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An Expat Talks about Moving to Medellin, Colombia

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Medellin

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

3 Things to Bring:

*Any imported products and electronics (computer is a must) - prices higher

*Unlocked cellular phone - buy chip here for $3 and no contract required, free incoming calls

*VOIP phone modem such as Vonage - do not count on cheap Magic Jack or Skype (poor quality) to talk free to friends and family in USA

3 Things to Leave:

*health insurance - $34/mon here

*sell house - prices start $100k

*anything for keeping warm or cooler - will not use as perfect climate 365 days / year

What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

I would not consider any areas other than Medellin for relocating now. Can find lower costs in the countryside, but can be dangerous. Also would look in the suburbs of Envigado or Sabaneta (south end for a more serene life) as the central city could be dangerous and noisy. Prices in Poblado are much higher - starting above $250-500k and is an urban jungle.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

look for US designed/constructed condo - real estate values here are appreciating rapidily (similar to Panama 10-15 years ago) and dollar is falling so NOW is a good time to invest here (do not waste money on rent)

US style housing is NOT common here - typical housing is more european (my 1st apartment) with smaller box rooms and closed in feeling, miss the US kitchen and bath design including appliances in typical housing here (my new condo is US design and is good), much construction here is NOT equal to US standards (no inspection process) and could require much money for repairs

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

Found Medellin from a friend - climate is perfect 75 days, 65 nights for sleeping(other cities climate can be much colder), good infrastucture equal to USA (drinkable water - no bottled water, low cost hydroelectric, same voltage - no convertor, natural gas in ground) and products / services (from USA, we are very accustomed to finding everything we want) and the people are very friendly / helpful

Find a good English speaking real estate agent (Andrew - Apartments Medellin) because they will generally understand also more of your needs. The local agents tend to help their friends and do not show what you will want (no MLS services here). Look for US designed and constructed housing or you will miss all your conveniences (from experience)

Expats living in Colombia interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Get a Quote

Expats living in Colombia interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

costs are MUCH lower as average wages are US$300 / month. With $500 / month, you can live like a king - Utilities $100 (no heating or cooling required), health $50 max with insurance and co-pay, food $250 (buy local grown/made products), other $100 for restaurants ($5 dinner), taxi $5 or bus / metro $0.65 / trip

housing starts at $100k for good quality US style design - do not waste money on rent as real estate is a good investment here

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Comments about this Report

guest
Jun 18, 2011 02:01

Good information to know. What about safety: walking around casually, whether day or night. How easily do women accept foreign men there? How easily do the men accept Gringos living there?

philanina
Sep 23, 2011 00:01

Thank you for your input. My husband and I are looking at moving to Colombia and have been focusing on Medellin. Are you able to share what the job opportunities are like. We are both teaching English in South Korea at the moment but the main reason we are heading to South America is so I can improve my Spanish speaking skills. We are quite open to whatever opportunities are available. I look forward to hearing what your thoughts are. Cheers

guest
Oct 25, 2011 15:11

I found this information to be very helpful. I am just starting my research on relocating, which I will do during 2012. I need all the info I can gather.

guest
Jan 9, 2012 03:00

$500 a month? That is straight up bullshit! You can't live in Medellin on that unless you are a grungy back packer who lives in squalor. Truth is, Medellin is pricey, and the apartment prices are as high (or higher) than many U.S. Cities.

guest
Feb 21, 2012 20:04

This person repeatedly keeps saying... buy don't... rent. That is bad advice unless you are already a experienced resident of Latin experience and you know everything about your new area... job, living, etc. Latin culture is different. You can lease today and move next month... there is not credit to be damaged by breaking a lease like in the USA or Europe. NO one gives a crap; they just want the rent paid in cash on the first of the month.

ColombiaGringo
Jun 6, 2012 18:28

If your interested in meeding other people in town you should look up the Medellin Entrepreneurs Group. People from late 20s to 60s go every Saturday and talk about running businesses, getting visas, and other expat stuff. Its a FREE networking group, contact me for more info, and location. Usually its in El Poblado Medellin, Cheers, James 444 6634, 313 390 7109

ColombiaGringo
Jun 6, 2012 18:41

The paises are very friendly people. If you use common sense you wont have problems. Their good neighborhoods and bad ones, and rules you should pay attention to like not using an ATM on the street, you shouldnt take people you dont know back to your house like new friends you meet at a bar, or nightclub. Dont flash fancy watches or jewlery around, (even if its fake), dont cash out large amounts of money for dollars, 200 bucks max, and dont get involved in black market business. Low profile, friendly people do not run into problems here if they have common sense. High profile flashy people tend to offend more people and run into problems. In El Poblado Medellin i walk at all hours of the night and have not had a problem yet since 2006. Email me or call if your moving to the area and need info, James 57-4-444 6634, or in the USA 415-240-4698

sticking202
Dec 16, 2012 02:35

ONLY IN MEDELLIN THEY HAVE THIS GROUP

guest
Dec 19, 2012 20:56

Are you required to have car insurance to drive in the country?

guest
Jan 28, 2013 15:03

If you get bored of the "Paisafood" please check this brilliant restaurant www.facebook.com/restaurantelatorre which is located in Marinilla at 1/2 hour drive from Medellin.

ColombiaGringo
Mar 27, 2013 20:56

if you rent a car of course, but if own a car you have to get whats called SOAT, which covers personal injury but not damage to your car or their car.

guest
Apr 15, 2013 21:55

This is very good information to know. Thanks. Robert from North Carolina

guest
Jul 23, 2013 15:01

$500 (about 1 million pesos) per month would be a bit tight but you could do it if you stayed away from El Pablado and lived like a local. Food and transport is very cheap and a room can cost as little as $100 per month or less. Safety can be an issue but if use common sense you should be OK. El Centro at night can be unsafe. Speaking some Spanish is very important if you want to have a good experience in Medellin,. If you speak no Spanish you are going to have a tough time of it (like me in the beginning). All in all I would definitely recommend Medellin. It is by far the best city in Colombia in my very humble opinion.

snahalapaz
Sep 28, 2013 20:38

You may get an apartment with US$ 500 in El Poblado area, but it's not going to be furnished for sure. But you need to give yourself time. You can also live in Envigado which is really a nice area and many expats are living there as well.

mmontes
Jan 8, 2014 18:11

I owned an apartment offering to rent in Laureles for US$450.00 brand new

GringaGirl17
May 21, 2014 10:44

Can anyone tell me about the health insurance for $35/month? I'm on a professional fellowship. So, I have to pay for my own health insurance.

NYPD8905
Jul 27, 2014 17:13

I am not buying nor investing in Columbia. but I want to rent an apartment. in central area in City. I don;t like the campo. I;ve been done that road. you can get robbed at any time day or night. I am a city boy anyway. New york .Miami .Los Angles, Las Vegas. where would I go to look . I am moving to Medellin , where would I start. like an agency or real estate agency. what kind of numbers are we talking about. $500 -$1000 is what I can do. what about electric charges per kilo watt hour. I know some countries charge you double or triple for using more then 200-300 kilowatts per month.What about Pobalda. could I ,would .should I live there. and why not? . I have lived all over central America. and Caribbean. also .do I need air conditioning in Medellin?

spank12
Sep 24, 2014 14:11

Who is this Andrew? A real estate agent? Contact information, please, Tks Gary

Cigna Expat Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Colombia from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Guide to Living in MedellinGuide to Living in Medellin

Expats living in Medellin, Colombia report that there are safe places to live - and that the nightlife is fun, too. Read about how to live in Medellin - a city that has become quite a popular destination for expats.

Healthcare in MedellinHealthcare in Medellin

The healthcare system in Medellin, Colombia gets generally positive reviews from expats there. Find answers to questions about universal healthcare in Colombia, what it takes to get an EPS card and more.

Best Places to Live in MedellinBest Places to Live in Medellin

Here are the best places to live in Medellin, Colombia, based on the recommendations of expats that already live there. There are options for a variety of budgets in this now popular destination in Colombia.

Cost of Living in MedellinCost of Living in Medellin

Expats in Medellin enjoy a far lower cost of living than in major cities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. However, work is scarce and low pay unless you are transferred there by a large company, so you'll need an established income stream to make it as an expat in Medellin.

Restaurants in MedellinRestaurants in Medellin

Support your favorite restaurants in Medellin as they recover from the pandemic. Submit a free listing for them on Expat Exchange to help spread the word about them to the expat community.

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Expats in Colombia have taken full advantage of this South American nation's miraculous comeback after decades of chaos. Digital nomads have also found there way to Medellin, its second largest city, for a wide variety of reasons.

Expats in Colombia have taken full advantage of this South American nation's miraculous comeback after decades of chaos. Digital nomads have also found there way to Medellin, its second largest city,...

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