Top 10 Cheapest Countries for Expats

There are many countries to settle in as an expat. We live in Ecuador and love it here. However, we know there are other great places for the perfect expat life, and yes, they are cheap. We have done our research and will highlight a few countries where couples can live for less than $2000/month.

All of these countries have a variety of visas, including tourist visas, 1-2-year temporary visas, and permanent visas, so you should qualify for at least one.

Here are the top 10 cheap countries to live in as an expat.

#10 Portugal


Portugal kicks off our list at number 10. It is the perfect country with that friendly energy relocating couples want. You and your family will get every amenity at a pretty affordable rate, especially if you are relocating from the United States or the United Kingdom, where the cost of living is really high.

Portugal Transport services are good for their rates, with taxis, buses and trains available. So a personal car is not a necessity.

The country has four distinct seasons with varying temperatures in different areas. The southern part experiences mild winters and hot summers while it gets really cold in the deeper inland. Keep these seasonal variances in mind when choosing an area.

If you are the outdoor type, the Algarve region has incredible beaches with more than 14 hours of sunshine in the summer.

Portugal’s health care level Is pretty good. It is ranked number 22 out of 195 countries globally, and the good thing is that the services are cheap. You can get yourself, and your family insured almost free of charge as a taxpayer.

#9 The Czech Republic

Prague, ranked number 7 best Expat cities in the world, tells you everything you need to know about the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic is a country with many English speakers, so you will settle in quickly. The same cannot be said about the weather, though. During winter, it gets really cold with temperatures going below zero. In contrast, the Summer heat can explode to as high as 35C / 95F.

An advantage of living in the Czech Republic is its proximity to Austria and Germany in the south and west, respectively. The country has excellent connected road networks with transport that’s very affordable.

There are many things to do in the country, like the incredible parks, Mountains and the popular Podyji National Park, which has a vineyard, ice caves and breathtaking medieval ruins.

#8 Cambodia

Cambodia is called the Kingdom of Wonder for good reason. The incredible temples and rich history of one of the most culturally inclined Asia countries make it one of the most livable places for expats.

There are many English speakers in the country, and most are expats, so you are likely to make friends quite easily, especially in the capital, Phnom Penh. Sihanoukville and Siem Reap are nice places to find expats too. The US dollar is the second most popular currency after the local Riel.

Westerners are warmly accepted in Cambodia, and there is a safe atmosphere around the entire country. However, watch out for petty thieves and pickpockets.

Cambodia does not fare well in health care, ranking at number 118, but it does have a better rank in dental care. Active healthcare insurance will allow you access to better services, while serious medical situations may require you to get advanced attention in neighboring Bangkok or Singapore.

#7 Thailand

Thailand is a really affordable and very friendly country to live in as an expat. Its capital is the most popular area to find fellow expats, while Chiang Mai and Phuket are other popular areas to make friends.

The country has a good transportation system. You can get a bus, train or the local tuk-tuks if you don’t have a car.

The healthcare system of Thailand is great. CEO World ranks the country’s healthcare at number 13, which is excellent when compared to top western countries. Thailand’s food culture is great and highlights the locals’ healthy nature.

Having a nice recreational time in Thailand is relatively easy. There are great Jungle and beach destinations, which are perfect for the country’s warm weather.

#6 Vietnam

Vietnam is popular with expats, with Cities like Da Nang, Hanoi and Hoi Chi Minh among the World’s most acceptable destinations. It is a country famous for its high-security level and low crime rate. The food is good, and so is the warm, friendly culture.

Vietnam is big on coffee, so if you dig a nice warm sip every morning, you will likely find a shop within every 5-minute walk.

The country’s weather is relatively warm and excellent for a nice sunbathing or a walk in a park. There are lots of parks available so you can enjoy the outdoors. You can also sand surf for fun, as there are many natural elevations spread throughout the country. The country mountain region is the coolest part of the country and does not receive as much sun.

Vietnam is big on traditional festivals, so be ready to have lots of fun while munching on local foods. The country’s healthcare is not the best, though. It is placed at number 66 by CEO World.

#5 Nicaragua

Nicaragua is known as the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes, so it is generally warm but nothing out of the ordinary. It can be considered a subtropical region and has two seasons: wet and dry. The average temperature around the country is 80s F/ 27 C. The temperature supports the country’s diverse rainforests. There are freshwater lakes that serve as homes for sharks.

Nicaragua locals are just as wonderful as their natural artifacts. They are friendly and are one of the kindest you will find as an expat.

Nicaragua has an excellent transport system. Local buses may look familiar from your childhood and they’re often called chicken buses. There are also shuttles for short intercity movements.

Based on the CEO world ranking, Nicaragua’s Healthcare system is something to seriously consider. It is globally ranked at number 107 for healthcare. The country can handle small medical conditions, but more serious complications may require seeking better treatment from more equipped countries like neighboring Costa Rica.

#4 Bolivia

Bolivia boasts the lowest cost of living in South America, which makes it a great choice for budget conscious expats.

Some of the major cities where you will find expats are La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. Spanish is the major language, followed by 36 other indigenous languages. If you only speak and understand English, you may struggle in your daily activities.

Bolivia is a landlocked country and is quite far from the United States. It has immense culture and high diversity, making it a fantastic location to blend with the locals. There are many tourist locations to spend your leisure time. The Amazon and Incredible Andes are nice destinations to check out.

Bolivia is ranked 106 in healthcare by World Population Review so you might want to visit Uruguay, Paraguay or Chile for more serious conditions.

#3 Colombia

Colombia is a nice place to relocate permanently. It is safe and has modern developed cities in the mountains and coasts. The weather varies across cities, with mild temperatures in Bogota and Medellin. Santa Marta, Cartagena and Barranquilla are excellent choices for sunnier Caribbean beach cities.

Colombia has a diverse culture and it’s ranked the 2nd most biodiverse country in the world so it’s a nature lover’s paradise.

The transport system is excellent, and so are the healthcare institutions, with the country’s health system ranked at number 35 globally according to CEO World.

#2 Ecuador

Based on our personal experience as expats in Ecuador since 2017, we can confirm that the country is by far one of the best to settle in, especially if you are from the US and Canada.

It’s very affordable and easy for a couple to live on less than $2,000 per month. You will get by with half the price if you want to manage as an individual.

There are a lot of things to do in Ecuador to keep you busy. The culture breathes color, and so do the natural mountains, which are excellent sightseeing destinations.

Transportation is not a problem as you can always get a bus, taxi, shuttle or private driver. Uber is also available in several cities.

Ecuador ranks number 25 in the world for healthcare. The public IESS system is available to expats once you have your visa and cedula, but you’ll find higher quality healthcare in the private system.

#1 Peru

Peru concludes our list of really cheap countries with excellent living conditions. The country has excellent amenities with improved living conditions compared to most developing countries.

It’s most famous for the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, but there is so much more that Peru has to offer, especially for expats. The country is known for incredible food, natural diversity and low cost of living.

Peru has a standard healthcare system and is ranked number 62 for healthcare by CEO World.

Final Thoughts

These countries are ideal for expats living on a tight budget. They are exciting places to live, with several offering high quality healthcare, quality road networks and the opportunity to create unforgettable moments.

Watch Our Video About The 10 Cheapest Expat Countries



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JP Stonestreet
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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

2 replies
  1. Diane
    Diane says:

    Great info. I’ve very much enjoyed reading your writing about your living and traveling. I have been to some of the countries mentioned and will be traveling again. Am interested in why Mexico was not mentioned? Been there a few times and am considering it again seriously. As an older single female am somewhat concerned about security issues, though I never was before. The pandemic has me a little fearful. The thing about Mexico is it’s incredible art and culture. Of course other places have it too but not to the same degree. Anyhow, love reading your posts and thanks, Diane

    • JP Stonestreet
      JP Stonestreet says:

      We’ve didn’t include Mexico because we’ve been getting a lot of messages telling us that many of the popular places for expats aren’t as affordable as they used to be. A single can certainly live on less than $2000/month in Mexico, but a couple might find that challenging.

      Totally understand about the security concerns. We have them, as well.


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