For the 38 million people living the digital nomad lifestyle, the possibilities of where to work are virtually limitless. When frigid winter weather rolls around, it’s natural for those who can work remotely to start thinking about snowbirding out to a more temperate locale far from snow, ice, and frozen flurries.
To help make the winter escape decision a little easier, Wise has published a list of the best warm-weather cities for current and would-be digital nomads to work and play this winter.
The list* was compiled based on an evaluation of weather, time zones, safety, and cost of living and includes tips for paying like a local so you can make the most of your budget while you soak up the sun.
1. Medellin, Colombia
Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” and famous for its annual Flower Festival, Medellin is an ideal place for digital nomads to go for the winter. The weather there is near-perfect during the winter months — not too hot and not too cold.
Plus, there are a variety of coworking spaces available, so you can easily find a place to set up shop and get your work done. The cost of living is very reasonable, and there are many museums, including the Museo de Antioquia, coffee farms, and nature parks to explore in your free time.
2. Quito, Ecuador
The capital of Ecuador, nestled in a valley at the base of the majestic Andes Mountains, Quito is a beautiful city built on the ruins of an ancient Incan settlement.
It’s home to a growing community of digital nomads, who are drawn to Quito for its affordable cost of living, fast internet speeds, vibrant cultural scene, and rich architectural heritage. The city enjoys mild temperatures year-round, making it an excellent place for working remotely in the winter.
3. Buenos Aires, Argentina
For digital nomads, Buenos Aires offers an appealing mix of mild weather, affordability, and culturally rich city life. Located in the southern hemisphere, Argentina’s bustling capital city enjoys warm weather even in the middle of winter.
While prices have been rising in recent years, Buenos Aires is still relatively affordable compared to other major cities — and for many, the chance to be surrounded by the city’s beautiful 19th-century architecture is well worth a slight cost increase.
4. Bogota, Colombia
Located in the Andean mountain range and featuring a subtropical highland climate, Bogota is the sprawling capital city of Colombia and one of the largest cities in South America.
Bogota is a great place for digital nomads to go for the winter because of its temperate climate, affordable cost of living, and abundance of coworking spaces. Plus, the city is full of gorgeous colonial-era landmarks, including the Teatro Colón, and many intriguing museums and historical sites.
5. Montevideo, Uruguay
The seaside capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is an affordable city with lovely warm weather during the winter months. Revolving around the beautiful Plaza de la Independencia, Montevideo has a lively and vibrant culture and can be an excellent place to learn Spanish.
It’s a terrific winter destination for digital nomads looking to escape the cold weather of the northern hemisphere, while still being able to work and enjoy life in a welcoming city full of fascinating Art Deco and colonial architecture.
6. San Jose, Costa Rica
Built on the coffee trade and brimming with elegant Victorian mansions, San Jose is a fantastic city for digital nomads to visit for the winter, featuring warm weather and many coworking spaces.
The cost of living is also very reasonable, and you can find apartments for rent at a fraction of the cost of what you might pay in major cities like Toronto, New York or London, while still being able to get out and enjoy world-class museums, parks, and historic buildings.
7. Cali, Colombia
Cali is known for its beautiful weather, friendly people, and vibrant salsa-dancing street parties. In addition, Cali is an affordable, sunny place to live a relaxed lifestyle during the winter months, with many apartments and hotels offering monthly rates.
This makes it a budget-friendly option for digital nomads who want to enjoy all that the city has to offer, including its spectacular neoclassical architecture and historic museums, without breaking the bank.
8. Mexico City, Mexico
Full of stunning historical landmarks dating back to the time of the Spanish conquistadors, Mexico City has a large community of expats and digital nomads — and there are plenty of coworking spaces, cafes, and restaurants to work from.
The weather is also perfect for spending time outdoors, and there are plenty of historic buildings, museums, and nature parks to explore. If you’re looking for a vibrant, culturally rich spot for both work and adventure this winter, Mexico City could be a great choice.
9. São Paulo, Brazil
The sparkling financial center of Brazil, São Paulo is home to many iconic architectural landmarks, including the 1929 Martinelli skyscraper. It’s a bustling, highly populous city with a significant community of digital nomads who occupy the many co-working spaces available.
As Brazil’s richest city, São Paulo isn’t always the cheapest, but for those seeking to explore its beautiful buildings, memorable museums, and peaceful parks, it may be worth a little splurge.
10. Panama City, Panama
The capital of Panama, Panama City features many colonial-era landmarks and vibrant plazas with popular cafes that digital nomads can work from. The city’s warm weather is ideal for those who want to escape the cold, and the nightlife is vibrant.
There are also a variety of beaches to visit, and plenty of opportunities to explore the rest of Panama — or simply relax and watch the ships sailing through the city’s iconic canal. It’s the safest city on this list, although the weather isn’t always as pretty as in some other locales.
Paying Like a Local
If you’re seeking warmer horizons this winter, there are so many exciting places where you can soak up the sun and make incredible memories, all while staying within your digital nomad budget.
Just make sure you have a good financial plan in place that enables you to pay like a local wherever you choose to roam. But adventurers beware: that’s probably not simply using your go-to bank account.
From foreign transaction fees and high ATM withdrawal fees to hidden markups in exchange rates, traditional bank accounts aren’t typically digital nomad-friendly.
So before you depart, consider setting up a Wise Account and card. Wise is everywhere money: 170 countries, 50 currencies and one card.
With a Wise Account, you can easily send, receive, hold, and spend money with no hidden fees**. That means paying for rent, groceries, activities and your new friends back easily in local currency.
And while many countries are digital-first, a lot of destinations — including many on this list — still prefer cash payments. With the Wise card, there’s no need to have the cash converted ahead of time.
You can simply withdraw cash from local ATMs, and Wise will convert the amount automatically for you at the best conversation rate at the time for a low fee. For making purchases at places that do accept cards, the Wise Card functions like any other debit card in your wallet.
With Wise’s transparent pricing and mid-market exchange rate policy, you always know what you’re paying. That means less financial stress and uncertainty, and more time enjoying your warm weather digital nomad excursions this winter.
*Methodology: To compile this list, Wise looked at cities that operate within plus- or minus one hour of continental Canadian and US time zones. Cities were then scored based on their rankings on third-party data sources assessing cost of living including rent (source: Numbeo), weather (source: Global Residence Index) and safety (source: Numbeo), as well as whether or not their countries offer digital nomad visas.