Expat Exchange

Cartago, Colombia

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By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 17, 2022

Summary: Expats, retirees and digital nomads love living in Cartago, Colombia. This city of approximately 135,000 is located in southwestern Colombia and enjoys temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s year round. The low cost of living is one of the reasons people move to Cartago. Packing tip: pack light, buy furniture in Colombia.

What do I need to know before moving to Cartago?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Cartago, they said:

"Rent first. Get to know the area you are moving to first. Bring only the money you need while here. The money is taxable in the US but not in Solombia if pension of Social Security. Colombia is a heaven," said another expat in Cartago.

"Go for it. Keep your money invested in the USA and take what you need monthly. Rent initially. Great buys for cash. $2000 usa will allow you to live like a king. Body massages $7 for an hour Nails done over one hour $15 dollars Papayas -- $0.40 per pound Mangoes --$0.15 per pound Sirloin steak -- $2 per pound beer -- $0.50 per can Rent - ok place $75/month Rent - nice $150 per month Rent -- very, very nice $250 per month Rent -- Country club type -- swiming pool, everything, view, fantastic- $700-$800," remarked another in Cartago.

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How do I find a place to live in Cartago?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"I visit the area many times and was in love with the Cerritos, Cartage and Quindio area. This area is safer than the USA," said another expat in Cartago.

"Several American friends live in the Cartago-Cerrito-Alcala-Quindio areas. Just outside Cartago is a paradise. The Cerritos or Quindio areas i think is one of the best places in the world to have a good life. A little bit expensive but you can have great choices from $100k to $300k. Several acres, swimming pool, everything you did not have in the USA. or if you want you can buy a house in El Prado neighborhood for $70k. Fantastic," added another person living in Cartago.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Cartago?

"I have a US $70,000 home I found and fell in love with. This home in the Gig harbor area in WA will cost $600,000. Some expats buy homes in more expensive areas out of town for US $120,000 with swimming pools and entertainment areas," said another expat in Cartago.

"Anything you want. You can start at $40K to $300k. Nice neighborhoods around $70k and very luxurious country homes with swimming pools , air, cable, 5000', barbeque areas, security, etc. They are like fancy homes in a country club," remarked another in Cartago.

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What is the average cost of housing in Cartago?

If you are thinking about moving to Cartago, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"One dollar in the area will buy the equivalent of $9 dollars in the USA. I have a car if I want to drive, however at less than US$1 for a taxi ride in town, I prefer for them to pick me up. You can live in Colombia on US $2000 with a maid cleaning, cooking. I travel to the coast for six days for US $500. I live like a king," remarked another expat in Cartago.

"Equivalent housing to the USA, what cost in Seattle $6 dollars, cost $1 in the area. take your pick. A $1.2 million home in Seattle costs $200,000. A $500,000 dollar home about $80,000," explained one expat living in Cartago.

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What should I bring when moving to Cartago?

People living in Cartago were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Miss my friends, some of my regular TV programming and my boat. I should have left my old furniture, sell your stuff before moving to Colombia. They have nice stuff to buy at good prices," explained one expat.

"Wish I had brought my whole family, my old cars, and American footbal. I should have left behind most of my furniture and stuff. Be light, sell lots of stuff before moving. keep it simple," said another person in Cartago.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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