What are the best countries to teach ESL in Latin America?

Latin America is a large and diverse region that covers over 20 million square kilometers and around 20 countries. It also provides a huge number of opportunities for ESL teachers in large bustling cities, popular tourist resorts, small country towns, and everywhere else in between. Due to its wide choice of destinations there are countless options for adventure, exploration, entertainment, and relaxation, and the development of lifelong memories is almost guaranteed. However, as this is such a big region, how do you know which countries are the best for teaching ESL? We highly recommend you complete your own research to ensure you cover all the things that are important to you, but we can also offer the following list of destinations that we think offer the best opportunities right now.


As it borders the south of the US, Mexico has been popular with American teachers for many years. As well as its convenient location, Mexico also has a huge demand for English language teachers due to its thriving tourism industry and the promise of moving north for better paid jobs in the USA. Jobs are mainly found in private language centers and there is also scope for private tuition if you want to top up your earnings. The average salary for ESL teachers is not particularly high when compared to some other parts of the world, however, the cost of living is relatively low, which typically balances things out. One big attraction of Mexico is that the requirements for securing a teaching job are not that strict and a degree is not necessary in many cases.

Check out our post: Can I get a work visa to teach English in Mexico?


Located in a long strip down the Pacific coast of South America, Chile has been one of the most popular destinations in this region for many years. The country has a well developed infrastructure and is generally near the top of most lists of economic and social stability measures in Latin America. TESOL qualified teachers will have little trouble finding a suitable position in the capital Santiago as it is home to around 40% of the total population. There are also smaller job markets spread throughout the country for those who prefer things a little less built up. A degree is generally not a requirement for landing a job and work visas are also relatively easy to get hold of. All in all, Chile is a tried and tested destination for teaching English abroad and one that is sure to provide plenty of fun and adventure, no matter how long you plan to stay.

Check out our post: How much can I earn teaching English in Chile?

Costa Rica

Although Costa Rica is relatively small in size and population, it punches well above its weight when it comes to English teaching jobs. It is also one of the most democratic and stable countries in the entire region and crucially it spends well above the average on its education system. All these positives add up to why so many people choose Costa Rica as their teaching abroad destination. The capital, San Jose, and its surrounding area is where the most jobs can be found, although the country’s many resort areas are also a good bet. However, these locations are obviously very popular and the competition can be quite fierce, so some experience or higher qualifications might be necessary. Other reasons to get excited about Costa Rica include the tropical climate, miles of unspoiled beaches, lush jungles full of exotic wildlife, and a relatively relaxed approach to work visas for foreign teachers.

Check out our post: What visa do I need to teach English in Costa Rica?


When many people think about Colombia they only consider the country’s troubled past and not its thriving present and extremely bright future. The tourism industry is booming which has in turn led to a rapid upturn in demand for English language teachers. As the teaching market is quite young the average salaries are not especially high, however, the low cost of living does balance this out and there are also plenty of options for private tuition to add to your main income. Private language schools are the main employers around the country and there are many of them in all the main cities and tourist areas. As it is an up and coming job market, most positions are not advertised online, so it is best to head to the country first and then look for jobs on arrival.

Check out our post: How much can I earn teaching English in Colombia?


Argentina has always been a popular destination for teaching English abroad thanks to its unique European influenced culture, stunning natural beauty, and a laid back approach to life. Nowhere captures the magic of Argentina quite like its capital city, Buenos Aires. As the destination for millions of immigrants from all over the world since the 19th century, Bunos Aires is now one of the most diverse cities in the whole of Latin America. This wonderful diversity can be seen in the unique and eclectic architecture that is spread throughout the city and in the rich cultural life that is evident 24 hours a day. With so much to see and do in the country it can be difficult to find time to work, but assuming it is a necessity, private language schools are the biggest employers of foreign teachers. Private businesses also hire TESOL qualified teachers to present business related English lessons, and individual tutoring is also common.

Check out our post: How much can I earn teaching English in Argentina?

Although we have highlighted the above five destinations for teaching English in Latin America, there are many other countries in the region that you might also want to consider. Simply do a bit of research online to find the locations that you like the look of and then start making some plans. There is no time like the present when it comes to teaching English abroad!

Check out our post: How do I find a job teaching English in Latin America?

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