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The top TEFL destinations in South America

In a flurry of tango dresses and ancient Incan artworks, creaking glaciers and roaring surf swells, TEFL destinations in South America allure and entice. It’s an up-coming part of the globe on the teaching scene; one that’s not as developed as our beloved Thailand, or as booming as China, for example. That said, there are thousands of opportunities across the vast continent, with the following countries really leading the way:


TEFL destinations in South America
The landscapes around San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina | Delfina Iacub/Unsplash




The home of the great tango twirlers, the cowboy Gauchos (expect some of the tastiest steaks you’ve ever set taste buds on!), and lone adventurers, Argentina packs in all sorts of amazements. Take Patagonia. The sprawling region on the nation’s southern tip is laden with curious Welsh-speaking communities and spiked by hulking mountains that top out at the Torres del Paine National Park – a haven for climbers and alpinists. Then come the cities: Arenas of sizzling Spanish-South American cuisine and grand Germanic-Baroque architecture. Further north are jungles and roaring waterfalls, too, along with wine valleys that churn out tasty reds to match the meat cuts. Tempted? Job opportunities in Argentina are growing almost year on year, with salaries peaking at about $1,200 USD/month.


TEFL destinations in South America
A beach in Brazil with Rio in the distance | Jorge Flores/Unsplash




The bumping caipirinha cantinas of Ipanema meld with the crooked cobbled streets of Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro. There’s energy pulsing through the graffiti-scrawled barrios and elegant Baroque plazas of São Paulo. There are long-haired surfer dudes lazing by the swells of Florianopolis. And football-mad sportsters waiting in the depths of the Amazon. The upshot? Brazil is one truly bucket-list-busting TEFL destination in South America, with oodles of places to look for a job. Salaries tend to be around the $1,200 USD/month mark, with the highest-paid positions in the largest metropolises and the capital.


TEFL destinations in South America
A city in Chile with the Andes rising behind | Juan Pablo Ahumada/Unsplash




Imagine waking up to the sound of the Pacific Ocean washing into the glimmering beaches of Viña del Mar and ending the evening whizzing down ski slopes in the soaring Andes. That’s just the sort of amazing country that Chile is. It wiggles for thousands of miles along the western edge of the continent, going from ice-cracked glacier fields in Patagonia – a mecca for hikers – to the sun-scorched desert of the Atacama, speckled with ancient ruins and oases. Santiago, the capital, is the buzzy metropolis that really elevates this one to the status of a top TEFL destination in South America. Head there and you’re likely to find mainly business English opportunities, with salaries that can hit a wallet-friendly $20 USD/hour.  


The verdant landscapes of Colombia | Michael Barón/Unsplash
The verdant landscapes of Colombia | Michael Barón/Unsplash




There was a time when you simply wouldn’t dream of considering Colombia as a potential next TEFL destination in South America. But the days when Pablo Escobar et al ruled the roost between the Valle del Cauca and Medellin are now long gone. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any trouble here, just that it’s removed from major cities, much less visible, and day-to-day life largely carries on as normal. The result? Spots like Bogota can strut their stuff, 2,600 meters up in the Andes and still flaunting glimmering Incan gold relics and the majestic Iglesia de San Francisco. Medellin is real phoenix from the flames, too. It’s gone from ramshackle barrios to cutting-edge digital nomad and university hub, with plenty of TEFL jobs that can pay up to $1,200 USD/month to boot.



Have you taught English in the region and have another top TEFL destination in South America to add to this list? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below. Or, have you been tempted by the continent? Head over to our destinations and courses pages to find out more.

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