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An Expat Talks about Moving to Punta del Este, Uruguay

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Punta del Este

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

The things that I really missed and thought about bringing later were good pots and pans and kitchen tools, large stainless steel garbage cans (which cost a fortune in Uruguay, yards of material for draperies, bedspreads and decorative pillows, Christmas decorations, and if building a house: door knobs and knobs or pulls for drawers and cabinets, bathroom fixtures (towel racks, mirrors, fixtures), picture hanging supplies, a safe that can be installed in concrete, and an office machine for faxing/copying/printing.

The things that you do not need to bring include any leather goods which are in abundance, winter clothes, and anything related to the care and feeding of a dog or cat.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Apply for residency and hire a lawyer to help you through the process. Once you have your residency - - should take about 8 months to a year, you can ship your household goods. If you are a couple, file for residency seperately. That way, you can ship a container of household goods, live for a while, find out what else you need and then send another container with the missing "stuff".

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

We searched Punta del Este from one side to the other. We decided that we wanted to live in Punta for 6 months a year or longer and that meant a house versus an apartment since many of the apartment buildings are unoccupied 8 months of the year.

We also decided that we would build a house as opposed to finding one. We wanted bigger rooms, more bathrooms and fewer bedrooms than is conventional. The difference being that we were not looking to rent the house.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

The cost of all utilities is higher than in the United States. Real estate taxes are much less. Buying a car is much much more expensive because of the import tax but the import tax seems to stay with the car so the retained value is high. Gasoline is the same as in Europe which is high compared to the U.S. And Punta in general is not cheap.

The reason to live in Punta del Este is because it is a good way to live, that is, the food is fresh, the air and water are clean, it is beautiful, the beaches are wonderful, the people are welcoming, and you can live as you cannot in Europe or the U.S. any longer. What I mean is that the cost of help is affordable. People services are available and affordable, whether that is having your clothes tailored, going to the doctor/dentist, finding a gardener, a chef, cleaning services . . . You can afford to live well and the people providing the services are ahppy to do it. There is no class struggle in Uruguay.

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Comments about this Report

May 1, 2011 10:00

Hello, Are you still living in Punta del Este? I am just bying a small house there in Las Delicias and would like to hear from your experience there. I am Gabriele, a german woman of 58 years. Thank you Gabriele

May 18, 2012 15:00

Where do you go for Personal Property Insurance, as well as Home insurance ?

Aug 7, 2012 19:33

I see a couple of problems with the advice to get residency before shipping your container. You then become a returning Uruguayan and the rules are different. Also if you and your spouse file separately, you will both have to prove sufficient income which has gone up a lot from the $500 posted. As a couple we were told $1500 is now expected and preferably as a government pension.

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