9 Best Places to Teach English in Latin America

Did you know that teaching English abroad is not just for those with a high-ranking degree or a ton of experience?

There are also ample opportunities for non-native speakers and people from all walks of life.

One of the most laid back regions in the world when it comes to qualifications for teaching abroad is Latin America.

We’ve put together a list of the nine best places to teach English in Latin America that we think will peak your interest in a region rich with culture and history.

Sure, the pay may not be as high as other places in the world, but the experience is truly unrivaled. With benefits like learning to speak Spanish, full cultural immersion, home-stay opportunities, a chance to boost your resume, and an opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life (not to mention your own), the pay will feel secondary.

Read on to see if teaching English in Latin America is right for you!

9. Teach English in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most progressive and stable countries on the list, as well as a leader in environmental health. It’s also gorgeous and has both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines to marvel! You can expect to find opportunities at language institutes as well as universities, businesses and private schools.

  • Standard Salary: $500-600 USD/month
  • Standard Benefits: None
  • Requirements/Qualifications: TEFL certification preferred, and an interest in living and teaching in Costa Rica.
  • Why we picked this country: Whether you’re looking for a short-6-month commitment or you’re looking at an opportunity for living more long term while teaching English abroad, Costa Rica is perfect. There is a large community of all kinds of expatriates here — people who’ve found a way to call Costa Rica home — but we love the varied Costa Rican culture and the lush landscapes which is why it made our list.

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8. Teach English in Bolivia

You might be surprised to find Bolivia on our list, but like other countries in Latin America, it has a relatively low cost of living (in fact, it’s the lowest cost of living in South America) and a ton of culture and history to explore. Paid and volunteer opportunities are available; licensed teachers can work in private schools.

  • Standard Salary: $400-600 USD/month
  • Standard Benefits: Lower startup costs and low cost of living; volunteer jobs usually provide living accommodations
  • Requirements/Qualifications: BA/BS preferred, but not required; TEFL certification required for paid positions
  • Why we picked this country: A little off the beaten path, Bolivia is for a true adventurist. With it’s close proximity to Patagonia in Argentina and Chile, but without the high price tag of living there, teaching English in Bolivia offers the best of many worlds. Plus, so much of this country is untouched by tourism, and beautiful to boot! We like it because it has so many volunteer opportunities available.

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7. Teach English in Argentina

Argentina is sure to not disappoint in both areas of teaching and exploration. People say this is one of the hardest countries to learn Spanish in because of the unique dialect and fast pace, but the benefit is that after learning Spanish in Argentina, you can speak it anywhere! You can expect to find jobs at language institutes, private schools, and public schools.

  • Standard Salary: $400-600 USD/month
  • Standard Benefits: Lower startup costs
  • Requirements/Qualifications: BA/BS preferred, but not required. Having a TEFL certificate makes your application more competitive.
  • Why we picked this country: Hello, Patagonia! The geography in Argentina goes from mountains to ice flats to beaches to the tropics. The Latin American culture is strong, there are many styles of teaching opportunities, and you’ll have a long travel wish list if you choose to live and teach in Argentina.

6. Teach English in Ecuador

teach english in latin america ecuador

Ecuador is situated between Colombia and Peru, and is also the closest you’ll get to the Galapagos Islands—not an easy travel feet unless you are living in country. Jobs here can be found in private schools, language institutes, public schools, and universities.

  • Standard Salary: $400-600 USD/month
  • Standard Benefits: Lower startup costs and very low cost of living
  • Requirements/Qualifications: You will need a higher degree in order to teach at the university level, though no previous teaching experience is an option.
  • Why we picked this country: The demand for English teachers here is high and it’s one of the only places in Latin America with university-level jobs available. And what’s not to love about the Andes, coastlines, jungle, and cities?! Did we mention there are cloud forests?

5. Teach English in Uruguay

If you haven’t heard much about Uruguay, know this: it’s a little more progressive than its neighboring countries in South America, and you just might find it to be understated, yet beautiful. Jobs are typically available in English language schools and through private tutoring (all ages).

    • Standard Salary: $400-600 USD/month
    • Standard Benefits: None
    • Requirements/Qualifications: BA/BS preferred, but not required; TEFL certification required
  • Why we picked this country: Uruguay will have potentially less foot traffic than its bustling neighbors, should you prefer a place with tourist opportunities but less tourists to allow you to really immerse yourself in the culture. Its need for native English speakers is also high, and the competition will be reduced. It also has plenty of beaches just off the city paths!

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4. Teach English in Chile

teach english in chile

Chile has a beautiful culture and stable democracy within South America. It has over 3,700 miles of coast along the Pacific Ocean, and is home to the driest desert in the world and the highest lake. ESL teachers often wind work with English language schools and private tutoring opportunities.

  • Standard Salary: $500-800 USD/month
  • Standard Benefits: None
  • Requirements/Qualifications: BA/BS preferred, but not required
  • Why we picked this country: We know many of you interested in teaching English abroad want to spend your time in a country that offers a lot to do and explore, and Chile is perfect for just that! Take in nearby Patagonia, expansive deserts, an even better coastline, and vibrant city life. 

3. Teach English in Colombia

We feel very strongly about all that Colombia has to offer, and are part of the group blazing the trail in the TEFL market there. Opportunities for work include a healthy mix of volunteer and paid TEFL positions, though the volunteer programs are government sponsored (and paid), sending teachers to underprivileged areas of the country, making this a unique place to get the best of all worlds.

  • Standard Salary: $500-900
  • Standard Benefits: Low cost of living
  • Requirements/Qualifications: BA/BS preferred, but not required
  • Why We Picked this Country: This gorgeous country is situated toward the top of South America and is a major hub for airlines across Latin America (that potentially means more good deals!). It also has all of the elements nature lovers adore: lush rainforest, mountainous landscapes, city life, and everything in between! Did someone mention good coffee? Get a cup of joe and write up those lesson plans overlooking the Andes mountains. Life can’t really get much sweeter.

2. Teach English in Guatemala

teach english in guatemala

How many people do you know who have been to Guatemala? Chances are, few. As its popularity for teaching English programs expands, however, it’s not hard to see why: it’s a beautiful country (some say one of the most beautiful) with volcanoes (dormant and active) galore, an inviting and friendly culture and some of the most beautifully kept Colonial towns and natural beaches.

  • Standard Salary: $500 – $700 USD/month (dependent on length of commitment)
  • Standard Benefits: Low cost of living
  • Requirements/Qualifications: Fluency in English and a desire to live and teach in Guatemala. TEFL certification preferred.
  • Why we picked this country: It’s a burgeoning market in terms of TEFL jobs, so you could be a part of paving the path for others to come in TEFL history. Guatemala is also home to a mix of mountain towns, beaches, and cities with a relatively slow pace of speech, so picking up Spanish will be a little easier! It’s also one of the cheapest places to learn Spanish, salsa dancing or to surf!

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1. Teach English in Peru

Teaching English in Peru has a long list of perks (including but not limited to access to one of the endangered UNESCO sites, Machu Picchu!), but jobs are valued highly here and range from cities to within towns and villages in rural areas of the Andes mountains. Find jobs in international schools, language schools, through volunteering, or at the university level.

    • Standard Salary: $500-700 USD/month (dependent on length of commitment)
    • Standard Benefits: Depends on position; low cost of living
    • Requirements/Qualifications: TEFL certification preferred, interest in living and teaching in Peru.
  • Why we picked this country: Not only is Peru one of the most sought-after cultural epicenters of South America, but it also provides a number of opportunities in ongoing professional development, with frequent training sessions and conferences. Plus, it’s easy to get started, with no degree requirement or age restrictions. The food, architecture, and Inca sites are also unrivaled!

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