Retire In Uruguay: Cost of Living

Have you ever thought of retiring somewhere cheaper with a more relaxed lifestyle?  Have you thought of Uruguay? It is cheap, safe, has great food and the people are very welcoming and the weather is great. 

Here are all the questions you may have about the Cost of Living in Uruguay:

  • How much do I need to retire in Uruguay?
  • How much does it cost to live comfortably in Uruguay?
  • Is food expensive in Uruguay?
  • Is healthcare free in Uruguay?
  • Can foreigners buy property in Uruguay?
  • Is Uruguay good for expats?

Let’s answer each of these questions and find out if Uruguay is the perfect place for you to retire.

How much do I need to retire in Uruguay?

Many retirees and expats have chosen Uruguay for its pleasant climate, vibrant culture, and affordable healthcare, but the biggest reason is how cheap it is to live there. To be able to retire in Uruguay you need at least $1,500 USD per month to cover your expenses. This is on average and may be more or less depending on your choice of lifestyle.

Although Uruguay is not one of the cheapest countries in Latin America, it is still much cheaper than the United States. On average, prices in Uruguay are 40% cheaper compared to the United States.

Here is an example of common monthly expenses for 2 people living in Uruguay:

Rent for a 3 Bedroom Apartment$750 USD 
Rent for a 1 Bedroom Flat $430 USD 
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water)$120 USD
Maid Service$100 USD
Internet$35 USD 
Groceries$200 USD 
Dining Out  x 4$160 USD
Healthcare x 2$400 USD
Fitness /Social Club Membership x 2$60 USD
Total (1 Bed)$1505 USD
Total (3 Bed)$1825 USD

NOTE: These rental prices were for the center of town in the capital city of Montevideo and can be much cheaper the further you go out of town and to smaller towns.

How much does it cost to live very comfortably in Uruguay?

To live comfortably in Uruguay you will need around $ 2,500 or $ 3,000 USD per month. This is having multiple breakfasts, lunches or dinners a week at a restaurant and/or frequently using services such as Uber and Uber Eats. This also takes into account that you can live in one of the most privileged areas in a city like Montevideo.  If you are not living in the capital city you can do this for around $500 to $1000 USD cheaper.

Is food expensive in Uruguay?

Food in Uruguay is very cheap just like in the rest of Latin america. In fact, food prices in Uruguay are 37% cheaper than in the United States. For this reason, many expatriates and retirees consider Uruguay one of the best countries in Latin America to live in.

Here you will find a small list with the prices of some basic groceries:

Milk1 Liter $ 0.85 USD
Bread1 Loaf$ 3 USD
Eggs15 pack$ 2.67 USD
Beef Mince1 kg / 2.2 lbs$ 14 USD
Chicken Breast1 kg / 2.2 lbs$ 3.67 USD
Butter200 g / 0.5 lbs$ 1.78 USD
Scotch1 Liter / 1 quart$ 11 USD
Beer6 pack$ 8 USD

NOTE: these prices were only valid at the making of this article and check the grocery websites below for current pricing. 

In Uruguay, you may want to make the occasional meal at home and that means going to a supermarket or grocery store. When searching on google maps look for the following phrases: mecardo, supermercado, hipermercado. The difference is the size of the store where the market (mercado) is the small local store or mini supermarket and goes up from there in size. 

Here are some websites of grocery stores for you to look at:

NOTE: You can sign up for points programs at the supermarket of your choice so that you can opt for exclusive discounts and certain promotions.

Is healthcare free in Uruguay?

Public health in Uruguay is not free but it is very cheap. In fact, anyone legally (including tourists) in the country can enjoy public health care. According to the State Health Services Administration (ASSE) emergency care is prioritized and then they review other patients and a price is supplied prior to medical care. If the person does not have money they can agree to the price and have the medical care on a payment plan or deferred payment system.

Also, you can register for free within the public health service even if you are not a resident of the country. You can do it online from the ASSE website.

LINK: ASSE webpage for non-residents (you will need to translate using the browser)

Private medical care in Uruguay is just as good if not better than the average in the USA.. There is a British hospital in Montevideo called Hospital Britanico. If you want a health care plan with them it will cost you about $300 USD per month for a premium plan. Uruguay’s public health care system is a couple of places below that of the United States in the world health care rankings but roughly the same.  Private health care is way above that of public health in the USA. 

LINK: World Health Care Rankings

Can foreigners buy property in Uruguay?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. Foreigners can buy any property of all types such as apartments, condominiums, houses, land, or commercial premises. Uruguay does not have any type of restrictions for foreigners to buy properties in the country. In fact, to buy a property in Uruguay you only need to present a valid identity document like a passport and demonstrate that you have sufficient funds for the purchase.

There are many ways to get a property in Uruguay, either for purchase or rent. You can find some signs on the street with the words “Compra” or “Renta” which means “To Buy” or “To Rent”. You can also seek the help of a real estate agent. 

If you want to buy or rent privately a very inexpensive option is to use the facebook marketplace. Change your filter to the city you want in Uruguay and then click on Property Rentals or House Sales. Remember prices will be in local Peso or USD.

Here are some of the real estate agencies you can look at in Uruguay:

Is Uruguay good for expats?

Many expats agree that Uruguay is one of the best places to live in Latin America. This is mainly due to the price of living there being way cheaper than in the United States. Another reason is its vibrant culture and how friendly the people of this country are.

Uruguay’s summers are great but being on the southern end of South America it can get windy and in the winter get very cold as well. Uruguay may be a small country but it has a lot to offer. The beaches and other attractions are what draw people there as well as how safe it is..  English is spoken by a lot of people in Uruguay especially the younger generations as it is taught in school.  Knowing some Spanish or learning some when there will still be quite useful depending on if you get out of the main cities.

In short, Uruguay has a good health system, low cost of living, an excellent climate, a calm and vibrant lifestyle, and best of all, many people have knowledge of the English language, so you will have no problem relating and adapting to this incredible country. So Uruguay is good for expats.

If Uruguay sounds like the kind of place you might want to retire too then check out this article on a beach town in Uruguay:

ARTICLE: Discover The Hidden Gem of Uruguay and find out why many expats want to retire in Punta Del Este.

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