Sushi but these will typically be the more expensive option.
Transportation is not only cheap but also readily available. Quito has a good network of buses throughout the city. The Eco via is the bus system connecting Quito South to North. Alternatively, you will find many taxis across the city, and Uber and Lyft are also available.
Currently, there is no Metro in the City, but it is under construction and expected to open soon. This will make transportation throughout the city simpler and safer.
The Internet is reliable with most apartments coming with a stable WiFi Router and several cafes and coworking spaces across the city offering high-speed internet.
Cell reception is consistent throughout the city, with mobile providers Claro and Movistar offering affordable packages that can cost as little as $3 per month (+$5 for the initial purchase of your Sim).
A 2016 survey rated Ecuador as the fourth-best Latin American Country for infrastructure, only behind Panama, Chile, and Mexico. With numerous developments and investments coming to the country, and an economy that runs on the USD, you can enjoy the culture and travel of being in South America without having to give up the comforts of home.
Quito and the entire of Ecuador are safe to travel destinations. Like any city there are unsafe areas, pickpocketing can easily happen in the crowded public buses and some areas in the very south you should avoid going to. However, crime rates are fairly low and if you come to Quito you can expect to have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Ecuador’s climate is one of the main things that attract ex-pats and digital nomads. The weather hardly changes throughout the year, due to the proximity to the Equator. In Quito it is warm all year round, it does not get to unbearable levels of heat like the coast but is often warm enough to walk around without a jacket. However, you should always carry one with you, as the weather is known to change dramatically throughout the day. You can leave your home with the sun shining and come back a few hours later in a rainstorm. You should always be prepared for everything.
There is a wet season, when it is cooler and overcast, from mid-September until mid-May. And there is a drier season from mid-May until mid-September when it is warmer and partly cloudy.
Ecuadorian cuisine is a mixture of indigenous, African, and Spanish traditions. Local food can often be cheap and easy to find. However compared with other South American countries their food is a little bland and often consists of the same four ingredients – rice, plantains, chicken, and popcorn.
Ecuador is home to some of the world’s best chocolate but can also offer the sweetest tropical fruits you have ever tasted.
Your coffee break is a great opportunity to discover the city. Coffee shops are spread everywhere. It will probably not take you long to find your favorite café close by.
6. Activities in the city
You will never be bored in Quito. The historic center has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1978. Visit the Plaza Grande and climb up the Basilica. Other recommended activities include:
- Take the Teleferiqo up the Pichincha Volcano to get a stunning view of the City
- Visit the local markets to pick up some artisanal gifts to take home
- Enjoy a night out in Plaza Foch
- Climb up to the Panecillo
7. Activities outside the city
Ecuador is a small country but incredibly diverse. Within a couple of hours from Quito, you can drive to the coast, the amazon, or some of the most stunning volcanoes this world can offer.
There is a tonne of great weekend trips you can take out of the city, such as:
- Cotopaxi volcano: Summit the snow cone-shaped volcanoes and reach the peak at over 5,897 meters
- Mitad del Mundo: Visit the middle of the world and stand with one foot in each hemisphere
- Galapagos: Take a flight to visit one of the most unique and biodiverse habitats on the planet.
- Montanita : Need a weekend of RnR? Chill on the beaches of Montanita, enjoy the lively bars, or take a surf lesson
- Banos: Take a trip to the adventure capital of Ecuador where you can rock climb, white water raft, or soak in the hot springs.
Quito is a city that is easier to navigate if you know at least the basics of Spanish. The number of English speakers is increasing and English is widely taught in schools, however, the older generations will typically only speak Spanish.
9. CoWorking spaces in Quito
There are a bunch of great coworking spaces throughout Quito. Selina is located near Plaza Foch in the center of the city. They offer a range of spaces such as hot desks and dedicated desks with a variety of plans from one day to one month.
Every neighborhood has its vibe and cafe culture, you will easily be able to find a cute cafe with great coffee within walking distance of your apartments.
10. CoLiving spaces in Quito
An open community of digital nomads and remote workers, outside of the busy city and with great access to all the outdoor activities Ecuador has to offer. Hike up Cotopaxi, ride horses through the valley, or go rock climbing in Santa Clara.
CoLiving and Coworking in Medellin Colombia
Known as the city of eternal spring, Medellin became a hub for digital nomads. The city is bustling with life and creativity with ex-pats coming from all over the world to enjoy the great climate, low cost of living, and excellent food.
1. Cost of Living
The cost of living in Medellin is significantly lower than in Canada, the US, Europe, and Australia. Food, rent, entertainment, and transport are all affordable. Most ex-pats typically flock to the El Poblado neighborhood where you can find one-bed apartments and Airbnbs for around $7,000 per month.
Medellin has pretty great infrastructure. There is a huge community of digital nomads in the City that enjoy the fast internet, great transport, and numerous cafes. The metro has 3 lines that cover the entire city and is cheap at under $1 per ride. Alternatively, Uber, Beat, and Lyft are also easy to access, reliable and cheap.
Medellin was one of the most unsafe cities in the world. Only 30-40 years ago. However, it has undergone a huge transformation. Crime rates have lowered significantly. You can safely walk about the city alone during the day. However, like any City, there are neighborhoods to be more careful in and you should not walk alone at night. It is always a good idea to keep expensive items such as phones and cameras hidden when walking around and to keep your bag in sight on the metro as there are numerous pickpockets.
Named the city of the eternal spring, weather conditions are consistently beautiful all year round. The city borders on a subtropical highland climate, but due to its altitude the temperatures are not as hot as in other places on the same latitude. Temperatures vary between 17 and 27°C. The two rainy seasons are April to May and September to November.
Colombian dishes vary regionally with Medellin having its local cuisine that you have to try. There are vendors selling street food everywhere in Medellin and Empanadas El Machetico, close to Parque Poblado has the best empanadas you will ever try.
Coffee shops can be found on every street, and Colombia is known for having some of the world’s best coffee.
6. Activities in the City
Medellin is a huge city with a tonne of activities to do. From eating out to arts and culture you will always find something to keep you entertained in your free time. Some of the must-do activities for your visit to Medellin include:
- Take a tour of Communa 13 and learn about the history of the city, the narcos, the violence the community has experienced, and how it has transformed.
- Visit some of the many museums
- Visit Parque Botero full of sculptures from one of Colombia’s most famous artists.
- Take the teleferico to Parque Arvi and enjoy a walk along one of its stunning trails.
7. Activities outside the City
The climate is perfect for outdoor activities. Just outside the city walls, the adventure starts. No matter if you are looking for an outdoor adventure or a cultural experience.
- Go rafting or Kayaking on the Río Claro
- Take a coffee tour in the famous coffee axis
- Take a weekend trip to Guatape. Climb piedra el peñol and explore the quaint colonial town
Medellin has a huge ex-pat community. You will find many other foreigners in the city and easily make connections with other English speakers. As much of the city’s economy runs on tourism, many places in the more developed neighborhoods such as Poblado will have signs and restaurant menus in English, and many of the locals will speak a good level of English.
9. CoWorking Spaces
As one of THE hubs for Digital Nomads in South America, Medellin offers hundreds of coworking spaces. There is a tonne of options to pick from across the city, with a range of services and prices. On average you can find a hot desk for as little as $60 per month in locations like Selina.
10. CoLiving Spaces
CoLiving spaces in Medellin are common as new arrivals look to immediately connect with other nomads and join in the remote working community. There are options available for every budget and lifestyle, whether you want a fully serviced and luxury space or just the basics.
CoLiving and Coworking in Santiago Chile
Santiago de Chile is the perfect base to explore the Atacama Desert or make your way to Patagonia. But also, the city itself has something to offer; fast Wi-Fi, many coffee shops, coworking spaces, and a vibrant start-up scene.
1. Living Costs
The costs of living in Chile’s capital are higher than in other South American cities but it is still lower than most US and European locations. Renting a room or apartment can cost you between $800-$1,000. While food is cheap, drinks like beer or even coffee have prices like in western Europe. The average cost of living will be around $1,600 (according to data from Nomadlist in 2019).
Santiago has the best internet connection in South America and speeds average 10MB/s. The internet in your coffee shop, coworking space, or apartment will be strong enough for video conferences and will be reliable with little downtime.
In general, Chile is a very safe place to travel to in South America. Chile experienced far less violence than other South American countries, however, in 2019 they experienced some violent protests but things have calmed down since then. While it is not generally as safe as Europe, Chile is one of the safest counties on the South American continent.
Santiago de Chile is situated in the southern hemisphere and therefore the seasons are reversed. The winter months (June to August) are also the rainy season in Santiago de Chile. In these months temperatures range between 3 and 17°C. In summer (November to March) temperatures rise to 35°C, normally they stay between min 12° and an average max of 29°C though. The best time to visit is between October and April, that is when many all the summer festivals take place, too.
Chile is a dream for foodies. The cuisine combines traditional dishes and local ingredients with modern European trends. Chile also produces some of the best wines in the world. With the long coastline of the Pacific Ocean, Chile has access to a large variety of fresh seafood for you to try. In the city of Santiago, there is a tonne of street vendors with various tasty treats to enjoy. Make sure you grab a Sopaipilla (Pumpkin Fritter) while you’re there.
Just a few decades ago, you could only find instant coffee in Santiago de Chile. Today this changed and there are many great coffee shops in the city. In your search for a café, you might also come across the café con piernas. Young women in miniskirts serve the coffee, even though some say more than just coffee is sold here.
7. Activities in the city
When you visit Santiago de Chile, there are tons of things to do:
- Visit the viewpoints
- Dive into the art scene
- Learn about Pablo Neruda
- Participate in one of the many summer festivals
8. Activities outside the city
Santiago de Chile is not only a great starting point for longer expeditions into the Atacama Desert or Patagonia but can also serve as a base for day trips.
- Visit the wine region of the Casablanca valley
- Valle Nevada for snow-based activities
- Hot Springs & Hiking at Cajón del Maipo
- UNESCO world heritage of Sewell Mining Town
If you do not speak Spanish yet, you will most likely not learn it in Chile. Their accent has a reputation for being fast-spoken and they use a lot of slang terms. Even native Spanish speakers find it hard to understand Chileans sometimes.
Getting around Chile in English can be difficult too, as not many Chileans speak English. However, in Santiago, many people do learn English. A lot of the younger generation learn English in school and will have at least a basic level.
10. CoWorking spaces
Finding a CoWorking space in Santiago de Chile is very easy. There are hundreds of locations around the city you can choose from. Prices for a desk can start from as low as $10 per day
11. CoLiving spaces
As Santiago de Chile hosts many digital nomads the concept of CoLiving or house sharing is well established. It is not difficult to find a place to stay but be prepared to pay a higher price than in other South American cities.
CoLiving and Coworking in Cusco Peru
Cusco is a must-visit destination for many digital nomads. The gateway to Machu Picchu and numerous new infrastructure developments make this a perfect city for traveling and working.
1. Cost of Living
Over the years prices in Cusco have increased. The tourism industry has boomed as travelers from across the world come to the City as a stopover to visit attractions like Rainbow Mountain and Machu Picchu. However, it is still relatively cheap in comparison to Europe and the US.
You can live comfortably in Cusco on a low budget. Outside the center, the monthly rent is between $200 to $400. Eating local food and visiting markets make food cheap, however, the prices at supermarkets are quite high because many products are imported.
Transportation in Cusco is well organized. The airport is a 10 min ride from the center of town. Taxis are everywhere, and other cities can easily be reached by bus. The bus system in Peru is very modern, and as long as you keep an eye on your luggage, also very safe.
The bus system inside Cusco is a little bit chaotic. Buses are often overcrowded, and you must watch your bags and pockets carefully. Otherwise, you can easily explore Cusco on foot.
The internet in Cusco is not the fastest, however, it is reliable.
In general Peru and Cusco are safe to travel destinations. Tourism is the main source of income for many in Cusco. Therefore, foreigners are respected. Nevertheless, petty crime is a problem. As everywhere, if given an opportunity criminals might target you. So, hide your valuables and do not walk outside alone after nightfall.
Cusco is situated at a very high altitude and therefore is colder than many other cities in South America. Temperatures remain fairly consistent throughout the year, at around 20/22°C.
From May until August (winter) temperatures can drop below 0°C during the night. In Summer (November to March) the lowest temperatures are around 7°C. In those months it rains a lot. The best time to stay in Cusco is between May and October as those are the driest and sunniest months.
Cusco is considered one of the main gastronomical cities of Peru, beaten only by Lima. To truly get a taste of authentic Peruvian food you need to indulge in their street food. You can find vendors on every corner of the city and the homemade treats they serve are a cheap and authentic way to dine out.
6. Activities in the City
Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Strolling down the colonial streets feels like taking a walk through time. The city is packed with a tonne of great sights and activities to enjoy such as:
- Plaza de Armas: Spend an afternoon people-watching and enjoying a great view of the city.
- San Pedro Market: Drink a fresh pressed juice and buy some fresh local produce
- Enjoy the nightlife: Cusco has some of the liveliest clubs in South America, if you are looking for a place to party, you have come to the right city.
- Archaeological Park of Sacsayhuaman: A 45-minute walk from the city center, this ancient Inca site is worth the trek for both the stunning views of Cusco and the incredible stonework.
7. Activities outside the city
Even though most visitors come to Cusco to visit Machu Picchu, there is more to discover in the surroundings of Cusco.
- Sacred Valley
- Hike to the Humantay lagoon
- Rafting and Zipline Adventures
- Horseback riding
- Machu Picchu trail
People in Cusco are used to foreigners. The high volume of tourists means many people work in the tourism industry and speak good English. You can get around fairly easily without Spanish but when visiting any country it’s always a good idea to pick up some basic phrases in the native language before you arrive.
9. CoWorking in Cusco
You might have the impression Cusco is only visited by tourists but have a closer look. There is an active digital nomad community in the city as well. There are over 50 coworking spaces to choose from around the city with desks starting from as little as $8 per day. There is also a tonne of stunning cafes serving excellent coffee that you can turn into your office for the day.
10. CoLiving in Cusco
So far, CoLiving spaces do not yet exist in Cusco. It is still possible to rent an Airbnb and share it with other Digital Nomads or simply check into a hostel or other kind of accommodation which are also offering workspaces.
Book Your Next CoLiving Trip
CoLiving and CoWorking in South America are becoming the next big thing! While some destinations will need some more time to develop a good infrastructure for digital nomads, others host vibrant communities already.
Traveling through South America as a digital nomad might not be as cheap as in Asia, but it is still cheaper than in most other places of the world. And most importantly, the cities are not overrun yet. Things have not yet all fallen in place, there are still a lot of possibilities to be creative and develop something new.
If you do not know where to start your South America CoWorking/CoLiving experience, why not come to Ecuador? It is cheap, safe, and easily explored. Do not wait any longer. Start planning your next big trip!
For more information on your first South American destination contact us here!0