International Destination Report

12 Tips for Living in Medellin, Colombia

By DanielyMaria

An expat talks about what it's like living in Medellin, Colombia - the city of eternal spring. She talks about the popular neighborhood Carrera 70, enjoying life without a car, the 2017 changes in visa laws, hospitals, schools and much more.

12-Tips-for-Living-in-Medellin,-Colombia

Expat Life in Medellin

Medellin is knows as "The City of Eternal Spring", and the weather is the most agreeable of any place I have ever been. The country has had image problems in the past, and today the people welcome foreigners with open arms.

Cost of Living in Medellin, Colombia

Rent and utilities can be anywhere from USD$300 per month to USD$3,000 per month, just depending on what you require. In Suramericana, I routinely eat lunch for less than $2, or you can go to El Poblado and pay $15 if you prefer.

Local Clubs and Organizations

Internations has an active membership here with many diverse interest groups, for those who want to network for business purposes. There are also several Facebook groups of expats and at least 3 blogs devoted to living in Medellin. Example: https://lostinlinderland.com/

International Schools in Medellin

Almost every barrio (neighborhood) in Medellin seems to have an International school and/or Language school. There are French Academies and UK based Colleges. I think it's fair to say you can find any kind of education here.

Shopping in Medellin

Local stores are littered throughout every neighborhood. They provide both handy shopping for locals and a livelihood for many, so I like to patronize them. When there is something you can't find elsewhere, a large chain grocery/department store called Exito! has a store within walking distance. Lunch is a great meal to eat out, as there are many restaurants that only open for lunch, offer choices as simple as "which meat/fish do you want?" and it is a sit-down meal with soup, a large plate of food, and some fruit juice with the speed and convenience of fast food.

Public Transportation

Public Transportation

The electric Metro train in Medellin is unique. Much faster and smoother than other forms of public transit, I don't mind riding it even if I have to stand. You can travel a long way very quickly, For less than a buck. Then walk or take a taxi to your final destination. Taxis are inexpensive, and have meters so you don't have to negotiate the fare. I can't imagine the need to own a car in Medellin.

Climate

The daily high temperature is usually around 79 or 80F. The overnight low is usually around 60F. There are no mosquitoes or other flying insects. You can leave your unscreened windows open all day an all night and you will probably comfortable. It just doesn't get any better!

Restaurants and Nightlife

Restaurants and Nightlife

There are two primary areas where restaurants, bars and nightlife are concentrated. The one most commonly known by tourists is in El Poblado in the vicinity of Parque Lleras. The one frequented by locals and some Europeans is further north on Carrera 70. Almost anyone can direct you to these two areas.

What are local hospitals and emergency services like?

As one of the major cities in Colombia, Medellin has 7 or 8 major hospitals, with more than one being recognized for providing world class care in several specialties. Medical care should not be a major worry.

International Health Insurance in Colombia

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Recreational Activities in Medellin

Near the Stadium (Estadio) there is a huge sports complex with a gigantic swimming pool and comprehensive sports options. The city is in a valley in the Andes mountains. The options for hiking are endless.

Residency and Visa Requirements

The laws changed in December, 2017 and many of the visas, including retirement and investment visas are now for 3 years instead of 1 as they were before. Check local websites as this new information is updated.

Crime in Medellin, Colombia

There is crime in every city. Medellin is safer in most regards than London or Chicago. That doesn't mean you couldn't wander into a bad place. Stay out of unfamiliar neighborhoods at night. I have never been, nor do I know anyone who has been, a victim of crime here. The criminals mostly fight among themselves, but they might rob someone if it was convenient to do so.

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GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Colombia from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Colombia from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote Call  

More about Medellin

Guide to Living in Medellin

Guide 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.

Best Places to Live in Medellin

Best 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 Medellin

Cost 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.

Healthcare in Medellin

Healthcare 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.

Digital-Nomads-in-Medellin,-Colombia

Living Abroad: Digital Nomads in Medellin, Colombia

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,...

Expat Health Insurance and Healthcare

Expat Health Insurance and Healthcare in Medellin

An expat discusses healthcare and health insurance in Medellin, Colombia. There are several private hospitals in Medellin. He advises expats to purchase health insurance.

Retirement in Medellin

A retiree in Medellin talks about loving life in Medellin - it's been a great change of pace for him and his wife. He says that while some expats live on $1,500 per month, others live in $3,000.

Culture Shock in Medellin

An expat in Medellin talks about adapting to the manana way of life, starting a real estate business in Colombia and the friendly Colombians.

Join our Colombia Expat Forum

Visit our Colombia Forum and talk with other expats who can offer you insight and tips about living in Medellin, Colombia.

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Comments & Questions

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Lahry replied on January 14, 2019 10:21:

Great write up, if all is accurate. No reason to doubt. I have a temporal residente visa for Mexico. I live in Chapala. But I've been thinking about Columbia. My budget is almost $1900/mo so by what you describe I should be able to coast there also. Are there areas where there is a concentration of english speakers? Thank you.

GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Colombia from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Colombia from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote Call  

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.

Digital-Nomads-in-Medellin,-ColombiaLiving Abroad: Digital Nomads in Medellin, Colombia

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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