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28 Aug 2023

Essentials of Nearshore Development: All LATAM Time Zone Variations

Nearshore development has been continuously gaining traction as an IT hiring strategy, becoming one of the latest outsourcing trends of the last few years since the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the need for remote work solutions. This refers to outsourcing software or application development tasks to a neighboring country - with its main charm being the geographical proximity, cultural similarities, and minimal time zone differences it offers. 

Recognizing the significance of time differences is crucial in choosing to try nearshore development as an outsourcing strategy. This is particularly relevant when considering the Latin America (LATAM) region, which has become a popular destination for nearshore development due to its pool of tech talent, cost-effectiveness, and close proximity to North America. Both Central and South America time zones are minimal when you compare them to the EST time zone - most used for remote work arrangements - and the hours aren’t that different from the PT working schedule either. This allows for real-time collaboration and faster project completion times. Now, we’ve put together a list with all the time zone differences to the EST time zone for the major software nearshoring hubs of this area. Keep reading to learn more about all LATAM time zone differences! 

What Is Nearshore Development?

Before we get to the specific time zone differences you might deal with when you hire nearshore developers in Latin America, it’s best to get clear about what nearshoring really is. Nearshore development is the practice of outsourcing software or application development tasks to third-party companies located in countries that are geographically close to your company’s home country, and that also have minimal time zone differences with your work schedule. This model is designed to overcome the challenges of offshoring, such as time zone differences and cultural barriers, while still offering cost savings compared to the more traditional option of onshoring. 

The key benefits of nearshore development are many, with a few of them being the three main ones. The first one, and the focus of this article, is reduced time zone differences, as the nearshore development team is located in a similar time zone, making communication and collaboration easier and more efficient. The second one is cultural similarities, with nearshore developers often sharing a similar cultural background to the client, which can improve communication and understanding of the project requirements. Finally, nearshoring can be more cost-effective than hiring in-house teams, especially for companies located in regions with high-tech rates wanting to save money on development costs. All of this makes it a brilliant IT hiring strategy, one especially supported by the minimal time zone differences that we’re about to dive into. 

Basics of The Various LATAM Time Zone Differences

Just to be on the same page, time zones are regions of the earth that have the same standard time. As such, understanding time zone differences is critical in business and software development as it impacts communication, collaboration, and productivity for companies looking to expand their operations into remote work solutions. LATAM encompasses a variety of time zones across its various countries and two major areas. These Central and South America time zone differences operate based on standard time and daylight saving time, with some countries adjusting their clocks to take advantage of longer daylight hours in summer and some staying the same - making the differences to the EST time vary by an hour depending on whether it’s the darker or lighter half of the year. 

Detailed Breakdown of LATAM Time Zone Differences Compared To EST

Argentina Time (ART): This is 1 or 2 hours ahead of EST depending on the season. 

Bolivia Time (BOT): BOT is usually 1 hour ahead of EST.

Chile Standard Time (CLT): CLT is 1 hour ahead of EST.

Colombia Time (COT): COT is the same as EST during the entire year.

Ecuador Time (ECT): ECT is the same as EST.

Paraguay Time (PYT): PYT is only 1 hour ahead of EST.

Peru Time (PET): PET is the same as EST.

Venezuela Time (VET): VET is 30 minutes ahead of EST.

Brazil (Brasília (BRT) time): BRT is 2 hours ahead of EST. Though the Amazon Standard Time (AMT) used by parts of Brazil, is typically 1 hour behind EST.

Uruguay Time (UYT): UYT is 2 hours ahead of EST.

Central Standard Time (CST): This is used by Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, being 1 hour behind EST.

Panama (EST): The EST is also used by Panama, so the schedule is the same there. 

Atlantic Standard Time (AST): This time zone is used by Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and is typically 1 hour ahead of EST.

How To Manage LATAM Time Zone Differences in Nearshore Development Projects

Schedule Overlapping Work Hours: 

Ensure there are several hours each day when both teams are working. This enables real-time communication and collaboration.

Use Project Management Tools: 

Utilize tools like Asana, Jira, or Trello to track progress and communicate asynchronously when needed.

Establish Clear Communication Channels: 

Use tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet for regular meetings and updates. Clearly communicate the preferred course of action for urgent vs. non-urgent issues as well - to help prevent any misunderstandings. 

Set Clear Expectations: 

Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and deadlines to minimize confusion and ensure productivity.

Plan for International Holidays: 

Be aware of and plan for public holidays in both countries. This will prevent unexpected work stoppages and project delays.

Regular Sprint Meetings: 

Hold regular status meetings to keep everyone on the same page, regardless of time zone differences. Find the best overlapping time and set up a weekly or biweekly call to chat. 


Encourage work schedule flexibility where possible. Sometimes, team members may need to adjust their schedules to accommodate important meetings or deadlines. It’s best if you take an objective-based approach to their working hours. 

Ready To Take Advantage of LATAM Time Zone Differences and Hire Nearshore Developers?

Understanding LATAM's time zone differences is crucial for successful nearshore development and to help those considering LATAM for their nearshore development needs to understand how this strategy can offer numerous benefits, including cost savings, access to quality tech talent, and minimal communication mishaps. 

At Blue Coding, we want to connect the best of LATAM talent to North American companies looking to hire nearshore developers at a lower cost. Our team of technical recruiters can help you build the outsourced development team of your dreams through our tried and tested remote IT hiring process. We take care of every step of the way so you can find the right developer to work with. Contact us today to access your free discovery call and learn more about our nearshore software development services! 

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