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Cost of Living in Colombia: Month 3 Update

Living in Medellin, Colombia has been nothing short of amazing. Time does fly doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday that I was frolicking around Antarctica with Penguins. In the next couple of weeks I will finish seeing the rest of the Medellin area and start to plan my trip to Nairobi, Kenya.

I have been to every city so far in the country with the exclusion Barranquilla and Manizales which I will most likely come back to finish. There is so much that learned about living in Medellin, Colombia and the people that I would love to come back and live here part of the year.

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View from my apartment in Medellin, Colombia

The Best Place to Live

Having toured the entire country I can attest to the fact that Medellin is hands down the best place to live. The only cities that I would consider living in are Bogota, Cali, and Medellin. The next two largest cities that you could possibly consider are Barranquilla and Cartagena which lay on the coast. The temperature on the coast is extremely hot and I don’t know too many people that would enjoy sweating the second they step outside.

The city with the best temperature and a great combination of things to do in Medellin. Bogota may be a bit cold for most people and also one of the most dangerous cities in Colombia in terms of living. Cali is a nice place to be but you will find that the things to do in city are limited.

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A guard in front of the presidential Palace in Bogota

Safety in Colombia

The people overall throughout the country are exceptionally welcoming and nice to tourists and foreigners. They welcome all foreigners because they know the money that they bring in.

In Colombia, you may feel safe but you should always maintain a heightened level of alert especially in the cities of Bogota and Cartagena.

The Colombian coast was the only place where I experienced people trying to hustle me and Bogota being by far the largest city has the most crime on the tourist trail.

Every traveler and expat that I have met in country always tells me of the danger in Bogota. If you aren’t careful then you may want to consider budgeting for a kidnap fee, kidding! Ha! (Not really) Post is coming soon.

 Cost of Living

Cost of living in Colombia is increasing as the economy of the country continues to improve. If you are buying food from a grocery store you are going to paying a high price for it.  Its best that you buy fruits and veggies from men that stand on the street.

There are also markets in the city where you can buy locally grown food. In Medellin, there are men that drive around in trucks and stop in front of large condo complexes and sell the fruit from there.

  •  Figure $200 to 300 a month ($75 a week) if you are single or for bare minimum (no eating out)
  • On average per person I would say $100 a week ($400 a month)
  • On the high end assume $150 a week

Housing is still relatively cheap in Medellin but increasing more and more people are coming to live in the country. I rented a 4 bedroom Penthouse that costed me roughly 2,500,000 pesos. Depending on the exchange rate that’s roughly $1300 – $1500 a month. The range in prices is enormous due to the social differences and areas you can choose from. You can rent a room as cheap as $150 a month and get a penthouse at the price listed above to give you an example of both high and low ends. I will be posting “cost of living in Medellin” post soon with exact prices on apartments to rent.

living in medellin, living in colombia, view from penthouse, medellin

View from the penthouse in Medellin while I was living in Colombia

Nuances

Internet – While Colombia is one of the places where you get exceptional internet service there are going to be times when it cuts out on occasion. The cut in service generally will only last minimum 5 seconds to 20 minutes at most as long as there is no service with the internet service provider.

Hot Water – Colombians it seems are allergic to hot water. Their hot water heaters look like oversized college textbooks and the machine only heats water when you turn the water on. Its not like in the United States where there is a tank that keeps the water hot at all times. Be warned there is a very high likelihood you will either have no hot water or only 5 minutes of it.

Up to this point I have lived in 7 countries around the world spanning 3 different continents.  Living in Medellin, Colombia is the very first time where I have actually wanted to settle somewhere.  I do plan on looking for property in the near future to spend 3/4 months out of the year here.  Viva Colombia!

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