7 incredible countries to live temporarily abroad if you love nature
There are many different criteria that could help determine the “best” places to live abroad, from standard of living, security, culture, diversity, service, amongst many other factors. However this list is particularly aimed at young adults wanting to experience local cultures and explore natural environments at its best. Most of these countries are a great experience for first time travellers and a great start for unique adventures. I have also chosen them for local immersions but also encompassing some of the most spoken languages in the world and a variety on costs of living.
Our planet has too many incredible places everywhere that is hard to pick only some of those countries and highlight them in this list, though I believe these are incredible ones to start your journey of travelling the world. So here are my Top 7 Incredible Countries to live abroad if you love nature:
Australia is a very unique country that many dream to visit one day. It is quite remote for many of us, that the curiosity of how it is living or visiting over there makes it already a top choice for many. Its thousands of kilometres of stunning beaches and a huge variety of environments and landscapes within the country, not to mention the array of diverse and exclusive wildlife, make it one of the most looked after countries to live in.
There are various ways you are able to live temporarily in Australia, one of the most famous and easiest ways to do so is with its ‘working holiday” visas, which welcome many young workers and students who generally go abroad for a year. Many nationalities are eligible to apply for this type of visa, you are generally required to be between 18 and 30 years old and can apply throughout the year, though it varies from country to country. I had the opportunity to live in Melbourne for 6 months as a French Citizen with the ‘working holiday’ program and absolutely loved the experience. After working during those months in the city, we ended up taking a one month long road trip along the East Coast of Australia and fell in love with all that it has to offer in terms of nature and culture.
It is such a huge country though, that if you plan on travelling across all of it and get it to know it more deeply, it definitely takes time, so staying for at least a year is totally recommended.
Official language: English.
Canada is another of those huge countries that are so different wherever you decide to have your temporary home base on. It is considered one of the countries with the best standard of living in the world. A very rich country in ethnic and cultural diversity, where respect and tolerance are highly regarded and evident.
Canada’s natural landscapes and wonders are among the country’s greatest assets without a doubt: hundreds of turquoise lakes, huge mountain ranges, enormous waterfall and countless National Parks make Canada an impressive place to live and enjoy nature at its best.
This is another country that accepts young people coming through the ‘working holiday’ visas. It provides temporary work permits to young people from over 30 countries, so you can legally live and work in the country. Age limits, eligibility and availability depend on which country you are a citizen from, so it’s important to check the information accordingly.
I had the opportunity to live in Vancouver for a year while studying film and got extremely surprised at the huge amount of natural escapes just a few minutes outside the city and even within it. Just right next to the city you can find Stanley Park, an incredible green oasis in the midst of the urban landscape of Vancouver, plenty of beaches to enjoy during the summer, hikes for all levels, and mountains for skiing during the winter. And this just one city, so believe me there is a place in Canada for everyone!
Official language: English and French.
Chile has some of the most dramatic mountain peaks in the world, stunning lakes and lots of incredible wildlife. It’s a wonderful place to spend both the summer and the winter, with plenty to do throughout all seasons., from skiing in the mountains, trekking in the desert and island hoping to good great nightlife in its capital, Santiago. Chile is a great option for the traveler that wants a bit of it all.
When living in Santiago, the proximity of the beach and the mountains is unbelievable. Chile is characterized for its over 6,000 kilometres of coastline— you can arrive from Santiago to the beach in as little as 2 hours— and the mountain ranges of the Andes and the Chilean coastal range — which surround the city. Living in Chile unquestionably offers unlimited stunning natural beauty to explore.
Many nationals are allowed to stay in Chile with a tourist visa which allows for stays up to 90 days. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand citizens are eligible for the working holiday program that the country offers.
Official language: Spanish. Though you can find many people that speak English in Santiago.
Costa Rica is a nature lover’s paradise and has become a world referent for conservation. It is the first country in the world to reverse deforestation and it has actually doubled its forests since 1990, which is just impressive!
This relatively small Latin American country has many advantages in various sectors such as the economic, social and the environmental and climatic one. Another incredible aspect of the country is that most of their energy comes from renewable sources.
Costa Rica contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity! That’s already a huge indicator of how incredible nature is in this country and one of the reasons of making it your temporary home is that you’ll never run out of wildlife or landscapes to see there.
Besides offering a great variety of incredible landscapes and biodiversity, according to the World Happiness Report from 2021, Costa Rica ranks the 16th happiest country on earth, making it an idyllic country to go and live abroad.
Many nationals are allowed to stay in Costa Rica with a tourist visa for up to 90 days. And a full year ‘digital nomad’ visa for remote work is on the way that may be suited for you.
Official language: Spanish. You can find people that speak English around the country, especially in bigger cities.
French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France, is comprised of 118 islands and atolls that are scattered across the Pacific Ocean in a nautical surface area the size of Western Europe, crazy right? Many dream on the idea of visiting these paradisiacal islands once in their life, but what if you could stay here for longer than just a holiday?
Living in French Polynesia would probably mean living in its main island and where the capital, Papeete, is located: Tahiti. Though there are plenty of other islands that can become your temporary home as well. The island life is more idyllic on the outer islands outside of the main island, where modern life has certainly impacted less the culture of the local population. However, locals are still very proud of their heritage and you can find many ways to be immersed in the culture wherever you go, even in the bigger towns.
French Polynesia has stunning islands and landscapes wherever you look. What is impressive is to see the clear water and clear sand beaches contrasting with the volcanic lush green islands, very typical of many of the Pacific Nations.
However, being so remote, the cost of living in French Polynesia is high in comparison to other places in the world, so keep that in mind when looking for the best place that suits your needs.
Many citizens are able to obtain up to a 90 days visa on arrival, but always check on the official website before planning.
Official language: French and Tahitian. They also speak English in touristic areas.
New Zealand is another country full of magical nature. The landscapes are just breathtaking in whichever direction you go, so definitely the natural beauty of New Zealand and the welcoming of the local Kiwis will help you feel at home.
The country is made of of two main islands: the North and the South Island. Both islands are very different, the North Island has most of the population of New Zealand and is busier, though in both they are sparsely populated with a lot of outdoors, so overcrowded places are not typical here. However the South Island does feel more laidback than the North.
All of New Zealand is connected by very well maintained roads, which make it perfect for planning road trips to get to know as much of what the country has to offer. It is a place of contrasts, from beautiful beaches to snowy mountains, stunning fjords, glaciers and thermal pools that are just simply majestic. A paradise for adventurers, especially if you love camping and hiking— it has some of the most stunning scenery I have ever woken up to.
Just like Australia and Canada, the ‘working holiday’ program is open here as well to various citizens. It’s essentially the same structure where you can stay up to a year or more if you do some farm work and you are able to work and travel around the country.
Official language: English and Maori.
Oh Mexico. The people, the culture, the landscapes, the food… I may be biased to include Mexico on this list because it is my country of origin, however it is undeniably beautiful when it comes to natural places.
Mexico is one of the richest countries in the world on biological diversity, more specifically it is considered the fourth country when it comes to terms on the variety of unrivalled ecosystems that it has— from rainforests, active and dormant volcanoes, mountains, forests, deserts, reefs and cenotes (deep water wells and caves, which are fed by the filtration of rain and by the currents of the rivers) — which makes the country an outstanding one when it comes to nature.
Like many Latin America countries, in Mexico it is very easy to make good friends, the cost of living is low and the climate is exceptional throughout the country and throughout the seasons. There is a magical place to discover in every corner of the country, whether you are looking for paradisiacal beaches, adventures in the jungle or exploring one of its many deserts.
Mexico offers the ‘working holiday visa’ to only a few countries, though the tourist visas can be obtained for up to 180 days/6 months which is already a great place to start for your visit!
Official language: Spanish. Though you can find many people that speak English in bigger or more touristic cities.
I have always loved choosing destinations based on how much natural places I will be able to explore and it has never disappointing, on the contrary— i have learned so much about new cultures and ways of thinking, got immersed into living as much as I can as a local and absolutely expanding my view of the world which has brought in so many opportunities.