The Best Countries To Invest In South America

Investing in South America is one of the new things to love about the continent.  If you have been reading this site for some time you may have realized that I mostly talk about travel and a little about day trading.

When I first started this trip around the world it was mostly because I love to travel and experience new things.

I have been living in Brazil now for roughly 3 months and realized that I haven’t been talking about one of the other things I love, business.

I plan to talk a little more about investing overseas as I am looking for lucrative opportunities for investment everywhere I travel.  I have been actively looking at the prospects for opening day trading centers in Brazil, Colombia, and Chile.

investing overseas

I pride myself on being able to visit every country in South America, except Ecuador, and since I have spent over half of my life on the continent it’s easy to say that I am an expert in the region.  There have been many changes in the last 20 years and the future is very bright in South America.


Investing in South America just got better with a common South American market.  It is inevitable as regions across the globe are looking to be competitive.  As the global economy gets more and more integrated the best way to compete is to form these supra natural organizations to help bring down competitive barriers and contend with the big players; United States, Europe, and China.

It will be interesting to see how the often corrupt South America will learn from the debt issues plaguing western countries.

There have been many unions formed between nations in South America with little to no progress.  In 2008, there was a new treaty signed that included all South American nations called UNASUR, the Union of South American Nations.

This new treaty created a great step towards unification and with Brazil’s economy emerging on the global stage, South America now has its driving engine to the future.  They have already lifted restrictions on the free movement of people by abolishing all visas for any South America nationals.

Corruption is minimal and with Suriname only being a major tourist attraction for the Dutch, there is a definite opportunity here.

#5: Suriname

Many people don’t even know this country exists.  The small country nestled in the north east region of South America is nothing in size or economic might, it does however boast a great combination of ethnic diversity and law and order that I find very attractive for investment.

If it wasn’t for the blistering heat I would try and live in Suriname.

Suriname is one my favorite countries in the world and the people have lived with law and order for quite some time.  This is the only place in the world where a Jewish Synagogue and a Muslim Mosque sit right next to each, not on the same block or around the corner, right next to each other.

What does that tell you about the stability in this country?

#4: Peru

I am not completely sold on Peru but my mind was changed when I recently visited the country.  I spoke to many people that told me that things have completely turned around roughly 10 years ago.  Terrorism stopped and the new acting government has been focused on integrating changes that encourage growth and change.

I saw it the clearest when I arrived in the small city of Cusco, Peru has never been known to be an efficient country.  When there is no efficiency, corruption is usually rampant and the little things get lost, little things like having a perfectly manicured median in-between one of the major arteries of a city.

The taxi driver was locating my hotel and there was a median that was filled with colorful flowers and very green grass.  I thought what the hell is that?

The taxi overheard me and started laughing and that is when the conversation started about how Peru has changed.

I am not convinced that this is a permanent change just yet as most countries in Latin America are exactly like new relationships.  You meet a new person in your life and they are the best thing since the Iphone came out.  Then you get to know them better and you can’t agree on anything and you start to fight all the time.

Peru is in the just met a new lover category. I am not going to go out of my way to believe the herds and think that they have made a permanent change for the good just yet, reason why they are #5 on my list.

#3:  Chile

The poster child for South America and the only economically stable country on the continent for the last 20 years.  Chile is thriving and it is exporting its democracy and efficient ways throughout all of South America.

LATAM Airlines, the new airline conglomerate between Brazilian TAM Airlines and Chilean LAN airlines, is now the 2nd largest airline company in the world after LAN airlines ate TAM.

Chile is the Switzerland of South America not only because of the Andes.

I recently was touring the wine region in Mendoza, Argentina, and saw plans for a new tunnel that would connect Argentina with the port city of Valparaiso, Chile.  The concept is to radically reduce the time that it takes for goods to travel from the pacific ocean to the rest of South America (mostly Brazil & Argentina).

With China becoming the largest trading partner with Brazil, imagine what kind of business and volume that would bring to both Chile & Argentina once the tunnel is operational.  Travel time and costs would go down significantly by having ships unload their cargo at the Valparaiso instead of going through the Panama Canal or crossing the Tierra del Fuego.

This is an example of just one of the ways that the countries in South America are starting to work together and developing new ways to do business.

#2 Brazil

The powerhouse of South America and the home of beautiful women known the world over.  Brazil has become an investors paradise with a massive common market and regulations that have been eased to promote growth and investment.

The upcoming years will prove to be the launching pad for Brazil with unique global events such as the World Cup in 2014, 2016 Olympics, and even the recent Rio +20 event.  All of the events are forcing Brazil to clean up its act and start playing at the new world standards.

There are little things that still plague the country, a small example would be how I had trouble finding reliable internet to day trade in Rio De Janeiro.  That doesn’t mean that Brazil’s economy won’t continue to grow.

It will continue to be engine of growth in South America and start to be the new anchor in the region as countries start to rely less on United States and more on Brazil.

#1: Colombia

One of my favorite countries in the world and the host to one of my favorite cities, Medellin, the Colombian people have turned over a new leaf.  They are ready to put their Pablo Escobar days behind them and start focusing on the future.

Making money.

They are past the “just met a new lover phase” and have found stability and great economic growth.  Every few months you hear about another government entity being completely dissolved and everyone being fired in an effort to root out corruption.

There are still kinks to work out which can be seen in the recent secret service scandal.  I blame that on the secret service, everyone knows that Colombian women are amazingly beautiful.  I have met countless Americans that have settled in different cities across Colombia and refuse to go anywhere else.  It’s a very special country that will host great opportunity for investment now and in the future.

Looking To The Future

Investing in South America isn’t as hard as it used to be and as the region continues to grow it will get easier.  Countries like Chile, Colombia, and Brazil are ready to make money via important changes and they have all gotten a taste of the good life, they are ready to keep working for it.

The verdict is still out on Peru but I like their attitude and chances.

I’m not sold 100% on South America thriving together as there are still countries that are trapped in basket case status; Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina.

What I look to see is Brazil thriving on its own while other up and coming countries like Colombia & Peru combine forces to get the ball rolling on regional economic efforts.  There is a new Pacific alliance that includes Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Mexico which creates a new market of 200 million people.

Whether it will go anywhere is another question, there are tons of South America treaties that have gone nowhere.

As far as my impact, I hope to teach other people how to day trade in the region via my Day Trading Academy.  One of the prime reasons that I came to Brazil was to look at prospects of opening a day trading center here.  I plan on staying in Brazil until mid September so I look forward to sharing my progress.


  1. Great post Marcello. Coming from a finance background as well, it’s good to see other travelers with the same interests as I have. Hope to cross paths one day. Safe travels!


    1. Hey my man… great to hear from you.. .I plan on posting a lot more about investing overseas.. taking WT in a new direction glad you liked the post

  2. I loved Venezuela – yes, the politics are strange, and Caracas isn’t too safe, but – once away from the city – the people are wonderful and there are some great places to visit. It’s a shame when dodgy politics put us off a country – the economy still needs tourists, and it is possible to meet some great people.

    1. I would agree there are both positives and negatives to globalization.. I would rather focus on the positives than the negatives though Jim. Thanks for the comment

  3. Hello

    I am from Medellin Colombia and I agree that its one of the best places on earth, I am currently living in belgium and I will live there for 2 years more in Antwerp, I love your blog

    I read that you are opening a day trading center? did you do it already?, if not, when will you do it and how does it work?

    Its almost impossible to find local people that do trading, everyone seems to be happy with their day jobs.

    I havent started to trade yet, but I have studied for the last 6 months a lot, specially swing trading.
    I am thinking in opening an account with a prop firm called TM Global Capital, which offer a silver membership with bulls on wall street for day trading.

    I am not an expert yet, but If you are looking for partners in Medellin, please let me know.

    1. The idea Luis is to train locals to trade my Congressive Day Trading System in order to have them trade my money and then in turn help to teach others as well. I think that if you find people that are still in college or have the prospect of making in a day what they make in a month that many people will consider it.

  4. Hi,
    i m living in Miami, doing some real estate but plan to move my investments in latin/central america,U.S administration is to complicate to do business as fast as i wish, i was thinking about Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, i was wondering if i should continue in real estate investment or find something easier to invest….i’m french by the way.

      1. I was born in Colombia but grew up here in the states, and a friend of mine from Colombia who became a realtor, told me that investing in real estate here in the states was more profitable than investing in Colombia because originally I wanted to purchase a property for investment in Colombia but he convinced me otherwise, what do you think?

        1. I wouldn’t buy property in USA right now… Colombia is booming and the value of real estate is undervalued. I would rather invest in emerging economies not USA.

  5. As someone who traveled all south american countries, and tried to stay as away of that packed-for-tourists reality (but without omitting some tourist-relevant places), living among the daily basis of people, moral values, economy & other stuffz.

    I would NEVER put CO at first place among the best countries to invest in South America. EVER.

    For not few people, maybe a country for those interested in play with some drugs or in some “latina-one-night-stand plan”. But NOT for doing serious business.

    (Colombian girs are quite famous for that. Don’t believe/blame me. Just ask some US Secret Service agents who visited Cartagena some time ago). :3

    CO maybe is a nice source of creative and talented people. But moral values among people, politicians, authorities et al are so questionable when it’s about to build trust.

    I just can hope you don’t have to learn it the hard way.

    Sure, I don’t know so much about doing bussiness. But, from a “feline-point-of-view” insight I obtained traveling and living along South America, -*and reliably sourced!*- here I will share you my list, divided in two categories, because measuring countries for doing bussiness is relative to what kind of bussiness are going to do. And only top-three, because my time is not so much.

    If you have some estabilished, well reputated bussiness, and looking for international expansion:

    1. CHILE. By far is the most developed, less corrupt and enterprise-friendly country of S.A. Not to mention the most efficient logistics of the whole South Cone.


    2. Brazil. Among the biggest economies/countries of the world, it’s a huge market who can’t let go unnoticed if you’re doing bussiness on the Grand Leagues. However, there are terrible headaches related to bureaucracy.

    3. Colombia. Once most violent country, CO is an excellent country for doing bussiness. High skilled people living in a country with a relevant unemployment rate, leads to cheaper salaries to pay in comparison with anouther S.A. countries.

    If you’re starting from below. Maybe -depending of the bussiness type, of course!-:

    1. Argentina. Economic situation maybe isn’t the among best, but incredible friendliness. Plus, collaborating and educated people probably can make a good starting point.

    2. Surinam. Not so known, enough nice to explore.

    3. Bolivia. For many, one of the poorest countries. However, cheap land prices and hand labor and lack of bureaucracy can help quite a lot.

    1. You do make some good points but this has nothing to do with women and how people conduct themselves in the country.
      1. Chile is an exceptional choice but is limited by its size. Colombia already has the 2nd largest economy in S. America and also the 2nd largest population. I personally prefer the culture in Colombia better as well as Medellin is one of the most unique places to live. It has received countless awards for being innovative and has much more upside potential.
      2. Would not invest in Brazil at all with current system in place. Opening a business and doing business in Brazil is a nightmare
      3. It is no longer as violent as it used to be and is nowhere near as dangerous. I’ve lived here for nearly a year and have never had any issues.

    2. I would like to simply recomend to anyone who really wants to find well profitable opportunities, just go and look arround for at least one month at PARAGUAY. Then tell me please.

  6. It’s true I’m Colombian and colombia it’s not like everybody picture it. It’s a very modern country, it’s the country the spend the most money on his infrastructure in South America, my family came to the us in the 80s and now all of them live in colombia. It’s a very beautiful country with great opportunities for foreign investment. Their government it’s the most stable in the region and it’s the right hand of the us in Latin America, go and visit Colombian and you will not regret it.

    1. I know this is an old post but you’ve got to be kidding me about the infrastructure. Colombia has beautiful women, beautiful places to visit but please don’t make ridiculous statements about how great the infrastructure is because that’s a joke. A simple sidewalk can be considered infrastructure. Do you see them? They’re awful.

      Although Marcello didn’t like Ecuador it is my opinion that it is a wonderful country and on many, many lists as the top retirement destination in the World, mostly Cuenca. Retirement destinations equals real estate investment opportunity. Granted to the craze over Cuenca started many years ago so it might be a little late to the party but you can’t disagree with the numbers. Trust me there out there. I agree that Guayaquil is ugly but it’s a diverse country and I happen to be a fan of Quito, Cuenca and some other cities. It comes with the typical struggles you find all over Latin America but it’s not fair to write off the whole country. I’ve seen the crappiest of slums in all these places including the favelas of Brazil and slums of Venezuela, Ecuador and every single country I’ve been to in Central/South America. I just think it’s misleading to make it seem like these countries are so great. I love them but you gotta keep it real for the readers. There are many parts of these countries that absolutely suck and where the crime rates are high. I know the Pablo Escobar days are over but to make it like everything is all well and dandy is simply untrue. Corruption still runs big in most of the Andean countries… Hell all of South America with perhaps the exception of Chile.

      I haven’t been to Medellin yet but that is my next stop. I have a feeling I will love it there as well. I think it has a good chance to be the next Cuenca. More and more Americans and Europeans will be seeking retirement overseas to make their money last longer during retirement.

      Good luck to all. Do your own research and travels to come up with your own conclusions and avoid blanket statements like “This country is the best” because that is all based on one’s perception and experiences and while you may love it others may dislike it, just like Marcello didn’t like Ecuador. I respectfully disagree completely with that but I respect his point of view 100%.

      I feel terrible for the Venezuelan people right now. I really do. I pray for that country.

  7. Hello,

    I see you are a day trader, I am just getting into day trading, but I need someone that I can talk with on these issues. I have roughly 50k to work with, still have not started to fully day trade, still researching while I work. I want to move to one of the countries you have explained above.


  8. Hi Iam from London I and my wife are looking to set up a small business in Chile or Colombia. But we don’t known which one to do so.. is a hear dressing ? Please would you let me know which of those countries would be better

  9. I would agree with Colombia being a great country, but not for business. I lived there for a year , in Bogota, and would live there in a heartbeat, but ONLY if I had money to live without work. None of the Latin American countries are simple and easy to open a business. There’s way too much corruption and bribe-asking officials everywhere. If one is hell-bent on going there to open a business, one would be well advised to go there first to live a few months to get the feel and get to know the people. Only when they know you and accept you as one of them, you should start contemplating a business. If you fall off a plane and start talking about business, you will turn yourself into a target for all sorts of tricks to relieve you from your money. And if you are speaking poor or no Spanish, you will be running back home in panic and fear.

    Go there first, learn about your preferred location and then think about the next step. Doing the day trade is a safe way of staying out of trouble because no one needs to be involved and you do not need any licences or certificates from anyone. That is why Marcello is ok. I challenge him to open a bar, and see what happens. Or a shop for food, or a hostel, or anything really, and see how long before he’ll be running out of Colombia too. Every administrative assistant in local council where you want to open a business will be looking for a way to fleece you off any way they can. And I agree with that since the Europeans and then usa-nians are the ones who screwed up the continent and robbed once super rich countries to the point of poverty. Now gringos are the target. A little re-balancing of financial sheets (s/he who has too much WILL share with those who don’t. and there’s nothing bloody gringos can do about it. this is OUR country.) is a natural reaction and will not stop overnight.

    Only when the people get used to you and start seeing you as one of their own you may have a chance to survive and even prosper in a business there. The mentality is NOT business-like as in Europe or in the usa. They work to help each other, not to get rich. The newer generations are changing a little, but in general, the level of solidarity is by far greater than the need to make lots of money from one’s business.

  10. hi am call MICHEAL JUDE am interested in investing in BRAZIL like a partnership business pleas i need your advice, Thanks.

  11. Hello, Thank you for your post, i wonder aboout investing in Paraguay , what do you think about it . the business that i want to start is metall door and window

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