Why I Decided To Live in Colombia Instead of Brazil (Or Chile and Ecuador)

Living in Colombia vs Brazil wasn’t an easy choice.

I think any long term traveler after a while gets to the point where they want to just relax instead of keep going.

I remember many times where I felt burnt out.  I also felt it was a bit unfair how I would be seeing these amazing sites and it would be just another church or just another beach.

While I don’t ever plan on stopping my traveling career I did need to take a break. I travel differently than most people you are exposed to.  I wouldn’t consider myself a backpacker nor do I enjoy staying in hotel rooms or hostels. By this I mean I like to have a home base.

Primarily because I need a reliable internet connection to be able to day trade.

Whenever I move to a new country I always look for a furnished apartment and make sure it has the best internet the city can offer. Sometimes there were some hiccups along the way. Whether it was good planning, luck, or a bit of both, I rarely had problems with internet connections and finding great places to stay.

Whenever I take a shorter weekend trip then I do stay in a hotel or hostel.

When I travel long term I always like to get to know the locals by renting an apt instead of staying in any kind of commercial accommodation.  The feeling of thrusting yourself in a foreign culture where you don’t know how to get around  or even how to order from a menu is stimulating. Challenging yourself to learn new words, new phrases, a completely new body language.

Medellin, Colombia

That’s me! Marcello Arrambide looking over Medellin, Colombia

It’s quite exhilarating to challenge yourself in these kinds of environments.

Granted they didn’t always work out perfectly. Sometimes you get kidnapped and shot at and other times you get arrested in detained.

But all in a day’s work right?

I decided a while ago that I needed to set my first official home base to focus on the new day trading centers I wanted to open.  Trying to work AND travel simply is a novelty that doesn’t work.  The concept was to take my level of freedom to a whole new level.

When I began to see that traders I was training were becoming profitable the idea crossed my mind. What if I could actually travel with an army of traders? Just picture a group of guys getting to Rio de Janeiro renting a penthouse and having a blast.

para gliding in Rio De Janeiro

Para Gliding in Rio De Janeiro

Wait a second we already did that with day trader and good buddy Brice, The Trading Voyageur.

Let’s try again. Imagine being able to visit the Galapagos Islands with some of your closest friends and being on one of the most beautiful yachts call The Grace. We can’t trade on a boat in the Galapagos but it would be awesome to celebrate our hard earned profits by swimming with Nemo, turtles, and sharks.

Wait… wait. I forgot we did that earlier this year as well with Honcho Extreme and Quasar Expeditions. He won a free one year training program last year. Won an all-expenses paid trip to Jordan and is now living in South Africa driving around a motorcycle for three months.

See what I did there?

First Day in the Galapagos Islands

First Day in the Galapagos Islands with Quasar Expeditions

I didn’t just want to keep renting places and staying at hotels. I wanted to be able to do something that meant more than that.

Giving locals in improvished countries the opportunity to live a lifestyle they otherwise wouldn’t be able to find in their local economy was something special.

By teaching them the right skills it would be a win-win situation. I would have the opportunity to teach locals how to trade the right way and they would be able to live a lifestyle they otherwise wouldn’t be able to live.

Then we could all travel together. A big family of day traders.

When I thought of where I wanted to live I immediately considered places where I felt comfortable.  We combine this then with a place where I could have a very high quality of living with an American style lifestyle.

Luxury Hotels in Agra

Checking into our Luxury Hotels in Agra, India

Most of Africa was out as most countries are still getting their things in order. While I would love to live in Ethiopia for longer than just the 3 months I spent there the country doesn’t have good internet access. Asia was a possibility because my money would go very far there but I’ve never fully connected with Asia.  I also wouldn’t know this for sure because I haven’t traveled in depth in Asia.

That leaves somewhere in Europe or possibly Latin America.

The first places I always think of first are Rio de Janeiro and Medellin, Colombia. Both considered to be one of the best places to live in South America. They both have a great combination of everything. The only thing Medellin lacks is a beach while Rio de Janeiro lacks any kind of work ethic.

That was a joke.

But also partly true.

Rio de Janeiro to me just seemed like a constant party.  It is hard to focus when you have so many distractions.

First piece of evidence:

Best Butt In Brazil Competition

They Have a Best Butt Competition In Brazil. Seriously.

I also wanted to be in a place that had a lot of upside. Brazil has gotten very expensive with all of the investment for the World Cup and the upcoming Olympics. I was going to buy my first property and my dollars would go much further in Medellin than in Rio.  Colombia is just now opening up to the world and is a much friendlier place to do business compared to Brazil.

Also the cost of living is much cheaper of Brazil.

The only other place I considered was Chile and Ecuador.

Google the best places to retire in South America online everyone swears by Ecuador. That would be the last place I would want to be.

  • First, I wouldn’t consider a country that has had roughly 10 presidents in the last 15 years a good place to be.
  • Second, they can’t get their financial house in order.  They use US dollars which is a very bad proposition long term with the US Economy set to collapse.
  • Third, I didn’t enjoy Ecuador at all on a recent trip there.
  • Fourth, I just like Colombia and Brazil too much.

Chile was definitely a consideration. The only 1st world country in Latin America and it’s also the best place to do business and also very foreigner friendly.

Switzerland of Colombia Guatape

What I Call The Switzerland of Colombia: Guatape

I chose Colombia because of the cocaine obviously. I mean the women. I mean the coffee.

While there are still jokes about Colombia’s security and drug filled past I can guarantee they are well beyond that.   I thought to myself, where would I enjoy living year round? The city that came back into my mind was Medellin, Colombia.  The city of eternal spring has perfect weather year round. Rio de Janeiro can get a bit warm.

Sweating while walking outside at night warm.

Where I could invest and see amazing returns in the next five to ten years? Medellin, Colombia.

The people of Medellin, Colombia are some of the nicest and gracious people I have ever met on my travels. This was another big big reason I decided to choose Medellin. Everyone that comes here just feels welcome. Imagine feeling that everyday.

Brazilians are awesome people but comparing them to Paisas (people from the state of Antioquia in Colombia) would be hard to do.

Learning how to speak Brazilian Portuguese was also a consideration. The language is harder to learn than staying on a weight loss plan after every January 1st.  I pick up languages easily and Portuguese is one of the languages I still cannot speak like a local.

I have since moved into a 7 bedroom penthouse that was purchased for a mere $124,000 USD. I could probably get a studio apartment for that price in Brazil. I can tell you that I have enjoyed living in the Medellin for almost a year now. I made the right decision considering that my cost of living in Medellin, Colombia is only $750 a month. This includes a full time chef and maid.  When I thought of home Medellin was just the place that came to mind. All the other things were a bonus.

To wrap things up I will leave you with a tour of the penthouse after being fully renovated. Look forward to sharing updates on our day trading education efforts here in Colombia with The Day Trading Academy.


  1. That’s nice, but where do you see yourself raising kids and family ?

    Is Mediin a good place in terms of safety and education and job potential for future children ?

  2. Hey Marcello, always enjoy reading your posts.

    So I just returned from 3 months of traveling South America. My favorite cities were Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Lima and Medellin. I’ve been living in Madrid for the past year and a half but am considering changing and moving to South America.

    I understand the cost issue of Rio versus Medellin, and how Medellin is the up and coming place for investment and business, but what do you think of how these two cities compare for women?

    I’m not really looking for just fun. I would like to meet a quality girl within the next year or so since I’m now hitting my mid thirties. My thoughts on Brazil overall is Brazilian women are the most friendly, open and warmhearted women on the planet. Didn’t matter what city I was in. But of course Cariocas are a different breed and it’s the city that captivated me so that’s where I would want to live.

    Now everyone always mentions Colombian women and specifically Paisas. My thoughts were while many are pretty and have fantastic bodies, they are so dolled up and many have fake boobs. They seem very superficial on the surface so I’m not sure about the prospects of a long-term relationship with girls from Medellin. They also seem to be more interested in your money.

    Your thoughts on your experiences and perceptions with the women from both these cities would be great to hear. I’m also seriously considering Buenos Aires. I know the women there are known to be a bit colder, but my experience was quite good with them. Maybe Argentine women are a bit classier but less sexy. But your input on them as well how they compare would be great. Again, I’m not really looking for just fun. Kind of want to set some roots up somewhere and find a girl from that city. So is Portuguese that hard to learn? Spanish is difficult enough for me! That would be just one more challenge to take on!

    If I should send this somewhere else, please let me know. Keep living the dream man!

    1. Dean… I think the most beautiful women in the South America are both in Medellin and in Rio. What you will find is that Rio is more worldly and also more sophisticated while Medellin still hasn’t opened up in the world in a sense. This means that the interests of women in Medellin may be a bit small minded for some people. You can find quality women in both cities.

      Would not recommend Buenos Aires…. nice city to visit but not to live. Quite chaotic there with the country defaulted would not recommend it. Portuguese for me was hard to learn but not if you are there long term. Hope that helps my man.

    1. Ai dont know how you reach that number. Where is your PH? 127 000? You can’t buy a 3 bedroom condo for that. A maid, costs 250$ minimum, a chef, i go there every year my family is from there I was born there and raised in Canada. But we have been looking for a condo there and it’s expensive now

  3. Really interesting article, especially as I opted for Rio! I’ve been here since early June and have absolutely loved it. Having said that, I also loved Medellin. Maybe you can give Rio a go next and see which works out best for places to live (Medellin has it’s fair share of distractions too 😉 )!!

    1. Hello ….. I was born in Rio Brazil , but lived most of my life in Canada . I have now just returned to Rio a year ago already ! I am thinking of spending some time in Colombia to become fluent in Spanish . Could anyone please give me some tips ….. I was in China recently for 2 years teaching English . Thank you Monica

  4. I am interested in Medellin Columbia specifically . I’d like to visit or work there, but want to find out as much as I can first.

    Do I need any day trading experience? I have a masters degree in special education

    Thanks! Robin

  5. But then, you have not experienced the life in Santiago de los Caballeros or Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. This country is very much like Brazil and Colombia – extroverted, friendly, socially “loose”, beautiful chicas, great weather – and oh, it’s in the caribbean.

    Please visit the DR my friend!

  6. What a good choice to live in Colombia. I have lived in Colombia for several years in Santa Marta and Bogota and I still miss it!

    Regards Gerda

  7. HI Marcello,

    I came across your videos of Colombia when I was doing some research of the country. I’ll be coming to Medellin probably around April 14 or so. I was wondering if you’re still renting any rooms? if so, what is the minimum stay? cost per night per person? the penthouse looks great, and the location very convenient, loved the renovation!

    Just a little bit about me… I’m Mexican-American, from the border community of Tijuana/San Diego. I’ve traveled before to other Latin-American countries (lived in Costa Rica and Chile besides my lovely and troubled Mexico). I just can’t get enough of Hispanic cultures and now Im about to discover what Colombia is all about. I do my best to travel whenever modern-day slavery allows 🙂 !

    Thanks in advance for any info.


    Paola Diaz

  8. You do bring up the range of practical issues. I am an ex-pat living in Mexico. There are always pros and cons. There is a lot I like here about the culture and politics. Mexico keeps its nose out of other country’s biz, no wars, etc. The people have a live and let live atittude but being a gringo carries a lot of baggage becaue of the long relationship with the US and the arrogant attitude of most Americans. Good points on the Brazil vs. Columbia issue. I have thought of them both but also would probably lean toward Columbia due to the language issue and the climate. thanks.

  9. Dear Marcello,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. As a Colombian native, it makes me happy that someone recommends my country to live and work.
    I am living in Japan at the moment but I’m thinking to relocate and come back to Colombia with my family but I am hesitant about the economy in Colombia. I have a bicultural, bilingual family and I want a safe, foreigner friendly environment. I have a business degree with a concentration in marketing and a master in secondary education with a current U.S. Teaching license. Do you think I could land a job easily and make a decent living in Colombia? Although I am Colombian, I don’t have any professional contacts. Could you please suggest some ideas on how to start my job search? Thank you

    1. You won’t make the same amount of income with the local industry but there are great opportunities to open business and do quite well. Sorry I can’t give you any information on teaching English here in the country as I’m not involved with that industry.

  10. Hello all ,I m getting so much interest to living and doing a business at Colombia…. Though I m a Asian . Is there anyone can help me about that..

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