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LIVING IN PEREIRA

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imorcombe
5/2/2016 14:39 EST

Hello everyone. My husband and I plan to relocate to Colombia next year and are interested in Pereira. I am from Bogota but I find it that it is just too big and polluted for us and the altitude would kill my hubby. Heard good things about Pereira, could anyone tell me the good, the bad and the ugly about living there. Cost of living, health care, safety, etc. Anything will be appreciate.
Thank you for your time.
Ines Morcombe

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Phillipjamesrogers
5/2/2016 15:11 EST

Yes, I have lived in Pereira for almost two years. I will be moving to Armenia soon because my Colombia wife has family there. Pereira is a very nice city, I like it a lot, you must be careful who you rent from. Contact me to my email, I will try to find out that information for you. I really enjoyed my time in Pereira, it is a very beautiful city, I might moved back one day. My email address is 1050phillipjames@gmail.com. I hope to hear from you . Have a wonderful day.

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cafetero
5/2/2016 16:22 EST

I have lived in and around Pereira for several years. I really enjoy it. It´s a friendly city with plenty to do.
The downsides: There are only limited direct flights to US and they are expensive, about $800 one way.
For most flights you have to route through Bogota and the layover in Bogota can be an all nighter.
There is one flight per day from Armenia to Fort Lauderdale for about $550 on Spirit, the airline with the worst customer satisfaction of them all.
Also, it rains a lot in Pereira, about 85 inches per year average. Compare that to Medellin only gets about 35 inches per year. I personally like the rain because it keeps everything cleaner and greener,
The upside:
All the big box stores are in Pereira now, including Price Smart for American goods so you will be able to find just about everything you need.
The cost of living here is waaaaay less than Bogota, probably cheaper by 1/3 or 1/2.
The cities of Pereira and Dos Quebradas combined are about one million population. The two cities are divided by the Río Otun.
Museums, theater, street festivals, and more are easily accessible.
You can drive from one end of the city to the other in about 1/2 hour except occasional rush hour traffic can be a little slower than usual.
Good bus service everywhere, and costs only 1800 pesos per ride. Most taxi rides are minimum price 4200 pesos except late and night and Sunday and national holidays the minimum is 5000.
There is a cross town metro bus you can buy rides on a card you swipe to board the bus.
A bright young American woman who lives in Pereira is writing a Pereira City Guide and she´s just started her web page by the same name,
http://www.pereiracityguide.com
Give it a look. Its brand new and she´s working alone so she doesn´t have a lot on there yet but she´s determined, so keep an eye on it.
There is a Facebook page for Pereira Social Group that has 2 or 3 dozen members. The social group meets for drinks two nights each month. Last week there were a dozen of us there representing US, France, Germany and Colombia.
It´s easy to get outside the city into the pueblos and countryside. There are hot springs nearby in Santa Rosa de Cabal. The famous National Coffee Park and Panaca Park are nearby in Montenegro, Quindio. There are really too many things to do to list them all here.
When you visit Pereira you are nearby to visit Armenia and Manizales, the other cities in the coffee axis. I believe there´s something enjoyable here for everyone.
Good luck with your journey.

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imorcombe
5/2/2016 16:32 EST

Thank you so very much. I do appreciate you guys answering some of my questions about Pereira. Just one more thing, if it is not too much of a problem. SAFETY issues. In Bogota someone tried to kidnap my husband as he looks different, any changes of that happening in Pereira.
Thank you again for your time guys.
Ines

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cafetero
5/2/2016 16:41 EST

Personally I have not heard of any gringos being molested in Pereira. It happens sometimes in Bogota and Medellin and around Cartagena. It could happen here, too, but in the past 6 years I haven´t heard anything like kidnapping.
I recommend don´t dress like a gringo tourist with the Hawaiian shirt, white cargo shorts, baseball cap, big and dark sunglasses, Birkenstocks with white sox. In that outfit I´m guessing you would attract attention jajajajaja

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imorcombe
5/2/2016 16:51 EST

Hey Cafetero, check out these flights I found thru Expedia. The trick is to put "one stop" and press on "shortest duration". Otherwise the flights, like you said will take you to Bogota overnight.

Orlando
MCO 4:27pm



Bogota
BOG 7:29pm

4h 2m
1,711 mi


Avianca 29 Operated by /AVIANCA
Economy/Coach (U) Seat Preview
Airbus A320 | Hot Meal

Layover: 2h 45m
This flight operated by /AVIANCA

Bogota
BOG 10:14pm



Pereira
PEI 11:14pm

1h 0m
112 mi


Avianca 8505 Operated by /AVIANCA
Economy/Coach (U) Seat Preview
Airbus A319 | Refreshments

Wed, Sep 14 - Return Total travel time : 6h 51m , 1 stop
This flight operated by /AVIANCA

Pereira
PEI 6:00am



Bogota
BOG 6:55am

0h 55m
112 mi


Avianca 8510 Operated by /AVIANCA
Economy/Coach (E) Seat Preview
Airbus A320 | Refreshments

Layover: 1h 34m
This flight operated by /AVIANCA

Bogota
BOG 8:29am



Orlando
MCO 1:51pm

4h 22m
1,711 mi


Avianca 28 Operated by /AVIANCA
Economy/Coach (W) Seat Preview
Airbus A320 | Meal

Show Details
C

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LaPiranha
5/2/2016 17:36 EST

Imorcombe. (Hi). If I may ask, how long ago was your husband the target of an attempted kidnap, and in what area of the city?

I have travelled here to Colombia for maybe 16 or 17 years, a month or two each visit, and for the last two and a half years have lived here in Bogota. In the early days, the guerilla problems were quite bad. But since Uribe came to power, he transformed the place, opened up the inter-city highways for travel all over the country in safety. For the past 10 years there hasn't really been anything of concern in Bogota that I have heard of, and my extended Colombian family usually tell me if there is anywhere I should avoid.

Standard precautions are don't go to the poor barrios in the South of the city, and you should be absolutely fine. I lived in Cedritos, and now near CC Santafe in the North, and providing you don't go around flashing your wealth, you'll find the locals are warm and friendly everywhere you go. At least that is my experience. I love to go walking at night, through the shopping streets, and in many of the poorer barrios too, as it is so pretty. I have never ever had a moment of concern, or felt threatened or intimidated.

And I may add that I look the typical Gringo. Although I'm not North American, but British you'll appreciate that I am tall, and very white with a bit of reddening from the sun, and I stand out a mile. My Spanish is very poor, and what Spanish conversation I do make, is done in a very British accent, haha. You could never possibly mistake me for a Colombian. And all I have ever met here is friendliness and kindness from the locals.

So yeah, I guess I am curious as to whether your experience was a while back, or recent? and where?

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pocopelo
5/2/2016 17:49 EST

@LaPiranha, sounds like you have the makings of a new thread there fish. I'm interested in hearing input on both topics. This Pereira spot and vicinity sounds enticing. Only passed through once myself on the way from Ibague to Cali. Would love to hear more.

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imorcombe
5/2/2016 17:52 EST

Message to LaPiranha: Hi, I don't mind telling you when this happened. Exactly 10 years ago, we were living in Calle 87 Carrera `17, I went to Carulla de la 90. and he waited for me outside just watching people go by. Before I knew he was surrounded by 3 guys, very well dressed and speaking fluent English, saying that they were policeman and he needed to go with them to check his documents and make sure he didn't have any fake dollars. My husband remembered that I had told him of all the scams and he very loudly said "I am not going anywhere with you", the guys cursed in Spanish and left quickly. My husband wasn't "giving papaya" at all, he dresses just like any colombian but he is very tall 6.3 and has a head full of gray hair but makes him looks "distinguished". Even the gamines on the street would say to him in English "money mister, please".
I still love Colombia but wouldn't go back to Bogota, too high for my husband, so that's why we are contemplating Pereira.
Bye for now.
Ines

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LaPiranha
5/2/2016 18:46 EST

Thank you for sharing your experience. Yes, it does sound like the old "Fishing for Miracles", and they would certainly have taken all his allegedly "fake" money, or even held him for ransom. That certainly did happen back then. But I'm glad he was astute enough to see through it. Unfortunately many people went along with it. You taught him well, haha.

Yeah, we do stand out a mile. And I too, get people start talking to me in English, never initiating the conversation in Spanish. Its part of the charm though, of Colombia, and I am always happy to talk with them, and they are sooo proud that they can speak English, but rarely get the chance to practice it.

But I'm also happy that things have changed a lot, regarding security here in Bogota, and in the last ten years it has improved dramatically.

But yes, the altitude can be bad for some folk, and so I wish you all the best in your search for a more suitable place. I have heard that Pereira is lovely, my extended Colombian family have many roots there, and so I send you both my good wishes and hope that you find what you are looking for.

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imorcombe
5/2/2016 18:51 EST

Thank you LaPiranha, I do appreciate it. Yeah we need a lot of luck finding the appropriate place for us to relocate. Best of luck to you too.
Ines

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btbwild
5/3/2016 03:46 EST

What about schools/high schools in Pereira and/or Armenia? Any decent bilingual options?

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livinginmedellin
5/3/2016 09:19 EST

This comparison of Medellín with Pereira - http://medellinliving.com/medellin-vs-pereira/ - includes many of the positives about Pereira.

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cafetero
5/3/2016 10:11 EST

the woman who is writing this new e-guide to Pereira is including a section on bilingual schools. Her e-book will be available later this month.
There are several bilingual schools, but I don´t know the relative costs or value.
English is taught as a second language in almost all schools, but in my opinion is being taught very poorly by Colombian teachers who can barely speak English themselves.
They mostly just memorize words out of a list and if they memorize enough words and pronounce them more or less correctly they get a license to teach.
However, I do know one very popular private tri-lingual school at the south edge of Pereira in the neighborhood of Huertas on the Via Armenia highway called the French school, although it also teaches English and Spanish.
Lycee Francais de Pereira

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Phillipjamesrogers
5/3/2016 10:24 EST

My friend Moe who owns and operates ENGLISH WORLDWIDE is a very good school, if you should go and visit tell them Phillip Rogers sent you. Yes they also have Colombia teacher but they speak very good English, do you?

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suadel
5/3/2016 17:06 EST

Excellent report, Cafetero. Gracias!

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Mikey187
8/4/2016 09:40 EST

Hi , do you live in Ibague ?

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Mikey187
8/4/2016 09:41 EST

Hi Phillip , does your friend have any vacancies for his school? I really need a job and my Spanish isn't good so teaching English is an option for me ?

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Mikey187
8/4/2016 09:51 EST

Hi, I'm from Manchester and have been living here on and odd for 3 years. Still struggling to find work here so keep having to go back to the uk for work for a few months.

Anyway , regarding healthcare , are either of you Colombian ? If so one of you can get healthcare and put your partner on it . Healthcare cover here is around 100,000 a month.
The cost of living is obviously a lot cheaper than England but I find electricas , clothes and things like shampoo, deodorant a lot more expensive . Things like tea, crisps , and any english branded food is a lots more expensive too but things like veg and meat are cheap.

Cats are a lot more expensive here too , I've seen cars that wouldn't even be deemed road worth in England selling for 3k here . There doesn't seem to be any cheap decent cars like in England.

Depending on what kind of property you are after apartments start at about 20k.
I am in Ibague so not sure if the prices differ much.

One last note , shipping things over is very expensive. I had a suitable sent over , it cost £80 but then I got stung with £120 tax and vat. So make sure it's worth while what you send over as it will probably be cheaper to just buy the things here. If you need any more information just give me a shout . Mike

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livinginmedellin
8/4/2016 18:54 EST

The new ebook "Pereira City Guide: La Ciudad Sin Puertas" for sale on Amazon by Erin Donaldson is worthless IMHO.

You will find more about Pereira on the Wikipedia page about Pereira and better restaurant/hotel/things to do recommendations in TripAdvisor.

It's only 40 pages and about 10 of those pages are ads. It doesn't include any of the best restaurants or hotels in Pereira and it is missing many of the best things to do in the city.

The 3 hotels/hostels listed in the guide all are paid advertisements and definitely aren't the best in town.

The 3 restaurants in the guide are all paid advertisements and are not the best in town.

The "How to Get There" section only talks about Taxis, Megabus, Jeeps and Chiva bus - transportation in town -- it doesn't discuss or make recommendations about "how to get there" via plane or bus.

Don't waste your money.

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