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Colombia Expat Forum

Cost of living

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11/24/2018 11:19 EST

Just out of intrest ,with prices going up daily how much does one spend in a month,,also what things do you find economical here example food transport resturants.

12/2/2018 19:01 EST

Understood and good luck.


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12/2/2018 16:57 EST

Correction. I live in Envigado, not Poblado. And my wife is "much younger' if you consider I'm 73 and she's 60 "much younger". No, I don't eat street food but i do eat comida typico. Of late i've been sending my son $500 a month towards his master's degree but I've asked him to return it for reasons that will become obvious when you read my latest postings.

12/2/2018 14:46 EST

Dallas Steve,

All true statements for most people and that is were the issue arises. Your comfort level and capabilities. Terry lives in Poblado and has a Colombian "wife" much younger than him and he supports his wife's daughter to some extent (while drawing a firm line when exceeded).

I spend my time in 12 de Octubre where never is a gringo seen. That locale is outside most peoples comfort zone. I also never patronize the big box grocery stores and buy from carts and farmers market and eat out seldom. It all depends on ones comfort level.

I recent assisted my sister in law in purchasing a 4 bedroom, two bath, three balcony, with ownership of the roof (available for expansion) for 70 mm pesos (about 21 thousand US dollars).

Of course he has a younger Colombiana! He used a romance agency to facilitate his move. He has been above and honest about all that.

As a rough estimate, I imagine I can live for 1/4 of the cost that he does; but, my choices aren't for everyone.


12/2/2018 14:03 EST

Andresen wrote:

"But i know gringos here with minimal SS of about $1000 a month who have little more than a room in a hostel/house."

OK, let's be honest, or as Ricardo at All Colombian Girls in Cali once said to me "No nos digamos mentiras." Men living on SS in Colombia are not there because they want to live alone as cheaply as possible. They can do that in some small US cities. And they aren't there because they want to find a fat, old Colombian woman. They can find those in the USA, too. They are there to try to get at least one hot, young Colombian woman and that costs some money. I could probably get by ALONE in an apartment in a mid-sized Colombian city for about $1,000 per month. But if my Colombian wife left me and I moved to Colombia (in the blink of an eye) I would budget at least $2,000 per month. No nos digamos mentiras.

12/2/2018 00:20 EST

I agree with PM, i am a Colombian looking to move back to Colombia for a couple of years with my wife and son so they get to see where i grew up and the culture and so on,

being Colombian and having done some research as well with family members in Colombia i can say that even $1000 CAD would be enough to live a comfortable month in Colombia, obviously this is all depending where you decide to live.

if you decide to go for Bogota or Medellin as well as in Cartagena or Barranquilla, you will pay much more then you would if you choose a smaller city or town, for example in the coffee triangle cities like pereira, manizales or armenia have a much lower cost of living without sacrificing on the views or the life. i for example am considering manizalez, pereira or Tulua which is a city south of armenia roughly 2 hours and about two hours north of armenia. now i am local i was born there and know the area so cities like tulua can be a sacrifice on the feeling of safety. however it can be fairly affordable even while living on a estrato 5 or 6 neighborhood. Estrato 1-6 refers to the socioeconomic separation or difference between neighborhoods 1 being the poorest and 6 rich.
the reality is that i have family members that live with around $1,600,000. cop a month that is absolutely everything.

so yeah one can live very comfortably on $1000 USD or CAD its all dependent on your lifestyle and were you want to live. my wife is Canadian has never seen anything other than Canada so she wants the whole experience and be able to live on a safe neighborhood and be able to travel so im budgeting for about $1000-$1500 Canadian.

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11/26/2018 10:16 EST

Andresen...I agree with you, concerning a monthly "budget".1K per month seems a bit tight, but doable, considering these two factors: housing & lifestyle...example Poblado vs. Sabaneta and the second factor that will truly determine your monthly costs is "Lifestyle"...costs: dining/shopping/alcohol/travel. We all have our different wants & needs, and that is the factor that translates into pesos spent monthly. Buena Suerte ! Tranquilo.

11/25/2018 14:10 EST

Thank you Scott1, numbeo is a very interesting website.

11/25/2018 10:13 EST

Cost of Living Comparison Between United States and Colombia

11/25/2018 06:19 EST

OK Mr. Andressen, I'll chime...1000.00US looks a heck of a lot better now than 3 yrs ago. Does it pay for all my needs in Bucaramanga....not quite...but almost. Own our appt. have a out once a week, and like to travel...Just myself and my wife. We have the basic eps insurance...Sura...and if it wasnt for my 9 million eye operation, paying off on time with my US credit...1000 would be some months ok, others maybe 100 shy...

11/25/2018 04:53 EST


You make a good point about for the elderly benefits of being in Colombia- I know for example when my mother in law was ill, it was very inexpensive to get help. or things delivered to the house etc.

I cant say much if an Expat wishes to spend more money than they need to, I am just pointing out that one can live well in Colombia for less than the US. I cant say that the apartment we live in is of any less standard than we would typically find in the US, But if someone wishes to spend twice a month to live in polluted and noisy Poblado for personal reasons, than doesn't change one can live on $1000 a month- and certainly not have to live in a room or a hostel as mentioned previously.

I didnt take medical insurance as a factor, and I have no idea of the costs for different age groups.

Sure I send more than $1,000 a month for special items or trips etc, but tat is enough fro our basic budget to live a comfortable civilized life. Though I have been tempted to move to a FInca.

11/24/2018 21:08 EST

I treat myself well. I deserve only the best.

11/24/2018 21:00 EST

I am definitely the wrong guy to ask.

I.probably spend $40 or $50 K a year on travel alone

11/24/2018 18:20 EST

@ Andresen & Ponymalta

You have both made useful comments on this subject but I have to side with Andresen because of one word….”Can”. I agree people living in Colombia “CAN” get by on a US$ 1,000 monthly income but that will ONLY suit a selected portion of expats. I, for example, did not choose to come and live in Colombia uniquely because it fitted my pocket and I know many other expats with a similar reasoning. Here are a few of the reasons why I live in Colombia:

I am an elderly retiree and apart from the two obvious wordly truisms (Death and Taxes) I can suggest a third………Once you get to a certain age your health problems start to stack up and you have to face up to a higher level of medical and mobility costs. I agree I could exist on basic Colombian EPS medical services but believe me, availability of the private Prepago medical services makes living out your remaining years much more rewarding. Prepago costs are extremely high once you get over 68 (About one million persos per month per person).

I am not looking to minimise my housing costs and I see Colombia as my permanent residence so I have no qualms about owning a property in a decent neighbourhood. I also retain my European preventative maintenance attitude and believe in properly insuring all my major assets (House, contents and car). Believe me, these costs mount up and the suggested US$ 1,000 income would not cover even these items.

Mobility. The elderly gradually loose their mobility and Colombia offers a considerable attraction in this context. Need some urgent medicine : no problem get it delivered. And this type of facility is available for just about anything you need if you have limited mobility and can afford to pay for it.

And I can go on, and on, with other reasons why Colombia is suited to persons other than those who have very limited incomes. I am not trying to “show off”, but foreign residents from many different sectos of society come to live in Colombia now. Perhaps some of them are quieter than others?

11/24/2018 17:16 EST

Yes, but it would have been nice if some others had chimed in with...'I only get $1000 a month from SS and my life style here is like this ...". Alas, no.

11/24/2018 16:57 EST

What a goofy conversation. One man's palace is another man's xxxxhole.

11/24/2018 16:25 EST

PM. I appreciate your insights and i'll reconsider my opinion of how expensive (or inexpensive) life can be here.

11/24/2018 15:45 EST


if someone has 1000 a month and just living in a hostel/room that is crazy.. we live in a perfectly suitable location by any standards and rent is million pesos a month.

or if a single guy just find a girlfriend and move in with and pay the bills. quite a few colombian women would be quite happy for a guy who kicked in 500 a month towards bills.

many colombian middle class people live on 1000 to 1500 per mont.h just look at salaries offered for jobs typically assumed to be middle class.

i dont know rents in poblado or even envigado these days. but we are only 15 minutes from downtown medellin by metro. and i guess also depends on where one does food shoppng etc.

11/24/2018 15:29 EST

PM. I think "a little outside of Medellin" must make a big difference. On the other hand, we have a 3 bedroom apartment. But i know gringos here with minimal SS of about $1000 a month who have little more than a room in a hostel/house. Not to say there are struggling but they can't afford their own 1 bedroom apt.

11/24/2018 12:42 EST


I wouldn't know why an American would need to spend more unless you want an upscale FINCA, and go out drinking a lot. We live in a new apartment building, three rooms, 24 hour security, swimming pool/gym; eat well and all amenities, utilities, cell phones/internet/cable etc etc.
But we live a bit outside Medellin, so maybe in Poblado more expensive, but I cant imagine how we could spend more than $1,000 a month for our basic household budget.

Maybe Gringo prices could push that up to $1200 or $1300. a month.

11/24/2018 12:29 EST


11/24/2018 12:29 EST

PM. Excuse me for disagreeing but $1000 a month does buy all those things for the average American. Usually that will buy you the rental of a room, food, drink, and the ability to renew your visa every 3 years.

11/24/2018 12:21 EST

For 2018, Argentina tops everybody's list for Bargain Latin American Destination for tourists spending US dollars., but Colombia and Mexico are neck-and-neck for runner-up and show. It's been a hell of a run since mid-2014, and a mystery since US interest rates have been historically very low.

11/24/2018 12:17 EST

I agree with other posts, since dollar has been relatively strong, local price increases hasn't effected us. $1,000 a month still pays for our three bedroom apartment ,transport, food, utilities, private school, insurance, weekly beauty parlor for wife and daughter,and all the basics including eating out on the weekends. That has been our household budget for past three years.

Do we spend more at times ? Of course but for something special like vacaton or my wife or daughter speding too much on clothes- but one of Colombia's strong points is I don't really have to think about how much something costs - but then again to avoid Gringo prices I just let my wife handle the basic household budget. So really I dont see any effect on rising prices though I hear about, and if I can live comfortably on $1,000 a month with Medellin's great weather, relaxed atmosphere, no complaints about prices ! ( I do have impression that clothing prices have gone up and often for some items cheaper and better quality in the states).

11/24/2018 11:35 EST

"...with prices going up daily..."


Prices have NOT been going up lately for dollarized Expats visiting, living in or moving to Colombia.

The dollar has consistently been at or near historic highs versus the Colombian currency in the last two months. Per, one USA dollar is up to 3191 pesos (aka COP) in value as of today.

Four or five years ago, you only got about 1800 pesos of value to the dollar.

Before the recent runup, the rate was hovering around the low 2900's for quite a while.


For the more prosaic costs of food, transportation, housing, etcetera on a city-by-city basis, that information is available at ....


11/24/2018 11:31 EST

"with prices going up" not if you are earning US dollars, at 3,200+ $=COP it is approaching double when I starting visiting Medellin 8 or 9 years ago and can't remember what the exchange was on my very first visit to Colombia in 1990.

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