12 Tips for Living in Medellin, Colombia
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Health Care Facilities in Medellin, Colombia
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.
Expat Health Insurance in Colombia
Expats interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.
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.
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.