We’ve all had the experience of travelling halfway across the world only to be snubbed and slighted by surly locals. It can be a real downer when you’re there for a holiday, but even worse if you’ve just moved to the country to live. Fear not! InterNations has come to your rescue by carrying out a survey among 14,o0o expats in 191 countries to find out which are the best nations for moving to and making friends.
Here are the top five most hospitable nations in the world, plus their signature dishes:
Philippines is the headquarters of many multinational businesses and is therefore also home to thousands of foreigners. English is spoken almost everywhere, and the locals are famously helpful. Ah, and there’s more: they love to party. Tropical, cheap, fun and friendly: how can you resist?
Signature dish: adobo. The king of Filipino cuisine is not a dish as such, but a marinade containing soy sauce, coconut or rice vinegar, oil, black pepper, bay leaf and garlic, that can be used to slow-cook meat, fish, seafood or vegetables for hours. Usually served with rice.
Oman gets more sunny days a year than any other country in the world. If that’s not enough to get you packing your bags, how about this: as a Muslim country, showing hospitality to strangers is an integral part of their belief system. They also spend lots of time outdoors, enjoying nature – and the perfect weather, of course. Throw in a generous assortment of bars, restaurants and nightclubs – all very reasonably priced – and what more could you ask?
Signature dish: kabsa. Shared by many countries across the Persian Gulf, this speciality consists of fragrant basmati rice covered with a stew containing meat, vegetables and spices, including clove, cardamom and cinnamon. Almonds, pine nuts, caramelised onions and sultanas are then sprinkled on top.
Colombia is the part of South America most loved by its expat residents, particularly the country’s capital: Bogota. The city’s hellish traffic is not enough to dissuade people from staying and enjoying the low prices, and the fruit and vegetables that look like they came from the garden of Eden.
Signature dish: bandeja paisa. A belly-bursting combo of red beans, pork, rice, minced meat, pork crackling, fried egg, fried banana, chorizo, arepa, black pudding, avocado and hogao, plus a little lemon to aid digestion.
2. Costa Rica
Everyone knows that Costa Rica is pure life. But it’s also pure hospitality. Expats say it’s really easy to adapt to life there. They recommend San José, Santa Ana and Escazú particularly highly. The cost of living has been going up over the last few years, but you can still eat well for a handful of change.
Signature dish: casado. The Costa Rican national dish will fill you up for just five euros. Grilled meat or fish served with beans, rice, red pepper and onion brunoise, fried banana, cabbage, tomato and carrot salad.
Uganda is the friendliest place in Africa for visitors, and one of the most hospitable countries in the world. Despite its inadequate infrastructure, expats love Uganda for its spectacular landscapes and the wide range of good, even luxury, restaurants.
Signature dish: the rolex. Unlike the fancy Swiss watch, the Ugandan version can be bought for just a few shillings. It’s a thin omelette cooked with diced tomato, onion and cabbage and rolled up in chapati – very common in Uganda thanks to the Indian influence.