Photo by Lori Dorchak – Chile in the south

Last week we reported the fact that we have seen a degree of tightening of requirements for residency and citizenship in South America as more and more expats seek residency here. We heard further this week from Brad from Paraguay, a contributor to Four Flags Journal, who expanded for us on the subject as he is observing it in Paraguay.

Brad writes, “Even Paraguay is tightening up a bit. I normally peruse three websites, one major subject of which is how do I get residency in Paraguay. My normal response till last week was to post a link to either the Canadian- or United States-based Paraguay Embassy web sites, which used to list all the requirements in a very succinct and easy-to-understand manner.

“But no more. This section of these web pages has disappeared, for some reason, It’s also getting more onerous dealing with the immigration office here in Paraguay. Various friends who applied for residency in the last year or two have relayed even more terrible stories of delay and confusion than we’re used to hearing. And where the issues used to be basic misunderstandings, or potential expats trying to get away with circumventing the system, now it appears as if there is some type of deliberate slowdown.”

Brad goes on to describe the arrival of fast food giants like McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza and others including Ace Hardware and rumblings that Walmart may be next. His concern is that they tend to kill local businesses. We share his concern and, thus, we shop local businesses whenever possible, rather than send our money to Wall Street. We try to support our neighbors.

Brad continues, “I remember back in the early 2000’s when we were just getting serious about escaping from the rat race for a Latin American home, how the expat landscape down here looked” when gringos were looking mostly at Panama, Costa Rica and other areas. He and his wife chose Paraguay, and he is very happy today that he did. But his message is that things have changed, and are still changing.

For those of you who are interested in Paraguay, here is a real estate web site just so you can check out some Paraguay real estate. Our thanks to Jean, also of Paraguay,for this. When researching a country, one of the things we enjoy is looking at their advertised real estate. However, for actual purchasing, we think that often–but not always–the best bargains come from walking the streets and looking for private or even little hand written signs. But surveying the market first is important.

We continue to advise those who are interested not to wait until the last minute if you have an idea of emigrating. We just don’t see it getting any easier.

We should mention that one negative to us about Paraguay citizenship is that, if you leave Paraguay for a certain period of time, you can lose your citizenship. This is not true in Argentina. Once an Argentine, always an Argentine! We like it that way!

We are still looking forward to another exploratory foray into Chile. Subscribers have already sent us a variety of questions and interests in Chile and we would like to hear from you as well if you share an interest in Chile. We have several areas on our radar. Santiago and Vina del Mar are two. Santiago is the capital, of course, with all the convenience of a large city. If you are interested in being near a major airport with moderate climate, then Santiago and areas nearby may be for you. Or can you handle some cold weather and prefer information about farming or tourism–or just living in a beautiful area–in the south?.

Vina del Mar is a high-end beach side resort area outside of Santiago. We will be scoping out real estate and prices.

Then we plan to check on Talca, a popular farming area to the south. You can research these places on Wikipedia if you are interested. Some of our subscribers like the city, but we also have many who are interested in places that are more than a tank of gas from the large cities and Talca does not meet that requirement. We are meeting with a real estate investment writer there who is very familiar with the Talca area and can give us insider information.

Then we plan to take another look at the Pucon area. So if you have any special interests, let us know. We are somewhat interested in the Pucon/Villarrica area. It is a tourist area as well as a farming area, has seven lakes (plenty of water), warm mineral springs, white water rafting, fishing, water sports, hiking and camping, volcano climbing and in the winter, snow skiing on the mountain. But the area is cold and rainy for about three months in winter. If you go to Wikipedia you can see what temperature, humidity and rainfall are in all these areas.

One thing that has surprised us is that there are no areas that we know of in South America that are as cold as the north in the United States. Having lived in Montana, we know what COLD is. No one in South America does–unless they too lived in the northern United States at some time. But the winters in the south of Chile and Argentina are far from balmy in the winter months. They are not too cold for us with a good wood stove. We love wood heat. Of course there are other types of heat but for us, wood is the choice. You cannot burn wood in Santiago, if that matters to you.

In addition to Brad’s comments, we received another from an expat who is in Argentina and wrote to tell us about her progress with her residency. She writes: “I know it’s like you say–Argentina doesn’t ‘work’ in so many ways–but we like it here so far…and I am so glad to see you urge people to not delay–we’re so glad we left when we did!”

We appreciate so much your letters and feed back. Truly this is a joint effort.

So if you plan on joining us here in the “deep south” no need to panic but just work to make steady progress in this direction. And if you are staying where you are, be prepared.

Here at FFJ we like to watch certain economic indicators. One of them is the Dry Baltic Index. The Baltic index measures ocean shipping and acts as an indicator of the trade going on. Lots of shipping indicates a booming world economy. Little to none indicates the opposite. One day last week nothing was moving. Here is the chart at the time we are writing.


In South America, we don’t know off hand of any city or town where the food is not grown just outside the city. Even in Buenos Aires, a city of millions, the food is grown mostly in La Plata, an area just outside Buenos Aires. Food in B.A. travels–but it doesn’t travel very far. If you live in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (the United States), how far does your food travel?.

We live in interesting times, to say the least. What if the trucks also cease to run for some reason? From whence would these people feed their families? We hope this is never an issue and for those with a strong normalcy bias, it seems impossible, I know.  But we still remember the good advice of our aged grandparents: Better to be safe–than sorry. So whatever you plan to do, best to get on with it.

We know that an economic crisis is coming, we just don’t know when and we all hope there is lots of time. But one day we are going to be out of time. Now is the time to get everything in place.

(We invite your comments!)